01
Dec
09

Philippine Coup Attempts

A coup d’état or simply coup is a sudden, unconstitutional deposition of government power, usually led by a small group of the existing state to replace the opposed government with another type of government, either civil or military.
During Ferdinand E. Marcos’s presidency, a lot of corruption arose. During his second term, Marcos abolished the 1935 Philippine Constitution and in 1972 established martial law in order to retain his power.  He embezzled government money shortly after his establishment of martial law. Marcos also ordered the military to kill any political opposition against him. It is speculated that Marcos had arranged the Benigno Aquino, Jr. assassination in order to “kill” the competition.

After pressures from Washington in 1985, Marcos decided to hold snap elections to build legitimacy within his regime. The growing opposition of Marcos pushed for Aquino’s widow, Corazon Aquino to run for office, which she did. Marcos’s official election canvasser claimed that Marcos won the election, however the (unofficial) National Movement for Free Elections claimed that Aquino won the most votes. The Filipino people were fed up with Marcos’s corruption of abuse of power. Marcos fled to Hawaii in exile because of the People Power Revolution and Aquino, the true winner of the snap election, assumed control over the Philippines.

On December 1, 1989, Colonel Gregorio Honassan, General Edgardo Abenina, and retired General Jose Ma. Zumel staged an alliance of the Reform the Armed Forces Movement and of troops loyal to Marcos. During the coup, the rebels took control over Villamor Airbase, Fort Bonifacio, Sangley Airbase, Mactan Airbase in Cebu, and portions of Camp Aguinaldo.From Sangley Airbase, the rebels were able to launch planes and helicopters that bombarded Malacañang Palace (the Philippine White House),Camp Crane and Camp Aguinaldo. By December 3, 1989, government forces were able to recapture all forts and military bases except for Mactan Airbase. The rebels retreating from Fort Bonifacio occupied twenty-two high rise buildings  along the Ayala business area in Makati. The rebels fought hard until December 9th, when the rebels surrendered the Mactan Airbase while the Makati occupation ended earlier on December 7th. The coup left 99 Filipinos dead, including 50 civilians, and 570 Filipinos wounded.

The United States supported the Aquino government and sent aircraft carriers and fighter planes from Clark Air Base in support. The American planes had clearances to shoot down any rebel planes at their base.

Following the coup, President Aquino put together the Fact-Finding Commission to investigate and provide a full report on the coup attempts against her regime. She put Hilario Davide in charge of the investigation and his report is known as the Davide Commission Report. The Davide Commission Report claimed that the coup arose because of  perceived deficiencies in the Aquino government in areas as corruption, bureaucratic inefficiency, and lenient treatment of communist insurgents. The Davide Report also suggested reform, including the establishment of a civilian national police force, a crackdown on corruption in the military, a performance review of appointive government officials, reforms in the process of military promotions, a review of election laws in time for the 1992 presidential elections. The coup attempts show how much more successful a legitimate government (Aquino) is than an illegitimate government (Marcos).

– Alexander Nubla

01
Dec
09

Rise of Filipino Hip Hop Culture

My father always talked about how he used to break dance and dance on TV when he was Filipino youth in the late 1970s.  I never believed him because I didn’t see hip hop in him.  However, after DJ Icy Ice came in and spoke to us, I realized that the older generation contributed on many levels opt build what is known as hip hop today.  I decided to discuss Filipino hip hop with my father and I actually learned a lot:

The Philippine Hip Hop Scene broke loose in the early 80’s, which shortly followed the development of general hip hop which manifested in Bronx, New York in the late 70’s.  The Philippines is known to have the first hip hope music scene in Asia.  This is due to the theory of colonial narrative, which socially engineered the colonized to be like the colonizer.  In this case, the Philippines mimic any fad or craze that America creates.

With the popularity of the Electric Boogaloo (which is funk dance that involves popping and fluid motions within the legs and arms) immerging, the Filipinos were split during the era of disco because of the advent of Saturday Night Fever.  One half of the spectrum was into hip hop& popping while the other was still into disco.  The hip hop scene truly took form in the Philippines when early 80’s TV dance shows introduced popping & locking through young Filipino Americans (or balikbayan).  The early 80’s brought new movies like Breakin and Krush Grove, which gave rise to the phenomena of dance crews.  Never moves copied from the street of New York made it to the islands.  Th3ese moves included the Helicopter, Crazy Legs, Moon Walks, Sideway Moon Walks, the Robot and Waving.  The popularity of Disco enhanced the Hip Hop craze, however instead of dancing to the music of Bee Gees, Hip Hop dancers danced to ht beat of Earth Wind & Fire and the Commodores.  The Disco scene was mixed in with Hip Hop music and Popping became a craze in the early 80’s (from 1982 to 1984).  Dance Crews started around 1983 when each group appeared on TV Variety shows with the popularity of Boy Crew (a group of 5-7 teenage dancers).  Around 1984 acrobatics were incorporated with popping, starting the B-Boy craze.  In America, Filipino-Americans on the West Coast in Southern and Northern California became involved in the hip hop scene through DJing.  A Filipino party scene developed through the rise of Filipino DJ crews.  Rival DJ crews would “battle” each other and one-up each other by showcasing superior equipment.

Till this day, Filipino Americans continue to influence the world of hip hop through break dancing and popping.  The majority of the dancers who compete and win MTV’s America’s Best Dance Crew are Filipino Americans.  Hip Hop is music culture that Filipinos can excel in and also leave their mark on and although it started in the late 70’s, Filipino hip hope continues to live on and grow.

– Alexander Nubla

01
Dec
09

Imelda Marcos

Imelda Marcos was born on July 2, 1929 to Vicente Orestes Lopez Romuáldez, who was of Spanish-Chinese-Filipino decent (During the Spanish rule over the Philippines, the Chinese-Filipinos were encouraged to intermarry with the Spanish for two reasons: the Spanish were selective on who was able to own land and intermarry into their race was a simple way to avoid these restrictions. Also, the Spanish were concerned with spreading Christianity and marriage was an easy way to spread the gospel.)  and Remedios Trinidad. Imelda’s father was a scholarly man who came from a wealthy and prominent family that claims to have founded the town of Tolosa, Leyete. Her mother came from a more humble background, growing up in an orphanage in Manila. It is speculated that Imelda’s mother was the illegitimate offspring of a friar. Imelda grew up in the San Miguel district of Manila but moved back to Leyete when her mother passed away. In Leyete, Imelda attended St. Paul’s College and earned her bachelor’s degree there.

Imelda grew to become a beauty queen.  At the age of 18, she became “Miss Leyete” and the “Rose of Tacloban. She rose to fame through her beauty and was named the “Muse of Manila” by the mayor of Manila at the time, Arsenio Lacson. This was a special title given to her after her protest in her loss in the Miss Manila pageant. In 1954, Imelda met politician Ferdinand E. Marcos and married him in May that year after a courtship in Baguio during Holy Week.

In December 1965, Ferdinand E. Marcos was elected President of the Philippines, making Imelda the First Lady. Marcos’s regime was a corrupted one because of his dishonesty. He abolished the 1935 Philippine Constitution and instated a parliamentary system, composed mainly of his own political appointees. During this time, Ferdinand also appointed Imelda to many government positions such as Governor of Metropolitan Manila, Minister of Human Settlement, and Ambassador Plenipotentiary and Extraordinary. In December on 1972, Imelda was stabbed in her assassination attempt during a broadcasted award ceremony. The Filipino government at the time claims that the assailant was shot to death by police security, although the assassination appeared to be staged.

Although Ferdinand E. Marcos’s regime was a corrupt and a ridiculous regime, Imelda made many positive achievements during his time of power. Even though they were selfish and spent millions of dollars on bolstering their public image, Imelda used this image to positively represent the Philippines when she acted as an envoy and traveled to China, the Soviet Union and Soviet satellite states in Eastern Europe such as Romania, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, East Germany, the Middle East, Libya, the non-Soviet dominated communist state of Yugoslavia, and Cuba. Although these countries did not have a trustworthy and respectable government (just like Marcos’s government), Imelda did an excellent job of representing the Filipino people. She gave hope to many Filipinos and held an image of a classy Filipino lady, an image that many women strived for. Imelda is a hardworking and compassionate Filipino woman, although she was corrupted by her riches.

– Alexander Nubla

01
Dec
09

EDSA Shrine

The EDSA Shrine, also known as the Shrine of Mary, Queen of Peace, and Our Lady of EDSA, was a monument dedicated to the People Power Revolution and its peaceful outcome on December 15, 1989. Located at the intersection of Ortigas Avenue and Epifanio de los Santos Avenue (EDSA) in Quezon City, it is situated in the same place that witnessed two demonstrations that eventually overthrew the presidencies of Ferdinand Marcos (EDSA I) and Joseph Estrada (EDSA II).

The idea for the Shrine came to be from the mind of His Eminence Cardinal Jaime Sin. Accompanied by Bishop Reyes, they were driving past the site when Reyes pointed out that that was where young men and women, both of and not of the cloth, faced tanks and soldiers with prayers and flowers. They then glanced at a neighboring billboard containing the image of the Virgin Mary and such slogans as “The family that prays together stays together” and “A world at prayer is a world at peace”, realizing the role the Virgin Mary played on those two fateful days. It led them to think about the role she played in “La Naval de Manila” and the Battle of Lepanto on October 7, 1751. Both participants in the EDSAs and the battles faced overwhelming odds with the help and guidance of the Virgin Mary.

Cardinal Sin wanted to commemorate the efforts of the Virgin Mary and began to do so. He approached the Ortiga and Gokongwei families regarding donating the lot and architects and artists to donate their creativity to the project. Architect Francisco Mañosa, along with the assistance of National Artist Architect Laandro Locsin and Architect William Coscolluela, constructed the architectural and structural design for the church. Mañosa wanted the Shrine to evoke a sense of the freedom of movement and celebratory spirit of the original EDSA Revolution, so the Shrine opens out to the streets, has cascading stairs and ramps, and conjoins the two main avenues of EDSA and Ortiga.

The soul of the Shrine was at the hands of the various Filipino artists, who were successful in fully capturing a sense of peace and freedom within the vicinity. Virginia Ty-Navarro sculpted the bronze Virgin Mary seen outside of the Shrine as the apex of the entire structure. Similar bronze works are seen throughout the plaza as the 14 Stations of the Cross by Napoleon Abueva. Manny Casal’s “Flame of Freedom” sculpture, however, is of a different nature. Three men representing the Philippines’ three major islands – Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao – are seen bearing a cauldron of flame upon their shoulders. Other metal-works other than bronze are also seen, specifically the carillon bells built from the bullets and cannons of World War II by artists from Holland. At certain periods of the day, the bells chime familiar religious and patriotic melodies, reminding passer-bys of the EDSA Revolutions.

The chapel itself is dedicated to and divided into two areas – one for San Lorenzo; the other for Perpetual Adoration – and although separated, is united by naturally-lit stained glass ceiling designed by Eduardo Castrillo. The main chapel is as adorned as it is outside, with a floating glass sculpture of the Risen Christ by Ramon Orlina above Abueva’s marble altar. The walls of the chapel are covered in murals depicting and interpreting the four-day revolution by 15 artists from Angono, Rizal, led by Nemi Miranda. Casal’s “Doves of Peace” rest gently on the holy water fountains by the entrances, immediately providing symbols of peace to its visitors. At the chapel of the perpetual adoration the Blessed Sacrament is dramatically exposed through the monstrance-sculpture done by Castrillo. At the other side chapel named after the first Filipino saint, San Lorenzo Ruiz, there is a wall mural depicting the saint’s life painted by artist Ben Alano. Through this shrine, all who visit it are able to witness and relive what had occurred at EDSA.

♥ Jessel Villegas

01
Dec
09

Philippine Parliamentary Elections of 1978

Before President Ferdinand Marcos instilled his martial law throughout the Philippines, there was another highly-debated topic that preceded this one – the Philippine Constitution. From 1967-1971, the formation and the election of delegates for a Constitutional Convention were created in order to make a few revisions to the current constitution. Officially holding its first meeting on June 1, 1971, the Constitutional Convention was headed by the elected delegate Carlos P. Garcia of Bohol up until his death on June 14, 1971. He was succeeded by Diosadado Macapagal of Pampanga, who, unfortunately, also found himself incapable of performing any real changes due to Marcos’ martial law that was declared and put into place in September 1972.

As if being subject to martial law were not enough, the Convention was met with further obstacles. When several delegates happened to disappear, either due to their being placed in detention, hiding, or voluntary exile, it seemed as if nothing were to be done about the revisions. In addition to the persistent “suggestions” for provisions in the Constitution from President Ferdinand Marcos himself, the Convention approved its proposed Constitution of the Philippines on November 29, 1971. The following day, the President issued Presidential Decree No.73 setting the date of the plebiscite on January 15, 1973 for the ratification or rejection of the proposed Constitution. He then issued a contradictory General Order No. 20 postponing the scheduled referendum. Unbeknownst to the Constitutional Convention, the proposed Constitution had been approved according to the President’s Proclamation No. 1102. It announced that the proposed Constitution had been ratified on January 17 with an overwhelming vote of the members of the Citizen Assemblies, organized by Marcos himself through Presidential Decree No. 86. Although many petitions were sent to the Supreme Court for an appeal, it was conclusive that there were no obstacles in the way of the new Constitution.

Had the actual proposed Constitution of the Constitutional Convention had been approved, it would have established a parliamentary government in the Philippines, with the President as a Prime Minister but a ceremonial head of state. This, however, was not implemented as a result of the meeting held during January 10-15, 1972 by the Citizen Assemblies where an overwhelming majority rejected the convening of a National Assembly. The Citizen Assemblies continued to support President Ferdinand Marcos, agreeing that martial law should be continued and that the President’s “suggestions” to the Constitution be ratified in 1976. The suggested amendments included an Interim Batasang Pambansa (IBP) substituting for the Interim National Assembly, and the President becoming the Prime Minister with legislative powers until martial law was lifted. From 1972 until the convening of the Interim Batasang Pambansa in 1978, the President exercised absolute legislative powers.

The assembly of the Interim Batasang Pambansa was once again postponed through legislation, with Presidential Decree No. 995 creating the Batasang Bayan – a 132-member council that advised the President on important legislature measures – instead. Finally, on April 7, 1978, the first national election for 166 of the 208 seats of the Interim Batasan Pambansa took place. The major opposing camps were the regime’s Kilusang Bagong Lipunan (KBL) led by First Lady Imelda Marcos and Lakas ng Bayan (LABAN) led by Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino. Regardless of being able to run from his jail cell and promoting noise to be made in support of the opposition, Ninoy lost by a landslide to KBL. Of the 21 opposing candidates LABAN endorsed, none received a seat. The fraudulent Interim Batasang Pambansa now consisted of an entire committee committed to its new Prime Minister, President Ferdinand Marcos, convening on June 12, 1978.

♥ Jessel Villegas

01
Dec
09

Proclamation No. 1081

Proclamation No. 1081 was the official declaration of martial law by President Ferdinand Marcos at midnight on September 23, 1972 on live television. The declaration of martial law through Proclamation No. 1081 came amid a time during which an armed communist movement spearheaded by the NPA grew in villages across the Philippine countryside. Although not limited to just threats by communist rebels and Muslim fighters in Mindanao, President Marcos utilized the Cold War fear of communism spreading around the globe and in the region as a front from which to consolidate his power through martial law. One prominent claim Marcos used for implementing Proclamation No. 1081 was the attempted assassination of Minister of Defense, Juan Ponce Enrille, by alleged communist gunmen. However, after Marcos’ exile in 1986, Enrille would later admit that the car he was supposedly in was empty and fired at by his own men for Marcos’ benefit.

Proclamation No. 1081 contained a number of general orders which stipulated changes to the existing state of political and social life at the time. Among them was General Order No. 2 which gave the Marcos and the Secretary of National Defense the power to arrest, cause the arrest, and take into custody any individuals deemed a threat to the state. The cessation of habeas corpus led to the imprisonment and torture of 30,000 detainees within Philippine military and police installations. Among those detained were thousands of journalists, labor activists, student dissidents, as well as political opponents such as Senator Benigno Aquino. Other general orders were numbers 4 and 5, which respectively declared that a curfew be maintained from midnight to 4am, and that all protests, rallies, demonstrations, or group actions were prohibited. In addition, this atmosphere of a police state was enhanced by the pervasive censorship enforced by the government on newspaper and other media outlets.

The declaration of martial law by Marcos was predicated on his intended plan to build a “New Society” based on social and political values that would help the Philippines to rises to prominence like its neighbors South Korea and Taiwan. Among those programs Marcos sought to use to help build his New Society were land reform programs. However, the programs only served to place Marcos family members, friends, and loyal followers in charge, which only led to a consolidation of wealth and resources within the Marcos family circle. The result was the persisting poverty that plagues many Filipinos in the countryside. Such programs and orders contained in the Proclamation led to and foreshadowed years of abuse, censorship, torture, human rights violations, and disappearances for years to come. Despite the official end of martial law in 1981, the social and political climate during martial law remained intact, and change was only superficial. Proclamation No. 1081 is important in Philippine history in that it was the cause for the growing dissent within Filipino society, and the future People Power Revolution in 1986.

– Lex Duey

Newspaper headline of martial law being declared

President Marcos declaring martial law via live television on September 23, 1972

01
Dec
09

Maynila: Sa mga Kuko ng liwanag

The Film Maynila: Sa mga Kuko ng liwanag is the story of a young teenage boy who is finds himself in poverty, Julio Madiaga, a 21-year old traveling on a journey to find his long lost love, Ligaya who is in the city of Manila. While he searches for Ligaya he encounters several barriers. He loses the hope of ever finding her and even loses all of his money. He soon finds himself trying to find a job and hops from one job to another. As a construction worker he is succumbed to unfair labor practices and is forced to work with distrustful and impractical workers. When he loses his job he is forced to resort to gay prostitution. Throughout his search for his love he is transformed from a naïve boy to an angry man who aims for justice. Finally, he is able to find his love who confides in him her struggles in the hands of an illegal recruiter who set her up for white slavery. Ligaya, however, has a common-law husband, Ah-Tek. Ah-Tek is a rich Chinese-Filipino who owns his own brothel and keeps Ligaya as hostage. Julio and Ligaya plan an escape but Ah-Tek stops Ligaya by killing her. Julio then stabs Ah-Tek to death and then runs only to be hunted down and killed himself. In the end, Julio envisions himself in an afterlife where Ligaya is waiting for him.
[This film was consecutively given positive reviews. The local audiences raved that it was possibly one of the greatest Filipino films ever created and it was constantly placed in the top 100 films of all time.]
The origin of the film was based on the story by Edgardo Reyes and serialized in Liwayway Magazine from 1966-1967. In the episodes provided in the magazine Reyes provides enough information or incidents that allow for a reasonable conclusion that will entice the readers the read more.
This film contains many symbolisms. For instance, the character that Julio portrays relates to many Filipino men who struggle with the everyday living conditions that encompass the hard situations and suffering that is encountered continuously in the city. Moreover, in Julio we see an important virtue that shines “patience”. He demonstrates patience as he looks for his love all throughout the movie and even until the end when he sees himself in the afterlife.  Even the protagonist serves as an example, Ah-Tek. His name derives from the Filipino word atik which means “money”. He demonstrates the greed and selfishness that is often found in the city.
– Dora Alicia Gomez