Salamat sa dating Kultura editor ng Outcrop, and no thanks to the fact na wala kaming TV sa bahay, napanood ko ang bagong commercial ng Philex mines. At na-agit akong mag-critique.

At hayaan niyo ako sa gagawin kong shift of language:

Much has been said about the power of media in the everyday discourses in the society, in shaping and influencing the thoughts and behaviors of individuals. Also, much has been said about the mainstream media mostly being used as a tool of capitalism, the immense system where money is venerated and where the people have to be constantly disillusioned. To mainstreamize something though the media is to subtly market that something, whatever that is, a facial detergent, a new flavor of pizza, an idea, a face, a body. Disillusion, profit and money, they are the flavor of everyday. So, we need to maintain some distance with this everyday, some distance to this tend subtly conditioned on us everyday, through everyday.

Last October 03, a group of the NPA conducted a raid of three mining companies in Claver, Surigao del Norte. This created a fuss in the mainstream, only telling something about the impact of the NPA’s act to perhaps on the country’s situation in general but more definitely on the sense of security of the Philippine government. News about this broke out and as always, these are good venues for story-telling. Precisely because to deliver a news is to tell a story, not to tell things as they happened, as they “are.” They are stories not in the sense that they are made up, they are stories in the sense that they are already impurified with someone else’s interpretation, someone else’s viewpoint, unavoidably distorting what really happened, of how things really are. Just like this:

Of course, it’s the NPA-the-evil once again, they would say, and the news would imply. It’s a violent attack, a terrorist attack, an anti-people action, a true manifestation of their evil intentions. They would say the mining industry is a thriving industry in the country, and what the NPA did will jeopardize first the mining industry in the company, as potential investors will likely be reluctant to invest after what happened, and next and more vitally, the Philippine economy in general. Again, these are the stories the government tells; the media, with subtletly, and with respect to the convolutions of what they call “media ethics” which pays respect to objectivity, can only imply. These are all part of a larger, older, and more systematic propagandistic attack of the government against the armed group which has been leading more than 40 years of insurgency against it.

And interestingly, (and in a way I expected this, but not in this heavenly-parang-Santino-at-May-Bukas-Pa inspired commercial of Philiex Mines ) this came out. (

Here’s the transcription of the commercial’s texts:

Dumating sila upang amghukay ng tanso, pilak at ginto. Dumating sila para tipunin ang likas na kayamanan at nanatili sila upang ingatan ang yaman ng kalikasan dahil ang kanilang kinabubuhay ay may buhay rin. At sa bawat kabutihang natatanggap, kabutihan din ang kapalit.

Hahaha. Can I just stop from laughing?

Seriously now, what operates here is the careful angelizing of the mining companies, in contrast obviously of demonizing the NPAs, and for this context, the Surigao del Sur-mining attack last Monday. This evidently rides on the issue, and one that clearly, albeit very carefully, takes the side against the NPA and what they did. Dumating sila upang maghukay, para tipunin, upang ingatan ang yaman ng kalikasan. At sa bawat kabutihan, kabutihan din ang kapalit. Lastly, a text displays itself, “There’s life in mining.” Which is all to say, what the NPAs raided were life; that they paralyzed a good source of livelihood for the Surigao del Norte people, that in that sense, they also seemed to kill the people.

Back to the video, what a very beautiful one with a very beautiful message! This is sarcasm, but I do not know, perhaps most of the people who will see, and have already seen this video will have that remark, and not sarcastically, like their hearts were tugged by the benefits of mining. The miners working in the face of the nearly setting sun, or sunrise yata yun, but whichever is the case, it only depicts the miners as hard workers, working as early as the sun rises or as late as it sets. And trees grow again, and what a nice sight is that, resembling Jesus’ resurrection. Growths are always positive, especially when what grows is something that is supposed to have died already. Text appears in the video simultaneously, indicating the number of trees reforested, and then the seedlings planted. The last picture scene was that of the family, which from the way they look, is a happy one, holding together, very close to one another, what a fitting ending! Mining is life! Mining is a happy thing! Mining means progress!

Again, we are confronting another story propagated through the media, propagated by a mining company, Philex, perhaps with the silent and hideous complicity of the government who also has interests in this enterprise. This is yet another story in the scores of stories pervading in our everyday, forming the vast clouds of discourses that always claim for a piece of validity, of truthfulness. For us, who are the main target of these discourses, of these stories, the point is to think, to be critical.

Because for all we know, stories are dangerous to our health. And stories are either partly true, partly false, and always political.