Thursday, June 23, 2011

Globe responds, and I am happy

Two days ago, I wrote Globe and asked them three things:

1. Is Globe ready to commit that it will not advertise on Wil Time Big Time, at least until the KBP has ruled on the issue and the criminal case filed against Mr. Willie Revillame has been decided by the courts? I mean, would you be willing to risk your company’s reputation into someone (and a show) who will eventually be found guilty of child abuse?
2. Would Globe be willing to listen to its consumers on issues like this? Or will you be like SMART who refused time and again to listen to pleas from its consumers.

3. Would Globe be holding on to your values as a company and uphold the common good, or will you be like SMART who is only after profit?

You can find the entire letter here. 

Today, the President of Globe personally sent me a reply. The full reply is below:


Hi Froilan,

First of all, thanks for acknowledging Globe's efforts in trying to improve our customer service.

Let me address some of your questions:

1. We will not be advertising either on the Willie show or on TV5. We did support Willie in his early years but pulled out because we felt that the values he began to demonstrate as his popularity grew became increasingly divergent to ours. We have not and will not support his shows on TV5 or any other venue.

2. We at Globe are transforming into a customer focused organization. That has become the hallmark of our strategy so it is integral to us to listen to our consumers. The development of our new products and services starts with understanding our customer's problems and solving them through innovative telecom solutions. An example of this is the groundbreaking 'My Super Plan' concept.

3. We believe that telcos should exist for a higher good as evidenced by how much we do in CSR and for the environment. We do need to maintain our profitability to fund this plus the heavy capital investments that we need to make on an annual basis.

Finally, thanks for continuing to be loyal to Globe. We are working towards building loyalty such as yours among our many subscribers and I believe we are making progress.




(*Emphasis mine)

I am personally satisfied with his reply, especially with Number 1. I will now be asking my friends and family to switch to Globe and stop supporting companies that promote (by financially supporting thru advertising) the commercialization and sexualization of children.

Patuloy na umiibig sa Pilipinas, 
At naniniwala sa galing ng Pilipino,  

Froilan Grate | GreenMinds

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Thou shalt not be a bystander

"Thou shalt not be a victim, thou shalt not be a perpetrator, but, above all, thou shalt not be a bystander."
- Yehuda Bauer on the Holocaust

"The road to Auschwitz was built by hate but paved with indifference."
- Ian Kershaw

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

An appeal to Globe

Mr. Ernest Cu
Globe Telecom

Dear Mr. Cu,

Greetings! I pray this letter finds you well.

I hope that you don't mind that I am writing you again directly. You have personally answered my complaints before (and to be honest that is one of the reasons why I am still a Globe customer, for eleven years now), and I am taking the same liberty again to express my sentiment to you as a concerned subscriber.

I am part of an online community called Para Sa Mga Bata (Movement to End Child Abuse). Now 14,000-plus strong, this group came about as a result of what we believe was an incident of child abuse on a live game show on national TV. This group, I believe, is not only people power online, but also consumer power.

Immediately after bringing attention on this incident to various groups (government, media, advertisers, etc), we have asked the advertisers of the show to consider pulling out as part of their Corporate Social Responsibility and their commitment to upholding quality TV programming and most especially children’s rights. Major companies like Unilever, Procter and Gamble and Jollibee Food Corporation pulled out their sponsorship from the said show. This after the Commission on Human Rights, the Department of Social Welfare and Development, international media organizations and thousands of Filipinos have said that indeed, it was child abuse. The MTRCB even suspended the show for one month for violation of broadcast rules.

After the suspension, however, the show went back on air supported by a few companies but most prominent among them were companies owned by Mr. Manny Pangilinan, including SMART. This despite the fact that a criminal case was filed against the host of the show where they chose to advertise.

A company does not own the money that they use to advertise. It is money paid to them by the consumers. As such, at the end of the day, it is basically the consumers who are paying for these poor quality shows with which these companies advertise. It is with this thought that I realized that some of my friends and family members are also guilty of supporting a show that is guilty of child abuse. And I cannot live with that.

It is for this reason that I will be asking my friends and family to give up their SMART number, and with the recent acquisition of Digitel by MVP, their Sun numbers as well. This leaves Globe as the only option. But before I do this, I need to ask you 3 questions:

1.   Is Globe ready to commit that it will not advertise on Wil Time Big Time, at least until the KBP has ruled on the issue and the criminal case filed against Mr. Willie Revillame has been decided by the courts? I mean, would you be willing to risk your company’s reputation into someone (and a show) who will eventually be found guilty of child abuse?
2.   Would Globe be willing to listen to its consumers on issues like this? Or will you be like SMART who refused time and again to listen to pleas from its consumers.
3.   Would Globe be holding on to your values as a company and uphold the common good, or will you be like SMART who is only after profit?

Lastly, for you, I would like to ask: Would you be the Globe President that I admired for transforming Globe’s customer service or will you be like Manny Pangilinan, who in my opinion, doesn’t give a damn about public opinion, doesn’t care about the request of their customers, and worse, doesn’t value the welfare and the rights of Filipino children.

When I wrote you last year about my concerns with Globe’s service and customer relations, you personally answered my concerns and have your people address them. When I wrote Mr. Pangilanan about this issue, he did not even bother to reply, much less ask his secretary to acknowledge it. I don’t want to be supporting a company headed by this kind of person. He might be one of the most successful businessmen around, but in my books, he doesn’t deserve even an ounce of respect as a leader. My hopes are with you.

Thank you for your indulgence in reading this letter.

Para sa mga bata,

Froilan Grate
Patuloy na umiibig sa Pilipinas, 
At naniniwala sa galing ng Pilipino,  
Froilan Grate | GreenMinds

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Ang Kwento ng Puta

Tingin ng mga bobong kapitbahay ko puta daw ako. Nagpapagamit, binabayaran. Sabi nila ako daw ang pinakamaganda at pinakasikat sa aming lugar noon. Ang bango-bango ko daw, sariwa at makinis. Di ko nga alam kung sumpa ito, dahil dito naletse ang kinabukasan ko. Tara makinig ka muna sa kwento ko, yosi muna tayo.

Alam mo, maraming lumapit sa akin, nagkagusto, naakit.

Ang hirap pag lahat sa iyo virgin eh. Tinanggap ko naman silang tao, bakit kaya nila ako ginago? Masakit alalahanin, iniisip ko na lang na kase di sila taga rito, siguro talagang ganoon. Tatlong malilibog na foreigners ang namyesta sa katawan ko, na-rape daw ako.

Sa tatlong beses akong nagahasa, ang pinakahuli ang di ko makakalimutan. Parang maski di ko ginusto ang mga nangyari, hinahanap-hanap ko siya. Tinulungan nya kasi akong makalimutan yung mga sadistang Hapon at CoƱotics. Kase, ibang-iba ang hagod niya. Umiikot ang mundo ko sa tuwing ginagamit niya ako. Ibang klase siya mag-sorry, lalo pa at kinupkop niya ako at ang mga naging anak ko.

Parating ang dami naming regalo - may chocolates, yosi, ano ka! May datung pa! Nakakabaliw siya, alam kong ginagamit nya lang ako pero pagamit naman ako nang pagamit. Sa kanya namin natutunan mag-inggles, di lang magsulat ha! Magbasa pa! Hanggang ngayon, sa tuwing mabigat ang problema ko, siya ang tinatakbuhan ko. 'Yun nga lang, lahat ng bagay may kapalit. Nung kinasama ko siya, guminhawa buhay namin. Sosyal na sosyal kami.

Ewan ko nga ba, akala ko napapamahal na ako sa kanya. Akala ko tuloy-tuloy na kaligayahan namin, yun pala unti-unti niya akong pinapatay. P*** ng I**! Sa dami ng lason na sinaksak niya sa katawan ko, muntik na akong malaspag. Ang daming nagsabi na ang tanga tanga ko. Patalsikin ko na daw. Sa tulong ng mga anak ko, napalayas ko ang animal pero ang hirap magsimula.

Masyado na kaming nasanay sa sarap ng buhay na naranasan namin sa kanya. Lubog na lubog pa kami sa utang, kulang ata pati kaluluwa namin para ibayad sa mga inutang namin.

Sinikap naming lahat maging maganda ang buhay namin. Ayun, mga nasa Japan, Hong Kong, Saudi ang mga anak ko. Yung iba nag-US, Europe. 'Yung iba ayaw umalis sa akin. Halos lahat, wala naman silbi, masaya daw sa piling ko, maski amoy usok ako.

Sa dami ng mga anak ko na nagsisikap na tulungan ang kalagayan namin, siya din ang dami ng mga anak ko na namamantala sa kabuhayan at kayaman na itinatabi ko para sa punyetang kinabukasan naming lahat. Dumating ang panahon na di na kami halos makaahon sa hirap ng buhay. Napakahirap dahil nasanay na kami sa ginhawa at sarap.

Ang di ko inaakala ay mismong mga anak ko, ang tuluyang sisira sa akin. Napakasakit tanggapin na malinlang. Akala ko ay makakakita ako ng magiging kasama sa buhay sa mga ahas na ipinakilala ng mga anak ko Hindi pala. Ang tanga ko talaga. Binugaw ako ng sarili kong mga anak kapalit ng kwarta at pansamantalang ginhawa na nais nilang matamasa.

Wala na akong nagawa dahil sa sobrang pagmamahal ko sa aking mga anak. Wala akong ibang yaman kundi ganda ko. Pinagamit ko na lang ng pinagamit ang sarili ko, basta maginhawa lang ang mga anak ko.

Usap-usapan ako ng mga kapitbahay ko. May nanghihinayang, namumuhi at naaawa. Puta na kase ang isang magandang tulad ko.

Alam mo, gusto ko na sanang tumigil sa pagpuputa kaso ang laki talaga ng letseng utang ko eh. Palaki pa ng palaki. Kulang na kulang. Paano na lang ang mga anak ko naiwan sa aking punyetang puder? Baka di na ako balikan o bisitahin ng mga nag-abroad kong mga anak. Hindi na importante kung laspagin man ang ganda ko, madama ko lang ang pagmamahal ng mga anak ko. Malaman nila na gagawin ko ang lahat para sa kanila.

Sa tuwing titingin ako sa salamin, alam ko maganda pa rin ako. Meron pa din ang bilib sa akin. Napapag usapan pa din. Sa tuwing nakikita ko ang mukha ko sa salamin, nakikita ko ang mga anak ko. Tutulo na lang ang mga luha ko ng di ko namamalayan. Ang gagaling nga ng mga anak ko, namamayagpag kahit saan sila pumunta. Mahusay sa kahit anong gawin. Tama man o mali. Proud ako sa kanila. Kaso sila, kabaligtaran ang nararamdaman para sa akin.

Sa dami ng mga anak ko, iilan lang ang may malasakit sa akin. May malasakit man, nahihilaw. Ni di nga ako kinikilalang ina. Halos lahat sila galit sa isa't isa. Walang gusto magtulungan, naghihilahan pa. Ang dami ko ng pasakit na tiniis pero walang sasakit pa nung sarili kong mga anak ang nagbugaw sa akin. Kinapital ang laspag na ganda ko. Masyado silang nasanay sa sarap ng buhay. Minsan sa pagtingin ko sa salamin, ni hindi ko na nga kilala sarili ko.

Dadating na naman ang pasko, sana maalala naman ako ng mga anak ko. Isang buwan pa, magbabagong taon na. Natatakot ako sa taong darating. Ngayon pa lang usap usapan na ang susunod na pagbubugaw ng ilan sa mga anak ko. Sana may magtanggol naman sa akin, ipaglaban naman nila ako. Gusto kong isigaw: "INA NINYO AKO! MAHALIN NYO NAMAN AKO!"

Sige, dumadrama na ako. Masisira na ang make up ko nito eh. Salamat ha, pinakinggan mo ako.

Ay sorry, di ko nasabi pangalan ko.

Pilipinas nga pala.

Note: This is not an original piece but I am not able to trace who is the original author. If you happen to know, please leave a comment so that I can give proper credit. Thank you.

Edit: This is an original piece by Ms. Mike Portes, originally titled as "Minsan may isang puta"
Thanks to those made a comment as to the original author.

Patuloy na umiibig sa Pilipinas, 
At naniniwala sa galing ng Pilipino,  

FG | GreenMinds

Marcos should be buried at the LNMB, but only if...

Yes, you got that right.

After being very much against it, I now have a change of heart. I am now in favor of allowing Ferdinand Marcos to be buried at the Libingan ng Mga Bayani. Yes, even with full military honors. In fact, it should be a state burial due a true hero.

But only if the following conditions are met. And I mean all.

1. He should be buried on June 19, 2011 in celebration of Rizal's 150th birthday.
2. His family should surrender and return everything that they have stolen and plundered from this country.
3. His entire family, including Imelda, Imee and Bongbong, should also be buried with him. On the same day. All his other children and relatives who would refuse to admit that FM committed his crimes during the martial law years should also be buried with him.
4. Gloria Arroyo and Erap Estrada should be buried with him too.
5. All the 200+ congressmen who signed the resolution calling for his burial at the LNMB should be buried with him too. Yes, on the same day also.
6. Willie Revillame, Mikey Arroyo and MP should be buried with him. Of course, on June 11 too.
7. LNMB should be renamed to Libingan Ng Mga Magnanakaw (LMM).
8. A new Libingan ng mga Tunay na Bayani (LTB) shall be created using funds surrendered by the Marcoses.
9. All the real heroes currently buried at the LNMB shall be transferred to the LTB in a manner that will not dishonor them.The AFP general who stole from the Filipino people should remain at the LMM.
10. All of these will be shown on national TV, without commercial break.

Now, if all of these will happen, then and only then can we call FM a hero.

Patuloy na umiibig sa Pilipinas,
At naniniwala sa galing ng Pilipino,


No Bystanders | GreenMinds

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Facing My Demons

About fourteen years ago, I was having one of those periods in a teen’s life where one feels lost and conflicted. Living away from my family, and as always, I turned to my usual refuge - the confession.

This particular day however, for reasons I can’t remember now, I have decided to go to a different parish and have my confession there.

It started out ok, normal I guess. Then the priest turned friendly, very friendly, in fact. He asked me to stay, as he wanted to talk to me more. After finishing the last two confessants, he talked to me again, giving me words of encouragement. I welcomed the opportunity to be able to talk to someone who didn’t judge me; in fact he made me feel special by listening to me. When I said it was time for me to go home, he invited me to go back next Thursday (or was it Friday?) to meet some of his young friends.

I went back as promised, and I met two of his young friends – they were probably around 16 or 17 at that time. But I was surprised to learn that we are actually going to a resort, just the four of us. When I complained that I wasn’t prepared for it, he said he got it all covered, he bought new swimming trunks for me.

At the resort, I remember it was all surreal for me – three boys and a priest, playing. I was confused and amazed at the same time, to see that priest are humans too. For someone who wanted to be a priest someday, that was a welcome thought. It means I could be a priest and not be serious and grumpy all the time.

Looking back, I should have been alarmed with the accidental touches on me, and the not so accidental touches on the other boys. But with the beer given to us, and the fact that we were having fun, I made it all pass.

When it was time to go home, we dropped the other two boys off and since it was too late for me to go home (way past my curfew, and I was drunk already), he offered for me to sleep at the parish. I remember being awed, being inside the priests’ quarters and when showed that they have two refrigerators (aside from the one in the kitchen) – one for chocolates and other desserts and one for drinks, beer, soft drinks, name it.

So he made me drink some more. And I was so amazed, here I am drinking as much alcohol as I want with a priest, when back home we are told that drinking is not good. Then from there on, it was all blurry to me.

I remember at some point, we went to his room to sleep. He put me to bed, and told me I should sleep ahead as he still needs to prepare for his sermon the next day. I remember he tried to kiss me, and I turned my head away. He let it pass and he went to work on his bed side table.

Sometime during the night, I felt it happen. I wasn’t sure what was happening, but I am sure in my head I said NO but I am not sure if I said NO enough. I remember I tried to stand, but the next thing I remember, I was sitting on the chair and he was kneeling in front of me. Then it was blank again. Next thing I remember, I was on the floor on my back and he was sitting on top of me. And I remember him say “God gave you a beautiful gift, you should share it...” and “You’re way better than my boyfriend...” And I think I asked who, and he said the name of the boy we were with awhile ago. And everything else was blank.

Those words stayed with me because as an insecure boy, it made me feel special.

The next morning, he woke me up telling me he has to say mass. And he invited me to attend. And as I was sitting there, I felt conflicted seeing hundreds of people kneeling in front of this man who was just hours ago kneeling in front of me.

But worst of all, that morning, I felt guilty for I believe I have betrayed God.

And I was never the same after that.

I was a conflicted boy. Was I abused? Can you call it abuse when all I felt was physical pleasure and no pain at all? Can it be rape when none of my body part was penetrated?

Was it my fault? Did I bring it upon myself?

And the only way I knew to cope is to try to forget that it all happened. He saw me again outside the church a few weeks after, and he asked me to come back. I never came back to that church until 9 years later.

In my effort to try to forget, I stopped going to mass. Every time I see people kneeling in front of a priest, I remember that feeling that morning after. Feelings of shame, of guilt, and hatred.

But try as I might, I can’t get away from it. Even when I try to be intimate with someone I love, I am reminded of that night.

Five years ago, stories of clergy abuse started to hit the news. So I decided to go back and face him, and finally end all of this. I want to tell him that I forgive him, but he has to promise not to do it with other boys again. I felt I needed that to be able to forgive myself.

I was told he was assigned to another parish, so I asked to talk to the head parish priest who, under the sanctity and secrecy of the confession, I told my story. But I got the shock of my life; I was told that there is nothing that they can do unless I am willing to make public my complaint. Since I wasn’t ready that time, I left Iloilo and promised never to go back to that church again. For me, I did my part. Although inside me, I knew there would be other boys who would go through the same experience.

Until that fateful day of March 12, 2011 happened. A boy was abused by a game show host on national television.
I felt compelled to explain that my reaction to that incident has no relation to my own abuse, but I realized it doesn’t really matter. My actions are no less meaningful just because I have issues with abuse myself. On the contrary, it would show that my reaction was nothing personal to the host, but the incident was personal for me.

After that, emails and messages stated to pour in. Hate mails I can ignore, but stories of abuse after abuse came to light, asking me to do something about it. And I was actually ready to take on this advocacy head on.

Except that inside me, that incident made me feel like I was a fake. How can I fight for other victims when I wasn’t able to fight for my personal battle? How can I tell the boy it was not his fault, when up to now I wasn’t really able to convince myself that it wasn’t my fault? How can I tell the boy that he shouldn’t be ashamed, when I am living in shame all my life?

So I have decided to do this. I need to do this. Writing has always helped me cope with things. I have initially wanted to just share this with a few friends but knowing that they have used my fear of shame to silence me before, I have decided to come clean this time.

I am not ashamed of letting an adult take advantage of me when I was young, it wasn’t my choice. What I am ashamed of is that it took me 14 long years to stop being a victim. What I am ashamed of is living with the fact that there are other boys out there who were abused by this priest too. To them, I say sorry.

And I hope with this, I am doing the right thing. I hope with this, somehow, I am able to right those wrongs.

I am not a perfect person, I have my (more than?) fair share of mistakes, but I wouldn’t let that fact stop me from doing what I feel is right.

Patuloy na umiibig sa Pilipinas,
At naniniwala sa galing ng Pilipino,

Froilan Grate | GreenMinds
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