A member of the Marcos family is returning to power — here’s what it means for democracy in the Philippines

class=”MuiTypography-root-126 MuiTypography-h1-131″>A member of the Marcos family is returning to power — here’s what it means for democracy in the Philippines

The son of the Philippines brutal dictator Ferdinand Marcos has won election to the presidency, showing how wedded the country is to dynastic politics — and image manipulation.

The ConversationMay 13, 2022 · 3:30 PM EDT

Politics is the Marcos family business.

Ezra Acayan/Getty Images

Some 36 years after the People Power Revolution restored democracy to the Philippines, a member of perhaps the most brutal and corrupt political dynasties in the nation’s memory is set to return to the Philippine presidency.

Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., the son of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos Sr., has won the presidential election, according to preliminary results. It will return him to the Malacañang Palace where he lived as a child and from which his parents fled in 1986. His running mate, Sara Duterte, the daughter of current President Rodrigo Duterte, is also set to win the vice presidency by a landslide.

Like father, like son?

Credit:

Alex Bowie/Getty Images

Both candidates hail from political dynasties with long histories of abuses of power. The human rights offenses of the first Marcos regime, from 1965 to 1986, are well documented, involving an estimated 3,257 deaths and over 50,000 victims who were tortured and detained during the martial law period alone. Also well documented is the estimated US$10 billion Marcos plundered.

Meanwhile, the outgoing Duterte administration is notorious for its so-called “war on drugs,” during which his infamous death squads killed more than 6,200 as of 2022.

The election has been mired in tax scandals, bureaucratic corruption and voter suppression.

But despite these scandals both past and present, dynastic families remain in full force in the Southeast Asian archipelago.

As a scholar of Philippine history, I know this “rule by dynasty” dates from the days of American colonial rule. But it has been enhanced by a more modern curse: media manipulation and disinformation.

The political economy of dynasties

The tenacity of political dynasties of all political orientations to outlast the Philippines’ halted revolutions — both in 1986 and a later uprising in 2001 — shows that popular mobilization did not lead to a more democratic government.

The late political scientist Benedict Anderson famously called the Philippines a “cacique democracy” — a fusion of popular electoral power and feudal, dynastic rule.

While landowning elites existed during the 19th century, this “cacique democracy” – cacique referring to local political bosses in Latin American countries — developed during the American colonial rule of the Philippines between 1898 and 1942. The aim was to cultivate an Indigenous leadership that could collaborate with American colonial rule.

To establish loyal allies among the local population, the U.S. expropriated 400,000 acres owned by the Catholic Church between 1898 and 1941 and auctioned it to landowners and economic elites. These same leaders, bolstered by their consolidated agricultural economic base, formed a new political class in Manila, as they participated in the new legislature of the colony.

With their wealth and political influence strengthened under American occupation, these ruling families held disproportionate sway over the development of the fledgling nation following independence in 1946.

These “caciques,” or native feudal lords, went on to become the ruling class of today. The Marcos family is descended from regional landowners in Ilocos Norte, in the north of Luzon, the Philippines’ most populous island. But unlike his forebears, Ferdinand Marcos Sr. rose from regional leader to national prominence, first as the president of the Philippine Senate in 1959, then as national president in 1965. Through his own charisma — and the popularity of his wife, Imelda Romualdez Marcos — the family consolidated their political base.

At the opposite end of the political spectrum are the Aquino family, hailing from a clan of elite landowners in Central Luzon, whose patriarch was one of the original members of the republican government formed after the 1896 Philippine Revolution. Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr., a senator and outspoken Marcos critic, was assassinated in 1983. His wife, Corazon Aquino, was elected on the back of the mass fervor of the 1986 Revolution, and later their son reached the presidency.

Dynasties have long dominated Philippines politics. But the fact that the Marcos name not only survived the overthrow of its patriarch but managed to become rehabilitated in the following decades hints at the tenacity of dynastic politics in the Philippines.

Media and disinformation

Despotic power cannot be shored up by birthright claims alone. So it is no coincidence that the return of the Marcos family has coincided with large-scale attacks against journalism, waged by the national executive and its allies.

In 2022, the Philippines was ranked by Reporters Without Borders 147th out of 180 countries for press freedom. This is a stark contrast to the period before the election of Ferdinand Marcos Sr. in 1965, when the country’s press was considered the most free in Asia.

During the six years of Duterte’s rule since 2016, the president developed a reputation as someone who used social media disinformation — especially via Facebook — to cultivate support for his brutal “war on drugs.” At the same time he frequently attacked the work of journalists and critics of his regime.

Duterte made a deliberate attempt to undermine the free press. In December 2020, after months of systematic targeting by President Duterte, the Philippine Congress voted to shut down ABS-CBN — the country’s largest broadcasting network.

The Philippines remains one of the most dangerous places for reporters. As recently as December 2021, journalist Jesus Malabanan was shot by gunmen in his own home. Malabanan, a well-respected reporter who worked on Reuters’ coverage of the Philippine drug war, was the 22nd journalist murdered during the Duterte regime.

The weakening and intimidation of independent journalism and media paved the way for disinformation to flourish.

Bongbong Marcos’ presidential run has been widely criticized for media manipulation. And disinformation has been central to the shift in public opinion toward the family.

In 2019, Rappler, the independent news website founded by Nobel Peace Prize recipient Maria Ressa, ran a three-part investigation that revealed the extent to which Marcos deployed digital propaganda to propel himself into public favor through the use of disinformation spread on other social media platforms, and through various fan pages and other viral content. The first Marcos regime was recast in misleading propaganda that portrayed the era as a time of progress while denying its human rights abuses.

And in 2020, Cambridge Analytica whistleblower Barbara Kaiser alleged that Marcos had reached out to the firm – known for its harvesting of Facebook users’ data for political campaigns – in an effort to further bolster his family’s image. The Marcos campaign denies this connection.

Never again?

The election of Bongbong Marcos comes close to 50 years after his father declared martial law, on Sept. 23, 1972.

That original Marcos era — with its extrajudicial killings and rampant corruption — has been subjected to revisionism, with many Filipinos looking back at the Marcos years as a time of stability and growth while ignoring the abuses. The $10 billion plundered by the Marcoses — which once dominated headlines — gets talked about less. Imelda Marcos, herself a notorious kleptocrat, has been transformed into an object of fascination.

Meanwhile the voices of survivors of the martial law era and the activists who oppose authoritarian rule have grown less effective in the face of President Duterte’s popularity. Their message of “never again” failed to disrupt the Marcos family return to power.

In 2018, on the 35th anniversary of the assassination of Ninoy Aquino, Imee Marcos – Bongbong’s sister – stated that “the millennials have moved on [from Ferdinand Marcos’ history], and I think people at my age should move on as well.”

The electoral victory of her brother seems to have have proved Imee Marcos correct.

Adrian De Leon is assistant professor of American studies and ethnicity at the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences. This article is republished from The Conversation, a nonprofit news site dedicated to sharing the expertise of academia with the public, under a Creative Commons license.

Candidates go ‘green’ on the campaign trail for Philippines national election

class=”MuiTypography-root-134 MuiTypography-h1-139″>Candidates go ‘green’ on the campaign trail for Philippines national election

Climate change is taking center stage on the campaign trail in the Philippines as candidates talk about renewable energy more than ever before.

The WorldMarch 22, 2022 · 1:30 PM EDT

Boxing legend and presidential candidate, senator Manny "Pacman" Pacquiao greets the crowd in Pasay city, Philippines, March 14, 2022. 

Aaron Favila/AP/File photo

Climate change is taking center stage on the campaign trail leading up to the Philippines’ national elections.

Candidates are talking about renewable energy more than ever before, filling activists with hope that the next administration will finally make climate change a mainstream issue.

“I think, probably for the first time, energy is getting the attention it deserves."

Albert Dalusong III, energy transition adviser, Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities, Manila, Philippines

“I think, probably for the first time, energy is getting the attention it deserves,'' said Albert Dalusong III, the energy transition adviser at the Manila-based think tank Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities

He points to a recent commercial issued by presidential frontrunner Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., the son of late dictator Ferdinand Marcos, featuring a model wind turbine.

It’s a symbol that declares, “I’m for clean energy,” Dalusong said.

Related: The dramatic jingles of election season in the Philippines

Since campaign season officially began in February, even longshot candidates such as Manny Pacquiao, Panfilo “Ping” Locson and Leody de Guzman are addressing climate change and renewable energy in stump speeches and media interviews.

Intense typhoons have brought the public’s attention to the impact of climate change in the Philippines, Dusulong said. But a diminishing water supply is also a concern, due partly to drought.

Related: Campaign season in the Philippines ramps up 

A boy sits beside water containers as residents line up for water as pipelines and electricity were damaged due to Typhoon Rai in Cebu province, central Philippines on Monday Dec. 20, 2021. 

Credit:

Jay Labra/AP

Electricity usage is also skyrocketing as global temperatures increase, creating high demand for air conditioning. In February, Dalusong’s office released a report that warned that the electric grid may not hold up during the hottest months this year.

“And if the administration cannot deliver basic services, there’s a problem. It’s a direct impact on the people,” he said.

Right now, 40% of the Philippines’ electricity comes from coal — the dirtiest fuel — mostly imported from Indonesia. In 2020, the Philippines announced a moratorium on any new coal-fired power plants, but energy companies continue to lobby for coal to burn in their plants. They say coal is still the cheapest and most reliable fuel available, Dalusong said. 

Related: Indonesia poised to ease export ban on thermal coal

But that’s not always the case, because coal-fired power plants are known to ratchet their power outputs up and down based on power demand and coal supply, he explained.

“In fact, it is so unreliable that I’m calling it intermittent because the power plants shut down randomly,” he said. “Now that, to me, is intermittent.”

The World reached out to all five major power companies in the Philippines about Dalusong’s recent report — two responded.

An AboitizPower spokesperson said via email that the company plans to meet the Philippines’ power needs “throughout the forecasted peak demand period this summer.” AboitizPower invests in renewable power sources such as solar, geothermal and hydro, and is the largest owner and operator of renewable energy power generation in the Philippines, based on installed capacity, according to the email.

Adding additional renewable energy options to the mix will allow for more flexibility for power companies, Dalusong said. And more renewable energy options will also help create more jobs.

Wind farms need a lot of employees because turbines require a high level of maintenance; biomass fuel sites also require a large number of workers to harvest and plant; even hydroelectricity outfits need employees dedicated to protecting the watersheds.

“There are more jobs in renewables, primarily because they are smaller in scale and more distributed,” Dalusong said.

Many presidential candidates are plugging sustainable development and renewable energy, but most still fall a bit short on policy specifics.

Related: A star-studded list of candidates files for president in the Philippines

But even a conversation on green jobs has climate activists excited, such as Joshua Villalobos, co-founder of the group Youth for Climate Hope. He notes that current Vice President Leni Robredo’s 5-point labor plan includes adding more green jobs.

“I love that, because climate jobs was not discussed, I think, even in the past year, so it’s very important that she raised that,” he said.

Incumbent vice president and presidential hopeful Leni Robredo gestures during an event in Manila, Philippines on Wednesday, March 2, 2022. 

Credit:

Aaron Favila/AP

A renewable energy market already exists in the Philippines with about 24% of its energy coming from renewables. The current government has committed to boosting that number to 35% by 2030.

Companies like Philergy, a German-Filipino solar company, can help the country get there.

Established in 2011, Philergy’s founder Jochen Staudter said he saw massive market potential when he first came from Germany to the Philippines. The tropical country with lots of natural sunlight also has some of the highest electricity rates in Southeast Asia.

“The fact that we often use aircon, especially when we are in an urban area like Metro Manila, makes the electric bills extremely high. … Coming from Germany, where nearly everyone has solar, I did not understand why it was not leveraged.”

Jochen Staudter, founder, Philergy solar company

“The fact that we often use aircon, especially when we are in an urban area like Metro Manila, makes the electric bills extremely high,” Staudter said. “Coming from Germany, where nearly everyone has solar, I did not understand why it was not leveraged.”

Workers install solar equipment with Philergy, a German-Filipino solar company. The founder saw huge potential for solar in the tropical country that has lots of natural sunlight and also some of the highest electricity rates in Southeast Asia. 

Credit:

Ashley Westerman/The World

Philergy is now a leading solar company in the Philippines, working with both residential and commercial clients.

Staudter said he likes presidential candidate Leni Robredo’s call to prioritize domestic and renewable power sources as part of a roadmap to turn the Philippines carbon neutral. The plan goes well with a rapidly expanding renewable energy market.

“The market is very, very, very colorful and very volatile, but in a positive way,” Staudter said, noting that solar is the only electricity source in the last five years to multiply by 70%.

Still, the switch to solar, for most, is more about cutting costs.

“The major reason is [clients] want to save on electric costs and, of course, there are some who want to, of course, benefit the environment. But the thought of saving is always first,” he said.

That goes a long way on the hottest days when the airconditioning is powered up, he pointed out.

The dramatic jingles of election season in the Philippines

class=”MuiTypography-root-134 MuiTypography-h1-139″>The dramatic jingles of election season in the Philippines

With the upcoming election in May, it can sometimes feel like a “circus” of huge, enthusiastic crowds, awe-inspiring performances and, of course, catchy, upbeat jingles.

The WorldFebruary 23, 2022 · 1:45 PM EST

Former senator Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. and his team wave Philippine flags on stage during his proclamation rally promoting his presidential bid for the 2022 national elections, at the Philippine Arena, Bulacan province, north of Manila, Philippines, Feb. 8, 2022.

Basilio Sepe/AP/File photo

For decades, campaign jingles have been the soundtrack to elections in the Philippines.

With the upcoming election in May, it can sometimes feel like a “circus” of huge, enthusiastic crowds, awe-inspiring performances and, of course, the upbeat jingles.

The catchy compositions can range from a short 30-second snippet to a full-length song.

Related: Campaign season in the Philippines ramps up

Jingles have been election staples in the Southeast Asian country since the 1950s, when then-presidential candidate Ramon del Fierro Magsaysay ran for president with the “Magsaysay Mambo.”

“['Magsaysay Mambo' is] very catchy — it basically made history."

Krina Cayabyab, composer and assistant professor, University of Philippines College

“It’s very catchy, it basically made history,” said Krina Cayabyab, a composer and assistant professor with the musicology department at the University of Philippines College.

The 1953 jingle, a mash-up of Tagalog and English, tells the story of a disorderly country and calls out the corruption of the then-incumbent president.

“Our democracy will die unless we elect Magsaysay,” the catchy chorus with the mambo beats proclaimed.

“Since that campaign jingle was launched, jingles have been all over the place [over] the following years and decades,” Cayabyab said.

Related: A star-studded list of candidates files for president in the Philippines

What makes a good jingle? 

Nearly every candidate running a national campaign has to have one, said Anton Gabriel Largoza-Maza, a master’s student at the University of the Philippines, who studies campaign jingles.

A successful campaign jingle, he said, involves a catchy tune that is often a parody or directly lifted from a popular song, promotes name recognition of the candidate, and resonates with the constituency either through the candidates’ own stories or through their campaign promises.

There are several good examples from this year's campaign, but the 2010 presidential campaign jingle of candidate Manny Villar stands out, Largoza-Maza said. The “Earworm,” which remains wildly popular to this day, addresses the daily hardships of poverty in the Philippines, like unemployment and living in unhygienic conditions.

In the jingle, Manny Villar promised to be the solution to these problems. Villar, himself, was born into poverty in Tondo, a district of Metro Manila, but is now one of the wealthiest men in the Philippines. 

Villar served as a senator from 2001 to 2013, and also served two years as Senate president.

Related: Philippine president reverses threat to void longstanding defense deal with the US

“That’s one of the things that most candidates hinge on. … They make this image that they’re one with the poor, or they’ve been part of the poorest of the poor.”

Anton Gabriel Largoza-Maza, master’s student who studies campaign jingles, University of the Philippines

“That’s one of the things that most candidates hinge on,” Largoza-Maza said. “They make this image that they’re one with the poor, or they’ve been part of the poorest of the poor.”

Still, a successful campaign jingle doesn’t always translate into guaranteed votes or a winning campaign, he said — but they do “appeal to the musical minds of the Filipino people.”

Music of the moment 

Campaign jingles tend to reflect popular music at any given time.

Just as the mambo beat was popular in the 1950s, candidates are now using more pop, hip-hop and rap elements. This election season presidential candidate Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. has even revised the jingle his father, the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos, used in the 1970s to make it sound more trendy for today — all while still keeping with the message that a Marcos in power will bring change. 

Singers, songwriters and composers from all over the country work on these jingles. Sometimes they’re paid; sometimes they do it for free for a candidate who has their support. 

Musician Krina Cayabyab just composed her first campaign jingle for senatorial candidate Teddy Baguilat, a representative of Indigenous Filipinos. 

She said she worked to incorporate both northern and southern Indigenous Filipino rhythmic and pitch elements, while also trying to craft a more popular, modern sound. The jingle sings about how Baguilat, an Indigenous local hero, will work for the Filipino people. 

“[Teddy Baguilat's] advocacies include the development of culture, environmental awareness, the rise of the Filipino people. … So, immediately I said, yes, I want to support this candidate.”

Krina Cayabyab, musician and assistant professor, University of Philippines College 

“His advocacies include the development of culture, environmental awareness, the rise of the Filipino people,” she said. “So immediately I said, yes, I want to support this candidate.”

Campaign season in the Philippines ramps up 

class=”MuiTypography-root-134 MuiTypography-h1-139″>Campaign season in the Philippines ramps up 

The 2022 campaign season in the Philippines officially kicked off on Tuesday with presidential campaign rallies across the country. It’s the start of a 90-day sprint to Election Day on May 9. Ten candidates are running to replace current president Rodrigo Duterte, who is term-limited. 

The WorldFebruary 9, 2022 · 4:00 PM EST

Manila Mayor Isko Moreno, center, gestures as he greets his supporters during a motorcade promoting his presidential bid in the 2022 national elections in Manila, Philippines, Feb. 8, 2022.

Basilio Sepe/AP

Some 1,000 people turned up in Hero’s Park in Manila, the capital of the Philippines, for Mayor Isko Moreno Domagoso’s proclamation rally on Tuesday — the official first day of the 2022 election campaign season.

The former actor-turned politician has attracted attention because of his work and advocacy for the disadvantaged during his brief stint as mayor of Manila. Moreno, who has a rags-to-riches story of his own, has long advocated for more, decent housing and government investing in job creation as solutions to help the urban poor.

Related: Remote learning in the Philippines has no end in sight

Now, Moreno is among the 10 candidates running to replace current President Rodrigo Duterte and one of several who could be considered proxies of the sitting president.

Duterte, who is constitutionally limited to a single, six-year term, has led a tumultuous and unpredictable administration since taking office in 2016. In addition to his deadly yearslong war on drugs, Duterte has also been accused of cozying up to China, mishandling the country’s COVID-19 response and not following through on infrastructure and job-creation promises — all punctuated by crass rape jokes and explicit-filled outbursts that have made him world-famous. 

Filipinos want change

Myres Bandojo, who was waiting for the Moreno rally to begin wearing a shirt that bore the mayor’s image, is someone who can’t wait for change. The middle-aged woman said she likes what he’s done for her hometown, that he works fast and cares about the elderly.

Even though the campaign season just began, Bandojo said her vote “is set” and she is enthusiastic that Moreno has what it takes to bring real change to the Philippines.

Twenty-three-year-old Paul Reyes, who was also attending the rally in Hero’s Park, said that he is interested in what Moreno has to say: “I want to know his platforms in governance, and I just want to make sure that his platforms are suitable to my agenda.”

Reyes said that he wants to see a leader who will stand up to China’s aggression toward the Philippines in the South China Sea.

In 2016, the Philippines won an arbitration case at The Hague after Manila challenged many of Beijing’s claims to islands in the South China Sea. But many Filipinos, including Reyes, criticize Duterte for not taking advantage of that ruling and allowing China to continue to build airstrips and bully fishermen in the disputed waters.

Hours later, Moreno, 47,  told the crowd of enthusiastic rallygoers that he gets things done. His tone was calm, yet inspiring.

“I listen to specialists,” he said. “I listen to good people with good intention … we always come up with a solution.”

Campaign kickoff nationwide

Similar proclamation rallies were held across the country, including in many candidates’ hometowns.

Related: Health care workers in the Philippines reject new COVID-19 rules as 'inhumane'

Opposition leader and current Vice President Leni Robredo, the only woman running for president, kicked off her campaign in her hometown of Naga — a town in Southern Luzon, nearly eight hours east of Metro Manila.

Robredo, clad in her signature pink, promised to establish a government to address the needs of the people, to take care of the nation’s finances and to focus on the marginalized.

Analysts say that Robredo can distinguish herself from the current administration, but her victory will depend on whether Filipinos have the appetite to elect another “establishment candidate.” 

Just north of Manila, thousands packed Philippine Arena to attend Bongbong Marcos’ proclamation rally. The Duterte ally and son of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos promised to unite the country under two powerful political families: his own and the Duterte’s. His running mate, Davao Mayor Sara Duterte Carpio, is the daughter of the current president.

Related: A star-studded list of candidates files for president in the Philippines

“That’s why the Marcos-Duterte tandem is a nice example because if one from the north can unite with one from Mindanao, I believe that we can unite the whole Philippines,” he said in Tagalog to the cheering crowd.

Critics of Marcos, who has been the subject of several recent controversies involving the media, are quick to point out that his campaign may not be legitimate because he’s been convicted of tax evasion. In the Philippines, public officials who have been convicted of tax crimes are supposed to be barred from participating in elections. 

What’s at stake

“What we have seen is a consolidation of the forces,” Dindo Manhit, political analyst and president of Stratbase ADR Institute, a Manila-based think tank, told The World.

The latest polling from Pulse Asia suggests that over 50% of voters would pull the lever for Marcos, whose support is concentrated in the sprawling Manila metro area. 

“What we have seen is a consolidation of the forces.”

Dindo Manhit, political analyst and president of Stratbase ADR Institute

Related: Nobel Peace Prize is 'a testament to how truth prevails,' Rappler journalist says

The December poll showed Robredo in second with 20% of the vote. While Moreno is polling third at 8%, and boxer-turned-politician Manny Pacquiao also sits at 8%.

Still, Manhit said not to dismiss the other candidates — all of whom could siphon influence away from Marcos in other parts of the country.

“We could see a very tight and competitive race going into March or April,” Manhit said. “Or, you could see a landslide by Marcos if those things don’t happen.”

The top issue for voters is the economy, he said: “They want jobs and livelihood opportunities. They want wages, better wages so they can deal with the reality of cost-of-living. So, that is the greatest challenge — who can best address that.”

Remote learning in the Philippines has no end in sight

class=”MuiTypography-root-134 MuiTypography-h1-139″>Remote learning in the Philippines has no end in sight

The Philippines is one of several countries that have kept students out of the classroom the longest since the start of the pandemic. Lacking critical resources to sustain virtual learning, the situation leaves teachers, students and parents across Metro Manila exhausted and frustrated. 

The WorldJanuary 27, 2022 · 2:15 PM EST

Teachers wearing face mask and face shield behind plastic barriers to prevent the spread of the coronavirus use computers during online classes at Senator Renato "Companero" Cayetano (SRCC) Memorial Science and Technology High School in Taguig city, Philippines, Oct. 19, 2020. 

Aaron Favila/AP

Sisters Eve Bandola and Enzel Bandola miss going to school. They’ve been learning remotely ever since March 2020, when the Philippines shuttered schools in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Eve Bandola said she especially misses her friends and teachers. 

Their father Avel Bandola said that when they first heard about the remote learning plan two years ago, teachers told them it would be temporary and that face-to-face classes would eventually resume. 

“If there’s lots of children online they tend to make noises and can’t get into focus,” said the 41-year-old who works as a messenger in Marikina City, just outside Manila, the capital. 

But for families in the Philippines, distance learning has no end in sight, unlike in countries throughout North America and Europe that have started to send students back to the classroom. Lacking critical resources to sustain virtual learning, teachers, students and parents across Metro Manila are exhausted and frustrated.

Related: Uganda's schools reopen, ending world's longest lockdown

Abigin Bandola and Avel Bandola's daughters both attend school online due to COVID-19 protocols in the Philippines. 

Credit:

Ashley Westerman/The World

This week, students in the capital region returned to remote learning after being off all last week for a “health break.” The Philippines Department of Education called for the pause on Jan. 14 amid rising COVID-19 cases among teachers throughout Metro Manila. 

In November 2021, after 20 months of distance learning, a pilot program was launched that allowed 100 schools across the nation to try in-person classes. But because of the rise in cases linked to the omicron variant, schools in Metro Manila suspended the program. 

Related: India postpones in-school learning as omicron surges 

Eve Bandola and Ensel Bandola both attend school virtually since the start of the pandemic in March 2020. 

Credit:

Ashley Westerman/The World

Meanwhile, primary schools in five provinces surrounding the region will remain closed through the end of January. 

The Philippines remains near the top of the list of countries that have kept students out of the classroom the longest since the start of the pandemic. And it has mostly remained that way, leaving some groups like the UN’s children agency, UNICEF, to worry about a “lost generation.”

The Bandola sisters' parents said they try to stay positive and encouraging when it comes to helping their two daughters do their lessons from home, but the current process is difficult. 

The girls learn through the “module method,” where parents pick up a lesson booklet — or module — from the school, and then students go through the lessons with their teachers online, from home, filling out the booklets along the way. Later, the parents deliver the booklets back to the teachers at the school for grading. 

Avel Bandola said the lesson plans are often unclear and the booklets sometimes have errors. He worries that his daughters aren’t picking up everything they need to learn through this learning method. Their mother, Abigin Bandola, worries that her daughters are losing important socialization skills, but she said she has no choice but to keep doing all they can to keep her girls’ lessons on track. 

She doesn’t want her daughters to return to school until the Philippines has reached “zero-COVID” status. 

Related: Uruguay's virtual education was ahead of the curve when the pandemic hit

Module learning booklets are sent home with students who then go through the lessons with teachers online. 

Credit:

Ashley Westerman/The World

Pleading with government

Education activists say the government is not addressing the needs of students or teachers when it comes to virtual learning or a plan to return to the classroom. 

“We will feel more safe if the government will allocate a specific budget for the health and wellness aspect of teachers."

Rosanilla Constad, deputy secretary, Alliance of Concerned Teachers, Philippines

“We will feel more safe if the government will allocate a specific budget for the health and wellness aspect of teachers,” said Rosanilla Constad, the deputy secretary of the Alliance of Concerned Teachers. 

ATC is the largest union for public school teachers in the Philippines with some 180,000 members.

Constad, a special education teacher at a high school in Butuan province, said her group believes a specific COVID-19 budget could do everything from helping teachers obtain the proper technology to supporting educators if they contract the coronavirus. It would also give teachers and educators a say when it comes to making decisions about whether to return to in-person classes, she said. 

Without more money, Constad noted, students will continue to stay out of the classroom. 

The Department of Education did not respond to The World’s request for comment for this story.

Persistent problems 

Since the Philippines transitioned to mostly remote learning, the agency has worked to provide some laptops and SIM cards, but it’s just not enough, activists say. 

Nearly two years on, educators say many problems faced early on in the pandemic remain, including a lack of proper technology for students to complete their lessons. 

“Not all students are capable of having gadgets…such as drawing tablets, headsets with noise-cancelling features, web cameras, laptops. … I should say it would be a great help if the government can provide us with those tools.”

James Morris Jr., assistant principal, Nuestra Señora de Guia Academy, Marikina City, Philippines

“Not all students are capable of having gadgets … such as drawing tablets, headsets with noise-canceling features, web cameras, laptops,” said James Morris Jr., the assistant principal at Nuestra Señora de Guia Academy, a private high school in Marikina City. “I should say it would be a great help if the government can provide us with those tools.”

Out of a population of over 109 million people, nearly 23% of Filipinos live below the poverty line, according to government data released in 2021. A nationwide survey conducted last year by the Social Weather Stations also revealed that some 42% of students did not use any distance learning device for school. 

Morris also teaches math and, like many teachers, said he doesn’t feel as connected to his students because getting feedback is difficult and many students are trying to learn in difficult home environments. 

To make distance learning even more challenging, the internet in the Philippines is unreliable, expensive and slow — the slowest in all of Southeast Asia. 

Morris said it costs families money to upgrade their internet so their children can do their lessons. Troubleshooting connectivity problems waste valuable teaching time. 

Many teachers have had to use their own money to obtain the resources they need, like tech training and gadgets. 

“I was forced to buy this tablet with a stylus with a pen, so I could easily teach math — particularly problem solving — since I’m doing algebra and graphing,” Morris said. “So, I really needed that tool for me to be able to teach math.”

Even as an administrator, Morris said he doesn’t know when it will be possible to bring students back into the classroom. 

“We really don’t know yet what is going to happen next,” he said.

Health care workers in the Philippines reject new COVID-19 rules as ‘inhumane’

class=”MuiTypography-root-135 MuiTypography-h1-140″>Health care workers in the Philippines reject new COVID-19 rules as 'inhumane'

Many front-line workers and organizations immediately condemned the new rules, calling them “not safe, not fair” and not a solution to the “chronic and accurate problem of understaffing.”

The WorldJanuary 14, 2022 · 3:00 PM EST

Medical Technologist Erika Alvarado performs a COVID-19 test on a patient who just delivered a baby outside a hospital in Manila, Philippines, on Dec. 24, 2021.

Aaron Favila/AP

New guidance that shortens the isolation period for health care workers in the Philippines who catch COVID-19 has drawn the ire of many doctors and nurses across the country who say the reason for the change is not scientifically sound.

On Jan. 6, the Inter-Agency Task Force, the group in charge of the Philippines’ pandemic response, released new rules stating that fully vaccinated, front-line workers who test positive for the virus only have to isolate themselves for five days before returning to work. The previous rules gave a 10-day timeline.

“There is evidence, really, that fully vaccinated individuals, and especially those with boosters, have lower viral load than those who are unvaccinated or partially vaccinated.” 

Maria Rosario Vergeire, Philippines Department of Health undersecretary

“There is evidence, really, that fully vaccinated individuals, and especially those with boosters, have lower viral load than those who are unvaccinated or partially vaccinated,” the Philippines Department of Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire told news network ANC earlier this week.

Related: Inclusion, walkability will be key to rebuilding cities after the pandemic

Still, many front-line workers and organizations immediately condemned the new rules, calling them “not safe, not fair” and not a solution to the "chronic and accurate problem of understaffing."

If this all sounds familiar, particularly for an American audience, it should.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued the same guidance for US health care workers just last month, with CDC head Rochelle Walensky pushing the same rationale in interviews with the media.

“So, having that as evidence, we have adopted the CDC guidelines,” Vergeire told ANC, noting that individual hospitals can decide if they want to implement them. She said the need to bolster the Philippine health care workforce, which has seen more and more people become infected with COVID-19, prompted the policy shift.

Philippine General Hospital in Manila, the country’s leading COVID-19 hospital, soon waded further into the controversy by announcing that they would allow vaccinated workers who have been exposed to COVID-19 to come into work — as long as they are asymptomatic.

Related: Uganda's schools reopen, ending world's longest lockdown

PGH Dr. Jonas del Rosario told CNN Philippines that those workers wouldn’t pose a risk to patients and colleagues.

“When we ask them to go back to work, they’re also wearing the proper PPE [personal protective equipment],” he said.

They’ll also expect workers to monitor themselves and if they start feeling symptoms, they’ll be pulled out of work and tested, Rosario said — and if that test comes back positive, they’ll be sent home.

Neither the Department of Health nor the task force coordinating pandemic response immediately responded to The World’s requests for comment. 

Overworked, understaffed

The new guidance comes at a time when coronavirus cases are surging in the Philippines, slamming short-staffed medical centers and overwhelming overworked doctors and nurses who report low morale and widespread frustration.

This past week, the country not only breached 3 million total cases, it also broke its own daily record for new cases for the entire pandemic four times.

Nurse Cristy Donguines said that she and her staff at Jose R. Reyes Memorial Medical Center are exhausted heading into the junior year of the pandemic.

“We are overwhelmed, it’s very, very difficult and very, very tragic for us,” Donguines said.

Related: India postpones in-school learning as omicron surges 

“Even though we are not a COVID-referral hospital, we are still catering to COVID patients,” she said. “But the problem is we cannot handle it anymore because we are super, super understaffed.”

The nurse of over 22 years said it’s not unusual to work 16 hours one day and then 12 hours the next.

Still, her union of government and private health care workers, the Alliance of Health Care Workers, condemns the rule change.

“We [do not] agree on this kind of very inhumane department order. It is an anti-health care worker guideline.”

Cristy Donguines, Jose R. Reyes Memorial Medical Center, nurse

“We [do not] agree on this kind of very inhumane department order,” Donguines said. “It is an anti-health care worker guideline.”

Dr. Joshua San Pedro, a community physician in Metro Manila and with the Coalition for People’s Right to Health, also opposes the policy shift.

“It’s concerning that you might be going back to work infected,” he said, pointing out that front-line workers in the US have also pushed back on the issue that there’s been no solid evidence that people are less contagious after five days of infection.

Related: Brazil heads into latest COVID surge amid public health information blackout

San Pedro said that these new rules, along with the perpetual issues facing Philippine health care workers like PPE shortages, low pay and meager benefits, really have the country’s health care workers feeling dejected.

“And the concern that nothing is really changing wave after wave, surge after surge and that the work is just getting harder and harder,” he said. 

Typhoon aftermath in the Philippines

Super Typhoon Rai hit the Philippines on December 16. The wind speed reached 270 kilometers per hour. The hurricane tore down trees, tore off rooftops, cut off power lines. Strong tropical showers came to the region with the wind. More than 10 thousand settlements were found in the typhoon affected area. At least two people were killed and three more injured. More than 100 thousand residents were evacuated to the Philippines.

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Duterte’s ‘weaponization of the law’ is a threat to democracy, says journalist Maria Ressa

Duterte’s ‘weaponization of the law’ is a threat to democracy, says journalist Maria Ressa

By
The World staff

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Maria Ressa, executive editor of Philippine news website Rappler, walks out of Manila City Hall after being found guilty of cyber libel, in Manila, Philippines, June 15, 2020.

Credit:

Eloisa Lopez/Reuters 

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Filipina journalist Maria Ressa, the founder of the online news outlet Rappler Media, has spent years staring down President Rodrigo Duterte, one of the world’s most ruthless dictators.

She hasn’t blinked yet. 

But this week, a Manila court convicted Ressa and a former colleague at the news site she founded of the crime of cyber libel.

Related: Journalist Maria Ressa says democracies are fragile

Her alleged crime involved a 2012 article published on Rappler that linked a Filipino businessman to human trafficking and drug smuggling. She could face up to six years in prison. 

“In 2014, someone in Rappler noticed a typographical error in this 2012 article, and they changed one letter of one word. Based on that, I could go to jail for six years because the judge then ruled that this is re-publication. Of course, we’re going to challenge this. And I hope I do get justice at some point,” Ressa told The World while out on bail waiting to appeal the verdict. 

Related: Violence toward journalists is rising around the world

Ressa spoke with Marco Werman about her legal challenges and what it means to be a journalist in the Philippines under the Duterte administration. She says the legal acrobatics the Filipino government performed to get to a guilty verdict are a saga of their own.

Marco Werman: It sounds like a really Kafkaesque situation you find yourself in. Are you preparing yourself mentally for the possibility of going to jail? 

Maria Ressa: It took me a month of really thinking about it. I talked to other journalist friends who had been imprisoned, and I realized that the path I was on that I would need to start thinking about this. I had to confront that. 

President Duterte has called journalists “sons of bitches.” He says journalists are not exempt from assassination. Do you think on some level you intimidate Duterte? Or are the attacks against you personal on some level for him? 

I’m not sure. I know the last time I spoke with him directly was in December 2016. That was his first year in office. I was one of four journalists that he gave interviews to. I think that the Duterte administration makes examples of people. Among businessmen, he focused early on after he took office on a businessman whose …company’s stocks dropped, and they were forced to sell. And politicians — Senator Leila de Lima was head of the Commission on Human Rights and was running after [Duterte] for human rights violations when he was still mayor. She [was] imprisoned in February 2017, and she is still in prison until today. And then, for journalists, I’m a cautionary tale. And I think that there’s some level of threat that if we can do this to her, imagine what we can do to you. 

Related: Will Voice of America’s new Trump pick protect agency independence? 

Does his language frighten you? 

It’s something that we gradually accepted in Rappler. And then, when we were confronted bit by bit with decisions that we had to make, the choice was always very clear. And part of that probably was because the women who founded Rappler were older. I was in my 50s already at that point. I felt like I’d spent my entire career going to the gym to get ready for this moment. So — frightened? By the time I realized the path I was on, I just spent some time to wrap my head around it in the same way for the Monday verdict, I sat and accepted the worst-case scenario. And if I was okay with the worst-case scenario, then everything else will be all right. 

I know a lot of Filipinos support President Duterte. What is it like for you, battling such a popular dictator, when he’s got that support behind him? 

He was one of five presidential candidates, and he didn’t win substantially. In fact, he won only a small majority over the five. I think he’s definitely a popular president. His authoritarian style of leadership was what Filipinos wanted during great times of uncertainty. The fact that he says what he thinks — he seems like “every man.” But he’s also aided by a propaganda machine on social media. And these disinformation networks seed these narratives that really take on a life of their own and float his reputation. One of the most familiar narratives is that “He’s just like me. He is the best president this country will ever have.” I have never — and I’ve gone around a lot in the Philippines — no one has ever come to my face to say or do the things that they do on social media. I’ve been a journalist for a long time. This next year will be my 35th year. And this is part of the reason I worry about the manipulation of the public sphere through social media. 

You’ve been working as a journalist since 1986. What will stop you from reporting? 

I hope nothing. I mean, I did conflict reporting in Southeast Asia for CNN. I’ve worked in war zones. And this time period, with the kind of hate and exponential attacks you get on social media — the weaponization of the law — this is tougher. This is a tougher environment to work in than a war zone because you don’t know where the attacks are going to come from, right? There’s a Damocles sword hanging over your head all the time. When I look at my colleagues in the Philippines, look, the largest newspaper was attacked first by the president. The largest television station was just shut down about a month ago. We were the third attack. And what I’ve learned is that we need to swat away the Damocles sword, because if you allow it to change the way you do your journalism, then they win.

I always wonder, why is our government attacking us so much? Why do they not want the questions in a time of COVID? It almost seems like right now they’re codifying into law the abuses of our rights that have happened on an ad hoc basis. So, this is a precipice that we need to make sure we don’t fall off the edge and lose our democracy. 

Do you have an answer to why? Why is the government going after journalists? 

It’s the consolidation of power — the perfect storm of social media [and] President Duterte-style of leadership. In my last interview with him, I asked him, do you need to use violence? And he just categorically said yes. He feels that violence and fear are important aspects of leadership. I don’t know where this will lead, but we certainly, because of technology, because of the weaponization of the law, we’re in a new area. Look, the eight criminal charges I have, cumulatively, I could face almost 100 hundred years in jail. But I look away from that and look at where we are today and see that we have to actively push. It is a battle for truth, right? And in a battle for truth, journalists are advocates. 

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity. 

Russia, Philippines hand down controversial convictions; Beijing lockdowns return; New Zealand sports fans return to stadiums

Russia, Philippines hand down controversial convictions; Beijing lockdowns return; New Zealand sports fans return to stadiums

By
The World staff

Former US Marine Paul Whelan holds a sign as he stands inside a defendants’ cage during his verdict hearing in Moscow, Russia, June 15, 2020.

Credit:

Maxim Shemetov/Reuters

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Top of The World — our morning news round up written by editors at The World. Subscribe here.

Ex-US marine Paul Whelan has been found guilty by the Moscow City Court of spying charges, in what he called a “sham trial.” Whelan, 50, was sentenced to 16 years of hard labor by the Russian court Monday. In 2018, he was arrested in a Moscow hotel room with a flash drive that authorities say held state secrets. Whelan says he was set up with a USB stick, which he believed to contain family photos.

The case has strained US-Russia relations, though the White House has not been vocal about Whelan’s situation. US Ambassador to Russia John Sullivan condemned the verdict, calling the trial an “egregious violation of human rights,” and criticized the embassy’s lack of access to Whelan. Whelan’s lawyers may lodge an appeal, and his family has called on the US to take steps to bring him home.

In the Philippines, journalist Maria Ressa, founder of the investigative Rappler Media, and her former colleague, Reynaldo Santos, have become the first journalists to be convicted of cyber libel under a highly scrutinized law that opponents warned would be used to silence critics of controversial President Rodrigo Duterte’s government. The Committee to Protect Journalists called Monday’s conviction an “outrageous crime against press freedom.” Ressa and Santos will appeal, but could face up to six years in prison. 

The World spoke with Maria Ressa last April: “Democracies can turn overnight. You can lose rights very quickly and I’m shocked at what’s happened to the Philippines. So — hold the line. I always say, ‘Hold the line.’ I think we need to demand accountability. We need to stop impunity. Those are the two main things.” 

What The World is following

Less than a month after the killing of George Floyd by a white police officer in Minneapolis galvanized a movement against systemic racism and police brutality around the world, Rayshard Brooks, also a black man, was killed by a white police officer in Atlanta, Georgia, on Friday, reigniting protests in the city

Some areas of Beijing are reentering lockdowns after China’s capital city reported 36 new cases of the novel coronavirus in a single day, likely linked to an outbreak at the Xinfadi wholesale market. In US states with support for Donald Trump, Republican skepticism about the threat of the pandemic could be shifting as the number of cases of COVID-19 increases by the hundreds or more per day. Research suggests that racial attitudes could have reinforced an “empathy gap” for virus victims, which have disproportionately been people of color

In New Zealand, 20,000 fans became some of the first in the world to regather in person for a sporting event — a rugby match on Saturday. The country has been declared essentially virus-free after strict lockdown measures beginning in March effectively quashed the virus there. 

Racism against African Americans in China escalates amid coronavirus

Women wearing protective face masks are seen in a bus, following the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Shanghai, June 9, 2020. 

Credit:

Aly Song/Reuters 

Four years ago, JC, a teacher and poet from Mississippi, moved to China with her husband and two children on a grand adventure. Now, she teaches literature to high schoolers in Guangzhou. 

But she says life has changed amid the coronavirus pandemic. In mid-April, reports of “imported cases” of COVID-19 from abroad triggered a wave of anti-foreigner sentiment across China, especially toward black people.

‘Travel bubbles’: Who’s in and who’s out of the plan to save global tourism

Passengers wait for a regional train at the main train station in Berlin during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Berlin, Germany, June 10, 2020.

Credit:

Gabriela Baczynska/Reuters

The coronavirus pandemic has brought leisure travel to a standstill. International tourism could decline by up to 80% this year, according to the United Nations World Tourism Organization. Now, just as the Northern Hemisphere enters the summer season, governments around the world are trying to revitalize their tourism economies.

And: Sweden’s handling of coronavirus drives some people to relocate

Morning meme

Watching Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s moptop emerge is one way to keep track of the calendar, says The New York Times (and this GIF 👇). 

I made a thing! @JustinTrudeau‘s hair from every daily update since March 16, 2020. #Longhairdontcare pic.twitter.com/IvNeKbKhYC

— Steven Tiao (@stiao) June 12, 2020In case you missed itListen: Latin America’s reckoning with racism and police violence

A demonstrator wearing a face mask as a preventive measure against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), holds a sign that reads “I can’t breathe, black lives matter” during a protest against the death in Minneapolis police custody of George Floyd and the arrival of U.S. troops in Colombian territory, in Bogota, Colombia June 3, 2020.

Credit:

Luisa Gonzalez/Reuters

The World continues its coverage of campaigns for police reform across the globe. Host Marco Werman speaks with Siana Bangura, an organizer in London, and Miski Noor, an activist with Black Visions Collective in Minneapolis. Also, The World’s Jorge Valencia has a story about police killings in Latin America.  Tensions continue to escalate between the US and China. The US Navy is dispatching two aircraft carriers plus support ships to the western Pacific, a powerful signal to Beijing. Host Marco Werman speaks with military analyst Sim Tack about the escalations. With international tourism falling off a cliff, governments are trying to mitigate things by allowing their citizens to visit neighboring countries. But with “travel bubbles” forming around the world, the US hasn’t been invited to buddy up with anybody. The World’s Bianca Hillier has more. And, US President Donald Trump authorized economic sanctions against the International Criminal Court this week, unhappy about efforts to investigate US personnel. The World’s Rupa Shenoy reports.

Don’t forget to subscribe to The World’s Latest Edition podcast using your favorite podcast player: RadioPublicApple PodcastsStitcherSoundcloudRSS.

Zaytoven – Boot Up lyrics

(feat. Future)

[Intro: Future]
Zaytoven
Yeah
I want [?] some boot up (boot up)
You know I put the bag on ’em
(That’s that Molly in there)
Boot up, boot up, boot up

[Chorus: Future]
I want [?] some boot up (woo)
I want [?] some boot up (woo)
I want [?] some boot up
I got that work when I pull up
I want [?] some boot up
I want [?] some boot up
I want that foreign, I pull up
I’m in that foreign, I pull up (skrrt)
Boot up, boot up, boot up, boot up
Boot up, boot up, nigga (woo)
Boot up, boot up, boot up, boot up
Boot up, boot up, nigga (woo)
Boot up, boot up, boot up, boot up
Boot up, boot up, nigga (woo)
I want [?] some boot up (skrrt)
I’m in a foreign, I pull up

[Verse 1: Future]
I’m tryna pass the momma (woah)
She tryna grab the movie
Tryna [?] on that boot up
Shawty gon’ fuck all the loot up (loot up)
I got them tabs, you poppin’ them [?]
You better go stack you some boot up
I’m livin’ like I’m Godzilla (yeah)
I’m bouta go see the killer
Takin’ the [?] with the pill
You don’t know what that done did to me (what it)
I gave him a [?] out in the chimney
I just copped this cold broad an’ she from the Philippines
She wanna fuck up the cost, for real
I see how she look at the [?]
You wanna take you a ‘Xanny?
I pass ’em out like they candy
Put my love inside a cup, pour it up at any
Shawty like the way I fuck when I’m on the Roxies
On a half-a-gram of yuck, you can’t stop me

[Chorus: Future]
I want [?] some boot up (woo)
I want [?] some boot up (woo)
I want [?] some boot up
I got that work when I pull up
I want [?] some boot up
I want [?] some boot up
I want that foreign, I pull up
I’m in that foreign, I pull up (skrrt)
Boot up, boot up, boot up, boot up
Boot up, boot up, nigga (woo)
Boot up, boot up, boot up, boot up
Boot up, boot up, nigga (woo)
Boot up, boot up, boot up, boot up
Boot up, boot up, nigga (woo)
I want [?] some boot up (skrrt)
I’m in a foreign, I pull up

[Verse 2: Future]
She get that work when I ask for it (yeah)
I don’t give away no cash flow (nah)
I’m always down to my last four (woo)
I’m four-down on my last ho
Came in her mouth, are you hardcore? (yeah)
You get to give me an encore
They need to give me my own show
I done sold out on my own tour
I want the work when I [?]
I just need to see the cash first
I just need to see the bag first (bag)
I’ma get it, that my last word
[?] with a young [?]
But he ain’t doin’, I’m an outburst him
I’ma hit his bitch mouth first
I’ma show him how to floss first
See that nigga, he a boss, baby
I’ma show you that I’m bosser
I’ma have her saying, “Yes, sir” (yes)
Pimpin’ bitches, I did that first
NBA in my lecture (yeah)
I already ran off on Hector (woo)
I’m pourin’ up in a Tesla
An’ I get drops

[Chorus: Future]
I want [?] some boot up (woo)
I want [?] some boot up (woo)
I want [?] some boot up (woo)
I got that work when I pull up
I want [?] some boot up
I want [?] some boot up
I want that foreign, I pull up
I’m in that foreign, I pull up (skrrt)
Boot up, boot up, boot up, boot up
Boot up, boot up, nigga (woo)
Boot up, boot up, boot up, boot up
Boot up, boot up, nigga (woo)
Boot up, boot up, boot up, boot up
Boot up, boot up, nigga (woo)
I want [?] some boot up (skrrt)
I’m in a foreign, I pull up

10cc – Don’t Send We Back

We came across from Korea
We braved the wind and the rain
We came a thousand miles just to be here
And you want to send we back again
We crossed Malaysian waters
We sailed the South China Sea
We stopped at Singapore and Jakarta
And you want to send we back to sea
Don’t send we back, have mercy upon us
We know you don’t want us but we’ve got no one
Don’t send we back, we’ve run out of water
We won’t last the morning in the baking sun
The Indonesian Islands
We stopped at every one
As for the Philippines we tried ’em
And you want to turn our boat around

Ugly God – Like A Maverick (The Booty Tape Album)

[Verse 1]
Aye, I make music from my basement
I done came up and got famous
I’m the goat ain’t no replacement
35k on my bracelet
Niggas is bitches I don’t fuck with niggas, I can’t fuck with niggas like racists
Hoes on my dick I put gold on my wrist now my neck really cold like a penguin
I pipe your bitch with this ice on my wrist cause she see my dick hard like the pavement
I got that guap now these bitches gon flock B, I got your main bitch in amazement
Slaughter your daughter no savage
Bitch I’m the booty gang captain
She can’t be mine, no I can’t waste my time nigga I be doing shows and traveling
Bitch, I’m throwed off like a javelin
Get your bitch gone just like magic
I see that booty, I grab it
Ugly God ball like a maverick

[Tag]
Thanks Ugly God!

[Hook]
Just like a maverick
Watch me ball out like a maverick
Just like a maverick
Watch me ball out like a maverick
Get your bitch gone just like magic, cause I ball out like a maverick
I see that booty I grab it, cause I ball out like a maverick
Just like a maverick
Watch me ball out like a maverick
Just like a maverick
Watch me ball out like a maverick
Get your bitch gone just like magic, cause I ball out like a maverick
I see that booty I grab it, cause I ball out like a maverick

[Verse 2]
I spent that check on my wrist and my neck, Ugly God got the sauce you can’t handle it
Made half a mil by myself with no deal, now they mad cause I’m cocky and arrogant
Let’s get into it, no talking, let’s do it, I think that I should’ve been President
If Ugly God was a candidate watch how the people vote for me unanimous
But wait
I take your bitch on a date
Ugly God live from the H
My new bitch thick like a steak
I sit back and thumb through this cake
Fuck a new friend, niggas fake
They slept on me now they awake
Bitch I made hits like I’m Drake
Hey, gold on my neck and my wrist full of diamonds
Hey, these niggas is bitches and bitches be lying
Hey, don’t call me "brother" no you ain’t no kin to me
Can’t trust a soul all you niggas is enemies
Biting my wave boy I swear you a mini me
Come at me wrong you get hurt boy I been a G
Now I’m on top the ladder bitch, look at my swagger, I’m sharp like a dagger
Nigga want beats, serve em up like a platter
She hit my phone, I put meat in her bladder
I done came up but just watch what I’m finna be
I just got me a lil bitch from the Philippines
She give me play cause I’m rich so she into me
Talk out the side of your neck and you guillotine

[Hook]
Just like a maverick
Watch me ball out like a maverick
Just like a maverick
Watch me ball out like a maverick
Get your bitch gone just like magic, cause I ball out like a maverick
I see that booty I grab it, cause I ball out like a maverick
Just like a maverick
Watch me ball out like a maverick
Just like a maverick
Watch me ball out like a maverick
Get your bitch gone just like magic, cause I ball out like a maverick
I see that booty I grab it (Thanks Ugly God!)
Cause I ball out like a maverick

The Oemons – Mister King Kebabu lyrics

A long time ago dating back for centuries
Travelling men from afar were searching for a place to be
The siblings, Mister and King were the fruits of the royal family (Kebab)
They tagged along Ababu and formed their angry little posse called

Mister! King Kebabu
Mister! King Kebabu
Mister! King Kebabu
Mister! King Kebabu
Mister! King Kebabu
Mister! King Kebabu
Is my home

One day, an idea just came up something that would make some money
They would swim to the Philippines and sell their food that were spicy
They huddled to come up with a name something that would be so catchy
They thought the locals were that lame
So they named the place stereotypically

Mister! King Kebabu
Mister! King Kebabu
Mister! King Kebabu
Mister! King Kebabu
Mister! King Kebabu
Mister! King Kebabu
Is my home

The only mystery for me something that I can’t see
Why the white stuff makes food so tasty How could this be?
It could be mystic gypsy dust, a secret recipe
It could be love juice from the cock of the Great Khali

Mister! King Kebabu
Mister! King Kebabu
Mister! King Kebabu
Mister! King Kebabu
Mister! King Kebabu
Mister! King Kebabu
Is my home

Chess In Concert – One Night In Bangkok lyrics

[Verse 1]
Bangkok! Oriental setting
And the city don’t know what the city is getting
The crème de la crème of the chess world in a
Show with everything but Yul Brynner

[Verse 2]
Time flies, doesn’t seem a minute
Since the Tyrolean spa had the chess boys in it
All change, but don’t you know that when you
Play at this level it’s no ordinary venue

[Hook]
It’s Iceland or the Philippines or
Hastings or this place!

[Chorus]
One night in Bangkok and the world’s your oyster
The bars are temples but the pearls aren’t free
You’ll find a god in every golden cloister
And if you’re lucky then the god’s a she
I can feel an angel sliding up to me

[Verse 3]
One town’s very like another
When your head’s down over your pieces, brother

It’s a drag, it’s a bore, it’s really such a pity
To be looking at the board, not looking at the city.

Whaddya mean? Ya seen one crowded, polluted, stinking town…

Tea, girls, warm and sweet
Some are set up in the Somerset Maugham suite

Get Thai’d! You’re talking to a tourist
Whose every move’s among the purest.

I get my kicks above the waistline, Sunshine.

[Chorus]
One night in Bangkok makes a hard man humble
Not much between despair and ecstasy
One night in Bangkok and the tough guys tumble
Can’t be too careful with your company
I can feel the devil walking next to me

[Verse 4]
Siam’s gonna be the witness
To the ultimate test of cerebral fitness
This grips me more than would a
Muddy old river or reclining Buddha.

Thank God I’m only watching the game, controlling it.

[Verse 5]
I don’t see you guys rating
The kind of mate I’m contemplating
I’d let you watch, I would invite you
But the queens we use would not excite you.

So you better go back to your bars, your
Temples, your massage parlours…

[Chorus]
One night in Bangkok and the world’s your oyster
The bars are temples but the pearls ain’t free
You’ll find a god in every golden cloister
A little flesh, a little history
I can feel an angel sliding up to me.

[Outro]
One night in Bangkok makes a hard man humble
Not much between despair and ecstasy
One night in Bangkok and the tough guys tumble
Can’t be too careful with your company
I can feel the devil walking next to me