HP Weekly Link-Up: Duterte Declares Martial Law in Mindanao, Musician Jay Som in Teen Vogue, & Intergenerational PTSD in Asian Immigrant Communities

While we might be constantly plugged in via smartphones/tablets/laptops, the tons of information we're bombarded with can sometimes be overwhelming - that's why we've rounded up some of the top Pilipinx/API-related stories from around the internets to help filter out the noise. From culture news and Pinxys who made headlines to personal essays, politics, etc, here's what we were reading last week.


"Duterte Invokes Martial Law: Mass Movements, Communists, Muslims Promise to Fight Back," Telesur

The biggest story of last week is of course that Duterte declared martial law in Mindanao for at least 60 days after clashes in Marawi City between the AFP and supposedly Islamic State-linked Maute Group on Tuesday, May 23, with armored vehicles patrolling the streets of Marawi on the hunt for one of Asia’s most wanted militants, Abu Sayyaf senior leader Isnilon Hapilon. Prompted after a police chief was allegedly beheaded (he's still alive), we've since seen a proliferation of fake news and purposeful disinformation, Duterte out here making rape jokes, and it's hard to know where to get real information with so many ulterior agendas. It's a complex situation that we don't feel any authority to really speak on, that is rooted in US-funded militarization and long-standing historical issues of landlessness, poverty, and the right of the Moro people to self-determination. We did find this article to be a good overview of the situation and also its effects on the ongoing peace talks, with interviews with mass movement group leaders such as Amirah Ali Lidasan, former chairperson of Suara Bangsamoro (a Muslim-leftist group in Mindanao that is fighting for the Moro people's right to self-determination, in unity with the broader nationwide fight versus poverty and imperialism), Jose Maria Sison, founder of the Communist Party of the Philippines, and Professor Roland Simbulan of the University of the Philippines, a noted scholar of Philippine-U.S. relations, and of the U.S.-funded militarization of the country in particular. 

"Many see a clear U.S. hand in Duterte's declaration of martial law, noting that the reputed “strongman” is, in fact, torn between the desire to pursue an independent foreign and national policy and his militarized cabinet's traditional fealty to Washington's diktat...it remains in the White House's interest to quash any progressive reforms that may harm the profits of U.S. corporations that exploit the country's natural resources, land and labor."

NAFCON (National Alliance for Filipino Concerns) has started a petition to lift martial law in Mindanao which you can sign here. They are also working with Consortium for People’s Development-Disaster Response (CPDDR) to give support to the communities in Marawi and the whole of Mindanao - they are accepting in-kind contributions such as Halal food, bottled water, mats, medicine, as well as cash donations. CPDDR will facilitate the delivery of all donations to partner organizations directly working in the affected communities. You can offer your support here.

Further reading:

Protesters with BAYAN, the New Patriotic Alliance, denounce the martial law declaration in Mindanao / Photo: Carlo Manalansan, teleSUR

Protesters with BAYAN, the New Patriotic Alliance, denounce the martial law declaration in Mindanao / Photo: Carlo Manalansan, teleSUR


    "8 Asian American Pacific Islander Creatives on the State of Representation," by Lilian Min

    Pinay musician Jay Som was interviewed for this piece in Teen VOGUE along with seven other AAPI creatives in which they were invited to share their work, their perceptions of representation and visibility, and how improvements can be made in their respective creative fields.

    Photo courtesy of  Jay Som

    Photo courtesy of Jay Som


    "How Asian Immigrant Traumas Lead To Mental Health Issues We Shouldn’t Be Ashamed Of" by Dr. Anh Thu Bui

    Vietnamese psychiatrist Dr. Anh Thu Bui speaks about generations of PTSD and mental illness in her family due to extreme traumas, and about healing through therapy that we feel is also super relevant to the Pilipinx experience. 

    "...by speaking frankly about [my father's] mental illness, or mine, I’m not betraying my Vietnamese heritage or culture, but trying to pull it all together, finding connections that make sense of our war-torn history, and the legacy of trauma and disorder that passed through my family for generations." 
    "Even now, years later, I still succumb to periods of depression and anxiety. I now know they will pass. They are sometimes needed bouts of rest, of cocooning, to dig deep within myself, and then rise again."