■  Metro Manila     ■  Davao City     ■  Video


July 22, 2013


 Commonwealth Avenue, QC





Photos by Arkibong Bayan, Jon Bustamante, Agapito Gaddi, Ciriaco Santiago III, Daniella Mikhaela,
ST Exposure and Tudla Prod. as indicated by the filenames


Press Release July 18, 2013


BAYAN prepares 13-foot effigy of Pres. Aquino for SONA


As the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN) prepares for the nationally-coordinated 2013 People’s Protest on July 22, Monday, its volunteer visual artists are also busy at work on this year’s effigy of the Philippine President.


The production of an effigy, or giant paper-mache sculpture, of the President is one of the highlights of the BAYAN rally and is a tradition that it has sustained for more than a decade since 2000.


“The effigy captures and symbolizes many of the issues raised against the current administration,” said Renato Reyes Jr., BAYAN Secretary General.


 This year, BAYAN reveals, President Aquino will be portrayed as a 13-feet high giant feasting on a banquet, or “piging” in Filipino. Unlike the traditional fiesta, where hospitality, generosity, and goodwill is encouraged among the whole community, PNoy’s banquet is depicted as a lavishly sumptuous feast for a small circle of guests as the people wait for crumbs falling from the table.


The effigy is the group’s take on the kind of economic “growth” that the Aquino government would be claiming during the SONA. The group believes that there is no “inclusive growth” or “trickle-down growth” despite the claims that the Philippine Gross Domestic Product was the fastest rising in Asia. Only big business and the proponents of so-called “public-private partnership” projects are set to benefit from any of the supposed growth. It said that big business engaged in water, power, infrastructure were among those benefiting from economy as millions reel from high prices and fees.


 The group also believes that any effort to change the Constitution and allow 100% foreign ownership of land and utilities would also result to a widening gap between the rich and poor as the move will only benefit local and foreign big business. Already the National Statistical Coordination Board has recently said that the gap between the richest and poorest Filipinos have increased over the past years.


 “The people are not invited to this exclusive dinner party by the ruling elite. Look who’s “pigging out” with Aquino as the nation goes hungry. This government believes that growth will trickle down to the poor but that strategy has proven ineffective. People are being made to wait for crumbs to trickle down even as the richest 1% see their wealth double,” said Cris de Leon, UgatLahi Spokesperson.


“Sa handaan at pagdiriwang sa SONA, hindi kasama ang masa. Hindi sila nakikinabang sa anumang huwad na pag-unlad na ipagmamalaki ng Pangulo,” de Leon added.


Each year since 1999, UGATLahi has helped BAYAN prepare giant effigies of different presidents, from Joseph Estrada to Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to Benigno Aquino III. This will be their fourth effigy of Pres. Aquino for the annual SONA protests. Visual artists and BAYAN volunteers are currently completing the effigy.


The nationally-coordinated protest by BAYAN will include a multi-sectoral mobilization along Commonwealth Avenue on July 22. Various foreign observers are also expected to attend the event. ###





By Carol Pagaduan-Araullo

SONA – a reality check

There we go again. SONA (State-of-the-Nation-Address) day and activists and ordinary citizens were once more out in the streets for the annual exercise of their right to rain on the ruling regime’s SONA parade by presenting their own version of the national situation. It seemed at first glance that this year would be no different from the previous years. But this time there was a big difference: government had insidiously prepared well to keep the demonstrators from "marring" President “Noynoy” Aquino’s third SONA by presenting an alternative, and more truthful, state-of-the-nation.

This time around, psychological warfare was much more evident, including the glaring overkill of thousands of deployed riot police and layers of container vans and cement and steel barricades reinforced with razor-sharp concertina wire to keep demonstrators from crossing the line that the police had arbitrarily set. Post SONA, the Aquino regime’s well-oiled propaganda machine attempted to drown out and discredit the demonstrators’ grievances and demands of government with the help of Aquino-friendly mainstream media outlets along with government-deployed pseudo netizens in social media platforms and their “yellow” cheering squads.

To begin with, the demonstrators and the Filipino people as a whole have plenty to be riled about. Many had already anticipated that this year’s SONA speech would - again - simply not square with reality. There would be major omissions about issues that really matter to the people as well as a grand cover-up of the country’s true state of affairs. In this way Mr. Aquino’s SONAs have not been much different from those of his predecessor, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo; that is, at base, these have been self-serving and riddled with falsehoods.

Glowing reports on the economy are meaningless to the majority of Filipinos eking out a living - landless peasants and the army of urban unemployed and underemployed who are hungry, sick, without decent housing and seemingly doomed to suffer a bleak future. The great divide between the well-entrenched elite and the broad masses of the people (including the sinking so-called middle class) or to borrow parlance from the Occupy Movement, between the 1% and the 99%, has merely been amplified by the healthy profits of the 1000 top corporations and the scandalous lifestyles of the rich and (in)famous.

The Aquino government continues to pursue neoliberal economic policies that benefit foreign investors, the local big landlord-big business interests and their political backers on the top rungs of government while the people suffer landlessness, joblessness, low wages, high prices of basic goods and services and high taxes and other “lawful” exactions. It perpetuates the backward, agrarian, pre-industrial economy with its laggard implementation of a bogus land reform program.

Mr. Aquino crows about the World Bank-designed, multi-billion peso Conditional Cash Transfer dole-out as the solution to poverty even as his administration scrimps on basic social services, allows these to deteriorate and then puts up a fire sale (such as of government hospitals) so foreign and local big business can take over and run them for profit and not for public service.

Mr. Aquino has only high praises for the Armed Forces of the Philippines and Philippine National Police (PNP), promises them “modernization” (and of course the opportunity for bigger kickbacks) and showcases housing projects and other benefits for the men-in-uniform while window dressing government’s dirty counter-insurgency war codenamed Oplan Bayanihan and its bloody human rights record.

Mr. Aquino enjoys twitting in public his subalterns in the executive department in order to make a big show about pursuing “daang matuwid” but he turns a blind eye to the ongoing huge scams involving the pork barrel system because, according to his apologists, it is not “pragmatic” politics. (How else is the President to have his priority legislation passed if he doesn’t grease the palms of his allies in Congress?) He also plays deaf and dumb to the clamor for a strong Freedom of Information bill because he just doesn’t want anyone to have the freedom to open the proverbial can of worms in his administration including corruption in and around Malaca?ang.

With more than enough legitimate grievances to justify and propel a big demonstration come SONA day and invoking their basic civil right to peaceably assemble, the People’s SONA rally organizers were flabbergasted that the Aquino government (yes, the same government that Human Rights Commissioner Rosales glowingly claims is cognizant of their rights) would deny their application for a permit to rally. They correctly construed it as a provocation, a challenge to all the more assert that right.

The PNP’s psywar was on track after the permit denial. General Garbo, the new police chief for the National Capital Region went on a media blitz saying that the police expected a bigger crowd of protesters due to the ongoing demolition of urban poor communities and therefore security was a major concern. But he also put on a very agreeable pose, saying that despite the lack of a permit, the police would exercise “maximum tolerance” rather than follow the “no permit, no rally” stricture. He said rally organizers could “negotiate” with police to be allowed the usual venue near the Ever Gotesco Mall on Commonwealth Avenue that the previous insecure Arroyo regime had fixed as the closest permissible rally site during SONAs.

On the day itself, the PNP put up a big steamer bearing the message "Serenity & Oneness for National Advancement" with the first letters spelling out SONA. The marching column of thousands of protesters was immediately met by a two-deep phalanx of smiling policewomen bearing flower bouquets and balloons, a cheap ploy to bolster the image of the police as friendly and pacific. They were ignored and bypassed by the marchers.

Demonstrators undertook a surprise maneuver and broke through island barriers earlier reinforced with concertina wire to occupy both the south and northbound lanes of Commonwealth Avenue in a bid to compel the police to allow the rally to go much farther and closer to the HOR. Thousands of police rushed to prevent them from proceeding onwards. Traffic came to a standstill and the rally leaders called for negotiations with the police to break the impasse. But while talks were ongoing, the police treacherously began to push back the demonstrators with their batons and shields causing injuries to hundreds of defenseless protesters.

The police succeeded in cordoning off the demonstrators in the northbound lane of Commonwealth Avenue in front of the Ever Mall. But they failed to disperse the mass mobilization and to provoke an angry retaliation and frenzied random violence from the demonstrators who maintained their ranks with discipline, pushed the police back defensively as much as they could but eventually retreated in an organized fashion.

In the immediate aftermath, the police could not paint the rallyists as unruly, violent and deserving of the beating they got from the police. The rallyists successfully held their People’s SONA. As Mr. Aquino was giving his SONA speech, they burned the effigy of the US-backed Aquino regime depicting Aquino and his cronies and foreign backers lapping up a feast while tossing the people crumbs, a parody on the oft-invoked “trickle-down effect”.

It is therefore ludicrous how the Aquino regime’s spin doctors pounced on the picture of the cop crying from exhaustion (and perhaps the realization that he was on the wrong side) as well as that of a Dutch human rights activist shouting at the police to stop hurting the demonstrators to create the impression that the latter were the aggressors and had even been reinforced by “foreign interventionists”.

Still, no amount of deception and coercion will be able to conceal reality and sustain the make-believe world of the Aquino regime despite the self-congratulatory press releases, the fawning media coverage, the engineered popularity surveys and the manufactured social media commentaries. #

Published in Business World
2 – 3 August 2013



Aquino’s longest SONA is short on real achievements for the people

BAYAN Press Statement
July 23, 2013

Aquino’s State of the Nation Address, though his longest yet, was based on the same recycled rhetoric of “daang matuwid”, with hardly any real achievements to show.

The people had every reason to mount protests yesterday because of the fundamentally unchanged conditions since Aquino became president. These protests were met with vicious suppression by the Philippine National Police.

Suppression of dissent

The violent attack on protesters was the result of the city government’s denial of a rally permit, the court’s failure to uphold the people’s rights and the Aquino regime’s vicious suppression of dissent. The PNP tried to present itself as a wolf in sheep’s clothing by giving us flowers and balloons. The protesters rejected the bogus offer and continued with our march, reaching beyond the main blockade at EVER Mall. A stand-off ensued. Leaders of the protest were negotiating with the PNP when without warning or provocation, the PNP attacked the protesters even before the results of the negotiations were made known. It was plain treachery. The violence that ensued showed us one facet of the State of the Nation, fascism, under the discredited daang matuwid. At least 41 protesters were injured with 10 being brought to the East Avenue Medical Center while 9 were arrested.

The PNP also violently dispersed the indignation rally demanding the release of activists detained at Camp Caringal.

We note that the CHR has released an initial statement that protesters were to blame for the violence. We ask the CHR to first conduct an honest investigation instead of defending the PNP though unfounded claims that only show the ideological and pro-Aquino bias of the CHR chairperson from Akbayan. Video footae will show that there was a peaceful stand-off before the police started attacking the protesters.


On the issue of accountability and stamping out corruption, Aquino merely recycled the old issues of Pagcor, TESDA scams and PNP rubber boats. No mention was made of the dismissal of all cases versus the “Pabaon” generals. No mention was made of the questionable water contracts that allowed private companies to pass on their income taxes to consumers. Aquino also justified the MRT-LRT fare hike despite new allegations of corruption involving the purchase of trains. Aquino didn’t speak about human rights violations and justice for victims of state forces.

There was no mention of Charter change or the Freedom of Information Bill. Aquino also did not clarify proposals that would allow US military forces to access PH facilities and preposition military equipment in the country.

Aquino has made it a habit to publicly criticize some government officials during his SONA in order to deflect attention from his own shortcomings and failures. However, Aquino turns a blind eye to the biggest forms of corruption found in Congress, the AFP, or in the many questionable public-private partnerships that involve the Executive branch.

Economic “growth” for whom?

Aquino tried to create the impression that economic opportunities are available by citing, for instance, Tesda scholarships, however, these do not reflect the reality of a deteriorating jobs crisis in the country as shown by government’s own data as well as surveys indicating that available economic opportunities could not cope with the increasing labor force. Surveys by the SWS, for example, show that the number of unemployed adult Filipinos rose by two million under Aquino.

Aquino made a big deal of the supposed reforms in the MWSS but conveniently ignored the bigger issue of the anomalous and onerous PPP contract between the MWSS and Maynilad and Manila Water. Under the Concession Agreement, the private concessionaires have been allowed to pass on to water consumers the costs of practically everything – from income taxes to corporate donations and advertisements. Aquino’s silence on the issue further exposed the hypocrisy of the daang matuwid and anti-corruption rhetoric of Aquino.

While Aquino again trumpeted inclusive growth as the main principle behind his administration’s every initiative, he continued to promote policies that will further impoverish the people while creating more profit-making opportunities for the rich. For instance, he reiterated the supposed need to hike LRT and MRT fares so that government resources used to subsidize Metro Manila commuters will be freed up for social services. He did not say that the supposed subsidies actually go to paying debt obligations arising from onerous PPP contract in the case of MRT. He did not say that the fare hike is a sweetener for the P60-billion extension and privatization of LRT 1, scheduled for bidding this month, as the biggest PPP project so far of the administration. Aquino also justified the demolition of urban poor communities and even said that if those relocated were hard-working, they will surely find job opportunities. The implication is that urban poor who cannot find work in relocation areas are just plain lazy. Aquino proclaimed that Philhealth coverage increased but did not say that the cost of health services are surely going to escalate with the entry of private businesses erstwhile public hospitals. No mention was made of the erstwhile “modern heroes”, the Filipino migrant workers, and the issues that they face.

Aquino again hailed the massive expansion in the coverage and budget of CCT and announced that the program will now also include families with high school students. Aquino did not say how the program is actually helping reduce poverty in the country. SWS surveys show a worsening poverty trend (i.e., number of poor families grew by 1.6 million under Aquino) while NSCB data indicate that, at best, the poverty situation is not improving, during the period of enormous expansion of the CCT program.

What is to come

The next three years of the Aquino regime will give us more of the same policies with many dire consequences. As the Philippines moves towards more privatization, liberalization and deregulation of the economy, the people will be faced with increasing hardships and burdens. Aquino will try to cover up the crisis using the CCT dole-out program and meaningless indicators such as credit ratings upgrade and the stock market index. Aquino’s continuing hypocrisy regarding corruption; his inaction or support of questionable deals, is now coming out in the open. Palace spinmeisters will try hard to deceive the people but the emptiness of the regime’s rhetoric has already been exposed.

The next three years will see the people even more determined to fight the Aquino regime. ###



Bayan asserts right to protest, holds SONA ng Bayan

Posted on 22 July 2013 by admin

News Release

July 22, 2013


Even as the local government denied its petition for a permit to rally at the Batasang Pambansa, multisectoral group Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) asserted its right to peaceably assemble and protest the anti-people policies of President Benigno Aquino III in today’s annual State of the Nation Address (SONA) of the Chief Executive.


“Nothing can stop us. Not the rains and certainly not the repression by the regime. The SONA ng Bayan is our response to three years of the Aquino regime, the absence of meaningful changes, and intensifying attacks on the rights and welfare of the people, especially the poor,” said Bayan secretary general Renato Reyes.


Bayan noted that the last three years have seen the widening gap between the rich and the poor, rising unemployment and poverty, and the escalation of prices.


“The so-called economic growth has benefited only the few ruling elite. While the people go hungry, the rulers feast on congressional pork and reap profits from privatization schemes,” Reyes said.


Selected indicators in the first three years of the Aquino presidency


Start of Aquino’s term


No. of poor families

8.9 million

10.5 million

No. of hungry families

3.6 million

4.1 million

No. of unemployed workers

9.5 million

11.6 million

Wealth of the 40 richest Filipinos

$22.8 billion

$47.4 billion

Water rates (Maynilad, Manila Water all-in tariffs)

P29.98 to P33.08


per cubic meter

P37.29 to P46.72


per cubic meter

Power rates (Meralco distribution rates)

P0.85 per kilowatt-hour

P1.22 per kilowatt-hour

Oil prices




P34.25 per liter



P44.00 per liter



P576.50 – P651.50


per 11-kg cylinder tank

P617.00 – P745.00


per 11-kg cylinder tank

Notes: No. of poor families, hungry families, unemployed workers, and wealth of 40 richest Filipinos compare annual averages in 2010 and 2012; Water rates compare July 1, 2010 and July 3, 2013 rates; Power rates compare June 2010 and July 2013 rates; Oil prices compare June 29, 2010 and July 9, 2013 prices


Compiled by Bayan using data from the SWS surveys, Forbes magazine, MWSS Regulatory Office, Meralco, and DOE


Aside from the worsening economic crisis, the group emphasized that the first half of the Aquino presidency has been marked by three years of empty rhetoric about good governance and three years of impunity.


“Human rights continue to suffer setbacks through Aquino’s counter-insurgency program. Even the right to peaceably assemble is being curtailed by Aquino as the government is eager to show the world that constitutional rights do not matter when the President is giving a speech,” said Reyes.

Furthermore, the group noted that while Aquino talks tough against China, he has surrendered the national sovereignty to the US by allowing de facto American military bases in the country.

Some 100 foreign human rights defenders also attended today’s rally to monitor the human rights compliance of the Philippine government.


A 13-foot effigy of Aquino is among the highlights of the SONA ng Bayan. The effigy depicts the so-called economic growth being enjoyed by only a few ruling elite. The menu of the SONA “banquet” will include “lotsa pork, hefty servings of PPP, and expensive water from private companies”. (END)





July 22, 2013
REFERENCE: (0999-871-0771)
Mark Andrianne Ng | Spokesperson | Bagong Alyansang Makabayan – Southern Tagalog

Southern Tagalog militants:
Three years of Aquino, three years of “Daang Nakamamatay”!

Commonwealth Ave, Quezon City – Southern Tagalog militant groups today demonstrated their staunch dissent against the Aquino administration’s anti-people policies, calling the three year rule of the president as “Daang Nakamamatay!” Marching to a few kilometres near the House of Representatives and setting-up an early morning protest, the groups led by Bagong Alyansang Makabayan – Southern Tagalog (BAYAN-ST) particularly denounced the programs of Public Private Partnership (PPP) and Oplan Bayanihan in the region.

“Aquino has proven that his so-called straight path is actually a straight path to death, with policies that target the destruction of the livelihood, homes and even the lives of the rural and urban poor,” Andrianne Mark Ng, Spokesperson of BAYAN-ST said. Amidst yesterday’s police blockades in Bacoor, Cavite and San Pablo, Laguna; state forces weren’t able to stop the militant groups’ perseverance to storm in front of Aquino’s residence at Times Street as a build-up protest.

Through an effigy, which they dubbed as “Pison”, which is depicted as a machinery constructed and controlled by Uncle Sam that drives-over and kills innocent civilians in its way, BAYAN-ST expressed their disgust through burning the said massive artwork. The Southern Tagalog region is continuously being hit by the disaster of PPP such as the thousands of urban poor residents in Cavite who will be victims of demolition due to the LRTA’s extension plan. This is what happened to Brgy. Carmen, Silang, Cavite wherein the Ayala Corporation land-grabbed a peasant community, destroying their harvest through bulldozers Christmas Eve last year.

Meanwhile, in other countryside areas such as South Quezon in Bondoc Peninsula, the rural poor become bakwets or forced evacuees due to the intensification of militarization. Just recently, May 31, families in the said area where victims to indiscriminate firing by the 74th Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army. An International Solidarity Mission for Human Rights and Peace was conducted in the community of Catanauan, and foreigners were dismayed with the absence of justice for the victims, whereby culprits from the AFP remain unaccounted for. BAYAN-ST fear that the drastic increase of military forces (8 battalions in South Quezon since June of last year), signify that private interest for mining corporations, power plants and dams are already being executed against the people’s will.

“We see how the Aquino government’s façade of development goes. The promises he utters are but directed no into eradicating poverty – but eradicating the poor and paving way for the foreign rich, local business men and landed class to freely exploit our natural resources and fellow Filipinos,” Ng stressed.

Ng also slammed Aquino’s efforts to revitalize the U.S. bases, adding that this is a direct insult to the sovereignty of our country. He said provinces like Palawan and Batangas bear witness to Balikatan exercises by the AFP with the U.S. military forces. He said that the joint U.S. access agreement is a design to further meddle on the people’s issues most especially land disputes and environmental plunder

“Aquino’s character as the primary subservient to U.S. imperialist powers in the Asia-Pacific region has already been exposed. What the people need to do is unite and fight against this oppressive system. Only through the people’s collective actions can a hope for a better future flourish,” Ng said.

The militants were joined by the national contingent later in the day, vowing to step-up the struggle in the succeeding months to fight and reject the dismal poverty and injustice perpetuated by the Aquino regime. The protesters were met with police blockades, adding distance away from the Batasan. But the militants easily sweep the barricades to get closer to where they held their program.

“Is this government afraid of the truth that the Filipino people speak and showcase in the streets?” Ng asked.

# For more details contact 09158638946/09477510070

Visit us

Press Release
July 22, 2013
Source Verification: Lito Bais
Chairperson: Unyon ng mga Manggagawa sa Agrikultura (UMA)
CP no. 09082882749

Farm Workers to Frustrate Pnoy’s SONA on Hacienda Luisita

Farm worker beneficiaries (FWB’s) will frustrate President Aquino’s State of the Nation Address (SONA) when he crows about this in his speech.

This is by the pledge made by AMBALA and ULWU that it will not join the lottery process in allotting the lands to be distributed to farm worker beneficiaries (FWB’s) and by filing a contempt charge against DAR in the Supreme Court (SC) this coming July 23, for reducing the land to be distributed to the FWB’s which is against the SC’s ruling.

The Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) bared its true color when it said that it does not recognize farmers’ initiatives in tilling the land of disputed landholdings even if this is covered by land reform. This was immediately hailed by Malacanang.

A big number of farm workers in Hacienda Luisita have been tilling the land called ‘bungkalan” since 2005 to help sustain their strike during that time. They continue this up to now and no charges were ever brought against them by the Cojuangco landlords for this.

So the only logical basis for this is that DAR is taking the cudgels on behalf of Pnoy’s family to strike back at the peasants for daring to do this.

Its initial basis that hacienda farm workers, unlike tenants in rice and corn lands, did not work on specific parcels of land, and thus have no permanent farm lots to claim as their own is all hogwash.

In fact, DAR should have respected the rights of the farm workers in Hacienda Luisita to be allotted lots where they are already cultivating this based on the DAR’s own reasoning indicated in the above paragraph. But it was more interested in pleasing its master in Malacanang than the farm workers who rightfully own the land because they are the ones tilling it.



5 Palosapis St, Brgy. Amihan, Quezon City
23 July 2013

PNoy’s SONA glossed over major people’s issues, youth groups say
Youth leaders condemn police brutality against youth activists in yesterday’s protests

Cong. Terry Ridon, Kabataan Partylist Representative (09155310725)
Marjohara Tucay, Kabataan Partylist National Media Officer (09273268776)

The almost two-hour long State of the Nation Address (SONA) of President Benigno Aquino III yesterday “glossed over major people’s issues” and were filled with “lies, half-truths, and empty promises,” youth leaders say.
In a press conference at the House of Representatives, Kabataan Partylist Rep. Terry Ridon, along with Anakbayan National Chair Vencer Crisostomo, Student Christian Movement Spokesperson Einstein Recedes, National Union of Students of the Philippines Secretary General Sheryl Alapad, and UP Student Regent Krista Melgarejo dissected Aquino’s fourth SONA and found it “lacking in form and substance.”

“Aquino’s fourth SONA is riddled with lies, half-truths and empty promises. While Aquino went on and on with his so-called achievements in his anti-corruption campaign, he remained silent in fundamental issues including the stalled GRP-NDF peace negotiations, human rights, the rising cost of education and the worsening unemployment in the country,” Rep. Ridon said.

“Para kaming nag-subscribe sa unlimited promo sa SONA ni Aquino – unlimited na kasinungalingan, unlimited na pambobola, at unlimited na pangako. Pero kung titilad-tilarin natin nang mabuti ang kanyang talumpati, wala itong sinasabing signipikante hinggil sa pagpapabuti ng kalagayan ng mamamayan. Sa halip, pinagtanggol pa ni Noynoy ang patuloy na pagsasapribado ng mga batayang serbisyo at pagtaas ng presyo,” Anakbayan Chair Crisostomo said.

In Aquino’s SONA, he emphasized the need for the expansion of public-private partnership (PPP) programs to bolster the Philippine economy and improve services.

“The president is adamant on opening services and utilities to the private sector through the PPP, using twisted reasoning to justify several big-ticket projects. But he cannot escape the fact that PPP programs only make services more expensive and restrict access to these services for the poorest of the poor,” Ridon said.

The youth congressman criticized Aquino’s adherence to the PPP even when countries like the United Kingdom which pioneered this approach have already initiated moves to reconsider this scheme due to its failure to deliver its promises and the higher public costs that PPP programs entail.

The youth leaders also slammed Aquino’s silence on the issue of human rights, saying that the police brutality experienced by several students and other activists yesterday reflects Aquino’s stance on human rights.

Dozens of activists were hurt in a bloody skirmish with the police in the People’s SONA demonstration early yesterday morning. Among those hurt were former Bayan Muna Rep. Teddy Casino and Anakbayan Chair Vencer Crisostomo. Ten activists, meanwhile, were nabbed by the police.

In the indignation rally at Camp Karingal last night, the police again exhibited excessive force, brutally dispersing over 200 rallyists who were calling for the release of the detained activists, which include two UP students.

“We condemn the brutal dispersal and the excessive force used by the police in yesterday’s demonstrations. We also condemn in the strongest sense the illegal detention of the ten activists, who spent the night behind bars even if it is unclear what the police are charging them for,” Ridon said.

“Nowhere in the SONA could you find anything about the continuing culture of impunity in the country, the growing number of human rights violations and political prisoners. The police force’s brutal treatment of the rallyists yesterday only highlighted the president’s silence on human rights issues,” SCM Spokesperson Recedes said.

According to Karapatan Human Rights Alliance, there are already 142 victims of extrajudicial killings, 16 cases of enforced disappearance, and over 30,000 victims of threat and harassment since Aquino assumed the presidency in 2010.

“All in all, Aquino’s SONA contain rehashed rhetorics and empty promises. The president remained silent in many fundamental issues that the people have long clamored for. I’m sorry Mr. President but your spinmeisters have failed you. We are far from being impressed. We are indignant,” Ridon ended.###


5 Palosapis St, Brgy. Amihan, Quezon City
22 July 2013
Youth groups to Aquino: 3 years is enough!
SONA ng Bayan exposes real state of nation

Cong. Terry Ridon, Kabataan Partylist Representative (09155310725)
Marjohara Tucay, Kabataan Partylist National Media Officer (09273268776)

Thousands of youth and students joined the multisectoral SONA ng Bayan protest held along Commonwealth Avenue in time for President Benigno Aquino III’s fourth State of the Nation Address (SONA).

Brandishing giant banners bearing the call “Tama na ang tatlong taon ng panlilinlang, pambubusabos at pagpapakatuta,” (Three years is enough! Enough with the lies! Enough with the oppression! Enough with the puppetry!), and “Noynoy minion” mascots depicting Aquino as a US lapdog, the youth and students marched from Tandang Sora to Sandiganbayan on July 22, along with thousands from other sectors, including women, teachers, peasants, and farmers.

Simultaneous protests have also been held in various provinces, including Cebu, Negros, and Davao.

“In Aquino’s SONA today, we will not be surprised if he again brandishes his administration’s so-called achievements in pushing for inclusive growth. But these words will ring hollow to millions of Filipinos who never felt the ‘growth’ that Aquino is talking about,” said Kabataan Partylist Rep. Terry Ridon.

“Three years into the Aquino presidency, the same problems remain – and even worsened. Millions of families continue to be mired in poverty, while millions of youth are unable to enroll due to financial constraints. Thus the youth tags Aquino ineligible to govern for the remaining years of his term,” Ridon added.

‘All price hikes’

While flaunting a largely populist anti-corruption front, Aquino was not able to translate his words into concrete deeds, Ridon said.

“The price of basic commodities is at record-high levels. Oil price hikes have become a regular occurrence. Skyrocketing tuition remains. And now, the price of basic utilities like water, power, and transportation are also bound to go up,” Ridon said.

Last June, the Commission on Higher Education approved tuition hikes in 354 colleges and universities nationwide, despite the complaints raised by student groups regarding unjustified fee increases and bogus fee hike consultations.
Meanwhile, Metro Manila’s two private water distributors Maynilad Water Services Inc. and Manila Water Co. Inc. proposed rate hikes of P8.58 per cubic meter and P5.83 per cubic meter, respectively. When additional charges are applied, this fee hike translates to an additional P234 to P342 charge for households consuming an average of 30 cubic meters a month.

Recently, Meralco also announced that it will increase the generation charge by 22 centavos per kilowatt-hour this month, after suffering “losses” due to the May 8 power outage in Luzon. MRT and LRT fares are also set to increase in the coming months.

“Aquino has unequivocally supported all these price hikes even if it entails added burden to the common citizen. In his statements and pronouncements, he has staunchly supported the cause of big business, never mind the fact that it would aggravate the people’s situation. This shows how insensitive Aquino is to the plight of the Filipino people,” Ridon remarked.

A turn for the worse

Aquino even fared worse than former President Gloria Arroyo in addressing the unemployment crisis in the country, government statistics show.

In April 2010 – the waning months of the decade-long Arroyo regime – the National Statistics Office (NSO) reported that the number of unemployed Filipinos was estimated at 3.1 million, with youngsters aged 15 to 24 comprising one in every two unemployed persons.

Despite reported growths in the economy, particularly the Gross Domestic Product, official government figures reveal that Aquino fared even worse than Arroyo. Earlier this month, NSO revealed that in the April 2013 Labor Force Survey, the number of unemployed Filipinos has climbed to more than 4.8 million – half of which are young Filipinos aged 15-24 – with the economy losing jobs mainly in the agriculture sector.

“Throughout his term as president, Aquino has manipulated data and hyped up economic achievements to hide the fact that his regime is faring even worse than his predecessor. But now, the figures are speaking for themselves,” Ridon said.

“This is the result of decades-old policies that prioritize foreign investment and heavily rely on international demand for cheap labor, rather than investing on national industries that can generate jobs domestically,” he added.

“Aquino must be delusional if he thinks that all that matters are credit rating upgrades and high Stock Exchange indexes. The youth has had enough of Aquino’s empty rhetoric of change. It’s time to go Mr. President,” Ridon concluded.###



Silence on price hikes, spate of police brutality yesterday is true State of the Nation

July 23 2013
Reference: Vencer Crisostomo, Anakbayan national chairperson, 09328618369, @venzie

Yes, Noynoy's SONA reflected the situation of the people. Not his speech, but his silence on pressing issues, his haciendero arrogance and narcissistic self-promotion. It was also expressed with every single one of the many arrests and assaults by the Phil. National Police against protesting youths yesterday from dawn till dusk

There is not a single mention of the various hikes that have affected or will affect the Filipino people in the past few weeks and in the coming days: an up-to-P400 increase in Metro Manila dwellers' monthly water bills, weekly oil price hikes, a P10 LRT-MRT fare increase, increases in the prices of rice and flour, tuition hikes, and the gradual removal of free hospital services for indigent patients.

Aquino also disappointed everyone who hoped for a presentation of plans in addressing human rights violations, restarting the NDFP-GPH peace talks, genuine land reform for farmers, environmental destruction due to mining, protection of OFWs, and decent housing and livelihood for the urban poor. Put together, the defeaning silence of Aquino on urgent concerns of the people shows that he and his administration have no framework or 'master plan' in improving the lives of ordinary Filipinos

Despite their refusal to even listen to the contents of Aquino's speech, the true State of the Nation was also keenly heard by thousands of youths and students today with every bone-crushing clash of their unprotected flesh and bones and the policemen's batons and shields.

The day's tone was set by the arbitrary arrest of the jeepney and bus drivers who were ferrying youths and students from Tarlac and Bulacan to the protest at Commonwealth Avenue. Later in the day, eight youth activists were arrested after the PNP traitorously rushed the Commonwealth protesters' ranks. Video footage clearly shows that negotiations were on-going between activist leaders and police representatives when the cops suddenly began hitting unarmed protesters.

To compound their injury, the eight continue to be detained without charges at Camp Karingal in Quezon City. And when their friends and supporters picketed the said police office, they were again brutally dispersed and chased for several blocks. Clearly, the Aquino administration does not respect the human rights of those who choose not to be deceived by his speeches and propaganda. It is also consistent with Aquino’s dismal human rights record where the number of political prisoners and activists jailed on account of trumped-up charges is on the rise.

The real State of the Nation is not in Aquino’s SONA. It is in the SOPHIE and the SOVRAA: the State Of Price HIkes, and the State Of Violent Repression Against Activists. ###


Twitter: @anakbayan_ph

22 July 2013

Issa Baguisi, Spokesperson
+63 949 761 5040
Jho Abueg, Media Liaison Officer
+63 948 595 969

LFS Condemns Illegal Detention; Demands Immediate Release of Youth

"The League of FilipinoStudents (LFS) condemns the illegal detention of the three youths who joined today's People's SONA. The state of the nation should come from the people, and it is just wrong to criminalize those who wish to partake in expressing the real state of the people,"says LFS spokesperson Isabelle Baguisi.

The three youths, namely Kyrie Elaisa Muñoz of STAND UP Diliman, Ramdas Israel of the Alpha Sigma Fraternity in UP Diliman, and Renz Albert Pascual of LFS were apprehended as they took part in leading the march closer to the House of Representatives.

“We call for the immediate release of these youths, and the full respect of human rights,・says Baguisi. There is no reason for them to remain in police custody. There is no reason for them to have been apprehended in the first place."

The LFS, together with other youth organizations, marched to Batasan today to counter what they demand was President Aquino's yearly storytelling showcase with the real people's state.###
23 JULY 2013

Marc Lino Abila
National Deputy Secretary General
Moblie: 0928-855-9622
Twitter: @iMacoy

CEGP condemns police brutality on protesters on Aquino’s 4th SONA

“The police forces clearly violated the right of the people to peaceably assemble as enshrined in the 1987 Constitution,” said College Editors Guild of the Philippines (CEGP) National Deputy Secretary General Marc Lino J. Abila on the violence displayed by the PNP against militant groups on Commonwealth Ave. on the day of Aquino’s 4th State of the Nation Address (SONA).

“CEGP condemns the violence of the police against the activists who tried to assert their legitimate right to freedom of expression and protest against the three-year oppressive rule of Pres. Benigno Aquino III,” Abila stated.
“We want to show the real state of the nation under Aquino to all Filipinos and to the world,” Abila said. “The police should protect the people and not the ruling elite. Violence is what the people are getting not only in rallies which are supposedly peaceful but also in demolitions of urban poor communities nationwide.”

The police also illegally arrested eight activists including four youth and students from the University of the Philippines and Polytechnic University of the Philippines earlier during the assertion of militant groups at Commonwealth Ave. near Batasang Pambansa.

The alliance of campus journalists also condemn the violent dispersal later that afternoon by the Quezon City Police District (QCPD) to the students and youth who marched to Camp Karingal in Sikatuna Village, Quezon City to demand the release of the eight activists arrested by the police in Commonwealth Ave.

Pauline Gidget Estella
National President
College Editors Guild of the Philippines National Office
Twitter: @twitnigidget

Charina Claustro
Media Liaison
College Editors Guild of the Philippines National Office
Media Hotline: 0948-416-4295

College Editors Guild of the Philippines

Media Email:

Facebook: Cegp Pambansang Opisina
Twitter: @CEGPNational
Hotline Number: 0926-722-2723

NUSP condemns the spate of state violence related to PNoy’s 4th SONA

The National Union of Students of the Philippines (NUSP) condemns the series of state violence perpetrated against the Filipino students, youth and people related to today’s fourth State of the Nation Address (SONA) of Pres. Noynoy Aquino.

NUSP demands the immediate release of SONA protesters, including iskolars ng bayan from the University of the Philippines-Diliman and the Polytechnic University of the Philippines, who were illegally arrested during the violence initiated by riot police forces at Commonwealth Avenue earlier this day. The detention of the protesters in Camp Karingal are both illegal and fascistic, as the protesters only stood their ground to legally and collectively voice out the real state of the nation – dismal, impoverished, and full of violence from the regime itself.

Furthermore, NUSP condemns the violence perpetrated by Camp Karingal police forces to the more than 300 youth and student activists who were demanding for the release of SONA protesters who were illegally arrested.
Earlier, students from Bulacan State University, as well as youth and farmers from Bulacan and Tarlac, who were set to attend the alternative “SONA ng Bayan” at Commonwealth Avenue, were blocked by police forces. The drivers of their jeepneys were arrested and were filed with trumped-up charges in order to hold back their contingent.

The president’s fourth SONA will forever be remembered for all the violence perpetuated and perpetrated by the State itself. PNoy must remember the very cardinal virtue that is accorded to the leader of this nation: that is to serve and protect the nation and its people, and not to harm them physically, economically, culturally and politically. If there is one thing that PNoy should learn and practice from the very words he uttered from his SONA, it would be this: “Kung hindi mo nagagawa ang iyong trabaho, hindi ka karapat-dapat na manatili sa pwesto.” ###

Sheryl Alapad, NUSP National Secretary General, 09154894556
JC Sibayan, NUSP Media Liaison Officer, 09053588288

Facebook: National Union of Students of the Philippines
Twitter: @nusphilippines


The Real State of the Nation’s Students and Youth:
Three years of budget cuts, tuition increases, anti-student policies

This is the real state of the nation’s students and youth – the sad yet struggling state of the student and education sector.

For the past three years, the Aquino administration has not only rejected the demand of the Filipino students and youth for a nationalist, scientific and mass-oriented education. The Aquino regime, by far and large, has abandoned its responsibility to provide the Filipinos with free and quality education.

Manifestation of this is the series of budget cuts in education, the outright privatization and commercialization of public education via the Roadmap to Public Higher Education Reforms (RPHER) and public-private partnerships in the basic, secondary and tertiary public education, and the incessant tuition and school fees increases, among others. It has seemed imperative for the government to urge and encourage state universities and colleges (SUCs) and private higher education institutions (PHEIs) to systematically and nonchalantly increase school rates.

In line with the reduction of budget allocation for education, the Aquino administration is also routing his education policy towards the “amalgamation” or merging of SUCs, which ultimately means the taking away of public funding from state schools. Three years of cuts in the education budget has resulted to three years of unwavering tuition and school fees increases. The relationship of state subsidy to education and of the percentage of tuition and other fees increases, needless to say, is inversely proportional: the lower the budget provided by the government, the higher the tuition and school fees collected from the students.

“If President Aquino is true to his promises, why are we still experiencing the same symptoms in the education sector? Government statistics and data of the state of education in the country are enough proof of the sad conditions of the teachers, students and youth in our country,” say Victor Villanueva, National Union of Students of the Philippines (NUSP) National President.

“The supposed increase in last year’s education budget is just a mere propaganda of the Aquino regime. There really was and there really is no increase in the education budget since the state’s public universities and colleges’ ‘real budget proposals’ are automatically slashed at the onset during the Department of Budget and Management’s (DBM) deliberations. And historically, as proven in Aquino’s three years in office, the actual and real budgetary needs of the public education sector is not provided by the government,” adds Sheryl Alapad, NUSP Secretary General.

As if adding insult to injury, the Aquino regime has nailed against the wall the education sector through the pre-mature K to 12 program. Even as the Aquino government takes pride in the provision or hiring of new teaching forces for public education, it cannot dispel the fact that the provision is lacking and wanting. It would be an understatement to say that state education badly needs thousands of teachers, thousands of school buildings and classrooms, thousands of text books and other school materials, thousands of chairs and tables, thousands of school utilities and facilities. These thousands have been promised during Aquino’s presidential bid and during his three years in office. And these thousands, up to this day, remain to be paper promises.

Even the students and the youth are in distress due to the threat of LRT and MRT fare hikes, public utility vehicle fare increases, water price hikes, and other such hikes in the social services sector.

“We challenge this administration to listen to what the students, youth and the people have long been telling him – to serve the country by protecting our rights – the right to education, health, and other basic social services. The right not to be dictated upon by the logic of money. The right not to be subsumed by alienating foreign forces such as the impositions of the American imperialist government. The right not to be deprived of our homes and lands. The right to decent wages. The right not to be persecuted because of our progressive politics. The right to be free,” enumerates Alapad.

“We urge his administration to pass genuine bills that cater to the needs of the Filipino students and the youth like the Student Rights Bill, Tuition Moratorium Bill, and the Anti-No permit, No Exam Policy Bill, among others,” Villanueva adds.

Now, more than ever, the National Union of Students of the Philippines, together with other progressive student formations and entities, reiterate our just demands for this administration to abandon not the education and basic social services sectors, but to abandon its oligarchic, monopolistic and foreign-dominated policies, programs and practices. It is high time and long overdue for the youth, students and the general Filipino people to be justly served, and served well. Because it is bitter and lower than any form of disservice to strip the country’s citizens, especially the impoverished toiling and suffering majority, of their rights.

Now, more than ever, NUSP calls on the students and youth to be more vigilant and unwavering in our just demands. Three years of dwindling education budgets and three years of the sorry state of education are enough! We are and should not be content with virtual rallies and virtual petitions and state-sponsored dialogues. We have learned from history that armchair and virtual activism and state-sponsored dialogues are not only encouraged but loved by despotic anti-people regimes.

The suffering yet struggling majority of the student and youth sector is called on to not falter and to not be blinded and deafened by Aquino’s litany of lies. It is only through our collective action, through our unison with the majority of the Filipino masses, through parliamentary reforms and street parliamentary, through our theories put into actual practice that we can liberate ourselves and achieve our goals. Goals not only for the student and youth sector but for the Filipino people.

If Aquino has abandoned us, his people, it is necessary for us not to abandon our collective struggles and fights.

Sheryl Alapad, NUSP National Secretary General, 09154894556
JC Sibayan, NUSP Media Liaison Officer, 09053588288

Facebook: National Union of Students of the Philippines
Twitter: @nusphilippines
Ma. Laya Guerrero
Kabataang Makabayan
July 23, 2013

State Police on SONA: a shameful exhibit of paranoia, overkill—Kabataang Makabayan

Kabataang Makabayan condemns Aquino’s state repression and fascism unleashed against progressive groups who rallied yesterday to protest his fourth State of the Nation Address.

“Aquino intended to harm the protesters. He would never allow the calls and chants of his critics to drown the accolades of his patrons in the House of Representatives. For this purpose, for the first time in years, a concertina of barbed wires has been put up along Commonwealth Avenue and an overwhelming number of police have been deployed to restrain the protest. This police and state force overkill can only mean paranoia,” said Ma. Laya Guerrero, spokesperson of Kabataang Makabayan.

“If there’s anything that Aquino earned from his lineage, it is excessive use of force and police brutality, something he emulated from his mother’s Mendiola Massacre and the relentless military operations to protect Hacienda Luisita,” added Guerrero.

Show of Democracy

The people’s collective right to organize, assembly and protest should be inherent in a nation that claims to be democratic. But for the longest time, this is subjected to the prerogative of the state. Truly, we have a democracy that requires “permit to rallies” that are denied by the local and national government.

“Yesterday’s acts of state brutality are very reminiscent of fascism during the Martial Law days. We saw young activists being carried away by no less than two policemen into captivity; one was even grabbed by the neck, choking, while blood was oozing down his face. If this was not enough, youth groups who held a program at a Quezon City police station to demand the immediate release of those captured and detained by the police, were likewise, violently dispersed, ” said Guerrero.

Adding insult to injury, state-biased mainstream media reduced yesterday’s protests to a mere street fight. The people who joined the SONA came from organizations from different sectors who collectively call for genuine democracy and national sovereignty. But their issues have been overshadowed by the motivation to sell violence and to downgrade the relevance of legitimate issues brought to the fore by peoples movement.

Resolutely Oppose US-Aquino Regime

For the national democratic movement, police force and state violence only means that the state is threatened by a more potent force, which is the people’s movement.

“The toiling masses amounting to millions are resolved to denounce his betrayal and peddled illusion of development; the revolutionary youth is resolute to isolate him from the Filipino people. We, Kabataang Makabayan, vow to stand our ground at the frontlines of the national democratic struggle, alongside the workers and peasants—ever-persistent in strengthening the mass movement and moreover, intensifying the armed agrarian revolution in the countryside,” ended Guerrero. ###




Media Release
23 July 2013

SONA forebodes worsening poverty – KMU

One day after Pres. Noynoy Aquino delivered his fourth State of the Nation Address, national labor center Kilusang Mayo Uno said that the chief executive’s speech forebodes worsening poverty for ordinary workers and the poor.

The labor center said the SONA failed to address five indicators of growing poverty: growing landlessness, chronic unemployment, depressed wages, soaring prices and more expensive social services.

KMU also condemned Aquino for failing to address human rights and trade-union rights issues in his SONA, claiming workers and the poor are standing up for their rights but are being met with repression by the government.

“Aquino used the slogan of ‘inclusive growth’ but failed to address important issues that ordinary Filipinos face. His promises about so-called economic growth is therefore unconvincing,” said Elmer “Bong” Labog, KMU chairperson.

“He kept on saying that critics should contribute to finding solutions to the country’s problems but he ignores concrete proposals coming from workers and the poor. He sticks to his pro-elite and anti-worker economic framework,” he added.

KMU said what’s happening in Hacienda Luisita does not show Aquino’s commitment to land reform, as the raffle for land is part of the Aquino-Cojuangcos’ maneuvers to reduce the number of beneficiaries.

It also said Aquino is silent about implementing national industrialization and genuine land reform to generate decent jobs in the country, and about hiking wages by a significant amount and junking contractual employment to make workers’ lives better.

“Instead of implementing these pro-poor measures, Aquino continues to be subservient to big foreign capitalists and to the country’s comprador capitalists and big landlords. His rhetoric of compassion towards the poor does not hide the fact that his policies are anti-poor,” Labog said.

“It was the protest along Commonwealth Avenue, not Aquino’s speech, which expressed the real state of the nation. Filipinos continue to suffer from worsening poverty and, judging from Aquino’s SONA, will continue to do so under Aquino,” he added.

It said that instead of enacting policies that will lower the prices of basic goods and services, Aquino pushed for a hike in MRT and LRT fares and in members’ premium contributions to the Social Security System.

KMU condemned Aquino for being silent on water firms Maynilad and Manila Water’s practice of passing their taxes onto the backs of consumers.

It also condemned the chief executive for bragging about modernizing the military and the police while keeping mum on violations of human rights and trade-union rights in the country.

Reference: Elmer “Bong” Labog, KMU chairperson, 0908-1636597


Media Release
21 July 2013

Workers ready for SONA protest, march to Batasan

National labor center Kilusang Mayo Uno said today that workers across the country are ready to join protests in time for Pres. Noynoy Aquino’s fourth State of the Nation Address on Monday, saying workers will assert that the real state of the nation be heard on that day.

KMU said that Aquino’s previous SONA’s give workers and the poor no reason to listen to the president’s speech on Monday and that the latter will most likely contain tired old lies about so-called improvements in the economy and empty promises that the economy will continue to grow in the coming years.

“We will not listen to the president’s SONA on Monday. We will, instead, assert that the real state of the nation be heard through our protests, with or without permits,” said Elmer “Bong” Labog, KMU chairperson.

“We are tired of hearing about so-called improvements in the economy when unemployment is increasing, wages are pressed down, prices are soaring, and social services are decaying and getting scarce. This so-called growth is felt not by the needy poor but by the greedy rich,” he added.

“We are also tired of Aquino’s tactic of blaming everything bad on the previous government while claiming responsibility for so-called positive changes in the country. Aquino has yet to own up to the worsening hunger and poverty in the country,” he said.

KMU said all its regional chapters have prepared protest activities on July 22 and that in Metro Manila, workers and the urban poor under KMU are ready to march to the Batasang Pambansa.

“The Aquino government wants to silence protests that expose the real state of the nation. That is its objective in trying to consign protests in Metro Manila to the Quezon City Memorial Circle,” Labog said.

“It is at the same time preparing to unleash violence against protestors in an attempt to silence them. That’s the reason for the deployment of 6,000 police forces, 500 soldiers and 31 fire trucks in Metro Manila on SONA day,” he added.

“The Filipino workers and people are sick and tired of the lies of the Aquino government. We will not be forced to stay in areas that this government considers safe for protests,” he said.

KMU said the SONA protests is the start of bigger and bolder protests in the coming months against the Aquino government’s anti-worker and anti-poor policies, saying more and more people are angered by the government’s lies and intensifying violence against the poor

Reference: Elmer “Bong” Labog, KMU chairperson, 0908-1636597

Press Statement
22 July 2013

Aquino’s lies and repression will fail to hide the real state of the nation

Aquino’s lies inside the Batasang Pambansa and his repression of protestors outside will fail to hide the real state of the nation. Walang pagbabago! Gutom ang Pilipino sa ilalim ni Aquino! (No change! Filipinos are hungry under Aquino!)

Aquino’s grandiose claims of economic growth based on cherry-picked economic indicators will fail to hide the economic indicators that matter to ordinary Filipinos. Landlessness is growing, unemployment is rising, wages are being depressed, prices are soaring, and social services are decaying as they become more scarce.

The situation of Filipino workers has changed from bad to worse under Aquino. He has rejected a significant wage hike and worked to cut wages through the Two-Tiered Wage System. Like previous presidents, he has legalized contractual employment, through Department of Labor and Employment Order No. 18-A Series of 2011.

Like the workers of the Pentagon Steel Corporation, workers continue to be fired from work for standing up for their rights. Warrants of arrest have been issued for four of KMU’s leaders because of trumped-up charges filed by the military. The Labor secretary still has the power to violently assume jurisdiction over labor disputes.

Aquino’s attempt to put the blame for the country’s problems on the previous government is fast becoming unconvincing to a growing number of Filipinos. We cannot stomach Aquino’s hypocrisy in blaming the previous government for the country’s problems even as he seeks credit for so-called improvements in the economy.

Aquino’s priority legislative measures consist of bills that are outright anti-worker and anti-people at worst and merely pa-pogi (decorative) at best. We believe that Aquino is merely looking for the best timing to announce his support for initiatives aimed changing the 1987 Constitution. We vow to oppose the Cha-cha drive.

Halfway into his term, Aquino has shown that he is a failure in resolving the basic problems facing ordinary Filipinos and is only adept at trying to fool the public. More and more people are becoming disgusted with his “boladas presidency.” It won’t take long before a critical mass of Filipinos shouts “Enough!” or “Oust!”

Reference: Elmer “Bong” Labog, KMU chairperson, 0908-1636597
22 July 2013
For reference: Daisy Arago, CTUHR Executive Director, 09162484876

Aquino too insecure for this year’s SONA — CTUHR

The Center for Trade Union and Human Rights (CTUHR) criticized the very tight security employed by the police by installing razor sharp wires along Commonwealth Ave. to keep the protesters away from Batasan Complex in time for the President’s State of the Nation Address (SONA) this afternoon, July 22.

“Maybe President Aquino is too insecure of his performance to resort to installing those barbed wires kilometers away from where he is going to deliver his SONA” Daisy Arago, Executive Director of CTUHR asked.

Arago also said that such security measure is ominous of what is forthcoming to those who refused to be lured if not fooled by the rosy picture of SONA which [Pres. Aquino] wants the nation to believe.

“The razor sharp wires sharply show that P-Noy is willing to listen only to those who agree to what he has to say and is meant to harm those who are critical or opposed to his administration’s programs and policies. And clearly, it is the protesting people largely coming from the marginalized section of society whom the government is trying to bar.” Arago said.

Thousands of protesters coming from various sectors—workers, peasants, students, professionals, women, urban poor among others—is staging a rally to demonstrate the “real” state of the nation.

“Surely, the President will boast again of the growing economy, the administration’s fight against corruption, its public private partnership and 4Ps program. But alongside these so-called achievements, unemployment remains high at over 10%, the gap between the poor and the rich is widening and the human rights situation is still appalling,” Arago added.

Arago also said that in the last three years of this administration, “we have seen how the interest of the capitalists, foreign investors, and foreign allies such as the US has been favored by the Philippine government over national sovereignty and the welfare of the people.” Arago cited the Balikatan exercises, the move to change the Constitution to allow full foreign ownership of land and property, higher prices for basic utilities, and dismantling of homes and displacement of the poor as some glaring examples pro-rich, pro-US and neo-liberal policies of the administration.

“The worsening situation for the majority of Filipinos will definitely prompt the people to question, if not reclaim, the Aquino administration’s authority. But unless the administration realizes that he is walking the wrong path and reverses his anti-people policies, then more and bigger protests will surely flood the roads leading to Batasan and Malacanang no matter how sharp and strong wires those barricades are made of.” Arago said.###





22 July 2013
For Reference: REP LUZVIMINDA C ILAGAN 0920-9213221
Jang Monte (Public Information Officer) 0917-4049119


“Arriving at a solution requires an understanding or even an acknowledgment of a problem. If the Aquino administration refuses to understand or is beyond even acknowledging the growing unemployment, landlessness, poverty and corruption then no significant reforms can be expected out of this year’s State of the Nation Address. Wala tayong maaasahang bago at wala tayong maaasahang pagbabago.”

This is according to Gabriela Women’s Party Representative Luzviminda C Ilagan explaining that Aquino’s continued adherence to neoliberal policies have resulted to widespread hunger and poverty, displacement and plunder in the last three years.

Ilagan cited as an example, Aquino’s Public Private Partnership clearly manifested in the thrust to privatize healthcare and public utilities as well as plans to further inject private investments into the MRT and LRT railways systems. “These threaten to totally deprive the poor of much needed services. A P10 increase in MRT and LRT fares looms while indigent patients are being charged exorbitant rates for medical and laboratory services in public hospitals.”

The Gabriela solon also said plans to further liberalize trade activities by removing the remaining protectionist provisions in the Constitution will legitimize the wanton plunder and destruction of our resources and patrimony. “Filipinos remain landless, squatters in our own land even as Aquino now considers lifting the 60-40 equity rule and allowing foreign nationals to own utilities and commercial and residential lands 100%”

Representatives of Gabriela Women’s Party have filed and supported resolutions to counter proposals for Constitutional Amendments and have joined the ranks of the minority, citing the push for Charter Change as among the major contentious issues that has led to the said decision.

Ilagan further said that Aquino cannot claim to have curbed poverty in the past three years by dishing out loan-funded dole-outs under the 4Ps or the Conditional Cash Transfer program.

“Sa katunayan, pinalala pa ng CCT ang kahirapan habang dumarami ang ating utang. Pinagtatakpan nito ang kainutilan ng gobyerno na magluwal ng trabaho para sa mamamayan. The CCT promotes a culture of mendicancy while sparing the government from its responsibility to build an economy that can sustain jobs and livelihood. The biggest proof that Aquino’s CCT is a fluke is the fact that the number of poor Filipino families has consistently increased in the past three years,” said Ilagan.

Research think tank IBON estimates that the NCSB reported poverty incidence of 27.9% in 2012 means around 26.8M poor Filipinos, based on an unreasonably low poverty threshold of P52 per day.

The Gabriela solon said the real state of the nation can be heard from the people. Ilagan along with Gabriela colleague Rep. Emmi De Jesus will be joining people’s protests along Commonwealth Avenue before attending the SONA at 4PM at the House of Representatives. #



22 July 2013
For Reference: REP EMMI A. DE JESUS 0917.3221203
Ed Atadero (Media Officer) 0915.1439269

Gabriela Solon Emmi De Jesus Bolts House Majority
Vows to Oppose Anti-people Moves of the Aquino Administration

REP. Emmi De Jesus voted for the minority at the Opening Session of the 16th Congress of the House of Representatives today, citing the need to more effectively oppose the anti-people programs and policies of the Aquino administration.

Rep. De Jesus spoke of the need to amplify the voices of marginalized women as part of the minority bloc, as the ruling regime is intensifying its onslaughts of ramming through more anti-people so-called Aquino priority bills, the national budget and Constitutional revisions or Charter Change.

"Matatag na napagpasiyahan ng Gabriela Women's Party na kumalas sa naghaharing koalisyon ni Aquino sa Kongreso dahil sa nakahain niyang agenda ng pribatisasyon ng mga serbisyong panlipunan, pagpasok ng dayuhang kapital at militaristang agresyon ng Estados Unidos, demolisyon ng mga kabahayan at kabuhayan ng mahihirap na pamilya, at higit pang pagpihit ng ekonomiyang naglilingkod sa interes ng malalaking negosyante" De Jesus said.

The women's rights solon cited the stark degradation of the lives of women and children under three years of Aquino's rule, furthered by a host of anti-people legislation championed by the Liberal Party-led coalition, which gave basis for her decision to leave the majority, together with other progressive solons of the Makabayan bloc.

As part of the minority, De Jesus further vowed to oppose any legislation for the privatization of public hospitals and other social services, as well as continue to expose and oppose the controversial Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) program.

“My SONA gown speaks of the anti-poor privatization policy of the Aquino administration. Sa ganitong People's Art, matalas na binabatikos ng Gabriela Women's Party ang pagsuko ni Noynoy sa mga negosyante at ipagkait ang karapatang pangkalusugan ng kababaihan, ng mga anak nila at ng buong bayan,” de Jesus said.

“ Gabriela Women's Party will continue to be part of a people's movement that pushes for national industrialization and genuine agrarian reform. The defense for the rights and welfare of marginalized women and children will always be at the forefront of the Gabriela Women’s Party agenda inside and outside of the halls of Congress . ###

Representative EMMI DE JESUS
Gabriela Women's Party
"Babae, Bata, at Bayan.... Tuloy ang Laban!"


21 July 2013

For Reference: REP LUZVIMINDA C ILAGAN 0920-9213221

Jang Monte (Public Information Officer) 0917-4049119


Gabriela Women’s Party Representative Luzviminda C Ilagan hopes to put forward the plight of indigenous communities and the increasing threats to indigenous life and lands amid Charter Change bids through her SONA gown.

According to Ilagan, the straight cut fuschia gown styled and designed in her Davao hometown is topped with a Filipiniana bolero made of T’nalak, an indigenous cloth woven by Manobo and T’boli tribes in Southern Mindanao. The beaded T'nalak bolero is also accentuated with traditional bells. A backhoe that functions as a clasp partly tears through the beautiful indigenous design.

“The T’nalak represents the rich indigenous culture and the lives of the Lumads and other indigenous communities that are being plundered and incessantly threatened by large scale multinational mining operations and the Aquino-endorsed militarization that ensures the implementation of such unhampered environmental destruction,” said Ilagan.

The Gabriela solon also explains the backhoe tearing through the T’nalak appropriately represents not just the plunder of natural mineral resources but the impunity that reigns amid unresolved cases of extrajudicial killings and human rights violations in the Philippines. The T’bolis consider it taboo to cut the cloth because this will make them seriously ill. The traditional tiny T'boli brass bell that herald their approach even when they are a long way off also guide the way and ward off evil spirits.

“Justice for Maguindanao Massacre victims has remained elusive under Aquino. Worse, three years of the Aquino administration has seen the deaths of more than 30 indigenous leaders mostly coming from Lumad groups and tribes opposing multinational mining operations have been documented,” said Ilagan.

Ilagan expressed fears of heightened human rights violations as the Aquino government further steps up support for large scale multinational mining operations and Charter Change.

“Removing the Constitution’s remaining protectionist provisions will mean the deaths of indigenous communities and the extensive plunder of mineral resources. As Aquino delivers his SONA, we deliver the call to defend our land, our rights and patrimony.” #

25 July 2013

For Reference: REP LUZVIMINDA C ILAGAN - 0920-9213221

REP EMMI DE JESUS - 0917-3221203
Jang Monte (Public Information Officer) - 0917-4049119
Ed Atadero - 09151439269

Aquino’s SONA a Deluge of Death for Poor Women – Gabriela Solons

Gabriela Women's Party Representatives Emmi De Jesus and Luzviminda Ilagan branded President Aquino's State of the Nation Address (SONA) as a sure death sentence for poor women and their families across the country. sugar coated with promises of growth, jobs and investments.

"Ang SONA ni Pangulong Aquino ay hitik sa kanyang paulit-ulit na buladas ng mga umano'y nagawa ng kanyang administrasyon. Ngunit walang duda, bawat taon ay lalong nagiging malagim ang mga binibitawan niyang banta sa maralitang kababaihan. Sa SONA ngayon, nilatag na nya ang bangis at lupit ng nakaambang demolisyon sa mga maralitang komunidad at lalong pagpapahirap na dulot ng pribatisasyon ng mga serbisyo," De Jesus said.

The Gabriela solon said Aquino's SONA zeroed in on blaming the urban poor settlers for blocking the waterways, while keeping mum on his administration’s negligence over the past three years in decisively addressing the problems of housing and employment.

For her part, Rep. Luz Ilagan pointed out the SONA litany of further burdens on the poor such as Aquino's mantra on raising commuter train fares in the LRT and MRT lines. She chided his empty boasts of the opening of new rural health units and additions of Philhealth coverage for other illnesses, saying that he was silent on the fact that the poor cannot afford these new availments while treatment costs have skyrocketed.

“The brute force displayed by State police on Monday against the People’s SONA is a signal of the growing militarism of the Aquino administration which will continue to escalate under the US-sponsored OPLAN BAYANIHAN. Aquino’s SONA speech of more than 13,000 words of rhetorics failed to mention human rights, which local and international human rights groups point out continue to be hounded by the culture of impunity,” Rep. Ilagan added.

Gabriela’s De Jesus is set on delivering a State of the Nation's Women privilege speech on July 29 to reveal the true state of the women and people, and to expose the sham promises under Aquino's SONA. ###

Representative EMMI DE JESUS
Gabriela Women's Party
"Babae, Bata, at Bayan.... Tuloy ang Laban!"


23 July 2013

For Reference: REP LUZVIMINDA C ILAGAN 0920-9213221
REP EMMI DE JESUS 0917-3221203
Jang Monte (Public Information Officer) 0917-4049119


Gabriela Women’s Party condemns in the strongest terms, the violent dispersal and unnecessary use of force that marred the people’s legitimate expression of dissent and grievances on the occasion of President Benigno Aquino III ’s fourth State of the Nation Address.

The unnecessary force and brutality used by elements of the Philippine National Police to keep protesters’ activities in check and restrain their conduct along Commonwealth Avenue, far from the Batasan Complex has injured more than 40 protesters including women and the elderly and led to the arrest of at least seven.

Clearly the deployment of thousands of police, including the denial of a rightful permit, the placement of concertina wires are all part of a tyrannical design to deny people the right to assembly and protest.

The Philippine Constitution in its Bill of Rights specifically guarantees the people’s right to freedom of speech and expression, the right to assemble and seek redress for grievances.

The violent dispersal underscores the state of our people’s freedoms and civil liberties and clearly demonstrates the repressive character of the Aquino government.

The dispersal clearly belies the President’s claim that he has delivered “the people’s SONA”. The SONA from its content and down to its conduct was elitist and exclusionary and was anything but that of the people’s. #

Press Release
July 26, 2013

Reference: Ms. Jacquiline Ruiz, 09222953600 or 913-9244

Pnoy's SONA: miss out to address Child Rights Violations

Child rights group pointed that the president’s State of the Nation’s Address missed out child rights violations despite the continuing cry for justice of the victims.

In his 4th State of the Nation Address (SONA), President Noynoy Aquino narrated his administration’s ‘achievements’ on economic progress, good governance and transformation of society and a little criticism to ineffective government agencies.

However, there was no mention of addressing the massive poverty among the majority of the population of the country but instead took pride in policies that has been detrimental to the people.

The government boasted about it's banner program – Public-private partnership at the expense of the Filipino people. In the urban centers, people are struggling to defend their homes from massive demolitions caused by the continuing urban development in partnership with the private business magnates; Children and their families are on the verge of further deprivation of access to health care services with the government’s plan to corporatize public hospitals; its Executive Order 79 on mining opened the door for foreign investors and mining companies to further plunder our natural resources and leave nothing to the people but massive destruction. The government flagrantly opened the country to its “true boss”, the US by justifying the entry of almost a hundred warships and air crafts to refuel, reload supply goods and military exercises in many areas in the country. The continuing implementation of the US COIN guide patterned Oplan Bayanihan resulted to numerous victims of human rights violations.

Jacquiline Ruiz, Executive Director of Children's Rehabilitation Center (CRC) stated that, “Since President Noy's first State of the Nation Address (SONA) in 2010, the president did not mention anything in addressing the worsening and alarming number of human rights violations especially on children. This year, he highlighted the good deeds of several men in uniform but never mentioned that he is willing to put to the scale of justice those who have committed grave violations against the people specifically the children.”

“Under the Aquino administration, we have documented sixteen (16) children killed, 20 illegally arrested and detained, 21 children victims was branded as NPA child soldiers and thousands experienced threat, harassment, intimidation, and forcibly evacuated from their communities due to the aggressive presence of the soldiers of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and their para-military affiliates and these violations are continuing,” Ruiz added.

On July 22, 2013 as the president gave his ungrounded report to the people, four (4) Lumad boys were arrested and interrogated by elements of the 26th Infantry Battalion and Bagani Force in the suspicion of being members of the NPA who allegedly staged an ambush on the military, paramilitary and some civilians onboard a dump truck. The four boys were on their way to the Poblacion of Loreto, Agusan del Sur on board a motorcycle, to register for the upcoming barangay and SK elections. Two (2) of the victims were released to their parents who fetched them but two minors, “Arturo” aged 16 and “BJ”, 17 years old were left behind whose parents were not immediately informed because of the distance of their house, thus they further endured torture. The next day the 2 victims were transported and turned-over to PNP-Loreto and was charged with attempted murder.

“CRC condemns these multiple violations of AFP soldiers and its affiliated para-military. These children suffered enough from the moment that they have been illegally arrested and detained. Yet, the soldiers did not stop, they even tied up the children while they were beaten and kicked in their face, neck and nape. BJ was burned by a cigarette in his lips and bullets were pressed in between his fingers while a barrel of a .357 pistol was put in Arturo’s mouth while he was beaten. The two also suffered suffocation after their heads were wrapped by a plastic bag and they were branded as members of the NPA.”, Ruiz narrated.

These children have been enduring socio economic hardships pressed by anti-people policies by the government and still their civil and political rights are violated also by government forces.

“The latest president’s SONA, in totality does not address the conditions of the Filipino children and the Filipino people. Moreover, the mere fact that the President did not mention child rights violations nor the issue of human rights during the SONA is a mere reflection of the government’s negligence. With this kind of government, our future the children are at stake. Thus CRC is steadfast in calling for justice for all the victims of human rights violations and enjoining child rights advocates to build peace based on justice”, Ruiz ended. ###

Children's Rehabilitation Center
#90 J.Bugallon St. Project 4
Brgy Bagumbuhay, Quezon City


International Solidarity ▼


July 22, 2013

Reference: Garry Martinez, Chairperson, 0939-3914418

Aquino’s mid-term, worst years for OFWs
Overseas Filipinos worldwide launch People’s SONA protests

Global alliance of overseas Filipinos Migrante International today said that Pres. Benigno Aquino’s mid-term in office were the worst years for overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).

According to Garry Martinez, Migrante International chairperson, under Aquino’s three years, forced migration worsened, labor export intensified and services and protection of migrant workers became more dismal.

“OFWs around the world are outraged by Aquino’s failure to curb forced migration and its implementation of a more aggressive and unapologetic labor export policy. In the past three years, the situation of OFWs has deteriorated despite Aquino’s declarations of an improved economy, a so-called ‘reverse migration’ phenomenon and an alleged more systematic approach to provide welfare and services for OFWs in distress,” Martinez said.

Martinez said that these are evident in the record-high increase in the number of cases their organization has handled in the past three years. “From 1,500 cases yearly before Aquino assumed power in 2010, the number of cases we have documented and facilitated shot up to 4,500 by the end of 2011, and 5,000 by the end of 2012. This does not yet include cases handled independently by our chapters abroad,” he said.

Martinez said that for the first half of 2013, the number of cases they have handled has reached an average of 60 to 70 a month, involving several hundreds of OFWs. He added that cases they have processed so far have “broadened in scope and widened in range.”

“Unlike before when majority of our cases were either individual cases or cases similar in nature, we have borne witness to more ‘group cases’ with a much wider scope of cases under this regime, ranging from overcharging, illegal recruitment, to wide-scale human trafficking and different facets of government neglect. More OFWs have also become victims of maltreatment, abuse, labor violations and foul play than our experience in previous years,” Martinez said.

Rise in number of OFWs in distress
He cited as an example the significant rise in number of victims of crackdowns and criminalization of undocumented OFWs, namely in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Malaysia, Macau, Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong in the United States and Canada. “Majority are victims of human traffickers and illegal recruiters, some in connivance with lending companies and officials in government, but none so far have been prosecuted or held accountable by the Aquino government. Erring and abusive officials continue to hold office despite overwhelming protests and testimonies from distressed OFWs. ”

The migrant leader also said that there is a significant rise in the number of jailed OFWs and OFWs on death row. “For the first time in history, five of our kababayans have been executed abroad, and in just a span of three years. It’s incredible, it’s horrible.”

“Since Aquino took his oath it has been especially more gruelling for OFWs and their families. He specifically promised to give special attention to OFWs in his inaugural speech but what we have experienced is the complete opposite. Aquino’s mid-term in office were the worst years for OFWs and their families, and policy-wise, there are no indications that things will get better in the next three years,” he said.

In protest, OFWs around the world launched simultaneous protest activities to participate in the People’s SONA (State of the Nation Address).

Migrante chapters in different parts of the world led members, other migrant organizations and Filipino communities in Saudi Arabia, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan, South Korea, United Arab Emirates, Macau, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Italy, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Netherlands, Switzerland, United Kingdom and the United States in marking President Benigno Aquino III’s third SONA with protests in their respective countries.

Here at the home front, returned OFWs from Saudi, families of stranded OFWs and victims of crackdowns abroad and families of other OFWs in distress and OFW communities joined the BAYAN-led march towards Batasan.

Stop labor export policy
Since Aquino took office, the number of OFWs leaving the country everyday rose from 2,500 to 4,900.

“Because of the Aquino administration’s desperation to further seek job markets abroad due to the country’s worsening economic situation brought about by its unreformed policies, its only recourse has been to intensify its labor export program at the expense of the rights and welfare of OFWs. It has become clearer that the labor export policy is nothing but a bug business venture from which the government, big businesses and foreign corporations profit, with OFWs as milking cows.”

”Without doubt, Aquino is cut out of the same mold as a modern-day slave trader, siya ang #1 bugaw at human trafficker ng ating mga OFW,” Martinez said.

“For OFWs, there is no other resort but to assert their rights. If there is one good thing that came out of Aquino’s mid-term, it is that OFWs and their families are getting organized and have become more vigilant. OFWs and their families are now collectively confronting the struggles and challenges of their plight. Together they hold accountable the Aquino administration’s labor export policy for every single OFW’s life that is placed under threat and danger. Expect more and bigger protests from Filipino migrant communities here and abroad on Aquino’s next years in office.” ###

Office Address: #45 Cambridge St, Cubao, Quezon City
Telefax: 9114910

Street programs ▼


July 25, 2013

Reference: Cristina Palabay, Secretary General (+63917-3162831)

President Noynoy Aquino’s 4th State of the Nation Address deliberately
evaded the violations of civil, political, economic and socio-cultural
rights of the Filipino people. He cannot address head on the
continuing extrajudicial killings, unsolved cases of rights abuses and
the pervading state of impunity, which already caught the attention of
the international community.

Aquino’s SONA, teemed with praises and commendations for the
Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Armed Forces of the
Philippines (AFP), serves as directive to the state security forces to
continue their attacks on people’s rights. This is concretized by the
display of police brutality last Monday against the demonstrators. A
single crying cop cannot negate nor dispute that scores were wounded
and arrested among the protesters.

The Aquino administration resorts to red tagging to cover up human
rights violations. Such tactic already resulted to 142 documented
cases of extrajudicial killing and 164 frustrated killing; 16
incidents of enforced disappearance; 76 cases of torture; 293 cases of
illegal arrest and detention, all under the Noynoy Aquino

A day after the SONA, two Lumad children were arbitrarily arrested,
tortured and detained by the 26th Infantry Battalion and the
paramilitary Bagani force in Brgy. Kauswagan, Loreto, Agusan del Sur.
Jay-ar Basilisco, 17, and Arnel Tolentino, 16, were arrested while on
their way to the barangay center for the voters’ registration. They
are currently detained at the PNP station in Loreto.
Karapatan-Southern Mindanao said that torture marks are evident on
different parts of their bodies.

The continuing rights violations were among the concerns raised in the
recently concluded International Conference for Human Rights and Peace
in the Philippines, co-organized by Karapatan. More than a hundred of
the conference delegates who joined the SONA rally felt the importance
to express their indignation over the human rights violations
committed by the Aquino administration through Oplan Bayanihan. They
have been active in the campaigns for human rights and peace issues in
the past years having listened to the voices of the victims; they
visited communities affected by bombings and intensified AFP combat
operations; they experienced military harassment and surveillance in
the communities and during the conference; they have witnessed
first-hand how the right to assembly and to conduct peaceful protest
actions were wantonly disregarded during the SONA rally.

Social activists from other countries, like Thomas van Beersum, who
reportedly questioned the violent dispersal during the SONA rally,
have the right to express their opinion and to undertake various forms
of expression of solidarity for the poor and oppressed Filipino
people, a right guaranteed in the United Nations International
Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, of which the Philippines is a

During the dark days of martial law and under the Macapagal-Arroyo
regime, when gross human rights violations were committed,
freedom-loving peoples and individuals from various countries helped
in generating support for human rights organizations and victims to
pressure the Philippine government to stop extra-judicial killings and
other gross violations. We should appreciate and honor such show of
international solidarity that remains as consistent and unwavering up
to this day, despite Aquino spinmeisters’ portrayal of a pretty
picture of the country’s human rights situation in the international
community. We are thankful that the internationalists see through
Malacanang’s lies and continue to stand by the oppressed and exploited
majority of the Filipino people.

Cristina Palabay
Secretary General, Karapatan
2F Erythrina Building, #1 Maaralin corner Matatag Streets, Central
District, Quezon City
Contact numbers: +63917-3162831, 02-4354146

Press Statement
July 29, 2013

Reference: Marie Hizlao-Enriquez, Chairperson, 0917-5616800
Angge Santos, Media Liaison, 0918-9790580

CHR Chair acting like PNP-AFP spokesperson should resign –Karapatan

“Ms. Etta Rosales should immediately resign from her post as chairperson of the Commission on Human Rights as she is acting more like the spokesperson of the Philippine National Police and the Armed Forces of the Philippines, instead of fulfilling the mandate of her office. Etta Rosales has been repeatedly remiss in her responsibilities, and in the process, justified the violation of the rights of the Filipino people to freedom of speech, of expression and the right to peaceably assemble and petition the government for redress of grievances as enshrined in the Bill of Rights in the Philippine Constitution.”

Karapatan issued the statement today through its chairperson Marie Hilao-Enriquez. The rights group cited the previous actions and statements by Rosales which in effect promote impunity in the country.

Hilao-Enriquez said “instead of conducting CHR’s own investigations on the many incidents of police brutality in rallies and barricades during demolitions, Ms. Rosales, in many occasion, only resorted to victim-blaming.”

Karapatan noted Rosales’s recent statements blaming members of various people’s organizations for the brutal dispersal of the rally during Pres. Aquino’s State of the Nation Address. The human rights organization also took exception of Rosales’ statement condemning the participation of Dutch activist Thomas von Beersum in the said rally.

“The permit of the organizers of the rally was denied, concertina wires and blockades were mounted along the highway where we marched. Despite our efforts to negotiate with the PNP, they treacherously started to push and beat our colleagues. The brutal police action prompted many of us, including foreign activists like Beersum, to express indignation. Rosales was quick to blame us, acting as the PNP spokesperson, instead of doing her job to investigate what actually transpired,” Enriquez said.

Also, Enriquez said, “Rosales was more concerned with condemning how the urban poor residents at North Triangle, Quezon City who “threw feces” at the police and demolition teams that supposedly violated the rights of the men in uniform. She completely ignored the forcible eviction and the consequent economic displacement of the urban poor.”

“When poor people are left with no other choice but to defend their survival, it is just to exercise their legitimate right to protest. Ironically, Rosales chose to dispense with the role of the Aquino government, the local government, the Ayalas and the PNP in driving away the urban poor in North Triangle from their homes and livelihood to make way for big business interests,” added Enriquez.

Karapatan also scored the CHR for the issuance of clearances for the promotion of human rights violators and Arroyo generals such as Brig. Gen. Eduardo Año and Brig. Gen. Aurelio Baladad. Karapatan opposed the appointments of Año, who is among the accused in the disappearance of Jonas Burgos; and Baladad who is among those responsible for the illegal arrest, torture and detention of the 43 health workers known as Morong 43.

“We have strong reason to believe that the CHR and Ms. Rosales granted the said generals with clearances without considering the standing cases in court against them. The CHR denied our request for access to the clearance documents which they issued, a clear violation of the right of the people to information and access to public documents,” Enriquez asserted.

“By acting as the defender of the PNP and the AFP, Rosales is clearly among the implementers of Aquino’s Oplan Bayanihan, which has already resulted to, and engenders more, human rights violations,” she concluded. ###
Press Release

July 25, 2013
Reference: Cristina “Tinay” Palabay, Secretary General, 0917-3162831
Angge Santos, Media Liaison, 0918-9790580

Mr. Lacierda the issue is Aquino’s human rights record –Karapatan

“The issue, Mr. Lacierda, is not the Dutch man, the Crying Cop, or your blabber on the Left. The issue is Noynoy Aquino’s 4th State of the Nation Address that deliberately evaded the violations of civil, political, economic and socio-cultural rights of the Filipino people. The issue is the continuing extrajudicial killings, unsolved cases of rights abuses and the pervading state of impunity, which already caught the attention of the international community. These are issues that Noynoy Aquino cannot address head on,” said Cristina Palabay, secretary general of Karapatan.

Palabay said that “Aquino’s SONA, teemed with praises and commendations for the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines(AFP), serves as directive to the state security forces to continue their attacks on people’s rights. This is concretized by the display of police brutality last Monday against the demonstrators. A single crying cop cannot negate nor dispute that scores were wounded and arrested among the protesters.”

“The issue, Mr. Lacierda, is you resort to red tagging to cover up human rights violations. Such tactic already resulted to 142 documented cases of extrajudicial killing and 164 frustrated killing; 16 incidents of enforced disappearance; 76 cases of torture; 293 cases of illegal arrest and detention, all under the Noynoy Aquino administration,” Palabay added.

A day after the SONA, two Lumad children were arbitrarily arrested, tortured and detained by the 26th Infantry Battalion and the paramilitary Bagani force in Brgy. Kauswagan, Loreto, Agusan del Sur. Jay-ar Basilisco, 17, and Arnel Tolentino, 16, were arrested while on their way to the barangay center for the voters’ registration. They are currently detained at the PNP station in Loreto. Karapatan-Southern Mindanao said that torture marks are evident on different parts of their bodies.

The continuing rights violations were among the concerns raised in the recently concluded International Conference for Human Rights and Peace in the Philippines, co-organized by Karapatan.

“More than a hundred of the conference delegates who joined the SONA rally felt the importance to express their indignation over the human rights violations committed by the Aquino administration through Oplan Bayanihan. They have been active in the campaigns for human rights and peace issues in the past years having listened to the voices of the victims; they visited communities affected by bombings and intensified AFP combat operations; they experienced military harassment and surveillance in the communities and during the conference; they have witnessed first-hand how the right to assembly and to conduct peaceful protest actions were wantonly disregarded during the SONA rally,” Palabay said.

Palabay said that social activists from other countries, like Thomas van Beersum, who reportedly questioned the violent dispersal during the SONA rally, have the right to express their opinion and to undertake various forms of expression of solidarity for the poor and oppressed Filipino people, a right guaranteed in the United Nations International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, of which the Philippines is a signatory.

“During the dark days of martial law and under the Macapagal-Arroyo regime, when gross human rights violations were committed, freedom-loving peoples and individuals from various countries helped in generating support for human rights organizations and victims to pressure the Philippine government to stop extra-judicial killings and other gross violations.

We should appreciate and honor such show of international solidarity that remains as consistent and unwavering up to this day, despite Aquino spinmeisters’ portrayal of a pretty picture of the country’s human rights situation in the international community. We are thankful that the internationalists see through Malacanang’s lies and continue to stand by the oppressed and exploited majority of the Filipino people,” Palabay concluded. ###
News Release
18 July 2013
Reference: Marie Hilao-Enriquez, Karapatan chairperson, 0917-5616800

Series of arrests and abduction precedes Aquino’s 4th SONA—Karapatan

Karapatan, through its chairperson Marie-Hilao Enriquez, raised alarm on the spate of arrests involving a former political prisoner and a farmer and the abduction and disappearance of another farmer and a tricycle driver in less than a week. “Will Pres. Aquino brag about these rights violations in his 4th State of the Nation Address?” Enriquez, also chairperson of SELDA (Samahan ng Ex-Detainees Laban sa Detensyon at Aresto), said.

Aristedes Sarmiento, a former political detainee who was among the “Tagaytay 5”, was rearrested on July 16 in the house of barangay captain Julianita Abuel Lagaya at 51 Mabini St., Bgy. 7, Lucban, Quezon in a joint operation by elements of the Lucban Municipal Police Station, Regional Intelligence Police Regional Office-CALABARZON, Military Intelligence Group (MIG4), Intelligence Service of the AFP (ISAFP), 1st Special Forces Company, 201st Infantry Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, Naval Intelligence Security Group (NISG 4) led by Police Chief Inspector Juan Byron Reyes Leogo, Officer-In-Charge.

Sarmiento was arrested for murder through a warrant of arrest signed by Judge Napoleon E. Matienzo of the Regional Trial Court Branch 62 in Gumaca, Quezon, with no bail recommended. Named in the warrant are Felicardo Salamat, Arnold Albarillo, Cecilia Mondia with a certain Ruben Estocado who was primarily charged.

From Lucban, Sarmiento was forcibly brought to Camp Vicente Lim in Calamba, Laguna through a convoy of military vehicles. Barangay captain Lagaya tailed the convoy up to Camp Vicente Lim but was not allowed to enter the camp. The military told Lagaya, Sarmiento’s family and his legal counsel that Sarmiento was not in the camp. Sarmiento was only shown to his family midnight of July 16 and only after the family members asked the camp to issue a certification that Sarmiento is not in their custody.

On July 17, Sarmiento was brought to the Gumaca court and was committed to the BJMP Quezon district Jail, Lucena City. He was again transferred today at Camp Bagong Diwa in Bicutan .

In Bataan, two farmers and a tricycle driver were abducted by elements of the 703rd IB-Philippine Army on July 11 in Bgy. Liyang, Pilar. Josue Ortiz, 23, was brought to the 24th IB-PA headquarters where he was initially kept from his parents and members of the Karapatan quick-reaction team (QRT). After four days in detention, Ortiz was brought to the Bataan provincial court on July 15, and charged with illegal possession of firearms and explosives. As the judge is set to hear all cases for commitment order today, July 18, Ortiz was temporarily committed at the Balanga City Jail. Farmer Manuel Pacaira and the tricycle driver remain missing as of this date.

During the search, members of the QRT saw Pacaira in an army truck on its way out of the 24th IBPA camp and to the direction of Pilar, Bataan. He was again seen at the Bataan provincial court premises in Balanga, Bataan on board an truck during Ortiz’s inquest on Monday, July 15.

The 24th IBPA has been involved in the abduction and disappearance of two missing UP students Sherlyn Cadapan and Karen Empeno and the arrest, detention and torture of Raymond Manalo, a witness in the Sherlyn Cadapan and Karen Empeno case. The 24th IB has been designated in 2011 as a “territorial battalion” that integrates Army Reservists into the unit as “holding forces” in areas considered by the government as communist stronghold.
Earlier, on June 28, Juan Pablo Versoza, a member of the Alay Sining UP Diliman, and his wife Grace were illegally arrested in Marikina City through a defective warrant, with only aliases listed on the warrant. The names of the couple were only inserted in the warrant when they were arrested.

“This government practice of using alias warrants, illegal arrests through fabricated charges to justify its action against ordinary folks shows its desperation. This may be the start of the AFP’s another round escalation of its terror attacks against the people after it has admitted that Oplan Bayanihan is a failure. The human rights violations committed by Noynoy Aquino and his AFP is definitely an act of desperation, indeed a sign of failure and it’s turning its gun against the ordinary people, ” said Hilao-Enriquez. ###
Press Statement
23 July 2013

Reference: Marie Hilao-Enriquez, SELDA chairperson 0917-5616800

We at SELDA (Samahan ng Ex-Detainees Laban sa Detensyon at Aresto)
condemn the Philippine National Police for seriously hurting one of
our leaders and other protesters in the rally that coincided with
Pres. Aquino’s 4th State of the Nation Address yesterday. It is
reprehensible that those fought the Marcos dictatorship and who paved
the way to where Aquino is right now, suffer the same police terror
not unlike the martial law days.

77-year old Rodolfo “Ka Rody” del Rosario, former political prisoner
during martial law and vice-chairperson of the SELDA NCR chapter,
suffered from head injuries after police hit him with a nightstick. He
was at the frontlines of the People’s SONA ng Bayan that asserted, in
a clear exercise of their right to assemble and to protest, to get
near Batasang Pambansa where Aquino’s SONA was held.

SELDA members, imprisoned and tortured during Martial Law, attended
the SONA rally to emphasize that no justice has been served for the
victims of human rights violations. This is now Aquino’s 4th SONA, and
after countless letters, lobbying efforts and rallies, the Human
Rights Victims Reparation and Recognition Act signed last February 25
remains ineffective and stagnant. Martial Law victims have yet to be

We demanded justice not only for us victims of human rights
violations. We demanded justice for the greater majority of the
Filipino people who continue to struggle for their most basic human
rights. Yet, Aquino’s “inclusive growth” only pushed further the
rights of the people to food, shelter, healthcare, education, land and
livelihood to the sidelines.

The People’s SONA yesterday was a testament of the people’s right to
express their discontent because their basic rights are violated.

Only the few rich and powerful , who bleed the people dry, enjoy the
so-called growth. These are the same group of elites who are favored
by the Aquino government’s policies, at the expense of the people who
bear the burden of high prices, privatization of services, meager
wages, forced eviction, landlessness and the overall crisis passed on
to us by Aquino’s imperialist masters.

We protest the denial of a permit to rally, the use of concertina
wires, the blocking of the roads with container vans and fire trucks;
the truncheon-bearing police who mercilessly hit the protesters, the
illegal and arbitrary arrests and detention and the wounding of
rallyists—literally the same scene and horror during the times of the

We demand that the PNP be made accountable for the violence that
ensued in yesterday’s rally. We also demand justice and accountability
for the illegal arrests and detention made by the police.

We deplore the statements made by the Commission on Human Rights,
which instead of ensuring that the police do not use force against the
activists, irresponsibly maligned the protesters by saying it is the
protesters’ fault that the police used violence against them.

By our collective action, we were able to topple down a dictator. We
were able to assert our democratic rights as a people. Amid the dire
conditions of the Filipino people, we shall continue to march the
streets and tell the real state of the nation and fight for justice
for the marginalized and oppressed Filipino people. ###
The Samahan ng Ex-Detainees Laban sa Detensyon at Aresto (SELDA) is an
organization of former political prisoners in the Philippines. Founded on
December 4, 1984, SELDA was initiated by newly-released political prisoners
of the martial law period. SELDA’s primary task is to work for the release
of all political prisoners and to see to it that humane treatment of those
who are still in detention are complied with by the Philippine authorities.
SELDA advocates justice for current and former political prisoners. It
calls for the mobilisation of resources in support of political prisoners,
former detainees and their families. It carries out legislative advocacy
for the indemnification and rehabilitation of political prisoners. SELDA
goes into partnership and builds solidarity with concerned individuals and
groups for the freedom and welfare of political prisoners and all victims of

SELDA National Office: 2/F, Erythrina Bldg., #1 Maaralin corner Matatag
Brgy. Central District, Diliman, Quezon City 1101, Philippines
Tel: 632-4342837 Fax: 632-4354146






The Aquino administration’s policies are no different from those that have been increasingly implemented over the last three decades and that have resulted in today's grossly distorted and unequal economy

By Sonny Africa
IBON executive director

IBON Features—The Aquino administration has been in power since mid-2010 and the last three years gives undeniable evidence as to whose interests it upholds primarily. There is growing wealth and prosperity for a few amid joblessness and poverty for the many – these are among the deep signs of a regression in the national condition that a recycled Aquino agenda for the last half of its term will not remedy.

The country's long-standing jobs and poverty crisis has continued and worsened under the Aquino administration. The government claims to acknowledge the country's economic problems and to be seeking "inclusive growth". Yet its policies are no different from those that have been increasingly implemented over the last three decades and that have resulted in today's grossly distorted and unequal economy.

The supposedly good economic news for the Philippines is familiar: supposedly the fastest economic growth among the major countries of East and Southeast Asia, consecutive record highs in the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE) index, record gross international reserves, investment grade ratings from two major international credit ratings agencies, and an incremental rise in world competitiveness ranking.

The counterpoint to the supposed good economic news is likewise familiar: the unchanged jobs and poverty crisis. Despite rapid economic growth the number of unemployed and underemployed Filipinos increased by over one million from 10.9 million in April 2010 to 11.9 million in April 2013 – consisting of 4.6 million unemployed (an increase of 52,000, using IBON estimates on National Statistics Office or NSO data) and 7.3 million underemployed (an increase of 955,000). This is the most number of unemployed and underemployed Filipinos in the country's history.

Despite rapid economic growth job creation has been falling drastically in these first three years of the Aquino administration. While 1.4 million jobs were reported created in April 2011 (from the year before) this fell to 1.0 million in April 2012 and then turned to a negative 21,000 in April 2013. These occurred while the corresponding first quarter GDP growth rates were becoming more rapid at 4.6% (2011), 6.5% (2012), and 7.8% (2013).

The poorest are clearly left behind by economic growth. Between April 2012 and April 2013, looking at employed persons by industry, the agriculture sector where the greatest concentration of poor is found lost 624,000 jobs. The situation is even starker in employment by occupation group: 822,000 farmers, fisherfolk, workers and unskilled laborers and 26,000 professionals, associate professionals and technicians lost their jobs.

The steady erosion of the two most important productive sectors in the economy is also evident. The share of agriculture in total employment has continued to fall from 32.5% in April 2010 to 31.3% in April 2013, and of manufacturing from 8.6% to 8.4% over the same period. The share of agriculture in gross domestic product (GDP) is already down to its smallest in the country's history and of manufacturing to as small as in the 1950s.

Poverty has remained unchanged. The National Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB) reported official poverty incidence as statistically unchanged at 27.9% in the first semester of 2012 compared to 28.8% and 28.6% in the same periods in 2006 and 2009, respectively. IBON estimates that the reported poverty incidence of 27.9% means around 26.8 million poor Filipinos – computed using a projected population of 96.2 million in 2012 – or an increase of some 3-4 million from 2009.

Official figures however grossly underestimate poverty with the implied official daily poverty threshold in the first semester of 2012 for instance being just some Php52. This is unreasonably low and insufficient for meeting all a person’s daily food and non-food needs for decent living. Various corrections for the low official poverty threshold would instead show anywhere between 38-68 million poor Filipinos which is the worst scale of poverty in the country's history.

The government has been reporting falling official poverty incidence following changes in methodology in 2003 and 2011 that, among others, lowered the poverty threshold. But if the real value of the poverty threshold is maintained then the trend of unchanging poverty incidence has actually been going on not just since 2006 but for some fifteen years now since 1997 – with correspondingly rising absolute numbers of poor Filipinos.

This socioeconomic crisis for tens of millions of Filipinos occurs amid growing prosperity for a very few. The net income of Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE)-listed firms rose from Php438.1 billion in 2010 to Php501.3 billion in 2012. The net income of the country's Top 1000 corporations has been growing at an increasing rate in the latest three years for which data is available – their cumulative net income has gone up from Php756.0 billion in 2009, to Php804.1 billion in 2010 and to Php868.1 billion in 2011.

It is the same with the net worth of the 40 richest Filipinos. Their collective worth has been steadily increasing from US$22.8 billion in 2010, to US$34.0 billion in 2011, and further to US$47.4 billion in 2012. This combined net worth in 2012 was equivalent to over one-fifth (21%) of GDP for the year. These oligarchs' business interests dominate the country's real estate, ports, construction, trade, power, water, telecommunication, transport, mining, banking and finance, and food and beverage industries.

In 1985 the top 20% of families cornered 52.1% of total family income leaving the bottom 80% to divide the remaining 47.9% between them. This has barely changed over the last decades of supposed democracy and in 2009 the top 20% of families still claimed 51.9% of total family income (with the bottom 80% dividing the remaining 48.1%).

Aquino policies: creating the conditions for an unequal economy

The first three years of the Aquino administration affirms how the government's economic policies systematically create the conditions for increasing the profits and wealth of a few. These are not accidental outcomes – much less due merely to corruption or rent-seeking – but are rather the inevitable result of economic policies aimed at creating favorable conditions for preferred foreign and domestic big business interests to profit and flourish.

The administration maintains neoliberal policies from previous governments and has even sought to deepen these against the interests of workers, peasants and the general public. For instance, the public-private partnership (PPP) program is most of all a scheme to mobilize public resources to directly and indirectly support corporate profits. The government is providing regulatory risk guarantees and amending legislation so that the broadest number of private foreign and big local firms can avail of public support for their private profits. Even the much-hyped multibillion conditional cash transfer (CCT) program is not so much a long-term sustainable anti-poverty program than a massive multi-billion peso effort to undercut criticism of the free market as well as to provide political legitimacy and to generate popular support for neoliberal "inclusive growth".

Instead of recognizing that the state of the economy and the people today is because of accumulating trade and investment liberalization, privatization and deregulation, it is made to appear that it is because these have not been implemented enough. Hence the Aquino administration's determined thrust to extend neoliberal policies even to those last few areas of the economy that remain protected, even if only barely, by the last legal barriers under the 1987 Constitution. If these neoliberal policies are not changed, the poverty and joblessness in the first three years of the Aquino government will continue in its remaining three years as well as compromise national development in the decades to come. IBON Features

IBON Foundation, Inc. is an independent development institution established in 1978 that provides research, education, publications, information work and advocacy support on socioeconomic issues.

 | Follow IBON on Twitter | Follow IBON on Facebook



26 Matulungin St. Central Dist., Diliman, Quezon City, Philippines, 1100
Tel./Fax; +63 (2) 924-8756; E-mail: Website:

Resist the policy of environmental destruction and pollution under the US-Aquino regime!

Statement on the State of the Nation Address of Pres. Benigno Aquino III
12 July 2013

The first half Pres. Benigno “PNoy” Aquino III's term has already elapsed, and we have continued to witness how our environment and natural resources continue to be polluted, destroyed and plundered by transnational corporations (TNCs) and local big business elites. The United States-backed government of PNoy has fully bared its economic and environmental master plan of opening up our lands, seas and the rest of our national patrimony to foreign investors and their local big compradors.

Intensified foreign, large-scale mining

Foreign large-scale mining corporations such as Xstrata-SMI in South Cotabato and Oceana Gold Philippines have recently been given go signals despite long-standing warnings from scientific experts and massive opposition from indigenous people and other grassroots communities, churches, environmental groups and even local governments.

Philex Mining Corporation caused the largest mining disaster in the country's history last year as it spilled 20 million metric tons of waste into Agno River, resulting in the biological death of Balog River, one of its tributaries. Almost a year after, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources has allowed the resumption of its commercial operations.

PNoy approved Executive Order 79 or the Mining EO in 2012 amidst a sea of criticism that it served only to strengthen the onerous Mining Act of 1995. The policy served only to reiterate the wholesale of our mineral wealth to foreign TNCs, undermine bans or regulations by local governments, and keep the unfair revenue-sharing schemes and the militarization in mining untouched.

Impacts of US-China regional maneuverings

The race for territorial dominance in the Asia-Pacific between US and China has driven an influx of vessels and other military personnel in our territory, and it has greatly impacted on our fragile environment. The MT Glenn Guardian, a tanker serving under a US Navy service contractor, dumped over 190,000 liters of hazardous domestic waste and toxic bilge water in Subic Bay last October.

Early this year, the US Navy minesweeper USS Guardian ran aground the Tubbataha Reef Natural Marine Park, a world heritage site and important marine ecosystem, destroying 2,345 square meters of 10 meter-deep coral reefs that are estimated to have taken 2,500 years to grow to its original state and conservatively valued at US$1.4 million. Not long after, a Chinese poaching vessel, the Min Yong Lu, also ran aground and destroyed an 3,902 square meters.

Under the Visiting Forces Agreement, port calls and military exercises by nuclear submarines and other Navy vessels and militar personnel in the Philippines have become more regular, and in areas in close proximity to important marine protected areas. This will only worsen with US president Barack Obama's strategic pivot of his wars of aggression to Asia-Pacific, promising to reposition 60 percent of its naval forces to the region by 2020 with the driving purpose of challenging China's regional presence.

Coal and climate change

The latest in a growing trend of climate change-driven extreme weather events, Typhoon Pablo hit Southern Mindanao last December 3, 2012 and resulted in more than a thousand deaths, over 800 missing, and more than 700,000 affected families. One billion and fifty million dollars ($1.05) worth of infrastructural and agricultural damages were reported, greatly aggravated by large-scale mining, agricultural plantations and other forms of development aggression. Unnaturally strong monsoon rains early August last year submerged 90 percent of Metro Manila in massive floods. It also triggered the mine spills of Philex in Benguet and of Citinickel in Southern Palawan.

Despite these clear impacts of climate change, the government has currently approved 16 additional coal-fired power plants, the biggest contributor to global GHG emissions and an emitter of toxic heavy metals and other harmful chemicals as well. Coal consumption is driven by foreign and private interests as prescribed in the Electric Power Industry Reform Act of 2001 or EPIRA, as 73.59 percent of it came from imports and all existing coal plant projects are owned by private corporations.

Reclamation on the rise

A petition for a Writ of Kalikasan filed last year against the P14-billion, 635-hectare reclamation joint venture of the Philippine Reclamation Authority and the Cyber Bay Corporation was dismissed by the Court of Appeals last April 26. Reclamation, touted as the most irreversible form of environmental degradation, is expected to result in aggravated flooding, reduced ecological services, loss of habitat to marine and bird species and loss of livelihood for people and community.

The reclamation project will cover and affect the Las Piñas–Parañaque Critical Habitat and Ecotourism Area (LPPCHEA), a 175-hectare mangrove and mudflat expanse that serves as a bird sanctuary recently added to the Ramsar List of Wetlands of International Importance. It is the last mangrove forest in Metro Manila.

Environmentalists: an endangered species

Environmental advocates who have opposed destructive projects by TNCs and the government were met with increasingly frequent and violent killings and other human rights violations. A total of 67 cases of killings have been documented since 2001, 31 of which have occurred during the three years of PNoy's term alone.

Recent killings this year involved Kitari Capion, a younger brother of B'laan tribal leader Daguil Capion who have previously declared a pangayaw or tribal war against large-scale miner Xstrata-SMI, was killed by the strafing of the Armed Forces of the Philippines' Task Force Kitacom last January 29 in Davao del Sur.

Cristina Morales Jose, a leader of the climate justice movement Barug Katawhan formed by Typhoon Pablo survivors in Mindanao, was shot dead on March 4 a week after leading a people's barricade at the Department of Social Welfare and Development office in Davao.

US puppetry and imperialist globalization

The Aquino regime continues to tread the path of submission to US domination and imperialist dictates. It is now the number one implementer of globalization policies in the country which further intensifies the hold and control of big transnational companies our our natural resources and lands. Recent moves of government to push Charter Change (ChaCha) intends to give more leeway and legal rights to foreign corporations to further exploit and plunder our patrimony. Public utilities and services such as in communications, energy and water continue to be privatized and deregulated while our remaining natural resources are further liberalized.

Not content with the onerous VFA, the Aquino regime wants to give full access and basing rights to US and other military forces. This is essentially the return of US military bases in different parts of the country which will result In greater environmental degradation and pollution.

People, rise up!

As the environmental crisis scales up under the US-Aquino government, so does the Filipino people's struggle to protect our environment and national patrimony. People's movements such as Barug Katawhan and Indug Kautawan in Southern Mindanao have risen up to claim climate justice from the government and large-scale mining operations who have heightened the vulnerability of communities to climate impacts. Both existing and new barricades have derailed the operations of destructive miners in Nueva Vizcaya, Benguet, Compostela Valley and Surigao del Norte, among others.

Through massive public pressure, the Network Opposed to Coal-Fired Power Plants in Subic Bay was able to stop a new coal-fired power plant project in Zambales. A petition for Writ of Kalikasan and temporary environmental protection orders have been filed against the persisting port calls of US Navy vessels and the Visiting Forces Agreement.

With the opening of the 16th Congress, progressive lawmakers under the Makabayan coalition are preparing to push for pro-people and pro-environment policy alternatives such as the People's Mining Bill, the Anti-Strategic Lawsuits against Public Participation Act, the One-Million Solar Roofs Act, Abrogation of the Visiting Forces Agreement, and a Moratorium on Coal-Fired Power Plant Projects.

The Filipino people has had enough of the three years of unfettered ecological destruction under PNoy. History challenges us to step up the defense of our national sovereignty and patrimony from the exploitation of mining TNCs and the US-Aquino government. There is no better time than now for an upsurge in the people's struggle!

Rise up for the defense of our land, livelihood and environment!
Demand environmental and social justice from environmental criminals!
Resist the policy of plunder, destruction and pollution of the US-Aquino government!

Reference: Mr. Clemente Bautista, national coordinator of Kalikasan PNE -- 0922 844 9787

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.
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

26 Matulungin St. Central Dist., Diliman, Quezon City, Philippines, 1100
Tel./Fax; +63 (2) 924-8756; E-mail: Website:

21 July 2013

Environment groups expect 'nothing but greenwashing' in PNoy's SONA

A day before the State of the Nation Address (SONA) of Pres. Benigno 'PNoy' Aquino III, green groups under the militant Kalikasan People's Network for the Environment (Kalikasan PNE) said they expect to hear nothing but 'greenwashing' – lies and spins to shore up a dismal performance in addressing environmental concerns.

“Half-way through Aquino's term, we have seen the Philex Mine Disaster negligently spill 20 million metric tons of toxic waste when the government promised mining won't be at the cost of nature's destruction. We have seen the number of approved coal-fired power plant projects rise to at least 16 this year when the Climate Change Commission recently claimed it is pursuing 100 percent renewable energy by 2020. These are just a couple of pressing environmental problems we expect Aquino to greenwash with increasingly creative deception in his coming SONA,” said Clemente Bautista, national coordinator of Kalikasan PNE.

In his 2012 SONA speech, Aquino cited as his gains the passage of Executive Order 79 (EO 79), touted to have balanced environmental and economic interests in the mining industry, the implementation of Project NOAH as a response to disasters, and the integration of the National Greening Program in the Conditional Cash Transfer program.

“Look at what happened under EO 79: a mine spill each in Palawan and Benguet, the former polluting rivers with 250 times the maximum tolerable nickel content, and the latter causing the biological death of Balog river. 74.19 percent of all recorded killings of environmental advocates involve anti-mining activists. The industry contributed only 0.7 percent to both our gross domestic product and total employment. To call this a step forward in making the utilization of mineral resources uplifting to the living conditions of Filipinos today and in coming generations is simply a lie,” asserted Bautista.

“In the past two years, we have been the recipient of the deadliest typhoons, Sendong and Pablo . 84 days after Typhoon Pablo ravaged Southern Mindanao, still no relief aid was delivered to affected remote communities, pushing the people to mount an organized confiscation of hoarded aid materials in the DSWD-Davao. Aquino has allowed agricultural plantations, mining operations and other development projects that destroy our watersheds, impeding our natural defenses and regulation of floods and other climate change-driven disasters. These are long-standing, fundamental problems in our country's disaster risk reduction and management program that Aquino still can't answer,” added Bautista.

Kalikasan PNE is set to join the People's SONA tomorrow going to the Batasan Road with thousands of protesters opposing the Aquino regime's policies that have promoted corruption, mass poverty, economic plunder and foreign intervention.

“Meaningful, long-term solutions can no longer be expected from the remaining years of Aquino's term. PNoy–who is clearly no different from Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and presidents past them–is living proof that the environmental, social and economic crises we face is deeply ingrained in the ruling system that seeks to perpetuate itself. The people must rise up to defend our lands and livelihood from the collusion of big business and government,” ended Bautista.#

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.

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




Concertina barbed wires, PNP units in phalanx formation,
fire trucks, blocking container  vans:
futile attempts to prevent the people
from exercising their right of assembly ▼

News Release
20 July 2013

REFERENCE:Dr. Angie Gonzalez, or the International Conference for Human Rights and Peace in the Philippines
Cristina Guevarra, media liaison, +63917-5230396 / +63949-1772928

European rights advocates urge EU to withdraw 10 million euro grant for failed justice programme of Aquino regime

International delegates who attended the International Conference on Human Rights and Peace in the Philippines have urged the European Union to stop aid to the Aquino government, specifically the withdrawal of a 10 million euro grant for the Philippine Justice Support Programme.

The more than 250 foreign delegates, in a strongly worded resolution unanimously approved at the conclusion of the conference, said the Aquino government unjustly enjoyed aid from the European Union despite failing to stop extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances and impunity.

“Impunity in the violations of human rights in the Philippines continues amidst the unjust and selfish interests of European big businesses and their equally greedy and corrupt Filipino collaborators in business and politics, that have resulted in unfair competition, corruption, environmental destruction, displacement of communities, maldevelopment, people's resistance and state repression, are placed above the aspirations of the Filipino people for genuine democracy, social justice, development and peace,” the resolution stressed.

The resolution cited specifically the unresolved and unprosecuted killings of Dutch missionary Willem Geertman of the Netherlands who was killed in Pampanga province, and Italian Catholic priest Fr. Fausto Tentorio, PIME, in Mindanao. Evidence in their killings point clearly to the military.

Earlier, the family of Dutch missionary Willem Geertman took strong exception to the statements of EU ambassador Guy Ledoux lauding the Aquino government for its supposed improved human rights record and extending another 10 million euro aid in support of the European Union-Philippine Justice Support Programme, supposedly to stop political killings.

Meanwhile, foreign delegates who attended the People’s SONA on July 22 were frustrated, but not surprised, that Pres. Aquino made no mention of concrete ways to address the prevailing impunity in the country.

Peter Murphy, elected secretary general of the newly established International Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines, described the events on July 22 as a reflection of the “huge gap between the world the government is in and the real world of the people. The violence used by the police also demonstrates this massive gap.”

The People’s SONA, Murphy said, was a “successful display of protest against the government’s complete failure to meet the people’s basic needs. But, the police treated the people with deception and contempt. The People’s SONA however, answered this with the dignity of their protest.”

The International Conference on Human Rights and Peace in the Philippines concluded its 3-day meeting of foreign human rights and peace activists in Quezon City last July 21, after vowing to intensify their campaign for human rights and peace in the Philippines in their countries.###


The International Association of Democratic Lawyers, a nongovernmental organization with consultative status at ECOSOC of the United Nations, and members throughout the world, has been informed that on July 22, 2013, the Philippine police force attacked a peaceful demonstration of protestors who assembled on the occasion of President Aquino's State of the Nation Address, to voice their concerns about the government policies and protest actions of his administration.

IADL is informed that a "negotiating team," including officers of our Philippine affiliate the National Union of Peoples' Lawyers (NUPL) who were present to legally assist their clients from various mass organizations, was talking to the police officers about the progress of the demonstration and while they were patiently awaiting a response from the police spokesperson/negotiator, when the police suddenly attacked those at the front of the protest resulting in injuries to several unarmed protestors.

IADL condemns this action as being a violation of the fundamental rights of people in the Philippines to freedom of speech and assembly. IADL understands that the Republic of the Philippines has ratified the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), and therefore must act in conformity with the provisions of this Covenant.

IADL reminds the Government of the Philippines that the rights to freedom of speech and assembly are guaranteed in Articles 19 and 21 of this Covenant. Under this Covenant the government may restrict these rights only if the restriction is provided by law and is necessary to protect national security, public safety or order. The burden is on the government to credibly show the necessity of the restriction.

While IADL understands that a permit for this demonstration was unfortunately denied on the basis of a supposed temporary disruption to traffic, such a rationale does not comport with the government's obligations to protect rights of freedom of assembly under the IC CPR or a reason under the ICCPR which allows for any restriction.

Freedom of assembly is a fundamental right and should generally be enjoyed without regulation.Under the standards of international law, those wishing to assemble should not be required to obtain permission to do so. While IADL recognizes that in some circumstances, states may create notice schemes for assemblies but these should be notification, not for permission. Any notification scheme must not impose excessive demands and must be for the purpose of informing the authorities so that they can take measures to facilitate the exercise of the right.Where assemblies or marches are held outside notice schemes this fact alone does not justify police action against those assembled.

IADL demands an objective and independent investigation into the police violence against the demonstrators and for the government to ensure that its domestic rules regarding freedom of assembly comply with international law as recognized by the Philippine Constitution. If the government fails to undertake this investigation or attempts to prosecute those peacefully assembled, a formal complaint will be filed with the UN Human Rights Committee when appropriate and the IADL and its affiliates worldwide will support and assist in this regard.#

Issued July 29, 2013
Jeanne Mirer, President
26 July 2013

“Flying Dutchmen” campaigning for human rights in the Philippines: a “portent of doom” for the crimes of the US-Aquino regime

The right-wing Aquino regime continues to harp on the spin about the violence (which the police clearly started) during the recent State of the Nation Address, blatantly covering up the fact that the Aquino regime itself is a violent regime and purveyor of state terrorism against its own people.

The figures are always there available for everyone to read: 142 cases of extrajudicial killings, 164 cases of frustrated extrajudicial killings, 16 cases of enforced disappearances, 3 cases of rape of minors by state security forces, more than 300 political prisoners, among a lengthening list of the crimes of the Aquino regime.

We held our very successful International Conference for Human Rights and Peace in the Philippines last July 19-21, and we have formed the International Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines, in order to respond to the cries of the victims of Aquino's US-inspired brutal and dirty war against the Filipino people.

The mobilization of the Filipino workers, peasants, women, indigenous peoples, urban poor, youth and students, LGBTs, Filipino migrants, church people, and local human rights defenders, further deepened our commitment and resolve to defend the political, economic, civil and social rights of the vast majority of the Filipino people against the brutal attacks of the Aquino regime, and its continued violation of international human rights conventions and humanitarian laws.

Indeed, we have been called the “flying Dutchmen” the patriotic and democratic movement of the Filipino people. Together with the Filipino people, our campaign for human rights and democracy in our own countries is, indeed, a “portent of doom” for the anti-people, pro-haciendero, pro-foreign big business, and pro-US Aquino regime.#

Peter Murphy
International Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines



SONA ng BAYAN poem by Mark Angeles


If spoken, it wafts
on your tongue (tumble-
weed breath)

as though a woman
will readily claim it—bride to be;
master’s unica hija.

Not hexagons,
but coils of thorns;
and hums one music

not by itself, but the wind’s
as it stumbles
on every razor,

but not gently

and with no final warning.
The marchers hear it sing.




18 July 2012

On the denial of the QC govt of the permit to rally at SONA:
Rights Lawyers ask: Has anything really changed since Marcos?

It is dismaying and frustrating that the Quezon City local government, through its lapdog, the so-called Department of Public Order and Safety (DPOS), has perfunctorily denied the application for permit to rally filed by our client the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN).

What is wrong with the picture? We advice and follow grudgingly an anti-rights law pretending to be otherwise - the Marcosian Public Assembly Assembly Act (Batas Pambansa 880) which we have time and again criticized and questioned - and go through the tedious process year in and year out.

And yet the PNP as supposed law enforcers and the local government as purported executors of the law (by the way under an anti-poor leadership whose head once stayed in the frontlines and marched in the streets at an opportune and opportunistic fleeting moment during the dictatorship) habitually corrupting and dissing the law every so often ad nauseum.

The ground for the denial - traffic congestion - can never override the higher, more fundamental right of the people to assemble in any real democracy.

It is plainly silly for the police to invoke traffic when it is manifestly evident that practically every single year and instance since Marcos that it is the patently illegal police overkill blockades that cause the traffic snarls during peaceful rallies.

The law and established jurisprudence say there must be clear and present danger to the public to deny or modify a rally permit application. Obviously, the ground for the denial given is neither clear nor present nor is there any danger to justify trampling on a basic constitutional right that has even made the ascension of all those on power - including the head of the QC local government and even President Noynoy himself - possible. Are they just ignoramuses of the law and history or that they look the other way, or both?

Our clients represent the public - the farmers, workers, drivers, pedestrians, consumers, the urban poor, human rights defenders and victims, activists, environmentalists, youth and students, church people, migrants, professionals, and the ordinary folks and person on the street, the marginalized and exploited - who all have stake on what is the real state of the nation from their point of view.

We have our own recent and and contemporary history to teach us. We see and hear the message loud and clear in other countries where discontent and grievance all bottled up can just gestate into something significant and irreversible.

Now we ask, after all these years, where are we really now after Marcos? What would the international community see? Shame over the same.

But we will remain unfazed. Our clients will remain undaunted. They will fight it out in the courts if need be and they will certainly fight for their rights in the streets. After all, it is the people - not their supposed leaders or governors in soft fancy swivel chairs - that will say ultimately what is just, what is legal, and what is democratic.#


Atty. Edre U. Olalia
Secretary General
+63 9175113373
National Secretariat
National Union of Peoples' Lawyers (NUPL)
3F Erythrina Bldg., Maaralin corner Matatag Sts. Central District,Quezon
City, Philippines
Telefax no.920-6660
Email addresses: and
Follow us on twitter @nuplphilippines
Visit the NUPL website at

NUPL on the violent dispersal at the SONA amidst ongoing negotiations and the arrests of rallyists:

"That was not only illegal and unwarranted. That was simply premeditated treachery. It validates once again the pervasive view that we cannot trust this government. The police officers who were sent by their senior officials were just feigning to negotiate with us. It turned out they were deceitfully bent on unleashing the brute force of their inordinate army of attack dogs to stop at all costs the effective expression of the people's discontent. This simply reeks of fascism to gag legitimate dissent that must be respected by any government that honestly wants to be called - even remotely - democratic, much less humane or even civilized. It also cannot pass muster the basic minimum standard and principles of international human rights law."

Reference: NUPL secretary general Atty. Edre U. Olalia (+639175113373)
22 July 2013

At the 2013 SONA: Rights lawyers dismiss Aquino gov't claims as childish showboating

In a statement released on the day of President Noynoy Aquino’s third State of the Nation Address (SONA), the National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers (NUPL) said that nothing has really changed fundamentally in terms of human rights protection and promotion under the Aquino Administration.

Atty. Edre U. Olalia, Secretary-General of the human rights lawyers’ group said that the Aquino Administration has an embarrassing and lamentable record of promoting and protecting the Filipino people’s socio, economic, civil, political and cultural rights.

“Let us not be deceived by Aquino’s rhetoric and misleading grandiloquence of his supposed advocacy to ensure the protection of the people’s human rights. His three-year record will show that its claims are infantile showboating,” Atty. Olalia said.

The NUPL stated that cases of extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances and systematic arbitrary arrests remain unabated since Aquino assumed office. Moreover, there is a remarkable trend of an increasing number of trumped-up charges being filed against leaders and members of legitimate people’s organizations. Impunity remains the order of the day.

Basic social and economic rights like health, shelter and education are deprived and even peddled by this elitist government pretending to have a heart for the poor and oppressed, even as its slip of intolerance for any form of dissent is showing. The NUPL likewise assailed the government’s double-faced misrepresentations and pretensions in pursuing peace negotiations to really address the underlying reasons for the armed conflict. It also condemned the sell-out of our patrimony and sovereignty to foreign interests.

All these are in open violation of international law, principles and standards, it said.

The NUPL finally warned that the people’s freedom of expression and to peaceably assemble should be respected, saying that they are willing to help press charges and complaints even in various international fora. #

Reference: Atty. Edre U. Olalia, NUPL Secretary-General (+63917-5113373)



PNP units deployed at Litex/Commonwealth Avenue,
about 4 km from main blocking force at Ever Gotesco


Press Statement
20 July 2013

Three years of Benigno Aquino iii - success for US imperalism and the ruling classes, betrayal and misery for the Filipino people

On his fourth SONA, Benigno Aquino III will face the Filipino people to once again delight over his regime’s supposed successes of the previous year, and to beguile with plans dictated by his real bosses. His US imperialist boss, beside big bourgeois compradors and landlords, will, on one hand, applaud him for the unhampered expansion and plunder of the environment by multinational businesses, particularly large-scale mining and plantations, and for totally countenancing US intervention in the country; while continuing, on the other, to ram anti-people policies that push millions of Filipinos, especially workers and peasants, to further desperation, poverty and misery.

He will once again bombard the people with a plethora of mind-boggling statistics to show that its so-called “corruption-free governance” is the key to its “success,” while blaming his detractors, the revolutionary movement in particular, for its “failings.” He will never be able to hide the fact however that, in the last three years, he has only been successful so far in leading the country to fall much deeper into the ravine of social inequity and chaos, which has only inflamed the people into ever intensifying the struggle against massive exploitation and oppression.

In the run-up to his mid-term SONA, Aquino III has only succeeded in the sabotage of genuine agrarian reform and national industrialization in the country, stalling, in particular, the immediate and real distribution of land at Hacienda Luisita, and galvanizing further, in general, landlord ownership by extending the bogus CARP.

By way of EO 79, Aquino III has defended his imperialist bosses by further opening up Mindanao to the plunder of large-scale mining, which has already laid waste mountain ranges such those in Surigao by TMC, in South and North Cotabato by Glencore-Xstrata, in Compostela Valley by Russel Mines Inc. and in Zamboanga Peninsula by Toronto Ventures Inc.. Moreover, once the pacification of the MILF succeeds, the influx of investors that will exploit and eventually ravage the natural gas-rich Liguasan marsh in the Cotabato province will be expected.

The US-Aquino regime has encouraged massive land conversions that give way to the expansion of Dole, Del Monte and Sumifru plantations, which have already taken monopoly of Mindanao’s rich arable lands. With this, Aquino III goes on to deprive millions of peasants of land on a much larger scale. The uninterrupted expansion of these plantations as well as mines, exacerbated by drastic changes in the climate, induces the worst of disasters, such as the catastrophe wreaked by super typhoons Sendong and Pablo that claimed the lives of thousands and further damaged the environment.

The US-Aquino regime has succeeded in further increasing the army of the unemployed in the country by having the establishment of national industrialization completely jettisoned. In the onslaught of the utter lack of meaningful employment, many job-seekers, especially in Mindanao, turn to demeaning, hazardous and even sub-human work for their daily subsistence. Even more contemptible, Aquino III’s government has never, not even once, given Filipino workers a significant increase in their wages, thereby decreasing their purchasing capacities in the face of continuing peso devaluation. The recent shocking “sex-for-flight” scandal shows how the Aquino government eggs on the rape of our overseas Filipino workers, even by Philippine consulate officials themselves. The US-Aquino regime has sorely failed to defend the rights of Filipino workers abroad, who in turn are protesting at present these dastardly human rights abuses.

Aquino III’s guarantee to bring “peace and order” to Mindanao has been by way of deploying battalions of fascist AFP forces to various provinces in the island, which has only embroiled the people in an unjust war and brought nothing but un-peace and dis-order. The US-Aquino regime has not only neglected most, if not all, of Mindanao provinces economically, it has also placed them under the mercy of the gun and has further sown discord in its continuing slaughter of the Moro, Lumad and Mindanao peoples.

The US-Aquino regime has politically maneuvered to trap the MILF under its obscure framework of “peace,” and has inextricably tied it to conditionalities that smack of capitulation, including among others the reckless “decommissioning of the Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Force,” which is meant to emasculate their most powerful weapon. While Aquino III continues to crank out every trick to hoodwink the MILF into capitulating, he has miserably failed to address the issue of genuine autonomy in Mindanao, inciting the Moro people to continue waging armed revolution despite the signing of the GPH-MILF’s Framework Agreement. Further enraging the Moro people is the fact that the Aquino government has opened Moro land to multinational corporations, bringing them further misery, poverty and hunger. The GPH is now more desperate to seal the deal the soonest time possible with the MILF because it intends to isolate and focus its attacks on the Communist Party of the Philippines, the New People’s Army and the National Democratic Front.

The US-Aquino regime has sown further discord by shamelessly bolting from the peace talks with the NDFP, falsely calling previous agreements, such as the release of NDFP consultants, as a “pre-condition.” The GPH panel has spread malice and intrigue against the NDFP to cover up for its resistance to accept the provisions under the Comprehensive Agreement on Socio-Economic Reforms (CASER), specifically items related to national industrialization and genuine agrarian reform.

Instead of showing its sincerity by pushing for the resumption of the talks, the GPH has instead harped on “local peace talks” and “local peace zones.” But, these are inept assertions because, learning from history, “local peace talks” have only been divisive, chaotic and have led nowhere but to illegal arrests and more confusion. As for “peace zones,” they were advertised to be so-called “gunless communities,” but in reality ended up as AFP military garrisons, causing more insecurity than ever to civilians who were forcibly made to reside in them.

On the podium on Monday, Benigno Aquino III will try to exonerate himself from any human rights violations in his first three years. However, over 140 extra-judicial killings have been recorded from the start of his presidency, apart from several cases of abuses committed by the AFP, PNP and Cafgu during the three years he is in power, which does not include yet the escalating state-sponsored killings of suspected drug pushers and other criminals in many cities in Mindanao.

Since Aquino III’s Oplan Bayanihan took over the reins from Gloria Arroyo’s brutal Oplan Bantay Laya, the AFP has conducted, without let up, military operations in all five regions in Mindanao, causing unimaginable devastation to communities in the countryside and the massive displacement of peasants and Lumads. Even urban communities and school campuses are not spared from their so-called Special Operation Teams (SOTs).

In the face of the Philippines’ stand-off with China over the Spratlys, the Panatag Shoal and the entire West Philippine sea, the Aquino regime, in a most perfidious act, has explicitly given way to the unmitigated intervention of imperialist US in Philippine affairs. The US-Aquino regime has treasonously made possible the return of the US bases by giving US armed forces and their war aircraft or vessels full access to virtually all airports and sea ports in the country, fixing the country in place within the design of the US’s contention with China.

Benigno Aquino III, who has himself benefitted greatly from the pre-programmed PCOS machine, will again thank hi-tech cheating in the recent automated elections for putting his most trusted allies in both Houses of Congress by means of the hocus-PCOS “60-30-10 pattern.” This has very well consolidated his hold on power, and he will use this as leverage to fast track, albeit surreptitious, charter change, which is aimed at totally expunging all provisions that safeguard patrimony and sovereignty. .
In the remaining three years, we cannot expect anything from the US-Aquino regime but for it to push the country further beyond the brink of desperation and destitution, squeezing out the last ounce of blood from every Filipino in order to satisfy the whim of its imperialist master and the ruling classes. However Benigno Aquino III blindsides the masses once more in his upcoming SONA, it is imperative for the Filipino people not to lose sight of the revolutionary road towards national liberation and democracy by way of the people’s war.#

(Sgd) Ka Oris

Spokesperson, NDFP-Mindanao

23 July 2013

Aquino's SONA: Not the “brightest spark,” but a dark omen
against the Filipino people


Benigno Aquino III’s fourth State of the Nation Address (SONA) was
bereft of any bright spark because it offered nothing but crumbs and
palliatives for the Filipino masses, embellished with empty rhetoric
that again skirted truly addressing the more fundamental issues of
genuine land reform, national industrialization, sovereignty, and

Aquino III, true to his class, is simply unable to comprehend the
country’s basic problems, and it is not in his interest to provide
real solutions for them. That is why he devoted much time in his over
long address to lavish certain members of his Cabinet with praise and
take notice of the “heroism” of a few individuals, but ironically
avoided to mention the plight and heroism of the overseas Filipino
workers. He provided a bit of theatre when he attacked certain corrupt
Cabinet officials, his alter egos in fact, only to deflect the blame
from himself. His “no corrupt officials, no poor people” mantra
has only been exposed as a sham.

Obviously feigning concern for the peasantry, he only said his
government would take steps to find out which land could actually be
distributed, which made a mockery out of genuine agrarian reform as he
deliberately threw it again in the back burner. He bragged about
“inter-cropping” and his irrigation projects, however, he failed
to point out that imperialist plantations, particularly in Mindanao,
have rapidly expanded and monopolized vast tracts of land grabbed from
millions of farmers. Large-scale mining have also displaced peasants
and the Lumads from their homes in the hinterlands.

Again, the SONA was absolutely mum on wage increase. He added insult
to injury when he stressed that increases in SSS and GSIS
contributions as well as in LRT fare rates are long overdue and must
immediately be implemented. He extolled the head of DFA, but miserably
failed to respond to the predicament of troubled OFWs, especially in
giving justice to the aggrieved in the condemnable
“sex-for-flight” scandal.

Despite overstressing on its purported benefits, it is undeniable that
the US-Aquino regime’s Pantawid Pamilya Program does not provide a
real source of livelihood for both workers and peasants, and even for
the middle classes. Aquino III is only obsessed in giving alms to the
poor rather than provide for decent work, conditioning people
toheavily rely on palliatives for patronage. He spits on the faces of
the millions of oppressed and exploited, giving them only morsels out
of what they deserve to receive from their labor.

On basic social services, Aquino III was apparently ignorant with
regard to widespread complaints against the inaccessibility of quality
health care, medicines, and the continued privatization of public
hospitals. He swaggered that his K12 program could carry outthe
necessary reforms to the country’s deteriorating educational system.
But, in truth, it will only burden poor families further, and, by
design, will continue to provide for cheap, skilled and docile labor
force for big business.

He misled the Filipino people by crowing about the GDP’s 7.8 per
cent mark for the first two quarters of 2013, a figure pumped up only
by the massive spending in the recent elections. The claim that 28 per
cent of the 2013 GDP growth came from “manufacturing” was dubious,
because under a semi-feudal system of society, there exists no real
manufacturing industry, only assembly-lines and sweatshops. He did
nothing more than boast of infrastructure projects fuelled by foreign
loans, which is a source of corruption for government officials, and
holds little or no meaning to the alleviation of the sorry state of
the country’s poor. Despite the successive scourge of oil price
increases in recent months, Aquino III made no mention of any decisive
steps to stop its debilitating impact on the poor.

Instead of establishing real industries and developing agriculture
through genuine land reform, Aquino III preferred tourism as one of
the main sources of income generation, gushing over meaningless titles
such as “the most romantic destination” that only makes the
country a veritable playground for sex fiends and traffickers.

As expected, he bragged about the signing of the GPH-MILF Framework
Agreement on the Bangsamoro, including some of its Annexes, and urged
Congress to consequently support the so-called Bangsamoro Law, which
comes, ironically, in the midst of on-going skirmishes in Central
Mindanao. On the ground this early, in spite of the questionable
Framework Agreement, the Moro masses are more and more drawn towards
supporting the continuing armed uprising. The reactionary government
has no reason to gloat because even if it does succeed to pacify the
MILF, new militant Moro groups shall rise in its stead to fight for
their genuine right to self-determination, just as when the MILF rose
to continue the Bangsamoro cause when the MNLF capitulated.

He absolutely made no mention of the peace talks with the NDFP because
the US-Aquino regime can neither justify its arbitrary withdrawal nor
its current use of brutal and naked fascism through OplanBayanihan
against millions of masses in the countryside. This complete silence
onthe peace talks with the NDFP only means the further escalation of
OPB’s ruthlessness against the revolutionary movement in the next
three years.

He noted the number of houses that had been built for the victims of
typhoons Sendongand Pablo, but failed to mention anything about
putting a stop to the environmentally-destructive operations of
large-scale mining and plantation, which caused thousands of families
in Mindanao to lose their homes, livelihood and loved ones in the
first place. Moreover, thousands of informal settlers, who never had
decent homes at all, were only warned of more demolitions without any
contingency work or relocation area.

As was pointed out by the NDFP-Mindanao, the Filipino people cannot
expect the US-Aquino regime to offer the nation genuine development by
way of genuine agrarian reform and national industrialization, nor can
it be expected to defend our patrimony and sovereignty. As for the
revolutionary movement in Mindanao, Aquino III’s SONA is clearly a
declaration of war against the people, and, to counter it, the
Revolution shall daringly take strides to strengthen the people’s
war and carry the revolutionary aspirations of the masses to its





Frank Fernandez
July 26, 2013

P-NOY’S SONA full of lies and hypocrisy

As expected by many Filipino people, the mid-term State of the Nation Address (SONA) 2013 of P-Noy is full of lies, hypocrisy and empty promises. The latest SONA conditions the people to brace themselves for power, water, transport rate hikes and SSS contributions. While the Aquino government is mum on the sad plight of the oppressed and exploited especially the Overseas Filipino Workers, the Sabah-Malaysia conflict and the Peace Talks between the GPH and the NDFP.

P-Noy is a hypocrite in attacking the US-GMA regime on the anomalous transactions involving combat helicopters, expressways, NBN-ZTE deal, fertilizer scam and others. He also pointed to the corruptions and anomalies in TESDA and the Bureau of Customs. However he didn’t identify the root causes of corruption in the agency.

P-Noy cannot spare himself from the widespread corruption and anomalies inside the Bureau of Customs because his uncles are the one benefitting from the so-called technical smuggling. According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), under the P-Noy administration more than $ 19 Billion or P740 Billion annual tariffs are not being paid because of technical smuggling. This is 6 times bigger compared to the $6 Billion lost tariffs during the terms of GMA and Estrada.

Technical smuggling is the outright anomalous classification of the nature, quality, weight and value of the products that enter the country to avoid the correct payment of tariffs and taxes on imported products in connivance with high officials of the Bureau of Customs, Philippine Ports Authority and the Land Transportation Office on the approval of the Aquino regime.

This policy is part of the liberalization of trade and businesses as mandated by the General Agreement on tariffs and Trade (GATT) established in 1994. Under the Transaction Value Method of the Bureau of Customs, tariffs are set on the basis of mere documents presented by importers who declare the value, weight and content of their goods without being inspected by the Bureau of Customs.

Here are some data of corruption of smuggling by relatives and friends of P-Noy:

1. Eduardo Oban Jr, former AFP Chief and now undersecretary of the Department of Transportation and Communication has a hand in the smuggling of oil in the Subic Freeport in Olongapo and the ports of Cebu, Cagayan de Oro, Manila and Port Irene in Cagayan.

2. Almost P600 Million worth of rice was smuggled in the Subic Freeport without paying taxes. According to the Direction of Trade and Statistics, an agency under the International Monetary Fund, on the first 2 years of P-Noy, more than P16.6 Billion worth of rice was smuggled thru Cebu and other ecozone in the country. These rice volumes that are being stocked are boastfully considered by P-Noy as sufficient reserves or surplus productions of Cebu as far as rice is concerned. More than P80 billions of taxes were evaded by high officials of government if we are to include rice from China and Vietnam and smuggled Palm oil from Malaysia and Indonesia.

3. In order to harassed the competitors of his uncle Danding Cojuangco, now the owner of Petron, they exposed the smuggling of Shell of imported oil. According to Petron, P30-40 Billion annually of tariff duties are not being paid by Shell due to wrong classification of petroleum products like declaring tetrapropylene it’s unleaded gasoline. There is no excise tax for tetrapropylene. The unleaded premium gasoline it bought is declared as catalytic cracked gasoline that has a lower tariff. The Aquino regime is inutile in running after Shell to pay the right taxes, on the other hand ordinary people are being squeezed to death to pay taxes.

4. The other outstanding technical smugglers are the Dimaporo families of Mindanao, Jalosjos of Zamboanga and Enrile of Cagayan.

5. Meanwhile, those controlled by the Arroyo family in the smuggling of sugar have been replaced by Peping and Danding Cojuangco, all uncles of P-Noy.

6. Also exposed are the millions of dollars extorted by Ballsy Aquino Cruz, sister of Noynoy ang her husband, when they personally went to the Czech Republic to ask for $2-20 Milyon from Inekon, a Czech company that manufactures train cars and rail tracks in exchange that the Cruz couple will ensure that Inekon will get the contract for MRT3.

Inekon didn’t give and exposes the anomaly to the media and reported to the it to the Czech government. Together with the Cruzes were Pete Prado, former DOTC official and Steve Psinakis an in-law of Eugenio Lopez Sr, closed allies of the Aquino regime.

7. Jose Acuzar, brother in law of Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa, was able to get the contract for 85 hectares of agricultural land intended for a relocation site however it will evict and dislocate the peasants working on the land as CARP beneficiaries and members of the Agrarian Reform Communities of San Jose del Monte.

P-Noy also tries to evade the issues of Sabah- Malaysia because of the businesses and investments of his uncles particularly Peping and Danding Cojuangco in Malaysia. Included here are the Oil Palm Investment of Malaysia worth P23 Billions in the Philippines.

The Cojuangco family controls the air transportation. Tonyboy Cojuangco Jr owns 60% of the Air Asia Phils, subsidiary of Air Asia, a carrier of Malaysia. Lately Air Asia Phils acquire 49% 0f Zest Air. San Miguel Corporation (SMC) of Danding Cojuangco owns the Philippine Airlines (PAL).

Petron (51% owned by Danding) was able to complete its buy out of Exxon Mobil in Malaysia and the Port Dickenson Refinery near Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

The Filipino people will not expect anything substantially good from the Aquino government if they will not struggle to change the system. Because the Cojuangcos control the oil industry, we will expect more oil price hikes. Prices of basic goods will also continue to rise, more peasants will be dislocated in the countryside as well as informal settlers in the urban areas, our labor force will continue to be exported and our mineral resources exploited by foreigners under the Public-Private Partnership Program.

The Aquino regime is only adding fire to the burning desire of the masses for revolutionary change. This regime heightens the hatred of the masses to the prevailing system that is why despite all the lies, treachery and fascism of the ruling regime the national democratic revolution continues.
Broad repudiation of Aquino’s SONA reflects regime isolation from people

Communist Party of the Philippines
July 28, 2013

Over the past week, Aquino’s state of the nation address delivered last July 22 has been repudiated by broad sections of the Filipino people. This reflects the increasing isolation of the Aquino regime which for three years has ruled on the force of armed coercion, intimidation and suppression, masked with lies, media spins and publicity gimmicks. As before, Aquino manipulates and misrepresents public opinion, conceals the worsening conditions of the people, hides the rottenness of his “righteous” regime and justifies his regime’s subservience to foreign big capitalists and local big business.

The sharpest criticism and rejection of Aquino’s speech has come from the toiling masses of peasants, workers, urban poor, migrant workers and their families, jeepney drivers, students and other sectors. Church and other middle forces organizations as well contest Aquino’s claims of change and progress. Widespread cyncicism meets Aquino’s claims of “righteous path” and “good governance”.

Aquino’s speech is being roundly criticized for having failed to address the pressing issues being confronted daily by the toiling masses. In his close to two-hour speech, Aquino devoted not a single word to the sharp rise in the prices of diesel and other petroleum products since May which has roused the people to demand the repeal of the oil deregulation law and an end to the dominance of the foreign monopoly companies over the local oil industry.

He is also being vigorously denounced for his failure to address the Filipino workers’ demand for a substantial increase in the daily minimum wage, as well as an end to the preponderance of contractualization and other flexible labor schemes which subject workers to worse forms of oppression and exploitation.

Aquino did not show an iota of concern for the worsening problem of unemployment, something which could not be denied even by government statistics. He was content with boasting about so-called high job acceptance rates for the few hundred graduates of the government technical school (many of whom are actually working under oppressive schemes as “on-the-job” trainees for several months without assurance of hiring).

Aquino asserts that students and workers need only to undergo technical training to be assured of jobs while his government can continue to pursue the policies of anti-industrialization. He makes false claims of “job opportunities” when there is actually no massive hiring drive by local firms. That labor export has almost doubled since Aquino assumed power underscores Aquino’s failure to address the people’s demands for local jobs.

Aquino is being denounced for making false claims of progress in the distribution of the Cojuangco-Aquino’s Hacienda Luisita land. The farm workers of Hacienda Luisita reject Aquino’s claims that the distribution of the Luisita land is set to be completed by September. They point out how the Aquino regime is making use of the bureaucracy to put up one scheme after another to divide the farm workers, subject them to oppressive amortization plan and compel them to follow a cropping scheme determined by the Cojuangco-Aquinos. Aquino’s Luisita land distribution is a big evil joke against the peasants and farm workers.

Claims of victories of the “righteous path” is being confronted by widespread cynicism. Aquino makes empty boasts of anti-corruption drive in the notorious public works department which has supposed to have saved billions of pesos for the government. The truth is not a single bureaucrat in the public works department has been charged and made to pay for widespread corruption. They continue to benefit from such old corrupt practices as “reblocking” or digging up and re-asphalting perfectly fine roads to justify the allocation of funds.

Aquino’s public disparage of middle-level bureaucrats whom he claims are either corrupt or inefficient is being met with widespread cynicism. It has become apparent that in publicly censuring the officials of the Bureau of Customs, all that Aquino wanted was for them to submit their resignations in order to give him a free hand to select who to retain and remove, without benefit of due process and without anyone being made accountable for their crimes. In the end, all that Aquino wanted was to remove key customs officials who form part of rival cliques and thus ensure full control of the customs bureau by removing officials who do not form part of his “righteous” gang.

The people’s cynicism regarding Aquino’s “righteous path” and “good governance” heightens as it becomes increasingly clear to them that such propaganda serves only to camouflage the Aquino clique’s own corruption. Aquino has replaced the old with the new in the “weather-weather lang `yan” mode of Philippine reactionary realpolitik.

Aquino’s endless “righteous path” blabbering cannot conceal the fact that smuggling continues to rise. Statistics show that smuggling under the Aquino regime has worsened at least three times since its assumption to power three years ago. Rice smuggling, in particular, continues to worsen. Aquino boasts of reduced importation of rice since 2010. However, rice smuggling continues to rise, filling the increasing demand while local rice production remain stagnant.

Aquino is utterly callous in insisting on outright antipeople measures such as pushing for an increase in train fares (justified by making false claims that actual fares cost P60 and that government is subsidizing as much as P45 per passenger when, in fact, end-to-end fare is only actually less than P10) and an increase in premium payments by SSS members (when not a single one has been taken to account for past anomalies involving the use of SSS funds for questionable purchases and private investments).

Negative public reaction to Aquino’s address is being counteracted by Aquino’s Yellow Army of publicity specialists and media managers. Over the past few days, they have released manipulated survey results claiming Aquino’s approval ratings are rising further, however contradictory this is to its own results showing that Aquino’s performance was rated as “barely passing” or “pasang awa.” The Yellow media is hard at work to paint the impossible scenario of a perennially popular president amidst a grave economic crisis and widespread armed suppression and increasing cases of human rights violations.

Aquino’s speech was an ode to neoliberalism. It was a vain attempt to justify the perpetuation of the imperialist-dictated policies which have subjected the Filipino people to grave hardships and sufferings. Not only did Aquino’s speech fail to reflect the real conditions of the Filipino people, it engaged in outright deception in order to conceal the rottenness of his regime and make people cling to false hopes of change. With his armed police swinging truncheons against bloodied protesters, Aquino sought to drown the people’s grievances with his empty soundbytes.

The Filipino people should unite to further expose the anti-people, anti-democratic and puppet Aquino regime. They should unmask Aquino’s “righteous path” as nothing but a propaganda concoction to conceal the corruption of the Aquino-Cojuangco clique. They should expose the continuing problem of landlessness which subject the peasant majority to feudal and semifeudal exploitation. They should expose the neoliberal policies that serve foreign and local big capitalists interests and cause the Filipino people widespread sufferings.

Aquino’s speech portends greater hardships for the Filipino people in the remaining three years of his regime. As a result of Aquino’s adamant refusal to heed the nationalist and democratic demands of the Filipino people, the crisis of the semicolonial and semifeudal system is bound to worsen. The crisis of the ruling political system is bound to intensify and challenge Aquino’s political power. The grave crisis will surely rouse greater mass democratic struggles that will coincide with the further intensification of the people’s armed resistance over the next three years.

Aquino employing Marcosian tactics to quell dissent—CPP

Communist Party of the Philippines
July 24, 2013

The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) condemned the Aquino regime and its police forces for brutally attacking demonstrators to prevent them from marching towards the Batasang Pambansa where Benigno Aquino III was set to deliver his state of the nation address at the opening of the Philippine congress.

At least 20,000 workers, peasants, students, urban poor, women and other sectors marched in the streets leading to the Batasan building in order to voice out their grievances and air their demands for jobs, higher wages, land reform, higher social spending, a stop to privatization schemes, an end to spiraling prices of oil and basic commodities and a stop to corruption under the Aquino regime.

“The CPP denounces the Aquino regime for employing Marcosian tactics of suppression against the people’s democratic rights in the vain attempt to prevent them from effectively voicing out their demands,” said the CPP.

“The Aquino regime carried out a series of measures to stop the demonstrations, including the denial of a ‘permit’ to hold a demonstration at the Batasang Pambansa, setting up police and military checkpoints in Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, Bulacan and other nearby provinces where participants where held at bay and prevented from proceeding to Quezon City, setting up road blocks and barriers at the highway leading to the Batasang Pambansa and the deployment of at least 5,000 police personnel to block the roads and prevent marchers from advancing.”

Scores of demonstrators were injured when truncheon-wielding policemen mercilessly swung at demonstrators who where trying to bypass the police barricades. At least 40 rallyists, including students, the elderly, women and workers were reported to have been hospitalized or provided emergency medical treatment.

“Aquino is acting more and more like the old dictator Marcos and all succeeding oppressive regimes in employing the full force of the police and military to prevent organizations of the toiling masses to demonstrate in the streets,” pointed out the CPP.

“The CPP denounces Aquino’s media officials, spinmeisters and yellow media managers for disparaging the anti-Aquino mass demonstrations by highlighting and blaming the rallies for the traffic jam (actually caused by the police roadblocks and barricades) in order to draw attention away from the fact that the people’s basic right to assemble and demonstrate were being violated openly and with impunity.”

“It is unfortunate that some news reporters made such a big fuss of the fact that some demonstrators threw a few water bottles and a rock or two at the police, but did not seem to mind that hundreds of truncheon-wielding policemen were swinging left and right at the bare heads of demonstrators or that demonstrators who were picked up by the police were being mandhandled and treated like criminals.”


Three of the 41 victims of the violent dispersal launched
by the PNP units while negotiations were going on ▼
77-year-old SELDA member, Rodolfo Del Rosario


Sigaw ng Bayan: Wakasan ang kahirapan at karahasan!
Kodao Phils

SONA protest violently dispersed by police
Tudla Productions

Police officer attacks journalists covering protest

Pinoy Weekly


Thomas Van Beersum participated in the SONA ng BAYAN and got the ire of the authorities
after he complained to a police about the violent dispersal by the PNP units of the protesters.