SONA NG BAYAN 2010    - Part 2

 

July 26, 2010

 

 

■  UP community challenges Aquino with 10 demands

 

 Scientists and environmentalists wonder aloud: "What;s new?"

 

■    Of  empty rhetoric, smoke and mirrors, and soap bubbles

 

■    Human rights groups tell Aquino: Stop the extra judicial killings, abductions

 

■    Youth groups in various SONA ng BAYAN activities: march, Operation Pinta, road  artwork

 

■    Of SONA and peace talks

 

SONA NG BAYAN 2010 Part 1

 

SONA NG BAYAN2010 Part 3

 

 

 

 

   
   
   
/p

/p
UP community challenges Aquino with 10 demands
           
     
     
     

 

Ang SONA ng Pamantasan ng Bayan
Hamon kay Aquino: Tumugon sa mga kagyat na panawagan ng bayan


PAHAYAG NG UP KILOS NA! Kilusan para sa demokratkong pamantasan ng bayan
Hulyo 24,2010

Sa unang State of the Nation Address (SoNA) ni bagong Pangulong Benigno Simeon "Noynoy" C. Aquino, III, inaasahan ng buong komunidad ng Unibersidad ng Pilipinas (UP) ang malinaw niyang pagtugon sa ating mga panawagan para sa pagtataguyod ng ating mga batayang karapatan at kagalingan. Tama na ang mga pangkalahatang pagpapahayag, tama na ang paggawa ng listahan, at tama na ang paghihintay dahil matagal nang naghihintay ng tunay na pagbabago ang mga mamamayan. Inaasahan ng mga mamamayan ng UP na marinig sa unang SoNA na ito ang tunay na kalagayan ng bayan at ang pagkilala sa pundamental na katangian ng krisis ng lipunang Pilipino na nangangailangan ng mga pangmatagalan at sustenableng solusyon.

Sa hanay nating mga Iskolar ng Bayan: sa loob ng mahabang panahon ay patuloy nang lumayo sa kamay ng mga kabataan ang dekalidad at murang edukasyon. Dahil dito ay patuloy na ipinagbibili sa mahal na matrikula at iba't ibang bayarin. Noong 2006 ay inaprubahan ang pagtataas ng matrikula sa UP mula Php 300 per unit papuntang 1,000 hanggang 1,500 per unit. Malinaw itong pagtalikod sa responsibilidad ng pamantasan sa mamamayan patungo sa direksiyon ng pagpapatakbo ng pamantasan bilang negosyo. Panawagan ng mga Iskolar ng Bayan ang pagbasura sa patakaran ng pagtataas ng matrikula at iba pang bayarin. Kagyat na ihinto ang anumang pagtataas o pagdadagdag ng mga bayarin. Itaas ang badyet ng UP at ng kabuuang sektor ng edukasyon.

Sa hanay nating mga Guro ng Bayan: sinasabing nasa UP ang mga pinakamahuhusay at pinaka-dedikadong mga gurong pinaglilingkuran ang mga mamamayan sa kanilang pagbibigay ng serbisyo sa Pamantasan ng Bayan. Habang mahalagang usapin ang pagpapataas sa sweldo ng kaguruan at lahat ng empleyado ng UP, napakahalagang usapin ang di demokratikong pamamahala ng unibersidad at ang tunguhing pagpapatakbo dito bilang isang korporasyon na kita at tubo ang layunin. Naririyan ang kaso ng mga rehente ng Malacanang na patuloy na umuupo kahit na paso na ang kanilang mga appointments. Naririyan ang illegal na pagpapatalsik sa nanunungkulang PGH Director Dr. Jose Gonzales. Nariyan ang kawalang hustisya para sa mga batang faculty katulad ni Prop. Sarah Raymundo na nakamit ang mga rekisito para sa tenure pero ayaw bigyan ng tenure.

Sa hanay nating mga manggagawa, kawani, at iba pang non-teaching academic personnel: matindi parin ang kalagayan ng kawalan ng seguridad sa trabaho at pagsiil sa karapatang mag-unyon dahil na rin sa kontraktuwalisasyon. Nananatili ang diskriminasyon sa pagitan ng mga manggagawa at mga guro sa pagkamit ng pagtataas ng sahod at pagkamit ng mga benepisyo gayong kapwa naman mga empleyado ng pamahalaan.

Panawagan ng mga guro at kawani ang kagyat at buong implementasyon ng Salary Standardization Law III at ang buong pagbibigay ng pagtataas ng sahod para sa mga empleyado ng pamahalaan ng walang pagtatangi. Gayun din, hinahamon ng mga guro at kawani si Noynoy Aquino na itaas ang kanilang mga sahod na hindi magiging pasanin para sa mga mag-aaral bagkus ay igawad ng pamahalaan mismo na siyang nararapat.

Sa hanay ng mga drayber at operator ng jeep: rumaragasa ang pagpapatupad ng mga patakarang hindi man lamang malinaw na ikinokonsulta sa mga drayber, operator, at mga pasahero. Ang nagiging resulta ay ang pagpapahirap sa kabuhayan katulad ng one-way academic oval scheme na nagkukubli sa likod ng mukha ng pagprotekta sa kalikasan gayong pinaiikot-ikot ang mga jeep sa loob ng campus sa mas malalayong ruta. Lumilikha din ng kumpetisyon sa mga linya at pag-aaway sa mga prangkisa ang mga polisiya ng administrasyon. Kaya naman ang hamon ng mga drayber at operator ng jeep ay ang paglikha ng mas epektibong ruta para sa mga drayber at pasahero. Totoong may pangangailangang protektahan ang kalikasan ngunit kasama dito ang pagprotekta sa kabuhayan ng mga nagbibigay ng mahalagang serbisyo sa Unibersidad.

Sa hanay ng mga maninida at maliliit na vendor: patuloy ang atake ng mga hindi makatarungang pagsingil ng bayarin at pagpapatupad ng mga patakarang nagpapaalis sa manininda ang administrasyon ng UP at Quezon City. Panawagan ng mga manininda at vendor na paunlarin ang mga maliliit na entrepreneur katulad nila at ibaba ang singil sa kung ano-anong gastusing ipinapataw, gayundin ang panawagan sa pagprotekta sa kanilang mga karapatan at kabuhayan sa harap ng papatinding pagpasok ng mga malalaking pribadong konsesyon sa pamantasan.

Sa hanay ng mga komunidad: tumaas ang bilang ng mga mahihirap na pamilya sa buong Pilipinas sa 27.6 milyon kasama na ang mga nagugutom na tumaas ang bilang sa 12.2 milyon. Hindi hiwalay dito ang mga komunidad sa loob at paligid ng UP Campus at ang karanasan ng mga kawani. Patuloy rin ang pagtanggi sa karapatan sa pabahay at pagpapalayas mula sa pamantasan. Sa harap ng maraming tinaguriang 'development' projects ay tinatamaan ang maliliit na naninirahan sa UP ng pagragasa ng komersiyalisasyon at pribatisasyon ng mga lupa ng UP Campus kasama na ang proyektong Quezon City-Central Business District (QC-CBD). Kaya ang hamon kay Aquino, sampu ng mga maralitang taga-lungsod, ay ang pagsulong sa karapatan sa maayos na pabahay at kabuhayan. Sa kagyat ay ibasura ang QC-CBD at pagtigil sa iskema ng komersiyalisasyon at pribatisasyon ng UP.

Sa SONA ng Bayan ay inihahapag natin kay Pangulong Aquino ang kahilingan natin at ng bayan. Nakikiisa ang komunidad ng UP sa panawagan ng iba’t ibang sektor na usigin si Arroyo at ang kanyang mga kasapakat sa mga krimen ng korapsyon, pandaraya sa halalalan, malawakang paglabag sa karapatang pantao at sa pangayupapa sa mga dayuhang interes. Nakikiisa kami sa mga panawagang ipamahagi na ang mga lupain sa Hda. Luisita at Canlubang sa mga magsasaka. Palayain ang lahat ng bilanggong pulitikal. Isabatas ang P125 pagtaas sa sahod ng mga manggagawa sa pribadong sektor. Umpisahan muli ang usaping pangkapayapaan sa NDF at MILF batay sa pagharap sa mga ugat ng kanilang armadong paglaban. At ibasura ang Visiting Forces Agreement at ang iba pang makaisang panig na mga kasunduan sa mga dayuhan. Lubayan na ang pagpapatupad sa mga patakaran ng neo-liberal na globalisasyon tulad ng pribatisasyon, deregularisasyon at liberalisasyon.

Sa pangkalahatan, uhaw ang mamamayan sa tunay na pagbabago. Kaya naman mariin ang ating paghamon kay Aquino na dinggin ang panawagan ng bayan : panagutin si Arroyo at lahat ng kanyang mga kasapakat, baliktarin ang mga anti-mamamayang polisiya ni Arroyo at itaguyod ang kabuhayan at kapakanan ng mamamayan. Ito ang mahahalagang mga unang hakbang para sa tunay na pagbabago sa ating bayan. Ito ang mga nais naming marinig sa iyong unang SoNA. Ito rin ang aming pakikibaka at panata ng pagbabago.


Hamon kay Aquino:

Panagutin si Arroyo! Baliktarin ang mga anti-mamamayang patakaran ni Arroyo!
Ipatupad nang buong buo ang Salary Standardization Law III!
Itaas ang badyet para sa Edukasyon at Kalusugan!
Itaguyod ang Karapatan at Kabuhayan ng Mamamayan!

 

     
     
     
     
           
     
     
     

 

We're Watching You
Sunday, July 25, 2010 at 5:23pm
Press Statement
UP Kilos Na
(UP Kilusan para sa Demokratikong Pamantasan ng Bayan)

UP Community Launch Alternative SONA

Reference:
Rainier Sindayen – 09158922168
Gold Villar - 09173542148

July 26, on the day of the first SONA of President Benigno Simeon "Noynoy" C. Aquino, III members of the UP Community in an alliance called: "UP Kilos Na!" staged an alternative SONA bewailing the current state of the University and calling on Pres. Aquino to address the demands of the UP Community

"We have seen how the UP Administration and the Government have taken the path of a commercialized university with us primary stake holders being at the losing end" laments Ms. Cori Alessa Co, Student Regent

"The University of the Philippines must be retained as the premier public institution of higher learning accessible to qualified but poor students through higher state subsidy" says Prof. Judy Taguiwalo, Faculty Regent and Convenor of "UP Kilos Na!”.

The group will hold their SONA, 8am today hours before Pres. Aquino delivers his in the opening of the 15th session of congress today. They assessed the state of the university alongside that of the education sector under Arroyo and outgoing UP President Roman. They also forwarded the UP Agenda as a challenge to Pres. Aquino.

"He should first and foremost prosecute former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and her cohorts in her administration. I fear that with the way P-Noy's (Aquino) appointments are going we will be seeing more of the same thing in his term. We challenge him to take a different path than the previous administration took" says Mr. Clodualdo Cabrera, Staff Regent

"If indeed we are his 'Boss', then this is your boss talking: prosecute Arroyo and her clique, reverse her regressive economic policies, and increase state spending for education, health and other social services" says Mico Maestro, Chairperson of the Student Alliance for the Advancement of democratic Rights in UP (STAND-UP).

_________________________________________________________________

Ang UP Multi - Sectoral Alliance ay kasapi ng UP KILOS NA

 

     
           
     
     
     

 

Weighing Aquino’s First SONA

by UP Faculty Regent Judy Taguiwalo
 

As his first SONA, I expected President Aquino to provide an overview of the directions of his administration in the coming six years.

So what are my impressions of his SONA?

The use of Filipino is a welcome change from the predominantly English SONA of the unlamented Arroyo. The addition to the list of corruption issues of the Arroyo administration through the expose of the MWSS Board of Trustees’ perks and allowances, the calamity fund mainly directed to Arroyo’s Pampanga district, the NFA rotting rice stocks and the DPWH shenanigans reinforced the fact that the nine years of Arroyo were nine years of unbridled corruption. However, government personnel would have wanted to learn more about GSIS under Winston Garcia and the extent to which employees’ contributions have been mismanaged. We are also left hanging on how he intends to prosecute Arroyo except for the statement that an EO will soon be issued on the so-called Truth Commission headed by Former Supreme Court Chief Justice Davide (yes the same Justice who swore Arroyo into office in 2001 and who accepted a UN ambassadorship from Arroyo after his retirement from the Supreme Court).

Three policy pronouncements that I find alarming:

The so-called public-private partnership which essentially means privatization of government properties and government services. Aquino merely confirms that he would be continuing the IMF-WB-WTO neo-liberal globalization prescriptions of opening up the economic to foreign and local investors whose main goal is profit maximization rather than service. This is a major source of concern for those of us advocating for more support to social services as additional provisions for education, health and other social services appear to be tied to such “partnership”.

The precondition of a ceasefire for peace talks with CPP-NPA-NDF is a pronouncement for the continuation of a military solution to a political problem.

The expansion of Philhealth coverage rather than putting in place a Universal Health Insurance proposed by concerned health practitioners and people’s organizations.

And then there are the omissions:

1. Nothing on land distribution of estates such as the Had. Luisita and Canlubang; only putting in place a National Land Use Plan.
 

2. Nothing on extrajudicial killings, forced disappearances and various human rights violations of the Arroyo administration. Nothing on political prisoners such as the Morong 43.
 

3. Nothing on the reproductive health bill and the Freedom of Information bill.

In sum, the policy pronouncements in Aquino’s first SONA do not really address the change that our country needs.

     
     
           
     
     
     

 

Agency, Pedagogy, and Academic Freedom: Thoughts on the Sarah Raymundo Case
Sunday, July 25, 2010 at 1:49am
Agency, Pedagogy, and Academic Freedom: Thoughts on the Sarah Raymundo Case

Two years hence, and after a grant of tenure from the BOR, the Sarah Raymundo saga has made an interesting turn. The recent University Council meeting last July 19, 2010 finally expurgated what was it that has been eating the Department of Sociology. After two years of staying tight-lipped about their reasons for reversing an earlier grant of tenure, a Professor from the Department finally revealed the position of some of the members of the tenured faculty of the Department in a moment that could count as one of the lowest points in the history of the Council and even the University. Amid much polemic about love for certain personalities from the Department, the Sociology professor reportedly stood before all the tenured faculty of the University to accuse Sarah, who remains a colleague, of being a recruiter of students for the underground movement. What is even more alarming, at present, is that there is reportedly a popular personality who has merrily joined this witch-hunt by asking around parents of student activists about Prof. Raymundo as a teacher.

For this position to be finally articulated is a welcome development since now we know the real issue behind the systematic attempts to block Prof. Raymundo’s tenure. This vital admission had been withheld from Sarah as she appealed her case starting November 2008. Hiding behind the guise of departmental autonomy, various levels of the University including the Sociology Department, the Chancellor, and the University President, never gave Prof. Raymundo the chance to formally refute any of these accusations despite repeated appeals for transparency. By virtue of the principle of departmental autonomy, anyone can now be stripped of employment without being informed of the bases. Even more alarming, is that a faculty members’ perceived political affiliation is enough basis to deny tenure if we were to go by the logic of these offices’s actions.

These glaring instances of injustice perpetrated by the University leadership and the Sociology Department have surely eroded the credibility of our institutions not to mention the acts of betrayal of some Sociology professors to the spirit and promise of the discipline. The long and arduous process had also put to light the problematic appeals process in the University. The BOR decision granting tenure last May 2010 was the only indication of a University system and culture capable of correcting what was essentially wrong and unjust. The decision was a stand for untenured faculty rights and more importantly, regardless of whether it was deliberate or not, a strong defense of academic freedom.

However, the current coordinated efforts of like-minded personalities to relaunch a witch-hunt against Prof. Raymundo in the light of the favorable BOR decision indicates that the fight is not yet over and has actually entered a new arena. We have now left the realm of the appeals process, which we have won through our vigilance and struggle, but we are now in a new stage where the stakes are higher. We are witnessing another historic moment in our University’s history as we debate anew on a primary principle upon which this institution stands – academic freedom.

After hopefully much internal wrangling and soul-searching, the recent admission of some members of the Sociology Department that the Sarah Raymundo case is about the recruitment of students to join the underground movement necessarily brings to the fore important issues regarding agency, pedagogy, and the practice of academic freedom. We shall leave it to lawyers to determine if there is already jurisprudence regarding the concept of “recruitment” in this context. It is a stretch to argue that espousing radical ideas is already equivalent to “recruitment.” But for sure, the term “recruitment” is ripe with many philosophical and sociological dilemmas.

Sociology would, for instance, argue that individuals are imbued with a degree of agency or freedom, shaped by one’s social milieu and personal biography. The importance of this perspective in the development of Sociological theory is that it allows us to depart from the view that human beings are totally predictable in their behavior and that ultimately, individual human choices account for dynamism in society. As an example, intellectual life in the University would stagnate if academics were just to totally believe and parrot the ideas of their senior professors.

By the manner in which they crafted their position, some members of the Sociology Department and their supporters argue otherwise. To their minds, students are not free agents but automatons who mindlessly follow their professors. Thus, full accountablility for students’ actions rests on the professor. By the same logic, the University should therefore strip many of its respected professors of their tenure for producing students that became dictators and fascists. Another position that this group can assume is to push for a kind of pedagogical practice that is sensitive to the power relations that may exist between a teacher and a student. A professor’s ideas does indeed carry great influence given the prominence allowed by the culture in Universities nowadays. And prudence should be exercised in the display and practice of such power. To caution faculty members, however, is different from restricting their passions and convictions which ultimately impact on our practice of academic freedom. This sensitivity to power relations should never be made as an excuse to silence discourse.

Ideas are found everywhere nowadays. To imagine the University as a market place of ideas is already an archaic formulation given that we are well into the fourth decade of the so-called information society. To assert that universities should remain a "neutral" marketplace for ideas, once again, misappreciates the development of our understanding of how knowledge is shaped in society. Ideas become prominent and acceptable because of certain economic and political configurations. To paraphrase Orwell, some pigs' ideas are smarter than others. The capacity of professors to practice their agency in choosing which of these ideas in the market they are committed to, without fear of reprisal (or in this case, non-tenure) should remain one of the few sacrosanct practices of any University.

Sociological theory did not develop this far only to be betrayed by some of its local practitioners in the Department because of this serious impasse in praxis. What could possibly explain this embarrassing moment?

An attempt to understand this unfortunate situation is in order. Behind all these machinations is a powerful clique who has access to national media and the University leadership and whose social capital, which they easily translate into monetary capital, ultimately rests on their standing in the University. They are acutely aware of this, reflexive individuals they are, since they have acted very sensitively to an unexpected challenge to their power as manifested in Prof. Raymundo’s case. These people may have at some point professed progressive ideas but not to the degree that it would jeopardize their relations with funders and political and economic players in national life. They are the unheralded but ultimately powerful kings and queens in the University who are now emboldened by the recent reconfigurations in the national political structure to what is coming to be a push for a political agenda in the University - to rid the University of what they perceive to be dangerous elements as if the University is their little kingdom. What they fail to realize, apart from the fact that the University and the Department are not theirs, is that in their attempts to salvage their egos and their social standing, they have become themselves dangerous to the practice of academic freedom in our beloved University.

Thus, the tenure saga continues under a climate of uncertainty in the wake of recent killings of three teachers progressive or otherwise. It will take more of our vigilance and struggle to defend not just Prof. Raymundo’s tenure, well-being and safety but equally important, the most cherished of our community’s principles - academic freedom. What is at stake now is the very soul of the University.

END THE WITCH-HUNT!
DEFEND ACADEMIC FREEDOM!

 

     
     
           
           
     

Photos courtesy of the following photographers:

 

AlMondz Joanna

Angelo Jamilano
Ginto Villar
J. A. Santos

Judy Taguiwalo

KMP - Southern Tagalog

Marlon Lacsamana
Nestor Ore
Ron De Vera

Sarah Raymundo

Thess Dollaga
Tudla Prod fot5oso

 

The filename of each photo is prefixed

by the name of the photographer.

 

Maraming Salamat!

     
           
=          
==          
Scientists and environmentalists wonder aloud: "What;s new?"
           
           

 

"Oras na maipatupad ang public-private partnerships na ito, mapopondohan ang mga serbisyong panlipunan, alinsunod sa ating plataporma."

 

-- President Aquino, SONA speech

 

Privatization and development effectiveness

By Dr. Giovanni Tapang
July 29, 2010 - 6:29pm — webteam

In his State of the Nation Address (SONA) last Monday, President Benigno Aquino 3rd laid down his plan to engage in more public-private partnerships to build roads and bridges, enhance our Navy, build agricultural facilities and fund his plans for reforms in education, health and other social services. His panacea seems to be hinged upon the privatization of basic social services and infrastructure development which has historically resulted in many of the problems that we as consumers are facing right now: ever increasing rates in electricity, water and other basic services.

Take, for example, the recent water debacle in the Metro last week. After twelve years of privatized water distribution, it seems that the water concessionaires have yet to start fixing the problematic systems loss (termed as “non-revenue water”) of the West zone. The West zone area has been losing more than half of the water flowing through its pipes. And although the East zone’s systems loss rate is lower, it still spills around 15 percent of its water.

Angat dam’s low water levels would not have been worrisome if Maynilad had fixed its leaking pipes early on. To add to the problem, the planned privatization of the Angat hydroelectric plant would complicate the allocation of the water coming in to Metro Manila since the power plant could prioritize power generation rather than public water services. The former is already one of the problems that the DPWH was pointing to as the cause of the low water level in Angat.

Other water sources such as the planned Laiban dam, the Wawa dam, and even Laguna Lake are now being eyed as potential revenue sources for the government once they start selling the rights to these sources. It is not only in Metro Manila where privatization is going full speed ahead. Many local water utilities are being taken over by large corporations under the guise of modernization and making them more efficient. Usually, these happen in exchange for increased water rates to be shouldered by consumers.

The privatization of utilities ranging from water, power, oil, trains, roads, tollways to our cell phones have only resulted in increases in the rates for these utilities. Consumers are made to pay for the losses of these private companies such as non-revenue water, systems loss, and foreign exchange losses.

We have long battled against the privatization of these public utilities since the time of the first Aquino presidency, where the move to sell these basic utilities were part of the loan deals of the IMF and the World Bank.

A government truly desirous of ensuring the welfare of its people should be the one to build these infrastructures and create services that will make our day-to-day activities easier. Letting private companies handle these services is problematic when it is profit that motivates them in the first place. We have to see how Aquino 3rd will handle problems that will arise—such as increasing rates and inefficient services—once his administration embarks on a new wave of privatization.

Development effectiveness
For three days in a row, various civil society organizations ranging from networks, community based organizations, social movements, trade unions, environmental advocates, urban poor groups, womens organizations and faith-based organizations have been meeting and discussing the concept of development effectiveness. Spearheaded by the Council for People’s Development and Governance (CPDG) in cooperation with other networks, the meeting is a broad and inclusive discussion and consensus-building process on how civil society organizations (CSOs) view development effectiveness.

This initiative came out of the worldwide dialogues that centered on the Paris Declaration with donors and governments, which tackled aid effectiveness. In these talks, CSOs have consistently pushed for their recognition as development actors in their own right. This was not immediately obvious to all stakeholders. It was only in 2008 when CSOs, governments and donors agreed on proposals to strengthen aid effectiveness through the inclusion of CSOs as independent development actors.

In their decades-long practice of delivering services to far-flung communities, CSOs are in reality concerned not just about aid effectiveness but more so on development effectiveness—how do the actions of development actors impact on improving the lives of the poor and marginalized; and the promotion of sustainable positive change that addresses, within a democratic framework, the root causes as well as the symptoms of poverty, inequality and marginalization.

It is in this light that the international process of coming up with a global development effectiveness framework and enabling environment for CSOs is being undertaken by the Open Forum for CSO Development. The Open Forum in the Philippines is now on its third day where CSOs will share their concept of development effectiveness in the multi-stake-holders dialogue with donors and government representatives.
In his State of the Nation Address (SONA) last Monday, President Benigno Aquino 3rd laid down his plan to engage in more public-private partnerships to build roads and bridges, enhance our Navy, build agricultural facilities and fund his plans for reforms in education, health and other social services. His panacea seems to be hinged upon the privatization of basic social services and infrastructure development which has historically resulted in many of the problems that we as consumers are facing right now: ever increasing rates in electricity, water and other basic services.

Take, for example, the recent water debacle in the Metro last week. After twelve years of privatized water distribution, it seems that the water concessionaires have yet to start fixing the problematic systems loss (termed as “non-revenue water”) of the West zone. The West zone area has been losing more than half of the water flowing through its pipes. And although the East zone’s systems loss rate is lower, it still spills around 15 percent of its water.

Angat dam’s low water levels would not have been worrisome if Maynilad had fixed its leaking pipes early on. To add to the problem, the planned privatization of the Angat hydroelectric plant would complicate the allocation of the water coming in to Metro Manila since the power plant could prioritize power generation rather than public water services. The former is already one of the problems that the DPWH was pointing to as the cause of the low water level in Angat.

Other water sources such as the planned Laiban dam, the Wawa dam, and even Laguna Lake are now being eyed as potential revenue sources for the government once they start selling the rights to these sources. It is not only in Metro Manila where privatization is going full speed ahead. Many local water utilities are being taken over by large corporations under the guise of modernization and making them more efficient. Usually, these happen in exchange for increased water rates to be shouldered by consumers.

The privatization of utilities ranging from water, power, oil, trains, roads, tollways to our cell phones have only resulted in increases in the rates for these utilities. Consumers are made to pay for the losses of these private companies such as non-revenue water, systems loss, and foreign exchange losses.

We have long battled against the privatization of these public utilities since the time of the first Aquino presidency, where the move to sell these basic utilities were part of the loan deals of the IMF and the World Bank.

A government truly desirous of ensuring the welfare of its people should be the one to build these infrastructures and create services that will make our day-to-day activities easier. Letting private companies handle these services is problematic when it is profit that motivates them in the first place. We have to see how Aquino 3rd will handle problems that will arise—such as increasing rates and inefficient services—once his administration embarks on a new wave of privatization.

Development effectiveness
For three days in a row, various civil society organizations ranging from networks, community based organizations, social movements, trade unions, environmental advocates, urban poor groups, womens organizations and faith-based organizations have been meeting and discussing the concept of development effectiveness. Spearheaded by the Council for People’s Development and Governance (CPDG) in cooperation with other networks, the meeting is a broad and inclusive discussion and consensus-building process on how civil society organizations (CSOs) view development effectiveness.

This initiative came out of the worldwide dialogues that centered on the Paris Declaration with donors and governments, which tackled aid effectiveness. In these talks, CSOs have consistently pushed for their recognition as development actors in their own right. This was not immediately obvious to all stakeholders. It was only in 2008 when CSOs, governments and donors agreed on proposals to strengthen aid effectiveness through the inclusion of CSOs as independent development actors.

In their decades-long practice of delivering services to far-flung communities, CSOs are in reality concerned not just about aid effectiveness but more so on development effectiveness—how do the actions of development actors impact on improving the lives of the poor and marginalized; and the promotion of sustainable positive change that addresses, within a democratic framework, the root causes as well as the symptoms of poverty, inequality and marginalization.

It is in this light that the international process of coming up with a global development effectiveness framework and enabling environment for CSOs is being undertaken by the Open Forum for CSO Development. The Open Forum in the Philippines is now on its third day where CSOs will share their concept of development effectiveness in the multi-stake-holders dialogue with donors and government representatives.

 

     
     
     
     
           

 

KALIKASAN PEOPLE’S NETWORK FOR THE ENVIRONMENT
26 Matulungin St. Central Dist., Diliman, Quezon City, Philippines, 1100
Tel./Fax; +63 (2) 924-8756; E-mail: kalikasan.pne@gmail.com
Website: www.kalikasan.org

 

Press Release
29 July 2010

Green groups alarmed over P-noy's lack of clear pro-environment stance in his SONA

After the first state of the nation address (SONA) of President Aquino and only a month since he sworn into office, environmental groups are apprehensive over indications that the current administration may not be environmental at all.

The groups, headed by Kalikasan People's Network for the Environment (Kalikasan PNE), has noted some of Pnoy's pronouncements and moves that demonstrate President Aquino’s leanings toward the same anti-environment policies of the previous Arroyo administration.

"It is still early to say that President Aquino is anti-environment like his predecessor. However, based on what Mr. Aquino is doing and saying so far, prospects are not good for the communities and groups that have long clamored for fundamental change in terms of the national policies and programs that have caused much harm to our environment," said Clemente Bautista of Kalikasan PNE.

The groups enumerated the 'signs' of Aquino's poor environmental platform and actions.

“Until now, looking at his electoral platform, inaugural speech and his state of the nation address (SONA), Mr. Aquino still has no clear environmental agenda and position on major issues such as mining, climate change, garbage and others,” said Bautista.

One such issue is large-scale mining. In his platform regarding the national economy, Noynoy has expressed to target and attract more investments in industries such as mining, opposite to what environmentalists and communities are calling for.

"Despite the growing mining opposition and the long standing call of different sectors to abolish the Mining Act of 1995, Mr. Aquino has been vocal on how he will encourage foreign mining investments and promote socially responsible mining in the country," Bautista pointed out.

Mining liberalization has been one of the priority economic policies of the previous Arroyo administration. Mrs. Arroyo has aggressively promoted large-scale commercial mining through its mining revitalization program to entice the entry and operation of foreign corporations in the country. The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has identified 63 priority mining projects most of which are foreign owned.

As a result, communities affected by mining have recorded countless of grievances against the policy such as the displacement of indigenous peoples, upland settlers, and communities dependent on the ecosystems of the concession area; adverse environmental consequences; depletion of mineral resources; impacts on community health; and violations of civil and human rights such as killings and militarization.

"This pronouncement of Mr. Aquino is consistent with his action in appointing Ramon Paje as Secretary of DENR, one of the mining honchos of the Arroyo administration in promoting and implementing mining liberalization in the country," said Mr. Bautista

Ramon Paje has acted as Executive Director of Minerals Development Council (MDC) and headed the facilitation of the selling and privatization of mineral facilities and lands in the country, one of which is the gold-rich Mt. Diwalwal area in Campostela Valley, Davao del Norte
 

 

"Mr. Aquino has also pronounced reviving the Laiban Dam project and other private schemes as answers to the current water crisis. Mr. Aquino is also said to be considering the building of nuclear power plants, though he has openly said no to the revival of the Bataan Nuclear Power plant, as answer to the energy crisis,” said Bautista.
 

According to the groups, the Laiban dam project has been an issue for 30 years already and is not the solution to the current water crisis. The current water crisis is not new and has been answered by several administrations already through privatization schemes but until now majority of the Filipinos still has no access to clean and affordable water.

The groups blame the framework of the government, which is geared towards the privatization of water, as a gross failure. They attribute the current water crisis to the inefficiency, mismanagement and privatization of our natural resources

"Nuclear power is a false solution to the energy crisis. The Philippines is rich with renewable sources of energy that is less than the cost and risk of nuclear power. In addition to the environmental risks nuclear plants pose, it will further make the country more dependent on foreign investors and technologies, " said Mr. Bautista.

If Mr. Aquino is really sincere in treading the righteous path (daaang matuwid) then he would give in to the demands of the people including a healthful environment and national policies that uphold the rights of communities to our national patrimony the groups said.

"The first order of business is to reverse and scrap the neoliberal government policies and unequal international treaties which have led to more wanton extraction, sell-out, privatization and plunder of our natural resources and environment such as the Mining Act of 1995, Japan Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement (JPEPA) among others," said Clemente Bautista.

Bautista furthered that as long as these policies are in place and Aquino's environmental framework is still geared towards the liberalization and privatization of our natural resources then he is most probably anti-people and anti-environment however projects to be otherwise.

“The first State of the Nation Address and the past days have been be very revealing of Aquino’s true colors. However, If he presents an effective environmental platform and if he gives in to the demands of the people in the coming days then our country’s environment may have hope after all. However, if he continues his lackluster performance and avoidance of fundamental issues then we can all conclude that Mr. Aquino is just an extension of the previous administration and must be denounced by the people whom he claims to be his ‘boss’,” ended Bautista,

Reference: Clemente Bautista, national coordinator Kalikasan PNE, 09228449787 or 9209099.
 

KALIKASAN People's Network for the Environment is a network of people's organizations (POs), non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and environmental advocates. It believes that the struggle for the environment is a struggle of the people, thus all environmental action shall have the interest of the majority at their core.
--
CLEMENTE BAUTISTA
National Coordinator
Kalikasan People's Network for the Environment (Kalikasan-PNE)
No.26 Matulungin St. Bgy. Central, Diliman, Quezon City, Philippines 1100
Tel. No. +63-2-9248756 Fax No. +63-2-9209099
Email: kalikasan.pne@gmail.com
Website: www.kalikasan.org

 

     
     
Of empty rhetoric, smoke and mirrors, and soap bubbles
           

"Streetwise
By Carol Pagaduan-Araullo

Smoke and Mirrors

“Pnoy the Magician” in bright yellow. This was how activists depicted President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino in effigy in last Monday’s annual State-of-the-Nation street demonstration. They were proven prescient in more ways than one as soon as Mr. Aquino started delivering his SONA that turned out to be vintage smoke-and-mirrors demagoguery.

Rather than lead the people to an understanding of the true state of the nation, his seemingly straightforward rhetoric was used instead to conjure illusions and deceive not unlike the way a magician uses optical illusions to create believability while actually performing tricks.

The main trick is to continue to appear as the harbinger of the “change that people can believe in” that worked well enough to get Mr. Aquino elected.

However, despite the effort to make the Aquino regime appear poised to undertake far-reaching reforms in government, in the economy, in resolving armed conflicts and even in turning around public sentiment from pessimism to hopefulness, cynicism to unity and cooperation, Mr. Aquino’s SONA only confirms that there is nothing new, innovative, not to mention any attempt at a radical break from the past, in his prescriptions.

Rather, what we heard are more of the same policies and programs of old dressed up to dazzle and give false hopes.

Once more corruption is presented as the overarching problem. Mr. Aquino’s speech used simple and folksy language to whip up the public’s hatred for corrupt politicians and other government officials by laying out more horror stories from the previous regime: Mrs. Arroyo’s pampering her province with government funds to boost her congressional bid; the over-procurement of imported rice at the cost of billions of pesos which was then left to rot in government warehouses; MWSS top officials wallowing in pelf and privilege while the country suffers a water crisis.

Salacious new details these but nothing surprising. Why not tell us the progress in case build-up on the biggest corruption scandals that plagued the Arroyo administration? Why is the Truth Commission still nowhere in sight, much less near to having Mrs. Arroyo and her partners in crime brought to the bar of justice?

Mr. Aquino stated categorically that his administration would not tolerate murderers and plunderers. He crowed about solving “50% of the cases of extralegal killings” that occurred soon after his assuming office or three out of six reported cases with the identification of suspects.

Assuming this to be true, however, his complete silence on government’s current counterinsurgency or COIN program as the underlying cause of most of the killings as pointed out by independent international human rights bodies places in serious doubt Mr. Aquino’s earnestness in putting a stop to and solving these murders by state security forces.

More specifically, the lack of immediate action to disband the legalized private armies called “civilian volunteer organizations” that the military uses to augment its COIN operations, renders Mr. Aquino’s boast inconsequential in ending criminal impunity. Such a reign of impunity gave rise to the still unresolved Maguindanao massacre on top of the more than a thousand unsolved extrajudicial killings in almost a decade of Oplan Bantay Laya.

It is not surprising that Mr. Aquino’s take on the peace talks reveals his apparently shallow and short-sighted view about armed conflicts and how to resolve them. His insistence on a permanent ceasefire as a precondition to the resumption of the talks with the CPP/NPA/NDF and his insinuation that the NDF has not made any worthwhile proposal on the matter indicates either ignorance of what has previously transpired or a dangerously militarist mindset intent on throwing a monkey wrench on the talks rather than in undertaking the fundamental reforms needed to attain a just and lasting peace.

Stopping corrupt practices, judicious use of government resources, and so-called private-public partnership are touted as the strategy to lift up the economy and miraculously solve all other related problems such as massive unemployment and underemployment, the budget deficit, decrepit social services as well as crumbling public infrastructure.

Mr. Aquino completely and conveniently overlooks genuine land reform not just as a basic social justice measure but a question of breaking free from a backward, semi-feudal agricultural economy.

He is completely mum about neoliberal policies that destroyed whatever was left of manufacturing, further undermined agricultural development and food self-sufficiency and rendered the domestic economy more than ever vulnerable to the vagaries of the international market as shown in the recent regional and global financial crises.

We can safely presume that his macro-economic policy framework will not depart from those of all his predecessors including Mrs. Arroyo.

So much ado about how Mrs. Arroyo wasted public funds for narrow political ends leaving the Aquino government with little left to undertake vital programs and services. But he says not a word about the P300 billion pesos automatically set aside for debt payments considering many of these are onerous debts that date back to the Marcos dictatorship as well as to graft-ridden Arroyo regime.

Ibon Data Bank puts forward concrete doable measures to address the fiscal deficit but apparently Mr. Aquino does not countenance any of them.

These include implementing increases in tariffs and withdrawing huge incentives given to foreign investors. IBON estimates government losses of around P200 billion in potential revenues each year because of tariff reduction. Fiscal incentives to foreign investors have in turn led to huge tax losses estimated by the Finance Department to be around P43 billion.

Mr. Aquino has a fondness for using the metaphor of crossroads to describe his administration’s core values and trajectory. He likens a leader’s choice to taking the straight path of “good governance” or the crooked one so dishonorably exemplified by the Arroyo regime. What all this clever use of metaphors has been concealing all along is the truth that corruption is not the root cause of our nation's poverty and hardship.

It is the wanton exploitation and oppression of our people by foreign powers, mainly the US, with the collaboration of the local ruling elite. Together they appropriate the social wealth produced by our people's labor. Together they impose and implement socio-economic and political programs and policies that deliberately favor foreign capital and their local agents while relegating our economy -- our local industries and agriculture -- to backwardness and dependency.

All this magic may serve to deceive and even entertain our hungry and suffering masses. But they will not forever drive away the pangs of hunger, the homelessness and the scourge of disease. No matter how many SONAs repeat the same deceptive tricks and clever lies, more and more in the streets, in homes, factories, fields and mountains, will see the through the smoke and mirrors, see the truth and find the real path to freedom, democracy, progress and peace. #
 

     
     
     
     
     
           
     
     
     

 

Streetwise
By Carol Pagaduan-Araullo

July 02, 2010
 

Empty rhetoric?

The Aquino presidency is finally ensconced. If only because this signals the end of the Arroyo nightmare, our people have reason to cheer. But how much different will the Aquino administration be from that of Arroyo or any of the previous regimes for that matter?

During the electoral campaign, Mr. Aquino did not state categorically that he would be the exact opposite of Mrs. Arroyo, the way his mother Cory promised she would be the antithesis of the dictator Marcos. He merely said he would not be a crook while in office; he would run after the crooks in the previous government and would not tolerate them in his; and that he would help the poor and deliver basic services.

The anti-corruption rhetoric is a staple of campaign speeches of politicians everywhere. In the Philippines, Mr. Aquino’s promises resonated with Filipinos who are not only sick and tired of the Arroyo government’s shenanigans but who have had it with “traditional” or old-type politicians running an endemically corrupt system.

What is cleverly hidden in all the sound and fury about corruption, then and now, is that it is only the symptom of a more pernicious disease called bureaucrat capitalism; i.e. government officials using their positions to protect and amass more wealth and privilege at the expense of the people.

Hence one can have different factions of the same ruling classes taking turns running the government, with different and even distinctive styles of preserving the status quo. Invariably the bureaucrat capitalists end up using deception combined with repression in varying proportions and with differing degrees of effectiveness.

Mr. Aquino’s popularity rode on the back of his parents’ combined political mystique, on massive rejection of the odious Arroyo regime, and on inchoate hopes for meaningful change -- a break with a rotten system that has all but destroyed the people’s livelihoods, made their lives even more miserable and robbed them of their future.

But after all the flag-waving and cheering, the excitement and the relief at seeing Mrs. Arroyo being driven out of Malacañang finally, albeit still in the presidential limousine, what do the Filipino people have to be hopeful and thankful for?

It is becoming clearer by the day that there is not much change to be expected from the Aquino presidency judging from his pre-inaugural statements, the composition of his Cabinet, and his inaugural speech.

His promises can be said to be a rehash of the lofty promises of previous presidents in their inaugural and SONA speeches. Nothing much happened afterwards for we all know it takes more than promises to bring about genuine change.

The central weakness of Mr. Aquino’s line is still his trite, superficial and misleading framework that falsely reduces the roots of entrenched and widespread poverty to corruption, followed by the promise to eradicate the latter by means of uprightness in government service.

Mr. Aquino has nothing new to offer in this regard. Cory’s good government commission went after Marcos' cronies and ill-gotten wealth but the Marcoses are back in power. Mr. Ramos went after the so-called oligarchs and monopolies but he merely entrenched them and created new ones. Mr. Estrada went after Mr. Ramos but was ousted himself before he could make anything stick. Mrs. Gloria Arroyo went after Mr. Estrada and had him convicted for plunder but quickly pardoned him anyway.

Corruption has never been rooted out and in fact continues to thrive especially at the highest reaches of government.

Mr. Aquino will have to do much more than go through the motions of prosecuting those who have committed supposed transgressions. In his inaugural speech, he did not even mention what transgressions he was referring to or who these transgressors were. It was noticeable that there was no pointed reference to Mrs. Arroyo and her cabal as criminally culpable for wanton plunder and grievous human rights violations.

His appointment of former Chief Justice Hilarion Davide to the Truth Commission that will purportedly uncover the truth about “unresolved controversies” is not a cause for celebration either considering Mr. Davide’s close and mutually beneficial relationship with Mrs. Arroyo who had amply rewarded him for his services to her regime.

Holding over foreign affairs secretary Romulo and recycling the finance and economic managers from the Cory Aquino, Ramos and Arroyo regimes indicate that the Aquino government will pursue the same IMF-WB-WTO imposed neoliberal policies that are a greater and more direct cause of poverty than corruption.

There is also no mention of land reform, not even the recycled form of his mother’s emasculated land reform program, CARPER. He says absolutely nothing about his clan’s landed estate, the Hacienda Luisita Incorporated (HLI), whether his administration will finally distribute land to the tenants and render justice to the victims of the HLI massacre and related extra-judicial killings.

Mr. Aquino turns a blind eye to US domination of the country’s economic and military affairs. He even echoes the old slogan of former President Ramos to "level the playing field" for foreign investors; that is, to allow the multinational corporations and banks to ride roughshod over Filipino enterprises and productive sectors and foreclose all possibility of national industrialization.

All these negate the possibility of success and reduce to empty rhetoric Mr. Aquino's ambitious plan to "defeat the enemy by wielding the tools of justice, social reform, and equitable governance leading to a better life".

Consistently, Mr. Aquino makes no reference to the need for peace negotiations with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines, the umbrella formation that represents the communists and other revolutionary organizations in peace talks with government. Instead, he stressed the need to double the strength of the military and police supposedly because the population has doubled but betraying his propensity, like all previous presidents before him, to resort to military means to resolve armed conflicts.

The NDFP Peace Panel’s Chief Political Consultant, Mr. Jose Ma. Sison has pointed out that Mr. Aquino follows the 2009 US Counterinsurgency Guide which says peace negotiations are dispensable for the purpose of destroying, coopting and debilitating the so-called insurgency so long as there is good governance, delivery of services, a strong military and effective use of intelligence and propaganda.

The reappointment of Ms. Ging Deles, who oversaw peace talks with the NDFP and MILF under the Arroyo regime, to the same position may be perceived as a continuation of the failed approaches and tactics of old and does not augur well for any breakthrough in the peace negotiations.

We have yet to see what the feisty former human rights commissioner can accomplish as Justice secretary; the same with the gutsy anti-Arroyo dissenter and former president of De La Salle University, as the new Education secretary.

We shall certainly see in the next few weeks and months who, indeed, is Pres. Aquino's “boss” -- the people or vested interest groups? #

*Published in Business World
2-3 July 2010
 

     
     
     
Catching soap bubbles
           
     
Human rights groups tell Aquino: Stop the extra judicial killings, abductions
     
     
           
           

 

Roman Catholic priest survives assassination attempt in Casiguran, Aurora, Philippines

UA No: 2010-07-04

 

UA Date                     :           29 July 2010

 

UA Case                     :           Frustrated Extrajudicial Killing, Threat/Harassment/Intimidation

 

Victim/s                       :           Frustrated Extrajudicial Killing, Threat/Harassment/Intimidation

                                                Fr. Jose Francisco “Joefran” Talaban

·        43 years old, a resident of Brgy.  Bianoan, Casiguran, Aurora

·        Priest,  Parish of Nuestra Señora de la Salvacion in Brgy. Bianoan

 

                                                Threat/Harassment/Intimidation

1.      Alfonso van Zijl, staff of Bataris Formation Center, Baler, Aurora

2.      Jery Pabro, staff of Bataris Formation Center, Baler, Aurora

3.      Arnold Gallardo,  staff of Justice and Peace Action Group (JPAG-Aurora)

4.      Arnel Turzar,  staff of Justice and Peace Action Group (JPAG-Aurora)

5.      Atty. Rachel Pastores, legal counsel of Public Interest Law Center (PILC)

6.      Edwin Garcia, councilor of Brgy. Bianoan

7.      Peth Calivara, councilor of Brgy. Esteves, Casiguran

8.      Danilo Roque, councilor of Brgy. Esteves

                                               

Place of Incident        :           Brgy. Bianoan, Casiguran, Aurora

 

Date of Incident         :           in the early morning of 26 June 2010

 

Alleged Perpetrator(s):          members of the anticommunist group sponsored by the 48th Infantry                                            Batallion Philippine Army (IBPA) “Aniban ng mga Ayaw sa                                                                      Komunista (ANAK-Bianoan) or “Alliance Against Communists of                                                            Bianoan”

 

Account of the Incident:

 

At around 2:00 in the morning of 26 June 2010, Fr. Jose Francisco “Joefran” Talaban was sleeping alone in his room inside the wooden house adjacent to the church that served as parish convent.  Four convent boys were sleeping in the room behind that of Fr. Talaban’s and near the kitchen.  Unknown to them, a brown van without license plate stopped about twenty meters from the church compound.  Armed men alighted from the van, lobbed a grenade and peppered the compound with bullets.  Fr. Joefran was awakened by a loud explosion and went down to seek shelter in the comfort room downstairs which is made of hollow blocks.  After ascertaining that the gunmen had already left, Fr. Joefran left his hiding place and checked on the boys. 

 

At around 5:00 in the morning, they went out and checked the vicinity.  They found the compound littered with plastic laminated black propaganda materials.  He also discovered that the elevated wooden signage about two feet in length with galvanized iron roofing bore the impact of the lobbed grenade.  The roof was ripped off and the signage blown to pieces.  The signage blocked the trajectory of the grenade and spared the convent from being damaged.  They also found shrapnel marks on the wall of the church.  Fr. Talaban also found bullet holes on the wall just about two meters from where he was sleeping.

 

At around 5:30 AM, Fr. Talaban sent one of the convent boys to the nearby Bianoan Police outpost which is a few blocks away from the compound.  He also called to inform his co-priest in Baler, Fr. Nilvon Villanueva and his Bishop in the Prelature of Infanta, Bishop Rolando Tirona.

 

The Bianoan Police responded immediately and told him that the police heard the explosion and the gunshots.  They allegedly conducted a foot patrol but went back to their station when the burst of gunfire died down.  The Bianoan police viewed the scene and gathered the black propaganda materials.  They then contacted their headquarters in Casiguran for a thorough investigation.  The Casiguran Police found spent casings of M16 and M14 rifles.  They also found grenade shrapnel.

 

Plastic-laminated anticommunist black propaganda materials signed by ANAK-Bianoan contained threats to Fr. Joefran and other members of the Task Force Against ASEZA (TFAA).  Some of the laminated leaflets contained these writings in the vernacular:

 

            “Watch out all of you colleagues and comrades of the intruder New People's Army (NPA) who brought the teachings of the devil like hatred and disunity among the people and the disintegration of the family.  You JOSE FRANCISCO TALABAN and all your colleagues should start packing so that you will be spared from the retaliation of those you have tormented.” - Alliance Against Communists

 

            “Joefran, the minion of Satan!  How did you become a priest when your teachings are of the flesh and you support the godless NPA? - Alliance Against Communists

 

Prior to the strafing of the convent, the same brown van used by the gunmen was seen by neighbors of Councilor Danilo Roque, barangay councilor of the adjacent Brgy. Esteves, scattering black propaganda materials in front of his house.  He is also a member of the TFAA.

 

Names of other members of the task force were also printed in the leaflets including that of Atty. Rachel Pastores (lawyer of the Public Interest Law Center, based in Makati City, Metro Manila) who was once invited by the TFAA as speaker in a consultation on 22 January 2010.

 

This was not the first attack against Fr. Joefran and members of TFAA.  Between 2008 and 2009, on several occasions, streamers depicting Fr. Joefran and members of the TFAA as demons were hung along the Baler-Casiguran highway near military detachments.

 

Background of the incident:

 

The Aurora Special Economic Zone Authority or ASEZA was created by virtue of Republic Act 9490 or the Aurora Special Economic Zone Act which originated from the bills filed in both the Senate and House of Representatives by the father and son tandem of Sen. Edgardo Angara and Rep. Sonny Angara and passed into law in 2007.  The passage of this law was questioned due to its alleged failure to consult the residents who would be affected by the project.  This was strongly condemned by displaced residents, mostly indigenous peoples, and their supporters, due to its anti-people policy.  The Roman Catholic Church has actively called for the abolition of ASEZA.  Together with other organizations and individuals, they formed the TFAA in 2008 to defend the 500 hectares of prime agricultural land and residential lots from being converted by virtue of the  ASEZA.  Since then, organizations and individuals involved became targets of vilification by the 48th IBPA because its commanding officer Lt. Col. Elias Escarcha publicly announced that the military will protect development projects like the ASEZA.

 

TFAA intensified its campaign when its members learned that an amendment filed by Sen. Edgardo Angara to RA 9490 lapsed into law on 22 April 2010 as the approving authority (Office of the President) failed to take action.  The new law RA 10083 created the Aurora Pacific Economic Zone and Freeport (APECO), extending the 500 hectares to about 13,000 hectares including the areas that are home to several indigenous communities, small farmers and fisherfolks in the San Ildefonso peninsula

 

The TFAA’s protest action culminated in “Kalbaryo at Pasyon ng Sambayanan” on Good Friday, a reenactment of the passion of Christ where around a thousand people, together with their priests walked from the affected area to Casiguran carrying the cross bearing these calls “No to ASEZA,” “No to Politcial Dynasties,” “Land to the Tillers,” and “Implementation of IPRA*”. These protest actions displeased the Angara clan. 

 

*IPRA or the Indigenous People’s Rights’ Act of the Philippines

 

Recommended Action:

 

Send letters, emails or fax messages calling for:

  1. The immediate formation of an independent fact-finding and investigation team composed of representatives from human rights groups, the Church, local government, and the Commission on Human Rights that will look into frustrated extrajudicial killing of Fr. Jose Francisco Talaban and the threat/harassment/intimidation of the other abovementioned victims;

  2. The military to stop the labeling and targeting of human rights defenders as “members of front organizations of the communists” and “enemies of the state.”

  3. The protection of Fr. Joefran Talaban and those others named in the list of threatened persons and ensure their safety.

  4. The Philippine Government to be reminded that it is a signatory to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and that it is also a party to all the major Human Rights instruments, thus it is bound to observe all of these instruments’ provisions.

 

You may send your communications to:

 

 

H.E. Benigno C. Aquino III

President of the Republic of the Philippines

Malacañang Palace,

JP Laurel St., San Miguel

Manila, Philippines

Voice: (+632) 564 1451 to 80

Fax: (+632) 742-1641 / 929-3968

E-mail:

 

Sec. Teresita Quintos-Deles

Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process

Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP)

7th Floor Agustin Building I

Emerald Avenue

Pasig City 1605

Voice:+63 (2) 636 0701 to 066

Fax:+63 (2) 638 2216

E-Mail Address: osec@opapp.gov.ph

 

Ret. Lt. Gen. Voltaire T. Gazmin

Secretary, Department of National Defense

Room 301 DND Building, Camp Emilio Aguinaldo,

E. de los Santos Avenue, Quezon City

 

Voice:+63(2) 911-9281 / 911-0488

Fax:+63(2) 911 6213

Email: osnd@philonline.com

 

Atty. Leila De Lima

Secretary, Department of Justice

Padre Faura St., Manila

Direct Line 521-8344; 5213721

Trunkline  523-84-81 loc.214

Fax: (+632) 521-1614

Email:  soj@doj.gov.ph

 

Acting Chairperson Cecilia Rachel V. Quisumbing

Commission on Human Rights

SAAC Bldg., UP Complex

Commonwealth Avenue

Diliman, Quezon City, Philippines

Voice: (+632) 928-5655, 926-6188

Fax: (+632) 929 0102

Email:  coco.chrp@gmail.com,

 

Hon. Edgardo J. Angara

Senator, Philippine Senate

Rm. 504 5th Flr., GSIS Bldg., Financial Center, Roxas Blvd., Pasay City
Trunk Lines: (632) 552-6601 to 70 loc. 5571 / 5593
Direct Lines: (632) 552-6779 / (632) 552-6852
Telefax: No.: (632) 552-6601 loc. 5572
Email: edgardo_angara@hotmail.com
Website: www.edangara.com

 

Hon. Juan Edgardo Angara

Representative, Aurora, Lone District

Rm. N - 305, House of Representatives, Quezon City
Phone: 931-5001 local 7344, 9315642

Email:  repangara@yahoo.com

 

Hon. Bellaflor J. Angara-Castillo

Governor, Aurora Province

Provincial Capitol
Brgy. Suklayin Baler, Aurora

3200

Philippines

Voice:  (042)209-4211

Email:  govbella@aurora.gov.ph

Website:  http://www.aurora.gov.ph

 

Please send us a copy of your email/mail/fax to the above-named government officials, to our address below.

 

URGENT ACTION Prepared by:

 

KARAPATAN (Alliance for the Advancement of People’s Rights)

National Office

2/F Erythrina Bldg., #1 Maaralin cor Matatag Sts., Brgy. Central, Diliman, Quezon City 1100 PHILIPPINES

Voice/Fax: (+632) 435 4146

Email: urgentaction@karapatan.org

Website: www.karapatan.org 

 

     
     
     
     
     
           
     
     
     

 

TANGGOL MAGSASAKA
Peasant Network for LAND, JUSTICE AND HUMAN RIGHTS
20-C Maaralin St., Bgy. Central, Diliman, Quezon City
Telefax (632) 43-6957 Email ad tanggolmagsasaka2@yahoo.com

PRESS RELEASE
July 30, 2010
Reference: Antonio Flores, Co-Convenor, Tanggol Magsasaka and KMP Spokesperson

Amidst farmers’ insistent demands, political persecution continues under the Aquino regime

Peasant rights group Tanggol Magsasaka (Peasant Network for Land, Justice and Human Rights) and Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) condemned in the highest form possible the continuous political persecution on peasants under the Aquino regime. The rights abuses on farmers are intensifying within days and the Aquino government has yet to address the issue.

“We are disturbed of the rights abuses stirring against the peasants. As we remember, during the Arroyo regime, farmers were the most targeted of Oplan Bantay Laya (OBL) and justice has yet to be served and perpetrators remain at large. “, according to Antonio Flores, Co-Convenor, Tanggol Magsasaka and KMP Spokesperson.

“What’s new? When Arroyo’s term was about to end, Isidro Pasatiempo and Totsie Timtim, farmers of Guihulngan, Negros Oriental were illegally arrested on June 24, 2010 and detained at BJMP-Guihulngan. They were accused of illegal possession of firearms, explosives and ammunitions and were forced to admit that they are members of New Peoples’ Army (NPA). The military men kept on tagging Pasatiempo as cook of the NPA and Timtim as one of the medical personnels,“ said Flores.

“In addition, the case of Pascual Guevarra, a peasant leader in Nueva Ecija and 1st peasant-victim of extra-judicial killing (EJK) under Aquino regime, is a clear manifestation of another brutal and anti-peasant president we have in the country. Likewise the 561 victims of EJK under Arroyo regime, Tatay Pascual has been very active in organizing peasants in his baranggay against landgrabbing and in general, calling for genuine agrarian reform. He was kiiled last July 9, 2010, nine days after President Noy’s proclamation as Philippine president,“ Flores added.

The recent arrest of Dario Tomada in Biñan, Laguna on July 22, 2010, had created alarm and disappointment on the peasant movement and its supporters. Tomada has been a peasant leader in Eastern Visayas since the late 1980’s and he was the chairperson of Samahan han Gudti nga Parag-uma ha Sinirangan Bisayas (SAGUPA-SB) in 2004. Since his active participation in peasants’ struggle, he was targeted by the military and endured harassments. In September 2006, he left Eastern Visayas to evade attempts on his life and eventually took odd jobs to support his family in the province. During his arrest, he was informed that he has committed 15 counts of murder in Inopacan. Leyte. Currently, he is detained at Camp Karingal, Quezon City.’ Flores cited.

According to Flores, “During Aquino’s 30 days in power, all these rights abuses took place against the peasants are continuation of what ensued during the Arroyo regime. We are very troubled when we are to expect or wait for news almost everyday of peasants being victims of human rights abuses.”

“We call on the Aquino administration to stop the implementation of Oplan Bantay Laya, free the peasant political prisoners and give justice to victims of rights abuses. We want to see the change Aquino promised as early as now, as waiting to be killed in the near future is not an option for us,” Flores called. #
 

     
The youth groups in various SONA ng BAYAN actovotoes: march, Operation Pinta, on the spot artwork
     
     

 

League of Filipino Students
118-B Sct. Rallos Ext. Bgy. Sacred Heart, Quezon City
Website: LFS.PH
Email: lfsphilippines@gmail.com

PRESS RELEASE
July 30, 2010

Students oppose LRT fare hikes

Every morning, Emerald Ridon rides the LRT at the Balintawak Station in Quezon City to the Pedro Gil Station in Manila in going to her college, St. Paul University Manila. At the end of the day, she rides the Marcos-era railway again to return to her home in suburban Quezon City.

According to the mass communications freshman, she spends more than one-fourth of her daily two hundred-peso allowance in commuting expenses alone.

Early July, Light Rail Transit Authority Chairman Mel Robles announced that the LRTA is planning to increase the rates of both LRT I and II in order to recover massive operations losses such as foreign exchange fluctuations among others.

Like many students who ride the LRT everyday in going to school, she said she opposes any moves to increase the rates and expressed concern that students and their parents would be severely burdened by the rate increases.

Her brother, Terry, UP Law student and chairperson of the militant League of Filipino Students supports his sister in opposing any rate increases in LRT I and II.

“Instead of burdening students and working people further by increasing its rates, the LRTA should petition government to increase subsidies to the LRTs and the MRT. Mass transit is a public service offered by the government, and must remain to be so. We shouldn’t be made to pay more to avail of a service that is funded in the most part by taxpayers’ money.”

Ridon said that commuting expenses are included in the mounting cost of education in the country, aside from yearly tuition and other fee increases, expensive textbooks and board and lodging.

He also said that it is the government’s obligation to subsidize the LRT and the MRT, especially at a time when the country is facing continuing economic setbacks and costs of education that had more than doubled since the last decade.

The student leader called on the Aquino government to address the issue squarely and vowed that the LFS will organize mass student protests in the event that the DOTC indeed pushes through with their plan.

Reference:

Terry Ridon, National Chairperson, League of Filipino Students
09155310725, teridon18@gmail.com
--
"the development of each is the development of all."
teridon.blospot.com



 

     
           
     
     
     

 

GABRIELA to Aquino: “You are a president, not a whistleblower. Act swiftly.”
NEWS RELEASE
28 July 2010

Reference: Lana Linaban, secretary general (0908-8653582)

GABRIELA to Aquino:
“You are a president, not a whistleblower. Act swiftly.”

Necessary, yes. But lacking and superficial.

This is how GABRIELA finds the formation of an investigative body to look into the irregularities in the rice procurement of the National Food Authority (NFA).

According to the group, Aquino’s posturing in his first State of the Nation Address can be likened to that of a whistle blower enumerating the dirty deeds of his predecessor, mostly of corruption and irregularities in various government agencies. His exposè on rice did not shock the nation any longer. What the people awaited—but was notably absent in his speech—was a decisive pronouncements on how he is to solve the problem and that the crooks responsible behind this plunder would be expeditiously prosecuted.

“We want to remind Aquino that he is a president and not a whistleblower. He needs to act on exacting justice, use the full force of the law to hold these thieves liable for the crime they committed as he promised the people. That the government hoards this vast amount of rice, rotting in warehouses, while the people are hard put in bringing even a handful of it on their tables is galling,” expressed Lana Linaban, secretary general of GABRIELA.

Lito Banayo, the newly appointed chief of the National Food Authority, said that “we’re swimming in rice,” and therefore “we need to study if our system of importation is right.” But the militant women’s group stressed that simply looking into the excessive importation is merely skimming the surface of the problem.

“It is not only the excesses and corruption—but the very policy of importation that is wrong. The new administration should go beyond the question of system and mechanism, and decisively scrap policies that prove to be anti-people, importation policy just one of the many,” Linaban challenged Aquino.

GABRIELA slams the unnecessary importation of rice done in pretext of crop shortage locally-produced, when in fact the influx of rice from outside is what is killing the local industry; putting our farmers to an even more disadvantageous position. This trade relation with other countries do not also provide boost to our economy through revenues as no tariff is imposed on the imported products.

GABRIELA supports the demand of our farmers to develop local rice industry, dismantle cartel controlled by few businesses, and scrap importation policy.

On the immediate, Linaban calls on the president to have the stored rice in NFA checked by experts to determine if it is still safe for consumption. “If it is, then it should be made available to the market the soonest time possible, much lower than the current lowest retail price of P25. That would give poor Filipino families relief, albeit temporary.”

Further, the group demands that instead of harping on a role of a whistle blower, Aquino should move swiftly and decisively to prosecute Arroyo and her minions. “He can only prove his sincerity in righting the wrongs of the past if he facilitates the immediate prosecution of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and her minions in NFA and Department of Agriculture,” said Linaban.###

     
     
           
     
   
     
           

PRESS RELEASE
July 29, 2010
Reference: Roy Morilla, KMP Public Information Officer (0907-418-0098)

Prosecute Arroyo and Yap on rice over-importation, peasants urge Noynoy

The left-leaning Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP, Peasant Movement of the Philippines) urged president Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino to prosecute those who benefitted from over-importation of rice, particularly Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and former agriculture secretary Arthur Yap who pushed the over-importation of rice in the last years of the Arroyo administration.

“We have campaigning for the past government to support local rice production instead of over-spending for rice imports. In September 2008, when the P18.25 per kg National Food Authority (NFA) rice hiked to P25 per kg, we called for NFA to buy local palay pegged even at P17 per kg as it would only reach P34 per kg as rice compared to P45 per kg landed price of imported rice NFA employees reported,” said Danilo Ramos, KMP Secretary-General said in a press statement.

Based on government data, KMP said that the government has been importing rice though there were sufficient annual end stock of rice. In 2006, the country had an end stock of 2.25 million metric tons of rice or nearly 20% of the year’s gross supply, but the following year 2007, the government still amplified its importation to 1.8 million metric tons, a 5.2% increase from its 2006 level. At the end of 2007, the country had an end stock of 2.17 million metric tons but the government further boosted imports by 34.74% in 2008, reaching to 2.43 million metric tons. Last year, rice imports reached to 1.75 million metric tons, resulting a 2.63 million metric tons or 23% of the gross supply. But government has already dealt an importation of 2.47 million metric tons for the 2010 requirement.

“There has been over-stocks of rice annually, but the past administration continued to intensify importation, this is a clear betrayal of the Filipino people, particularly the rice farmers. The government favored foreign interests than the interests of Filipino farmers. This is a form of treason and economic sabotage, systematically destroying the country’s food security. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and former agriculture secretary Arthur Yap should be held responsible for this man-made disaster,” said Ramos.

The group urged Aquino to prosecute those who profited, including the rice cartels close to Arroyo. They have also called for Aquino to reverse the effects of Arroyo’s agricultural program by ending the liberalization of agriculture and focus on supporting local production.

“We urge Noynoy to stop the liberalization of agriculture, Arroyo favored foreign interests over the country’s and Filipino farmers. He should issue orders on stopping massive importation and commence on subsidizing local rice production. He should change our country from being a rice net-importer to being self-reliant,” Ramos called. #
 

     
           
     
     

 

Press Statement
July 28, 2010
Reference Person:
Axel Pinpin | Secretary General | KASAMA-TK | 0929 135 9636

PNoy can talk all-day-long about land distribution

Now this is shocking: "Maraming bagay na kung sasama mo sa SONA talagang hahaba at hahaba. Pero alam ng pangulo kung ano mga mahalagang gawin at dapat gawin nitong taon na ito.” (http://www.gmanews.tv/story/197104/lacierda-no-luisita-talk-in-sona-as-case-pending-in-sc)

That was Presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda’s statement referring to the non-inclusion of land reform on the President’s State of the Nation Address.

We, the rural poor from Southern Tagalog were utterly dismayed and insulted by Lacierda’s statement.

It also proves that Mr. Benigno Simeon Aquino III is not considering the peasantry which is 70% of the country’s population to be among on his important priorities. Aquino can talk all-day-long about land reform instead of his economic rhetoric without offering any immediate relief to the people.

Furthermore, Aquino’s exposé of the corruption of the previous administration with no concrete orders to prosecute Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo sounded like a blind item on his sister’s TV gossip show.

Aquino should be reminded that a letter from Kasama-TK was officially received in Malacañang last June 30, 2010. After almost a month, it shows that Aquino never had a glimpsed of the immediate demands of the farmers stated in the letter, or worst Aquino intentionally ignore the legitimate issues of the rural poor.

Apart from land reform and distribution of haciendas in the country, our group presented in the letter the following points-of-action for Aquino’s consideration in his first 100-days:

1. PULL-OUT OF MILITARY AND POLICE IN THE FARMING COMMUNITIES PARTICULARLY IN HACIENDA YULO IN LAGUNA & HACIENDA LOOC IN BATANGAS.

2. ALLOW THE TRANSPORT & SELLING OF AGRICULTURAL PRODUCTS IN MILITARIZED COMMUNITIES.

3. CANCELLATION OF ALL CONVERSION ORDERS OF AGRICULTURAL LANDS.

4. STOP THE CRIMINALIZATION OF AGRARIAN CASES.

5. JUNK TRUMPED-UP CRIMINAL CHARGES AGAINST THE FARMERS

These issues are legitimate and doable and should not be considered trivial compared to wang-wang which was dealt by the new administration as if it is a matter of life-and-death.

After hearing Aquino’s first SONA, the farmers are now resolved that Aquino is anti-rural poor. Aquino will never ever consider the farmers and agricultural workers to be neither his bosses nor his partners and clearly prefers hacienderos, big local compradors and foreign investors.

Aquino has a lot to prove before his 100-days are over. On the other hand, the peasantry in the region is determined to continue exposing Aquino’s anti-farmers stance and will guarantee the Filipino people that Aquino’s golden yellow popularity will tarnish in 100-days.#

For inquiries : Dave Villalon | 0918 318 7326

 

     
           
     
     
           

 

CONCERNED ARTISTS OF THE PHILIPPINES
 

Mga Manlilikha sa Sining at Literatura, Artista, At Manggagawang Pangkultura, Magkaisa,
Isulong Ang Pangkulturang Adyenda Ng Mamamayan Tungo Sa Tunay Na Pagbabago

Siyam na taong naghirap ang mamamayan sa ilalim ng rehimeng Arroyo. Sa kanayang panunungkulan, lumala ang kalagayan ng sining at kultura ng Pilipinas. Bunga ng patuloy na pagpapatupad ng rehimeng Arroyo ng mga patakaran ng globalisasyon, ang mga gawang sining at kultura mula sa ibang bansa, ay bumaha sa ating bayan at patuloy na pinapatay ang ating sariling mga likhang sining sa larangan ng pelikula, musika, literatura at iba pa. Bunga nito, maraming mga artista at mangagawang pangkultura sa sining at literatura ang naisasantabi at naapektuhan ang kabuhayan.

Pinalala ng globalisasyon ang matagal nang kakulangan ng suporta ng gobyerno para sa mga artista’t manunulat ; nananatili silang mga kontraktwal, walang sapat na kita at walang benepisyo. Maging ang mga obrang sining at kultura ng mga manlilikha ay di nabibigyang pansin at halaga dahil sa kakulangan ng suportang pinansyal mula sa pamahalaan. Sa halip na mapayaman ang ating kultura, nababansot lamang ang mga artista at mga obrang sining nila. Binahiran pa ni Arroyo ng dungis ang larangan ng sining sa kanyang paggamit ng kapangyarihan para gawaran bilang mga “Pambansang Alagad ng Sining” ang mga malalapit na kaibigan nito tulad nila Cecile Guidote Alvarez, Carlo J. Caparas at Pitoy Moreno sa kabila ng mahigpit na pagtutol ng ating hanay at mamamayan.

 

Ngayon, tayo ay nasa ilalim ng panunungkulan ng bagong pangulo na si Noynoy Aquino. Sa kaniyang panunungkulan, marami ang umaaasa ng pagbabago sa ating bayan. Ngunit hindi pa nagtatagal sa pwesto, makikita na ang bulok na kulturang bitbit ni Ginoong Aquino sa pagtalaga ng kaniyang mga kaibigan, kaalyado at padron sa nakalipas na pambansang eleksyon sa mga posisyon sa gobyerno bilang “payback.” Tampok dito ang pagkaluklok sa mga Abad sa mahahalagang posisyon sa Gabinete at Kongreso, at ang at ang CEO ng mga malalaking negosyo sa mga punong posisyon ng iba’t ibang ahensya ng gobyerno.

Nananatili rin itong kimi at bingi sa mga daing ng mga mangagawang pangkultura ng ABS-CBN na pinagtatanggal sa trabaho ng manedsment, na humihiling lamang ng pagkilala sa kanilang unyon at regularisasyon sa trabaho.Sa kasalukuyan, 33 sa kanila ang tinanggal sa kabila ng paninilbihan sa Kapamilya nang hindi bababa sa 15 taon.

Tahimik din ang rehimen sa usapin ng globalisasyon na pangunahing dahilan ng unti-unting pagkamatay ng sining at kultura ng ating bayan, at tahimik sa usapin ng pagdagdag ng badyet para sa sining at kultura sa ating bayan.

Higit na kailangan sa ganitong kalagayan ang ating nagkakaisang tinig at lakas. Sama-sama nating isulong ang pangkulturang adyenda ng mamamayan at iharap ito sa kasalukuyang pamahalaan ni Ginoong Aquino. Sama-sama nating isulong ang tunay na pagbabago sa Sining at Kultura ng ating Bayan.
 

 

 
 
     
     
     
     
     
Workers and peasants still hunger for Jobs and living wages and land
     

xNEWS RELEASE
28 July 2010

Aquino continues Arroyo’s wage policy with measly hikes in S. Mindanao, W. Visayas

The recently approved wage increases in Southern Mindanao and Western Visayas portends the continuation of measly and sparse hikes which workers experienced under Arroyo, labor center Kilusang Mayo Uno said today.

In Southern Mindanao, the regional wage board approved a P21 increase in daily pay, while the Western Visayas regional wage board approved a P15 wage increase – increases which KMU said is an omen of Aquino maintaining depressed wages of workers.

“President Noynoy Aquino said Filipinos can dream again. But how could workers dream again with P15 and P21? Workers have been dreaming of sufficient food for the longest time. These measly amounts are no different from what the Arroyo regime granted in the past nine years, an indication that there’s nothing new in Aquino’s wage policy,” said KMU chairperson Elmer “Bong” Labog.

“This is highlighted by the fact that Aquino did not mention anything about wages in his first State of the Nation Address. We suspect that the Aquino administration would use these measly increases to discredit workers’ call for a P125 nationwide wage hike,” he added.

Labog said workers have been pushing for the approval of the P125 nationwide wage increase since the Estrada administration. “Aquino is hinting that he will continue the attitude of past administrations in dealing with wage hike calls – dishing out crumbs in region after region to create an illusion of a nationwide increase.”

Last month, the regional wage board in the National Capital Region granted a P22 wage increase, a pittance which Arroyo boasted as her legacy to labor.

“This move by the regional wage boards in Western Visayas and Southern Mindanao regions under Aquino is also proof of how inutile wage boards are in addressing the workers’ plight. That is why we have also been demanding the scrapping of the wage board system,” Labog said.

“Workers are poised to intensify the wage hike campaign in the coming days and months amidst Aquino’s failure to hear our demands. We will push for the prioritization of House Bill 375 seeking a legislated P125-nationwide wage increase, which was filed by Anakpawis Party-list Rep. Rafael Mariano,” Labog concluded.

Reference: Elmer Labog, KMU Chairperson, 0908-163-6597 / 0919-416-3451
 

     
           
     
     
     
Of SONA and Peace Talks
     
     
     
           

 

Noynoy Aquino will lead the filipino people towards the path of deeper
explotation and deprivation
Jorge "Ka Oris" Madlos
<http://www.philippinerevolution.net/cgi-bin/statements/stmts.pl?author=ndfm>

Spokesperson
National Democratic Front of the Philippines-Mindanao
/July 27, 2010/

Noynoy Aquino's first SONA devoted fifteen minutes, or 43% of his speech castigating Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo for graft and corruption and grave abuse of power. It is but proper for the Aquino government to run after GMA, Mike Arroyo and all their collaborators, including big tax evaders like Lucio Tan, and jail them. We are skeptical whether Mr. Aquino can achieve this within his six-year term, given that graft and corruption is deeply ingrained in a system ruled by the landed and comprador classes whose lackeys in government enrich themselves at the expense of deprived peasants and exploited workers. In fact, Cory Aquino's regime miserably failed to stop corruption. It is not likely that Mr. Aquino's "Truth Commission" will end the wanton pilferage of public coffers, and once and for all solve extra-judicial killings and other heinous crimes.

Mr. Aquino's SONA failed to show the true state of the nation because he evaded addressing the very root causes of the basic problems besetting the country, and offered the Filipino people nothing but tokenistic, palliative and myopic solutions.

Mr. Aquino deliberately avoided dealing with genuine land reform, an agenda essential to resolving the country's fundamental economic problems, which is the root cause of poverty and deprivation. His overemphasis on post-harvest facilities would precisely serve the interest of the big landlords, big bourgeois comprador and imperialist agri-business and would only partly benefit the peasant masses. Mr. Aquino is scared of agrarian reform issues because he does not want to be hounded by the ghosts of the Mendiola and Hacienda Luisita massacres.

Nationalist industrialization, a key to economic self-reliance and workers' emancipation, was sidestepped in Mr. Aquino's SONA. Without a strong nationalized industry, the country's economy would only crash and workers delivered towards more capitalist exploitation. He did not even mention a single line about increasing the wages and benefits of Filipino workers. What he offered instead was the build-operate-transfer (BOT) and "private and public partnerships," which in truth are privatization schemes, that do not generate genuine employment, but would benefit his big bourgeois comprador and imperialist patrons. He had put on sale the nation's patrimony at bargain prices, with the people getting nothing but loose change in return, getting "fried deep in their own fat."

Mr. Aquino was misinformed, if not malicious, in quipping "mga rebeldeng nangongotong" against the New People's Army (NPA). In fact, the NPA runs after the GRP's "kotong" cops.

He failed to address the rapid destruction of the environment and the depletion of natural resources. Large mining and logging companies, including agri-business plantations, especially in Mindanao, continue to ravage the country's forests, mountains, lakes, seashores, and other natural resources. Instead of putting up national industries as the alternative, Mr. Aquino preferred foreign monopoly industries that plunder the country's resources and destroy the environment further, even at the risk of irreversible destruction.

In its approach towards the Moro people's struggle in Mindanao, it must show sincerity in granting the Moro people's struggle for the right to self-determination, and forge just agreements.

With regard to the peace negotiations, the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) had always been interested, willing and ready to negotiate peace with the GRP. We have disseminated all the signed agreements to our constituents and implemented the Comprehensive Agreement for the Respect of Human Rights and the International Humantarian Law (CARHR-IHL). After 12 years since signing, the GRP has yet to disseminate and implement the CARHR-IHL. Mr. Aquino must be ignorant when he asked "Handa na ba kayong magbigay ng mungkahi?" The NDFP Peace Panel has been prodding the GRP to enter into the second substantive agenda, which is the Comprehensive Agreement on Socio-Economic Reforms (CASER), drafted twelve years ago. If Mr. Aquino's government is sincere, it should not treat the CPP-NPA-NDF as "terrorists," and release all convicted and detained peace consultants. Mr. Aquino's call for an indefinite ceasefire is a veiled demand for the capitulation of the revolutionary forces.How can the New People's Army continue to be a real people's army when it is rendered inutile by an indefinite ceasefire?

The SONA, not so different from Mr. Aquino's inauguration speech, only revealed that the Aquino regime has neither new nor better to offer the Filipino people to deliver them from the muck of misery and exploitation, because it wittingly dodged addressing the fundamental problems in Philippine society. The SONA has only led us to discover where Noynoy Aquino will take the country in the next six years: where else, but straight into the grinding machine of US imperialists, big landlords, and the comprador bourgeoisie.

We cannot leave the nation's future in the hands of Noynoy Aquino and the rest of his ruling clique whom we know is basically no different from all other previous reactionary regimes. Our only way is to further advance the struggle for national liberation and new democracy, which aims to carry forward genuine agrarian reform and nationalist industrialization free from US imperialist machination and dictates.

The National Democratic Front in Mindanao (NDF-Mindanao) calls on the Filipino people to unite under the banner call of the people's nationalist and democratic revolution and, together, strive hard to reach a higher stage of the protracted people's war. The people's democratic revolution is the only solution to the basic problems of the Filipino people! #

 

     
     
           
     
     
     

 

PRESS RELEASE
Information Bureau
Communist Party of the Philippines
 

Peace talks premised on immediate ceasefire won't prosper--CPPJuly 28, 2010

The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) today reiterated its warning to the Aquino government against using the "immediate ceasefire" line as the premise for the resumption of formal peace talks with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP). The CPP has reiterated its readiness to immediately resume the long-suspended formal peace negotiations based on previously agreed principles and agenda and without any preconditions.

The CPP challenged Aquino to "immediately commence negotiations and abide by previous agreements," including The Hague Joint Declaration of 1992 which sets the framework, principles, agenda and sequence of the peace negotiations.

The CPP urged Aquino to "clear all hurdles to the resumption of formal negotiations between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and the NDFP in accordance with previous agreements and let the matter of ceasefire fall in its proper place--that is, in the process of solid gains in agreements in the remaining substantive agenda."

"For the armed revolutionary forces, engaging in peace talks while their weapons are tied up, is violative of revolutionary principles and virtually holds us hostage," the CPP pointed out. "It would be foolish for us to expect to talk on fair and equal terms regarding life-and-death questions with the other side, when we have our arms dropped while the forces on other side have the barrels of their guns pointed at our heads."

The CPP also added that "Aquino should know better than to insist on peace negotiations premised on a ceasefire agreement which was proven unsuccessful during the term of his mother as president."

"The three-month ceasefire in late 1986 to early 1987 did not result in any fruitful agreement in terms of addressing the roots of the armed conflict. Worse, it was used by the first US-Aquino regime to induce inertia among the revolutionary armed forces, and for the puppet reactionary armed forces and intelligence agents to freely enter and intensify surveillance in revolutionary areas."

The CPP pointed out that it was only after the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) under Ramos agreed to throw away the earlier premise of tying the talks to an immediate and prolonged ceasefire agreement did the NDFP-GRP peace negotiations become fruitful in terms of forging important agreements.

In that period, said the CPP, aside from The Hague Joint Declaration of 1992 which set forth the framework, principles and sequence of peace negotiations, other important agreements mutually signed by the NDFP and GRP include the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG) signed in 1995 and the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL) signed in 1998.

"If Aquino insists on having peace talks premised on an immediate ceasefire, he will be reducing his peace declarations to empty rhetoric," pointed out the CPP.
Reference:
Marco Valbuena
Media Officer
Cellphone Numbers: 09156596802 :: 09282242061
E-mail:cppmedia@gmail.com

     
           
     
     
     

 

xInterview on GRP-NDFP Peace Negotiations, With Luis Jalandoni, Chairperson, NDFP Negotiating Panel
Luis G. Jalandoni
Chairperson
Negotiating Panel
National Democratic Front of the Philippines
July 28, 2010

Interview on GRP-NDFP Peace Negotiations, With Luis Jalandoni, Chairperson, NDFP Negotiating Panel
By Paolo Capino
RPN 9 News Desk Supervisor

Q.: Sir, do you have any pre-condition before you are willing to talk with the government?

We have no precondition for resuming formal peace talks with the Aquino government. We have repeatedly declared that we are ready to resume formal talks on the basis of The Hague Joint Declaration and other peace agreements signed from 1992 to 2004. The Hague Joint Declaration states that no precondition that negates the inherent character and purpose of peace negotiations may be imposed and that the agenda will take up human rights and international humanitarian law, social and economic reforms, political and constitutional reforms and end of hostilities and disposition of forces, in that sequence.

Q. Do you agree with a ceasefire?

We do not agree with Mr. Aquino's ceasefire ("malawakang tigil-putukan") as a precondition for formal talks. This precondition is a violation of The Hague Joint Declaration. It practically blocks the resumption of formal talks and prevents the negotiations on social, economic and political reforms to address the roots of the armed conflict. These reforms, such as genuine land reform and national industrialization, are necessary to respond to the basic aspirations and demands of the peasants, workers and other sections of the people. They are necessary to achieve social justice as the foundation of a just and lasting peace.

Q. What are your other thoughts on the peace talks and what other issues will you likely ask the government for the resumption of the talks?

We have the concrete proposal to resume formal talks on the basis of The Hague Joint Declaration and other agreements. We are suggesting that the Aquino administration send an emissary or team of emissaries to meet with us here in The Netherlands or in Norway to discuss preparations for the resumption of formal talks. Such emissaries were sent by former Presidents Corazon Aquino and Fidel Ramos as well as Gloria Arroyo.

The release of political prisoners (as Cory Aquino did in 1986 and Ramos too from 1992), the indemnification of victims of human rights violations under the Marcos regime, the release of NDFP consultants (detained in violation of the agreement of the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees), the resumption of meetings of the Joint Monitoring Committee (mandated to monitor the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL), negotiation on social economic reforms, are among the points we will take up. But all these and other points both sides will bring up, can be discussed with the emissaries.

The Aquino government should also consider the concrete proposal made by the NDFP on 27 August 2005: "Concise Agreement for Immediate Just Peace" which was personally handed over to the GRP Panel in Oslo on 28 August 2005. Mr. Aquino appears not adequately informed about this and the other above-mentioned concrete proposals of the NDFP.

     
     
           
     
     
     

 

Two proposals for a just and lasting peace
Prof. Jose Ma. Sison
National Democratic Front of the Philippines
Chief Political Consultant
July 27, 2010

The Negotiating Panel of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) has repeatedly declared its readiness to resume peace negotiations with the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) under the Aquino II administration. It has also signalled its willingness to receive in The Netherlands or Norway a senior emissary or a team of emissaries of said administration to discuss the possible course and perspective of the GRP-NDFP peace negotiations.

On my part, as chief political consultant of the NDFP Negotiating Panel, I have long proposed the resumption and acceleration of the GRP-NDFP peace negotiations, especially with regard to social and economic reforms, in accordance with The Hague Joint Declaration and subsequent major agreements.

I have also gone so far as to propose a concept of immediate truce and alliance on the basis of a mutually acceptable declaration of principles and policies upholding national independence and democracy, confronting the basic problems of the Filipino people and adopting effective measures of social, economic and political reforms. It is unjust for anyone to expect that the revolutionary forces and the people to simply cease fire and surrender to a rotten ruling system that shuns patriotic and progressive demands and refuses to engage in basic reforms.

I hope that the Aquino II administration can consider seriously the two proposals for the benefit of the people. Like the NDFP, I welcome any serious step of said administration towards the attainment of a just peace and national unity by addressing the roots of the armed conflict and arriving with the revolutionary forces and the people at agreements on basic social, economic and political reforms.

I urge the Aquino II administration to override such counterrevolutionary notions as those previously spelled out by its officials that the military can get anything it wants despite the severe economic crisis and bankruptcy of the reactionary government, that the revolutionary forces and people surrender and that they can be destroyed and pacified in the next three years.

I challenge the Aquino II administration to reject the US Counterinsurgency Guide and take the path of seeking a concord of just peace and national unity with the NDFP by addressing the roots of the armed conflict and forging agreements on social, economic and political reforms. It is malicious and unjust to construe the people's resistance to injustice, oppression and exploitation as the problem rather than as the consequence of foreign and feudal domination.

Such monstrous problems as foreign monopoly capitalism, domestic feudalism and bureaucratic corruption are the longrunning and current causes of underdevelopment, unemployment, poverty and misery. All well-meaning forces and people must unite and work together to confront and solve these problems and work for a new and better Philippines that is truly free and democratic, socially just, progressive and peaceful. ###

     
           
           
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