Lattice Angelique A. Andriano
Reaction Paper 1: People’s Forum on US Militarism and its Impacts on the Philippine Environment (reposted)
After several years of debates, the US military base in Subic was finally closed in 1992. Now, as if history is repeating itself, US troops are back as the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) was passed last Monday, 28 April 2014.
I admit that EDCA has its strong points and will benefit our military if the goals are met. However, compared to US we are at the losing end. A reason would be the risk it poses to our environment which was the main concern at the forum. Dr. Giovanni Tapang, a professor in the University and the chairperson of the organization Agham at Teknolohiya Para sa Sambayanan, stressed that the US military used the Subic waters as a toxic waste dump during their occupation before and at the same time harming the health of the residents near the base. He is concerned of what would happened if another ‘’accident’’ happened in our seas like when the USS Guardian destroyed at least 1000 square meters of coral reefs at the World Heritage Site Tubbataha reef. Should the Philippines just ask for compensation again? But the US Navy has not paid—not even a cent after more than a year!
Despite only making it to Dr. Tapang’s talk, I understood why environmental advocates are strongly against US occupation again because, although there is an environmental provision under the EDCA, there is no guarantee that it will be strictly carried out like the situation at Tubbataha. US troops can get away from harming our environment again.
After hearing the forum and doing some research, I know that I’m against the agreement as well. First is because of the issue on the environment that was discussed. Having the US military exercises in the country will increase our toxic waste. Second, it violates the constitution. From the news, I learned that the Senate was not given the chance to let their voices out on this matter where in fact their approval is needed for any treaty to be passed. Third, this agreement mimics the situation before. They say that the important feature of the agreement is that the US military will not be allowed to construct new bases in the country because they can only use existing AFP bases. However, they can still construct infrastructures inside the bases! Another is the upgrade and construction of two naval bases in Palawan which started late last year. Concerned officials said it is part of AFP’s modernization program but I think this is for the US military. A similar situation is happening in South Korea where their government is constructing a military base in Jeju Island for the US military which Dr. Tapang also mentioned in his talk. This “important feature” is just going around the law that the US military can never build a base in the Philippines again.
I’m all for our country’s advancement but not through this agreement where there are many loopholes. I still believe that things will work out for US and the Philippines if only a true compromise is reached that’s favourable for both countries.
Ayee, M. (2014, April 28). Miriam: PH-US deal unfair surprise on Senate. Rappler.
Depasupil, W. (2014, March 6). DND to develop second naval facility in Palawan. The Manila Times.
Dulce, L. (2014, April 24). Obama's visit and the 'toxic' legacy of US bases. Rappler.
Sabillo, K. (2012, April 30). 5 things you need to know about EDCA. Inquirer.
Reaction Paper 2: Future of Media
Media has indeed come a long way—from radio, pagers and television to smartphones, tablets, laptops and so on. Every day it changes, every day new technology and inventions are added to several forms of media like mass media, print media and broadcast media among others. Actually there is a new form of media which is called new media, “a generic term for the many different forms of electronic communication made possible through digital or computer technology” (Heywood, 2013) like the internet, social networking sites and blogs.
On the forum Future of Media, specifically the lifestyle track, speakers Jim Paredes, RJ Ledesma and Erwan Heusaff talked about how media became a bridge of communication and opportunity for their respective careers, how media is being used by the people now, how it should be used and how media will continually transform in the future. For Mr. Paredes, although he has stepped out from the music scene for quite a while now, uses his Twitter account not only to retweet current news but also to voice out his own views about it. For Mr. Ledesma, he believes that what one share on social networking sites is the brand that he/she is creating for himself/herself. He/she can either be an interest driver, an originator or an accumulator. And lastly for Mr. Heusaff, he shared how he was able to use his blog to promote healthy living and eating as well as introduce Filipino food to his readers. In summary, all of them have an advocacy. They do not only use their Twitter, Facebook, blog and so on for personal space but for a cause.
New media has its perks. It connects us to our loved ones and friends. Like the story of Pia Hontiveros, her sister’s son was found through Facebook. Unfortunately, Ms. Hontiveros’ sister had to leave Tommy behind because of personal reasons. And now despite a decade of separation, their family is in the process of getting-to-know by using Skype and Facebook. However, new media has its drawbacks too. Using the internet can get really ugly especially in dealing with privacy. Because it is free for all, people can post anything they want even if it is distasteful. In the future, we will continue to deal with this kind of problem and more. I guess the thing we could do is to be responsible media users. And like what the lifestyle track speakers said, use media to promote to make a difference.
Heywood, A. (2013). Politics. (4th ed.). England : Palgrave Macmillan.
Reaction Paper 3: The Life of Mammals
They say humans are the smartest creatures in the world and our big brains can attest to that. But through our similarities with apes do we deserve to be known as such?
It’s fascinating how apes and humans are very much alike not only in body structure but also in behaviour. For one, we both learn through imitating, mimicking. As a child, to know how the world works we look closely at our parents and family—people around us. When we uttered our first word, it did not came out from nowhere as if it has already been implanted in the mind, but we look at our parents lips—how it move—and try to copy it ourselves. To be one with the world, we try to observe how they move, look and talk just like apes. In the documentary, little monkeys learn clam-cracking by observing how their parents do it. Orangutans grasp wood-cutting by looking and copying how humans use the saw. Second, both are social creatures—we live in groups. As humans we have our family, group of friends, classmates or workmates, fellow countrymen and so on. We group because of our need to belong—we don’t want to be alone. Apes are also like that. Their perks of being in a group are for protection, for food and for mating. Like a pack of wolves, they stay and travel together. Third, apes also have a social ladder. In their case, the superior are the elders and those who are born from a higher class. For instance, superior males have the privilege to choose a mating partner before anybody else. Similarly, humans live in a social ladder as well. Our rank is measured by influence, status and economic class. The higher you are the greater power you hold.
Watching the documentary made me realize that we are not so different with apes after all. Both of us know the basic things to survive and live. Although we have the edge to explore the world and to create ourselves, that doesn’t make us totally smarter than them. We have our flaws—we are not perfect after all. This could be shown by what Dr. Attenborough said at the end of the Food for Thought episode, that probably we humans are too much—we have altered the earth too much, our population is too much, technology is too much. All our actions did not only affect the environment but also harmed the existence of animals such as apes. Their captivating world is shaken by us. Maybe, like what he said at the end of the documentary, it’s time to, “control the population to allow the survival of the environment.”