Tuesday, November 14, 2006

FFM's first full meetings

Hi everyone!

It's 3 in the morning and the cocks are not yet crowing but I can't seem to go back to sleep. So I put my thoughts into the keyboard and originally had an email to Hets but Jen could not somehow post it so I had to cut it down to size?

We (Jen, Beth, Merryn and Ning) had a full day yesterday with a tour of the KMU office and a briefing from them on the situation of the country and the impacts on workers. The picture looks gloomy but they are not giving up hope and continues to arouse and mobilize despite the repression. I was impressed and inspired by the amount of work they are able to do in such a small facility.

From the KMU we moved to the Congress to have a dialogue with the Batasan 5 or 6 as Ka Bel is still in military confinement or imprisonment? We're going t o visit him today for his 5oth wedding anniv. We were only able to meet 4 of them as Ka Joel was not able to make it. It was a wide-ranging discussion and the one that stuck with me is Congresswoman Liza maza' answer when asked about the seeming 'freedom' that they enjoy and the stark reality of the repression.

"We are not free because they have given us freedom but because we assert our right to be free!" , and Congressman Ted Casino's statement that they are a different breed because they are "activists first, before they became congressmen".

We were guests at the session but they did'nt mention about the fact we were on a h.r. mission. The cavernous chambers were almost empty and only a few members were milling around oblivious to the proceedings. I like question period better but that doesn't mean I support charter change!

the camaraderie at the restaurant at the end of the day was more fun and a chance to meet the people from the ground who do the work of human rights monitoring, toiling under improbable circumstances and yet continues to do so.

The highlight for me at the dinner was to met Donat Continente who was sitting across me. I remember 'googling' him last year when trying to prepare our stuff for the PP's and finally see him face to face!

Beth interviewed him and I acted as cameraman. Hopefully it will come out OK because the restaurant was dark but I thought it was a perfect backdrop for a former poltical prisoner who suffered torture and held the longest. I placed a candle in front of him and the glow of that solitary candle was like a light pierching the darkness of repression and how we must all strive to light a thousand candles to defeat imperialism - as we say and sing in Filipino, "Libo,libong sulo!"

This morning we go see Ka Bel. I bought him a dreamcatcher at the Vancouver airport as I thought his dream of liberation for the Filipino people will catch on and will continue to be dreamnt by many people and acted so that all can be free...

Till next blog...ingat!



Anonymous Anonymous said...

dear ka ted!
maraming salamat for your blog entry. i can hear the fervor and patriotism in your writing. although we miss you here, i'm so happy you've been able to make your way back there sa pilipinas to answer the people's urgent call for support and solidarity.
mabuhay ang sambayanang pilipino!,

4:00 PM  

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