Sifting through the wreck: Should Carandang take the blame?

Political commentator William M. Esposo, who is not known to mince words, took up his metaphorical chair of rage in order to wreck it against Presidential Communications Development and Strategic Planning Secretary Ricky Carandang in the September 7 edition of his The Philippine Star column, tagging Carandang as “terribly wanting” and ultimately liable for the “substandard flow of communications during and after the hostage crisis”. Did the facts justify the energy and space involved in the destruction of (imaginary) furniture?

Esposo ticked off a list of issues that he believed Carandang had mishandled, which follows verbatim below:

  1. The “Where was P-Noy?” issue was raised on the day after the hostage incident and Carandang failed to immediately quash this mistaken notion. It took a full week for Presidential Spokesman Edwin Lacierda to disclose on ANC Talkback what P-Noy was doing during the crisis. That time gap is unacceptable. This issue could have been easily dispelled on the day when it surfaced by narrating the president’s hour by hour activities during the crisis.
  2. The issue of Hong Kong Administrator Donald Tsang’s call to P-Noy was not properly addressed and it made the president look like he was not in charge. Carandang did not even cite that the call to P-Noy was a violation of protocol and therefore we have nothing to be defensive about for not taking it.
  3. The issue of draping the flag on the casket of the hostage taker was not immediately and properly addressed—thereby adding to the bad impression which reflected on the president. The Messaging Secretary should have immediately clarified that this was neither inspired nor committed by the government and that people here freely place the flag on the caskets of those who have been public servants.
  4. Again, the issue which was raised by the Journalist Association of Hong Kong that P-Noy should not blame the media for the bungled rescue was not immediately and properly addressed. Clearly, P-Noy merely cited media for having added to the problems but never did he attempt to put the blame solely on media. Carandang should have taken the Hong Kong journalists to task for raising a falsely premised issue.

Esposo then went on to say that, in spite of the toll that the mismanaged hostage crisis took on the “prestige and public confidence” of the Aquino administration, it nevertheless represented an opportunity for the President to surround himself solely with faithful appointees and rid himself of the company and the service of “stray dogs”, a rhetorical maneuver that conflates incompetence with disloyalty,  and insinuates that Carandang, among other people, is guilty of both. Unless Esposo knows more than he is telling, and can back it up with proof—in which case, he ought to be more explicit, for the sake of the citizenry—the conflation appears to be illogical and unfair.

There can be no denying that great lapses in communication occurred during and after the crisis, and those accountable for such lapses should be dealt with accordingly. A pertinent question, however, would seem to be this: Among the issues that Esposo raised against Carandang, which actually fall under the jurisdiction of the latter as Secretary of the Presidential Communications Development and Strategic Planning Office (PCDSPO)?

According to Executive Order No. 4, which took effect on July 30, 2010, the functions of the PCDSPO are as follows:

a. Coordinate the crafting, formulation, development and enhancement of the messaging system under the Office of the President;
b. Design and recommend responses to issues that arise on a daily basis.
c. Ensure consistency in the messages issued by the Executive Department;
d. Assist in the formulation and implementation of new media strategies for the Office of the President;
e. Assist in research and development of new media instruments;
f. Liaise with the Malacañang Records Office;
g. Control and supervise the conduct of market research, monitoring public opinion, and gathering, use and analysis of other relevant data as may be necessary;
h. Formulate editorial guidelines and policies for state media;
i. Ensure consistency in the implementation of the corporate identity of the Executive Department;
j. Act as custodian of the institutional memory of the Office of the President, which includes the supervision and control of the Presidential Museum and Library, and liaison with the Malacañang Records Office;
k. Perform editorial functions for the Official Gazette; and
l. Perform such other functions as may be directed by the President.

These, on the other hand, are the functions of the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO), which is headed by Secretary Herminio “Sonny” Coloma:

a. Develop and implement necessary guidelines and mechanisms pertaining to the delivery and dissemination of information relating to the policies, programs, official activities and achievements of the President and the Executive Branch;
b. Develop, manage and operate viable government-owned or controlled information dissemination structure / facilities to provide the Office of the President in particular, and the Executive Branch in general, access to the people as an alternative to the private mass media entities;
c. Set up and maintain local and international field offices, where necessary, to ensure that accurate information from the President and the Executive Branch is promptly and efficiently relayed, delivered and disseminated to intended target audiences;
d. Manage, control or supervise, as may be necessary, the various government agencies and offices involved in information gathering and dissemination;
e. Coordinate and cultivate relations with private media;
f. Manage and administer the OP Website and the Web Development Office; and
g. Perform such other functions as the President may assign from time to time.

In view of the language of the Executive Order, the two communications offices, their different responsibilities notwithstanding, are intimately, even inextricably, bound up with one another, as the PCDSPO crafts the material that the PCOO circulates. At the risk of oversimplification, one might put it this way: Carandang creates the message, after which Coloma sends the message.

How, then, can Esposo assign blame wholly to Carandang, while avowing that Coloma was the “least accountable” for any communication problems that arose during the crisis?

A source with the presidential communications group, who spoke on the condition of anonymity owing to lack of authority to comment on the matter, had a different story for The Pro Pinoy Project, saying that the PCDSPO had fulfilled its role and prepared the necessary messages, but the PCOO, which is specifically tasked with media relations, had been unable to disseminate such.

The Pro Pinoy Project was only able to make preliminary contact with Coloma via e-mail and text message, and he has not made any statement as of posting time.

It is worth noting that the elevation of Carandang to his current post had previously prompted Esposo to write a piece questioning the former broadcast journalist’s fitness for the rank—a scathing article that exceeded, both in tone and in apparent intent, other publicly expressed apprehensions about the viability of the presidential communications group: Amando Dornila’s invocation of the image of the Lernaean Hydra, for instance, could be interpreted as a compliment, albeit a rather backhanded one, attesting to the efficacy of people involved in the group, as the hydra is, if nothing else, a powerful creature.

Why, one is moved to ask, is there no love lost between Esposo and Carandang? What motivates all this chair-wrecking? How much of it is driven by national concerns, and how much by parochial ones? Is the fact that Esposo’s column saw print on the same day that Carandang took his oath of office merely a coincidence?

It is no secret, after all, that Esposo is, at the very least, associated with one of two contending factions within the Aquino camp that have been at war since the presidential campaign kicked off last year—the so-called “Samar” faction that reportedly includes Maria Montelibano, a cousin of the President who handled media relations during his campaign, not to mention Coloma himself.

Of course, these factions no longer officially exist, and ought to stop existing unofficially too, as is proper, because infighting only wastes time and resources that could be used productively elsewhere.

[This also appears in The Pro Pinoy Project.]

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Gloria’s game

“Foul whisperings are abroad. Unnatural deeds
Do breed unnatural troubles.”

—William Shakespeare, Macbeth

At around the time that the hardworking and prayerful Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo was due to deliver her ninth—and presumably last—State of the Nation Address, as well as for several days after, the phrase “lame duck” was predictably bandied about to refer to her. It would probably be more accurate, however, to say that, in the face of the overwhelming nationwide antipathy that has dogged her through nearly a decade in power, the President has consistently comported herself like a lame duck. That is, she has acted in ways that show a flagrant disregard for the consequences other than her own political survival—and, of course, the occasional “simple dinner“.

It is for this reason that all the perfumes of Arabia—or the boisterous bleats of her bovine boosters, anyway—will not sweeten either her rule or her legacy. It is also for this reason that she and her allies have been doing their utmost to damn the mandate of Sen. Benigno S. Aquino III, her apparent successor, with spots—ones that are calculated to be difficult to wash off or rub out, ensuring that the next administration will be so completely preoccupied with and weakened by setting the house of the state in order, it will be unable to live up to even the simplest and most basic expectations of an electorate that has invested so much in the hope that a new leader with a clear, legitimate mandate can and will usher in positive, meaningful change.

Dashing such a hope, as Macapagal-Arroyo surely knows from experience, can only be advantageous to her. After all, it seems to me that her betrayal of the spirit of EDSA by reneging on her promise not to run once she had sat through the term of her ousted predecessor, and then rigging the polls in her favor to boot (allegedly, because, per her lackeys, the evidence has yet to presented at the proper forum), did not so much spark a massive uprising as it did drain the public of the vigor for vigilance and cause widespread resignation—a situation to which the perceived weaknesses of those who could have conceivably replaced her (action star Fernando Poe, Jr. during the 2004 elections, and Vice President Noli de Castro in 2005 following the explosion of the Hello Garci scandal) also contributed. Once the people were sufficiently alienated from and cynical about the political realm, Macapagal-Arroyo gained a far freer hand to do as she pleased, and the results have been appalling beyond belief, as the annus horribilis that was 2009 alone shows: the deeds of her regime ranged from the imposition of duties on imported books—a blatant violation of the Constitution and the Florence Agreement that, per anecdotal reports, is still being implemented—to the torture and execution of 57 people in the Ampatuan Massacre—a crime that represents the very nadir of impunity, and which the hour of justice would seem to be approaching at roughly the pace of a paralyzed snail.

Considering her victorious campaign to represent the second district of Pampanga in the Lower House, and the number of land mines that she has laid to maim and mutilate the mandate of Aquino—the appointment of the publicity hound Renato Corona to the position of Chief Justice by way of a convoluted Supreme Court interpretation of the Constitution is but the most prominent—it would appear entirely plausible to posit that the name of Macapagal-Arroyo’s game is to ensure that, once Aquino takes the helm, the ship of state flounders so badly that she can credibly bring impeachment to bear against him (perhaps on the basis of betrayal of public trust, an offense that she is particularly adept at committing). Her recent smarm offensive regarding the dubious accomplishments of her administration dovetails with this goal: should the nation succumb to disillusionment and despair-induced docility, as is doubtless her wish, “Buti pa noong panahon ni Gloria” might wind up resounding in the public consciousness sooner than one might care to think. Worse, as many a political observer has warned, she could somehow pull together a large enough coalition to instigate the process of charter change, which she has consistently pushed for, paving the way for her return to power, this time as Prime Minister—or, for all we know, as queen regnant.

The recently concluded national and local elections, therefore, are only the end of the beginning—the hurlyburly is not yet done. We, the people, have scorched the snake, not killed it, and we remain in danger of her fangs. In truth, I hope that this assessment will turn out to be an ultimately alarmist one, but for the moment it seems a touch of paranoia is warranted. As Peter Wallace has remarked, the Philippines, especially under the present dispensation, is a magical place, one that has been bent and warped ad majorem Gloria gloriam.

Round and round

While Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) founding chairman Jose Maria Sison was studiously careful not to endorse a presidential candidate in a recent Bulalat interview—endorsement being, after all, a validation of the very system that the CPP and its various arms would see consigned to the dustbin of history—I find it worth noting that, between front-runners Noynoy Aquino and Manny Villar, Sison thought Villar had a “relatively better”, if “underplayed”, program, and that Villar, because of said program and the people around him, would be more likely to enter into serious peace negotiations with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP).

The assessment itself is nothing new, considering that the CPP, in a statement issued to mark its 41st anniversary last December, said Villar seemed to be “the most patriotic and progressive insofar as he advocates the interests of Filipino businessmen, expresses sympathy for the workers and peasants and condemns human rights violations”. Of course, the CPP has also derided Villar for his bureaucrat capitalism, for being “the biggest among [former President] Estrada’s stooges“—are these remarks that belong to the dustbin of history as well?

In any case, the statements of Sison are interesting to me for a couple of reasons. The first reason is that it unfailingly leads me to the question, “What program?”

Granted, there was that much-vauntedmutual adoption” of platforms between the Nacionalista Party (NP) and the Makabayan coalition, but the resultant document was published in the NP web site only on February 20, several days after the official campaign period had started, and over two months after the same material was available on the Makabayan web site. Perhaps more importantly, can the document be found in Villar’s main campaign site? As of this writing, it cannot.

I wish to stress that, as I have pointed out elsewhere, Villar is utterly dismissive of platforms, and his dismissiveness is a matter of public record. In an interview with Ricky Carandang, he said, “Kasi yung mga plataporma, madaling sabihin ‘yan e. Pagagawa mo lang sa speechwriter mo ang mga plataporma mo, sasabihin mo ‘yan, me-memorize-in mo ‘yan, okay na.” Such a statement should strike no one as having come from a man who takes platforms in particular, and governance in general, with any gravity or sincerity.

This brings me to the second reason that I find Sison’s evaluation interesting: in claiming that Villar would be more amenable to negotiations with the NDFP—Aquino being supposedly surrounded by anti-communist and pseudo-progressive elements—Sison appears to have overlooked the fact that the NP is a former ally of, and is still friendly with, Kilusang Bagong Lipunan (KBL), of which the honorary chairman is none other than former First Lady Imelda Marcos, the living half of the conjugal dictatorship that was once touted as the most effective recruiter for the CPP. Moreover, Villar and the Marcoses are on such good terms that they, along with the so-called solid North founded by the late dictator Ferdinand, will be voting for Villar.

Even if Sison later quibbles and says that he had, after all, been asked to pick between undesirable choices, his seeming willful blindness to the Marcosian specter and spectacle that is necessarily connected to the “relatively better” Villar, is disturbing.

Does Sison believe that delivering justice to a body politic that continues to suffer from the ravages of the Marcos regime is no longer the priority that it was? And what about the allegations of abuse against Villar himself—do not these matter? Has Sison yielded to the inevitability of a Villar-aided Marcos restoration? Or, as Business Mirror columnist Manuel Buencamino suggested some time ago, is the revolution indeed over?

Insofar as the concept of revolution implies the presence of a circle, closing with this quotation from Imelda Marcos may well be apropos: “My economic theory is that money was made round to go round. Money was made to encircle man so that he would blossom with many flowers. The whole trouble is, the center is money. All the heads of people thinking about money. All the hands of people reaching out for money. All their poor little bodies working for money. They are running in all directions for money.”

[This also appears in Filipino Voices.]

Stephanie Dychiu, James Putzel, and the ethics of reportage

The primary function of language, being a social fact, is communication, and it remains operative throughout whatever other uses language may be put. The communicative function of language takes on additional weight in journalism, because the currency of that particular trade is information, and the objective is the equal distribution of wealth thereof, as it were. Whether “straight” reportage—for lack of a better term—or opinion and editorial writing, the practice of journalism necessarily involves the use of power—the power to influence the way that people look at themselves, their respective societies, and the world at large, the power to help shape values and attitudes, and the power to combat ignorance and enable everyone to “exercise their sovereign human right to decide their destinies” [1].

Bearing the foregoing in mind, I would now like to begin an examination of the series on Hacienda Luisita that was published on the GMANews.TV web site and authored by Stephanie Dychiu. As of this writing, four out of the five parts of the series, which professes to be a thorough investigation of how Senator Benigno S. “Noynoy” Aquino III and the issue of Hacienda Luisita are intimately linked, have been made publicly available.

What I am particularly concerned with here is how Dychiu has used A Captive Land: The Politics of Agrarian Reform in the Philippines [2], a book written by Professor James Putzel and published in 1992, in her development of the series, specifically in these articles: “Hacienda Luisita’s past haunts Noynoy’s future” [3] and “Cory’s land reform legacy to test Noynoy’s political will” [4], which are the first two parts of the series, as well as “The Garchitorena land scam” [5] and “How the Cojuangcos got majority control of Hacienda Luisita” [6], which are complementary articles to “Cory’s land reform legacy”. I last retrieved all these articles on March 22, 2010, and I have stored copies of these for reference, given the mutable nature of hypertexts.

My choice of focus is, in some respects, arbitrary, but, as I hope to show, not entirely without merit. A Captive Land seeks to present a historical overview of agrarian reform in the Philippines, and while it contains strong criticism of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) that was begun during the administration of the late former President Corazon C. Aquino, it also offers a complex and finely nuanced discussion of agrarian reform.

Allow me to state, in the interest of transparency, that I support the bid of Senator Aquino for president, and that my decision to write this essay is partially motivated by such support. I readily admit that I do not have the necessary background to discuss agrarian reform in general or A Captive Land in particular with any scholarly competence, but that is not the intention here, in any case.

My concerns in this essay, such as they are, do not, in fact, include agrarian reform, Hacienda Luisita, or Senator Aquino and his family per se. Rather, my goal is to critique how Dychiu, herself no agrarian reform expert, as the ostensible writer of—and thus the one ultimately accountable for—the series, used the book in her work, though I do not dismiss her series wholesale.

This critique is animated primarily by the following questions:

  1. Has Dychiu used Putzel, a recognized development expert, responsibly, with due regard and care for what he is actually saying?
  2. Insofar as the Hacienda Luisita series is concerned, can Dychiu be said to have upheld the code of ethics of Philippine journalism that has been formulated by the Philippine Press Institute (PPI) and the National Press Club (NPC)?

Responsible research?

As previously mentioned, Dychiu cites A Captive Land several times in the series.

In “Hacienda Luisita’s past” [7], she invokes Putzel in discussing the acquisition of Central Azucarera de Tarlac and Hacienda Luisita, as well as the conditions set by the Monetary Board with reference to how the Cojunagco family obtained Central Bank approval for the foreign loan that was secured in order to purchase the hacienda.

In “Cory’s land reform legacy” [8], while going over the stock distribution option (SDO), which is provided for in the CARP law, she quotes Putzel’s comment that the farmers of Hacienda Luisita, who favored the SDO, may not have really understood what it meant, and then refers to him to pinpoint the date for the formation of Hacienda Luisita. Linked to this article are “The Garchitorena land scam” [9] and “How the Cojuangcos got majority control” [10], which finds Dychiu citing Putzel yet again.

It must be conceded that Putzel, as earlier mentioned, is highly critical of how agrarian reform was undertaken during the Aquino administration, especially with regard to the SDO. In fact, Putzel seems to believe strongly in redistributive agrarian reform, and approves of peasant mobilization, saying in his conclusion that it is a key factor in ensuring that agrarian reform will at least remain on the development agenda [11].

Two basic tests that may be applied in order to determine how responsible a researcher has been are as follows: first, how correctly the researcher has quoted or paraphrased his or her source material; and second, how the source material so quoted or paraphrased has been deployed within the researcher’s work. To my mind, Dychiu fails both.

Note that A Captive Land is used as the source in the first article just to establish the bits of historical background for Hacienda Luisita—a version of the background, it must be underscored, that neither Dychiu nor GMANews.TV appears to have asked from Hacienda Luisita itself—while Putzel’s remark is simply repeated in the second article.

The absence of a counterpoint to Putzel, or any of the other authorities she cites, for that matter, in a piece that contrives itself as reportage, rather than opinion, is also curious, especially considering that, in the introduction preceding “After Luisita massacre, more killings linked to protest” [12], the fourth part of the series, the period over which the research for the series was conducted—three months—and the supervision that Dychiu received from GMANews.TV editor-in-chief Howie Severino are emphasized. Putzel himself, though obviously an advocate of a specific set of directions for agrarian reform, bolstered his position precisely by comparing and contrasting it with those of others.

Moreover, it does not seem unfair to say that Dychiu’s use of Putzel’s statements has less to do with the amplification of her points than with decoration: when she is not (merely) echoing his arguments, her use of Putzel is minimal, tokenistic, and, worst of all, distortive. But perhaps my charge against Dychiu is better illustrated with a few examples.

This is Dychiu explaining how the dictator Ferdinand Marcos dealt with Hacienda Luisita in “Hacienda Luisita’s past”, with key sections emphasized:

The Cojuangcos’ disputed hold over Hacienda Luisita had been tolerated by Marcos even at the height of his dictatorship. However, as Ninoy Aquino and his family were leaving for exile in the US, a case was filed on May 7, 1980 by the Marcos government against the Cojuangco company TADECO for the surrender of Hacienda Luisita to the Ministry of Agrarian Reform, so land could be distributed to the farmers at cost, in accordance with the terms of the government loans given in 1957-1958 to the late Jose Cojuangco, Sr., who died in 1976. (Republic of the Philippines vs. TADECO, Civil Case No. 131654, Manila Regional Trial Court, Branch XLIII)

The Marcos government filed this case after written follow-ups sent to the Cojuangcos over a period of eleven years did not result in land distribution. (The Cojuangcos always replied that the loan terms were unenforceable because there were no tenants on the hacienda.) The government’s first follow-up letter was written by Conrado Estrella of the Land Authority on March 2, 1967. Another letter was written by Central Bank Governor Gregorio Licaros on May 5, 1977. Another letter was written by Agrarian Reform Deputy Minister Ernesto Valdez on May 23, 1978.

The government’s lawsuit was portrayed by the anti-Marcos bloc as an act of harassment against Ninoy Aquino’s family. Inside Hacienda Luisita, however, the farmers thought the wheels of justice were finally turning and land distribution was coming.

[…]

The government pursued its case against the Cojuangcos, and by December 2, 1985, the Manila Regional Trial Court ordered TADECO to surrender Hacienda Luisita to the Ministry of Agrarian Reform. According to Putzel, this decision was rendered with unusual speed and was decried by the Cojuangcos as another act of harassment, because Cory Aquino, now a widow after the assassination of Ninoy Aquino in 1983, was set to run for President against Marcos in the February 7, 1986 snap elections. The Cojuangcos elevated the case to the Court of Appeals (Court of Appeals G.R. 08634).

Cory Aquino officially announced her candidacy on December 3, 1985. Land reform was one of the pillars of her campaign. [13]

This is Putzel’s account in A Captive Land, again with important parts highlighted:

It became clear fairly early on that although Marcos claimed he would break the oligarchy through martial law, he needed the support of landowners and provincial political clans to enforce his rule throughout the country. Marcos’ refusal to challenge the landowners head-on was clear when he restricted reform to rice and corn lands. Even here he allowed phased implementation, which gave landowners time to take evasive measures.

[…]

What is more, Marcos himself was a large landowner and used martial law to increase his own landholdings as well as those of his extended family.

[…]

Thus, Marcos did not attempt to use the state to undermine the oligarchy as a whole, but to strike out at specific powerful opponents. Marcos’s rejection of the ‘Rules and Regulations’ for the implementation of the reform, which were drawn up by the DAR in 1972, left the programme vague and therefore more easily employed as a means to reward supporters and punish opponents.

[…]

[The Cojuangcos] did not hear from the government again until Aquino was about to leave detention for a by-pass operation in the United States in May 1980. The day before he left, the government filed a case. The plaintiffs evidently included the Central Bank (or Monetary Board), the Government Service Insurance System and the Ministry of Agrarian Reform. The case remained in its preliminary stages until August 1983 when Aquino was assassinated. It was only then that the government began to conduct hearings, but there was still no urgency to the case. However, the government’s attitude changed at the time of the snap elections in February 1986, when the Aquino-Cojuangco clan once more emerged as a major threat to Marcos. On 3 December 1985, one day after Cory Aquino filed her candidacy, Judge Pardo of the Regional Trial Court denied the appeal and ruled that the family had to transfer their lands. The judge made his ruling even before summary arguments were presented, suggesting that Marcos had intervened to ask for a quick decision. [14]

One has to wonder how Dychiu was able to say that the attitude of Marcos toward Hacienda Luisita was one of “tolerance”, considering that she does even not point to any persons or materials that could back up her claim—in sharp contrast to Putzel, who scrupulously cites his sources. It is worth noting that Putzel can hardly be said to belong to the “anti-Marcos bloc” that Dychiu claims portrayed the Marcos-initiated lawsuits as “harassment against Ninoy Aquino’s family”, and yet he himself probably agrees with the assessment of that “anti-Marcos bloc”. Why Dychiu appears to disagree is not clear.

Furthermore, based on the dates, Dychiu provides a different—a reversed—sequence of events, saying that Cory Aquino filed her candidacy after the Regional Trial Court had ordered the transfer of Hacienda Luisita, while Putzel states that Cory had done it before.

It must be admitted that Putzel has the date wrong, as Cory did file her candidacy on December 3. The report that follows below, available on TIME.com, is just one of several identifying the date, although, as can be seen, the release of the order was timed to come after the filing.

[Corazon Aquino] also charged the President with “political harassment,” claiming that for years Marcos has tried to confiscate a sugar plantation owned by her family. Aquino revealed that on Dec. 3, the day she announced her candidacy, a regional court ordered the government to seize the property. [15]

Putzel does also say that the order to transfer “was actually dated 2 December 1985, the same day that General Fabian Ver, Marcos’ chief of staff, was cleared of all charges in connection with the assassination of Benigno Aquino” [16]. Could this be the reason for the disparity between the accounts of Dychiu and Putzel?

In “The Garchitorena land scam”, Dychiu refers to Putzel yet again. I have highlighted an interestingly worded sentence, which indicates another disparity:

In his 1992 book A Captive Land: The Politics of Agrarian Reform in the Philippines, American development studies expert Dr. James Putzel also mentioned that Father Bernas had informed President Aquino about the Garchitorena deal on April 1, 1989. Aquino then met with the DAR and Land Bank heads on April 5, 1989. Then, Sharp petitioned the Supreme Court to enforce the P62.7 million payment. Juico subsequently stopped the payment order, but the scam had already been exposed in Congress. [17]

This is Putzel’s account in A Captive Land, with my emphasis:

The President was informed about the deal on 1 April 1989 by Fr. Joaquin Bernas, and she met with [Land Bank of the Philippines President] Vistan and [Department of Agrarian Reform Secretary] Juico on 5 April. Sharp then had the audacity to petition the Supreme Court to order DAR to pay the P62.7 million for the land. Subsequently, Secretary Juico stopped the payment order and began an investigation of the deal. However, Vistan revealed the overpricing agreemtn to Congress and on 13 May 1989, Rep. Edcel Lagman told a joint House-Senate Committee the details, unleashing a scandal that brought the DAR’s work virtually to a halt. [18]

Observe that Dychiu states the scandal “had already been exposed” even as Juico stopped the payment order, which is very, very different from Putzel’s narration. Where Putzel shows one event following another, Dychiu claims that Putzel points to a confluence. Is this not a misrepresentation of Putzel? Why does Dychiu again change the timing of events—and, in this instance, purport to be simply repeating Putzel?

Let me now move on to how Putzel is used by Dychiu in “Cory’s land reform legacy”. His opinion regarding the SDO is presented toward the middle of the article:

In his 1992 book A Captive Land: The Politics of Agrarian Reform in the Philippines, American development studies expert James Putzel expressed doubt that the farmers understood the choice that was presented to them. “The outcome of the vote was entirely predictable,” he wrote. “The balance of power in the country favored families like the Cojuangcos. The problem was not really that the farm workers were denied the right to choose . . . it was rather that [they] were denied an environment that would allow them to identify what their choices were.” [19]

He is again cited by Dychiu a few paragraphs later in “Cory’s land reform legacy” this way:

In his book A Captive Land, Putzel also noted that Hacienda Luisita, Inc. (HLI), the company formed by the Cojuangcos to operationalize Luisita’s SDO, was incorporated in August 1988—nine months before the farm workers were first asked to choose between stocks or land in May 1989.

This bred suspicion that the SDO was considered a done deal early on, and the two rounds of voting with the farmers were only organized to give an appearance of transparency. [20]

If the early incorporation of HLI indeed “bred suspicion”, the vague phrasing and the passive voice of Dychiu’s last paragraph in the immediately foregoing quotation should breed suspicion in turn: who were the ones doing the suspecting against the SDO, when the farmers concerned voted overwhelmingly in favor of it? Does this not seem to be a passive-aggressive attack on the Cojuangcos?

Such a sentiment is not expressed by Putzel—opining that “the farmworkers, tenants, and the landless rural poor continued to be denied an environment that would allow them to identify what their choices were” [21] is not the same as insinuating that there was a conspiracy within the Cojuangco family “to give an appearance of transparency”, as Dychiu does. In this regard, Dychiu’s stance actually seems closer to that of Assembliya ng mga Manggagawang Bukid ng Hasyenda Luisita (AMBALUS), the peasant organization whose view on the SDO vote Putzel disagrees with [22].

Incidentally, Fr. Joaquin G. Bernas, himself an advocate of land redistribution, wrote that, with reference to the majority vote for the SDO, “It could be presumptuous of me to tell the farmers what is good for them […] It is not easy for a distant observer to question the wishes of the beneficiaries directly involved” [23]. Bernas, unlike Dychiu, maintained a specific position on the matter but acknowledged its complexity, especially with reference to the choice that over 90% of the farmers made.

As a final example, here are two paragraphs from Dychiu’s “How the Cojuangcos got majority control”:

Those who have studied HLI’s books say the non-land assets seem to have been overvalued to increase the Cojuangcos’ share, while the land assets were undervalued to limit the farm workers’ share.

In his 1992 book A Captive Land: The Politics of Agrarian Reform in the Philippines, American development studies expert Dr. James Putzel showed how the non-land assets were inflated. [24]

Just like the previous example, Dychiu appears to be making a disingenuous move: who, besides Putzel himself, are the parties (“those”) that have independently studied the books of HLI and believe that its non-land assets were inflated? Why are neither these persons nor their studies mentioned by name? Do they exist at all, or is Dychiu making a hasty generalization based on the statement of a single person—an authority, to be sure, but a single person nevertheless?

It could be argued, of course, that Dychiu must use her sources selectively, a fate that befalls any other writer, but, vis-à-vis the aforementioned excerpts, the judiciousness of her selections must be called into question.

Ethical journalism?

It is worth pointing out that, in his introduction to A Captive Land, Putzel acknowledges that there are advantages and disadvantages in writing about CARP so soon after its passage and early stages of implementation—ultimately, Putzel looks at his own book as a contribution to “what must be an on-going process of study about agrarian reform”, believing that it “will need to be amended, or even revised as other information becomes available” (xxiii) [25]. He certainly does not assert that his work is in any way definitive, which is indicative of his integrity as scholar.

A common practice among academicians is to avoid, as much as possible, invisibility—that is, the researcher generally takes it upon himself or herself to reveal his or her his or her interests and investments in a given project so as to establish not only the scope and limitations of the study itself, but also the scope and limitations of the specific subject-position from which the study is shaped. Claims to omniscience or absolute knowledge are recognized as acts of epistemic violence, and ought to be explicitly denounced and avoided.

Such an ethical stance finds equivalents in the realm of Philippine professional journalism. Two provisions from “Journalist’s Code of Ethics“, a code jointly formulated by the Philippine Press Institute (PPI) and the National Press Club (NPC), seem especially germane: one is, “I shall scrupulously report and interpret the news, taking care not to suppress essential facts or to distort the truth by omission or improper emphasis. I recognise the duty to air the other side and the duty to correct substantive errors promptly”; and the other is, “I shall not let personal motives or interests influence me in the performance of my duties; nor shall I accept or offer any present, gift or other consideration of a nature which may cast doubt on my professional integrity” [26].

As regards these provisions, of course, an admission must be registered: to the extent that journalism requires arranging data in particular ways, at particular times, for particular purposes, under the auspices of particular actors both within and without the profession—editors and publishers on the one hand, for example, and advertisers and readers on the other—and given that facts themselves are inherently value-laden, non-distortion and the elision of personal motives or interests are, at best, nearly impossible tasks.

Nevertheless, the importance of clarity, completeness, and contextualization in the presentation of information cannot be emphasized enough. While the 1987 Philippine Constitution certainly protects the freedoms of expression, of speech, and of the press from abrogation, laws against obscenity, libel, slander, intellectual theft, and sedition, among others, also exist in order to ensure that such freedoms are exercised with responsibility.

The “Journalist’s Code of Ethics” [27] is but an extension of or complement to such laws, and its very existence indicates a recognition within the field of professional journalism that words, because they are capable of material effect, can be dangerous. This is not a newly discovered or recognized property of words.  Even the most cursory examination of history will show that many reputations, relationships, and regimes have been reared and razed by words.  In Christian theology, the world was brought about with words, and later saved by the Word.  And of course, just waiting to be summoned is the platitudinous comparison between the pen and the sword. Therefore, it behooves anyone who uses words to be ever aware of—and to be equal to—the great burden he or she bears—even the most reclusive diarist must realize that he or she is writing for someone else, if only someone other than his or her present self.

On the GMANews.TV web site, the Hacienda Luisita series by Dychiu is classified under “Special Reports”, a section of the site that contains what appear to be specimens of that could be called straight reportage. The “specialness” of the reports collected under this rubric probably derives largely from their sustained length and relative depth. At the level of categorization alone, Dychiu’s series is already problematic. Consider how the first part of the series, “Hacienda Luisita’s past”, opens:

Senator Noynoy Cojuangco Aquino has said he only owns 1% of Hacienda Luisita. Why is he being dragged into the hacienda’s issues?

This is one of the most common questions asked in the 2010 elections.

To find the answer, GMANews.TV traveled to Tarlac and spoke to Luisita’s farm workers and union leaders. A separate interview and review of court documents was then conducted with the lawyers representing the workers’ union in court. GMANews.TV also examined the Cojuangcos’ court defense and past media and legislative records on the Luisita issue.

The investigation yielded illuminating insights into Senator Noynoy Aquino’s involvement in Hacienda Luisita that have not been openly discussed since his presidential bid. Details are gradually explored in this series of special reports.

A background on the troubled history of Hacienda Luisita is essential to understanding why the issue is forever haunting Senator Noynoy Aquino and his family. [28]

The use of phrases such as “being dragged”, “one of the most common”, “troubled history”, and “forever haunting” [29] would seem to be inappropriate and should have been excised from a piece of straight reportage. Not only are they tonally charged, they also pivot on undisclosed assumptions about how Senator Aquino is bound up with and implicated in the issue of Hacienda Luisita.

The announced intention of discovering why Senator Aquino is “being dragged” into the issue, for instance, is, at bottom, predicated on a spurious hyperbole: because the issue is supposed to be “forever haunting” him, though it was previously stated that this same issue is the root of “one of the most common questions asked in the 2010 elections” [30]. The pentapartite series, then, seems to be based on a question for which the author already had a kind of blueprint or outline of answers before even beginning the research process, which may explain why it is seriously flawed, as I have already shown.

What is most significant about the excerpt above, however, is the third paragraph: GMANews.TV pointedly did not interview anyone from the Cojuangco family or any Hacienda Luisita official, preferring instead to consult old court documents, media reports, and legislative records, despite, as earlier mentioned, the fact that three months’ worth of research was supposedly put into the series.

This is a strange decision for at least two reasons: first, farm workers, union leaders, and union lawyers were directly consulted; and second, Dychiu does not make the conventional statement that the Cojuangcos or the officials of Hacienda Luisita refused to be interviewed, which implies that they may have been willing, had they been asked. Did Dychiu, or anyone from the GMANews.TV team, even attempt to interview these people? If so, how did they respond? Why are their responses not noted?

Moreover, after three months of research—research that was conducted under the supervision of Severino, a veteran journalist, to boot—it is unbelievable that Dychiu could only find one scholarly tome on the subject—a tome, I might add, that is nearly two decades old. Equally unbelievable is her seeming lack of initiative or interest to investigate the extensive list of references at the end of A Captive Land, when the list could have pointed her toward resources with which her study could have been deepened and enriched.

What is most difficult to accept about Dychiu’s work is that it presents itself as reportage—a type of journalistic writing that ideally seeks to put forward facts corroborated by reliable primary and secondary sources, as well as a balance of multiple viewpoints—when, upon close examination, it deliberately imparts only one perspective.

That nothing can or should stop Dychiu from taking up and defending a position that is at odds with CARP, with the SDO, with the handling of Hacienda Luisita, or with Senator Aquino and his family should be obvious enough. This, however, does not give her, or GMANews.TV, for that matter, the liberty—at least from a professional, ethical perspective—to declare that her work is reportage when, from the very beginning, it is obvious that she is determined to be one-sided, even at the cost of distorting and misrepresenting her sources, such as Putzel’s book.

What is the purpose behind her insidious insinuations? Why, when she could come clean about her biases instead—a move that would indicate an openness to dialogue, a willingness to be challenged—does Dychiu avoid showing her true face?

While I do not think that this piece will be met with unanimous agreement, I believe that I have given the astute reader enough material such that he or she will at least entertain a healthy skepticism about the work of Dychiu and the standards of GMANews.TV sets for itself as a media organization.

If, as I mentioned earlier, the currency of the trade of journalism is information, dare any critical, ethical reader have faith in and use the information that has Dychiu provided, particularly when she cannot even report the smallest details accurately? How can her larger claims be trusted when she cannot perform the simple act of quotation properly, instead willfully warping data—including data from her chosen expert—to suit her prejudices, which she has conveniently failed to disclose?

I began this essay with two questions, which I will repeat here:

  1. Has Dychiu used Putzel, a recognized development expert, responsibly, with due regard and care for what he is actually saying?
  2. Insofar as the Hacienda Luisita series is concerned, can Dychiu be said to have upheld the code of ethics of Philippine journalism that has been formulated by the Philippine Press Institute (PPI) and the National Press Club (NPC)?

I am sorry to say that my answer to both questions is a resounding, “No”.

*

Notes

  1. Luis V. Teodoro, ed., “About the Site”, Eye on Ethics, n.d., Center for Media Responsibility and Asia Media Forum, http://www.eyeonethics.org/about, accessed 18 March. 2010.
  2. James Putzel, A Captive Land: The Politics of Agrarian Reform in the Philippines, Quezon City: Ateneo de Manila U P, 1992.
  3. Stephanie Dychiu, “Hacienda Luisita’s past haunts Noynoy’s future”, GMANews.TV, 18 January 2010, GMA Network, Inc., http://www.gmanews.tv/story/181877/hacienda-luisitas-past-haunts-noynoys-future, accessed 22 March 2010.
  4. Stephanie Dychiu, “Cory’s land reform legacy to test Noynoy’s political will”, GMANews.TV, 22 January 2010, GMA Network, Inc., http://www.gmanews.tv/story/182195/corys-land-reform-legacy-to-test-noynoys-political-will, accessed 22 March 2010.
  5. Stephanie Dychiu, “The Garchitorena land scam”, GMANews.TV 22 January 2010, GMA Network, Inc, http://www.gmanews.tv/story/182211/the-garchitorena-land-scam, accessed 22 March 2010.
  6. Stephanie Dychiu, “How the Cojuangcos got majority control of Hacienda Luisita”, GMANews.TV, 22 January 2010, GMA Network, Inc., http://www.gmanews.tv/story/182212/how-the-cojuangcos-got-majority-control-of-hacienda-luisita-under-carp, accessed 22 March 2010.
  7. Dychiu, “Hacienda Luisita’s past haunts Noynoy’s future”, op. cit.
  8. Dychiu, “Cory’s land reform legacy to test Noynoy’s political will”, op. cit.
  9. Dychiu, “The Garchitorena land scam”, op. cit.
  10. Dychiu, “How the Cojuangcos got majority control of Hacienda Luisita”, op. cit.
  11. Putzel, op. cit., p. 382.
  12. Stephanie Dychiu, “After Luisita massacre, more killings linked to protest”, GMANews.TV, 11 February 2010, GMA Network, Inc., http://www.gmanews.tv/story/183662/after-luisita-massacre-more-killings-linked-to-protest, accessed 22 March 2010.
  13. Dychiu, “Hacienda Luisita’s past haunts Noynoy’s future”, op. cit.
  14. Putzel, op. cit., pp. 146-8.
  15. “World Notes: Jan. 13, 1986”, TIME.com, 21 June 2005, Time Inc., http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1074933,00.html, accessed 18 March 2010.
  16. Putzel, op. cit., p. 148n222.
  17. Dychiu, “The Garchitorena land scam”, op. cit.
  18. Putzel, op. cit., p. 315.
  19. Dychiu, “Cory’s land reform legacy to test Noynoy’s political will”, op. cit.
  20. Ibid.
  21. Putzel, op. cit., p. 335.
  22. Ibid., p. 335n119.
  23. Joaquin G. Bernas, SJ, “More on Hacienda Luisita”, A Living Constitution: The Cory Aquino Presidency, Pasig City: Anvil Publishing, Inc., 2000, pp. 215; 218.
  24. Dychiu, “How the Cojuangcos got majority control of Hacienda Luisita”, op. cit.
  25. Putzel, op. cit., p. xxiii.
  26. Philippine Press Institute and National Press Club, “Journalist’s Code of Ethics”, Eye on Ethics, n.d., Center for Media Responsibility and Asia Media Forum. http://www.eyeonethics.org/journalist-code-of-ethics-in-asia/journalists-code-of-ethics-philippines, accessed 18 March 2010.
  27. Ibid.
  28. Dychiu, “Hacienda Luisita’s past haunts Noynoy’s future”, op. cit.
  29. Ibid., italics original.
  30. Ibid.

Works Cited

Bernas, Joaquin G. “More on Hacienda Luisita”. A Living Constitution: The Cory Aquino Presidency. Pasig City: Anvil Publishing, Inc., 2000. 214-9.

Dychiu, Stephanie. “After Luisita massacre, more killings linked to protest”. GMANews.TV. 11 Feb. 2010, GMA Network, Inc. 22 Mar. 2010. <http://www.gmanews.tv/story/183662/after-luisita-massacre-more-killings-linked-to-protest&gt;.

—. “Cory’s land reform legacy to test Noynoy’s political will”. GMANews.TV. 22 Jan. 2010, GMA Network, Inc. 22 Mar. 2010. <http://www.gmanews.tv/story/182195/corys-land-reform-legacy-to-test-noynoys-political-will&gt;.

—. “The Garchitorena land scam”. GMANews.TV. 22 Jan. 2010, GMA Network, Inc. 22 Mar. 2010. <http://www.gmanews.tv/story/182211/the-garchitorena-land-scam&gt;.

—. “Hacienda Luisita’s past haunts Noynoy’s future”. GMANews.TV. 18 Jan. 2010, GMA Network, Inc. 22 Mar. 2010. <http://www.gmanews.tv/story/181877/hacienda-luisitas-past-haunts-noynoys-future&gt;.

—. “How the Cojuangcos got majority control of Hacienda Luisita”. GMANews.TV. 22 Jan. 2010, GMA Network, Inc. 22 Mar. 2010. <http://www.gmanews.tv/story/182212/how-the-cojuangcos-got-majority-control-of-hacienda-luisita-under-carp&gt;.

Philippine Press Institute and National Press Club. “Journalist’s Code of Ethics”. Eye on Ethics. n.d., Center for Media Responsibility and Asia Media Forum. 18 Mar. 2010. <http://www.eyeonethics.org/journalist-code-of-ethics-in-asia/journalists-code-of-ethics-philippines/&gt;.

Putzel, James. “Agrarian Reform in a Captive Land”. Introduction. A Captive Land: The Politics of Agrarian Reform in the Philippines. By Putzel. xix-xxiv.

—. A Captive Land: The Politics of Agrarian Reform in the Philippines. Quezon City: Ateneo de Manila U P, 1992.

Teodoro, Luis V., ed. “About the Site”. Eye on Ethics. n.d., Center for Media Responsibility and Asia Media Forum.  18 Mar. 2010. <http://www.eyeonethics.org/about/&gt;.

“World Notes: Jan. 13, 1986”. TIME.com. 21 Jun. 2005, Time Inc.  18 Mar. 2010. <http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1074933,00.html&gt;.

Truth and lice

Whatever else can be said about the adoption of Makabayang Koalisyon ng Mamamayan (Makabayan) senatorial candidates Satur Ocampo and Liza Maza by the Nacionalista Party (NP), it is definitely nothing less than an event for the history books. After all, Ocampo and Maza are militant leftists, while the NP is a party headed by real estate mogul and presidential candidate Manny Villar, and also includes Bongbong Marcos, the son and namesake of dictator Ferdinand, in its line-up for the Senate.

If I understand the official statements on the alliance correctly, Ocampo and Maza, as well as the members of Makabayan, view it as a significant opportunity to shift their revolutionary struggle onto the center of the national stage and into the limelight of public affairs. It may be useful to frame the situation in classical terms: Ocampo and Maza constitute the Trojan Horse of the Left, with which the walled city of Philippine politics, sitting high on its dung heap of graft and corruption, and gleaming with impunity, will be infiltrated, conquered, and rebuilt anew. Of course, one must admit that such an explanation is not quite adequate: to resort to it is to elide the fact that Ocampo and Maza were already mainstream politicians to begin with, as both have been serving in the Lower House of Congress as party-list representatives since 2001.

In any case, already the horse has begun to roll forward, as the NP agreed to integrate the Makabayan platform into its own, leading to the production and release of the document entitled, “In Response to the People’s Concerns“—a document strangely unavailable on the official NP web site as of this writing.

Kabataan Partylist Representative Raymond “Mong” Palatino, in “Misunderestimating the Philippine Left“, one of the more recent commentaries on the issue, put it this way: “Villar’s brave decision to openly embrace a platform-based unity with the left has smashed the taboo in Philippine politics. From now on, the participation of the left will be expected in future electoral contests for top political posts.”

That a taboo exists at all, as may be inferred from the assertions Palatino makes in the essay, has to do with how (orthodox?) leftists have been spoken of by various “academics and commentators”, “liberal right-wingers”, and “apostates”: demonized all and sundry as destabilizers and terrorists, leftists suffer from “not [being] recognized as legitimate political players who can use valid political practices in the electoral arena”. This is a claim not without merit: surely it cannot be just to refuse the left a seat at the table of democracy on the basis of what Palatino refers to as its “past mistakes”—ones, he adds, that the extreme left has apologized for. To reduce the left to its history of bloody violence is itself an act of violence—such an act condemns the left always and forever to irrelevance, death, or both, and denies the transformative possibilities of ideological difference.

That said, I have to take exception to how Palatino read the motives of those attacking the NP-Makabayan alliance: “The anti-left gang is mad not because the left endorsed a presidential candidate. They are mad because the left has refused to endorse Noynoy Aquino.”

Tonyo Cruz has said in his Asian Correspondent blog that, “It is a matter of public record that Noynoy Aquino shut the door on Ocampo and Maza, despite the Makabayan coalition’s earnest overtures.Manila Standard Today columnist Jojo Robles, who recounted how Ocampo described his meeting with Aquino, thought it was “unfortunate that Noynoy Aquino and his traditionally bourgeois collection of yellow-clad supporters may have missed out on this major political development.” How, then, can Palatino’s statement make sense? If (a) Aquino and the Liberal Party rejected the left, and (b) the anti-left “gang”—whatever that might be, as I am not convinced it even exists—supports Aquino, how does one arrive at the conclusion that (c) the anti-left “gang” is angry at the left for not endorsing Aquino?

Furthermore, anti-left sentiments are hardly exclusive to any one political group: BANTAY Party-list, to cite one example, was founded precisely on such sentiments, and its leader, Jovito S. Palparan, is running as an independent candidate for senator.

It may well be accurate to say that I am guilty of nitpicking, but one would be wise to bear this in mind: where there are nits, there are lice—which is to say that more than simple logic is at stake.

If, as Palatino says, the left is treated unfairly when it is conceived of as a monolithic, hence totally reprehensible, entity, is he not doing the same thing by speaking of an anti-left “gang”, which he then uncritically equates with the Aquino camp? Does not the lack of self-reflexivity in his argument—the same lack that he decries as the “pathological narcissism” of the anti-left—register as disingenuous, as an instance of victimage?

For the members of any given minority to strive to overturn the regime that tyrannizes them is perhaps understandable, and yet what is gained if and when they accomplish exactly that? To succeed in turning over structures of oppression is certainly to redistribute power, so that what once was reviled becomes revered, but by no means does the oppression dissipate—rather, the instruments of torture simply change hands. To seek a reversal of terms is merely to honor, reinforce, and perpetuate such terms. Therefore, when a political project remains trapped in old categories, how can it claim to be truly revolutionary?

[This also appears in Filipino Voices.]

An open letter to Senator Dick Gordon

Dear Senator Gordon,

May this letter find you in good health. Forgive my presumptuousness in communicating with you in this manner, but the Internet is one of the few ways that an ordinary citizen and voter such as myself can attempt to reach you.

Upon learning that you had entered the presidential race, I took it upon myself to study the contents of your campaign web site, and what I have found has made for interesting reading. That you are seeking to create meaningful changes in the country, as stated in your manifesto, resonates strongly with me—like many Filipinos, I look forward to the May 2010 polls as an important turning point for our nation, after nearly a decade under the present administration—and there is no doubt in my mind that, should you succeed in your bid, you will be able to accomplish most, if not all, of the goals that you will set for yourself. Although I cannot say that I will cast my vote for you, I do not see why you would not be able to make real your vision for a better Philippines. If there is something that even your harshest critics must say about you, it is that you do not lack the will or the fervor to see your plans through to the last detail—one need only check your long and distinguished public service record. You and your running mate, Mr. Bayani Fernando, are definitely capable of transformational leadership. For that, I respect your candidacy, as I will respect your presidency, should the electorate install you in Malacañan Palace.

The reason that I am writing to you is to express my concerns regarding Mr. Paul Farol, one of the bloggers for Asian Correspondent. I do not know if you are still connected with him professionally, but he claims in his Blogger profile to be one of your interns. Certainly, he is one of your most enthusiastic and most prominent online supporters. He has been wanting you to run for president since 2006, even setting up the Team Gordon 2010 blog out of his own volition, and was moved to the point of tears when he learned that you had filed your certificate of candidacy with the Commission on Elections last December 1. Such passion would warm the cockles of anyone’s heart, and I am sure that you are touched to have someone with the zeal of Mr. Farol on your side.

What I find disturbing—and I believe you should be similarly disturbed—is that Mr. Farol seems to have a personal vendetta against one of your opponents for the presidency, Senator Benigno “Noynoy” S. Aquino III, and has no qualms whatsoever in making a display of it, as evidenced by many of his online postings. For example, one of the updates in his Twitter account—his third, as the others were previously suspended—states that, “I caused the downfall of the Yellow Messiah… Now to find a tree to nail him to.” The use of such a violent image implies a depth of ill feeling—ill feeling that, in the absence of actual justification, would appear to be rooted solely in spite. Consider, for instance, how he responded to a comment on one of his blog entries: “Picking on Noynoy is just a hobby which I am not being paid for and would refuse to get paid for because IT IS SOOOO MUCH FUN.” As though that were not enough, Mr. Farol has also been trying to enlist others in his campaign of irrational hate, presumably with the end view of scoring political points on your behalf.

While I am not one to begrudge anyone his or her freedom of expression, I think you will agree with me when I say that Mr. Farol’s wanton exhibition of malice runs counter—strikingly so—to your vision of Bagumbayan, your expressed belief in the need to “do things, believe things, and think in new ways”. Mr. Farol’s vitriolic outpourings, then, are ultimately harmful to your campaign, positioned as it is precisely against traditional politics, one index of which is the very mudslinging that Mr. Farol is doing.

You yourself have said on your web site that, “What this country needs is not just a change OF men, but a change IN men.” As far as I am concerned, one of the best ways to demonstrate this change is to elevate the level of political discourse from senseless vituperation to civil, rational, merit-based, mature discussion. Therefore, I would like to suggest that you or one of your advisers get in touch with Mr. Farol, and remind him of the progressive values that you uphold, in order that he may support you more effectively and in better faith than he has thus far shown.

Granted, you have also exhorted Filipinos to “[not] let anyone tell you what that change is going to be”, but I am sure that you can convince the public of your worthiness to be president on the basis of your principles and achievements, and not at the expense of your rivals, as Mr. Farol seems to believe.

I trust that you will give this matter serious consideration, and that any steps you take will be decisive ones, steps toward the transformation that all Filipinos, regardless of their alliances, have come to expect of you.

Thank you for your time, and God bless your campaign.

*

(Added December 18, 2009: Paul Farol has informed me that he is not working for Senator Gordon, and that the Blogger profile to which I have linked is not his.)

Helplines and hotlines for Typhoon Ondoy victims

Last major update: September 29, 2009, 3:01 AM. This post will no longer be updated. In the interest of promoting focused and efficient aid, I will contribute to this database instead.

For official situation reports on Ondoy, please refer to this page on the National Disaster Coordinating Council (NDCC) web site.

*

The effects of tropical storm Ondoy (international code name Ketsana) have been devastating. Some photographs and/or videos of the havoc that Ondoy caused may be viewed here, here, and here. According to National Disaster Coordinating Council (NDCC) Situation Report No. 11 on Ondoy (PDF), dated September 28, 2009, 9PM, these are some of the latest figures:

  • Casualties: 141
  • Missing: 37
  • Injured: 5
  • Families affected: 90,223 (453,033 persons)
  • Evacuees in evacuation centers: 23,147 families (115,990 persons)
  • Evacuees outside evacuation centers: 7,791 families (36,421)
  • Damage to infrastructure: PhP1,440,710,000.00 (≈ U.S.$30,014,791.67 at an exchange rate of PhP48.00 = U.S.$1.00)
  • Damage to agriculture: PhP882,524,884.00 (≈ U.S.$18,385,935.08 at an exchange rate of PhP48.00 = U.S.$1.00)

Flood waters have not receded in several areas, and many people have yet to be rescued. The following areas in the Philippines have been declared as being in a state of national calamity:

  • The entire National Capital Region (NCR)
  • CAR: Mountain Province, Ifugao, and Benguet
  • Region I: Pangasinan, La Union, and Ilocos Sur
  • Region II: Isabela, Quirino, and Nueva Vizcaya
  • Region III: Aurora, Nueva Ecija, Zambales, Pampanga, Bulacan, Tarlac, and Bataan
  • Region IV-A: Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Quezon, Rizal
  • Region IV-B: Occidental Mindoro, Oriental Mindoro, and Marinduque
  • Region V: Catanduanes, Camarines Norte, and Camarines Sur

Please refer and/or contribute to the following so that aid operations can be more efficient:

Sahana Disaster Management System is in need of IT volunteers. The system will be extremely helpful in case of future disasters. Send a message to sahana@kahelos.org.

Courtesy of ABS-CBN News Online, assorted updates and advisories may be found here, and a list of class suspensions and cancelled events may be found here.

The succeeding information has been compiled from various sources, and I am particularly indebted to Manolo Quezon, Charo Limaco, Bryan Ong, and Dementia, among many others on Twitter, Plurk, and the general blogosphere.

Unless otherwise specified, all landline numbers are for Metro Manila and therefore require no dialing prefix if you are in that area. If you are outside Metro Manila, add 02 before the number, e.g., 02 XXX XXXX. If you are outside the Philippines, add 632 before the number, e.g., 632 XXX XXXX.

For mobile numbers, callers outside the Philippines should add 63 and drop the 0, e.g., 63XXX XXX XXXX instead of 0XXX XXX XXXX.

Emergency/Rescue Operations

Private citizens who would like to lend their motor boats, please call these numbers:

  • 912 5668
  • 911 1406
  • 912 2665
  • 911 5061

For those who can lend 4×4 trucks, please send them to Greenhills Shoppng Center Unimart Grocery to await deployment. Call this number for more information:

  • 0920 9072902

Honda Cars and Nissan Pangasinan offer towing services anywhere within the Metro Manila area.

  • Hotline: 0922 850 4452
  • Maricel: 0922 445 2242
  • Arnold:  0922 899 7959

ABS-CBN Typhoon Ondoy Hotline

  • 416 3641

Bureau of Fire Protection

  • 729 5166
  • 410 6254
  • 413 8859
  • 407 1230
  • Region III (Central Luzon): (045) 963 4376

Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD)

All numbers are 24-hour hotlines.

  • Disaster Relief Operations, Monitoring, and Information Center (DROMIC), DSWD-NCR: 488 3199
  • Crisis Intervention Unit (CIU), DSWD-NCR: 733 8635
  • Disaster Relief Operations, Monitoring and Information Center (DROMIC), DSWD-Central Office: 931 8101 to 05, local 506 or 951 7119

GMA Kapuso Hotline

  • 9811950 to 59

Jam 88.3

  • 631 8803
  • Text JAM<space>883<space>your message to 2968

Meralco

  • 16211
  • 0917 559 2824
  • 0920 929 2824

Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA)

  • 136
  • 896 6000

National Capital Region Police Office (For rubber boat requests)

  • 838 3203
  • 838 3354

National Disaster Coordinating Council (NDCC)

Emergency Numbers

  • 912 5668
  • 911 1406
  • 912 2665

Help Hotlines

  • 911 5061
  • 734 2118
  • 734 2120

Office of Senator Dick Gordon

  • 0917 899 7898
  • 0938 444 BOYS (2697)

Office of Senator Manny Villar (For rescue dump trucks)

  • 0917 422 6800
  • 0917 241 4864
  • 0927 675 1981

Petron/San Miguel Corporation (For rescue helicopters)

  • Lydia Ragasa: 0917 814 0655

Philippine Coast Guard

  • 527 6136

Philippine National Red Cross (PNRC)

  • 143
  • 527 0000

http://www.GMANews.tv on Facebook

Relief Operations

If you are looking for a relief operations site in your immediate area, you may also check here or here. A handy map of donation drop-off points is available here.

Government Agencies, Socio-civic Groups, and Media Outfits

AKBAYAN

To donate or volunteer, call:

  • 433 6933
  • 433 6831

Aquino-Roxas relief operations/Tulong Bayan

Jiggy Cruz sounded the call for relief goods collection and distribution on September 26 (Saturday) on Twitter.

Tulong Bayan hotlines for donations and volunteers are:

  • 913 7122
  • 913 6254
  • 913 3306
  • 0908 657 9998
  • 0939 363 3436

Donations can be brought to:

  • Balay, Expo Centro, EDSA corner Gen. MacArthur St., Araneta Center, Cubao, Quezon City
  • White Space, 2314 Pasong Tamo Extension, Makati, City (care of Monique Villonco)

Ayala Foundation

Online donations may be coursed through the foundation.

Barangay San Antonio (Parañaque)

The barangay hall, which is located near Parañaque City Hall, will serve as a drop-off point. The address is Sta. Lucia St. corner San Pablo St., San Antonio Valley 1, Parañaque.

Caritas Manila

  • 563 9298
  • 563 9308

Relief goods can be sent to Caritas Manila Office at Jesus St., Pandacan, Manila (near Nagtahan Bridge).

Christ’s Commission Fellowship (CCF)–Ortigas

Please drop off donations at Room 402, St. Francis Square Bldg., Julia Vargas Ave., cor. Bank Drive, Ortigas Center, Mandaluyong City.

Couples for Christ (CFC)

  • 727 0682 to 87
  • 0919 363 4036
  • 0922 866 7191
  • 0922 254 2819

The CFC Center along Ortigas Avenue is now accepting donations in cash or in kind.

For those who wish to donate through bank deposit, you may do so via the  Bank of the Philippines (BPI):

  • Account Name: Couples for Christ Global Missions Inc.
  • Account Number 3103-3055-85.

Citizens Disaster Response Center (CDRC)

  • 929 9820
  • 929 9822

Relief goods for typhoon victims may be delivered to 72-A Times St., West Triangle, Quezon City.

Corporate Network for Disaster Response (CNDR)

Per Noynoy Aquino, cash donations may deposited with the CNDR. The bank details are as follows:

  • Account Number: 0031 0654 02
  • Branch: Bank of the Philippine Islands Ayala-Paseo

Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD)

Each drop-off point for donations has its own contact persons.

Drop-off point 1

National Resource Operations Center, Chapel Road, Pasay City

  • Francia Favian: 852 8081/0918 930 2356

Drop-off point 2

Disaster Resource Operations Monitoring and Information Center (DROMIC), DSWD Central Office, Quezon City

  • Rey Martija or Imee Rose Castillo: 951 7119/951 2435
  • Assistant Secretary Vilma Cabrera: 0918 9345625

Drop-off point 3

DSWD-NCR Office,  San Rafael corner Legarda Streets, Quiapo, Manila.

  • Director Thelsa P. Biolna or Director Delia Bauan: 734 8622/734 8642

Gawad Kalinga

A list of needed relief goods, as well as drop-off centers, is available here.

The guidelines for cash/check donations follow below:

Donations within the Philippines

  • Gawad Kalinga Philippine Peso Current Account 3101 0977 56 – BPI EDSA Greenhills
  • Gawad Kalinga US$ Savings Account 3104 0162 34 (Swift code: BOPIPHMM) – BPI EDSA Greenhills

Should you need receipts, please fax your deposit slip to Delfin Mangona, Operation GK Walang Iwanan at 726 7405.  Kindly indicate name of donor and contact number.

Donations outside the Philippines

For donations outside the Philippines, you can choose from the following :

ANCOP USA

You can send your checks to ANCOP USA, PO Box 10095, Torrance, CA 90505. Or go to http://www.ancopusa.org if you prefer to do it online via credit card.

AYALA FOUNDATION USA

You can issue checks payable to Ayala Foundation USA with project noted (Gawad Kalinga Ondoy Relief) and send to :

Ayala Foundation USA
255 Shoreline Drive, Suite 428
Redwood City, CA 94065
Tel. no. 1-650-598-3126
Fax No. 1-650-508-8898
Email info@af-usa.org

Or you can donate to Ayala Foundation USA via credit card by visiting this link.

In “choosing organization to receive the donation”, please choose “Gawad Kalinga-Community Infrastructure Program” for now.  By September 29, (Tuesday), you will be able to choose “Gawad Kalinga-Relief”.

DONATE ONLINE AT http://www.gk1world.com

Click on this link.  This facility can accept donations from all over the world.

GMA Kapuso Foundation

  • 981 1950 to 59
  • 982 7777, locals 9901/9904/9905

The foundation will accept cash/check, credit card, and in-kind donations. The office address is: 2/F GMA Kapuso Center, Samar St. cor. 11th Jamboree St. Diliman, Quezon City.

Hillsborough Village Chapel

Water, blankets, shoes, and clothes may be sent to Hillsborough Village Chapel in Muntinlupa City. These will go to families whose houses were washed out in the nearby sitios.

Kabataan Partylist

  • 0926 667 7163
  • kabataanpartylist@gmail.com

Drop off donations or volunteer at 118-B Sct. Rallos St., Quezon City.

Manila Broadcasting Company (MBC)

  • 670 0666
  • 832 6117

MBC radio stations DZRH, 101.1 Yes! FM, and 90.7 Love Radio are accepting donations, such as bread, canned goods, clothes, and water. The drop-off point is at the MBC Building, Roxas Boulevard, Pasay City (beside Star City).

Marika Bouncers Cooperative

The c-op will accept donations starting September 28 (Monday), at 10 AM. Its office is located at 95 Malaya St., Malanday, Marikina.

Move for Chiz

Volunteers are asked to report to Bay Park Tent along Roxas Blvd in Manila. It is beside Max’s Restaurant and Diamond Hotel. They may also proceed to  Gilas Minipark on Unang Hakbang St., Gilas, Quezon City.

MusikLokal Luzon Relief

  • Warren Habaluyas: 0929 871 3488
  • luzonrelief@gmail.com

Starting September 28 (Monday), donations can be brought to Renaissance Fitness Center, 2/F, Bramante Building, Renaissance Towers Ortigas, Meralco Avenue, Pasig City, from 9AM to 7PM.

Office of Senator Kiko Pangilinan

  • Vina Vargas: 0917 808 1247

Donations may be sent to AGS Building Annex, 446 EDSA Guadalupe Viejo, Makati.

Office of the President

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has opened Malacañang to victims of Ondoy, according to this report. Heroes Hall will serve as the emergency center.

Operation Rainbow

  • Zac Faelnar Camara: 468 7991

Operation Rainbow in Ayala Alabang Village accepts canned goods, ready-to-eat food, bottled water, ready-to-drink milk and juice, clothing, and blankets.

Our Lady of Pentecost Parish

  • 434 2397
  • 929 0665

Per Gabe Mercado, donations are very much welcome. The Parish is located at 12 F. Dela Rosa corner C. Salvador Sts., Loyola Heights, Quezon City.

Peace Retreat Movement

Please leave all donations at the Peace Retreat Movement (PRM) office: 2/F Room 72L, Christ the King (HS) Building on September 30 (Wednesday), by 12NN.

Relief Efforts for Pasig

  • 0916 494 5000
  • 0917 527 3616

Volunteers may proceed to Valle Verde 1 Village Park.

Relief Operations Center

  • Ares: 0917 855 4935
  • Rachel: 0918 924 1636

A relief operations center has been established at AGS Annex, #446 EDSA, Guadalupe Viejo (after PET Tower). Please call for more details.

Philippine Animal Welfare Society (PAWS)

Rescued animals may be brought to the shelter located on Aurora Boulevard corner Katipunan Avenue.

Philippine Army Officers Ladies Club (PAOLC)

Relief items may be delivered to the GHQ gym at Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City, or to the Philippine Army Gym at Fort Bonifacio.

Philippine Daily Inquirer

  • Megi Garcia: 897 8808 local 260

Donations in kind, such as instant noodles, canned goods, formula milk, blankets and clothes, are urgently needed.

These may be brought to the Inquirer office at 1098 Chino Roces Ave. corner Mascardo and Yague Streets, Makati City, or to any of its classified ads branches, or to any McDonald’s branch within Metro Manila.

Philippine National Red Cross (PNRC)

Contact the nearest chapter to find out how you can help.

To donate via SMS, please follow the instructions below:

  • SMS: Text RED<space>AMOUNT  to 2899 (Globe) or 4483 (Smart)
  • G-CASH (Globe subscribers only): Text DONATE<space>AMOUNT<space>4-digit M-PIN<space>REDCROSS to 2882.

As of this update, Globe and Smart have waived transaction fees for donations.

For cash, check, or in-kind donations, the guidelines are below. Please note that LBC and i-Remit Singapore will be waiving transaction fees for donations.

Cash or check

Please send cash or check donations to the PNRC National Headquarters in Manila. Checks should be made payable to The Philippine National Red Cross.  We can also arrange for donation pick-up.

Bank Deposit

Account Name:  The Phil. Nat’l. Red Cross

Metrobank

Port Area Branch
Peso Acct.: 151-3-041-63122-8
Dollar Acct.: 151-2-151-00218-2
Type of Acct. : SAVINGS
Swift Code: MBTC PH MM

Bank of the Philippine Islands

Port Area Branch
Peso Acct.:  4991-0010-99
Type of Account: CURRENT

Bank of the Philippine Islands

UN Branch
Dollar Acct.: 8114-0030-94
Type of Account: SAVINGS
Swift Code:  BOPI PH MM

For your donations to be properly acknowledged, please fax the bank transaction slip to +63 2 527 0575 or +63 2 404 0979 with your name, address, and contact number.

Credit Card

Please fax the following information to 632 404 09 79 or 632 527 0575:

  • Name of cardholder
  • Billing address
  • Contact numbers (landline and mobile)
  • Credit card number
  • Expiration date
  • CCV2/ CVC2 (last three digits on the back of the credit card)
  • Amount to be donated

In-Kind Donations

Local

Please send in-kind local donations to The Philippine National Red Cross–National Headquarters in Manila.  We can also arrange for donation pick-up.

International

  1. Send a letter of intent to donate to the PNRC
  2. A letter of acceptance from PNRC shall be sent back to the donor
  3. Immediately after shipping the goods, please send the (a) original Deed of Donation; (b) copy of packing list; and (c) original Airway Bill for air shipments or Bill of Lading for sea shipments to: The Philippine National Red Cross–National Headquarters c/o Secretary General Corazon Alma de Leon, Bonifacio Drive, Port Area, Manila 2803, Philippines.

The PNRC does not accept rotten, damaged, expired or decayed goods.  Though we appreciate your generosity, the PNRC also discourages donations of old clothes as we have more than enough to go around.

Urgent needs

  • Food items: Rice, noodles, canned goods, sugar, iodized salt, cooking oil, monggo beans, and potable water
  • Medicines: Paracetamol, antibiotics, analgesic, oral rehydration salts, multivitamins, and medications to treat diarrhea
  • Non-food items: Bath soaps, face towels, shampoo, toothbrush, toothpaste, plastic mats, blankets, mosquito nets, jerry cans, water containers, water purification tablets, plastic sheetings, laundry soap, and shelter materials for house repair

For Mindanao-based donors without Paypal accounts, please get in touch with blogger Mindanaoan. Your donations will be forwarded to the Red Cross.

Radio Veritas

  • 925 7931 to 40

Relief goods can be brought to Radio Veritas at Veritas Tower, West Ave. corner EDSA, Quezon City.

Sagip Kapamilya

  • 413 2667
  • 416 0387

The address of Sagip Kapamilya is No. 13 Examiner Street, Quezon City. Please look for Ms. Girlie Aragon

Cash/check donations may be deposited in the Sagip Kapamilya account:

  • Bank: Banco de Oro, Mother Ignacia branch
  • Acct name: ABS-CBN Foundation Inc.
  • Acct no.: 5630020111

Santuario de San Antonio Parish

Relief goods of all kinds are accepted. The parish is located along McKinley Road, in Forbes Park, Makati. Please contact JJ Yulo or Mike Yuson.

Simbahang Lingkod ng Bayan Task Force Noah

Please drop off donations at Cervini Hall, Ateneo de Manila University.

TXTPower

TXTPower urges its members, supporters and friends abroad to make donations via Paypal.

One may also donate via SmartMoney (5577-5144-1866-7103) or G-Cash 0917-9751092.  All donations coursed through TXTPower will be sent to the Philippine National Red Cross.

Victory

Victory Fort was the first to open its doors to families affected by Typhoon Ondoy last weekend.

Other Victory centers are now engaged in relief operations as well. For a complete list, please see this page.

World Vision Philippines

The donor service hotlines are:

  • 372 7777
  • 0917 866 4824
  • Pam Millora: 0917 8623209

Donors and volunteers may go to World Vision Philippines headquarters at 389 Quezon Avenue corner West 6th St., Quezon City.

For cash and check donations, see the bank details as provided by Juan Miguel Lago on Twitter here and here.

Additional contact information:

  • 374 7618 to 28
  • 374 7660 (Fax)
  • wv_phil@wvi.org

Schools, Colleges, and Universities

Assumption College San Lorenzo (Makati)

Please drop donations off at the guardhouse.

Assumption College Antipolo

Assumption Antipolo is also accepting donations. The school is located along Sumulong Highway, Antipolo, Rizal.

Ateneo de Manila University (ADMU)

The campus is now an open shelter and will take in refugees. Call 917 895 2792. Donations may also be dropped off at the MVP lobby.

Ateneo Grade School (AGS)

Rice, noodles, sardines, and drinking water are badly needed for Ondoy flood victims.

Please bring your donations to the AGS Social Involvement Office ASAP. Volunteers also needed to sort and pack food bags.

You may sign up at the GS Campus Ministry Office from 8am to 5pm on September 30 (Wednesday) and October 1 (Thursday).

Ateneo Law School

  • 899 7691 to 96

Donations and volunteers are needed. Ateneo Law School is located at 20 Rockwell Drive, Rockwell Center, Makati City.

De La Salle Santiago Zóbel (DLSZ)

  • Angie Brazan: 09178597602

Starting September 28, 2009 (Monday), from 8AM to 6PM, DLSZ Typhoon Ondoy Relief Goods Collection Center will be accepting donations in kind. Monetary donations are also welcome. Please make cheques payable to De La Salle Zobel. Cash donations are discouraged.

Donors may pass through Gate 7 (Molave St.) to drop off donations at the Collection Center found at the Ground Floor of Gym 5 (Lower Grades area).

Teacher, staff, student, and parent volunteers to man the Collection Center are needed. Please text your contact details to Ms. Angie should you wish to volunteer.

De La Salle University Medical Center (DLSUMC)

  • 844 7832
  • (046) 416 4531

Donations of canned goods, blankets, clothes, and water will be accepted. DLSUMC is located at Congressional Avenue, Dasmariñas, Cavite.

La Salle Greenhills

Donations can be dropped off at Gate 2 of the LSGH campus starting 9AM on September 27, 2009 (Sunday).

Per ageofbrillig, LSGH also has a booth for donations at Unimart in Greenhills Shopping Center.

Playschool International

Relief goods may be dropped off at Playschool International, 46 Ghana Street, Better Living, Parañaque. No cash, please.

Saint Pedro Poveda College

  • Social Action Center: 631 8756 local 121

Poveda is now accepting donations of relief goods.

San Beda College of Arts and Sciences Student Council

The student council is accepting donations in cash or in kind. San Beda College is located at 638 Mendiola St., San Miguel, Manila.

Southville International School and Colleges

  • 825 6374
  • 820 8702
  • 820 8703
  • 829 1675

Southville is accepting donations of canned goods, packed noodles, clothes, drinking water, etc. at the Luxembourg Campus, which is located at Luxembourg St. corner Tropical Ave., BF Homes International, Las Piñas City.

University of Asia and the Pacific

UA&P is accepting donations. Donation booths are at Study Hall A.

You may also get in touch with Dae Lee, the Executive Vice President of the Student Exective Board at 0917 832 3533. Donations and volunteers are needed.

University of the Philippines Sigma Alpha Nu Sorority (Manila)

  • 0917 885 7188
  • 0917 665 9948

The sorority is collecting food, water and toiletries. You may drop them off at Unit 12-O One Adriatico Place, Ermita, Manila.

University of the Philippines Diliman College of Arts and Letters

  • 0929 6454102

CAL is accepting donations in cash and in kind.

University of the Philippines Diliman University Student Council

  • Titus: 0917 800 1909
  • Jose: 0927 305 6607
  • Tin: 0915 490 6106

The council is is collecting food, clothing, and/or cash.

University of the Philippines Office of the Vice-Chancellor for Community Affairs

  • 928 2947

The office is accepting donations of relief goods.

Xavier School

Please bring donations to the Multipurpose Center (MPC), Xavier School, 64 Xavier Street, Greenhills, San Juan.

Commercial Establishments

7-11

All stores will serve as drop-off sites for donations.

Alabang Town Center

Please drop off donated goods with the concierge. For inquiries, please call 842 2782 or 772 1860.

ARANÁZ

Donations of any kind for Payatas communities affected by Ondoy will be accepted at ARANÁZ stores in Rockwell and Greenbelt.

Binalot (Greenbelt 1 branch)

  • Tetchie Bundalian:0922 857 3277

Brainbeam Events, Inc.

Relief goods may be dropped off at the Brainbeam office: 2/F MB Aguirre Cornerhouse Building, 15 Pres. Ave corner Elizalde St., BF Homes, Parañaque (across the old Caltex in BF).

The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf

Canned goods, water, clothes, blankets, towels, medicine, and emergency supplies will be accepted in branches on behalf of the victims of Typhoon Ondoy starting September 28 (Monday) until Friday.

Fantastik! Manila

  • 729 0530
  • 501 7405

Please send donations to 5729 Calasanz St., Barangay Olympia, Makati City.

Jollibee

All stores will serve as drop-off sites for donations.

Luca

Donations can be sent via Luca branches in The Powerplant Mall, Shangri-La Mall, or Eastwood City.

Mail and More

Donations for the victims of Typhoon Ondoy are accepted at all Mail and More outlets. The complete list of all outlets nationwide is available here.

Manor Superclub

Relief items will be accepted starting September 27 (Sunday) at 10AM. Manor Superclub is located in Eastwood City, Libis, Quezon City.

Ministop (Ibarra branch)

Food (non-perishable goods only), clothing, medicines, beds, pillows, blankets, and other emergency supplies can be dropped off at the Ministop store located on España cor. Blumentritt, Sampaloc, Manila.

Moonshine

Donations for victims in Marikina and Cainta can be sent to Moonshine in The Powerplant Mall, Rockwell Center, Makati.

Myron’s Place

Myron’s Place in Greenbelt 5, Makati City, will accept relief goods.

Papemelroti

You may drop off relief goods, such as canned goods, milk, bottled water, and used clothes at any of the following Papemelroti branches:

  • 91 Roces Avenue
  • Ali Mall Cubao
  • SM City North EDSA
  • SM Fairview
  • SM Megamall
  • Glorietta 3
  • SM Centerpoint
  • SM Southmall

No cash will be accepted.

Petron

All Petron gas stations will serve as collection points for relief goods.

The Powerplant Mall

Donations will be forwarded to the ABS-CBN Foundation. Please drop them off at the adminstration office, P1 level.

Redkimono

Redkimono will accept canned goods, bottled water, clothing for all ages, basic household items. You may find the contact information for the branch nearest you here.

Recreational Outdoor eXchange

  • 856 4638 to 39
  • rox.cs@primergrp.com

ROX will accept relief goods for Typhoon Ondoy victims. The store address is B1 ROX Building, Bonifacio High Street, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig City.

Shell

All Shell gas stations will serve as collection points for relief goods.

SMART

Donations may be dropped off at the following SMART branches:

  • SM Fairview
  • SM North EDSA
  • Gateway Mall Cubao
  • Ali Mall Cubao
  • SM Megamall
  • SM Muntinlupa

Starbucks

All Starbucks stores are now accepting blankets, rice, bottled water, and instant noodles for the victims of Ondoy. These will be used to support The Ateneo Taskforce Ondoy.

TeamManila

TeamManila stores in Trinoma, Mall of Asia, Jupiter Bel-Air and Rockwell shall be accepting relief goods for distribution by Radio Veritas.

Total

All Total gas stations will serve as collection points for relief goods.

Unimart (Greenhills Shopping Center)

  • 721 0592
  • 721 1717

All cash and in-kind donations will be forwarded to La Salle Greenhills.

Vivere Suites

  • 771 7777
  • 771 0158

Vivere Suites will accept relief goods. The hotel is located at 5102 Bridgeway Ave., cor. Asean Drive, Filinvest Corporate City, Alabang, Muntinlupa City.

Private Citizens

Karen Ang

  • 0920 952 0900

Donations may be dropped off at 3 Kagandahan corner Kabutihan Streets, Kawilihan Village, Pasig. They will be forwarded to the Philippine National Red Cross.

Anne

  • 0915 285 4240

Relief goods from donors in southern Metro Manila are accepted.

Bianca

  • 412 3861
  • 0927 8436002

She will pick up donations from Greenhills/San Juan area. Donate food, medicine, or clothing.

Joseph Castillo

  • 0908 236 8999
  • (032) 211 7111

He will send a 20-foot container to Manila and is looking for donations from Cebuanos. Please get in touch with him.

Kelly and Jodge

Relief goods will be accepted at Colonade Residences, Legaspi St. corner C. Palanca St., Makati City.

RJ Ledesma and friends

  • 0917-8131601

Please call to have your donations (relief goods only) picked up.

Gerald Lim and friends

  • 0918 979 1229
  • 0917 797 4098
  • 0932 699 1794

Donations on wheels! If you have donations to give, but no means of transport, please get in touch.

Colleen Manabat (Heartrio Prints)

She will accept donations of bottled water, canned goods, blankets, clothes, medicines from 9 AM to 6PM. Please drop them off at Stall 2, MGY Building, 2444 Sto. Entierro St., Sto. Cristo, Angeles City. She will forward the donations to Sagip Kapamilya (ABS-CBN Foundation).

Miriam Quiambao

Donations may be dropped off starting September 28 (Monday) at One Orchard Road Building in Eastwood City, Libis, Quezon City. Send a message via Twitter for more details.

Erica Paredes

  • 0917 474 1930

Donate bread, packed juice, sandwich fillings, and the like. You can help her make them, deliver your own sandwiches to her house, or help her distribute. Call for more details.

Omel Santos

  • 501 7405
  • 729 0530

Drop off donations at 5729 Calasanz St., Barangay Olympia, Makati City or call for pick up.

An Xiao

Artist An Xiao has set up a Kickstarter account to make it easy for anyone with an Amazon account to make a donation. She hopes to raise U.S.$500 by September 30 (Wednesday), 8:49AM EDT.

Vivere Suites 5102 Ridgeway Avenue, Fil-Invest Corporate City, Alabang, Muntinlupa City. Contact (+632-7717777) for inquiries or drop off at concierge area. Will accept relief goods.