APPRECIATION FOR FIVE MEMBERS
OF DUTCH SENATE
FOR QUESTIONS ON THE PLIGHT OF PROF. JOSE MARIA SISON
By Prof. Jose Maria Sison
Chairperson, International Coordinating Committee
International League of Peoples' Struggle
9 November 2009
We, the International Committee DEFEND, wish to express our heartfelt
gratitude and high appreciation to five members of the Dutch First Chamber
(Senate), who belong to various major parties, for raising last 3 November
2009 questions aimed at upholding the rule of law and the human rights of
Professor Jose Maria Sison.
The aforesaid members of the Senate are Ms M. H. A. Strik (Groen Links),
Ms M. Westerveld (Partij van de Arbeid ), H. Franken (Christen
Democratisch Appel), Ms A. C. Quik-Schuijt (Socialist Party) and J. W. M.
Engels (D 66).
They addressed to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Minister of
Justice, the State Secretary of Justice and the Minister of Social Affairs
and Work Opportunity the following questions:
Is the government aware of the
judgment of the Court of first instance of 30 September 2009, whereby
the Court declared null Regulation (EC) no. 501/2009 and the related
Decisions from 2007, insofar as these concern Mr. Sison? (1)
Is higher appeal being considered
against this judgment? What position shall the Dutch government take
during the discussion in the Council on this possibility, also taking
into consideration that the Court of first instance considers all
earlier invoked grounds to put Mr. Sison on the list do not give any
basis for such placement [on the list]. Will the government suggest to
the Council new grounds for placement on the list? If so, what new
Do you consider the ruling of the
REK of 1997 still sufficient substantiation for the decision not to
grant Mr. Sison a residence permit, since Article 13 and 18 of the
Definition guidelines (2) oblige the granting of permit as soon as the
right to protection is established? Do you still see reasons for the
application of an exclusion ground from this guideline, now that the
judicial power both in the Philippines and in The Netherlands has
rejected every criminal prosecution?
Do you consider that the continuing
refusal of a residence permit to the concerned still proportional? Can
you in your answer present the criteria which the Administrative Law
Division of the Raad van State [Council of State] of 2 June 2004
formulated (3) and the fact that according to the ruling of 1997 there
was insufficient ground to invoke Article 1 (F) of the Refugee
Convention against the concerned?
Is it just that the concerned on
the ground of Article 3 EVRM cannot be expelled from The Netherlands and
yet every assistance for basic needs for survival is denied him? If so,
do you consider this to be in accordance with the fundamental rights as
guaranteed in the ESH [European Social Charter], the EVRM and the
Charter for Fundamental Rights? How do you judge in this light the
applicability of Article 9 and 11 IVESCR [International Covenant on
Economic, Social and Cultural Rights], also taking into account the
hereto pertinent General Comments from 2008 and Conclusion 11 of the
Concluding Observations of 2006 of the UN Committee of this convention (CESCR)?
We hope that the foregoing questions
will encourage the Dutch government to respect and give due course to the
30 September 2009 judgment of the European Court of First Instance in
favor of Prof. Sison against the Council of the European Union (EU) for
unjustly putting him on the terrorist blacklist.
We call on the Dutch government to desist from becoming a party to the
filing of a frivolous appeal by the Council of EU or be responsible for
any other undertaking to prevent and delay the justice that Prof. Sison
deserves. We urge the Dutch government to allow Prof. Sison to enjoy his
fundamental rights and live a normal life in The Netherlands.
We hope that the Dutch government will heed the just purpose of the
questions from the broad nonpartisan array of senators, including members
of parties in the ruling coalition as well as those in the opposition.
The Senate plays a major role in scrutinizing the actions of the
Government. Statements made by government ministers in debates carry
weight in future lawsuits. The members of the Senate can elicit
undertakings from ministers about the implementation of a law.###
(1) Judgment of the Court (Seventh chamber) of 30 September 2009,
(2) Guideline 2004/83/EC
(3) Case no. 200308845/1, JV 2004/279.
(4) General Comment no. 19, 2008, paragraph 31, 34 and 36 up to and
including 38, and paragraph 50 and 51; Concluding Observations, 24
November 2006, conclusion 11.
Ruth de Leon
Address: Amsterdamsestraatweg 50, 3513 AG Utrecht, The Netherlands
xON TRADE AND
CLIMATE ISSUES AGAINST WTO
By Prof. Jose Maria Sison
Chairperson, International Coordinating Committee
International League of People's Struggle
30 November 2009
November 30, 2009 marks the 10th anniversary of the Battle of
Seattle. We remember this for shutting down the World Trade
Organization's (WTO) Ministerial Meeting through militant street protests
and mass mobilizations by indignant workers, farmers, students and peoples
from various countries.
The Battle of Seattle followed the People's Assembly against the WTO, in
which as keynote speaker I delivered on November 28, 1999 a comprehensive
address criticizing and condemning imperialist globalization and calling
for people's resistance and I announced the work of the International
Initiative Committee to form the International League of Peoples'
Struggle. The denial of permit to the Rally-March of the aforesaid
assembly resulted in a protest picket that served as prelude to the
protest marches, which led further to the Battle of Seattle.
Since then, monopoly capitalists have attempted to push imperialist
globalization even further through a new round of the WTO as well as
bilateral or regional "free trade" pacts. But people's resistance has
blockaded the WTO at each turn -- frustrating the Ministerial meetings in
Doha (2001), Cancun (2003) and Hong Kong (2005) -- with the vital
participation of members of the International League of Peoples'
The 7th WTO Ministerial meeting to be held on November 30 to December 2,
2009 in Geneva is the latest attempt by monopoly capitalists to revive the
Doha Round of trade talks, and this time with an increased sense of
desperation. Through the WTO, monopoly capitalists, the finance oligarchy,
and heads of imperialist states are trying to hoodwink poor and indebted
countries into further opening up their economies to surplus goods and
capital from the advanced industrial capitalist countries.
They vainly hope that by exporting more goods to other countries, gaining
access to cheaper raw materials and exploiting cheaper labor, they can
overcome the gravest crisis that has wracked the world capitalist system
since the 1930s. But rather than resolve it, it will only worsen the
global crisis of overproduction and the destruction of productive forces
especially in poor and oppressed countries in Asia, Africa, Latin America
and the Caribbean.
Agribusiness monopolies, for example, want expanded Agreement on
Agriculture that would allow them to continue dumping their highly
subsidized products into poor countries while opposing the introduction of
even token measures of protection for food and other goods that are most
sensitive to the latter.
Meanwhile the imperialist states have increased rather than reduced or
eliminated the agricultural subsidies that they provide to the monopoly
firms that supply seeds, farm inputs and machinery, and control trading.
This exacerbates the global overproduction of agricultural commodities and
destroys the livelihood of millions of peasants and small farmers in the
third world who cannot compete against these global giants.
Smallholders with limited access to land, water, modern inputs, credit,
post-harvest facilities, and other farm support become suppliers of
agribusiness corporations or agricultural workers. Either way they face
declining incomes and greater insecurity as a growing share of farm income
is appropriated by local landlords, traders, usurers and global
agribusiness giants that monopolize farm inputs and international trade.
Local big landlords, comprador capitalists and foreign financial
speculators are taking over millions of hectares of land and forests to
plant biofuels or to convert them to special economic zones and commercial
centers. This is exacerbating food insecurity and hunger and poverty on
an unprecedented scale.
Fisheries are also under threat by the WTO since the imperialist states
are insisting on reducing tariffs for the entire fisheries sector. This
will accelerate the depletion of marine resources and the displacement of
fisherfolk and coastal communities whose livelihood depend on these
resources, especially when combined with unequal Fisheries Access
Agreements through which the heavily subsidised industrial fishing fleets
from imperialist countries gain access to the territorial waters of poor
countries which are already over-fished.
In the manufacturing industries, imperialist states are pushing for the
imposition of steep additional tariff cuts on manufacturing goods entering
third world countries and introduce new rules which would prevent the use
of tariffs to protect strategic or infant industries in the latter. On
the other hand, these same imperialist states are increasing their own
applied tariffs as a way of saving industrial monopolies from going bust
in the midst of the global depression.
Even bourgeois economists warn that this will result in more bankruptcies,
lay-offs and deindustrialization in poor countries. It will also
drastically reduce revenues for social spending and public investment.
Imperialist states are dangling the prospect of liberalizing the entry of
workers from poor countries suffering from chronic unemployment in
exchange for the liberalized entry of transnational corporations (TNCs) in
key services sectors, such as financial services, energy, and
telecommunications. This paves the way for greater foreign monopoly
capitalist control over strategic sectors such as mass media and
The monopoly bourgeoisie of the leading imperialist countries is using the
current global financial, food and climate crisis as the justification for
an early conclusion of the Doha Round. In fact, the WTO is one of the
principal instruments by which the monopoly bourgeoisie has enforced
policies that engendered and continue to worsen these crises.
WTO rules prevent countries from adopting new financial regulations that
restrict the operations of “financial service suppliers.” They do not
allow the banning of fictitious financial products such as derivatives,
and they do not allow restrictions on the size or form of financial firms
(not even to reduce systemic financial risk). In short, the WTO bars
regulations that place limits on the predatory practices of finance
capital and the inflation of financial bubbles that precipitate financial
The WTO integrates more farmers and agricultural output into the global
market. The more food production is oriented towards serving foreign
markets rather than domestic needs, the more transnational corporations –
commodity traders, food processors, and global retailers -- increase their
stranglehold over the global food system; and the more food becomes
inaccessible to those who need it the most. It is precisely the monopoly
capitalist control of global agriculture and the food system that has
spread the global famine now afflicting over a billion people in the
Likewise, trade liberalization encourages the growth of energy-intensive
industries , the expansion of chemical-intensive corporate farms,
increases the extraction and burning of fossil fuels; deforestation; and
other major drivers of global warming. WTO rules also prevent governments
from adopting environmental and social regulations that restrict the
operations and profits of monopoly capitalist firms including measures
aimed at reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
The liberalization of trade in so-called climate-friendly goods and
services is being hyped up as a means of mitigating climate change. In
fact, TNCs which supply these goods merely want to use a new WTO agreement
to widen their market access and at the same time strengthen and extend
their monopoly patents over technologies which hardly make a dent on
aggregate GHG emissions. Biotech firms are now stockpiling patents on
what they claim to be climate-resilient crops which they hope to market
widely with the aid of the WTO.
The imperialist states within the WTO remain united in their interest to
pass on the burden of coping with these crises onto the shoulders of the
working classes, especially in the poor and oppressed countries. However,
inter-imperialist competition is also at play inside the WTO as each of
the advanced capitalist countries resorts to increasing protectionist
Such protectionist measures include domestic subsidies that form part of
stimulus programs and trade barriers that limit market access for
exporters from other countries in the hope of reviving their own domestic
economies. This is the reason why even third world governments
representing comprador elite interests have so far refused to acquiesce to
imperialist demands for more market opening.
This accounts for the ambivalence of imperialist spokespersons who, after
using every multilateral gathering of imperialist states and major
economies this past year to call for the earliest possible conclusion of
the Doha Round, are now saying this December’s Ministerial meeting would
just be a stock-taking exercise rather than a negotiation.
At the same time, this may be a bluff to further divide the ranks of poor
countries and goad the governments of some of the latter to concede a few
key demands in order to have a basis for negotiations. This was already
the tendency displayed by India’s comprador ruling class during the WTO’s
mini-ministerial meeting held in New Delhi last October.
It becomes more imperative for peoples’ movements not to be complacent and
to be vigilant and militant about the future of the WTO’s Doha Round and
the neoliberal project in general. After serving their interests well for
the last three decades, monopoly capitalists are not about to give up
neoliberalism anytime soon.
But history is against them. The rottenness of the monopoly capitalist
system itself, not just the neoliberal project, is laid bare by the grave
crises devastating the people and the planet today. More than ever, it is
imperative that we not only push back against the expansion of the WTO and
other imperialist instrumentalities, but to fight for their outright
It is high time that we call for the building of a new international
economic and political order that is premised on equitable and mutually
beneficial relations among nations and oriented towards the fulfilment of
social needs rather than private profit and the private accumulation of
As the monopoly bourgeoisie tries to preserve its wealth and power, the
more resolute the people should become in waging militant struggles for
greater freedom, democracy, social justice, development and world peace.
The progressive mass movements and revolutionary forces of the people of
the world will surely gain strength and advance in the struggles for
national and social liberation against imperialism and all reaction. ###
For Immediate Release
Reference: Anakbayan New
York/ New Jersey, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
New York Says
DEFEND Jose Maria Sison!
“Sino, sino, sinong
terorista? Ang US, si Gloria, hinding hindi si Joma (Who, who, who is the
terrorist? The US, Gloria, Not Joma!),” reverberated in front of the
Philippine Consulate, on November 12, 2009. Members of the International
League of Peoples Struggles, BAYAN-USA and Gabriela USA came out to defend
Professor Jose Maria Sison’s rights and urge the European Union to uphold
the decision to keep Sison off the terror list.
The activists then
marched towards the Dutch consulate on Rockefeller Center. Passers-by have
cheered the marchers shouting ‘US, stop human rights abuses’.
Last September 30, 2009,
Professor Jose Ma. Sison won a favorable judgment by the European court of
First Instance (ECFI) in his complaint against the Council of European
Union (EU) for unjustly placing him of its latter’s terrorist black list
since October 28, 2002. The judgment of the ECFI cancels the previous
decision and regulation by EU of its terror blacklist.
“Now, Joma got his small
bank account unfrozen, he got back his social benefits and health
insurance, he can now render professional services, his right to travel
among other things. In other words, he got his dignity back,” Berna
Ellorin of BAYAN
But the Council of the
European Union might still decide to take an appeal to further delay and
deny justice for Sison. The EU has until December 10 to appeal the
decision of ECFI.
“It is inconceivable how
the council of EU can make a serious appeal on any question of law in view
of the fact that the ECFI has ruled on substantial issues and has declared
that Sison has never been investigated, prosecuted or convicted for any
specific act of terrorism and that the Dutch court’s decision on his
asylum case and on the false murder charge cannot be used as basis for
black listing him as a terrorist,” according to a statement by the
International committee DEFEND.
“Headed by US, EU and
Dutch government have based their accusations on the false premise of
terrorism and common crimes supplied by the Philippine government. These
countries have basically obstructed the peace talks between the Government
of the Republic of the Philippines and the National Democratic Front of
the Philippine through the listing of Jose Maria Sison as a terrorist,”
said Melanie Dulfo of Gabriela-USA.
Even though Sison was
delisted from the EU Terror list, He is still included in the US State
Department’s terror list since August 12, 2002.
“Until then, we will
continue the pressure to keep Prof. Sison off the EU and US State
Department Terror list. Justice for Joma Sison, is Justice for all of us
who are working towards a long lasting peace,” said Yves Nibungco,
chairperson of Anakbayan NY/NJ.
Prof. Jose Maria Sison is
the general consultant of International League of Peoples’ Struggle (ILPS)
and has been the chief political consultant of the National Democratic
Front of the Philippines (NDFP) in peace negotiations with the Government
of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP). Prof. Sison is a recognized
political refugee under the protection of the Refugee convention and the
European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental
LAND AND JUSTICE FOR THE PEASANTS
AND FARM WORKERS OF HACIENDA LUISITA
Issued by the Office of the Chairperson
International League of Peoples' Struggle
Today, the working people of the world are launching various forms of
protest actions to mark the International Day of Action against Trade
Union Repression. This provides a meaningful context for commemorating and
protesting the massacre of striking peasants and farm workers in Hacienda
Luisita in Tarlac province in the Philippines in 2004. The working people
of Hacienda Luisita exemplify the plight and struggle of the working
people of semicolonial and semifeudal countries, who still comprise the
majority of the world’s population.
Hacienda Luisita is the vast 6,000-hectare tract of land in Central Luzon
owned by the wealthy and powerful Cojuangco family to which former Pres.
Corazon “Cory” Aquino belonged . It stands as a bulwark of feudal and
semi-feudal exploitation and oppression within the context of the world
capitalist system. It demonstrates how the big comprador-landlords exploit
the working people and wield state power to oppress them. It exposes as a
sham the so-called “comprehensive agrarian reform program” that the Aquino
ruling clique had launched since the 1980s.
Earlier the Cojuangco family bought Hacienda Luisita from the Spanish
Tabacalera corporation with a loan from the government in the 1950s. The
loan was granted with the provision that a major portion of the land (2000
hectares) would be distributed later on to the peasants, within the frame
of the government’s “land reform” program.
The Cojuangco family not only failed to distribute the designated portion
of the land, it maneuvered to keep it and used violence to suppress those
who demanded land reform. In 1985, a trial court ruled that the lands be
distributed to the peasants, but 1986 saw the ascent to the presidency of
Aquino. The Aquino regime crafted an agrarian reform program which was
riddled with so many exemptions, including one called the Stock
Distribution Option (SDO) that was used to exempt Luisita from land
In this context, we can fully appreciate the significance of the strike
launched by Luisita peasants and farm workers in November 2004. They were
protesting the P9.50 take-home pay per day at the hacienda – a result of
the Stock Distribution Option scheme hatched by the Cojuangcos and the
landlord class to gain legal exemption from the fake agrarian reform
program being implemented by the government. They were also protesting the
dismissal of 300 workers from the hacienda’s sugar refinery, an act
intended to bust the local union which was then becoming militant.
Before and during their strike, the peasants and farm workers of Luisita –
with the active support of patriotic and progressive mass organizations
and alliances throughout the country, and with the help of alternative
media – won the attention and sympathy of the working people of the
country and the world. Many among the urban petty-bourgeoisie in the
Philippines were shocked to learn about concrete forms of feudal
exploitation and oppression that were persisting in the countryside. The
working people of the Philippines and the world applauded and encouraged
the working people of Luisita .
The Cojuangcos, the big comprador-landlord classes, and the reactionary
state were all shamed by the justness of the calls of the Luisita peasants
and farm workers. They reacted swiftly and viciously to the strike.
Patricia Sto. Tomas, then-labor secretary of the US-backed regime of Mrs.
Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, issued an Assumption of Jurisdiction order on the
issue, ordering the strikers to go back to work and authorizing the
deployment of military and police forces to dismantle the strike. Gen.
Hermogenes Esperon, Jr., who was widely believed to have been promoted to
his post for helping Mrs. Arroyo cheat in the 2004 elections, was the
military’s chief of staff.
The military and police forces went to the hacienda, bringing tanks, tear
gas, and high-powered rifles. The Luisita peasants and farm workers stood
their ground. With their unity and militance, they repelled various
attempts at breaking the strike. Thousands upon thousands of workers,
peasants and farm workers, together with their women folk, locked arms and
pushed away with their bodies the military and police who were armed with
shields. After reaching the ground, canisters of tear gas thrown by the
military were immediately covered with soil. A farmer, speaking to the
military, summed up their spirit: “Since you are already killing us, we
might as well die fighting.” These could only have aroused fear and panic
in the hearts of the oppressors..
In the afternoon of November 16, 2004,after the strikers promised in a
negotiation with military and police officials to lay down the pieces of
wood they were holding for defending themselves and to defend the strike
with just their bodies, the military and police forces opened fire. A few
minutes of gunfire left Jhaivie Basilio, Adriano Caballero, Jhune David,
Jesus Laza, Juancho Sanchez, Jaime Pastidio and Jessie Valdez fatally
wounded. Some of them could have been kept alive, but hospitals in
Cojuangco-dominated Tarlac refused to admit patients from the hacienda.
Calling for land to the tillers, they died fighting for the just cause of
the peasants and farm workers of Luisita and the country.
The owners of the hacienda, the reactionary government and the bourgeois
mass media tried to spread the canard that it was the Luisita farmers and
farm workers who started the violence and that it was fighters of the New
People’s Army,.who started the shooting. Their propaganda could not stand
up to the truth of the audio-visual evidence taken by progressive
filmmakers who covered the strike. The bursts of gunfire came from the
ranks of the military and the police. Subsequently, death squads of the
military went on a spree killing strike leaders and supporters, including
a bishop and a city councilor.
While the touters of the reactionary justice system in the Philippines
often cite the adage that “justice delayed is justice denied,” justice has
clearly been delayed and has been denied to the peasants and farm workers
of Hacienda Luisita. Five years after the massacre, no one has been
punished for the crime. There are many victims, but none of the criminal
perpetrators is imprisoned. Investigation of the cases has been proceeding
at snail pace, and the only significant development is that de facto
president Arroyo, her labor secretary Sto. Tomas and the military butcher
Esperon have been removed from the list of those charged. The ones
remaining on the sham charge sheet are the police and military officers
who tested positive in paraffin tests. But they are scot free and biding
The power of the labor secretary to issue Assumption of Jurisdiction (AJ)
orders remains in place – despite the graphic demonstration by what
happened in Luisita of its lethal consequences for working people. After
the massacre, the labor secretary issued AJ orders for numerous workplaces
in Central Luzon, thus facilitating the militarization of that region.
Since it was approved as part of the Labor Code in 1989, the AJ has been
used as license to suppress workers’ actions in workplaces throughout the
country. It is being imposed even before a strike is initiated – when
collective bargaining negotiations end in deadlock or when notices of
strike are filed before the government.
Pressured by the strike and the widespread condemnation of the massacre
locally and internationally, the Presidential Agrarian Reform Council (PARC),
in December 2005, revoked the Stock Distribution Option (SDO) scheme being
implemented in the hacienda and placed the lands previously under the SDO
into the “compulsory coverage” scheme of the government’s agrarian reform
program. The Hacienda Luisita management, losing no time, filed for a
Temporary Restraining Order in January 2006 against the resolution. In
June 2006, the Supreme Court issued a TRO and ordered the PARC and the
Department of Agrarian Reform to implement the revocation of the SDO.
Seeing the opportunity in this deadlock, and knowing that waiting for
government intervention will get them nowhere, the peasants and farm
workers of the hacienda took the initiative and launched their “kampanyang
bungkal” or campaign to till, which called on all working people of the
hacienda to plant crops that are necessary for everyday nourishment, such
as rice and vegetables, and can be sold for added income, such as fruits.
With the participation of more than a thousand families, the hacienda
land, which used to showcase sugarcane, now boasts of golden fields of
rice. The campaign caused an improvement in the lives and livelihood of
the working people of Luisita.
The Cojuangco family, however, has not given up on the fight to own the
Luisita lands. Last December 2008, emboldened by the passage of a law
extending the government’s anti-peasant agrarian reform program – which
still contained the SDO as one of the (non-)distribution schemes – the
Hacienda Luisita management issued a memorandum to the peasants tilling
the 2,000-hectare portion of the hacienda which ordered them to stop using
the lands for whatever purpose. After a public clamor directed at Sen.
Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III – a member of the Cojuangco family who’s
running in the 2010 presidential elections – the Hacienda Luisita
management was forced to backtrack.
Now, the Hacienda Luisita management is carrying out what it calls an
“enlistment” of peasants who would become the “beneficiaries” of agrarian
reform in the hacienda – as if it were the authorized body to implement
agrarian reform in that area and as if it were authorized to do so despite
the TRO. It is complaining of “illegal tillers” encroaching upon the
hacienda, who are actually the working people of Luisita. It is also
undertaking land-use conversion schemes in various parts of the land. The
creation of a vast highway that passes through the hacienda is being seen
as an opportunity to increase the value of hacienda land and an opening to
commercial uses of portions of the hacienda.
Five years after the massacre, the struggle of the Luisita peasants and
farm workers for justice, including the junking of the Assumption of
Jurisdiction power of the labor secretary, and land continues. They
deserve the full support of the working people of the Philippines and the
whole world. We hope that our International Day of Action against Trade
Union Repression and the fifth anniversary of the Hacienda Luisita
massacre will be an occasion for working people everywhere to discuss and
raise the issues of trade union repression in their work places and
countries. We should not allow trade union repression to weaken our ranks
and spirit. It should goad us to fight back and gain strength through
We have to continue and intensify our struggle not just against trade
union repression but also against the forms of feudal and semi-feudal
exploitation which are aligned with the world capitalist system. Let us
keep in mind that monopoly capitalist control of global agriculture and
the food system has now created a global famine afflicting over a billion
people for the first time in world history.
The struggle of the Luisita peasants and farm workers is instructive. It
is only through the militant struggle of working people that they can gain
strength and aim for their national and social liberation. We may win
victories in our struggle for reforms within the present world capitalist
system but these will continue to be at risk until we, the people of the
world, are strong enough to overthrow the exploiters and oppressors.###