By William M. Esposo (The Philippine Star)
The Catholic Church in our country is so messed up that it cannot...
Yesterday, SONA day, a few of us Freethinkers marched down Commonwealth as pregnant PNoys—enormous face masks, pillows for bellies, juggling plastic babies—to allude to the president’s negligence towards the passage of the Reproductive Health Bill. Our banner read, “PNoy, kung nabubuntis ka, ang RH batas na.” (PNoy, if you could get pregnant, RH would be a law by now.)
We wanted to point out that if our president could literally get pregnant, could experience first-hand the immense hardship so many Filipinas go through raising multiple children on a less-than-meager budget, he’d have stuck to his promise to speed up the long-delayed passage of the bill, and not be the dilly-dallying, passive-aggressive politician he’s being now. Give the man a uterus and see if he’ll still pander to the bullying bishops of the CBCP.
Later that day, my Facebook newsfeed tittered with reports that PNoy had actually expressed his desire to pass the RH Bill during his SONA. Media accounts and FB friends alike sang praises for the following sound byte:
“Ngayong paubos na po ang backlog sa textbooks, sana po ay maiwasan na rin ang backlog sa estudyante. Sa tingin ko po, responsible parenthood ang sagot dito.” (Now that our textbook backlog is growing smaller, I hope that we soon get to avoid a backlog in students as well. In my view, responsible parenthood is the answer to this.)
It was reported that this blip in his speech garnered the loudest and longest spell of applause in the entire event. Some present even gave him a standing ovation. People were ecstatic. People were claiming PNoy had finally put his foot down regarding RH.
But I don’t buy it. And neither should anyone else, most especially fellow pro-RH advocates.
By sneaking the term “responsible parenthood” into a statement about education, PNoy remains the dilly-dallying, passive-aggressive politician we’ve been frustrated with since RH became a LEDAC priority measure last year. Not only did he not elaborate as to why responsible parenthood—itself a watered-down, wishy-washy euphemism for reproductive health—would help with the student backlog, but he also worded the statement itself to be quite safe and retraction-friendly.
In his speech, responsible parenthood was a mere aside to a larger concern. Moreover, the phrase “sa tingin ko po” or “in my view,” wraps responsible parenthood in a sheath of self-confessed personal bias. (It’s just his own humble opinion; he’s definitely not setting anything in stone, so to all the anti-RH out there, don’t get all huffy just yet.)
Read the full article on the Filipino Freethinkers website.
4 May 2012, Quezon City – In solidarity with St. Theresa’s College’s (STC) move to sue the parents of the notorious “Bikini Four,” St. Ursula College of Kalookan-Annex (SUCKA) has filed over 1,000 cases against parents of its student population for also violating Republic Act No. 7610 a.k.a. the Anti-Child Abuse Law.
“After learning of this disgusting bikini incident, our school decided to perform background checks on its student population,” says SUCKA Executive Directress Sr. Cielo Baluyot…
Read the rest of this satirical press release at the Filipino Freethinker’s website
My heart has been a-flutter ever since I found your message to me this morning. How lovingly you have described me!
“These so-called atheists love with a great altruism, they really love their fellow man and even have a passion for justice and what is right and good. Those people really believe in God in their hearts, but they will not admit that.”
Rest assured that I have kept your sweet words in my bosom all day today, and truly, how they have kept me warm! In fact, the adept way you have traced out my true being has inspired me to do the same for you, my love. I apologize if the following does not accurately mirror your sentiments but, after all, I do not think anyone can truly match up to your eloquent reasoning. But enough of this meandering! Here I go:
If I were wont to describe you, my darling, I would have quite a few options at hand…
This is the group shot from the meetup last February 5:
There were over 80 attendees that afternoon, and our usual haunt at Starbucks Ansons Ortigas was barely able handle all of that sexiness. So, we felt it was high-time to try out a non-commercial venue the next time around, and what better place could there be to house a bunch of heathens for some sweet, sweet sacrilege than this –
For the following Sunday meetup, the Freethinkers went to church. But it was a very special one — the Holy Trinity Episcopal Church in Makati, which is the home church of FF’s Reproductive Health Advocacy Director Kenneth Keng and his family. The Episcopalians — basically the Anglican Church when set outside of England — are a more liberal bunch compared to Catholics. They have female and homosexual members in their clergy, and generally have a more progressive stance on social issues.
It’s very refreshing to see a church with a sense of humor.
Dear Butthurt Filipinos,
It has come to my attention that the executive branch of our government has recently asked for an apology from a Hollywood actor, as said actor has made quite public his disappointment with our country’s Customs officials, not knowing that the actual venue of his mishaps was our neighbor, Indonesia.
Now, the fact that said actor was referring to Indonesia is actually not that important. Because something tells me that even if the actor really did have an unsavory experience here in the Philippines, Malacanang and like-minded citizens would still hold out the dark, shredded ribbons of their heart to the rest of the world and demand repentance. They did it with Claire Danes, who is actually an excellent actor, and now they have done so with Taylor Kitsch, who is actually not.
Oh, Butthurt Filipinos, when will you quit being so butthurt about everything? I understand that all of us have the right to be offended, as all of us have the right to take certain ideas and principles with utmost seriousness and passion, but there are far more compelling things for us to be concerned with.
Over the past few years, I’ve evolved from a staunch carnivore to someone a bit more understanding of why some people shun eating meat. In fact, I was able to stay more or lesspescetarian for the good part of a year, up until I got sick of my very limited choices when eating out (bangus sisig, bangus sisig, calamares, bangus sisig, shrimp tempura, sizzling squid, bangus sisig, bangus sisig, bangus sisig, tuna sandwich, bangus sisig).
And while I am back to gorging on slaughterhouse stock for the time being, I can still grasp why those with far leafier diets choose to eat the way they eat, with a stance against animal cruelty and/or the desire for better health being the main reasons. For the sake of my own health, I do wish I were as disciplined (and rich) enough to go pure vegetarian for the long haul. (And damn it, longganisa, you sweet, garlicky temptress!)
This, then, is why I felt perturbed after watching the following commercial for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA):
Confused? Underwhelmed? A vague sense that you were somehow violated? Yeah, I felt those, too.
(If you can’t see the video here, check it out on Youtube.)
People for the Exposure of Tits and Asses
PETA has long been known for their provocative campaigns. Most everyone have seen the ads featuring naked celebrities with the caption, “I’d rather go naked than wear fur.” Also, the organization has long been caricatured as that angry little group of people throwing red paint at fur coats. These actions, among many others, have caused quite a backlash against PETA, for however good their intentions may be, accusations of being sexist, or sensationalist, or just plainasshole-y, are thrown in their direction quite often.
Read the full article on the Filipino Freethinkers website.
There’s this blog entry that’s been making the rounds lately, entitled “What Ateneans Do Wrong after Graduating,” and the further I read the piece, the more dismayed I felt. And it’s not just because the author drops more cliches than Paolo Coelho writing Rick Warren a yearbook dedication. While it is grating to read someone dispensing advice like achieving success by working hard and being nice to your boss, as if this thought never occurred to anyone else in all of human history, it is unfortunately more grating that the author has the gall to address the entry to all Ateneans in general.
Among the red lights were:
“[Ateneans] NEVER would want to report to someone who came from a school which they think is too low for their standards.”
“ARteneans always expect job to be convenient.”
“He used to have the Atenean attitude of being so mayabang, complaining too much…”
“We Ateneans always want the SHORT-CUT.”
“We Ateneans, are SO opinionated that we believe so much our opinion would change the course of the world.”
“I hope I wouldn’t be bashed for this post. You know naman some Ateneans love correcting grammar and seeing faults on the opinion of others.”
She signed the end of the post with AMDG.
Now, if you think I’m going to continue this piece by defending the Atenean community with vigor, invoking my magises and halikinus over a blue and white flame, you are wrong.
I wasn’t irked by the fact that Ateneans were generalized so negatively. What irked me was that there was generalization going on in the first place, that some people continue to box others in according to what school they came from when, in truth, it is glaringly obvious that all people are different…
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not out to demonize a woman who has obviously done loads for maternal and reproductive health. At 54 years old, Robin Lim has helped thousands of poverty-stricken Indonesian women to experience a healthy pregnancy and to safely give birth, and for that, she most certainly deserves to be hailed as this year’s CNN Hero.
As a rabid supporter of the passage of the local Reproductive Health (RH) Bill, it gladdens me to know that a person has actually built her life around providing the poorest of mothers with prenatal and postpartum care, birth services, and breast-feeding support — and has done so for free. Her Yayasan Bumi Sehat Foundation has done more for reproductive health in a single day than the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) has done in, well, ever. I seriously wish that there were more people as passionate and take-charge about the cause as she is.
Here we go again, Inquirer
What doesn’t sit well with me, however, is how the media is playing up the fact that she is an advocate of “alternative medicine.” I’m giving the stink eye to the Philippine Daily Inquirer, in particular, because as far as I know, CNN and other news outfits have yet to mention the words “hilot,” “alternative,” “homeopathy,” and “herbal medicine” in its features of Lim, whereas the Inquirer has been practically framing her as the poster woman for “No Therapeutic Claims,” and actually sees this love for quackery as a good thing. (Incidentally, FF has had quite a beef with the Inquirer’s integrity, as can be read here, here, here, and here.)
Take note that Lim was awarded mainly for her outstanding efforts to practice and promote safe birthing. CNN as the awarding body did not bestow her the honor because she felt that “there should be a reinvention of the health-care system by including holistic medicine such as acupuncture, homeopathy, herbal medicine and physiotherapy.” If that were actually the case, then Deepak “Quantum Mysticism” Chopra should have been crowned President of the fucking Universe ages ago
Sensationalism is the culprit here, I think. It is this horrid excuse for journalism that possibly encouraged the Inquirer’s writers to play up the “alternative medicine” angle. In line with local media’s never-ending, unnerving campaign for this thing called “Pinoy pride,” there’s a good chance that this facet of the half-Filipino Lim was highlighted because her traditional healing background was the most “Filipino” of her qualities. This nation is, after all, known for its folkloric herbal concoctions and its faith healers, never mind that these concoctions can’t hold a candle to actual lab-developed drugs, and that these healers are money-grubbing quacks of the highest order. (This broadsheet has, unsurprisingly, had a history of publishing scientifically unsound things like “miracles” as fact, so there’s that.)
The LGBT Pride March is one of the happiest days of the year for me.
Last year’s march, when my boyfriend and I suited up as Buttman and his Ladyboy Wonder, was great. It was one of my first major events with the Filipino Freethinkers, and the first time I ever photobombed a fundie and made out in public. FF even won Best Theme that night, although what our theme actually was still remains a mystery, even to us. Whatever it was, it was rewarding enough to be part of the celebration and show our love for the LGBT community. And make out in public.
A year later and FF is still putting the ‘fun’ in ‘fundie.’ We had a solid theme this time around: No Bigots, No Closets. We wanted to express our support for the newly established yet increasingly influential Philippine LGBT Hate Crime Watch, as well as the passage of the anti-discrimination bill. (As of this writing, the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines wants the bill stripped of its gay rights provisions, which is downright stupid and incredibly infuriating.)
The team put together three closet costumes and named them Dogma, Authority, and Tradition, then had one FF-er march in each, acting out their discomfort and despair (which wasn’t that hard, since they were, you know, in a box). We also had our usual Bigot Bishops, and was also blessed with the presence of none other than our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Once fundies were spotted on the route, these characters came a-runnin’ and made fresh batches of epic photobomb goodness. Good times all around.
Read the rest of the article in the Filipino Freethinkers website.
(To read the original open letter, click here.)
To the editors of the Philippine Daily Inquirer –
I didn’t think I would be sending a letter again to you so soon, but I’m afraid your response to my previous one left me—and likely a lot of your other readers—a bit cold, and with quite a lot more to ask. To recap, your response was a single line that read:
“We suggest that De Leon read the editorial more closely for its main message.”
Now, I will pretend that this response is not the wholly unsatisfactory—and, dare I say, smugly self-satisfied—response that I think it is, and actually take your suggestion seriously. So now, I have just re-read the editorial again as closely as I could, and I’m sorry to say that I still don’t understand why this issue and how it was discussed became a worthy main editorial.
Allow me to comment on your piece in detail:
Paragraph one introduces Calungsod and his impending canonization, describing the supposed “miracle” he was responsible for.
Now, I would like to think that seasoned journalists such as yourself would have developed a very keen sense of what is factual and backed up by evidence, and what is not. I would like to think that people in your line of work are able to take things such as miracles with a grain of salt. However, your editorial started off describing the miracle with a straight face, so to speak, and that is quite troubling for me. What other evidence-less things do you not only take for granted, but are more than willing to broadcast to the public as the “truth?”