US-Aquino Regime’s First Year shows it is worse than its predecessors

US-Aquino Regime’s First Year shows it is worse than its predecessors

Jorge Madlos (Ka Oris)
Spokesperson
NDF-Mindanao

July 24, 2011

Focus topics: People’s Issues, SONA 2011

The promises PNoy made when he assumed the presidency have been proven mere rhetoric. He is nowhere clearing the government of corruption, defeating poverty, upholding human rights and achieving genuine peace and development. He is no different from all preceding puppet reactionary presidents.

The national economy continue to deteriorate. The first year saw the reactionary government in a mad scramble fast-tracking the sell-out of the country’s human and natural resources, privatizing public assets faster than his predecessors. The much-vaunted private-public partnership scheme is selling vital state assets, offering these as lucrative superprofit–raking for local and foreign monopoly capitalist leeches.

Poverty and hunger levels are at an all-time high. Filipinos are repeatedly bludgeoned by surging prices of services and commodities. To cover this up, the Aquino government increased the palliative measures introduced by the US Arroyo regime such as food and fuel subsidies, treating marginal social classes as beggars. This hypocritical insult fails to appease the oppressed and exploited masses from demanding basic reforms, making them ever more determined to fight for their basic interests.

Worse compared to recent years, the people have lost count of the number of oil price increases. The price of rice has increased by over Php2 per kilo and other basic commodities, such as sugar and flour, have similarly jacked-up. The purchasing power of the toiling masses however continuously diminish, as workers’ wages are pushed down below subsistence standard while peasant real income is at the mercy of big landlords and merchant-usurers. The number of underemployed and unemployed are increasing especially with the loss of jobs overseas and the repatriation of OFWs.

Without the institution of true agrarian reform and national industrialization, genuine development is impossible. As can be gleaned from the responses of PPoy to the Hacienda Luisita farmers and workers, the regime’s continued failure to solve the massacre of the peasants in Mendiola and Hacienda Luisita, and its contempt towards a genuine land reform, clearly show the attitude of a “haciendero” president. On Labor Day, PNoy had nothing to offer for the working class. Worse, national industrialization is nowhere in PNoy’s one year agenda.

Free education is becoming ever more an elusive dream for most Filipino families. They are more than ever unable to afford to send their children to school because PNoy prefers to increase the military budget.

The newly enforced Oplan Bayanihan (OPB) – patterned after the US Counter-insurgency Guide – is the Aquino regime’s version of the failed OBL (Oplan Bantay Laya) military encirclement and suppression campaign designed to quell both the armed revolution and the open mass movement. It tries but fails to hide behind the populist façade of respect for human rights “peace and development” to mask its brutal nature.

Since it was launched, the OPB’s Community Organizing for Peace and Development (COPD) – a rehash of OBL’s RSOT – has been deployed in areas perceived to be NPA strongholds or where there are mining, logging and agribusiness interests of the big landlord, big bourgeois comprador and imperialist companies to co-opt, deceive and suppress the masses. Behind its populist talk are intimidation and torture against those they suspect of supporting the revolutionary movement, spawning grave human rights violations against the Filipino people.

In almost all provinces in Mindanao, peasant and Lumad communities are dislocated due to the imposed presence of fascist troops in their homes, schools, chapels and baranggay halls. These COPD activities, accompanied by massive combat military operations, often result in murder, looting and other forms of human rights abuses triggering militant protests and mass evacuations. Militarization is not only confined in the countryside, in cities and town centers, fascist troops under the banner of COPD also encroach campuses and urban communities.

Showing further its militarist colors, the US-Aquino government refuses to honor signed agreements with the NDFP opting for massive military operations and concocting lies against the New People’s Army and the revolutionary movement. It has put forward impediments to the resumption of peace talks and continues to deny the fulfilment of agreed conditions especially the release of NDFPconsultants and political prisoners. Similarly, it also dilly-dallies the full resumption of the MILF-GPH peace talks.

On his 2nd State of the Nation Address (SoNA) come July 25, Noynoy Aquino will bombard the people with his litany of lies, but the economic and political realities undeniably characterize his first year in office. Even as his government appears to move mountains in building corruption and criminal cases against Arroyo and her minions, no “big fish” has been jailed yet in one year of his stay in office. And even the most heinous of crimes such as the summary killings, including the hacienda Luisita,

Mendiola and Ampatuan massacres remain unresolved. Even as he passes the blame onto the previous regime’s crimes and failures, he cannot pretend to be different as he is just another man of the rulling class and a US stooge.

Our country under Noynoy Aquino’s leadership is headed towards worse times, plunging the entire nation to more plunder, oppression and exploitation. In essence and in fact the US-Aquino regime is no different from all predecessor puppet reactionary regimes and the next five years will prove that he is even worse. The people’s democratic revolution remains the only viable solution to our country’s chronic crisis.

 

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Aquino’s Second SONA Once Again a Fanfare Full of Lies and Empty Promises

The Filipino People, not Aquino, Have the Right and Ascendency to Address and Testify the True State of the Nation

Aquino’s Second SONA Once Again a Fanfare Full of Lies and Empty Promises

NDF-Southern Tagalog

July 24, 2011

Focus topics:

On July 25, it is predictable that Aquino will go down a storm at the halls of congress. Enthusiastically, his minions and allies will pose as proud and satisfied; the podium on which he stands and his lies shall project him as noble and magnanimous. On July 25, it is predictable that once again Aquino will lie his way into his second State of the Nation Address (SONA).

 As an add on entertainment, he may not fail to mention the state of his love life. To glitz up the event, he may raise himself as a man of simple living by already selling his Porsche and with a wishful look will express his hope for the public to “focus more on a much more deserving topic.” To hype up his administration’s yearlong accomplishments, which goes without saying there are concretely none, he may boast about his poverty alleviation program dubbed as Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) and his administration’s effort of building cases against former President and now Pampanga Representative Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo (GMA). He is sure to launch tirade against GMA, the opposition, his critics and enemies and now and again may reveal explosive social issues to gloss over his administration’s lack of achievements. Then, he shall proceed to outline his priorities in the coming year which is again predictable he will tergiversate on the most important matters such as of mentioning concrete solutions to the concrete and long entrenched problems of the basic masses like hunger, homelessness, landlessness and unemployment among others.

But none of his purple prose will and changes nothing. The true state of the nation being miserably suffered by millions of the Filipino people is far from Aquino’s abstract concepts of development, fabricated narratives and empty rhetorics. Just six days before his second SONA the prices of gasoline and other petroleum products increased. The prices of food, water and power also continue to rise causing more hunger to a greater number of Filipino families compared to last year when Aquino had just stepped into office. More than 360,000 urban poor families face impending demolition to give way to development projects benefitting local and foreign businesses under Aquino’s Public-Partnership Program. Already, not less than 7,000 families in Metro Manila were evicted from their homes and were relocated to remote communities where there are no opportunities for livelihood, education, health and other social services. Budget cuts for education, health and other social services are increased to make them “self-sufficient” and they become accessible only to the privileged. On the other hand, there are hefty increases in military spending, debt servicing and corruption-prone funds like pork barrel and dole-out funds under the CCTprogram. It is no wonder the youth, farmers, workers and other poor sectors in the country have no place in Aquino’s development plan.

Unemployment rate in the country is accelerating. In April 2011, the number of Filipinos jobless and not earning enough from their jobs reached 11.6 million. The Aquino administration only approved a measly Php22 wage hike for NCR in May 2011 compared to the previous administration’s Php25 wage hikes in June 2005 and July 2006. Even Akbayan and Alliance of Progressive Labor’s Security of Tenure Bill which aims to strengthen the tenure of private-sector workers by amending parts of the current Labor Code is deceptive and further legitimizes the anti-labor measures and policies of the Aquino Administration. Worth noting is Kilusang Mayo Uno’s condemnation of the bill. “The real problem here, the real bane to the Filipino workers and people, is subcontracting itself and not the lack of protection from subcontracting. It may be a ‘valid business practice’ for capitalists but is far from valid for the Filipino workers and people,” said Roger Soluta, KMU secretary-general.

In Southern Tagalog, the deplorable condition of the workers remains. It has, in fact, worsened under the Aquino administration. The Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board issued Wage Order No. IV-A-14 on January 2011. However, it brings no significant change in the lives of the workers and their families after Aquino allowed a sharp increase in the prices of food; gasoline, diesel and other fuels; toll fees; services; and other commodities.

While justice for the nine (9) labor leaders that were killed during the Arroyo administration is still not meted out, extra-judicial killings among the ranks of the workers continues. Carlos Rodriguez, union president of Calamba Water District was killed on November 12, 2011 and Celito Bacay, union board member of Maeno Giken, on March 8, 2011, in Dasmariñas, Cavite. Moreover, members of 202nd Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army (IB PA) are posted inside the industrial enclaves of Calamba and Cabuyao in Laguna; Tanauan in Batangas; and Sta. Rosa. The workers are under further surveillance, intimidation and harassment. These military forces are also involved in the labor dispute at Philippine Steel and the violent dispersal of its workers holding a picket protest on March 2011.

In February 2010, then presidential candidate Aquino said that, he would distribute the family-owned Hacienda Luisita within five years. But in August 2010, two months after assuming presidency he announced a “hands-off policy” concerning the said land distribution. In July 2011, the Supreme Court called for a referendum to determine whether farmers would choose land or stock distribution option. This action is obviously a part of Aquino’s plan of evading land distribution. Coming from the ruling class and whose family actually controls the sugar estate, it is naturally against Aquino’s class interests to constrict his family’s control over the coveted lands which in truth are owned by the farmers themselves as it was acquired though loans from the Government Insurance System on condition that it would distribute the land to farmers after 10 years. But after five long decades, having an own land to till is still a dream for Hacienda Luisita farmers and farm workers.

In the Southern Tagalog Region, in particular, vast lands owned by a few landlords remain to be distributed to poor farmers. At present, there are 394,884-land hectares subject under various cases of land grabbing in the nine (9) provinces covering 76 municipalities and 168 barangays which are controlled by 67 landlords and 49 real estate development corporations. Majority is owned by big landlords and/or belongs to big bourgeois compradors and national bureaucrats investing in the said lands. 50 of the initial documented cases concerning affected agrarian communities are apprehended to evict 156,092 individuals.

This is where Aquino clearly avow that the Philippine Development Plan (PDP) as his administration’s blueprint for implementing his ‘Social Contract with the Filipino People” is actually his social contract with the same ruling class where his kind belongs that makes up the majority of bureaucracy. For instance, sticking to the globalization policies implemented over the last decades, deepening and broadening privatization through Public-Private Partnerships and implementing social protection programs like conditional cash transfers (CCTs) as PDP’s essential economic thrusts benefits not the poor and the Filipino people but primarily the United States and as mentioned, the local ruling class.

Globalization policies are proven to kill the country’s already small-scale industries. A case in point is the dying vegetable industry in Laguna and Quezon provinces. Among the 11 provinces that consist the Southern Tagalog Region, Laguna has the highest vegetable production. As a matter of fact it is deemed as the region’s “vegetable bowl.” The province of Quezon is also the leading producer of vegetable in CALABARZON.

Areas in this province that are near Mt. Banahaw are ideal for vegetable farming due to suitable climate and fertile land. However, farmers do not own the limited land they cultivate so vegetable production is not developed and maximized. Farmers don’t have the necessary technology they need in production. They also lack significant support from the local government such as post-harvest facilities and farm to market roads. Middlemen and the market itself are exploiting them by arbitrarily pricing vegetable products. With imported vegetables flooding the local market that are cheaper by 30 to 50% because of liberalization of taxes on imports among other reasons, high cost of production and low productivity hinder them to compete commercially.

In the Quezon province, prices of tomatoes dropped from Php40-50 to 50 centavos to Php20. Vegetable production is down from 4.8 million metric tons in 1996 to 3.3 million in 2001. These problems are not only confined within the region. In the past few years, farmers in the Cordillera Region noted a consistent decline in vegetable production. Rice production in almost all parts of the country is affected. Benguet, in particular, calculated a Php2 billion deficit from July to August 2002 in agricultural productivity due to trade liberalization policies.

Aquino administration’s plan of deepening and broadening privatization through Public-Private Partnerships lay the ground for diverting public resources for private gain. It also shows Aquino administration’s plan of abrogating its responsibility to provide free and accessible social services to the people. Encouraging private corporations to invest in infrastructure, education, health and housing do not guarantee efficient social services. The main objective of private corporations is business; their ultimate motive is profit. By opening social services to the private sectors fewer people can afford and access them.

To top it all, Aquino administration continues to undermine democracy that manifests in the implementation of Internal Peace and Security Plan-Oplan Bayanihan. As the latest counter-insurgency program of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, Oplan Bayanihan is essentially the continuance of the previous Arroyo regime’s Oplan Bantay Laya I and II. Under the operative framework of Oplan Bayanihan, intensive military operations are conducted causing extrajudicial killings, arbitrary arrests, enforced disappearances and torture. The culture of impunity that the reactionary armed forces have enjoyed for too long intensified as Aquino is toothless over the legal and judicial system and has no political will to prosecute the perpetrators of human rights abuses, criminals and corrupt politicians that are accustomed to inventing a mix of lies and fantasies in justification of their crimes. Justice for victims of human rights violations is still not realized. Tirso “Ka Bart” Alcantara and Eduardo Serrano are among the 55 political prisoners coming from the region that are awaiting release.

In hindsight, Aquino bragged about the Filipino people being able to dream again during his first SONA. He further maintained during the 2011 Independence Day Parade at the Quirino Grandstand that the country has gone far towards reaching its goal. But his anti-people, anti-poor policies though proves that he is all mouth and those remarks only exist in his dreams. The Filipino people are not downright ignorant or apart from concrete realities that Aquino is hopelessly trying to distort and give new meaning to. In the first place, Aquino has no right to prompt when, what and how the people should dream for his PDP, his social contract with the Unites States and the local ruling class is nowhere near the people’s aspiration for peace, justice and development. The Filipino people can address and testify that the true state of the nation is essentially made of an inept and incompetent government subservient to the needs and interests of its imperialist master and the local ruling class while deaf to their very own needs and interests. This, the people can all agree, is nothing but the crooked path.

Aquino himself stated during the 2011 Independence Day Parade that freedom is not simply bestowed to an oppressed nation like ours; it is gained by fighting. But he was wrong to say that it can only be attained by diplomatic and peaceful means. A week before Aquino’s second SONA a series of protests are already staged by different sectors in the country against Aquino administration’s negligence and ineptness. The women sector and the youth understand that Aquino is insensitive to their needs. The urban poor sector, evicted and facing more eviction in the years to come, recognizes that they have no place in Aquino’s development plan. The labor sector is aware that huge profits for capitalists, not job security, decent wages and upholding of trade-union rights, are Aquino’s prime concern. The peasant is conscious that a genuine agrarian reform not CARP or its extension will resolve landlessness. Most of all, the exploited class is vibrantly aware that, along with outrage, strong unity and militant struggle is needed in order to liberate the people from hunger, poverty and oppression.

Indeed a war fought for genuine freedom is pressing and necessary. Outside the halls of congress that revere and glorify Aquino are storms of protest brewing from the countryside up to every road, place and community where oppression, repression and exploitation are present. Steadily deepening and intensifying are the masses’ strong resolve in continuously waging protracted people’s war to topple foreign intervention, overthrow the local ruling class and free the country from its old-aged problem that is feudalism. This is clearly the straight path. This is the revolution.

 

Gen. Chan is exploiting Samar bishops like chess pieces in Oplan Bayanihan’s game of war

Gen. Chan is exploiting Samar bishops like chess pieces in Oplan Bayanihan’s game of war

Information Bureau
Communist Party of the Philippines
July 13, 2011The National Democratic Front-Eastern Visayas today said the 8th Infantry Division is exploiting the bishops of the Catholic Church in Samar like chess pieces in Oplan Bayanihan’s game of war. “It is reprehensible for 8th ID chief Gen. Mario Chan to exploit the bishops of the Catholic Church, a moral institution, in order to push an immoral, unjust and all-out war through Oplan Bayanihan,” said Fr. Santiago Salas, NDF-EV spokesperson. “The armed forces chief, Gen. Eduardo Oban, in fact recently openly gloated with Gen. Chan at the 8th ID’s manipulation of the Church, local government and other sectors into conjuring the illusion of public support for Oplan Bayanihan. This shows that the Catholic Church and other sectors should be critical and cautious of the military’s lust to launch all-out war and junk along the way the Aquino government’s peace negotiations with the NDFP.” 

Fr. Salas noted all the indications show the Aquino government is gearing for all-out war against the people with the support of the US. “Gen. Oban bragged in the region that the military is getting P32 billion pesos for the so-called “modernization” of the Armed Forces of the Philippines. But while the Aquino government is fattening the military, it is starving agrarian reform, education, health, government salaries and other basic social reforms and services. The Aquino government is also putting money in the pockets of the military while turning a blind eye to the unresolved corruption scandals in the institution.

“Gen. Chan is lying when he claims the AFP is not receiving US support. In fact, the AFP rceived $15 million dollars in US military aid last 2010, such as 50,000 Kevlar helmets and 1,355 armor vests. This is apart from the non-military support of $434 million dollars from the US Millenium Challenge Corporation, which is still closely tied to “counterinsurgency” purposes because the military has a major psywar role in the US MCC projects and will benefit from roads for troop maneuvers. The US is now also promising even more military aid and increasing US troop presence in egging on the Aquino government into provocative actions against China, rather than the Philippines pursuing an independent and peaceful foreign policy over the Spratly Islands dispute. All these show the long-running US political, economic and military interests in the Philippines and Southeast Asia.”

The NDF-EV spokesperson urged the Catholic Church and other sectors to support the peace negotiations between the Aquino government and the NDFP, rather than be deceived by the 8th ID’s malicious misrepresentation of Oplan Bayanihan as a “peace and development” program. “The Catholic Church and others should be wary and discerning because the military’s promotion of Oplan Bayanihan is “all talk, no justice.” Nothing but lip service to human rights while violations continue and previous ones remain unresolved. Nothing but lip service to helping the poor, because shiny new roads are not enough to address the social injustices suffered by the landless and jobless.

“The Catholic bishops of Samar should beware of wolves in sheepskin who are herding them into Oplan Bayanihan’s “road to war.” NDF-EV instead urges the Catholic Church and other sectors to support the continuation of the peace talks between the Aquino government and the NDFP. Support the struggle for justice of the victims of human rights violations against the military’s lip service to human rights. Support the discussion of genuine solutions such as socio-economic reforms against the placebos of the military’s showcase road projects and other psywar. Support the struggle for a just and lasting peace, expose and oppose the goal for all-out war of Oplan Bayanihan.”#

DILG Sec. Jesse Robredo formally signs MOA with SIPPAD

DILG Sec. Jesse Robredo formally signs MOA with SIPPAD

By EMY C. BONIFACIO, Samar News.com
October 6, 2010

CATBALOGAN, Samar  –  The Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) represented by Hon. Jesse M. Robredo signed a Memorandum of Agreement with the Samar Island Partnership for Peace and Development (SIPPAD) represented by Most Rev. Bishop Emmanuel C. Trance, Bishop of Catarman; Most Rev. Isabelo T. Abarquez D.D., Bishop of Calbayog and Most Rev. Bishop Crispin B. Varquez D.D., Bishop of Borongan on the occasion of the 15th SIPPAD Assembly held in Catbalogan last September 22, 2010.

Secretary Jesse Robredo (right) signs MOA on good governance for Samar Island with the 3 bishops.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The signing, which highlighted the activity, was intended to establish commitments from both the government and the private sectors in pursuing an honest and effective governance. The move was in response to President Noynoy Aquino’s call upon every citizen to get involved in a change that will alleviate poverty and offer equal opportunities to everyone, SIPPAD stressed.

Focusing on the forum’s theme,” Good Governance: A Development Imperative for Samar Island”, Robredo shared  his leadership experience as Mayor of Naga City for nineteen consecutive years where he effectively mobilized and engaged Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) as partners in promoting accountability and  transparency in his local administration.

The Samar Island Partnership for Peace and Development (SIPPAD) is a partnership of the church, CSOs, the academe, LGUs convened by the three Bishops in the three provinces of Samar Island whose vision is to promote peace and development, good governance, protection of its environment, and alleviation of poverty in Samar. The said organization existed since 2004 and has been addressing those issues even before the MOA was formally signed.

SIPPAD and DILG, having shared common interests of promoting good and responsive governance, entered into this partnership with the commitment of improving the lives of the Samarnons.

Based on the MOA signed, the DILG commits to acknowledge the citizen’s participation in governance through the provincial arms of SIPPAD, in development planning, budgeting, implementation monitoring and evaluation of government projects in local governments; ensure the access of information on government transactions; respond with prompt and appropriate action on issues raised by SIPPAD; adhere with the establishment of special development bodies provided by the Local Government Code; provide linkages to concerned central and local government authorities for decision making and provide a mechanism for the regular consultation with SIPPAD to address the issues of good governance.

On the other hand, the SIPPAD will ensure transparency and accountability by involving in the above activities without violating the fiscal autonomy of the local governments concerned. It shall participate in the enhancement of existing programs and policies or development of new policies in the local level. It is committed to submit regular and special reports to DILG on the results of its involvement, prepare a report to the public such as “Ulat sa Bayan” or “Score Cards” on the performance of local government units in governance. Moreover, it will serve as the Service Provider to local government units in planning and budgeting implementation, monitoring, evaluation, capacity building, participatory research. Finally, the SIPPAD will serve as avenue for sharing of experiences and best practices in good governance.

SIPPAD asserted on its independence as a body by not allowing the DILG to allocate funds for the purpose.

This multi-sectoral effort was very well appreciated by Sec. Robredo. “We will not only engage with the opposition, but with everyone. Good governance and good politics can get together. Once you share power, they will return it back to you.” were the secretary’s words of wisdom for the guests present in the assembly.

 

 

Labanan ang panghihimasok ng imperyalismong US sa South China Sea

Labanan ang panghihimasok ng imperyalismong US sa South China Sea

Ang Bayan Editoryal
July 7, 2011


Dapat puspusang ilantad at labanan ng mamamayang Pilipino ang pakana ng US na sulsulan ang kaguluhan sa South China Sea sa pagitan ng Pilipinas, China at iba pang bansang umaangkin sa kabuuan o bahagi ng Spratly Islands. Walang ibang layunin ang panghihimasok ng US kundi ang bigyang-matwid ang pagpakat ng mga pwersang militar nito sa rehiyon sa ngalan ng “pagtatanggol sa kasarinlan ng Pilipinas.”

Dapat ding puspusang ilantad at labanan ng sambayanan ang pagpapagamit ng rehimeng Aquino sa imperyalistang amo nito na gatungan ang gulo sa Spratlys. Sa udyok ng US, ginagatungan ng rehimeng Aquino ang apoy ng tunggalian sa Spratly Islands sa pamamagitan ng mga agresibo at mapang-upat na pahayag at hakbangin laban sa China. Layunin niyon na bigyang-matwid ang “paghingi ng tulong” mula sa US gamit ang Mutual Defense Treaty (MDT) ng US at Pilipinas at sa gayo’y bigyang-daan ang US na magpakat ng mga kagamitan at tauhang militar nito sa rehiyon.

Sa balangkas ng MDT, ginagawa ng US ang “modernisasyon” ng Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) sa pamamagitan ng pagbenta at pagpapaupa rito ng mga kagamitang militar. Ang pag-aarmas sa AFP ay bahagi ng pagpapalakas ng presensyang militar ng US sa South China Sea. Ang totoo, ang AFP ay nagsisilbing pyesa lamang sa larong chess na ginagalaw ng US alinsunod sa estratehiyang militar nito. Gamit pa rin ang MDT, tuwirang nakapagpapakat ang militar ng US ng mga pwersa nito sa rehiyon gamit ang tinaguriang “joint exercises.” Kabilang dito ang magkasanib na operasyong nabal na isinagawa ng militar ng US at Pilipinas nitong Hunyo sa baybayin ng Palawan sa South China Sea. Continue reading

Estratehikong interes ng US ang nasa likod ng pang-uupat sa isyu ng Spratly Islands

Estratehikong interes ng US ang nasa likod ng pang-uupat sa isyu ng Spratly Islands

AB, July 7, 2011

Bago pa man mag-ingay sa usapin ng Spratly Islands si Aquino at kanyang mga upisyal panseguridad at diplomatiko, matagal nang plano ng US na pakuluin ang kaguluhan doon upang lumikha ng kundisyon para makapanghimasok ito.

Sa Quadrennial Defense Review ng US Department of Defense na inilabas noong Pebrero 2010, iginiit ng US na dapat itong humadlang, magtanggol laban sa “agresyon” ng mga bansang may potensyal na maging kalaban ng US at gapiin ang mga ito. Lantad na lantad ang imperyalistang mukha ng US nang tahasang igiit nito sa QDR 2010 na “kung wala ang dominanteng kakayahan ng US na ipadama ang kapangyarihan nito, malalagay sa alanganin ang mga alyansa at kasunduang panseguridad ng US, at sa gayo’y mababawasan ang seguridad at impluwensya ng US at lalaki ang posibilidad na sumiklab ang tunggalian.”

Kaya gayon na lamang ang interes ng US na labanan ang pag-usbong ng China bilang makapangyarihang bansa. Pinangangambahan ng US ang tinagurian nitong “mga estratehikong anti-access” na anito’y naglalayong pagkaitan ito ng kakayahang “magpamalas ng kapangyarihan” sa mga susing rehiyon sa iba’t ibang panig ng mundo. Continue reading

Maghanda sa SONA: Ilantad ang tunay na kalagayan ng bayan!

Maghanda sa SONA: Ilantad ang tunay na kalagayan ng bayan!

AB, July 7, 2011

Sa loob ng ilang linggo ay muling magbubukas ang reaksyunaryong kongreso at magsisilbi itong okasyon sa pagbibigay ni Aquino ng kanyang “state of the nation address” o SONA. Asahan na natin na ang SONA ni Aquino ay magiging hungkag at magpapalaganap lamang ng mga ilusyon at kasinungalingan.

Bago pa man ang SONA ni Aquino, dapat nang isagawa ng sambayanang Pilipino ang aktibong paglalantad ng tunay na kalagayan ng bayan. Pakilusin natin ang lahat ng rebolusyonaryong pwersa, mga aktibista at masa sa paglulunsad ng malawakang kampanyang propaganda para patampukin ang tunay na kalagayan ng bayan. Gamitin natin ang lahat ng pagkakataon–mga umpukan sa bukid at mga kalsada, mga klasrum, upisina, programa sa radyo at iba pa–upang ipahayag ang galit at kahandaang labanan ang anti-mamamayan, maka-dayuhan at pasistang mga patakaran ng rehimeng US-Aquino. Continue reading

Desisyon ng Korte Suprema sa Hacienda Luisita, hindi katanggap-tanggap

Desisyon ng Korte Suprema sa Hacienda Luisita, hindi katanggap-tanggap

AB, July 7, 2011

Mariing binatikos ng mga manggagawang bukid at magsasaka ang desisyon ng Korte Suprema na magkaroon ulit ng reperendum sa Hacienda Luisita. Iniutos ng korte na pagbotohan ulit ng mga taga-asyenda kung mas gugustuhin nilang tumanggap ng lupang mabubungkal o sapi sa Hacienda Luisita Inc. (HLI).

“Kapag pinili namin ang lupa, babayaran namin iyan, at mapupunta rin sa pamilyang Cojuangco ang ibabayad namin. Win-win solution po ito sa pamilyang Cojuangco. Sa amin, talo po talaga kami.” Ganito ang pagtingin ni Rodel Mesa, tagapagsalita ng Alyansa ng mga Magbubukid sa Hacienda Luisita (AMBALA), tungkol sa mandong reperendum ng Korte Suprema na ibinaba nitong Hulyo 5.

Napagkaisahan ng mga myembro ng AMBALA na iboboykot nila ang reperendum na iniutos ng Korte Suprema. Naging basehan ng desisyon ng korte ang ginawang hungkag na reperendum noong 1998 na sinang-ayunan ng noo’y dilawang unyon. Sa reperendum na iyon, napasang-ayon ng pamilyang Cojuangco ang marami sa mga magsasaka na piliin ang stock option plan sa halip na lupa sa pamamagitan ng panunuhol at pananakot.

Sa gayon, ang gagawing reperendum ay walang pagkakaiba sa maniobra ng pamilyang Cojuangco noong 1989 at muli noong Agosto 2010 kung saan idinaan sa mga reperendum na batbat ng anomalya at panlilinlang ang pagsang-ayon ng mga magsasaka at manggagawang bukid. Bahagi ito ng engrandeng plano ng mga Cojuangco-Aquino para hindi maipamahagi ang lupa sa mga magsasaka.

Pumapabor lamang ang desisyon ng Korte Suprema sa administrasyon ng mga panginoong maylupa ni Benigno Aquino III, batikos ni Rep. Rafael Mariano ng Partido Anakpawis. Malinaw sa desisyong ito na ang Korte Suprema ay instrumento ng panlilinlang, pang-aapi at pagsasamantala. Aniya, hindi mabibigyan ng kalutasan ng desisyong ito ang mahigit 50 taong suliraning agraryo sa Hacienda Luisita at bagkus ay gagatong pa ito sa mas matitinding pakikibakang agraryo rito. 

Humantong sa madugong masaker ang welga sa Hacienda Luisita noong Nobyembre 2006 nang pagbabarilin ng mga pulis, militar at armadong goons ang mga nagpoprotestang magsasaka.

“Saudization” at ang kontraktwal na migranteng Pilipino



Malawakang tanggalan ng mga kontraktwal na manggagawang Pilipino sa Saudi Arabia: ito ang ibig sabihin ng patakarang “Saudization” na sinimulang ipatupad ng bansa noong Hulyo 2. Ang “Saudization” ay ang pagprayoritisa ng bansa sa kanilang sariling mga manggagawa sa kapinsalaan ng mga trabaho ng mga kontraktwal na migranteng manggagawa roon. Pinapatampok nito ang pagkabangkarote ng labor export policy na sistematikong nagtutulak sa maraming Pilipino na magtrabaho sa labas ng bansa.

Umaabot sa 350,000 Pilipinong “domestic helper” (DH) na nagtatrabaho ngayon sa bansang Saudi Arabia ang apektado ng “Saudiza-tion”. Dahil dito, tinataya ng mga ahensya sa rekrutment ng mga migranteng manggagawa na aabot hanggang 300,000 DH ang hindi na makapagtatrabaho sa susunod na mga taon.

Nakapako ang sweldo at api ang kalagayan ng mga Pilipinong katulong sa Saudi. Marami sa kanila ay pinagtatrabaho nang mahahabang oras, hindi pinakakain at binabusabos. Mayroong mga kasong ginagawa silang mga aliping sekswal ng kanilang mga amo. Marami-rami sa kanila ang umuuwing nasisiraan ng bait, kundiman patay na.

Hindi pinapansin ng gubyernong Saudi ang anumang panawagan para sa kagalingan at kapakanan ng mga Pilipino roon. Tumanggi itong ipatupad ang hinihinging $400 minimum na sahod para sa mga katulong na Pilipino. Tumanggi rin itong tiyakin ang kanilang mga karapatan. Sa kabila nito, umaabot pa rin sa 30,000 hanggang 50,000 bawat taon ang mga Pilipinong bumabalik sa Saudi Arabia para magtrabaho.

Walang ginagawang paghahanda ang rehimeng Aquino para saluhin ang mga migranteng mawawalan ng trabaho. Sa halip, lalo pa itong nagkukumahog na maghanap ng mga pwesto sa ibang mga bansa sa pag-asang hindi mawawala ang milyun-milyong dolyar na remitans ng mga migrante.

Ang “Saudization” ay isa lamang sa mga patakarang mangangahulugan ng malawakang tanggalan ng mga kontraktwal na manggagawang Pilipino. Resulta ito ng kasalukuyang krisis sa ekonomya at mga sigalot sa pulitika sa buong Middle East. Habang lumalalim ang krisis sa kani-kanilang mga ekonomya at aktibong ipinaglalaban ng sariling mga manggagawa ang kanilang mga karapatan sa trabaho at makatarungang sahod, tiyak na dadami ang mga bansang magsasara ng kanilang mga pinto sa mga migranteng Pilipino.

Sa harap nito, dapat ibasura ng reaksyunaryong gubyerno ang labor export policy at pagtuunan ng pansin ang paglikha ng maraming lokal na trabaho.

Ang 4Ps at Oplan Bayanihan

Ang 4Ps at Oplan Bayanihan

AB, July 7, 2011

Ang Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) ay isang programa ng pasipikasyon ng rehimeng US-Aquino. Pagsasakatuparan ito ng tinataguriang “conditional cash transfer program” ng World Bank na ipinatutupad sa iba’t ibang bahagi ng mundo.

Ang 4Ps ay kabilang sa pangunahing programa ng gubyernong Aquino. Sa panukalang badyet para sa 2012, maglalaan si Aquino ng P53.6 bilyon para sa 4Ps mula sa P34.3 ngayong 2011. Layunin umano nito na iahon sa kahirapan ang tatlong milyong pamilya.

Sa pamamagitan ng pamumudmod ng pera kaakibat ng ilang programang pangkalusugan at pang-edukasyon, layunin nitong likhain ang ilusyon na inihahatid ng gubyerno ang serbisyo sa ma-mamayan at “muling makuha ang tiwala” ng mga tao. Sa katunayan, tinatabunan lamang ng mga pasiklab na programang ito ang tunay na ugat ng kahirapan ng mamamayan sa layuning pahupain ang ka-nilang galit at ilayo ang atensyon nila sa paghahanap ng rebolusyonaryong solusyon sa kanilang kaapihan.

Ipinatutupad ng gubyernong Aquino ang 4Ps katuwang ng Oplan Bayanihan (OPB). Marami sa prayoridad na erya ng 4Ps ay prayoridad din ng OPB.

Sa Negros, halimbawa, inilatag kamakailan ng lokal na pamahalaan ang Negros First Development Agenda (NFDA), na walang iba kundi ang lokal na bersyon ng 4Ps at iba pang programang palimos ng rehimeng Aquino. Ang nagpapatupad nito ay si Gov. Alfredo Marañon, isang despotikong kumprador-panginoong maylupa at burukrata, na siya ring tagapagpatupad ng madugong Oplan Bantay Laya sa ilalim ng rehimeng Arroyo, at isa ngayon sa pangunahing tagatulak ng Oplan Bayanihan ng rehimeng Aquino. Ginagamit ni Marañon ang kanyang upi-sina para pakilusin ang mga ahensya ng gubyerno at gamitin ang pondo para sa mga operasyon ng militar at pulis laban sa mga rebolusyonaryong pwersa at ligal na demokratikong kilusan.

Binuo ni Marañon ang Negros Island Peace and Order Council o NIPOC bilang sentro ng mga operasyong sibil-militar sa kabuuan ng isla. Nakaupo sa konsehong ito ang matataas na upisyal ng militar at pulis at binuhusan ito ng pondo. Nagpapatupad ito ng mga programang mapaniil at militarista sa ngalan ng “kaunlaran” at “kontra-kahirapan.”

Sa Leyte, pinalawak kamakailan ang saklaw ng 4Ps mula 10 munisipalidad tungong 22 munisipalidad. Katuwang sa pagpapatupad nito at iba pang proyektong “pangkaunlaran” at “kontra-kahirapan” ang Samar Island Partnership for Peace and Development (SIPPAD) na pinatatakbo ng matataas na upisyal ng 8th ID. Kasama sa itinutulak ng SIPPAD ang paglalatag ng binansagang “kalsada para sa gera” na tatagos sa magkabilang bahagi ng isla. Malaon nang prayoridad ng AFP ang Samar.

Sa isla ng Panay, mas garapal ang paggamit ng 4Ps para supilin at gawing pasibo ang mamamayan. Ayon sa PAMALAKAYA, isang progresibong organisasyon ng mga mangingisda, mahigpit na ipinagbawal sa mga benepisyaryo ng 4Ps ang pagsali sa mga samahang bumabatikos at lumalaban sa rehimeng Aquino. Binalaan ang mga residente roon na tatanggalin ang kakarampot na limos na matatanggap nila kung sasali sila sa BAYAN at iba pang progresibong organisasyon. Tahasang pagsikil ito sa mga karapatang sibil ng mga residente roon.

Sa Northeast Mindanao, ang pagpapatupad ng 4Ps ay pinamamahalaan mismo ng mga sundalo. Ginagamit ng AFP ang 4Ps para magpatawag ng mga pulong sa baryo. Probisyon ng 4Ps na dapat dumalo sa pulong ang 85% ng mga target na “benepisyaryo”. Isasailalim din sa imbestigasyon ang mga residenteng gustong pumaloob sa programa kaya’t nagagamit ito ng mga sundalo para sa pagkalap ng datos paniktik.

Sa Palawan at ilang bahagi ng Mindoro, ginagamit ng DSWD ang mga asembleya para sa 4Ps para gipitin ang mga aktibidad ng mga progresibong organisasyon. May ilang pagkakataon nang sadyang isinasabay ng DSWD ang kanilang mga “asembleyang pangkomunidad” at iba pang “sesyong pampamilya” para hindi makadalo sa mga pulong at aktibidad ng mga progresibong organisasyon ang mga residente.

Hindi bago o orihinal sa rehimeng Aquino ang paggamit ng 4Ps at iba pang mga hungkag na programang panlipunan bilang instrumento ng pasipikasyon. Noong 2003, binuo ng rehimeng Arroyo ang Salaam (Special Advocacy on Literacy/Livelihood Advancement for Muslims) Soldiers katuwang ang KALAHI-CIDSS. Ang ay isang organisasyong nakakabit sa 4Ps . Marami sa mga myembro ng Salaam Soldiers ay mga sundalo at/o dating myembro ng MILF o MNLF na noo’y aktibo na sa AFP.

Sa papel, bahagi diumano ng mga tungkulin ng Salaam Soldiers ang paghahatid ng mga serbisyong sosyal at medikal, kasabay ng pagmamantine ng kapayapaan at kaayusan sa kani-kanilang mga komunidad. Pero ayon na mismo sa AFP, ang mga operasyon ng Salaam Soldiers ay hindi naiiba sa mga operasyon ng kanilang mga Special Operations Team (SOT). Partikular na ipinagmalaki ng tagapamahala ng DSWD sa lugar na “nakabenepisyo” ang mga kamag-anak ng mga kasapi ng Bagong Hukbong Bayan at Moro Islamic Liberation Front. 

No-holds-barred Press Conference for Ka Bart; Release Imprisoned NDFP Consultants and other JASIG-Protected Personnel!

No-holds-barred Press Conference for Ka Bart; Release Imprisoned NDFP Consultants and other JASIG-Protected Personnel!

Patnubay de Guia,
NDF-Southern Tagalog
June 16, 2011

“Such claims are being verified by (the government) peace panel.” This is Defense Undersecretary and Spokesperson Eduardo Batac’s response referring to the National Democratic Front of the Philippine’s (NDFP) demand to release Alan Jazmines, Tirso Alcantara and other NDFP consultants and personnel covered by Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG). Under the JASIG, NDFP negotiators, consultants, staff and other personnel assume safety and immunity from arrest.

Now almost five months after the Government of the Philippines (GPH) committed “to work for the expeditious release of detained NDFP consultants and other JASIG-protected persons in compliance with JASIG” signed by both parties on January 18, 2001 in Oslo, Norway and “to undertake steps for the release of prisoners and detainees in accordance with the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL) declared during the GPH-NDFP formal talks on February 15-21, 2011, NDFP Consultants and other JASIG-protected personnel are still held prisoners by GPH.

Notwithstanding the NDFP’s legitimate political demands, the Department of National Defense (DND) rejected to release imprisoned NDFP consultants and personnel. It resorts to what the people have long known to be its notorious (passe?) and convenient way of maneuvering each and every time it illegally arrests leaders and members of progressive organizations and revolutionary party — it accuses them with tailor-made criminal charges. Ka Bart has pending 23 criminal cases. Eduardo Serrano is denied deliverance due to trumped up charges of multiple frustrated murder and attempted murder. On the other hand, Alan Jazmines threatened with forcible transfer by the military from Camp Crame to the Bicutan jail, faces rebellion and murder charges.

Definitely, NDF-Southern Tagalog Region doesn’t agree. By using tailored criminal charges as convenient leverage to detain NDFP consultants and personnel guaranteed by JASIG, GPH’s motives in engaging in formal talks are suspect. DND should therefore focus on honoring one’s own commitments and stop leading the people and the revolutionary movement in double-talks.

On June 8, 2011, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) purports that Tirso Alcantara is, declared by NDFP Panel Chairman Luis Jalandoni as “shackled to bed,” provided ‘comfortable living quarters and regular health check”. In a taped interview reportedly given by Ka Bart at Army headquarters in Fort Bonifacio on June 6, 2011 he was quoted as saying that he “is not shackled to bed and is treated well by his soldier-guards.” “Good treatment” extends to his request being granted to give him ‘fish instead of chicken’ as he supposedly complained about the food provided him too salty.

But the people should verify such claims. Prisons are no vacation houses. Not for people that work for justice and peace and whom GPH arbitrarily brands as “enemies of the state” and “terrorists”.

NDF-Southern Tagalog calls for a no-holds-barred press conference for Ka Bart. The AFP should prove that Ka Bart was not under duress when he reportedly gave that taped interview. Nonetheless, continuous detention of Ka Bart and other NDFP consultants and personnel up to the present time is in violation of the Joint Communique of January 18, 2011 signed by both GPH and NDFP principals. This violation cannot be concealed no matter how AFP allegedly “treat well” imprisoned NDFP consultants and personnel which in practice it languishes in captivity.

GPH unyielding decision not to release NDFP consultants and personnel guaranteed by JASIG is a deliberate act of sabotage to peace talks. This is also a clear indication that Aquino administration is toothless over the military authorities. Or this is GPH’s two-faced guise inexorably emerging from its feeble, fallible inherence — engaging in counter-revolutionary undertakings, luring the revolutionary movement into nonsensical talks while at the same time carrying on with what it imagines the CPP-NPA-NDFP “becoming significantly irrelevant” through its counter-revolutionary Internal Peace and Security Plan-Bayanihan.

For Reference: Patnubay de Guia,
Spokesperson
NDF-Southern Tagalog
Email: flintglass019@yahoo.com

 


The military is using SIPPAD to rubber-stamp Oplan Bayanihan

The military is using SIPPAD to rubber-stamp Oplan Bayanihan

National Democratic Front of the Philippines
Eastern Visayas
Hunyo 29, 2011

The National Democratic Front-Eastern Visayas said today the 8th Infantry Division is using the Samar Island Partnership for Peace and Development to rubber-stamp Oplan Bayanihan. “The military has long exerted undue influence on SIPPAD,” said Fr. Santiago Salas, NDF-EV spokesperson. “But the Church-backed multi-sectoral assembly is now making a very dangerous mistake in rubber-stamping the 8th ID’s so-called road projects under Oplan Bayanihan that pretend to have the good signboard of “peace and development.” In fact, Oplan Bayanihan is no different from Oplan Bantay Laya in pursuing the purely military solution to the armed conflict as well as eschewing human rights and international humanitarian law. Soliciting the support of civilian agencies and non-governmental organizations is part of the strategy and tactics of Oplan Bayanihan to camouflage the continuing climate of impunity for violations of human rights and international humanitarian law.”

Fr. Salas added that the 8th ID’s military campaign in Samar has all the indications of US intervention, from Oplan Bayanihan itself, to logistical support and the road networks to facilitate troop movement. “Oplan Bayanihan is based on the US Counterinsurgency Guide, which takes pains to sugarcoat that its core focus is the violent suppression of revolutionary movements inimical to the interests of US imperialism and its puppet regimes. Thus, while 8th ID chief Gen. Mario Chan mouths slogans like “peace and development,” his troops are in fact on offensive operations in Samar and Leyte at this very moment. The 8th ID has also crowed to the media about receiving new weapons, electronic equipment, and military vehicles from the US. The soon to begin “road to war” sponsored by the US Millenium Challenge Corporation is merely the icing on the cake.”

The NDF-EV spokesperson also chastised the Catholic Church in Samar for waltzing with the military through SIPPAD. “Is the Catholic Church in Samar turning its back on the majority of its flock as well as the Christians who were martyred by Oplan Bantay Laya? Remember your flock who are mainly peasants exploited under the present dispensation and oppressed by Oplan Bayanihan. Remember Fr. Cecilio Lucero, Pastor Edison Lapuz, and many other Christians who were victims of political killings and other human rights violations under Oplan Bantay Laya and that persist to this very day. The Catholic Church in Samar should beware of and reject the vicious example of the clerico-fascist Fr. Romeo Intengan, who advised the Armed Forces of the Philippines that it is acceptable to commit violations of human rights and international humanitarian law in the anti-communist crusade of Oplan Bantay Laya.”

Fr. Salas also called on the people to strengthen their militant and revolutionary struggles in the face of the 8th ID’s political and military offensives. “The people must strengthen the struggle for human rights and other mass struggles for basic democratic rights and burning issues. Fight for genuine agrarian reform, national industrialization and other basic socio-economic reforms. Build the broad alliances to expose and oppose the continuing corruption, puppetry and fascist state terrorism under the Aquino regime. Support and join the revolutionay struggle for social justice, national freedom and democracy.”#

Aquino is bound to be swept away by the Filipino people in coming years

Aquino is bound to be swept away by the Filipino people in coming years

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

June 29, 2011

As the Aquino regime marks its first year in power, the Filipino people notch another year of continuing hardship, worsening poverty and intensifying oppression under an increasingly repressive regime. They are confronted by a deepening crisis brought about by the Aquino regime’s pursuit of the same antipeople and pro-imperialist policies of the past puppet regimes.

The Aquino regime has thoroughly dashed the hopes of those who expected a break from the Arroyo regime’s corruption, puppetry and repression. They are dismayed at Aquino’s failure to take decisive measures to prosecute and punish Arroyo and her retinue of plunderous officials. With the rise of the “Kamag-anak, Kaklase, Kaibigan at Kalaro Inc.”–his herd of favored friends and relatives who are increasingly involved in questionable appointments and anomalous transactions–Aquino is now proving himself to be not much different in terms of his Marcos-type cronyism.

The Filipino people broadly perceive the Aquino regime to be incompetent. They are disillusioned by Aquino’s uninspiring leadership style and his complete lack of propriety over the purchase of his multi-million peso sportscar and preoccupation with personal and familial concerns.

On more fundamental issues, the broad masses are outraged over the Aquino government’s failure to undertake measures to lift them from the quagmire of poverty, hunger, disease and homelessness. He has allowed foreign oil monopolies to incessantly raise local retail prices of petroleum products. He has allowed hikes in the toll rates of the North and South Luzon expressways which have burdened commuters and public transport operators. Increases in train fares are impending. In stark contrast, he has refused to raise wages despite the spiralling costs of basic commodities and increasing inaccesibility of health care and other services. Continue reading

A tribute to Rhea Whitehead, dear friend of the Filipino people

A tribute to Rhea Whitehead, dear friend of the Filipino people

LUIS G. JALANDONI
Chief International Representative
National Democratic Front of the Philippines
24 June 2011

The National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) renders tribute to Rhea Whitehead, a dear friend of the Filipino people in their struggle for social justice, freedom and national liberation. The NDFP conveys its heartfelt condolences to her loving husband, Ray, their three daughters, grandchildren and other family members, relatives and numerous friends around the globe.

The political prisoners she bravely visited during the Marcos dictatorship, the numerous beneficiaries of the many projects she provided support for as General Secretary of the Division of World Outreach of the United Church of Canada, the many Filipino friends whose lives she touched and enriched, all have reason to mourn her passing away. But all of us also join her family and friends in celebrating her life full of love and caring and a passion to fight for justice and freedom for the oppressed and exploited.

Way back in 1982, she was a key figure in the establishment of strong solidarity relations between progressive Canadian and Philippine church circles and with the Philippine progressive movement as a whole. She was at the forefront of campaigns against human rights violations. She stood up for those summarily executed, the disappeared, those tortured and unjustly detained. She was a consistent advocate for social justice and a truly liberating peace.

Those of us who were privileged to get to know her felt her caring character. She made you immediately feel at home. She made you feel welcome, a friend in the common struggle for justice and freedom.

The Filipino people who carry on the struggle for national and social liberation shall hold dear the noble memory of Rhea Whitehead, dear friend of the Filipino people

Passing of Rea Whitehead

Rhea Whitehead died peacefully in her home on June 14, 2011, with her family close by.  A celebration of Rhea’s life will be held at Trinity-St. Paul’s United Church, 427 Bloor St. W., Toronto, on Tuesday, July 5 at 11:00 am.

In 2010 Rhea and her husband Ray were the recipients of the CCFGM Katharine Hockin Award. Their response to the award was featured in the 2010 CCFGM Forum Focus. Rea is well known and loved by the Christian and other communities in Canada and globally. Her family and friends, and in particular her husband Ray who serves as a member of the CCFGM board, are in our thoughts and prayers.

RHEA HILDEGARDE MENZEL WHITEHEAD

Died peacefully at home on June 14, 2011, surrounded by loving family. She was born January 22, 1936 in St. Louis, Missouri, received a BA from Elmhurst College, Illinois, an MA in adult education from OISE, University of Toronto, and an honorary doctorate from Victoria University, University of Toronto. In 1957 she married Raymond Whitehead. They studied Cantonese at Yale University before moving to Hong Kong in January, 1961. They moved to Toronto in 1976, where Rhea worked for the Joint Centre on Modern East Asia (U of T and York University). She subsequently worked as the Asia Area Administrator first for the Anglican Church of Canada and then for the United Church of Canada. In 1992 she took responsibility for all overseas work of the United Church of Canada. After retirement she taught at Silliman University (Philippines) and Nanjing Union Theological Seminary in China.

Rhea was widely respected and recognized for her international justice and peace work. She played a key role in initial discussions between North and South Korean churches when beginning their first direct communications since the Korean War. She was much praised for her courage in visiting political prisoners in times of martial law both in the Philippines and Korea, including Kim Dae-jung who later invited her to his presidential inauguration. She maintained a lifelong commitment to building relationships with China. In advancing justice and rights for women globally, she was a mentor and role-model to many.

Rhea’s life was enriched by her love of music, gardening, and nature. In her mid-sixties she took up scuba diving. She actively maintained a close network of friends and colleagues around the world.

Family was central to Rhea’s life. She was the elder sister of Anne Helm and Paul Menzel, loving wife of Ray, mother of Cynthia, Beth and Sara, and grandmother of Clare, Eli and Ben. The family is grateful for the wonderful support of staff at Princess Margaret Hospital, the Temmy Latner Center for Palliative Care, and the loving care of the Trinity-St. Paul’s community and other close friends.

The family will receive relatives and friends at Trinity-St. Paul’s United Church, 427 Bloor St. W., on Tuesday, June 21, 4:00-6:30 pm. A celebration of Rhea’s life will be held at Trinity-St. Paul’s on Tuesday, July 5 at 11:00 am. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Trinity- St. Paul’s United Church, Princess Margaret Hospital, or Marie Stopes International.

90th anniversary of CCFGM

Established in 1921 as The Canadian School of Missions, in 2011 Canadian Churches Forum for Global Ministries celebrates its 90th anniversary.  

In the early years of the 20th century the Ecumenical movement was born in the mission field. Following the Edinburgh Missionary Conference of 1910 representatives of several Canadian protestant missionary boards and theological colleges began talks that led to the establishment of the Canadian School of Missions.

Over the years its work, mandate, and role would change. These changes were reflected in its name; The Canadian School of Missions (1921), The Canadian School of Missions and Ecumenical Institute (1962), The Ecumenical Institute of Canada (1965), The Ecumenical Forum of Canada (1970′s), Canadian Churches Forum for Global Ministries (1989). Through all those changes The Canadian Churches Forum for Global Ministries has played an important role in  Canada, and as is the case with so many Canadian institutions, played a role beyond its size in the global context. Continue reading

TOWARDS A JUST AND LASTING PEACE

 TOWARDS A JUST AND LASTING PEACE

By Prof. Jose Maria Sison
Chairperson, International Coordinating Committee
International League of Peoples’ Struggle
16 June  2006

 

Let me express first of all the deep gratitude of the International Coordinating Committee and entirety of the International League of Peoples’ Struggle to the Canada-based ILPS participating organizations and their conference secretariat and organizing committees for organizing this international conference towards a just and lasting peace against imperialist war and plunder.

We appreciate that this conference is meant to build on the previous work and resolutions of the two study commissions on ILPS Concern No. 1 (the cause of national liberation, democracy and social liberation) and Concern No. 4 (the cause of a just peace against wars of counter-revolution and aggression) to deepen our understanding of these two concerns and to renew and strengthen our resolve to carry forward the peoples’ struggle.

The two concerns are necessarily linked. A just and lasting peace can be realized only with the people achieving national liberation, democracy and social liberation and defeating the wars of counterrevolution and aggression. Imperialism and reaction are culpable for the oppression and exploitation of the people, for state terrorism and wars. The people can obtain a just and lasting peace only by overcoming imperialism and reaction.

Imperialist Plunder, Crisis, Repression and War of Aggression

The monopoly bourgeoisie maximizes its profits right at the workplace by reducing the wage fund for the workers while increasing capital for the plant, equipment and raw materials. It always seeks to raise the rate of exploitation in order to improve its competitive position vis a vis rivals within the same industry in the same country and on an international scale.

Because the monopoly capitalists in various industries constantly seek to press down the wage level in order to raise their profitability, they ultimately decrease the purchasing power of the workers and reduce the market for their products. The result is a crisis of overproduction relative to the constricted market. Production cutbacks, mass layoffs and bankruptcies of companies ensue. Upon the breakdown of the real economy, the financial crisis takes the form of stockmarket crashes, an epidemic of bad loans, currency devaluation, and so on.

In the era of imperialism, the monopoly bourgeoisie seeks to counter the falling rate of profit and the economic and financial crisis in the metropolis by exploiting the working people in the economic hinterlands of the world, consisting mainly of countries described politically as semi-colonies and dependent countries or economically as underdeveloped and less developed. These are the sources of cheap raw materials and labor, markets for surplus goods, fields of investment for surplus capital and spheres of influence.

But the expanded field of exploitation leads to bigger and more bitter economic competition and political contentions among the imperialist powers. Economic and financial crises become more devastating, more frequent and more prolonged, generating repression and fascism, wars of counterrevolution and aggression and global wars among the imperialist powers that try to redivide the world, as in World War I and II.

As a result of inter-imperialist wars, new nation-states and socialist states have arisen. But still the imperialist powers jointly and separately have been able to impose neo-colonial forms of exploitation and domination on most nations of the world. At the same time, the phenomenon of modern revisionism has undermined and paved the way for the restoration of capitalism in socialist states.

Since the 1980s, the US unleashed the policy of neoliberalism or “free market” globalization, which is a misnomer for the narrow character and selfish interests of monopoly capitalism. The main tool of the policy consists of the manipulation of the interest rates and the supply and flow of money to consumption of durable and nondurable goods and to whichever are the favored sections of production, such as high-tech weapons under Reagan, high-tech consumer products under Clinton and once more high-tech weapons plus major wars of aggression under Bush.

The policy objective is economic growth in terms of the growth of monopoly capital but certainly not in terms of employment and higher income for the working people. The neoliberal policy is aimed at solving the problem of stagflation by reducing regular workers in favor of part-timers, pressing down the wages of workers, attacking workers’ rights and cutting back on social but certainly not military spending by government.

The monopoly firms and banks are given all the leeway to build up their resources and capacities through tax exemptions, denationalization of the economies of the underdeveloped countries, liberalization of trade and investments, privatization of public assets and deregulation against the protection of the workers, women, children and the environment.

Under the US-instigated policy of neoliberalism, the world capitalist system has hurtled from one crisis to a deeper and graver one in more than 25 years. The policy has not prevented but has served to accelerate the economic and financial crisis of the following in chronological order: the general run of raw-material exporting countries of the third world, the monopoly bureaucrat capitalism of the Soviet bloc and industrial overproducers like Japan, Germany and such so-called economic tigers as South Korea and Taiwan, the so-called emerging markets in the ex-Soviet bloc countries and ultimately the US.

In the latter half of the 1990s, the US appeared to have a “new economy” of overvalued assets, high speculation, high-tech production and constant growth without inflation until the high tech bubble burst in the year 2000. All along the US was attracting foreign funds to finance its frenzied overconsumption and huge trade deficits. It was the principal beneficiary of the accelerated concentration and centralization of monopoly finance capital under neoliberalism but finally became afflicted with economic and financial crisis.

The Bush regime has sought to revive and sustain the US economy by sticking to the policy of neoliberalism but combining this with military Keynesianism. The occurrence of 9/11 gave the regime the license to whip up war hysteria, to stifle dissent with the USA PATRIOT Act, to make the resources and contracts flow to the military-industrial complex and to unleash wars of aggression against Afghanistan and Iraq with the obvious purpose of seizing major oil sources and supply lines in the Middle East and Central Asia.

The economic formula of Bush has failed. The housing bubble, an additive to the concoction, is in the process of bursting upon the rise of interest rates aimed at attracting more foreign funds. Trade and budgetary deficits are relentlessly widening. The high unemployment rate is camouflaged by taking out of the reckoning those who stop looking for work and by counting in among the employed the part-timers. The Bush regime continues to think it can still use war hysteria and the so-called war on terror to keep its political upperhand in US politics, despite the clear rejection of the US war of aggression in Iraq by the American people.

The US is the No. 1 imperialist power, the No. 1 propagator of terrorism and the No. 1 source of war. Its ongoing atrocities in Iraq and Afghanistan, involving the mass murder of more than 200,000 civilians, are so many times bigger and more barbaric than 9/11 which killed less than 3000 civilians. US monopoly capitalism is an extremely aggressive force as it is being driven by the global capitalist crisis to engage in further acts of aggression.

The US has a track record of extreme violence against the people. It killed 1.5 million Filipinos from the Filipino-America War of 1899-1902 to 1913, 4 million Koreans during the Korean War and 6 million people in the Korean War. It has the despicable distinction of atom bombing the civilian populations of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Together with its British and Dutch allies, it masterminded the massacre of 1.5 million Indonesians through the instrumentality of the Suharto military fascist regime.

The US colludes with and contends with other imperialist powers in exploiting and oppressing the people of the world, in plundering the natural resources and social wealth created by the people, in employing state terrorism directly and through its puppets to repress the people and in unleashing the worst form of terrorism, which is the war of aggression, against the people and recalcitrant states. Continue reading

Palayain ang lahat ng kinatawan ng NDF para matuloy ang usapang pangkapayapaan

Palayain ang lahat ng kinatawan ng NDF para matuloy ang usapang pangkapayapaan

Editoryal
Ang Bayan
June 21, 2011

Palayain ang lahat ng kinatawan ng NDF para matuloy ang usapang pangkapayapaan

Dapat palayain na ang mga konsultant ng National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) upang matuloy na ang usapang pangkapayapaan sa pagitan ng NDFP at ng Gubyerno ng Pilipinas (GPH). Ang patuloy na pagbilanggo ng GPH sa mga kinatawan ng NDFP ang pinakamalaking hadlang sa pag-usad ng usapang pangkapayapaan.

Labimpitong (17) konsultant pangkapayapaan ng NDFP ang nakakulong sa iba’t ibang bilangguan ng GPH. Ang pagdakip at pagbilanggo sa kanila ay tahasang paglabag sa Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG) na nagbibigay-proteksyon sa kanila bilang mga tauhang hinirang ng NDFP para lumahok sa pakikipag-usap. Dalawa sa 17 konsultant na ito ay ikinulong sa ilalim ng rehimeng Aquino.

Makauusad lamang ang usapang pangkapayapaan kung palalayain ang mga konsultant ng NDFP. Hindi lamang nito bibigyang-daan ang paglahok ng mga konsultant sa mga pag-uusap, magsisilbi rin itong pagwawasto sa mga paglabag ng GPH sa JASIG. Ito ang obligasyong ipinangakong ipatutupad ng GPH sa deklarasyong pinirmahan nito noong Enero kasama ang NDFP. Ang pagpapatupad nito ay sukatan ng kaseryosohan at kakayahan ng GPH na ipatupad ang mga kasunduan nito sa usapang pangkapayapaan.

Subalit matapos ang limang buwan, nananatiling nakakulong ang mga konsultant ng NDFP. Malala pa, minaliit ng kinatawan ng GPH ang usapin ng pagpapatupad sa JASIG nang ilarawan niya ito bilang sekundaryong usapin lamang sa usapan. Sa pagpapawalang-halaga ng GPH sa JASIG, nagiging malaking katanungan din kung mapagkakatiwalaan ba itong ipatupad ang iba pang mga kasunduan sa mga repormang panlipunan at pang-ekonomya at mga repormang pampulitika at konstitusyunal, na siyang mga paksa sa mga susunod na yugto ng usapan.

Ang kabiguan ng GPH na tuparin ang mga obligasyon nitong isakatuparan ang JASIG at palayain ang mga konsultant ng NDFP ay nagresulta sa pagpapaliban ng nakatakda sanang pagpupulong sa Norway ngayong Hunyo ng mga Reciprocal Working Committee on Socio-Economic Reforms at ng mga Working Group on Political and Constitutional Reforms. Kung patuloy na magmamatigas ang rehimeng Aquino sa pusisyon nito laban sa pagpapalaya ng mga konsultant ng NDFP, ilalagay nito sa peligro ang mismong usapang pangkapayapaan.

Kaisa ng sambayanang Pilipino, nananatiling interesado ang NDFP na magpatuloy ang usapang pangkapayapaan upang sikaping lutasin ang saligang mga usaping nasa ugat ng rumaragasang digmaang sibil sa bansa. Sa pamamagitan nito, nais ng NDFP at buong rebolusyonaryong kilusan na hamunin ang reaksyunaryong rehimen na makipagkaisa sa pagpapatupad ng programang tutugon sa demokratiko at pambansang adhikain ng sambayanang Pilipino.

Gayunman, sa kabila ng bukambibig na “kapayapaan” ng rehimeng Aquino, wala pa itong ginagawang sustantibong hakbangin para sumulong nang makabuluhan ang usapang pangkapayapaan. Mapatutunayang hungkag ang “kapayapaan” sa ilalim ng rehimen kung magpapatuloy si Aquino sa pagmamatigas laban sa pagpapalaya ng mga konsultant ng NDFP.

POLITICS OF REPRESSION IN THE PHILIPPINES

POLITICS OF REPRESSION IN THE PHILIPPINES

 

By Prof. Jose Maria Sison
Chairperson
International League of Peoples’ Struggle
31  October 2009

I thank the International Committee Against Disappearances, IBON Europe and the Filipino Refugees in the Netherlands for inviting me to give a brief background on the politics of repression in the Philippines.

 It is an honor and privilege for me to speak on the same occasion with Edith Burgos and Jayel Burgos, whose beloved Jonas Burgos has been a victim of forced disappearance by the military forces of the Arroyo regime.

I have always admired the late Jose Burgos and his entire family for their high sense of patriotism and devotion to democracy. I am happy to provide the general historical, socio-economic and political background to Edith’s presentation of the current human rights situation in the Philippines and Jayel’s of the Free Jonas Movement.

History of Repression and Exploitation in the Philippines

The Filipino people have long suffered a history of repression and exploitation. They went through more than three centuries of colonial rule by Spain, from the 16th to the 19th century. After they won national independence in 1898, the US unleashed an imperialist war of aggression to conquer the Philippines. It imposed a new colonial rule and laid out a semifeudal economy. In 1946 it established a puppet state to rule the current semicolonial and semifeudal ruling system.

Those who have wielded political power in several stages of Philippines history have repressed the Filipino people not merely for the pleasure of intimidating, imprisoning, torturing and killing people but for such coldblooded reasons as the accumulation of private wealth through exploitation and all the social and cultural gratifications that wealth brings.

Spanish colonialism reached the Philippines initially in search of gold and spices. It was on a long term pursuit of sheer plunder upon the impulse of European mercantile capitalism. In addition to the dispossession and proletarianization of the peasants of Europe, colonialism was a major method of the primitive accumulation of capital. The Spanish colonizers employed divide and rule tactics and repressed the Filipino people in order to maintain a colonial and feudal system.

The most brutal forms of suppression were applied on the people who opposed the system or any its aspects. Even when blood was not being shed, exploitation was a daily and more widespread form of violence to people who were required to render forced labor, pay feudal rent and give religious tribute. Ultimately, the Filipino people developed a national consciousness and a revolutionary unity of purpose, fought for national independence and won the first bourgeois democratic revolution of the old type in the whole of Asia.

Unfortunately, the US intervened and launched a war of aggression against the Filipino people. It killed 1.5 million Filipinos from 1899 to 1913 in order to impose a colonial and semifeudal system on the Philippines. The new colonial system of US monopoly capitalism involved a method of exploitation in which direct and indirect investments were made by US banks and corporations on a limited number of modern enterprises in order to facilitate the export of raw materials and the extraction of superprofits.

In the entire period of direct colonial rule, the US adopted and implemented repressive policies against the growing working class, against the peasant masses who demanded land reform and against the entire Filipino people who clamored for genuine, immediate and full independence. The US imperialists and their local reactionary allies became more repressive as the Communist Party, the revolutionary party of the working classes, emerged in 1930 and challenged the ruling system.

Another imperialist power, that of Japan, took over the Philippines from 1942 to 1945 and exacted a toll of one million deaths on the Filipinos in barbarous acts of repression. At the same time, the conditions of World War II and the Japanese occupation gave rise to the armed revolutionary movement of the people led by the merger party of the Communist and Socialist parties in certain regions.

In reconquering the Philippines from Japan, the US wrought heavy destruction on Filipino lives and property. Soon after landing troops on Philippine soil in late 1944, it sought to destroy the revolutionary forces of the people that had run ahead in liberating Central Luzon. At any rate, the revolutionary forces and people held on to their arms and demanded national liberation and democracy for the Philippines. Continue reading

Q and A with Jorge Madlos: “This is where I am happy, this is where I belong”

Q and A with Jorge Madlos: “This is where I am happy, this is where I belong”

By Carolyn O. Arguillas | Friday| January 7, 2011 | Filed under: Top Stories

1st of three parts

SAN AGUSTIN, Surigao del Sur (MindaNews/06 January) — On the night martial law was announced in 1972, the campus of the Central Mindanao University in Musuan, Bukidnon teemed with student groups discussing what options they would take now that the rumored declaration of martial law had come true.

Jorge Madlos, then a fifth year Agri-Engineering student, recalls that about a hundred chose to go to the hills.

Now 62, Madlos is among a handful who has stayed on despite a three-year incarceration in Camp Crame (1989 to 1991), despite the fact that since 1987, he has been suffering from a debilitating illness.

Madlos has stayed on because “this is where I’m happy.” In a 1996 interview, he told this reporter he stayed on because “here I can contextualize the problem and really feel the pulse of the masses.”

During the ceasefire in 1986, Madlos went home to Siargao in Surigao del Norte to a father who, not having seen him for about 14 years, hardly recognized him.

“You must be proud all your children have finished college,” he told his father. “No. Not all. You haven’t,” his father said. The years of living as a guerrilla of the New People’s Army (NPA) has taught him valuable lessons.  Madlos has spent more than 40 years of his life as a revolutionary, 17 years of that as spokesperson of the National Democratic Front (NDF) in Mindanao. A reporter who joined nearly a hundred others in covering the 42nd anniversary of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) in San Agustin, Surigao del Sur on December 26, 2010, described him as one of five pre-martial law activists who has remained active in the underground movement.

Madlos says he’s one of “around 10.”

He reacts to a story naming him the “new face” of the CPP. “I am spokesperson of NDF Mindanao. He explains that while the revolutionary movement has decentralized its representation in public through  party spokespersons, regional spokespersons, most of the spokespersons are from the NDF.

Mindanao, he says, is the only island-grouping with a spokesperson because it is only in Mindanao, he said, where there is an “island-wide momentum in the NDF. There is no Luzon-wide NDF or Visayas-wide NDF, he said.

It’s historical, he explains. “In the past, the NDF was regionalized but it was only in Mindanao where it was island-wide. It wasn’t designed that way but that’s how it evolved.”

MindaNews’ Carolyn O. Arguillas met with Madlos in San Agustin, Surigao del Sur on December 29, there days after the 42nd anniversary of the CPP, just as they were preparing to vacate the area before the end of the 19-day ceasefire on January 3.

Excerpts from that interview: Continue reading

POVERTY BREEDS NEW GENERATION OF NPA

POVERTY BREEDS NEW GENERATION OF NPA


By Jim Gomez
Associated Press
GMA News


27 December 2010

 

MOUNT DIWATA, Philippines — Too poor to afford school beyond fourth grade in the southern Philippines, 19-year-old Johnny Buyo walked away from home six months ago to join the communist rebellion — one of Asia’s longest-running. He was handed a rusty M16 rifle, which he vowed to keep for life.

The teenager recently gathered with an older generation of battle-hardened veterans in their 60s for a celebration marking the 42nd anniversary of the Communist Party of the Philippines, whose insurgency withstood decades of crackdown by five Philippine presidents.

“It’s scary at first but later, you gain confidence when you think that you’re fighting for the people,” said Buyo, the rifle slung on his tiny frame.

Amid a Christmas cease-fire and looming peace talks with President Benigno Aquino III’s new government, about 80 Maoist guerrillas armed with rifles and grenade launchers marched in a remote rice-farming village in the foothills of Mount Diwata in southern Surigao del Sur province as more than 2,000 villagers, relatives and sympathizers cheered.

Persistent poverty in the Philippines’ southern region fuels popular support for the movement, inspiring new generations to join even as Cold War communist insurgencies fade into memory across much of the rest of the world.

It has been 38 years since , then a student activist, quit university and went underground after then-Philippine dictator Ferdinand Marcos declared martial law in 1972. Now 62, the prominent rebel spokesman — distinguished by his trademark Mao-style cap and goatee — says only one thing can make him leave his comrades.

“Our retirement comes in death,” Madlos said.

At Sunday’s ceremony, smiling guerrillas handed out 2011 calendars, red pins and packs of roasted pork and rice. They belted out nationalist songs on a stage in a rice field festooned with the hammer and sickle communist symbol. Relatives and friends used the occasion for reunions with rebels, including a mother who said she has not seen her son since he joined the guerrillas 10 years ago.

The chaotic scene under a broiling noontime sun both depicted the rebels’ resiliency and constraints.

Big business into environmental destruction valid NPA targets – NDFP

By BenCyrus G. Ellorin | Saturday| January 15, 2011 | Filed under: EnvironmentTop Stories

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (MindaNews/14 Jan) – The National Democratic Front of the Philippines has said that environmentally destructive operations of big business and multi-national corporations make them valid military targets of the New People’s Army in view of the recent spate of disasters.

“Banning, disabling and dismantling these large, environmentally-destructive operations are still the best ways we could avert the disastrous impact on people’s lives and livelihood of calamities such as this. They are legitimate military targets of NPA attacks,” Jorge “Ka Oris” Madlos, spokesperson of the NDF in Mindanao, said in a statement emailed to media organizations.

He added that stopping these operations through military action by the NPA may be a form of disaster prevention. “Prevention is still better than curing the aftermath damages of these calamities,” Madlos said.

Meanwhile, a progressive environmental organization Kalikasan Network for the Philippine Environment (KPNE) has called on the Government of the Philippines (GPH) and the NDF to bring into the forthcoming resumption of peace negotiations the issues of environment and mining.

The Philippine government has long been supportive of mining liberalization whose main feature is enticing foreign capital and companies into the local mining industry. On the other hand, the NDFP has been very vocal in opposing the government mining policies and has called its forces to stop foreign mining operation in the country.

Diverting from the military allegation that “revolutionary taxation” on mining firms is a threat to economic development after seven foreign mining firms reportedly threatened to stop their operations in Caraga region, Madlos dared the military to name these firms, adding that the mining companies’ exit is good for everyone.

“We challenge the military to come up with their list of seven mining companies who wish to pull out of Caraga because they cannot live up to the policies of the revolutionary government. We welcome this news, so that we can minimize the damage caused to our environment,” said the NDFP-Mindanao spokesperson.

The KPNE said in a statement that the peace talks should not be limited to the issue of taxation and mining alone but how both parties can push for genuine environmental protection, wise utilization of our natural resources, and the right of people to a healthful ecology.

“From an environmental point of view, the declaration of foreign transnational mining companies to pull out is a good thing and is welcomed by local communities and environmental, church, and people’s organizations which have long resisted the environmental destruction and plunder of natural resources by foreign mining firms,” KPNE said in a statement

“We hope that the resumption of peace talks will reach or lead to an agreement on how the interests and rights of the Filipino people will be upheld and how lasting peace can be achieved in the country, at the same time resolve and address the root causes of environmental destruction and ecological degradation in the country,” KPNE added

Torrential rains brought by a weather system known as “tail-end of the cold front” aggravated by climate change has dumped above normal rainfall in the eastern seaboard of the country.

In Mindanao, areas badly affected are Davao, the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) and almost the entire region of Caraga, which resulted to the death of 18 people. Caraga region accounted for having the highest number of displaced people and damaged livelihood and infrastructures.

Nationwide, more than 40 people have died and over half a million people are currently affected. Damage could be in the billions of pesos.

Degraded environment brought by extractive industries like mining and logging has greatly increased the disaster risk vulnerability of poor communities which to start with have very little capacity to absorb damage brought by disasters like floods and landslides. (BenCyrus G. Ellorin / MindaNews)

GPH-NDFP peace talks postponed

GPH-NDFP peace talks postponed

 “The NDFP proposal to defer the talks of the Reciprocal Working Committees on Social and Economic Reforms (RWCs SER) and the Working Groups on Political and Constitutional Reforms (WGs PCR) scheduled in Oslo this month is meant to allow the GPH to comply with the Jasig.” – Luis Jalandoni

By RONALYN V. OLEA
Bulatlat.com

MANILA — The peace talks between the Government of the Philippines (GPH) and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) has been postponed.In a letter dated June 2 addressed to GPH peace panel chairman Alexander Padilla, NDFP panel chairman Luis Jalandoni proposed the postponement of talks scheduled this month until such time that the NDFP consultants and other individuals protected by the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (Jasig) are released.

The Joint Communique signed by both parties and witnessed by Ambassador Ture Lundh of the Royal Norwegian Government on 18 January 2011 in Oslo read: “The GPH Panel agreed to work for the expeditious release of detained NDFP consultants and other JASIG protected persons in compliance with the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (Jasig) and in the spirit of goodwill.”

As of June 8 (Manila time), Padilla has not responded to Jalandoni’s letter dated June 2 and to an earlier letter dated May 27, Jalandoni told Bulatlat through email. In his first letter, Jalandoni also followed up the GPH’s commitment to release detained NDFP consultants.

There are 17 NDFP consultants and Jasig-protected persons in different jails.

During his visit to Manila late last month, Fidel Agcaoili, NDFP panel vice chairman was asked by Padilla and Secretary Teresita Deles of the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) to stay until June 1. Padilla and Deles apparently assured Agcaoili that there would be an announcement of releases.

“We are deeply disappointed that no such announcement has been made by the GPH,” Jalandoni said.

In her statement posted at the OPAPP website, Deles said: “The resumption of the formal negotiations with the NDFP will focus on the remaining substantive agenda on: socio-economic reforms, political and constitutional reforms and end of hostilities and disposition of forces. To avoid unwarranted disruptions of the negotiations, the Parties also established side table mechanisms to review and address procedural and non-substantive issues such as JASIG implementation, the release of alleged political prisoners (APOs), and confidence-building and goodwill measures.”

Agcaoili took offense on the statement. “The Parties may create mechanisms to facilitate discussions on the full implementation of the JASIG. But such mechanisms do not relegate the full implementation of the JASIG to a side-table issue. The claim of Ms. Ging Deles is simply preposterous,” he said.

“Ms. Ging Deles should be reminded that the primary purposes of the JASIG are “to facilitate the peace negotiations, create a favorable atmosphere conducive to free discussion and movement during the peace negotiations, and avert any incident that may jeopardize the peace negotiations,” Agcaoili said.

Agcaoli said that Jasig is a very important agreement in the GPH-NDFP peace negotiations. “It is what enables the Parties to directly engage in peace negotiations by providing safety and immunity guarantees to their respective negotiators, consultants, staffers, security and other personnel who participate in the GPH-NDFP peace negotiations. It actually tests the sincerity and commitment of the Parties to the peace negotiations,” he said.

“The NDFP proposal to defer the talks of the Reciprocal Working Committees on Social and Economic Reforms (RWCs SER) and the Working Groups on Political and Constitutional Reforms (WGs PCR) scheduled in Oslo this month is meant to allow the GPH to comply with the Jasig,” Agcaoili said.

In the meantime, Jalandoni said the NDFP panel continues overseeing the work of the NDFP Monitoring Committee in the JMC, the NDFP RWC-SER and NDFP WG-PCR.

“That means we continue working in preparation for the eventual next round of formal Panel talks, the JMC meeting scheduled for July 11-15 in Manila, the bilateral meetings of the RWCs-SER and WGs-PCR. But of course the GPH will have to comply with their commitment and obligation to release the NDFP Consultants and Jasig-protected persons,” Jalandoni told Bulatlat.com.

Deles said, “As far as I know, there has not been any changes on the agreements between the government and the NDFP. Preparations for the substantive agenda are moving forward. The GPH panel is fully aware of the developments brought about by the statements issued by Jalandoni and Agcaoili. I am confident that the Panel will manage this issue well and shall release its own official statement soon.

Jalandoni was informed by Lundh that the GPH panel are meeting June 8. “But we have not heard anything (yet) from that meeting,” Jalandoni said.

“[i]f the GPH cannot be trusted to comply with the JASIG, how can it be expected to comply with agreements on social and economic reforms, and on political and constitutional reforms, or, for that matter, in any agreement that would enable the Parties to enter into an alliance and truce?” Agcaoili said.

Bulatlat.com also sent an email to Padilla about the issue but got no response.

Raising concern

In a statement, the Philippine Ecumenical Peace Platform (PEPP), the largest ecumenical formation of church leaders in the Philippines, urged both parties to remain focused on seeing the peace process through.

“We call on the two parties to follow the spirit of the JASIG as it is a crucial issue around the formal peace talks. Its faithful implementation enables the two parties to resume the negotiations in earnest,” the PEPP said.

“On the agenda of the formal peace talks are the social and economic reforms. This second substantive agenda is very central to the negotiations as it seeks solutions to address the roots of armed conflict that has afflicted our land for decades,” the group said.

The statement is signed by Archbishop Antonio Ledesma, Bishop Deogracias Iñiguez and Sharon Rose Joy Ruiz-Duremdes of the National Council of Churches in the Philippines.

 

CALL FOR AMNESTY: PROVE US WRONG, MR. PRESIDENT, RELEASE ALL POLITICAL PRISONERS NOW! – Karapatan

CALL FOR AMNESTY: PROVE US WRONG, MR. PRESIDENT, RELEASE ALL POLITICAL PRISONERS NOW! – Karapatan

by KARAPATAN Alliance for the Advancement of People’s Rights on Tuesday, June 14, 2011 at 12:08pm

“Prove the people wrong, Mr. President, release the political prisoners, now!”  said Karapatan chairperson Marie Hilao Enriquez.

Hilao-Enriquez reiterates that, “for a self professed human rights advocate, Pres. Aquino should walk the talk now. We are giving him the opportunity to prove the people wrong by releasing the political prisoners now. In the first place, the political prisoners shouldn’t have been in prison if this country is truly democratic and free, as he said so in his speech on June 12.’’

Political Prisoners, according to Karapatan are victims of political persecution because of their political beliefs, but are falsely charged with common crimes to conceal their existence.  They are mostly illegally arrested and detained, without warrants of arrests, if not faulty ones. They have also been subjected to different forms of torture while under the custody of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and/or the Philippine National Police (PNP).

“It is ironic that President Noynoy Aquino boasts of his parents’ legacy—that of fighting and dying for democracy in this country—while the number of political prisoners continues to rise in his government, under his “matuwid na daan,” remarked Hilao-Enriquez.

Karapatan recalled that it only took the President’s mother, Corazon Aquino less than a month to release majority, if not all political prisoners during her time through a general, unconditional and omnibus amnesty during her first year in office.

“If only the President listens to the people’s reaction on the ground, he would know that his “bosses” are getting frustrated because he has yet to make a significant decision in his first year in office. Let this decision be the release of political prisoners,” challenged Hilao-Enriquez.

Enriquez added that, “today is 349th day of the President in office, 16 days short before he hits one year of his presidency yet, there are still 335 (as of February 2011) political prisoners languishing in 63 jails all over the country. Worse, these political prisoners are suffering in jail because of trumped up charges lodged against them”.

Group urges Aquino to release political prisoners from the Left

Group urges Aquino to release political prisoners from the Left

By Jeffrey M. Tupas
Inquirer Mindanao

DAVAO CITY, Philippines—Mindanao church leaders and peace advocates have urged the government to release detained members of the Left and the consultants of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) who are covered by the Joint Agreement on the Safety and Immunity Guarantee (JASIG) if only to ensure the resumption of the peace negotiations.

The “Sowing the Seeds of Peace,” a multisectoral group, issued the call following the NDFP’s announcement of a possible postponement of peace talks because of the Philippine government’s refusal to comply with a joint statement made in Oslo on February 21.

“The NDFP has announced a possible postponement of the talks pending release of political prisoners which, they say, has not been complied with by the GPH. We see this as an unfortunate development worthy of serious consideration by both sides and of advocates like us who are supporting the peace process,” the group said.

The statement was signed by Catholic Bishop Antonio Ledesma of Cagayan de Oro City, Bishop Felixberto Calang of Iglesia Filipina Independiente, Bishop Melzar Labuntog of the United Church of Christ of the Philippines and Sister Franz Blando of the Sisters’ Association in Mindanao.

Mayor Vicente Emano of Cagayan de Oro City also signed the statement.

Luis Jalandoni, chief of the NDFP peace panel, in a letter dated June 2, said the talks would only resume if the government agreed to release NDFP consultants and other personalities supposedly covered and protected by JASIG.

The letter was addressed to Alexander Padilla, chairman of the government peace panel. The NDFP has claimed that 17 consultants and persons are protected by JASIG for being consultants to the NDFP peace panel, but have been languishing in different jails across the country.

The January 18 Joint Communique signed by members of both panels and witnessed by Ambassador Ture Lundh of the Royal Norwegian Government read: “The GPH Panel agreed to work for the expeditious release of detained NDFP consultants and other JASIG-protected persons in compliance with the JASIG and in the spirit of goodwill.”

“We believe that the spirit and intent of that joint statement calls for continued confidence-building measures to sustain the peace talks. With this in mind, we were thus pleased when peasant rights advocate Angelina Bisuña Ipong, the country’s oldest woman political prisoner, was released on 17 February 2011 as the GPH-NDPF peace talks were being held in Oslo,” the group said.

The Sowing the Seeds for Peace urged President Benigno Aquino III to comply with the agreement.

“We call on President Benigno Aquino III to ensure that the talks are not stalled anew on this account. We hope that the GPH will eventually uphold its civilian authority over voices within the AFP which, at the moment, are opposed to such release. Political authority should be of primordial consideration over tactical concerns of the military establishment. After all, it is incumbent upon any state to release ‘prisoners of conscience’ in adherence to international human rights and humanitarian law,” the group said.

“The same principle applies when NPA prisoners of war are released on humanitarian grounds and as an exercise of the political authority of the NDFP over its armed revolutionary army. On an equal vein, we call on the NDFP as well to release prisoners of war as a way to reciprocate confidence measures which we expect the GPH to adopt in the days ahead,” it added.

The group said the parties should “agree to a definite timeline that will allow the GPH compliance with release of political prisoners.”

“We believe that whenever there is political will from both protagonists in the armed conflict, there is time,” the group said.

 

 

http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/14297/group-urges-aquino-to-release-political-prisoners-from-the-left

Rep. Teddy Casiño: Students deserve benefits & privileges in these times of crisis

Casiño: Students deserve benefits & privileges in these times of crisis

House Bill 3231

Students stand to gain immediate economic relief from rising tuition and miscellaneous fees and prices of basic goods and services if a measure authored by Bayan Muna Rep. Teddy Casiño is passed into law.

Pending since August 22, 2010 at the House Committees on Basic Education and Culture and on Higher and Technical Education is House Bill 3231 or An Act Granting Benefits and Privileges to Students and for Other Purposes, which Rep. Casiño wants the House leadership to prioritize as an economic reform bill.

“This bill will grant our nation’s students who are officially enrolled in any Philippine school recognized by the DepEd and CHED to various discounts that will help keep them in school up to their graduation with a college or vocational degree,” Casiño said.

HB 3231 will grant the following:

  • 25% discount on transportation fares in all transport utilities, The discount shall be in effect and made available during the entire school year for elementary and secondary students, during the semester for college students, and during the duration of a course for vocational and technical students, including Saturdays, Sundays and official holidays;
  • 25% discount on medicines, medical and dental services, diagnostic and laboratory fees, including professional fees of attending physicians, in drugstores, clinics, hospitals and medical facilities, both government and private;
  • 50% discount on admission and/or other fees in all museums, historical sites, libraries, art galleries and other establishments that feature art exhibitions, theatres, movie houses and other establishments that feature stage plays, musical concerts, both government and privately sponsored, which require admission and other fees;
  • 10% discount on basic school supplies such as notebooks, paper, pens, pencils and other writing materials, school bags, and laboratory and technical instruments; and
  • 25% discount on meals in all food establishments.

Casiño’s co-authors are fellow Party-list Reps. Raymond Palatino (Kabataan) and (Gabriela Womens Party). #

Read full text of House Bill 3231 or Students Entitlements Act of 2010

Statement on the Extra-judicial killing, harassment, land grabbing, and other rights violations in Casiguran, Aurora.

Statement on the Extra-judicial killing, harassment, land grabbing, and other rights violations in Casiguran, Aurora.

WITH local Church of the Apostolic Vicariate of Infanta, we in the National Secretariat for Social Action (NASSA), strongly condemn the murder of one of our advocates for indigenous peoples’ rights in Casiguran, Aurora. Armando Maximino, Chieftain of the Agtas in Sitio Delebsong, Barangay Nipoo was shot dead last May 17.

The suspected perpetrators belonged to the security personnel enlisted by the contesting party that falsely claims ownership of the ancestral domain, even with the reported knowledge of the city mayor, local police, and other officials. Denied burial at his property among departed kin, Armando was instead laid to rest at the site where he took not one but several bullets.

When the Agtas briefly left their vigil at the grave, they returned to find six of their houses burned. Previously, barbed-wire fences were installed around their property by the suspects. When they questioned the move, five members of their tribe were arrested, with some women wounded from the resulting scuffle, but eventually released because there were no grounds to file charges against them.

Despite longstanding and rightful ownership of 49 hectares of the disputed land, supported by official documents and upheld by the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP), Armando, members of his family and community, have endured threats, harassment, and outright violence. Against powerful enemies, the Agtas have retreated out of fear and left the area.

The Church, in its prophetic ministry of promoting social justice, stands in solidarity with the indigenous people’s in their struggle for their rightful claim for the land. We condemn the senseless killing of the Agta Chieftain, Armando Maximino, and the continuing suppression to silence the protest of the community against the impending development aggression.

We enjoin all Filipinos to do the same and demand the impartial and comprehensive investigation of the incident, and its swift and just resolution.

We appeal to President Benigno Aquino III and concerned government agencies to uphold our laws on indigenous peoples’ rights and agrarian reform, in order to safeguard the welfare of our local communities, as well as the fundamental freedoms violated by Armando’s adversaries.

His death exemplifies a recurring cautionary tale, when equal access to resources and justice by vulnerable sectors is continually denied. It underscores the need to address the absence of truly participatory and people-centered development programs, in order to bridge the social, political, and economic divide that bring about conflict in areas like Aurora.

And in fulfillment of our mission we believe that “before today’s forms of exploitation of the poor, the Church cannot remain silent . . . she condemns many injustices which unfortunately, even today are committed to the detriment of the poor” (Pope Jouh Paul II, quoted in PCP II, Acts No. 131).

† BRODERICK S. PABILLO, D.D
Auxiliary Bishop of Manila
Chairman of the CBCP-Episcopal Commission on Social Action – Justice and Peace

9 May 2011

JUNE 12, PROCLAMATION OF PHILIPPINE INDEPENDENCE FROM SPANISH COLONIZATION BUT NOT NECESSARILY MEAN THAT THE FILIPINO PEOPLE ARE FREE FROM FOREIGN DOMINATION

 

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

In the PhilippinesIndependence Day (FilipinoAraw ng Kalayaan) is an annual national holiday observed on June 12, commemorating thePhilippine Declaration of Independence from Spain on June 12, 1898. It is the National Day of the Philippines.

The declaration of Philippine independence from the colonial rule of Spain concluded the Philippine Revolution. Philippine independence, however, was not recognized either by the United States or by Spain. The Spanish government later ceded the Philippine archipelago to the United States in the 1898 Treaty of Paris, and the United States granted independence to the Republic of the Philippines on July 4, 1946 in the Treaty of Manila.[1]

July 4 was observed in the Philippines as Independence Day until 1962. On 12 May 1962, President Diosdado Macapagal issued Presidential proclamation No. 28, which declared Tuesday, June 12, 1962 a special public holiday throughout the Philippines, “… in commemoration of our people’s declaration of their inherent and inalienable right to freedom and independence.[2] On August 4, 1964, Republic Act No. 4166 renamed the July 4 holiday as “Philippine Republic Day”, proclaimed the twelfth day of June is as the Philippine Independence Day, and enjoined all citizens of the Philippines to observe 12 June with rites befitting Independence Day.[3] June 12 had

In the presence of a huge crowd, independence was proclaimed on June 12, 1898 between four and five in the afternoon in Cavite at the ancestral home of General Emilio Aguinaldo some 30 kilometers South of Manila . The event saw the unfurling of the National Flag of the Philippines, made in Hong Kong by Marcela Agoncillo, Lorenza Agoncillo, and Delfina Herboza, and the performance of the Marcha Filipina Magdalo, as the Nation’s National Anthem, now known as Lupang Hinirang, which was composed by Julián Felipe and played by the San Francisco de Malabon marching band.

The Act of the Declaration of Independence was prepared, written, and read by Ambrosio Rianzares Bautista in Spanish. The Declaration was signed by ninety-eight people, among them an American army officer who witnessed the proclamation. The final paragraph states that there was a “stranger” (stranger in English translation — etranger in the original Spanish, possibly meaning foreigner) who attended the proceedings, Mr. L. M. Johnson, described as “a citizen of the U.S.A, a Coronel of Artillery”. The proclamation of Philippine independence was, however, promulgated on the 1st of August, when many towns had already been organized under the rules laid down by the Dictatorial Government of General Aguinaldo.

Later at Malolos, Bulacan, the June 12 proclamation was modified upon the insistence of Apolinario Mabini who objected to that the original proclamation essentially placed the Philippines under the protection of the United States.

The Philippine revolutionary movement: Combining armed and legal struggles

The Philippine revolutionary movement: Combining armed and legal struggles

 

(This is an old article but it will help us understand the struggle for national liberation in the Philippines)

By Luis G. Jalandoni
National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP)

National and social liberation from imperialism and all reaction 
and resistance to foreign aggression and intervention

For the past hundred years, the Filipino people have been struggling for national and social liberation against US imperialism and its local agents, the big compradors and feudal lords. In the mad scramble for new colonies among the world’s old colonial and emergent imperialist powers at the turn of the 20th century, the US had acquired the Philippines from Spain for $20 M, snatching victory from the Filipino revolutionaries who were then on the threshold of liberating themselves from three centuries of colonial and feudal rule.

The 1896 Revolution, a national democratic revolution of the old type, was decisively crushed in the Fil-American War, a genocidal war of US aggression killing one-seventh of the Filipino population. Direct American colonial rule would last for half a century, imposing a semi-feudal economy that would provide US imperialism cheap raw materials and a ready market for its products. But the Filipino people’s struggle against foreign domination and feudal oppression persisted in various forms – from cleverly disguised nationalist literature to militant workers’ and peasant strikes to pocket peasant uprisings.

The founding of the Communist Party of the Philippines in 1930 heralded the working class’ leadership in the Philippine revolution. With the outbreak of the second world war, the CPP formed the Hukbo ng Bayan Laban sa Hapon—HUKBALAHAP (Anti-Japanese People’s Army) and waged armed resistance against the Japanese aggressors.

After the Second World War, US imperialism granted political independence and shifted to neocolonial rule in order to forestall the resurgence of an anti-imperialist national democratic and pro-socialist movement. Despite the aggravation of the crisis of semi-feudal and semi-colonial society, the Communist Party self-liquidated in the late 50s as a result of a series of reformist, adventurist and then defeatist and collaborationist policies.

The anti-imperialist and democratic mass movement was revitalized in the 1960s with massive youth, workers’ and peasant protest actions. On December 26, 1968, the Communist Party of the Philippines was reestablished on the basis of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism. The CPP called for a new democratic revolution led by the working class and with socialism as its perspective. It established the New People’s Army on March 29, 1969 as its main mass organization and instrument in waging a protracted people’s war to overthrow US imperialism, feudalism and bureaucrat-capitalism in order to attain national liberation and genuine democracy. The National Democratic Front was established in 1973 as a formal alliance of all forces fighting for national freedom and democracy , with the worker-peasant alliance as its base.

The Filipino people‘s struggle for national and social liberation has advanced since then despite great odds. The archipelagic character of the country compelled the revolutionary movement to be self-reliant. The revolutionary forces not only survived but also grew and gained strength amidst relentless fascist attacks, including fourteen years of martial law. At the height of the worldwide onslaught of bourgeois and imperialist propaganda following the collapse of the Soviet and East European revisionist regimes, a thoroughgoing rectification campaign was launched that would reaffirm the general principles of the new democratic line and revitalize the revolutionary movement.

Three decades of arduous revolutionary struggle have underscored the correctness of the following principles that guide the struggle for national and social liberation from imperialism and all reaction in the Philippines:

  1. The Philippine revolution is guided by the most scientific and advanced social theory and methods of analysis, combining theory and practice, raising practice to the level of theory and enriching theory with summed up experiences or practice.
  2. It resolutely and militantly combats bourgeois, imperialist and modern revisionist ideology and policies
  3. The revolution is part of, and consciously contributes to, the international people’s struggles against imperialism and reaction the world over.
  4. Philippine society is semi-feudal (i.e., agrarian and pre-industrial) and semi-colonial; its chronic and ever-deepening crisis stems from this character.
  5. This crisis can only be resolved through a new democratic revolution with the following characteristics:a.Its main objective is the overthrow of imperialism, feudalism and bureaucrat-capitalism and therefore its principal targets or enemies are US imperialism and the big comprador bourgeoisie and the landlord class
  • It uses the strategy of protracted people’s war, encircling the cities from ever widening and deepening base areas in the countryside where the enemy is weakest
  • its main content is agrarian reform (anti-feudal struggle) and its main force the peasantry which constitutes the largest majority of the population
  • it is led by the working class through its party;
  • it unites the broadest range of class forces (workers, peasants, urban petty-bourgeoisie and middle bourgeoisie);
  • it takes advantage of contradictions and splits among the reactionaries, builds temporary or tactical alliances with unstable allies among the reactionaries in order to isolate and deal the strongest blows against the enemy at every given time.
  • it creatively employs and combines all forms of struggle against imperialism, feudalism and bureaucrat-capitalism.
  • at the very moment political power is seized from the imperialism and the local ruling classes, the socialist revolution shall commence. Continue reading

Army blasts mortars near Kato’s lair

Army blasts mortars near Kato’s lair

June 8, 2011 – The Philippine Army unit in Datu Saudi blasted using 105mm mortars lairs of the group Ustaz Amiril Umbra Kato at the upper part of Talayan and Datu Hofer towns in Maguindanao yesterday.

Information from sources in the area said approximately 10 rounds of 105mm mortars exploded near suspected lairs of Kato’s group in Upper Limpungo and Pelis Hill.

No casualty was reported but civilians were alarm of eventual firefight following the scores of powerful blasts.

Exchange of gun fire did not happen though, sources said. “Roofs of small houses were almost blown out by just the impact of the powerful explosion.”

Information also said some civilians were earlier informed by the government troops to avoid going near the area where the mortar rounds exploded. Farmers did not go to their farms actually.

When sought for comment, the MILF Coordinating Committee on the Cessation of Hostilities (CCCH) had just said it was not informed by its counterpart with the government of this Philippine Army activity.

“We shall seek the guidelines from our principal on how to address this case,” the MILF CCCH said, adding we are not sure if the target really was the group of Kato.

Kato formed his armed group named as Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF). Prior to this, he was the Commander of the 105th Base command of the Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces (BIAF).

The MILF unanimously adopted in April a Resolution preventing Kato to use the name MILF in his undertakings and activities while citing Kato’s BIFF as internal issue that should be addressed

US constructs anti-terrorism center in Zamboanga City

US constructs anti-terrorism center in Zamboanga City

March 23, 2011 – A growing sign of continued stay of the United States in Mindanao under the guise of anti-terrorism campaign has been reinforced with the construction of a fusion center in Zamboanga City.

The US Ambassador Harry Thomas Jr. led the inauguration of the $36,768 US-funded project at the headquarters of the Philippine military’s Western Mindanao Command (Wesmincom) in Zamboanga City last March 21..

A fusion center is a terrorism prevention and response center, many of which were created under a joint project between the Department of Homeland Security and the US Department of Justice’s Office of Justice Programs.

The fusion centers gather information not only from government sources, but also from their partners in the private sector.

They are designed to promote information sharing at the federal level between agencies such as the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Department of Justice, US Military and state and local level government. As of July 2009[update], the Department of Homeland Security recognized at least seventy-two fusion centers. Fusion centers may also be affiliated with an Emergency Operations Center that responds in the event of a disaster.

State and local police departments provide both space and resources for the majority of fusion centers. The analysts working there can be drawn from DHS, local police, or the private sector. A number of fusion centers operate tip hotlines and also invite relevant information from public employees, such as sanitation workers or firefighters.

Thomas said the project aimed to reduce violence and attain peace and security here in Mindanao. The construction of the project started on October 20, 2010.

However, the US ambassador said the construction of the fusion center doesn’t mean they will permanently stay in the country, especially in Mindanao.

He said the stay of the US Forces in the Philippines is temporary. “They will remain here for as long as the Philippine government wanted.”

http://www.luwaran.net/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=471:us-constructs-anti-terrorism-center-in-zamboanga-city&catid=78:gggg&Itemid=477

A Concise History of Liberation Theology

A Concise History of Liberation Theology

By Leonardo and Clodovis Boff. From the book Introducing Liberation Theology published by Orbis Books. Reprinted by permission.

Antecedents

The historical roots of liberation theology are to be found in the prophetic tradition of evangelists and missionaries from the earliest colonial days in Latin America — churchmen who questioned the type of presence adopted by the church and the way indigenous peoples, blacks, mestizos, and the poor rural and urban masses were treated. The names of Bartolomé de Las Casas, Antonio de Montesinos, Antonio Vieira, Brother Caneca and others can stand for a whole host of religious personalities who have graced every century of our short history. They we the source of the type of social and ecclesial understanding that is emerging today.

Social and Political Development

The populist governments of the 1950s and 1960s — especially those of Perón in Argentina, Vargas in Brazil, and Cárdenas in Mexico — inspired nationalistic consciousness and significant industrial development in the shape of import substitution. This benefited the middle classes and urban proletariat but threw huge sectors of the peasantry into deeper rural marginalization or sprawling urban shantytowns. Development proceeded along the lines of dependent capitalism, subsidiary to that of the rich nations and excluding the great majorities of national populations. This process led to the creation of strong popular movements seeking profound changes in the socio-economic structure of their countries. These movements in turn provoked the rise of military dictatorships, which sought to safeguard or promote the interests of capital, associated with a high level of “national security” achieved through political repression and police control of all public demonstrations.

In this context the socialist revolution in Cuba stood out as an alternative leading to the dissolution of the chief cause of underdevelopment: dependence. Pockets of armed uprising appeared in many countries, aimed at overthrowing the ruling powers and installing socialist-inspired regimes. There was a great stirring for change among the popular sections of society, a truly prerevolutionary atmosphere.

Ecclesial Development

Starting in the 1960s, a great wind of renewal blew through the churches. They began to take their social mission seriously: lay persons committed themselves to work among the poor, charismatic bishops and priests encouraged the calls for progress and national modernization. Various church organizations promoted understanding of and improvements in the living conditions of the people: movements such as Young Christian Students, Young Christian Workers, Young Christian Agriculturalists, the Movement for Basic Education, groups that set up educational radio programs, and the first base ecclesial communities.

The work of these — generally middle-class — Christians was sustained theologically by the European theology of earthly realities, the integral humanism of Jacques Maritain, the social personalism of Mounier, the progressive evolutionism of Teilhard de Chardin, Henri de Lubac’s reflections on the social dimension of dogma, Yves Congar’s theology of the laity, and the work of M.-D. Chenu. The Second Vatican Council then gave the best possible theoretical justification to activities developed under the signs of a theology of progress, of authentic secularization and human advancement.

The end of the 1960s, with the crisis of populism and the developmentalist model, brought the advent of a vigorous current of sociological thinking, which unmasked the true causes of underdevelopment. Development and underdevelopment are two sides of the same coin. All the nations of the Western world were engaged in a vast process of development; however, it was interdependent and unequal, organized in such a way that the benefits flowed to the already developed countries of the “center” and the disadvantages were meted out to the historically backward and underdeveloped wontries of the “periphery.” The poverty of Third World countries was the price to be paid for the First World to be able to enjoy the fruits of overabundance.

In ecclesial circles by now accustomed to following developments in society and studies of its problems, this interpretation acted as a leaven, yielding a new vitality and critical spirit in pastoral circles. The relationship of dependence of the periphery on the center had to be replaced by a process of breaking away and liberation. So the basis of a theology of development was undermined and the theoretical foundations for a theology of liberation were laid. Its material foundations were provided only when popular movements and Christian groups came together in the struggle for social and political liberation, with the ultimate aim of complete and integral liberation. This was when the objective conditions for an authentic liberation theology came about. Continue reading

The NDFP in Utrecht: The Untold Story

The NDFP in Utrecht: The Untold Story

The National Democratic Front of the Philippines’ (NDFP) international representatives have been holding office in Utrecht, the Netherlands for several decades now. In fact, among Filipino tourists and several Philippine government functionaries, Utrecht has only two major attractions worth visiting – the Utrecht Dom (once the tallest architecture in flat Netherlands), and the NDFP international information office.

BY D. L. MONDELO
Chief Political Correspondent in Europe
Bulatlat.Com

The NDFP celebrated its 30th anniversary last April 24. Overseas, the focus was the rustic, quiet and pleasant Dutch central city of Utrecht.

It is there where the NDFP maintains an international information office (duly registered with the Utrecht Chamber of Commerce) and where the NDFP’s international work germinated. It is home away from home for most of the NDFP international representatives and personnel, who have lived there since the early 70s.

Increasingly, many Filipinos, even the non-politically-inclined ones, are drawn to Utrecht because of the presence of the NDFP there, among other things. For many of them, Utrecht has become synonymous with the NDFP.

Among the more prominent visitors of the NDFP International Office were former Justice Secretary and GRP peace panel negotiator Silvestre Bello, former Ambassador and GRP peace panel negotiator Howard Dy, Gov. Apeng Yap of Tarlac, Sec. Hernani Braganza, the late ex-ambassador Pacifico Castro, and the Deputy Prime Minister of Nepal. Sen. Loren Legarda was also a visitor when she was still a television broadcaster doing an interview on NDFP representatives.

How the NDFP took root in Utrecht and how it continues to maintain a stable support system from the Dutch people are matters that the NDFP representatives are only too willing to share and make public.

According to Coni Ledesma (Makibaka international representative and NDFP peace panel member), even before she and husband Luis Jalandoni (LJ), who is NDFP chief international representative and NDFP peace panel chief negotiator, came to Utrecht in 1976, there was already a Dutch group campaigning against the Marcos fascist dictatorship.

The Netherlands (this is the formal name of the country, not Holland as is popularly used, because Holland is just a province of the Netherlands) was the best choice for political refugees like Ledesma and Jalandoni because the Netherlands then was a liberal haven for persecuted people escaping brutal U.S.-supported dictatorships in south and central America, Africa and Asia. To illustrate how liberal the political climate in the Netherlands then, the Dutch government in the 70s intervened to provide refuge to many Chilean political prisoners.

Europe in the 70s was a seat of the worldwide anti-war movement. The Vietnam War was in its conclusion. Support for national liberation movements was very hip and popular. Political refugees who came to Europe escaping dictatorships and fascism in their countries, formed many solidarity groups. Many national liberation movements (NLM) found Europe and the Netherlands accommodating and supportive to their cause and some even maintained representatives in the continent.

Thus, European, particularly Dutch, support for the Filipino people’s resistance and the NDFP in the Philippines came as a matter of course.

Geographically, Utrecht is also centrally located and easily accessible from every point in Western Europe.

Shortly after Ledesma and Jalandoni arrived in the Netherlands, the solidarity group formed earlier became a solidarity group for the NDFP.

The NDFP’s presence in Utrecht thus began. According to Jalandoni and Ledesma, the main task of the NDFP International Office then (as it is now) was to provide information on the situation of the Philippines, the people’s resistance, representation and diplomatic work and organizing Filipinos and solidarity groups. It published the NDF Update, which later came out with a French edition. The NDFP also helped in the formation of solidarity groups in Italy, London and Ireland, aside from the one in Utrecht

After only four years of doing its international work in Europe, the NDFP scored a big political victory, together with the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) of Nur Misuari. The Permanent People’s Tribunal (PPT) Session on the Philippines, convened in October 1980 in Antwerp, Belgium, declared that the Marcos dictatorship did not anymore represent the Filipino people, and recognized the NDFP and MNLF as the true representatives of the Filipino and Moro people.

The PPT was started by a prominent Italian senator in the 1970s and included renowned Nobel Peace Prize winners who sat as jury during its sessions. Witnesses for the NDFP were representatives from the New People’s Army (NPA), worker, indigenous people, peasant, youth and professional sectors. They were flown in secretly to the tribunal with the help of many European supporters. Continue reading

Ms. Teresita Quintos-Deles is mistaken on the JASIG

Ms. Teresita Quintos-Deles is mistaken on the JASIG

Fidel V. Agcaoili
Negotiating Panel National Democratic Front of the Philippines
06 June 2011

Ms. Teresita (Ging) Quinto-Deles, the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process of the Government of the Philippines (GPH, formerly designated as the GRP), is mistaken in claiming that the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG) is a mere side-table issue in the GPH-NDFP peace negotiations.

Ms. Ging Deles should be reminded that the primary purposes of the JASIG are “to facilitate the peace negotiations, create a favorable atmosphere conducive to free discussion and movement during the peace negotiations, and avert any incident that may jeopardize the peace negotiations.”

The JASIG is a very important agreement in the GPH-NDFP peace negotiations. It is what enables the Parties to directly engage in peace negotiations by providing safety and immunity guarantees to their respective negotiators, consultants, staffers, security and other personnel who participate in the GPH-NDFP peace negotiations. It actually tests the sincerity and commitment of the Parties to the peace negotiations.

As stipulated in the Joint Communique signed by the Parties and witnessed by Ambassador Ture Lundh of the Royal Norwegian Government on 18 January 2011 in Oslo: “The GPH Panel agreed to work for the expeditious release of detained NDFP consultants and other JASIG protected persons in compliance with the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG) and in the spirit of goodwill.”

The NDFP proposal to defer the talks of the Reciprocal Working Committees on Social and Economic Reforms (RWCs SER) and the Working Groups on Political and Constitutional Reforms (WGs PCR) scheduled in Oslo this month is meant to allow the GPH to comply with the JASIG.

The Parties may create mechanisms to facilitate discussions on the full implementation of the JASIG. But such mechanisms do not relegate the full implementation of the JASIG to a side-table issue. The claim of Ms. Ging Deles is simply preposterous.

Moreover, if the GPH cannot be trusted to comply with the JASIG, how can it be expected to comply with agreements on social and economic reforms, and on political and constitutional reforms, or, for that matter, in any agreement that would enable the Parties to enter into an alliance and truce?

U.S. & GPH: Partners in Terror

(Until now this special relationship is being continued by the US and Aquino regime)

Partners in Terror

The United States government has not named the Philippines as its second front in its global war on terror for nothing. The US considers the Philippines important for its economic, military and geo-political interests in Asia.

The Bush regime is directly involved in Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s systematic campaign of annihilation and repression of the Philippine progressive movement and the Filipino people in general.

After September 11, 2001, Arroyo was among the first heads of states to pledge all-out support for Bush’s war on terror in exchange for continued U.S. support for her regime.

Partners

In his visit to the Philippines in December 2005, America’s top intelligence official John Negroponte said, “The United States and the Philippines are close partners in the international war on terrorism.”

Negroponte met with Arroyo and with Philippine national security and intelligence officials. His visit was considered significant in relation to how the Macapagal-Arroyo government conducted its own “war on terror”. Negroponte is the current US Director of National Intelligence. He oversees 15 spy agencies including the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). He was the first US ambassador to Iraq after the invasion.

The Counter Terrorism Center led by Negroponte declared that the Philippines is one of the priority targets of the center’s activities.

The US-RP “partnership” in the “war on terror” is reflected in the Arroyo government’s efforts to crush revolutionary organizations labelled by the U.S. as “terrorist groups”. In the aftermath of Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, the US State Department has branded the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and the New People’s Army (NPA) and the
Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) as foreign terrorist organizations (FTO). The U.S. aims to eliminate national liberation movements and revolutionary movements that threaten U.S. imperialist interests worldwide.

Jose Maria Sison, political consultant of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) has also been included in the U.S. “terrorist list”. Sison is a vocal critic of U.S. imperialism and is the chief political consultant of the NDFP in the peace process with the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP). Continue reading

Primer: Current U.S. Intervention in the Philippines*

Primer

Current U.S. Intervention in the Philippines*

Over the past century, the U.S. has been the leading interventionist power in the world often victimizing small independent countries and national liberation movements and using the military as its chief instrument. In many cases, U.S. interventionism leads to wars of aggression. Other methods used are: political and diplomatic pressures; economic pressures and trade sanctions; covert operations; media manipulation; and others.

BY BOBBY TUAZON
Posted by Bulatlat.com

1. What do we mean by U.S. intervention?

A foreign country – usually a power – engages in interventionism in another country in pursuit of its own national interests that include economic, political and military. The result is the subversion of the other country’s sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity; the oppression and greater immiserization of multitudes of peoples and the destruction of their own economies.

Interventionism defines the power relationship between a big country (usually, imperialist) and a small, defenseless country (usually in the Third World) – thus, is one-sided, onerous, illegitimate/unlawful and inimical.

Over the past century, the U.S. has been the leading interventionist power in the world often victimizing small independent countries and national liberation movements and using the military as its chief instrument. In many cases, U.S. interventionism leads to wars of aggression. Other methods used are: political and diplomatic pressures; economic pressures and trade sanctions; covert operations; media manipulation; and others.

Interventionism, which is a higher form of meddling, should essentially be seen as an instrument that seeks to promote colonialism or neocolonialism, the domination of one country or region, or as an instrument of hegemonism. In the current world situation characterized by a single superpower (U.S.) interventionism should be understood as imperialist interventionism that seeks to promote the global interests of transnational corporations led by the ruling financial oligarchy in the U.S. Continue reading

RP, WB sign grants of US$2 Million to Improve Urban Poor Communities

RP, WB sign grants of US$2 Million to Improve Urban Poor Communities

Press Release No:2003/289/EAP
Contacts: In Manila
Leonora Gonzales : 632 6375855 local 3003
Email: lgonzales@worldbank.org
In Washington
Kimberly Versak  (202) 473-4919
E-mail kversak@worldbank.org

 

US$2.13 Million  that will help improve the living conditions of the poor in urban communities. Both grant agreements were signed by Department of Finance (DOF) Undersecretary, Juanita Amatong, and World Bank (WB) Acting Country Director, Christian Rey.

The grants are provided by the Japanese Government. The grant of US$250,000 which will go to the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC) for “Urban Shelter and Community Infrastructure Project,” is funded under the Japan’s Policy and Human Resource Development (PHRD) facility.   It will assist the government in preparing a project that will aim to test a sustainable approach led by local government units that will improve the living conditions of the urban poor living in slum and squatter settlements.

A bigger grant of US$1,887,500 grant to the Partnership of Philippine Support Service Agencies (PHILSSA) for the “Upscaling Urban Poor Community Renewal Scheme Project,” is funded under the Japan Social Development Fund (JSDF). This project will assist five selected urban poor communities in the country to upgrade their community infrastructure. The money will be channeled to community groups to help them prepare themselves technically, organizationally, and financially for on-site community upgrading.   The project will be led by PHILSSA, and will be implemented by NGO groups in partnership with community groups, local government agencies, as well as national agencies.

Also at the signing event were HUDCC Deputy-Secretary General and Officer-in-Charge, Lucille Ortile; PHILSSA Chairperson, Ma.Christina Valte; and Japan’s Finance Attache and Third Secretary, Hiromichi Sakuma.

“Besides clearly supporting the Government’s priority agenda for the urban poor, these two projects demonstrate the World Bank’s approach of pursuing community development through local people’s organizations and NGOs and local government units,” Mr. Rey said.

Shelter provision has been a serious challenge for the Philippine Government.  The Philippine government estimated that, in 1998, 2.5 million households, or about 35 percent of the total urban population of the country live in squatter or informal settlements.  A high proportion of these residents do not have access to basic social services, such as water, sanitation, electricity and waste collection. The government has given very high priority to the shelter and housing for the poor, and has listed this as one of the government’s eight point priority agenda.

 

http://go.worldbank.org/98FQQTIK80

USAID PROGRAMS AND FUNDS in the PHILIPPINES: USAID trained more than 470 peace advocates

U.S. Department of State

DIPLOMACY IN ACTION

BUREAU OF DEMOCRACY, HUMAN RIGHTS, AND LABOR

International Religious Freedom Report 2010

November 17, 2010

The constitution provides for freedom of religion, and other laws and policies contributed to the generally free practice of religion.

The government generally respected religious freedom in practice. There was no change in the status of respect for religious freedom by the government during the reporting period. The armed insurgent Muslim group Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) continued to seek greater autonomy. The government and MILF have successfully maintained a ceasefire instituted in July 2009 and have since engaged in peace talks. There was some ethnic, religious, and cultural discrimination against members of the Muslim minority by members of the Christian majority. This, combined with economic disparities, contributed to persistent conflict in certain provinces in the southern part of the country.

The U.S. government discusses religious freedom with the government as part of its overall policy to promote human rights. The embassy actively encouraged the peace process between the government and MILF and maintained active outreach with religious leaders and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) to engage them in interfaith activities.

Section I. Religious Demography

The country has an area of 115,831 square miles and a population of 97.98 million.

According to the National Statistics Office, approximately 93 percent of the population is Christian. Roman Catholics, the largest religious group, constitute 80 to 85 percent of the total population.

Islam is the largest minority religion, and Muslims constitute between 5 and 9 percent of the total population. Most Filipino Muslims are members of various ethnic minority groups. They reside principally on Mindanao and nearby islands. Although most belong to the Sunni branch of Islam, a small number of Shi’a Muslims live in the provinces of Lanao del Sur and Zamboanga del Sur in Mindanao. An increasing number of Filipino Muslims have migrated to the urban centers of Manila and Cebu.

Groups that together constitute less than 5 percent of the population include Seventh-day Adventists, United Church of Christ, United Methodist, the Episcopal Church in the Philippines, Assemblies of God, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons), and Philippine (Southern) Baptists. Domestically established denominations include the Philippine Independent Church (Aglipayan); the Iglesia ni Cristo (Church of Christ); the Members Church of God International; and The Kingdom of Jesus Christ, the Name Above Every Name. Iglesia ni Cristo is the largest indigenous Christian denomination, with approximately 5.6 million members. Christianity is the majority religion among indigenous peoples. Between 12 million and 16 million indigenous persons adhere to Catholicism or Protestantism, often incorporating elements of traditional indigenous belief systems.

Conversion from Christianity to Islam is most typical among overseas Filipinos while they are living and working in Islamic countries. Many of these converts remain Muslim upon their return to the country and are known collectively as “Balik Islam” (return to Islam). Continue reading

Some Lessons in the Peace Process in the Philippines

Some Lessons in the Peace Process in the Philippines

Talk delivered at the Conference on Bangsamoro History and the Future:

Bridge to Unity

March 23, 2011, University Hotel, UP Diliman, Q.C.

by Satur C. Ocampo

Chief NDFP negotiator, 1986-87 GRP-NDFP peace talks

I. Context of the peace process 

Reckoning from the 1974 initial talks in Saudi Arabia to the signing of the Tripoli Agreement in1976 between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and the Moro NationalLiberation Front (MNLF), it has been 37 years going for the so-called peace process with the Bangsamoro revolutionary movement.

For the peace talks between the GRP and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) that began in 1986 it has been 25 years.

First, let us distinguish the term “peace process” from “peace talks” or “peace negotiations.”

Generally “peace process” pertains to the totality of the steps in seeking, arriving at, and implementing a signed negotiated settlement of an armed conflict by the two parties involved in the conflict, with or without third party facilitation or mediation. Continue reading

PAABOT NI SISON SA GPH: LUMAGDA SA MAIKLI NGUNIT MALAMAN NA KASUNDUAN SA NDFP PARA SA ALYANSA AT TIGIL-PUTUKAN UPANG KUMPLETUHIN ANG PAMBANSA-DEMOKRATIKONG REBOLUSYON NG SAMBAYANANG PILIPINO

PAABOT NI SISON SA GPH: LUMAGDA SA MAIKLI NGUNIT MALAMAN NA KASUNDUAN SA NDFP PARA SA ALYANSA AT TIGIL-PUTUKAN UPANG KUMPLETUHIN ANG PAMBANSA-DEMOKRATIKONG REBOLUSYON NG SAMBAYANANG PILIPINO
Panayam kay Prof. Jose Maria Sison, Punong Konsultant sa Pulitika ng NDFP

ni Jeffrey Tupas
Peryodista sa Davao ng Philippine Daily Inquirer
18 Marso 2011

1. Ayon kay Padilla, tumanggi ang panel ng NDFP na sumang-ayon sa kanilang kahilingan para sa deklarasyon ng tigil-putukan habang nagpupulong sa Maynila ang magkasanib na komite sa pagmomonitor. Sabi niya, katawa-tawa kung magpupulong ang pangkat sa Maynila habang mayroong “digmaang nagpuputukan”.

Ayon sa kanya, malungkot na tinanggihan ng NDFP ang tigil-putukan dahil “laging mahalaga ang tigil-putukan.”

Ang tanong ay kung bakit tinanggihan ng NDFP ang kahilingan (kung unang-una na ay kahilingan nga ito).

Sagot ni Sison: Ang paulit-ulit na kahilingan ng Gubyerno ng Pilipinas (GPH) para sumabay ang tigil-putukan sa bawat pormal na pulong sa antas ng panel at subpanel ay kalkulado para papanghinain ang rebolusyonaryong kapasyahan ng sambayanan at mga rebolusyonaryong pwersa, magpataw ng prekondisyon ng pasipikasyon at pagsuko, at umiwas na harapin ang mga ugat ng armadong tunggalian sa pamamagitan ng mga saligang repormang panlipunan, pang-ekonomya at pampulitika.

Kung nagmamadali ang GPH na wakasan ang digmaang nagpuputukan, bakit hindi ito sumasang-ayon sa panukala ng NDFP para sa maikli ngunit malaman na kasunduan para sa kagyat na makatarungang kapayapaan, nang walang pinsala sa negosasyong pangkapayapaan. Ang maikli ngunit malaman na kasunduan ay isang deklarasyon ng mga prinsipyo para maglatag ng batayang komun at bigyang matwid ang alyansa o partnership at tigil-putukan na di depinido ang tagal upang kumpletuhin ang pakikibaka ng sambayanan para sa pambansang kasarinlan, demokrasya, kaunlarang industriyal at katarungang panlipunan. Continue reading

Mga Panayam at Pahayag Hinggil sa Usapang Pangkapayapaan sa Pagitan ng GPH at NDFP

HINAHAMON NI SISON ANG REHIMENG AQUINO NA TANGGAPIN ANG PANUKALA NG NDFP PARA SA ALYANSA AT TIGIL-PUTUKAN

Panayam kay Prof. Jose Maria Sison, Punong Konsultant sa Pulitika ng NDFP

ni Diana Lhyd Suelto
Mindanao Daily Mirror
18 Marso 2011

Kanina lamang sa isang PRESS CONFERENCE, inilahad ni Alexander Padilla, punong negosyador ng GRP, ang ilang punto kaugnay ng usapang pangkapayapaan sa pagitan ng GRP at NDF. Nais kong makuha ang iyong komento.

1. Tumanggi ang NDF sa isang tigil-putukan habang nagpupulong sa Maynila ang Pinagsamang Komite sa Pagmomonitor.

Sagot ni Sison: Hindi sumasang-ayon ang NDFP sa GPH sa pagpeprekondisyon ng tigil-putukan sa lahat ng pormal na pulong ng mga panel sa negosasyon ng GPH at NDFP at kahit na ng mga komite sa antas subpanel dahil ang paulit-ulit na mga tigil-putukan ay naglalayong papanghinain ang rebolusyonaryong kapasyahan ng sambayanan at mga rebolusyonaryong pwersa, magpataw ng pagsuko at pasipikasyon sa NDFP at isantabi ang pangangailangang harapin ang mga ugat ng armadong labanan sa pamamagitan ng mga saligang repormang panlipunan, pang-ekonomya at pampulitika. Continue reading

PAHAYAG SA PAGSASARA NG PORMAL NA USAPANG PANGKAPAYAPAAN NG GPH-NDFP SA OSLO

PAHAYAG SA PAGSASARA NG PORMAL NA USAPANG PANGKAPAYAPAAN NG GPH-NDFP SA OSLO

Luis G Jalandoni
Tagapangulo
Panel sa Negosasyon
National Democratic Front of the Philippines
Pebrero 21, 2011

Embahador Ture Lundh at Knut Solem, at iba pang mga myembro ng pangkat sa pasilitasyon ng Royal Norwegian Government, Ida Marstein, Fredrik Steen, Lisa Golden at Aina Holm,

Atty. Alexander A. Padilla, Tagapangulo ng Panel sa Negosasyon ng GPH, mga myembro ng Panel sa Negosasyon ng GPH, Atty. Pablito Sanidad, G. Edgar Dayanghirang, Gg. Maria Lourdes Tison, Gg. Jurgette Malonzo, at iba pang mga myembro ng delegasyon ng GPH,

Walang duda sa kung ano ang nakamit nating magkasama, ang mga Panel sa Negosasyon ng Gubyerno ng Pilipinas (GPH) at ng National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP), sa nakaraang linggong ito. Naisulong nating ang negosasyon sa kapayapaan, na bumasag sa anim na taong pagkabara at pagtigil na dulot ng unilateral at matagalang suspensyon sa mga usapan ng nakaraang administrasyong Arroyo, at malulubhang paglabag sa mga kasunduang bilateral na pinagkasunduan ng magkabilang Panig.

Gayunman, masasabing naging urong-sulong ang usapan, at hanggang ilang sandali sa nakaraan, walang nakatitiyak kung magwawakas ang mga usapan sa maganda o masamang punto, o kung magbabara muli ito.

Ganoon ang kalikasan ng mga negosasyon. Continue reading

HINGGIL SA USAPANG PANGKAPAYAPAAN NG GPH-NDFP SA OSLO

HINGGIL SA USAPANG PANGKAPAYAPAAN NG GPH-NDFP SA OSLO
Panayam kay Prof. Jose Maria Sison, Punong Konsultant ng NDFP

Mynardo Macaraig
Reporter, Manila Bureau
Agence France Presse
11 Pebrero 2011

Isa akong reporter para sa internasyunal na ahensya sa balita, ang Agence France Presse, Manila at gumagawa kami ng salaysay sa napipintong usapang pangkapayapaan sa pagitan ng gubyerno ng Pilipinas at ng National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP).

Dahil ikaw ay pamilyar sa operasyon ng NDFP, umaasa akong sasagutin mo ang ilang katanungan tungkol sa mga prospek ng negosasyon.

Sumusunod ang ilan sa mga katanungang ito:

1. Sa palagay mo ba’y magtatagumpay ang usapan kung isasaalang-alang ang sunud-sunod na atake kamakailan ng Bagong Hukbong Bayan (BHB)?

Tugon ni JMS: Pakialalahanin na ang armadong labanan ay dalawang panig. Naglulunsad ng armadong opensiba laban sa Bagong Hukbong Bayan ang mga pwersang militar, pulis at paramilitar, gaya ng ginagawa ng BHB. May negosasyong pangkapayapaan dahil mismo may nagaganap na dalawang-panig na armadong labanan. Makasusulong at magtatagumpay ang negosasyong pangkapayapaan kung muling pagtitibayin ang Pinagsamang Deklarasyon ng The Hague at ang mga kasunod na kasunduan, at kung makikipagnegosasyon ang dalawang naglalabanang panig upang harapin ang mga ugat ng armadong labanan sa pamamagitan ng mga saligang repormang panlipunan, pang-ekonomya, at pampulitika, at sa gayo’y maitatag ang batayan para sa makatarungan at pangmatagalang kapayapaan. Continue reading

Oplan Bayanihan: Kontra-mamamayang programa ng rehimeng Aquino

Oplan Bayanihan: Kontra-mamamayang programa ng rehimeng Aquino

Tanong at sagot

Ang Oplan Bayanihan (OPB) ang bagong plano ng Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) para sa Internal Security Operations (ISO). Inilabas ito nitong Enero 2011 matapos ito pagtibayin ni Benigno Aquino III, ang kanilang Commander-in-Chief at pinuno ng papet na gubyerno ng Pilipinas. Isasakatuparan ng AFP ang OPB mula 2011 hanggang 2016. Layunin ng AFP na sa unang bahagi ng programa (2011-2013) ay madudurog na nito ang mga armadong banta sa estado.

Ang OPB, sa esensya, ay pagpapatuloy ng nabigong Oplan Bantay Laya (OBL) at iba pang nakaraang mga ISO. Katulad ng mga ito, layunin ng OPB na gapiin ang armadong paglaban at mga pakikibakang masa ng mamamayang Pilipino. Alinsunod sa utos ni Aquino, idineklara ng AFP ang layunin nitong durugin ang Bagong Hukbong Bayan sa loob ng tatlong taon na sumasaklaw sa unang hati ng OPB.

Upang gupuin ang armadong paglaban at mga pakikibakang masa, isang brutal na kampanya ng panunupil ang isinasakatuparan ng AFP sa ilalim ng OPB. Tulad sa nakaraan, target nito hindi lamang ang BHB, kundi lalo’t higit, ang di armadong mamamayan at ang kanilang mga demokratiko, progresibo at rebolusyonaryong organisasyon at kilusan.

Upang pagtakpan ang brutalidad ng OPB, kasabay na ginagamit ngayon ng AFP ang laganap na saywar, mga gimik sa pulitika at disimpormasyon. Ang OPB umano ay nagtataguyod sa “pamamaraang buong-bansa” at “nakasentro sa tao.” Sa gabay ng OPB, bukambibig ngayon ng mga tagapagsalita ng AFP ang mga katagang “paggalang sa karapatang-tao” at “pagkamit ng kapayapaan” sa hangaring linlangin ang mamamayan at pagtakpan ang kanilang brutalidad. Ang gayong mga pagdidiin ay hinalaw ng AFP sa US Counterinsurgency Guide. Continue reading

The 12 Points NDFP Program

The Twelve Points of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines Program

  1. Unite the people for the overthrow of the semicolonial and semifeudal system through a people’s war and for the completion of the national democratic revolution.
  2. Establish a People’s Democratic Republic and a democratic coalition government.
  3. Build the people’s army and a people’s defense system. 
  4. Uphold and promote the people’s democratic rights. 
  5. Terminate all unequal relations with the United States and other foreign entities.
  6. Implement genuine agrarian reform, promote agricultural cooperation, raise rural production and employment through modernization of agriculture and rural industrialization and ensure agricultural sustainability.
  7. Break the US – big comprador – landlord dominance over the economy, carry out national industrialization and build an independent and self-reliant economy. 
  8.  Adopt a comprehensive and progressive social policy.
  9. Promote a national and progressive people’s culture.
  10. Uphold the rights of the Bangsa Moro and the Cordillera peoples and other indigenous peoples to self-determination and democracy.
  11. Advance the revolutionary emancipation of women in all spheres.
  12. Adopt an active, independent and peaceful foreign policy.

Introduction

The National Democratic Front is committed to the Filipino people’s revolutionary struggle for the completion of the national democratic revolution through people’s war.  This national democratic revolution is of a new type because it is led by the working class and has a socialist perspective.

The NDF seeks to promote the unity, cooperation and coordination of all patriotic and progressive classes, sectors and forces in order to fight for national liberation and democracy and overthrow the oppressive and exploitative ruling system.  In promoting national unity, the NDF pursues the revolutionary class line in the united front. This requires the activation and strengthening of the working class leadership, the basic worker- peasant alliance, the basic forces of the revolution which include the urban petty bourgeoisie and the positive forces of the revolution.  At the moment, the NDF is the formal united front of the organizations of the basic forces of the revolution, i.e., working class, peasantry and urban petty bourgeoisie.  The allied organizations within the NDF make agreements among themselves according to the principle of consultations and consensus. They enjoy independence and initiative, with due respect to such relations as may obtain between any of them. In this regard, the New People’s Army is under the absolute leadership of the Communist Party of the Philippines.

The principal way to strengthen the NDF is for all the allied organizations within the NDF fold to strengthen themselves through mass work in their respective spheres.  Consequently, the consultative conferences and leading councils of the NDF can have powerful support at various levels. Further on, the leading councils can form staff committees through the executive committees in order to perform important work.  The NDF is ever ready and willing to cooperate with all patriotic and progressive forces and individuals that are outside of the NDF in order to broaden and strengthen national unity and advance the national democratic revolution.

The most important responsibilities of the NDF include the promotion of national unity for the revolutionary struggle within and beyond the current composition of the NDF, representations and pronouncements on behalf of the revolutionary forces upon their authorization and paving the way for and supporting the organs of the people’s democratic government at various levels.

The National Democratic Front hereby declares its 12-point Program. We offer it to the Filipino people, to be their guide and rallying point, as they fight for an independent, democratic, just, prosperous and progressive future. Continue reading

The Truth About the American Economy

By Robert Reich, Robert Reich’s Blog

31 May 11

he US economy continues to stagnate. It’s growing at the rate of 1.8 percent, which is barely growing at all. Consumer spending is down. Home prices are down. Jobs and wages are going nowhere.

It’s vital that we understand the truth about the American economy.

How did we go from the Great Depression to 30 years of Great Prosperity? And from there, to 30 years of stagnant incomes and widening inequality, culminating in the Great Recession? And from the Great Recession into such an anemic recovery?

The Great Prosperity

During three decades from 1947 to 1977, the nation implemented what might be called a basic bargain with American workers. Employers paid them enough to buy what they produced. Mass production and mass consumption proved perfect complements. Almost everyone who wanted a job could find one with good wages, or at least wages that were trending upward.

During these three decades everyone’s wages grew – not just those at or near the top.

Government enforced the basic bargain in several ways. It used Keynesian policy to achieve nearly full employment. It gave ordinary workers more bargaining power. It provided social insurance. And it expanded public investment. Consequently, the portion of total income that went to the middle class grew while the portion going to the top declined. But this was no zero-sum game. As the economy grew almost everyone came out ahead, including those at the top.

The pay of workers in the bottom fifth grew 116 percent over these years – faster than the pay of those in the top fifth (which rose 99 percent), and in the top 5 percent (86 percent).

Productivity also grew quickly. Labor productivity – average output per hour worked – doubled. So did median incomes. Expressed in 2007 dollars, the typical family’s income rose from about $25,000 to $55,000. The basic bargain was cinched.

The middle class had the means to buy, and their buying created new jobs. As the economy grew, the national debt shrank as a percentage of it.

The Great Prosperity also marked the culmination of a reorganization of work that had begun during the Depression. Employers were required by law to provide extra pay – time-and-a-half – for work stretching beyond 40 hours a week. This created an incentive for employers to hire additional workers when demand picked up. Employers also were required to pay a minimum wage, which improved the pay of workers near the bottom as demand picked up.

When workers were laid off, usually during an economic downturn, government provided them with unemployment benefits, usually lasting until the economy recovered and they were rehired. Not only did this tide families over but it kept them buying goods and services – an “automatic stabilizer” for the economy in downturns.

Perhaps most significantly, government increased the bargaining leverage of ordinary workers. They were guaranteed the right to join labor unions, with which employers had to bargain in good faith. By the mid-1950s more than a third of all America workers in the private sector were unionized. And the unions demanded and received a fair slice of the American pie. Non-unionized companies, fearing their workers would otherwise want a union, offered similar deals.

Americans also enjoyed economic security against the risks of economic life – not only unemployment benefits but also, through Social Security, insurance against disability, loss of a major breadwinner, workplace injury and inability to save enough for retirement. In 1965 came health insurance for the elderly and the poor (Medicare and Medicaid). Economic security proved the handmaiden of prosperity. In requiring Americans to share the costs of adversity it enabled them to share the benefits of peace of mind. And by offering peace of mind, it freed them to consume the fruits of their labors.

The government sponsored the dreams of American families to own their own home by providing low-cost mortgages and interest deductions on mortgage payments. In many sections of the country, government subsidized electricity and water to make such homes habitable. And it built the roads and freeways that connected the homes with major commercial centers.

Government also widened access to higher education. The GI Bill paid college costs for those who returned from war. The expansion of public universities made higher education affordable to the American middle class.

Government paid for all of this with tax revenues from an expanding middle class with rising incomes. Revenues were also boosted by those at the top of the income ladder whose marginal taxes were far higher. The top marginal income tax rate during World War II was over 68 percent. In the 1950s, under Dwight Eisenhower, whom few would call a radical, it rose to 91 percent. In the 1960s and 1970s the highest marginal rate was around 70 percent. Even after exploiting all possible deductions and credits, the typical high-income taxpayer paid a marginal federal tax of over 50 percent. But contrary to what conservative commentators had predicted, the high tax rates did not reduce economic growth. To the contrary, they enabled the nation to expand middle-class prosperity and fuel growth. Continue reading

NATIONAL FREEDOM AND CLASS FREEDOM

NATIONAL FREEDOM AND CLASS FREEDOM 

National Democracy and Civil Liberties

Every activist of the national-democratic movement knows the important relationship between his struggle for national sovereignty and civil liberties. When he is deprived of civil liberties, his basic rights of expression and assembly, or is hampered in his pursuit of national democracy, there is a political power in the status quo which refuses to afford him those civil liberties. Necessarily this political power becomes the object of criticism of the movement to which he belongs. The political situation where activists unfailingly discover that they do not have as much freedom as they thought they had, exists in the Philippines today.

For us to understand the relationship between the struggle for national sovereignty and civil liberties, we must understand the structure of political relations and of political power in a given society. We need to consider the fact of classes and organized groups within our national society and within which conscious individuals exist and operate. These classes and organized groups mediate or bridge without exception the individual with the nation. The freedom of these classes and organizations within Philippine society and within which Filipinos necessarily find themselves must be fully taken into account if a fruitful study is to be made of the two distinct levels of national freedom and individual freedom.

The struggle for national sovereignty and civil liberties made a compound in modern bourgeois democracy, particularly in its early pre-monopoly stage. We would say that modern democracy as it evolved in Europe implied essentially the principle of popular sovereignty and the actual force of a national state dominated by the national bourgeoisie. In the bourgeois-democratic attack against the feudal order in Europe, it was necessary to define and build the national state before the Bill of Rights could be enjoyed even if only by the bourgeoisie at the expense later of the spontaneous masses inveigled by the populist and libertarian slogans of the bourgeois revolution against the theo-autocracies of feudalism.

In the Philippines, it is particularly important to assert that only after national sovereignty has been fully secured and incorporated into a genuinely free national state will civil liberties be truly enjoyed by the people. It was precisely the function of the Philippine Revolution at the outset to attack a feudal system developed in the archipelago and establish a republican government and a national state. It is historically clear that the main objective of the Philippine Revolution has been to establish a national sovereignty which is not only anti-feudal, as in the West but which is also anti-colonial and anti-imperialist. By being anti-colonial in acting against Spanish colonialism and being anti-imperialist in acting against U.S. imperialism, the Philippine Revolution carried heavier burdens than the national anti-feudal revolutions of Europe and made it starkly clear that alien sovereignty in the Philippines must first be eliminated before national freedom and individual freedom successively can be possible.

The tasks of the Philippine Revolution have been the national integration of its internal elements and national liberation from Spanish colonialism and subsequently U.S. imperialism. What follows, after national liberation, is the consolidation of revolutionary gains by the very same instruments and forces which have made national liberation possible and which enforce the national state. The Philippine Revolution of 1896 would have resulted in a Philippine state, self-determined and with free-willed international relations, had it been successful in successively overthrowing Spanish colonial power and in preventing the brutal victory of U.S. imperialism.

U.S. imperialism frustrated the establishment of a Philippine state and government that could have truly granted civil liberties to its citizens subject only to the balance of power among internal patriotic classes and organizations within the state and in accordance with the terms of the Malolos Constitution. U.S. imperialism employed the essential force of a well-established state, that is, military and coercive means, against the Filipino people who desired the establishment of their own sovereign power and national state. It was U.S. aggression, dictated by monopoly-capitalist expansionism, which set back the Filipino struggle for sovereignty and national statehood in the Filipino-American War of 1899-1902.

After the frontal clashes between the Philippine revolutionary army and the imperialist army of the U.S. government, when the so-called pacification campaign was supposed to have been finished, in the field of combat in favor of imperialism, the latter engaged in the most thorough military police work to curtail the civil liberties of the Filipino people. The suppression of what could have been a full-fledged Filipino democracy with its own national sovereignty, resulted likewise in the suppression of its particular components, individual freedom or civil liberties, as the most ignominious censorship laws, sedition laws and so-called brigandage laws were promulgated to prevent any opposition to the imperialist imposition of U.S. sovereignty over our people. Within the first decade of this century, our people were prohibited from displaying their own flag, were prohibited from reading literature with patriotic undertones or overtones, were prohibited from holding or attending meetings and public functions that did not fly the U.S. flag, were prohibited from organizing themselves into groups that suggested in any degree the desire for national independence. Instead of bringing democracy, as pro-U.S. slogans insist, U.S. imperialism came to kill national democracy in the Philippines.

The violent impositions of U.S. imperialism on our people, who were already asserting their right to self-determination, confirms the definition of the bourgeois state as essentially the institutionalization of violence or coercive force for the purpose of exploitation. The rule of law that followed our conquest by imperialism cannot be correctly viewed without paying due attention to the coercive means that the United States employed to extract from our people its imperialist privileges and to establish in our country its system of making superprofits. The enjoyment of individual freedom and class freedom of a certain kind and extent became possible only with the consent and tolerance of the ruling power.

This was the essence of such euphemistic imperialist slogans as “benevolent assimilation” and “tutelage for self-government,” which were raised to whitewash the brutal truth, in McKinley’s Instructions and in the Jones Law.

Even before the completion of the pacification drive against the revolutionary forces and the defeat of Filipino democracy, U.S. imperialism set out to take advantage of the class divisions in Philippine society. In waging national suppression, class suppression and class collaboration, U.S. imperialism used the technique of divide-and-rule. Even as the U.S. could militarily maintain strategic control of the Philippines, it needed internal collaborators in the administration of the colonial system and to restrain the revolutionary temper of the masses. These collaborators could be persons but at best they were political groups and social classes which are objectively more stable than individuals. Thus, U.S. imperialism thought it wise to accommodate the liberal bourgeoisie, the ilustrado class, as its class collaborator. The ilustrado class was immediately granted its freedom, its right of colonial expression and assembly. Its members were allowed to organize the Federalista Party, whose main plank was the annexation of the Philippine islands to the United States of America. Affiliation to this party was a sure ticket for a comfortable office in the imperialist regime. The ilustrado class selfishly alienated itself from the peasant masses and the germinal proletariat. From the narrow liberal point of view, which could easily accept the system of individual rewards and punishments in an imperialist-dominated society, the cream of Filipino ilustrados distinguished themselves by turning their family landholdings to their personal advantage, by participating in the colonial exchange of agricultural raw material exports and manufactured imports and by deriving the most spoils from their choice government positions.

The only concession that the Filipino masses got from U.S. imperialism, more as a consequence of the impact of the Philippine Revolution than of imperialist benevolence, was the establishment of a public school system which the Filipino reformists of the Propaganda Movement had already demanded from the old type of colonialism without much success. U.S. imperialism, with its capitalist-industrial base, was in a better position to afford these reforms or concessions for propaganda, for controlling the minds of Filipino children and youth, for creating local appetite for U.S. commodities and for developing a more extensive system of neocolonial clerks capable of filling up the administrative and technical requirements of imperialist domination. Continue reading

Nuns’ Stories: Liberation Theologies and Violence in the Philippines

Nuns’ Stories: Liberation Theologies and Violence in the Philippines

New social movements that emerged in the Philippines from the 1960s offered a new mazeway for citizens. Such revitalization movements included the progressive (or politically left) Catholic Church, the women’s movement and the movement for national liberation. Within their own sets of discourses, respectively liberation theology, feminism, and Marxism, new social movements have reinvented notions of “nation” as both systems of cultural representation and shared experiences of community and identification. Such “imagined communities” (a term developed by Anderson who writes on nationalism) also have links with those in other Asian cultures.

Fieldwork was undertaken in several rural and urban areas of Mindanao in the southern Philippines in 1987 and 1988. Through rice in natural resources, Mindano constitutes an outlying region where comparatively low levels of services and investment have been forthcoming from a government centralized in Manila and plagued by graft and corruption. I was studying the position primarily of Christian Cebuano speaking women (Cebuano or Visayan is a minority language spoken in the southern Philippines) in an intensely militarized but undeclared civil war between the Communist New People’s Liberation Army (NPA) and the government’s Armed Forces (AFP). Because of the close links between Gabriela, the key women’s militant network with whom I worked, and Samin (Sisters Association of Mindanao), I met several nuns engaged in nationalist struggle.

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NDFP vows to end hostilities

NDF vows to end hostilities 

Sun Star – Wed, Apr 13, 201

THE National Democratic Front (NDF) on Tuesday vowed to end hostilities if the roots of armed conflict are addressed by President Benigno Aquino III.

Fidel V. Agcaoili, spokesperson of NDF negotiating panel, said their organization’s 10-Point Concise Agreement Proposal is a deal to end civil war and attain an immediate just peace for the nation, be in the incumbent regime or the new generation.

“This is a substantive agenda. Ito po ay end of hostilities and end of disposition of forces, kasi para po sa NDF, mahirap magkaroon ng ganito na ceasefire o walang putukan hanggat hindi na i-address ang roots ng armed conflicts. Kasi para lang pong sinabi, bitawan nyo mga armas nyo upang mapanatili itong mapanupil at hirap na lipunan,” Agcaoili said during Tuesday’s forum on the updates and prospects of peace talks between the Philippine Government and NDF.

“Ganito yan. Ang NDF po ay handang pumasok sa isang truce and alliance with the Aquino administration, if this regime agrees to sign the ten point concise agreement for a just and immediate peace,” Agcaoili said.

Read more at www.sunstar.com.ph

NDFP proposes concise agreement to end civil war and achieve just peace immediately

GRP-NDFP Peace Negotiations

Saturday, 27 August 2005
By THE NATIONAL COUNCIL
National Democratic Front of the Philippines
The National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) is hereby proposing a Concise Agreement for an Immediate Just Peace (CAIJP) to the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP), be it the incumbent regime or the new one that may arise soon. Every point in this proposal is demanded by the people and is for their benefit.The civil war ends and a just peace begins as soon as the GRP co-signs this 10-point concise but comprehensive peace agreement with the NDFP. Alliance and truce become the modus vivendi of the GRP and the NDFP.

The NDFP rejects the proposal of the GRP for a sham peace agreement which requires the revolutionary forces of the NDFP to surrender to the GRP in exchange for empty promises or to engage in a ceasefire agreement for obscuring and freezing the people’s demands for major reforms.

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ADDITIONAL IMPLEMENTING RULES OF THE JOINT AGREEMENT ON SAFETY AND IMMUNITY GUARANTEES (JASIG) PERTAINING TO THE SECURITY OF PERSONNEL AND CONSULTATIONS IN FURTHERANCE OF THE PEACE NEGOTIATIONS

ADDITIONAL IMPLEMENTING RULES OF

THE JOINT AGREEMENT ON SAFETY AND IMMUNITY

GUARANTEES (JASIG) PERTAINING TO THE SECURITY

OF PERSONNEL AND CONSULTATIONS IN FURTHERANCE

OF THE PEACE NEGOTIATIONS

March 16, 1998

These ADDITIONAL IMPLEMENTING RULES OF THE JOINT AGREEMENT ON SAFETY AND IMMUNITY GUARANTEES (JASIG) PERTAINING TO THE SECURITY OF PERSONNEL AND CONSULTATIONS IN FURTHERANCE OF THE PEACE NEGOTIATIONS, hereinafter referred to as the IMPLEMENTING RULES, are being agreed by and between:

The GOVERNMENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES (GRP), through its Negotiating Panel headed by its Chairperson, Howard Q. Dee

AND

The NATIONAL DEMOCRATIC FRONT OF THE PHILIPPINES (NDFP), through its Negotiating Panel headed by its Chairperson, Luis G. Jalandoni.

WHEREAS, the Parties have the responsibility to protect their respective personnel involved in the peace negotiations through their respective security forces;

WHEREAS, the duly accredited persons under the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG) dated 24 February 1995, hereinafter referred to as the duly accredited persons, because of their involvement in the peace negotiations, have the inherent right to their personal security;

WHEREAS, security is likewise required for the consultations, public meetings, and free and unhindered passage in all areas in the Philippines in connection with and in furtherance of the peace negotiations that the aforesaid duly accredited persons conduct; and

WHEREAS, there is a need to agree on the security methods and means in order to enhance the conditions of the peace negotiations and avert incidents adverse thereto.

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JOINT AGREEMENT ON SAFETY AND IMMUNITY GUARANTEES

February 24, 1995

This JOINT AGREEMENT on Safety and Immunity Guarantees, hereinafter referred to as the Joint Agreement IS ENTERED INTO BY AND BETWEEN:

THE GOVERNMENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES,  including its executive departments and agencies, hereinafter referred to as the GRP, through its negotiating panel headed by its Chairman, HOWARD Q. DEE;

AND

THE NATIONAL DEMOCRATIC FRONT OF THE PHILIPPINES, including the COMMUNIST PARTY OF THE PHILIPPINES and the NEW PEOPLE’S ARMY, hereinafter referred to as the NDFP, through its negotiating panel headed by its Chairman, LUIS JALANDONI;

WITNESSETH:

In firm adherence to the HAGUE JOINT DECLARATION and pursuant to the pertinent provisions of the JOINT STATEMENT signed in Breukelen, the Netherlands on June 14, 1994, the GOVERNMENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES (GRP) and the NATIONAL DEMOCRATIC FRONT OF THE PHILIPPINES (NDFP) hereby adopt safety and immunity guarantees to protect the rights of negotiators, consultants, staffers, security and other personnel who participate in the GRP-NDFP peace negotiations.

The primary purposes of the safety and immunity guarantees hereby adopted are to facilitate the peace negotiations, create a favorable atmosphere conducive to free discussions and free movement during the negotiations, and avert any incident that may jeopardize the negotiations.

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The Filipino Women’s Century-Old Struggle for National Liberation

The Filipino Women’s Century-Old Struggle
for National Liberation

The struggle of Filipino women for national liberation turns a century this month. For more than a century, from the revolutionary contributions of the woman General Gabriela Silang against colonialism to the very first suffragist organization founded in 1905, the women’s liberation movement in the Philippines has made considerable development in terms of advancing the cause of women against feudal and colonial oppression and exploitation.

BY AVA DANLOG

Bulatlat

 

For this year, militant women’s groups, led by Gabriela, the largest multi-sectoral alliance of women’s organizations in the country, launch a campaign against President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and her anti-national, anti-people and anti-women policies.

Historical significance

International Women’s Day falls on March 8 because of its historical significance in women activism. It was in March 8, 1957 when women workers of garment factories in New York marched to protest against low wages, 12-hour daily work schedule and the oppressive working conditions. This was prompted by the death of women and children when a garment factory caught fire because they were locked inside at night. The demonstration was violently dispersed.

It was in March 8, 1908 that marked the extensive protest of women against capitalist exploitation. On this day, 30,000 women workers marched to call for more humane working conditions and legislation against child labor and the right to suffrage of women.

March 8 was then proclaimed as International Women’s Day in 1977, when the United Nations General Assembly passed a resolution mandating the observance of International Women’s Day by its member nations. But as early as 1910, international labor groups have paid tribute to women’s heroic struggles by celebrating March 8 as International Women’s Day, several decades before the UN would do so.

In the Philippines, the first feminist organization, Asociacion Feminista Filipina, was established in 1905. Although it focused largely on social issues, such as maternal and child care, prostitution and gambling, and consisted mainly of women from the upper and middle classes, its birth signaled the awakening of the Filipino women’s feminist consciousness and later paved the way for the establishment of militant and political women’s groups.

The first observance of International Women’s Day in the country was in 1971 when Makibaka (Makabayang Kilusan ng Bagong Kababaihan or Patriotic Movement of Modern Women) and Katipunan (Katipunan ng Bagong Kababaihan or Association of Modern Women) mobilized women in protest of poverty.

When martial law was declared, mass demonstrations were prohibited and Makibaka went underground, becoming one of the first organizations to be a member of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP). It was only in 1984 when militant March 8 commemorations once again commenced, spearheaded by Gabriela.

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