Ang Sampung Taon Kong “Constant”

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Kung may ituturing akong hindi nagbago sa buhay ko, ito ay ang Aurora Metropolis.

Hindi ako tumigil sa pagsusulat sa labas ng blog na ito. Pagsusulat ang ikinabubuhay ko, pero noon pa man ay sa pagsusulat ako nabubuhay at sa pagsusulat ko nararamdaman na buhay ako. Sa lahat ng trabahong pinasok ko at adbokasiyang kinabilangan ko, hindi nawala ni isang sandali na hindi ako sumusulat gamit ang kamay, gamit ang keypad sa smartphone of keyboard sa laptop. Kahit sa maraming panaginip ay nagsusulat ako. Sa pagsusulat ko laging naaalala ang nakaraan at nakikita ang personal kong kinabukasan. Ang pagsusulat ay paalala na may katapusan ang buhay, pero pagsusulat din ang paalala kung bakit kailangang magtuloy-tuloy ang buhay.

Pero hindi magiging malaking bahagi ng buhay ko ang pagsusulat kung hindi dumating ang Aurora sa akin. Ito ang nagpausbong ng pangarap kong makapagsalita sa mas maraming tao gamit ang aking mga titik. Ito ang naging kanlungan ng mga kakaibang kuwentong binubuo ng aking imahinasyon at susi kung bakit may pananaw akong magagamit ng mga kabataan para sa kanilang masusing pag-aaral ng mundo. Ito ang naging paaralan ko para sanayin ang sarili na magsulat para sa sarili at iro rin ang naging pahayagan ko para hubugin ang sarili na magsarili para sa iba at para sa bayan.

Hindi ako naging masyadong active sa Aurora dahil sa tatlong rason:
– Busy sa trabaho
– Mas nahikayat sa social media
– Museo ang tingin ko rito.

Museo ang turing ko sa Aurora Metropolis. Dahil gusto na ang bawat ititipa ko rito ay mga natatangi kong lathala. Hindi na ako sumusulat dito dahil gusto ko lang. Gusto ko na kapag pinindot ko ang “New Post” ay mabibigyan ko ng sustansya ang aking mga isusulat. Hindi ito sikat na blog at lalong hindi ako sikat na blogger, pero alam ko na may mga taong nakikita ang Aurora na sisidlan ng inspirasyon para sa kani-kanilang obra. Ang Aurora ay anak ko, at minamana niya ang konti pero sobrang personal na makahulugang mga pananaw ko.

Ang Aurora Metropolis at pagsusulat ang mga constant ko sa nagdaang sampung taon. Hangga’t patuloy ako ng naghahabi ng mga kwento at komentaryo ay mananatili siyang buhay, mananatili akong buhay.

 

 

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May Siyam na Buhay ang Manunulat

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Para sa isang manunulat, ang isang araw na hindi nakakapagsulat ng kahit ano ay isang mortal na kasalanan.

Pang-personal man o para sa trabaho, o kahit pa komentaryo sa mga isyu, ang tinta sa pluma ng manunulat ay dapat gamitin at abusuhin upang maubos at mapunan ng panibago. Kumbaga sa paghahalintulad, ang manunulat–tulad ng mga pusa–ay may siyam na buhay na kahit anong mangyari ay magbabalik sa paglalahad ng saloobin gamit ang mga letra.

Siyam na taong gulang na ang Aurora Metropolis ngayong buwan na ito. Nung una, hindi ko alam kung dapat pang ipagdiwang ng inyong lingkod ang sandaling ito dahil una, kahit pa may sarili nang domain name ay nanatili pa rin itong inactive. Para sa akin, malaking kasalanan ang mapabayaan ang Aurora na maaari sanang mag-ambag nang mas malaki pa hindi lang sa akin bilang manunulat kundi sa ating bansang nahihilig magbasa ng kung ano-ano. Lalo itong naging malaking kasalanan mula nang mapasok ako sa hanapbuhay na nalalapit sa pagsusulat pero mismong platform ko ay hindi ko masulatan para sana pwedeng pagkunan ng kabuhayan.

Ngunit sa kabila nito, naisip kong bigla na kahit pala maraming oras na natahimik ang Aurora ay napagtanto kong hindi pa siya patay, hindi rin naghihingalo. Hangga’t patuloy akong nagsusulat, para man sa aking social media accounts at para sa aking trabahong may kaakibat na mga adbokasiya, ang Aurora ay buhay at nakakapaghatid ng inspirasyon sa kahit sino nang walang humpay.

Ang mga katotohanang ito ang aking mga dahilan upang ipagdiwang ang ikasiyam na kaarawan ng aking pinakamamahal na tahanan bilang manunulat. Muli, hindi ko maipapangako na magiging aktibo muli ang Aurora, pero kukunin ko ang mga libreng pagkakataon para makapagsulat para dakilain ang Diyos, para magsilbing alternatibong tinig ng Inang Bayan at para bigyang-lakas ang damdamin ng mga Pilipino para sa kanilang kapakanan at para sa kanilang kinabukasan.

Maraming salamat sa mga kaibigan na patuloy na nagpapalakas ng loob sa akin na magsulat. Maraming salamat sa mga estrangherong nakaka-appreciate ng aking mga sulat at nanghihikayat na patuloy lang na magsulat. Higit sa lahat, maraming salamat sa Panginoon dahil pinapaalala Niya na ang talentong pahiram Niya ay mananatili kung gagamitin sa mga bagay para sa magagandang dahilan — lumagpas man ng siyam ang nagamit kong buhay bilang manunulat.

 

 

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MANILEÑO DOWNGRADED: “Citizen of the Capital” no more?

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This article is part of Aurora Metropolis’ #Manila447 Series in celebration of Araw ng Maynila. The views expressed by the author does not reflect the view of all organizations he represent or he is affiliated with.


 

Just recently, I’ve read a news about the transfer of the Capital City in line with the proposed Federal Constitution as replacement to our current 31-year-old Constitution.

Speaking on behalf of Rodrigo Duterte’s consultative committee (ConComm) which attempts to draft a “hybrid charter”, lawyer Roan Libarios said in an interview that under the proposed federal government, vital centers shall be divided to other metropolitan areas as way of distributing powers in different regions. He cited the former Clark Airbase in Pampanga as the new administrative center while Metro Cebu can serve as another center to decongest traffic in Metro Manila, the current National Capital Region (NCR).

Libarios emphasized that since the 1987 Constitution does not exactly mandate Manila or Metro Manila as the Philippine capital, the ConComm is open to proposals for a new capital centers that shall serve as images of our country to the world.

This raises many questions in my mind:
– Is Manila become less valuable socially, culturally and politically?
– Is being “congested” an enough reason to hinder Manila from becoming a national capital?
– Do Manileños fail to exemplify a living global image for Filipinos?

Let me share my observations in a micro-perspective: As a Manileño or someone who was born, live and observe the city of Manila for all of his life.

While it is not provided by the current charter, dictator and former president Ferdinand Marcos released Presidential Decree No. 940 on June 24, 1976 “establishing Manila as the capital of the Philippines and as the permanent seat of the national government”. This instituted the formal transfer of the Capital City title to Manila from Quezon City which was declared as such by then president Elpidio Quirino in 1948. Months prior to the declaration of PD 940, Marcos also issued Presidential Decree No. 824 on November 7, 1975 creating Metropolitan Manila and, at the same time, declaring it as NCR. Given these orders from a head of state at that time, it is suffice to say that Manila and Metro Manila are both legally proclaimed as national capitals, contrary to Libarios’ claim that there was no legal mandate on the designation of seats of powers.

However, in the course of Manila’s growing economy in the 1970s, Escolta, the country’s central business district (CBD), started to feel the hardships of running the country’s commercial facet. The issues of traffic congestion, lack of parking areas and bigger office spaces forced big companies and leaders of vital industries to search for new places and build their own business infrastructures. One great example is the Ayala group who saw the potential in the former Makati municipality from a vast empty land to a progressive CBD. The rise of the Ayala Empire in Makati has made Escolta down on its knees as the commercial capital of the Philippines.

Despite the loss of a vital gem in its crown, Manila continues to be relevant in the socio-political arena. It’s not just because Malacañang is located here but, also, Manila served as a significant venue to display the continuing saga of struggling workers, highly-vigilant students and youth leaders and movers of political reforms that led to policy changes, political shifts and, the most memorable of all, ouster of a president.

Linking to Manila’s socio-political value is its history that made the city an invaluable cultural paragon. Since 1571 when Adelantado Miguel Lopez de Legazpi founded the city as the seat of the Spanish empire in the East, Manila became the administrator and messenger – or a dictator, in this matter – of all important instructions and directives from the King of Spain and the Governor General. Even before colonizers controlled the Philippines, Manila’s leadership culture ran in its veins with the emergence of the rajahs, datus and other dominant leaders of pre-Spanish Philippines.

Indeed, it has all the aces to retain the title of the Philippines’ capital, but is it really enough for Manila to continue its duties of becoming the Capital?

Truth be told: Manila is generally filthy, unruly and crammed. Unlike other cities, the capital city shows slower economic development and uncomfortable kind of living. It is mostly dependent to the national government in terms of tourism promotion and development. Poverty is evident in almost all corners of the city and the local government which was led and managed by well-known political juggernauts after EDSA People Power Revolution remains passive with delivering services and initiatives to raise the morale of its citizens.

All of these dilemma made the worse generation of Manileños since pre-World War 2 years – downgraded, dispirited locals who need to endure daily battles first before studying, working and living with dignity, harmony and pride. More of us feel that the government sees us as important because we have their votes in the next elections. More of us feel that idolizing and supporting their cheap stunts have monetary and material value. More of us feel that Manila is no longer a classy, honorable home but a warzone where every day is a struggle and every moment is a chance for survival.

Yes, Manila may be losing the Capital City title once the current regime pushed their proposed system. It may be sooner than we think and we cannot do anything because we have a dirty-old tyrant in the palace.

But is it too late for us to change Manila? Is it too late to break the curse for our dear city? It is for us as one community of Manileños to decide and act.

 

 

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