‘Class Tendencies’ prevalent, said Ridon

‘CLASS TENDENCIES’ PREVALENT, SAID RIDON

“Masyado nilang pinapairal ang ‘class tendencies’ sa pagbira,” criticized opposition lawmaker and Kabataan Partylist Representative, Hon. Congressman Terry Ridon in an interview last Wednesday.

Congressman Ridon allotted time for a couple of students from the University of Santo Tomas for an interview regarding several issues frequently debated these days.

The first issue brought up was that of Mary Jane Veloso’s execution being on hold and what the government has done to be of assistance.

The Kabataan Partylist, proclaimed Ridon, is the primary resistant against the decision, and that the government is lacking the initiative to do anything.

“Dapat managot si PNoy kasi wala siyang naitulong. Kung meron man, tulad ng sinasabi ng ilan sa atin, hindi ito naging sapat.”

[PNoy should be held responsible because there was nothing he did to help. If there was, like what some of us are saying, then it wasn’t enough.]

He added, “Nakakasuka na napapabayaan niya (PNoy) itong mga isyu na ganito.”

[It’s sickening that he (PNoy) is just neglecting issues like this.]

When asked about the Philippine Daily Inquirer (PDI) stating that Veloso’s mother is just being used by activists, he retorted with, “Makikita naman natin sa timeline na may laban talaga si Mary Jane. Masyado nilang (PDI) pinapairal ang ‘class tendencies’ sa pagbira.

“E hindi naman nararapat na basta nalang magtanaw ng utang na loob sa gobyerno ang mahihirap. Kung tutuusin, ang gobyerno pa nga mismo ang nagpapahirap sa mga mahihirap na nga.”

[We can see in the timeline that Mary Jane has a fight. They (PDI) make their ‘class tendencies’ prevalent in their work.

[But it is not right to have the poor to just be in debt to the government. After all, the government itself is making the poor poorer.]

In connection to the ‘class tendencies’ of the PDI and, of course, of the society because of the government, Congressman Ridon was asked about his take regarding the Labor Export Policy (LEP).

“Unang-una, ayaw naming (Kabataan Partylist) magpatuloy itong klase ng mekanismo na ‘to para ‘magkatrabaho’ ang kasalukuyang walang trabaho. Walang katotohanan na mas giginhawa ang buhay ng mga kababayan natin kapag naipadala sila sa ibang bansa.

“Patuloy silang naghihirap sa pinansiyal at maging sa emosyonal na nibel. Mahirap ang malayo sa pamilya. At itong mekanismo na ‘to, pangtuta. Dapat humulma ng trabaho ditto mismo sa ating bansa, katulad ng pagpokus sa kabuhayan ng ating mga magsasaka.”

[First of all, we (Kabataan Partylist) don’t want this type of mechanism of ‘giving jobs’ to those who are currently unemployed to continue. There is no truth that exporting our fellow Filipinos to other countries will make their lives more comfortable.

[They continue to suffer on a financial and even an emotional level. It’s hard to be far from your family. And this mechanism is for puppies. Jobs should be moulded here in our very country, like focusing on the livelihood of our farmers.]

The next issue brought up was that of the Department of Education’s (DepEd) firm K to 12 implementation for the next school year despite a pending legal challenge before the Supreme Court (SC).

The Coalition for K to 12 Suspension argued that Republic Act 10533, which paved way for the K to 12 program, failed to provide labour protection to teachers and non-teaching staff.

Statistics accentuated that around 56,000 college teachers and 22,000 non-teaching personnel are in danger of their losing jobs due to the transition period that will significantly reduce the number of those who will enrol in college because of the addition of two years in high school.

Congressman Ridon, although starting to stir up, said as calm as he could, “Hindi ho kami (Kabataan Partylist) pabor dito sa ganitong pamamaraan ng ating gobyerno. Hindi ho kami para sa suspensyon o sa rebisyon, para ho kami sa absolutong pagbabasura sa naturang utos.”

[We are not in favour of this kind of scheme by our government. We are not for the suspension or the revision, we are for the absolute prohibition of the said order.]

Connected to this, of course, is the issue of the tuition fee increase for universities and colleges across the country.

The Department of Education (DepEd) has allowed 1,299 private schools to increase their tuition fees by five to 35 per cent for the academic year 2014 to 2015.

In a report of Dante Perello for GMA News, Education Assistant Secretary Tonisito Umali assured the public that the decision to approve the tuition fee hikes of private elementary and high schools in the country has gone through the proper consultation process.

Congressman Ridon stressed, “Syempre, alam naman nating ang edukasyon ay karapatan ng bawat Pilipinong nag-aasam nito. Ang kaso, ang sistema ng gobyerno natin ay hindi sistemang abot-kaya para sa lahat.

“Ang nangyayari, hindi natutugunan ng ating pamahalaan ang pangangailangan ng mamamayang Pilipino, bagkus ay mas lalo pang napapahirapan ang mga ito.”

[Of course, we know that education is a right of every Filipino who wishes it. The case is that the system of our government is not a system that is within reach for everyone.

[What happens is, the needs of the Filipinos are not being met by the government, instead it is becoming more difficult for them (Filipinos)]

Without a doubt, Kabataan Partylist Representative, Hon. Congressman Terry Ridon is against the administration and its system of handling the country, especially regarding their people.

Whether it’s the educational system, the economical system, or the justice system, it is easy to say that the current administration, generally, have everything in common with the previous administration.

President Noynoy has taken a lot of credit for his country’s improved economy, the successful war against government corruption, massive upgrading of airports, and so on.

Many believe, after close investigation of his administration’s accomplishments and failures, there is not much to be proud of.

His eyeglasses seem to let him see two different things at any given time: his imaginary reality and the real plight of the country outside of the presidential palace.

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PNOY

With all that is happening in the country right now—the Mamasapano massacre, particularly the Fallen 44, the rising tuition fee set to be applied to schools for the next academic year, the emerging possible corruption issues—people tend to turn to the president as the root cause, or at least, a huge part of it is because of him.

The content of news right now, whether on the radio, on print, or on television, is directed to the current head representative of the Republic of the Philippines, President Benigno Aquino III. There have been countless disputes regarding the way he runs the country, and innumerable questions about the things he has done, good or bad, and what these things actually brought to the table as far as the country’s stability and chance at a better future is concerned.

Students from the University of Santo Tomas had the chance to interview some of the more “influential” people in campus to find out what they think about “Noynoy” Aquino and whether or not they take his side or the opposition.

Editor in Chief Ralph Joshua Hernandez of The Varsitarian, the official student publication of the University of Santo Tomas, was asked if he agrees to the protest of many to put down the president and demand him resign.

He said, “For me, no, kasi, first, political experts would argue that the six year presidency is too short para makagawa ng long-term reform, so kung puputulin niyo pa yung si PNoy, mahahamper yung progress na nagawa niya.

Second, yung cause ng pagpaparesign sa kanya is yung sa Mamasapano, na hindi pa nauuncover yung details, yung buong kwento. Kaya pag pinaalis siya dahil dun, mapuput into risk yung stability ng country natin. Mas magandang makuha muna lahat ng detalye tsaka gumawa ng concrete action pag tapos na yung investigation.

Last, ‘pag naalis si PNoy, syempre, si Binay ang magiging president. Sino ba ang may gusto nun?

Almost the same point would be recommended by Assoc. Professor Anita Garcia, currently a member of the Faculty of Arts and Letters’ Dean’s Council.

Given our political landscape right now, and given all the problems we are struggling through, we should not think of anything that will seriously rock our political system right now. No matter what your perceptions are of PNoy, I think we should also learn to look back, what he was able to do, and the people who believed in him.

But I don’t disregard the feelings of the people in general regarding Mamasapano, and the inadequacy of the way he delivered his tasks as the chief commander and as the head of the republic. There were many gaps and lapses.”

Indeed, despite majority of Filipinos believing the President should step down and be impeached, there are still others who have faith in him and rely on him to tilt the axis so to say and break free from his current status, to regain his country’s trust.

what LIES ahead

If you are one of the many thousands of students in AB who have parents labouring to ensure a steady future for you in whatever field you are taking, some very good news is coming your way.

Students have had a chance to sit down with Ms. Leigh Bagtas, the president of the JournSoc or the Journalism Society, regarding some of the matters in need of discussion following the recent so-called “open” forum entitled “Speak Up” held by the Student Council of the Faculty of Arts and Letters and its administration, which includes the council adviser, the faculty secretary, and the assistant dean.

As said in the previous article, it was held in rooms 112 to 116, also known as the lecture hall. The main issue discussed in the forum was the infamous 50K fund scandal although other affairs were brought up, including many roaring suggestions of making the student council officers step down.

Ngayon ko lang nalaman ‘yan,” Leigh Bagtas reacted when she was asked if she and the other presidents of the BOM or the Board of Majors had planned to be part of the hearing on the subject of the issue. “Wala silang sinabi. Kailan niyo nalaman ‘yan?” she disowned, when it was actually announced during the forum.

BOM is the impeachment tribunal in the Faculty of Arts and Letters, so when students asked if there is someone in the BOM is initiating an impeachment trial or at least got a complaint from the thousands of AB students, she responded with, “Wala. Wala kahit complaint or anything walang lumalapit sa ‘min, so wala rin kaming magawa kasi hindi lang naman pwedeng kami lang ‘yon kikilos kasi nga bawal.”

There was, although, a 4th year student from the college of Philosophy by the name of John Robert Magsombol, who unflinchingly demanded the current Student Council officers to step down. Regrettably, this does not mean that it will already be considered as a complaint. There are certain guidelines that must be followed. He has not filed a report to the BOM when it is actually required to.

Next, Ms. Bagtas was asked about what actions she and her co-members of the BOM would take if ever actual complaints and reports are filed. She said, “Edi babasahin namin ‘yong written report niya. And then, kami sa BOM, titignan namin kung ‘yong mga filed complaints nandoon siya sa constitution at na-violate nung ni-rereport. Pag napagkasunduan na namin sa BOM na tama nga at justifiable ‘yong report, tsaka namin kakausapin ‘yong SC na may gustong magpa-resign sa kanila.”

So, if you are interested, and want your voice to be heard regarding this subject matter, please do file a complaint. Everybody is being encouraged. If you believe that there are rules and regulations being violated, stand! Don’t be afraid because there are many others who will support you, and probably start a revolution with you and change the entire landscape of student government for the better.

“Open” Forum

“They didn’t think this through.”

These were the words of many students during the forum exactly a week ago today, February 10.

“Kulang ‘to sa planning.”

The Student Council of the Faculty of Arts and Letters and its administration, which includes the council adviser, the faculty secretary, and the assistant dean, held an “open” forum in rooms 112 to 116, also known as the lecture hall, regarding the infamous 50K scandal among other matters. The rooms were jam-packed for the face-to-face dialogue entitled “Speak Up.” Many of the students, including me, weren’t able to grab a seat, eternally standing in the middle aisle that separated the two sides of the room. There were absolutely no seats left to accommodate everyone who attended. The forum had not even started yet, and there were already additional problems, another set of issues waiting to be resolved again.

The organizers were coming in and out of the room, occasionally reminding us that we have to stay away from the middle aisle. So, because of the lack of space via the excess in numbers, I had no choice other than to leave the lecture hall, but not before I asked some students regarding what they thought about the concerns that were about to be tackled in the forum, and the forum itself.

“Sa palagay ko,” a journalism freshman began, “hindi nila inexpect na ganito karami ang dadalo dahil ‘di nila akalaing ganito karami ang may pake.”

As a matter of fact, I could go on for a couple more pages about how disorganized the forum was, and how unprepared the coordinators were, but that would be too unprofessional of me. So I interviewed some of the students who were actually already seated, asking their concerns, and what they were there for. Many, specifically the journalism sophomores, were there to be able to make their paper (this one) for their major subject, while others, who were also sophomore journalism students, were exclusively there to have their questions and inquiries answered. One of them was a blockmate of mine, Edrick James Dimabuyu. When I asked him about why he wanted to attend the forum, he gave one definite and creative answer.

“Akala ko talaga nung una sa gobyerno lang natin may mga ganyan. Siguro sa ganito rin sila nagsimumla ‘no? Biro lang. Pero hindi biro ‘yong mga basta-basta na lang na nawawala ‘yong funds natin. Biruin mo, pinaghihirapan ng mga magulang natin ‘yan para makapag-aral tayo sa ganitong standard ng education, tapos kasama na rin doon ‘yong para sa mga activities natin univ-wide at college-wide, tapos ganyan? It’s not that we actually want to know, it’s more of we NEED to know.”

Unfortunately, the supposedly “open” forum wasn’t that open at all. When the people concerned were asked, they said they weren’t allowed to disclose anything regarding the investigation on the 50K situation, just know that they are doing their best to solve it and penalize whoever is at fault.

GRAMMAR NAZI

grammarGrammar is an obviously important element of writing—not just journalistic, but also creative, academic, etc—because it helps present the ideas clearly through the words, phrases, sentences, paragraphs, and the entire article or broadcast itself. In order to be able to convey news properly, one must learn the accurate grammar of the primary and secondary language of the country or state or region or city efficiently.

As indirectly stated in the last sentence of the first paragraph, language has a key role in grammar. One might use the correct grammar, but not the fitting language he or she is broadcasting to that will have the people understand the news clearly. For example, writing articles or broadcasting news in Chinese in a country like, let’s just say, Denmark, would not be suitable for the society that should receive and accept the news being given to them. One might use the correct Chinese characters and—surprise!—grammar, and the viewers/listeners/readers wouldn’t be able to understand it.

One reason regarding the importance of grammar in journalism is credibility. Press materials with grammatical errors indicate ignorance or negligence on the part of the writer/broadcaster, which may cause readers/viewers/listeners alike to question the accuracy and truthfulness of the content of the article or piece of news. Similarly, professionalism is also a huge factor in proper journalism. Similarly, materials written in a slapdash fashion can create negative impressions on readers/viewers/listeners, co-workers and corporate higher-ups. A slight mistake in the grammar area of one’s article can lead to demotion and even, perhaps, the boot. To go along with this is the respect from one’s peers. Underpaid and overworked editors may resent receiving a document with nothing on it but errors that would earn them extra time in the office without extra pay. Another obvious reason is for clarity. Grammar not only includes the proper string of words to convey an idea, but it also requires proper punctuation. Irresponsible use of grammar—again, this include punctuation—can result in ambiguities and misunderstandings. Once one’s colleagues and viewers, listeners, and readers have found him/her credible, professional, respectable, and clear regarding him/her articles and pieces, this will be convenient not only for them, but specially to the writer. Imagine when the journalist has earned the respect of these people and himself/herself, these people will wait for what the journalist is going to write about next because they understand him/her more clearly, primarily because his/her ideas are properly conveyed to the public via his/her grammar. Lastly, posterity would be the knockout punch. Press materials distributed, via print, and/or the internet, across the globe will live on forever along with any mistakes they may contain.

One does not simply write and say he/she is a journalist. Being a journalist requires responsibility in conveying the truth, delivering the proper ideas and having them be understandable to common people involves using the right words—and the right punctuations—and proper word management via the use of correct grammar.

MIRACLE

PapaFrancis_iphone

“’Di kami makapaniwala!

These are the words of the two sons of Primitivo Dominador Geronimo, whose father had the chance to see the Pope last January 18, 2015 at Luneta (formerly Rizal Park). But this isn’t even the most remarkable part of the story.

75-year-old Primitivo Dominador Geronimo, simply known to many as Mang Primo, is a cripple. Partially paralyzed from the hips down, all he can do is lift his legs when his sons give him a bath, which is already a piece of good fortune despite his case.

I personally think it was a miracle.

Indeed, Danilo, Mang Primo’s oldest son, was spot on. Despite the jam-packed crowd—peaking at six million—Danilo and his younger brother, Ramil, were able to get their father through it and secure a position where the Pope’s “jeepmobile” would eventually pass thanks to the cooperative and helpful actions of people there. It took hours for them to wait there, and Danilo and Ramil were easily getting exhausted, while their father remained energetic and lively, eagerly anticipating the arrival of the Pope.

The crowd went fanatical when they first saw a glimpse of the jeep. Their screams almost impossibly got even louder when it slowly made its way through the path it was assigned to take. Danilo and Ramil regained their vigour when the Pope drew closer. But no one got more thrilled than their father, Mang Primo. In spite of the ten years that his feet had not touched the ground, he was able to muster and gather all of his will and stood up, desperately trying to reach for Pope Francis’s hand even for just half a second. He didn’t however.

Nobody from the family expected anything like it to happen, especially because the doctors told them it was highly unlikely for it to happen considering the muscles in his legs have slowly weakened because of being unused.

’Di na nga namin nagawang picturan e,” Ramil said, when I asked him for a verification that it actually happened. “Lahat talaga kami nagulat. ‘Di kami makapaniwala.” He then told me that they kept cheering their father on, and that the people beside them momentarily stood there in awe as well, their jaws dropping to the floor, eyes wide open, marvelling at the miracle that was Mang Primo.

It was truly a very memorable moment for the family, and especially, Mang Primo himself. When I asked him about the feeling of being able to stand up again after a decade, all he could do was smile and laugh. I saw the twinkles in his eyes, like he was replaying that scene over and over again in his head. He got teary-eyed too, finally saying, “Hinding-hindi ko makakalimutan ‘yon.

Unfortunately, the mainstream media wasn’t able to cover this story. I definitely understand why, however. The main focus was on the Pope himself. Nevertheless, the people being touched by the Pope—whether figuratively or literally—should have also been represented.

THE FIRST

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Journalists are called to set the world on fire, bringing the light of truth where truth can’t be found, and lighting the passion amidst the apathy of the world.

This is what journalists do for 38-year-old Rolando Delos Reyes, a volunteer contributor for the Salesian Bulletin and St. John Bosco Today where he’s been writing for quarterly magazines such as Family Matters since 2013, when I interviewed him last November 8. His first and foremost target audience are the parents of the students he counsels on one of his primary jobs as a school counsellor at Don Bosco Technical College in Mandaluyong City.

The invitation was the start of it all. Eventually, I began to really want to write. Natanong ko pa nga ang sarili ko kung bakit hindi ko pa sinimulan ‘to dati.”

Sir Rollie, as his students and colleagues call him, was invited by Fr. Drans Nolasco, SDB, who recently garnered awards at the 2014 Catholic Mass Media Awards for his column Between the Lines, their magazine St. John Bosco Today, and a special citation for the Family Matters magazine. The Family Matters magazine was where Fr. Drans called Sir Rollie to write articles, mostly on the subjects of gender and sexuality, and peer ministry.

When I asked him about the difficulties he encounters with his job/s, he said, “Exactly. Sinabi mo na: JOBS. I have to juggle three! Researcher, tapos, school counsellor, tapos volunteer writer. Mahirap.

Regarding his sacrifices, the hardest part was all the overtimes he takes to finish several works, like researching for the school on the management via the data given to him, and then having to write articles for the magazine. “Minsan kasi bigla na lang mawawala yung fire power mo sa pagsusulat kahit gusto mo pa talaga, kahit anong pilit mo, wala ka ng ma-type sa laptop.

It’s not really about difficult people in the workplace kasi I work at home naman, and I send my articles via e-mail,” he said, when I asked if he had to deal with difficult people in this particular job. “It’s more of the possible rejection of the message you’re trying to put out. It’s more of what my audiences might think. Nagwo-worry ako kung sell-able ba ‘yong mga sinusulat ko.

I hesitated on asking him about the risks he takes in doing his job. It was sort of a given that there aren’t any risks in his job, but I asked anyways, and I was shocked by his answer. “Marami ring risks ‘to ha, kahit hindi halata. You risk having to translate old and traditional church language to the modern language of man. I’ve been known to write powerful things that people carry around with them. Kapag mali ang pagkakaintindi nila sa sinulat ko, there would be a huge problem.

Then I ask the volunteer contributor if there is information too dangerous to put on his articles. He said, “I wouldn’t say it’s dangerous. It’s more of controversial. Lalo na’t I mostly talk about gender and sexuality. It’s hard to, ‘yon nga, translate Church teachings into the secular language. Alam ko marami rin kasing hindi tatanggap ng message ko.

Marami talagang precautions sa position ko kasi ang boss ko priest. Kailangan may proper filtering ng language na gagamitin ko. ‘Yon nga, kailangan maparating ko ng maliwanag ang gusto kong maparating sa pag-translate ko ng Church language to secular language,” he said, when I asked him about the precautions he takes in putting what he wants his audience to see in his articles.

When I asked him next about how important the truth is on his articles, how it needs to be out there, and how the audiences need to see it and hear it and believe it, he gave me two strong quick statements, “I will always stand by the truth. I will always stand by the Catholic Church.” He then explained that however difficult it is to deliver the truth, and how unpopular it is to those of concern, it is important that the truth should be exposed continuously, so his readers will stop believing in the lies.

And then, I asked him about online journalism, which is prevalent today with a lot of websites and social networking sites allowing this, and whether it is good or bad. He told me that he’ll take the gray area and sit right in the middle of it. Sir Rollie himself does some online journalism via Notes on Facebook. “In terms of the wide range of people to reach, online journalism is good. Hindi lang taga-Philippines ang abot mo, pati mga tao sa ibang bansa. It also demonstrates freedom of expression.” It didn’t take him long to get even with what he just said. “Pero reach mo nga ‘yong ibang bansa, e pano naman’yong mga nasa probinsya? Hindi mo sila mare-reach. Sa Tacloban nga wala pang kuryente ngayon e. Isa pang mahirap sa online journalism, it risks professionalism kasi almost all of the people who take ‘journalism,’ if you could call it that, are teenagers and other regular citizens. Nakakatapak rin sila ng ibang tao sa pinagsasasabi nila online. Wala kasing guidelines kaya careless writing ang nangyayari.

Lastly, I asked for some advice from Sir Rollie on the matter of proper writing in journalism. He said, “Para sa ‘kin, important ang pagiging connected and open to the world. Information is unlimited to the world e. Kailangan din na pipili ka muna ng target audience. Hindi pwedeng kung sino na lang ang pagsusulatan mo, kung sino na lang ang magbabasa ng sinusulat mo. It is also important to filter what you say. To me, it’s a talent e. Kailangan balance ang passion and professionalism ng writer or journalist. Think of it this way: passion is the fire that journalists should have, which drives them to write, to say to the world what they should know, while professionalism is the fireplace. It controls the fire. It shows you your limits when writing.”