In Koronadal City:

Noise barrage and candle lighting against Cha-Cha



June 12, 2009




Photos courtesy of BAYAN-SOCSKSARGEN


Cha-cha to undermine Philippine independence, sovereignty
News Release
June 12, 2009

On the 111th anniversary of the declaration of Philippine independence, the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) held a protest action near the United States embassy in Manila. The group slammed US intervention in the Philippines as well as the latest moves to amend the Philippine constitution.

Bayan said that the Philippines is not truly free, more than a hundred years after our forefathers declared independence from Spain. It said that the current leadership in Malacanang has only perpetuated the neo-colonial status of the country.

“The Charter change efforts is another means by which our national sovereignty will be undermined. It goes against the very concept of independence. Some proposals on Charter change will in fact strengthen foreign control over the country,” said Bayan secretary general Renato M. Reyes, Jr.

Reyes said that it is no secret that the US has long sought revisions in the Constitution that allow 100% foreign ownership of land. American business groups have expressed the same sentiments on liberalizing land ownership in the Philippines.

“Liberalizing land ownership goes against economic sovereignty. It would also be disastrous since our resources would be siphoned out by foreign firms,” he said.

Bayan also believes that the US government would benefit from any revision in the provisions of the Constitution that ban the presence of foreign troops and nuclear weapons. This would be consistent with the enforcement of the RP-US Visiting Forces Agreement.

“Charter change is something that the US wants, both for its economic and political interests. It is therefore not surprising that the Arroyo government keeps pushing for it despite widespread public opposition to it. The US for increased intervention and Arroyo’s interest in staying in power all intersect in Charter change,” Reyes said.

“Once the Constituent Assembly is convened, it can revise any provision in the Charter, not just those on the form of government but also those related to economic protectionism and national sovereignty,” Reyes said.

Reyes said that the US government supported the Bangsamoro Juridical Entity in the past because it was an entry point for constitutional revisions that would liberalize the entry of US firms in Mindanao and allow increased US military presence in the area.

“Our forefathers would cringe at the kind of puppetry being displayed by the Arroyo regime. It has been one sell-out after another. There is the VFA, and now there is Charter change,” Reyes said. ###




By Carol Pagaduan-Araullo

Revolutionary option

AFP Chief Gen. Victor Ibrado recently admitted that the military is having difficulty meeting the deadline imposed by de facto Commander-in-chief Mrs. Gloria Arroyo three years ago, to end the decades-old communist insurgency in 2010. (Philippine Star, 22 June 09) This was after he and his predecessors had repeatedly boasted that the military was on track in achieving the defeat of the New People’s Army (NPA). The lame excuse is that the armed guerillas “are just crisscrossing borders and transferring to another guerilla front” even when the AFP had already allegedly “dismantled” the political and military infrastructures of numerous rebel fronts.

One need not be an expert on military strategy and tactics to know that guerillas by nature employ flexibility and shifting tactics. This is a guerilla movement’s way of dealing with the overwhelming superiority, in terms of numbers and weapons, of the state’s armed forces at any given point. Instead, it makes use of the favorable physical and social terrain in the countryside, i.e. the rugged mountains and remaining forested areas as well as the support of the rural populace, to conduct their type of revolutionary warfare.

Time and again ruling regimes announce the impending demise of armed revolutionary movements in much the same vein and for the same reasons that they belittle the democratic protest movement. The aim is to conjure strength and stability, to foist the illusion of popular acceptance if not support, because government is supposedly undertaking reforms that address the causes of armed conflict and mass protest actions.

Deceptive propaganda works up to a certain point given government resources and numerous levers to manipulate, if not control, the mass media. But reality always catches up and the truth becomes so glaring that the regime’s minions are compelled to eat their words and offer the lamest of excuses or persist in the most egregious of lies.

In the early 70’s, President Ferdinand Marcos declared that the NPA had been “nipped in the bud” after AFP troops seized more than a dozen high-power rifles in a Tarlac raid. But the NPA raided the Philippine Military Academy armory at the end of the year, carting away much more than what was lost in Tarlac.

In the 80’s, Defense Secretary Juan Ponce Enrile and the Regional Unified Command Commanding General Romeo Gatan vowed to rid Cagayan Valley of the NPA in a year’s time. Thereafter they complained that the NPA refused to come out and engage the AFP in conventional battles.

In the 90’s, AFP Chief Gen. Abadia declared Oplan Lambat Bitag a success and concluded that the NPA would be wiped out by 1995. His successor, Gen. Enrile, declared “decisive victory” over the NPA but candidly admitted that the latter is like a grapevine that could lose its leaves and fruit but would continue to thrive as long as it still has roots.

Then came the current counter-insurgency program, Oplan Bantay Laya, notorious the world over for the deliberate and brutal targeting of suspected civilian supporters, including unarmed activists, for “neutralization”. The latter is military lingo for summary execution, abduction, illegal arrest and detention on trumped-up charges and other tactics to terrorize entire communities and keep them from giving aid and succor to the so-called “enemy”. The AFP documentary “Knowing the Enemy” justified such state terror tactics as the missing crucial piece in the AFP strategy in order to explain away its previous failures.






Frustration and desperation within the AFP leadership was expressed by a ranking general known to be a proponent of extra-judicial killings who reportedly said, “If this doesn’t work, nothing will.” These are the same words of a US Central Intelligence Agency officer in defending “Oplan Phoenix” versus civilian targets.

What the Arroyo regime refuses to acknowledge is the real reason why its “all-out war” policy can never defeat the communist-led armed revolutionary movement. Mrs. Arroyo, her generals (both those in active duty and those recycled into powerful civilian posts) and other Cabinet right-wingers cannot accept that it is precisely the vastly unequal, extremely oppressive and exploitative and, ultimately repressive prevailing social system that is fuelling armed conflict and social unrest. And that no amount of military might nor strategy and tactics can wipe out the people’s legitimate struggles, armed or unarmed.

They deny the reality and refuse to accept the truth even when such is staring them in the face because their own interests are so tied-up with defending and preserving the status quo apart from advancing the Arroyo clique’s particular selfish interests.

Too bad for the reactionaries there exists a homegrown revolutionary movement that presents a clear-sighted, historical analysis of the problems of Philippine society and a matching program to overhaul it.

Whether one sympathizes with it or not, the fact is this revolutionary movement is present and exerts significant political influence. It continues to challenge the ruling system and regime in power at every turn and raises the possibility of overturning the crisis-ridden system one day and introducing a radically different alternative, with an entirely new set of political ideals, principles, values and work ethic not to mention socio-economic program. Both the promise of profound, sweeping change and the growing actual strength of this movement is what continue to rile the Arroyo regime and unsettle the entire ruling elite.

And should the Arroyo clique, faced with a constitutional limit to Mrs. Arroyo’s continuation in power beyond 2010, resort to outright, wholesale perversion of the remaining vestiges of democratic rule by manipulating Congress and the Supreme Court and by declaring emergency rule, there remains a wide countryside that can provide sanctuary as well as a fighting terrain while hitherto legal, democratic rights and processes are severely constrained.

Senate President Ponce Enrile warns of revolution should the 2010 elections not push through because of failure of the automated electoral system being set up by the Commission on Elections. Mr. Enrile is being facetious because he, as one of the architects of martial rule under the dictator Marcos, knows quite well that a revolution has been and is even now raging nationwide. It finds expression in armed forms in the countryside while seething in the cities and towns in the various forms of protests and mass actions demanding pro-people and democratic reforms. In a society in permanent crisis such as the Philippines, the revolutionary movement is an inevitable and, to many sectors, a welcome offshoot.

Perhaps what Senator Enrile means is that the deceptive trappings of elite democracy in this country will be sundered rapidly, dramatically and irreparably should the electoral circus slated for 2010 be completely disrupted for one reason or another. Revolution then will be more than a theoretical option to many more Filipinos. #




SC ruling may force Arroyo allies to convene Con-Ass in July
News Release
June 16, 2009

The Supreme Court ruling junking the petition of lawyer Oliver Lozano against House Resolution 1109 may be a temporary setback for proponents of Charter change via a constituent assembly but it can also be used to force the convening of the Con-ass in July. This was the observation made today by the umbrella group Bagong Alyansang Makabayan as it warned that the issue is far from over.

“The SC ruling that the Lozano petition was premature may be a minor setback for Arroyo and her allies. This means that Arroyo’s allies in the Lower House will not get their wish of having the SC hastily and prematurely deciding on the validity of HR 1109. The ploy to get a quick and favorable SC decision was temporarily foiled,” said Bayan secretary general Renato M. Reyes, Jr.

“The danger now is that the Arroyo allies in the Lower House may be preparing to convene the Con-Ass in July so that a justiciable controversy may arise. If they do this, it will surely fuel massive protest actions in time for Arroyo’s State of the Nation Address,” Reyes said.

Bayan clarified that the junking of the petition against HR 1109 does not by any means make the House resolution valid.

“The SC did not uphold HR 1109. It merely said that the Lozano petition was premature. The junking of the petition does not mean that the con-ass maneuvers being pushed by Arroyo’s allies are at all valid,” Reyes said.

Opposition groups have long held the Lozano petition as part of a Palace ploy to get an immediate favorable SC ruling on the con-ass issue, even before the con-ass actually convenes.

The group said that the next likely battleground would be the State of the Nation Address of Arroyo in July.

“We have to look forward to the SONA because that’s when the con-ass proponents will be making their move. That’s when marching orders will be issued by Mrs. Arroyo herself. Because of the con-ass threat, the SONA protests may be bigger than previous years,” Reyes said.

Bayan said that various groups are currently exploring the possibility of joint protest actions in time for the July 27 SONA of Mrs. Arroyo.