GPH-NDFP Peace Negotiations

Opening day ceremonies

 

Oslo, Norway

 

Feb. 15, 2011

 

 

■   Statement of arrested NDFP Peace Consultant Alan Jazmines

 

■   Satur Ocampo: AFP must keep out of the peace talks

 

■   Thaw in the winter freeze by Carol Araullo

 

■   Resist sabotage operations by AFP against peace negotiations--CPP

 

■   Civil-military operations (CMO) of the AFP violate mutual ceasefire

 

■   The brain drain and the peace ne GPH-NDFP peace talks by Dr. Giovanni Tapang
 

■   Davao City: Farmers, Lumads push genuine agrarian reform agenda in the GPH-NDFP Peace Talks, Feb. 14

 

■   Book Launch: a Festschrift book on Jose Maria Sison

 

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The GPH Panel on the left, the RNG Facilitators at the center and the NDFP Panel on the right. (Photo by Mayet Atienza)

GPH's Alexander Padilla (left) and NDFP's Luis Jalandoni exchange panel credentials during the Opening Ceremonies of the Formal Peace Talks. Oslo, Norway, February 15, 2011.

 

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    Photos and captions courtesy of Mayet Atienza and Raymund Villanueva
               
         

     

    ALLIANCE OF CONCERNED TEACHERS

     

    2/F Teachers’ Center, Mines St. cor. Dipolog St., Bgy. VASRA, Quezon City, Philippines

    Telefax: 453-9116 Mobile: 0917-8502124; 0920-9220817 Email: act_philippines@yahoo.com

    Website: www.actphils.com

    Member, Education International

     

    PRESS STATEMENT
    February 16, 2011

    Reference: Ms. France Castro
    Secretary-General, ACT
    Cellphone No. 0917-8502124

    On the on-going GRP-NDFP peace talks, Address Root Causes of Social Unrest and Conflict and Release All Political Prisoners

    “We, teachers welcome the resumption of the formal peace negotiations between the Philippine government and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP),” Ms. France Castro, Secretary-General of the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) announced.

    “As a gesture of goodwill on the part of the government, we call on the Aquino administration for the unconditional release of all political prisoners in the country,” she added.

    According to KARAPATAN, there are 344 political prisoners in various detention facilities, 290 of whom were arrested during Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s term, 27 before Arroyo and another 27 since the start of President Aquino’s presidency. For clarity, these political prisoners who fought injustices and oppression deserve freedom more than the mutinous soldiers whom PNoy has prioritized to release.

    The resumption of formal talks between the GRP and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) has spurred a flurry of activities in peace advocacy especially on the part of certain “civil society” groups working hand-in-hand with the government. Consciously, they spread the kind of thinking that “insurgency” is the obstacle to development.

    Ms. France Castro noted, “these pseudo-peace advocates are missing the whole point if not incapable of appreciating, much less grasping, the need to address the roots of injustice and oppression in order to achieve a just and lasting peace.”

    As pointed out by BAYAN, while Oplan Bayanihan is long on the rhetoric of shifting from an “enemy-centric” approach to one that is “people-centered” and of mobilizing all “stakeholders” in pursuing the Aquino government’s “Internal Peace and Security Plan” it all boils down to the same objective of suppressing the revolutionary forces and the people to keep them from overthrowing the status quo and replacing it with their vision of a just, prosperous, equitable and democratic system.

    The end output as they have projected is to deny the revolutionary movements the political legitimacy of waging revolutionary armed struggle precisely to overhaul society for the betterment and liberation of the people.

    “No ifs no buts, the peace negotiations must address the underlying causes of social unrest and armed conflict. Failing to do so, no amount of fake peace advocacy can change the unbalanced equation. Those unresolved root causes of unrest and armed conflict has also led to the decay of our education system. Hence, we call on our fellow teachers to take an active part in educating our students and those beyond our classrooms, on what constitutes genuine and lasting peace,” Ms. Castro concluded.” ####

     

    The GPH Panel on the left, the RNG Facilitators at the center and the NDFP Panel on the right. (Photo by Mayet Atienza)
    The GPH Panel on the left, the RNG Facilitators at the center and the NDFP Panel on the right. (Photo by Mayet Atienza)
           

     

    Streetwise
    By Carol Pagaduan-Araullo

    Thaw in the winter freeze

    It was 11 below zero last Feb 15 in Oslo, a thick blanket of snow had turned the panoramic view outside Holmen Fjordhotel into a monochrome of white and grey with scattered dots and slivers of black. Our Norwegian hosts described this winter as "extremely cold".

    But the atmosphere was definitely warm and sunny inside the conference hall, Bryggesal 3, where formal peace talks between the Government of the Philippines (GPH nee GRP) and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) finally resumed after more than six years of suspension.

    The opening statements of OPAPP Secretary Teresita Quintos Deles, representing the GPH, and NDFP Negotiating Panel Chair Luis Jalandoni reflected the thaw after the longest running suspension of the formal talks under the Arroyo administration in the 20-year peace negotiations between the two Parties.

    From Secretary Deles: "... (T)here is a growing, surging current that says No more to war and war games. From the remotest mountain and coastal village to our own urban poor and middle class communities, the clamor for peace cannot be denied. Our people are saying, the landscape of war must give way to the imperatives of peace."

    From NDFP Chief Negotiator Jalandoni: “(W)e stand at the threshold of a new beginning… We are resolved to do everything we can to make these talks succeed and move us forward towards forging fundamental social, economic, political and constitutional reforms that will address the roots of the armed conflict and be of lasting benefit to the Filipino people.”

    There is good reason to believe that the optimism of the two Parties and their kind, conciliatory words to each other were not mere political rhetoric put on to add spice to the occasion.

    Clear commitments had been made that ended the impasse in the talks and set into motion the operationalization of the Joint Monitoring Committee tasked to implement the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL)); the substantive talks on social and economic reforms (SER), as well as the formation of working groups to jumpstart the work on political and constitutional reforms (PCR) ahead of the formation of the Reciprocal Working Committees on PCR.

    It will be recalled that in the preliminary talks last month that paved the way for this historic occasion, the two sides had already agreed not only to proceed with the substantive agenda defined by the Hague Joint Declaration, but on a general, if flexible, time frame of concluding the talks in three years or so with a comprehensive political settlement.
     

    Secretary Deles noted: “Clearly, there is much that divides the two panels that come to this table…but there is also much that unites us – the vision of a just society, the desiderata of national sovereignty, the wish to reverse the drain in human and natural resources, the imperative of good governance and more. It is on this common ground…that we come to the negotiating table, seeking to negotiate our differences and to deepen our unities.”

    NDFP Panel Chair Jalandoni cited the presence of NDFP RWC- SER members Rafael Baylosis and Randall Echanis as "concrete proof of the efficacy and respect for the JASIG" (Joint Agreement for Safety and Immunity Guarantees), that had been unilaterally and illegally suspended by the Arroyo regime in 2005.
     


     

    He expressed the NDFP's expectation that the GPH will continue to work for the lifting of the warrants of arrest and withdrawal or dismissal of charges against Baylosis, Echanis and Vicente Ladlad as well as facilitate the "expeditious release of detained NDFP consultants and JASIG-protected persons in compliance with JASIG as well as in the spirit of goodwill or for humanitarian reasons".

    Even more remarkable, if not surprising to many in the audience, was the NDFP Panel Chair's offer for an “alliance and truce” based on a “concise agreement for an immediate just peace”.
     

    While this proposal may sound radically new to those who are not too familiar with the recent history of the negotiations, it is really a reiteration of a proposal made by the NDFP six years ago, in August 2005, which the GRP panel of the Arroyo regime totally ignored.

    The reiteration comes in the light of the continuing acute global and domestic economic crisis containing proposals that the NDFP deems “doable” in the medium and long range. It is "a challenge to the Aquino regime to release itself from the dictates of US imperialism, especially the already bankrupt neoliberal economic policy and the futile US Counterinsurgency Guide... to strengthen national independence and carry out national industrialization.”

    For her part, Secretary Deles said, “We have no illusions that signing a peace treaty will solve all our problems. Not at all, for peace without justice, peace without development is a noisy gong and a clanging cymbal. But a political settlement, a peace treaty, will be a beginning. Stilling the guns of war is essential for harnessing all our resources for nation building, especially at a time when the global economic crisis has hit hard countries like the Philippines.”

    Notwithstanding all the reasons for optimism and hope that the peace talks are finally on the roll again, the two parties agree that the way forward is a formidable challenge, strewn with unexpected twists and turns and fraught with pitfalls and obstacles.

    In this regard, both the GPH and NDFP panels expressed their gratitude to and acknowledged the invaluable support of the Royal Norwegian Government in facilitating the negotiations since 2001 and in particular its efforts to help surmount the obstacles to the resumption of formal talks.

    Secretary Deles sounded the call for “building and strengthening our peace constituencies”.

    We can only resonate to that call and expound on it by calling for our people’s unwavering support to the GPH-NDFP peace talks under the Aquino government.

    Such a peace advocacy must: 1) eschew the militarist solution to armed conflicts; 2) acknowledge the underlying socio-economic roots of the war and therefore the need to address these in order to achieve a just and lasting peace; and 3) call for accelerating the peace talks along the course agreed upon by the two Parties, i.e. tackling each substantive agenda in sequence and working out and implementing agreements as basis for a comprehensive political settlement that will finally still the guns of war.

    Indeed, the only guarantee that the GPH-NDFP peace talks can and will bear the fruits that future generations can partake of rests entirely on our people’s burning desire and continuing struggle for freedom, justice, equity and an enduring peace.#

    Pulished in Business World
    18-19 February 2011

          RNG officials and the NDFP Panel. (Photo by Mayet Atienza)
         
         

     

    PRESS RELEASE
    16 February 2011

    KARAPATAN HITS AFP CHIEF FOR WARMONGERING BEHIND PEACE TALKS

    THE HUMAN RIGHTS group Karapatan lambasted AFP chief of staff Gen. Ricardo David
    Jr. as a warmonger for trying to stir up war despite efforts of the government
    and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines to sit down and talk.

    Gen. David was quoted by the media after the arrest of Alan Jazmines as saying
    that “arrests of this kind will continue to move on to achieve the country’ goal
    of reducing the enemies of the country’s citizens (sic).”

    “Why could he not just say ‘people’ instead of the country’s citizens? Is this
    ancient Rome? Well, one of the country’s citizens, AFP spokesman Gen. Jose
    Mabanta, said to the media last January that the military will no longer call
    the CPP-NPA rebels as ‘communist terrorist’ in deference to ongoing efforts to
    revive peace negotiations. At least, Mabanta unlike the AFP chief, knows who
    his enemies are and knows how to treat them with respect, ” Karapatan
    spokesperson Jigs Clamor said.

    “The AFP seems hellbent on sowing war to get more funds for their chief’s
    pasalubong and pabaon. Worse, the statement of Gen. David, like a barbarian,
    runs roughshod over the on-going formal peace negotiations of his own government
    and the NDFP. He doesn’t even give a damn to supreme civilian authority over
    the military. He thinks he’s his own man in their unjust war that has never and
    could never solve the roots of the country’s armed conflicts.”

    “Gen. David should take his cue from his commander-in-chief. It would also be
    nice and proper for him not to reduce the role of the AFP simply as an arresting
    unit for his so-called enemies of citizens. Jazmines should be freed as with all
    political prisoners.” Karapatan ended.

    --------------------------------------------------------------------
    PUBLIC INFORMATION DESK
    publicinfo@karapatan.org
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------
    Alliance for the Advancement of People's Rights
    2nd Flr. Erythrina Bldg., #1 Maaralin corner Matatag Sts., Central District
    Diliman, Quezon City, PHILIPPINES 1101
    Telefax: (+63 2) 4354146
    Web: http://www.karapatan.org

    KARAPATAN is an alliance of human rights organizations and programs, human rights desks and committees of people’s organizations, and individual advocates committed to the defense and promotion of people’s rights and civil liberties. It monitors and documents cases of human rights violations, assists and defends victims and conducts education, training and campaign. It was established in 1995.
     

    Ministers and ambassadors of the Royal Norwegian Government, Third Party Facilitator to the GPH-NDFP Peace Talks. (Photo by Mayet Atienza)
    Ministers and ambassadors of the Royal Norwegian Government, Third Party Facilitator to the GPH-NDFP Peace Talks. (Photo by Mayet Atienza)
           

     

    .Information Bureau
    Communist Party of the Philippines

    Press Release
    February 17, 2011

    Resist sabotage operations by AFP against peace negotiations--CPP

    The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) today called on all
    peace-loving Filipinos to unite and resist the sabotage operations being
    carried out by the AFP against peace negotiations and support the talks
    being conducted by the National Democratic Front of the Philippines
    (NDFP) and the Philippine government (GPH) to resolve the roots of the
    armed conflict.

    The CPP issued the call three days after combined operatives of the
    Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police
    (PNP) arrested CPP official and NDFP peace consultant Alan Jazmines on
    the eve of the resumption of NDFP-GPH formal peace negotiations in Oslo,
    Norway.

    The CPP reiterated that the arrest and continued detention of Jazmines
    is in "gross violation" of the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity
    Guarantees (JASIG). Jazmines is a holder of a Document of Information
    with reference number 978213 under the assumed name Dodi Lapida issued
    by the NDFP in accordance with the JASIG. Under the agreement, holders
    of JASIG-DIs are guaranteed rights against surveillance, arrest and
    detention in order to allow them to carry out their work as peace
    consultants unhampered."

    "In carrying out the arrest of Jazmines, the AFP has shown utter
    contempt of the JASIG and the peace negotiations," said the CPP. "They
    are showing themselves as singularly above the peace talks and not bound
    by the NDFP-GPH standing agreements."

    According to the statement issued by Jazmines, he informed the military
    and police operatives that he is a holder of a JASIG-DI and that under
    the agreement he is immune from arrest. "The operatives, however,
    received instructions from their commanding officers to proceed with the
    arrest and were overheard saying 'to hell with the JASIG'." Many of the
    items in Jazmines' possessions, including his computers and an
    undisclosed amount of funds used by Jazmines in his work as peace
    consultant, were also taken by the arresting team.
     

    "The Philippine government must firmly rein in and leash the AFP to stop
    it from continuing to violate the JASIG and other standing agreements
    between the NDFP and the GPH," said the CPP. "It must castigate the AFP
    officials for carrying out the arrest Jazmines which violated the JASIG
    on the very eve of the formal talks."

    "The Philippine government should silence the rabble-rousers in the AFP
    who issue statements left and right concocting questions about the
    sincerity of the NDFP and disparage the peace negotiations," added the
    CPP. "Such conduct by the AFP spokesperson and all the rest of the AFP
    officials derail and weaken the peace talks."

    "The ultra-fascists are trampling on the peace agreements with their
    bloody boots. Their obvious aim is to push the NDFP to the edge by
    demonstrating to the revolutionary forces that they have nothing to gain
    from the peace negotiations," said the CPP. "The AFP wants the peace
    talks to fail. It wants to compel the NDFP to be the first to break off
    from the negotiations in order to justify its all-out war."

    "The peace-loving Filipino people easily see through the AFP's deceptive
    psywar propaganda when when it speaks in favor of the peace talks but
    acts against it."

    The CPP urged the negotiating panels of the NDFP and GPH currently
    meeting in Oslo, Norway to immediately resolve the case of Alan
    Jazmines, Tirso "Ka Bart" Alcantara and 14 other NDFP peace consultants
    currently languishing in military and police prisons in violation of the
    JASIG. "It would be very difficult for the peace negotiations to proceed
    to tackle the substantive issues as long as the military and police
    continue to detain the NDFP consultants preventing them from performing
    their various duties for the talks."

    "The CPP also urges all peace-loving Filipinos to resist the anti-peace
    acts and utterances of the ultra-fascist officials of the AFP. The CPP
    calls on the Filipino people to intensify their national and democratic
    mass struggles in order to highlight the substantive issues that need to
    be addressed and resolved through peace negotiations in order to resolve
    the root causes of the armed conflict."

     

     


     

    National Democratic Front of the Philippines
    Mindanao

    Press Statement
    17 February 2011

    Civil-military operations (CMO) of the AFP violate mutual ceasefire

    The Armed Force of the Philippines (AFP) is violating the mutually-declared ceasefire which began on 15 February 2011 and will end on 21 February 2011 by conducting military operations in the guise of “civil-military operations” (CMO), “Peace and Development Teams” (PDTs) or “Community Organizer for Peace and Development” (COPD) in many barangays in all provinces of Mindanao.

    Fully-armed AFP-PNP-CAFGU units enter barrios or communities in platoon or company formations under the guise of promoting “peace and development” in a desperate attempt to “win over” the people through deceit and intimidation, taking advantage of the NPA reciprocal ceasefire. They break into two groups, whereby one takes charge of psy-war operations in barrio or community centers, while another does the security clearing operations.

    Through “friendly” and direct intimidation, they “invite” barrio-folk to mass meetings for lectures on the AFP’s twisted concept of peace, human rights and development. Those in attendance are asked to cough out any information on the NPAs and are pressed to contact AFP hotlines written on calling cards they distribute to report any NPA movement. All are video-taped, often without people’s consent.

    Later, they would “invite” certain individuals for interrogation, asking them if they know of anyone who is an NPA or if they have seen them in their village. The military would further ask them if they have relatives who have joined the NPA, or if they knew of mass activists from among their neighbours who side with the NPA. Those who are “uncooperative” are threatened and, in some instances, are mauled by their interrogators. Many are recruited to the CAFGU as part of the AFP’s plan to forcibly set-up detachments.

    These AFP CMOs clearly violate the mutual ceasefire, for the following reasons:

    1. CMOs are offensive military operations against the NPAs and the revolutionary masses in suspected NPA areas launched way outside AFP detachments or camps;

    2. Investigation or interrogation done during CMOs are intelligence operations, which form part of offensive military operations;

    3. Intimidation and mauling employed during the interrogation of civilians in the course these CMOs are both human rights violation and a breach of the ceasefire; and,

    4. Revolutionary masses who are being targeted are covered by the very substance and intent of the mutual ceasefire.

    Since the AFP conducts these CMO operations in almost all provinces in Mindanao, we have now on-going widespread ceasefire violations in Mindanao, possibly nationwide.

    The seven-day ceasefire is too short for the AFP to win significant politico-military victories over the NPA in the field, but is too long a time for Mr. Aquino to show its sincerity in the peace process. We challenge Mr. Benigno Aquino III to demonstrate this sincerity and to prove, if indeed he is the commander-in-chief, that he can prevail over the hawks in the AFP by ordering all AFP-PNP-CAFGU units to stop all CMO operations during the ceasefire period.

    We call on the people to report to the Joint Monitoring Committee (JMC) secretariat or the nearest NPA unit in the field any AFP-PNP-CAFGU ceasefire violations.


    (Sgd) Ka Oris
    Spokesperson
    NDFP - Mindanao

     

           
         

     

    GPH's Alexander Padilla (left) and NDFP's Luis Jalandoni exchange panel credentials during the Opening Ceremonies of the Formal Peace Talks. Oslo, Norway, February 15, 2011.

     

    (From Right) GPH Panel Chair Alexander Padilla, RNG Ambassador Ture Lundh, and NDFP Panel Chair Luis Jalandoni shaking hands before starting the morning session.
         
    =          
    ==          
         
    NDFP Negotiating Panel Chairperson Jalandoni delivers NDFP's opening statement. OPAPP secretary Teresita Deles delivers GPH's Opening Address, instead of Chairperson Padilla.
               

     

    Satur: AFP Must Keep Out of Peace Talks
    Published on February 16, 2011

    www.bulatlat.como


    Satur Ocampo laments the statements made by the AFP about the peace talks that were mostly disparaging or negative. He says there were designed to sabotage the peace process.

    By INA ALLECO R. SILVERIO
    Bulatlat.com

    MANILA — The military and its various spokespersons should stop talking about the peace negotiations and stop behaving as if they are part of it.

    Former Bayan Muna Representative Satur C. Ocampo made this comment during the Pilgrims for Peace forum on February 15 at the University of Sto. Tomas in Manila. Various Protestant and Catholic church leaders and religious held the activity in support of the formal peace negotiations between the Government of the Philippines (GPH) and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) which also began on the same day in Oslo, Norway.

    Ocampo said it was lamentable that the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) keeps issuing statements about the peace talks that were mostly disparaging or negative.

    “The AFP is not involved in the peace negotiations, but in the last weeks leading to the formal peace talks, various military officials have been making statements to the media disparaging to the NDFP and its sincerity in pursuing peace. This is not at all helpful to the peace process,” he said.

    Only recently, Lt. Gen. Gaudencio Pangilinan, chief of the Northern Luzon Command, essentially poo-poohed the peace talks as he said that “Peace talks do not, in any form, suspend any law.”

    Pangilinan issued the comment in reaction to questions of the media that the Feb. 14 capture of alleged Communist leader Alan Jazmines would have negative impact on the ongoing talks in Norway.

    The AFP has also been charging the NDFP of insincerity in upholding its end in a ceasefire agreement and alleging that the revolutionary forces of the New People’s Army (NPA) were using landmines in its military operations. Both the NDFP and the NPA have issued separate statements debunking the allegations.

    Sabotaging the Peace Process

    A former spokesperson and negotiator of the NDFP during the Corazon Aquino regime, Ocampo said that the military’s attacks against the NDFP and the peace talks had the concrete intention of derailing or sabotaging the peace process.

    “Back in 1987 when the NDFP was negotiating with the GPH after Mrs. Aquino came to power, military top brass were agitating against the peace talks. Officials such as then Defense secretary and now senator Juan Ponce Enrile, and ex-AFP chief of staff and consequently former president Fidel V. Ramos were against having the Aquino government negotiate with the NDFP. There were even reports that the AFP, specifically members of the Reform the Armed Forces Movement or RAM, threatened members of the GPH peace panel. The peace panel members were allegedly threatened that personal harm will come to them if they insist on negotiating with us,” he said.

    Ocampo also said that while President Cory Aquino herself was receptive to the peace negations, there were individuals and forces around her who were intent on sabotaging the talks.

    “I made a personal request to Mrs. Aquino for a one-on-one dialogue, but my formal request never made it to Malacañang. It came out later than a close-in official blocked the appointment I was supposed to have with Mrs. Aquino,” he said.

    Ocampo and the former president had become acquainted after Mrs. Aquino’s visits to the Bicutan penitentiary after the assassination of her husband former Sen. Ninoy Aquino in 1983. Ocampo was a political prisoner at the time and detained in Bicutan.

    Ocampo said that Cory’s son, the incumbent president Benigno Aquino III, should not waste the opportunity he now has to complete what his mother’s administration failed to. He said that the Aquino scion himself should express full support for the peace negotiations and no ifs or buts.

    “He must show unconditional support for the peace talks. All the efforts of the GPH peace panel will be for naught if their principal himself is not wholly behind it. This is President Aquino’s chance to bring the country much closer to our collective aspirations for a just and lasting peace,” he said. (http://bulatlat.com)

     

    GPH and NDFP negotiating panels members
    (From Right) GPH Panel Chair Alexander Padilla, RNG Ambassador Ture Lundh, and NDFP Panel Chair Luis Jalandoni shaking hands before starting the morning session
               

     

    The brain drain and the GPH-NDF peace talks

    By Giovanni Tapang, Ph.D.

    null

     

    The preliminary results of a recent study by the Department of Science and Technology Science Education Institute (DOST-SEI) show that the “brain drain” phenomenon continues and has even worsened during the past few years. According to DOST-SEI Officer in Charge and Deputy Director Dr. Leticia Catris, the number of emigrating science workers from the Philippines has ballooned to around two and a half times compared to the figure 11 years ago. In 1998, there were 9,877 outbound science workers from the country. More than a decade after in 2009, the number has grown by 148 percent to 24,502. More than half of these are health professionals and nurses while a fifth are engineers.

     

    This is not a new phenomenon. In 2008, a similar study was released by then DOST-SEI Director Ester Ogena entitled “Emigration of Science and Technology Educated Filipinos (1998-2006).” The study pointed out that around 23 percent of our total science workers pool go abroad to seek employment. In particular, the 2008 study noted that the exodus of engineering graduates is attributable to the demand of foreign multinational corporations paying higher salaries, especially in IT and computer-related employment services.

     

    The new 2011 study points out that the number of science professionals leaving the country kept on rising except during the years 2001 to 2003. This, according to Dr. Catris, was due to the economy improving over that period of time. This steady emigration for more than a decade is probably why the Philippines was ranked 96 out of 139 nations in terms of availability of scientists and engineers in the 2010-2011 Global Competitiveness Report by the World Economic Forum.

     

    From both studies, it seems that some of the reasons why we lose these scientists to emigration are the low pay and the lack of opportunities to practice their profession in the country. Not surprisingly, the same issues with regard to the brain drain have been raised before. AGHAM, for instance, has written about this in the 2005 pamphlet “Prometheus Bound: The State of Science and Technology in the Philippines.” In that paper, we pointed out that the lack of domestic industrial growth contributes greatly to the stunting of science and technology in the country.

     

    The issues of opportunities and working conditions have already been pointed out way back in the 1970s when Dr. Amador Muriel wrote about it in the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists. He was a research associate at that time at the Institute of Space Studies (under NASA).

     

    Writing about physics research and teaching in the country, Dr. Muriel notes that the opportunities in the country are not at all that attractive and “as in all other professions, the chief motive for emigration is poor working conditions bred by government apathy and corruption.” He also points out that we share similar socio-economic situations as most brain donor countries: poverty, overpopulation and the desire to achieve industrialization.

     

    It is in this desire to industrialize on our own that that the second part of today’s title comes in. The ongoing peace negotiations between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (now formally abbreviated as GPH) and the National Democratic Front (NDF) in Oslo, Norway is set to discuss in their agenda an agreement on socio-economic reforms. After the signing of the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL), the two parties is set to discuss the meat of the whole negotiations—the root causes of the armed revolution. We expect that land reform, national industrialization and trade relations will be discussed in this phase of the negotiations. Formal talks will be held from February 15 to 21, 2010.

     

    Where does brain drain figure in this? If the two parties agree on a clear industrial policy that will build domestic industries at all levels and harness increased agricultural output, the opportunities for scientists in our country will literally become immense. Basic science research would be needed to address real world problems while applied research and engineering solutions would be critical in bootstrapping our industrial growth. I believe that together with increased economic incentives, such an industrial policy would actually help reverse the brain drain that has been the norm for several decades already.

     

    We cannot rely on just increasing the number of scientists and engineers through scholarships and incentives. The government must also plan where these scientists and engineers figure in our economy. Sadly, the situation right now is inadequate as the DOST studies show—it reflects the fact that one out of four science workers find no comfort in our current economic situation.

     

    The ongoing peace talks are thus not just about looking for ways to stop the war. It should be about genuine development and opportunities for all of us—scientists and ordinary folk alike.

     

    Dr. Tapang is the chairperson of AGHAM-Advocates of Science and Technology for the People. The article of Dr. Muriel can be found at
    http://ow.ly/3XguU and AGHAM’s Prometheus bound can be downloaded at www.agham.org.

    Prom.bound@gmail.com

     

    The NDFP Panel. (Photo by Mayet Atienza)
         
               
         
    The NDFP Panel. (Photo by Mayet Atienza) The GPH Panel. (Photo by Mayet Atienza)
         
    Statement of arrested NDFP Peace Consultant Alan Jazmines
         

     

    Statement of Alan Jazmines: Statement on My Arrest in Violation of the JASIG and Mockery of the Entire Peace Talks


    Dear friends,

    Alan Jazmines, NDFP Peace Consultant, who was illegally arrested last February 14, 2011, requested SELDA to release his statement. Please see his full statement below, the attached file is the scanned copy of his handwritten statement. Please circulate. Thank you very much

    SELDA National Office
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


    Statement on My Arrest in Violation of the JASIG and Mockery of the Entire Peace Talks

    February 16, 2011
    ALAN JAZMINES
    NDFP Peace Consultant
    PNP Custodial Center
    Camp Crame, Quezon City

    My arrest on the very eve of the NDFP-GPH peace talks by combined forces of the AFP and PNP is an outright and arrogant mockery and sabotage of the peace process.

    The Government of the Republic of the Philippines’ fascist forces have been intentionally violating the JASIG with impunity and stubbornly refusing to release 14 other NDFP peace consultants and their staff who remain under detention, in order to prove that there is nothing to gain in the peace process, especially on the part of the revolutionary forces and the people. In adding another arrest of a JASIG-holder on the very eve of the resumption of the peace talks, the leadership of the fascist AFP and PNP want to show how easily they can violate all peace agreements and make it appear that the NDFP and the revolutionary forces are weak and have really nothing to leverage on and gain in the peace process. They want to use the peace process only to make the revolutionary forces capitulate.

    At the time I was being arrested, I insisted that the arrest is a violation of the JASIG because I am a certified JASIG-holder. I have in fact turned over to my lawyer the details of my JASIG authorities and we can even have those details disclosed to the public in order to prove it. Yet, the arresting officers said that after they relayed my insisting to the top command of the AFP and PNP, the top officers ordered to proceed with the arrest and detention, and “to hell with the JASIG.”

    I and the rest of the detained NDFP peace consultants demand that the issue of JASIG violations by the GPH should be resolved first before proceeding to other agenda. Otherwise, any further agreements supposed reached in the peace talks and in fact, the whole peace process becomes only a laughing stock for these fascists.

     

    -----------------------------------

    Jazmines: My arrest mocks the peace process
    abs-cbnNEWS.com
    Posted at 02/16/2011 6:49 PM | Updated as of 02/16/2011 7:12 PM

    MANILA, Philippines - A top leader of the Communist Party of the Philippines-National Democratic Front-New People's Army (CPP-NPA-NDF) said his recent arrest by military forces on the eve of the peace talks “is an outright and arrogant mockery and sabotage of the peace process.”

    In a statement, Allan Jazmines said the government and its armed forces have been “intentionally violating” the Joint Agreement on Security and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG).

    Signed in 1995, the JASIG provides leaders and members of the NDF immunity from arrest, detention and other military actions.

    “At the time I was being arrested, I insisted that the arrest is a violation of the JASIG because I am a certified JASIG-holder. I have in fact turned over to my lawyer the details of my JASIG authorities and we can even have those details disclosed to the public in order to prove it,” he said.

    The arresting officers, however, supposedly said “to hell with the JASIG.”

    Along with Jazmines, 14 are also currently detained.

    “In adding another arrest of a JASIG-holder on the very eve of the resumption of the peace talks, the leadership of the fascist AFP and PNP want to show how easily they can violate all peace agreements and make it appear that the NDFP and the revolutionary forces are weak and have really nothing to leverage on and gain in the peace process,” Jazmines said.

    He said the issue of JASIG violations should be resolved first before the panel could proceed to another agenda.

    “Otherwise, any further agreements supposed reached in the peace talks and in fact, the whole peace process becomes only a laughing stock for these fascists,” he stressed.

     

         
               

    Press Release
    17 February 2011

    Reference: Myrna Cruz (Spokesperson, LAYA: A Campaign to Free All Political Prisoners)
    Niňo Buenaventura, Media Liaison Officer (0915-2805101)


    Political prisoners in Bohol, Cebu, and other provinces conduct fasting to press for the immediate and unconditional release of all political prisoners in the country

    In time for the ongoing formal peacetalks between the Government of the Philippines (GPH) and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP), political detainees all over the country have started their coordinated fasting today to call for the release of all political prisoners.

    Political detainees in Cebu and Bohol --- Ramon Patriarca, Alberto Acerdin, Florencio Quino --- started their week-long fasting on 15 February 2011, subsisting only on water and 5 biscuits a day until 21 February. In a statement released by the detainees, through their fasting, they are issuing a call to President Benigno Aquino III to:1) Order Justice Secretary Leila de Lima to immediately draft the necessary mechanisms to review all cases being faced by the 350 political prisoners still languishing in the various detention facilities all over the country. 2) Instruct the negotiating panel of the Government of the Philippines (GPH), now in Oslo Norway resuming its formal peace talks with the National Democratic Front (NDF) to uphold the validity of past GPH-NDF signed agreements including those made in 2001, 2004, and 2009 urging the immediate release of scores of political prisoners based on legal grounds and humanitarian considerations.

    Political prisoners in Camp Crame in Quezon City, Camp Bagong Diwa in Bicutan (including the three detained healthworkers from the Morong 43), New Bilibid Prison in Muntinlupa, Bacolod, Iloilo, Butuan City, Agusan del Sur, Bukidnon and Ozamis City joined their

    colleagues in Cebu and Bohol in a solidarity fast today.


    Recently arrested NDFP consultant Alan Jazmines, who is being detained at Camp Crame, joins NDFP consultants Eduardo Sarmiento, Jovencio Balweg and Eduardo Serrano in their solidarity fast today at Camp Crame. In their statement, they called on the Pres. Aquino “to stop the illegal arrest and detention and the filing of false charges, most of them criminal in nature, against consultants, leaders, and members of the revolutionary movement.” (please see their attached statement below)

    Myrna Cruz, spokesperson of the LAYA Campaign to Free All Political Prisoners and a recently released political prisoner from Cagayan Valley, said the arrest of Jazmines is the most recent example of such practice of the military and police in conducting illegal arrests and detention of JASIG-protected personnel and consultants of the NDFP. Cruz said there was no warrant of arrest presented to Jazmines when he was arrested last February 14, 2011. Upon scrutiny of the order of arrest given to Jazmines’ lawyer the next day, the certified true photocopy of the warrants against Jazmines were only given by the regional trial courts in Quezon on February 15, 2011.


    Cruz also recalled the numerous trumped up charges against NDFP consultants Vicente Ladlad, Randall Echanis and Raffy Baylosis, as these are similar baseless accusations being leveled against them. Cruz, who was arrested last March 2010 and was released this December, was herself a victim of illegal arrest and detention and fabricated charges under the Arroyo government.


    Cruz called on President Noynoy Aquino to follow her mother's example and free all political prisoners, as well as see to the withdrawal of charges against them.


    "Like his mother the late Cory Aquino immediately and unconditionally freed all political prisoners on March 1986, so too must President Noynoy Aquino. In releasing the political prisoners, Mrs. Aquino acknowledged that their arrest and detention was arbitrary and therefore illegal, and that the cases against them were nothing but trumped-up charges brandished by a fascist state against those that dare oppose it. The same holds true about Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo's regime and Aquino should act accordingly," Cruz ended.
     

     

    L-R: Rolando Olalia, Jose Maria Sison and Alan Jazmines at the founding Congress of Partido ng Bayan in 1987. Photo from Pinoy Weekly.

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    SA DIWA NG USAPANG PANGKAPAYAPAAN, PALAYAIN ANG LAHAT NG MGA BILANGGONG PULITIKAL

    Nakikiisa kaming mga bilanggong pulitikal ng Camp Crame sa dalawang araw na pagpapagutom (fasting) sa Pebrero 17-18, 2011 na isinasagawa ng mga bilanggong pulitikal sa buong bansa sa panahon ng pormal na usapang pangkapayapaan sa pagitan ng Gubyerno ng Pilipinas (GPH) at National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) nitong Peb.15-21, 2011, upang maipaabot ang aming marubdob na panawagan: “Palayain ang lahat ng mga bilaggong pulitikal!”

    Pangunahin kaming nananawagan kay Pangulong Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III na gayahin ang kanyang nanay, ang namayapang dating Pangulong Cory Aquino, na pinalaya ang lahat ng mga bilanggong pulitikal noong Marso 1986 matapos mapatalsik ng sambayanang Pilipino ang pasistang diktador Marcos sa pamamagitan ng pag-aalsang bayan noong Pebrero 22-26, 1986.

    Ang hakbangin na tulad nito ay pagkilala sa naging ambag ng rebolusyonaryong kilusan sa pakikibaka ng bayan para sa demokrasya at kalayaan laban sa tiranikong pasistang diktadura. Kabilang sa sambayanang nakikibaka’t nagtagumpay ang mga bilanggong pulitikal at iba pang mamamayan na nahawakan ng kaaway subalit pinaslang at itinago ng nang tuluyan ang kanilang kinahantungan.

    Kaya sa pagkakataon ngayon na ang gubyerno ni Pangulong Noynoy ay nagbukas sa usapang pangkapayapaan sa pambansa-demokratikong kilusan, mahalagang kilalanin ng gubyerno niya ang kontribusyon ng mga bilanggong pulitikal lalo na ang dikrektang responsibilidad bilang istap at konsultant ng NDFP sa usapang pangkapayapaan tulad ng isinasagawa ngayon.

    Upang mapakinabangan ng sambayanan ang kanilang mga karanasan at kaalaman sa pagsusulong ng makabuluhang pagbabago sa lipunan, kailangang mapalaya sila at ang lahat ng mga bilanggong pulitikal. Magsisilbing hakbanging pagpapatibay ng pananalig ng magkabilang panig sa usapang pangkapayapaan ang ganitong unilateral na aksyong makatao ng gubyerno.

    Ayon kay Nelson Mandela ng African National Congress at dating Pangulo ng South Africa na nakulong ng 27 taon habang lumalaban sa apartheid sa bansa nila, nagwika sa kanyang librong “Long Walk to Freedom” na: “ Ang malayang tao lamang ang pwedeng makipagnegosasyon. Ang mga bilanggo ay hindi pwedeng pumasok sa pagnegosasyon. Ang mga bilanggo ay hindi pwedeng pumasok sa kontrata…” Kaya malinaw na ang tagumpay ng usapang pang-kapayapaan ay di maiiwasang nakatuntong sa kalayaan ng bawat panig laluna ang hanay ng rebolusyonaryong pwersa na naghaharap sa sambayanan ng alternatibong gubyerno o mga paraan sa pamamalakad ng ating mga likas na yaman at lakas ng mamamayan para sa tunay na kapakinabangan ng nakararam nang may tinatamasang tunay na kalayaan, kasarinlan, katarungan at kaunlaran.

    Hanggang may natitirang bilanggong pulitikal, hindi masasabing nakamit na ang tunay na kapayapaan at kalayaan sa ating bansa. Katulad ito sa panawagan ng mga magsasaka’t katutubing mamamayan na kung walang tunay na reporma sa lupa, wala silang makakamit na tunay na paglaya sa pagasasamantala at pang-aapi ng malalaking panginoong maylupa at burgesya kumprador, at dambuhalang mga korporasyong multinasyunal. Gayundin ang mga manggagawa, hindi nila makakamit ang tunay na kalayaan sa makauring kaapihan at pagsasamantala ng mga kapitalista’t imperyalista kung walang pambansang industriyalisasyon at pagtataguyod ng lipunan sa tunay at militanteng unyomismo. Hindi rin makakamit ng mga propesyunal ang tunay na kalayaan hangga’t walang makatarungang sahod at kaseguruhan sa trabaho. Gayundin ang mga estudyante at mga kabataan para sa kanilang makabuluhang pag-unlad kung walang makabayan, makamasa at siyentipikong edukasyon at kultura na huhubog sa kanilang pambansang kamalayan at tunay na pagmamahal sa bayan.

    Sa diwa ng usapang pangkapayapaan na naghahangad na malutas ang tunay na mga ugat ng kahirapan at panlipunang labanan, nananawagan kaming mga bilanggong pulitikal na itigil na ang hindi makatarungang pang-aaresto’t detensyon at itigil na rin ang pagsasampa ng ng mga kasong kriminal sa mga nahuhuling elemento ng rebolusyonaryong kilusan at ipatupad ang Doktinang Hernandez sa mga bilanggong may pampulitikang pagkakasala.

    Higit sa lahat, ang walang kundisyon na ang pagpapalaya sa lahat ng mga bilanggong pulitikal ang magsisilbing isa sa mga tuntungang bato patungo sa inaasam ng bayan na tunay na kapayapaan sa lipunan na nakabatay sa katarungan.
     

    Itaguyod ang pambansang-demokratikong pakikibaka!
     

    Mabuhay ang sambayanang Pilipino!
     

    Mga Bilanggong Pulitikal sa Camp Crame
    Pebrero 16, 2011
    (Sgd) Prospero F. Agudo (Sgd) Jovencio Balweg
    (Sgd) Eduardo O. Sarmiento (Sgd) Eduardo R. Serrano
    (Sgd) Alan V. Jazmines
    ====================

    --
    The Samahan ng Ex-Detainees Laban sa Detensyon at Aresto (SELDA) - Philippines is an organization of former political detainees in the country. Founded in December 4, 1984, SELDA was initiated by former political prisoners during the Martial Law period. It works for the unconditional release of all political prisoners and humane treatment of those who are still in detention; for the advocacy on the conditions of political prisoners, the fundamental reasons for their arrest and detention, and their struggle for justice; mobilization of resources for political prisoners and their families; legislative actions on the indemnification and rehabilitation of political detainees; and promotion of partnerships and solidarity with organizations for the freedom and welfare of political prisoners and victims of tyranny.

     

     

    Political Detainees Conducting Fasting:

    Cebu and Bohol
    Alberto M. Acerdin - Danao City Jail, Cebu
    Ramon M. Patriarca - Danao City Jail, Cebu
    Florencio Quinio - Tagbilaran District Jail, Bohol

    Cagayan Valley
    Randy Malayao - BJMP Ilagan Isabela
    Calixto Rivera - BJMP Batal Santiago City

    Camp Crame, Quezon City
    Prospero F. Agudo
    Eduardo O. Sarmiento
    Alan V. Jazmines
    Jovencio Balweg
    Eduardo R. Serrano

    New Bilibid Prison, Muntinlupa
    Rodas, Darwin
    Navarro, Jose
    Rolida, Generoso
    Matricio, Manolito
    Tobias, Absalon
    Villanueva, Martin
    Montajes, Alfredo
    Villacorta, Donato
    Gutaba, Roberto
    Alejandrino, Raynaldo
    Correjado, Aldrine
    Tuardon, Edwin
    Andrade, Bernardo
    Barado, Apolonio
    Santiago, Lamberto
    Bodino, Rico
    Vidar, Armando
    Gaviola, Arnilo
    Lareno, Romeo
    Caballero, Rodel
    Alegre, Selman
    Lacang, Leon
    Pangilinan, Arturo
    Marbella, Sonny
    Ceriola, Crisanto
    Sionicio, Danilo
    Granado, Generoso
    Lumantas, Pedro
    Ramada, Joel
    Dosmanos, Marcial
    Yambot, Freddie
    Villar, Raul
    Lingan, Edgardo
    Versoza, Francis
    Alegre, Jesus
     

     

    Pañamogan, Rolando
    Segura, Victoriano
    Ungsod, Joshue
    Itaas, Juanito
    Natividad, Rogelio
    Alcon, Rodel
    Verdan, Cerilo
    Deguit, Johnny
    Pajanostan, Felix
    Fulgar, Ricardo
    Mahinay, Reynaldo
    delos Santos, Danilo
    Balawag, Saiban
    Christopher Malolot, Christopher
    Sarad, Diony
    Inocerta, Cresencio
    Umbrero, Mariano

    Ozamis City
    Rodinas, Dennis - Ozamis City Jail

    Agusan del Norte Provincial Jail, Butuan City
    Maria Luisa Purcray
    Baranggan, Rolando

    Bacolod - BJMP Bacolod
    Moleta, Arturo

    loilo Rehabilitation Center, Nanga, Pototan, Iloilo
    Jose Gabion
    Dennis Dote
    Jomer Begayo
    Bernard Gicalao
    JAmes Latumbo
    Jan David
    Radne Catamin
    Jojie Belo
    Roger Belo
    Cirila Estrada

    Bukidnon
    Bayot, Randy - Provincial Detention and Rehabilitation Center, Malaybalay
    Caringas, Jerry - BJMP Malaybalay
    Hortillano, Eduardo - BJMP Valencia City
    Arellano, Salvador - BJMP Valencia City
    Tamunday, Lito - Valencia City Jail
    Codaste, Pedro - BJMP Malaybalay
    Abucayan, Tito - Provincial Detention and Rehabilitation Center

    Agusan del Sur
    Mario Mantua - Bayugan Municipal Jail
    Pelagio Mantua - Bayugan Municipal Jail
    Elvie Apolona - Agusan del Sur Provincial Jail
     

               
         
         

    Davao City:

    Farmers, Lumads push genuine agrarian reform agenda in the GPH-NDFP Peace Talks

         

     

    Soildarity Rally along San Pedro Street, Davao City
    re: FARMERS, LUMADS PUSH GENUINE AGRARIAN REFORM AGENDA IN GPH-NDF PEACE TALKS

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Press Release
    February 15, 2011

    FARMERS, LUMADS PUSH GENUINE AGRARIAN REFORM AGENDA IN GPH-NDF PEACE TALKS

    Davao City --- In support of the resumption of the GPH-NDF peace talks on February 15, farmer and lumad leaders belonging to the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas – Southern Mindanao (KMP-SMR) and PASAKA Confederation of Indigenous Peoples in SMR staged a solidarity rally today along San Pedro St.


    “Si Kanami no tala-bantay to tanu. Pig umaw noy ka Magbabaya ayaw bugayan to karayawan ka tanu woy mgo otaw no nig-atiman to tanu...,” said Datu Duloman Dawsay, an Ata Manobo leader from Talaingod, Davao Del Norte, invoking their rights as stewards of the land during a ritual. They called on Magbabaya, the divine deity, to bless the land and the people who till the land.

    Dawsay, with other leaders, then gutted a white chicken, letting the blood flow onto the ground.

    “The ritual is an offering so that the farmers’ and lumads’ demands for genuine agrarian reform and respect of the lumads’ right to ancestral land will be addressed,” said Pedro Arnado, chairperson of KMP-SMR.

    Hands filled with loose soil, the farmer leader added, “We urge the GPH and the NDF to heed the farmers’ historical demand for land and the right to till. End the system which perpetuates the oppression and exploitation of the few and then there will be a chance for peace.”

    “The Aquino government must remember that social justice is a prerequisite for peace. End landlessness and give the farmers and lumads the land that they have long been deprived of, then we may consider believing that this regime is serious on sincerely addressing the root causes of the civil war raging in the country, ” said Arnado.

    KMP and PASAKA just ended a one-day seminar discussing the peasants’ agenda for the coming peace talks which will tackle the second agenda, Comprehensive Agreement on Socio Economic Reforms (CASER).

    Arnado stressed the importance of the CASER for all Filipinos.

    “Injustice has long shaped the fate of the Filipino people. The CASER embodies the people’s clamor towards genuine agrarian reform and national industrialization, free from the imposition of neo-liberal policies of imperialist countries that has long made our people slaves and squatters in their own country,” said Arnado.

    KMP has long criticized the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) and its extended law for leading farmers into further poverty and landlessness due to the high amortization fees, and interest rates that CARP beneficiaries are made to pay.

    Instead, KMP has been pushing for the enactment of the Genuine Agrarian Reform Bill (GARB) which aims to distribute free lands to farmers, eliminate tenancy, usury and provide substantial government subsidy for farmers in terms of farm inputs, irrigation and farming technology. #


    For reference:

    PEDRO ARNADO
    Chairperson
    KMP-SMR
    Contact: 09102261000
     

    Farmers Association of Davao City- Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas and PASAKA Confederation of Lumad Organizations in Southern Mindanao spearhead a solidarity rally calling support for the GPH-NDF peacetalks and pushing for genuine agrarian reform agenda. (PHOTO BY: JONALD MAHINAY)

    A lumad ritual led by Datu Doloman Dawsay of Salupongan ta Tanu Igkanugon (In Defense of Ancestra Lands)- PASAKA invoking their rights as stewards of the land during the Solidarity Rally calling to support the GPH-NDP Peacetalks. (PHOTO BY: JONALD MAHINAY)

    Lumad leader led a ritual and called on Magbabaya, the divine deity, to bless the land and the people who till the land and asking blessings for the GPH-NDF Peacetalks which formally starts today. (PHOTO BY: JONALD MAHINAY)

    Launching of a Festschrift book on Joma:

    Jose Maria Sison: A Celebration

         
               
    February 22, 2011

    6 - 9 PM

    UP Balay Kalinaw

    UP Diliman campus

         
               
               
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