Thousands protest Con Ass and Cha-Cha


Calamba City    Bacolod City    Tagbilaran City     Cebu City     Iligan City and Valencia, Bukidnon


Koronadal City       Legazpi City    Baguio City     Davao City       Iloilo City


New York City       Al-Khobar, Saudi Arabia


June 10, 2009


■  Confetti in Makati    ■   U.P. Community against Cha-Cha and Gloria (UPAC GLORIA)


■   Bonus Tracks: Photos from the newspapers






A People Outraged by a Shameless, Deceitful Regime
PUBLISHED ON June 11, 2009 AT 2:38 PM

with Grace S. Uddin (Davao), Ritche Salgado (Cebu), Juland Suazo (Davao) and Noel Godinez (Baguio)

MANILA – More than a show of force, the protests across the Philippines on Wednesday were an expression of outrage, a manifestation of a people’s growing revulsion toward a regime that has become the most despised since the dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos.

From Makati to Davao, Filipinos from all walks of life poured out into the streets, placards and banners in hand, but most of them brandishing nothing but the resolve to let it be known that they have had enough of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

Rosita Wenceslao was one of them. A 63-year-old grandmother who earns a living by selling brooms in the streets of Davao, Wenceslao chose on Wednesday to march alongside activists instead of earning her meager income for the day. The times are hard, she said, and the government needs to know that folks like her feel and live it.

“We should give time to voice out our sentiments,” Wenceslao said.

And so they did.

In the Makati City rally, where an estimated 10,000 people converged, speakers on a stage built in the corner of Ayala Avenue and Paseo de Roxas took turns lambasting the regime and its efforts to ram through what many have called a “constitutional gang-rape” to allow Arroyo to extend her term, if not as president then as prime minister in a parliamentary setup.

The charter-change move, according to the criticism, is designed so Arroyo can have continuing immunity because of the many legal cases to be brought against her for alleged corruption and human-rights abuses.

“How much is your conscience worth?” asked the typically calm Grace Poe-Llamanzares, the daughter of the late actor and 2004 presidential candidate Fernando Poe Jr. There’s an unmistakable indignation in her voice as she denounced Arroyo’s allies in Congress for railroading House Resolution 1109 on June 3. The measure would pave the way for charter change.

Llamanzares was referring to allegations that the legislators who railroaded House Resolution 1109 did so in exchange for P20 million each from the administration. Her father, the country’s most popular actor, ran against Arroyo in 2004 but was allegedly cheated of a victory. The alleged cheating has been hounding Arroyo ever since, especially after the so-called “Hello Garci” tapes came out that showed a massive plot to rig the 2004 elections with the alleged participation of election and military officials.

Former president Corazon Aquino, in a statement read by her grandson Kiko Aquino Dy, expressed disgust toward Arroyo’s brand of leadership. She was also concerned for the country’s future if Arroyo is allowed to rule beyod 2010.

“This is not the kind of leadership that is right for us,” said Aquino, who could not make it to the rally because she was ill. “This is not the kind of society I want to bequeath to the next generation.”

Renato Reyes Jr., secretary-general of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan or New Patriotic Alliance), emphasized Aquino’s point. “As a parent, I don’t want my children to grow up under Gloria Magtatagal-Arroyo,” Reyes said.

Former vice-president Teofisto Guingona Jr. drew parallels between Arroyo and Marcos and enjoined Filipinos not to let history repeat itself. “We must learn from the lessons of the past,” he said.

Pampanga Governor Ed Panlilio, in a speech that lasted no more than a minute, denounced House Resolution 1109. “Tayo po ay inoonse ng gobyernong ito!” he said. (“We are being fooled by this government!”)

Former House speaker Jose de Venecia, an erstwhile ally of Arroyo, told the crowd that the president “is just using cha-cha to stay in power for life!”

“I worked with GMA for 10 years,” de Venecia said, “and I can tell you that this is her motive for pushing charter change.”

De Venecia and Arroyo had a falling out after his son, Joey, helped divulged the details of the alleged corruption surrounding the multi-billion-dollar NBN-ZTE broadband deal. The whistleblower of the alleged scam, Rodolfo “Jun” Lozada was also at Wednesday’s rally in Makati.

Eddie Villanueva of Bangon Pilipinas, in a statement read by lawyer Louie Sison, called the passage of House Resolution 1109 “a shameful disregard of our sentiments.”

There have been attempts by the Arroyo regime to change the Constitution for dubious reasons. And each time, the people resisted. On Wednesday, Bayan Muna Rep. Satur Ocampo challenged Filipinos not to let their guard down.

“If they push con-ass, we will resist and fight, and we hope that you, the people, will be with us,” Ocampo said.

“Given the widespread outrage against HR 1109, it is still possible for majority of our congressmen to have second thoughts about supporting GMA’s con-ass,” Ocampo said in a statement released earlier in the day. “If our colleagues see hundreds of thousands of people taking to the streets, I’m sure they will realize their folly.”

Ocampo also pointed out that “majority of the congressmen decided to hide behind a viva voce vote in approving HR 1109 precisely because they knew there would be a political backlash. Now that the anger is spilling to the streets, it would be to their and the country’s best interest to side with the minority in preventing HR 1109 from ever being implemented.”

Indeed, at the Makati protest, the rallyists made sure that those who voted to the resolution won’t be forgotten. They put up a “Hall of Shame” showing the pictures of these legislators. They also took turns pelting their pictures with a ball.

Sen. Benigno Aquino III, one of the signatories to a recent Senate resolution opposing the passage of House Resolution 1109, urged the people to be vigilant. “The Arroyo administration loves to sneak things through in the night, so if we fall asleep, they may be able to get away with more,” he said.

Some showed their revulsion toward Arroyo in a different way. Mother Mary John Mananzan of the Association of Major Religious Superiors of the Philippines (AMRSP) and the Pagbabago! People’s Movement for Change reiterated the main reasons the people should unite and act against charter change.

“We do not want Gloria, whatever title she may use,” the nun said. “We protest the intention to sell the wealth of our nation,” she added, referring to some proposed changes in the charter that would allow foreigners even more control of local resources.

Invoking the spirit of the babaylan, the healer and religious leader in indigenous Filipino communities, Mananzan put a curse on Arroyo and her allies.

Outrage also filled the streets of other cities. There were reports of similar protest actions in Baguio, Camarines Sur, Albay, Sorsogon, Laguna, Dumaguete, Cebu, Bacolod, Iloilo, Davao, Cagayan de Oro, and General Santos.

In Davao City, the city council passed a resolution a day earlier denouncing House Resolution 1109 and the moves to change the Constitution. Vice-Mayor Sara Duterte also issued a memorandum directing all city employees to join Wednesday’s protest.

Aside from the usual activists, the protest in Davao, which was capped by a torch parade from the Freedom Park to the Rizal Park, was well-attended by local officials, among them councilors.

With many of the protesters wearing black, the Davaoenos railed against House Speaker Prospero Nograles, who represents Davao City’s first district, for pushing charter change. They trooped to Nograles’s office and pelted it with rotten tomatoes. Nograles, they said, is an embarrassment to the people of Davao.

“Chacha is anti-people. It deprives the people of their dignity and it sells out our patrimony,” Bishop Felixberto Calang Jr. of the Iglesia Filipino Independiente said during the protest.

In Cebu, the protests started a little past 9 a.m., with the protesters converging at the Fuente Osmena, considered as Cebu’s Edsa where many protests have been held in the past. More than 500 protesters from different sectors — youth, women, farmers, teachers, gays and lesbians, among them – later marched to the Malacanang sa Sugbo and, later on, to the Department of Agrarian Affairs

“Instead of giving priority to the problems of farmers, Arroyo is prioritizing cha-cha,” said Nick Abasolo of the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas. Abasolo also urged the military to pull out its troops from farms. He also criticized the extension of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program, calling it a useless law. Instead, he said, Congress should pass the Genuine Agrarian Reform Bill filed by the late Anakpawis Rep. Crispin Beltran.

During the march, ordinary Cebuanos, among them drivers and passengers of jeepneys, showed their support by throwing coins at the protesters.

In Baguio, the march-rally started at around 4 pm with a street play by the Dap-ayan ti Kultura iti Kordilyera. In the street play, Arroyo was depicted as the pet dog of Uncle Sam, following his commands, like charter change.

The Baguio rally was hampered by a drizzle but it did not stop the protesters. “Our lawmakers have become law breakers,” said Braulio Yaranon, the former Baguio City mayor. (

Gabriela Rep. Liza Maza
Anakpawis Rep. Joel Maglunsod
The worker peasant alliance: KMP Sec Gen. Danilo Ramos and KMU Chair Elmer Labog


From: Bayan website


Youth blocked from joining anti-con ass rally

Widespread dissent against con-ass or constituent assembly was registered all over the country. Thousands held mobilizations to protest con-ass, which allows Congress to amend the 1987 Constitution. Participants include a broad number of individuals and organizations from various sectors, including professionals, peasants, workers, women, and youth.

In Dasmariñas, however, 40 members of Anakbayan, a militant youth organization, were prevented by police from joining an anti-con ass noise barrage in Bacoor. Anakbayan strongly condemned the actions of the police, pointing that this was an infringement of their democratic right to free speech, expression, and peaceful assembly. The group vows to hold more mobilizations to protest con ass and other similar moves by the Arroyo regime to amend the Constitution.

Reference: Tin Macabetcha, deputy secretary general, Bagong Alyansang Makabayan-Southern Tagalog




Thousands protest con-ass in Ayala

Thousands crowded the intersection between Ayala Avenue and Paseo de Roxas Avenue in Makati City as numerous groups and individuals gathered to protest the railroad approval of House Resolution 1109 last June 2, convening Congress into a constituent assembly (con-ass) to push for charter change.

Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) Secretary General Renato Reyes pegged the crowd at more than 13 thousand, bigger than the anti-charter change rally last December. “There is a sense of alarm and urgency now that con-ass has been passed,” says Reyes to explain the turnout, which continues to increase despite earlier reports from House Speaker Prospero Nograles warning the people from participating in the anti-con ass protest. Bayan is a multi-sectoral alliance of militant organizations composed mainly of workers and peasants.



Peasant leader shot after attending anti-con ass rally

Numerous mobilizations from regions all over the Philippines were held simultaneously to protest the midnight approval of House Resolution 1109 which allows Congress to convene into a constituent assembly to amend the 1987 Constitution.

Renato Reyes, secretary general of umbrella organization Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan), says that the nation-wide mobilizations were generally successful and peaceful. However, he condemns the death of peasant leader Fermin Lorico, chair of Kaugmaon, the local arm of militant peasant organization Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas in Dumaguete. Fermin, the first reported casualty in an anti-con ass rally this year, sustained two gunshot wounds on his way to the office after the rally.

Meanwhile, mobilizations against con-ass numbered thousands in Davao City, Manila, Baguio, Calamba, Cebu, Ilo-ilo, General Santos, Negros Occidental, and Dumaguete, among others.




2/F Teachers’ Center, Mines St. cor. Dipolog St., Bgy. VASRA, Quezon City, Philippines
Telefax 453-9116 Mobile 0920-9220817 Email Website
Member, Education International

June 11, 2009

Reference: Antonio L. Tinio (0920-9220817)
ACT Chairperson

ACT condemns killing of anti-chacha peasant leader

The Alliance of Concerned Teachers today denounced the killing of peasant leader Fermin Lorico in Dumaguete City yesterday.

Lorico was shot in the back of the head by unidentified gunmen soon after speaking at an anti-charter change rally at 4 p.m. yesterday. He was the leader of the Kahugpongan alang sa Ugma sa Gagmay’ng Mag-uuma sa Oriental Negros (Kaugmaon), a militant peasant group affiliated with the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP). Lorico was a national council member of the KMP.

In April, Lorico was in Manila to participate in the 54-day camp-out held by the KMP outside the Batasang Pambansa to push for the passage of the Genuine Agrarian Reform Bill.

“We denounce the assassination of Ka Fermin Lorico. We hold the Mrs. Gloria Arroyo and her government responsible for this horrendous act targeting a prominent critic of Malacañang, committed on the very day of nationwide protests against her administration’s move to change the Constitution. It shows once again that this regime will stop at nothing to maintain its hold on power,” said ACT national chairperson Antonio Tinio.

“Ka Fermin is a martyr of the peasants’ struggle for land as well as the people’s struggle against the establishment of an Arroyo dictatorship through Charter change. We call on all those opposed to Arroyo’s cha-cha to join us in demanding justice for Ka Fermin and all other victims of extrajudicial killings, disappearances, and torture under this regime,” he added.

Tinio pointed out that two national officers of ACT have also been victimized by extrajudicial killings in recent years, Vitoria Samonte of Surigao del Sur in 2005 and Napoleon Pornasdoro of Quezon in 2006. Their murderers have yet to be brought to justice. #



June 10 Ayala rally an opening salvo, prelude to bigger protests
News Release
June 8, 2009

The umbrella group Bagong Alyansang Makabayan said that the scheduled protest action in Ayala, Makati on Wednesday is the opening salvo in what is billed as a series of protests leading up to the State of the Nation Address of Mrs. Arroyo in July.

The Arroyo allies in the Lower House have stated that they plan to convene the Constituent Assembly to amend the constitution in July, after the SONA.

Bayan is gearing up for nationwide actions on June 10, working with various opposition and religious groups in the provinces and regions. Protest actions have so far been announced in Dagupan, Laguna, Bacolod and Iloilo.

“We call on freedom-loving Filipinos to go out and protest on June 10. Let us not be fooled into complacency by this regime. The threat of charter change and Arroyo staying in power is now more real than ever,” said Bayan chair Carol Araullo.

Araullo said that Malacanang’s denial that Arroyo will not seek office in 2010 is meaningless. “The statement comes from the mouth of a spokesperson, not the president herself. And if it does come from the president herself, we all know what happened the last time she said she would not run,” she said.

In December 2002, Arroyo declared that she would not be seeking the presidency in 2004. She eventually ran in the 2004 elections amid allegations of massive cheating.

“There will be no let up in protests. The SONA would be a major political battleground insofar as pushing the Con-Ass is concerned. We hope to mobilize what could be the biggest SONA protest in Arroyo’s eight years in office,” said Bayan secretary general Renato M. Reyes, Jr.

“The protests will be generally peaceful. We will not let the regime exploit any untoward incident that may happen. It is all the more necessary now that we protest in order to derail the Cha-cha train,” Reyes said. A dialogue with the Philippine National Police is scheduled today at 2pm to ensure the peaceful conduct of the protest actions.

Rally highlights

Rally organizers are calling on the people to prepare for possible rains and to bring umbrellas, jackets and raincoats.

The Ayala rally will feature a 15-minute interfaith service, a comedy skit between characters “Juana Change” and “Pacquito Yu”, the recitation of the Bagong Panatang Makabayan written by National Artist Bienvendio Lumbera, and a photo mosaic of the all congressmen who voted or supported House Resolution 1109. Senators have also been invited to attend the protest.

The rally program will be directed by multi-awarded film maker Carlitos Siguion Reyna. It will also feature performances by bands and stage personalities. The program is expected to be from 5pm to 8pm. ###



Bakit ayaw ng masa sa Con-Ass?

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Makabayan warns of People Power backed, minority-led mutiny if House pushes through with con-ass

The newly-formed Makabayang Koalisyon ng Mamamayan (Makabayan) today aired the possibility of a People Power-backed, minority-led mutiny in Congress if the House leadership insists on convening Congress into a constituent assembly under House Resolution 1109.

Makabayan, which includes incumbent opposition party list groups Bayan Muna, Anakpawis, Gabriela and Kabataan said massive protests and street actions should be used to persuade or pressure congressmen into abandoning the "House-only" con-ass mode of amending the Constitution.

Makabayan President and Bayan Muna Rep. Satur Ocampo observed that “the thousands of protesters that gather in Makati and in several urban centers today will pave the way to powerful protests of hundreds of thousands and even millions the moment Malacanang and its lackeys in the House pushes through with convening con-ass.”

"Given the widespread outrage against HR 1109, it is still possible for majority of our congressmen to have second thoughts about supporting GMA's con-ass. If our colleagues see hundreds of thousands of people taking to the streets, I'm sure they will realize their folly," said Ocampo said.

Makabayan is firmly against amendments that will favor Arroyo’s perpetuation in power, and institute pro-foreign and repressive provisions in the Constitution.

Ocampo, who is also House Deputy Minority Leader, said that if the protests intensify, it would not be far-fetched for the Minority to lead a mutiny against the House leadership.

"Remember, majority of the congressmen decided to hide behind a viva voce vote in approving HR 1109 precisely because they knew there would be a political backlash. Now that the anger is spilling to the streets, it would be to their and the country's best interest to side with the minority in preventing HR 1109 from ever being implemented," he said.

“We know for a fact that there is a good number of congressmen who actually oppose the House-only Con-Ass and may withdraw their support to HR 1109 at the right time,” Ocampo said.

Ocampo said when Congress resumes its sessions next month, the Minority would immediately oppose the convening of a constituent assembly. "By that time, the people's voice would have been heard loud and clear in and out of Congress."

"Given the massive and widespread protests, the pro-administration congressmen might not risk being identified with something as revolting as con-ass. Just to save face, they might even support a move to declare all seats vacant," Ocampo said. #



8 June 2009
Reference: Garry Martinez, Chairperson, 09217229740
Ailyn Abdula, Media Officer, 09212708994

Hold remittances if con-ass convenes – Migrante

The biggest alliance of OFWs across the globe warns President Arroyo and the proponents of the Constitutional Assembly that Filipinos in different countries are getting ready to suspend sending their money to the Philippines if the constituent assembly convenes.

Migrante International claims that it will exert all efforts to stop the convening of the constituent assembly that they believe will pave the way for President Arroyo’s dictatorial regime similar to that of President Marcos’ dictatorship during the 70’s.

“What is at stake here is the lives and future of our children. We will not let our hard-earned money be utilized by Arroyo’s constituent assembly. This act will surely plunge our country back to the dark years of the Marcos dictatorship,” Garry Martinez, chairperson of Migrante International, exclaimed.

Martinez stated that OFWs were outraged when Congress passed House Resolution 1109 last Tuesday calling members of the Lower House to convene as a constituent assembly to revise the constitution.

“We have already received a deluge of statements from our chapters and Filipino communities abroad. They are already urging us to coordinate an international campaign to stop this mockery of a people’s initiative,” Martinez stated.

The group claims that Overseas Filipinos are disgusted not only with the ulterior motives of the accomplices of Arroyo in Congress but also with the manner it was deviously passed.

“Arrogant, scheming, and corrupt are the first three words to describe the prime movers of this dastardly act. The only beneficiary of this diabolic scheme is Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo who is so desperate to remain in power in order to escape her imminent prosecution of her crimes against the Filipino people,” Martinez added.

The group explained that the no-term-extension provision and the guarantee to hold the 2010 election are only ploys to make the railroading of the HR 1109 more palatable.

But Martinez voiced what many other sectors feared; “Once they convene the Con-Ass, all provisions in the Constitution are open for amendments, including term extension.”

“We are calling on all OFWs to actively participate in bringing this evil plan to history’s waste bin where it truly belongs. We have sent the names of the proponents of HR 1109 to all our members so they will know who betrayed them.” Martinez added. “If Arroyo and her lapdogs pursue their diabolic plan, we intend to make our voices be heard where it will be heard most.”

According to the central bank, remittances from overseas Filipinos reached a record $1.47 billion in March. While in 2008, it has recorded that Filipinos working overseas sent home US$16.4 billion — 13.7 percent more than in the previous year.###






Mga Artista ng Bayan, Kapit-bisig Laban sa ConAss!
10 Hunyo 2009
Concerned Artists of the Philippines (CAP)

KABABAYAN, BINABATI KITA! SA HARAP ng kakapalan-ng- mukha ng mga alyado ni Gloria Arroyo sa Kongreso na ilarga ang panukalang Constituent Assembly o Con-Ass para manatili sa poder ang pekeng pangulo at pati sarili nila mismo, hindi ka nanahimik, nagsawalang- kibo at tinanggap na lamang ito. Tumindig ka. Nagsabi kang “hindi na ito maaari; sobra na ang mga ganid na pulitiko”. Nagpasya kang kumilos. At ngayon, sama-sama tayong laksa-laksang Pilipinong nagkakaisa dito sa Makati , Cebu, Davao , Baguio at ilan pang mga lugar sa ating mahal na bayan upang protestahan at sipain ang ConAss..

Sa pagtipon muli natin ng makapangyarihang lakas ng sambayanan, nagpasya tayong simulan ang muling paglikha ng kasaysayan. Nagpasya tayong simulan na ang tuluyang pagwawakas ng isang rehimeng pahirap, magnanakaw, mandaraya, berdugo, sinungaling at sagarang tuta sa dayuhang imperyo. Kaisa kaming mga artista ng bayan sa makasaysayang paglalakbay na ito ng taumbayan tungo sa inaasam na panlipunang pagbabago. Kaming mga manggagawang pangkultura -- mang-aawit, manunulat, makata, pintor, potograpo, manlilikha ng pelikula, ilustrador, mga nagtatanghal sa entablado, telebisyon at pelikula, mga alagad ng sining at kulturang Pilipino – ay kasama ng malawak na masang Pilipino, ay hindi na papayag na muling manaig ang isang tirano sa ating bansa. Kaisa kaming lumalaban sa mga pagtangkang agawin muli ang mga demokratikong tagumpay ng bayan – gaya ng kalayaang makapagpahayag – na pinagbuhusan ng dugo, pawis, at di-matatawarang sakripisyo ng masang nakibaka. Kaisa kaming papalag sa maitim na balak ng mga dayuhang mandarambong na tuluy-tuloy nang lustayin ang likas na yaman at rekurso ng ating bansa para magkamal ng superganansya ang iilang superganid.

Ang marubdob na pakikiisa ng mga alagad ng sining at manggagawang pangkultura sa pagsisikap ngayon ng taumbayang gapiin ang pakanang Con-Ass ng rehimeng U.S.-Arroyo ay pagpapatuloy ng mayamang pamana ng paglilingkod ng artistang Pilipino sa sambayanan at sa dakilang pakikibakang bayan para sa tunay na demokrasya. Gaya ng pagsuong ng mga artista ng bayan sa paglaban sa diktadurang Marcos hanggang maganap ang EDSA Uno, sa paglaban sa tiwaling gubyerno ni Erap hanggang maganap ang EDSA Dos at ang patuloy na pagiit natin sa ating karapatan sa pamamahayag at kalayaang pansining. At tulad sa mga panahong ito, pati na ang mga nauna pang dakilang laban ng Pilipino laban sa kolonyalismong Kastila, imperyalismong Amerikano at pasismong Hapon, tumatalima din ang kasalukuyang henerasyon ng mga alagad ng kultura’t sining sa pakikipagbigkis sa taumbayan para bigyang-wakas na ang kasalukuyang madilim na kabanatang ito sa ating kasaysayan.

Kayat, kababayan, asahan ninyong sa mga susunod na araw, linggo at buwan, mamumulaklak muli ang mga tula , awit, pagtanghal, pelikula, sulatin, pinta’t litrato ng taimtim na paglaban. Pagyayamanin muli ang pamana ng kultura ng pagtutol ng ating mga ninuno. Pagsasaluhan muli natin ang mga likhang taglay ang palabang diwa ng bayang Pilipino. At dadagsa muli ang mga artista ng bayan sa lansangan kabisig ang sambayanan hanggang makamit natin ang isa na namang magiting na demokratikong tagumpay laban sa mga pwersa ng pagsasamantala’t pang-aapi. Kaya’t kababayan, halina, mag-isang palad nating harapin ang mga pagsubok tungo sa pagsalubong sa tunay na kalayaan para sa ating mahal na Bayan!



Reference: Prof. Judy M. Taguiwalo, UP Faculty Regent
Contact Number: 09167829666


The UP Diliman community will be holding today, June 10, 2009 a press conference and short program at 1:30 pm at Quezon Hall, UP Diliman, Quezon City prior to joining the multi-sectoral Anti-Con Ass rally in Makati. COVERAGE IS REQUESTED

Faculty, students, administrative staff and researchers of UP Diliman have formed the UPD Community Against Cha Cha and Gloria or UPAC Gloria and issued a statement declaring their “oppos(ition) to the latest attempt to manipulate the Constitution to advance the personal political agenda of the President and her minions.”

The statement’s initial signatories include UP's three sectoral regents: Faculty Regent Judy Taguiwalo, Student Regent Charisse Banez, Staff Regent Clodualdo Cabrera, UP Professor Emeritus and National Artist Bienvenido Lumbera, Former UP President and now Professor Emeritus Francisco Nemenzo, Former Vice President for Academic Affairs Maris Diokno, Former College of Law Dean Raul Pangalangan, Former CSSP Dean Consuelo Paz, Former CSWCD Dean Angelito Manalili, Former CMC Dean Luis Teodoro, Former CAL Dean Rose Torres-Yu, CMC Dean Rolando Tolentino, UP Math Professor Fidel Nemenzo, CSSP Associate Dean Professor Nestor Castro, All UP Workers Union National President Noli Anoos, All UP Academic Employees Union General Secretary Melania Lagahit-Abad, Fomer Department of History Chair Ferdinand Llanes, Department of Journalism Professor Danilo Arao, Professor of Political Science Miriam Coronel Ferrer, Professor of Asian Studies Eduardo C. Tadem, Professor of Public Administration J. Prospero de Vera III, Physics Professor Giovanni Tapang, English Professor Adelaida Lucero, Former UP Student Regents Ken Ramos, Terry Ridon and Shahana Abdulwahid and CONTEND Secretary General Sarah Raymundo.




Samahan ng Nagtataguyod ng Agham at Teknolohiya para sa Sambayanan
26 Matulungin St., Brgy. Central, Quezon City

June 10, 2009

Scientists, Engineers Join Anti-Con-Ass Mobilizations in Ayala
Natural Resources, Public Utilities Up For Sale If Cha-Cha Pushes Through

Reference: Dr. Giovanni Tapang, 09286974804,

Scientists and engineers under the activist group AGHAM (Samahan ng Nagtataguyod ng Agham at Teknolohiya para sa Sambayanan) joins in the protest action in Makati today. Together with the Defend Patrimony! Alliance, environmentalist and indigenous peoples groups, they held a short pre-rally program at the Ninoy Aquino monument at 12 noon protesting the sale of our natural resources and public utilities under the proposed constitutional revision in the House of Representatives.

“The proposed revisions in the House range from the deletion of the ownership cap on public utilities to providing for greater economic power and access to aliens and foreign corporations”, said Dr. Giovanni Tapang, chairperson of AGHAM.

“With the House Resolution 1109, these revisions can be written in our constitution together with the possible term extensions of those in power today. This would lead to the rape of our environment as well as ever increasing prices for utilities”, warned Dr. Tapang.

AGHAM noted that the existing laws that deregulate public industries will be part of the law of the land. The Electric Power Industry Reform Act, the MWSS privatization, 1995 Water Crisis Act, Downstream Oil Deregulation Act, Air Liberalization Law and the 1995 Public Telecommunications Act are examples of specific laws for investment liberalization and privatization of utilities.

“These laws that deregulated these utilities are the reason why we are paying so much for electricity, water, communication and fuel. With the cha-cha, we expect further opening up of these utilities, a larger dependence on foreign investments, and granting foreign monopolies control over strategic sectors of the economy. Nothing will be left for us Filipinos,” lamented Dr. Tapang.

“This cha-cha is a forward surge of costs for us and a backward step to our economic independence,” noted Dr. Tapang. AGHAM further notes that the charter change proposals would turn over and the Filipino people’s economic sovereignty and national patrimony to foreigners. The scientists group said that the provisions allowing foreigners 100% ownership of mining, land and other natural resources would be detrimental to our economy and livelihood.

“They will be taking away our resources and leaving us with their mine tailings, environmental disasters and economic problems”, Dr. Tapang notes of foreign companies.

“We believe that a government that serious in developing our economy and desirous to ensure the welfare of the people should be providing the necessary infrastructure and services for them. It must therefore ensure that public utilities are part of the basic industries it should be building. The nationalization of public utilities should be done with the building of local industries for domestic production. This cannot be done by a government that sells our national patrimony, allows foreign control of vital utilities, and is uninterested in genuine industrial development such as the current one in Malacanang”, summarized Dr. Tapang.###





Contact: Rick Bahague
Tel. No.: 02.413.4196
Mobile: +63917.884.0096
Email: secretariat@ cp-union. com
Url: http://www.cp-

“We call on the online community to voice their solidarity with the thousands who will march tomorrow at the Ayala protest mobilization through twitter and other new media tools”, said Mr. Rick Bahague, national coordinator of the Computer Professionals’ Union (CPU) in light of the major rally organized by various multi-sectoral organizations tomorrow to protest the railroading of HB 1109 calling for a constituent assembly. “We encourage everyone to join twitter if not yet a member, and tweet your messages with the #no2conass hashtag affixed.”

Twitter is a micro-blogging tool that allows users to post 140-character messages called “tweets” to keep fellow users updated on any topic of conversation virtually under the sun. “Hashtags” are keywords with the “#” symbol affixed that are included in a tweet used to indicate what topic the message is about.

“People can type no2conass in twitter’s search engine to see all messages related to the June 10 protest mobilization,” explained Mr. Bahague. “People from around the world will be able to see the words unheeded by the government when they pursued their agenda of greed in convening a constituent assembly that doesn’t have the people’s interests at heart.”

As part of its new media campaign, the twitter account of Pio, CPU’s mascot, was launched last night to tweet on-the-ground updates and comments from the Ayala rally by linking it to a mobile phone. CPU has developed a tool that posts tweets from SMS messages sent to +639071134503. “We invite everyone to send sms messages to this number and Pio will repost them as tweets,” said Mr. Bahague. SMS messages should have <no2conass><space><message> format.

CPU will also broadcast a live video stream of the rally for supporters who can’t come, such as OFWs. Pio’s tweeter, http://twitter. com/Si_Pio, will stream updates of the activity. CPU's social change page at http://cp-union. com/socialchange will consolidate these new media efforts of Pio and other organizations.

“Activists around the world have utilized these new media tools as a means of effectively reaching out to the people, as was demonstrated in the successful Obama presidential campaign”, added Mr. Bahague. “Twitter in particular would jive with the texting culture of Filipinos. If utilized in coordination with real grassroots mobilization, it can be instrumental to achieve the change we need.”

The Computer Professionals’ Union is a convenor of TXTPower, an organization of cellphone users that aims to empower Filipinos both as consumers and as citizens. It has provided technical expertise to the group on issues related to mobile technologies. # # #





10 June 2009

Kabataan Party-list Rep. Mong Palatino, 09085927099
Alvin Peters, NUSP President, 09206209362

Ayala transforms into one big ‘classroom’
Youth lead anti-Cha-Cha protests
No ‘forgive-and-forget’ for pro-Cha-Cha solons, GMA allies

Not even the suspension of classes or the viral threat can deter the Filipino youth from going to Ayala, as thousands of students from different universities and youth organizations joined the mammoth protest today against Charter Change.

Ayala was transformed into a virtual ‘classroom’ as students from St. Scholastica’s College, Ateneo de Manila University, University of the East, St. Paul University, Lyceum of the Philippines, De La Salle University, Adamson University, Trinity University of Asia, University of the Philippines and Polytechnic University of the Philippines trooped in throngs to oppose the formation of a Constituent Assembly to amend the Constitution in the Lower House. Youth groups also put up a giant blackboard where students wrote and expressed their outrage against pro-Cha-Cha lawmakers and the Arroyo government.

Youth organizations Student Christian Movement of the Philippines, Anakbayan, National Union of Students of the Philippines, College Editors Guild of the Philippines and League of Filipino Students led the youth contingent coming from the said schools.

Kabataan Party-list Representative Mong Palatino said the sizeable presence of youth and student delegations in the anti-Cha-Cha protest should send a strong signal to the Arroyo government and its allies in the Lower House to backtrack from its plans of amending the Constitution before 2010.

“The youth will not be silent. We cannot remain indifferent while our public institutions and our own future as a people and a nation are being devoured by political beasts in Congress and Malacanang. The stakes are too high for us to take a pass,” Palatino said.

Palatino added, “Today’s protest shows that the youth are no longer contented in expressing their sentiments in the internet. What we saw in Ayala today is the transformation of ongoing virtual protests in cyberspace to real protests in the streets and the awakening of a new generation of patriotic and critical young Filipinos.”

Meanwhile, Student Christian Movement of the Philippines chairperson Ma. Cristina Guevarra said their chapters in Mindanao have started a candlelighting campaign against ChaCha, which will be held wave upon wave in other parts of the country.

“What we hold is our burning commitment against an attack on our nation’s patrimony, and against the interests of the few in power over the interests of the people. There will be no quarantine on our protests this time,” Guevarra said.

For his part, Anakbayan Chairperson Ken Ramos called on the youth to boycott ‘pro-Cha-Cha’ officials in 2010.

"We can't simply forgive their atrocities to the Filipino people and certainly, we will not forget these people who were willing to compromise the country's future for selfish political interests and ambitions," Ramos stressed.

National Union of Student of the Philippines (NUSP) President Alvin Peters, on the other hand, said its member student councils and allied organizations will start a ‘hate campaign’ against pro-Cha-Cha politicians in schools when classes open next week.

“The names and faces of those who shamelessly betrayed the people’s interest should be made known in every school all over the country. The issue of Charter Change will be a major criterion for young voters in choosing the country's next set of leaders in 2010.” ###




National Union of Students of the Philippines [NUSP]
National Office Office of the Student Regent, Vinzons Hall, UP Diliman, QC Telephone 9818500 loc. 4511 or 4512
June 10, 2009
ALVIN PETERS, National President, 09206209362

NUSP joins anti-cha-cha rally in Makati; Decries dismal state of education under Arroyo gov’t.

The National Union of Students of the Philippines joins today’s rally in Makati with thousands of other anti-cha-cha protesters.

According to NUSP National President Alvin Peters, “From the very start, NUSP has been very much against the moves of the Arroyo administration and its allies to amend the constitution at this time when more important and pressing issues need to be addressed. Instead of implementing concrete measures to mitigate the economic burdens of the basic sectors that include the youth, the Arroyo government insists with its agenda to amend the Constitution to ensure its stay in power and advance its own interests.”

On June 2, 2009, the administration representatives railroaded the passage of HR 1109 that will pave the way for Congress to convene as a constituent assembly to facilitate the process of amending the Constitution.

“The passage of HR 1109 shows that the majority of our representatives do not feel accountable to the people but only to the President. Despite President Arroyo’s denial of participation in the whole affair, her frequent visits to Pampanga and the recent pronouncements of Malacanang officials that there is nothing wrong if she runs and wins in Congress and gets elected as Prime Minister leave little room for doubt,” said Peters.

“What good will this bring us, the youth? For the past eight years under President’s Arroyo’s term, the state of Philippine education has continuously deteriorated. Not only did the number of State universities and colleges (SUCs) drastically dropped from 264 in 1998 to 111 this year, the cost of tuition and other fees in the remaining SUCs has skyrocketed. On the other hand, tuition and other fees in private schools remain unregulated and have increased on the average of 90% since 2001,” added Peters.

A provision in the proposed amendments to the constitution allows foreign companies to own 100% of Philippine lands and other natural resources. This provision includes the privilege to own educational institutions such as colleges and universities.

“The proposed amendments to the constitution being pushed by administration allies would only worsen the current orientation of Philippine education which is commercialized, colonial and fascist. NUSP’s participation in the anti cha-cha protest today marks the continued and more massive demonstrations of the youth and the people to fight for our democratic rights, trampled upon by the Arroyo government. In the final instance, President Arroyo and her allies can never upstage nor outpower the sovereign will of people,” said Peters.






A Statement of the National Clergy Discernment Group (NCDG)

As members of the clergy committed to our prophetic task and stewardship role among our people, we regard the Constitution of the Philippines as the embodiment of our nation’s aspirations. Its integrity must be respected and all the efforts to amend any of its provision must take into account the people’s participation through duly-constituted bodies and given the right and enough time to work on the desired amendments.

We denounce any scheme to have any part of it changed before the national elections 2010. We condemn the move of Congress that railroaded the passing of HR 1109. We question the self-serving interest of anti-people dynasties who are responsible for manipulating the charter changes to perpetuate themselves to power


We support the call of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) to protest all devious means to use charter change as an opening for our unmitigated sellout of the Philippine sovereignty and patrimony.

We reiterate the fundamental principle of respect for the dignity and sovereign will of the Filipino people and our commitment to serve the interest of the poor and marginalized among them.

Just as Jesus was the voice of the voiceless of his time, so are we to become for our people, NOW.

Msgr. Manuel Gabriel (0920-9005073)
National Clergy Discernment Group
10 June 2009



Makati Business Club

Press Statement
Statement on House Resolution No. 1109

We are appalled at the indecency and blatant disregard of the Filipino people's will displayed by the House of Representatives in its adoption of House Resolution No. 1109 that allows itself to convene as a constituent assembly to amend the Constitution, without the necessary participation of the Senate.

The question all Filipinos should ask is: For whose interest was this action taken? Certainly not the Filipino people's, as there is no widespread clamor to amend the Constitution, especially now that we are less than a year away from a presidential election. The resolution contains no issue of profound impact to the people's welfare.

By this action of pro-Administration congresspersons, any remaining doubts about the determination of the Arroyo Administration and its allies in the House to manipulate our democratic processes and institutions to prolong their hold on power have been erased.

Malacañang insists elections will be held as scheduled in 2010. But unless its avowals are backed by President Arroyo's clear and unequivocal rejection of her Congressional allies' maneuverings and an explicit commitment that presidential elections will be held next year, Malacañang's declarations amount to nothing but more subterfuge and double talk.

If and when the House is challenged for the legality of its actions, we call on the Supreme Court to strike down as unconstitutional the results of a constituent assembly that will not have included the Senate in its deliberations.

The election we look forward to in 2010 is an election for a new President and Congress that will restore the people's confidence in the government. We call on the Filipino people to vigorously fight and reject this diabolical effort to destroy our democracy!



Founded in 1981, the MBC is composed of over 800 chief executive officers and senior executives representing almost 450 of the largest and most dynamic corporations in the Philippines. Over the years, the MBC has become the leading forum for business and government leaders to address. Issues discussed before the MBC have included trade and investment policy, monetary and fiscal matters, labor and employment, energy, education, health, media, foreign policy, and politics and elections.




10 June 2009

Trina Federis
National Secretary-General

Campus press joins Ayala rally
Renews calls for GMA’s resignation

Campus journalists from different universities in the National Capital Region joined today’s demonstrations in Ayala to protest Charter Change.

“Since classes have been postponed for one week, our idle time is best spent here, making our voices heard against the railroading of the Constituent Assembly in the Lower House,” Vijae Alquisola, College Editors Guild of the Philippines (CEGP) national president said.

According to Alquisola, the postponement of classes is no excuse to stay indoors, even if there is a perceived viral outbreak. “Compared to the scandals perpetually plaguing our country, the A(H1N1) virus is less virulent. To avoid the virus, one must simply wash his hands regularly. To avoid the scandals, one must vigilantly campaign for the removal of the unscrupulous seated in the government, particularly Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.”

He pointed out that campus journalists have much to gain from the removal of Arroyo from office. “We hold the state accountable for the campus press freedom violations (CPFVs) committed against student publications. We have documented 254 CPFVs nationwide, ranging from withholding of funds, censorship, to surveillance by the school police or military elements, during our last press convention. Though these were mostly perpetrated by school administrators, the Arroyo regime's consistent dismissal of these violations make them as guilty as the perpetrators themselves. This regime is much more concerned with pushing further its own interests through the Constituent Assembly, than addressing these issues.”

Alquisola explained that the regime did not have a clear program for the campus press. “The campus press, with its pro-people advocacy, will always uphold the people's welfare. The Arroyo regime's treatment of the campus press manifests the dying of democracy: they obviously cannot stand a vibrant student press movement, especially if it upholds the students' and people's welfare. If the students, then, are tired of this regime's lies and scandals, we are offering them an alternative: attend the classes in the streets, join the upcoming protest actions, and together, let us remove the gangrenous Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo from office.” #



10 June 2009
Reference: Sophia Garduce, Spokesperson (439-3104)


Children and child rights advocates led by the SALINLAHI Alliance for Children’s Concerns joined the throng of protesters in Makati today denouncing the attempt of the Arroyo administration to change the constitution through the CON-ASS. The group believes that this move is intended to perpetuate Arroyo’s power beyond 2010.

According to Ms. Sophia Garduce, Spokesperson for Salinlahi, Mrs. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and her lackeys in Congress have lost their moral authority to rule the government, much less change it into a parliamentary form. “We are dismayed that instead of prioritizing the needs of majority of starving Filipino children who are forced to work and help their parents put food on the table because of widespread unemployment and lay-offs, these pro-Arroyo congressmen outdo each other in trying to protect and “wipe the ass” of a very unpopular President,” Garduce added.

She also said that the CON-ASS is a double-edged sword used only by tyrants and dictators to perpetuate themselves in power to continue their self-serving interests. “Whatever their reason to justify CON-ASS, whether to extend Mrs. Arroyo's term or to introduce changes in the economic provisions, the children will lose a bright future.”

SALINLAHI foresees the CHA-CHA train of Arroyo to have dire consequences on children’s future, particularly the economic provisions that Rep. Prospero Nograles insist as the main intention for changing the constitution. “For children's advocates, this motive is more alarming. Our dream of a vibrant economy should not be realized at the expense of our children’s future. Even the children, when we asked their opinions on this, agree that it is tantamount to giving away their future. Clearly, they understand that Arroyo’s move to change the constitution is self-serving and is a direct denial of their welfare.” Garduce said.

With at least a year before Arroyo’s term ends, the group challenged the administration to abandon the idea of CHA-CHA and focus on children’s welfare. “Instead of spending a lot of time and people’s taxes on ways to perpetuate her power beyond 2010, Mrs. Arroyo should think of ways to erase the 10-15 % percentage of elementary and high school drop-outs and eradicate malnutrition and starvation among children,” challenged Garduce.

SALINLAHI called on children, their parents and child rights advocates to act together and thwart this indecent act to yield our sovereignty to ever-deepening foreign domination. The Filipino patrimony is at stake here and it lies in the balance. Let us not bow down to the dark agenda of the incumbent president and watch the doom of our children’s future being etched right into our Constitution. Let us vow to fight any treachery that flagrantly violates all the rights of all the Filipino children,” ended Garduce. ###




The State Terror That Is the Constitutional Assembly
Statement of the Congress of Teachers and Educators for Nationalism and Democracy (CONTEND)
June 8, 2009

When an incumbent president is guilty of graft and corruption, massive electoral fraud, human rights violations and the worst forms of complicity to imperialist plunder and violence, any move that will indefinitely extend her power must be opposed absolutely.

The formation of a Constituent Assembly that will eventually adopt changes to the Constitution is yet another attempt by the U.S.-Arroyo regime to use the rule of law as a means for felonious ends.

Macapagal-Arroyo' s Cha-Cha sideswipes our historic struggle for peaceful and and progressive Philippines.

What is at stake in opposing the Macapagal-Arroyo- sponsored
Constituent Assembly is our right and responsibility to defend the people's democratic rights. While the current constitution is not perfect, it is only through the democratic exercise of our freedoms can we determine the changes needed for the rule of law to serve the people.

The proposed Charter Change (Cha-Cha) poses a threat to the hard-won provisions enshrined in the 1987 Philippine Constitution which addresses the abuse of military power and the fascist character of a government that only protects the interest of the ruling elite. The prohibition against the permanent settlement of military troops and their engagement in combat exercises within our territory is the people's vow to defend national sovereignty. Arroyo's fascistic regime, however, can only run to its imperialist master to reinforce and inflict its perverse sense of law and order. With more that 1,000 victims of extra-judicial killings and more than 200 people disappeared since Arroyo assumed office in 2001, it is our most urgent task to expose the most brutal forms of torture and killing this regime has unleashed and thwart all sorts of maneuvers for Arroyo to sow state terror beyond 2010.

Provisions against foreign ownership of public lands and utilities in the current Constitution are a testament to our commitment to national industrialization. Yet Cha-Cha attempts to lift provisions that protect Philippine economy from unlimited foreign economic domination. Amid the toughest of times, what we need are job security, domestic growth and access to social services. Arroyo's Cha-Cha totally eradicates our claims to these constitutional rights in its bid to allow the most powerful foreign entities to exploit our natural resources. Cha-Cha's absurd purpose is to further empower foreign corporations to operate, gain absolute control over and rake profits from utilities such as electricity, communications and water. Instead of genuine change, Arroyo's Cha-Cha aims to further entrench the neoliberal doctrine gleaned in the new provisions' bias for foreign and private big business to take control over public utilities and our democratic institutions.

The Constituent Assembly that will pave the way for Arroyo's Cha-Cha is nothing but the ruling clique's means to manage the systemic crisis and the overwhelming opposition to the oppressive system that it generates from the people. The Arroyo regime is making use of an erstwhile formula tried and proven to be bankrupt: it aims to manipulate the legal structure for the same to set the limits to the contradictory forces that, with our decisive intervention, would turn Philippine society around.

CONTEND strongly condemns the congressional lapdogs of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo responsible for yet another obscene fraud committed against the people. We call on our fellow educators to arouse, mobilize and organize among our colleagues and students to join the thousands upon thousands of angry yet hopeful voices demanding for justice, freedom and democracy.

Oppose the Arroyo-led Constituent Assembly, JUNK CHA-CHA!
Down With Imperialist Plunder! Up With Our Struggle for National Sovereignty!
End Macapagal Arroyo's fascist regime, OUST GMA!
Join the June 10 Makati rally to Junk Con Ass, 5 pm,
Corner of Ayala and Paseo de Roxas

The Congress of Teachers/Educators for Nationalism and Democracy or CONTEND is a progressive organization of academics based in the University of the Philippines- Diliman.

www.freeweb. com/upcontend/




Singing BAYAN KO


Rainning confetti in Makati - Photos by CM

U.P. Community Against Cha-Cha and Gloria (UPAC Gloria)

    Photo by UPAC GLORIA     Photo by UPAC GLORIA


Press Statement
9 June 2009


By Prof. Jose Maria Sison
Chairperson, International League of Peoples' Struggle

On behalf of the International League of Peoples' Struggle and in coordination with its Philippine Chapter, I convey the firmest solidarity with and support for the Filipino people and all the patriotic forces that are outraged by House Resolution 1109 and are determined to stop the fake constituent assembly of the congressional asses of the Arroyo regime.

The broad masses of the people have all the right to be indignant and exert every effort to thwart the “con-ass” scheme. The evil purpose of this machination is to perpetuate the Arroyo regime under the pretext of adopting a parliamentary system and make the most blatant anti-national and anti-democratic amendments to the 1987 constitution of the reactionary state. Anything goes once the “con-ass” fast break gets underway!

The congressional asses of the regime have announced that their main interest is to carry out constitutional amendments for letting foreign investors acquire ownership and control over all natural resources and economic enterprises to the extent of 100 per cent and to sell out the economic sovereignty and national patrimony of the Filipino people.

The regime and its congressional asses seem to be oblivious of the economic and social devastation already wrought by so-called neoliberal globalization through de-nationalization, liberalization, privatization and deregulation in favor of the monopoly capitalists and their big comprador agents.

The regime and its congressional asses are also hell-bent on letting US and other foreign military forces unrestricted stay and operations in the Philippines and on doing away with the constitutional provisions against the basing of foreign military forces and nuclear, chemical, biological and other weapons of mass destruction.

The Arroyo regime intends to remove the constitutional restraints on martial law, emergency rule and violations of human rights. It seeks to undercut the formal guarantees of civil and political liberties in the bill of rights. Driven by its desire to keep and enlarge its ill-gotten wealth and by its fear of future prosecution for corruption, the Arroyo ruling clique is obsessed with perpetuating itself in power, engaging in state terrorism and being propped up by US economic and military power.

The broad masses of the Filipino people are justly seething with anger over the evil scheme of “charter change” through “constituent assembly” monopolized by the congressional asses of the Arroyo regime. The broad united front of forces against the scheme includes the patriotic and progressive mass organizations of workers, peasants, urban poor, fisher folk, indigenous people, women and youth, the civic and professional associations, the religious institutions, the opposition parties, the anti-Arroyo government officials and the military and police officers.

I look forward to the success of the protest rallies at Ayala Avenue in Makati and other places on June 10 as the opening salvo for more massive and militant protest mass actions. Whatever is the degree of success at mass mobilization on Wednesday, the people and the broad united front must exert all efforts to increase the number, fervor and scale of participants in the further protest mass actions to be undertaken in the national capital region and in the entire country.

We must learn the best methods of arousing, organizing and mobilizing the people from the most successful protest mass actions in recent Philippine history, including the First Quarter Storm of 1970 and the mass actions of 1970 to 1972, the anti-fascist mass campaign from 1983 to 1986, the funeral marches for Aquino in 1983 and for Olalia in 1986 and the mass uprisings of 1986 and 2001.

We must not be satisfied with only one big meeting away from the presidential palace. We must have several major assembly points, whose rallyists march to and converge on the big meeting that is relatively close to the palace and has the option to close in on it. Remember that in the 1986 overthrow of Marcos, when most of the BAYAN people were at EDSA, the people mostly from Kilusang Mayo Uno and the League of Filipino Students concentrated on Mendiola in order to ultimately break through the barricades.

Also in 2001 the incumbent president decided to call it quits when he saw tens of thousands of youth led by Anakbayan and the student organizations marching from Edsa and nearing the palace. It is a favorable circumstance that several schools, colleges and universities are in the vicinity of the palace. Properly and effectively aroused and mobilized, the student masses cannot be stopped from occupying the streets, plazas and churchyards that are relatively close to the presidential palace.

It is not enough to have big mass actions only in the national capital region. It is necessary to have Lakbayans from Central and Southern Luzon. It is necessary to hold the mass actions nationwide in all provincial cities, capitals and major towns. And before the day of the big rally, it is necessary to hold build up rallies in particular communities, factories, farms, schools and parishes.

Because the people are faced with a treasonous, corrupt and bloodthirsty regime in hubris, it is necessary to outstrip the successful protest actions and campaigns in recent Philippine history in terms of arousing, organizing and mobilizing the broad masses of the people and persuading the military and police of the reactionary state to respect the democratic rights of the people, particularly the freedom of speech and assembly, and not to follow orders from above to inflict violence on the people and violate their human rights.###



Prometheus Bound
Counting the crowd
Giovanni Tapang, Ph.D.

Crowd estimates figure in most news reports after a big mobilization or event. Every time a sizeable mass action has been conducted, whether in Mendiola, Ayala or Edsa, conflicting estimates are issued that either downplay or magnify the data. The politics of the count is obvious as strength in numbers is a statement in itself.

Is there some way to effectively quantify the size of the crowd in a mobilization?

The most common and practicable way is to measure the area covered by the protest and count according to some density estimate, the number of those who attended at a certain time. This estimation is most easily done with overhead shots and areal surveys. Although it would tend to have a bias against those who are under some shelter or inside a building, this estimation would give a rough guide on the size of the crowd.

Crowd density estimates stem from the fact that people would tend to occupy around a quarter of a square meter in a very crowded space. This translates to around four (4) individuals comfortably standing within a square meter. Lower crowd density means a larger space between each person. We should also note that crowd density is usually not uniform, except in very crowded areas, and will taper off from the central hub of activity in the mobilization.

The time when the estimate was made is also important as crowds are dynamic systems. Making an estimate at only one point in time can lead to a different count if it is taken at the peak of the event or near the end. Over a period of time, the crowd size can swell or ebb due to people coming in and out of the assembly area.

A relatively organized contingent would have their members limit this movement both for security and to provide organization in a big mobilization. Marshalls are usually assigned to monitor people coming in the hanay and to limit members that loiter around. Militant groups such as those under BAYAN has this honed to an art and thus their numbers stay relatively intact until the end of the program.

Other methods include counting directly from real time closed circuit TV (CCTV) which the PNP has announced they would deploy. This is difficult at best as the visual information in these CCTV is limited due to its small field of view, Some other methods would extrapolate the number from the amount of artifacts (read: trash) left by the crowd. It is also common practice for the organizers to have reports of attendance from their contingents from which they empirically base their attendance estimates


The Ayala area where the broad anti-Con-Ass mobilizations were held can be divided into 5 major areas. Section A is the area of Ayala going towards Herrera. Section B is the central area of the intersection, section C is along Paseo de Roxas facing the stage, section D is the side of Ayala towards Makati Avenue/EDSA and section E is the area behind the stage. Additional side areas such as the corner underneath HSBC building and other corners are collectively taken together. Note that sidewalks and other establishments are not included even though there are people that would stand there during the mobilizations.

The maximum that these areas can hold at 4 per square meter would be 89,000 individuals. Engr. Mon Ramirez of AGHAM computed the maximum to reach 300,000 if we include the whole stretch of Ayala from De La Rosa until EDSA, the whole of Paseo and Makati Avenue.

One should also include in the total estimate a factor that would take into account those people that came in late as others were leaving the event. In last year's rally this “replacement” crowd maintained the crowd size relatively stable until early evening. Makati employees and other groups replaced those who left early in the program. We can use a “replacement” factor of 20% to include those who came in late as well as those who were not counted by the estimation (in the establishments, on the sidewalks, etc).

If it was the crowd size that is to be the target, areas like EDSA or multiple staging areas would be good places to assemble instead of Ayala. This shows that the message in the mobilizations against the Con-Ass at Ayala is the breadth of forces that were mobilized in addition to taking a count of the size of the crowd. The groups of religious, business, militants and the opposition attending the rallies have broadened since a few years ago. Who protested is as important as to how many came in the rally.

Dr. Tapang is the chairperson of AGHAM. As this article was written before the mobilization against the Con-Ass, preliminary crowd estimates are currently posted in




Information Bureau
Communist Party of the Philippines

CPP sees rising momentum of demonstrations against "con-ass" and Arroyo reign extension

June 11, 2009

The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) today congratulated the various progressive and democratic organizations, sectoral groups, religious associations and other opposition personalities for the successful anti-"con-ass" demonstrations yesterday, saying that it anticipates the momentum of protests to rise in the coming weeks.

"The demonstration last night of around 15,000 in Makati and a greater mass altogether in other cities across the country manifest the widespread and intense opposition of the Filipino people against the US-Arroyo regime's rush to amend the constitution by convening Congress as a Constituent Assembly even without the Senate," said the CPP.

"It is a portent of bigger and more widespread and militant protest actions in the coming days and weeks as the people manifest their seething disgust at Gloria Arroyo and her cohorts' shameless political maneuverings to keep themselves in power and continue their corrupt and rotten ways," said the CPP.

"The demonstration yesterday soon after the rushed midnight passing of House Resolution 1109 is a significant opening salvo in the Filipino people's epic 'battle to the end' against Arroyo's plan to extend her reign of terror and corruption," added the CPP.

"Bigger mass actions are anticipated in the coming weeks, especially when classes resume and students converge back in school campuses and right before and after Arroyo's State of the Nation Address in July when she is expected to signal the convening of her 'con-ass.' The hated regime will not be able to stop the spread of protest actions nationwide, and an attempt to do so will only trigger even bigger and more widespread and intensive protest actions."

The CPP also noted the fast growing spread of anti-"con-ass" protests on the internet and social networking websites.

"To complement the people's protest actions against Gloria Arroyo's 'con-ass', the Communist Party of the Philippines is directing the New People's Army (NPA) to further intensify tactical offensives in the coming weeks," said the CPP. "The CPP urges all units of the NPA to plan out tactical offensives and target the most hated military units that are being used by Gloria Arroyo in suppressing the people."

Marco Valbuena
Media Officer
Cellphone Numbers: 09179776392 :: 09282242061


The UP Diliman Community group held a press conference at UP before going to Ayala.
National Artists Bien Lumbera, former Dean Coni Paz and other professors and students
UP Faculty Regent Dr. Judy Taguiwalo
UP Student Regent Charisse Banez
UP Staff Regent Clodualdo Cabrera


Pahayag ng ALL-UP Workers Alliance (All-UP Workers Union at All-UP Academic Employees Union)
Unibersidad ng Pilipinas

Hunyo 10, 2009

Garapalan na talaga ito!

Sa gitna ng tumitinding krisis pang-ekonomiya, nakukuha pa ng Kongresong CON-ASS at ni Gloria Macapagal Arroyo (GMA) na unahin muli ang kanilang mga sarili. Malinaw na iisa lamang ang hangarin ng minaniobrang CON-ASS: ang manatili si GMA at ang kasalukuyang naghaharing pangkat sa kapangyarihan ng walang katapusan.

Hindi naman ito nakapagtataka. Desperado na kasi sina GMA na iwasan ang pagkarami-rami nilang kakaharaping kaso ng pandarambong sa kabang-yaman, pandaraya sa eleksyon, maramihang pamamaslang at pagtortyur sa mga aktibista, at iba pang karumaldumal na krimen at iskandalo. Sa lahat ng nakapaligid na isyung ito, papayag kaya ang pangkat ni GMA na basta na lamang sila bumaba mula sa poder ng kapangyarihan? Natatakot silang makasuhan at mabilanggong habambuhay! Higit pa rito, ang pananatili sa puwesto ay magbibigay ng mas maraming pagkakataong para kina GMA para lalo pang magpakabundat sa kabang-yaman ng bansa, lalo pang maging brutal sa panunupil at lalo pang magpakaligaya sa ibabaw ng naghihingalong bayan.

Sa pamamagitan ng kanilang panukalang CON-ASS ay mapapahintulutan ang mayoryang maka-GMA na kongresista na madaliang buuin ang Kongreso bilang Constituent Assembly o Con-Ass para mabilis na mabago ang mga probisyon ng Konstitusyon bago ng pambansang eleksyon ng 2010. Bakit ganito na lamang ang pagmamadali? Dahil kapag natransporma nila ang gobyerno sa sistemang parlamentaryo ay maaaring mahalal muli bilang Prime Minister si GMA nang paulit-ulit hanggang walang katapusan. Napakasaklap na hinaharap nito para sa Pilipinas na tiyak na dadanas ng lalo pang “pag-unlad at pag-asenso” sa ilalim nitong ekonomistang pulpol at mandurugas.

Umasenso ba ang kalagayan ng mga kawani at guro sa pamahalaan sa ilalim ng paghahari-harian ni GMA? Kay Pangulong Aquino ay nakatamo ang mga kawani sa pamahalaan ng 230% dagdag sa sahod pagkaraan ng tatlong taon, kay Pangulong Ramos ay nakakamit ng 120% na dagdag
pagkaraan ng dalawang taon, kay Pangulong Estrada naman ay 15.5% ang itinaas pagkaraan ng tatlong taon. Ano ang natamo kay GMA? SAMPUNG porsyento pagkaraan ng ANIM na taon, at ito ay sa kabila pa ng lalong matinding pagsirit pataas ng presyo ng mga batayang pangangailangan.

Habang nagpapayaman ang mga gahaman sa pamahalaan ay matindi na ang kagutuman ng mga kawani at guro. At ang parehong Kongreso na hindi magkandatuto sa kanilang pagko-CON-ASS ay nagpatupad sa pamamagitan ng batas na Salary Standardization Law (SSL) III ng sobrang kupad at sobrang kakarampot na pagtaas ng sahod ng mga guro sa mga pampublikong paaralan na P6,500 lamang sa loob ng apat na taon at mababa pa sa P3,000 sa apat na taon para sa mga kawani na nasa mababang salary grades. Tiyak na hindi ito makasasapat upang makapagbigay ng disenteng buhay sa mga kawani at guro sa pamahalaan.

Garapal sa pangangamkam, tuso sa pagkapit sa kapangyarihan, wala silang anumang pakinabang sa mamamayan!




UP Prof. Antonio Tinio, ACT Chair



We, the undersigned faculty members, researchers, students and staff of U.P. Diliman, stand together to oppose the latest attempt to manipulate the Constitution to advance the personal political agenda of the President and her minions.

House of Representatives Resolution 1109 purports merely to talk about the “modes” of proposing changes in the Constitution. Yet it actually formalizes the official position of the House that the 1987 Constitution empowers the Congressmen to propose constitutional changes without the votes of the Senators. All it takes, says HR 1109, is merely “three-fourths of the ‘members of Congress’ without distinction as to which institution of Congress they belong to.” That reading defies the structure of a bicameral Congress, dilutes the Senators’ votes, and exploits gaps in the Constitution’s text to pervert its underlying spirit.

Next, they try to force the hand of the Supreme Court – supremely confident, as it were, of the Court’s validation. They proclaim that “a justiciable controversy … shall ripen for judicial determination … when this Resolution is filed, heard, and approved.” Yet whether a case is ripe for adjudication is an issue that is for the Court, and not for Congress, to determine.

This is not the first time that the ruling majority in the Lower House has bullied its way to flout republican governance. They have repeatedly blocked all attempts to hold President Arroyo to account: for the Garci tapes that betrayed a sinister plot to cheat in the 2004 presidential elections; the ZTE-NBN telecommunications scandal; and for the unending extrajudicial killings and other human rights violations.

They mistake the triumph of numbers for the triumph of principle. They have consistently ignored public opinion and have dared us to muster the warm bodies to overturn their vote. When some citizens attempt to do so with People Power, they insist that we work within the system and its institutions. Yet whenever we turn to such institutions – the justice system, the Ombudsman and the Congress – we are frustrated time and again by those who would decide not on the strength of our case but on their loyalties to their political patrons.

It is bad enough that Arroyo has cheated her way into the Presidency. Terrible that she has used the Presidency to prostitute the agencies of government into loyal courtiers-in-waiting. Abominable that she has used the public treasury to purchase the allegiance of politicians-for-sale. And unforgiveable that she will take us for fools who will look the other way as she and her allies waylay the very Constitution by which alone she – possessing neither moral legitimacy nor mass-based political support – remains in power.

We must stop the slow death of our democracy and save it by all means peaceful and effective, in the courtrooms or in the streets, through the logic of constitutional persuasion or the raw power of popular outrage.


Faculty Regent Judy Taguiwalo, Student Regent Charisse Banez, Staff Regent Clodualdo Cabrera, UP Professor Emeritus and National Artist Bienvenido Lumbera, Former Vice President for Academic Affairs Maris Diokno, Former College of Law Dean Raul Pangalangan, Former CSSP Dean Consuelo Paz, Former CSWCD Dean Angelito Manalili, Former CMC Dean Luis Teodoro, CMC Dean Rolando Tolentino, CSSP Associate Dean Prof. Nestor T. Castro, Prof. Emeritus and former UP President Francisco Nemenzo,UP Math Professor Fidel Nemenzo, All UP Workers Union National President Noli Anoos, All UP Academic Employees Union General Secretary Melania Lagahit-Abad, Fomer Department of History Chair Ferdinand Llanes, CONTEND Secretary General Sarah Raymundo, All UP Workers Union – Diliman President Felix Pariñas, All UP Academic Employees Union – Diliman President Ramon Guillermo, Former Student Regents Terry Ridon, Shahana Abdulwahid and Ken Ramos, CSWCD College Secretary Mel Luna, CMC Journalism Prof. Danilo Arao, NCPAG Dr. J. Prospero E. de Vera III, Dr. Rosario de Santos, Prof. Miriam Coronel Ferrer, Dr. Edilberto M. Villegas, Perlita Raña, Rosalina de Mesa (REPS), Prof. Adelaida Lucero, Prof. Eduardo Tadem, Prof. Teresa Tadem, Dr. Giovanni Tapang, Prof. Joi Barrios-Leblanc


BONUS TRACKS: Photos from the newspapers