Liliosa Hilao (right) was a scholar and activist, the first to be murdered under martial law. (Courtesy of WikiPilipinas)
Liliosa Hilao (right) was a scholar and activist, the first to be murdered under martial law. (Courtesy of WikiPilipinas)

37 years ago, Ferdinand Marcos placed the country under martial law. It heralded the a reign of terror to cover up wholesale plunder by the Marcoses, his cronies and foreign interests that supported the dictatorship.

To mark this occasion, here is an Inquirer story on Liliosa Hilao, one of those who stood up against Marcos and his martial law. Let us never forget and always honor the memory of Liliosa and other heroes and martyrs who offered their lives so we would enjoy the freedom we oftentimes take for granted.

Read the profile on Liliosa here:

National Artist for Literature Bienvenido Lumbera (Photo courtesy of
National Artist for Literature Bienvenido Lumbera (Photo courtesy of

The family of National Artist for Literature Bienvenido Lumbera issued this statement this morning:

At around 6am, a group of men was seen taking photos of and asking information regarding National Artist Bienvenido Lumbera’s house in a subdivision in Quezon City. One of them was approached and apprehended by subdivision security officers. His companions fled as the man was being questioned. The man was found to be an enlisted AFP intelligence personnel and upon inspection of his military ID was identified as Corporal Guerrero Hannival Mosura Mondido of the Marines.

Teodoro with Ambassador Gaa and two US defense officials. Photo grabbed from Philippine Embassy website.
Teodoro with Ambassador Gaa and two US defense officials. Photo grabbed from Philippine Embassy website.

President Arroyo’s defense secretary Gilbert Teodoro is on a largely quiet mission in the United States, with the 2010 presidential contender scheduled to speak on “the US-Philippine alliance” in a forum organized by conservative think-tank Heritage Foundation.

The Philippine embassy has given clues on what he seeks to accomplish while in the US:

Calling 1 million new voters, take the pledge!
Calling 1 million new voters, take the pledge!

The deadline for new voter registration is fast approaching. But many have yet to get listed to ensure that they can vote in next year’s elections.

Enter Kabataan Partylist and the National Union of Students of the Philippines with their “Isang milyong kabataan, isang milyong panatanew voter registration drive to be launched on August 20. The target is obvious: 1 million new registered voters, mostly young people, on top of the measly 800,000 or so that have listed themselves up so far.

Artists and writers are revolted by President Arroyo’s proclamation of seven new national artists for this year.

The Concerned Artists of the Philippines (CAP) did not mince words and blamed Arroyo’s “moribund, decadent politics” for spoiling the National Artist selection this year. The group singled out Cecile Guidote Alvarez who is presidential adviser for culture and chair of one of the agencies involved in the selection for now having  delicadeza.

Gloria Macapagal Arroyo is said to be preparing to use her state of the nation address tomorrow to raise anew the call for charter change.

It is thus a good thing that bloggers and Facebook users took on this issue with Cyberprotests and a Blog Action Day.

If Arroyo would indeed announce a renewed effort to ram down our throats this idea of a Constituent Assembly (ConAss) to keep her illegal hold on the presidency and to enshrine the failed policies of neoliberal globalization in the charter, then we have a great battle ahead of us and let’s not surrender an inch of our places in cyberspace to the regime’s lies.

The advent of the internet, especially blogs, microblogs and social networking, has pumped fresh blood to the mass movement of people seeking social change. The internet has obviously become a new platform for individuals and groups to voice out their views and to launch all sorts of initiatives. This is good anyway you look at it, except, of course, if you’re part of the rotten Establishment.

We are in a better position than, say, our Burmese neighbors thanks to the democratic space we continue to enjoy. That some continue to make full use of this space for civic-minded, pro-change purposes is admirable. We can only hope they stay the course and inspire even more Filipino netizens to make the internet their virtual bullhorns. 

For the past few months, the House committee on oversight quietly studied how revenue agencies could jack up the proceeds from gazillions of pesos in a new tax to be siphoned off from Filipino cellphone users.

In its narrow view, the House panel avers that government is not able to check whether the taxes remitted by telcos were above board and commensurate to their total income and sales. Lest we forget, the government already imposes a 12 percent VAT on calls and text as well as an overseas communications tax on international services. These taxes apply to all subscribers, whether postpaid or prepaid.

For these Members of Congress, the solution to the purported loopholes in VAT and OCT collections is to ask the public to pay between five to 50 centavos in a new tax. Proceeds will go to buying metering machines each worth between $20M to $30M. The metering machines would connect the BIR, NTC and the telcos and would purportedly plug the loopholes.

Is it illegal for a labor activist to visit the Philippines?

The Philippine government yesterday deported a visiting Japanese activist who was supposed to join an annual international labor conference, with immigration authorities allegedly claiming that it was done on request of the Japanese embassy.

Kilusang Mayo Uno, which sponsors the annual event, reported the incident in this statement.

Leaders of people’s organizations, including the mother of a UP students whose continued disappearance is blamed on retired Brig. Gen. Jovito Palparan, today filed a quo warranto case against the new Bantay partylist representative before the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal.

In the cyberspace, scores are joining the anti-Palparan cause on Facebook. Check reports from Bulatlat, Inquirer and Newsbreak.

Full text of the anti-Palparan quo warranto petition follows:

Raymond Palatino is set to make history in a matter of days when we expect him to take his oath as the first elected youth representative in Congress where he will carry the colors of Kabataan Party.

Mong, as he is more popularly and fondly known, invites everyone to an afternoon of coffee and conversation tomorrow, April 25, 3:00 pm at Kape Tasyo, Anonas, Quezon City. (Kape Tasyo is Freedom Bar at daytime. It is a stone’s throw away from LRT2 Anonas Station.)

This is an opportunity to make our concerns known to Mong and to pick his brains too about issues.

There will be free coffee for everyone and WIFI too for those who wish to blog or plurk or tweet during the event.

More about Mong:

Some say there’s overreaction but what’s the take of domestic helpers in Hong Kong themselves regarding the Chip Tsao incident?

Here’s a sampler — a press release of the largest Filipino organization in Hong Kong regarding the apology from the controversial columnist:

While we recognize the public apology of Mr. Chip Tsao, he must stop defending his article as a satire and that he was just misunderstood. We will press on with our protest.

This was the statement of the United Filipinos in Hong Kong (UNIFIL-MIGRANTE-HK) as it announced that the protest against racism slated this Sunday, April 5, will push through. The protest, being organized by various Filipino migrant groups in Hong Kong, is linked to the article “The War At Home” written by Chip Tsao and was published in both the printed edition and online site of HK magazine.

“Mr. Tsao’s apology is recognized but we are appalled of his continued defense of the piece as a satire. It was targeted towards a whole nation and a particular sector that made it nothing but a racial slur,” said Dolores Balladares, chairperson of UNIFIL.