First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.
~a famous statement and provocative poem written by Pastor Martin Niemöller (1892–1984) about the cowardice of German intellectuals following the Nazis’ rise to power and the subsequent purging of their chosen targets, group after group. (wikipedia.com)
Taken from A Private Collection/ TRESE: Last Seen After Midnight, Philippine copyright 2011/ Story Budjette Tan/Art Kajo Baldisimo
(Originally posted in Facebook)
My June 18 post on Mang Per has been shared, as of this time, 1,288 times which I am happy about because it only means I have fulfilled Mang Per’s wish to be written about in Facebook though I have no idea how far my post has travelled. If he only knew, if he only have read them, a lot of people are writing and talking about him just anywhere online. However, because of my post on Mang Per, I’m also receiving friend requests from people I don’t know which, for my safety, I have to ignore. My only goal really is just to fulfill Mang Per’s request to write about him at i-post ang pictures nya sa Facebook. And masaya na ako doon. I also didn’t expect getting personal messages from strangers which took me sometime to reply to. And one of those strangers is this Facebook user, a photographer, under the name Drugstore Filmlab, who sent me his photo of Mang Per. He doesn’t want to reveal his identity but he has his own story to tell about Mang Per.
Hi. Nakita ng tropa ko yung post mo sa feeds nya, tas naalala nya si Mang Per kaya ayun, sinend sa akin, tas naalala ko na may picture pala ko nya nung araw na nameet namin sya.
Natuwa nga ko dun sa post mo. Parang bigla akong nagkaconnection kay Mang Per sa di inaasahang pangyayari. Ang galing lang.
Hindi ko sya kilala personally, pero nakausap ko sya one time sa U.P. about analog photography. Actually, biglaan lang namin sya na-meet. Nagshoshoot kasi kami sa may U.P. noon, tas nagpahinga kami dun sa may inuupuan nya, tas nakita nya na may dala kaming film cameras. Ayun, nagkakwentuhan. Nakwento nga nya na may mga Nikon film cameras daw sya na binenta na raw nya ng mura sa mga photography students.
Share ko lang yung underexposed kong picture sa kanya. Siguro mga bandang January or February ‘ata yan, kung di ako nagkakamali. I hope na umokay na yung kalagayan nya. Nagdadalawang isip pa nga ko kung ishashare ko pa sa ‘yo yung litrato pero since nabasa ko yung shinare mo, ayun. Sinend ko na para rin sa memory at experience na nakasalamuha ko rin si Mang Per, kahit saglit lang.
~From a guy named Drugstore Filmlab
Update: Mang Per left the hospital on the night of June 18, Saturday, a day after our visit. He’s now staying in his younger brother’s house in Pasig.
O mas kilalang si Mang Per.
Kung isa ka sa mga bata noong ‘80s, ‘90s at nag-aral ka just around UP Campus, kilala mo sya. “All-around” photographer, meaning, he always got hired as a photographer during graduation and other occasions in University of the Philippines Integrated School, Balara Elementary School, Balara High School, Krus na Ligas Elementary School, Krus na Ligas High School, or just anywhere in UP Campus. He’s just all around UP Campus. Isang permanenteng imahe around UP Campus si Mang Per. Makikita mo syang nagbibisikleta, na naka-dark shades, hat, and a camera hanging from his neck. Mula noon hanggang ngayon hindi nagbago ang kanyang sense of style. Kaya kahit tumanda na sya, ang mga bata noon na lumaki’t tumanda na rin ngayon ay nakikilala pa rin sya na para bang isa nilang matalik na naging kaibigan.
Kaya nang mabasa ko ang repost sa Facebook ng aking former neighbor sa Amorsolo, si Elaine Garcia, tungkol kay Mang Per noong June 8, 2016 (Wed), ipinost ko rin ito agad sa aking Facebook. Tungkol iyon sa masamang kalagayan ni Mang Per at nagsusumamo ang post na iyon ng tulong. Pero parang hindi matahimik kaluluwa ko. Parang hindi sapat na i-repost lang ang kanyang larawan na kasama si Incredible Hulk na nag-iinform ng masama at magandang balita. Masama dahil may sakit si Mang Per. Maganda dahil merong tumutulong sa kanya. Ang post na iyon ay ginawa ng mga magiting na guro ng Phsop Preschool. At noong June 14 (Tues), nakilala ko ang dalawa sa kanila, si teacher Tricia and teacher Lui at nakikamusta ako tungkol kay Mang Per (at para na rin maiabot ang aking munting tulong).
Nalaman ko na nasa Quirino Memorial Hospital sya, sa may Katipunan. Nalaman ko na tumatambay si Mang Per sa Phsop Preschool kung saan iniiwan din nya ang kanyang bisikleta. Marami silang ikinuwento sa akin basta ang naaalala ko, yung bisikletang iyon ilang araw nang hindi binabalikan ni Mang Per. Ilang araw na rin nilang hindi pa nakikita si Mang Per at dun na sila nag-alala.
Si Mang Per ay matandang binata, nagsosolo sa kanyang tirahan, at umuuwi lang sya sa isang maliit na kwarto sa Pansol na binabayaran nya ng P1,500 kada buwan. Isang maliit na kwarto na ang tanging kasya lang na gamit ay higaan at isang lagayan kung saan pwede sya umihi. Ang banyo ay nasa kabilang ibayo pa maglalakad ka pa ng hanggang apat na bahay bago ka makarating. Tapos pagtungtong mo sa banyo ay isang kwentong nakakarimarim. Kaya siguro tuwing pumupunta si Mang Per sa Phsop Preschool na nasa likod lang ng UP Chapel nagmamadali daw itong pumunta sa banyo para doon dumumi. Ang kwento nila, nang mahagilap nila si Mang Per kung saan ito nakatira sa Pansol, nakita nila syang nakahiga’t nanghihina, malaki ang tyan, at hindi makabangon. Agad nila syang dinala sa UP Infirmary. Kwento nila from Pansol isinakay si Mang Per sa pedicab to UP Infirmary. Naka-crossed legs pa daw sya habang nakaupo sa pedicab, habang tinitiis yung pananakit ng tyan nya.
Ang sumasakit at bloated na tyan ni Mang Per ay sanhi ng mga duming tumigas na sa kanyang intestines, so nagkaroon ng blockage. Hindi ko alam ang tawag pero ito ang sakit ni Mang Per. Kaya advice ng doktor dalhin na sya sa ospital. Mula UP Infirmary dinala sya sa Quirino Memorial Hospital sa tulong ng mga kaibigan nyang teachers from Phsop Preschool.
Nalaman ko din na malihim na tao daw si Mang Per. ‘Pag tinatanong daw nila sya kung may pamilya sya dito sa Maynila o kung saan man, sinasabi nya na nag-iisa na sya sa buhay. Kung hindi pa dinala sa ospital, kung hindi pa nila pinakialaman ang wallet nya, hindi nila madidiskubre na ang buong pangalan pala ni Mang Per ay Perfecto F. Fajilagot. Na-diskubre din nila na may kamag-anak pa pala sya na nasa malayo nga lang, nasa probinsya. Kaya kinontak nila kamag-anak ni Mang Per using the contact numbers na nakita nila sa wallet ni Mang Per.
O nga pala, noong 2013 nakita ko sa may Ever Commonwealth si Mang Per. Nagpakilala ako na isa sa mga bata na napiktyuran nya. Grabe ang tuwa ko nang makita ko sya (hindi na kasi kami nakatira sa UP nun lumipat na kami ng address). Kwela lang sya kung kausap mo. Tinanong ko kung ilang taon na sya. Sabi nya 70+ years old na sya. A few days ago nalaman ko na mas matanda pa pala sya. He’s now 80+ years old. Hindi ko mabigay specific edad nya kasi kahit daw mga kapatid nya hindi alam birthday ni Mang Per. Basta ang alam nung isang kapatid nyang lalaki na 78 years old na, mas matanda sa kanya si Mang Per.
Kanina nga pala binisita namin ni Elaine si Mang Per sa Quirino Memorial Hospital, around 7 o’clock ng gabi (4PM to 8PM ang visiting hours doon). Ngayon lang kami nagkita ni Elaine after more than two decades na isa lang layunin ng pagkikita, mabisita si Mang Per.
Pagpunta namin sa Surgery Ward 2nd floor, hindi namin sya makita sa mga nakahigang pasyente. May nakita akong payat na matanda na nakahiga na nakatalukbong ng twalya yung mukha. Nilakasan ko boses ko sabi ko, “Mang Per.” Ayun, sya nga. Pagtanggal nya ng towel sa mukha naka-dark shades sya. Confirmed! Si Mang Per nga!
Umupo kami ni Elaine sa tabi nya. Noong una pa nga nahihiya pa kami pero sabi nya upo daw kami. Nagkamustahan, nagkakwentuhan kahit alam namin hindi nya kami kilala. Pero kami kilala namin sya. Sabi ko sa kanya kami yung maliliit na bata na kinuhanan nya ng picture noon. Sinabi ko na nag-aral ako sa Balara. Sinabi ko na nalimutan ko dalhin yun picture noong bata ako na sya ang kumuha. Ang nagbabantay kay Mang Per sa ospital ay yung kapatid nyang babae na sumunod sa kanya, si Erlinda. Syam pala sila magkakapatid, panlima si Mang Per.
Nag-request si Mang Per na isulat ko daw ito sa Facebook. Isulat ko daw ang kwento ng kanyang buhay. Na taong 1958 nang pumunta sya dito sa Maynila. Na naaliw sya sa mga taong may hawak na camera at kumukuha ng pictures at dito daw nag-start interes nya sa photography na naging hanapbuhay nya sa matagal na panahon. Kumikita daw sya noon ng P30,000 to 50,000. Yun nga lang ‘pag may pera daw sya isinusugal nya daw ito. Nang nauso ang digital camera at DSLR, dun sya nawalan ng trabaho. Kasi kahit nauso na digicam, film camera pa rin gamit nya. At lahat na daw ng tao kasi pwede nang maging photographer basta may camera lang. Hanggang sa may isang lalaking lumapit sa kanya hindi nya kilala, nagpakilalang isa sa mga batang napiktyuran nya noon at binigyan sya ng DSLR. Kinamusta ni Elaine kung buhay pa yung kamera. Sabi ni Mang Per nanakaw daw sa jeep.
Si Mang Per kwela pa rin kahit may sakit. Nakahiga sya nung una eh tapos bumangon, kuhanan daw namin sya ng picture. Inutusan pa nya kapatid nyang si Erlinda na kunin ang tanging kayamanan nya daw, yung hat nya na kulay brown. Sinuot nya ito for the picture-taking.
If incoming president of the Philippines, Rodrigo R. Duterte, is so serious about bringing back the death penalty, if he’s really pro-justice, let Enrile, Napoles, Macapagal-Arroyo, and corrupt ELECTED officials (most especially those in the local government unit) be the first ones to experience death penalty. YAN ANG TOTOONG HUSTISYA. If that’s not going to happen, Mr. Duterte, don’t you ever lift a finger of ordering back the death penalty.
Death penalty will not end criminality.
As an ordinary citizen, what I think that will eliminate criminality (I don’t believe in total eradication) is by making the laws free to all. Filing of lawsuits should be free to the ordinary citizens. Because the problem lies in our excessive laws that aren’t properly implemented or if not, already outdated. The problem lies in our excessive laws that are also expensive laws. And laws are useless if poor folks cannot afford it. Lawyers are useless if an acceptance fee amounting to P40,000 would make an ordinary citizen retreat from filing a lawsuit against a big entity or a powerful opponent (Ex. mayor, councilors) because he doesn’t have that kind of money. An ordinary person who is brave to go to a hearing to fight for his rights would retreat if he has to pay a lawyer P3,000 to each hearing the hired lawyer attends to. A hearing that can happen not just one time, two time, but a lot of times. So P3,000 x numerous times of hearing is equals to, you do the math. The problem lies with our slow moving criminal justice system. A case filed and heard in court is a long process that will test your sanity and faith. A case filed and heard in court can go on and on for several years. If after five years there is already a decision, you’re one of the lucky few. But what if the decision did not go to your favor? You can even get a heart attack after waiting for years for justice which you know, and you are very sure of, in your mind, heart, and soul, you could have won because of your evidences presented. You then realize that our laws, no matter how good they are on paper, are useless if you cannot use it to protect you, to punish the oppressors, the perpetrators because you don’t have money. As a result, exploitation of the elite class to the poor and the middle class continues. Corruption and abuse of local government officials favoring “developments” for “income generation” over its constituents’ health and safety continues.
Now, here’s the bad news. My fellow ordinary citizens are clamoring to bring death penalty back, believing it will protect them from further harm from bad people. Believing justice has been served through death penalty. But what if it’s their brother, their friend, or their father was wrongly accused of rape?
“The Supreme Court revealed that seventy-one percent (71%) of the death sentences handed down by the trial courts were wrongfully imposed,” shared Atty. Jose Manuel I. Diokno, a human rights lawyer and chair of Free Legal Assistance Group (FLAG). “This means that 7 out of 10 convicts on death row–-most of them poor–-were wrongfully convicted and did not deserve to be there.
“The poor are vulnerable to the death penalty because they have no voice, no money, no power, and lack the resources to hire good lawyers.”
Here is a footage of a death penalty in the Philippines during President Estrada in 1999 of convicted child rapist, Leo Echagaray.* A poor man who committed a grave sin for raping his stepdaughter, who was convicted and shamed endlessly in front of his fellow Filipinos until his death through lethal injection that were maniacally covered by the media.
*Note: Leo Echegaray (11 July 1960 – 5 February 1999) was the first Filipino to be meted the death penalty after its reinstatement in the Philippines in 1993, some 23 years after the last judicial execution was carried out. His death sparked national debate over the legality and morality of the death penalty, which was later suspended on 15 April 2006. (wikipedia.com)
It was in 2000, just when they have disbanded that I bought my first cassette tape of Rage Against the Machine and that album was “Battle of Los Angeles.” It’s just nice to reminisce the music that I listened to when I was younger. Thanks Zack de la Rocha (vocalist), Tim Commerford (bassist), Tom Morello (guitars), and Brad Wilk (drums) for leaving us with your music which I can revisit anytime. Here is one of their earliest songs, from 1991.
Finally, napanood ko din itong pelikula directed by Mike de Leon na pinamagatang “Bayaning 3rd World.” Pinalabas ito noong 1999 and was re-released in 2000. Despite being critically acclaimed and award winning, hindi sya masyadong tinangkilik ng mga tao noong panahon na pinalabas ito.
Maraming salamat kay YouTube user, Ms. Mary Lynn Nazar, for uploading this.
An award-winning horror short film from Spain. The feeling smart people said the story was predictable. Can you guess the ending?
1. The most important person in your life is the person who agreed to share their life with you. Treat them as such.
2. You might live a long life, or you might live a short one — who knows. But either way, trust me when I say that you’re going to wish you took better care of yourself in your youth.
3. Stuff is just stuff. Don’t hold onto material objects, hold onto time and experiences instead.
4. Jealousy destroys relationships. Trust your significant other, because who else are you supposed to trust?
5. People always say, ’’Make sure you get a job doing what you love!’’ But that isn’t the best advice. The right job is the job you love some days, can tolerate most days, and still pays the bills. Almost nobody has a job they love every day.
6. If you’re getting overwhelmed by life, just return to the immediate present moment and savour all that is beautiful and comforting. Take a deep breath, relax.
7. Years go by in the blink of an eye. Don’t marry young. Live your life. Go places. Do things. If you have the means or not. Pack a bag and go wherever you can afford to go. While you have no dependents, don’t buy stuff. Any stuff. See the world. Look through travel magazines and pick a spot. GO!
8. Don’t take life so seriously. Even if things seem dark and hopeless, try to laugh at how ridiculous life is.
9. A true friend will come running if you call them at 2am. Everyone else is just an acquaintance.
10. Children grow up way too fast. Make the most of the time you have with them.
11. Nobody ever dies wishing they had worked more. Work hard, but don’t prioritize work over family, friends, or even yourself.
12. Eat and exercise like you’re a diabetic heart patient with a stroke — so you never actually become one.
13. Maybe this one isn’t as profound as the others, but I think it’s important… Floss regularly, dental problems are awful.
14. Don’t take anyone else’s advice as gospel. You can ask for advice from someone you respect, then take your situation into consideration and make your own decision. Essentially, take your own advice is my advice…
15. The joints you damage today will get their revenge later. Even if you think they’ve recovered completely. TRUST ME!
16. We have one time on this earth. Don’t wake up and realize that you are 60 years old and haven’t done the things you dreamed about.
17. Appreciate the small things and to be present in the moment. What do I mean? Well, it seems today like younger people are all about immediate gratification. Instead, why not appreciate every small moment? We don’t get to stay on this crazy/wonderful planet forever and the greatest pleasure can be found in the most mundane of activities. Instead of sending a text, pick up the phone and call someone. Call your mother, have a conversation about nothing in particular. Those are the moments to hold onto.
18. Pay your bills and stay the hell out of debt. If I could have paid myself all the money I’ve paid out in interest over the years, I’d be retired already.
19. If you have a dream of being or doing something that seems impossible, try for it anyway. It will only become more impossible as you age and become responsible for other people.
20. When you meet someone for the first time, stop and realize that you really know nothing about them. You see race, gender, age, clothes. Forget it all. You know nothing. Those biased assumptions that pop into your head because of the way your brain likes categories, are limiting your life, and other people’s lives.