BAYAN NI JUAN…AT EBA
First prize/Students’ category ni Mapuri T. Sularte, Ramon Magsaysay High School Cubao
Tagumpay ang pakikipaglaban ng ating mga bayani upang mapalaya ang mga Pilipino sa kamay ng mapang-aping dayuhan. Isa si Andres Bonifacio na hindi nag-atubiling ibuwis ang sariling buhay para sa bayan.
Kakaibang tapang, lakas ng loob at determinasyon ang ipinakita ni Bonifacio upang tuldukan ang pagmamalupit ng mga Kastila sa kapwa niya Pilipino. Ipinagkatiwala niya ang pangalan ng Katipunan sa mga anak ng bayan ngunit dahil sa traydor na si Teodoro Patiño nabunyag lahat ng sikreto ng samahan. Sa mga pangyayaring ito ng ating kasaysayan maihahalintulad ang sinasabing pagtatraydor ni dating Makati VM Ernesto Mercado kay VP Jejomar Binay sa pamamagitan ng paglahad ng labis-labis na halagang ginuguol sa mga gusali sa Makati City.
Binuhay ni Gregoria de Jesus, asawa ni Bonifacio, ang karapatan ng mga kababaihan na lumaban. Masidhi ang kanyang pagnanais na wakasan ang pamumuno ng mga Espanyol dahil sa hindi makataong pamamahala. Matinding emosyon—galit at poot—ang namayani kaya’t nais niyang putulin ang mga taling unti-unting pumapatay sa kanila. Pinatunayan lamang nito na may kakayahan ang kababaihan na lumaban para sa bayan. Mula noon hanggang ngayon ay isinu-sulong ang iba’t ibang kagawaran at organisasyon para sa mga kababaihan at kabataan na inabuso at nawalan ng karapatan. Katulad ng DOJ, DSWD at GABRIELA na pawang pinamumunuan ng mga babae.
Ayon sa mga feminist, dapat palitan ang history ng herstory dahil hindi lang ang mga lalaki ang lumikha ng ating kasaysayan. Ngunit para sa akin, bakit hindi natin itong gawing Ourstory na nag-sasabing hindi importante kung ano ang kasarian ng isang tao. Mahalagang malaman natin na hindi tama ang mababang pagtrato o panlalait sa ibang kasarian dahil ang bawat isa sa atin ay may kanya-kanyang kwento na magsasabi sa tunay nating pagkatao at kakayahan na maisusulat din sa kasaysayan.
BABY STEPS TO PROGRESS
First prize/Teachers’ category by Nerissa G. Vitug, Novaliches High School
The last few decades had seen a heartening improvement in the level of awareness that society has shown when it comes to issues regarding gender sensitivity.
Through various literary genres mirroring the evolution of the roles of the sexes from the boxed stereotypes of yesteryears to the more flexible and accepting concepts that they are at present, education has led the public through milestones in realizing that there is more to gender then meets the eye.
Unfortunately, the progress that we have gained only makes us realize how much farther we still have to go in promoting gender awareness, especially given the reality of how deeply the idea of stereotypes is entrenched in the psyche of the Filipino public.
Take the events shown in the Metro Manila Film Festival entry “English Only, Please” for the character of Tere Madlangsakay, a modern Filipina who is admirably independent and confident in her occupation as an English tutor-cum-translator.
Her character embodies the persona of the ideal Filipina in her prime as a career woman: she knows what she wants and she goes after it, leaving in her wake the stamps of excellence and ready humor which the typical Filipino worker is recognized internationally. She clearly loves her job; and despite the stress of having multiple clients and constantly commuting through the always traffic-infested streets of EDSA, she is able to take her career in stride.
And yet this pretty picture of bliss is far from perfect, because Tere Madlangsakay is not just a career woman. She is also a daughter, a sister and a lover: roles of which she is shown failing to perform satisfactorily in the movie over and over again.
The film at some points even emphasized her being “stupid” in a number of occasions, often when it comes to entertaining a boyfriend who only wants her for sex and money. Because of her “stupidity” in falling in love, she became a disappointment to her parents. She failed in her role as a daughter to claim the Filipino dream because she was not able to graduate as a nurse.
Despite her being the family’s breadwinner, she sees herself as a failure because she has not yet achieved her own dream of providing her family in the province with a ‘big” house, which, as the sister working in Manila, she is expected to do.
She feels partially successful in performing her role as a sister though, because she is dependable and generous as a provider. Sadly, she is also often exploited by her brother who keeps asking her for money only to use it for gambling. This certainly shows the twisted idea of a negative thing turning positive simply because it satisfies the performance of the role of a stereotype which is what society demands.
The film is a romantic comedy. As such, it is certainly a box office hit guaranteed to make the audience feel warm and cozy after viewing. But if one takes the time to really analyze the film from the pers-pective of gender sensitivity and awareness, one gets the sense of dissatisfaction and even frustration with the film’s reflection of reality, probably because it shows a little too much of the truth.
Somehow the film gives new meaning to the saying “One step forward, two steps back.”
Still, we should not lose hope. Baby steps after all, though often resulting in a little faltering, a little stumbling and a few sore bumps on the rump, are sure to lead to confident strides in the long run. Progress through baby steps might take a while, but then it is better than staying put and not moving at all.
We’ll get to where we need to go in time. If it takes baby steps to do it, then so be it.
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