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Showing posts from May, 2010

Loving a nation

BY Danton Remoto
Remote Control
May 31, 2010

It has its deep roots sunk many, many years ago. For me, it was when we kicked out a homegrown dictator in February of 1986. Millions massed on an avenue that would later spawn malls and mega-malls. But then it was just an avenue that linked the metropolis from north to south, suddenly becoming a symbol for a revolution powered by the people.

It was on the same week that I received a letter from a university in the American Midwest, telling me that I had been accepted into their Master of Fine Arts program in Creative Writing. The offer was sweet: free tuition and fees, plus a teaching assistantship to tide me over for the next two years. I had been working for two years at the Batasang Pambansa (Interim National Assembly), editing the unimaginable prose of our dear assemblymen.

But to leave meant to leave family and country. Family was okay, since my father had required us to be taught the household chores (cooking, cleaning …

Goodbye Koala Bear, Hello Nico

Good-bye ‘Koala Bear,’ ‘Hello Nico’

by Rey E. Requejo
Manila Standard Today
May 29, 2010

The Department of Justice will not prioritize election irregularities exposed by an informer better known to the public as “Koala Bear.” Instead, it will look into the so-called “Hello Nico” scandal and supposedly questionable compact flash cards used in the May 10 elections.

Justice Secretary Alberto Agra stressed that the so-called “Koala Bear” controversy will be looked into, but only to verify his role in the elections.

“On the side lang yun just to verify his involvement. That’s not a priority. That will be taken care of by NBI [National Bureau of Investigation],” he said.

“We are doing this for the Comelec. We are still in the election period until June 30 so that NBI, our prosecutors, and PNP are acting as deputies of the Comelec,” Agra added.

The Commission on Elections said it has already identified the person behind the allegations of“Koala Bear.”

“We already know who is behind him. He is a losin…

Disqualification case filed against leading party list group

5/26/2010 | 06:58 PM
Disqualification case filed against leading party list group

A disqualification case has been filed with the Commission on Elections (Comelec) against leading party-list group Ako Bicol Political Party for allegedly failing to represent a marginalized sector.

The group’s disqualification was sought because Ako Bicol is supposedly a "front of wealthy tycoons preying on the regionalistic sentiments" of poor and marginalized Bicolanos, petitioners said in an 18-page motion filed on Wednesday.

Petitioners include Marites Corteza-Lopez, Mae Ann Michelle Villagomez, Michael Malano, Ferdinand Gaite, and Alexander Remollino.

Corteza-Lopez, Villagomez, Malano, Gaite, and Remollino claim to be "advocates" of clean elections. Corteza-Lopez and Villagomez also claim to be Bicolanos.

Gaite is also the president of the Confederation for the Unity, Recognition, and Advancement of Government Employees (Courage), which is a member orga…

Catholic Church hinders growth of public intellectuals in RP -- expert

Catholic Church hinders growth of public intellectuals in RP --expert
By Purple S. Romero,
Posted at 05/28/2010 5:26 PM | Updated as of 05/28/2010 5:34 PM

MANILA, Philippines--Influential sectors or "veto groups" have stymied public intellectuals in Southeast Asia, an authority on nationalism said on Friday in the forum of Nippon Foundation Fellowships for Asian Public Intellectuals held at the Ateneo de Manila University.

Benedict Anderson, professor emeritus of International Studies in Cornell University, pointed out that public intellectuals are concerned not just with meddling governments, they are also “up against veto groups,” or influential sectors which immediately block policies or ideas that either go against their belief, or question their power.

Public intellectuals are experts in various fields who help shape public discourse and introduce reforms. They are those who frequently appear in the media to comment on newsworthy issues.

In the Phi…

Juana Change: Some Noynoy insiders don't wanna change

Special Reports
Juana Change: Some Noynoy insiders don’t wanna change
05/27/2010 | 05:29 PM

No fictional character has been more identified with the nation’s recent tumultuous politics than Juana Change, the plump and funny firebrand who became a flesh-and-blood avatar for the anti-Arroyo mood among many performing artists.

During Noynoy Aquino’s run for the presidency, the neon-haired activist became a political campaigner, entertaining his large crowds with her brand of comic relief. In the process, she became a symbol for the volunteerism that famously animated the Aquino campaign.

But most recently, she was cited by pro-Aquino columnist Conrado de Quiros as a symbol for the seething discontent of “Yellow Army" volunteers who, in the wake of victory, now feel shunted by the political professionals more identified with the Liberal Party and by the Arroyo administration alumni who were very visible in the Aquino campaign.

Juana Change warns Noynoy Aquino that …

Aftermath: The Future for Ang Ladlad

I have never shed any tears for this election, just now, after reading this piece written by Ang Ladlad's second nominee, Atty. Germaine Leonin. And it is not just my dream, but the dream belongs to all of us.

The Board of Trustees of Ang Ladlad has also chosen its new set of officers. I am happy to report that I am no longer chairman of Ang Ladlad. A new set of younger leaders will take over from where we have left off.

I am now ready to prepare for my journey for the senatorial elections of 2013. Watch us make our moves ;-)

Aftermath: The Future for Ang Ladlad
By Atty. Germaine Trittle Leonin

By and large, I believe AngLadlad and the Filipino LGBT Community won a great battle in this past elections. While AngLadlad’s real story began in 2006 (when it first applied for partylist accreditation and got denied by COMELEC for failing to show its national membership), it was the last six months prior to the May 10, 2010 elections which proved most significant to its ultimate aspiration of …

The politics of pork

By Liling Magtolis Briones / Boiled Green Bananas
Business Mirror, Sunday, 23 May 2010 20:48

The rallying cry of the Noynoy-for-President campaign was “No to corruption!” It was a campaign line which many Filipinos responded to. Many voted for him on the assumption that he would take concrete steps against corruption. Now that the elections are over, those who voted for him are asking how he can fulfill his campaign promise of “no to corruption” even as he seeks answers to the formidable challenges confronting his administration.

Challenges to the new administration

As the day of Noynoy’s inauguration draws near, the media have been trying to identify the challenges to his administration. Speculations are rife about the composition of his Cabinet, especially his economic team. I myself have been interviewed by the media on what awaits Noynoy’s presidency. The list is long. The rebuilding of government institutions is a difficult challenge. During the past decades, many of the institut…

Fil-Am transgender sues Macy's for discrimination

Fil-Am transgender sues Macy’s for discrimination
Balitang America
Posted at 05/22/2010 1:36 PM | Updated as of 05/22/2010 1:36 PM

CALIFORNIA - A Filipino American is suing her former employer Macy’s department store for wrongful termination and discrimination.

For close to 3 years, Filipino American Jason “Jazz” Araquel, Jr. was at employee at the Macy’s store in the Del Amo Fashion Center in Torrance, California. Araquel is a pre-operative male to female transgender, which Macy’s management knew when she was hired in 2006.

Araquel, who worked in the cosmetics department, was fired in September last year for alleged insubordination and use of foul language. Araquel then filed a lawsuit claiming she was wrongfully terminated, alleging that she was a victim of gender identity discrimination, according to Araquel’s attorney Kelly Chen.

Araquel claims that throughout her employment at Macy’s, she experienced ongoing verbal abuse, being ejected from the women’s restroom, was …

Are young Pinoy gays the new face of AIDS in RP?

Special Reports

Are young Pinoy gays the new face of AIDS in RP?
12/02/2009 | 07:54 PM

It started with a cough that never went away. Then came a sore that never seemed to heal. After days of fervent worrying, Paul (not his real name) decided not to see his regular doctor anymore. He proceeded to have an HIV test.

The 23-year-old call center agent had heard stories about a colleague who always got sick and never seemed to get better. “He contracted the flu one month, then pneumonia several weeks later. It was unusual," Paul said.

Upon the advice of a doctor, the office mate went to a clinic and had his blood screened for the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV). A week later, the bad news came: he tested positive for the virus.

When Paul found out about his colleague, he knew he needed to be tested immediately. After all, he was the perfect fit for the profile of high-risk individuals for HIV and Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS): a young gay man …

Filipino writer sees book as his anti-closet

Ang Ladlad will sponsor the launching of the Philippine edition of God Loves the Bakla this Sunday, 6-8 pm, at Cafe Adarna, Kalayaan Avenue near Matalino Street, Quezon City. Come one, come all! The most controversial book of the year!

Filipino writer sees book as his anti-closet
Thursday, 13 May 2010 15:00 Douglas Long
The Phom Penh Post

IN March 2000 Pope John Paul II publicly asked God’s forgiveness for the sins of Roman Catholics through the ages. Among the crimes against humanity alluded to by the pope were the Crusades, the Inquisition, and the church’s silence in the midst of the deportation of Jews from Rome by the Nazis.

Also on the laundry list of those victimised by the Catholic Church were ethnic groups, which John Paul II admitted had endured “contempt for their cultures and religious traditions”, and women, who were “all too often humiliated and marginalised”.

There was one notable word, however, that did not pass the pope’s lips in the course of his apology: homosexua…

Most Asian gays vulnerable to AIDS -- report

HONG KONG: More than 90 percent of gay men in the Asia-Pacific region don’t have access to HIV prevention and care services, as levels of the disease soar to “alarming levels,” a United Nations report said on Monday.

The study, conducted by the UN Development Programme (UNDP), said that discriminatory laws in many countries are exacerbating the “critical situation” with abuse and human-rights violations are commonplace.

“If countries fail to address the legal context of the epidemic, this already critical situation is likely to become worse,” said the report jointly produced with the Asia Pacific Coalition on Male Sexual Health.

Many national HIV policies now accord a priority to men who have sex with men, the report said, “even though the legal environment remains repressive.”

“HIV prevalence has reached alarming levels among men who have sex with men and transgender populations in many countries of Asia and the Pacific,” the report said.

The high-risk group, which includes homosexuals an…

Gloria's delusion

May 16, 2010
Gloria’s delusion

‘Conscience will have nothing to do with the inevitable shift in the loyalty of the erstwhile allies of Gloria.’

RARELY do we agree with Gloria Arroyo’s apple polishers, but this time we are with presidential spokesman Ricardo Saludo when he said Noynoy Aquino must be kidding when he said Gloria Arroyo, not Kris Arroyo, should go on self-exile. Noynoy was commenting on a promise of Kris during the campaign that she would leave the country if her presence became a liability to her brother’s presidency.

Our reason, however, is nothing remotely related to Saludo’s claim that Arroyo cannot leave because she has a duty to fulfill her mandate as an incoming Pampanga congressman. Gloria should stay – nay, be prevented from leaving the country – so she could face the charges the incoming administration is readying against her.

Noynoy ran on the platform of anti-corruption. That promise must be redeemed. Gloria and her family must not be allowed to …

How dark horse Binay surged ahead in the VP race

By David Dizon
May 12, 2010

MANILA, Philippines - "Under-the-radar" campaigning and a crucial endorsement by Sen. Francis Escudero a month before the polls helped Makati Mayor Jejomar Binay negate the popularity of vice-presidential frontrunners Mar Roxas and Loren Legarda to sprint ahead in the race, a political strategist said Wednesday night.

Campaign strategist Malou Tiquia, who helped steer Roxas to a successful senatorial campaign in 2007, said Binay and his running mate, former President Joseph Estrada, took advantage of their "underdog" status to wage a low-key campaign that helped strengthen their support base for the May election.

"What afforded them the chance to do the sprint was media wasn't paying attention. There wasn't much attention on the two. There were not as many stories about Erap especially the fact that he was convicted of plunder but still allowed to run," Tiquia said in an ANC interview.

The political strate…

Gay political party competes in Phil elections

Gay political party competes in Philippines elections

For the first time, Ang Ladlad, or "Out of the Closet," vies for three congressional seats set aside for minority groups.
By Nancy-Amelia Collins — Special to GlobalPost

Ang Ladlad, the Philippines' gay political party, participated in national elections this week for the first time. They are vying for three congressional seats allotted to minority groups. If they win, first on their agenda is to re-file the anti-discrimination bill. Here, Filipinos display placards that say "Pass the anti-discrimination bill" during a lesbian and gay parade in Manila, Dec. 8, 2007. (Romeo Ranoco/Reuters)Enlarge Photo

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines' gay political party participated in the country's national elections for the first time this week, seeking to raise the profile of gay rights in this predominantly Roman Catholic country.

“It's like a national coming out!” said Danton Remoto, founder of Ang Ladlad, …

Gay political party competes in Phil elections

Gay political party competes in Philippines elections

For the first time, Ang Ladlad, or "Out of the Closet," vies for three congressional seats set aside for minority groups.
By Nancy-Amelia Collins — Special to GlobalPost
Published: May 11, 2010 06:47 ET
Page 2 of 2

Mike Tan, chairman of the University of the Philippines Diliman's anthropology department said that although people in the Philippines are known for their tolerance of gays, tolerance alone is not enough.

“On one hand there is this superficial tolerance, but we know there's a lot of repression and discrimination in the work place," said Tan. “It's not enough to have tolerance, you need to have the rights of the LGBT community ensured through formal institutions.”

And that's the first thing on Ang Ladlad's agenda if they win.

“The first thing we will do is re-file the anti-discrimination bill," said Remoto. “We will join with other progressive groups to get the numbers. This bill is crucial…

Batting for equal rights

By Bong Austero
Manila Standard Today
Monday, April 26, 2010

Adding color, in so many ways, to the May 2010 elections is the participation of Ang Ladlad—the political party of lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgendered people. Ang Ladlad is vying for a seat in Congress through the party-list system. The journey was long and challenging.

We think we are more tolerant and accepting of sexual minorities as supposedly exemplified by the few reported cases of violence directed at lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgendered people. I stress the word “reported” because in reality, there’s a lot of violence directed at members of the community, they have become almost normal and natural. One has to be utterly blind or deaf not to know that most parents, “macho” fathers in particular, or elder male siblings, tend to subject younger members of their families into various forms of physical violence to force them to “straighten up.” There’s also a lot of abuse—ranging from psychological, verbal, and…

Painting the town pink

The Manila Times
May 8, 2010
The Single Files

I first met Danton Remoto in Bali at an international AIDS conference (ICAAP9) last year. I was attending as a media scholar and he was attending as the Communications Officer for the UNDP (United Nations Development Program).

We sat beside each other in the pressroom while I was reviewing the slides for a presentation. I was going to make about campaigning for safer sex in the Philippines.

One slide in my presentation included a European condom commercial. The commercial had, ehem, distinct sounds of people in the midst of copulating and not knowing that the volume of my computer was turned up rather high, I had inevitably filled the newsroom with sounds of moans and groans. It sent the otherwise busy journalists pounding away at their keyboards, giggling.

Danton, who was beside me, was also laughing. He introduced himself to me as I scrambled to lower the volume and profusely apologize to everyone in the newsroom for disturbing th…

CNN: Philippine gay party on ballot for first time

Philippine gay party on ballot for the first time
By Elizabeth Yuan, CNN
May 9, 2010 -- Updated 0152 GMT (0952 HKT)


* Ang Ladlad has five nominees, with the Anti-Discrimination Bill at top of agenda
* It would criminalize discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity
* Same-sex marriage and gender recognition bill are absent from platform
* Supreme Court ruled last month that elections commission must register Ang Ladlad

(CNN) -- A gay political party will be on the ballot Monday for the first time in the Philippines, where eight out of 10 households are Roman Catholics.

The elections will determine whether Ang Ladlad ("Out of the Closet") -- which represents lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender Filipinos (LGBT) -- will get the maximum three seats allowable for a marginalized or underrepresented party in Congress.

"We consider it a milestone in Philippine human rights," said Leila De Lima, head of the Commission o…