Ayoko Na.

This is just too much.

First of all, hello again blog world. I’ve kept myself away from you for some time and by now, you know why. But recent times have given me more reasons to keep away.

I’ve come to realize that keeping myself to the web world is just pointless… to opine on a clear screen would be tantamount to trolling, in my opinion. A thought shared with no concrete action to substantiate.

But I’ve given up. I’m full, I’m frustrated, and honestly… I’m done being neutral. I’m done being quiet.

So let’s eat some cake, shall we?

  1. #MarcosNotaHero

I have a very vivid imagination. It has been both a blessing and a curse to have this, as I’ve found watching horror movies during the day tends to make me a little scared at night. (I’m not saying I’m delusional here), but you know how it is– late night walk down the hallway to get water, late night bathroom trip… mirrors. They tend to be a little more frightening after seeing films like The Grudge at 7 am. You tend to think you see or feel things that aren’t even there.

Another thing that proves to be the bane of a vivid imagination are torture scenes in films, creepypastas, and well… novels.

In my senior year of highschool we were assigned to read Desaparecidos, a narrative as vivid as the colors in an oil painting. (Forgive my memory– a simple google search shall give you a general idea of the plot). What I remember most about Desaparecidos was the way in which scenes of torture were described. It was this particular novel that made me gain a newfound appreciation for Filipino literature and language. When written right, first person is a strong tool to use as a way of hitting the reader– and in my case, this is exactly what happened. This book just gripped me. I had seen Batas Militar multiple times for AP class, and read of Martial Law, but it was this book that opened my eyes to the casualties that Marcos caused.

So it comes as a surprise to me how people still feel like it is okay to deny this even happened. There are victims, there are families who lost things during this time. There are accounts of how things were. How could this be a lie? Is that all it was… infrastructure made it all okay? Those imprisoned were pasaway? Really????

Verdict: “He was a president, and he was a soldier… therefore, he deserves to be in Libingan ng mga Bayani.” Frankly, he probably made it a last wish because he was the one who renamed it Libingan ng mga Bayani, folks. He wanted to be remembered as such… but let’s be honest: he. was. no. hero.

As much as I would love to dig up facts and make my case, I… I’m just too fed up with everything that I feel it would be futile. One thing I do rebut is the argument that ‘xxxx was president during this time why didn’t he xxxxx:– maybe because said person wanted to just work on things for the people instead of forwarding his political agenda? Maybe there were more important things to do?

2. The Margaux Uson Phenomena 

Sigh… just typing up the headings for these paragraphs makes me want to throw my hands up in defeat. What has happened to us?

The last time journalism was under siege in the Philippines was during the time of Marcos. Now, here we are… and yet again, journalism is under siege.

My lessons from COM 140 are all suddenly coming back to me– ‘discipline of verification’, ‘adversarial’…’fourth estate’…. these all still mean something. There are still people out there who want to deliver the truth, to tell the right stories. To keep watch over the government.

But no. We now live in a time when social media engagement gives people the power and the freedom to spread false narratives. To demean the work of trained journalists and to bash them. To exchange their bodies of work for intentional misinformation.

Need I tell you who I’m talking about? Hay nako.

Here are some thoughts on dealing with Ms. Uson:

First of all, call her by her real name. People adapt stage names for several reasons– to stand out, to seem different/unique, or to hide from their past. This might just be the case with Miss Margaux. Besides, what’s so wrong with that? It’s a pretty name.

Know her context. She’s a Thomasian who was actually on her way to a medical degree. There aren’t any online sources that place her dropping out of med school alongside her dad’s death, but in an interview she does mention it as a reason for getting behind Duterte.

Don’t use her ‘sexy past’ against her. That’s called a low blow, and one that I personally believe is not even necessary in an argument against this woman.

Civility & Fact. No one likes to be insulted before they are reprimanded. Maintain a cool, civil tone and present facts with corresponding sources. Discuss with a cool head (no matter how hard that may be). In that way, you end up not being the one that looks bad in case Margaux (or whoever of her fans you may be talking to), end up using insult against you.

Don’t Share. She already has four million followers on Facebook– what are you doing sharing her posts? Don’t give her that satisfaction. Paste a link with your written frustrations instead. đŸ™‚

Now, here are some thoughts on Miss Uson:

Social Media & Irresponsible Use. It seems as though YouTubers seem to have a much better grasp of the significance of a social media following than our good ‘ol Miss Margaux. I’m not saying there have been YouTubers that havep not used their followings to do negative things, but there are online personalities that harness their fans to actually do some good (favorite example: Pewdiepie’s charity efforts). Miss Margaux, on the other hand, harnesses her four million followers to spread misinformation and false claims. So far, I’ve seen posts that demean mainstream media, assassinate characters, and use manipulative narratives to spin downright lies.

Leni. I have nothing but major respect for Tricia, Aika and Jillian Robredo.

Imagine  encountering outrageous stories about your mother online– and realizing people believe them. Imagine encountering online personalities (Margaux) posting daily insults and petty jabs about your mother, and reading the insults in the comments section… comments from your fellow Filipinos–the same people your mother wanted to serve when she made the choice to run for higher office. Imagine reading conspiracy theories about your father’s death, and how your mother “allegedly” had a hand in his passing.

You have to wonder what it took out of them to make the decision and to see what Margaux Uson and her online cronies have done now. Had it been myself I would not even have let my mother do that. But these girls… kudos. props. respect. And I hope you girls continue to stay strong for your mom.

And as for you, Margaux, I don’t know how you even have it in you to continually demean Mrs. Robredo. Screw your ‘i’m not a journalist’ bullshit, I’m sure you’re smart enough to know that trumpeting your thoughts to your following makes a very strong impact. How do you sleep at night? Is it really that fun to peddle conspiracy theories about a woman who chose higher office to serve the people?

Face to Face. This may never happen, but I’ll propose it anyway. The only way things can truly be settled between keyboard warriors is through a face to face debate, one that involves both sides in a critical and calm discourse. Push away the Facebook barrier and the fake accounts, and sit down in the flesh, and then talk. * pipe dream over *

Lastly, here’s to the journalists everywhere– be it campus journalists, professional journalists or aspiring journalists. Please stay strong, please survive. You can do this. Please never give up on the dream of sharing the truth and the stories of your people. You are strong, you are capable, and your fight does not end here.

You can do this.

Postscript: I’m not denying the existence of bias in mainstream media. In fact, one of the things you learn in journalism class are the corrupt practices that the fourth estate has gotten involved in– things that future journalists are taught NOT to do. But to demean mainstream media as a whole is to me, unfair to those journalists who do not practice bias but are still labeled as such because of people like Margaux Uson. I firmly believe that those journalists still exist, and it is with them that I stand.