On Being Exposed to Various Facets of Life

On Being Directly Exposed to Various Facets of Life

By Apolinario Villalobos

 

One can learn by browsing through the pages of books and at the present time, by viewing documentaries on TV channels. The knowledge gained out of those is “secondary”, unlike when one experiences first- hand occurrences in life which then, makes him or her some sort of “authority”. Among these instances are those that involve being in the midst of a depressed area, befriending hoodlums and other shady characters, travelling to interesting and unlikely destinations, eating extraordinary foods, going through grueling experience, etc.

 

In the same manner, sensitive posts such as those in the DILG, DSW, CHR, and many others should be occupied by people who have gained first-hand experience so that they can come up with ideas and decisions, based on “experience”….as much as possible. Unfortunately, various appointments in the government posts are based on “referrals” of friends, associates, or out of gratitude. Later, these appointees, as expected, are proved to be inadequate in carrying their job, and worse, are corrupt!

 

On the other hand, some may say that a doctor need not be sick of any malady to be able to prescribe a medicine. But then, prescribed medicines are not sure balls to cure as patients are asked to return after a certain period of time to check if what have been prescribed were effective. This situation is in contrast to the shared testimony of patients themselves, who got cured by certain herbs…but which medical “authorities” prohibit.  That is why despite the testimonies of those who have been relieved by herbal medicines, for instance, that go with an advertisement, what follows is a harsh precaution from the DOH that the “medication” has not been proved as effective!….so, why allow the inclusion of the testimonies, if that is the case?…or why allow the ad to be played at all, as it will just create confusion? Relative to this was the practice in the earliest civilized nations, such as those mentioned in the Bible. The practice involved exposure of the sick to the public to attract the attention of passers -by, hoping that among them, one or several who had similar disease and got cured would stop by to give advice.

 

Today, in the Philippines, some people who have not even stepped on the ground of a depressed area have the temerity to speak about poverty and life in slums despite the limitation of their “exposure” to TV screens and news gleaned from pages of newspapers. They are the detractors of Duterte in his drive against illegal drugs. All they know are just the words “death” and “extra-judicial killings” without even going any further as to the “who” and “why”. They read and view news that the killed guys are from depressed areas or slums. They never get to the depth of the story, especially, on what the drug-hooked criminals have done and could still do if left to roam the streets peddling drugs from their police protectors and evil suppliers, to their equally impoverished neighbors.

 

These detractors will never understand the situation that resulted from the negligence of the past presidents, because they, who speak about the EJK, only go as far as the air-conditioned malls and drive around the city in their airconditioned car. The furthest that they may have gone to are the touristic destinations where they spent their expensive jaunts. They have not even tried eating in sidewalk carinderias or have taken coffee in makeshift open-air “cafeterias” along side streets of slums.

 

WHAT I CANNOT UNDERSTAND IS THAT DESPITE THE FACT THAT MAJORITY OF THE POPULATION BENEFITS FROM THE DRIVE OF DUTERTE AGAINST DRUGS, THIS MINORITY MUDDLE HIS EFFORT INSTEAD OF JUST OBSERVING FROM THE SIDELINES AND GIVE HIM A CHANCE….THEN JUDGE HIM AT THE END OF HIS TERM. UNDERSTANDABLY, THEY HAVE THE RIGHT TO SAY ANYTHING, BUT THEY ARE NOT HELPING THE DEMOCRATIC EFFORT OF THE PRESIDENT FOR THE MAJORITY WHO, LIKE THEM HAS ALSO THE RIGHT TO BE PROTECTED BY THE SO-CALLED DEMOCRACY…ESPECIALLY, AGAINST THE CRIMINALS!

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The “Other Side” of Divisoria (Manila, Philippines)

The “Other Side” of Divisoria (Manila, Philippines)

By Apolinario Villalobos

 

While Divisoria has always been known as the shoppers’ Mecca, especially, during Christmas, there is” another side” of it which I do not want to present as an image of poverty but that of perseverance, patience, and honest endeavor. This is the “other Divisoria” which many people just refuse to see as it might cause them to puke! The accompanying photos show how these honest Filipinos contentedly strive to live in sheer honesty.

 

The skeptics always say, “it is their fault for going to Manila and suffer deprivation”. These hypocrite skeptics have  TV, radio, and occasionally read newspapers, so they should know that the provinces from where these people who are eking out an honest living on the “other side” of Divisoria, are infested with NPAs, Abu Sayyaf, opportunistic landlords, and loan sharks. For the arrogant, the world is just for those who can afford to live decently. On the other hand, as these skeptics have not endured days of hunger, they may not understand how it is to make a difficult decision to live a hand-to-mouth life in Manila by scavenging in garbage dumps, rather than die of hunger and be in constant fear for dear life in the province.

 

It is true that the slums have been in existence for many decades now, but there would be no slums had the government ever since the time the nation has become independent, did not get infested with corrupt lawmakers and officials. The slums have been around since the time that deprivation and exploitation have been propagated by learned Filipinos who found their way in the halls of Congress and Senate, as well as, agencies, even at the helm of the government. Unfortunately, the seed of exploitation has grown into an uncontrollable proportion today, making corruption as wrongly and unfairly viewed to be always a part of the Filipino culture.

 

The striving people from the slums near Divisoria, and other districts of Manila, in this regard, may be viewed by the arrogant as akin to dogs and cats, because of their many children, oftentimes making them utter unsavory remark, such as, “they know they are poor, yet, they keep on having children”.

 

How I wish these skeptics can also openly, make biting remarks –

  • to the corrupt politicians and government officials, such as, “they graduated from prestigious universities and colleges, yet, they do not know what is right or wrong”

 

  • to the filthy rich, such as, “they have plenty of money, yet they can’t even throw a piece of bread to a beggar”

 

  • to the stiff-necked Catholic priests, pastors, and other religious ministers such as, “they are supposed to be representatives of the Lord, but they can’t afford to take a look at the spiritually hungry”

 

Finally, compared to the disgusting hypocrites, loan sharks, corrupt government officials, arrogant “religious ministers” and conscienceless rich, who are supposed to be learned and intelligent, the people who honestly make a living such as those who belong to the “other side” of Divisoria, are worthy to be called creatures of God – true human beings…slum denizens who are viewed by aforementioned with utter repugnance.

 

(This blog will definitely, not hurt those who do not belong to the mentioned “classes” of loathsome Filipinos.)

 

 

Crimes are not the Brainchild of the Impoverished…as what the “comfortables” insist

Crimes Are Not the Brainchild of the Impoverished

…as what the “comfortables” insist!

By Apolinario Villalobos

 

It is like the vicious cycle which has no clear answer, as to which came first, the egg or the chicken. There’s a popular belief that poverty creates crime, as the need of the impoverished to survive forces him to earn via crimes. But what has not been taken into consideration is the “second party” or the people who “use” the impoverished for their selfish motive. Simply put, drug lords organize “educated pushers” to explore the impoverished areas to recruit “uneducated runners”, as well as, entice the gullible residents – young and old to be hooked to illegal drug.

 

In my long years of association with those living in depressed areas, I learned and observed personally that they can go by with even just one meal a day. Committing crime is far from their mind as they are a contented lot. But when illegal drugs entered their life, and they became hooked to them, they were forced to find ways and means to “earn” so that they can go on with their newly-found habit. In this regard, some of them learned easy-to-earn trades such as snatching, sex peddling or hooking, shoplifting, killing for a fee, petty burglary and drug-running. When they came to Manila, they had no vices except occasional drinking. Foremost in their mind was to work hard with part of their earnings to be sent back home to their families. But, then, well-to-do and impressively educated newfound friends gave them ideas how to earn fast and live comfortably in the city.

 

It should also be noted that in far-flung provinces, life is very simple. Having vegetables and rice for meals is not considered a way of the impoverished. Students walk their way to school. Life is laid back. But when illegal drug is introduced into communities, some of which still have no street lights, a drastic change occurred in the life of the “probinsiyanos”. In this regard, some news heard over the radio and seen as broadcast on TV are about unknown barrios and towns with drug dens raided by authorities, and drug pushers cornered and caught red-handed with marked money!

 

Illegal drugs are residues of progress. For people to enjoy progress, heavy prices must be paid …with the future of the youth that goes puff with every sniff of the melted crystals… or, with the crumpled values and honour, long nurtured in the heart of the gullible squatting residents and “probinsiyanos”.

 

On the other hand, if one insists that poverty creates crime, he is like saying that there are drug laboratories in slums, or the poor can afford to buy and hoard high-powered guns, or they have immense garages for luxury cars used in delivering drugs to avoid detection, or they can afford to organize high-end concerts akin to “tiyangges” so that imported drugs can be sold easily at bargain prices, or they are so clever or well-financed enough as to negotiate for deliveries of kilo-tons of drugs from China, or that offices of illegal recruiters can be found in their midst!

 

Unfortunately, many Filipinos are so comfortably confined within the secured walls of their homes, hence, their knowledge of what are really happening “on the other side” of the country are derived from TV shows and pages of broadsheets. Despite that glaring reality, SOME, IF NOT MANY OF THEM, still have the gall to utter dismay and disbelief….of course, they cannot believe them, because they chose not to open their eyes to the realities of the big chunk of Filipino life!

 

 

The “Other Side” of Divisoria

The “Other Side” of Divisoria (Manila, Philippines)

By Apolinario Villalobos

 

While Divisoria has always been known as the shoppers’ Mecca, especially, during Christmas, there is” another side” of it which I do not want to present as an image of poverty but that of perseverance, patience, and honest endeavor. This is the “other Divisoria” which many people just refuse to see as it might cause them to puke! The accompanying photos show how these honest Filipinos contentedly strive to live in sheer honesty.

 

The skeptics always say, “it is their fault for going to Manila and suffer deprivation”. These hypocrite skeptics have  TV, radio, and occasionally read newspapers, so they should know that the provinces from where these people who are eking out an honest living on the “other side” of Divisoria, are infested with NPAs, Abu Sayyaf, opportunistic landlords, and loan sharks. For the arrogant, the world is just for those who can afford to live decently. On the other hand, as these skeptics have not endured days of hunger, they may not understand how it is to make a difficult decision to live a hand-to-mouth life in Manila by scavenging in garbage dumps, rather than die of hunger and be in constant fear for dear life in the province.

 

It is true that the slums have been in existence for many decades now, but there would be no slums had the government ever since the time the nation has become independent, did not get infested with corrupt lawmakers and officials. The slums have been around since the time that deprivation and exploitation have been propagated by learned Filipinos who found their way in the halls of Congress and Senate, as well as, agencies, even at the helm of the government. Unfortunately, the seed of exploitation has grown into an uncontrollable proportion today, making corruption as wrongly and unfairly viewed to be always a part of the Filipino culture.

 

The striving people from the slums near Divisoria, and other districts of Manila, in this regard, may be viewed by the arrogant as akin to dogs and cats, because of their many children, oftentimes making them utter unsavory remark, such as, “they know they are poor, yet, they keep on having children”.

 

How I wish these skeptics can also openly, make biting remarks –

  • to the corrupt politicians and government officials, such as, “they graduated from prestigious universities and colleges, yet, they do not know what is right or wrong”

 

  • to the filthy rich, such as, “they have plenty of money, yet they can’t even throw a piece of bread to a beggar”

 

  • to the stiff-necked Catholic priests, pastors, and other religious ministers such as, “they are supposed to be representatives of the Lord, but they can’t afford to take a look at the spiritually hungry”

 

Finally, compared to the disgusting hypocrites, loan sharks, corrupt government officials, arrogant “religious ministers” and conscienceless rich, who are supposed to be learned and intelligent, the people who honestly make a living such as those who belong to the “other side” of Divisoria, are worthy to be called creatures of God – true human beings…slum denizens who are viewed by aforementioned with utter repugnance.

 

(This blog will definitely, not hurt those who do not belong to the mentioned “classes” of loathsome Filipinos.)

 

Though how Progressive a Country is, there will always be Poverty because of Corruption

Though how Progressive a Country is, there will always be

Poverty because of Corruption

By Apolinario Villalobos

 

Perfection should be ruled out in the reckoning of a progressive country, because there will always be poverty due to corruption somewhere in the system of governance. In other words, the glitter of progress cannot hide poverty. For ultra-progressive countries, the signs may be insignificant as they try to blend with the glamour of urbanity. But in other countries, especially, the third-world, the signs are very prevalent, so that there is always a massive effort to cover them up occasionally, literally, as it is done every time there are special occasions such as visits of foreign dignitaries. This practice is successful in the Philippines.

 

Practically, poverty is the shadow of progress, and literally, too, as where there are looming high-rise buildings that are pockmarks of progress, as not far from them are slums or homeless citizens who huddle together under bridges and nooks. These are misguided citizens who flock to the cities after selling their homestead, that have been farmed for several generations, to deceitful land developers, at a measly price. These are the urban squatters willing to be relocated but found out that the promised “paradise” do not even have a deep well so they go back to their sidewalk “homes”. These are contractual workers who have no job securities as they earn only for five to six months, after which they leave their fate to luck while looking for another job.

 

How does corruption ever be involved in the sad fate of the exploited? Simply, by the government’s negligence  in providing decent relocation sites with job opportunities and basic facilities to those uprooted from their city abodes for more than so many years; by its cuddling of the spurious contractualization perpetrated by greedy employers; by its failure to guide and protect the rights of farmers who sell their rice fields to subdivision developers at measly prices that are not even enough to sustain them for six months; by its failure to provide the citizens with the basic necessities as funds are allowed to be pocketed by corrupt officials; and practically by looking the other way despite the availability of laws against vote buying.

 

Third- world country leaders should stop using the word “progressive”, but instead they should use “surviving” to describe their respective economy. If a country’s economy cannot sustain, much less, provide a “comfortable life” to majority of its citizens, then it is still “ailing”…hence, expect poverty to be trailing behind, just a few steps away from the pretentious allegations!

 

 

 

Ang Mga Taong Hindi Marunong Mangalaga ng Tulong at Mga Walang Pinag-aralan Subali’t Maayos ang Buhay

Ang Mga Taong Hindi Marunong Mangalaga ng Tulong

At Mga Walang Pinag-aralan Subalit Maayos ang Buhay

Ni Apolinario Villalobos

 

Dapat lang na hindi ibalik sa taong tumulong sa iba ang itinulong niya sa mga ito. Ibig sabihin ang tulong ay hindi dapat ituring na “utang” ng taong tinulungan. Ang dapat gawin ng isang tinulungan ay ipasa sa iba ang tulong na napakinabangan niya. Subalit iba ang usapan kapag ang tinulungan ay hindi marunong mangalaga ng itinulong sa kanya tulad ng mga sumusunod na kuwento:

 

#1…..Tungkol ito sa isa kong kaibigang seafarer, mayroon siyang malaking bahay na hinuhulugan at may dalawang anak na nag-aaral. Noon ay hindi hamak na malaki ang kita niya kung ihambing sa kinikita ng hindi sumasakay sa barko. Ang masama lang ay mayabang siya at galante tuwing magbakasyon at mahilig bumili ng mga bagay na naide-display niya upang masabing marami siyang pera. Kalimitan, makalipas ang dalawang buwang bakasyon, isa-isa na ring nawawala ang mga gamit dahil kung hindi naisanla ay naibenta…at sa akin tumatakbo upang umutang. Palagi ko siyang pinapayuhan, at oo naman siya ng oo. Ngayong nagkaedad, halos wala nang kumpanyang tumanggap sa kanya, kaya  nataranta dahil ang bahay pala ay hindi regular na nababayaran sa SSS kaya malaki ang naipong arrears. Ang anak na babae ay isang teen-aged mom dahil nabuntis high school pa lang, at ang panganay na lalaking anak ay puro tattoo ang katawan at laman ng kalye. Ang asawa naman na suki ng mga parlor ay halos walang expression ang mukha dahil kung ilang beses nang inineksiyunan ng  gamot na pampatanggal ng kulubot, kaya sa biglang tingin ay mukhang tanga. Ilang beses siyang lumapit sa akin upang umutang, subalit nagmatigas ako. Nang magalit, pinaalala ko sa kanya ang mga utang niyang niyang hindi ko nasingil dahil idinaan na lang niya sa “kalimot”.

 

#2…..Isa pa ring kaibigan ang inabutan ko ng tulong na pandagdag sa puhunan niya sa pagba-buy and sell ng mga prutas. Nang lumakas ang negosyo, biglang umarangkada sa pagbukas naman ng isang karinderya dahil naiinggit yata sa mga kaibigang may ganitong negosyo. Minalas sa mga taong tinanggap niya upang tumulong dahil puro kupit ang inabot niya. Wala pang anim na buwan, bumagsak na ang karinderya ay may utang pa siya sa inupahang puwesto. Pinahiram ko pa ng ilang beses subalit hindi pa rin natuto dahil nagbukas uli ng karinderya na talaga namang hindi niya nakokontrol ang pagpatakbo. Lumipas ang isang taon bago kami nagkita uli….balik siya sa wala. Nang subukan niyang “humiram” uli sa akin, tumanggi na akong tumulong. Tulad ng inaasahan ko, nagtampo at nagalit kaya iniwasan na ako.

 

Iba naman ang kuwento ng mga taong nakatira sa bangketa na ang ikinabubuhay ay pamumulot ng mapapakinabangang basura. Yong isang pamilya na naabutan ng pera, bumili agad ng mga scrap na kahoy, tatlong gulong na pang-kariton, mga pako at nanghiram lang ng martilyo, at tulung-tulong silang mag-asawa sa paggawa ng kariton, kaya ngayon ay lalong marami silang nahahakot na papel, lata at bote, kung ihambing noon na sako o malaking plastic bag lang ang gamit.

 

Yong isang pamilyang dating isang kariton lang ang gamit sa pamumulot ng basura, nagkaroon ng isa pa nang maabutan ng tulong, kaya tag-isa na silang mag-asawa ng itinutulak na kariton, at dahil lumaki ang kita, nakaya na nilang mangupahan ng isang maliit na kuwarto…hindi na sila nakikigamit ng kubeta ng restaurant ng Intsik, at hindi na rin natutulog sa bangketa. Nakakaipon na rin sila ng iba’t ibang gamit sa bahay na napupulot sa mga basurahan dahil naikakarga nila ang mga ito sa kariton nila upang maiuwi.

 

Yong mag-asawang matanda na sigarilyo at mga kendi lang ang dating tinitinda sa bangketa, nang abutan ng tulong, nagkaroon ng maliit na mesa, dalawang thermos para sa kape, mga biscuit, at tinapay na idinagdag sa mga itinitinda. Mayroon na rin silang picnic umbrella, pananggalang nila sa init ng araw at ulan. Nang dinagdagan ang puhunan nila, nagtinda na rin ng piniritong isda at kanin na tantiyado nilang mauubos sa maghapon, nalilibre pa ang tanghalian at hapunan nila.

 

Yong mga namumulot lang dati ng mga reject na gulay sa Divisoria, may mga kariton na rin at ang tinitinda ay mga gulay na binibili nila ng maramihan sa mga papauwi nang mga mangangalakal kaya mura nilang nakukuha…nabawasan na ang hirap nila dahil hindi na sila mangangalkal pa at maglilinis ng mga reject na gulay.

 

Kung minsan mahirap unawain ang tao. Kung sino kasi ang may kakayahang pinansiyal ay sila pa yong nagmimistulang kawawa bandang huli dahil sa pinili nilang pagpapabaya sa sarili ganoong may pinag-aralan naman sila na magsisilbi sanang gabay sa paggawa nila ng mga desisyon. At, kung sino pa yong sa tingin ng iba ay walang pag-asa sa buhay dahil mga yagit sa bangketa kung ituring – walang pinag-aralan at ni walang ekstrang damit, ay sila pang nakakaraos dahil sa pagsisikap upang mabuhay ng maayos! Ibig sabihin, hindi kailangang maging titulado ang isang tao upang makagawa ng malinaw na desisyon sa buhay!

How the Red Tide Swept the Philippine Shores, and the founding of Hukbalahap

How the Red Tide Swept the Philippine Shores,

and the founding of Hukbalahap

By Apolinario Villalobos

During the American regime, the “freedom” that was introduced, developed political consciousness among the learned but poor Filipinos – city dwellers and sons of peasants. They joined hands and welded together the laborers of the city and peasants of the provinces, resulting to the sprouting of labor unions. The consciousness was further fanned by inspirations that came in the form of literary works such as novels and dramas.

1922 saw the organization of “Confederacion de Aparceros y Obreros Agricolas de Filipinas (Philippine Confederation of Tenants and Agricultural Workers), by Jacinto Manahan. It was renamed Katipunang Pambansa ng mga Magbubukid sa Pilipinas (National Peasants Union of the Philippines), two years later. The union joined forces with the already organized Philippine Labor Congress to become the formidable tool of the working class during the time.

Leaders of the Philippine Labor Congress (PLC) attended a trade conference in 1928, in Canton, China which was sponsored by the communists. When they returned, they formed the Labor Party, at the same time affiliating the “mother organization”, Philippine Labor Congress with the Red International of Labor Unions. This move transformed the PLC into a communist-oriented union.

In 1929, disagreements ensued within the PLC on policy matters which led to the departure of Crisanto Evangelista who founded the Katipunan ng mga Anak-pawis ng Pilipinas (Congress of Philippine Workingmen). The other leaders, Ruperto S. Cristobal and Antonio Paguia remained with the PLC. Evangelista moved further on by founding Partido Comunista (Communist Party) with Jacinto Manahan, using the Russian ideology as their model. The Communist Party assumed a tolerable image until 1932, during which the Supreme Court declared it to be an illegal association. This did not deter the party from working with the peasants and laborers discreetly. The members were eventually imprisoned.

Meanwhile, on the same year of 1929, Pedro Abad Santos, who belonged to the cultured and learned class of Pampanga, founded the Socialist Party, together with the “Aguman Ding Maldang Talapagobra” (Workers’ and Peasants’ Union) or AMT. The Socialist Party was used by the AMT as its political arm which did not gain fame until after 1932. It operated openly as it was sanctioned by the government, unlike the Communist Party whose illegality led to the imprisonment of its members.

In 1932, when the imprisoned members of the Communist Party were released, it merged with the Socialist Party. The merging led to the impression that even the non-communist members of the Socialist Party, were also communists. Nonetheless, from then on, the group developed to become a sophisticated working class in Central Luzon, aside from becoming more militant.

When war broke out in the Pacific in December 8, 1941, the Philippines was dragged into it. Later on, the retreat of the combined US and Philippine forces to Corregidor and eventual defeat, throw the whole country into confusion. By instinct, the peasants of Pampanga organized a “militia” to protect themselves against the occupying Japanese forces.

The peasant leaders met in February 1942 at barrio Bakwit, Cabiao, Nuevea Ecija. It was attended by Luis Taruc, Juan Feleo, Casto Alejandrino, Matelo del Castillo, F. Sampanga, Jose de Leon, Lino Dizon, Eusebio Aquino, and Mariano Franco. They decided on a “united front” against the aggressors, with the battlecry “Anti-Japanese Above All”. They laid down their three-pronged policy, as: economic (development of all means of providing the people with sustenance and at the same time to sabotage Japanese effort to loot the country); political (discredit the “puppet regime” and destroy its influence); and, military (harass the Japanese).

The peasant leaders met again in a forest between Tarlac, Pampanga, and Nueva Ecija in March 29, 1942, to finalize their organization which assumed tha name, “HUKBO NG BAYAN LABAN SA HAPON” or HUKBALAHAP. Its Military Committee was composed of Luis Taruc, Banal (Bernardo Poblete), Casto Alejandrino, and Felipa Culala (Dayang-dayang). Taruc was elected as the chairman with Alejandrino as his deputy.

Unfortunately, Hukbalahap which was originally meant to fight the Japanese aggressors was discredited due to politics and insecurities of the landlords, pushed to the corner, until it finally went underground to fight the unfair policies of the government. The abused peasants with the grain of communistic idealism already planted in their consciousness had no choice but lean on the support that propped them up since before the onset of the WWII. The events that followed were more than expected…