Friday, May 14, 2010

ARE YOU STILL A VIRGIN? (March 08, 2010)

As a voter, that is!
If yes, you are one of the 5 million first-timers who will troop to 75,471 precincts clustered all over the country come May 10.
With other 50,086,054 registered ones, we will try and test if we ourselves are compatible with the Precinct Count Optical Scan machine in choosing our leaders.
We will be selecting our 15th president, among others, during this first national computerized elections in the country.
Indeed, we are dealing with our future, rather futuristically, but not in the Marinetti tradition!
Figures show that 70% of the voting population are below 39 years old.
Last month, we got an invitation from Philippine Educational Theater Association (PETA)'s executive director, Melvin Lee, through Jennifer Bautista, the program coordinator of Casting Call: The Virgin’s Voters’ Campaign I Want My Vote to Count.
We were tasked to speak in a forum on The Role of Language, Media and Education in Cultural and Social Transformation towards Responsible Voting.
With National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) Commissioner Elmar Ingles and International Institute for Film and Arts (IIFA) vice-president Dennis Marasigan, we flew to Tagbilaran – without Sentro ng Wikang Filipino director Jovy Peregrino -- but with a similar mission of educating, inspiring, and mobilizing Filipino youth to participate in the elections and in good governance.
PETA's vision, too, is to raise the power of one enlightened, impassioned young ones to the millions.
Last February 24, teen-age actors Aron Ching, Joanna Katanyag, Gian Carlo Enriquez, with sisters Faye and Tricia Husena (alternating with Jason Barcial, Lucia David, Elinor dela Cruz, Angelica Heruela, and Ada Tayao) introduced some 100 greenhorn Boholanos and Boholanas to an interactive play.
Entitled Bagong Bilang, it is about 18-year old Betty who decides to register and vote against her own parents' wishes. She meets the Barangay Captain wannabes: Kuya Mandy D. Igma (who advocates youth empowerment), Mara Rosas (who promises to give new jobs to alleviate the problem of unemployment), and Ron-Ron Ugat (whose flagship platform is gender equality). A born-leader, she even takes an active role in putting together the miting de avance by inviting other members of the community – meaning, the audience -- who have the chance to ask the candidates about their platform for governance. Betty and friends will eventually install a new Barangay Captain. After awhile, they discover that nothing has changed so they themselves will search for a way to better their situations. In the end, will Betty, the new Barangay Captain, and the entire community realize what good governance is really all about?
The workshop is framed within the said storyline with scenes and situations that give the chance for everyone to experience a process of discussion, reclaim their creative expressions, safeguard their rights and ultimately urge them to collective action.
At the Bohol Cultural Center, we discovered a lot of unpolished jewels who added to their acting skills their talents in singing:
Pagbabago ay ating makakamtan /
Tayong lahat /
Ang Bagong Bilang ng bayan.
In the afternoon, we delivered our lecture Paglilingkod Bilang Pagtitiwala in
between Commissioner Ingles' A Culture-based Guide to Voting in the 2010 National and Local
Elections and Prof. Marasigan's Understanding the Role of Mass Media.
And then the much-awaited mock election a la noontime show was held in which Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III topped Manuel “Manny” Villar and Gilbert “Gibo” Teodoro.
Since we were in the Lutgardo Labad country (where Cesar Montano is running for governor) our trip would be incomplete if it was not down history lane – from Day 1 with his theater group based at Maribojoc Watchtower where the Punta Cruz Cultural Collective staged Reigh Monreal's pangalay-filled play Tawag sa Bantayan until Day 3 with the Center for Culture and Arts Development's “self-study” with Prof. Marianito Luspo in a roothouse at the back of the Church of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception, which was built after Fr. Juan de Torres and Fr. Gabriel Sanchez first settled in Baclayon in 1595!
The following Saturday, back in Manila, we watched Phil Noble-directed Si Juan Tamad, Ang Diyablo, at Ang Limang Milyong Boto with our kids.
Our 12-year old Psalma was so hesitant to come with Wika, 10, and Sulat, 5.
She thought it was just another folk tale with a twist.
However, after two hours of amusement and amazement (that ought to win Aliw Awards or PHILSTAGE Gawad Buhay Awards) our panganay became aware of the Vincent de Jesus' music and magic, more than our bunso, who happily felt they were mere willing victims inside a madhouse with a method!
Well, that's what PETA is for.
While we are all preoccupied with raising public awareness on the electoral process, others like Riya Brigino and Eloi Hernandez have been busy lately with raising funds for PETA artist Dr. Brenda Fajardo's heart bypass operation.
Everyone is invited to a benefit dinner for the heart – Ang Gaga -- on March 16, 7 p.m., at the Upper East restaurant, Ground Floor, NDC Building, 116 Tordesillas Street, Salcedo Village in Makati City.
Our Ina, who is also scheduled for nephrectomy on the same day, suggested to help Dr. Fajardo by buying her Mujer Indigena paintings based on our epic published by the University of the Philippines Press.
U.P. Press launched National Artist Virgilio Almario's book Muling-Pagkatha sa Ating Bansa last March 5 at the U.P. Pulungang Recto via a Panayam Bulawan.
Its first-ever lecturer was College of Social Science and Philosophy dean Zosimo Lee, a certified virgin in writing a paper in Filipino, concluded his Ang Pagbuo ng Katwirang Bayan: “Sa pang-kabuuan, ang pagbibigay-halaga sa katwiran at katarungan ay malaki ang papel sa pagkatha ng bayan. Hindi maiaalis ang kahalagahan ng mga ito. Saka lamang kung mayroong katwiran at katarungan, at iba pang mga mahalagang elemento ng lipunan, masasabi natin na tayo ay nakapaglikha ng isang mabuting lipunan.”
Before Prof. Romulo Baquiran could do his reactor's job, another dean, Dr. Mario Miclat of Asian Center, was able to prove his point: “Malakas ang naging dating sa ating hiraya ng mga sinulat nina Rizal, Jacinto, Bonifacio, Mabini at iba pa dahil sa mapagbuong hamon ng kapakanan ng bayan. Malamang na hindi nila mahuhuli ang imahinasyon nating kapilipinuhan kung ang binigyang-diin nila ay ang mapanghating tawag ng tunggalian ng mahirap at mayaman.”
More than 15 years ago, when we began teaching in college, we witnessed a typical election of officers that was dominated by freshies mostly wearing braces and other orthodontic appliance.
Intrigued, we asked them why.
Almost in unison, the majority of the class justified their votes: “E kasi po mukhang lahat sila ay mayayaman.”
Do you share the same old katwirang bayan?
TEXT SUPPORT: A snail can sleep for three years.
THE GOOD THING: Saying nothing lessen the tendency to hurt others. THE BAD THING: You realize how keeping quiet hurts you.

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