16 February 2009

FSGO First Anniversary Statement

1st Anniversary Statement
16 February 2009


We, former senior government officials, rose in alarm and outrage last year when Engineer Jun Lozada was nearly martyred. Many of us were impelled to act against dictatorship by the blood of Ninoy at the tarmac in 1983 and we were again compelled to raise our voices in 2008 at the horror of an attempted kidnapping that could have silenced a whistleblower.

It has been a year since Jun Lozada decided to bear witness to corruption at the level of the couple Gloria and Miguel Arroyo. And sadly it has been yet another year of governing criminally.

We cry at the debasement of our democracy. Mrs. Arroyo rode on the backs of a people outraged with corruption in order to steal the presidency and then used her tenuous hold to lie and cheat for a lengthened stay. Mrs. Arroyo remains president in Malacanang without being legitimately elected into power. That alone makes her an affront to our republic born of a free people rising in revolt against stolen elections in 1986. We cry that power over our government and our collective future remains in the hands of an illegitimate leader.

Our people now look to 2010 as a constitutionally sacred deadline to finally end Mrs. Arroyo’s illegitimate tenure. We warn our people that, left unresisted, illegitimacy has no tenure, that a cheating and lying leader respects no constitutional limits. And we warn our people that the signs are clear: corruption is Mrs. Arroyo’s bribe to remain in power in the past, present, and future.

The corruption we hear, read and, above all, smell everywhere are the wages of evil in power. Corruption is the currency of Mrs. Arroyo’s administration. Corruption is the price of getting positions of authority, the cost of incompetence in those positions, and the inevitable result of tolerating an illegitimate ruler.

Corruption is the fertilizer nourishing Mrs. Arroyo’s evil to deepen its roots in our nation’s government. Corruption buys Congressional inaction to impeachment and possible complicity with tenure‐extending charter change. Corruption is the shopping bags of cash that keep governors and mayors coming to conspiratorial meetings for issuing statements of support. Corruption is the balm for generals’ troubled consciences, at least for those whose hands are still clean enough to retain a conscience. And corruption may eventually buy judicial tolerance to illegal rule and abuse of power, and may even offer incentives strong enough for providing judicial justification to extending that illegitimacy and abuse.

One year after the exposure of the NBN‐ZTE project as a veritable Chinese lauriat of corruption, no Senate report on its investigation has been issued; no Ombudsman case on anyone involved has advanced; no one in the administration has been suspended or fired, except one early retirement to “borjer‐dom” and golf heaven in Wack Wack.

Contrast the black holes of our institutions for accountability with the rest of the world. Over the past year, foreign institutions and governments have hit at Mrs. Arroyo’s corruption much more vigorously than our own government.

•Joc‐joc Bolante, whom Mrs. Arroyo encouraged to escape abroad, was returned to the Senate by US authorities.

• Mrs. Arroyo’s appointed police generals, allowed to travel abroad with obscene amounts of Ein cash in their carry‐on luggage, were exposed by Russian authorities.

• Mrs. Arroyo’s favored public works contractors, colluding with DPWH fixers to defraud oupeople, were formally sanctioned by the World Bank.

• And governments, investors, academics and ordinary people around the world generated perceptions, experiences, and indicators that ranked corruption in the Philippines among the worst in the world.

Filipinos themselves judge Mrs. Arroyo’s administration the most corrupt ever in their memories of other corrupt administrations. Corruption orchestrated by Gloria and Miguel Arroyo is more rampant, more deep‐seated, larger scale, and ultimately more nefarious than anything we Filipinos have experienced. It uses corruption to keep power and uses power to pursue corruption in a self‐reinforcing racket that perpetuates evil in power.

In this year of global crisis, nations all over the world are turning to their governments to protect their collective welfare and sustain their productive capacities against the onslaught of a terrible global contraction in financial resources and economic demand. The Philippines cannot escape the ravages of the ongoing global decline in credit, investment, production, and consumption. Unfortunately, our government under Mrs. Arroyo offers nothing. To our fears of economic insecurity, Mrs. Arroyo mouths assurances as false as “I will not run” in 2002 to “I am sorry” in 2005. To our hopes of public action to mitigate private pains, Mrs. Arroyo lays out more pork, more patronage, and yet more opportunities for corruption that enriches only her coterie of conspirators against our democracy.

We are witnessing the inevitable consequences of corruption becoming the currency of governing. Selfish and self‐serving motivations crowd out rule of law, devotion to public good, and pursuit of sustainable development. Everything is considered from the standpoint of what can be stolen by those in power; hence, all decisions and actions are driven by corruption. For example, corruption infests the enforcement of illegal drug laws, then infests the criminal justice system where such cases are brought, and infests public policy where Mrs. Arroyo as anti‐drug mini‐czar orders drug tests of students as prime measure to fight the breakdown of law enforcement against drug lords.

We will not have a useful or effective government unless we root out corruption in its brains, muscles, and bones. And the tumor that is Mrs. Arroyo’s evil at the center of power is growing daily, corrupting everything in its path to stay in power today and tomorrow, and tomorrow. And yet another year of governing criminally.

09 February 2009


There will be a huge meeting of Philippine writers this week. Here are the details:

TABOAN: Philippine International Writers Festival 2009
11 to 13 FEBRUARY 2009
University of the Philippines Diliman (Feb 11)
Ateneo de Manila University (Feb 12)
Cubao Expo (Feb 13)

University of the Philippines
Diliman, Quezon City

Venue: Pulungang Claro M. Recto, Bulwagang Rizal
Welcome Remarks
• UP Diliman Chancellor Sergio S. Cao
• NCCA Chair Vilma L. Labrador
• Festival Director Ricardo M. de Ungria
• Festival Coordinator Jose Y. Dalisay, Jr.

PHILIPPINE LITERATURE TODAY. The keynote address, a synoptic overview of where we’ve been and where we are, taking into account our literature in Filipino, English, and the regional languages; Philippine literature in the 21st century; and Philippine literature in the Asian and global context. To be delivered by National Artist Francisco Sionil Jose.
Venue: Pulungang Claro M. Recto, Bulwagang Rizal, UPD

9:45AM | A TRIBUTE TO EDITH TIEMPO. The tribute to National Artist Edith L. Tiempo is a short poetry reading by Merlie Alunan, Dinah Roma, and Ronald Baytan, who all attended the Dumaguete National Workshop and have been influenced by Tiempo’s poetics. To date, Edith Tiempo is the sole woman National Artist for Literature.
Moderator: Marjorie Evasco
Venue: Pulungang Claro M. Recto, Bulwagang Rizal, UPD

10:30AM | GANITO KAMI NOON: WRITING THROUGH THE DECADES. A plenary panel discussion to set the tone for all other panel discussions. A representative each from the 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s, and 90s can talk about the conditions for writing and publishing in their eras and how things have changed, or maybe not. And where do we go from here?
Panelists: Elmer Ordonez (1950s), National Artist Virgilio S. Almario (1960s), José Pete Lacaba (1970s), Marjorie Evasco (1980s), Angelo Lacuesta (1990s)
Moderator: José Y. Dalisay, Jr.
Pulungang Claro M. Recto, Bulwagang Rizal, UPD

1:30PM | ICONS OF THE NEW CENTURY: WRITERS WHOM WRITERS READ. Who are you reading and why? Who's your literary daddy (or mommy)? A discussion of literary influences and how they are shaping contemporary Philippine literature.
Panelists: Rebecca Añonuevo, Franklin Cimatu, Carlos Cortes, Francis Macansantos, Katrina Tuvera
Moderator: Gémino H. Abad
Venue: CAL New Building (CNB), Room 508

WRITING FOR A LIVING. What's writing like as a profession in the Philippines? What writing jobs pay, and how can writers get them? How should writers deal with writing commissions? What about copyrights and contracts? How do we break into the global market and find and deal with agents?
Panelists: Vietnamese writer Nguyen Bao Chan, Tony Enriquez, Kragi Garcia, Luis Katigbak, Charlson Ong, Alfred Yuson
Moderator: José Y. Dalisay, Jr.
Venue: CAL-AVR, 2/F Bulwagang Rizal, UPD

THE CREATIVE WRITING CLASSROOM. The teaching of creative writing, for the teachers among us: challenges, strategies, approaches, tips and tricks in the creative writing classroom.
Penelists: Merlie Alunan, Conchitina Cruz, Jun Cruz Reyes, Macario Tiu, Ricardo de Ungria
Moderator: Cristina Pantoja Hidalgo
Venue: CNB Inquirer Room 201

WORKSHOPPING THE WORKSHOP, ORGANIZING WRITERS. A review of the Dumaguete, Baguio, and Iligan workshops, plus maybe the biggest school-based ones, and how they grew. A sharing of best practices, as well as a discussion of common problems and situations. This panel can also deal with writers’ organizations, centers, institutes, and programs.
Panelists: Vicente Groyon III, Christine Godinez-Ortega, V.E. Carmelo D. Nadera Jr., Benilda Santos, Anthony Tan
Moderator: Lito Zulueta
Venue: CNB Rm 309

3:30 PM | WRITING OFF-CENTER: THE REGIONAL EXPERIENCE. How goes creative writing and literary publishing outside of Metro Manila? Have new centers of literary activity emerged, and what are the keys to their success? What does it take to promote writing from the regions to broader audiences?
Panelists: John Bengan, Jose Jason Chancoco, Rey Duque, David Genotiva, Alice Tan-Gonzales
Moderator: Ricardo de Ungria
Venue: CNB Inquirer Room 201

ATBP: WRITING OFF THE MAINSTREAM. Gay/lesbian literature, chick lit, "spec fic", Chinoy lit , and all that jazz. What alternatives exist to straight, realist, mainstream lit? Is this kind of "pigeonholing" good or bad—or, when is it good, and when is it bad?
Panelists: Dean Francis Alfar, Jhoanna Cruz, J. Neil C. Garcia, Jaime An Lim, Tara FT. Sering
Moderator: Danton Remoto
Venue: CNB Room 309

FILIPINO-NESS IN THE GLOBAL AGE. A perennial hot topic in the blogosphere. How can "Filipino-ness" be defined? Is it an absolute necessity in this age of globalization? Is "nation" even a relevant concept? How can this be manifested in a literary work? Why don’t we seem to see enough of such central elements of Filipino life as crime, sex, and humor in our literature, or is that only in English?
Panelists: Efren Abueg, Leoncio Deriada, Cristina Pantoja Hidalgo, Resil Mojares, Timothy Montes
Moderator: Isagani R. Cruz
Venue: CAL-AVR

DAY 2, February 12, Thursday, Ateneo de Manila University

Venue: Leong Hall Auditorium

Opening Remarks, Prof. Ricardo de Ungria, Commissioner for the Arts, NCCA
Welcome Address, Dr. Ma. Luz Vilches, Dean of the School of Humanities
Message, Dr. Antonette Palma-Angeles, Academic Vice-President, AdMU
A Concise History of 150 Years of Ateneo Writing
Open Forum
Tribute Proper
Screen Presentation on Emmanuel S. Torres and Reading of Citation
Screen Presentation on Gregorio C. Brillantes and Reading of Citation
Response of the Honorees
Closing Remarks, Dr. Ma. Luisa Torres Reyes, Chair, Dept. of English

Venue: Leong Hall Roof Deck

1:00 PM | Ateneo Gallery and Library Tour


THE POET-CRITIC. The issue of how art and criticism interface has been
a central topic even in the creative writing curricula of top
universities worldwide. Whether our writers have found the interface
uneasy or comfortable, consciously or unconsciously, it has shaped the
craft and aesthetics of generations of authors in the Philippines.
Panelists: Gemino H. Abad, J. Neil Garcia, Allan Popa, Jun Cruz Reyes,
and Thai fictionist/screenwriter Prabda Yoon
Moderator: D(anilo) Francisco (M) Reyes
Venue: Social Science Conference Rooms 1 & 2

TEXT AND CONTEXT. The encounter between art and politics, writing and
ideology, or aesthetics and social engagement, has been a significant
consideration in countries like the Philippines as it has been said to
make for bad writing and good politics/bad politics and good writing.
Thus, these binary categories have been considered mutually exclusive
practices by some writers, but deemed mutually constitutive
commitments by writers.
Panelists: Isagani R. Cruz, National Artist Bienvenido Lumbera,
Danton Remoto, Roland Tolentino
Moderator: Oscar Campomanes
Venue: Social Science Conference Rooms 3 & 4

PUBLISHING FOR THE FUTURE. No literature can prosper without
publishing, but publishing itself is taking on new forms and
challenges in this new century, such as online publishing and print on
demand. What directions will Philippine literary publishing and
Philippine literature itself take in the foreseeable future? What can
the Philippine academic and commercial publishers do to promote
literature here and abroad? Are there alternatives to mainstream
publishing that can be explored, and can they be commercially viable?
Panelists: Karina Bolasco, Adam David, Antonio Hidalgo, Esther Pacheco,
Rofel Brion
Moderator: Maricor Baytion
Venue: NGF Conference Room, G/F De La Costa Hall



FEMINISM IN OUR MIDST. The question of how women writers write under
conditions quite distinct from men writers has been a source of
dynamism and controversy in both their works and the criticism on
their work. This has been a point of contention in recent literary
history as some women writers organize themselves as women writers,
weaving literature and sharing life.
Panelists: Rica Bolipata-Santos, Cristina Pantoja Hidalgo, Priscilla
Macansantos, Aida F. Santos, Dinah Roma-Sianturi, Hope Yu
Moderator: Benilda Santos
Venue: Social Science Conference Rooms 1 & 2

LITERATURE IN ACTION. Non-canonical texts abound in contexts like the
Philippines in which literature?s energies come from places quite
apart from "Literature." Foremost among this type of literary
production is the whole range of performative practices which create
cultural "events" as opposed to literary "art." Most prominent
examples of this range from avant-garde forms to so-called "agit-prop"
art in which visual and/or performance artists and educational and
community theater groups like PETA have been making a splash in the
international art and academic scene since the 80s and 90s.
Panelists: Michael Coroza, Steven Patrick Fernandez, Servando Halili,
Bonifacio P. Ilagan, Glenn Mas
Moderator: Gary Devilles
Venue: Social Science Conference Rooms 3 & 4

CHILDREN?S LITERATURE. In the Philippines, it has been said that the
reading fare of Filipino children continues to be dominated by
Children?s literature from the West, as evidenced by the children's
books usually on display in major book shops. Nevertheless, it can be
argued that for decades now, significant headway has been made in
providing alternative reading materials for Filipino children by
publishing houses like Aklat Adarna and noted Filipino authors and
published locally in English, Filipino and other Philippine languages.
What genres have been developed in children?s literature by Filipinos?
Are these genres a mere imitation of the western models? Has the
production been enough to begin to draw up a canon of children?s
literature in the Philippines? What has been the impact of children's
literature on the readers? What role must children's literature play
in the Philippines?
Panelists: Cyan Abad-Jugo, Christine Bellen, Jean Lee Patindol, Ramon
C. Sunico
Moderator: Jerry Respeto
Venue: NGF Conference Room, G/F De La Costa Hall

5:30 PM | DINNER

Venue: Leong Hall Roof Deck
Closing Remarks, Dr. Assunta Cuyegkeng, Vice President, Ateneo de
Manila Univeristy-Loyola Schools

Cubao X, Araneta Center, Cubao, Quezon City

Venue: Cubao X
Hosts: Angelo R. Lacuesta, Festival Coordinator; Joel Toledo, Festival Assistant Coordinator


HOME, ROAM, AND AWAY. Publishing locally versus publishing abroad. How does place of publication—or place of writing—affect or define your audience, or your career or your work? This should also function as a guide for those who seek international publication: what are the challenges and what are the chances?
Panelists: Vicente G. Groyon III, Mookie Katigbak
Moderator: Lourd Ernest De Veyra
Venue: Mogwai 2

THE END OF PRINT. Web-based publishing, traditional print publishing, and print-on-demand: the meaning of publication has multiplied so much these days. Has the meaning of quality, or rigor, or intent changed as well? How has this affected today’s writer? Has he (or must he) achieve convergence, or should there be dividing lines?
Panelists: Roberto Añonuevo, Adam David, Jean Claire Dy, Luis Katigbak, Edgar Samar
Moderator: Dean Francis Alfar
Venue: Pablo

WRITE TO LIFE. Writing to live, or living to write? Many literary writers have commercial writing careers—but what about other lines of work? And what of the lines that divide work and writing? This discussion covers all sorts of jobs writers must take—and the amount of confrontation and compromise writers must endure. It will also cover tips and tricks to avoid burnout and “multitasking hell.”
Panelists: Josua Cabrera, Dominique Cimafranca, Mikael de Lara Co, Ramil Gulle, Victor Dennis T. Nierva
Moderator: Frank Cimatu
Venue: Kolektib 1

LINGO NG WIKA. Language and authenticity in Philippine literary practice—it’s an old argument. So should we be done with it, then? Or shouldn’t we? (This conversation covers all Filipino languages.)
Panelists: Genevieve Asenjo, John Barrios, Jaime Jesus Borlagdan, Jose Jason Changcoco, Jason Laxamana, Glen Mas, Voltaire Oyzon, John Iremil Teodoro
Moderator: Rica Bolipata-Santos
Venue: Kolektib 2

GLOBAL WARMING. A plenary discussion over lunch featuring Asian and Filipino writers who have gone “global.” Our international panelists will discuss the challenges and rewards of writing in their local language and still achieving international recognition and popularity. The panel will also discuss practical tips on international grants, fellowships and exchange programs.
Panelists: Nguyan Bao Chan, Conchitina Cruz, Dinah Roma-Sianturi, Prabda Yoon
Moderator: Angelo R. Lacuesta


PURO FORMA. The formal versus the experimental in poetry—is there a conflict? Young poets discuss the issues (and, inevitably, the non-issues) that abound.
Panelists: Michael Coroza, Conchitina Cruz, J. Neil C. Garcia, Mookie Katigbak, Angelo Suarez
Moderator: Allan Popa
Venue: Mogwai 2

MOVING UP IN THE WORD. Building the literary career—does it still have the same requirements as ten years ago, or are there new ways to get that break? Is the PalancaTM Award still the quickest path to writerhood? Or is that old-school thinking? What’s a literary career anyway?
Panelists: Efmer Agustin, Janice Bagawi, Arifah Jamil, Junley Lazaga, Leonila Lopido, Monica Macansantos, Harold Mercurio
Moderator: Mikael Co
Venue: Pablo

FICTIONAL SHOWDOWN. This is a friendly showdown between the realms speculative fiction and “non-speculative” fiction—its advocates, practitioners and its subject matter. Also up for discussion: attempted definitions, blurred boundaries and common goals.
Panelists: Dean Francis Alfar, Adam David, Jonathan J. Siason, Alvin B. Yapan, Prabda Yoon
Moderator: Ian Casocot
Venue: Kolektib 1


ALL ABOUT MY OTHER. The I versus “otherness” in poetry: how do they figure in your work? Insights, questions, problems and answers on this mind-boggling topic.
Panelists: Ronald Baytan, Kristian S. Cordero, Conchitina Cruz, Larry Ypil
Moderators: Carlomar Daoana, Dinah Roma-Sianturi
Venue: Mogwai 2

UNSCRIPTED. Playwrights, screenwriters and writers in general discuss the difficulties of writing for the stage and screen—from the issue (or non-issue) of language and the challenges of the craft, to the long road to production and the burden of having to win the audience.
Panelists: Jhoanna Cruz, Glen Mas, John Iremil Teodoro
Moderator: Jun Lana
Venue: Pablo

THE YOUNG AND THE LITLESS. Is the Filipino youth worth writing for? In the age of the Internet and digital home entertainment, Filipino children and young adults have so much to see, hear and read—without having to open a book. How does this affect the youngest generation of the Filipino literary audience? How does this affect the Filipino writer?
Panelists: Christine Bellen, Jean Lee Patindol
Moderator: Tara FT Sering
Venue: Kolektib 1

THE STORY OF OUR LIVES. Short story writers and novelists discuss the concerns of today’s fictionist—from language and style to themes and subject matter. Also to be discussed: getting published internationally, and the problem and the burden of writing long-form work.
Panelists: Vincente Groyon III, Arifah Jamil, Luis Katigbak, Januar Yap, Alvin B. Yapan
Moderators: Genevieve Asenjo, John Bengan
Venue: Kolektib 2

6:30PM | PLENARY: DEAR NCCA. What can the NCCA do for the younger or emerging writer? This discussion hopes to come up with a wishlist for the NCCA, covering specific measures of support for the Filipino writer.
Moderators: Angelo R. Lacuesta, Joel Toledo
Venue: Mogwai

• Address, National Artist Virgilio S. Almario
• NCCA Resolutions
• Response and Closing Address, Ricardo de Ungria