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My head is aching right now. I could not write a single word for work. I’ve been having a hard time sleeping here in Singapore because martial law has been declared over the southern region back home. And just as I suspected, the president has been wanting to declare it since November. Now he has the perfect excuse to do it.

All I can think of right now is Plaza Miranda.

I don’t think I’ll be sleeping well for quite a while.

Martial law on Duterte’s mind as early as November —Lorenzana 

Published May 24, 2017 6:43pm
By TRISHA MACAS, GMA News

President Rodrigo Duterte has thought of declaring martial law as early as November to combat ISIS, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said Wednesday.

“Actually, matagal na iyan pinag-iisipan ni Presidente iyan. Matagal na naming pinag-uusapan iyan,” he told reporters in NAIA after Duterte gave a press briefing.
Lorenzana said they advised the President against it.

“In fact, iyong pumunta kami sa Butig last year, sinabi niya na, ‘You prepare for martial law. Pero saan ba ito? Island by island ba or whole Mindanao or Philippines?’ Sabi namin hindi pa naman dapat. So the thought process niya nangyari na eh long ago pa,” he added.

Duterte declared martial law in Mindanao on Tuesday while he was on an official visit in Russia.

He cut his trip short and arrived in Manila on Wednesday afternoon. —NB, GMA News

 

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As a communicator and as person who lived towards the end of the repressive regime of Ferdinand Marcos, I applaud that the ordinary people are given the power to express themselves and not be subjected to the caprices and sometimes questionable filters used by some media gatekeepers to be able to have their voices heard.

However, there are limits to this freedom: your freedom ends when you are already stepping on another person’s own freedom.

Facebook and Twitter (but more of Facebook) have become toxic places for public discourse as these now sow hate among users. It has become an effective vehicle for misinformation of a population that has become a parody of some sort. The bullies are now silencing whoever is opposing them; sowing fear or ambivalence among those who have become wary or tired of offering contrary views.

And it doesn’t help matters that the owner of Facebook is playing god.

Mark Zuckerberg accused of abusing power after Facebook deletes ‘napalm girl’ post

Norway’s largest newspaper has published a front-page open letter to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, lambasting the company’s decision to censor a historic photograph of the Vietnam war and calling on Zuckerberg to recognize and live up to his role as “the world’s most powerful editor”.

3000

Read the rest here.

And in that instant that boy with his face on the sand became a girl with long flowing black hair, wearing a pink Disney princess dress, lifeless against the surf. He is my child. He should be everyone’s child.

Everything else is so trivial.

For several quarters, car sales in the Philippines has grown by double-digits. Thanks to very low interest rates and down payments, car ownership has become so easy in a country that has managed to expand above 5% for several years. Unfortunately, roads have not expanded at the same rate as car sales. Add to that the incompetent MMDA chief who has made election campaigning his top priority. Metro Manila roads now are hopeless.

It’s carmageddon all the way until the end of Christmas holidays. 

The 3-hour travel time from Makati to Quezon City used to be just a one-off thing–something you will encounter during really bad traffic situations like last-week-before-Christmas-break rush or during freak events like huge rallies in some parts of the metro.

But no, 3-hour travel time now is the norm. I encounter this at least once a week. It’s better to drive from Makati to Los Banos, Laguna on any given day because it’ll only take you 1.5 hrs compared to Makati-QC, which can take you 2-3 hrs after 5 pm. 

If only the effing trains really work. Not the kind of sh*t you encounter at 6 am-7 am: the kilometer-long lines leading up to the train platforms. Not the kind of crap you have to face when the trains break down because maintenance work could only salvage a small part of the whole system. Because the government has been dilly-dallying for so long, pandering to populist noise. Because officials had been milking the rail system for heaven knows how long.

Because people refused to pay up as well. You want convenience, you pay for convenience. Train rides are not free. 

I used to take public transport because I can. Now it seems like it can kill me in so many ways.

Already declared my desire to move back south. It’ll keep me sane for a few more years, I think.

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I remember my journo cousin asking me why Pacquiao is very popular here in the Philippines and why is he revered as a national hero (Interview became an article for a US publication).


Clash of the Titans: Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao finally fight Photo: GETTY IMAGES

I told her that Manny is the epitome of rags-to-riches story that all Filipinos can relate to and aspire for. He literally fought his way out of hunger and rose up the economic and power ladder with sheer determination without having to earn a college degree. His English is stilted at best but he manages to grant interviews even in monosyllables.

Pacquiao embodies every Filipino’s hopes and dreams. He represents the downtrodden–the underdog that overcame the odds. He is a reminder that good things happen to the poor and the oppressed. To maids being maltreated by their Saudi employers; to the seafarers away at sea for 9 months; to the caregivers receiving pittance of a salary washing bedridden old people; and to boys hitching their carabaos to carts in the ricefield at dawn before walking to school on empty stomachs.

Manny is not only fighting for himself but for a whole country that looks up to him for inspiration, for citizens that seek reasons why we should be proud to be Filipinos when it seems like there’s nothing for us back home except corruption and poverty. And that is a very heavy burden to bear.

No, Westerners cannot understand. Rich people cannot understand.

So, go Manny! May God be with you always.

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Photo from InterAksyon.com by Brandy Roa Solayao

As of today, the last day of 2014, rescuers and retrieval personnel of the Catbalogan City government are still searching for the missing victims of the landslide in Burak, Brgy. Mercedes, Catbalaogan, Samar. Fifteen people are reported dead, three of whom were small children–the youngest was 3 years old. It has been raining non-stop for two days as Typhoon ‘Seniang’ swept from Northeast Mindanao to Eastern Visayas. The typhoon dumped huge amounts of rainfall, causing massive flooding in its wake. Misamis Oriental has declared a state of calamity. In Leyte near the town of Carigara, a bridge gave way to the rushing river that has overflowed, cutting off several towns from Tacloban City.

In short, I am not in a celebratory mood.

My husband, kids and I had been here in Catbalogan since December 23 to celebrate the holidays with my in-laws. So far none of our plans pushed through due to bad weather. To make matters worse, my kids and I were down with a nasty bug, triggering really bad asthma attacks. Trips to the beach and other jaunts would have to wait until our next visit.

This year has been tumultuous for me personally, bringing me highs and really deep lows. I changed jobs but before that, I succumbed to the burnout that has affected many of my colleagues in the online news business. One such colleague-friend left her editing post almost at the same time as I did. She told me the high stress level she had been enduring for the past three years has induced neurological ailments in her. “It’s not worth it in the end,” she told me, “at the expense of my health.” She quit her online news job and now she’s a correspondent for an overseas publication and she says she still has her internal targets but she’s doing her job in her own pace.

I can say the same thing for me. I do my job at my own pace and I choose the coverage I have to go to, depending on what my priorities for the month are. I set my internal targets and I am now developing my own system since I am working alone.

Do I miss the fast-paced newsroom/news cycle? So far not yet. Do I miss reporting things that matter? Sometimes but when I see my colleagues rushing past me due to hectic deadlines, I am thankful that I don’t have to deal with that anymore. Although my news cycle is slower, I have different demands and different challenges that I have to deal with. One of them is to be verrrrrry ahead of everyone else. That’s really tough but somehow manageable.

Still winging it, being a working mom. This year we sent the twins to school so at least somehow their boredom at home lessened a little bit. Sometimes I marvel at how quick their minds work. They’re an active lot.

Thankful for the opportunities and experiences learned this past year. Here’s to 2015!

“Being calmly rational about dead children feels like a very particular form of madness. Whatever else journalistic objectivity is, it surely cannot be the elimination of human emotion. If we don’t recognise that, we are not describing the full picture.” How can journalists be objective when writing about dead children? by Giles Fraser (The Guardian)

Palestinians gather around the body of 40-day-old baby Kerem Ebu Zeyid, who died after Israeli attacks in Gaza on 29 July. Photograph: Belal Khaled/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

That’s why I can’t cover war. Or famine. It’s gut-wrenching trying to be objective when kids are involved. Going to Yolanda-hit areas already shattered me. I am a very passionate and emotional person pa naman. Kaya it’s better for me to be a heartless business reporter. (hehe)

No, really. I can’t cover these topics because it destroys me. People like me are oftentimes taken over by emotions. The reason why I lasted as a business reporter is because it is one of the coldest subject a non-initiated journalist can think of covering. The reason I cannot cover war, disasters, famine, and depressing things like that is because I hate them. I hate covering things I abhor because I cannot distance myself from the reasons that why these stuff happen. I will always take sides and it will reflect through my writing. I cannot possibly write about dead children without any emotion lest I be accused of being a sappy unprofessional journalist.

Some people thrive in reporting horrors like that and I do salute people who do because without them, who would deliver to us the news from the ground?

But then, I will be the last person raising my hand for the assignment. Not because I am afraid of the uncomfortable circumstances but because it will rip my heart and head apart.

Which reminds me, I haven’t been debriefed from my Yolanda coverage.


life in business journalism

crazy. exciting. boring to some but hey, you get to understand the world better when you're a business journalist. you learn to be patient with tons of documents, make sense of numbers and charts. all geeky stuff. this is my story, behind the scenes.
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