“Kumusta Kayo?” Zine Review by Eric P. Abajon, Lecturer, UP Visayas

Testimonies From The Margins: review of Kamusta Kayo? zine

by Eric P. Abajon, a lecturer from the Division of Humanities, University of the Philippines – Visayas in Iloilo province

When the national lockdown started in mid-March, it was evident that people’s anxieties were at peak levels brought about by a pandemic reaching the country’s shores. One that has been downplayed by government agencies and President Duterte himself. Just like in neighboring countries; schools were closed, ‘non-essential’ jobs halted operations, public transport was banned, among other efforts to contain the pandemic. Online, specifically social media sites, people tried to make sense of the country standing still. Cultural workers, and creatives in general, got into creating and sharing lockdown diaries; what books they read, what films they watched, and what routines inside their respective homes kept them sane, as numbers of deaths and infected rise coupled with cases of government ineptitude and abuses one after the other.

After a few weeks, a general consensus formed in these circles, people got strained or ran out of things to say. Activities in these groups slowed down, you can only express your outrage and uncertainties in so many ways. Kamusta Kayo? Naratibo ng Kababaihang Magbubukid Ngayong Pandemya is a zine that is an alternative to this creative dead end. When the lockdown was imposed, the Amihan National Federation of Peasant Women and Rural Women Advocates (RUWA) instead started INA.aruga, an online forum with the aim to gather narratives and testimonies of women and mothers in the countryside and how the pandemic affected their livelihoods and day to day lives. Prepared by the feminist publisher Gantala Press, the zine was launched online last June 10 and a digital copy can be acquired after a donation has been made to Amihan. All proceed will to go to efforts in helping families in Samar trying to get back on their feet after Typhoon Ambo. While all were preoccupied with the virus, the said tropical storm reached signal no. 3 and ravaged the eastern part of the country in mid-May.

Read full review at Sir Eric’s website: https://jacoblaneria.wordpress.com/2020/06/21/testimonies-from-the-margins-review-of-kamusta-kayo-zine/?fbclid=IwAR2TcwvImBpfIVIAn7LD9ST1tBSMx9tPJ3fLWI9e6Lhk5835yy7dmFJwFt4

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