Wednesday, August 20, 2008

MILF on a Rampage?

I always understand that the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) cannot be tagged outrightly as terrorist because as claimed they champion the Moro people’s cause and has put allegedly a legitimate struggle against the established Philippine government. In its struggle to achieve political ends, it has to fight militarily against the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) which is tasked to protect the constitution of the Philippines and not the helpless innocent civilians.

But the recent attack in Kolambogan (Lanao del Norte) killing innocent and armless civilians besmirched the image of the MILF. It can be viewed as a desperate action to achieve their political ends – autonomy in the minimal and Mindanao secession as the maximum.

The leadership of MILF cannot escape from blaming fingers however they denied that group which killed civilians on Lanao del Norte were “lost commands.” The MILF should be held accountable for failing to get rid their rank of “bad eggs” like ground commanders who defy orders . MILF should also run after those bogus groups or brigands that bear its name. At all cost, MILF has to protect their name especially in the face of public opinion. Afterall, it is said that MILF is carrying a war they believe as "holy."

The attack that killed innocent or armless civilians is pure barbarism. We cannot say less or more. And it has no place in a civilized society or as the best strategy of a legitimate struggle. Those groups that killed civilians in Lanao del Norte should be punished. The MILF leadership can redeem their image by working hand-in-hand with the AFP to run after those who raided Kolambogan and other areas in North Cotabato. If not, it would be viewed as part of the political game that MILF is adopting to raise their ante no matter who will suffer.

Image is a grab from ABS-CBN Online.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

My Cartoons in Video

This raw video I recently made presents some of my editorial cartoons I posted here. I thought of presenting them through this medium to get a glimpse of my craft. I was thinking also that it would be great if I will produce low-end videos on editorial cartooning for aspiring cartoonists. If I have more time, I will surely work on these plans.

Video documentary is one of my interests but I was not lucky to have the opportunity to polish my skills related to this very interesting field although I was actively involved in the production of low-end video documentaries in the past. I was also able to make a 30-minute video documentary in 2005. After that, nothing followed. By the way, this is my first entry to my Youtube account since I did not have files of my previous videos. For now, I settle in exploring raw productions such as this one for diversion.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

PGMA and Term Extension

The federal movement started their campaigns years ago but they got no landmark achievements yet except that many have favored federalism as a good concept we can adopt to effectively manage the country. Under the system, regions are given full authority to manage their own political and economic affairs. Well, I hope this is the concept.

But when Pres. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo announced her support to it recently, the opposition was not jubilant. Instead, they cast aspersions upon it saying that the timing is bad as it came over the much-heated issue on the controversial Bangsamoro Juridical Entity and the Memorandum Agreement on Ancestral Domain which tackle the view that the Moro Islamic Liberation Front has rights over some areas or regions across the country on top of the current ARMM. Some who favored federalism were also skeptical. (I heard their argument that is why I depicted it in my recent editorial cartoon.)

The fear that PGMA will only use federalism and charter change for her own interest by extending her term beyond 2010 is imagined. Who can tell? Nobody. While we cannot also tell that she will not ride on it, I believe that those who want change now can start with the pronouncement of PGMA. We need the new system for our development today. This is the time. Not tomorrow or that we wait for the next administration to lay the grounds for charter change. Perhaps, the best thing to do is to make sure that the fear of the opposition will not happen. Let the senate discuss the proposal so that we can move out of underdevelopment. I hope I hit the note.

Madayaw Davao!

Derived from a tribal word "madayaw" (good), Kadayawan Festival is here. The festival is an adaptation from the Lumad's (tribal) way of thanksgiving during bountiful harvests. Davao City takes pride of its Indigenous Peoples (among the 18 ethnolinguistic groups in the country) and Moslem brothers and sisters. (Click the image to visit the website of the Kadayawan Festival).

It is one of the most important events in the city. A foundation is tasked to manage the affair. I think it officially started on August 17 and culminates with a Pasasalamat (thanksgiving) on August 24. The festival is drawing visitors from neighboring provinces in Mindanao and other regions in the country. Foreigner tourists are also coming to witness the celebration infused with events like trade fair, food festival and other colorful events like floral float parade and street dancing competition that showcases various cultures of the city and Mindanao as home to the tri-people (Christian, IP and Moslem or the Moro People). The festival depicts the unity of the tri-people living peacefully together in one community as in the case of Davao City which is considered as the melting pot of the south. Aside from its rich cultures, the city also takes pride of its bounty harvest of Durian (the fruit that smells like hell but tastes like heaven), orchids, etc.

All images in this post were grabbed from the official website of the Kadayawan Festival of Davao City.

Friday, August 15, 2008

The Blog Reviewer

I was lucky when Shen stumbled and reviewed by blog. This was like winning a lotto. Hehehe. The review was posted in this site The Blog Reviewer last August 2, 2008. With a captivating title “The Cartoonist is Now Online,” the review was encouraging from a guy who is not an ordinary blogger. He is International Council Member, Secretary General of BROOD Philippines, 6th National Youth Parliament Region 3 Convenor and Chairperson for ICT and PeaceTech Embassy Luzon Treasurer. Wow. Look at those credentials. I posted his review here, read on:
REVIEW #133. I remember that I was looking for someone to be a speaker for a soon Editorial Cartooning that our organization will cater... and then here comes this website owned by someone who seems to be an expert in the field. Zamora's Editorial Cartoons are really great and depicts the realities of life. His editorial cartoons are vivid and evokes feedbacks, emotions and reactions... that is indeed what a commendable Editorial Cartoonist is.

He seems to also have worked for various NGOs doing their artwork and such. He is indeed a versatile man doing many things but loving what he really wanted which is to draw. Well if he will do consider being a member of BROOD then perhaps he could also be part of our Online Magazine to be relaunched this September. (Site Ratings: Layout – 8, Content – 9, Coherence – 9, Reach – 4, Readability – 9 and Overall Rating - 7.8)

Great artworks... as in superb 101%. The only thing to work on the place is to really clean it, put an altar and regularly pray together with the family. After all the house and lot did cause a fortune so that's what we do as well.
I am grateful for this review because it boosts my site. It is like getting a shot in the arm while I know that there is so much to be done to improve my site and his positive comments are very encouraging. I should say that that this improve my position in all search engines as a result. Shen, thanks for the time you gave by going through my posts. I can see that he is also prolific blogger and has authored a number of blogs. But this one that posted the review is an interesting site to visit too. Never fail to pay him a visit for I know that will learn many things from the guy or from his blog.

The small image is my Entrecard Badge.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Civet Coffee in Capsules

In my previous post, I mentioned about pricy Civet Coffee whose berries come from the wastes of an animal. The update is that through the well-meaning support of some funding agencies , the community project is moving on. James is one of the primemovers of this project that is already producing powder coffee and another product they produce are civet coffee in capsules. You read it right, in capsules. The Indigenous Peoples (IP) used to chew the berries but with these capsules - no need to chew anymore. One take will replenish drained energy and they are chemical-free. I don't know how true. I have not tried it myself although in the case of instant coffee, one cup is enough to perk up my morning. I am a coffee addict.

They get orders as far as California. A pad is composed of 10 capsules. and it is Php5.00 a piece or Php50 (USD1.1) per pad. Above all these things, if you patronize the coffee you also be helping greatly the IP community (in North Cotabato) who stands as beneficiaries of the project. I hope that civets will multiply themselves in the province of North Cotabato - far from the bullets of the raging war in the neighboring towns. If you want to know more about the project or the products, email jameszamora(at)yahoo(dot)com.

Monday, August 11, 2008

ARMM Election and Fleeing Evacuees

As skirmishes between the government forces and elements of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front in the province of North Cotabato and the election in the Autonomous Region for Muslim Mindanao was also going on.

I drew this editorial cartoon fusing the two different scenarios but were related to each other in line with the peace and order situation of Mindanao. Residents in the villages of the province like Pigcawayan, Midsayap, Libungan, Banisilan, Aleosan, and Pikit suffered from harassment s due to the presence of MILF elements or “lost commands” in the words of MILF Atty. Eid Kabalu. Massive displacements in the provinces of North Cotabato and Maguindanao have reportedly occurred due to the armed clashes that ensued following the demand of the government for the armed groups to vacate said villages. Updates talked about some 100,000 residents who fled their homesteads to safer places. For the casualties, so far one soldier was killed and 32 others wounded in the on-going fighting. Meanwhile, the first automated ARMM election, minus minor hitches, was generally peaceful and successful.

On Beijing Olympics

I was able to install the olympics medal tally on the left sidebar of this blog. Where is the Philippines in the initial tally of medals? Maybe at the bottom of the widget board. I hope that our contingent will be able to come home triumphant. Somewhere I read that that athletes who would be able to bring home a gold medal - an honor to the country - will get fat rewards. Instead, why not focus on providing foundation for sports development in the country so that will not pin our hope to few individuals during this event?

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Piece Issue

This editorial cartoon is another response to the much-heated issue on Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain and the Bangsamoro Juridical Entity (BMJE) that met criticism from the people. I tackled the issues in my previous post. The MILF insisted on the implementation of BMJE that demanded for the goverment to recognize areas as Moroland even bigger that the current areas under the Autonomous Region for Muslim Mindanao (ARMM). By the way, MILF does not recognize the ARMM setup which resulted from the peace pact signed between the Moro National Liberation Front and the Ramos government in 1996.


In the morning of Thursday (August 7), an armed clash between government forces and alleged members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) had occurred in Aleosan (North Cotabato) where one volunteer was reportedly killed. Earlier, the MILF members were allegedly occupying some towns in the region but MILF spokesperson Atty. Eid Kabalu, when interviewed by the media, denied this saying they did not forcibly occupied the said areas. Based on earlier reports, more than 1,500 families had already fled their homes because of the presence of the armed elements believed to belong to the MILF.

A stern warning was issued by the government for the MILF to vacate the aforementioned areas within 24 hours. Instead, armed skirmishes ensued after the government sent forces there. Lates tv reports claimed that many residents have been fleeing as armed clashes between government forces and MILF elements continue.

Guitar Riff

Surely this post is not related to my issue or related to the Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain and Bangsamoro Juridical Entity that stirred everyone lately. I need short break from back-breaking drawing of editorial cartoons. I stumbled on guitar riff on a neo-classical metal called Canon Rock by the talented Taiwanese musician and composer Jerry Chang. The piece was a composition by Johann Pachelbel in 1680. I saw Jerry C wiping the riff in YouTube and other video sites but I posted this rendition of the guy whom I think one of the best. Just play the video to know what I mean.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

IP Rights over Ancestral Domain

My friend Heherson Juego of Splice and Dice commented:

Quite ironically, the lumads are raising their voices against the compact entered into by the gov't with the MILF. That's because they say they weren't given the chance to raise their concerns about the deal, knowing for a fact that they've been living in Mindanao for centuries already.

I agree. The Indigenous Peoples (IPs) have the right to raise a howl against the Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain that government and MILF inked recently without consulting everybody. My frustration is that the IPs came late again. As far as I understand it, the IPs in the country can never have a solid voice coming from their ranks. When I joined my colleague giving a basic cartooning to a group of Lumads (natives) in the 80s, my part then was to draw a prophetic cartoon about the IP's unity. One of the participants explained that it was impossible because the IPs could not come together. "Misunderstanding" among IPs would often result in a pangayao (tribal war). I was happy over my impromptu drawing but feeling frustrated after hearing it. I didn't know if he was just pessimistic but i tend to agree two decades later that this is really a problem among IPs.

We have about 18 ethnolinguistic groups but there seems to be no group from them who could consolidate their common stand for their rights. If they continue to be voiceless as they retreat to the remotest areas in the countryside, IPs and their rich cultures will die sooner than later. Their professionals, saved for a few, are leaving them. I am afraid they cannot come back to stand us one body to raise their valid case as pointed out by my friend Heherson. The government should look after them and champion supposedly for their causes but we cannot trust the government to do it for the IPs. Let alone protecting them from the mining operations that inflicted harm on their communities for years now. Very sad reality.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Federalism and BMJE

I am glad that my friend Dondon Clamor has finally put up a blog on federalism. Federal Philippines is one of the proposals which should be considered in the discussion on what to do with the peace and development concern facing Mindanao. When it hogged the headlines years back, I took federalism with some degree of skepticism knowing fully well how this country is being run by traditional politicians or TRAPOs (the vernacular “trapo” means dirty wipe cloth) who are only after for their own political ends.

One of my cartoons in 2001 depicted my previous position on the issue (the hand of federalism picks up one star from the country (flag of the Republic of the Philippines) to drop it to the plate of politics).But I am giving it a chance now - promise! - as another

avenue that would possibly resolve Mindanao’s age-old peace and development concerns.

Mindanao has been in political turmoil for decades brought about by the presence of pocket rebellions staged by the Moro rebels starting off with the emergence of the Moro National Liberation Front led by Prof. Nur Misuari. It gave birth to another group called Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) which aims to put up a Islamic State out of this second largest island in the country. MNLF was for autonomous region and it signed a peace agreement in 1996 (?) with the government that resulted in the establishment of Autonomous Region for Muslim Mindanao (ARMM). The latter pushed for a more radical position – to take away Mindanao from the Philippine governance as a claimed Moroland or bangsamoro.

The twist now is that MILF wants bigger scope extending the current ARMM areas as maybe proposed under the controversial Bangsa Moro Juridical Entity (BMJE) – claiming some regions or parts in the country as ancestral land as contained in the recent Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain (MOA-AD). This has stirred debates and complaints on the ground saying the peace panel never consulted the people and that the agreement is a "mockery to our sovereignty."

The problem is that in the first place, the MILF does not care about the so-called legislative processes. But the government will have to deal with a large number of Mindanaoans who would not want BMJE to mess up their lives. Simply put, the government cannot just push BMJE or similar proposals without consulting the people. There are local government units which strongly disagreed with the BMJE concept by lodging a complaint to get temporary restraining order (TRO) at the proper court. It is impossible to do it - as if you it is giving away a piece of cake at its whim. We are in a democratic country after all and so win-win solution is the best option at all time and sincerity in doing so is what we want to rule rather than to use BMJE to engage the MILF in a merry-go-round exercise which won’t get us anywhere even near our common benefits.

There is no point of pushing a proposal that will only aggravate the current situation in Mindanao or play game with MILF's clamor for self-determination as a maneuvering to salvage dwindling political popularity or whatever.

(Small photos -Mindanao map and surfing Pres. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo- were grabs from

Monday, August 4, 2008

For my friend Noreen and Bob her Honey

I wish them a never-ending story of happiness when great couple Bob and Noreen as finally tie the knots this month. I am nly personnaly known to lawyer Noreen who is a friend of my CGEP (College Editors Guild of the Philippines) friends. She came late as member of the guild or I was ahead of her. I did not know her until we met at the cityroom of Peryodiko Dabaw (Sun-Star Davao now) in the late 90s (I guess) where Noreen worked as never mind. Hehehe, I forgot. Did you work there while attending law school at the Ateneo de Davao University, Noreen? Let's wait for her answer. Meanhwile, she studied law at ADDU which among us non-ADDU would teasingly pronounce as “arrneewww…” Sounds classy. It is a class university.

After the successful bar, Noreen worked as legal affiliate at the Basa Law Office here in Davao where my exgirlfriend Gemma works as secretary. When I knew it I said, “small world.” My friendship with Noreen who hails from Davao Oriental (she is a true-blue smart Dabawenya and so better not mess up with her. I’m joking) was never that deep although we have association through our common friends. That’s why I could not say less or more about Noreen after I helped her design the quarterly publication of the lawyers’ Sigma Tau Mu fraternity/sorority for an honorarium. I moonlight as graphic artist since birth. It's up to you if you don't believe. I was already holding a pen mouse when I was delivered to this world. LOL. After that project she betrayed me – I did not have projects anymore. LOL.

However, my exgf has a long list of nice descriptions about Noreen. To cite a few, a smart lawyer who reports to the office before the rooster could crow. She is a legal counsel who does her homework to win the case and fight it out, like David did to Goliath, in the courtroom dominated by old hands of the industry. Oh, industry? :-) Above all those qualities, she is a very thoughtful person who does not think only of herself but also looks after her officemates. She never fails to share something to others. I forgot what year she migrated to the USA. Was it in 2005, Noreen? When she migrated and reviewed law in the Land of Milk and Honey and practices there too, it was the moment of great decision too when she meets her honey Bob. Great love story though I missed to read the pages. Hehe. To Bob, I am speaking to you as a man, you have won the heart of a strong-willed sweet woman, gelukwens!

Saturday, August 2, 2008

SKP, the Cartoonists

SKP stands for Samahang Kartunista ng Pilipinas (Philippine cartoonist association). Supposedly, I am SKP member but since the Kartun Asia Conference in March 2000 in Manila, nothing followed. I did not know what happened. Everybody seemed so silent or maybe our line was cut-off or I was out of the circulation. What happened, SKP? I hope we can meet again or converge to discuss plans. Anyway, during the conference, I met other national-based cartoonists like Tonton Young, Jun Aquino, Barry Jose, Rene Aranda (not in the photo), Nonoy Marcelo + (not in the photo), the late Boy Togonon + (not in the photo), Larry Alcala +, Norman Isaac (not in the photo), Roni Santiago and Joshua Cabrera.

The late Mr. Marcelo, the one who created the famous Ikabod, positively commented on my works during our first meeting at Corporate Inn (?) along T. Kalaw where I was billeted. I was overwhelmed to meet him knowing how he created a stir in the arena of political opinion as one of the hard-hitting cartoonists in the country during the Marcos Regime. I remember Mr. Marcelo as one of the cartoonists who did experimented heavily on his editorial cartoons presentation with Manila Chronicle (if memory serves me right) playing up or bordering on pure abstractionism. I missed to ask him why he did it.

Manong Larry as I fondly called him was also billeted in that same hotel and we discussed a lot in relation to our craft. Who does not know these great men? Every Pinoy knows them and their works. During the forum in the conference proper (just reminiscing), Manong Larry was one of those who were against to the use of computer in drawing cartoons. I am not sure if he changed his mind later but I know he was referring to the computer free-hand which he described then as having visual hardness.

While I already drew cartoons using computer free-hand during this time, I agreed with him that the free-hand drawings could hardly match up the elements of fluidity or versatility achieved through the manual sketching.
I only published my computer-generated cartoons for experimentation. Although there techniques to approximate the fluidity in the visuals, the process is painstaking or time-consuming. As of the moment, computer programs do have limitation when it comes to approximating various visual elements in traditional cartoons. Well, anyway, technology is catching up and the "issue" would be squarely addressed sooner or later. Meantime, I prefer to draw my daily issues through the flurry of my pentelbrush. How about digital? I only use it when I want diversion from the usual.