Statement of Dr. Chandu Claver on the
September 17 National Day of Action to free the Morong 43 and all
WILL THERE BE CHANGE?
I was a physician-surgeon working with a Community-based Health Program in
the province of
Kalinga since 1987. Years of experience in alternative health care has
thought us that the best
and most effective approach is to work with the people where they are at.
health worker training has therefore been one of the main components of
any effective health
initiative especially in the light of the inability of the State to
effectively deliver the necessary
health services to its constituents.
Such was the activity that the health professional and health workers
known as the Morong 43
were engaged in on February 6, 2010 when more than a hundred heavily-armed
policemen swooped down and took them into custody. While in the hands of
the military they
suffered physical and psychological torture. To this day, they remain
behind bars despite a
growing realization among observers of the infirmity of the State’s case.
Traditionally, health personnel and religious workers have been relatively
immune from vicious
reactionary backlash. But this has not been true in the last ten years.
Goaded on by mad generals
and cabinet members, the Philippine State Security Forces have literally
gone into a rampage of
killings, abductions and illegal detentions. This they do for their stated
goal of crushing the
longest running liberation movement in Asia today – an obvious
impossibility considering that
they have kept moving forward their self-imposed deadline for many years.
The fire of this
crazed witch hunt is stoked even more by the logistic support of the most
powerful nation in the
State oppression is usually done by deception or by force. In the last
several years, State has had
to employ more and more the latter means, as the carrot does not seem to
Unfortunately, this has resulted in a lot of dead bodies, missing people,
and hundreds of political
prisoners. And like the Morong 43, there are 338 more political prisoners
languishing in jail.
None of them deserves to be there.
But now we have a new president. In the first two and a half months of his
term, I still have to
see some concrete action on his part to actually put a stop to the blood
bath. The nation has put
its hopes on him. Will he fail us? Will he change things? We will know in
the next few months.
Otherwise, it will again be up to us, the Filipino people to change things
17 September 2010
*Chandu Claver – Kalinga-based former coordinator of the Community Health
Concerns for Kalinga, a community based health program. Former member of
the Board of Trustees of both the Community Medicine Development
Foundation (COMMED), and the Council for Health Development (CHD). An
ambush by suspected State forces resulted in the death of his wife and
severe damage to himself. Continuing threats on himself and his children
forced him to relocate to Canada as a refugee. After investigation a
formal hearing, Canada has found his refugee claims as valid. Presently he
is the Chairperson of BAYAN – Canada.
Sept 17 Vigil in front of Rizal statue,
Mackenzie Park, Montreal
Montreal public forum for political
Emile - Centre for Philippine Concerns
Emily just returned from internship
International Day of Action to Free the
Photos by Fmwm Filipino
Initiated by Bayan Canada, members of
Migrante Ontario, Gabriela, FMWM and other ally organizations staged its
solidarity rally cum cultural presentation right at the intersection of
famously Filipino populated area in Toronto to call on the Aquino
government to free the 43 health workers, and all political prisoners in
An Open Letter to President Benigno Aquino
I am Chandu Claver. My family was the target of an ambush by suspected
State agents nearly four years today on July 31, 2006 in the province of
Kalinga. My wife Alice was killed, as a result. Because of continuing
threats on what remained of my family, I was forced to seek political
refuge in Canada. In the Canadian hearing connected with this, I testified
that the death of my wife was linked to the present Philippine
Operation Plan Bantay Laya which specifically targets civilians and social
activists. The Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada has found my claim
for refuge to be valid and has declared me and my family as Convention
Like many hopeful Filipinos hungry for change, I have intently listened to
your recent State of the Nation Address. As a victim of the extra-judicial
killings perpetuated in the name of Oplan Bantay Laya, and as one of the
families actively continuing to seek justice, I found your speech very
I had hoped to hear from you bold and definite steps to stem the carnage
that has resulted in more than 1000 bloody executions and more than 200
abductions. I had hoped that you would prevent more killings by at least
putting Oplan Bantay Laya under review. I had hoped that you would
implement the recommendations of the United Nations Special
Rapporteur Phillip Alston on the matter. The link of Oplan Bantay Laya to
the killings and disappearance has been established many times in the
recent past by respected institutions, both in the Philippines and abroad.
But you never even mentioned Oplan Bantay Laya in your speech.
I had hoped that you would make some positive pronouncements regarding the
plight of political prisoners, especially the Morong 43 – health workers
like me, who have been languishing in jail since February on obviously
trumped up charges. Considering all these, I am hoping that this is not
because you are afraid of intimidating the military institution.
In your speech, it was good that you had initiated steps to try to solve
the cases of the six new cases under your administration. But your failure
to mention any plans to solve the very large number of extrajudicial
killings and disappearances during the past administration made me very
This fear was increased when you laid down your intention with the Truth
Commission. The only reference to going after human rights violators as
part of the Truth Commission was a short vague phrase about “going after
killers”. Much of your speech was spent painting a very detailed and
graphic picture of the corrupt practices of the past administration. In
contrast, you only mentioned a very few vague words on an issue that has
taken the precious lives of many and devastated countless family members.
help coming away with a very strong suspicion that you would prefer not to
deal with the problem of extrajudicial killings and enforced
disappearances. To me, it felt that you were washing your hands of the
cases occurring in the past administration, and that your lack of adequate
reference to the issue felt like you were sweeping the dirt under the rug.
I fervently hope that I am wrong in thinking that.
At the very minimum, I had hoped to hear from you a clear and unequivocal
warning that members of the military linked to these killings would face
the full force of the law. This was a crucial statement that human rights
organizations (both in the Philippines and abroad) have long been
recommending to the previous administration. This was a
necessary first step that we believe would serve as a strong warning that
would start to counter the “culture of impunity” related with these
killings and disappearances. This initial statement would start the
process of preventing similar tragic events.
But Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo was never able to make that simple statement.
You have not done that in your SONA speech either, nor in any of your
public speeches. I can only think of three possible reasons why you did
not make that crucial, simple and logical statement: that you harboured
hidden feelings that the killings served a good purpose; that you did not
have the will to go against the military establishment; or your speech
writer forgot to put it
in. Which is it, Mr. President?
We need the killings to stop. Your spokesman had declared that
extrajudicial killings are not your administration’s policy. Then prove
it, sir – shut down Oplan Bantay Laya, and truly investigate and actively
prosecute the military perpetrators and their political coddlers, whether
in the past administration or in yours.
For as long as the perpetrators of these extrajudicial killings and
disappearances believe that their leaders are tacitly approving their
heinous crimes through inaction and mixed signals, the blood will continue
to flow. And unless you act more decisively, that exactly is what would
31 July 2010
Justice for Fernando Baldomero and
all victims of extrajudicial killings
The following statement was read by Fr. Artemio Calaycay, IFI, a member of
the Centre for Philippine Concerns in Montreal, at an event on the island
of Panay in the Philippines today, July 13, 2010, to demand justice for
Fernando Baldomero, Bayan Muna coordinator. Baldomero was killed July 5 in
front of his 12-year old son.
Justice for Fernando Baldomero and all victims of extrajudicial killings
Joint Statement from Bayan Canada and ILPS Canada
July 13, 2010 — Our thoughts and hearts go out across the miles that
separate us to the family and friends of Fernando Baldomero, the first
activist killed under the new Aquino administration. We were shocked when
we heard that Baldomero, a Bayan Muna provincial coordinator in Aklan, had
been gunned down in front of his son by motorcycle-riding men right
outside his home.
Just when we hoped the spate of killings begun under the former Arroyo
regime would be coming to an end, it took barely five days after the new
President was sworn in for the first extrajudicial killing of a political
activist to occur.
But the shock had not worn off when the news of more killings reached our
shores: Anak Pawis member Pascual Guevarra, 78 years old, from Nueva Ecija
was killed right in his home on July 9, the same day as Mark Francisco,
27, an ACT Teachers partylist member and Edgar Fernandez, 44, another
public school teacher, both from Masbate. Another ACT member and public
school teacher, Dexter Legazpi, 36, also from Masbate, fortunately
survived a shooting on July 6.
When are the these killings going to stop! When will the bloody climate of
impunity put into place during the Arroyo reign be ended once and for all!
It is obviously not enough that the new President instruct the military to
uphold human rights in its counter-insurgency campaign. They appear not
only incapable of doing that, but instead are on a killing spree.
When will the new President have the strength of character and the human
decency to do what is right and scrap Arroyo’s bloody counter-insurgency
program known as Oplan Bantay Laya that has targeted unarmed activists?
Fernando Baldomero, a political detainee in the 1980s, paid the ultimate
price for wanting justice, true democracy and a decent standard of living
for the majority of Filipinos. Despite previous threats on his life he
continued as a councillor of Lezo, Aklan and as the coordinator of the
party-list group Bayan Muna and an official of the Makabayan Coalition in
Just last March, two men on board a motorcycle with no plate number lobbed
two grenades at Baldomero’s house. This was only one of several attempts
on Fernando’s life in the last year.
Be assured that we in Canada, part of Bayan Canada, along with our friends
in ILPS Canada and the member groups of the Stop the Killings campaign
will continue to be at your side across the miles demanding justice for
Fernando, Pascual, Mark, Edgar and the hundreds of victims before them
We will not stop until the perpetrators of these atrocities have been
brought to justice, no matter how high up the chain of command in the
military structures it is necessary to go, and until the
counter-insurgency campaign Oplan Bantay Laya has been scrapped. Human
decency and a respect for fundamental human rights demands no less.
Stop the Killings in the Philippines
Justice for Fernando Baldomero and all victims of extrajudicial killings
July 20, 2010
BAYAN Canada May First Statement
Danny (not his real name) wakes up to the buzzing noise of his alarm
clock. It is 4:30 am on a cold Canadian morning, made even colder by the
fact that he and his roommates are still without furniture and sleeping on
the floor. There was a late April snow storm that passed during the night.
He was sure of two things; he should have woken up earlier to be in time
to travel the 3 hours to get to the worksite, and he will surely need the
pick axe that day. The pick axe is needed to chip away at the ice on the
tower where he and his co-workers install telecommunications equipment.
Every day is like hanging on for dear life 200 meters up in the air in
gusty winds. This is definitely not normal conditions for someone who
comes from the tropics.
He sucks in some of the musty air in his cramped apartment and wakes up
his six companions to make sure they all get to work on time. They do this
almost ritualistically everyday because they have no other choice. Their
families back in the Philippines are relying on them. More news about
tuition fee increases, the price of oil and rice going up and some family
member needing medical attention gets them going every morning. It’s
either this or they are sent packing by the company that sponsored them to
work as temporary foreign workers under the Canadian government’s program.
Just a year ago the telecommunications company had broken the back of the
union in the lengthy labour dispute. The company now subcontracts a firm
that hires the migrant workers. Danny and friends are not aware of this.
All they know is they have to make a living to pay off the loan sharks for
the money they spent paying the recruitment agency. So they wake up and
Len-Len, as her friends nicked named her is also getting up. It’s the
third time she woke up since she’s gone to bed at eleven last night. The
elderly woman she is caring for in the household where she works had
called for her several times for assistance. No, she doesn’t work the
graveyard shift; she’s a live-in caregiver under Canada’s federal program.
After her long shift starting at seven in the morning preparing breakfast
for her employers, she can’t refuse the wake-up calls. She’s afraid that
the accusations and insinuations surrounding missing jewellery will start
Anyway, isn’t Len-Len lucky that her employer gives her more hours by
letting her work for the neighbour’s household? She caters their dinner
parties which last late into the night. There’s no overtime paid though,
just more exhausting work. She has ten more months to finish the Live-in
Caregiver Program before she can apply for permanent status. Luckily, if
she keeps her complaints to herself, she won’t be dismissed like she was
in her last employment. It causes her so much anxiety knowing that being
fired jeopardizes her status in Canada. So she wakes up and she works.
Manong (older brother) wakes up early as well. His old bones are sore in
the mornings. His arthritic hands are beginning to get worse in his old
age. This is a result of years of working in the textile industry,
starting from the Philippines when he was a young man to the garment
factory he now works for in Canada. He worries that the factory will close
soon. He is sixty nine now, but he was only sixty when he first started
working for the Canadian company. He and his wife who also works for the
same employer were sponsored by their daughter who is a former live-in
domestic. After years of their daughter’s sacrifice for the chance to get
status in Canada and to sponsor her family, manong and his wife feel
indebted. They feel obliged to help their daughter to augment the family
income by continuing to work until their old age. Anyway, it’s for their
grandchildren, and the other family members in the Philippines they
support with their monthly remittance.
They can’t retire yet and collect old age pension even after nine years of
working for the company. There are requirements for how many years one has
to work in Canada before they can apply for their pensions. But manong is
proud, because they have contributed to the productivity of the company
who just purchased another plant in the U.S. A fact that makes him wonder
why the company threatens to shut down their operations and move to China
and India. Will the workers get fair compensation for their years of work
when the factory doors finally shut? But that doesn’t matter, manong and
his wife still wake up and they work.
Across this vast country on the other coast line, Doc wakes up to his
youngest daughter’s screams. She is having her nightmares again. While
attending to his daughter, his sister-in-law peeks in and asks, “Doc is
Doc who lives with his brother’s family to help keep his living expenses
down is uncomfortable with this title. He hasn’t been able to practice his
profession since he sought political asylum in Canada. He believes he can
no longer be a surgeon again. The Philippine military elements that shot
him with nine millimetre rounds that gruesome day a couple of years ago
had sealed this fate. It is a testament to the elusiveness of democracy in
the Philippines. Doc, a strong critic of the Philippine government,
campaigned for a pro-people electoral party called Bayan Muna (People
First). Doc always wondered how accepting the existing political system
would be to progressives running for elections. Doc got his answer. His
good arm that used to hold the scalpels to heal the sick still bears the
scars from the bullet wounds. But it is his spirit that is most scarred.
His wife died the day of the machine gun attack. In the highest form of
self-sacrifice she covered him and took most of the hail of bullets. It is
this image that his daughters sometimes wake up to, screaming.
Doc’s spirit may be scarred but it hasn’t been crushed. He still puts
himself in the line of fire making statements against political killings
in the Philippines. He still makes public appearances appealing to his
compatriots and Canadians alike to take a stand and denounce the
corruption and violence just weeks before the presidential elections in
that country. He also gets up everyday working several jobs to make a
living for himself and his young daughters. So he wakes and he works.
On May first 2010 we wake up and we work. We prepare for the various
actions under the banner of BAYAN Canada. Some of us wake up early to
prepare for our press statements and speeches for the crowds. Others
prepare their phone list to mobilize for the actions across the country.
Today we march shoulder to shoulder with all Canadian workers. They too
may be awakening to the fact that the gains won from the workers’
struggles since the first May Day more than a hundred years ago are under
attack. The exploitation of migrants, immigrants and refugees in Canada is
the exploitation and oppression of all workers.
Philippines, a nation of labourers and landless peasants is also
awakening. The thousands of people marching in Manila will make the
streets rumble to the rhythm of their marching feet. Soon the fascists in
the halls of power will be the ones to wake up in cold sweat. Their worst
nightmare is advancing. We in BAYAN Canada march to this rhythm – the
rhythm of our people’s resistance.
Morong 43 health workers remain
defiant despite military mistreatment – exclusive photos 18 Apr 2010; Sat; 6:57 am
by: Edre Olalia
Please find below the first known public group pictures of the 43 Morong
health workers. These were taken immediately after the hearing yesterday
before the Morong Regional Trial Court on the issue of their transfer from
a military camp to a civilian police jail. There is an obvious scheme to
keep them in the hands and at the mercy of the military.
They have been in the military camp since their illegal arrests last
February 6, 2010 and have since been subjected to various forms of
physical and psychological torture, threats, coercion, harassments,
intimidation, repeated and endless interrogations without the presence of
counsels of their choice, among others. Their families are also being
surveyed, harassed and threatened. Their private doctors are arbitrarily
refused entry. They are still being subjected to psychological torture and
psy-war tactics and to arbitrary restrictions. Five of them are presently
segregated from the rest, kept in a military safe house and are under
duress and given military lawyers who eased out their counsels of choice.
The latter have not been allowed to see or confer with the five since the
start of March.
In spite of all of these and what they went through, they remain
steadfast, committed, now even more assertive of their rights and in a
fighting, defiant yet still jolly mood as the first picture shows. It was
taken at the end of the lawyers’ briefing and before they were herded back
to the military buses en route back to the military camp.
They shall go on fasting starting today in protest of their continued
detention in the military camp and the deliberate refusal of the military
to bring them to the last two hearings before the Philippine Commission on
Human Rights (CHR) where they filed complaints against the military and
police for atrocious human rights violations based on well-documented
accounts. The military continues to defy and disrespect the CHR mandatory
Please use these pictures as you deem fit. As far as we know, these are
the first complete group pictures of the detainees with their lawyers. (No
cameras are allowed inside the military camp, much less the taking of the
detainees’ pictures as a group.)
National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers (NUPL) and
Public Interest Law Center (PILC)
Counsels for the Morong 43
Statement of BAYAN Canada
On Aquino’s Philippine State of
the Nation Address (SONA) on July 26, 2010
BAYAN Canada, an alliance of progressive Filipino organizations in Canada
is outraged and concerned about the direction the newly-elected Aquino
administration is leading the country. During his first State of the
Nation Address, President Aquino cited the scandalous pilfering of the
previous administration, which has left the country’s finances in peril.
The president then began to list the solutions needed to heal the
country’s economy. Streamlining investment, increasing privatization and
developing infrastructure, according to Aquino, are the necessary actions
to improve the depressed Philippine economy.
“What was said in the address to the nation was at the least, lacking and
a step in the wrong direction” Joey Calugay, Secretary General of BAYAN
Canada said. “Despite the fact that the neoliberal policies of the past
have ruined the economy and has favoured foreign corporations, Aquino is
still insistent on further destroying the nation’s finances by
implementing and repeating the tested and failed policies of the past.”
BAYAN members in the Philippines, U.S., Canada, Australia and Hong Kong
have laid out their own demands for the Philippine government to address,
which tackle the real issues facing the country’s citizens and the
millions of Filipino migrants around the globe. The demands and issues of
the people are based on the four K’s: Katurungan, Kalayaan, Karapatan, and
During the previous administration, there were approximately 1200 cases of
extrajudicial killings and over 200 cases of enforced disappearances.
BAYAN Canada Chairperson, Chandu Claver stated, “Nowhere in his address
did Aquino acknowledge the extrajudicial killings that plagued the country
during the last decade…. his silence on the killings does very little to
comfort the families of the victims who are still hoping and demanding for
justice.” The United Nations, U.S. State Department and countless people’s
organizations have accused the state security forces of the Philippines
and for carrying out the extrajudicial killings.
We demand that former President Arroyo and all perpetrators be
investigated for human rights violations.
VFA: There are currently 5000 U.S. soldiers in the Philippines permitted
under the Visiting Forces Agreement between the U.S. and the Philippines.
Although the presence and actions of the U.S. forces are embroiled in
secrecy and controversy, the soldiers remain on Philippine soil—free to
engage in combat and harass Filipino citizens.
Mining Act of 1995: The Philippines is one of the top producers of
chromium and gold. Unfortunately the resources and profit of the country’s
vast mineral wealth are not shared with its citizens. Multinational
corporations are able to extract minerals, destroy the environment while
displacing indigenous populations and above all they are permitted to
repatriate all profit!
We demand the repeal of this unconstitutional agreement and legislation,
which debase our national sovereignty.
The International Federation of Journalists declared the Philippines as
the most dangerous country for journalists for the past two years. Death
squads have targeted and killed workers, unionists, journalists,
politicians and students.
We demand that the Aquino administration dismantle the military program
“Oplan Bantay Laya (OBL)” or “Operation Plan Freedom Watch”, which targets
mainly civilians critical of ggovernment and people’s organizations
suspected as communist fronts for “neutralization”.
Over one million Filipinos leave the country every year to find work.
Despite its rich resource base and educated population, the Philippines
economy cannot employ its own workforce. The majority of Filipinos work as
landless tenant farmers. The economy is based on the export of its
physical and human resources. There are no heavy industries that employ a
significant portion of the population.
We demand that the Aquino administration implement genuine agrarian land
reform. We demand that the Aquino administration create jobs in the
Philippines instead of promoting the Labour Export Policy, which was
instituted by the late dictator, Ferdinand Marcos.
August 3, 2010
Hinding hindi magagapi pakikibaka nating nag-aalab
Parang bulkang sumasabog natin tatapusin pagpapahirap
Hinding hindi tayo bibitaw sa ating paninindigan
Tayo ang magpapalaya sa ginahasang lipunan
Handa na ba kayo?
Halina at sumama!
Handa na ba kayo?
Halina at sumama,
Hinding hindi aatras ang bayan nating lumalaban
Lalo at dumadami ang hanay nating naninindigan
Hinding hindi tayo susuko sa ating pakikibaka
Ang tunay na pag-unlad ay makakamit lang kung ang bayan ay mapalaya!