Listen Up: Podcasts about Filipinos being silenced

Over four special episodes of its podcast news program, PumaPodcast highlights the vulnerabilities in Filipinos’ rights and freedoms resulting from emergency laws hastily crafted to empower an already overbearing government in dealing with the Covid crisis.

The reckless application (and arbitrary interepretation) of the special laws have exposed double-standards in the treatment of the powerful and the impoverished, while undermining and destabilizing Constitutional guarantees for freedom of speech and assembly.

PumaPodcast is an innovator and first-mover in podcasting in the Philippines and Southeast Asia. They specialize in non-music audio productions storytelling founded on core values of good, independent journalism.

Episode 1: Of Parties and Protest in the Time of Covid

In the first episode, we discuss how, while state agents flaunt their impunity by holding their own mass gatherings, they are using newly passed legislation to discourage and intimidate protesters who would speak up against oppressive moves made by the regime.

Episode 1: Of Parties and Protest in the Time of Covid

In the first episode, we discuss how, while state agents flaunt their impunity by holding their own mass gatherings, they are using newly passed legislation to discourage and intimidate protesters who would speak up against oppressive moves made by the regime.

PumaPodcast is an innovator and first-mover in podcasting in the Philippines and Southeast Asia. They specialize in non-music audio productions storytelling founded on core values of good, independent journalism.

Episode 2: I Hate It When They Call Me Terorista

In the second episode of the series we look at how red-tagging, or labeling someone as a communist, is being used not only to silence them, but to endanger, and at worst times, even justify the killing of dissidents. The slightest whiff of association with the communist party can be used to label people as terrorists, to frightening outcomes.

Episode 2: I Hate It When They Call Me Terorista

In the second episode of the series we look at how red-tagging, or labeling someone as a communist, is being used not only to silence them, but to endanger, and at worst times, even justify the killing of dissidents. The slightest whiff of association with the communist party can be used to label people as terrorists, to frightening outcomes.

Episode 3: Lockdown Not Lock Up

In this third episode, we try to illustrate how the new legislation passed ostensibly to enforce quarantine measures for public health are being used as justification for measures that abuse human rights and to sow disinformation.

Episode 3: Lockdown Not Lock Up

In this third episode, we try to illustrate how the new legislation passed ostensibly to enforce quarantine measures for public health are being used as justification for measures that abuse human rights and to sow disinformation.

Background: Covid-19 in the Philippines

The Philippines was the second country after China to declare widespread quarantine measures. Metro Manila has in fact so far been under the longest lockdown in the world, even as the number of Covid cases in the country, and the resulting death toll, were among the highest counts in Southeast Asia.

By mid-October the Philippines had recorded nearly 370,000 Covid cases, 312,000 of which had been tallied as recoveries. Around 6,700 were officially counted as deaths attributed to the virus. By the final quarter of 2020, with hopeful indications that government and the public health system had been able to bring down new daily cases to manageable levels, the country was looking to find a way to reopen the economy without reaggravating the spread of the disease.

The pandemic’s impact on the Philippines has affected all key sectors: tourism, manufacturing, business process outsourcing, and the country’s sizeable population of overseas workers. More than 150,000 Filipinos working in North America, Europe, the Middle East, and parts of Asia were expected to repatriate – coming home to record unemployment levels – as Covid provides no safe employment haven anywhere in the world.

 

But while drastic measures were taken to respond to Covid, government has given itself more power to also clamp down on protests and dissent, and to send a chilling message to media and even citizens on social media. Indeed, amidst all clamor and reminders for government to focus all attention and resources on the public health and socioeconomic disruptions wrought by the pandemic, the Philippine Congress spent nearly a month of precious time to take the country’s biggest private broadcast network off the air, at the hardly veiled behest of President Rodrigo Duterte. Ironically, therefore, at a time when information and education could help save lives, the closure of ABS-CBN further handicapped the Philippine government from beaming public service messages, news, and information to the farthest and most isolated reaches of the archipelago of more than 7,000 islands.

Covid-19 Asia: Rights Repressed

In the Asia Rights Repressed Journalism Series, six media outlets from Nepal, Indonesia, Myanmar, Pakistan, Cambodia and the Philippines document how Covid is being used to repress political, social and economic rights, affecting in particular, the most vulnerable.

Covid-19 Asia:
Rights Repressed

In the Asia Rights Repressed Journalism Series, six media outlets from Nepal, Indonesia, Myanmar, Pakistan, Cambodia and the Philippines document how Covid is being used to repress political, social and economic rights, affecting in particular, the most vulnerable.

Covid-19 Asia: Rights Repressed

In the Asia Rights Repressed Journalism Series, six media outlets from Nepal, Indonesia, Myanmar, Pakistan, Cambodia and the Philippines document how Covid is being used to repress political, social and economic rights, affecting in particular, the most vulnerable.