If you look through your daily feed, bad news always outweighs the good ones. Amidst all the controversies 2015 has gone through, let’s not forget about the good things that Filipinos did together. Send some good vibes by commemorating the times Filipinos united and conquered injustice.
“For the sake of a just and dignified peace and of the general welfare of the people, we the MILF and MNLF firmly and solemnly declare a diluted Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), which is inimical to the full and faithful implementation of both the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) and the 1996 Final Peace Agreement (FAP), is unacceptable to us and the Bangsamoro people,” MILF chair Al Haj Murad Ebrahim and MNLF chair Muslimin Sema said when they signed a Unified Declaration for the passage of an undiluted Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) which aims to regain the “lost freedom and the Bangsamoro’s right-to-self-determination as distinct and independent people.”
The new draft is now pending in Congress.
Against all odds (and cars), over a thousand Iglesia ni Christo members rallied at the northbound and southbound lanes of EDSA as a protest against the Department of Justice and its Secretary Leila de Lima for meddling in the internal affairs of the Church. INC members also claimed that the rally in front of the DOJ was to pressure government officials to favor the Iglesia ni Cristo leaders implicated in the case. The DOJ is looking into the illegal detention and other charges filed against its leaders who are allegedly perpetuating corrupt practices inside the Church.
Lumads were given the support and attention they deserve as the hashtag #StopLumadKillings trended on social media. Facebook and Twitter were exploding with posts about the injustices our Lumad brothers and sisters are experiencing. Schools like the University of the Philippines and De La Salle University welcomed members of the Lumad tribe onto their campuses to give talks and presentations about their culture and its current state.
Countless rallies were also held in support, where students, professors, groups like Sulong Katribu partylist and the Lumads themselves raised their voices in unison.
In support, the National Museum has recently opened a gallery devoted to the Lumad culture. There is also an ongoing online petition addressed to high government officials that urges them to keep Lumad children in schools and to stop the military attacks that affect their education.
On the other side of #APECHottie and all the attention the Philippine government gave to the APEC Summit were Filipinos from different backgrounds proving their unity. The Department of Interior and Local Government urged rallyists to respect the “No permit, no rally” rule which received flak from netizens. The rallyists were also told by the APEC organizers to “not embarass the Philippines.” Despite all the warnings from authorities to behave, rallyists still took on the roads to get the attention of international leaders.
Anti-APEC rallyists and other groups like Lumad representatives and militant groups clashed with the police, engulfing Buendia, Taft and outside of the Philippine International Convention Center. Representatives from the Kilusang Mayo Una said, “No permit, no rally has become a code word for no rally, but it violates the 1987 Constitution which 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.”
If there’s one thing to conclude from the APEC rallies, it’s that Filipinos need change in the government and in their lives, and suppressing their voice to call on injustice will not stop people from saying what needs to be said.
October 24, 2015 was one of the biggest days in the country. No, a hot prime minister didn’t come to the country nor did a senate candidate embarrass herself on TV yet. It was #AlDubTamangPanahon that happened, and it was as explosive as you could imagine. It was the first time the Philippine Arena was filled; even Katy Perry couldn’t fill the 55,000-seater coliseum. The #AlDubNation had broken Twitter records even before Tamang Panahon happened, but this time records were shattered throughout the day with 41 millions tweets by those inside and outside the arena. The Tamang Panahon event has become a part of history, and Filipinos are still feeling the aftershocks.
The hashtag #SaveMaryJane is one of the recent wins of life over injustice. Mary Jane Veloso, a Filipino mother of two and OFW in Indonesia, was supposed to be executed last April for possessing a 2.6 kilograms-worth of heroin in her luggage when she arrived at Audisucipto International Airport in Yogyakarta. Since then, Veloso has been under custody of the Indonesian government.
Members of the Department of Foreign Affairs, her lawyer, and even President Noynoy Aquino have been pushing for fair processing and Judicial Review of her case. President Aquino has appealed numerous times to then Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhyono and current president Joko Widodo.
By then, Veloso’s letter to the Filipino youth to stay away from drugs have been circulating media, which solidified the Veloso’s Filipino and international supporters. An online petition by Change.org (which was translated into French and Indonesian, among others was also initiated in the hopes of sparing Veloso’s life. Acquiring about 200,000 supporters, the petition reached the hands of President Widodo. The Indonesian president also met with 3 labor leaders to discuss the many other Indonesian migrant workers that were victims of human trafficking and drug smuggling. The meeting turned emotional, they said, as Widodo appeared sympathetic. A rally was also held outside during the meeting. Aside from the online petition, Twitter also exploded with tweets of support from people around the world.
At dawn on the day of the execution, the DFA spoke to the public saying, “We are relieved that the execution of Mary Jane was not carried out. The Lord has answered our prayers.”
The Bureau of Customs went under fire this year, receiving multiple complaints from OFWs and their families for their past law of randomly checking balikbayan boxes without permission. They stated that it was how the BOC was pilfering and abusing the hard-earned contents of the balikbayan boxes.
This sparked a national outrage against the BOC. An online petition on Change.org asked for the BOC to impose tighter rules in balikbayan inspection. On August 24, the 87,762 petition supporters’ demands were given to them as President Aquino banned the BOC to operate random inspections on balikbayan boxes, declaring x-ray and K-9 inspections as the only manner of checking.
A day before the US legalized same-sex marriage in all 50 states, Luneta Park was flooded with rainbows as the 21st LGBT Pride March was held. The theme for this year was “Fight For Love: Iba-iba. Sama-sama.” which fights for the rights of those who have come out and how the non-LGBT community can help in making life more just and peaceful for everyone experiencing inequality.
Over 1,500 supporters led the parade around Malate, with pride brimming from them. After the parade, powerful performances and speeches about inequality in the workplace, the continuing struggle of the community for the anti-discriminatory bill and stories of love pumped up the spirits of attendees. By the end of the event, a rainbow decided to hover in the sky, as if Mother Nature was watching over to give her blessing.
When do you think Filipinos showed unity this year? Share your thoughts with us in the Comments Section below!