Back in 2012, we decided to do an online interview with Facebook activists, Pixel Offensive. While just starting out, they have grown to a sizable following of 35,297 in just over 2 years. While the following may be 2+ years old. It’s message is still as important as ever. Some of you may agree. Some may disagree. But neither can argue the reality of what the following words are meant to convey.
Something too many Filipinos seem to have forgotten on how to put to good use.
CO: Good day. Could you tell our readers something about Pixel Offensive and what brought about your organization?
PO: Pixel Offensive is a Facebook page consisting primarily of politically-charged graphics aimed to provoke thought and enlighten people about stuff going on within Philippine society. We came up with the name Pixel Offensive, as referring to visual war-fare in mind, And not just for the simple reason to offend. It’s a war against apathy. If someone gets offended along the way, it’s probably because that person/entity is sitting on the other side of the fence.
CO: Very nice. And what about the people involved in your group? Do all of you share the same feelings and/or opinions as to the political structure of the Philippines today?
PO: We’re a small, mixed bunch and we come from diverse backgrounds. Some are graphic designers. Others are writers within independent media. We pitch in ideas about a particular issue. We’ve known each other for quite sometime now and we’re comfortable with the way we work. If there’s one thing we can’t do without, it’s our political views. And of course… a stable internet connection.
CO: The following may be a little tricky to answer. Especially with your generation being taught ONLY the bad things. “But how do you truly compare the two Aquino administrations to the Marcos Administration?”
PO: Economically, the Philippines right now is in far worse condition that it was during the Marcos administration. By that, we don’t mean to praise the Marcos administration. With how our current economic and political structure is set up, the crisis will just worsen. Grave human rights abuses were committed during the Marcos years. More than six million were displaced from their homes and land. Some 150,000 were killed. At least 70,000 were arbitrarily detained for over a month. Cory promised to be the opposite of her predecessor.
But later on, she would unleash war upon our people. Her administration’s flagship agrarian reform program (CARP) was full of loopholes. Contractualization of labor also became the norm during her term, much to the dismay of the working classes. This was done to keep wages low and destroy workers’ unions.
CO: I agree 100%. Just look at the nursing program. If things continue in the present direction, where do you honestly believe your country will be in the next 5 to 10 years?
PO: With the way things are going, the Philippines will be in a deeper shithole than it is now. There are visibly a lot more families living on the streets than a decade ago. Thousands of Filipinos leave on a daily basis to work abroad. All this will have to change, though. It’s all just a matter of time.
CO: How does Pixel feel knowing that President Marcos achieved more for the Philippines during his administration, than ANY and ALL presidents before or after him, combined?
PO: We have answered that in the previous question.
CO: Let’s talk about the latest political horror… The so-called Cybercrime Law. What is Pixel’s overall opinion of it, and where do you stand regarding it’s possible future?
PO: Pixel Offensive believes the Cybercrime Law is a draconian law which aims to silence us all. It is a direct attack on our civil liberties. In its present form, the law contains provisions that serves stiff penalties upon freedom of expression. This law should be junked. In a country where law enforcers tend to abuse the authority bestowed upon them, it is very likely that this law will see a further abuse of power as well.
CO: As for the “libel” section… don’t you find it offensive that the lawmakers believe they have the power to control the opinions and thoughts of the people? Especially when it comes to community web sites, such as MySpace and Facebook, which are mostly opinion driven to begin with.
PO: Yes it is indeed offensive. The existing libel law has been used by politicians in the past to threaten journalists. And it is that exact, same reason why they want the Cybercrime Law implemented. The law will have a chilling effect on the Filipino online community. Bloggers and writers will have to think twice before posting their thoughts online.
CO: And how about casual conversation at a coffee shop? Will the wrong set of ears grab us and throw us in a dark hole?
PO: Online martial law is the first step. Real world martial law couldn’t be far too behind.
CO: What are your feelings on Senator Marcos, now and in the future?
PO: Senator Marcos should get a better grip on reality. Human rights violations did happen during Martial Law. The Marcos family benefited from their abuse of power during Martial Law. The whole world knows about the Swiss bank accounts and properties acquired during Ferdinand Marcos’ term.
CO: How about Miriam Defensor? Hasn’t she appeared to be two-faced on some of the more critical issues of the past 6 months?
PO: Miriam Defensor is like any other traditional politician. They simply shift their allegiance to retain power. Not doing so, may spell doom for their political career.
CO: This may take a little homework… But do you think the country would be better off politically, if Cory Aquino had arrested, tried and convicted the REAL trouble makers during her time?
PO: The real trouble makers are those who shape the Philippines’ economic policy. And by that, we refer to Washington. We don’t expect the dog to bite the hands of those who feed him.
CO: How do you feel about the whole Aquino “Cult-of-Personality” the President is using, to paint this country yellow, and make it appear as though without the Aquinos, this country wouldn’t be alive today?
PO: It’s all just an illusion hyped up by the mass media. The president capitalized on the popularity of his parents. Before Cory died, the idea of Noynoy being president was virtually nonexistent. Filipinos were so sick and tired of GMA’s government and with Cory’s demise, It’s logical that America would support a new puppet and get rid of the old one.
CO: When Marcos took office, the peso was 4-to-1 over the dollar. When Cory took office, it was 8-to-1. Now here comes NoyNoy, and it’s 43-to-1. What’s wrong with this picture, and how does it make you feel?
PO: The problem is because of the nature of our economy, which is primarily import-dependent, export oriented and debt driven. IF you look closely at our economy, we import practically almost everything we need in our daily lives. We don’t have the capacity to manufacture our own cars, cell phones, even though we have the raw materials needed, the minerals extracted from our mines go to rich industrialized countries. Even if we have enough farmland and aquatic resources to feed our population, the average Filipino farmer gets little or no support from the government. Our currency is tied to the almighty American Dollar. And we rely on our raw material exports to earn dollars, which we use to purchase all the imported stuff we need from industrialized countries of which the US are our main trading partner. The trade deficit grows, and we further devaluate our currency. It is a vicious cycle.
CO: Now the toughest question of all… Do you honestly think ANYTHING can be done to stop the self-destructive, downhill direction the Philippines it taking now?
PO: Real change happens offline. And by that, we mean the Filipino people should get on their feet and realize that real power is in their hands. A revolution is needed. And not like the one that happened in EDSA 25 years ago where Cory was proclaimed president. All she did was restore the illusion of ‘democracy’. The institutions (such as congress and the Senate) were restored. But they still represent the wealthy few. We need a government that will truly embody the Filipino people’s aspirations.
CO: What effects do you feel the new Cybercrime law could potentially have on the LGBT and TransPinay community as a whole?
PO: it could pose both direct and indirect threats to the LGBT and TransPinay community. Voicing one’s views is important in our society. We belong to a very conservative society where homosexuality is frowned upon and discrimination is the norm. We salute the LGBT and TransPinay community for mustering the courage to express themselves freely. Some of the people we know who are very vocal against the Cybercrime Law are gay. The Cybercrime law nullifies tolerance and could actually embolden authoritative figures to step on others rights.
CO: Has Pixel Offensive had the chance to get the opinions of the college students, whom I am sure are just as unhappy as the rest of us, regarding this poorly drafted law?
PO: We get words of support from students on our FB page, and it comes as a source of inspiration to keep up with the work.
CO: There have been a number of organizations in the states, as well as the UN, voicing their negative feelings about the new law. How does that make your team feel?
PO: It further strengthens our resolve to continue doing what we already do. We’re not the real heroes here. The resilient Filipino people are. They’re sleeping giants. We at Pixel Offensive just try our best to be their alarm clocks. Without a snooze button.
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Thank you so much guys. I am sure this won’t be the last time we get together.