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Binge-watch worthy movies and TV shows this break!

If you are reading this, congratulations for surviving the past few months filled with academic workload to fulfill and conquer! To reward yourself, here’s a list of movies and TV shows that you can watch this school break.

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If you are reading this, congratulations for surviving the past few months filled with academic workload to fulfill and conquer! To reward yourself, here’s a list of movies and TV shows that you can watch this school break.

1. Skins | 40-50 minutes per episode

Photo from Amazon UK.

Genre: Teen-drama, Comedy

Creator: Bryan Elsley, Jamie Brittain

Synopsis: The British teen drama-comedy centers on the tense lives of a group of teenagers in Bristol, South West England as they go through the their last two years in secondary school.

Review: Skins is a nice coming-of-age series tackling different challenges teenagers face, from sex and gender fluidity issues, to drug use and mental illnesses. The series, with its seven seasons, will surely send your time down the drain if you choose to do so.

2. Money Heist | 40 minutes – 1 hour per episode

Photo from IMDb.

Genre: Crime, Thriller, Telenovela

Director/Producer: Álex Pina

Synopsis: The “Professor” executes a grand heist that makes a first in history as he targets the Royal Mint of Spain alongside eight criminals.

Review: The story progresses slowly but surely as it shows how the characters grow on each episode. The story is intelligently well-written and delivers unpredictable to make the viewers on the edge of their seats! 

3. The Twilight Saga | 607 Minutes (Combination of all 5 movies)

Photo from IMDb.

 

 

Genre: Fantasy, Romance

Director: Catherine Hardwicke (Twilight), Chris Weitz (New Moon), David Slade (Eclipse), and Bill Condon (Breaking Dawn Part 1 and Part 2)

Synopsis: Based on the series written by Stephanie Meyer, Twilight focuses on the relationship amongst the three main characters: Bella Swan, whose life changes drastically upon meeting Edward Cullen, who is a vampire, and Jacob Black, who is a werewolf.

Review: With Halloween coming around the corner, Twilight is the perfect film to binge-watch and relive major fangirling and fanboying feels. With themes revolving around love, vampires, and werewolves, are you #TeamEdward, or #TeamJacob?

4. The Hunger Games: Trilogy | 548 Minutes (Combination of all 4 films)

Photo from IMDb.

 

Genre: Sci-Fi, Romance

Director: Gary Ross (The Hunger Games), Francis Lawrence (Catching Fire – Mockingjay Part 2)

Synopsis: Based on the series written by Suzanne Collins, the trilogy centers around the life of Katniss Everdeen as she volunteers for her sister, Prim, for the Games. As she continuously challenges the system that cease to exist in each district, Everdeen realizes that there is so much worse games to play.

Review: The films faithfully adapted the dystopian trilogy, never failing to allow its viewers to feel emotions as it depicts Katniss’s journey as the “Girl on Fire” and her quest as a tribute. With its outstanding cinematography and action-packed sequences, Hunger Games will definitely let you experience how it feels to be in the games.

5. Vagabond | 1 hour per episode

Photo from IMDb.

 

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Genre: Action, Thriller, Romance

Director: Yoo In Shik

Synopsis: After a mysterious plane crash that killed more than 200 civilians, Cha Dal-geun, together with covert operative, Go Hae-ri, initiates to find answers to uncover the truth behind the plane crash.

Review: The action-thrilled Korean series delivers suspenseful scenes and narratives that would make you stay at the edge of your seat.

6. Bojack Horseman | 25 minutes per episode

Photo from IMDb.

Genre: Animated Sitcom, Black Comedy, Satire

Creator: Raphael Bob-Waksberg

Synopsis: The animated series focuses with Bojack, a well known actor who once starred in a popular 90s sitcom, who is struggling to make a comeback due to his growing self-deprecation and his exposure to the materialistic world.

Review: Despite the dark humor and the reference to vices and worldly desires present in each episode, the animated series will make you reflect and sympathize with Bojack and his experiences.

7. Demon Slayer: Kimetsu No Yaiba | 23 minutes per episode

Photo from IMDb.

 

Genre: Adventure, Fantasy

Director: Haruo Sotozaki

Synopsis: When Tanjiro Kamado’s family was attacked by demons, Tanjiro embarks on a journey as he becomes a demon slayer in order to help his sister, Nezuko, who turned into a demon, become human again. 

Review: This animated series applauds Tanjiro and Nezuko for their determination to prevent the same tragedy to happen. With its top-tier animation and storyline, Demon Slayer has plenty of scenes to offer for its viewers especially on what is bound to happen between the siblings.

8. Kaguya-Sama: Love is War | 23 minutes per episode

Photo from IMDb.

Genre: Romantic Comedy

Director: Mamoru Hatakeyama

Synopsis: Both afraid to initiate who will confess first due to their pride and status, Student Council President Miyuki Shirogane and Student Council Vice President Kaguya Shinomiya, strategize on how they will make their move so that one concedes and confesses their feelings.

Review: The story build-up is slow, however, it allows the viewers to fully know the quirks and the real personality behind their icy and intimidating figures.

9. Terrace House | 40 minutes per episode

Photo from IMDb.

Genre: Reality

Producer: ‎Masato Maeda

Synopsis: Six strangers live under the same roof in order to get to know each other.

Review: Terrace House takes unscripted reality shows to a different level as it makes the audience enjoy and relax on their seats as they get to know their real stories and conflicts.

10. The Good Place | 22 minutes per episode

Photo from IMDb.

Genre: Comedy, Fantasy

Created by: Michael Schur

Synopsis: Eleanor Shellstop tries to change for the better as she realizes that she is sent to “the Good Place” by mistake.

Review: Aside from the good laughs shared by watching this series, The Good Place makes you reflect on your actions through its philosophical themes about the afterlife.

 

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Filipinx in your area: Should ‘Filipinx’ become the new Filipino?

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Fernardine Hernandez/TomasinoWeb

One of the things which utterly makes the Filipino language endearing are words such as siya and ikaw as a manner of referring to a person outside the conversation. Likewise, we refer to the persons in our family as anak, kapatid, kabiyak, and the likes. These words fully realize that the Filipino language is peppered with gender-fluid words — a stark contrast from other languages with distinct genders. 

On this basis came, however, the confusion for using words such as “Filipinx” and “Pinxy”. These terms weigh a lot of meaning and none at all — depending on which lens a person perceives it that we begin to question: where do we draw the line of political correctness?

Understanding the “Filipinx” Movement

In a recent report, the term Filipinx and Pinxy have both been recognized by an English language platform, Dictionary.com, alongside Filipino/a, Pinoy, and Pinay. These terms have been dynamically integrated into the language, mostly by Filipino immigrants and members of the LGBTQIA+ community residing abroad. 

The emergence of the Filipinx term was heavily influenced by the “Latinx” movement. Introduced by progressive Hispanic youths, the term “Latinx” is widely used by media outlets to address the pan-ethnic groups and the spectrum of genders in the Hispanic population. Eventually, the term became acknowledged across the globe; however, it was met with certain clauses, such as the deliberate disregard of Spanish and its gender-specific language. 

This accentuates how people, whether involved in the discourse of “Latinx” or “Filipinx”, are met with the initial reactions of resistance, especially when familiarity is displaced. 

While “Filipinx” and “Pinxy” are names utilized by Filipino immigrants, the online dictionary’s definition of the term scopes all inhabitants of the country, which enrages most citizens in the Philippines. 

Social media discussions regarding the use of the term were echoed with confusion and displeasure as they argue that the “Filipinx” neology, as suggested by Filipino immigrants, seems to further put distance to their axes and the axes of social narratives of Filipinos here in the Philippines. Moreover, many argue that the whole conversation on “Filipinx” is believed to conjure only from the immigrants’ penchant for the glittering culture of the Philippines—an occasional cultural immersion with tangible quirks in form of adobo and Filipino moms—coupled with a distant understanding of the struggles of the people. 

On the other hand, the proponents of “Filipinx” seek to elaborate on the relevance of the term most importantly in a colonial-bred culture. Discussing the topic of Filipinx from the lens of an immigrant, AnneMarie shared in her blog how the Filipinx movement, like Filipino, came from the desire to be seen and not to be caged from oppressive systems hand-picked by Western ideologies.  

“Both the terms Filipino and Filipinx stem from this desire to carve out an identity and from a movement resisting oppressive systems,” the blogger said. 

The Filipinx movement also touches the discourse on gender-inclusivity as it acknowledges and respects the non-binary citizens of the Philippines both here and abroad who, for so long, struggled with identifying themselves from traditional impositions. 

The people who refuse to veer away from “Filipino”, however, were quick to point out that the term is a collective nomenclature for citizens born of Filipino parents, regardless of any distinctive factor such as gender and place of birth, thus a particularly irrelevant discussion. 

The Language of Colonialism

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Gender-neutral terms, nonetheless, do not wholly define the aspects of our language. As our history is interlaced with the colonial narrative, our culture exists as an amalgamated system of beliefs and traditions. Examples are the word “Filipina,” as a determiner of a Filipino woman, and a roster of professions that end in -o and -a, are all indicative of the influence of Spain’s gendered-language in our vernacular. 

Furthermore, the introduction of certain adjectives nitpicked from folklores such as maganda for babae and malakas for lalaki; looped phrases of “Kay babaeng tao” and “Kasi lalaki eh” all hold a subtle nuance of gender-exclusivity. Whether these were inherent or more likely imposed from the systems of patriarchy, there exist varying gender identifiers in our language—-which ultimately breathed life to terms such as Filipinx and Pinxy that challenges to disrupt them. 

The Middle Ground 

In an interview with Prof. Galileo Zafra Ph.D., the former director of Sentro ng Wikang Filipino of the University of the Philippines, he emphasized the emergence of Filipinx in today’s context. 

Ang pangangailangan ng paggamit ng wika o isang aspeto nito ay nakabatay sa kung may nakikitang pangangailangan dito ang lipunan o ang mga espesipikong grupo o sektor ng lipunan,” he said. (The emergence of a lexicon is based on a need from the society or a specific group in the society.)

Filipinx and Pinxy, regardless of its unfamiliarity and their weird roll-of-the-tongue sounds, encompasses the axial culture of the global diaspora spurred from the need to be recognized and seen. While it cannot be completely received, in essence, they are determiners of narratives that are as substantial as our narratives in the Philippines. Their existence does not mean invalidation of our history. These are not an erasure of Rizal’s revolutionary stance of owning the term Filipino from Spanish-bred citizens of the Philippines during the nineteenth-century; rather, these terms are taking space and planting themselves as part of the whole language and cultural dynamic—one which we are continuously writing and rewriting each day as our own, despite the vivid bouts of oppression from post-colonial systems. 

In the grand scheme of things, the core of the discourse is anchored not on the question of what we collectively call and identify ourselves as, but a question of how we craft our identities to become worthy narrators of the country’s story. One must fully understand that the Philippine narrative is composed not only of the plethora of quirks that we take pride in. More importantly, it  is composed of the grapples of each marginalized sector that ultimately tests the lengths we can go to, from the lenses of our privileges, to wrestle the systems that cease our identity.

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Enola Holmes: Effecting Change through Actions and Words

This take on the Sherlock story presented the adventures of Enola in between Fleabag style narration and the British suffragette movement in the 19th century. 

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Screengrab from 'Enola Holmes'

Change does not happen quietly. It is brought upon by the sound of a crowd marching on the streets, through the loudness of people’s unified cause, through a society’s collective action. Change arrives when people’s actions and voices are seen and heard.

The film Enola Holmes showed how one can effect change through its title character. Adapted from Nancy Springer’s Enola Holmes Mysteries series, this Harry Bradbeer film features Sherlock Holmes’ (Henry Cavill) younger sister Enola (Millie Bobby Brown). This take on the Sherlock story presented the adventures of Enola in between Fleabag style narration and the British suffragette movement in the 19th century. 

Set in 1884 England, the film centered on Enola’s journey of finding her mother Eudoria (Helena Bonham Carter), who vanished on her 16th birthday. After leaving home to find her mother, Enola met Viscount Tewkesbury (Louis Partridge), a young lord who escaped from his estate. Soon after, Enola became entangled in a conspiracy concerning Tewkesbury, deciding to put her search mission on the backseat as she tried to protect this “lost soul” from his pursuers.

Enola is “unlike most well-bred ladies.” She does not conform to the standards for women in Victorian England society. Her mother taught her many skills from cryptography to martial arts. She scoffed at the idea of marriage as a woman’s life goal. She was also the one doing the saving instead of the man. Her loudness in action, her refusal to fit in society’s mold, and her blatant rejection of the “damsel in distress” trope emphasizes her fight for her independence. 

“[I] was never taught to embroider. I never molded wax roses, hemmed handkerchiefs,  or strung seashells. I was taught how to watch and listen. I was taught to fight. This is what my mother made me for.”

The changing British society was also highlighted, with a focus on British suffragette movement in the middle and  late 19th century. Back then, women were not allowed to vote and were only granted voting rights in 1918 for women over 30 and in 1928 for women over 21. Aside from Enola’s search for her mother, the women’s suffrage movement is one of the driving forces of the movie, with the movement prompting Eudoria to fight for Enola’s future. This heavy focus on women’s rights contextualizes Enola’s character arc as she navigates a society that puts women at a disadvantage. It also highlights the role of being vocal to change an unfair system. Suffragettes protested loudly, from chaining themselves to railings to storming the British Parliament and the Buckingham Palace. This loud protests eventually lead to women gaining the right to vote.

“You haven’t any hope of understanding any of this. You do know that?”

“Educate me as to why.”

“Because you don’t know what it is to be without power.”

The film questions neutrality in a political context, especially the detachment of the privileged to politics. The privileged “don’t know what it is to be without power,” refusing to change a society that suits them well. This is shown when Sherlock is confronted by Edith (Susie Wokoma)  on his notion of politics as “fatally boring.” Edith hit back, saying that he has “no interest in changing a system” that benefits the likes of Sherlock who can vote unlike Edith. It captures the notion that choosing to be detached from politics is a privilege itself.

“You have to make some noise if you want to be heard.”

Change happens when people take up space, when they act together  and start to raise their voices. Like what Enola Holmes said, “the future is up to us.” No one can bring change but us. Passivity only perpetuates uneven playing fields and double standards. Enola’s refusal to conform to harmful standards, as well as her act of “finding lost souls” who cannot fight for their own speaks volumes, is a reminder to be loud and to take up space–to make ourselves be seen and heard. It is a call for change through the loudness of both our  actions and words. After all, change does not arrive in whispers but in screams.

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Wake me up when September 2020 ends

After half a year in quarantine, how much have things changed in the country? 

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Photo courtesy of Richard Reyes/INQUIRER.net

With the arrival of ‘ber’ months comes the cold response of the government to the nation’s major problems. While many cities and provinces have eased quarantine restrictions, the Philippines’ capital along with a few other areas have been placed under a month long general community quarantine. Yet, the country has still not achieved its expected results with millions of Filipinos hungry, unemployed, and financially struggling.

After half a year in quarantine, how much have things changed in our country? 

1. PH reaches more than 300,000 COVID-19 cases

Photo courtesy of Lalawigan ng Rizal via CNN Philippines

Despite having one of the strictest lockdowns in the world, the number of COVID-19 cases continued to skyrocket. As of Sept. 26, the country’s total leaped past 300,000 cases with more than 60,000 active cases, 230,000 recoveries, and deaths breaching the 5,000 mark. The health crisis continued to worsen not only in the country’s capital, but also in different provinces. Bacolod and Negros have both reported that their hospital and quarantine facilities are nearing their maximum capacity.

Last Sept. 15, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque called the Philippines’ testing policy “the best in Asia” since it has screened more than 3 million people in the country. However, Fr. Nicanor Austriaco of the UP-OCTA Research and UST Department of Biological Sciences disagreed, saying that the number of positive cases continue to rise despite the increased testing capacity and that, unlike the Philippines, other Asian countries who had robust testing policies were able to keep the crisis in check. 

Ironically enough, the following day, a petition seeking to compel the government to conduct mass testing was junked by the Supreme Court. This ruling cited the petitioners’ failure to exhaust administrative remedies to warrant the granting of a writ of mandamus. 

2. A holiday for a dictator

Photo courtesy of Rappler

The irony of events continued when the House of Representatives approved a bill to declare Sept. 11 as a special non-working holiday in Ilocos Norte to honor the life and achievements of the late President Ferdinand Marcos. However, it was met with criticism from the public because the measure took only 44 days to be approved, whereas the act to provide free mass testing is still pending after 3 months. 

Sept. 21 marked the 48th anniversary of the declaration of Martial Law. Along with the strong urge to resist tyranny, Martial Law victims condemned the House’s decision saying it would lead future generations into forgetting about the atrocities that happened under the Marcos era. Many also found it ironic that the country has a holiday celebrating the revolution that ended the Marcos regime and a holiday dedicated to the dictator it ousted. 

Dear Congress, please, make it make sense. 

3. The passing of vlogger Lloyd Cadena

Photo from Lloyd Cadena’s official Instagram account

This month also saw the loss of an influential online personality to many netizens. On Sept. 4, the news of YouTube vlogger Lloyd Cadena’s passing came as a shock to many of his friends and subscribers. It was later revealed that the 26-year-old tested positive for COVID-19 and died of a heart attack. 

Lloyd, whose online journey began way back in 2011, became the talk of the town because of his comedic antics that brought joy to anyone who stumbled across his content. But behind the jokes, he became an inspiration to many by using his platform to pay it forward to his family, community, and even strangers. Prior to his passing, he went around donating relief goods and tablets to students and aiding families who were struggling because of the pandemic. 

Rest easy, Kween LC.

4. More Tigers leave the España streak

Photo by Christine Annmarie Tapawan/TomasinoWeb

Following the Sorsogon “bubble training” controversy of the UST Men’s Basketball Team, many notable names have chosen to depart the team. Last month, team captain CJ Cansino and players Rhenz Abando, Ira Bataller and Brent Paraiso, bid farewell to the University after announcing their transfer to other teams. 

This month, three more members of the UST Growling Tigers followed suit and parted ways with their beloved team. Incoming sophomore Jun Asuncion announced his move to Mapúa University. UAAP Season 82 Rookie of the Year Mark Nonoy and teammate Deo Cuajao are now part of the Green Archers of De La Salle University. Former Tiger Cub Bismarck Lina, who was originally set to debut as a Growling Tiger, has completed his transfer to the University of the Philippines as a Fighting Maroon. 

5. Delight in dolomite?

Photo by Jansen Romero/Manila Bulletin

Perhaps the center of this month’s events is the Manila Bay rehabilitation fiasco conducted by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR). The supposed beautification project drew flak from many Filipino politicians, scientists, and citizens because of its use of dolomite as sand and untimeliness of the project itself. 

The rehabilitation of the capital’s historical site began in January 2019 through the efforts of many local government units and private sectors. After reducing the amount of pollutants in the bay, the Department of Interior and Local Government relocated more than 70,000 informal settlers from the areas surrounding Manila Bay in November of the same year. Based on these accomplishments alone, it seemed as though the project was not harmful at all.

The downward decline, however, began during the late phases of the project when DENR began to dump crushed dolomite along Manila Bay on Sept. 4. The white sand that now graces Roxas Boulevard was mined and exported from Cebu. Along with the fact that no permit for extraction was issued by the provincial government of Cebu, many scientists argued that dolomite is harmful not only for humans, but also for the environment in the long run. The fisherfolk group Pamalakaya urged the government to consider using the P389-million budget to plant mangrove forests along the coastline of Manila Bay instead as it has significantly better long-term effects in improving not only its aesthetics, but also in reviving its marine ecosystem and biodiversity. Vice President Leni Robredo also said that the funds could have been more efficiently used to strengthen the government’s pandemic response, especially in aiding the poor. 

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque came to the project’s defense saying that the white sand in Manila Bay will benefit the mental health of Filipinos. On the issue of the project’s timing and legality, he clarified that the budget for the project was already allocated long before the dawn of the pandemic. 

On Sept. 20, hundreds of people flocked to Roxas Boulevard after a portion of the beach was temporarily opened to the public. Photos and videos that circulated social media showed visitors standing shoulder to shoulder amid social distancing protocols. Rather than holding the parties involved accountable, the Palace justified the gathering as proof that filling the baywalk with white sand was a “right decision.”

Recently, progressive group Akbayan filed a motion at the Supreme Court seeking to cite DENR for contempt regarding their move to dump dolomite on Manila Bay. The 16-page pleading stated this act was a violation of the 2008 continuing mandamus, which entails the environmental department to fulfill its duty to protect, rehabilitate, and clean the said water body. The group recognized the need to save the bay, but they insisted that it should be done in the right way. 

On Sept. 25, DENR decided to suspend its mining operations after initial inspections by the Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office (PENRO) found fallen particles of dolomite on the seafloor near the town of Alcoy in Cebu. PENRO further reported that the minerals that covered the seafloor caused the dwindling of marine life and damaging of corals within 500 meters of Barangay Pugalo of the said town. At this point, it is very difficult to believe that the project still aims to “rehabilitate” Manila Bay when it is clearly being done at the expense of destroying another ecosystem.

6. Pardon for a convicted murderer

Photo by Lyn Rillon/INQUIRER.net

On Sept. 7, Foreign Affairs Secretary Teddy Locsin Jr. announced to the public that President Duterte had granted absolute pardon to US Marine Lance Corporal Joseph Permberton. In 2015, the American soldier was found guilty of homicide over the death of Filipino transgender Jennifer Laude. 

Human rights and LGBT groups slammed this decision stating that it was an outright injustice to our national dignity and sovereignty, and disregard for transgender rights. Senator Risa Hontiveros called the pardon “an affront to the Filipino people.” Filipino netizens also expressed their dismay by pointing out how fractured the justice system must be to grant pardon to a convicted murderer, but not to those who have been wrongly accused and convicted of lesser crimes. 

Spokesperson Harry Roque, who previously served as Laude’s defense council, believed that the President’s move was tied to securing better access to a potential COVID-19 vaccine from the United States. Locsin, however, denied the claim and stated that it was the President’s “unilateral decision.” In a televised address, President Duterte defended his decision saying that the country has not treated the soldier fairly in terms of computing his Good Conduct Time Allowance. The Laude family had appealed to the court, seeking basis for Pemberton’s good behavior knowing that he had been jailed alone in a detention cell in Camp Aguinaldo. 

Almost a week after he was granted Pardon, Pemberton flew as a free man back to his home country. Atty. Virginia Suarez said in a statement that the Laude family had no choice but to accept the decision. However, they still feel  frustrated and betrayed by the government’s decision. 

7. ‘Doktor Para Sa Bayan’ bill

Photo courtesy of GMA News Online

On a lighter note, Senate Bill no. 1520, also known as the Doktor Para Sa Bayan bill, was passed on its third and final reading on Sept. 14. Although long overdue, Senator Joel Villanueva said that the approval of the bill became dire due to the stark effects of the pandemic on the country’s health sector. Apart from that, this landmark seeks to encourage students to pursue a medical degree and improve the country’s 3 to 10,000 doctor-to-patient ratio.

Once implemented, aspiring physicians who cannot afford to pay for medical school can apply for a scholarship. The medical scholarship will cover tuition and miscellaneous fees, books, as well as transportation, dormitory, internship, and board review fees. Students who qualify will have to render 3 years of return service to their hometowns upon the conferment of their license. With medicine being one of the most expensive courses in the country, the bill became a breath of hope for many students and parents amid the pandemic.

8. No election this 2022?

Photo courtesy of ABS-CBN News

With the COVID-19 crisis in the country still unabated, Pampanga Representative Mikey Arroyo urged the Commission on Elections to consider postponing the upcoming 2022 elections as he believes that many fear being exposed to the virus. On social media, many netizens criticized this suggestion, saying that if Filipinos are fearless enough to flock the white sands of Manila Bay, then there is no reason to delay the elections. Former Comelec commissioner Gregorio Larrazabal added that such a measure would raise constitutional issues and that not anybody in the government, not even the President or Congress, can cancel the elections. 

9. A battle for the iron throne in Congress

Photo courtesy of CNN Philippines

Under the 15-21 months term-sharing deal brokered by President Duterte, House Speaker Alan Cayetano was expected to step down from his post and hand over the Speakership to Marinduque Representative Lord Allan Velasco next month. Although Cayetano had previously announced that he will honor the agreement, the Alan vs Allan rivalry was reignited this month when presidential son and Deputy Speaker Paolo Duterte said that he would declare the leadership post vacant to give way for the election of a new Speaker as they continue to deliberate over the 2021 national budget. 

Cayetano’s allies added fuel to fire by citing Rep. Velasco’s inactivity in Congress and lack of numbers from other representatives. Buhay  Representative Lito Atienza, however, said that the present House Speaker must honor the deal otherwise, “Congress is doomed to fail.” The President later responded that it is no longer in his power if Velasco is not supported by the majority.  

In a privilege speech addressed on September 30, Cayetano announced his resignation as House Speaker. However, 184 lawmakers voted yes to the motion to reject his resignation offer.

10. President Duterte’s UN General Assembly speech

Photo courtesy of the Presidential Communications via One News

On Sept. 23, President Duterte, for the first time, addressed global officials at the United Nations General Assembly. He began by acknowledging the COVID-19 crisis as the world’s “biggest test” since World War II and extending the country’s gratitude to all frontliners. His speech also touched on a range of global issues, such as the plight of migrant workers, geopolitical tensions, refugee crisis, climate change, and even the implementation of a Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty to halt a possible nuclear war.  

In what might be the biggest plot twist since the start of his term, the President invoked the Philippines’ legal victory in the Hague ruling against China over the West Philippine Sea. Before a roster of global leaders, including Chinese President Xi Jinping, the President asserted the country’s rights by stating that, “The [2016 Arbitary] Award is now part of international law, beyond compromise and beyond the reach of passing governments to dilute, diminish or abandon. We firmly reject attempts to undermine it.” 

The degree of clarity and succinctness the President expressed was a far cry from his equivocal televised addresses to the public. While most senators commended the President’s stance on the dispute over the maritime area, the true question lies whether these strong words would be translated into action or would again concede in favor of other interests.  

Based on what transpired within the 30 grueling days of September, it seems as though it was another attempt of the government to bamboozle the whole nation and deflect their attention from more pressing issues that affect their lives, such as PhilHeath’s 15-billion fraud and the global pandemic itself. What makes their actions more spiteful is that they still choose to rationalize their mistakes and failures rather than to openly admit it. Apart from being at odds with science, they spend time pitting themselves against each other instead of working harmoniously to circumvent the unabated health crisis.

As we enter another month into the longest lockdown in the world, our job as citizens is to cooperate with protocols that safeguard our health, but not in a defeatist stance that makes us acknowledge the wrongs as mere peccadillos. As Lord Varys once said, “Incompetence should not be rewarded with blind loyalty.” Thus, the wrongs should beckon us to question and criticize whether actions being taken in the ‘new normal’ are done for the welfare of the Filipino people living in a time of uncertainty. 

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