Yay for the ‘Sagip Saka Law’!

Just learned that President Duterte signed the “Sagip Saka Act” into law last month. All I can say is, “Wow.”

The impact of this law is potentially massive, because it provides farmers and fisherman assistance in skills development, wider access to financing in the form of credit grants and crop insurance, and access to improved technologies for research and development.

The big-ticket items here are 1) education/training, 2) government support towards modernisation; and 3) credit guarantees on uncollateralised loans, implying our kababayans won’t necessarily have to give up livelihood or property just to pay back the loans.

It also provides tax incentives and exemptions to encourage assistance for farmers and fisherfolk. YAAAAS.

The law also creates the Farmers and Fisherfolk Enterprise Development Council to ensure the proper implementation of the program. It is tremendously encouraging because these men and women form the backbone of our ability to feed the nation, and we need to sow back–pun intended–into their lives so they can continue to do their great and noble work.

I will give the man credit when it’s due. Great big thanks to President Duterte, to the fine men and women of the Department of Agriculture, and to principal author Sen Kiko Pangilinan. Masigabong palapakan.

Rape is never funny, Mr President

All my life, I’ve worked hard to fine-tune my own brand of comedy. It’s still a work very much in progress: puns, real-life stories, and musical parodies make up the cheap laughs I offer.

But to me, what isn’t funny are jokes aimed to make light of the distress and trauma experienced by others.

Like rape.

If we knew the horror of rape,
how deeply it wounds,
how shamelessly it scars on the outside,
and leaves inner trauma that takes forever to heal,
how it replaces one’s joy with fear or anger,
how it changes one’s life forever,
we would not find rape jokes funny,
nor support those who dare tell them.

We must NEVER EVER EVER EVER EVER let the telling of rape jokes become something acceptable.

We must voice our displeasure, for the sake of our mothers, our wives, our sisters, and our daughters, and for that matter, for the sake of any of our fathers, our husbands, our brothers, and our sons, for rape knows no gender and does not discriminate against anyone.

Speak up and do not let our nation’s president, Rodrigo Duterte, or any of his apologists including Salvador Panelo and Oscar Albayalde, brainwash the nation and our nation’s protectors, this graduating batch of the PMA, into normalising rape jokes and undermining the worth and value of our fellow Filipinos.

I don’t care if this is calculated. I don’t care if this plays into his playbook. I don’t care if this is intended to draw our attention away from some other underhanded plan. We cannot let this become our reality, our new normal.

Duterte may be president, but he does not speak for me, and if he does not speak for you as well, I challenge you to say so. Write your congressmen, tell your families, do not be quiet.

We are men and women of the Philippines, the Pearl of the Orient Seas, known for our warm smiles, our hospitality, our integrity, and our love for family. Over and over, this man threatens to ruin the reputation of our proud nation.

And that is not funny.

Step out of your bubble!

The Congress website poll on same-sex marriage is just a poll; it doesn’t influence policy in any shape or form. We’re just faceless voters in an online abyss.

People who want to really make their opinion known on this can contact their congressmen to voice their concerns. That’s what they’re there for, and if you feel passionately about a particular issue, you can try to reach out to their office and schedule time, or write a letter.

If you doubt you’ll get their attention, you can try to post it online; you never know if someone you know knows someone he knows, and somehow you get connected.

I just think that the time to play it safe politically has passed. So many are unhappy with the results of the elections, but few are willing to get out and do the legwork needed to get their chosen leaders elected, or hold the actual elected accountable.

If we want change, we need to also step out of our bubbles and do something… offline. My two cents. No need for a poll on that.