Archive | August, 2011

Language, Lifestyle, Privilege, Perspective: What The Language Of The Learned Truly Is

Language, Lifestyle, Privilege, Perspective: What The Language Of The Learned Truly Is

It’s Only Words, And Words Are All I Have To Take Your Heart Away

Before I get into this, Ruffy Biazon, a man I truly admire and respect, pointed out the inconsistency of people who defended Mideo Cruz for blaspheming Jesus Christ and then proceeded to assail James Soriano for “blaspheming” the Filipino language, as it were, during Buwan ng Wika itself.

Allow me to demonstrate my consistency on these matters.

Okay. That’s settled.

That being said, in an article yesterday, obvious Atenean James Soriano discussed Filipino as a language in a less than flattering light. This article has been taken down by Manila Bulletin already, but I found a cache of the article thanks to some of my friends. Allow me to preface this by pointing out I am writing in English right now, so no, I am not going to get into a blind Patriotic Filipino® rage and make a sacred cow of our language. That completely defeats the purpose of opening this discussion, and reeks of hypocrisy in light of the impassioned defense against Mideo’s right to blaspheme. Our language is not immune to criticism, but then, neither is Mr. Soriano’s argument. This is also why I was disappointed that the article was taken down. It has engendered discussion on the role of language in one’s life, and I personally believe this is a good thing that shouldn’t have been stifled.

I believe that the sticking point to most people who are indignant over the article was the notion that “Filipino is not the language of the learned.” It reeks of intellectual elitism and privilege, which, to Mr. Soriano’s credit, he never once denied.

It’s just that… nobody really understood what he was trying to get across, and the onus was on him to have chosen his words carefully and concisely to do so, since it was his article, and name-dropping Fr. Bulatao just because he can just feels like such a predictable thing a typical pretentious pseudo-intellectual Arrnean would do.

Mr. James Soriano, the language of the learned isn’t English, Filipino, Cebuano, French, Spanish, Latin, whale, Klingon, or anything else of the sort. The language of the learned is well thought out. The language of the learned is characterized by one’s deliberate choice of words, regardless if those words are uttered in English, Filipino, Cebuano, French, Spanish, Latin, whale, Klingon, or anything else of the sort.

I bear no ill will towards you, not just because I believe you are entitled to your opinion, but simply because your upbringing likewise prevents you from truly expressing yourself in Filipino in a manner that you could deem as “educated.” Which is why ultimately, your via negativa thesis statement should have been “Filipino is not the language of my education.”

There will be others who will learn and can only learn primarily through Filipino. Or English. Or any other language. The choice of the language itself does not dictate whether or not it is learned or civilized. It is the exercise of choosing the words carefully and then expressing them clearly and concisely that dictates how learned one actually is.

Thus, to dissociate myself from people who disagree with Mr. Soriano solely on the basis of him dissing our national language instead of disagreeing with him on the universality of his statements, I would like to point out that saying “P****g i*a mo, James Soriano, bakla ka, mamatay ka na!” is no more or less learned than saying “F**k you, James Soriano, you’re a f****t, go die in a fire.”

In both cases, you are being a boor who lets your feelings get the better of you instead of responding to the issue the way a learned person actually would.

And really now, being learned has little to do with where you graduated from or how much money you make. It has much more to do with your own temperament and the way you choose to respond to situations. Heaven knows a lifestyle of privilege didn’t give Mr. Soriano the perspective to understand how the learned could very well express themselves in Filipino if they choose to do so.

Language will always have its limitations with the built-in capacity for growth. We realize that every time we add a new word to the dictionary the way “Tweeting” and “bromance” have been added to the Merriam-Webster dictionary this year. As such, no single language would have a monopoly on learnedness. We heard this before during the middle ages when they believed only Latin speakers were educated. We really shouldn’t be making the same mistake again.

I do not resent you one bit, Mr. James Soriano, nor do I pity you. I believe you are learned enough to realize that your life experience and your privilege is not enough perspective for you to cast your net so wide in your attempt to speak for everyone.

Sa katapusan ng araw, kahit ano pa ang sabihin natin, may karapatan si Ginoong Soriano na ihayag ang kanyang saloobin. Marahil, nakakalungkot para sa ibang mga tao na hindi lubusan ang pag-yakap ni James sa kanyang pambansang wika, subalit hindi rin ba tayo nasasakdal sa tuwing pinagtatawanan natin ang Cebuano dahil sa tingin natin, kapag probinsyano magsalita ang isang tao, hindi siya edukado? Pare-pareho tayong nagkakamali sa pag-iisip ng ganyan, at ang kahalagahan ng inilathala ni James ay ang pagkakataong ginagamit natin ngayon upang talakayin ang mga punto at kontra-punto ng kanyang isinulat.

Ito ang pagkakataon na imulat ang ating isipan at alalahanin kung ano ang tunay na marka ng wika at pananalita ng edukado.

Sa huli, kahit Ingles, Tagalog, o Swardspeak pa, ang sariling wika ang mahalaga, kahit na ang wikang itinuturing mong “sarili” ay hindi ang pambansang wika. Ika nga ni Gat Jose Rizal, na isinalin sa Swardspeak…

“Ang wiz mag-Mahalia Fuentes sa sariling wiketch ay mas Smellanie Marquez pa sa echoserang frogette. Trulalu, walang halong eklavu.”

Mabuhay ang wika ng tunay na edukado.

Long live the language of the truly educated.

ADDENDUM: In light of Mr. Soriano’s sister’s attempt to play the satire card in Tumblr, I would like to point out that even if someone writes poorly to emphasize an ironic point about one’s mastery of the language, it doesn’t make it any less agonizing to read, precisely because it is poorly written.

Furthermore, his article has since been republished on the Manila Bulletin here. He has also written a new article that addresses the troll responses against him, but none of the actual arguments against his initial assessment that “Filipino is not the language of the learned.”

Posted in Personal, Society6 Comments

On the Futility of Church Reform

A 300-strong faction within the Catholic Church in Austria has declared open rebellion against the Church hierarchy, calling for policy changes such as allowing remarried divorcees to take communion and letting women become priests. The “Priests’ Initiative,” which is pushing for these, was started by the former Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Vienna and director of Caritas, Helmut Schüller. Their demands have been seen as refusing obedience to the Pope, a sin that merits excommunication. Sure enough, Vienna’s Archbishop Christoph Cardinal Schönborn has threatened them with (or informed them of the risk of) that penalty.

Helmut Schüller, leader of Priests' Initiative


Even as a former Catholic, one of the traits about the Roman Catholic Church that I can at least admire is their tenacity and refusal to yield to societal pressure. Because, if indeed the Roman Catholic Church is the one organization God himself thought to start, then changing any core teaching of the Church would be against the will of God. And I think the Church hierarchy, from the pope down to the parish priests, agree with me on this. This is why it is simply unrealistic to expect the Church to budge on issues such as these, either in Vienna or in Manila. It is for this reason that I find it hard to sympathize with Schüller’s cause.

There is an easier and more intellectually honest solution for Schüller and his followers: leave the Church. Start a new religion or drop religion altogether. As much as I’d like to believe that the Church would be willing to consider the possibility of reform and acceptance of progress, changing their tenets simply surrenders too much and renders their Church impotent. It is either God commanded the Church to have these totalitarian dictates or he did not.

Look at what these “rebels” are fighting for: the acceptance of divorcees and women as equals in a congregation. It would almost be comical if it wasn’t so sad and infuriating that in this day and age some people aren’t treated as human beings in an institution that boasts 1 billion adherents. To challenge the Church hierarchy on anything as integral to its tenets such as misogyny and sexual repression is to challenge the very foundations of its claims to holiness. For if God, as revealed by the Church, is wrong in disallowing women from becoming priests, where else could their God be wrong? Unfortunately (or fortunately), it simply isn’t plausible that the Creator of the universe would create an institution as small-minded and as provincial as the Church. Without this premise of holy origin, the Church is simply a club of nerds fighting over rival interpretations of fan fiction.

Image credit: Internationaler Controller Verein

Posted in Religion2 Comments

On Dicks and Double Standards: Misplaced Reactions to Misplaced Phalluses

An artist puts a penis on a poster of Jesus and on a symbol of the Christian cross. A priest puts a penis inside the mouth and vagina of a 17-year-old girl. Which is more offensive? Which is more deserving of a Christian’s disgust and damnation?

When conservative Catholics learned of Mideo Cruz’s juxtaposition of Jesuses and phalluses in an art gallery in the Cultural Center of the Philippines, they were furious. They wanted heads to roll — at least Mideo’s — and heads to resign — whoever was in charge of displaying Mideo’s blasphemy.

They wrote and sent hate mail, hate text, and even death threats, harassing anyone who had the slightest thing to do with Mideo’s sacrilege. They created Facebook groups and pages to express their hate for Mideo and to get others to hate him just as much. They condemned artist and artwork, saying these were not artist and artwork, even lecturing experts on what it means to be both. They vandalized Mideo’s “artwork” and called the violence justified. They called for a Senate investigation and even a national Day of Penance, showing how the entire country should be angry at and sorry for what Mideo did to their Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

But Mideo never really hurt anyone — Jesus least of all — with his work. The degree of hurt brought about by offense is debatable, but one thing is clear: he did not hurt anyone physically.

Compare that to what was done to a girl who was hurt so badly she now has to hide behind a fake name. “Leah” filed charges of rape, acts of lasciviousness, and child abuse against Fr. Raul Cabonce of St. Anne Parish in Tubay, Agusan del Norte.

If we’re to believe Leah, Fr. Cabonce forcefully molested her on several occasions, groping her private parts despite her protestations. Fr. Cabonce forced Leah to perform oral sex at least twice. He did this so violently that he made her gums bleed. The sexual harassment and assault eventually escalated to rape.

Talking about an experience like this would be difficult for anybody, but Fr. Cabonce made sure it would be torture for Leah. He threatened to curse Leah and her family if she told anyone. He also made sure Leah saw the guns in his room whenever he sexually assaulted her. Spiritual and physical blackmail.

For what he’s allegedly done, all that Fr. Cabonce got was a transfer to a different diocese, far away from his former servant and sexual object, safe and comfy in a Bishop’s palace.

How did conservative Catholics react to the news of Fr. Cabonce and Leah? What was the reaction of those who so furiously condemned Mideo and the CCP board? Did they send hate mail and death threats? Did they create Facebook groups and pages? Did they doubt Fr. Cabonce’s priesthood or question the authority of those who decided he could be one? Did they ask anyone to resign? Did they commit violence and call it justified? Did they call for a Senate investigation, Day of Penance, or even a public apology?

Mideo Cruz put phallic symbols on a symbol of Jesus and a symbol of his cross. None of the symbols refused. None of the symbols got hurt. Fr. Cabonce forced his actual penis into a living 17-year-old girl’s actual mouth. He eventually forced his actual penis into her actual vagina. In both instances, the girl refused. In both instances, the girl got hurt.

Which is more offensive? Which is more deserving of a Christian’s disgust and damnation?
image by frisno

Posted in Religion, Society20 Comments

Girl, 12, Honored for Blind and Reckless Devotion to Inanimate Object


Pictured above is Janela Arcos Lelis, a 12-year-old schoolgirl from Albay province. That’s really her, on a very stormy day last July 26, risking life and limb to save the Philippine flag. The flag had been left behind in their already-submerged home. To keep her from getting swept away by the raging flood, Janela held on tightly to a rope hastily set up for evacuees. Her deed accorded her various honors — a plaque, a miniature flag pin, a full-sized flag, and Php 20,000 from the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP), not to mention quite a bit of media coverage. According to NHCP Executive Director Ludovico Badoy, what Janelis did was

“a selfless act of courage, reflective of her love for country and a constant reverence to the national symbol.”

In the awarding ceremony, NHCP President Maria Teresa Diokno told Janela,

“…we hope that your classmates and all the other young people in the country will follow your wonderful example of giving tribute to our national flag.”

The NHCP’s heraldry chief Teodoro Atienza claims that in his 30 years of service, he had never come across anyone who dared to risk their life for the Philippine flag.

With all due respect, Mr. Atienza, no one had ever dared to risk their life for a piece of cloth before because it is a really, really, really bad idea. Just to refresh your memory, a young human being’s life is infinitely more valuable than a large piece of cloth, no matter what it represents. And Ms. Diokno, your wording is a bit distressing. Some young men and women might misconstrue that as encouragement to forsake shelter in the midst of calamity just to save other physical symbols of our nation, in the hopes of receiving praise, attention, and maybe a decent-sized check.

What Janela did was born out of naivete, and one can’t help but wonder why her deed generated such a response. It could be the culture of “Pinoy Pride” that permeates many aspects of the average Filipino child’s life, from her schooling to the mass media she consumes. It is a culture of being absolutely ecstatic at the thought that some random half-Filipino American citizen who has never stepped foot on the motherland, so to speak, passed the first round of auditions on American Idol. It is a culture of taking pride in taking pride, of looking at our poorly developed, horribly managed, amnesiac country through thick, rose-colored glasses. Saving a flag in the midst of a flood that could have been avoided had the town been better planned in the first place? That seems to fit into this kind of culture just fine.

It must be noted that Janela did not do her deed entirely of her own volition. Her elder brother, a Citizen’s Army Training officer in the local high school, was actually the one who told her to fetch the flag from their waterlogged home. Why didn’t he do it himself? Because he was busy helping his relatives evacuate from their homes. (He has priority issues, that one.)

Janela complied not only because of the notion that the flag deserved utmost care and respect, as drilled into her in the classroom, but because she was afraid her brother would be berated by the school and have to pay for it if it got lost. The latter, in fact, seems to be the more plausible — yet still quite faulty — excuse behind her daring-do. People do stupid things for money and good repute. In fact, it’s quite possible that the whole nationalist hullaballoo was purely manufactured by the government and media after the fact, and Janela only did the deed because she just happened to be the kind of blindly obedient girl from a poor family who’d feel that she had no other choice in the matter.

Whatever the case may be, NHCP’s trumpeting of Janela’s misguided act was a bad move. No, Janela should not be berated for what she did; she just didn’t know any better. But neither should she have been the subject of so much pomp and circumstance. She should have simply been told that her show of selflessness was admirable, but that next time, she should prioritize her own life in such dire circumstances. She needs to be made to understand the illogic behind her deed in as kind a manner as possible, and that’s it.

For the NHCP to make such a big fuss over this smacks of opportunism and nothing more. These people are adults; unlike Janela, they do know better. To praise her, and to tell the youth that they should follow her example, is sickeningly irresponsible. There are infinitely better ways to promote a love of country like, oh, say, encouraging people to do what they can to make the place actually worth fighting for, for starters. The men and women of the National Historical Commission of the Philippines should very well know that the country has remained in a poor state for the longest time, and that this has a lot to do with our tendency to make the same fatal mistakes over and over again, with one of these mistakes being our refusal to see the country for what it is and simply aggrandizing the most trivial things in the name of “pride.”

Likewise, the media’s eagerness to make NHCP’s fuss-making more public was a bad move. And as we have learned from the whole Poleteismo brouhaha, where their sensationalism took the country down an especially dangerous path, they don’t really seem to care that it was a bad move.

I can only hope that Janela eventually understands why what she did didn’t deserve all that praise and attention. The flood she braved was much murkier than she thought, and far harder to get out of alive.

Posted in Personal, Politics, Society10 Comments

There will be poor always…look at the good things you’ve got!

There will be poor always…look at the good things you’ve got!

(Mike Alquinto/NPPA Images)

With millions of Filipinos living below poverty line and children dying of malnutrition and disease, it’s shocking to read news stories like this:

Lay Catholic group raises P2.7 million to buy vehicles for bishops

MANILA, Philippines –  A lay Catholic group led by former Manila mayor Lito Atienza and election lawyer Romulo Macalintal yesterday said they have already raised P2.7 million and have donated utility vehicles to at least three Catholic bishops.

CBCPNews, the official news service provider of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), said Macalintal revealed that the money was used to purchase four Foton pickup trucks.

Television host Willie Revillame has also donated P100,000 with a van and another pickup truck.

The Diocese of Butuan under Bishop Juan de Dios Pueblos, who was highly criticized for asking former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo for a car for his birthday, received the van from Revillame.

Other personalities who gave money to the fund drive were Senators Vicente Sotto III (P200,000), Francis Escudero (P100,000), and Bong Revilla and his wife, Cavite Rep. Lani Mercado-Revilla, (P200,000).  [Source:]

This reminds me of the song “Everything’s Alright” from the musical Jesus Christ Superstar. The scene is based on John 12:3-8 where Mary Magdalene used her expensive perfume on Jesus’ feet. Judas was indignant:

Woman your fine ointment, brand new and expensive 
Should have been saved for the poor. 
Why has it been wasted? We could have raised maybe 
Three hundred silver pieces or more. 
People who are hungry, people who are starving 
Matter more than your feet and hair!

But then Jesus tried to justify Mary’s extravagance:

Surely you’re not saying we have the resources 
To save the poor from their lot? 
There will be poor always, pathetically struggling 
Look at the good things you’ve got 
Think while you still have me! 
Move while you still see me! 
You’ll be lost, and you’ll be so sorry when I’m gone.

Could this be how Macalintal and Atienza as well as Willie Revillame, Tito Sotto, Chiz Escudero and Bong Revilla rationalize the fund-raising campaign to match the amount donated by the PCSO for the purchase of the vehicles which were eventually returned? Do the bishops’ comfort and luxury matter more than the people who are hungry and starving? Are they completely oblivious to the fact that various Catholic entities in the Philippines have literally billions in assets that could buy all the SUVs the bishops want and actually save the poor from their lot—or at least feed all the severely hungry Filipinos for almost a year?

There will always be poor people indeed and charity can only do so much to help them, but do the bishops deserve to be treated and pampered like Jesus? Should we be grateful that we still have them? Will we be lost and sorry when they’re gone?

Macalintal and Atienza seem to think so because when the bishops were stripped of their rides they scrambled to raise money for the replacement of such vehicles. They’re almost like Mary Magdalene singing to Jesus:

Try not to get worried, try not to turn on to 
Problems that upset you, oh. 
Don’t you know 
Everything’s alright, yes, everything’s fine.

Yes, everything’s alright. We’ll give you another fleet of brand-new cars so don’t be upset about returning those vehicles to the PCSO.

But I think one bishop will be upset, and that is Bishop Juan de Dios Pueblos of Butuan. His Mistubushi Montero was replaced with a van, when he specifically asked for “a brand-new car, possibly a 4×4” from GMA for his birthday.

Posted in Religion4 Comments

God Goes to a Freedom of Expression Rally

To the protesters of the artwork “Poleteismo,”

The universe is composed of millions and millions of galaxies. Inside a single galaxy are millions and millions of solar systems. In one solar system, among millions, there is a star Earthlings call the sun. Around that sun are several planets. One of those planets is called Earth. The planet Earth has around 6.94 billion people.

The planet Earth has several continents. One of those continents is called Asia. Somewhere in Southeast Asia you can find a country called the Philippines. The Philippines has 7,107 islands. Sometimes it has 7,108, depending on the tide or depending on my mood. Those islands are divided into three areas – Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao.

In Luzon, there is a city called Manila. In that city, there was an exhibit. In that exhibit, one artist displayed an artwork that was blasphemous.

So fucking what?

Gentlemen, I run the universe. Do you really think I’d give a fuck about one artwork, by one artist, in one exhibit, in one city, in one country, in one continent, in one planet, in one solar system, when I have billions of galaxies to worry about?

I’m God, dude. Like I told you in my last letter to mankind, I don’t sweat the small stuff because I have important things to do: plagues, diseases, earthquakes, epic, shock-and-awe, apocalyptic, God stuff.

Imagine a droplet of pee hanging at the edge of the rim of a random toilet bowl. Now, imagine that in that droplet of pee are millions of tiny little germs. Now, imagine that one germ from those million germs makes an artwork you do not appreciate. Are you going to go there and punish that germ?

You wouldn’t, right? Because the germ is so amazingly irrelevant, inconsequential, insignificant and unimportant to your existence that you would be embarrassed to even think of considering feeling even slightly bothered about some germ.

You know how you feel about the germ’s art? That’s how I feel about the “blasphemous” exhibit.

I am not offended.

In fact, I don’t care at all.

So, stop praying about how I should send fireballs from the sky and blow up some art because some dude put my image in vain. I told you, praying doesn’t work. I have a divine plan and my plan is divine so it’s better than your plan, so shut up.

I mean, seriously, do you think that the creator of the universe and a million galaxies would be “offended” by an artwork?

Just to show you how annoyed I am at these assumptions, I went out of my way and descended from heaven to attend the “free speech” rally myself.

I was there.

When I first got there, I was told that the march might not push through because of the rain. So, I was like, “Nah! I’ll handle that.” So, that’s me stopping the rain:

I was also introduced to Mideo Cruz. He was like, “I’m sorry if you were offended Jesus, there was a statement I wanted to make so I had to use your image in vain.” I was like, “Don’t worry about it, dude. Blasphemy is a human right.” So, that’s me forgiving Mideo Cruz:

That’s me NOT being offended:

That’s me being handsome:

That’s me having a little chat with Kenneth Keng. He’s like, “Hey Jesus, I’m a Christian.” I’m like, “Awesome, man. We’ll hang out later.” That guy on my left is Red Tani. He doesn’t talk to me. We will not “hang out” later:

I’m just kidding, people. I’m not really God.

I’m just some dude dressed up like this guy:

I seriously wanted to dress up like God, unfortunately, I didn’t know what God looked like. I’ve never seen Him before. Have you? See, when you accuse someone of using God’s image in vain, the premise has to be that you know what God’s image looks like, right?

So, tell me, what does God look like?

Posted in Humor, Religion, Society6 Comments

Filipino Freethinkers Bag Top Social Media Award

26 August 2011, Manila, Philippines: Philippine freethought organization Filipino Freethinkers won in “The One” category at the local [email protected] Awards, the first social media-themed tilt of its kind in the country. “The One” is considered “the most influential trendsetter that shaped opinion, moved people, and prompted action,” through the use of social media tools such as websites, Twitter, and Facebook, and is seen as the top spot amongst the 10 available categories. The group was honored with a trophy and a PHP100,000 (USD2,351) cash prize.

The Freethinkers were also finalists in “The Advocate” category, and in the voting polls that comprised 10% of the total score, the group received the most votes in both spots.

“We are thrilled to receive this award, as the group would not have gotten to where it is now without the help of social media,” says Red Tani, President of the Filipino Freethinkers. ‎”However, we want to remind people that actions and conversations should not end in the realm of social media. Intelligent ideas are worthless if they’re not implemented in the real world. Online and on the ground advocacy and activism should go hand in hand.

‎”We’re also happy that we won the major prize considering the circumstances. Not only do we promote the Reproductive Health bill, we’ve been criticizing the Catholic church hierarchy without reservation. We were afraid that controversial issues such as these would keep us from winning. Maybe this recognition from Globe is a sign that the Philippines not only tolerates but welcomes our progressive ideas.”

Other awardees of note were National Chair of the Democratic Socialist Women of the Philippines Elizabeth Angsioco, and Broadway star Lea Salonga, who won in “The Advocate” and “Ballbreaker” categories, respectively. Both women are the Freethinkers’ allies in the fight for the passage of a comprehensive reproductive health bill in the Philippines.

With 29,270,000 Filipinos online spending 41.3% of their time on social media, the Philippines is often dubbed as the “Social Networking Capital of the World.”

Posted in Press Releases6 Comments

Win Php25,000 in Mulat Pinoy’s “We Are RH” video contest

Win Php25,000 in Mulat Pinoy’s “We Are RH” video contest

Win Php25,000 in Mulat Pinoy’s “We Are RH” video contest
PRESS RELEASE: Win Php25,000 in Mulat Pinoy’s “We Are RH” video contest
Amateur filmmakers are invited to submit short films on reproductive health.

Do you wish your videos were on TV instead of YouTube? Looking for extra cash to buy that nice phone? Hoping for your own cool video camera? Then this is what you’ve been waiting for.

Join “We are Right Here. We are RH.”! This amateur video contest aims to bring into the limelight young people’s take on responsible parenthood, reproductive health, and population and development.

Finalists’ videos entries will be featured in a TV special to be aired on one of the most prestigious networks in the country, the ABS-CBN News Channel. The producers and directors of the winning video clips will also be interviewed. Selected entries shall also be aired on the Knowledge Channel program, Peliculab.

Aside from fame and nationwide reach, winners shall also get the following cash prizes: Php 25,000 for the First Prize, Php 15,000 for the Second Prize and P10,000 for the Third Prize. They will also receive trophies, and video cameras from Creative Zen.

A special citation award shall be given by the United Nations Population Fund to one entry that best embodies their theme for 2011, “The World at 7 Billion.” The winner of this special award will receive P15,000, a video camera and a trophy. UNFPA will also use the selected video entry in their 7 Billion information campaign.

So, if you are 25 years old or younger, muster your creative energies and shoot the video that reflects your views. It can be about anything, not just the RH Bill: the use of condoms, family planning, sex education, overpopulation, virginity, STDs, AIDS. Be it a public service announcement or a commercial, a mini-documentary, animation or a dramatic scene, you have the freedom to speak your mind the best way you know how.

Join the discussion. Let your voice be heard. And let Mulat Pinoy be the channel for your shout-out to the world. Join “We are Right Here. We are RH.”

Regina Layug-Rosero
Project Coordinator, Mulat Pinoy
Email: HYPERLINK “mailto:[email protected][email protected], HYPERLINK “mailto:[email protected][email protected]
Telephone: (+632) 4330456

Mulat Pinoy "We Are RH" video contest

Posted in Announcements, Press Releases0 Comments

DepEd Interfaith Program Ignores the Faithless

The Education department signed an agreement with the Tony Blair Faith Foundation (TBFF) yesterday (Aug. 24) for the implementation of an interfaith program in public schools nationwide.

Read here: DepEd signs MoA on religious literacy, BusinessWorld

Education Secretary Armin Luistro, former De La Salle University president, justified the collaboration this way:

“Today there are many cases of extremist acts all over the world… because racial and religious prejudices are not addressed while in the infancy stage.”

I get Luistro’s reasoning. Ignorance is at the heart of prejudice and fundamentalism, and we use education to transform ignorance to awareness. But I’d like to hear what secularism advocates think about how the cabinet official translated his intention into public policy on education.

Does this feel like “one step forward but two steps backward” for secularism?

The program, which both parties will tailor-fit to the “Philippine context,” is based on the foundation’s Face to Faith Project. You can learn more about it from the website itself, but for now, here’s an overview:

“Face to Faith is the Foundation’s global schools programme, bringing 11 to 16 year olds together using digital technology so they can learn about each other, and about the attitude of different religions to global issues such as the environment, health, art, poverty, and wealth.”

— Tony Blair Faith Foundation

Academic materials were developed with the help of the Yale School of Management and the Divinity School.

Apparently, they skipped the fact that atheists, agnostics, apatheists — even humanist antitheists exist. These worldviews do not fit the framework of “religious faith,” much less “interfaith dialogue.”

So what about us? Are we part of the dialogue too?

“Religion can claim responsibility for some of the most profoundly positive and important events and movements the world has ever known. Yet it has also been associated with some of the most heinous and horrible crimes against humanity.”

— Tony Blair

Needless to say, Richard Dawkins was pissed at the former British Prime Minster’s initiative. Read the entire article bashing the foundation on his blog.

With so many of the world’s problems caused by religion, what better solution could there possibly be than to promote yet more of it?

— Richard Dawkins

Images from Wikipedia

Posted in Religion, Society22 Comments

Hey, Look! There’s a Big, Disgusting Bias on My Dick! (Part 2)

Disclaimer: I am writing not as a representative of the Filipino Freethinkers but as an individual with an opinion. My views are my own and should, in no way, be viewed as an indication of what beliefs or values members of our organization hold. Throughout this article, I might use hetero-centric language in that, more often than not, when I refer to “men,” I’m actually referring to heterosexual men. Though I am aware of its importance, I decided, for the sake of brevity to omit the heterosexual part in the assumption that through this disclaimer I have clarified the context of the erasure.

“So How Funny is a Mutilated Penis?”
The last article I wrote was about how there’s a bias on my dick with regard to how much violence on men is tolerated by society. In that article I also mentioned how a group of women laughed about a man’s castration. This article is going to be about that, SlutWalks, ElevatorGate, and Feminism, among other things.

Reuters reports that a California woman was charged with torture on July 13, 2011 after authorities said she cut off her husband’s penis with a kitchen knife and ground it up in a garbage disposal. Catherine Kieu, 48, is accused of tying her sleeping husband to a bed with nylon ropes, pulling down his pants and slicing off his penis, the Orange County District Attorney’s Office said in a written statement.

A few days later, the event was featured on a show called “The Talk,” which aired on a major US television network. In the show, Sharon Osbourne made fun of the castrated man, while her co-hosts and majority of the female audience laughed with her.

It wasn’t a soft, cute laugh either. They openly mocked the man for several minutes. Sharon Osborne even called the event “delightful” as she proceeded to demonstrate, with a finger, what a mutilated penis might look like while it’s being torn to shreds, to the delight of the crowd. Footage of the event could be found in this video here. The “funny & delightful” part happens at 4 minutes 45 seconds.

Terroja Kincaid, a.k.a. The Amazing Atheist also has a take on this event. You can watch his video by following this link.

In his article “Women, you have surely earned it,” Manuel Dexter writes:

In a July episode of a daytime woman’s television show called “The Talk,” the 5 female hosts discussed this premeditated mutilation, and treated the issue as the ultimate in slapstick comedy.

There were utterances of “you go girl,” the mutilation was described as “delightful,” and all 5 hosts laughed openly at a human who had been sexually mutilated. The individual earned this brutal and grisly retribution because he apparently wanted a divorce. “That’ll teach him,” one of the hosts suggested.

The show is filmed in front of a live studio audience –who happen to be all women, and the open celebration of a human’s grisly dismemberment was met with a horrified, shocked silence.

Actually, no. The audience, almost all women, laughed their heads off, because when a human is permanently and viciously mutilated, then it’s funny as hell, provided the victim is male.

The woman who performed this grisly mutilation is now a celebrity of sorts. She has inspired FaceBook campaigns and letter writing campaigns to free her, to afford her the protected status of a victim, to gift her with education funding, housing, therapy and an expenses-paid-cruise to the Cayman islands.

When asked whether a mutilated breast or vagina would be just as “delightful,” Sharon Osborne says, “It’s not the same.” The implication, of course, is that a mutilated penis is funny; a mutilated vagina is not funny.

“Vic-tim! Bla-ming! Vic-tim! Bla-ming!”
One very popular, on-going movement today, the SlutWalks, began as a response to what one man said. BBC News reports:

Police Constable Michael Sanguinetti had been giving a talk on health and safety to a group of students at Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto when he made the now infamous remarks.

“You know, I think we’re beating around the bush here,” he reportedly told them. “I’ve been told I’m not supposed to say this – however, women should avoid dressing like sluts in order not to be victimized.”

When a male police officer implies that a woman’s clothing may increase the risk of her being raped, there is outrage among feminists and marches are mobilized to inspire further discourse on the issue. But when a woman explicitly mentions how a man was tortured and had his penis severed because he “deserved” it, and how this event was “delightful,” guess what happens?


I’m pointing out this disparity because the general idea behind most feminist movements is gender equality. But it just seems to me that feminist movements are not so gender equal with regard to the issues that they choose to embark upon. Although feminism is a great engine for the promotion and the protection of women’s rights, in my opinion, it’s not as great for men and men’s rights and is not entirely “gender equal.”

I have no evidence I can cite, but as far as I know the SlutWalks and Rebecca Watson a.k.a. the girl from ElevatorGate got more attention than this issue.

In his article, “How Funny is a Mutilated Vagina?” Paul Elam expresses concern with regard to how the women in “The Talk” responded to the crime. He writes:

This can only be the result of a Society that has so dehumanized men, so demonized male sexuality, that men can be literally tied up and tortured, have their lives permanently altered (by removing the ability to fulfill the most basic of drives)… and these women LAUGH.

Every last one of them represent the truly disgusting in human nature. No, none of it is ‘innocent’, and no, it is not ‘just a joke’. Anyone taking pleasure in this shocking crime should be ashamed of themselves, and take a serious look at how they perceive men, and how that looks from THIS side of the fence. And the women ‘hosting’ this show? Every last one of them should lose their jobs.

Will they? Of course not. Because they obviously know what appeals to their audience. Which is comprised of women. The audience certainly seemed pleased with the show, and enthusiastically joined in, as a matter of fact. Truthfully, the only time the audience gave pause, was when Sara, near the end of the segment, mentioned that ‘it’s kinda weird’ to be taking so much glee in something they would be horrified at the reverse of.

But then the show quickly moved on, much to the audience’s relief.

If this isn’t proof of widespread, generalized female hatred of men, I don’t know what is.

Because I could NEVER see a man taking so much pleasure in the removal of a woman’s ability to have sex. Not even one.”

Hey, Look! There’s a Big, Disgusting Bias on My Dick!

There’s a big, disgusting bias on my dick and I think I should have it removed. Wait, you too? Really? You have a big, disgusting bias on your dick too? There’s a big, disgusting bias on everyone’s dick in that if it was kicked, or bitten, or mutilated by a woman, for whatever reason, it’s supposed to be kind-of funny.

To put this disparity into proper context, let’s compare torture and castration to another example of “victimization.”

A few months ago, there was a woman who was “victimized” in an elevator. A guy approached her and propositioned her politely (her own words) to go to his room and have coffee with him. The woman was made uncomfortable because, despite the fact that the elevator had a camera installed, and that it was a highly populated hotel where an event just ended, the guy could have been a potential rapist because, if you haven’t heard yet, every man in the universe has a propensity for rape. If you have a dick, you’re probably a rapist too.

Feminists rallied to her side and created a discourse about the injustice of a patriarchal culture that finds nothing wrong with ElevatorGate. The atheist community talked about this for weeks and it was so big that even Richard Dawkins, Richard fucking Dawkins, was compelled to comment (and was also summarily dismissed as a misogynist, for thinking that ElevatorGate is trivial as compared to other incidents that affect gender issues like, I don’t know, women publicly laughing about castration on television).

Let’s think about this for a moment:

When a woman is “victimized” by a man who politely propositions her in an elevator, the whole world hears about it and talks about it for weeks, and the man, the “victimizer” is repeatedly humiliated. Now, when a man is victimized by a woman who cuts off his penis and turns it into ground beef, the woman, the “victimizer,” gets a Free Catherine Kieu Becker FaceBook Campaign, while the man is ridiculed and mocked on television.

How’s that for a double standard?

To Be, or Not to Be? Feminism is Just Not for Me.
There are some types of feminism I disagree with more than others. Personally, although I feel apprehensive about feminism in general, I like the idea of equity feminism as Christina Hoff Sommers has defined it as “an ideology rooted in classical liberalism, and that aims for full civil and legal equality for women.”

There is, however, a specific type of feminism that I really, really disagree with: gender feminism a.k.a., in Sommmer’s terms, “Victim Feminism.” In an interview, Christina Hoff Summers expresses her opinion of gender feminists:

“These are women who believe in what they call the sex-gender system, that women are trapped in a sex-gender system, that gender roles are arbitrarily defined, and the purpose is to convince women that they are victims, that they are put upon by men in every aspect, that language has to be liberated, and textbooks and great works of art are all compromised by sexism. You have feminists — Susan McClary, for example — who teach students to identify rape themes in Beethoven symphonies. You know, when I see things like that I think it’s gotten so ridiculous that you can’t tell the difference between a parody and the real thing. There are feminists out there who are trying to get scientists to change the name of the Big Bang Theory because, they say, that is sexist and frightening to young women.”

In my opinion, “victim feminism” has empowered the woman’s position in society, so much so, that it allows her to cry “victim” and inspire a backlash over a man’s polite proposition on account of her being “made uncomfortable,” and at the same time, allows her the privilege to openly mock a man’s castration with barely any repercussions.

My point in writing this is not to inspire hatred or resentment towards women, or to disparage feminists and feminist movements, but to promote discourse on a matter that I believe requires attention.

There is a need to call attention to how much tolerance society has on violence inflicted on men by women. In my humble opinion, there is a need for men to persist against the ever growing trend of common and casual misandry.

I’m putting emphasis on the word, men, not because I’m being sexist or making hetero-normative assumptions, but because I would like to emphasize the fact that straight men need to do such things for themselves. Why? Because there is a general assumption that they hold a privileged position, therefore men’s issues are not a high priority for feminist or other gender equality movements.

In other words, gender equality movements and feminist movements don’t care as much about straight men as they do about women or gay men. They’re not going to prioritize the promotion and protection of men’s rights, and, in my opinion, they shouldn’t have to.

Maybe it’s time for men, like the women who were smart enough to do it before they did, to seek proper representation and organization to allow them, as a class, to negotiate with the powerful feminist monolith and its many, fragmented forms.

Maybe it’s time for men to examine for themselves the different facets of feminism and whether or not its proliferation really does promote gender equality. As Pelle Billing writes in his article, “Where Did Feminism Go Wrong?”:

“There was a lack of clarity from the start of the feminist movement. Was it a movement for gender equality, or was it a movement that promoted women’s rights? This is a huge distinction, and the assumption that these two struggles are always compatible is far from true.

“This lack of clarity is also apparent in the name chosen for the movement. If it had been called equalism, then the end goal would have been clear. However, the name feminism implies that the end goal is female supremacy or something along those lines.”

Maybe it’s time for men to expand the thin red line, the false dilemma, that the current discourse has placed between feminism and misogyny, to redefine the borders so that men who are neither feminists nor misogynists have a space to inhabit that is exclusive from or indifferent to both.


All pictures taken from:

Posted in Personal, Politics, Society4 Comments

August 28 (Sunday) Fort Bonifacio Meetup

August 28 (Sunday) Fort Bonifacio Meetup

Location:  Fort Bonifacio Starbucks, 32nd Street (in front of MC Home Depot) (Google map)
Date: August 28, 2011
Time: 2:30pm – 5:30pm

RSVP on Facebook

Well folks, today is the last day of voting for the Globe Tatt awards! If you haven’t yet, please do vote for us if you find our work building a secular community and working for a secular government in the Philippines valuable. The prize we could win would go a long way into helping us make more of an impact in our advocacies! We’re not just nominated for The One, please take the time to vote us for The Advocate too! Thanks for your support!

It’s a roving meetup so we’re holding it at the big Starbucks at Fort Bonifacio. Come join us for a rowdy intellectual chat! Whatever the result of the Globe Tatt awards, the community we’ve been building with you folks is the most important part of the FF. Do come down, we want to meet more freethinkers!

Discussion Topics
– Ang paggamit ng wikang Tagalog/Filipino
– The RH Bill as a Priority Bill
– The state of LGBT rights in the Philippines
– Religious offense and the limits of free speech

Links to articles with more information on the discussion topics will be posted later.

After the meetup we go for dinner and/or drinks. We’re not sure where we’ll go yet for this meetup. If you’re not a meetup regular and can’t make it for the meetup but would like to go for the post meetup, please indicate on a post in the wall or comment so we can contact you.

Got questions about the meetup? Contact us at 0927 323 3532

* Newbies are welcome.
* Look for the FF sign (or the group of smart, sexy people).
* There is no required age, religion, philosophy, or IQ level.
* Discussions are informal yet intelligent (most of the time).
* You don’t have to talk; you can just sit in and listen.
* You don’t have to buy anything from Starbucks.

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Hey, Look! There’s a Big, Disgusting Bias on My Dick! (Part 1)

Disclaimer: I am writing not as a representative of the Filipino Freethinkers but as an individual with an opinion. My views are my own and should, in no way, be viewed as an indication of what beliefs or values members of our organization hold. Throughout this article, I might use hetero-centric language in that, more often than not, when I refer to “men,” I’m actually referring to heterosexual men. Though I am aware of its importance, I decided, for the sake of brevity to omit the heterosexual part in the assumption that through this disclaimer I have clarified the context of the erasure.

“Shut-up and Man-up!”
According to the American Heritage Dictionary, a double standard is a “set of principles establishing different provisions for one group than another; also, specifically, allowing men more sexual freedom than women.”

According to, a double standard is “any code or set of principles containing different provisions for one group of people than for another, especially an unwritten code of sexual behavior permitting men more freedom than women.”

In many instances the word double standard is commonly defined and commonly accepted as a belief or view that discriminates against women and provides men with unfair advantages and privileges. The most common example of this is the Stud/Slut double standard that goes something like, “If a man sleeps around, he’s a stud. If a woman sleeps around, she’s a slut?”

It is implied, even in most dictionaries, that when double standards occur, women are on the losing end of it. We always hear about female side about their problems with the double standard because women were actually smart enough to come up with a movement, feminism, that dealt with issues like this and that fought for policies that could educate and assist women in dealing with these matters.

Straight men didn’t bother (I’m making that distinction because gay men have the gay rights movement available to them), partly because they were expected, pardon the sexist idiom, to “shut-up and man-up.” Majority of straight men do not have a proper venue for productive discourse with regard to men’s issues because, in the dominant paradigm of gender politics, straight men are considered to be the privileged oppressors in patriarchal cultures and are, therefore, in no position to voice out grievances, especially grievances about the opposite sex. However, this postulation of dominance by males does not exempt them from bias, harmful double standards and oppression.

“I Want to Make Boys Feel Bad Because It’s Fun.”
The illustrations I used for this article are T-Shirt prints marketed and sold by David & Goliath Inc. Radio host Glenn Sacks started a campaign calling for the boycott of what is perceived by many as the widespread marketing of misandry, disguised and often justified as female empowerment.

In fairness to Goldman, he made no mention of how his products were meant to be sold under the pretense of empowerment. In fact, in a news article by from National Post, Goldman explicitly denies that his T-shirts have anything to do with the girl-power movement. “I’m a guy. I couldn’t give a rat’s ass about girl empowerment. Our market is teenage girls. I know what sells.”

He’s right. I haven’t found a single feminist movement that officially promotes these shirts as “empowering.” And, in my opinion, although these products reinforce false masculine archetypes that suggest that men are stupid liars, Goldman has a right to express his opinion and to take advantage of a trend to make a profit.

However,  the fact that these products sell to such a degree, the fact that shirts printed with these slogans have mainstream acceptance, in my opinion, points towards a cultural trend of tolerance for violence towards men, especially, once we consider the target market for this merchandise – quoting Goldman, “Our market is teenage girls.”

Let’s Go, Girls! It’s Beat Up Your Boyfriend Night!
Joan Arehart-Treichel wrote an article, “Men Shouldn’t Be Overlooked as Victims of Partner Violence”, to address the issue of violence towards men and to present surprising statistics about the nature of partner violence.

In that article she writes:

“Regarding perpetration of violence, more women than men (25 percent versus 11 percent) were responsible. In fact, 71 percent of the instigators in nonreciprocal partner violence were women.”

Nonreciprocal violence, by the way, is when a woman hits a man and the man doesn’t hit back. When he does hit back, it’s called reciprocal violence a.k.a. criminal violence; a violation of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) in the States and a violation of Republic Act. 9262 Anti-violence Against Women and Their Children act of 2004 in the Philippines.

Some people would argue that violence by women can’t be as serious as violence by men because women are, most of the time, physically smaller and weaker than the men they fight with. Unfortunately, research proves that women also have a tendency to compensate for their smaller size through their greater use of weapons and the element of surprise, and that only a small percentage of female domestic violence is committed in self-defense.

An annotated bibliography of around 300 “References Examining Assaults by Women on their Spouses or Male Partners” compiled by Martin S. Feibert points to the same conclusion  – within heterosexual intimate partnerships, women have a higher propensity for violence than men:

Doroszewicz, K., & Forbes, G. B. (2008).  Experiences with dating aggression and sexual coercion among Polish college students.  Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 23, 58-73.  (The CTS-2 was used to study dating aggression in a sample <men=100, women=100> of unmarried Polish college students.  Results reveal that women were overall significantly more aggressive than men <48% vs 35.6%>).

Straus, M. A. (2008).  Dominance and symmetry in partner violence by male and female university students in 32 nations.  Children and Youth Services Review, 30, 252-275.  (A convenience sample of 13,601 students <71.5% women, 28.5% men> at 68 universities in 32 countries completed the CTS2.  Findings reveal that almost a third of students assaulted their dating partners in a 12 month period.  In terms of initiation, mutual aggression accounted for 68.6% of physical violence, while women initiated violence 21.4% of the time and men initiated violence 9.9% of the time.)

Leung, P. & Cheung, M.  (2008).  A prevalence study on partner abuse in six Asian American ethnic groups in the USA.  International Social Work, 51, 635-649.  (A large sample of Asian Americans were surveyed with the original CTS in the greater Houston area of Texas.  Sample consisted of 1577 respondents: 610 Chinese, 517 Vietnamese, 154 Indians, 123 Koreans, 101 Filipinos and 72 Japanese.  In terms of partner abuse high rates were reported for Vietnamese (22.4%) and Filipinos (21.8%)and low rates for Japanese and Chinese (9.7%).  Overall women were more abusive than men (17.6% vs 15.3%).

If, according to science, women are more violent than men in their domestic relationships, how come our laws on domestic violence protect only women?

My idea of gender equality is legal equality. Anything beyond that is, in my opinion, gender biased. Violence should be criminalized regardless of who’s doing it. Apart from criminalizing male violence on females, you know what else I think could help reduce domestic violence?

Criminalizing female violence on males.

Unfortunately, misandry is not only tolerated in contemporary culture, sometimes it is even encouraged. Some radical feminist groups not only condone misandry and violence against men, they advocate it and laugh about it.

A popular feminist blog,, published an article entitled, “Have You Ever Beat Up A Boyfriend, Uh, We Have.” Guess what it’s about! Right! How fun it is to hit boys who don’t hit back. Ironically, this article was what led me to the statistics on partner violence. Joan Arehart-Treichel’s article, “Men Shouldn’t Be Overlooked as Victims of Partner Violence,” was cited as a source.

Tracie Egan Morrisey writes (bold emphasis, mine):

“According to a study of relationships that engage in nonreciprocal violence, a whopping 70% are perpetrated by women. So basically that means that girls are beating up their BFs and husbands and the dudes aren’t fighting back. With Amy Winehouse busting open a can of whupass on her husband last week, we decided to conduct an informal survey of the Jezebels to see who’s gotten violent with their men. After reviewing the answers, let’s just say that it’d be wise to never ever fuck with us.

“One Jezebel got into it with a dude while they were breaking up, while another Jez went nuts on her guy and began violently shoving him. One of your editors heard her boyfriend flirting on the phone with another girl, so she slapped the phone out of his hands and hit him in the face and neck… “partially open handed.” Another editor slapped a guy when “he told me he thought he had breast cancer.”(Okay, that one made us laugh really hard.) And lastly, one Jez punched a steady in the face and broke his glasses. He had discovered a sex story she was writing about another dude on her laptop, so he picked it up and threw it. And that’s when she socked him. He was, uh, totally asking for it.”

Articles such as this one encourage women to beat up their boyfriends, postulating this behavior, violence against men, as a humorous, laughable norm and going as far as to cite a popular celebrity, Amy Winehouse as an “endorser” for nonreciprocal violence.

“On a Scale of 1 to 10, How Funny is a Mutilated Vagina?”
It is precisely because of this rising trend of misandry that a group of men have decided to fight back and make fun of violence perpetrated on a female, particularly a woman whose vagina was mutilated.

On July of 2011 an Orange County man drugged his wife, tied her up while she was unconscious, waited for her to wake up, then sliced pieces off her vagina and destroyed the severed organs by throwing them in a garbage disposal. Hosts from the show laughed at the idea of little vagina bits bouncing around in the garbage disposal. The all-male audience laughed with them!

I’m just kidding. That didn’t really happen. That will never happen. No man would dare laugh about violence done to a woman on television because such a display of barbarity would end his career and maybe even his life. If a group of men publicly laughs at the idea of torturing women via vaginal mutilation, the public would call for their heads. People would claim that these men deserved to die, or at the very least, they would clamor that all the men involved in the incident lose their jobs. These men might even be attacked by random strangers who would feel justified in beating the shit out of these assholes out of principle. There might be rallies, demonstrations and women’s rights activists all over television.

“On a Scale of 1 to 10, How Funny is a Mutilated Penis?”

But what if was the other way around? What if a bunch of women laughed about a man’s mutilated penis on television? I’m not kidding about that one. That really happened and will be discussed further in part 2.


(to be continued…)


All pictures taken from:

Posted in Personal, Politics, Society5 Comments



Tomorrow, August 24, is the final day you and your friends can vote for us at the Globe [email protected] Awards!

The past two weeks, it’s been a close call for both “The One” and “The Advocate” categories, and we need that one, final push to cinch our spot at the top of the polls.

If you have yet to vote, please go to the [email protected] Awards site and vote for us under both “The One” and “The Advocate” categories. We need serious help for both, and all it takes is a few measly mouse clicks. If your friends have yet to vote, physically carry them to a computer and tell them to vote. Worst case scenario, use a pulley.

Winning the awards would be a tremendous thing not only for the members of our organization, but for the state of reason, science, and secularism in the Philippines. We have so many things in store for you all in the near future, and bagging the top prizes will most definitely ensure that our plans come to fruition.

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Filipino Freethinkers March in Solidarity with Palayain ang Sining


(August 21, 2011) Cultural Center of the Philippines, Pasay City – The Filipino Freethinkers marched with Palayain ang Sining to commemorate Kulo’s now-thwarted closing day, and to show solidarity with our country’s fearless and passionate artistic community. Filipino Freethinkers brought placards that, among other things, said the following:

One man’s belief is another man’s blasphemy.
“I disagree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” – Voltaire
Censorship is so 12th century.
Censorship is offensive.
Censorship: protecting you from reality.
Blasphemy is a human right – United Nations
One freethinker marched in a Jesus costume and held a sign that said, “I am not offended.”

“The issue has definitely riled up individuals both in and out of the artistic community,” said Kenneth Keng, spokesperson of Filipino Freethinkers.

“It’s a reminder of our intrinsic right to freedom of expression,” said Keng. “In light of the UN’s affirmation that blasphemy is indeed a human right, it couldn’t have come at a more poignant time.”

Garrick Bercero of Filipino Freethinkers expounded on UN’s affirmation, at the same time reminding enemies of free speech of the resolution’s importance:

“It is encouraging that more enlightened bodies such as the Human Rights Council of the United Nations has released General Comment No. 34, which affirms the superiority of the right to free speech over the so-called right against blasphemy. Sorry, Atty. Imbong. General Comment No. 34 was put out by the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), of which the Philippines is a member. As a signatory and ratifier, the Philippines is legally bound by international law to follow GC34.

“Members of the ICCPR are required ‘to guarantee the right to freedom of expression… This right includes… political discourse, commentary on one’s own and on public affairs, canvassing, discussion of human rights, journalism, cultural and artistic expression, teaching, and religious discourse. It may also include commercial advertising.’ The comment instructs members to embrace ‘even expression that may be regarded as deeply offensive….’”

For news coverage of the event, click here.

Image courtesy of GMA News

Posted in Press Releases2 Comments