By ABIGAIL BENGWAYAN ANONGOS
I first read Northern Dispatch as a weekly news packet in the old office it shared with the Cordillera Resource Center. Some 10 pages or so of stapled short news print paper with sections on news, features and an editorial page (Jun Verzola will correct if I am wrong). There was a front page corner dedicated to writings about Cordillera heroes, as this progressive news media outfit sees it. The news packet eventually evolved into tabloid form, until a website was developed. I think these are milestones in the life of a community newspaper.
In 2019 Nordis greets us no longer in news stands but solely in its new platform of being online. In addition to the website, Nordis will continue to publish as well in Facebook and Twitter. It is of great interest to me to reach new readership this way. In any case, it remains Diaryo ti Umili ti Amianan. We are honored to have written for the print edition, and we will continue to draw inspiration from the struggling people of northern Luzon for whom Nordis was borne.
In front of me sits a little wooden boar. For luck as I make it up to my editor for missing out many issues of Nordis before the final printed copy. I have not read on predictions on the year of the pig, but I did come across traits of people born in the year of pig. Google says they are good-tempered, positive and loyal. That they have a calm appearance and a strong heart, and can do whatever they want in strength.
This is heartening, given realities that we are bound to face this year—politically, economically and socially (no predictions needed if you can derive from last year’s political events).
IBON came up with a 2018 year-end report on the economic state of the nation with clear indicators of the increasing stress in Philippine economy. Inflation reached a 9-year high and the peso is at its weakest in 13 years. IBON has also noted deteriorating performances in agriculture and manufacturing, and increasing joblessness while the population continues to grow. The report summarises that until neoliberal policies are arrested and replaced with economics that truly serve the people, the country’s economy will continue to deteriorate much at the expense of marginalized Filipinos. The TRAIN law for instance, should be abolished programs such as the Build, Build, Build be abandoned.
It is no better in the human rights front: martial law extension in Mindanao, at least 200 documented extrajudicial killings, over 300 victims of frustrated killings, 100 victims of torture, around 2,000 victims of illegal arrests; over 70,000 victims of threats and harassment and over 400,000 individuals displaced from their communities due to bombings and military operations. Political detainees now reach 500 individuals. Cordillera activist Rachel Mariano remains incarcerated over trumped-up charges while others remain in the Department of Justice proscription petition.
So there is much to do in 2019 and we need all the strength to carry on against injustice and to continue to work for a world without discrimination, year of the pig or otherwise. And we need all the positivity inspite of the negating forces abound. And there is no harm to keep the colors of red, white, orange, pink, white and gray for luck.# nordis.net