PAKISAMA: My Ideal Project

Since October of 2012, I’ve been producing a mini-documentary for PAKISAMA, an NGO that’s been around since Marcos.

I say “since” because we’re still in production 🙂 It’s almoooost there, just a few more revisions and we’re done. I can’t really complain though – the process has taught me a lot about producing, about how NGO’s work and how to work with an NGO, and it’s been a pleasure to collaborate with the people of PAKISAMA. Not to mention, I’ve gotten the chance to speak with farmers, fishermen and IP’s, and try to see what they see. It’s a producer’s dream, or, mine at least.

PAKISAMA, simply put, is an organization of organizations. They help groups and NGO’s of farmers, fishermen, women, and indigenous people map out their problems, take non-violent action, become self-sufficient, and understand the plights they are in. A huge issue that illustrates what they do is Sumilao and its 144 hectares of farm land.

PAKISAMA helped the Sumilao farmers parse through legislation, organize their 60-day march to Manila, and make themselves heard. Other cases are those of Banasi and Pecuaria. Today, they’re doing the same thing for the Casiguran farmers who are still fighting for their land and fighting against APECO.

A favorite quote of mine from one of our interviews was said by Ka Rene, a past president, “Maituturing ko siyang guro ng kasaysayan at unibersidad ng karanasan.” (I consider it a teacher of history, and a university of experience.)

For a little over 25 years, they’ve continued to struggle alongside the sectors who’ve got the least going for them. In the process of making this video, a young man from an indigenous group cried to me over injustice and I was told of recent deaths that sounded as if they happened often.

My job is just to tell people who they are. They’re out there everyday – facing the fire, confronting politicians and private individuals about their decisions and their actions.

They give me hope.

“Kapag narating namin o ng aming mga kasapi na sila na ang masusunod, sila na ang magbibigay ng presyo, sila na ang kumikita sa pamayanan, sila na ang kinikilala ng pamayanan… ibigsabihin matagumpay na ang PAKISAMA at ang mga kasapi.”  

(When the time comes that our members are the one’s who are listened to, that they dictate their prices, that they justly earn a living, that society fully recognizes them… then we can say that PAKISAMA and it’s members have succeeded.) – Vic Faber

P.S. The pictures are screencaps! I’ll post the video, with PAKISAMA’s permission, once it’s done. There’s so much more to learn, things that would have made this post damn loooong. Haha 🙂

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