1st National Conference of the Alternative Media
Plaridel Hall, UP College of Mass Communication
Diliman, QC
October 9-10, 2014

/p

 

 

     

Photo by Fred Dabu

 
/p

/p
 
           
     
     

.

 

STRENGTHEN THE VOICE OF THE PEOPLE

Keynote Speech to the First National Conference of Alternative Media

at Plaridel Hall, U.P. College of Mass Communications, October 9-10, 2014
See video of speech here:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0cPLzl4Q_K0
 

By PROF. JOSE MA. SISON
Chairman Emeritus, International Network for Philippine Studies

 

I thank the conference organizers for inviting me to be the keynote speaker of the First National Conference of Alternative Media, the theme of which is “New Situation, New Challenge: Strengthen the People's Voice.” I am deeply pleased and highly honored.

 

I extend my warmest greetings of solidarity to all the participants. I hope that your discussion of concepts and history of the alternative media and exchange of experience, estimate of the situation and plans related to alternative media practice in the Philippines will lay a sound basis for the plenary session to draw up a constitution and program of action and establish an alliance of alternative media organizations.

 

To be initially on the same wavelength with you, I am using the term “alternative media”. I know what you mean concretely as I look at the list of your participants: Bulatlat, Ibon, Peoples Media Center/Pinoy Weekly, Tudla Productions, Buhay Manggagawa, Kodao, Aklat ng Bayan, Arkibong Bayan, Northern Dispatch (Northern Luzon), Bicol Today, Davao Today, Cobraans (Bacolod), ST Exposure, Sine Panayanon (Panay), FARDEC, Hiligaynon, Lingganay Kamatuoran, Radyo Sagada, CPU, Migrante, Radyo Guimba, KILAB Mulltimedia (Mindanao), and publications of Gabriela, Bayan, KMP/Pamalakaya and Anakbayan.

 

Preference for the Term “People's Media”

 

To refer to the foregoing information media, I prefer to use the term “people's media”.  You yourselves indicate by your conference theme that the media represented by participants in the conference are the voice of the people and that you wish to strengthen it. The people's media are in sharp contrast to the “imperialist media” based in the US and other imperialist countries, or the “ruling class media” in any exploitative social system, including the government-owned media and the corporate media of the press lords and their presstitutes.

 

The people's media serve the people, particularly the toiling masses of workers and peasants, the women, the youth, the intelligentsia, the national minorities, the low-income people, and others who are oppressed and exploited and who have little or no access to the dominant or so-called mainstream media. They report the events, facts and issues that affect most the lives and future of the people. They provide ample space for the expression of the needs, demands and just aspirations of the people. They broadcast the sufferings, struggles and victories of the people against those who oppress and exploit them.

 

In the concrete conditions of the Philippines, what interest the people most are their own desire and striving for national independence, democracy, respect for human rights, social justice, development through genuine land reform and national industrialization, the flourishing of a national, scientific and mass culture, and international solidarity of peoples and countries for peace and development against imperialism and reaction.

 

Critique of the Term “Mainstream Media”

 

The term “mainstream media” is a cleverly minted phrase. It rides on the factual predominance of the media owned, controlled and directed by imperialist or reactionary governments and the private media monopolies in the gathering, processing and dissemination of information, sentiments and ideas that are slanted to preserve and promote the ruling system. Any other kind of media outside of the “mainstream” is by direct implication looked down as “marginal” even if serving public interest far beyond the narrow self-interest of the imperialists and reactionaries.

 

But the cleverness of the bourgeois phrase-makers does not end there. They avoid proclaiming the binary distinction or dichotomy between mainstream and marginal. What they downgrade as marginal, the tributary or the “other” thing, they often call the “alternative media” or sometimes the “independent media” to suggest emphatically that there is freedom of choice in bourgeois society. At other times, they can be blatantly nasty in labeling the people's media with adjectives calculated to isolate them, making them appear as deviant or extremist.

 

With the term “mainstream media”, the government and corporate giants in print and electronic media preemptively appropriate the citizenry and the masses, seek to misrepresent themselves as the main timely sources of facts and the truth, and facilitate their attempt to influence and manipulate the people. They play up the personalities, forces and issues that favor the ruling system, and play down, obscure or vilify those entities deemed dangerous to the system.

 

Advantages of the Anti-People Media

 

The governments and private corporations that own and run the anti-people media have certain advantages over the oppressed and exploited people and the people's media that strive to express their rights and interests and spread the pertinent, significant and interesting information. They have the state power on their side. They have the capital to finance and organize their personnel and build their networks and technological means. They get their profits from the corporate advertisers and even from funds from state agencies, political parties and lobby groups loyal to the ruling system.

 

We saw how state power was used to close down print and electronic media and suppress press freedom wholesale during the Marcos fascist dictatorship. But even thereafter, state power has been used to prevent and limit the access of the people's media to information considered secret or confidential by the government and the big corporations. A glaring indication of this is the persistent refusal of the reactionary Philippine Congress to pass a Freedom of Information Act 27 years after the first Freedom of Information bill was filed, and despite the provision in the 1987 Constitution guaranteeing the right to information. Even where there is a law on the freedom of information, as in the US and elsewhere, there are provisions and other laws which can block access to the most vital information. Security forces of the state can actually disable in one way or another any journalist whom they deem dangerous to the state.

 

The combination of state psy-war and corporate advertising techniques perfected by the big bourgeoisie is able to fabricate a whole universe of lies and pass them off as truths. Thus the anti-people media across the world and in the Philippines can still use highly paid journalists to twist the news so brazenly, for example, as to canonize US imperialist aggression as “protection of human rights” and its installed puppet regimes as “legitimate governments”, and to provide the needed “fog-of-war” smokescreens for its false-flag attacks while demonizing mass resistance as “acts of terrorism.”

 

The big media owned by the imperialists and reactionary states and by the private corporations sugarcoat their big bourgeois and other counterrevolutionary ideas and interests with petty bourgeois liberal and pseudo-Left phraseology, and use certain editorialists, columnists and reporters for that purpose. The big bourgeoisie and other anti-people forces also use as special agents pseudo-progressive and pseudo-Left media, political groups and trolling troops that pose as “independent” or “alternative media”  but specialize in attacking the people's media and other patriotic and progressive forces. Watch how Rappler, pseudo-independent broadcasters and columnists,  Akbayan, Pulse Asia, Social Weather Station, and letter-writing brigades work in concert to serve the Aquino regime and the military.

 

Even when a certain amount or level of resistance media is legally allowed, the reactionary state continues to violate human rights in a gross and systematic way, outlaw organizations of the people and compel the revolutionary media to go underground. There are tyrants at every level of the reactionary state in the Philippines that target for job dismissal or assassination of journalists that offend them. The Philippines is well-known for the serial killing of journalists and for the Ampatuan massacre of journalists.

 

It is important to know the social, economic, political and cultural context in which the media operate in the Philippines as well as the dominant interests abroad that currently use such catchphrases as neoliberal globalization, war on terror, and so on. What predominate in the reactionary media are interconnecting layers of imperialist or big bourgeois, colonial, feudal, and fascist currents of thinking.

 

These are manifest in the content, methods, and forms that are preconditioned, directed or influenced by the entire ruling system, the structure of media ownership, the dominant political parties, the educational and cultural system, the Church and its institutions, the imperialist news agencies, the entire advertising and entertainment industry, big-budget cinema, the Internet and social media, all the way down to formerly traditional but now commercialized and politicized festivals, concerts and sports events.

 

All these sources generate ideological, political and cultural messages that resound in the reactionary mass media and incessantly barrage the people’s minds and influence their behavior, in all their waking hours on a 24/7 basis across the whole information spectrum. These messages tell their captive audience what is supposedly righteous, interesting, desirable, beautiful, valuable and beneficial, and what is not.

 

Reactionary culture predominates in Philippine society so much so that even the most basic and common elements of culture such as language, folklore and traditions have become suffused with reactionary content. Among the vehicles of culture, mass media have become an extremely powerful and omnipresent tool of the ruling classes to deceive and distract the people.

 

What the People's Media Can Do

 

But as in all things, the law of contradiction or dialectics operates in Philippine society as a whole, in its economics, politics and culture, including the mass media. In the struggle against the US-dominated ruling system of big compradors and landlords, the national democratic mass movement of the people has grown to such an extent that it has inspired, engendered and nurtured the rise of the people's mass media and has served as the basis of its current strength and further growth.  Reciprocally, the people's media have informed, enlightened and encouraged the people's mass movement of patriotic and progressive forces.

 

Whatever are their limitations and disadvantages, the people's media can strengthen themselves as the voice of the people by increasing their efficiency in gathering and disseminating the information and ideas that pertain most to the suffering of the people and their struggle for national and social liberation. The broad masses of the people themselves can spread further what the people's media disseminate because this upholds their rights and interests and substantiate their complaints and demands for a better kind of life and bright future.

 

The rich experience of our own country’s propaganda movement has produced study materials and training kits on how to develop the people’s media as powerful weapons in a propaganda movement with a just cause and with a truly mass character. All people’s media practitioners study the principle and methods of the mass line applied to media work. In this regard, Mao Zedong’s “A Talk to the Editorial Staff of the Shansi-Suiyuan Daily” remains an excellent point of reference.

 

The people's active role in amplifying and spreading the news can make up for the financial and technological limitations of the people's media. The current status and further development of the people's organizations against the ruling system at the level of the legal mass movement and the revolutionary mass movement can always foster the continuous realization of the high potential of the people's media. With the use of the internet and social media, the people's media can now transmit information far more efficiently than ever before to mass organizations and the people at large.

 

By providing the facts and speaking the truth, the people's media establish their high prestige and credibility. The people themselves on their own circulate the significant and interesting content by word of mouth and through the internet and social media. At the same time, the people's media must constantly expose and oppose the anti-people character, strategies, tactics, and the most arcane tricks of the imperialist media and the local reactionary media and how these spread outright lies and disinformation. Such critique should help to counter, weaken and defeat imperialist and reactionary propaganda.

 

Even as giant media firms are controlled by the big bourgeoisie, they will always employ members of the petty-bourgeois intelligentsia and the working class to operate their media facilities and operations. There are also the small community and provincial media that are owned and operated by smaller firms or as family-owned enterprises — which are susceptible to big-bourgeois and bureaucrat control (e.g. via ads and payolas) but also exercise a certain degree of independence in certain cases. In addition to these are the non-commercial media outlets such as Church and NGO newsletters, campus newspapers, and, since the past two decades, online journalists or bloggers.

 

The rank-and-file media professionals and workers and small media owner-operators, as part of the petty bourgeoisie, are open to revolutionary and progressive ideas and to reflecting more truthfully the lives of the masses, if only on the basis of exercising the right to press freedom and artistic expression, and increasingly in more politically radical terms as their work and living conditions are adversely affected by the crisis. Philippine history is rich with examples of patriotic and progressive journalists who worked in big-bourgeois-controlled media (e.g. Amado V. Hernandez, Henry Romero, Antonio Zumel, Satur Ocampo and Antonio Nieva) and eventually joined the ranks of the revolutionary movement.

 

Building an Alliance of the People's Media

 

I welcome the common determination of all the media outfits now gathered in this conference to build an alliance and network for sharing, coordination and cooperation in a number of projects and activities. I understand that you wish to enhance your respective capacities and create synergies to maximize your capabilities for meeting the challenges and carry out the tasks in the immediate struggle against the anti-national and anti-democratic US-Aquino regime, and in the long-term struggle against the semicolonial and semifeudal ruling system.

 

I am aware that you have prepared a program of action to make a greater and more effective use of social media, to make a regular (possibly daily) internet news and analysis program and organize for the purpose a nationwide network of reporters and correspondents. I suggest that aside from producing texts for the internet and print publications you develop internet-based radio & TV broadcasting. You can develop modes of opinion poll survey to break the monopoly of the imperialists and reactionaries in using this sort of activity to misrepresent the people and condition their thinking. At the same time, you must constantly be aware of the limitations and disadvantages of social media as an information-education tool for arousing, organizing and mobilizing the masses.

 

While the core of your alliance should necessarily be composed of the media outfits that are categorically and solidly part of the people’s movement and working closely with or organically within the mass organizations, you should also exert more effort in reaching out to organize and involve in your work wide sections of the petty bourgeois intelligentsia working in big corporate media and related service industries and, in coordination with the youth movement, the students of journalism, mass communications and fine arts colleges, and the schools.

 

Many of them welcome the opportunity to express in the people’s media their own pro-people ideas and creativity that can’t find space in reactionary media, to volunteer their time and skills in support of the propaganda movement, and as opportunities arise, to push for a degree of pro-people content within reactionary media. Sometimes, patriotic and progressive content can find its way in some reactionary media because of an avowed or even pretended policy of liberal democratic, objective, all-sided and enlightened journalism, or in cases where the media owners are in contradiction with more reactionary entities.

 

You should pay attention to organizing or supporting the organization of media workers along the national and democratic line.  When they can, people's media practitioners can join the National Press Club and the provincial press clubs.  Historically, patriotic and progressive leaders and currents have arisen from these press clubs, as have ultra-reactionary ones at certain times.  You should also be able to form alliances with owners of small printing-press and internet café establishments that continue to proliferate in main and secondary urban centers, provide a wide technical base for the needs of people’s media, and are traditionally supportive of media rights.

 

Former activists and progressives, whether still in touch and supportive of the movement in various degrees, or who may have lost direct contact for some time but have not lost their interest and desire to contribute to the struggle, can be found in all major media corporations and most if not all of the minor ones in practically all urban centers, at practically all levels of the media structure.  They are your potential ready-made seed elements for building such broad alliances and networks in media.

 

To realize this potential and activate them effectively, you must not only reestablish and strengthen linkages with them, but simultaneously and with their collaboration conduct the necessary social investigation and studies on corporate interests, structures, owner-management-worker relations, political affiliations, linkages with international/imperialist entities,  etc. These will be the basis for further expanding organizational work and discovering opportunities in the dominant media to augment the people’s media and the people’s voice.

 

It is fine that you are resolved to take up urgent issues, such as the Ampatuan massacre, media killings with impunity, charter change calculated by those in power to further denationalize the economy and make boundless executive power, the growing US military basing and intervention, the need to have genuine freedom of information, ensuring that no cybercrime law is enacted to tighten imperialist and reactionary control of the media, and the dismantling of the pork barrel system. You can take up many more domestic issues that involve the people's national and democratic rights and their just struggle for national and social liberation.

 

You must  disseminate the most important Philippine events and issues among the Filipinos abroad and among the people of the world. There are people's media abroad that you can cooperate with. Foreign friends and Filipino compatriots have progressive information networks. You must reach out to overseas Filipinos in every way possible through their organizations and their own media facilities and internet channels. They are hungry for solid news and analysis as well as literary and art works from their homeland, especially from their home provinces.

 

You must  imbibe and be moved by the spirit  of international solidarity.  You must engage in mutual support and cooperation with  other peoples fighting for their rights against imperialism and reaction. You must take up international events and issues in order to prevent the imperialists and reactionaries from using the media  to mislead the people. You must always be alert to international events and issues that call for the Filipíno people's solidarity and support for other  peoples in need, even as you are concerned with those events and issues   relevant to and impact on the Filipino people and the Philippines.

 

Long-term Direction of the People's Media

 

As the people’s movement grows in strength  nationwide, it shall gain much higher capacity to promote, support and further develop the people’s media. While the struggle will yet undergo many twists and turns — and we should be alert to the possibility of more repressive regimes imposing draconian measures to suppress media rights, as during the Marcos dictatorship — the general trend will be for the new-democratic culture to rise to dominance and for the people to finally have the capacity to gain full access to and control of all available media technologies and facilities.

 

Even now, the people’s media should vigorously campaign for a comprehensive program of building new-democratic media in the service of the people and within the framework of a national, scientific and mass culture, and implement those components of the program that can be immediately implemented. A united front among people's media outfits and other media formations and circles should be continually expanded and consolidated in the context of a broad cultural united front.

 

As the crisis of the world capitalist ruling system and that of the domestic ruling system worsen, the information gathered and circulated by the people's media will ring louder and the growing mass movement would accelerate  the spread of the information. In the history of revolutions, the ruling system and the rulers direct and use the biggest instruments of propaganda until close to the victory of the revolution.. At any rate, despite limitations and disadvantages, the people's media even now are able to provide  information and enlightenment to inspire and guide the people and their revolutionary forces.###

 


Dean. Roland Tolentino - Opening Remarks
     
Prof. Jose Maria Sison - Keynote Address
See video of speech here:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0cPLzl4Q_K0

 
     
Former Dean Luis V. Teodoro - History of the Alternative Press
     
Mrs. Edita T. Burgos - Anti-Marcos Press: The Burgos Familyh Experience
Former Ang Malaya editor Lourdes Fernandez -
 Lessons from the Alternative Press During Martial Law
     
UP-CMC Prof. Diosa Labiste - The Community Press as Part of the Alternative Press
Satur Ocampo - The Underground Press from Martial Law until 1990s

Rey Claro Casambre of Arkibong Bayan reads paper of Marco Valbuena:
The Underground Press from 1990s to present
           
     
     

.

Lessons and Experiences in Publishing
an Alternative Paper during Martial Law
The Burgos Family Experience

Behind the romanticism that characterized publishing an opposition paper during Martial Law, were hard  realities that we had to deal with.  With Joe’s hands full, taking care of the editorial,pre-production and practically every  phase of the production of the newspaper, the job of looking at this ‘practical realities ‘ fell on my shoulders.  Of course this was not ‘easy’ to make an understatement because I never had any training on business nor in publications.   But somehow, it was not an impossible job because Joe was there. 

SOLICIT THE COOPERATION OF ALL CONCERNED:  DECISION MUST BE COOPERATIVE

Before the coming out of the first issue, while the paper was still being conceived, Joe  consultedwith and got the cooperation of three significant groups… his family, his father and a benefactor and the future editorial staff.

The first thing was to ‘consult’ his advisers. Joe convened the family council. (myself and the 4 children, aged 3-12) He not only made it clear that publishing would mean, less income for the family, but would also entailsacrifices such as foregoing some small luxuries the children were used too. … They not only agreed but encouraged their father to go on with his plan ‘bastamaipagmamalakikanamin.’  This was ‘strategic’ to ensure peace in the family because there were no demands for the usual dinner outside nor occasional movies (which we could no longer afford), instead the children were happy working with us, folding, counting, ‘proofreading’, selling newspapers in the streets or just making life easier for the editors and reporters by selling cigarettes inside the editorial room so that the editors didn’t have to go out to buy their cigarettes.

The grand old Burgos,Jose Sr.,  papa’s cooperation of course was critical. The patriarch’s financial support when the newspaper was just starting as a weekly was crucial to the sustainability of the work.

The staff… mainly editors and writers of campus papers, and the production and circulationin charge … who weremembers of the family, likewise willingly worked for what we call now as ‘barya.’

Doing this… he: 1) eliminated what would have been a source of tension in the family if the kids wants were not met, 2) ensure that we would have sources of funds / fall back when the small family savings ran out and 3) cut down expenses without sacrificing quality.  Our next speaker,  the first female editor of a daily national broadsheet in the Philippines ,  will deal more in detail with how this third consultation happened.

SOURCES OF INCOME

Unlike the broadsheets and tabloids at that time who depended on their ad placements for the bulk of their income, We Forum depended on sales for its income.  Aside from the fact that advertisers were afraid to have their products or services seen in the pages of the We Forum, the paper also upheld it’s policy of accepting products and services that were not detrimental not only to the physical health of the readers but also to their moral  well-being. Thus we refused placements of liquor, cigarettes,  motels, wanted husbands and wives. Etc., etc. ( I remember how  a walk in foreigner got mad at me… and demanded an explanation why we could not  accept the placement of his ‘wanted wife; ad. He was willing to pay more than the usual rate.) For the longest time, we had only 1 placement, an ear ad of a shop that sewed flags.  Later, when Malaya’s circulation increased, we were able to get regular legal notices and movie ads. 

Selling We Forum in Metro Manila was  problematic… traditional dealers, stands and newsboys were afraid  to sell the paper (in some instances, Joe along with Sonny, our eldest son, would be the ones to deliver themselves to make sure that the newsstands got their copies ) only to learn that after they left, soldiers would confiscate the newspapers… still in their original bundles. We also had to compete with tabloids with sensationalized stories.

But Joe knew so well that there was a particular readership that the newspaper would appeal to… so instead of depending on the existing dealers, whose association demanded that their pricing and terms be followed, we looked for people who believed in the cause and invited them to be dealers.  Some of them were subscribers, others were friends of friends and  we were able to get new dealers (who learned the ropes of becoming dealers only after they volunteered to sell We Forum).  Davao, (NeliaPartoza)  Cebu, Bacolod, Zamboanga, Angeles, Pampanga,(Mr.Manaloto) San Fernando, La Union, Tarlac(Dr.Sunga) are some of the areas where the newspaper had good sales.  In Metro Manila,,  in areas where the dealers refused to sell the newspapers, we tapped newsboys, government employees and school canteens.  Of course later, when the demand for We Forum and Malaya increased, the dealers could no longer ignore us … they came and placed their orders.

We Forum /Malaya developed a unique relationship with the dealers and newsboys.  A personal touch was always part of the relationship.  Christmas, birthdays were occasions to interact with them.  Some newsboys even became scholars of Malaya.  To this day, some dealers remain to be friends… from their dealership days where they were able to accumulate enough capital for other ventures, some of them have progressed to start other more lucrative businesses.(success story of a delivery boy who volunteered to offer newspapers to the surrounding subdivisions… he later bought a bike, a van, the last time I heard about him, he ran for mayor in his town)

That was our role, to make sure that there was enough to keep the newspaper going.  We personally had to do the collections, so that we could bring these collections to the newsprint dealers so we could pay in cash and so that they would deliver the paper to the printing press.

What is important is to remember that no matter how good a product is, no matter how romantic the idea is, no matter how noble your motivation is the endeavour must be economically viable or else you will fail.

CREATIVITIES

Of course the administration wanted to disable the paper to a point that it would have to shut down. The best way to kill a newspaper is to maim its  communication system. (there were no cell phones before).  It took the longest time to apply for a telephone line.  For months we had to find creative ways for the reporters in the field to call  in their stories.  . 

Joe would say “no matter what, the newspaper has to come out on time….” and those who worked in We Forum and Malaya know how Joe was like, when the deadline approached… (usually, towards late afternoon)  “Wag kanghaharahara” or you will get the brunt of his ‘flowery language’.

Creative ways were found . To solve this problem, we befriended our neighbors:  a beauty parlor across the office, the sari-sari store in the street corner, a foreign exchange shop beside the police station,  houses  behind the office.  And we would be able to receive the phoned in stories by using their phones. Actually, some of the neighbours, volunteered their phones, even rooms to help.

Frequent brownouts plagued the office.

The funny part of the brownouts was that only our building’s power went off.Our neighbours’ houses shone brightly while our building was pitch black.  There was  a time when we would have a long extension cord draped over the fence ready just in case the lights just went off.  When the frequency of the brownouts was intolerable… because meeting the deadlines became almost impossible,  the editorial and production staff would go to neighbours’ houses and work there.  Until we put up three other  offices where at a moment’s notice a group composed of editorial and production staff would move to any one of these places… some sort of guerilla type of publishing.  With the staff were admin people who also brought with them, files (particularly accounting files with the list of collectibles) which were placed in cartoon boxes.  There were always three copies of circulation and accounting files.  One was left in the office, the two others were mobile files in boxes.

And of course moving out was only part of the coping…  the staff had to be ferried, they had to be fed, and they had to be secured.

We would also have a decoy who would leave the office first but would  go to a different direction, allow the tail to follow until they were informed through the walkie-talkie that it was safe to go back to the office.

HOLD UP

On two occasions, the production manager was held up while bringing the flats to the printing press. The weird thing was that the hold upper just got the flats and not his money and watch.  After these  incidents, we prepared  two flats, so that if a hold up occurred, the next set of flats would be ready to be brought to the printing press right away.  And also, the production manager would always have a buddy.

PERSON RELATED PROBLEMS

Like most business companies, the We Forum-Malaya house was not exempt from problemsof personnel.  And usually the problem would be economic. Sensitivity to each and every employee was important.  Salaries and rates were not competitive and inspite of the idealism, the need to provide for the family would have had an equal pull.  Instead of workers, the employees were partners.  Instead of an organization  it was a big family. Instead of manpower, the  partners were human assets whose potentials had to be brought out.  The family may have owned the company but we got our salaries just like all the rest.  And when we would have a good week, like circulation went up and new advertisements were paid, it was so easy to tell, because merienda would be free.   During the first years I knew the personal circumstance of each employee… who had children who needed to pay their tuition fees because finals was approaching?... whose child was sick in the hospital?... who was getting married, e tc., etc.  This enabled us to reach out to those who really needed help.

Then later, when circulation increased after the death of Ninoy,  we could not cope with the work.  So we expanded and hired more people for the editorial and the other departments.  I would like to believe that most of the applicants came not because the pay was good but because working with Joe Burgos for the country was a rare opportunity to seek and live the truth.

SECURITY

Publishing these newspapers affected every aspect of our family life, especially security.

Towards November of 1982, we could sense that we were being surveilled and that it was a matter of time before Joe would be arrested or worse killed.  So we made sure that he always had a buddy, which was usually myself or his driver.  He knew that if he was taken, his best protection would be for someone to witness this.  At the same time, I explained to the children that they had to be alert so that at a moment’s notice, they could leave the house and go to a safe place.  They understood that I had to make sure they were safe so that I would be free to provide whatever help their father needed.   Indeed when the raid happened, they knew what to do.

Children will be children and I did not want to restrict them so much… so when we went to public places like department stores, I would allow them to go to the sections they found interesting but the moment we would sense danger, we devised a way for me to call them and they would come running right away or they would be able to warn me if they noticed something unusual.

During the raid… after Joe and the rest were hauled off the camp, I was left alone to deal with the arresting officer and the more than 100 soldiers inside and outside the office. Sheer creativity saved my life.

In conclusion:

The We Forum and the Malaya publications  were opportunities that could happen only once in a lifetime and I am grateful that I could be a tiny part of  Jose G. Burgos Jr.’s contribution to the cause of truth.   So many people most of them nameless, were part of that episode in the history of Alternative Media… to them we are very grateful … 

Alternative media in the fashion of WE FORUM  and ANG PAHAYAGANG  MALAYA  was a product of so many factors…  a dauntless leader, equally courageous and dedicated partners, a large multi-sectoral support base,  faith in providence.

And I repeat what I have said at the start of my talk. “Behind the romanticism that characterized publishing an opposition paper during Martial Law, were hard  realities.”  Romance can still be … with both feet anchored on the ground.  In fact that was how it was for us, the family , the BURGOS family,  Experience has taught us how limitless one’s creativity could be if motivated by a boundless generosity to do one’s part in the scheme of providence.

 Thank you
 

Estrella Catarata - Community Radio in the Visayas: The FARDEC Experience
Kathleen Okubo, Northern Dispatch: The Alternative Media in Northern Luzon
Karmela Lagang - The Alternative Media in Southern Tagalog
Vince Casilihan - The Alternative Media in Bicol
Fred Villareal, Pokus Gitnang Luzon:
The Alternative Media in Central Luzon
Raymund Villanueva, Kodao Productions:
The Alternative Media in the National Capital Region
Carlos H. Conde, The Alternative Media in Mindanao

Bonifacio Ilagan - Progressive Video Groups: History, Lessons and Challenges
           
     
     

.
 

First National Conference of the Alternative Media

UP College of Mass Communication Plaridel Hall, October 9-10, 2014

Theme: Bagong Hamon, Bagong Panahon: Palakasin ang Tinig ng Mamamayan

Tala-Gabay sa pagtalakay ng Ang Alternative Press sa Panahon ng Batas Militar

Ni Satur C. Ocampo

1. Nang ipataw ang batas militar noong Set. 23,1972 may 21 pahayagang arawan, halos 100 peryodikong pangkomunidad, 18 istasyon ng telebisyon, at 245 istasyon ng radio sa buong kapuluan.  Ang  malalaking broadsheets: Manila Times (pinakamalaki at pinaka-maimpluwensiya), Manila Chronicle, Philippines Herald, Manila Daily Bulletin, Daily Mirror at Taliba (kapwa kapisan ng MT), at Manila Evening News.
Ipinasara ang lahat ng pahayagan (maliban sa MDB) at ibang media.  Inaresto sina Joaquin “Chino” Roces, pabliser ng MT-DM-T, at Eugenio Lopez Jr., pabliser ng MC, kasama ang ilang mga editor, kolumnista, at mga reporter ng mga pahayagan at magasin (Free Press, Graphic, Asia-Philippines Leader) at Philippine News Service.

Bukod sa MDB (naging Bulletin Today), 4 pang pahayagang arawan ang pinayagan sa panahon ng batas militar: Daily Express, Times Journal, Business Day, at Focus Philippines. Ang DE, TJ, at FP ay pawang pag-aari ng mga  kamag-anak at kroni ni Marcos.

2. Mga itinayong galamay ng diktadurang Marcos sa pagkontrol sa press/mass media: Dept of Public Information, Mass Media Council (1972, Tatad&JPE ), Media Advisory Council (1973, Mijares),  Philippine Council for Print Media (1974, Menzi& crony publishers). Hinawakan din ang Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster sa Pilipinas, Publishers Assn of the Philippines, Inc., at National Press Club.

2.1. Mga anyo ng pagkontrol sa press/media:

a) Tahasang pagsensor ng mga militar (sa unang yugto ng batas militar); b) “Guidelines” na nag-udyok sa mga mamamahayag na i-sensor ang sariling sinusulat o sinasabi; magkahiwalay ang “gabay” na inilabas ng militar at gobyerno ukol sa pagsusulat ng sensitibong mga balita; k) PD 33 (pinarusahan ang paglilimbag, pag-aari/pagdadala, at pamamahagi ng nakalimbag na sulating tinatayang laban  sa diktadurang rehimen; d) PD 90 (pinarusahan ang pagkakalat ng tsismis);

e) Karaniwan nang ipatawag ni Marcos o ni Information Minister Gregorio Cendana ang mga editor at sabihing (h) ilabas ang “positibong” balita, (2) muling isulat nang paborable ang “negatibong” balita o palabnawin ito, o (3) punahin ang kahit pakanti lang pagkakasulat ng balita ukol sa gobyerno at mga ginagawa nito.

g) PD 1737 (binigyan ng kapangyarihan ang Pangulo na ipakulong ang sinuman para mapigilang gumawa ng aksyon laban sa pambansang seguridad at kaayusang pampubliko; h) PD 1834 at 1835 (pinabigat ang parusa para sa rebelyon, sedisyon, at iba pang krimeng kaugnay ng pambansang seguridad, kabilang ang “subersibong pamamahayag;” i) PD 1877 (pinahintulutan ang pagkukulong nang di lalampas sa isang taon ng mga taong pinagsususpetsahang lumabag sa pambansang seguridad kahit walang kasong inihapag laban sa kanila);

l) Pagkakaso ng libel sa mga mamamahayag (12 kaso naihapag sa mga taong 1980-1985); m) nagpatuloy ang “envelopmenal journalism” o panunuhol para mamanipula ang pagsusulat ng balita o komentaryo; n) mga pagbabanta, pananakot, panggigipit at pagsasara ng publications, pagde-deport (Yuyitung brothers case), at pagkukulong ng mga mamamahayag; at

o) Kapag hindi pa umubra ang lahat na binanggit, ginamit ng diktadurang Marcos ang “pinal na solusyon” – ang pagpaslang. May 25 mamamahayag ang pinaslang mula 1976 hanggang 1986.

3. Dulot ng ganoong kalagayang umiral sa panahon ng batas militar, karamihan ng mga mamamahayag -- yung walang malipatang ibang hanapbuhay, napilitang magtrabaho sa kontroladong media -- ay tumalima na lang sa mga “guidelines.”  

Gayunman, may mga mamamahayag na nanindigan nang matatag para sa malayang pamamahayag at katapatan sa katotohanan.  Nagpursigi silang sagarin and kayang magawa sa loob ng kontroladong media, o di kaya’y nagtayo ng independyenteng pahayagan na nagsilbing alternative press.

3.1. Nang unang lumabas ang iba’t ibang anyo ng alternative press, tinagurian itong “mosquito press” – mumunting kagat-tusok sa diktadurang rehimen. Bukod sa hayag na alternatibang mga pahayagan, naglabasan ang mas maraming lihim na mga pahayagan.  Kabilang dito, at nagtuluy-tuloy, ang mga pahayagang nasa sentral na paggabay at pagsubaybay ng rebolusyonaryong kilusang lihim.

 3.2. Halimbawa ng mga humarap sa hamon ng pagkatanggal o sapilitang pagresayn sa pwesto at bumaling sa alternative press: Isa si Letty Jimenez-Magsanoc (editor ng Panorama, lingguhang magasin ng Bulletin Today,na naging editor ng Mr.& Ms. at kalaunan ng Philippine Inquirer, na ngayon ay Philippine Daily Inquirer). Isa pa si Melinda Quintos-de Jesus, kolumnista ng Bulletin Today, naging editor ng Veritas Newsweekly).  Dalawa pang editor ang napilitang mag-resayn: Ben Rodriguez ng Bulletin Today (pangulo siya noon ng NPC) at Recah Trinidad ng Tempo. 

Si Jose G. Burgos Jr. ang unang nagtayo ng 2 independyente at alternatibang pahayagan na kapwa naging katanggap-tanggap sa mambabasa at publiko, lumaki at naging maimpluwensya sa pagbubuo ng opinyong publiko: ang We Forum (1976) at ang  Pahayagang Malaya (1980). Sumunod si Eugenia Duran-Apostol, pabliser ng Mr.& Ms., Mr. & Ms. Special Edition, at Philippine Inquirer/PDI).

Ang mga pahayagan nina Burgos at Apostol ang nanguna sa hanay ng hayag na alternative press sa panahon ng diktadurang rehimen.  Matinding bumatikos sa diktadurang Marcos ang mga ito, at nagbigay ng malawak na pablisidad sa progresibong kilusang masa at kilusang anti-diktadura, laluna matapos naganap ang pagpaslang kay Ninoy Aquino noong Agosto 21, 1983.

(Kabilang sa kategoryang ito ang WHO magazine, editor si Cielo Buenaventura, at ang Philippine Signs. Inilathala ng WHO ang sanaysay na isinulat ko ukol sa buhay ng mga bilanggong pulitikal sa Bicutan Rehabilitation Center).  

Bago pa man naganap ang pagpaslang kay Ninoy na yumanig at mabilis na nagpadausdos sa diktadura, nasaktan na si Marcos sa pagsiwalat ng We Forum sa kanyang mga pekeng war medals. At gumanti siya. Noong Dis. 7, 1982 ni-reyd ng militar at isinara ang We Forum at Pahayagang Malaya. Inaresto si Burgos kasama ang mga kolumnistang sina Armando J. Malay, Salvador Roxas Gonzales, Ernesto Rodriguez Jr. at ilang istap.

Kagyat na nagprotesta ang 2,000 tao (kabilang si Nick Joaquin at iba pang personahe) sa harap ng Kampo Aguinaldo. Bunga nito, natulak si Marcos na palayain, noong Dis.14, ang inarestong mga mamamahayag.  Nang muling inilabas ni Burgos ang Pahayagang Malaya (ginawang Inglis ang dating Tagalog), kagyat na bumwelo ito. Di nagtagal,isinunod ang We Forum. (Naging kolumnista ako ng We Forum habang nasa piitang military -- mula Enero 1985 hanggang tumakas ako noong Mayo 5, 1985 sa pamamagitan ng  National Press Club).

3.3. Pero bago pa naganap ang pag-reyd at pagsasara ng We Forum, may nauna nang mga alternatibong pahayagan na sinikil ng diktadurang Marcos – pawang mga peryodikong inilalabas ng mga taong simbahan.

 Pinakauna ang Signs of the Times (lingguhang newsbulletin ng Association of Major Religious Superiors). Makaraang mailabas at naipamahagi sa nagdaang 2 taon, ipinasara ito noong Dis. 5, 1974 dahil daw “nang-uupat ng sedisyon” at walang lisensya mula sa gobyerno. Sumunod na ipinasara, noong Nob. 1976, ang Ang Bandilyo (newsletter ng Bukidnon prelature) at sinundan, noong Dis. 5, 1976, ng pagsikil sa The Communicator (buwanang dyaryong inilalabas ni Fr. James B. Reuter, S.J.).   

Maraming iba pang anyo ng paninikil at pananakot. Halimbawa ang pagpapatawag at interogasyon ng AFP national intelligence board noong 1982 sa mga kababaihang kolumnista’t manunulat: Jo-Ann Maglipon, Ceres F. Doyo at Domini Torrevillas-Suarez ng Panorama, Arlene Babst at Ninez Cacho-Olivares ng Bulletin Today, Eugenia D. Apostol at Doris Nuyda ng Mr. & Ms., at Lorna Kalaw-Tirol, freelance writer.

(Ang mga insidente at datos na binanggit sa itaas ay hinalaw mula sa 2 aklat: The Manipulated Press (A History of Philippine Journalism since 1946) ni Rosalinda Pineda Ofreneo, at Memory, Truth-telling and the Pursuit of Justice (A Conference on the Legacies of the Marcos Dictatorship), isang documentation na inilabas ng Gaston Z. Ortigas Peace Institute.)

 4. Nabanggit ko na, higit na marami ang sumulpot na mga pahayagang radikal, may iba’t ibang porma at diin/pokus, mula sa kilusang lihim. Ang ilan ay nagsimula bago pa idineklara ang batas militar, nauntol saka nagsikap magpatuloy sa ilalim ng batas militar. Ang karamihan ay sumulpot bilang tugon sa pagpataw ng diktadura.

Noong 1998, inilabas ng UP Diliman main library ang isang aklat na naglalaman ng tinaguriang  Philippine Radical Papers.  Ayon sa Introduction ng aklat, sinulat ni Verna Lee, ang project leader ng Filipiniana Special Collections Project Staff:

“The Philippine Radical Papers is a collection of documents, brochures, periodicals, unpublished materials, manifestoes, newsletters, and clippings mainly of student, political and religious organizations advocating for political, economic and social changes during the Marcos administrationThe collection focuses on protests and criticisms against martial law and the Marcos administration. The bulk of the collections dates back from the late sixties to early seventies.

“Substantial works of militant student organizations -- e.g. Kabataang Makabayan (KM), Samahang Demokratiko ng Kabataan (SDK), Movement for a Democratic Philippines (MDP), and Malayang Pagkakaisa ng Kabataang Pilipino (MPKP) and their activities can be found in the collection… Moreover, it contains important newspapers and periodicals of the underground movements – e.g. Ang Bayan (English and Filipino versions), BMP (Balita ng Malayang Pilipinas), Himagsik, Liberation, Taliba ng Bayan, Rebolusyon, PKP Couriers, and Pulang Bandila.”   

 “Subject guide” lang -- hindi ang mismong nilalaman ng mga dokumentong itinala -- ang nasa aklat. May tatlong kategorya ng mga dokumento: monographs, clippings, at periodicals.

Sa periodicals, may itinalang 200 pangalan ng mga peryodiko.  Mula sa mga ito pumili lang ako ng 30 peryodikong nakapaglathala sa loob ng dalawa o higit pang mga taon sa panahon ng diktadurang rehimen.

Kakatwa na itinala sa hanay ng “radical papers” ang We Forum, Pahayagang Malaya, WHO magazine, at Signs of the Times na kabilang sa ikinategorya kong hayag na alternatibang pahayagan.  (Iba sa Signs of the Times ang Sick of the Times, isang lampoon newsletter na inilabas noong 1981-82.)

4.1. Sa tinukoy sa Introduksyon na mga pahayagan ng underground movements, naging bahagi ako sa pagbubuo at panimulang paglalabas ng apat na pahayagan: Balita ng Malayang Pilipinas (BMP), Liberation, Taliba ng Bayan, at Himagsik. Ang unang tatlong pahayagang tinuran ay may pambansang katangian at saklaw ng news coverage at  distribution. 

Ang Himagsik ay panrehiyong pahayagang lihim. Sinimulan namin ni Bobbie Malay (ang aking kasama-kabiyak) nang humimpil at kumilos kami sa Gitnang Luzon mula 1974 hanggang mahuli ako noong Enero 14, 1976. Kapos kami sa pondo at istap kaya sariling sikap namin ang paglalabas ng pahayagan, gamit ang Vietnam-type manual printing mula sa stencil.  Nakatulong nang malaki ang Himagsik sa pagmumulat at pag-oorganisa ng masa sa mga barangay sa Gitnang Luson.  (Ang naipong mga sipi ng Himagsik sa UP Library ay yung mula 1987 (Taon 16) hanggang 1991 (Taon 20).

4.2. Kami ni Bobbie rin ang nagsimula ng BMP, isang underground news service na opisyal na in-adopt ng National Democratic Front. Abril 7, 1973 ang unang labas, mimeographed, 4 pahina ng mga balita ukol sa kalagayan ng masa, mga manggagawa, magbubukid, at komentaryo ukol sa ekonomiya sa punto de vista ng karaniwang mamamayan.

Inilabas ang BMP tuwing ikalawang linggo. Sa unang mga labas, ako mismo ang namahagi ng mga sipi sa piling mga alyado at kaibigang negosyante, pulitiko, propesyonal, at mamamahayag. Masaya nilang tinanggap ang alternatibong pagbabalita at pagsusuri sa mga nagaganap sa bayan. Kalaunan, nakapagbuo ng manipis na network ng mga correspondent at ng distribution system sa iba’t ibang rehiyon at iba’t ibang organisadong mga sector ng mamamayan.   

May ilang mamamahayag sa mainstream press noon na lihim na contributors ng BMP; may panahon (1980s)  na ang kolektib na namamahala sa paglalabas nito ay halos mga bagong professional journalists, na ang ilan ay naging tanyag na mamamahayag ngayon. (Ang naipong mga isyu ng BMP sa UP main library ay sumaklaw mula 1973 hanggang 1987 (Volume 15), pero walang kopyang nakalap sa mga taong 1981-86).

4.3.Kasamang gumabay-tumulong din ako sa pagbubuo ng istap ng Taliba ng Bayan. May dalawang naging istap ang nakapagbahagi ng karanasan nila, isinulat at inilabas sa aklat na may pamagat na, Not on Our Watch (Martial law really happened. We were there). Ang,editor: Jo-Ann Q. Maglipon.

Salaysay ni Sol F. Juvida: “Sa Tagalog na dyaryo ng kilusan, sa Taliba ng Bayan, ako napabilang na correspondent. Kasama ko dito ang mga batikang peryodista at manunulat na mabilis na nakapag-underground kaya hindi nahuli.

“Galing sa iba’t ibang correspondent sa mga lalawigan ang mga balita na inilalabas naming sa Taliba – armadong labanan sa pagitan ng NPA at military, kilos-protesta ng mga manggagawa,mga karahasan ng militar sa mamamayan, tortyur at pagpatay sa mga aktibista  at iba pang balita na hindi inilalabas ng diktadurang Marcos.

“May sariling editorial artist ang maliit na dyaryo at may magagaling na editor at reporter, kaya makinis at propesyonal ang porma nito.”         

 Ibinahagi rin ni Sol ang panganib na sinuong nila, sa palilipat-lipat 5 beses ng inuupahang bahay-opisina ng Taliba, hanggang noong 1974 “magkasunod na nahuli ang dalawang haligi ng Taliba – isa na ang editor naming.  Bugbog-sarado ang dalawa sa kung anu-anong tortyur na ginawa ng military sa kanila—hanging bridge, water cure, kuryente.”

Sa panig naman ni Roberto Verzola, ito ang salaysay niya sa Ingles:

“I was part of a grou that consisted mostly of journalists and writers. Some worked on the underground newsletter Liberation, which was in English and was distributed among the ‘middle forces,’ or what we called the ‘united front.’ I was assigned to a team that worked on another underground newsletter in Filipino, which we called Taliba ng Bayan. On the masthead, we put the ubiquitous’Ipasa pagkabasa’ (‘Pass after reading’).

“For almost two years, I was part of the group that published Taliba ng Bayan. Early on, we found a friendly printer, Mauricio ‘Jun’ Suarez Jr. who was willing to print the newsletter for us (spread out, it was slightly larger than two pieces of bond paper).  He actually remodeled a room in his Pasig house to conceal a chamber that had enough working space for one worker, the offset printer, a camera, and miscellaneous equipment for making the printing plate.

“The first issue that came out of Jun’s setup was the first Taliban g Bayan issue that was not mimeographed but rather printed in offset, as professional newspapers were. It was beautiful. Our goal was to come out twice a month, and we generally did.

“Some highly respected writers and journalists today were Taliba ng Bayan staffers. There is one person I can safely mention because he has since passed away: Bayani Abadilla, poet, writer, and good friend. It was a rare privilege to have worked with men and women like them; I entrusted my life to them, and they their lives to me.

“Our circulation ranged from three to five thousand copies per issue. I don’t remember if we ever reached ten thousand. (Jun Suarez would know, but he died of cancer a few years ago.) We split the copies among the regions, the territorial districts of Manila-Rizal, the trade unions (TU), and the united front (UF).”

May koleksyon ang UP main library ng mga isyu ng Taliba ng Bayan sa lahat ng 19 taon – mula 1972 (Taon 1) hanggang 1991 (Taon 19). Nanatiling masinop at maagap ang istap sa pagbibigay ng kopya sa UP Library.

4.4. Gayundin, relatibong masinop at maagap na nagbigay ang Liberation ng kopya ng mga isyu nito mula 1972 (Vol. 1) hanggang 1996 (Vol. 24), bagamat walang sipi noong 1974, 1981, at 1992-1995.

Opisyal na pahayagan ng NDFP ang Liberation mula nang unang labas nito. Tulad ng Taliban g Bayan, may propesyonal na mamamahayag na kasama sa pagsusulat at paghahanda ng bawat isyu nito. May panahong magkasama ng ug house ang istap ng dalawang pahayagan.  Imprenta rin ni Jun Suarez ang ginamit para ilabas ito nang makinis at maganda.  Sa sumunod na mga taon, sa pagpapalit ng editor at istap, nagbago ng anyo ito at gumamit ng iba’t ibang imprenta.  

4.4. Kabilang sa mga inilabas at ipinalaganap na mga pahayagang lihim at ang smumusunod:

Ang Bayan (Communist Party of the Philippines); Alab  (Samahan ng Progresibong Propagandista); Anak-pawis (pahayagan ng manggagawang Pilipino); Bandilang Pula (Samahang Demokratiko ng Kabataan); Binhi (Association of Progressive Filipinos); Breakthrough (Student Christian Movement of the Philippines); Ang Estudyante (Student Alliance for National Democracy); ICHTHYS (Association of Major Religious Superiors);

Kalayaan (Kabataang Makabayan); Mahardika (Moro National Liberation Front); Pahatid-Kapatid (Kapisanan Para sa Pagpapalaya at Amnestiya ng mga Detenido sa Pilipinas); Poliitical Detainees’ Update (Task Force Detainees); Sick of the Times: Signs of the Times (AMRSP); Ulos (Artista at Manunulat ng Sambayanan); Welga (Ugnayan ng mga Progresibong Manggagawa); The Whig.

4.5. Bagamat maliliit na bilang ang nailimbag at naipamahagi ng radikal na mga pahayagang lihim,   napalawak ang naabot sa pamamagitan ng sistemang “Ipasa pagkabasa”  at mga pulong-talakayan.  

Malaking papel ang ginampanan ng alternatibang pahayagang ug sa pagmumulat ng maraming Pilipino sa panahon ng diktadura. Pagmumulat hinggil sa kanilang mga karapatang sibil, pulitikal, at iba pang karapatang pantao na lansakang nilabag ng diktadurang rehimen at dapat nilang igiit at ipagtanggol. Paglalantad sa kasinungalingan, kahungkagan ng propaganda ng diktadura. Pagsisiwalat ng mga krimen nito sa bayan at panawagang ibagsak ang diktadura sa bisa ng nagkakaisang pwersa ng sambayanan.

Malaki ang ambag ng mga radikal na alternatibang pahayagan sa pagpapalala ng pampulitikang pagkakahiwalay ng diktadurang Marcos sa mahabang panahon ng pakikibakang lihim at hayag, legal at iligal, armado at di-armado.  

Nararapat itanghal ang mahalagang ambag ng mga ito, kaakibat ng paglilinaw at paggigiit na ang nagpahina tungo sa pagpapabagsak ng diktadura ay ang matatatag, matatapang na mamamayang lumaban at nagsakripisyo ng kanilang buhay, lakas, talino at panahon sa pakikibaka sa “madilim na panahon” ng batas militar. 

Hindi ayon sa kasaysayan na ipalagay – laluna opisyal na kilalanin – na ang nagpabagsak sa diktadurang Marcos ay ang mga nag-ipon sa EDSA noong Pebrero 1986 at nagwawagayway, hanggang sa ngayon, ng mga bandila at lasong dilaw.#



 

     
Benjie Oliveros, editor Bulatlat
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
           
     
     

.
Ang Bayan and the revolutionary underground media since 2000
Marco Valbuena
Liaison, CPP Information Bureau
October 9, 2014

[A presentation prepared for the conference of alternative media practitioners sponsored by the UP College of Mass Communications, October 9-10, 2014.]

The revolutionary underground media in the Philippines continues to carry out its task of propagating news and information about the Filipino people's revolutionary struggle and views on the oustanding issues confronting the Filipino people. Let me present to you an overview of the work of the CPP and the revolutionary underground in media and propaganda work.

Ang Bayan
---------

Ang Bayan, the official news organ of the CPP Central Committee, resumed regular quarterly publication in 1998 after about six years of intermittent release. Ang Bayan began to come out on a bi-monthly basis in January 1999; monthly, in September 2000; and fortnightly since March 7, 2003.

Over the past 16 years, the CPP Central Committee has issued regular and special editions of Ang Bayan. It has yet to miss an issue since 1998 despite the vagaries of revolutionary publication work. The CPP anticipates the need to publish Ang Bayan more frequently in the future as the people's war further intensifies and requires more pages or more issues to accommodate the growing number of news bulletins, articles and correspondences from the field.

As the news organ of the CPP, Ang Bayan uses Marxism-Leninism-Maoism as guide in putting forward incisive analyses of outstanding issues and news events. Ang Bayan issues timely socio-political analyses and calls in order to unite the revolutionary forces and urge them to march in sync in advancing the people's war and democratic mass struggles.

The pages of Ang Bayan describe the objective socio-economic conditions, particularly those of the toiling masses of workers and peasants and other oppressed classes. Ang Bayan features the victories of the people in carrying forward the revolutionary war. Victories of the New People's Army (NPA) are highlighted. Victories in revolutionary land reform, of workers' strikes, protest actions and other democratic mass struggles are featured as well.

Over a greater part of the past decade and a half, Ang Bayan has been regularly published in six Philippine languages. The original Pilipino is translated into English, Bisaya, Waray, Hiligaynon and Iloco. Through these translations, Ang Bayan is accessible to its membership spread across the country and has helped strengthen the formation of a national language.

Ang Bayan serves as a discussion tool for the CPP branches in the localities, school campuses, offices, communities, mass organizations and other places. Party branches, as well as Party-led mass organizations, regularly hold collective discussions of the editorial and news features in order to keep in step with the forward march of the revolutionary movement. Enterprising committees prepare presentations to facilitate collective discussions and make these more lively.

Short video teasers of Ang Bayan were first produced in 2010. The short seven- to ten-minute videos summarizing the main content of the issue of Ang Bayan have been regularly produced since 2011. These videos are posted in Youtube and other video streaming websites. The most popular videos of Ang Bayan are those featuring the March 21, 2014 issue which has been viewed more than 82,000 times and the April 21, 2014 issue, viewed close to 54,000 times.

These are easily downloaded to cellphones and tablets, allowing people to watch and listen to the summaries, and encourage Ang Bayan readers to seek out its latest issues.

Majority of Ang Bayan's readers come from the peasantry. Because of the pervasive problem of illiteracy or low literacy levels in the rural areas, ang bayan strives to maintain a simple style of writing using a common vocabulary, terse sentences, short paragraphs and familiar figures of speech. it makes use of images and artwork that are easy to understand and familiar to the broad masses of workers and peasants.

ang bayan is supported by a national underground network of correspondents. it receives news and information from the regional units of the cpp namely, the ilocos-cordillera, cagayan valley, central luzon, southern tagalog, bicol, eastern visayas, negros island, panay island, central visayas, northeastern mindanao, northcentral mindanao, southern mindanao, far south mindanao, western mindanao and the national capital region. it has correspondents from the various underground mass organizations allied with the national democratic front (ndf). ang bayan also monitors closely alternative media websites and various websites of the legal national democratic mass organizations.

Starting 1998, digital files of Ang Bayan (in portable data format or PDF) were made available for downloading at the NDFP's pioneer website. It started email correspondence using the account angbayan@yahoo.com (which it maintains up to now). From 1999 to 2002, Ang Bayan maintained its own website (using public hosting and accessible at http://angbayan.cjb.net) where the current and previous issues were posted. Since 2003 to the present, the PDF files of Ang Bayan have been posted at the Philippine Revolution Web Central (http://philippinerevolution.net which was previously http://philippinerevolution.org), the website maintained by the CPP Information Bureau.

Up to around 1999, the CPP Central Publishing House sent out printed copies of Ang Bayan. It also prepared mimeographing stencils sent to a number of regions, with backup files in diskettes. With this centralized system of distribution, copies of Ang Bayan usually reached the mass readership several months late. Through the internet, the digital files of Ang Bayan could rapidly be transmitted to the concerned Party units. By 2000, the decentralized printing system of Ang Bayan started with the regional publishing units preparing their own stencils and making use of various other methods of printing.

Ang Bayan reaches the majority of its readership in printed form. The printing of Ang Bayan copies is shouldered by the various CPP committees at different levels of organization. The volume of Ang Bayan's printed copies varies depending on conditions of people's war. Before 2010, printed copies of Ang Bayan regularly reached 20,000 per issue, most of them printed by local mass organizations in cooperation with units of the New People's Army.

A survey then conducted by Ang Bayan showed that the majority of its copies were printed using the V-type mimeographing process (where ink is manually spread on a frame-mounted screen through to the stencil and paper). In recent years, a growing number of Ang Bayan copies have been produced using printers, digital copying machines ("Risograph") and photocopying machines as well as printing houses with large-scale offset machines.

An increasing number of Ang Bayan subscribers read the issues in digital format using their computers, tablets or smart phones. This is especially true among student and youth activists, young professionals, as well as Filipino migrant workers.

Aside from Ang Bayan, revolutionary mass organizations and regional and other local branches of the CPP and mass organizations publish their own newspapers and publications. A number of these publications come out regularly. The publications page of the PRWC (http://philippinerevolution.net/publications) lists at least 33 publications which supplement Ang Bayan and feature the key issues of the region or sector behind the publication.

The PRWC
--------

Since 2003, the Information Bureau of the CPP has maintained the Philippine Revolution Web Central (PRWC) (http://philippinerevolution.net). The PRWC serves as a portal for all news, information, publications and statements issued by the CPP, the NPA and revolutionary mass organizations. It is updated daily with new statements, publication, image, video or other material being posted.

The PRWC shows how the CPP and the revolutionary movement regard the internet as an important media platform. Before the PRWC, there was the website of the National Democratic Front (NDF) which was set up around 1997 and the abovementioned AB website (1999-2002).

Parallel to the PRWC, the NDFP international office maintains the NDFP website (http://ndfp.org). The CPP also maintains a wordpress blog as a supplement to the PRWC (http://prwcblogs.wordpress.net). Likewise, NDF-Bicol maintains a network of blogs, with each maintained by the different NPA commands in the region.

The PRWC attracts around 1,500 unique visitors to the website every day, generating more than a million pageviews annually. Users of the PRWC are highly appreciative of the music, images and videos available on the website.

The PRWC seeks to draw in a broader audience. It maintains a modern and clean layout. Its structure adjusts to smaller viewports such as smartphones and tablets, catering to the majority of PRWC users. It streams video content from its front page and posts images of the people's war that are not available anywhere else.

The PRWC continuously seeks to implement ways of encouraging its users to participate in maintaining and expanding the website. The PRWC, however, has to address the justifiable fear among many internet users that accessing the PRWC will make them prey to surveillance by US intelligence agencies. A number of public internet stations also set up firewall rules to prevent its users from gaining access to the PRWC.

The CPP through its Information Bureau also interacts with internet users through social media platforms. As liaison officer, the author maintains a Facebook account with around 5,000 "friends". To a lesser degree, he also makes use of Twitter to make announcements and post other information and updates about the PRWC.

Maintaining Facebook and Twitter accounts from the underground is a challenge. Interaction with the social media community is limited by methods to maintain secrecy and anonymity.

Sine Proletaryo
---------------

Sine Proletaryo is the video production outfit of the CPP Information Bureau formed in 2007. It produces short documentaries and other promotional videos for the CPP.

The most recent production of the Sine Proletaryo is "Istatus," a continuing series which features the situation and victories of the revolutionary movement in the different regions.

On the 45th anniversary of the CPP last year, Sine Proletaryo produced the 20-minute "Buhay Komunista" (or The Communist Life) which featured the different facets of the daily lives of Party members as they embark in people's war and build the new democratic people's government.

Besides having been viewed more than 33,000 times, Buhay Komunista is also shown in Party gatherings, mass assemblies and meetings of the revolutionary masses in both the rural and urban areas. A follow-up video scheduled for release will feature the work of Party members and activists in urban areas.

The various video productions of Sine Prolearyo are available online at its Youtube account.
 

     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
           
     
     
     
     
 
==          
     
     
           

.
 

The alternative media in the National Capital Region

Presented at the 1st National Conference on the Alternative Media

University of the Philippines College of Mass Communications

9-10 October 2014

  

There are eight active alternative media outlets based in the National Capital Region today.  They are Kodao Productions, Bulatlat.com, Pinoy Weekly/Pinoy Media Center, Tudla Productions, MayDay Multimedia, Arkibong Bayan, Buhay Manggagawa, and Manila Today.  They are complemented by media desks and programs of organizations and institutions such as Ibon, the Center for Women’s Studies, among others, that produce radio programs and publications.

 

By the 90s older alternative media outfits such as Midweek, Philippine News and Features, Asiavisions have already ceased operations.  In the year 2000 new alternative media outlets were being set up.  There were two obvious reasons for this: first was the introduction of prosumer cameras and other video equipment, and second was the development of the internet industry in the country.  This made it more possible for the creation of alternative media outlets in the Philippines to complement the traditional mass media.

Kodao Productions

 

When the campaigns to oust the corrupt Joseph Estrada administration started to strengthen in the year 2000 alternative video and radio workers proposed the creation of a video and radio group to document the people’s struggles and participation in the Oust Estrada movements.  Kodao Productions was born in time to document the second Edsa uprising and produced its first video documentary “Oust”soon after. 

 

Within weeks, Kodao was offered a daily time slot at a radio station that prides itself to this day as the “People Power Station.”  Thus born the second core program of the outfit, which until the year 2006, was its biggest output.  This was the radio program “Ngayon Na, Bayan!” (NNB) over DZRJ 810-AM.

 

Kodao’s video and radio output were brought to the masses.  “Sinehang Bayan” events were organized in urban poor and rural communities around the country.  “NNB Goes to the Barangay” were community-based recordings which were later broadcast over DZRJ.  Kodao’s radio and video productions won awards and citations over the years.  This outreach component of Kodao includes assisting organizations and sectors in their own media work, such as the production of the groundbreaking “Kaya Natin ‘To, Kids!” radio programs by Salinlahi over DWIZ and DZXL.  Kodao was also instrumental in the establishment of the ill-fated Radyo Cagayano in Baggao, Cagayan and Radyo Sagada of the Cordilleras.  Plans to establish community radio stations with Kodao as partner were and are being drawn up, such as in Tanauan, Batangas; Iloilo Province; Northern Mindanao; and Rodriguez, Rizal.

 

Perhaps the least-known but most important contribution of Kodao to the struggle to strengthen the people’s collective voice is its training program.  Kodao organizes and conducts video and radio trainings all over the country and abroad.  From these media outfits were established such as Sine Panayanon, Kilab Multimedia, Aninaw Productions, Radyo Migrante, and several others.  While some of these outfits are unqualified successes, some have become moribund, however.

 

In the years 2011 to 2012, Kodao produced a daily radio program that aired over DZUP 1602-AM called “Sali Na, Bayan!”  Now, it co-produces “with PCPR and Kasimbayan a weekly radio program over Veritas846 called “Tala-Akayan” which also received citations from two award-giving bodies.  Kodao’s “Nanay Mameng” is this year’s Urian best documentary, directed and written by Ms Adjani Arumpac.  Its other videos have also been official selections in several international film festivals.  Kodao has received awards and citations from the Cultural Center of the Philippines, Kapisanan ng mga Broadkaster ng Pilipinas, Gawad Agong, Pandayang Lino Brocka, Catholic Mass Media Awards, and the Vietnamese Alternative Video Film Festival.

 

Bulatlat.com

 

The year was 2001. The country was at a historical juncture.  Edsa People Power 2 had just happened.  This signalled a major change in the political landscape.  The ouster of then president Joseph Estrada did not usher in a government that is truly representative of the people.  However, the significance of the second edition of the people power uprising lies in the fact that it showed that the Filipino people are no longer content with waiting for the six-year cycle of presidential elections to be able to change a corrupt government.  It was also a time when people are already searching for alternatives because of the failed promises of Edsa People Power 1 that ousted the Marcos dictatorship.  The people were politically involved and it was the ripe time to produce a publication that would explain the issues, the basic ills plaguing Philippine society, and the solutions to the country’s social, political, and economic crisis.

 

2001 was also the blossoming of the internet in the country. While the bursting of the dot.com bubble was happening in the US and Europe, the Philippines was an emerging market for ISPs, software developers, and websites.  Gone are the days of the slow dial-up connections.

The idea came up: Why not maximize the internet in explaining the people’s issues? 

 

Thus, Bulatlat.com had come to fruition through the efforts of four people: Bobby Tuazon, a professor at UP Manila who was one of the key persons in the defunct alternative news agency Philippine News and Features, political economist Sonny Africa of Ibon Foundation, Carlos Conde of New York Times, and Rowena Paraan. 

 

From then on, Bulatlat slowly expanded, not so much in terms of staffing as it has remained lean, an average of six to eight people, but in terms of articles published from two to three a week to around three to five articles almost every day. 

 

Currently, there are two editors Benjie Oliveros, managing editor, and Dee Ayroso, two senior reporters Marya Salamat and Ronalyn Olea, three reporters  Janess Ann Ellao, Zeng Umil, and Ednalyn de la Cruz, and one multimedia person Pom Villanueva.

 

Bulatlat remains committed to explaining the issues from the perspective of the people to the local and international community. Among its subscribers are universities here and abroad, progressive international websites and journalists, Filipino migrants and overseas contract workers, solidarity groups abroad, diplomatic missions in the Philippines, regional and local papers, and investigative programs of major TV networks. 

 

Bulatlat also seeks to provide information and analysis of issues that could help enhance the capacities of organizers and propagandists of progressive groups and people’s organizations in explaining national and sectoral issues, and in organizing and mobilizing the people.

 

While the main products of Bulatlat are feature articles, it is also striving to come out with more frequent news stories that chronicles the campaigns and mobilizations of the progressive people’s movement and publicizes the positions of people’s organizations on urgent and pressing issues. 

 

Bulatlat has also been able to gather a good mix of columnists who have their respective set of readers and who discuss topics that are of interest to internet readers: Mong Palatino who writes social commentaries in the language of the social media generation; Sarah Raymundo, who analyzes events from the perspective of social change theories, and Dean Roland Tolentino, who mixes pop culture and social commentaries, for the academe; Rick Bahague on “techie” or technological issues and concerns, and Kalibutan by Kalikasan-PNE on environmental issues from the perspective of progressives. It has another column Bulatlat perspective, which is written by its Managing Editor Benjie Oliveros and reflects Bulatlat’s position and analysis on issues. 

 

Bulatlat also regularly reposts the columns of Satur Ocampo, which is being published by the Philippine Star, Dr. Carol Pagaduan-Araullo and Dean Luis Teodoro, whose columns are regularly published by Business World.

 

Bulatlat is exploring the possibility of getting another columnist who could present the views of the revolutionary Left.

 

Upon the prodding of Bulatlat’s editorial consultant Carlos Conde, Bulatlat, in 2009, started integrating multimedia productions such as videos, audio, slideshows, taped interviews among others.  It also ventured into live coverage of major mobilizations over the internet. 

 

Bulatlat also regularized its editorial cartoon, its photo of the week and a photo gallery Streetshooter by Raymund Villanueva.

 

Just this year,  Bulatlat launched a comic strip featuring its mascot Martin the cat by Dee Ayroso.

 

Also in 2009, Bulatlat began engaging in the world of social media.  It opened an account in Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.  It has fan pages for Bulatlat and Bulatlat Multimedia.  All of Bulatlat’s articles and media productions are linked to its its fan pages. 

 

Bulatlat also regularly engages in twitter.  The twitter account is being maximized both for propagating articles and in live coverage tweets.

 

When Bulatlat engaged in social media, its hits and visits tripled.

 

As an alternative news agency Bulatlat contributes to the fight for truth and justiceIt digs out facts buried by censorship and corruption and lays them out for public scrutiny, without fear or favor. It denounces media repression and upholds the responsibility of journalists’ — for that matter, every Filipino’s — to assert the people’s right to know and to freedom of expression. It interprets events from the perspective of the people and not from the subjectivism and biases of media monopolies.

 

Bulatlat is active in the fight for freedom.  It contributes to the crusade for freedom in all its aspects — not only freedom from hunger and social injustice but also freedom to chart the nation’s destiny independently.  It also fights against all forms of oppression.  It contributes toward the struggle to uphold the rights of the oppressed and to expose all forms of oppression.  It is a space for propagating the issues affecting majority of the Filipino people and to the issues and struggles of the oppressed.  It fights against the abuse and misuse of power by the country’s elite.  Bulatlat.com exposes lies, wrongdoings and other misdeeds that have been committed to advance not only corruption and cronyism but also repression and tyranny.

 

It has never been the objective of Bulatlat and its editors and writers to get awards. Nevertheless the recognition, citations and awards it got have helped propagate its articles and multimedia productions and the website as a whole.  Among the awards Bulatlat got are from the Jaime V. Ongpin Journalism award and the Marshall Mcluhan award of the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility, the International Committee of the Red Cross for humanitarian reporting, the Hildegard award for women in media of the St. Scholastica’s College, Chit Estela Human Rights award, and the Gawad Agong.  

 

More important for Bulatlat are the reposting of its articles in local and international papers and websites, knowing that its articles have been the basis for investigative reports, getting contributions such as poems and articles from its readers and being told that its articles have been the basis for clarifying and explaining issues.

 

With 2,051,387 page views (per google analytics) and 509,025 unique visitors in 2013 alone, Bulatlat is arguably the country’s most popular alternative media organization today.

 

 

Pinoy Weekly/Pinoy Media Center

 

PinoyMedia Center (PMC) is a non-profit media organization devoted to democratizing the practice of journalism in the country, advocating for the issues of marginalized sectors of Philippine society through the media, and building the peoples information communication capacities.

 

 

PMC publishes Pinoy Weekly, a print and online newsmagazine that regularly comes out with news and analyses, feature and investigative stories from the viewpoint of marginalized sectors: peasants, workers, overseas Filipinos, youth, women, indigenous peoples, government employees and others.

 

 

PMC also produces short documentaries, public service advertisements, animation and other films that are socially relevant and brought to audiences, particularly marginalized sectors, through alternative distribution channels.

 

 

PMC conducts trainings on citizen journalism, public speaking, and media work in order to build the information communication capacities of marginalized sectors and strengthen citizen or community media. Lastly it bridges the gap between marginalized sectors and the corporate mass media through media liaison and engagement.

 

 

Through these efforts PMC hopes to contribute to social change by giving a voice to marginalized sectors whose interests are ignored, maligned, or sidelined by the corporate mass media.  It aims to ensure their access and capacity to create media that enlightens and empowers, and which duly recognizes the people as the primary agents of change.

 

Pinoy Weekly for its part started as a weekly print publication, originally by Prometheus Publishing Corporation, a small publishing group put up by nationalist entrepreneurs and journalists in 2002. After the Estrada ouster the powerful role of the alternative media in mobilizing people for change became even more evident. It was realized that they needed a publication that they can call their own.

 

 

The print tabloid format was chosen as the most familiar to the masses in terms of language and form. Pinoy Weekly tried to revolutionize the content of the tabloid— which in the mainstream is full of sensational news that sells violence and sex. Meanwhile, mainstream print publications mostly report in the English language, thus limiting its audience to the educated elite and middle class.

 

 

In 2006, the publication underwent a reorientation. It was realized that instead of targeting the general public and adapting to mainstream newspaper formats it was best for the publication to focus on informing and educating marginalized sectors who need it most and create its own format.

 

 

The magazine shifted its focus on news reporting to that of features, investigative and in-depth reporting and thereafter adopted the magazine format. PW also shifted its beat system from that of the commonly-practiced political beat system in the mainstream media to that of the sectoral beat system. Previously, reporters were assigned to cover people's issues as these were tackled in the centers of political power like the Malacañang, House of Representatives, Senate and Defense. With the reorientation reporters now were deployed to different sectors of society to cover their stories. PW also lessened the prominence of stories on showbiz and sports (which previously appeared in the front, spread and back pages as “come-ons”)  but maintained these as well as comics strips and crosswords, in recognition of popular audience tastes fit for a then weekly publication.

 

 

The bulk of the distribution of the publication went to organizations that work with marginalized sectors. To be affordable to the masses, Pinoy Weekly was sold only at the printing cost of P6 (even if other tabloids at that time were being sold at P8-10).

 

However, circulation in newsstands was limited. A “cartel” that had to be “wined and dined” controlled major newsstands, so its distribution staff instead dealt independently with newsstand owners, albeit with a limited reach. Likewise, there was little revenue from advertising, since the magazines content was unattractive to corporate advertisers (although there were attempts to raise revenues from legal notices and advertisements from small businesses).

 

 

Despite such challenges, Pinoy Weekly branched out to have a separate weekly print edition in Mindanao and overseas monthly print editions in Israel, Taiwan and Japan.

 

 

In 2008, however, skyrocketing printing costs and limited revenues were unable to sustain operations. The publishers decided to give up the weekly print publication of Pinoy Weekly, and refocused on online publication. Pinoy Weekly, however, never stopped publishing its print magazine, in recognition of the fact that majority of the poor and oppressed do not have regular access to the Internet. It continued to publish a special print edition around four times a year, gradually increasing to monthly and bimonthly.

 

 

The publications print readers largely remains to be from peoples organizations, which ensure its distribution to marginalized communities in need of vital information and analysis of political, economic, and social developments that affect them, and which can help galvanize them into action. Meanwhile, the online editions readership is the general public, who are in need of relevant information and progressive views amid the sea of shallow infotainment being churned out both by the corporate and user- generated media.

 

 

Since last year, Pinoy Weekly online started using the English language, to be able to maximize the stories’ reach to the international community or non-Filipino audience, and to opinion makers who engage using the English language. However, it maintains Filipino as its primary language both online and in print as a matter of audience targeting and principle. In order to speak to the masses, it is necessary to use the language of the masses. It is also necessary to uphold and develop the use of the national language in journalism as a contribution to the long-term effort of building of a nationalist and mass-oriented culture.

 

 

Currently, Pinoy Weekly is being run by an editorial team of committed journalists, including: Kenneth Roland Guda (Editor-in-Chief), Ilang-Ilang Quijano, Macky Macaspac, Darius Galang, Christopher Pasion and Soliman Santos. It also also features columns from respected progressive opinion makers and contributions from talented and committed writers, photographers and artists. Throughout its existence the publication has been recognized for its work by media institutions and people's organizations, among them, (the now-defunct) Jaime V. Ongpin Awards for Excellence in Journalism and Gawad Agong Para sa Pamamahayag.  It has been cited by the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility, in the November 2006 issue of the Philippine Journalism Review: "If other tabloids are known for their sensationalized stories on crime and sex or splashy entertainment and sports pages, Pinoy Weekly comes across as a serious paper with analyses on issues affecting citizens, especially the marginalized."

 

 

In 2010, the Pinoy Weekly editorial team, as well as its adherents like UP College of Mass Communication Dean Rolando Tolentino, former UP CMC Dean Luis Teodoro and National Artist Dr. Bienvenido Lumbera, formed an NGO that would serve as publisher of Pinoy Weekly as well as launch other programs and activities aimed at further serving marginalized sectors. Thus, PinoyMedia Center (PMC) was born. Ilang-Ilang Quijano is currently its Executive Director.

 

 

While the publication of Pinoy Weekly remains among PMCs main programs it also started to explore other means to help accomplish its vision—a film collective that focuses on audio-visual work, citizen journalism trainings to directly assist marginalized communities in the information communication aspects of their advocacies, a media engagement team to help bring peoples issues to the attention of the mainstream mass media, and cultural initiatives.

 

 

The expansion of PMCs work is reflective of the need to go beyond journalism in its traditional sense—that isto report, analyze and publish. The Filipino peoples need for relevant, timely, engaging and enlightening materials that reflect and dissect realities as well as articulate aspirations and solutions for social change is steadfastly growing. The many distractions, illusions and lies systematically churned out by the elite through the corporate mass media, and even social media, calls for committed journalists to push boundaries, explore other areas of work in media and communication, and to align themselves even more clearly with the people.

 

 

PMCs first venture into film and audio-visual work beyond reportage is the INDIEpendesya Film Festival in 2012. With the theme of national sovereignty, PMC spearheaded the call for public service advertisements (PSAs) or short films among independent and student filmmakers. After a series of workshops with invited filmmakers, INDIEpendensya Film Festival was able to gather almost 50 original PSAs or short films, which were shown during the 3-day festival, and disseminated through social media afterwards. The festival also screened local and international films— documentaries and narratives—tackling the issue of imperialist domination and movements for national identity and liberation.

 

 

Another marked achievement of PMCs film/AV work is Eskinita: Ang Alternatibong Ruta, a documentary web series that tackles issues from the point-of-view of marginalized communities, featuring a host that rides the bicycle and espouses an alternative lifestyle. It just ended its first season, consisting of five episodes that dealt with the following topics: elections, jobless growth, Andres Bonifacios legacy, typhoon Yolanda victims, and education and the role of the youth. Eskinita is made available through social media, and is distributed to peoples organizations, which ensure that it is shown and discussed in film screenings in communities, schools, and other alternative venues. Eskinita is an effort to come up with a regular documentary show that tackles issues in an in-depth manner, presents alternatives or solutions, and has the ability to gain a popular following. PMC is currently embarking on its second season, and working to improve the show in terms of form, content, and distribution.

 

 

In general, PMCs film and audio-visual collective, consisting of filmmakers King Catoy and JL Burgos among others, strives to create pro-people works that are innovative, impacts the viewer educationally and emotionally, and both explores and challenges cinematic forms. Documentary and animation films produced by PMC, such as Puso ng Lungsod (Heart of the City), Didipio and Pangarap Ko Sa Pilipinas, have won recognition from institutions such as the Gawad Urian, Cebu International Documentary Film Festival and Gawad Agong.

 

 

PMC also started to respond to the needs of peoples organizations for training with regards to basic information communication skills such as writing, photography and videography, and even public speaking. Such trainings help build the peoples media capacities at the grassroots level, so that the masses (many of whom have limited formal education) would be able to more effectively tell their stories from their own point-of-view and acquire skills that would not only help them in the crucial tasks of arousing, organizing and mobilizing among their ranks but also in engaging the media and the general public in their advocacies. With the rise of social media and citizen journalism, these trainings also serve as an impetus for marginalized sectors to either contribute to existing alternative media outfits or create their own.

 

PMC has so far conducted citizen journalism and media advocacy trainings for workers, the urban poor, women, youth, overseas Filipinos, indigenous peoples, health workers, and environmental advocates, among others.

 

 

Furthermore, PMC has a media engagement team (led by Cynthia Espiritu and Leo Esclanda) that facilitates relations between peoples organizations and the dominant mass media. This is in recognition of the wide reach and dominant influence of the corporate mass media and maximizing the space, albeit limited, still being given to peoples issues especially by progressive-minded journalists and editors. The PMC media engagement team has facilitated the coverage of many peoples issues in TV, radio, print and online media.

 

 

PMC also spearheads the Documenting the Marginalized Series or various activities that recognize and encourage journalists, filmmakers, and artists who produce works that reflect the peoples situation and struggles, or simply facilitate public discourse on how the issues of marginalized sectors are documented in the media. These include fora, photo and art exhibits (e.g. commemorating the 40th anniversary of the Diliman Commune), film screenings and media roundtable discussions (e.g. on medias coverage of the urban poor).

 

 

PMC has further explored cultural initiatives that serve political campaigns of marginalized sectors. It co-produced the theatrical and musical show on political detainees, POLDET, last 2011. This year, it will also co-produce a music album on protest music under the Aquino administration, featuring songs from both progressive and mainstream bands and performers.

 

 

 

Mayday Multimedia

 

Mayday is an independent multimedia collective composed of cultural artists and workers committed to the struggle for the free exercise of labor rights. It works with people’s organizations and trade unions to produce audio-visual works that give an accurate and compelling picture of the condition and struggles of Filipino workers.

Previously known as Mayday Productions the group was conceptualized in 2004 as the video production unit or multimedia program of EILER (Ecumenical Institute for Labor Education and Research, Inc.), an independent pro-worker think tank, to meet the need for an alternative media group which genuinely portrays the conditions and struggles of the Filipino workers amidst the worsening economic crisis.

Although the group was initially known for Sa Ngalan ng Tubo (In the Name of Profit), a video on the struggle of farm workers in Hacienda Luisita, its flagship project is a documentary on the history of the Philippine labor movement titled Proletaryo. The video showcases the group’s primary aspiration – to serve the Filipino workers by portraying and also contributing to their struggles.

When Proletaryo was being produced, farm workers at the Cojuangco-owned Hacienda Luisita in Tarlac went on strike. Immediately sensing the making of history Mayday went to Tarlac and witnessed firsthand the harsh repressions experienced by the aggrieved sugarcane workers during their strike. The violence culminated in the death of seven strikers on November 16, 2004. Mayday was there to gather footage of this massacre.

Produced by EILER and with the cooperation of Tudla Productions and Pokus Gitnang Luzon, footages from the strike and ensuing massacre were crafted into the critically-acclaimed video documentary, Sa Ngalan ng Tubo. This was the first of Mayday’s three major works on the Hacienda Luisita case.

 Sa Ngalan ng Tubo was launched at a premiere night the University of the Philippines-Diliman on January 13, 2005. It was also there that Mayday was formally founded. 

The group was able to finish and release its original project,  Proletaryo, on November 2006. The following year, 2007, Mayday produced Blood and Sweat, a result of the International Labor Solidarity Mission against extrajudicial killings in the Philippines, many of which targeted labor leaders and organizers. Also in 2007 Mayday, together with EILER, examined the garments industry and the labor flexibilization – more popularly known as “contractualization” – faced by workers there in the video documentary Sinulid (Thread).

Seeking to maximize its full artistic potential and cater more effectively to the needs of various people’s organizations and labor groups Mayday decided to establish itself as a separate entity in 2009. Nonetheless, it continued its partnership with EILER to produce Breaktime, a series of video shorts on various labor issues, and Walang Umaga, Walang Gabi (No Day Nor Night), a documentary on the workers in the country’s burgeoning call center industry. It also covered the march of Southern Tagalog agrarian workers in Lakbayan: A People’s Journey (2010) which became an official entry in the Gawad Cultural Center of the Philippines sa Alternatibong Pelikula at Bidyo.

In 2009 Mayday opened accounts in online file-sharing sites to disseminate its videos on the Internet. Some of its works that year included Kasama sa Bawat Mayo Uno (Part of Every May 1), a tribute to militant labor leader Crispin “Ka Bel” Beltran a year after his death. Another was Kakasa Ka Ba?: Hamon sa Panahon ng Krisis (Challenge in the Time of Crisis), a documentary on the global economic and financial crisis and its effects on the Filipino worker. This video won in the 2009 Cine-Indie National Short Film Competition on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

Mayday continuously honed its craft and underwent numerous improvements to further its advocacies. The year 2009 was a dynamic one for the group as it launched several projects and sought a broader audience. It changed the group’s name to Mayday Multimedia and expanded its work to include graphics and sound design.

As the Philippines faced the 2010 elections the group tackled politics on a national scope. Mayday was commissioned to create the television ad for Anakpawis Partylist (Tuloy ang Laban ng Anakpawis Partylist). Along with this the group issued a video indicting Gloria Arroyo, then current president, for her major crimes against the common people (Pa-siyam: Sigaw ng Anakpawis, Gloria Alis, April 2010). It then released an expose of the newly-elected head of state, Noynoy Aquino for his complicity with his family’s drive to maintain ownership of Hacienda Luisita (Kayo ang Busabos, August 2010).

Further tackling the Hacienda Luisita case and the continuing struggle for genuine land reform there  Mayday created Ani ng Welga (Harvest from the Strike) and Pagbawi sa Luisita (Reclaiming Luisita).

The same year also witnessed the start of Mayday’s internship program in which Mayday facilitated workshops and trainings for students interested in progressive media/digital video production. The interns are encouraged to either collaborate in a final project or create their own video.

Another significant development was the launching of Sine Obrero, a program of public screenings in factories, urban poor communities, schools and other alternative venues in which Mayday’s videos are screened before the group’s target audience.

Mayday then participated in local and international film festivals to build networks with pro-worker multimedia and video groups. An example was their involvement in the annual Pandayang Lino Brocka. In 2012, along with ST eXposure, Mayday spearheaded the first Agitprop Film Festival in the country, an international event showcasing alternative films. One of the main feature films in the event was Mayday’s docu-drama Ka Bel, which depicted the life and struggle of the revered labor leader.

Ka Bel was a tribute that became a full-pledged biopic in 2011 with help from the National Commission for Culture and the Arts and was premiered on March 14. Aiming to promote the late labor leader’s exemplary qualities, such as his simple lifestyle and commitment to the Filipino worker, Mayday is planning to continue showing the video in various schools and colleges through the Ka Bel Project.

Also in 2011 Mayday released the pilot video of its new series, Kuwentong Obrero, a concise yet creative treatment of issues that confront ordinary workers. The largely animated short, titled Dagdag-sahod na Makabuluhan, Kailangang Ipaglaban (Struggle for Substantial Wage Increase), was well received in diverse venues. The second instalment tackling the issue of oil price hikes in the Philippines has been completed and reaped praises like the first one.

Mayday has maintained a vigilant and incisive approach in creating its body of work. As a collective, it strives to innovate and inform, taking up the challenge to remain relevant and to provide genuine representation and support to workers’ struggles.

 

Buhay Manggagawa

 

Even after the Filipino people ousted Marcos dictatorship in 1986, human and labor rights violations went unabated.  This prompted Bishop Antonio Nepomuceno, Sr. Emelina Villegas and others to establish the Center for Trade Union and Human Rights (CTUHR) primarily to document such violations and share their information to the workers and the people. 

 

CTUHR produced two publications and a radio program which became instrumental in disseminating news on human and labor rights violations. The radio program went through various names until it became known as “Buhay Manggagawa”.

 

Buhay Manggagawa aired over various radio stations throughout the years.  In 2006, after it refused the station owner’s orders to stop criticizing the Gloria Arroyo regime, the program was unceremoniously cancelled.  In 2011 and 2012, it aired as a weekly episode at Kodao Productions’ “Sali Na, Bayan!”over DZUP 1602-AM.  Now, it produces podcasts that can be heard on buhaymanggagawa.podomatic.com.

In its weekly podcast Buhay Manggagawa manages to gather regular listeners.  Some local unions time their meetings during its live streaming in order to listen. 

 

For such efforts, Buhay Manggagawa has become the number one alternative podcast in the country today.

 

 

 

 

Tudla Productions

 

Tudla Productions Group, Inc. (TUDLA) is an alternative, non-profit group of filmmakers, students and cultural workers that utilizes different media in drawing attention to the plight and struggle of marginalized sectors and to issues of national significance. TUDLA aspires to amplify the voice of the masses and the burgeoning call for genuine social change and justice.

 

Since its inception in 2003 Tudla (literal translation, to target) has been mainly producing social documentaries. Among its landmark full-length works are Daangbakal (Steeltracks, on the demolition of the urban poor community in the railways) and Sa Ngalan ng Tubo (In the Name of Profit, on the struggle and massacre of the sugar plantation farmers and workers of the Hacienda Luisita).

 

The organization also explores other means of maximizing media in providing alternative channels and modes of artistic production, distribution and popularization that have a clear intent of serving underrepresented and marginalized sectors in society.

 

TUDLA has conducted film screenings, workshops and forums in schools and communities. Among its latest projects are the PITIK-MULAT, the group’s major venture in photography and CITIZEN PATROL, a citizen journalism and reporting project.

 

At present TUDLA utilizes and maximizes the potentials of video, photographs and new media as tools that are most adaptable and effective for educating on a range of issues.

 

TUDLA is comprised of students, practitioners and cultural workers from various fields of media, research and the arts, fully committed to the cause and beliefs of TUDLA.

 

TUDLA is based in the National Capital Region (NCR) of the Philippines. Tudla works hand in hand with different people’s organizations in the NCR as well as cultural organizations and institutions for the advancement of various social and artistic advocacies.

 

The Board of Director of TUDLA Productions Group, Inc. are Joel Lamangan (Film Director); Roland Tolentino (Film Critic, Professor and Writer); Julie Po (visual artist); Jim Libiran (filmmaker) and Bonifacio Ilagan (film and theater writer and director) among ohers.  


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 


 

Tudla believes that mass media have an active role of shaping consciousness and public opinion, thereby capable of educating critical analysis leading to social action. With this belief, the organization espouses active media with enlightened intentions. The group practices media with the awareness of media’s power to help enlighten the people. The group labors to bring stories representative of the real plight of the people and, dialectically, bring media closer to the people. With this, media also becomes purposive. This active, enlightened and purposive media for the people, we believe, is progressive people’s media.

 

In proportion to the belief in an active, enlightened and purposive media, the organization deems that bringing film closer to the people is elemental to the cause. In the perspective and practice of the group, the people are not merely audiences but are important constituents of the production process. Being constant subjects of various media, the people must be able to own up to the experiences and be able to truly present their voice.

 

Media practice is not only an art form or an industry but a movement that strive to educate and promote critical awareness of the existing and pressing issues in the Philippine society. In turn, the movement for a progressive people’s media is an appendage to the movement that propels social change and justice.  

 

TUDLA produces social documentaries to educate, persuade and provide commentary on a broad range of social issues that are present and prevailing in a society, taking on the people’s stance in the process. In partnership with people’s organizations, TUDLA has produced 7 major documentaries on sectoral issues and national campaigns.

 

It also produces short videos that show a particular event or activity in a strategic campaign or long-standing pursuit of the people. These newsreels do not only tell the news but also chronicle the history of people’s struggle in the process.

 

In addition Tudla organizes the Pitik-Mulat Documentary Photography Visit and Exhibit.  It is a

a gathering of student, hobbyists and professional photographers set out on an exposure trip and photo shoot in an indigent community to produce photos representative of the times. The activity culminates in exhibits – in physical and virtual spaces – viewed and brought to people from all walks of life.

 

Tudla is behind the Pandayang Lino Brocka Political Film and New Media Festival that aims to gather all forms of audiovisual works on socio-political themes in the country and bring these films to where the masses are concentrated: schools, communities and workplaces. As tribute to the late Lino Brocka, this venture ultimately aims to inspire the resurgence of relevant, artistic and truthful works that voices out the needs and welfare of the people.

 

It also organizers the Youth Press Freedom Forum, a series of forums tackling responsible journalism, advocacy for press freedom, freedom of expression and information for a nationalist, scientific and mass oriented media.

 

In addition, it created the Citizen Patrol program, a citizen journalism and reporting effort to engage people to report on their issues especially those not reached or picked up by the commercial media.

 

TUDLA invites students and practitioners to be part of TUDLA and enjoy continuous newsreel and documentary productions, regular artistic workshops and educational discussions through its volunteer program. TUDLA has held numerous NSTP-CWTS, arts integration programs, and others – programs which include community integration and output-based media training.

 

TUDLA produces audiovisual presentations for campaigns, projects and other purposes.

 

To further develop the form and content of its work TUDLA holds monthly artistic workshops coupled with discussion on current social issues. These workshops and discussions are open to all who would like to be part or train with TUDLA.

 

In other occasions TUDLA also holds talks, forums and discussions on media culture, and the arts vis-à-vis current social issues.

Manila Today

 

Manila Today is a Metro Manila-based alternative online media outfit that was launched only last 3 September.  It is an offshoot of Tudla Productions.

 

Manila Today believes that there is a demand of the Filipino people not just for isolated and piece-by-piece information but for a consolidated data especially for those who are turning to media for their education. Instead of relying on the corporate media MT believes it is better if an alternative and people-based media outfit shall offer these to the Filipino people. Further, in battling apathy, ineptitude and cynicism Manila Today believes it can be an opportunity to united the youth in a common online platform to empower and envision society. The idealism and fervor that is inherent to the youth, when fuelled by responsible, constructive   and  socially  relevant  news  and/or  stories,  will  greatly  help  in creating  a  truly  democratic and   progressive  nation.

 

Manila Today desires to expand the horizons of online  and  social  media  use  into  public  knowledge  and  intelligent  discourse  with  the end  goal  of translating  awareness  intpublic  criticism  and social action.


 

 

 

arkibo.jpg

Arkibong Bayan

 

Arkibong Bayan is not a regular alternative media outfit like those described above.  It describes itself as an archival website on people’s organizations, issues and struggles.  But its inclusion in this list is justified by the fact that its co-creator and administrator often covers people’s events even more actively than alternative journalists and uploads new content the fastest that many now rely on.

 

AkB’s history parallels the development of the internet in the Philippines.  It started sending scanned photos, text and audio files through email to select recipients as early as 1993.  As its audience increased middle of that decade, it created a website using notepad and html codes.  The url was then sent to its clients but must be taken down after just days because of bandwidth limitations.

 

In 1996 the unnamed website was finally named ArchiVytes hosted by Geocities that had more than five megabytes of storage space.  ArchiVytes focused on general political news and events by progressive groups in the Philippines.  Still, the site regularly crashed because it could not handle the number of people visiting.   It predated the oldest online portals of the biggest dominant media companies in the country.

 

ArchiVytes was made public in 2000 and was renamed Arkibong Bayan.  It owned the first digicam among alternative media groups that was often borrowed in coverages.  It remains to be a major new and data source on people’s organizations, struggles and events.

 

 

Ibon Foundation

 

IBON Foundation, Inc. is a non-stock non-profit research-education-information development institution that conducts various programs in research education-information and advocacy. It provides socio-economic research and analysis on people's issues to various sectors primarily the grassroots. It aims to contribute to the effort of people's empowerment through education and advocacy support. It is also engaged in expansive international solidarity work.

 

IBON was founded in 1978, six years after the declaration of Martial Law.  IBON came out with an independent fact sheet which became known as IBON Facts and Figures that provided readers with a quick scan on vital facts of certain national and local issues was developed. From an initial 200 copies, popular response triggered the printing of another 2,000 copies of the first issue.  The first IBON Facts and Figures was produced using a borrowed mimeographing machine. IBON first operated in a Religious of the Good Shepherd (RGS) Welcome House community in Zamora St., Pandacan. Volunteers from the urban poor community provided stick drawings while some economists and students were asked for written contributions or help in drafting issues. Organized sectors such as trade unions began requesting for issue-specific fact sheets and industry primers. Public support ushered the institution into fully organizing and professionalizing its services.

 

From 1978-1980, IBON Facts and Figures became an 8-page thematic publication which became a source of data for researchers, speakers, writers and seminar facilitators. Its research featured political-economic realities and the relationship between local and international socio-economic issues.

 

IBON established the IBON Databank in 1982 to provide socioeconomic data to researchers, policy-makers, educators, NGOs and people’s organizations. The Ekonokomiks was also launched in 1984 as a regular publication for the grassroots.

 

 In the 1990s, Ibon’s Databank and Research Center was expanded. It conducted in-depth researches and advocacy studies. It aimed to improve the quality of its books and publications. Sectoral service desks for workers, peasants, women, indigenous people and the environment were developed.

 

IBON's Media Center stemmed from various media support activities such as IBON Features which presented social issues to the general public. IBON sa Himpapawid was a weekly canned radio program that also aimed to promote socio-economic consciousness to a wider audience. IBON Video comprised of a full-service production and post-production facility and a video library that includes IBON-produced educational video-aids and documentaries.

 

To advance IBON’s orientation in advocating people’s issues and supporting the capacity-building of people’s organizations in research, education, information and advocacy work, IBON increased its level of responsiveness in various people’s issues by taking on the thrust towards greater advocacy.

 

The institution consolidated its advocacy-research orientation by publishing relevant research and publications, and sustained its info-support and awareness-raising. It also revitalized its capacity building efforts offering a wide-range of advocacy support services including seminars and trainings, information network management, documentation, etc. for both sectoral and regional people’s organizations.

 

IBON also became an international publisher by networking with international publishers such as ZED Books and Global Outlook to widen its catalog and make Philippine books available internationally and alternative international publications to be accessible locally.

 

Within this decade IBON International was established. It expanded from providing services and contributing to capacity building to solidifying its role in international networks and campaigns. It also linked global initiatives to local campaigns and advocacies.

 

To date, Ibon promotes its research through its flagship publication Facts & Figures which is written in a popular style.  It also engages as many people as possible with illustrated materials, infographics and audiovisual formats, by working through mass media outlets, and using social media platforms.

 

In addition to those described above institutions, organizations and alliances producing their own publications, radio programs, videos and online sites that make their mark on alternative mass communications.  These include the Center for Women’s Studies, Kilusang Mayo Uno, Bagong Alyansang Makabayan, Aklat ng Bayan, Alliance of Concerned Teachers,  Health Alliance for Democracy and many others.


 

Challenges and Prospects

 

1.       Resource constraints. Alternative media work is being hampered by resource constraints.  The number of its workers is simply not enough to cope with the numerous issues confronting the people and campaign activities of the progressive movement.  This is a major reason why these media outfits could still not cope with the grind of coming out with daily and bigger news reports, videos and radio programs. 

 

Also related to resource constraints is the problem of funds.  Cameras, recorders, microphones, laptops and computers and other gadget are at best donations from individuals.  Alternative media workers use their personal equipment. And there are no funds to go to the regions for coverage, report on disasters and investigative reports.

 

2.       Skills improvement. The daily, urgent tasks by alternative media organizations with limited staffs and resources leave little time for skills improvement. While skills are improved naturally in the process of producing works there is the need to hold workshops aimed at significantly improving quality by seriously studying works produced by ourselves, and by others in both the alternative and corporate mass media, here and abroad.

 

3.       Lack of national network.  The reports that NCR-based alternative outlets receive from the regions are limited by the reach of its regional partners such as Davao Today, Northern Dispatch, Fardec, Sine Panayanon, NorDis, and recently, Bicol Today, among others.  There are still a lot more regions to cover. There are a lot of issues, campaigns, and occurrences that merit national and international attention but are not being covered by corporate media.

 

4.       Questions of content and form. Balancing content and form in informational, educational, and artistic works for the people is now made even more complex with todays media saturation brought about by the rise of the Internet and social media. This opens up new (and often hard) questions on audience access and reach, tastes and attention span, which often relates to the question of content and form. In facing this challenge alternative media outlets always try to keep in mind the following when creating or producing works: the desired basic objective; its target audience; its timeliness or usefulness for its defined audience; and possibilities for popularization and raising of standards.

 

 

5.       Marketing. There is still much to be desired in the reach of alternative media outlets.  They are still far behind the corporate media in terms of reach. 

 

Moreover, even among internet users, there are still a lot to reach out to.  According to the Internet and Mobile Marketing Association of the Philippines (IMMAP), there are now 38 million internet users in the country. 

 

There is a need to come up with a marketing strategy and plan to expand the readership and tap this broadening market of internet users.

 

The PMC adds:

 

·         For Pinoy Weekly print, it is still the high printing costs, as well as the lack of a fast and effective distribution (and revenue collection) machinery at the grassroots level, that prevents its regular weekly publication. Still, the special print editions that come out once in every two months is maximized for use by community organizers who need written materials

to educate among the masses, as well as by the masses themselves who need relevant reading materials in their homes, and do not have regular access to the Internet.

 

 

     For Pinoy Weekly online, the challenge is to attract a wide audience in a highly-saturated and fast-paced medium. Skills improvement is most crucial in this area. There is an attempt to advertise through social media (in recognition that corporate mass media and many interest groups have maximized the option), but such is highly limited due to limited resources. Internet user statistics show that majority or roughly 75 % of online readership is from the general online public, while 25 % is from a regular audience of progressive-minded individuals and organizations. Increased popularization of content rests on its attractiveness and usefulness to both types of audiences, albeit with a bias on the latter, who in principle should make a concerted effort to share the content to their own networks. Both the possibilities and limitations of the social media in disseminating works online is evolving; PMC is constantly trying to study, experiment, and learn from our own experiences and that of others.

 

 

     For PMC AV/film works, the main distribution method depends on the nature/objective of the work. But as a general principle, all works are made available online, either for online viewing or for downloading and screening in other venues. All works are also reproduced via DVD and given to peoples organizations for grassroots distribution. Alternative screening venues include communities, schools, homes, and during fora and other public events. Among these, community screenings are the most challenging, as they are hampered by lack of equipment such as laptop or DVD player, LCD projector, sound system, and space. Screenings are held through independent or joint efforts with peoples organizations. Meanwhile, films that could be of interest to a wider audience are submitted and screened in film festivals here and abroad (though such is only an addition, and not a priority in terms of target audience).

 

 

In addition, there is an urgent need to use the progressive movement’s network to produce advertisements for alternative radio programs and allow them to keep on broadcasting and producing.

 

6.       Under-maximized social media.  Both alternative and corporate media outfits recognize the power of social media in terms of reaching out to the youth.  According to IMMAP, two thirds of the 38 million internet users are under the age of 30.  Engaging in social media necessitates a different language and set of skills. Corporate media outfits have hired staff specifically for social media work.

 

7.       Closer working relationships with people’s organizations.  It has not only been once when people’s organizations have sent press invitations to corporate media outfits but have forgotten to send one to alternative media groups.  Alternative media groups such as Bulatlat and activists, members of people’s organizations and progressive groups need to engage more with in terms of exchange of information, coordination and cooperation. Ideally, members of progressive groups could regularly contribute articles, photos and video productions to alternative media groups to help propagate their issues, campaigns and advocacies.

 

Alternative media workers also complain of being marginalized by progressive organizations themselves.  They are always last to be given press releases at coverages.  Often, provisions for their transportation are forgotten and still need to be asked to be accommodated in organizations’ vehicles to be able to participate in Lakbayan’s, missions, and events.  Requests for interviews and accompaniment to communities are often ignored, which do not happen if such requests come from the dominant media.

 

Progressive organizations are also not keen on lending or even donating their unused or underutilized cameras, recorders, computers, microphones to alternative media groups.

Furthermore, some progressive groups and institutions tend to pay alternative media groups much less compared to when they commission dominant media personalities for videos, write-ups, photo and video documentation even from funding grants.  In fact, when they have such funding facilities, they choose more popular media personalities than those from the alternative media.

 

In the case of the print version of Pinoy Weekly progressive organizations failed to pay for their copies when they religiously pay for their subscriptions to dominant newspapers and cable televisions.

 

Many activists would also rather like and share stories and videos on online social networks from dominant media groups rather than those from alternative media outlets.  They are not the most loyal listeners of alternative radio programs from alternative media groups and progressive organizations either.

 

There is a pressing need to encourage people’s organizations to actively support alternative media groups even more from hereon.

 

At the heart of developing alternative media’s work and its contribution to social change is a strong and vibrant relationship with peoples organizations. Such a relationship will ensure that our efforts are useful in arousing, organizing, and mobilizing the masses; and that our works reach those whom we want to serve. It is also the foundation of the continued success and recognition of our projects and programs.
 

 

           
     
     
Press Freedom Photo Exhibit
of the UP College of Mass Communication

.

Karanasan sa alternatibang midya sa Central Luzon 

Ulat sa unang Kongreso ang Alternatibang Midya (AlterMidya)

Oktubre 9-10, 2014

 

Batayang Kasaysayan

 

Mula’t-sapul ay napagsilbi ng sambayanang Pilipimo ang gawang pamamahayag sa pagsusulong ng makabayang simulain at pagsisikap na makapagtatatag ng isang malayang nasyon. Ang tatlong pinakamalalaking pahayagan na tumampok kaugnay nito pa ay ang La Solidaridad na itinatag ng mga ilustrado na sa simula ay nagsulong simpleng reporma para para sa estado ng Pilipnas kaugnay ng pakolonyag pamamahala ng Espanya sa bansa; ang Kalayaan pangunahing isinulong ni Gat. Andres Bonofacio at nagtaguyod ng armadong pakikibaka para sa kalayaan; at ang La Independencia na inisiyatiba ni Antonio Luna at ilan pang makabayang mataas ang akademikong aral at kakayahan para patuloy na pagyamanin ang sa kinilala nilang tagumpay ng pambansa-demokratikong armadong rebolusyon laban sa mga Kastila.

 

Kasabay ng tatlong ito ang inisiyatiba ng mas maliliit na pahayagan sa iba’t-bang lalawigan ng bansa na sumabo sa pagitan ng 1898 hanggang 1900.  Ilan sa mga ito ang lingguhang La Revolucion Jaro sa Iloilo; Columnas Volantes o ‘Flying Sheets’ na ipinablis ng mga kabataang katatapos lamang sa kolehiyo na kasapi ng “Club Democratico Independiente ng Lipa, Batangas; La Oportunidad sa Tagbilaran, Bohol na lumalabas tuwing makalawang lingo.

 

Sa Central Luzon ay inilimbag sa Malolos, Bulacan ang Ang Kaibigan nang Bayan, ang bilingual naBabasaey Ombaley sa Bayambang, Pangasinan.

 

Maliliit ang sukat at ang sirkulasyon ay para sa sari-sariling lalawigan at bayan-bayan, nag-ambag ang mga ito sa pagtatanglaw ng madilim na daan ng rebolusyon at pawang tangan ang panawagang “Ang ating tinitindigan ay kasing dakila ng ating lakas.”

 

Nilayon din ng maliliit na pahayagan na ipagtanggol ang mga karapatang naipagtagumpay ng sambayanang Pilipino. Bukod sa mga kaganapan sa saklaw ng kanilang sirkulasyon naglalabas din ng komentaryo at pagsusuri sa pangkalahatang takbo ng pulitika sa bansa, galaw ng sandatahang lakas at gayun din ang kilos ng pwersa ng kaaway.

 

Sa kalahatan ang mga ito ay makabayang at rebolusyonaryo na ang ilan ay nakatawid hanggang sa ang mapanakop na pwersa na ng Amerika ang hinaharap sa armadong labanan.

 

Ayon mismo sa manunulat ng kasaysayang si Teodoro M. Kalaw “pinukaw ng mga rebolusyonaryong pahayagan namumuo at nakakimkim pa lamang na enerhiya sa dibdib ng mamamayan.”

 

The Filipino people, prostrate in their misfortune under the yoke of tyranny, found at least a guide, leadership… an organ to voice their complaints and demands, to describe their conditions and to arouse with courage all responsibilities.

 

“Ang mamamayang Filipino na nakadapa sa ilalim ng pamatok ng pang-aapi ay nakatagpo ng giya, liderato … isang organo sa pagsasatinig ng hinaing at kahingian, mailinaw ang kanilang mga kondisyon at mapukaw nang may tatag ang kanilang responsibilidad,” dagdag ni Kalaw.

 

Nagpatuloy ang ganito habang namamayagpag na ang imperyalismong pamamahala ng US sa Pilipinas sa paglitaw ng mga pahayagang gaya ng La Senda del Sacrificio (The Price of Sacrifice) noong 1933 ni Jose Alejandrino na ninuno ng mga Alejandrino na humanay sa unang mga sosyalista sa Pampanga.

 

Nagpasulput-sulpot sa Pampanga ang Ing E Mangabiran/El Imparcial (1905, 1910, 1915), Ing Cabbling (1933), Ing Katiwala (1938), Pamitic (1938-1941) Ing Calasag (1948) at ilan pa.

   

Konteksto

 

Ang alternative Press, mosquito press ay sumigla noong 1980s na kumurut-kurot sa sariling media structure ng rehimeng Marcos gaya National Media Production Center, Bureau of Broadcast, Department/Ministry of Public Information at mga maka-Marcos na pribadong media gaya ng pahayagang Daily Express, Daily Bulletin at publikasyon ng Journal Group, at mga telebisyong kinumpiska sa ilalim ng martial law na gaya ng channels 9 at 13  pati na abs-cbn na pinatakbo lahat ng papet na si Roberto Benedicto.

 

Nasa hanay ng mosquito press ang ilang tabloids at ilang istasyon ng radio na sa kabila ng intimidasyon at panggigipit ay tumutol sa mga atas ng gobyerno kung ano lamang ang mga balita at impormasyong dapat ilabas pangunahin na ang pagpapaligo ng papuri sa Bagong Lipunan ni Marcos at ang platform ni Imeda na The rue, the good and the beautiful.

 

Kabilang dito ang mga pribado at papalaganap pa lang na WE Forum at Pahayagang Malaya ng yumaong Joe Burgos; Veritas ng Roman Catholic Church; Business Day (Business World ngayon) ng pamilyang Locsin, Mr. and Ms. Magazine at Inquirer ng ilang nagsama-samang mainstream practitioners.

 

Kasama rin sa hanay ng mosquito press ang mga inisiyatiba ng aktibistang manunulat at pro-people na seksyon ng simbahan: Philippine Signs/ Philippine News Features, IBON Facts and Figures, at Midweek magazinepinatakbo ng ilang progresibong kasapi ng academe.

 

Kasama rin sa hanay ang mga nagpraktis ng XEROX journalism; o pagki-clippings ng iba’t-ibang publikasyon at mga balita o artikulo pangunahin mula sa mga foreign publications karamihan ay mga Pilipinong mamamahayag at academicians na naging expatriates dahil sa martial law. Ang mga artikulo at publications na hinarang o binawal ng rehimen ay ipinupuslit sa bansa, isine-xerox para maparami at sikretong maipamahagi.

 

Sa Pampanga, ang The Voice (1954 up to present) ang nagpatuloy ng ganitong diwa partikular sa panahon ng yumaong Fyodor ‘Ody’ Fabian na anak ni Macario Fabian na kasama sa unang mga sosyalita sa probinsiya kasama ni Pedro bad Santos. Angeles Sun (1984-1986) na pinablis ni Elmer Cato na nagsusulat sa Malaya, kasama ang ilang pang mga kabataang aktibista na piniling tumungo sa peryodismo. Si Cato ang sumentro sa pag-oorganisa ng NUJP sa Pampanga kasama si Fabian sa panahon pa ni Antonio Nieva.

 

Pag-unlad ng mga hiwa-hiwalay na inisiyatiba

 

Kinailangang sumabay ang hiwa-hiwalay na pagsisikap sa pagtatambol ng mga isyu ng mamamayan sa bumubugsong kilusang masa sa rehiyon. Ang gawaing propaganda ng mga organisasyong masa ay pangunahing nakatuon sa pana-panahong paglalabas ng manipesto at primers at ang pagpapatampok ng mga isyu ay pangunahing naani sa pamamagitan ng mga mobilisasyon na sumisigla at lumalawak dahil na rin sa mabilis na pagkahiwalay ng rehimeng Marcos lalo na sa pagsisimula ng dekada ‘80.

 

Mula sa nangingibabaw na pagtinging ang kilusang magsasaka ay pangunahing lihim at armado nahinog ang paghahambing kung ang sektor ng manggagawa ay may kilusang unyonismo at ang makatarungang sahod ang usaping kanin at ulam ng sector, paano magsusulong ng hayag na kilusang magbubukid.

 

Tinanggap ng Gitnang Luson ang hamon na hanapin ang katugunan, tinukoy na nananatiling ang lupa ang istratehikong usaping isusulong ng kilusang magbubukid subalit susi at mahigpit na nakakawing ang usapin ang pagpapababa ng gastos sa produksyon at paghamig ng suportang presyo sa produktong kinakabig lamang ng mga asender-kumersyante-usurero.

 

Taong 1981 hanggang 1983 nang ang hiwa-hiwalay na organisasyong magsasaka ay tatikal na nabuo bilang Alliance of Central Luzon Farmers (ACLF) at nagsulong ng serye ng petisyon sa mga ahensiyang pansakahan ng gobyerno para sa pagpapa-roll back ng presyo ng pataba at pestisidyo, pagpapababa ng upa sa irigasyon, pagtatakda ng suportang presyo ng produkto.

 

Rumurok ito sa unang Kampong Bayan sa harap ng Ministry of Agriculture and Food sa Quezon Circle ng Oktubre 21, 1984. Nauna nang ibinuo ang isang writers/prop team para mag-pokus sa kagyat na malawakang pagtatambol ng mga natukoy na isyu, masinsing maglabas ng mga manipesto, press releases, mai-trigger ang kondisyon ng tit-por-tat, maipopularisa sa media ang mga isyu at malikha ang marapat at makatarungang batay ng papataas na aksyon ng organisadong magsasaka sa rehiyon.

 

Gaya ng inasahan ang Malaya ang unang tumugon at halinhinang nagpababad ng team ng reporter atphotographer sa ‘Kampo’ ngunit malamya pa ang ibang pahayagan. Ang maiit na istasyon ng dzME ang una namang radyong tumugon. Naglabas mismo ang may-ari ng memo na basahin ng mgaannouncer on board ang lahat ng ilalabas na manipesto ng kampo every hour in the hour. Sumapat ang pagdamay ng dalawang news outlet upang kahit paano ay pulutin din ng ibang diyayo at radio ang usapin ng magsasakang nakakampo.

 

Telebisyon na lamang ang hinabol mapasok at ang nag-iisang Tv talkshow noon ay ang Tell the People ni Julie Yap-Daza sa Channel 9. Sa paglapit ng mga lider magsasaka at mga tagsuporta kasama ang mga lider simbahan itinakda ni Daza ang kondisyong “Hog the headlines” first. Ibig sabihin ay maging headline muna ang ‘Kampo’ o alinman sa mga isyu nito bago makapasok sa ‘Tell the People.’

 

Ipinabalikat sa writers team ang paghahanap ng taktika at natukoy ang 10-6-3 formula sa tulong ng isang staff ng IBON: na sa bawat 10 percent na pagtaas ng presyo ng abono ay may kaukulang anim (6) porsyentong pagbabawas ng mga magsasaka ng gamt nito na nagreresulta naman sa tatlong (3) porsyento pagbaba ng ani. Sa paglalapat ng naturang pormula sa taunang gross harvest ng palay Central Luzon noon nakita ang laki ng malamang na iatras ng aanihing palay kung hindi iro-rollbackang 10 porsyentong aktwal na itinaas ng presyo ng abono.

 

Kinagat ito ng Times Journal at inilagay sa headline, at nag-follow up pa ng panayam sa mga lider ng kampo at muling inilagay sa headline sa kasunod na araw, at nakapasok sa ‘Tell the People’ ang noo’y matino pang Jaime Tadeo at ang bata pang lider na si Rafael Mariano.

 

Malinaw na aral nito ang halaga ng isang dedicated team na malalim na nakalusong sa gawain na patuloy na nag-aaral, nagpaplano atnadidisenyo ng mga taktika.

 

Gintong Lilik 1985-1987

 

Nobyembre 1984 ang unang kongreso ng magsasaka sa rehiyon at pormal na itinatag ang Alyansa ng Magbubukid sa Gitnang Luson (AMGL). Mula pa ng ito ay ACLF iisa itong hayag na organisasyong magsasaka sa antas rehiyon, at binalikat nito ang pagbabandila ng hayag na pakikibakang magsasaka sa pambansang antas kaya ang antas ng gawaing propaganda ay nasa pambansang antas din na inalalayan ng maraming suportang institusyon na nakabase sa Maynila, hanggang mailuwal ang Kilusang Magubukid ng Pilipinas sa kalagitnaan ng 1985.

 

Baon ang mga aral sa gawaing propaganda mula sa mga naunang kampanya nagsimula ang AMGL magsubok ng mga dadag na anyo ng dadaluyan ng isyu lampas sa manipesto at primer, pagyayaman ng alternatibang anyo ng pagpapahayag ng mga isyung magsasaka, mas masinsin na engagement sa manggagawa sa media, at inut-inot na pagpasok sa media mismo.

 

Ang Gintong Lilik ang una at matagumpay na pagtatangka ng AMGL sa alternatibang media. Iniluwal ito ng Luntiang Bukid na newsletter pangmamagsaka inililimbag gamit ang stencil and mimeograph technology bilang credible reality implementation with token numbers para sa nakuhang funding support na nakalaan sa iba’t-ibang pangangailangan.

 

Matapos ang funding period ng Luntiang Bukid naihanap ng AMGL ng funding support mula sa Asia Pacific for Human Development ang mas seryosong pagpapablis ng isang pahayagang magsasaka, at nailuwal naman ang Gintong Lilik na pinatakbo ng mga staff para maging mayor na anyo ng propaganda para sa hanay ng magsasaka sa rehiyon,

 

Black and white ito at offset printed, 12-16 pahina, 8.5” x 11”, visual oriented with a full blown front cover and back cover at pana-panahong naka-jacket spread, full blown photo sa center spread, photo or art illustration sa bawat pahina, malalaki ang font at simple ang lengwahe.

 

Ang main article ay 50% ng laman ng nagsisilbing primer at issue analysis; ang mga seksyon ay Editoryal, Balitangbayan ang news page (2pp), Butil ng kasaysayan (2pp), Alam n’yo ba? (2pp), Botikambaryo (2pp), makabayang panitikan (2pp), center spread ay nagsisilbing poster (pitched mula sa front page)

 

Buwanan itong lumalabas sa loob ng dalawang taon, 2,000 copies per issue with an average of 4-5 pass on readership na pinakamataas ay sa Pangasinan nag-ulat ng six pass on readership at bumabalik pa sa kanilang sentro.

 

Naging kakulangan ng kakulangan ng Gintong Lilik ito na halos one man job mula research, writing,editing, photography and dark room, layouting, presswork; subalit ang layuning mapagsilbi itong mayor na educational material ng mga magsasaka at iba pang sektor na kailangang magpakatalas sa usaping magsakaka ay nakamit. Nakadisenyo ito mailalapag sa gitna ng mga umpukan sa mga barangay at mag-trigger ng talakayan ay nagawa.

 

Ang mga naunang primers ng KMP na pawang nakasulat sa English ay ang Gintong Lilik ang nagsalin sa Pilipino at ikinadkad ng KMP sa buong bansa.

 

Naisabay dito ang unti-unting pagpasok sa mainstream media. Nagsimula sa Photobank  na isangsyndicate ng sub-medium na photojourn na mga aktibista rin ang nagtatag para sa layuning makapwesto sa loob ng mainstream media, papunta dzRM Radyo ng Masa sa network ng Radyo ng Bayan, pababa pa sa mga auxiliary forms na letters to the editor, letters to columnists, phone brigades.

 

Nakakuha pa uli ang Gintong Lilik ng isa pang two-year extended fund support matapos ang two year funding term. Ngunit nauntol ito resulta ng raid ng Pampanga PC sa tanggapan ng AMGL noong May 16, 1989. Nakulong ang siyam na staff ng AMGL at siyam pang staff ng iba’t-ibang POs na naabutan doon para sa isang pagtatasa.

 

Hindi ito nasustini ng sumunod na salin ng AMGL staff matapos makalabas ng piitan at ilipat sa ibang gawain ang pangunahing punong-abala ng gawaing propaganda. Mahabang patlang ang sumunod at ang gawaing propaganda ng AMGL at ibang POs nabalik sa karaniwang praktis ng paglalabas manipesto, press releases at press statements at primers.

 

Ngunit kailangan pa ng pagsusuma sa antas kumperensiya ang naging karanasan sa gawaing propaganda sa rehiyon sa antas ng hayag na kilusang masa. Ngunit sa mga hiwa-hiwalay na feedbackkinilala ng maraming probinsiya at rehiyon ang naging lakas at sigla at lawak ng gawaing propaganda ng AMGL at ang naging matimbang na kontribusyon Gintong Lilik.

 

Kinilala rin ang naiambag ng mga sekundaryong anyo sa paglikha ng kondisyong tit-por-tat.

 

Matimbang din ang masinsin na engagement ng AMGL sa mga indibidwal na manggagawa sa media sa rehiyon lalo na sa mga nakabase sa Angeles City sa Pampanga na ang ilan ay naging aktibista sa kolehiyo at ang iba ay sumimpatya na’t nagtaguyod ng mga people’s issues at batak na rin ng patuloy na lumalakas na anti-fascist/anti-Marcos na sentimyento ng mamamayan.

 

Salik din na sumigla ang mass movement sa rehiyon at sa buong bansa, masasabing taliba noon ang Gitnang Luzon sa hayag na kilusang magsasaka at pinakakagyat na likuran at base ng KMP, matatandaang ang rehiyon ang naging malaking laboratoryo ng rehimeng Marcos sa PD 27 at iba pang mga huwad na programa sa agrikultura.

 

Aral namang nahango ditto ang halaga ng alternative forms o mga anyong ang mga pahayagang ang mga organisasyong masa ang may total control, masinsing engagement sa mainstream media,pagpasok mismo sa mainstream media para mapataas ang tsansang mapalabas ang mga isyu ng mamamayan at pao-oorganisa sa hanay ng media.

 

Panibagong mga pagtatangka: 2003 hanggang kasalukuyan

 

Panibangong oportunidad ang nabuksan para sa alternatibang media sa sinimulang negosyo ng malaking radio network na Manila Broadcasting Company na Small Radio System [Frequency Modulation (FM) SRS] sa mahinang kapasidad na 100 watt. Nakabili ang Central Luzon ngpartnership rights para sa pitong SRS: Radio Natin (RN) Sta. Rosa at RN Talavera sa Nueva Ecija; RN Capas sa Tarlac; RN Plaridel sa Bulacan; RN Masantol, RN Floridablanca at Hot-FM Mexico sa Pampanga.

 

Sinubok itong paandarin sa iba’t-ibang paraan: RN Sta. Rosa sole proprietorship [SEC registered as Nueva Ecija Media Links (NEML)], RN Plaridel ay pinayungan ng Plaridel Parish, Hot-FM Mexico ay pinamahala sa Council of Herald para patakbuhing cooperative: ang RN Talavera ay agad ipamahala sa Bayan Nueva Ecija; ang RN Capas ay ipapangalan dapat sa isang kaalyadong politiko; RN Masantol at RN Floridablanca ay pinaasikaso sa isang negosyanteng kaalyado.

 

Ang RN Sta. Rosa na pinatakbong isang maliit na negosyo ay nakairal mula 2000--2003 at nagsimulang tipunan ng aral sa pagpapatakbo ng radio sa konteksto ng alternatibang media; nagprodyus ng mga news and current affairs program na nakayakap sa isyu ng mamamayan habang naninimbang sa para makairal sa pangunahing agos ng media at makahamig ng ads at maging self-propelling.

 

Nakaakit ito ng mga batang college graduates na tuluy-tuloy na gumampan ng gawin bilangvolunteers sa loob ng dalawang taon; naging suki para sa OJT ng mga masscom students ng mga kalapit na unibersidad at kolehiyo; ang musical programs ay umakit ng maiglang suporta ng kabataang grupu-grupong dumadagsa sa istasyon. Kumain ito ng malaking seksyon ng sa market of listeners ng mas malalaking radio sa Nueva Ecija.

 

Tumabo rin sa pananawagan community mobilization ng volunteers para sa mga pagkilos na gaya ngmedical missions ultimo sa repairs sa istasyon.Ang mga partner-operators ay may karapatang mag-ulat sa mother station kaya maraming isyu, pagkilos at kaganapan ang kagyat na naiuulat sa dzRH.

 

Ngunit isinara pa rin ang proyekto dahil ang lakas nitong 100 watt ay hindi sumapat para lumaban sa mga malalaking radio sa market of advertisers; ang Hot-FM Mexico ay umiral ng kulang isang taon at hindi na naisulong ang pagbubuo ng kooperatibang mamamahala nito, ang RN Plaridel ay nagkagulo lumampas lamang ng isang taon ang kabataang inatasang nag-operate, ang RN Capas ay nagsara matapos ang apat na buwan at hindi pinangatawanan ng kaalyadong pulitiko, ang RN Talavera ay kagyat na uminit sa mata ng militar at nagsara matapos ang tatlong buwan.

 

Isang mas magandang oportunidad ang nasunggaban sa pagkakabili ng partnership rights sa mas malakas ng 500 watt na RN Guimba sa Nueva Ecija na pinaandar mula 2003 sa isang tipong non-government organization na Community Visions and Initiatives o COMVIS at malusog na nakaiiral hanggang sa kasalukuyan.

 

May malinaw na Board of Trustees mula sa sa hanay ng mga kaalyadong middle forces,

masigla ang volunteerism, malakas na community support at nakabalik sa mga barngay na dating malakas ang hayag na kilusang magsasaka subalit dinalasa ng militarismo sa rurok ng pamamayag pag ng berdugong Jovito Palparan.

 

Nahigitan pa ng ComVis at RN Guimba ang mga tagumpay at aral ng RN Sta. Rosa. Patuloy itong humahamig ng suporta ng mga kababayan at komunidad sa labas ng bansa para sa mga regular na feeding programs ng kabataan, suportang school materials para sa kabataan tuwing magbubukas ang pasukan, medical missions, 100 percent na itong self propelling . Na-enhance na rin ang audience reach sa loob at labas ng Nueva Ecija at bansa sa pamamagitan ng UStream at sariling website.

 

Ang Pokus Gitnang Luson (PGL) ay iniluwal ng dugo ng mga martir na manggagawang bukid sa Hacienda Luisita. Nagsimula ito sa anim (6) katao na binuong regional media group. Saklaw na nito ang lahat ng isyu sa sector sa rehiyo. Saklaw ng gagampanan nito ang alternative audio-visual production, web publication, pamamahala ng Hot-FM na siya na lamang nalabi liban sa RN Guimba na tuwiran nang pinamahalaan ng Nueva Ecija, pag-oorganisa sa hanay ng media sa balangkas ng NUJP pangunahin sa Pampanga at pagpasok sa mainstream media.

 

Ang Southern Tagalog Exposure (STEx) ang nagbigy ng pagsasanay sa audio-visual production. Sa paghahangad na mabilisang mapalawak ang skill at kagyat na makabuo ng lambat para makasuporta sa PGL ay pinadalo ang mga kinatawan ng mga probisiya, ngunit hindi ito naka-take off.

 

Nakabwelo ang PGL kahit iisa ang gamit camera ngunit nakabili ng mahuhusay na instrumento para sa production/post production. Bagama’t may traioning ang anim na kagawad sa camera work iisa lamang ang nakakuha ng training sa editing at post production.

 

Kagyat namang nakasuporta ang PGL sa produksyon ng ‘Sa Ngalan ng Tubo Sa Ngalan ng Tubo ng MayDay Productions, at isa pang hiwalay na produksyon hinggil pa rin sa Masaker sa Hacienda Luisita ng Sining Patriyotiko (SIPAT).

 

Sa pagtatahi ng iba’t-ibang available na file footages at ibang materyales ay nakapaglabas ng ng Kasaysayan ng Hacienda Luisita. Ngunit ang una at naging huling pagtatangka ng PGL para sa isang buong produksyon mula sa pag-shoot, production at post-production Obispo Maximo Alberto Ramento, Bishop ng masa.

 

Pinaghiwalay sa tig-apat ang umabot na sa walong tao ng regional media group sa dalawang mayor na gawain na website na pinangalanang Gitnang Luson News Service (GLNS) at ang PGL na babalikat sa audio-visual production, ngunit magkatulong na magaasikaso ang NUJP, Hot-FM Mexico, pagpasok sa mainstream media at pag-agapay sa nagsisimula pa lamang na RN Guimba sa lahat ng aspeto mula programming at operasyon,

 

Nakasulong ang GLNS at mahigpit na nakipagtulungan sa Bulatlat. Bagama’t hindi ganap na napaunlad ang ibang pahina ng website naging masigla ang news page na maagap namang nakapaglabas ng mga balita at pagsusuri sa isyu ng rehiyon na ang marami ay ini-repost pa ng ibangwebsites sa loob at labas ng rehiyon at labas ng bansa.

 

Nakagampan ang regional media group sa pagpapalaganap ng mga isyu ng mamayan ng rehiyon at ang laman ng GLNS ay unti-unting ginamit ng ilang mainstream journalists partikular ang mgacorrespondents ng mga national dailies na nakabase sa Pampanga.

 

Ang regional media group din ang naging ubod ng muling naorganisang NUJP Pampanga.

Regular na nakapag-ulat ang isang kagawad dzRH s pamamagitan ng RN Sta. Rosa at Hot-FM, nakapasok bilang stringer sa GMANews.Tv, anchor sa local na istsyon ng gvAM, local daily na Punto! Central Luzon.

 

Nakairal ang regional media group mula ikalawang kwarto ng 2005 hanggang gitnang 2007. Dalawang kagawad ang inilipat ng gawain kasama ang nag-iisang nakakagampan sa editing,production at post-production, ang webmaster ay nag-abroad, ang tatlo pa ay pinili na lamang ding maghanap-buhay at isa na lamang ang natira.

 

Kasalukuyang takbo ng gawain

 

May dalawang pagtatangka ang AMGL na maibalik ang Gintong Lilik sa sirkulasyon sa magkahiwalay na panahon – una ngoong 1995 na hindi nasundan matapos ang dalawang isyu, at ikalawa sa pagtataguyod dadalawang staff ng AMGL na panaka-nakang nakapaglalabas ngunit nasusutine ang sarilgn sinimulang website.

 

Sa sariling inisiyatiba ng isang progresibong manunulat na fulltime na nakabase sa Hacienda Luisita ay sinimulang muling isulong ang Pokus Gitnang Luzon audio-visual production, at may nakabukod pang pagsisikap na nakasentro sa Angeles City para muling makabuo ng regional media group na bubuhay sa website production efforts, audio-visual production na sasaklaw sa maliliit ngunit popular platforms gaya ng YouTube, patuloy na pagtataguyod ng pag-oorganisa sa hanay ng media, pagsisimula ng isang research desk na sisikaping mapaunlad sa isang tipong IBON research para sa rehiyon.

 

Tatlong mainstream practitioner na nakabase sa Pampanga ang nagbigay ng panimulang commitment.

 

     
     
           
     
   
     
     

.

Bulatlat: A Product of the Times

(Presented to the first Alternative Media conference October 9-10, 2014)

 

The year was 2001. The country was at a historical juncture.  Edsa People Power 2 had just happened.  This signaled a major change in the political landscape.  The ouster of then president Joseph Estrada did not usher in a government that is truly representative of the people.  However, the significance of the second edition of the people power uprising lies in the fact that it showed that the Filipino people are no longer content with waiting for the six-year cycle of presidential elections to be able to change a corrupt government.  It was also a time when people are already searching for alternatives because of the failed promises of Edsa People Power 1 that ousted the Marcos dictatorship.  The people were politically involved and it was the ripe time to produce a publication that would explain the issues, the basic ills plaguing Philippine society, and the solutions to the country’s social, political, and economic crisis.

 

2001 was also the blossoming of the internet in the country. While the bursting of the dot.com bubble was happening in the US and Europe, the Philippines was an emerging market for ISPs, software developers, and websites.  Gone are the days of the slow dial-up connections.

 

The idea came up: Why not maximize the internet in explaining the people’s issues? 

 

Thus, Bulatlat.com had come to fruition through the efforts of four people: Bobby Tuazon, a professor at UP Manila who was one of the key persons in the defunct alternative news agency Philippine News and Features, political economist Sonny Africa of Ibon Foundation, Carlos Conde of New York Times, and Rowena Paraan. 

 

From then on, Bulatlat slowly expanded, not so much in terms of staffing as it has remained lean, an average of six to eight people, but in terms of articles published from two to three a week to around three to five articles almost every day. 

 

Currently, there are two editors Benjie Oliveros, managing editor, and Dee Ayroso, two senior reporters MaryaSalamat and RonalynOlea, three reporters  Janess Ann Ellao, ZengUmil, and Ednalyn de la Cruz, and one multimedia person Pom Villanueva.

 

Bulatlat remains committed to explaining the issues from the perspective of the people to the local and international community. Among its subscribers are universities here and abroad, progressive international websites and journalists, Filipino migrants and overseas contract workers, solidarity groups abroad, diplomatic missions in the Philippines, regional and local papers, and investigative programs of major TV networks. 

 

Bulatlat also seeks to provide information and analysis of issues that could help enhance the capacities of organizers and propagandists of progressive groups and people’s organizations in explaining national and sectoral issues, and in organizing and mobilizing the people.

 

While the main products of Bulatlat are feature articles, it is also striving to come out with more frequent news stories that chronicles the campaigns and mobilizations of the progressive people’s movement and publicizes the positions of people’s organizations on urgent and pressing issues. 

 

Bulatlat has also been able to gather a good mix of columnists who have their respective set of readers and who discuss topics that are of interest to internet readers: Mong Palatino who writes social commentaries in the language of the social media generation; Sarah Raymundo, who analyzes events from the perspective of social change theories, and Dean Roland Tolentino, who mixes pop culture and social commentaries, for the academe; Rick Bahague on “techie” or technological issues and concerns, and Kalibutan by Kalikasan-PNE on environmental issues from the perspective of progressives. It has another column Bulatlat perspective, which is written by its Managing Editor Benjie Oliveros and reflects Bulatlat’s position and analysis on issues. 

 

Bulatlat also regularly reposts the columns of Satur Ocampo, which is being published by the Philippine Star, Dr. Carol Pagaduan-Araullo and Dean Luis Teodoro, whose columns are regularly published by Business World.

 

Bulatlat is exploring the possibility of getting another columnist who could present the views of the revolutionary Left.

 

Maximizing multimedia platforms

 

Upon the prodding of Bulatlat’s editorial consultant Carlos Conde, Bulatlat., in 2009, started integrating multimedia productions such as videos, audio, slideshows, taped interviews among others.  It also ventured into live coverage of major mobilizations over the internet. 

 

Bulatlat also regularized its editorial cartoon, its photo of the week and a photo gallery Streetshooter by Raymund Villanueva.

 

Just this year,  Bulatlat launched a comic strip featuring its mascot Martin the cat by Dee Ayroso.

 

Social media

 

Also in 2009, Bulatlat began engaging in the world of social media.  It opened an account in Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.  It has fan pages for Bulatlat and Bulatlat Multimedia.  All of Bulatlat’s articles and media productions are linked to its its fan pages. 

 

Bulatlat also regularly engages in twitter.  The twitter account is being maximized both for propagating articles and in live coverage tweets.

 

When Bulatlat engaged in social media, its hits and visits tripled.

 

Gains, challenges, and prospects

 

It has never been the objective of Bulatlat and its editors and writers to get awards. Nevertheless the recognition, citations and awards it got have helped propagate its articles and multimedia productions and the website as a whole.  Among the awards Bulatlat got are from the Jaime V. Ongpin Journalism award and the Marshall Mcluhan award of the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility, the International Committee of the Red Cross for humanitarian reporting, the Hildegard award for women in media of the St. Scholastica’s College, Chit Estela Human Rights award, and the Gawad Agong.  

 

More important for Bulatlat are the reposting of its articles in local and international papers and websites, knowing that its articles have been the basis for investigative reports, getting contributions such as poems and articles from its readers, and being told that its articles have been the basis for clarifying and explaining issues.

 

However, there is still a long way to go to be able to counter the reach, reporting and messaging of corporate media conglomerates.  Among the challenges confronting Bulatlat are:

 

1.      Resource constraints. Same with all progressive media outfits, Bulatlat’s work is being hampered by resource constraints.  The number of writers is simply not enough to cope with the numerous issues confronting the people and campaign activities of the progressive movement.  This is a major reason why Bulatlat could still not cope with the grind of coming out with news reports daily. 

 

Also related to resource constraints is the problem of funds.  Bulatlat’s cameras, recorders, microphones are donations from individuals.  Writers and editors use their personal computers. And there are no funds to go to the regions for coverage, report on disasters and investigative reports.

 

2.      Lack of national network.  The reports that Bulatlat gets from the regions are limited by the reach of its regional partners such as Davao Today, Northern Dispatch and recently, Bicol Today.  There are still a lot more regions to cover. There are a lot of issues, campaigns, and occurrences that merit national and international attention but are not being covered by corporate media.

 

3.      Marketing. There is still much to be desired in the reach of Bulatlat.  Bulatlat, same with all other alternative media groups, is still far behind the corporate media in terms of reach. 

 

Moreover, even among internet users, there are still a lot to reach out to.  According to the Internet and Mobile Marketing Association of the Philippines (IMMAP), there are now 38 million internet users in the country. 

 

There is a need to come up with a marketing strategy and plan to expand the readership and tap this broadening market of internet users.

 

4.      Under-maximized social media.  Both alternative and corporate media outfits recognize the power of social media in terms of reaching out to the youth.  According to IMMAP, two thirds of the 38 million internet users are under the age of 30.  Engaging in social media necessitates a different language and set of skills. Corporate media outfits have hired staff specifically for social media work.

 

5.      Closer working relationships with people’s organizations.  It has not only been once when people’s organizations have sent press invitations to corporate media outfits but have forgotten to send one to alternative media groups.  Alternative media groups such as Bulatlat and activists, members of people’s organizations and progressive groups need to engage more with in terms of exchange of information, coordination and cooperation. Ideally, members of progressive groups could regularly contribute articles, photos and video productions to alternative media groups to help propagate their issues, campaigns and advocacies.
 


Among the Alternatives: The People’s Center for Progressive Media in Southern Tagalog (ST eXposure)

Background

Southern Tagalog Exposure (STeX) is a nonstock, nonprofit organization of young and committed artists and activists based in the Southern Tagalog Region (STeX, 2002). It is an independent media institution whose works delve on themes about the struggle of the socially disadvantaged and minorities as well as the resurgence of movements of resistance and liberation in Southern Tagalog.

STeX utilizes multimedia (video/film, print and radio) technology as a medium to advance social change by arousing the larger society on pressing issues concerning the marginalized and underserved sectors in the region particularly the peasants, fisher folks, workers, urban poor, national minorities, gays and lesbians, and women and children.

Its primary mission is to involve the marginalized sectors in the production of various multimedia materials and accordingly ensures the accessibility of these materials to the underserved and marginalized sectors of the region in particular and society in general. STeX also seeks to organize the ranks of media professionals and practitioners.

The activities of STeX are concentrated in the mainland provinces of Southern Tagalog region (CALABARZON). The provinces of Mindoro Oriental and Mindoro Occidental, meanwhile, are a special case as they have become a regular destination of STeX because of the many human rights violations (HRVs) documented in the area. Its activities, likewise, are not only held in Southern Tagalog. Metro Manila, being adjacent to Southern Tagalog, is also host to the activities of STeX.

The Southern Tagalog Region: A Hotbed for Human Rights Violations

Region IV or the Southern Tagalog region comprises nine (9) provinces. These are Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, Quezon (CALABARZON); the two province in the island of Mindoro - Occidental and Oriental Mindoro, the islands of Marinduque, Romblon and Palawan (MIMAROPA).

The region has consistently been an experimental ground for the counter-insurgency programs of the government. During the nine-year reign of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, the region reported 180 extrajudicial killings, 32 victims of enforced disappearance, alongside numerous cases of hamletting and military occupation. Highlight among the HR cases is the brutal murder of prominent HR defenders in the region, KARAPATAN-ST Sec. Gen. Eden Marcellana and KASAMA-TK Chair Eddie Gumanoy on April 21, 2003. There was also the filing of spurious cases to 72 leader activists in Southern Tagalog in 2008.

Four years into the term of Benigno S. Aquino III, Karapatan-ST documented some 4 cases of enforced disappearances, 56 illegal arrests and 23 cases of extrajudicial killings in Southern Tagalog alone.

All these are happening against a backdrop of supposed "development" in the region. Its

proximity to Metro Manila has greatly influenced the region’s urban growth and settlements development. As host to a large number of industrial parks and ecozones in the country, the mainland provinces of the region are areas of rapid industrialization because of the main transport axis. CALABARZON has also become the catch basin for the overspill urbanization of Metro Manila resulting in the physical expansion of areas utilized for residential, industrial and commercial activities.

From individual cameras to a collective: STeX Founding and Development

The dawn of STeX was captured through the cameras of three former students and graduates of the University of the Philippines at Los Baños: Jomel Lawas, Virgilio Catoy II and Krista Ll. Dalena. The name ST Exposure was inspired by photography which the term "exposure" is associated with. Exposure is an active process of rendering visible what was previously not seen, hidden, and invisible.

The birth of STeX transpired in the latter part of 2000, at the height of the campaign to oust ex-President Joseph Estrada. Social activism was a precursor to the formative experiences of the collective. The events that hosted their early gatherings were forms of social actions. These are vigils, symposia and fora, basic integration with the masses among others. It has kept its stance to put social responsibility before their craft and art. Hence, above the title "artists" or "media practitioners or professionals," the collective identify themselves as media activists.

One of the organization’s treasured principles is to work and be identified as a collective. Working under often precarious circumstances (particularly when documenting human rights violations and violence in picket lines) has taught the group that collective work is not only necessary but also the best option there is (STeX, 2002).

Currently, due to the inactivity of other members, the STeX collective is composed only of 7 individuals. This is the core group running the organization. The whole collective carries out all aspects of organizational work.

In practice, it is always observed that specific tasks are carried out according to the need, resources and scope of the production. The collective primarily functions both as the governing and operating body in the daily operations of the organization. Tasks overlap among individual members of the core group. In absence or unavailability of one member, another member assumes position and responsibility of a specific work. No chain of command exists; the group works as a "peer group." The relationship among members is both filial and professional.

Challenges and Gains

Contributions to Social Change and Alternative Media

Advocacy is at the heart of the collective’s organizational work. The objective of pushing for social change and development encompasses every production that STeX makes. STeX recognizes the need of the media to take sides on issues, more than ever in a society where there is a polarization of social forces and majority of the population are underrepresented. Implicitly, the collective identifies itself with the marginalized and underserved people of the region that experiences disenfranchisement and unequal power relations (FGD on Functions of STeX, 2003).

It involves itself in the whole political process of getting across to people the specific realities of the region, consequently, paving the way for the re-examination of policies and social changes that reflect the needs of the region. As such, the collective presents a framework of advocacy that is based on empirical data and reflects the aspirations of the people. Furthermore, whenever there are social actions, STeX is more than impelled to join such activities; members express their solidarity through documentation of these actions and by conducting film showing of their previous works.

 People’s Media for Social Change

STeX prides itself to be a genuine people’s media. It operates on the assumption that majority of the people are poor and marginalized and therefore media should be airing their concerns. The production and exhibition of socio-political digital video documentaries and short films that show the life experiences and oppressive conditions that confront the disadvantaged masses and minorities in the region have become one of the priority projects of the collective (STeX, 2002). These documentaries and productions seek to confront, question and challenge the existing order, or more appropriately, disorder, that the nameless and disempowered people endure in Southern Tagalog as witnessed by STeX. Specific topics include human rights violations, institutionalized political repression, displacement of indigenous cultural minorities, environmental degradation in the name of development and others.

Exhibition of STeX’s documentaries have been far-reaching. They extend from the improvised public screenings during overnight vigils in the streets or communities in the countryside to the air-conditioned theaters of film and digital video festivals held in the country and abroad. STeX has also partnered with various student organizations in the region, particularly in UP Los Banos, for the screening of various socio-political films and discussion. Schools and public spaces have also become a potent venue for the premiere of STeX’s works.

Furthermore, STeX regularly publishes "Exposure" a magazine circulated in the region once every month (STeX, 2002). It allows other non-profit organizations to publish their press releases and sets of activities. Exposure is open to individual or organizational contribution of articles. It also is a channel for cultural expression as literary and other publishable art works of individuals are welcomed. Exposure has served as a community newspaper in Southern Tagalog where freedom of expression is exercised.

Though not regular, the collective has also produced radio programs that are distributed to communities, organizations and to some radio stations for broad/narrow casting. Podcasts are also produced and are uploaded online for wider audience reach.

o ST Exposure’s Productions (not the final list; to be expounded during the actual presentation)

Observe that all the documentaries are "co-productions." It is always done this way to cover the resources required in the production. These are handshake deals with other institutions or individuals who support the causes of STeX. Mowelfund Film Institute, for instance, worked with STeX by providing the collective (free of charge) the equipment it needed for the production of documentaries.

In joining video and film festivals here and abroad, ST-Exposure has created a niche in the field of alternative media that other media outfits can develop if not exceed in terms of content and form. Winning awards is not an accolade in itself;

it is more an advancement of alternative media as it responds to the needs of the society. Its impact in Philippine media encourages media practitioners to continue producing socially relevant projects and to surpass the limitations that the group has encountered (FGD on Functions of STeX, 2003). In a way, STeX takes the responsibility of being forerunners of socially relevant productions among media practitioners.

Among the video productions of STeX include:

a. Agno. 2002. Produced in cooperation with Cordillera Peoples Alliance. 28 min. Color Digital Video. Synopsis: The documentary delves on the importance of the Agno River to the people of Itogon, Benguet and Pangasinan and how the San Roque Dam Project will take away the right to land and livelihood of the people. The people’s struggle against the government flagship project rages despite the impoundment of water in the dam. (Honorable Mention. Documentary Category. Ika-16 Gawad CCP Para sa Alternatibong Pelikula.)

b. Alingawngaw ng mga Punglo (Echoes of Bullets). 2002. Produced with KARAPATAN-Southern Tagalog. 48 min. Color Digital Video. Synopsis: After a year and 10 months in power, the Macapagal-Arroyo regime has committed 967 cases of human rights violations in the Southern Tagalog Region. "Alingawngaw ng mga Punglo" discusses the grim human rights situation in the region. It seeks to let the voices of the victims be heard: their anguished cry for justice and call for lasting peace. (2nd Prize. Documentary Video Category. Ika-16 Gawad CCP Para sa Alternatibong Pelikula.)

c. On Potok. 2002. Produced in cooperation with MowelfundFilm Institute. 3 min. Digital Video. Synopsis: A song of the Dumagats of Rizal in upbeat Reggae form, the song being an expression of love for their land, and their struggle to reclaim it. (2nd Prize. ExperimentalVideo category. Ika-16 Gawad CCP Para sa Alternatibong Pelikula.)

d. Oyayi sa Kanlungan ng Digma (Lullaby in the Cradle of War). 2002. Produced with Tanggol Karapatan-Southern Tagalog. 12 min. Digital Video. Synopsis: Militarization has driven the Mangyans, Dumagats and peasants from their homes. They are now internal refugees (IRs), seeking sanctuary from the violence perpetrated by the Macapagal-Arroyo regime. "Oyayi sa Kanlungan ng Digma" gives an account of the plight and struggle of the IRs to regain the life deprived from them.

e. Rights. A pioneering compilation of independently produced and human rights themed short films/public service advertisements (PSAs). Initiated by Southern Tagalog Exposure and the Free Jonas Burgos Movement in 2007, RIGHTS exposes the incessant human rights hostilities in the Philippines. It is an open and continuing call for filmmakers to participate in the growing movement to defend and uphold human rights.

f. Real Reels. A series of news-type videos exposing pressing national or sectoral issues such as human rights violations, militarization in the countryside, women’s, children’s, LGBT rights and displacement of indigenous communities, among others

o Training/ Workshops

STeX imparts its knowledge by regularly holding video and photography training sessions, and cultural workshops, among others. These workshops sought to develop among the participants an appreciation of media and cultural work that is anchored on a sense of social responsibility. More than the technical aspect, STeX oriented the participants to the need for socially responsible media productions that take inspiration from the life experiences of the underserved Filipinos.

Notable among these trainings include:

a. Insight: Southern Tagalog Visual Storytelling Workshop is a summer photography workshop that commenced this year. The workshop is intended for students of communication, campus journalists, media practitioners, and people working in people’s organizations, among others.

b. Makiisa Makisining Art Camp involves hands-on workshops and sessions on street photography, street art (graffiti and mural-making), performance poetry, and street theatre. It is seen as a venue to develop and discover innate talents and creativity of young people, alongside educating them of social realities. Participated in by around 70 students and young artists from poor communities in the Southern Tagalog region, this year’s Makiisa Makisining was co-presented by the Philippine High School for the Arts.

STeX has also pioneered several mobile photo exhibitions which include:

a. Ligalig: Portraits of Human Insecurity and Public Unrest is a bid to expose that face of the nation normally covered in a scheme to present a narrative of national harmony, comradeship and progress, which serves to justify unfair and unjust programs of the ruling clique. Ligalig employs the power of photographs as testimony, a tool for constructing alternative narratives pit against official pronouncements. This is basically saying that the President can proceed with peddling his version of history but we shall be ready to challenge it with our own stories with photographs to tell it.

b. Locating Bonifacio. A photographic exhibition in time for the 150th birth anniversary of the revered working class hero Andres Bonifacio, the exhibit aims to "locate" Bonifacio as a name and a concept in contemporary times.

 Network and Alliance Building

All the activities of STeX are offspring of their integration and interaction with peasants, indigenous people, workers, women and children who allowed the group to document their struggle and persistence within a movement for social development (STeX, 2002). Strong ties with various people’s, nongovernment and other cause-oriented organizations have always been observed by STeX as this is something they believe to be a defining character of a media for social change. It characterizes the professional outlook of the group that is writing or producing not from an ivory tower. Rather, they intensify the commitment to search in the grassroots for the messages of development needed to be beamed to the society.

Networking and alliance building are not limited to making contacts with professionals and colleagues. The tasks extend to exposure and immersion with the basic sectors of Philippine society (FGD on Functions of STeX, 2003). It is through these alliances with grassroots organizations where the collective extends itself to the people. The collective’s analyses of the social issues juxtaposed with that of other people’s organizations and alliances are united in communicating a mass-oriented, democratic and scientific media across its various audiences.

Confronted with various social issues, working with grassroots organizations has provided the collective the background, substance and inspiration for their productions. The group established contacts with sectoral organizations that served as main sources and references on issues that are of significance, particularly in the region.

Mass working, similar to networking, is also practiced to augment their limited resources. The mass working of the organization involves the solicitation of support from friends and colleagues mostly in the media business as well. Support in the form of financial or logistical is welcomed to aid them in the whole process of production.
◄◄◄


Drawbacks/ Challenges

 Resource Insufficiency

In the collective’s pursuit of an independent media center that is not beholden to profit or the state, financial and resource-based limitations have become perennial. There is always the problem of where to get the funds for the next production. In line with the principles that might be compromised (as what is observed in corporate and state owned media), this has become a case of cure being worse than the disease for the collective. Thus the funding base of the collective is largely their mass base and the other non-profit organizations, which is, generally, likewise facing the resource insufficiency drawback.

 Particularism

Media work is categorically professional work. To communicate using any of the mass media (print, radio, film/video) requires knowledge and skills on communication tools associated with the medium. In STeX’s case, knowledge and skills in handling different audiovisual and production equipment is always expected among its members. Not many have the privilege of getting trained to be journalists or filmmakers to say the least and enjoy a hands-on experience. The members of STeX are exposed to workshops and study grants that have hone their professional skills.

Given such situation, there arises the unfavorable twist in STeX’s recruitment process. Being highly reliant on volunteers, this becomes a problem, as the mass base of their recruitment may be limited to individuals armed with the basic theoretical knowledge and technical skills of media work. This is where STeX’s particularistic tendencies become evident.

As such, STeX’s already foreseeing further efforts to resolve these limitations. It is willing to provide the necessary training to any individual who first has the commitment to serve with the organization.

 Excessive Professionalism and Amateurism

The core sense of professionalism underlies in the collective’s dynamic approach to the process of production. A human rights violation documentary for instance remains unfinished until it is subjected to two stages of editing; first is the collective editing among the group members themselves and second, editing from the feedback of the audience after its exhibition. The audience’s output is integral as the process of continuous documenting and editing not only give the message more clarity or better sounds from the original but also gives life to the participatory communication of the collective to the people. In this sense, the degree or nature of professionalism that the collective has does not result in impediments to its operation and the limitation of the involvement of any member.

Prospects

The STeX positions itself as a proactive and responsive organization towards creating multimedia productions that are oriented towards people empowerment. It is committed to sustaining current initiatives in producing the volunteer-driven magazine, the Exposure magazine on a regular basis; producing the short news-type videos Real Reels; conducting capability building activities to students and people's organizations in the Southern Tagalog region such as trainings on video production (video handling, editing), basic media writing/handling, literary and arts workshops, among others.

Major projects are regular production of medium to full length documentary and films and conduct of arts festival, photography exhibitions, and literary and arts workshops. ###

 

           
     
     

.

THE CAMPUS PRESS AND THE CONTINUING COMMITMENT FOR GENUINE SOCIAL CHANGE

A paper prepared by the CEGP National Executive Committee 2014-2016 for the First National Conference of the Alternative Media, October 9-10, 2014, College of Mass Communication Auditorium, University of the Philippines, Diliman, Quezon City

ORIENTATION AND OVERVIEW

The College Editors Guild of the Philippines (CEGP) is the oldest, broadest, and only-existing intercollegiate alliance of tertiary student publications in the Asia-Pacific region.

The CEGP is a patriotic and democratic organization. It is patriotic because it ardently struggles against foreign domination and control in politics, economy, culture, military, foreign affairs and other spheres of national life and it is democratic because it upholds and protects the interest and welfare of the Filipino youth and people.

Regarded as the National Center for the Advancement of Campus Press Freedom, CEGP is steadfast in protecting and defending the right of every student to seek, receive, and impart information through any medium without any interference.

CEGP has the following major demands: 1) re-open all closed student publications; 2) establish student publications in schools where there are none; and 3) end all forms of campus press repression.

The Guild is the primary organization that provides support and assistance to student publications which experience campus press freedom violations such as censorship, administrative intervention, withholding of funds, non-collection of student publication fee, libel, and harassment and surveillance, to name a few.

Aside from upholding campus press freedom and other democratic rights, the Guild is committed in advocating for genuine land reform, national industrialization, education, human rights, and other aspirations of the Filipino people.

Membership is open to all student publications in universities, colleges, technical-vocational schools, seminaries, and convents. CEGP has over 750 member publications in more than 500 higher educational institutions in 68 out of 81 provinces in the country. CEGP continues to attract new member publications. It has chapters and formations in almost every region and province in the country.

FOUNDING AND EARLY YEARS

Through the initiative of Ernesto Rodriguez Jr. of The National, the student publication of National University, CEGP (then CEG) was founded on July 25, 1931 by its four publications, namely: The National, The Philippine Collegian of University of the Philippines Diliman, The Guidon of Ateneo de Manila University, and The Varsitarian of University of Santo Tomas. CEGP was established to build a wholesome intercollegiate spirit between the student publications and uphold the highest standards in campus journalism.

In its earliest days, CEGP stood up against various political issues, such as the proposed increase of salaries of legislators and the use of public coffers to fund foreign travels of government officials in 1932, and supported causes, as evident in their participation in the picket of The Evening News workers in 1948. CEGP broke the norm of traditional publications as mere chroniclers of events and issues of Philippine society.

During the Second World War, the Guild ceased its operations. Campus journalists were active in the resistance against the Japanese invaders. Wenceslao Vizons, the first president of CEGP, led guerilla forces against the Japanese in the Bicol region. Some joined the underground alternative press during the war. When the war ended, CEGP continued its work.

THE FIRST QUARTER STORM AND MARTIAL LAW

CEGP’s militant character began to develop during the late 1960s to early 1970s, particularly with the intensifying social unrest and public discontent directed against the administration of then President Ferdinand Marcos. The mass movement led mass mobilizations of workers and students numbering to thousands in its peak during the First Quarter Storm and Diliman Commune.

Student publications, such as The Philippine Collegian, The Guidon, The Bedan of San Beda College, Ang Malaya of Philippine College of Commerce (now Polytechnic University of the Philippines), The Weekly Sillimanian of Silliman University, Weekly Carolinian of University of San Carlos, and many others, published articles by Jose Maria Sison, Renato Constantino Sr., Gary Olivar, and other critiques on Philippine government and society.

When Marcos declared Martial Law on September 21, 1972, he banned many progressive organizations including CEGP. Marcos and his cronies seized control of major media and news outfits and closed down militant student publications. Due to this, several Guild members went underground; some joined the armed struggle in the countryside.

The alternative press flourished at that time and provided the needed news and information on the real situation of the country which were not shown by the dominant media controlled by Marcos. A number of campus journalists devoted their time and skills in publishing these alternative newspapers, risking their lives in the process.

REESTABLISHING THE CEGP

On January 17, 1981, Marcos lifted the Martial Law. The CEGP was one of the first organizations to resurface and reorganize.

The Guild was formally reestablished as a national organization on May 1981 during its 16th Congress in University of the Philippines Los Baños. The reestablishment of CEGP became a "veritable milestone in the contemporary history of the nation’s student movement" as stated in The National Guilder the following year. This set the stage for the student protest movement against the worsening defects of the education system and the repressive rule of Marcos.

Campus publications, despite the military harassment and financial difficulties, maximized different forms of publishing news such as posting weekly wallnews and became active in informing the studentry and the general public on social issues and in mobilizing thousands of students in various protests.

CEGP, along with various national youth organizations such as the National Union of Students of the Philippines, League of Filipino Students, Student Christian Movement of the Philippines, among others, led the youth and students in the call to oust the Marcos fascist government.

POST-EDSA I

After the Marcos regime removed from Malacañang, Corazon "Cory" Aquino, dubbed as a liberal-democrat by progressive groups at that time, became president through a popular uprising in EDSA in 1986 which brought the illusion that democracy was brought back to the country.

Progressive groups maximized the "democratic space" given by the government of Cory Aquino to lobby for legislation and reforms, which included the CEGP.

On July 25, 1991, Cory Aquino signed the Republic Act No. 7079 or the Campus Journalism Act of 1991 (CJA of 1991) which was welcomed by the CEGP and considered as a "milestone in the history of the campus press."

The CJA of 1991 became a double-edged sword to student publications. Instead of protecting campus press freedom, the law was used to repress or even shut down a number of progressive student papers including The Quezonian of Manuel L. Quezon University, White and Blue of Saint Louis University, Ang Pamantasan of Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila, and Blue and Silver of Philippine Christian University. Also, CEGP failed to recognize the flaws of the law such as the non-mandatory collection of student publication funds and absence of a penalty clause.

This mistake on the analysis on the CJA of 1991 was rectified during the 1996 National Council Meeting and the three main demands of the Guild were formulated: 1) re-open all closed student publications; 2) establish student publications in schools where there is none; and 3) end all forms of campus press repression.

The Guild and its members continued to expose the continuing irregularities and corruption in the Philippine government even after the Marcos regime.

During the presidency of Joseph Estrada, CEGP was one of the first progressive youth organizations to call for his ouster because of his corruption. And eventually, CEGP, along with other progressive organizations, led thousands of people to call for Estrada’s ouster in EDSA.

Alongside other progressive youth groups, the CEGP led the call for the resignation of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo for cheating in the 2004 presidential election and various anomalies including the Jose Pidal bank account and NBN-ZTE Deal which involved her husband, Mike Arroyo.

THE GUILD TODAY

The CEGP and student publications have a major role in exposing anti-people government policies, one-sided foreign agreements and treaties, and corruption in the government.

With the Guild’s long history of struggle in transforming the campus press into an effective medium for arousing, organizing, and mobilizing students and youth, CEGP has become one of the most important and prestigious youth organizations in the country living up to its patriotic and democratic orientation.

Aside from voicing the views and opinions of the studentry on issues concerning the students and youth, the campus press is also a venue for the issues and plight of marginalized sectors of the Philippine society which are given less attention by the dominant media.

The Guild’s history provides lessons on the role of the campus press for social change and transformation. As an alternative medium of news and information, the campus press stretches its reach to communities outside the halls of educational institutions: it did not remain exclusive for students and the academic community.

By adhering to CEGP’s patriotic and democratic principles, the student press does not only publish stories on the concerns of the studentry but also the democratic aspirations of the oppressed majority in Philippine society, the peasants and workers.

PROSPECTS AND PLANS

CEGP, as its membership is exclusive to student publications, sees the need for a mass organization to cater to young writers and bloggers outside student publications to uphold the democratic demands of the Filipino masses. With the increasing usage of the internet and social media, the Filipino youth found a venue to express their thoughts, ideas, and critiques on social, political, and economic situation of the Philippines.

The CEGP National Office is currently in the process of finalizing the organization’s name, orientation, and other basic documents. Primarily, the members of this new organization will come from writers and literary organizations in schools, communication students, and other interested young writers and bloggers.

As part of the general plan of action presented to the 37th National Student Press Congress last May 19-23, 2014 in Davao City, CEGP will spearhead the establishment of an alliance of student publications in the Asia-Pacific region. CEGP aims to gather student publications from major colleges and universities in the region to form an Asia-Pacific alliance of student publications. The Guild targeted to hold its first convention in 2016.###

Your Story, Our Advocacy


PinoyMedia Center
(PMC) is a non-profit media organization devoted to

democratizing the practice of journalism in the country, advocating for the issues of

marginalized sectors of Philippine society through the media, and building the people’s

information communication capacities.
 

PMC publishes Pinoy Weekly, a print and online newsmagazine that regularly comes

out with news and analysis, feature, and investigative stories from the viewpoint of

marginalized sectors: peasants, workers, overseas Filipinos, youth, women, indigenous

peoples, gov’t employees, etc.


PMC also produces short documentaries, public service advertisements, animation and

other films that are socially relevant and brought to audiences, particularly marginalized

sectors, through alternative distribution channels.


PMC conducts trainings on citizen journalism, public speaking, and media work in order

to build the information communication capacities of marginalized sectors and

strengthen citizen or community media. Lastly, it bridges the gap between

marginalized sectors and the corporate mass media through media liaison and

engagement.


Through these efforts, PMC hopes to contribute to social change by giving a voice to

marginalized sectors whose interests are ignored, maligned, or sidelined by the

corporate mass media. It aims to ensure their access and capacity to create media that

enlightens and empowers, and which duly recognizes the people as the primary agents

of change.


PinoyMedia Center: History, experiences, challenges and prospects
(Presented to the 1st People’sAlternative Media Conference, 9–10 October 2014, UP College of Mass Communications, Quezon City)


Pinoy Weekly
: A History


Pinoy Weekly
started as a weekly print publication, originally by Prometheus Publishing

Corporation, a small publishing group put up by nationalist entrepreneurs and

journalists, in 2002. After the Estrada ouster, the powerful role of the alternative media

in mobilizing people for change became even more evident. It was realized that they

needed a publication that they can call their own.


The print tabloid format was chosen as the most familiar to the masses, in terms of

language and form. Pinoy Weekly tried to revolutionize the content of the tabloid—

which in the mainstream is full of sensational news that sells violence and sex.

Meanwhile, mainstream print publications mostly report in the English language, thus

limiting its audience to the educated elite and middle class.


Pinoy Weekly
’s first editor-in-chief was Rogelio Ordoñez, veteran creative writer and

journalist in the Filipino language. Its other editors were veteran writers, journalists and

artists Bayani Abadilla, Prestoline Suyat, D'Jay Lazaro, Leo Esclanda, Neil Doloricon,

and Bonifacio Ilagan, among others.


In 2006, the publication had a reorientation. It was realized that instead of targetting

the general public and adapting to mainstream newspaper formats, it was best for the

publication to focus on informing and educating marginalized sectors who need it

most, and create its own format.


With that, the magazine shifted its focus on news reporting to that of features,

investigative and in-depth reporting, and adopted the magazine format. PW also

shifted its beat system from that of the commonly-practiced political beat system in the

mainstream media to that of the sectoral beat system. Previously, reporters were

assigned to cover people's issues as these were tackled in the centers of political

power like the Malacañang, House of Representatives, Senate, and Defense. With the

reorientation, reporters now were deployed to different sectors of society to cover their

stories. PW also lessened the prominence of stories on showbiz and sports (which

previously appeared in the front, spread, and back pages as “come-ons”), but

maintained these as well as comics strips and crosswords, in recognition of popular

audience tastes fit for a then weekly publication.


The bulk of the distribution of the publication went to organizations that work with

marginalized sectors. To be affordable to the masses, Pinoy Weekly was sold only at

the printing cost of P6 (even if other tabloids at that time were being sold at P8-10).

However, circulation in newsstands was limited. A “cartel” that had to be “wined and

dined” controlled major newsstands, so our distribution staff instead dealt

independently with newsstand owners, albeit with a limited reach. Likewise, there was

little revenue from advertising, since the magazine’s content was unattractive to

corporate advertisers (although there were attempts to raise revenues from legal

notices and advertisements from small businesses).


Despite such challenges,
Pinoy Weekly branched out to have a separate weekly print

edition in Mindanao and overseas monthly print editions in Israel, Taiwan and Japan.

In 2008, however, skyrocketing printing costs and limited revenues were unable to

sustain operations. The publishers decided to fold up the weekly print publication of

Pinoy Weekly, and refocused on online publication. Pinoy Weekly, however, never

stopped publishing its print magazine, in recognition of the fact that majority of the

poor and oppressed do not have regular access to the Internet. It continued to publish

a special print edition around four times a year, gradually increasing to once a month to

once in every two months.


The publication’s print readers largly remains to be from people’s organizations, which

ensure its distribution to marginalized communities in need of vital information and

analysis of political, economic, and social developments that affect them, and which

can help galvanize them into action. Meanwhile, the online edition’s readership is the

general public, who are in need of relevant information and progressive views amid the

sea of shallow infotainment being churned out both by the corporate and usergenerated

media.


Since last year,
Pinoy Weekly online started using the English language, to be able to

maximize the stories’ reach to the international community or non-Filipino audience,

and to opinion makers who engage using the English language. However, it maintains

Filipino as its primary language both online and in print as a matter of audience

targeting and principle. In order to speak to the masses, it is necessary to use the

language of the masses. It is also necessary to uphold and develop the use of the

national language in journalism as a contribution to the long-term effort of building of

a nationalist and mass-oriented culture.


Currently,
Pinoy Weekly is being run by an editorial team of committed journalists,

including: Kenneth Roland Guda (Editor-in-Chief), Ilang-Ilang Quijano, Macky

Macaspac, Darius Galang, Christopher Pasion, and Soliman Santos. It also also features

columns from respected progressive opinion makers and contributions from talented

and committed writers, photographers and artists. Throughout its existence, the

publication has been recognized for its work by media institutions and people's

organizations, among them, (the now-defunct) Jaime V. Ongpin Awards for Excellence

in Journalism and Gawad Agong Para sa Pamamahayag. It has been cited by the

Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility, in the November 2006 issue of the

Philippine Journalism Review: "If other tabloids are known for their sensationalized

stories on crime and sex or splashy entertainment and sports pages, Pinoy Weekly

comes across as a serious paper with analyses on issues affecting citizens, especially

the marginalized."


Pushing boundaries: Birth of PMC


In 2010, the
Pinoy Weekly editorial team, as well as its adherents like UP College of

Mass Communication Dean Rolando Tolentino, former UP CMC Dean Luis Teodoro and

National Artist Dr. Bienvenido Lumbera, formed an NGO that would serve as publisher

of Pinoy Weekly as well as launch other programs and activities aimed at further serving

marginalized sectors. Thus, PinoyMedia Center (PMC) was born. Ilang-Ilang Quijano is

currently its Executive Director.


While the publication of
Pinoy Weekly remains among PMC’s main programs, it also

started to explore other means to help accomplish its vision—a film collective that

focuses on audio-visual work, citizen journalism trainings to directly assist marginalized

communities in the information communication aspects of their advocacies, a media

engagement team to help bring people’s issues to the attention of the mainstream

mass media, and cultural initiatives.


The expansion of PMC’s work is reflective of the need to go beyond journalism in its

traditional sense—that is, to report, analyze, and publish. The Filipino people’s need for

relevant, timely, engaging, and enlightening materials that reflect and dissect realities,

as well as articulate aspirations and solutions for social change is steadfastly growing.

The many distractions, illusions, and lies systematically churned out by the elite through

the corporate mass media, and even social media, calls for committed journalists to

push boundaries, explore other areas of work in media and communication, and to

align themselves even more clearly with the people.


Ventures into filmmaking


PMC’s first venture into film and audio-visual work beyond reportage is the

INDIEpendesya Film Festival in 2012. With the theme of national sovereignty, PMC

spearheaded the call for public service advertisements (PSAs) or short films among

independent and student filmmakers. After a series of workshops with invited

filmmakers, INDIEpendensya Film Festival was able to gather almost 50 original PSAs

or short films, which were shown during the 3-day festival, and disseminated through

social media afterwards. The festival also screened local and international films—

documentaries and narratives—tackling the issue of imperialist domination and

movements for national identity and liberation.


Another marked achievement of PMC’s film/AV work is
Eskinita: Ang Alternatibong

Ruta, a documentary web series that tackles issues from the point-of-view of

marginalized communities, featuring a host that rides the bicycle and espouses an

alternative lifestyle. It just ended its first season, consisting of five episodes that dealt

with the following topics: elections, jobless growth, Andres Bonifacio’s legacy, typhoon

Yolanda victims, and education & the role of the youth. Eskinita is made available

through social media, and is distributed to people’s organizations, which ensure that it

is shown and discussed in film screenings in communities, schools, and other

alternative venues. Eskinita is an effort to come up with a regular documentary show

that tackles issues in an in-depth manner, presents alternatives or solutions, and has the

ability to gain a popular following. PMC is currently embarking on its second season,

and working to improve the show in terms of form, content, and distribution.

In general, PMC’s film and audio-visual collective, consisting of filmmakers King Catoy

and JL Burgos among others, strives to create pro-people works that are innovative,

impacts the viewer educationally and emotionally, and both explores and challenges

cinematic forms. Documentary and animation films produced by PMC, such as Puso ng

Lungsod (Heart of the City), Didipio, and Pangarap Ko sa Pilipinas, have won

recognition from institutions such as the Gawad Urian, Cebu International Documentary

Film Festival, and Gawad Agong.


Citizen journalism & media engagement


PMC also started to respond to the needs of people’s organizations for training with

regards to basic information communication skills such as writing, photography and

videography, and even public speaking. Such trainings help build the people’s media

capacities at the grassroots level, so that the masses (many of whom have limited

formal education) would be able to more effectively tell their stories from their own

point-of-view, and acquire skills that would not only help them in the crucial tasks of

arousing, organizing and mobilizing among their ranks, but also in engaging the media

and the general public in their advocacies. With the rise of social media and citizen

journalism, these trainings also serve as an impetus for marginalized sectors to either

contribute to existing alternative media outfits or create their own.


PMC has so far conducted citizen journalism and media advocacy trainings for workers,

the urban poor, women, youth, overseas Filipinos, indigenous peoples, health workers,

and environmental advocates, among others.


Furthermore, PMC has a media engagement team (led by Cynthia Espiritu and Leo

Esclanda), which facilitates relations between people’s organizations and the

mainstream mass media. This is in recognition of the wide reach and dominant

influence of the corporate mass media, and maximizing the space, albeit limited, still

being given to people’s issues especially by progressive-minded journalists and editors.

The PMC media engagement team has facilitated the coverage of many people’s

issues in TV, radio, print, and online media.


PMC also spearheads the
Documenting the Marginalized Series, or various activities

that recognize and encourage journalists, filmmakers, and artists who produce works

that reflect the people’s situation and struggles, or simply facilitate public discourse on

how the issues of marginalized sectors are documented in the media. These include

fora, photo and art exhibits (e.g. commemorating the 40th anniversary of the Diliman

Commune), film screenings, and media roundtable discussions (e.g. on media’s

coverage of the urban poor).


PMC has further explored cultural initiatives that serve political campaigns of

marginalized sectors. It co-produced the theatrical and musical show on political

detainees, POLDET, last 2011. This year, it will also co-produce a music album on

protest music under the Aquino administration, featuring songs from both progressive

and mainstream bands and performers.


Challenges and prospects


The major challenges and how it is faced by the organization primarily involve the

following:


1)
Financial constraints: Being non-profit in nature, PMC struggles to create

enough revenues and acquire enough donors to not only sustain, but expand

operations as needed. There are international NGOs that give grants for media

projects, but few give the freedom to explore people’s issues comprehensively.

Fund-raising and income-generation is a huge factor in developing PMC’s work

as an institution. For now, this challenge is primarily faced by attracting more

volunteers (and providing them with leadership to sustain their volunteerism and

support), and broadening a network of allies who will support PMC’s projects

and programs in the long-term.

 

2) Skills improvement: The daily, urgent tasks by a media organization with a

limited staff and resources leave little time for skills improvement. While skills are

improved naturally in the process of producing works, there is the need to hold

workshops aimed at significantly improving quality by seriously studying works

produced by ourselves, and by others in both the alternative and corporate

mass media, here and abroad.


 

3) Questions of content and form: Balancing content and form in informational,

educational, and artistic works for the people is now made even more complex

with today’s media saturation brought about by the rise of the Internet and

social media. This opens up new (and often hard) questions on audience access

and reach, tastes and attention span, which often relates to the question of

content and form. In facing this challenge, PMC always tries to keep in mind the

following when creating or producing works: the desired basic objective; its

target audience; its timeliness or usefulness for its defined audience; and

possibilities for popularization and raising of standards.


◄◄

 

4) Distribution and popularization of works: Our print, online, and audio-visual/film

works face particular challenges with regards to distribution and popularization.


For Pinoy Weekly print, it is still the high printing costs, as well as the lack

of a fast and effective distribution (and revenue collection) machinery at

the grassroots level, that prevents its regular weekly publication. Still, the

special print editions that come out once in every two months is

maximized for use by community organizers who need written materials

to educate among the masses, as well as by the masses themselves who

need relevant reading materials in their homes, and do not have regular

access to the Internet.


For Pinoy Weekly online, the challenge is to attract a wide audience in a

highly-saturated and fast-paced medium. Skills improvement is most

crucial in this area. There is an attempt to advertise through social media

(in recognition that corporate mass media and many interest groups have

maximized the option), but such is highly limited due to limited resources.

Internet user statistics show that majority or roughly 75 % of online

readership is from the general online public, while 25 % is from a regular

audience of progressive-minded individuals and organizations. Increased

popularization of content rests on its attractiveness and usefulness to

both types of audiences, albeit with a bias on the latter, who in principle

should make a concerted effort to share the content to their own

networks. Both the possibilities and limitations of the social media in

disseminating works online is evolving; PMC is constantly trying to study,

experiment, and learn from our own experiences and that of others.


For PMC AV/film works, the main distribution method depends on the

nature/objective of the work. But as a general principle, all works are

made available online, either for online viewing or for downloading and

screening in other venues. All works are also reproduced via DVD and

given to people’s organizations for grassroots distribution. Alternative

screening venues include communities, schools, homes, and during fora

and other public events. Among these, community screenings are the

most challenging, as they are hampered by lack of equipment such as

laptop or DVD player, LCD projector, sound system, and space.

Screenings are held through independent or joint efforts with people’s

organizations. Meanwhile, films that could be of interest to a wider

audience are submitted and screened in film festivals here and abroad

(though such is only an addition, and not a priority in terms of target

audience).


5)
Strengthening relations with people’s organizations: At the heart of developing

PMC’s work and its contribution to social change is a strong and vibrant

relationship with people’s organizations. Such a relationship will ensure that our

efforts are useful in arousing, organizing, and mobilizing the masses; and that

our works reach those whom we want to serve. It is also the foundation of the

continued success and recognition of our projects and programs.##

           
           

Photo by Angel Ayala of Bicol Today
           

 

/p

  
 

Google