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Unity against tyranny, misogyny

A familiar sight welcomed EDSA Shrine as thousands of filipinos from all walks of life gathered to commemorate the 33rd anniversary of the People Power Revolution, calling once again, to unite against the prevailing culture of impunity, tyranny and attacks against the press.

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child waving a flag in front of riot police during people power revolution
Photo by Vince Imperio.

A familiar sight welcomed EDSA Shrine as thousands of filipinos from all walks of life gathered to commemorate the 33rd anniversary of the 1986 People Power Revolution, calling once again to unite against the prevailing culture of impunity, tyranny and attacks against the press.

Students, teachers, urban poor, human rights advocates, church people, workers, and the youth filled EDSA, united behind a resounding chant: “tayo ang EDSA, tayo ang pag-asa. tayo ang EDSA, labanan ang diktadura.”

“The celebration of [this] historic event is not about the personalities who emerged victorious, it is about unsung heroes of yesterday who vigilantly fought for the nation to be free,” Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates (PAHRA) said in a statement.

“It was an act of people reawakening. It was the people empowered by passion to change and to act for change. The power that ousted a dictator. The power that awakened hundreds of thousands amidst massive and widespread human rights violations which occurred during the dark days of Martial Law under the Marcos dictatorship.”

 

‘Uphold democracy, press freedom’
Following the recent cases against online news site, Rappler, as well as cyber attacks on alternative news site, Bulatlat, Tonyo Cruz from Let’s Organize for Democracy and Integrity, urged Filipinos to uphold democracy and press freedom.

“Nagkakalat nanaman dito sa rehime ni Duterte, ang mga napaka-magandang aso, napaka-bango, hinihikayat ang mga taong bayan na isuko ang kanilang kalayaan, hinihikayat ang Rappler na purihin lamang ang mga amo sa bahay, hinihikayat tayo na manahimik nalangーisuko ang kalayaan, ‘wag po tayong papayag,” Cruz said.

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“Mga kapatid, mga kasama, mga kababayan, mga kasama sa midya, ‘wag tayong magpapaloko, ipaglaban natin ang kalayaan.”

The recent arrest of Rappler CEO and Executive Editor Maria Ressa sparked controversy, with many filipinos and international media organizations calling it a breach on press freedom.

 

The protest that ended tyranny
The People Power Revolution I, also known as EDSA I was a series of protest actions where more than two million Filipinos united against the regime of then-President Ferdinand Marcos, putting an end to a two decade-long dictatorship.

The civil resistance was led by former President Corazon Aquino, the widow of the late-Senator Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr., as well as by Archbishop Jaime Cardinal Sin.

The event sparked change not only in the Philippines, but also inspired many similar movements across the world.

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Counter military, police propaganda-based disinformation—veteran journalist

Rappler managing editor urged aspiring journalists Friday, Oct. 23, to fight propaganda-based disinformation caused by law enforcers.

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Photo grabbed from Rappler.com

Rappler managing editor urged aspiring journalists Friday, Oct. 23, to fight propaganda-based disinformation caused by law enforcers.

Glenda Gloria, a journalism alumna of the University, said that the military and the police do not seem to understand the role of the media as the fourth estate because of their “very utilitarian” view of information. 

“They use information as propaganda because they think it has to achieve something for the organization, whether that means further securing the country or defeating the enemies of the state,” Gloria said in a fact-checking webinar. 

According to her, the attempt of law enforcers to speed up their propaganda is due to the tremendous pressure to eliminate insurgency before President Duterte steps down in 2020. 

“The biggest factor behind the politicization of the armed forces is the commander-in-chief. Whatever the President wants will determine the political influence of the military,” she said. 

Gloria reminded aspiring journalists that no war has been won using propaganda as a primary tool and to “continue the fight against lies” that are being weaponized for the mass destruction of the country.

The webinar titled, “Propaganda, State Secrets and Other Issues in the Security Sector,” was hosted by MovePH, the civic engagement arm of Rappler. Vhey Tapia and Raheema Velasco 

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Flatten curve to revive economy, solon says

The government should remain in its goal of flattening the curve to revive the economy, a lawmaker advised Saturday, Oct. 24.

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Photo courtesy of the UST Central Student Council

The government should remain in its goal of flattening the curve to revive the economy, a lawmaker advised Saturday, Oct. 24.

“Klaro naman na hindi natin kailangan pumili between saving lives and livelihood. Hindi na tama na ang trade-off between the two…[b]ecause we can save both,” Marikina 2nd District Representative Stella Quimbo said. 

Quimbo, who is also an economist, stressed the importance of evidence-based policymaking and monitoring, as well as business continuity and job projection interventions. 

The solution and interventions included grants for technical assistance, subsidies for COVID-19 testing, and wage subsidies with retention clauses. 

“We can afford to rise, pero dapat balansehin so as not to fall into a debt crisis… [b]ecause as we all know napakadali po to become poor pero napakahirap mag-exit sa poverty. Importanteng importante ang datos,” Quimbo said.

Quimbo also laid out the framework for the Accelerated Recovery and Investments Stimulus for the Economy of the Philippines (ARISE), which she is one of the principal authors. 

Under the ARISE, a comprehensive plan will be followed to address the pandemic-brought economic crisis with a proposed P1.3 trillion budget over three years.

In the bill still pending in the Senate, Quimbo specified transitional, financial, sectoral, and structural support that, according to her, were the basis of the framework for the “mini-version” of the Bayanihan 2 that is in effect until the end of this year.

‘Reform the economy’

IBON Foundation executive director Sonny Africa urged the government to “reform and shape” an economy that benefits everyone. 

According to Africa, the government’s current response is focused on a “very artificial poverty reduction” by granting cash transfers without addressing the structure that continues poverty.

“The government is very keen on infrastructure to promote economic growth, but the Philippines is so lacking in economic fundamentals as it uses infrastructure as a short-cut to growth,” he said.

Africa also criticized that while the government is focused on infrastructure development, decades of neoliberal health privatization eroded  the public health system, which worsened the mortality rate even pre-pandemic.

The webinar “EkonDisyon: Philippine Economic Recession and COVID-19” is a part of the MulaTalakayan organized by the University’s Central Student Council. 

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Tourism recovery to revamp economic sectors, officials urge

Tourism officials stressed the importance of a responsible and “new normal-ready” recovery in the tourism sector amid gradual easing of health protocols in the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. 

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Photo courtesy of the UST Research Center for Social Sciences & Education

Tourism officials stressed the importance of a responsible and “new normal-ready” recovery in the tourism sector amid gradual easing of health protocols in the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. 

Provincial Tourism and Cultural Affairs Officer Alfonsus Tesoro called for sustainable and strategic recovery efforts to support and revamp economic sectors.

“Tuloy-tuloy dapat ang pag-conduct ng tourism site assessment and planning kasama ang iba’t-ibang stakeholders from the national government agencies, provincial government offices, and the private sector,” Tesoro said in a webinar, Thursday, Oct. 23. 

According to Department of Tourism (DOT) Regional Director Karina Rosa Tiopes, a survey conducted in Eastern Visayas showed that 66 percent of the respondents admitted that health risks affected their decision to travel, while 80 percent are now eager to visit tourism sites within the region only. 

“This gives us an idea of what tourism activities we should prioritize when we reopen our [tourism] sites. A large majority expect health and safety protocols in place, there should be value for money, and that fun activities will still be offered even under the ‘new normal,’” she said.

Tiopes added that despite the steady reopening of the tourism sector, health protocols would still be strictly employed to ensure safety of tourists and residents. 

The webinar titled, “Philippine Tourism Development and COVID-19 Pandemic: Recovery through Sustainable Development,” was spearheaded by the University’s College of Tourism and Hospitality Management in partnership with the Association of Tourism Officers of the Philippines, Inc., and co-organized by the UST Research Center for Social Sciences and Education. Paolo Alejandrino 

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