Monday, July 21, 2008

ang wi-fi sa paybstar

"thousand island dressing"
Nanimbawot akong balahibong
nakigharong og usap sa sagbot nga lettuce,
akong huna-huna,
murag kanding ramay gakaon
aning sagbota samo,

"hey,google my name pal"
gilad-ok nako murag tuba
ang bula sa kapeng mahal pa sa
bugas ug gas, kung nganong
dili man istriton ang dila,
masakpan pud kaha sa google
nga yungit ning nag-istorya

kung naa ka sa paybstar hotel
mahimamat nimo ang
ang puti,

hap-hap nga puti,

astang ituma,

gamay'g mata,
talinis ug mata
dako og mata

ug pislat nga ilong.

ang mga pislat og ilong
kung naa sa paybstar
manghiwi ang dila,
mu-slang ang baba
masudlan og dili ingon nato,
" You want sam kopey latey Lors?
Nowp, dyas kaphotsino Mac"

Yamat ra, dili man maliso
ang mga liog ni macario ug loreta.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Letters from the Indigenous People

Dear Sir.
I am sorry I cannot attend our meeting, we can’t cross the river, and it went high because of the heavy rains which we didn’t expect. I have 16 malaria positive, I hope you can replenish our drug supplies. Our abaca products are stocked here and we can’t go to the barrio to trade it, sir we are barely eating in a day now.

This letter was sent to me by a barangay health worker (BHW) from the forest, during the burning summer of April 2007. Like her, I could no longer predict the coming of the rain, like her, I am burdened too by the erratic changes of the weather. But unlike her, I don’t have malaria patients to treat; I don’t have sack of rice, abaca that needs to be transported across the river in exchange of daily meals. This BHW is just one the many Ata-Manobos, an Indigenous People locally term as Lumad, living in the hinterlands that are greatly affected by climatic changes.

We were not able to use the bamboo raft because it didn’t rain for 1 month now. We just walk 2 days from here in order to get to the centre to attend our meeting. When is our next meeting? I have malaria positives and other patients to treat; I don’t know why it keeps on increasing.

This was relayed by a brgy. malaria microscopist during our meeting on October last year, which is supposedly a rainy season in Mindanao. The river is their channel of transportation, but without rain they can’t use their raft to transport patients, and without it they need to walk at least 2 days to reach the health centre. This is the way of life of those living in the hinterlands.
The Ata-Manobos is one of the Indigenous People in Davao; their culture, their society, their identification and sense of being are connected with their understanding of the nature, which for many generations has been their guide for survival. They knew it well; the positioning of the stars, the direction of the wind, the rising of the river, and the formation of the clouds, are their basis for hunting and gathering, for foraging, for planting cereals, harvesting and trading crops or predicting sickness. These proven patterns of experience became a wisdom that has been passed by their ancestors. And they thought they knew nature well, not until global warming. With global warming, the burning question for them and eventually for us in the lowlands, do this people know how to survive and remain intact with their identity and sense of being? Or their long-practice sense of being and culture became a sacrifice for continued physical existence.

At the end of the year, the cases of Malaria among the Ata-Manobos rose to more than 400% from 2006. That was very unexpected. Entomologists and experts may present many mathematical data on the cause of this rise, but what is clearly understandable is that health services are not delivered to the Ata-Manobos due to sudden changes of weather, flash floods, landslides, let alone the terrains of the mountainous communities to reach their villages. The Ata-Manobos may not understand the complexity of the relationship between climate change, and transmission, between climate change and the life span of mosquitoes, but as experiences taught them whenever there is rain, malaria increases. But now they are puzzled by the environment they have grown with for many years; when will it rain, when will the river rise or fall, when will the mosquito spread along with breeding pools. As long as answers are blurred and changing, they are vulnerable against death. Malaria and other diseases kill many people in the hinterlands more than wars or conflicts in Mindanao.

Corporate responsibilities, and the Environment.

While these things are happenings to the lowly Ata-Manobos, foreign logging companies rampages the rain forests in the Philippines for profit, land conversions rampages the forests in rural borders as part of the booming tourism industry, or land rental for mining of foreign companies as country’s investment.
A big Korean company was permitted by the Philippine government to establish a building inside a rain forest in Zambales, which has displaced many of the Aetas. For one, the natural ecosystem in that forest was ruined; second malaria transmission gets high among the Indigenous people living there, to the hired employees and to the Korean themselves, and third local people are exposed to many diseases brought by the migrants.

But these wealthy investors in the construction site when hit by malaria and its complications can afford to have a first class treatment. These wealthy investors when caught in an unfavourable change of environment can afford to have a first class accommodation or just return to their homelands however the Aetas cannot, whose lives and culture are basically dependent on the rain forest which these wealthy investors have now constructed a skyscraper. When the forest losses its balance, the Aetas lose their home, they lose the connection between themselves and their culture, they will be exposed to many diseases they have not known which they cannot afford to treat. Eventually their group will become history, they will be a goner and no wealthy investors care for them.

This is the Philippines, a country of many natural wealth and resources but almost owned by wealthy foreign investors. The Aetas are displaced along with imbalance of the ecosystem which is the fabric of their culture. The right to their lands and to protect the environment are being sacrificed for “development” which does not trickle to the poorest sector of the society. And most importantly, this situation cannot be compensated with additional employment or gains in the gross national product, the local peoples vulnerability to sickness and death cannot be prevented thru medical outreach as corporate responsibility, the lost of connection between home and culture cannot be compensated thru giving of clothes, canned goods or school supplies as corporate responsibility.

This situation is no less to say an ethno-genocide to this vulnerable people. Slowly the state is killing this culture in the name of development.
The Ata-Manobos, the Aetas cannot change the climate according to their favour, but multi-national companies, the state and wealthy nations can do something important to protect the vulnerable people like them against the climate change. It is not by giving these vulnerable people with food, materials, houses or development fund but to re-model their company policies that have devastating effects over the balance of ecosystem, if not within their country, at least for the land of their milking cows.

Today we received umbrella, bags and t-shirts from the government, we will use these during raining season. I just hope that there will be no more malaria in my area and that we will not be struck with sickness anymore.

A sense of being, human lives, and survival with a distinct culture can never be equated to material packages. We all seek for development, but never for selfish interests and individual gains. Health, a privilege here in the Philippines, should be a right and accessible to everybody. The way to look at health is not piece meal but holistic approach.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

ang pikas kwarto, ang yawa, ug ako.

Naay gabiing manglusot
ang mga hinagibang naglupad-lupad
gikan sa pikas kwarto,
tingali nangadagma na sab
ang ilang mga kasing-kasing
ug nagka umod-umod ni
sa lunangan,

Naay gabiing makigduwa
ang mga yawa ug iyang ig-agaw,
sa akong bugnaw nga dunggan,
gikan sa ilang baba, paingun sa
pikas baba, gapanagpa sa ilang kalag
nga gaaliwaros-gapangita
tingali ang kayong ilang giduwaan
gibenditahan maong nangalagpot ang
mga panuway, ug pamalikas
nga namahimong santilmo nga mipainit
sa bugnaw nakong dughan,

Apan inig kabuntag
sa pikas kwarto matingala ka nga
ginasangpit na nila ang langit,
tunga sa lunangan sa ilang dughan,
ibabaw sa mga yawa ug iyang ig-agaw
samtang gasangyaw ang ilang mga kalag,

samtang ako nagpilit sa bugnaw nga
bungbong aron makilimos
sa kung unsa man ang gikibkib nila karon.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Kon pwede bisayaon..

Lagtik ang pitik sa iyang dila
arteh kaayo ang pagpa-paak sa diction;
miinat, mikurba ang iyang ngabil
ug bag-ang sa pagyawyaw
sa nationalization,

Theory dinhi, diagram didto,
model dinhi, history kuno
tingali napungot nga naminaw
silang mga naglumlom sa akong
bagul-bagul ug pislat nga ilong kay
miulbo man og kalit ang akong kaspa
(kalaming kawton)
murag migimaw man ang akong kugmo
(kalaming kuuton)
pamati nako murag dili man ingun-nato
ang arti nga pagbawg-bawg sa dila,
kuhaon pa gyud ang tingog sa ilong,
busa nanghangyo ko kay mam
kung pwede unta bisayaon ang nationalization,

arte kaayo ang pagpa-paak sa diction
miinat, mikurba ang iyang ngabil
ug bag-ang nga nagkanayon
Yow showd lheern engliiiish dong uy!”

Giatay maning di ta magkasinabot uy..