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Some of the Best by The Superficial Gazette of the Republic of the Philippines

There was a time, not so long ago (last year actually), that the ‘Official Gazette’ of the Republic commands respect.

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By Therese Claire Linatoc

There was a time, not so long ago (last year actually), that the ‘Official Gazette’ of the Republic commands respect. They were the go-to source of unadulterated facts about what’s really happening inside the hallowed halls of our government. They’re trusted, revered even.  Then everything went downhill fast. From historical revisionism to dubiously represented graph, the Official Gazette became the laughing stock of the whole thinking community.

Out of the ashes of incompetence rose the Superficial Gazette of the Republic of the Philippines. The page was controversial and sensational. It even blurs the line between facts and satire to some special set of people (free-data users).

The Superficial Gazette of the Philippines was created immediately after Official Gazette’s historical revisionism about the life and rule of the late President Ferdinand Marcos. The page quickly gained a huge following, garnering more than 35 thousand page likes after a little over a month of operation.

It challenges the popular beliefs of our society and delivers both scathing and humorous commentary to current events. You would need imagination and a bit of historical know-how to see past through their satire.

Here are just a few of some of their posts:

  1. Buy your plane tickets now, everyone! Before it’s too late.

The post:

“The Department of Tourism has uncovered the Philippines’ new tourism slogan, made better reflect the ideals and character of the Duterte Administration.”

 


wew

The Truth:

The Department of Tourism wants to go away with the popular “It’s More Fun in the Philippines” by 2017. Ina Zara-Loyola, Tourism media director, said that the department’s new direction would reflect the change that is currently happening in the country under the leadership of President Rodrigo Duterte. Considering the rise of unverified police killings and Duterte’s childish tirade against major political powers, it’s safe to assume that any foreigner’s first words upon arriving in our country would definitely be “Wow, [insert Duterte’s favorite expletive] naman this country.”

  1. Nothing can make your day any better than this.

The Post:

“Breaking News: On October 10, 2016, the National Anti-Poverty Commission sent “warm greetings” to Vice President Leni Robredo and Agot Isidro through its social media channels.”

kek

The Truth:

The official National Anti-Poverty Commission (NAPC) Facebook and Twitter account posted a controversial statement which reads, “Ang pagkakapareho ni Agot Isidro at VP Leni Robredo—takot silang magutom”. The post was hinting at the two females’ dislike of President Duterte’s continuing rants against the United States.   

  1. I would actually pay to see that

The Post:

BREAKING NEWS: President Duterte Says PH “Cannot Win” Panatag Shoal After Jetski Runs Out of Fuel

lel

The Truth:

Remember that time not so long ago, when all presidential candidates went on a *ehem* debate *ehem*. One fisherman asked then mayor Duterte what he will do, once president, so fishermen like him can once again freely roam part of the sea that is being claimed by China at the time. Keeping with the tradition of giving incoherent bravado-fueled response, Duterte answered that he will brave the waters of Panatag Shoal while riding a jet ski and clutching the Philippine Flag. If that’s not patriotism I don’t know what is.

  1. Where do I sign up for this program?

The Post:

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“Due to to what he perceived as the weakening physical strength of Filiipinos, longest-serving President Ferdinand Marcos ordered the AFP to spread the ‘San Juanico Bridge’ throughout the country, an ‘exercise’ aimed at strengthening the body’s core muscles. The primary beneficiaries of the ‘exercise’ were around 70,000 Filipinos ‘enlisted’ under the government’s ‘Health and Wellness Program.’”

pep

The Truth:

Here’s how the ‘San Juanico Bridge’ torture works: the prisoner was made to lie with his head on one bed and his feet on a second bed, and was beaten and kicked whenever his body sagged or he fell. Imagine the pain as you simultaneously try to endure the beatings whilst straining your core muscles. That’s just one of the numerous “Health and Wellness Program” during Ferdinand Marcos’ regime.

 

  1. Sold at bookstores near you!

The Post:

“BREAKING NEWS: President Duterte to Release “Biography”

Communications Secretary Martin Andanar announced at a press briefing at Malacañan Palace that beloved President Rodrigo Duterte will be releasing a biography titled ‘Mein Kampfutangina,’ which is German for ‘My War On Drugs.’”

beb

The Truth:

Adolf Hitler wrote an autobiography title ‘Mein Kampf’ (My Struggle). It outlines his political ideologies and future plans for Germany.

It’s fitting that our lovely president has his own book since he nonchalantly justified the alarming increase in killings by comparing himself to the Führer. ‘Mein Kampfutangina’ comes with a reader’s guide, Yasay edition, Cayetano edition, Abella edition, Andanar edition, Panelo edition, and Uson edition because apparently you can never take Duterte’s words at face value.

Criticism is not some fancy, nefarious tool used by far-left individuals to take down the administration. It’s not fueled by “textbook yellow journalism” or media bias. Criticism is essential to keep the government on its toes. Complacently accepting mediocrity and incompetence in our government is not acceptable because it will affect the current and succeeding generations.

Superficial Gazette of the Republic of the Philippines’ existence and other pages like it highlight an alarming attitude in most Filipinos; their refusal to admit mistakes. Fine, maybe the USA is a huge imperialist opportunist and the UN is just a group of nosy world leaders but blatantly calling them out using profanities then immediately hiding behind lame excuses once things goes south? That doesn’t sound like a commendable leader.

 

Collage by Geneva Garcia

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Continuing to break the silence

As we come near the end of Women’s Month, Danielle Baranda looks back on the continuing impact of the #MeToo movement.

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Photo courtesy of Mark Raslton/AFP.

This month is a celebration.

This month, women from all over the globe unite and stand together as one solid frontier. This month is a reminder of the change continuing to unfold right in front of us—we are reminded and we celebrate women of all races and skin color. We tip our hats off to those brave voices we heard just last year, and further elevate those who are still falling short.

All it took was one voice that mustered the courage to speak up. A voice that resonated among a mass of silenced victims, a voice that would point out its oppressor and lead to several others following suit—several voices crying out, “Me too!”

Just as 2017 ended, we at TomasinoWeb looked back at this movement in its entirety (READ: #TWenty: The 2017 TomasinoWeb Year-ender—#MeToo). The fast pace of how allegations surfaced left and right was overwhelming that attempting to summarize it in one whole article proved to be difficult, but that was a good thing and it still is.

Three months into the year and the stories still keep on coming. Come to think of it, it has become the new normal. In our first analysis of the #MeToo movement, the sad normal reality we had come to conclude at the time was that people were dismissing these stories as nothing out of the ordinary.

A lot has changed since then, and admittedly, not everyone is happy about it.

Last January, Taken actor Liam Neeson went on the record in defense of his friend Dustin Hoffman. He dismissed the still growing #MeToo movement as having turned into a witch hunt, but has it?

The idea of gray zone sex recently resurfaced after an online post regarding an uncomfortable sexual encounter involving Parks and Recreations actor Aziz Ansari went viral. According to an article from The New York Times, the gray zone is defined as a sexual encounter that cannot necessarily be filed under the tag of sexual assault but is also a little too disconcerting to be simply named as a bad date either.

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Another allegation that initially floated around last year which still found its way this year involved American Idol host Ryan Seacrest. Although coming out of the allegations relatively unscathed due to a two month investigation instigated by the E! Network which ended in favor of Seacrest, still there are persistent skeptics.

It is important to take note that Ryan Seacrest is the producer of everyone’s beloved Keeping Up With the Kardashians, making him a key stakeholder within the network which brings me to the very point of this little update—like everything else, the #MeToo movement is not perfect, but that does not mean that it is a witch hunt nor is it a trend that’ll one day just fade away.

It is our duty to listen to these voices still coming forward. Yes, there may be discrepancies when it comes to their stories, but let us not forget that these women are trying to recall and retell a story of how they were abused. And that will never be an easy one to share.

Let us make it easier for them and learn how to listen better. Let us continue to raise questions and look at things critically. Despite these movements, women still face great challenges when it comes to speaking out and taking a stand for themselves.

Before you question a woman’s authenticity, please take a moment to stop and think about how much she is risking to do what she is doing because I can assure you, she is probably risking more than she will be getting in return.

We left 2017 by starting something bigger than ourselves. As previously stated, it is far from perfect, but that cannot negate the giant leaps it has brought for women everywhere. The end goal was never to tip the scales entirely in our favor—it was, and always has been to merely balance those said scales. We are almost there, ladies. Keep fighting.

 

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Film Fridays: Enjoying films underneath the stars

Sometimes, a chill Friday after an exhausting week is all we need—a rest for the mind and feast for the eyes.

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Photo by Elizabeth Nicole Regudo/TomasinoWeb.

It was Friday… again.

It was the day where all responsibilities were crammed within the 24-hour period, with only caffeine and the thought of “weekend” to survive.

But it was not just any ordinary Friday.

Lounging at a grassy field underneath the starry night while watching good films, Thomasian Film Society’s Film Fridays gave me life.

Snacks were given to the first 150 participants and also you’d get to watch spectacular films under the night sky. Sitting on the grass, side by side with your friends or even your significant other—well, in my case, only just a bag of popcorn in my hand while The Blanks performed covers as well as their original songs.

We all know that the company of good food and good music could always make us feel better, right?

Sineng Sine Films like Bilang, Bakokang and Larawan were featured during the first Friday of the event. These three managed to make the viewers hold their tears as the audience was moved with each of the film’s stories. A plot involving death, betrayal, and lies within a family would always make everyone shift in their seats.

After the film showing, award-winning directors Nerisa Picadizo, Jaynus Olaivar and Marvin Cabangunay shared their experiences on filmmaking where their stories inspired the aspiring filmmakers.

“Go out there and do it!” Picadizo exclaimed. Her voice was filled with so much enthusiasm that everyone can’t help feeling the same way.

Well, have I mentioned that this was not a one-night thing? After the first day, everyone was ecstatic as the 2nd of March came knocking on our doors as Mikhail Red, the director of internationally-recognized and award-winning film Birdshot, came to town.

The director gave us the opportunity to look upon his journey as a filmmaker and shared to us the hell he—together with his crew—went through before, during and after every film.

Starting at a very young age, he started filmmaking at 15 years old and after a decade he’s still doing the very first thing he fell in love with—creating unique films with a touch of Western flavor.

Listening to his story wasn’t the only thing he prepared for the attendees of Film Fridays. He even generously shared to us the trailers for his films like Rekorder and Neomanila—and it didn’t stop there! Aside from sharing a secret with us (which you’ll never know until before the end of the year, he also teased us with his new film in the works, Eerie, a “not your typical Filipino horror film” as well as his future projects.

But with all the upcoming short films, wouldn’t you feel restless, too? Despite that, I know all of these were worth waiting for.

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The fate of Maria Clara and women empowerment

We are asked to be Maria Clara. Women are asked to act demurely and be meek, and when she acts not in the character of Maria Clara, she will always be reprimanded with the words: “Kababae mong tao”.

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Art by Baron Balaba/TomasinoWeb.

He called me pretty.

Sexy, beautiful or maybe even asked me to smile. I do not recall exactly what words those were. I did not take the time and pause to hear what he said, nor look at his face. But today, a man I did not know called me pretty.

My mother always reminded me to wear decent clothing and by decent, meaning clothes that do not reveal too much of my body. I do not blame her. Most mothers remind their daughters to do the same for their protection, specifically protection from our misogynistic society. She’d always say: “Wag mo sila bigyan ng rason para bastusin ka.”  I followed my mother’s advice; I dressed up as decent I can be and yet, even when I’m wearing my school uniform, strangers would catcall me in the streets.

It isn’t always just in the streets where I feel uncomfortable about my body. It also happens at family gatherings, when my relatives would joke about my weight. I am not a size 2 nor do I have a supermodel figure. I am a size 8 and I have a thick body frame, in which I have no problem with. But when the jokes about my weight are brought up, it makes me feel invalidated, that there is something wrong with me: “Uy, ang taba mo na!”, “Parang kailangan na natin magdiet ah”, “Gusto mo mag gym?” and the worst one yet, “Nako, walang manliligaw sayo pag ganyan katawan mo”. Again, I don’t blame my relatives; it is just something that we Filipinos are used to. Society has taught us to keep a figure that is slender, and not be fat or obese because to be fat or obese means there is something wrong with you and if you’re a woman, you are not appealing to a man as if your whole future depends on finding a man to marry.

But more than just the clothes every woman like me is asked to wear or our bodies, there is a social order in which each gender is assigned to follow. For women, specifically in the Philippines, we are asked to be Maria Clara. Women are asked to act demurely and be meek, and when she acts not in the character of Maria Clara, she will always be reprimanded with the words: “Kababae mong tao”.

Society has confined women in this social order: To follow, to be controlled and be quiet.

In comparison with the men in society, they are not asked to wear “decent” clothing for them to be respected, nor is their weight not a huge issue. Moreover, they are not asked to be quiet or to be meek, and there will always be an excuse for their actions, good or bad: “Boys will be boys”. Though there is still a social order that men follow, that they are not allowed to be soft or feminine, but it is not as suppressing as for women.

It is undeniable that our society is patriarchal. Men are believed to be more superior to women, making them secondary. The Philippines being a Catholic country, our beliefs are mostly based on the Catholic bible. According to St. Paul, women must become subjects to their husbands, which doesn’t mean entirely bad but implies women must follow their husbands as they are the head of the family. It isn’t only in religion women are seen as secondary to men. A lot of films, commercials and print ads revolve around narratives in which women are seen as subjects for the male gaze. One of which is the advertisement for beer, a woman is usually present, in which has no connection with the bottle of beer, but to give emphasis on the man’s masculinity.

This idea validates the power of men over women. The things we see on TV, the internet, films and so much more, that show women as secondary to men contributes to the still on-going misogyny present in our society.

Though times have been changing, and a lot of women fought for the discrimination that has been happening for the past years, it is uneasy to say patriarchy is still here. That is why a lot of people still fight against it, may it be in the streets or online. Social media has been a great avenue for voicing out ideas and opinions. It is also an avenue for reaching out to people and inform people of what is happening outside the online world. One of which is the recent #MeToo movement, wherein women shared their stories of being harassed and abused by men in particular.

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Social media has been a place where women empowerment is well talked about. A lot of posts and tweets that say, they are for women and believe women should be respected, and it gets a lot of shares and retweets, in which is a good thing as it could inform more people about women empowerment. But there are also tweets and posts that are women positive but the empowerment only lives in the post or tweet alone. I know a lot of people who tweet or post such things but when outside the online world, they do not stay true to their words. Moreover, there are also people who post and tweet that they support women but in fact they only support themselves or are only for women when it’s convenient. And lastly, there are also people who say that they empower women, when in fact they only empower women who are privileged.

I am not saying that those women whom I call privileged do not feel discrimination or harassment, nor see them as shallow. It is safe to say that I am one of those women, and many of my women friends are also privileged. There is nothing wrong with empowering ourselves. But then again, when we say women empowerment, it must include all women. What about the women at the lowest of the lowest? Who empowers them?

It is easy to say that you empower women by posting a tweet with hashtags such as #MeToo or #TimesUp, but women empowerment is more than that. It is more than sharing your own “I was catcalled” story, or your body positivity story. There are women who are constantly abused by their husbands but do not say anything out of fear. There are also marginalized women at the bottom of the bottom who are sold for sex, even girls as young as the age of seven who are abducted for slavery. There are young women who are unable to access education because they cannot afford it, and women in poverty who are hungry due to the unequal access to employment, resources and social services because women are seen to be weak. Who speaks for them?

Again, I am not saying that street harassment and catcalling, body negativity or the “kababae mong tao” problems are shallow. They are also problems that should be addressed. Because when we let these little things happen, we allow bigger things to follow. Those little things are what lead us to suppressing women as weak and subjects to be controlled by misogyny. When we teach society that we, women, should be quiet and be Maria Clara, we teach them to be silent and eventually not to speak for themselves. Maria Clara obeyed his father and all the men around her. Her decisions were made by the men around her, and in the end she ended up raped by Padre Salvi and she kept silent about it because she was taught that the ideal woman should be quiet.

Women empowerment is more than posting or tweeting that you are one with women, or wearing an H&M shirt that says “The Future is Female”, there is nothing wrong with it but it must not stop there. Women empowerment is about speaking for those who cannot speak for themselves, which includes all women in all classes. It is speaking for those Maria Claras who remain silent about their suffering. It is for all women, not just for those who are convenient to empower.

In all honesty, I too question myself and what have I done for women. But I am still learning on what can I do and how can I empower them. Eventually, I hope that I, and everyone else, can contribute in empowering all women, so that in time no woman will be ever called pretty by a strange man in the streets.

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