Protests at Ivanka Trump residence, one resident wants none of it

San Pablo, Philippines – Another day, another protest against the Donald J. Trump administration.

Last Saturday night (Sunday morning in the Philippines), hundreds of protesters initially gathered at the Dupont Center in the northwestern part of Washington, DC for the “Queer Dance Party for Climate Justice at Ivanka Trump’s House!”, organized by Queer Resistance. Based on the event’s description, it aims to send a message to Ivanka Trump, daughter of the president of the United States and Rex Tillerson, the United States’ Secretary of State concerning issues such as environmental regulations, funding of the Environmental Protection Agency, the Dakota Access Pipeline, and census questions regarding sexual orientation and gender identity.

During the protest, participants were yelling obscenities targeted and taunting Ms. Trump, telling her to “come dance” with them.

However, some residents living nearby was irked with the protest. At one point, one visibly annoyed resident told two people to leave in a confrontational manner. One of the persons he confronted was reporting the event and the subsequent incident through her Twitter account.

At that time of the protest, Ms. Trump was reported to be in New York City. A similar protest was undertaken targeting then-Vice President-elect Michael Pence a few days before inauguration day (January 20 in Washington DC, January 21 in the Philippines).

Sources:

  • Queer Dance Party for Climate Justice at Ivanka Trump’s House (Facebook events page)
  • Ashley Rae Goldenberg at MRCTV (see tweets above)
  • Daniel Chaitin, Washington Examiner (report)
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Renewing the ABS-CBN franchise

A post on Timow’s Turf tackles one of ABS-CBN Corporation’s major problems: the pending renewal of its congressional franchise. It tackles the status of the company’s franchise renewal, challenges surrounding it, such as inaction from legislators, campaigns led against the network by groups of internet users with different agendas. The post also ponders on possible scenarios concerning the possible renewal or expiration of its franchise.

Predecessor companies of ABS-CBN (Manila Chronicle from 1955 to 1961 per Republic Act No. 1343, Chronicle Broadcasting Network from 1961 to 1972 per Republic Act Nos. 3223 and 5731), were previously given franchises to operate radio and television stations. However, ABS-CBN was given its own legislative franchise in March 1995 as Republic Act No. 7966, due to expire in late March 2020. On November 10, 2016, House Bill 4349, which aims to renew its legislative franchise, was filed. Unlike its major rival (GMA Network’s HB 4631, filed on December 7, 2016 and approved on the third reading on January 16, 2017), ABS-CBN’s HB 4349 is still pending with the Legislative Franchises Committee as of this writing.

Admittedly, I am not a fan of most of the programming of its flagship station (ABS-CBN 2 Manila) for its content and the perceived slant of its news coverage. One reason behind its slant is that the network has been historically anti-Marcos (since the network’s assets were seized in the early days of former president Ferdinand E. Marcos’ declaration of martial law and utilized by the government and by a crony until the said dispensation’s physical removal from government [so to speak] in February 1986) and pro-Aquino (the company’s assets were returned to the pre-1972 owners during the presidency of Corazon C. Aquino). This is reflected by the network’s ad spots commemorating the 1986 People Power Revolution and the declaration of martial law in 1972 and the airing of relevant programs, documentaries (Batas Militar) and movies (A Dangerous Life) in the channels that it owns and/or operates. By extension, it also favors political personalities identified with the Aquino family. Such concerns and negative perceptions are highlighted in a Facebook page that was active in the early years of the Benigno Aquino III presidency, whose name escapes me as of this writing.

However, ABS-CBN for the most part has been able to comply with national and local laws, specifically clauses in its current congressional franchise that deal with education and information dissemination. Though a notable portion of the company’s content is prolefeed like most soap operas and some entertainment-oriented television shows, it has been able to serve the nation through its educational offerings (though predominantly relegated to Knowledge Channel and a handful of weekend morning shows) and news programs in its radio stations, free to air (notably the regional versions of TV Patrol) and cable channels.

Despite my adversarial attitude towards the company, I see no reason to delay or even deny the renewal of ABS-CBN’s congressional franchise.

Disclosure: The author has friends, classmates and other contacts who either worked with or currently work for ABS-CBN Corporation or its affiliates/subsidiaries.

Some thoughts on Mocha Uson

Mocha Uson has been a subject of controversy since the early part of the current decade. Before, she was known for more risqué content involving sex and sexuality. Nowadays, she’s under fire for being an ardent supporter of President Duterte and being untrustworthy for sharing fake(d) news, among other things.

Uson explicitly mentioned in her Facebook page’s about section that she is not a journalist but an ordinary Filipino. Her right to say whatever she wants on her platforms is constitutionally protected under Article 3, Section 4 of the current basic law[1]. This section also protects our freedom of speech and freedom of expression, subject to certain limitations.

I have no problems about her recent past, no matter how raunchy (or in some cases, degenerate) it was. I also do not have problems with her partisanship since she’s not in an industry, company or institution where people that are part of it are expected to be non-partisan and objective. Heck, she can as biased as she can be, similar to how some notable newsmakers like actors, sports figures, musicians and entertainers in the United States are rooting for either Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton or in some cases, Gary Johnson in the race for the White House.

However, I have issues with people promoting and sharing stuff from dodgy news sites. Not just from Mocha Uson’s Facebook page. There are fan pages both locally and internationally pushing this mostly inane and inaccurate nonsense. In the case of Mocha’s blog, there’s a mix of legit and not-so-legit sites that her blog links to. She sometimes reposts articles from mainstream news sites (aka “the bias[ed] ones”) on her page for the benefit of internet users who are relying on Facebook for their daily dose of news (an example can be found here). Since the Duterte administration came to power, she also shares accomplishments and feats from various government departments and offices like the Social Welfare and Development department under Judy Taguiwalo.

Not all Facebook pages and profiles are like that, obviously. If they post stuff like that, call them out, even if some guy thinks that we need some laughter by sharing such fiction. (That means you, bruh.)

Now that she is writing a weekly opinion column in the Philippine Star starting this Tuesday[2], we should remember the popularized adage: “With great power comes great responsibility”.

UPDATE: While revising this entry, it appears that Regina Belmonte, daughter of one of the owners of the Philippine Star, is not pleased with its decision. Ms. Uson pointed out in her reply to Ms. Belmonte that the former is not a journalist, which was previously mentioned earlier in this post. Uson added that she “will still be grateful for being considered to write and express the cry of the ordinary people” if the newspaper decided not to push through its plans for her. I’m not surprised that such a reaction occurred, especially coming from a millennial member of the Philippine elite. If Max Soliven were alive, he’d probably drop some sanamagan bombs on Regina. Maybe on Mocha. Or both. May the truth continue to prevail.

ASIDE: I (re-)discovered Oscar Franklin Tan’s articles while doing my research on her. He has more level-headed opinions concerning her compared to some of his peers in the mainstream media. I don’t agree with most of his points but his articles, which are published in the Philippine Daily Inquirer (and Facebook page) are worth checking out.

 


[1] The said section states that “No law shall be passed abridging the freedom of speech, of expression, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble and petition the government for redress of grievances.”
[2] I prefer the said paper over other broadsheets because of its more objective treatment of news stories and its caliber of columnists. I’m no fan of some of its current and former columnists like Billy Esposo, Teddy Casiño and some people in the lifestyle sections. But it’s a trade off that goes along with the things that I encounter from day to day.

In 450 Words: 70+ days under President Duterte

For the past six years, I’ve mostly opposed the prior disposition – especially when it comes to its policies and plans that were either not implemented (Laguna Lakeshore project, for example) or were poorly implemented. The prior disposition were also obsessed with payback (the 2012 impeachment proceedings against former Chief justice Renato Corona and various actions directed towards various political opponents).

To be honest, I did not vote for Rodrigo Duterte. But once all the votes were counted and validated, it dawned to me that people want change – especially change from what is seen as normal and expected in Philippine politics. Now that change is here, I can say that things are going better than expected: there is less crime, hundreds of thousands of drug users and dealers have surrendered, people are becoming more confident about the leaders running the country, people’s perception on government and governance has improved, and so on. Not only that, his plans and policies outlined in the State of the Nation Address and other events are signs that better things for us Filipinos are on the way. Being pragmatic, I can say that they can be feasible.

Similar to other leaders, there are some downsides to his presidency, like the appointment of certain persons in various offices and departments and extrajudicial killings that are linked to the president’s campaign against drugs and criminality (but are mostly done by third parties like vigilantes, people involved in drug deals gone wrong), and so on. There are other things that he has to deal with, including but not limited to alleged human rights violations done during police operations, partisan elements in Philippine media, criticisms coming from the Liberal party (which is now in the opposition after six years in power) and other organizations and various foul ups.

Compared to the first 70 or so days under Benigno Aquino III, Rodrigo Duterte did a better job of running the ship and was decisive in handling the first major crisis under his watch (the Roxas Night market bombing in Davao last September 2).

I believe that he’s better off not caring about trivialities like Senator Leila de Lima’s love life and focus on things that truly matter like peace and order campaigns, fixing our relationships with other littoral states lining the disputed territorial waters of the Philippines and finding long-term solutions for various challenges, improving bilateral and multilateral relationships with other countries and organizations, having a better system of governance and creation of a new basic law, removing or modifying outdated legislature to encourage socio-economic growth and development for all Filipinos, peace talks with various insurgent groups and their re-integration into mainstream Philippine society, more desirable public infrastructure and more citizen involvement in government.