Tag Archives: Philippine society

Pattern of Settlement and Colonization

By Kert

(Image via John’s Thoughts and Deeds)

The coming of the Europeans in Southeast Asia caused a lot of changes especially when they started colonizing the polities that used to compose the present-day Southeast Asia. They imposed laws, organizations, rules, hegemonies and ideologies which were mostly alien to the Southeast Asians of the time.

The pattern of settlement is perhaps the most greatly affected by the colonization. And with this, the changes in other matters followed – such as transformations in leadership, intensification of the effects of imposing a new religion by the colonizers, and even groups were separated because of this.

So how was pattern of settlement changed? Territories were clearly demarcated by the Europeans for they divided Southeast Asia then among themselves. Groups were moved from their original settlement – some were forced to come down from the mountains, some were removed from their homes and villages and some were lumped together in places with other groups which result into conflict and disputes.

In the Philippines, this can be clearly observed in the Spanish implementation of reduccion. Centers were built by the Spanish and the landscapes were carefully planned. Indios – as they called the native Filipinos then – were removed from their houses and were forcibly resettled in the centers so they can be easily monitored and ideologies can be easily perpetuated. Confession and conversion to Christianity became easier for the Spanish within this set-up. Those who did not belong in the clear demarcation of the Spanish center’s territory was said to be barbaric.

Form of leadership is an example of the things changed during the colonization. With the change in patterns of settlement came the change in the form of kinship ties and leadership. In the center, not everyone is “family”. The “datu” or the headman is no longer a kin-member. The leader is no longer seen as “family” but someone who is superior and someone who could collect tax.

Change in patterns of settlement was transcendent as it affected many other things. The colonizers transformed it to suit their needs and to further subsume and extend their power towards the inhabitants of Southeast Asia.

*This was submitted as a minor requirement for SEA 30 (A.Y. 2010-2011), a general elective course in UP Diliman

RH Bill Wins on Final Reading

By Kert

(Image via Philippine Daily Inquirer)

Today I am happy because the Reproductive Health Bill (or RH bill, the bill that will make sure women have access to contraceptives, sex education and keep reproductive health in check) was approved on its final reading in the congress — 133 Yes, 79 No and 7 abstain. It is a historic event. It took a while before it’s been deliberated. There have been strong oppositions against it, especially from the church and the religious people.

I find it annoying how religion has to permeate in everything, even in public matters. Their reason for opposing the RH bill is that it goes against the teachings of the church and of God. “We should not prevent children from being born.” One bishop even attributed the recent disaster from Typhoon Bopha as an omen — that it’s God telling us the RH bill should not be passed.

There are a number of congressmen who agree with the church. During the deliberations, they claim that their championing the will of God in their vote because the RH bill is evil. Letting women die of childbirth — that is evil.

I agree with my friend who says “Pro-choice is pro-life”. Having the RH bill does not indict the people to adhere to it. It just gives people the choice and helps people as much as possible. People will still have the choice to do natural family planning, but they will also have the choice for alternatives. Yes, natural family planning works, but we also need other options.

Of course the RH bill will not solve poverty in the country. But it will indirectly affect it in a positive way through cutting down overpopulation. We don’t even have enough jobs as it is, what more if the population is doubled? In an interview with John Crawford, a professor in University of Sydney, he talks about how soil degradation is happening in a very fast rate. In 60 years, our topsoil will be so ruined that we might not be able to plant any more of our crops. There will be a shortage of food and economic crisis. One of the reasons for this soil degradation is overpopulation.

They think overpopulation will help the country’s economy as we “export” more OFWs. But they don’t see that it has more disadvantages than not.

The senate also approved the RH bill. Last time I checked, the vote was 13 for yes and 5 for no. One senator gave an endless tirade about how condoms will promote promiscuity. Seriously, people can still be promiscuous without condoms. It will help though in decreasing the chance for STDs.

Some people in the congress and senate should stop basing their decisions on their religious faith. The church shouldn’t even mingle with the affairs of the government. It is good though that the church realized today that they cannot totally manipulate the government. Why should they care about the bill, anyway? They’re not the bill’s target. And what do they know of being a woman?

The church should stop being so persistent. They can have their faith, but they shouldn’t shove it down people’s throats. Unless they want the Dark Age to happen here in our country.

Same sex marriage in the eyes of a teenage student

By Kert

(Image via Wikipedia)

Last week I came across the news publication of the high school where I used to study and now where I teach (I’m teaching in high school and college this semester). There was an article entitled “Same Sex Marriage” in the editorial page. Naturally, I was very interested to read it — “naturally” because I am interested in LGBTQ issues being a lesbian myself. I wanted to know what the younger generation thinks about the issue of same sex marriage. I had all hopes that their perceptions have moved away from discrimination and bigotry since our country is becoming more globalized and exposed to the different realities in this world.

The things I read  though, came as  a full shock to me.

The writer, a third year high school student probably around 14 or 15 years old, starts the article by explicitly stating that she is vehemently against gay marriage. What follows is a set of tirades posted as “arguments” as to why gay marriage is wrong and should therefore not be allowed.

Argument #1: God only created Man and Woman. He did not create gays and lesbians.

Argument #2: God created Eve to be with Adam only

Argument #3: Gays have sex, which leads to AIDS

Argument #4: Same sex marriage damages the sanctity of marriage because there’s no assurance that their relationship will last forever. A corollary to this is: Gay relationships don’t and can’t last because gays can’t have children with the same DNA as theirs.

Argument #5: Gays don’t have moral values and respect for religion.

Argument #6: Because gay relationship is against morality, it may lead to the deluge of the world as the youth will be “pushed” to do bad things.

Argument #7: Acceptance of gay marriage is a step towards the crumbling of moral values.

There are so many fallacies in her arguments that I just want to facepalm (for a lack of a better word) so hard. I don’t have to explain to those who are in their right mind why the arguments above are just completely wrong. But for those uninitiated, I will give a response to each argument.

Response #1: I don’t see why Christianity or any religion should matter when it comes to a person’s sexual orientation. But for the sake of argument, I would point out that there’s nothing written in the bible saying that the “Man” or the “Woman” can’t be gay or bi or trans or queer.

Response #2: Again, there’s nothing in the bible stating that a person cannot love whoever s/he wants. But wait! There’s Leviticus saying “You shall not lie with a man as one lies with a woman”. Well, it’s not about loving someone of the same gender. Also, we’re forgetting the context of this passage. There are many things in the bible that are no longer considered right and may be considered downright oppressive in today’s standards. For one, the bible says that women should be subordinate to men or that rape victims should marry their rapists. Remember that the bible was written hundreds of years ago in a very patriarchal society. More than the voice of God, the bible is the voice of the culture, the social environment and the time in which it was written. We have to be careful not to take it too literally. Oh and a little trivia, there are relationships in the bible that can be considered almost romantic, i.e. David and Jonathan, Ruth and Naomi.

Response #3: Almost everyone has sex, even straight people. Sex between gays don’t result to AIDS all the time. Also, straight people can have AIDS too, not just gays. Being gay is not the root cause of AIDS, unprotected sex is (and transfer of blood from unknown sources or in the case of Kenshin the Battousai, getting yourself cut while slashing another samurai who has AIDS)

Response #4: There’s no evidence that gay relationships don’t last for a long time. A lot of gays have monogamous relationships that last for a lifetime. Also, having children isn’t the only reason that couples stay together. It’s love and trust. When those two things break, people usually end up separating. This is also the case for heterosexual couples.

Response #5: Seriously, this is ridiculous. For one, religion doesn’t have the monopoly on morality. Also being gay, doesn’t mean that a person has no moral values. Just because I’m a lesbian doesn’t mean I’m going to run around performing the most heinous crimes and the worst debauchery. I usually just sit on my chair, read, check my facebook, or check my students’ requirements. I am as boring as any heterosexual person out there. I wish I have a more exciting life, but that is how it is.

Response #6: Why should LGBTQs be blamed for the actions of miscreant kids? In my opinion, out LGBTQs are actually good role models for showing people that they can be themselves. Also, I cannot see the bad message in loving another person. What’s so bad about love?

Response #7: Accepting gay marriage doesn’t mean the entire world should run amok. It’s just giving the same rights that heterosexuals have to the LGBTQs who are also citizens of this country. Why must we treat LGBTQs as second rate citizens? We pay our taxes too and we’re serving the country no matter how oppressive it is to us.

To be honest, I was appalled with what I read. I can’t believe how much misinformed people are where I’m from. And a teenager having such bigotry at a young age, it’s just beyond me. A friend said it’s “learned bigotry”. It makes me wonder, what the hell are we teaching our children? Why would we teach them how to hate? It’s funny how Spain brought us medieval dogmas hundreds of years ago through Catholicism, but they don’t even take them seriously anymore. Now we’re stuck with them.

With the current state of the country and its adherence to religious dogma and traditions, the fight of the LGBTQs has a long way to go. I still hope though, that our social environment will change one day; that we will be accepted in this society no longer as deviants but just like any other human beings who feel and love.

Around the Web

Every week we scourge the internet for interesting materials. This week, we feature the following posts:


Strange or just plain weird? Cultural variation in mental illness by Dominic Murphy

Murphy comments on the western-centric perspective carried on by the American Psychiatric Association and the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). The research done in psychiatry may not be representative of what’s going on around the world as only westerners are mostly studied and taken account in the DSM. Mental conditions can be culture-specific and psychologists and psychiatrists must recognize that. Murphy writes,

People in western countries have values and minds that are not like those of the rest of humanity. These differences should not be overstated, but they are real, and they have implications for the cognitive sciences that we are only just beginning to explore.


Failure of Policy by whiskfern

This post recounts instances in which policies failed because of lack of social research. The writer points out

It is very naïve to say but how nice would it be if the good intentions of organizations really played out? It seems like things would be a lot simpler, at the same time though, when the result is not like the intentions it is often from arrogance on the part of the organization and a lack of research that tries to understand the cultural context that their framework should fit.


New animated music video ‘Transfer’ wins fans the world over by Philip Kendall

Run, Forest, run! (Image via Japan Today)

The article features the Ongaku unit’s music video Transfer which took the world by storm. The music video features the singing voice of Megumi Nakajima and shows amazing synchronicity with superb animation.


Why the Philippines is Standing Still by F. Sionil Jose

F. Sionil Jose, one of the best writers of our time, writes about why Philippines lags behind compared with its Asian counterparts. It is a fact that we have not modernized as much as, say, Japan, Korea and Thailand among others. This is despite the history of greatness of the Philippines and its edge compared to the other countries before the 20th century. F. Sionil Jose laments that

we have a real and insidious enemy that we must vanquish, and this enemy is worse than the intransigence of any foreign power. We are our own enemy. And we must have the courage, the will, to change ourselves.

However, Jose remains optimistic that we can recover from this muck that we gotten ourselves stuck with.

Blood had been spilled in the lands of Tarlac: Commemorating the 8th anniversary of the Hacienda Luisita Massacre

By Kert

“The land is my life” (Image via Harvey Keh’s blog)

The land is life for Filipinos and it’s more than just a metaphor. It is the source of their food, the clothes on their backs and the roofs on their heads. It sustains the family in more ways than one. And it can even be a source of hope. It is not at all surprising that every family in the country wishes to have a patch of land where they can plant rice, corn, sugarcane and other crops.

The farmers of the 6,443-hectare Hacienda Luisita, owned by the Cojuangco family through the money of the government, have been waiting so long for the patches of land promised to them. Many of them had or have been working in Hacienda Luisita almost all their lives. It was in 1988 that the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program or CARP happened. Through CARP, they were given the promise of shares in the land holdings of Hacienda Luisita. Indeed they have every right to these shares. They’re the ones who worked and tilled the land every day with only meager wages. The government is doing the right thing when it declared that the lands be given to the farmers.

But what has happened to that promise now? By this time the lands should’ve been distributed to the farmers already. But yet the promise — CARP — remains unkept.

Yesterday marks the 8th anniversary of the Hacienda Luisita where over a hundred farmers demanded and fought for their rights from the Cojuangcos. Cops and soldiers were sent to gain control of the perimeter. After throwing teargas at the picketlines of the farmers, the cops and soldiers started  shooting and firing bullets at them. Thirty people were wounded by gunshots and around two hundred people were injured one way or another. Still, twelve men and two children were killed. Supposedly guards and saviors of the people in this country  carried out this terrible and very brutal massacre. All these for the benefit of the few elites.

It has been 8 years and still, no justice has been served. According to an article in Bulatlat, “the problems that drove the Hacienda farmworkers into launching a strike in 2004 still remain” (Salamat 2012). These problems are “cheap wages, landlessness and trade union repression” (Salamat 2012).

When will they hear the cries for justice? (Image via Vince’s Photobaket)

There’s still a lack of stand and comment from the President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III regarding this issue. His relationship to the Cojuangcos, being a Cojuangco himself, puts him in a very controversial spot. Yet the man still lacks action, and the rest of the Philippines is too enamored by Tito Sotto (who I also dislike, by the way) or by the imagology (see previous post here for definition) of the media.

Our claim of being a democratic country is becoming a joke. Or has it always been a joke? I have no idea. But for sure, if the government still has any ounce of humanity left in its system (and I refuse to think otherwise), it should serve justice. What use does it have if not for the protection of its people?


December 2004. Massacre of Sugar Plantation Workers in the Philippines. Retrieved from http://www.internationalist.org/philippinesluisitamassacre0412.html

Hacienda Luisita. (n.d.). Retrieved November 17, 2012 from the Hacienda Luisita wiki. Retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hacienda_Luisita#Jos.C3.A9_Cojuangco_period

Salamat, M. (2012, November 17). Trade union repression even worsened, 8 years after Luisita massacre – progressive labor. Bulatlat. Retrieved from http://bulatlat.com/main/2012/11/17/trade-union-repression-even-worsened-8-years-after-luisita-massacre-%E2%80%93-progressive-labor/