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Join the cause! Bring the people's interest to the Senate

 

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Campaigning to serve the people wholeheartedly and entirely

despite the harassment, Red-baiting and witch-hunting

of progressive candidates, leaders and partylists

 

May 6, 2010

 

■  Jose Maria Sison: The facts against psywar intrigues

 

■  A blog on Red-baiting: Ang maruming laban ni Risa Hontiveros

 

■  Bonus Tracks: Invitation to a book launching

 

 

 

Sen. Chiz Escudero endorse Satur Ocampo and Liza Maza

A military personnel uses a powerpoint presentation to show to students in a college here in Davap City to show alleged links between progressive partylists and the insurgency

   
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Photos courtesy of Pagbabago-Davao, Vince Borneo and Team Satur (as indicated by the filenames)
           

 

Press Release with photos
April 9, 2010

Bayan twits 69th IB’s campaign vs. progressive partylists

Davao City- The Bagong Alyansang Makabayan twitted the military for actively campaigning against progressive partylist organizations, especially as it chanced upon the 69th Infantry Battallion actually conducting its villification campaign in a forum held at the Philippine College of Technology in Medical Drive, Bajada this city last Tuesday.

“Dirty propaganda will not succeed for as long as this corrupt government fails in uplifting people’s lives from dire poverty," said Bayan spokesperson John Birondo, adding that "these dirty verbal attacks against us will fail to gain people’s sympathy; we will not tolerate these lies sowed by the military because it is pure deception.”

During the forum, a resource person from the 69th IB urged students PCT students "not to join or support progressive groups and it particularly mentioned BAYAN and Gabriela as NPA fronts.

According to Birondo, “The military accused progressive partylists of corrupting pork barrel funds in Congress, a move in direct violation of the election code which prohibits the AFP from partisan politics and partisan campaigning."

Birondo urged its members and affiliate organizations and the people of Davao City to “actively document similar forums like this and to challenge top officials of the AFP to discipline its ranks."

For his part, Ariel Casilao, Bayan Muna Regional Coordinator in Southern Mindanao and one of the Makabayan candidates for City Councilor in District 2 under HUGPONG, said that “the military is desperate in preventing us from pushing reforms in the government; it being the mouthpiece of this corrupt and bankrupt government."

Casilao described the military as “’mad dogs’ who are so frantic because they failed in their counter-insurgency program, the Oplan Bantay Laya. This is the reason why the military establishment is hell-bent in sowing lies and deception against legitimate people’s organizations and progressive partylists.”

Casilao also belied to the military’s claim that the progressive partylists have misused pork barrel fund to the point that allegedly these groups cannot even provide even a piece of door for a school in Paquibato District.

“Everybody knows that Malacanang has stopped approving referrals from progressive partylist for medical, education, and infrastructure projects since Bayan Muna and the other groups filed for GLoria's impeachment. What is even worthy is that despite this fact, progressive partylist organizations have continued to expand and consolidate its ranks and provide ample services to the vast majority through sheer hard work and principled alliance with other political groups over the last five years," Birondo added.

For reference:
Mr. John Birondo
Bayan-SMR Regional Spokesperson
0939-656-8925
Ariel Casilao
Bayan Muna Regional Spokesperson
0907-701-0901

 

Photos taken by members of the Makabayan Coalition last April 6 showing a military personnel who uses a powerpoint presentation while speaking before students in a college here in the city regarding the purported links between progressive partylists and the Communist Party of the Philippines.

Military elements have been categorially telling students and community-based residents not to vote for Bayan Muna, Gabriela, Anakpawis, ACT Teachers, Kabataan and KATRIBU.

* The last two pictures show the military vehicle parked inside the school's ground.

---Caption by Makabayan-Davo

           
     
     
     

 

Press Statement
7 May 2010

THE FACTS AGAINST PSYWAR INTRIGUES

By Prof. Jose Maria Sison
Chief Political Consultant
NDFP Negotiating Panel

As chief political consultant of the Negotiating Panel of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP), I am well informed about the revolutionary position of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), the New People's Army and the NDFP as well as the position of other major political forces in relation to the 2010 elections of the reactionary government.

It is the consistent revolutionary position of the CPP, NPA and NDFP, as well expressed in the recent CPP and NPA anniversary statements, that the 2010 elections are on the whole and in essence a rotten process of a rotten ruling system dominated by the political agents of US imperialism and the local exploiting classes.

The NDFP Negotiating Panel has recently received word from the revolutionary forces of the CPP, NPA and NDFP that they are exceedingly happy that the necessity and objective conditions for waging revolution are further enhanced by the fact that the 2010 elections are manifesting the worst characteristics of the semicolonial and semifeudal system and are generating further political disorder and social turmoil.

They are amused that the poll surveys and the media reports have made an unstable, slothful and massacre-prone underachiever like Noynoy Aquino and a convicted plunderer and ruffian-type like Erap Estrada as the front runners in the presidential derby and that the Arroyo regime is still desperately maneuvering either to stay in power through failure of elections or choose the next president through manipulation of the vote count.

By manipulating the vote count through automation and/or manual count, the Arroyo regime can install as the next president either its own bet Gibo Teodoro or Noynoy Aquino who is the favorite choice of the the US country team (including the US ambassador, political officer and the mission chiefs of the AID, CIA , DIA and JUSMAG) and the Makati Business Club. One more bad president will further damn the ruling system and further incite the people to wage armed revolution.

Regarding such patriotic and progressive forces as Makabayan and some party list groups, everyone knows that the CPP, NPA and NDFP regard them as independent legal forces striving heroically to carry forward the national and democratic rights and interests of the Filipino people through the electoral form of struggle. The revolutionary forces and the broad masses of the people appreciate them as exceptional and different from the traditional politicians of the ruling system.

As a matter of public knowledge, I am aware that the bilateral alliance between Makabayan and the Nacionalista Party continues on the basis of the platform of land reform and rural development, industrial development and job generation, respect for human rights, indemnification of victims of human rights violations under the Marcos regime, protection of the environment, negotiations for a just peace, review of the Visiting Forces Agreement and other unequal agreements and independent foreign policy.

Brigadier General Francisco Cruz, chief of the AFP civil relations service, and retired police general Rodolfo Boogie Mendoza are spreading psywar intrigues and telling lies whenever they and their political masters invent stories to put the revolutionary forces at odds with the legal progressive forces and to counterpoise the central leadership of the revolutionary forces against a mere political refugee and long-disemployed teacher like me. In the days to come, the counterrevolutionary propagandists are expected to spew out more intrigues and lies calculated to favor certain parties and candidates and attack others.
 

I assure the two psywar intriguers and their political masters that I have the highest respect for the central leadership of the CPP, the national command of the NPA and the national council of the NDFP, which are all based in the Philippines. It is known to the public that I enjoy the trust and confidence of the revolutionary forces. They continue to let me serve the Filipino people as the chief political consultant of the NDFP in peace negotiations with the reactionary Manila government.

The broad masses of the Filipino people condemn the attempts of the most reactionary politicians and their military minions to discredit the Makabayan and progressive party list groups by Red-baiting them and witch hunting them as communists and self-contradictorily maligning them as being unprincipled for engaging in alliance tactics. These united front tactics allow them to retain their integrity, independence and initiative as patriotic and progressive forces and to facilitate and amplify their access to the people in their millions.

The anti-communist propaganda is calculated to pave the way for cheating the progressive forces and their allies and cutting down their votes. The impending electoral fraud at their expense will only further discredit the ruling system and will further justify the people's determination to intensify the revolutionary armed struggle. Definitely, the 2010 elections cannot be a way for any significant beneficial change. They are a device of the ruling system for deceiving the people and suppressing their will and voice.

The CPP, NPA and NDFP have always openly expressed their contempt for the entire ruling system of big compradors and landlords and their resolve to carry forward the people's war for national liberation and democracy. They are confident that the ever worsening crisis will continue to afflict the ruling system. The crisis will put the next president in serious trouble and compel him either to negotiate peace with the revolutionary forces or escalate the armed counterrevolution in a monstrous and self-defeating way. ###

     

On the campaign trail with Satur Ocampo and the Makabayan Team

▼ILOILO ▼

           



NEWS RELEASE
April 11, 2010

Church leaders, poll watchdog warn military vs. electioneering

DAVAO CITY – After receiving reports that the military is conducting partisan electoral campaigning from among college students--campaigning directed against members of the progressive partylists, the Pagbabago, People's Movement for Change - a People's watchdog and leaders of different church groups urged the Commission on Election to investigate and bar the AFP from further committing such acts.

"Just recently, we learned from Makabayan Coalition that the 69th Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army conducted a forum among the students of a college in Davao City where a powerpoint presentation was shown linking the progressive partylist to the communists groups, and campaigning against these partylist " said Sr. Diane Cabasagan convenor of Pagbabago, and a member of the Sisters' Association in Mindanao.

Military elements have been categorially telling students and community-based residents not to vote for Bayan Muna, Gabriela, Anakpawis, ACT Teachers, Kabataan and KATRIBU.

“It is a clear violation of the Omnibus Election Code as well as the democratic essence of the whole electoral process," said Cabasagan.

Reports reaching Pagbabago state that the group is also receiving complaints from Tagum City, where the campaign posters of progressive partylists were spray-painted with the “Kampon ng Komunista.”

“These blatantly electioneering activities may also instigate election-related violence, hence we urge the members of the police and the military to abide by its non-partisan status during the elections,” said Cabasagan.

For his part, Reverend Sarly Templado of the United Church of Christ of the Philippines, enjoined the electorate and concerned civilians to monitor similar election-related violations which disrupt the conduct of a peaceful and credible elections.

“If we want credible and meaningful elections, we should not sleep on our rights and conscienticize the military, police and oher government agencies to refrain from abusing their authority during this election period. Let us report cases of election-related violence and do our part in protecting our sacred rights," said Templado.

Pagbabago may be contacted thru its hotline numbers, 273-2669 or 0930-532-1683.#

For reference:
Sr. Diane Cabasagan, RGS - 0920-9523604
Rev. Sarly Templado, UCCP - 0908-6719209
--
Pagbabago! People's Movement for Change - Davao City
www.pagbabago.org



--
Pagbabago! People's Movement for Change - Davao City
www.pagbabago.org

     
     
           
     
     
           

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Makabayan’s response to the current red-baiting and witch-hunting of progressive candidates, leaders and party lists

Submitted by mkbyn on Tue, 04/27/2010 - 2:34pm

blackprop 04-24-10 (3).jpgThere is a marked heightening of red-baiting and witch-hunting in the campaign for the May 2010 elections. The issues raised are pseudo-issues, part of the concerted and long-standing effort of the US-Arroyo regime to demonize progressive candidates, leaders and party-lists. It is led primarily by the military and the rabid anti-communist party-lists and candidates like known human rights violator Gen. Jovito Palparan.

What is relatively new is the high-profile involvement of a senatorial candidate of the Liberal Party (Risa Hontiveros-Baraquel) and the spokesperson of the LP presidential candidate in the smear campaign and their attempts to besmirch as well candidates allied to Makabayan.

Nonetheless, Makabayan and its allied party-lists must tackle these so-called issues and in the process amplify on their progressive electoral platform, stand on substantive issues and their unblemished track record.

1. Are Makabayan candidates Satur Ocampo and Liza Maza, and party-lists Bayan Muna, Gabriela, Anakpawis, Kabataan, ACT and Katribu, personalities and fronts of the CPP-NPA?

ANSWER:
No, these candidates are not CPP-NPA personalities nor are their party-lists front organizations of the CPP-NPA. Satur Ocampo and Liza Maza are elected lawmakers who have served for 9 years in Congress. Many of these party lists have consistently topped past national elections, and have a combined voter base of some 3 million. Bayan Muna led by Satur and Gabriela Women’s Party, by Liza and the other progressive party lists are all engaged in legal and unarmed struggle, participate in elections and operate within the bounds of the law. They do not advocate the armed overthrow of the government nor do they take up arms against the government. On the other hand, the CPP and NPA are revolutionary organizations engaged in armed struggle against what they consider to be an oppressive government and an unjust social system. The party-list groups are distinct, separate and have no organizational links to the CPP-NPA.

For all the repeated allegations and trumped-up charges hurled against Satur, Liza and other progressive leaders and party-lists, none have prospered, whether at the Comelec or in any court of law. The Supreme Court itself, in a landmark decision, dismissed the charges of rebellion against the six progressive lawmakers collectively called the “Batasan 6”.

We object to the communist-labeling and other forms of red-baiting because such have been used to justify extra-judicial killings and other human rights violations against the members and supporters of the progressive leaders and groups. The red-baiting that some parties are maliciously engaged in is the same red-baiting used by the military to justify the arrests, torture, extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances of hundreds of unarmed activists, including workers, students, farmers, teachers, women, indigenous peoples, pastors and priests. Those singing the same tune as the AFP should be reminded that they are actually reinforcing the conditions for more human rights abuse.

2. But aren’t these groups leftists just like the CPP-NPA?


ANSWER:
Both groups belong to what is generally referred to as the “Left”, meaning groups seeking fundamental and radical changes in society and government. However, there is a distinction between unarmed activists and those engaged in revolutionary armed struggle. Being a part of the “Left” per se is not illegal. It has been the habit of the US-Arroyo regime to maliciously label critics as “Leftists” and “communists”, even “terrorists”, in order to vilify them and justify political and physical attacks against them. In the past, the US-Marcos dictatorship called Sen. Ninoy Aquino a “communist” in order to incarcerate him indefinitely and to try to isolate him politically. It failed.

The AFP is using this worn-out tactic of red-baiting to threaten progressive candidates and their allies and to scare the people from voting for progressive candidates. The AFP has used banners, posters, poison letters and death threats against the supporters and allies of progressive candidates and party lists.

3. If they are not connected to the NPA, why don’t they denounce the activities of the NPA, including revolutionary taxes and permits to campaign?


ANSWER:
The progressive candidates are not connected nor do they benefit in any way from the so-called revolutionary taxes and permits-to-campaign of the NPA. Moreover, these supposed “issues” are better understood in the context of the ongoing armed conflict in the country between the government and revolutionary organizations such as the CPP-NPA-NDF. The armed conflict has persisted for 40 years, with the government unable and unwilling to address the root causes of the armed conflict; historically and currently these are traceable to social injustice, widespread poverty and backwardness and intense oppression. More than merely condemning these activities, what is needed and more helpful is to call for the resumption of peace talks between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines on the basis of previous signed agreements. This constitutes the first step in addressing the root causes of the armed conflict. Makabayan and its allied party lists have been consistent in working for a just and lasting peace. Makabayan believes that the only way to achieve this is through genuine land reform, a self-reliant economy and genuine representation and empowerment for the people. For the record, Satur headed the Committee on Peace and Reconciliation in the House of Representatives.

We note that the challenge to condemn so-called NPA atrocities is posed only to the progressive candidates under the Makabayan banner. The desired effect is to put these candidates on the spot, as if the absence of any strong condemnation on their part necessarily means they are NPA supporters, if not NPA combatants themselves.

It is also illogical and mendacious for Akbayan’s Risa Hontiveros to say that the “it is actually their (progressive groups’) refusal to condemn the atrocities and abuses of the CPP-NPA that indirectly helps human rights violators like Palparan to commit further abuses.” This statement clearly shifts the blame for human rights abuse to the victims themselves, apart from covering up the culpability of the real murderers and masterminds of the brutal Oplan Bantay Laya like General Palparan and Mrs. Gloria Arroyo.

4. What is the reason then for the “communist-labeling”?


ANSWER:
This is part of the government’s bloody anti-insurgency campaign that targets legal and unarmed activists. Since 2003, the Arroyo government has conducted a brutal campaign of repression against activists, progressive groups and their sympathizers who are critical of or oppose the US-Arroyo regime. Thousands of ordinary people are targeted for extrajudicial killing, enforced disappearance, arbitrary arrest, torture and detention not to mention the tens of thousands victimized by mass displacement. The regime erroneously thinks that by suppressing these unarmed, legal progressive groups, it would weaken the NPA. No less than the UN Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial Killings has pointed out that the heightened human rights abuse under the Arroyo regime is attributable to the counter-insurgency program of the regime.

5. Is it true that these party lists use their “pork barrel” funds to fund illegal activities of the NPA? Or for personal gain?

ANSWER:
No. Since 2005, after Satur, Liza and other representatives from the progressive party lists led the impeachment drives against Mrs. Arroyo, they have not received the said “pork barrel” funds usually allotted for lawmakers. These progressive candidates and groups do not have any history of diverting public funds for personal gain. In fact, the representatives of the progressive party lists continue to rank among the poorest in the House of Representatives. Congressman Crispin Beltran is a prime example: he lived and died a poor man. It has also been the position of the progressive party-list block in Congress to abolish the pork barrel system.

 

     
     
     

▼MANILA ▼

     
     
     
     
           
     
     
     

 

BAYAN MUNA CHARGES GONZALEZ, BANGIT WITH ELECTION OFFENSES, CALLS FOR INVESTIGATION OF MISUSE OF INTELLIGENCE FUNDS FOR ELECTORAL FRAUD AND PARTISAN POLITICAL ACTIVITY

Bayan Muna representative and senatorial candidate Satur Ocampo will file a complaint at the COMELEC today against generals Delfin Bangit and Reynaldo Mapagu, and Department of National Defense Ssecretary Norberto Gonzales for partisan political activity and harassment conducted by the Armed Forces of the Philippines against supporters of Bayan Muna, senatorial candidate Satur Ocampo and other progressive candidates.

Bayan Muna wants COMELEC to prosecute Bangit, Gonzales, and Mapagu for misusing their official powers and functions, by ordering military personnel to conduct nationwide, organized, and systematic attacks against Bayan Muna's candidates and supporters, including the use of public funds to fund these activities.

Bayan Muna is also asking COMELEC to subpoena the military’s intelligence funds expenditure to investigate if these were spent on electoral intervention and fraud.

These acts of the military are partisan political activity and a clear violation of the Omnibus Election Code. The complaint is part of a series of complaints already filed against military officers in Sorsogon, South Cotabato and Davao.
“We have officials in the military and in the government especially Bangit, Mapagu, and Gonzalez who have turned deaf despite the glaring evidence of violations committed by their subordinates. We will make sure that the perpetrators of these attacks are seriously prosecuted to hammer the message that the military should not interfere in the elections," Bayan Muna representative and legal counsel Neri Colmenares said. "We hope this will serve as a warning to those who persist in harassing us that we will not take this sitting down.”

“We are now asking the Commission on Elections to act with speed on this complaint and they should not, unlike the military,be numb to these violations,” he said.###

     
           

▼MANILA DISTRICTS 5 AND 6▼

           
     
     
     

 

 

Voting for Change: Will the May 2010 Elections Deliver?

By Pagbabago! People's Movement for Change

May 4, 2010

In the final stretch to the May 10, 2010 elections the most common question on voters’ minds is of course who to vote for. Knowing the value of their vote, most voters also ask which candidates will deliver change for themselves, their families and the country. Certainly if there’s anything Filipinos want in May 2010 it’s change from the political, economic and social disorder that the Arroyo administration leaves behind.

Yet how change can begin to happen and who the ‘best’ candidates to push it are not as obvious as it might seem. The presidency for instance is the most important and highest-profile position at stake – but it’s alarming that the presidential candidates’ positions on the most urgent issues faced by the people still don’t figure prominently in their campaigns and hence in how voters will make their choice.

Candidates can project an image of reform but what exactly, beyond the worn-out motherhood statements, can and will they do? Pagbabago! People’s Movement for Change drew up the People’s Criteria by which to measure the candidates especially, but not only, for the country’s highest office and together with IBON Foundation has researched the positions of all the presidential candidates.

Presidential candidates’ stand on key people’s issues

The key issues confronting the country and challenging the candidates can be clustered into five main areas: i) truth, accountability and justice; ii) economic progress and the environment; iii) people’s welfare; iv) sovereignty, peace and equality; and v) love of country. The antidote to ambiguity and generalities is to ground the People's Criteria in the concrete and specific problems that Filipinos face. On this basis, presidential candidates can be assessed according to whether and how far they offer real solutions.

A presidential candidate’s stand on an issue can be identified based on explicit declarations such as his or her platform; positions taken on government policies, programs or laws; and his or her track record or personal involvement on the matter.

Truth, accountability and justice

The candidates all declare themselves to be anti-corruption even as the most pressing corruption issues at hand have to do with Pres. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, her family, and her allies in and out of government. The most pointed proposal comes from Noynoy Aquino who declared that he will set up a commission on the corruption scandals surrounding Pres. Arroyo. JC delos Reyes, Richard Gordon, Jamby Madrigal, Nicky Perlas, Eddie Villanueva and Manny Villar have also said that Pres. Arroyo should be held accountable for possible crimes committed. Administration candidate Gilbert Teodoro on the other hand evasively declares this a matter for the courts. Former president Joseph Estrada has avoided taking a strong stand against Pres. Arroyo on corruption scandals even as he says that there must be justice regarding electoral fraud in the 2004 elections; however he is unique for being the only candidate already convicted of plunder.

All similarly declare to uphold human rights but have widely varying positions in practice. Delos Reyes, Madrigal and Villanueva have openly opposed extrajudicial killings while Villar affirms seeking justice for human rights victims from the Marcos dictatorship to the present. Perlas does not have a strong stand on these issues. Aquino, Madrigal and Teodoro voted against the controversial Human Security Act (Anti-Terror Law) – which Gordon and Villar voted for – while delos Reyes has emphasized pushing implementation of the law on Barangay Human Rights Action Centers. Aquino spoke out against extrajudicial killings but downplays the Hacienda Luisita massacre perpetrated by military, police and hacienda security guards. Moreover, the commission he proposes to investigate Arroyo does not cover human rights violations. Estrada and Teodoro meanwhile are directly implicated in human rights violations committed by government forces in accord with state policy during their stints as, respectively, president and defense secretary.

Economic progress and the environment

The deterioration of the domestic economy affects millions of Filipinos yet it appears most candidates have not offered a comprehensive analysis of the problem, much less the basic reforms needed to solve these problems. Only Madrigal spells out a nationalist economic program of genuine agrarian reform, industrialization, and protection of the national patrimony. She filed related legislation and voted against the free trade deal with Japan; however she voted for the CARPer or extension “with reforms” of the comprehensive agrarian reform program which has been criticized by many peasant groups as a failure.

Delos Reyes, Gordon, Perlas and Villanueva appear to approach land reform more from the point of view of agricultural productivity rather than social justice. Aquino abstained from voting on the controversial CARPer but in effect continues to defend his family’s stake in Hacienda Luisita which is a showcase of evading agrarian reform. Villar did not vote on CARPer and has said that he will review agrarian reform, yet is a real estate developer facing allegations of land-grabbing. There were no land reform gains under the Estrada presidency, while Teodoro says that there should already be a shift in focus from land distribution to improving productivity.

Villar and to some degree Villanueva acknowledge the importance of developing local manufacturing. They also express being critical of so-called globalization and call for a review, as do delos Reyes and Perlas. Conversely Aquino, Estrada, Gordon and Teodoro are the most aggressive in opening up the domestic economy to foreign investors (even in large-scale mining, with the exception of Aquino who is silent on the matter).

People’s welfare

The record joblessness can only be arrested upon reversing the economy’s decline but there can still be immediate measures to address the people’s welfare. Madrigal has taken on all of the workers’ major demands such as higher wages (supporting a nationwide P125 hike), a ban on contractualization and the defense of migrant rights. Villanueva and Villar likewise support higher wages, with the latter open to legislating this; delos Reyes and Villanueva both oppose contractualization. Gordon, Perlas and Teodoro are silent on increasing wages. Aquino pushed legislation against non-compliance with the minimum wage although his proposal for productivity incentives for workers was criticized by labor groups as undercutting the demand for a P125 wage hike. Estrada resisted wage hikes during his term.

Debt service payments have long been proposed as a source of increased funding for social services. Madrigal has the most defined position and advocates cancelling or repudiating onerous debts, imposing a cap, and even demanding reparations for payments already made on such debts. Delos Reyes, Gordon and Villanueva appear open to at least a moratorium while Perlas and Villar are amenable to changing the law on automatic appropriation and pursuing debt relief, respectively. The Estrada administration faithfully paid debt and was able to give relatively greater priority to education than all the other post-Marcos governments, which Teodoro likewise promises to do. Aquino has no clear position on the issue.

Filipinos suffer a regressive tax burden. Madrigal voted against the RVAT law and other tax measures’ delos Reyes says that he will lower the VAT on food, water and electricity. Perlas vows he will lessen the tax burden on the poor and Villanueva says he wants progressive taxation. In contrast Aquino, Gordon, and Villar voted for RVAT and so-called sin taxes (with Gordon authoring the sin taxes law). Aquino and Villar say that they are open to imposing new taxes while Teodoro has already proposed raising the VAT from 12 to 15 percent and Gordon is pushing for a tax on texting. Among the crimes Estrada was convicted of was pocketing hundreds of millions of pesos in tobacco taxes for himself.

Sovereignty, peace and equality

Philippine governments have persistently yielded to the interests of big foreign powers especially the United States (US). Madrigal unequivocally opposes foreign military presence in the country and stands for the repeal of military treaties with the US. Delos Reyes, Perlas and Villar only seek a review of the US-RP Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) and other unequal military treaties. Aquino, Gordon and Teodoro are particularly vocal in their support of the US military presence in the country while the controversial VFA was ratified during the Estrada administration.

Deep poverty and inequality have underpinned the armed conflicts on-going in the country involving the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF). Madrigal, Perlas and Villar support peace talks and addressing the socioeconomic and political roots of the conflicts. In contrast, Estrada opted to wage “all-out war” against the MILF, while Teodoro criticizes the “hearts and minds” approach to insurgency as too soft and advocates greater militarism. Aquino, delos Reyes, Gordon and Villanueva have not publicly stated a clear stand on the resumption of talks. Villanueva does however acknowledge the underpinnings of conflict and his “long-term peace agenda” includes socioeconomic measures.
 

On long-neglected gender issues, Madrigal is most specific in identifying and opposing various forms of gender inequality such as unequal pay, discriminatory access to work, sexual harassment, exploitation and abuse, and sexist culture and biases. Gordon also declares opposition to gender biases but does not go into any detail, which in effect places him astride Aquino, Perlas, Teodoro, Villanueva and Villar who have no clear stand on the matter. Estrada also does not declare any position on the matter even as he openly acknowledges his mistresses and children by them. Delos Reyes meanwhile has actually articulated a position opposed to women asserting their rights.
 

 

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Love of country

Nationalist values have been particularly disparaged in the age of ‘globalization’. Only Madrigal and Villanueva actively promote nationalism and patriotism, including but not restricted to prioritizing the national language as the medium of instruction; delos Reyes supports nationalist filmmaking in particular. Aquino, Estrada, Gordon, Perlas, Teodoro and Villlar do not have a clear stand.

Assessing the presidential candidates

The People’s Criteria seek to assess candidates’ declarations and practice in terms of the demand for meaningful change and from a patriotic, pro-people and democratic standpoint. Voters will certainly also be making individual judgments on the sincerity, integrity and character of candidates as well as on their political capacity or clout to push for what they stand for. The Criteria however aim to look into candidates’ concrete and verifiable positions on specific matters at hand.

The underlying questions are big and imposing: Who will be genuinely anti-corruption as well as uphold human rights? Who is open to radical economic and social reforms that break from the failed policies of the past? Who will stand for sovereignty and social justice? At the same time the issues at hand are specific and concrete: grand-scale corruption and electoral fraud by the Arroyo administration; worsening poverty, inequality and underdevelopment due to ‘globalization’ policies; and state-sponsored human rights violations and political repression.

Applying the criteria to the presidential candidates, Madrigal articulates a nationalist economic and political agenda and has a record in the Senate of taking progressive stands on key legislation. Aside from these she also has a record of taking up advocacies of people’s organizations. None of the other lagging candidates, either those who have held political office or even those coming from so-called civil society, have been able to formulate a similarly coherent alternative agenda.

The profile and nature of the leading candidates if anything affirm how Philippine elections remain fundamentally elite-dominated and money-driven. The unfortunate implication is that the corresponding front-runners whose agenda are much less progressive, or even retrogressive, are the ones who have the political influence and wherewithal to pursue these. Pushing for consequential reforms will then demand an even greater effort from organized grassroots forces to seize what little democratic space and opportunities exist or can be created.

Aquino’s appeal appears to stem from being portrayed as heir to his parents’ legacies, being anti-corruption and a reluctant candidate. These are said to be enough to establish his credentials as unambitious and a non-traditional politician. However he does not express a broader and more cohesive political, economic and social reform agenda. Moreover there is nothing in his track record, especially his twelve years in Congress, to indicate any intent, much less ability, to push and implement such an agenda. Aquino also has a personal stake in land reform, through Hacienda Luisita and other large landholdings of his family. He exhibits a deferential attitude to US intervention in and undue influence over the internal affairs of the country.

Villar meanwhile plays up his supposed personal odyssey from poverty to riches as something that the country’s poor, through sipag at tiyaga, can similarly undertake. However his candidacy appears to be hurting from allegations of corruption in the C-5 highway extension as well as accusations of being the unpopular Pres. Arroyo’s preferred candidate. He does not have a particularly progressive legislative record although it is positive that he has spelled out an economic and political agenda with relatively progressive elements. This agenda is of recent vintage and is mainly prompted by the electoral alliance forged with the country’s mainstream Left political parties under the umbrella of Makabayan. This could indicate an openness to building consensus with non-traditional and progressive political groups.

The Estrada candidacy stands out not just for being a presidential re-election bid but also in bearing the outcomes of the Estrada presidency. Beyond any formally articulated agenda his stand is defined by an outright plunder conviction (albeit he was later pardoned by Pres. Arroyo), and the economic disarray and political disorder under his administration.

Teodoro is important to consider as the official administration candidate and presumed main beneficiary of its formidable resources and machinery. Among all the candidates his position on political and economic issues is the most continuous with that of the Arroyo administration.

The People’s Choice: Advancing democracy

The May 2010 elections reflect the state of Philippine democracy which evidently remains a work in progress. Among the implications of the country’s retarded democracy is that the likely winner cannot and will not fully represent the people’s interest – he will come from the ranks of the country’s ruling elite and will be most strongly influenced by the sorts of anti-people and anti-democratic influences that have long kept the majority of the people poor, exploited and powerless.

These elections cannot in themselves bring about the real change that our people need and demand. What is more realistic is to see the May 2010 elections as a way to create the conditions for real change to take place. Among the most important possible gains is to increase the influence of progressive leaders and groups on conventional politics such as through the party list system in the House of Representatives. It is now possible to elect progressives into the Senate. It would also be desirable to have a presidency that will give progressive forces a measure of space to push for policies and programs that can benefit the people in the short- and long-term.

Beyond the elections and especially in light of the country’s iniquitous and crisis-ridden socioeconomic and political structures, people's organizations and mass movements are still the driving force of any genuine democracy. They provide a vision and a concrete program for achieving national freedom, democracy, justice, progress and peace. They embody the most meaningful social sectors working for genuine change in the country. Their determined efforts have kept the needed political and socio-economic reforms on the national agenda. The openings for genuine change grow the stronger the social movements are and the more successful the people’s struggles outside the merely electoral arena.

A Footnote: Fraud, and failure?

As in past elections there will certainly be fraud. It is just a matter of how much and how far any of this will come to light since truly fair, free and honest elections still escape the Philippines. But there is another looming problem with the May 2010 elections that threatens to make them much more problematic than usual: it is widely believed that the Pres. Arroyo is unwilling to accept the end of her term in office and has taken steps to remain in power.

As things stand many are still hoping for peaceful, newly automated, and at least passably credible elections followed by the transition to a new administration. Ms. Arroyo will likely take the congressional seat of Pampanga’s 2nd district; she hopes to somehow have enough reliable allies in Congress to allow her to mount renewed campaigns for higher office – the Speakership of the House in the existing presidential system and a possible prime minister post in a parliamentary system. It is already a given that there will be cheating at least of the traditional kind and, in all likelihood, of a new and automated sort.

The situation however is made potentially volatile by Pres. Arroyo and her clique’s resistance to relinquishing power amidst political isolation unprecedented since the time of the Marcos dictatorship. At the same time there are others clearly determined to take the incumbent’s place with all its attendant economic and political spoils and, indeed, have invested in electoral campaigns running in the billions of pesos.

Elections will take place on May 10 – the question though is what happens then and afterwards. The main scenario being floated is a problem in counting or even in voting in sufficient places across the country. This in turn would preclude proclamation of elected president, vice president and senators while allowing successors in congressional and local seats. Many fear the automated elections has been designed to fail so as to create conditions for electoral disorder and wholesale fraud.

The more extreme direction this scenario takes is, on a sufficient pretext, a declaration of martial law or some kind of emergency rule that leads to a holdover Arroyo presidency or some kind of transition government under Ms. Arroyo. Another scenario is for a victorious Pampanga (2nd district) Rep. Arroyo to quickly maneuver to take the House Speakership and, in the absence of a president, vice president and senate president, take over purportedly according to the line of succession. Either direction keeps Arroyo in a strong position to influence if not determine the outcome of the elections (or of new elections).

A brazen power grab of this kind would only underscore how subverted and undemocratic the country’s political system remains. It would also highlight how direct democratic action by the people through People Power remains a most potent form of intervention considering the country’s constant crises. There is at the same time the caution that it should be protected from the self-serving schemes of the various factions of the country’s ruling elite. If anything, bold efforts should be taken so that another People Power episode results in a government that will push for real change in the country and not merely more of the same elite rule. ###

           

URGENT ACTION ALERT

 

A candidate running for city councilor in the May 10 elections and endorsed by MAKABAYAN Coalition harassed in Iloilo City, Philippines
 

UA No: 2010-05-01
UA Date : 5 May 2010
UA Case : Threat/Harassment/Intimidation

Victim/s : Jose Reynaldo “Jory” Porquia
• 49 years old, married
• A candidate running for city councilor in Iloilo City in the May 10 elections under the MAKABAYAN Coalition

Place of Incident : Brgy. Quintin Salas, Jaro, Iloilo City

Date of Incident : April 29, 2010

Alleged Perpetrator(s): A certain Ramon Socrates Ledesma of Western Visayas Advocates for Peace a fictitious organization believed to be the handiwork of the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency (NICA)

Account of the Incident:

With only two weeks left before the elections, Jose Reynaldo “Jory” Porquia who is running for a seat in the city council of Iloilo City received two poison-pen letters signed by a certain Ramon Socrates Ledesma of Western Visayas Advocates for Peace. One of the letters dated April 26, 2010 contains the following message: “It seems that you are not truthful and serious in serving the public. We found out that you continue your alliance with the enemies of democracy, progress and peace-the CPP-NPA-NDF and its Partylists. Your alliance with them is an admission that you are one of them who adheres to the non sense of communism. WITH THIS LETTER IS A BLACK RIBBON THAT WILL REMIND YOU THAT YOUR LIFE, AS WELL AS YOUR FAMILY, IS ONLY A PRIVILEGE. IF DEATH BECOMES YOU, MAY YOU REST IN PEACE.” It can be recalled that this is exactly the content of the letter received by KABATAAN Partylist 3rd nominee Atty. Katrina Castillo and the subject of UA No: 2010-04-03.

The second letter suggests that Jory Porquia ignored the warning by continuing his alliance with the CPP-NPA and its Partylists, thus he is now considered an enemy of democracy, and it ended with the veiled threat of “the rest is up to us.”

The MAKABAYAN Coalition strongly believes that the threat and intimidation of its members and volunteers in several parts of the country are state-sponsored as evidenced by the discovery of a vehicle with plate number PJF 185, used by the people distributing black propaganda materials against the coalition and its members in Davao City in Mindanao, as registered under the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency or NICA, which is headed by National Security Adviser and presently the Secretary of National Defense, Mr. Norberto Gonzales.

 

           
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Press release
April 12, 2010
For Immediate Release

KATRIBU DENOUNCES CONTINUED PARAMILITARY RECRUITMENT, MILITARIZATION

Katribu Partylist – Northern Mindanao denounces the relentless militarization and continued recruitment and harassment of indigenous peoples for counter-insurgency operations in Agusan del Sur.

Benito Pio, 38 years old, a Manobo from Lapaz, Agusan del Sur and an active member of KALUMBAY, a regional formation of indigenous peoples’ organizations, has escaped from their militarized community and reported the efforts of the 26th Infantry Battallion under Lt. Nara and Sgt. Villaganas to organize a mass surrender.

He reported that 20 soldiers have camped in their social hall since January 29, 2010 and has coerced him and other tribal leaders in interrogations to admit their involvement with communal farms allegedly managed by the New People’s Army (NPA).

Pio stated that during interrogation, Sgt. Villaganas told him., “Magpasaka ko sa kaso pero dili pa nako ipasang-at sa korte kay maresolba pa man. Pwede man na ipa-alsa asa ang kumonidad o mass surrender. Ang mga Datu o tiguwang, armasan pag-usab aron mahimong Bagani Force. Kung magsurrender mo, pwede pa mo mahimong usa sa 200,000 nga kota sa mga sundalong lumad.” (I will file a case but will still not submit, for this can still be resolved. The community could mass surrender. The Datus or Elders will be armed to be part of the Bagani Force. If the community surrenders, you can be part of the 200,000 quota for lumad soldiers.)

Samuel Hangadon, 44 years old, a Higaonon from Esperanza, Agusan del Sur and an active member of Linundigan, a local Higaonon organization, has also reported the continued recruitment of paramilitary Task Force Gantangan (TFG) and hamletting of their community. He has fled his community last September 3, 2009, after witnessing the killing of Datu Mampaagi Belayong perpetrated by the TFG Striker Force.

According to Hangadon after his recent meeting of his wife last March 2010, some 100 families of Brgy. Kinamaybay and 40 families in some sitios of Brgy. Agsabo, Esperanza, Agusan del Sur suffer from curtailed freedom of movement due to constant surveillance and restrictions set by the TFG. Families were said to be only allowed to farm in areas only 1 km away, required to report back to the community by 3 pm, and made to sign logbooks to show they were back from their farms. Failing to sign the logbooks would subject the concerned Lumads to interrogations and harassments. Families were also said to be required to pay P50 – P100 per week. For long, the Lumad communities have been living in fear such that they have already expressed desire to evacuate and move elsewhere.

“We denounce the 26th Infantry Battalion for continually recruiting the much dreaded lumad vigilantes such as Task Force Gantangan and Bagani Force. The Bagani Force and Task Force Gantangan has never protected the lumads and our ancestral domain as it only resulted in terrorizing lumad communities by pitting lumads versus lumads and pitting lumads versus non-Lumad settlers" KATRIBU Partylist Regional Coordinator Datu Jomorito Goaynon said.

“The rights of civilians to peaceful and safe living are violated by the military's coercion and recruitment of lumad and farmer civilians in their operations. The permanent presence of military camps in the communities has created dangerous situations for the people and uncertainties in their economic survival,” Goaynon added.

KATRIBU Partylist intends to file appropriate charges against Lt. Nara and Sgt. Villaganas of the 26th IB and vows to carry the advocacy to defend ancestral domain from militarization and persevere in the struggle for the respect of lumad's rights and welfare. ###

For Reference:
JOMORITO GOAYNON
09303458010

 

▼MARAWI CITY▼

     
     
     
           
     
     
     

Press Release
March 18, 2010

Reference: MR. SIEGFRED DEDURO
Coordinator, MAKABAYAN Panay
Contact No: 0908-742-6457
c/o Door 2, Jardeleza Apartment
Cuartero St., Jaro, Iloilo City

MAKABAYAN decries harassment
 

Iloilo City – Progressive partylists and candidates under the Makabayang Koalisyon ng Mamamayan (MAKABAYAN) condemned the defacement of their streamers and their other lawful election propaganda last Sunday (March 14).
 

The word ‘NPA’ and the communist symbol hammer and sickle were spray-painted over the tarpaulin streamers posters bearing the senatorial candidacy of Cong. Satur Ocampo and Cong. Liza Maza . Most of the posters of partylists Bayan Muna, Gabriela, Anakpawis, Kabataan, ACT Teachers, and Katribu hung at the public plazas in Iloilo City were also ripped down in the morning of March 14.
 

“We strongly condemn these malicious and dirty tactics employed against us. This is a clear violation of Section 83 of the Omnibus Election Code”, expressed Siegfred Deduro of MAKABAYAN Panay.

The law states that it shall be unlawful for any person during the campaign period to remove, destroy, obliterate, or in any manner deface or tamper with, or prevent the distribution of lawful election propaganda”.

“We appeal to the COMELEC and the Philippine National Police to exert due effort to apprehend the operatives who are actively campaigning against our candidacy. They are indeed very determined and aggressive in making these malicious campaigns because even the tarpaulins outside our headquarters were defaced and spray-painted”, lamented Deduro.

“The city-wide attack against our election propaganda materials last week end simply shows that our candidacy for the May elections is a force to reckon with,” added Deduro.

MAKABAYAN also expressed fear that the next attack will be directed towards organizers and supporters of these progressive partylists and senatorial candidates. “The national government with its Oplan Bantay Laya 2 counter-insurgency program declared the CPP-NPA-NDF as enemies of the state. But the government is systematically labelling those in the legal progressive movement as fronts of CPP-NPA-NDF. This makes us more vulnerable to extra-judicial killings, enforced disappearances, and all forms of political persecution and harassment. We hope that the COMELEC and the Philippine National Police, together with other election watchdogs will seriously address these election-related issues for a peaceful, fair, and orderly May elections”, expressed Deduro.

The militant partylists joined the electoral arena in 2001 with the hope to introduce meaningful reforms in the government amidst political persecution. “Now that we joined the electoral struggle to further serve the interest of the people, they are attacking us. This is indeed a very superficial expression of democracy on the part of the Arroyo government, cracking down its staunch critics, and worse, labelling them as enemies of the state. This is truly condemnable”, ended Deduro. #
 

     
           
     
           
           

 

Tuesday, April 13, 2010 at 2:09pm
PRESS RELEASE
April 13, 2010

For Immediate Release

VOX POPULI DEBUNKS RED-TAGGING ON SATUR AND LIZA

“Kana jud pangdaut rana kay dautan ba diay nang sawayon nato ang sayop nga pamalakad sa gobyerno (The propaganda against Rep. Satur Ocampo is clearly an attempt to discredit his good record. Is it wrong to criticize the ills of Arroyo’s governance),” KADAMAY Cagayan de Oro Chairperson Rudy Ramoso exclaimed to Makabayan in an interview.

Tatay Rudy, as he is fondly called by fellow urban poor in Agora’s slum, met Rep. Satur Ocampo of Bayan Muna Partylist in August last year during a forum on the scuttled GRP-MILF Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain (MOA-AD) at the Xavier University-Ateneo de Cagayan.

“Dili siya sama sa uban nga mga politico nga kulang sa unod ang gipang-storya. Sa akong pag-ila ila niya ato nga mubo nga panahon akong mahinumduman ang iyang simple ug matinud-anon nga pagkatawo. Nakigasandurot gyud siya sa amo nga mga gagmay’ng tawo (He is not like other politicans who lacks depth and profound things to say. For the few minutes that I was able to talk with him, I remember his simplicity and sincerity as a person. He really mingled with us simple people,” Tatay Rudy said.

Tatay Rudy is just one of the few ordinary folks in urban poor communities in Cagayan de Oro who were lucky to meet and hobnobbed with Ka Satur in one of his early sorties here before his present senatorial bid. Lean and lanky at 5 feet 4 inches, the 62-year-old retired postman is a seasoned street parliamentarian.

Avygyl Dablos, a private employee in one of the companies based in Oro, said she will vote for Ka Satur and Liza Maza “tungod kay sila raman pud ang dunay klaro nga plataporma ug sila pud nga mga konggresista ang dunay napakita nga agi nga tinuod sila nga niserbisyo para sa mga trabahante (because they are the only ones who have a clear platform and they are two of the progressive legislators in the Lower House who have the track record in serving the workers.”

Bayan Muna crafted the law allowing an increase in nurses and teacher’s wages and since it took seat in Congress in 2001, spearheaded the bill together with Anakpawis Partylist for the P125 increase in private workers’ wages and P3,000 across the board increase for government workers. These three progressive partylist groups also passed landmark bills in protecting human rights thru the Anti-Torture Law, increasing allowances for lawyers in the public attorney’s office (PAO) and especially women and children’s rights with the Anti-Trafficking Law and Anti-Violence against Women and Children Act, to name a few.

Ocampo together with Gabriela Women’s Party Rep. Liza Maza are running for senator under the Makabayan Coalition to continue its avowed commitment to nation first (Bayan Muna’s English translation) and carry the voice of the marginalized in the August Halls of the Senate.

Topnotch lawyer and human rights defender since the Marcos dictatorship Frederico Gapuz, Makabayan Cagayan de Oro chapter chairperson rationalizes the ongoing smear campaign maligning Ocampo, a respected journalist in the pre and Martial Law era before he was arrested, tortured and detained, is meant to block the growing support to his senatorial bid and prevent genuine representatives who will push significant economic and political reforms in the Senate.

“His integrity as a journalist, an activist and now a lawmaker is untarnished and in fact he has shown for the last 9 years he will not waver against the continued political repression on his beliefs and principles,” Gapuz told Makabayan.

“I remember the first time I met Ka Satur when he was one of the guest speakers to the Guild’s national congress and in the middle of an intense debate, it was him, in a cool and collected voice and demeanor, that resolved the issue on the role of the student press in the community and nation building,” Clara, a 38-year-old single mom presently working in one of the government offices here, reminisced on her years as student journalist and member of the College Editor’s Guild of the Philippines in Cebu.

She said it was this encounter that left a mark to her to continually strive to be a productive citizen and government employee despite the well-entrenched corruption in her chosen work environment. She admits that though she is not active in protest activities in the streets, she participates in indoor activities meant to improve colleague’s awareness on social issues.

Kristin Lim opines that tagging Ocampo a “communist” is passé, “it is like a broken record repeatedly played in an obsolete karaoke player”.

Though she avers this red-tagging is something that progressive personalities should be wary of. Lim said this will be a ticket to state agents to harass and eventually be added to the list of victims of extrajudicial killings.

“Gani bag-o lang naa abductions sa mga Makabayan organizers and supporters in other regions like Pampanga and Visayas (In fact there are already cases of abductions of Makabayan organizers and supporters in other regions like Pampanga and Visayas),” she said.

“What this only indicates is a desperate political maneuvering that is going to backfire come election day when Ocampo and Maza will prove its detractors that leaders who offer alternative politics have the trust and confidence of the people,” she said.

“Change is what the people are already clamoring since Gloria Arroyo’s failure to uplift the lives of the Filipino people who are mired in deep poverty for the last nine years. Despite this state-instigated black propaganda campaign against Ka Satur and Ka Liza, the Filipino people are already mature to make the intelligent vote and certainly, they will shade numbers 33 and 37 in the senatorial line-up,” Lalae Garcia, a women rights defender, said. ###

For Reference:

Kristin Lim
09278489155

 

▼NUEVA ECIJA▼

     
     
     
     
     
           
     
     
     

x

BAYAN
Southern Mindanao Region
Office Address: Door #2, RGU Apartment, Medical Drive, Bajada, Davao City
Contact #: (082) 224-2642 Email Ad: bayan.smr@gmail.com

PRESS RELEASE
April 14, 2010

Bayan to sue military of electioneering

Davao City- In a picket rally led by Bagong Alyansang Makabayan today (April 14), the militant group revealed that they plan to sue the 69th IB of the Armed Forces of the Philippines for culpable violation of the Omnibus Election Code which prohibits members of the AFP from directly or indirectly participating in any election campaign.

Section 261 of the Omnibus Election Code states the prohibition of any member of Armed Forces of the Philippines, or any police force, special forces, home defense forces, barangay self-defense units and all other para-military units that now exist or which may hereafter be organized who, directly or indirectly, intervenes in any election campaign or engages in any partisan political activity, except to vote or to preserve public order, if he is a peace officer.

“ There is indeed a clear violation of the law here perpetrated by the members of the AFP. We will be submitting a formal complaint to our legal department in our national office for immediate legal action,” John Birondo said, Bayan Southern Mindanao Regional Spokeperson.

Birondo likewise pointed that the military violated the Article IX-B, Section 2(4) of the 1987 Constitution and Section 55 of the Administrative Code of 1987, which states that “No officer or employee in the civil service shall engage, directly or indirectly, in any electioneering or partisan political campaign” and “No officer or employee in the Civil Service including members of the Armed Forces, shall engage, directly or indirectly, in any partisan political activity or take part in any election except to vote nor shall he use his official authority or influence to coerce the political activity of any other person or body”.

Birondo,who also serves as convenor of the Kontra Daya, an electoral watchdog revealed that there are already several complaints against the military not only in the region but all over the country.

Kontra Daya is a broad network of various organization and individuals; religious, artists, concerned citizens, activists, youth and students, lawyers, IT experts, and teachers who are committed against election fraud and the failure of election.

Earlier, Makabayan or Makabayang Koalisyon ng Mamamayan which is composed of the progressive candidates and partylists likewise bared cases of harassments and direct involvement of the military in campaigning against the progressive groups in Pantukan, Compostela Valley, Baganga, Davao Oriental and other parts of the region.

Birondo presented to the public and to the members of the media pictures which he took himself during a forum conducted by the elements of the 69th IB at the Philippine College of Technology on April 6.

“The military conducted to batches of forum at a school. We also have a recorded audio of what transpired during the said forum, ” Birondo said.

In the said forum, the military urged the students of PCT not to join or support the progressive partylist groups which they said are "New Peoples Army fronts" and which purportedly use their respective “pork barrel” from Congress to support the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines.

Meanwhile, Representative Liza Maza of Gabriela and a senatorial candidate of Makabayan challenged the COMELEC to conduct a probe on the matter.

She pointed that “The malicious linking of progressive party-lists to the CPP-NPA is an old issue that has yet to be proven by those who seek to destroy the credibility of individuals and groups--individuals who aspirte to continue serving the people in and out of government," Maza said.

Maza said that Gabriela, Bayan Muna, and Anakpawis have not been receiving their respective Priority Development Assistance Fund – more commonly known as the “pork barrel” – since 2004 due to them as they are critics of the Arroyo administration.###

For reference: Mr. John Birondo, Bayan Regional Spokesperon, 0939-656-8925

     
     
           
     
 
     
     

 

A Radical's Nut

Contact me at arnoldpadilla@gmail.com

 

Red-baiting: ang maruming laban ni Risa Hontiveros

with 11 comments

 

Ano ang maganda sa laban ni Risa? (photo by rcmanila on Photobucket)

 

Hindi naman daw red-baiting ang ginagawa ni Risa Hontiveros ng Akbayan/Liberal Party (LP) sa senatorial candidates na sina Satur Ocampo at Liza Maza ng Makabayan. “Nowhere in my press statement did I call them communist,” ani Hontiveros.

 

Ano exactly ang sinabi ni Hontiveros? Nasa ibaba ang portion ng isang direct quote sa kanyang press statement:

 

“Actually, the links between the left-wing candidates in the NP slate and the Communist Party is something that nobody really questions.”

 

Ano exactly ang links na tinutukoy ni Hontiveros? Muli, direct quote sa kanyang press statement:

“It doesn’t help that Satur Ocampo and Lisa Maza keep on pussy-footing on ideological roots and organizational links.”

 

Wala naman daw nagdududa sa links nina Ocampo at Maza sa CPP. At huwag na raw magkakaila sina Ocampo at Maza sa ideological at organizational links na ito.

Hindi ito red-baiting?

 

Sa kanyang depensa sa batikos na magkatambal sila ni Gen. Jovito Palparan sa red-baiting, iginiit ni Hontiveros na: “It is actually their refusal to condemn the atrocities and abuses of the CPP-NPA that indirectly helps human rights violators like Palparan to commit further abuses.”

 

Sa ilohika ni Hontiveros, kasalanan (kahit pa indirectly) nina Ocampo at Maza kung bakit patuloy na pinapatay, dinudukot, at tinutoryur ng Arroyo administration at ng armed forces nito ang mga aktibista. Kung kukundenahin lang nina Ocampo at Maza ang “atrocities and abuses” ng CPP-NPA, matitigil na ang state-sponsored human rights violations?

 

Ganito mangatwiran ang mga doble-karang oportunista. Mapanganib ang mga taong ganito.

Karapatan s’yempre ni Hontiveros at ng Akbayan na batikusin ang ipinagpapalagay nilang atrocities at abuses ng CPP-NPA. Pero ibang usapin ang red-baiting.

 

Tandaang hindi ito ang unang pagkakataon na nag-red-baiting ang Akbayan.

 

Noong January 2005, sa internationally circulated statement ng Bangkok-based na Focus on the Global South kunsaan executive director si Walden Bello ng Akbayan, sinabi nitong: “Being part of a bigger global movement for social justice, we have interacted with, worked with, or even supported groups that are associated or working closely with the CPP such as Ibon Foundation, Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP), Cordillera People’s Alliance (CPA), International League of People’s Struggles (ILPS), KMU (May 1st Movement), Asian Student Association (ASA), and Migrante. We now appeal to the sense of decency of individuals in these and other groups and urge them to denounce these actions and apply moral suasion on Sison and other leaders of the CPP and NPA to refrain from the threat and use of force and assassination.”

Mahigit isang libo na ang biniktima ng extrajudicial killings sa ilalim ng Oplan Bantay Laya

 

Kagaganap pa lamang noon ng Hacienda Luisita massacre nang ilabas nina Bello ang kanilang statement. Ginatungan nito ang propaganda ng militar na mga komunista daw ang nasa likod ng welga sa Hacienda Luisita. Sa dokumentong Knowing the Enemy, na lumabas sa publiko pagkalipas ng ilang buwan, tinukoy ng AFP na communist fronts daw ang mga organisasyong binanggit nina Bello.

Sa mga dokumento ng Oplan Bantay Laya (OBL), ang mga “sectoral front organizations” ng CPP-NPA ang target ng neutralization ng AFP. Ito ang kwento ng extrajudicial killings ng mga aktibista sa bansa.

 

Ang mga doble-karang oportunista ay nagpapanggap na progresibo. Sa isang banda, ipinagyayabang na sila ay human rights at peace advocates.

 

“How can I be a supporter of a human rights violator, when I filed a case for the disqualification of his (Palparan) party-list? When I authored a lot of resolutions investigating incidents of human rights violations? When I have bills penalizing torture, enforced disappearance, and strengthening the Commission on Human Rights?” tanong ni Hontiveros.

Isang bagay ang mag-file ng maraming bills at resolutions tungkol sa human rights. Ibang bagay ang mag-red-baiting. Ibang bagay ang ginagatungan at inuulit-ulit ang black propaganda ng AFP laban kina Ocampo, Maza, kanilang mga kasamahan at grupo.

 

Hindi maikakaila ni Hontiveros at ng Akbayan na ang kanilang red-baiting ay ginagamit ng Arroyo administration upang pagtakpan ang napakasahol nitong human rights record.

 

Noong 2008, nang lumabas ang report ni Prof. Philip Alston, ang Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary, or Arbitrary Execution ng United Nations (UN), binira ng Malacañang ang integrity ng report. Pinagbintangan nito si Prof. Alston na pinapaboran ang CPP-NPA-NDF. Ang ebidensya ng administrasyong Arroyo? Ang mga naunang pahayag nina Bello at Etta Rosales ng Akbayan.

 

Sa official statement ni Ambassador Erlinda F. Basilio, Permanent Representative to the UN and other international organizations ng bansa, sinabi nitong:

 

“Prof. Alston’s partiality, selectivity and double standard are fully demonstrated in End Note no. 46 of Prof. Alston’s report. This concerns two leftist government critics – Prof. Walden Bello and Ms. Etta Rosales, whose freedom of expression and right to life were threatened, not by pro-government groups, but by Prof. Alston’s favored group (i.e. the CPP-NPA-NDF). Mr. Bello and Ms. Rosales are leaders of the party-list group Akbayan.”

 

Bakit hindi si Noynoy ang hamunin ni Hontiveros na i-denounce ang Hacienda Luisita massacre at SDO?

 

Ang tinutukoy ni Basilio ay ang pahayag noong December 2004 nina Bello at Rosales tungkol sa pagkakabilang nila sa diumano’y NPA hit list. Muli, isang bagay na kundenahin ang ipinagpapalagay nilang hit list (na actually ay diagram ng mga counter-revolutionary groups at kanilang international links, downloadable ito sa CPP website; tingnan ang page 8 ng Ang Bayan, December 7, 2004 issue). Ibang bagay ang malisyosong “umapela” sa mga ligal na organisasyon at institusyong gaya ng KMU, KMP, IBON, CPA, at iba pa dahil sila ay “associated” o “working closely” sa CPP-NPA. Ito ay red-baiting.

 

Balikan natin ang statement ni Hontiveros. Sabi nito, “She said that the PTC (permit to campaign), the NPA’s human rights violations, and allegations of corruption committed by Villar are valid electoral and political issues that all candidates, regardless of party affiliations, should address”.

 

Kung valid electoral at political issues ang PTC at NPA, bakit kina Ocampo at Maza lamang ito ibinabato ni Hontiveros? Bakit sina Ocampo at Maza lamang ang kailangang mag-denounce sa CPP-NPA na para bang sila ang kumukumpas sa mga gawain ng CPP-NPA?

Hindi ba’t para sa isang nagsasabing s’ya ay human rights at peace advocate, mas valid na electoral at political issue, in relation to the CPP-NPA, ang peace talks sa halip na denunciation nina Ocampo at Maza?

 

Kung naghahanap ng valid electoral at political issues si Hontiveros, bakit hindi n’ya hamunin si Noynoy Aquino na i-denounce ang Hacienda Luisita massacre at ang stock distribution option (SDO), na lehitimong human rights issues? Hindi ba’t mas may value ang denunciation ni Noynoy sa Hacienda Luisita massacre at SDO dahil siya at kanyang pamilya ang kumukumpas sa Luisita?

Bakit hindi ang peace talks, Oplan Bantay Laya, o Hacienda Luisita ang gustong pag-usapan ni Hontiveros? Dahil red-baiting ang totoong adyenda nila ng Akbayan.

 

Activist, writer, researcher

From:

http://arnoldpadilla.wordpress.com/

 

     
     
     

▼OPLAN RAFAEL PRESS CON▼

     
     
     
     
           
     
     
     

 

Streetwise Column

 

Makabayan, makamasa

 

A number of friends and sympathizers of the national democratic movement have voiced their disagreement or downright disapproval of the tactical alliance forged between Makabayan, the umbrella organization of progressive party lists prominently led by senatorial candidates Satur Ocampo and Liza Maza, and the Nacionalista Party (NP) whose standard bearer is its presidential candidate Manuel Villar. With less than two weeks before the elections, there is a point to recapping the underpinnings of the seemingly controversial alliance to place matters in proper perspective.

Representatives Satur Ocampo and Liza Maza agreed to join the NP slate on the basis of a joint platform which contained nationalist and democratic provisions foremost of which is the recognition that social injustice, not just poverty and corruption, constitutes the nation’s main problem; and that major socio-economic reforms, not just the elimination of corruption, are needed to solve this problem.

The NP-Makabayan platform asserts that thoroughgoing land reform is needed to address the issue of landlessness and is vital to a comprehensive strategy for economic and social development. Job creation and just wages for working people rests on the development of manufacturing and local industries in light of the global economic crisis, unfair foreign competition and blind adherence to the policy of economic liberalization or “globalization”.

Makabayan and the NP agree that economic development must be coupled with reforms ensuring social equity and respect for human rights, people empowerment and good governance. The platform of the alliance vows to uphold foreign policy based on respect for national sovereignty and ensuring mutual benefit.

Clearly, Makabayan, Satur and Liza never for a moment gave up their program for comprehensive political and socio-economic reform upon entering into an alliance with Mr. Villar and the NP. They continue to exercise independence and initiative in fighting for such a program in as many arenas as possible, the electoral arena just being one of them.

The movement has long been engaged in tactical alliances with sections of the ruling elite in order to oppose and isolate the worst faction thereof (invariably, the ruling faction, cf the Oust Gloria Arroyo Movement) without losing sight of the strategic goal of national and social liberation. It has already proven itself capable of engaging in electoral contests and emerging victorious without compromising principle and falling into the trap of cooptation.

Mr. Villar's acceptance of the two progressive legislators as NP guest candidates is based on his recognition of the movement's strength nationwide and its potential contributions to a successful campaign. Call Mr. Villar a shrewd politician if you will but it is to his credit that he can rise above ideological and political prejudices and even risk the likely backlash from the more rabid anti-Left sections of the ruling elite in taking this bold and unprecedented move. He has publicly stated that he thinks the Left deserves to be heard and has earned its rightful place in mainstream politics.

The alliance with the NP during the elections is a conditional one anchored on principle. The national democrats certainly harbor no illusions regarding Mr. Villar's class and “trapo” (traditional politician) character, especially should he win and become President. While no one can guarantee that Mr. Villar will adhere to and uphold the progressive provisions in his campaign platform once in power, the national democrats will certainly spare no effort in mobilizing the people to demand these of his government.

Whatever the outcome in the elections, Makabayan, Satur and Liza will continue to advance the national and democratic interests of the people as articulated in the Makabayan platform and in the more thoroughgoing national democratic program.

After all is said and done, any new administration will have to confront the reality of crisis and ferment as the movement has been describing it, and the relevance and validity of the solutions the movement has been fighting for.

By and large, the presidential contenders have said nothing substantial or anything different about how they will fight the scourge of poverty. Their analysis of its underlying causes is in the first place superficial, myopic and even willfully deceptive.

Should Sen. Noynoy Aquino win, the hollowness of his "korupsyon ang dahilan ng kahirapan" campaign slogan will become more evident, especially with an economic management team recruited from the Arroyo regime and with no fresh ideas on how to lift the economy out of the morass of depression and debt.

While Villar's "ang dahilan ng kahirapan ay kawalan ng trabaho" is an improvement on his "sipag and tyaga" formula for overcoming poverty, it remains to be seen whether and to what extent he will overhaul the economy to create more jobs and livelihood opportunities for the people.

All nine presidentiables except Sen. Jamby Madrigal, stick to the old, worn-out formula -- attract foreign investments (by pressing down wages and other workers' benefits, dismantling protectionist economic measures and despoiling the environment); increase exports (low-value-added commodities and cheap labor); increase government revenues (by raising more taxes and other fees, privatizing public services such as schools and hospitals); and let the expected economic growth trickle down to the poor (meanwhile provide dole-outs and other band-aid programs).

It cannot be emphasized strongly enough that without any clear-cut position on genuine land reform, national industrialization and how to break free from the stranglehold of foreign monopoly capital, all talk about alleviating poverty is pure hogwash.

The leading presidential candidates have consistently highlighted their purported positive personality attributes and character traits that prove they are just right for the most powerful government position in the land. Assuming without granting that their claims are true, history has shown time and again that systemic social change cannot be achieved by any individual leader’s virtue, talent and determination alone.

The Left has always believed that genuine social change can only be a mass undertaking. In whatever arena of struggle, the true measure of leadership lies in the ability to unite, rally and lead the people towards their social emancipation and national liberation. #

*Published in Business World
30 April-1 May 2010

x

Pretender

 

Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino's entire appeal to the Filipino people to elect him President of the Republic, from television ads to live and press statements to written platform, rests on a single claim: that having inherited the legacy of Ninoy and Cory Aquino, he can stamp out corruption and bring righteousness, progress and prosperity to the Filipino people.

Of late, he has carried this grand posturing to the extent of his camp drumming up the "failure of elections" scenario to simulate the '86 fraud-ridden snap elections, present himself as "another Cory" and thereby rally the Filipino people behind him.

Alas, unwittingly this scheme backfires as it becomes clear that there is an ocean of difference between Cory the challenger to Marcos' dictatorial rule and Noynoy the pretender to the Ninoy and Cory legacy.

Cory eventually galvanized the broad anti-Marcos opposition behind her – including the forces of the Left – to oppose the fraudulent claim of victory by Marcos in the 1986 presidential polls and to mount mass protests that culminated in the “people power” uprising that overthrew the dictator.

Noynoy could have worked to build the broad unity of the anti-Arroyo forces to ensure the defeat of the administration candidate and Mrs. Arroyo herself in her home province but chose instead to foist the small Liberal Party on other parties and groups. He had become convinced that the spontaneous outpouring of sympathy for his family after his mother’s death would be enough to fuel him to victory.

As for Noynoy's claim that he can lead the Filipino people in the righteous fight against corruption towards prosperity and progress, this has to be tested in the light of his stand on the Cojuangcos’ Hacienda Luisita and the long-standing agrarian dispute that has hounded them.

The truth is, the Cojuangcos utilized the clout and influence of President Cory to get Congress to enact a fatally-flawed agrarian reform law that, for one, allowed big landowners like them to circumvent land reform by means of the so-called stock distribution option (SDO). The landless were given worthless pieces of paper saying they were co-owners of Hacienda Luisita Inc (HLI). Their lot changed from bad to worse: they had no say on the decisions made regarding the hacienda; they had no assurance of jobs; they did not even own the land on which their hovels stood.

Thereafter Noynoy utilized Congress as a platform to vociferously defend his relatives managing their essentially feudal landholding. He also exonerated them as well as the Arroyo regime for culpability in the infamous massacre of the hacienda’s striking workers and their supporters six years ago. Instead, Noynoy accused the workers of provoking and orchestrating the deaths and injuries among their ranks.

Noynoy now promises land distribution to the farmers by 2014 when in truth the 6,453-hectare property should have been distributed in 1967, a precondition to the loan granted to Noynoy’s grandfather, Don Jose “Pepe” Cojuangco Sr. , by the then Central Bank.

This is a classic example of bureaucrat capitalism that the national democrats have been denouncing as one of the three basic evils of Philippine society; i.e. the use by bureaucrats in high public office of their political power to protect and promote their vested interests.

Cory looked the other way when land reform was thwarted in HLI by means of the SDO and by management cooptation and control of the farm and mill workers’ unions. She washed her hands of the HLI massacre while her son was beside himself accusing “communists” and “outsiders” of instigating unrest on their otherwise purportedly placid hacienda.

Despite this and without giving up on and reneging on the farm workers’ just struggle to get back the lands appropriated unjustly by the Cojuangcos, the Left would agree to unite with Cory when she finally decided to call for Mrs. Arroyo’s resignation after the “Hello, Garci” election fraud blew up in Mrs. Arroyo’s face. She was convinced to do so by the ten resigned Arroyo cabinet members and some bishops who promised to back her call.

Satur himself prevailed on HLI farm workers picketing the Aquino residence to allow Mrs. Aquino to leave her house the day that she was to announce in a press conference that she would lead a march to Congress to press for Mrs. Arroyo’s impeachment. The HLI issue could give way that day to help build the broad united front against the anti-people Arroyo regime.

But the HLI issue cannot be set aside, minimized or papered over today vis a vis candidate Noynoy Aquino. Land reform is a defining issue for the Left precisely because it is the basic demand of the peasantry and it impacts heavily on the entire Filipino people.

Decades of land monopoly by a few constitutes stark social injustice that cries out for resolution. It is fuelling agrarian unrest and armed revolution in the countryside; the series of bloody counter-insurgency programs of all postwar governments including that of President Cory have failed to bring these to an end.

Landlessness is also the major cause of the poverty and backwardness that has bound millions of peasant families to a life of endless, backbreaking toil and relegated the Philippines to little more than a semi-feudal, semi-colonial backwater with no jobs, no livelihood, nothing but a bleak future for the vast majority. Is it a wonder Filipinos are leaving by droves to find better-paying jobs and a chance at a better life anywhere outside their homeland?

Noynoy must answer whether, when and how he plans to deal with the land dispute on his clan’s landholdings because that will set the pattern by which the land problem will be faced by his presidency.

Noynoy at first echoed his mother’s lame excuse: their family is a minor stockholder and has little say in the running of the corporation. That cop-out was unconvincing so next he said something about debts to be paid and not wanting to saddle the farm workers with the problem of an insolvent company. The workers said, thanks but no thanks. Just get the HLI management to withdraw its Supreme Court petition for an injunction on the current government decision to grant the land to the hacienda tenants.

Noynoy Aquino has displayed nothing but disdain for the national democrats and unabashed anti-communism to the point that he would not even agree in the beginning to engage in any kind of talks with the Satur/Liza camp. There was never for a moment any opening given by Noynoy to probe possibilities for an alliance with the Left in the 2010 elections.

Noynoy’s attitude towards the Left has endeared him to the rabid anti-communists and militarists inside government and out. It also serves to assure US imperialism and other foreign monopoly capitalists and their Filipino partners that the Left will not be allowed any space in Noynoy’s presidency, enough to endanger their unmitigated plunder of the country and the oppression of its people. But it bodes ill for ending the legacy of human rights abuse and impunity that has gone hand-in-glove with failed counter-insurgency programs of all previous regimes without exception. #

*Published in Business World
16-17 April 2010

 

           
           

▼BULACAN▼

           
           
 
The Rainman
     
     

Satur Ocampo We just won Best Campaign TVC (Individual) Satur Ocampo – “Sure Ka Kay Satur!” series from a visual arts blog:

 

www.satur4senator.com

Satur Ocampo – “Sure Ka Kay Satur!” series. We’re tired of seeing all these politicos shoving their faces at us, hogging the credit for specific achievements. The brilliance of Satur’s ads is that they go against this narcissistic grain. ...

 

 

Chiz on Satur, Maza: They're always at the forefront of struggle

 
 
Go to Makabayan Website    
     
     
           
     
     
Click here for Part II - Campaigning with Liza Maza
     

BONUS TRACKS

Invitation to a book launching

           

 

PRESS RELEASE

International Committee DEFEND

8 May 2010

 

Prof. Jose Ma. Sison to launch his latest books

on Philippine and global issues in Amsterdam on 15 May

 

Under the auspices of the International Committee DEFEND,  Filipino political scientist and writer Professor Jose Maria Sison will launch  his latest two books on Philippine and global issues at the ABC Treehouse, Voetboogstraat 11 in Amsterdam on May 15, Saturday, from 3 to 6pm.

 

The books, Crisis of Imperialism and People's Resistance (Volume 3) and People's Struggle Against Imperialist Plunder and Terror (Volume 4) are part of the four-volume series of the selected writings of Prof. Sison from 1991 to 2009. 

 

The earlier volumes were launched year also in Amsterdam. Volume 1 is entitled For Justice, Socialism and Peace and Volume 2,  For Democracy and Socialism Against Imperialist Globalization.  These shall also be available for sale at the new launch.

 

Prof. Sison is the chief political consultant of the National Democratic Front Peace Panel in peace negotiations with the Manila government. He is also the chairperson of the  International League of Peoples’ Struggles (ILPS), an anti-imperialist and democratic alliance of more than 300 organizations in more than 40 countries.

 

Prof. Sison will autograph the book copies sold and will have a commemorative photo with every book buyer.  The four volumes have been published by Aklat ng Bayan, a progressive Philippine publisher, to celebrate Prof. Sison's fifty years of patriotic service to the Filipino people.

 

The book launch comes in the wake of his legal victories, one involving the dropping of false charges against him by the Dutch prosecution service and  the other requiring the removal of his name by the European Court of Justice from the terrorist blacklist of the European Union.

Prof. Dr. Mario A, Fumerton, a professor in  conflict studies  at the University of Utrecht,  will give a brief review of  Volume 3.  Prof. Paoyu Ching, professor emeritus of economics at Marygrove College, will give a book review of Volume 4. Other distinguished guests will be present.

 

To enliven the book launch, a song in honor of Prof. Sison shall be sung by the music composer Jefrey Guiban.  There shall also be a photo exhibit by the documentary photographers Viory Schellekens and Nwel Saturay, presenting candid still photos of Prof. Sison in the course of his daily life.###

  

For more information, the International Committee DEFEND, which is organizing the activity, can be contacted at: T: +31 30 2310431, Email: defenddemrights@yahoo.com. ###

           
           
           
ELECTIONS 2010
           
           
 
     
       
   
 
   
   
   
 

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