Ingredients of the word include indio, indolence, violence, and other word condiments you may find appropriate (ask NutriAsia later). Amounts of each may vary, depending on one’s taste and upbringing. Matapobres have only vituperated the poor, in many ways; the point however is to co-opt them, or wipe them out. To do so, matapobres of assorted stripes can do no less than ridicule not just the poor’s “diskarte” but also their solidarity, or patronizingly single out not just emblematic rags-to-riches stories of diligence but also scabs, dissidents, and “surrenderees” that badmouth collective acts of protest, whether unarmed or otherwise, in exchange for temporary relief.

Short-term visions of such rats endanger the workforce in particular and the struggling people in general, as strategies for “easy money” these days hardly make ends meet. A ten-thousand-peso budget for a family of five may be sufficient, if each member feeds on delusions induced by rugby and/or frequents anatopian trips (to Naga and Norwegia) sponsored by the Presidential Communications and Operations Office (PCOO). The estimated “decent” wage of National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) seems fair, but it somehow contradicts Tatay Digong’s war against drugs and crimes. NEDA’s genius calculation is a no-brainer. Our brilliant senators have said enough smartass remarks about it.

One needs “sidelines,” some of which are far from “legal” — especially in the advent of the celebrated TRAIN (Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion Law) that further drives people towards drastic measures. Expecting his wife to give birth soon, a desperate man who caught exotic birds found a connoisseur via facebook; seconds after the street transaction that he thought was successful, undercover cops chased and caught him. The news was unironically aired during fathers’ day — a framing by corporate media that is neither new, nor unique. At least, the selected soundbite uttered by the poacher implied how harsh health services are. But this will not matter in a few seconds, as an expert will name the birds’ scientific names and make viewers realize that the ignorant father-to-be tried to make money out of endangered species.

The short news clip reified the good-for-nothing poacher as a lesser object; a common thief, who would rather hunt rare birds than work hard, deserves the consequences executed by the iron hand of the law. So do parasitic squatters and indolent unionists, right? No? Well, some children of Tatay Digong (and, oftentimes, even their sworn enemies: the “yellowtards”) think so. They tell the militant sectors to go home and work — ignoring the fact that the urban poor collectively demands everyone’s right to housing (emphasis: no home) and the working class collectively demands humane working conditions, wage increase, and regularization (emphasis: no work). What are mistaken as excuses for indolence — occupying and picketing — actually takes a lot of hard work, from discussing the issues at hand, to organizing and mobilizing for protest actions.

For instance, gathering data about idle housing projects and determining what unit goes to which family requires, not just time and patience, but also leadership and compliance to organizational discipline. If you think that simply by being “lazy” and “entitled,” a “horde” can “takeover” a territory meant for armed state forces then think of your office work place or your days as a student working on group projects: a team of five or ten people is already difficult to manage. More often than not, there are freeloaders. The more (or less) freeloaders, the more (or less) the group is likely to fail. Same with the Philippine society, but there’s a catch: the actual “entitled” leeches, the privileged few get away with it. By the way, congratulations to hapless Marcos cronies who have been persecuted by the Filipino people for quite a long time. Quite an inspiration to wretched crooks.

What did Kadamay (Kalipunan ng Damayang Mahihirap), the militant urban poor group, get by confronting the housing crisis last week? Besides the shoot-to-kill order of Tatay Digong, (1) the ire of the fellow lower classes who still believe in the dignity of contractual labor, (2) the online scorn of the middle classes who prefer polite dialogues, and (3) the blame of NutriAsia and the police for the violence between its workers and the police. According to bulatlat, NutriAsia workers went on strike due to illegal termination, among other grave working conditions: only 100 out of 1,400 workers are regularized, while most remain contractual, overworked (12 to 20 hours a day), and underpaid (P340 per 8 hours).

Last June 14, at least 200 forces of Marilao Police violently broke the picketline, which was formed and strengthened again by workers after two days. As expected, the police chief of Bulacan (formerly of Caloocan), Chito Bersaluna denies the overkill and appeals to emotion, saying that five of his men were hurt as they exercised maximum tolerance during the dispersal.

Strikes and other forms of protest actions (such as the urban poor’s “occupy” and the peasant sectors’ “bungkalan”) are neither idle bonding moments nor leisurely walks in the park, but actions that require a principled solidarity with fellow workers and advocates from other sectors, with each working on particular tasks within a schedule or a coordinated plan of action. Far from the indolence that Rizal himself dissected and criticized in his essay, “Sobre la indolencia de los filipinos,” where he proposed “education” and “liberty” as solutions.

On Tuesday, June 19, Rizal transcended into an international hero as his life was re-told in manga; an offering to the dead, perhaps, for his 157th birthday. The nation oozed with Filipino pride (but not to the Manny Pacquaio extent). However, the incense smells like the gunpowder smoke of identity politics of the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere back in the World War II. A part of the press release reads: “‘What does it mean to be a Filipino?’ / ‘Is it possible to incite change through knowledge and not violence?’ / He thought of those every day.” Take note and reflect, PNP and AFP. With the on-going war against the poor, resorting to idle chatter about the futility of resistance is nothing more than loafing around and loitering. Again, take note, PNP and arrest those tambays (who might be lurking in your mirrors).

Sloths with slipshod reasoning preach that knowledge and violence are mutually exclusive, as if police brutality in urban areas and militarization in rural communities were not meant to teach a lesson: that of servility, a collective nostalgia of us, as the lowlander indios we used to be.

Up the mountains and deep within the hinterlands, strongholds are being fortified by no less than poorest of the poor, together with other classes who left their comfortable lives to work for a more sustainable future. No one has the right to deny them of the right to do so; they govern and defend themselves because the government fails to do the work of caring and nurturing its people.

Some men of God even arm themselves, in the spate of the death of at least three priests. Is your Tatay Digong continuing Rizal’s anti-clerical legacy and taking it to another level? The least he can do is order a ceasefire in his war against the poor, and talk with toiling sectors he took for granted in exchange of “easy money” for build, build, build. If he isn’t busy harassing and threatening women (another extreme practice of Rizal’s values), he should indeed focus combatting the “social ills” that continue to plague the country, and letting Marcos cronies get away with ill-gotten wealth and arresting “tambays” on Rizal’s birthday seems like a lethargic start. (davaotoday.com)

  • Gustav Lukacs

    nakakagising at this time of the night/morn. Mabuhay ka, Tilde!

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