Book Launch:
Louie Jalandoni, Revolutionary
An Illustrated Biography

 

Luciano Salazar Hall, UP Bahay ng Alumni

 

April 25, 2015

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NDFP negotiating panel  chair Luis Jalandoni and panel member Coni Ledesma
 

Luis Jalandoni and Ina Alleco Silverio, book author
 
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Book's art director Renan Ortiz introduces some of the illustrators:
Fernando Argosino, Leonilo Doloricon, Roberto Elias, Mervin Malonzo, Enrico Maniago, Max Baluyot,
cover artist Rafael Maniago, book designer and layout artist Jaco Payawal
and Managing Editor Walkie MIraña
     

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Message on the launching of Ka Louie Jalandoni’s illustrated biography

April 25, 2015
 

Logo.ndfp

NDFP National Democratic Front of the Philippines

 

By FRANK FERNANDEZ
Spokesperson
NDFP Negros Island Chapter


The revolutionary forces and allied organizations of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines in the island of Negros convey their warmest solidarity greetings to fellow revolutionaries, friends and guests attending today’s book launch of Louie Jalandoni: Revolutionary, An Illustrated Biography by the contemporary progressive writer Ina Alleco R. Silverio, and also the celebration of the 42nd founding anniversary of NDFP.


Let us take this occasion as an opportunity to further strengthen our unity and resolve towards the realization of the national and democratic aspirations of the Filipino people.
 

In truth, giving a message about the life of Ka Louie poses a great difficulty. For it might be wanting in portraying the greatness of a man so well-loved by the masses, especially the peasants, farm workers and mill workers of Negros sugarlandia, respected and emulated by the Church people, and much reviled by the class enemy.
 

Knowing the life of Ka Louie would give us valuable lessons what it means to serve the people wholly and entirely.


I was a young seminarian in the late 60s when I first came to know Ka Louie as Father Louie Jalandoni. He was then a newly ordained priest and just designated by the charismatic Bishop Antonio Y. Fortich as head of the Social Action Center that served as the leading arm of the diocese in its pastoral program in response to the prevailing social condition.


The chronic crisis of the semi-colonial and semi-feudal ruling system in the country was profoundly reflected in the local situation of Negros, aptly described by Bishop Fortich as a social volcano about to explode.


The comprador and landlord classes subjected the peasants, hacienda farm workers and sugar milling central workers to intolerable exploitation and oppression. Their crying need for justice was deafening but no hope was found within the system, leading them to the path of struggle for genuine social transformation.


The unfolding of the national democratic movement in the national capital and later on nationwide, and the Catholic Church’s teachings through the Vatican Council II and various social encyclicals had facilitated the diocese pastoral option of taking side with the exploited and the oppressed.


With the blessing of the good bishop, Father Louie and his Social Action Office immediately embarked on a pastoral program that brought the diocesan clergy, other religious people, seminarians and lay leaders in close link with the struggle of the people for justice.


Among those who whole-heartedly responded to the groundbreaking efforts of Father Louie in bringing the Church people to the struggle of the masses in building a truly just and humane society was a nun from Silay, Negros Occidental, named Sister Coni Ledesma.


As their commitment and involvement with the people’s struggle intensified and soared to greater heights, they grew closer and eventually fell for each other. Later, they got married, at a time when the fangs of open fascist rule by the US-Marcos regime began to show with the growth of the people’s mass movements


Father Louie’s ministry for the poor afforded him with a living education about realities of social inequality in an unjust social system. His world outlook drawn from his landlord class origin and bourgeois influence was constantly challenged and diminished by his constant contact with the struggling peasant masses victimized by landgrabbing, sacadas cruelly treated and deprived of their meager wages, mill workers suffering from union busting and unpaid labor, and other victims of social injustice.


His closeness with the suffering masses and his encounters with despotism and state repression would further sharpen his political education about the realities of social classes and class struggle, and the necessity of the national democratic revolution especially when its second propaganda movement had spread throughout the country and had exerted influence in the Church.


Father Louie Jalandoni’s fight for justice was highlighted in the much talked about incidents where the antagonistic confrontation between comprador-landlord despotism and the struggling masses was sharply focused.


Until now, the stories are retold by the masses about Father Louie Jalandoni who fought closely with the ranks of striking mill workers in Victorias Milling Company, Negros Occidental; the awakening and struggle of the farm workers of sugar plantations that gave birth to the National Federation of Sugarcane Workers (NFSW); the rising peasants in Barangay (village) Hiyang-hiyang of Cadiz, who dared to challenge Congressman Armin Gustilo, then the most notorious warlord of Negros. While the masses of the exploited and oppressed accepted Fr. Louie as their own, the landlord class maligned him and wished him crucified.


As a priest, he helped pave the way for the Church people to connect the Gospel to the current realities of our country and became active participants in societal concerns. As an activist, he was at the forefront with the masses in various struggles, concerted actions and campaigns, not lording over them but befriending and learning from them and sharing their woes, hopes, dreams and aspirations.


He has contributed in many ways in the advances and development of the revolutionary movement. As a peace advocate, for years he toiled for the peace process to advance. As a people’s diplomat, he represented par excellence the revolutionary movement and the Filipino people in proto-diplomatic affairs and people-to-people relations around the world.


To celebrate Ka Louie’s profound, meaningful, colorful and enthralling life in one book may not be enough. But it’s a good start. To know the man whom the masses of Negros fondly remember as Kaupod Louie.
 

I wish Ka Louie good health and more years of service to the people and the revolution. And also, I would like to congratulate Ina Alleco R.Silverio for her commendable work. Thank you. Mabuhay tayong lahat. Sulong kag padayon tubtob sa kadalag-an!

 

     
Rafael Maniago desgned the cover of the book
     

Gabriela partylist reps Emmi de Jesus and Luz Ilagan
and MILF peace panel member Abdulah Camlian
           
     
     
     

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The Political as Popular, The Popular as Political

By Rolando Tolentino
Dean, UP College of Mass Communications


Review of Louie Jalandoni Revolutionary: An illustrated history, Ina Alleco R. Silverio, et al (Utrecht: International Network of Philippine Studies, 2015)
           

            Revolution-making is a tricky business.  It has to create its own culture, or hand in hand with it is an ongoing cultural revolution, to offer to its participants and to the larger citizenry a parallel culture to the state.  Revolution, after all, represents the necessary aspiration and mode of transformation to be able to truly imagine that another world is possible.  Integral to revolution-making, therefore, is the mobilization of art and culture through the politicization of these forms to popularize its cause.


            The national democratic movement has not been remised in offering parallel and alternative cultural forms:  mimeographed publications beginning in the 1960s, blossoming of protest mural and visual arts, songs, literature and theater since the 1970s; to more recent and consistent use of interactive effigies, graffiti, online publications and video productions.   These art forms are linked to the social contexts of reception and use. Giant effigies are burned at the anti-State of the Nation Address, protest slogans and art on the streets are covered with new paint, and live performances are rarely documented.  With the exception of criticism and scholarly books and Arkibong Bayan, an online portal of recent political activities managed by Mon Ramirez, there are no archives of the various protest art and cultural forms. 


            Books remain vital in the documentation of a more lasting political art.  One major stream in the production of books in revolution-making is the narration of the lives of the leaders and revolutionaries.  Jun Cruz Reyes’ Armando (2006) retold the life of revolutionary leader Amando Teng.  Ina Alleco Silverio’s Ka Bel (2010) is on the biography of labor leader Crispin Beltran.  Judy Taguiwalo’s edited Recca: From Diliman to the Cordilleras (2015) collected essays, poetry, testimonials and statements on the life and death of martyr Recca Noelle Monte.  An addition to this is growing literature is Silverio’s Louie Jalandoni Revolutionary.


            Biographies and autobiographies, and also film and television bios in the Philippines are part of a political cottage industry.  I remember hearing a remark of an American historian saying that compared to other kinds of books, there was just too much biography books published in the country.  Aspiring politicians use comics during elections to recast heroism in their story and interest in running for the voting public, comprised mainly of the poor and disenfranchised.  Established politicians use biography to recast their vantage position in the retelling of national history.  Prominent business people and socialite-philanthropists use biographies to extol their senior prominence in these fields.


            Biographies in revolution-making offer a parallel contrast to biographies of state personalities.  Revolutionary biographies primarily engage in the necessity of revolution.  Louie Jalandoni Revolutionary is as much as on the life of the National Democratic Front (NDF) leader as it is of the Philippine revolution.  The newness in the project, however, is in the use of a popular form harnessed from the comics and graphic novel.  But unlike the graphic novel that visualizes the dark heroism and chosen quest of its character, the book interjects this form with the much larger and real scope covered by the written and graphic, the personal and political, the individual and revolutionary history.   Silverio’s writing elucidates not the heroism of a revolutionary leader but the saga of a person who transcends class privileges and political limitations to enrich the national democratic struggle. 


            Silverio’s section introductions encapsulate the progression in Jalandoni’s life and the episode’s zeitgeist (defining mood of the time).  Silverio undertakes a difficult writing, precisely as she has forewarned in the introduction, the biographical subject was “self-effacing and self-depreciating, almost to a fault.”  Added to this is the expanse of Jalandoni and the revolution’s life, defined by its founding, shift in primary modality of struggle during martial law, mistakes during Corazon Aquino’s term, the rectification movement and its consequences.  It is a writing of epic tale and proportion.  However, Silverio manages to create a structured spine of writing that covers the scope of individual and movement histories.


            Her writing also provided the impetus for the visualization of the six participating illustrators.  What stood out were the visual works that harnessed the comic and graphic forms for a political undertaking.  The illustrators of the chapters “A Charmed Life,” “Fr. Jalandoni,” “An Activist Priest,” “Liberation,” “Life as a Political Prisoner,” and “Escape to Hong Kong” bring forth a newness to the familiar conventions, even as the visuals were sometimes downplayed by the density of texts.  These chapters had the robustness of life and struggle despite the overwhelming events in the substories and the bleakness of the images which are combined from the graphic novel and social realism. 


            The book is both political and popular art.  As political art, it discusses mass disenfranchisement and seeks social transformation as evidenced in the life and body of Jalandoni.  As popular art, it seeks to appeal to a larger audience.  In this case, the intellectuals and middle-class, and those sympathetic or can be convinced to the cause of revolution-making.  As the book also combines written and visual art forms, the inter-art result provides a newer literacy to a younger public of readers.  What would be a good direction though for this project is to translate the book into various Philippine languages, helping ensure that with access to language comes access to the stories of Jalandoni and the revolution.


            Jalandoni’s inspired and inspiring life account creates a prism that draws the public to what Jonas Staal in his Preface has stated for the artists and their art, which can also be said for citizens and their claims, “to challenge the status quo, and dedicate ourselves to histories and worlds still in the making; to tell the stories of those who struggle outside the eyes of mass media; to tell, listen and learn of the many possible worlds that the Filipino revolutionaries and their many comrades across the world are fighting for.”  But the book inspires because the subject of biography (Jalandoni) is also the subject of history (Philippine revolution).  Jalandoni and many more others like him also become the subject of the Philippine revolution, surpassing their limitations to live a life in revolution-making.  It is a subject-formation ever in progress and serves to inspire newer generations of activists and revolutionaries.


            Karl Marx said that “art is always and everywhere a secret confession, and at the same time the immortal movement of its time.”  As Jalandoni and the revolution are public secrets, the book is also a confessional art, a confession to the causes of individual being and revolutionary modernity.  In the arts and culture sphere, being a revolutionary and the idea and praxis of revolution are sustained as parallel progressive cultural formations to the Philippine state.  This book on Jalandoni is also a book on the Philippine revolution, claiming and reclaiming the righteousness and justness of revolution-making.  In our time and term in history, as Jalandoni and the collaborative book project suggest, revolution is our shared immortal legacy.   Let’s continue to make it happen.


            Mabuhay ang mga artista at pangkulturang manggagawa at kilusan, mabuhay si Ka Louie, mabuhay ang ika-42 anibersaryo ng NDF, mabuhay ang rebolusyon!

     

Click here for video of opening remarks by Coni Ledesma

     
Film Director Joel Lamangan reads the message
of Jonas Staal, Founder, New World Summit
Click here for video
Rey Casambre of the Philippine Peace Center
reads the message of Fr. Frank Fernandez,
Spokesperson, NDFP Negros Island chapter
Click here for video

National Artist Bienvenido Lumbera delivers his book review
Click here for video
           
     

Dean Rolando Tolentino of the UP College of Mass Communications
reads his book review
Click here for the video

Lisa Ito-Tapang, instructor of the UP College of Finw Arts
reads her book review
Click here for the video
     
     
     
 
==          
     
Ina Alleco Silverio and Luis Jalandoni delivered their response and closing remarks
Click here for video of the response of Luis Jalandoni

Click here for video of the response of Ina Silverio
           

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Panels of Negotiation: Komiks as chronicle of change

Lisa Ito

 

Book review of Louie Jalandoni, Revolutionary: An Illustrated Biography (2015),  launched on 25 April 2015 at the Bahay ng Alumni, University of the Philippines Diliman

 

I first heard of the name Luis Jalandoni as a young campus journalist, assigned to cover a university forum on the peace negotiations between the GRP and the National Democratic Front. Back then, I remember being slightly amazed upon learning that the chairman of the NDFP’s negotiating panel was a priest turned revolutionary, and have curiously wondered how and why this came to be.

 

The book Louie Jalandoni, Revolutionary: An Illustrated Biography surfaces the extraordinary story behind this transformation. What makes it doubly special is how it mainly employs komiks to do so—the local use of which can be traced to the late 1920s in the history of Philippine art. But unlike komiks in the tradition of Kenkoy, which are loved for their entertaining and humorous bent, the ones in the book are more historical and narrative in nature: committed to portraying a revolutionary’s life through realism. 

 

The book is stunning on its own, as a visual art project. But it also harks back to a longer tradition of cultural resistance using popular art forms. Over the past four decades, the national democratic movement has used comics, cartoons and illustration for propaganda and educational materials, to convey political messages to different publics. Art historian Alice Guillermo, for instance, has written about how organisations such as the NPAA ’71 and the social realists produced comics versions of Amado Guerrero’s Lipunan at Rebolusyong Pilipino as well as materials for sectoral campaigns. Underground publications, such as Ulos, also made use of these. All tried to infuse revolutionary content and purpose into popular forms.

 

Like many of these past projects of the movement, the book Louie Jalandoni, Revolutionary uses and at the same time departs from tropes found in traditional komiks. Yes, it recounts adventures; though these are staged not in mythical far-away lands but in the countrysides and cities of the Philippines, where semi-feudal exploitation and fascist rule are everyday realities. Yes, it describes daring exploits and deeds: but these are achieved not through the wielding of supernatural or superhuman powers, but through a resolve to stand by what is just. Yes, it even offers its share of romance with a love story: one arising not from a predestined, inevitable meeting of hearts, but one forged during the shared struggle for the people.

 

The book is commendable for the accounts, testimonies and memories gathered into a single narrative by its author, Ina Alleco Silverio. Credit should also be given to the artists who made visible the facets and transitional phases of Ka Louie’s life. They represent different generations of progressive artists based inside and outside of the Philippines, each with distinct styles and artistic strategies that complemented the texts.

 

Utilizing new media such as digital painting, Bobert Elyas combines digital technology and photographic archives to convey both the nostalgia and grit of Ka Louie’s childhood, marked by affluence and the experience of war. Max Santiago also combines illustration with digital elements to depict Jalandoni’s journey into the simple life of priesthood: weaving through slums and rural communities, finishing his itinerant studies and settling back in Negros.

 

Enrico Maniago’s delicate and wiry style portrays in great detail the unease and ferment of feudal Negros, conveying not only a sense of place but also the encounters with exploitation that occur within these spaces. Renan Ortiz’s strong figures mirrors the resoluteness of Ka Louie’s transition and recruitment into the revolutionary cause. Leonilo Doloricon’s disciplined linear aesthetic and strong sense of composition complements the narratives of Jalandoni’s life in the underground and his participation in the resistance against Martial Law.

 

Other turning points in Ka Louie’s biography are also effectively captured by Fernando Argosino, who uses dramatic contrasts between light and dark to portray life in prison, and Mervin Malonzo, whose expressionistic style of illustration gave a psychological intensity to vignettes and portraits of Jalandoni during his escape and exile.

 

Last but not least are the contributions of Jaco Payawal to the layout of the book and the portrait of Jalandoni b¥ Rafael Maniago for the cover, which captures the revolutionary optimism that has sustained him and many others until today.

 

The power of the image lies in how it can capture not only visible reality, but also, somehow, unseen shifts in consciousness. These changing portraits of Jalandoni in the book reveal his process of transformation: from a child within a society in transition to a steadfast priest, dedicated to service; from a respected supporter of the underground movement to, indeed, a statesman, of the revolutionary government that the NDF also embodies. 

 

Altogether, these panels of composite images and texts work to build a portrait of a comrade who not only lived through the most interesting of times, but who also served as a steadfast pillar for radical social change.

 

I view the biography as a still unfinished project, for Ka Louie and Ka Coni are here with us today: ready to continue this narrative through their presence and practice alongside many others in the struggle for national liberation and democracy.

 

As individuals within a movement, I think each revolutionary has their own special story of transformation. Ka Louie and Ka Coni, thank you for sharing yours. It is humbling to think of how your extraordinary journey from Negros to the Netherlands belongs to a larger narrative of change: part of the ever shifting expanse and advance of the Philippine revolution.

 

Diwang Walang Takot, Patak ng Ulan and Pandaigdigang Kapatiran
 performed by Artist, Inc., Southern Tagalog
Click here for video
Rica Nepomuceno, Voice Professor, UP College of Music:
Bridge Over Troubled Waters and Filipino translation by Bienvenido Lumbera
Click here for video
If the Land Could Speak
poem read by Sarah Elago
Chairperson, National Union of Students of the Philippines (NUSP)
Click here for video
     
     
           
     
     
     
     

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The civil war in the Philippines
and the status of peace talks
between the GPH and NDFP
October 20, 2014

Thank you very much for inviting me to speak in this people’s forum to launch the campaign “Justice for Lacub” as a response to the grave war crimes and violations of human rights and international humanitarian law committed by the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Aquino government in Lacub, Abra last month.

 

The topic you have assigned to me is “The civil war in the Philippines and the status of peace talks”.

 

In the current civil war in the Philippines, the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) represents in the peace negotiations, the people’s democratic government which is a co-belligerent of the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP/GPH).

 

Two states exist in the Philippines: one is the revolutionary, representing the people’s democratic power, and the other is counterrevolutionary, representing the foreign and domestic oppressors and exploiters.

 

The people’s democratic government has effective power over an extensive population and territory with organs of political power in 71 out of 81 provinces in the country. It is led by the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP). It has the New People’s Army (NPA) as the main component of state power. The NDFP encompasses a wide array of political forces with 18 allied revolutionary organizations and mass organizations of workers, peasants, women, youth, children and cultural activists.

 

On the other hand, the reactionary government, currently headed by the Aquino clique, is subservient to US imperialism and utilizes the Armed Forces of the Philippines, the Philippine National Police, the CAFGU and private armies to suppress the people. They carry out the Oplan Bayanihan, patterned after the US Counter-Insurgency Guide. They perpetrate atrocious and numerous violations of human rights (HR) and international humanitarian law (IHL).

 

In carrying out their national liberation struggle through a protracted people’s war, the revolutionary forces are guided by the Program for a People’s Democratic Revolution, the Guide for Establishing the People’s Democratic Government, and the Rules of the New People’s Army.

 

In 1991, the NDFP declared its adherence to international humanitarian law, Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions and Protocol II. Furthermore, in July 1996 it issued the NDFP Declaration of Adherence to the Geneva Conventions and Protocol I and deposited it with the Swiss Federal Council, the official depositary of IHL and also provided a copy to the International Committee of the Red Cross, the official guardian of IHL.

 

AFP Violations of International Humanitarian Law in Operations in Lacub last month

 

Taking the data provided by the Fact Finding Mission to Lacub and other reports, it is clear that the 41st Infantry Battalion under the command of Lt. Col. Rogelio Noora and 2LT Joe Mari Landicho and Capt. Deo Martinez as officers on the ground, committed atrocious war crimes and crimes against humanity and other grave violations of IHL

 

Grave violations of IHL and constituting war crimes are the brutal killing, torture, mutilation and desecration of Ka Rekka Monte, NPA member, and similar killing and desecration of 6 of her NPA comrades, and the extrajudicial killing of civilians Engineer Fidela Salvador and Noel Viste. The six NPA comrades of Ka Rekka, honored as people’s martyrs like her, are Arnold Jaramillo, Pedring Banggao, Robert Beyao, Brandon Magranga, Robert Perez, and Ricardo Reyes.

 

The fact that Ka Recca suffered no bullet wound, as the autopsy of the NBI showed, indicates that she was captured alive. She should have been respected as an “hors de combat”. Instead she was subjected to willful killing, torture and inhuman treatment which are grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions and declared war crimes by the International Criminal Court (ICC).

 

2Lt. Landicho, Capt. Martinez, and Lt. Col. Noora should be held accountable for these war crimes. The responsibility of the Commanding Officer of the 5th Infantry Division under which the 41st IB operates, should also be investigated.

 

The AFP use of civilians as human shields in coercing 24 civilians to be human shields on September 5, 2014 is likewise a war crime. Using human shields is prohibited under customary international law and declared a war crime by the International Criminal Tribunal for Former Yugoslavia (ICTFY) either as inhuman and cruel treatment or as an outrage upon personal dignity. It is likewise declared a war crime by the ICC.

 

Indiscriminate firing directed towards the houses of civilians in Talampac Proper and Pacoc, Talampac by the soldiers of the 41st IB stationed at So. Bantugo, Poblacion, Lacub on September 5, between 9:00 and 10:00 p.m is also a war crime. IHL strictly forbids attacks against the civilian population and civilians.

 

CARHRIHL Provisions Strictly Prohibiting IHL Violations

 

These war crimes are also strictly prohibited by provisions in the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL) signed in 1998 and approved by the Principals of both Parties, NDFP Chairperson Mariano Orosa and then GRP President Joseph Estrada.

 

CARHRIHL, Part IV Respect for IHL, Art. 3 prohibits “at any time and in any place: violence to life and person, particularly killing or causing injury, physical or mental torture, mutilation, cruel or degrading treatment, desecration of the remains of those who have died in the course of armed conflict …” Art. 4 states: “Civilian population and civilians shall not be the object of attack, they shall be protected from indiscriminate aerial bombardment, strafing, artillery and mortar fire…”

 

It is worth noting that the CARHRIHL authorizes the investigation and trial by the NDFP and the GRP of those accused of violations of HR and IHL. Cf. CARHRIHL, Part III Respect for Human Rights, Art. 4 and Part IV Respect for International Humanitarian Law, Art. 6. These also state: “The victims or their survivors shall be indemnified.”

 

This means that the revolutionary justice system of the people’s democratic government can institute investigation, prosecution and trial of those accused of IHL violations. Therefore, the victims and their families may approach the people’s democratic government through its public prosecutors to file relevant complaints.

 

The CARHRIHL also provides for the filing of such complaints with the Joint Monitoring Committee (JMC) which is mandated by the CARHRIHL to monitor the implementation of CARHRIHL. Such filing may be done through the Joint Secretariat (JS) of the JMC which holds office in Cubao, Quezon City. The JS is composed of the NDFP Nominated Section of the JS and the GPH Section.

Moreover, such complaints may also be raised in the forthcoming International People’s Tribunal against the US-Aquino regime to be held in Washington, USA next year.

 

The Current Status of the Peace Talks

 

A series of consultations between the NDFP Negotiating Panel and a high level delegation of the GPH has resulted in a meeting between the two sides scheduled in Utrecht within the next few days. The two sides are discussing the possible resumption of peace negotiations after the collapse of talks on truce and cooperation last February 2013.

 

There is a new Special Envoy appointed by the Royal Norwegian Government (RNG), the official Third Party Facilitator. She is Elisabeth Slattum who has experience in peace talks in Columbia, Nepal and Haiti. She and Mr. Espen Lindbaeck, the Deputy Director of the Peace and Reconciliation Section of the RNG Foreign Ministry came for talks with the NDFP Negotiating Panel in Utrecht on October 18. This new team of the RNG expressed its willingness to help in the resumption of formal talks and to hold the next meeting of the negotiating panels in Oslo, Norway. We reiterated our readiness to resume formal talks on the basis of past bilateral peace agreements in order to address the roots of the armed conflict.

 

As a goodwill measure to promote peace talks, the revolutionary forces in Mindanao released four Prisoners of War (POWs) on July 29, 2014. They are again offering to release two more POWs, but the AFP is not willing to issue the suspension of offensive military and police operations (SOMO & SOPO) that is needed for the safe and orderly release of the POWs. Peace advocate organizations helped in the release of the POWs last July and they are again trying to facilitate the release of the two POWs. An NPA ceasefire always goes with the SOMO and SOPO.

 

In contrast to these goodwill gestures of the NPA, CPP and NDFP and the call of peace advocates to resume peace talks, the AFP and PNP commit gross violations of HR and IHL, as seen in the AFP operations in Lacub in September, and in so many other areas in the country.


The NDFP deeply appreciates the call of the family of Ka Recca and other peace advocates for the resumption of peace talks between the NDFP and the Aquino regime. Together let us affirm again our commitment to fight for justice, sovereignty, genuine democracy and a just and lasting peace.

     
Gabriela Partylist Rep. Emmi de Jesus
     
Book cover artist Rafael Manaigo
UP Professor Roland Simbulan
Mae Paner (Juana Change)
▲Film Director Joel Lamangan ▼

Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Zarate
 
           
     

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Speech delivered at the Famine Walk, Co. Mayo, Ireland

 

Filipino people strive for food sovereignty, national and social liberation
May 17, 2014



Dear Friends, fellow participants in this Famine Walk,


In the Philippines, there is a fierce struggle for food sovereignty being waged by the working people who produce the food but who are denied their basic right to food, health, and life. Peasants, workers, indigenous people and fisherfolk are among 70% of the population who struggle to survive with only PhP100 or €1.70 per day. This measly amount is insufficient to provide the basic daily need for food. Upon sickness, there is no money for medicines. Much less for housing and schooling.

Why is this such, in a country with 9.7 million hectares of fertile agricultural land, marine resources abounding in fish, rich mineral resources with the country no. 3 in the world in gold deposits, no. 4 in copper, no. 5 in nickel, and no. 6 in chromite.


This situation of hunger, poverty, disease, and death in midst of plenty is, I think, similar to the situation of the Irish people during the famine. As James Connolly pointed out in his book, Labour in Irish History, the Irish people produced enough for the entire population during the famine, in fact, more than double. Enough grains and other food were produced, but these were exported to England. Connolly declared the English administration of Ireland during the famine a colossal crime against the human race.


The current struggle for food sovereignty in the Philippines is the fight against landgrabbers who take away the land of the peasants and indigenous peoples. It is a struggle against the Manila government’s Public Private Partnership program that gives away the land to foreign corporations, mining companies, and agribusines firms. It is also a struggle against Monsanto, Zeneca, Syngenta, and other such corporations that steal the farmers’ seed varieties and render the farmers dependent on genetically modified varieties. The Philippine peasant movement, with two million members, struggles in the legal democratic sphere. It unites with other Asian movements in the Asian Peasant Coalition.


Many more millions of peasants and indigenous peoples struggle in the revolutionary resistance movement. This movement carries out a genuine land reform program in substantial parts of 71 provinces. The program includes rent reduction, elimination of usury, and land distribution. This is the biggest movement for food sovereignty and national and social liberation.


The struggles in the legal democratic sphere and the revolutionary underground aim to change the current exploitative and oppressive system which favors foreign multinationals and their associates of big landlords and big businessmen.


This unjust system started when Spain colonized the Philippines in the 16th century. The colonialists took over the lands and compelled the peasants to pay tribute and subjected them to forced labor and conscription.


The Filipino people waged an armed struggle for independence in 1896. The revolutionary forces won victory and proclaimed the first Philippine Republic. However, the US came and invaded the country.


In quelling the people’s struggle against US annexation, 1.5 million Filipinos or 20% of the population died. The US then imposed its colonial rule and set up its system of exploitation and oppression. In 1946, it granted nominal independence and ruled the country through bureaucrats it had trained, with the collaboration of big landlords and businessmen.


Through policies dictated by the US through the IMF, the World Bank, and the World Trade Organization, in collusion with subservient Philippine governments, the peasants are deprived of their lands in favor of multinational firms like Dole, mining corporations like Xstrata and Glencore, and logging companies. These destroy the livelihood of the peasants and indigenous people, and ravage the environment.

While these multinationals and their local cohorts reap superprofits, the working people are denied their basic right to food, health, education and life.


In the face of the intolerable exploitation and oppression, a movement for national and social liberation has arisen since the late 1960s. The struggle for food sovereignty is within this liberation struggle.

Now, may I bring up the Irish connection. I refer to Jack Hynes, a missionary who lived and worked in the Philippines, particularly in the island of Negros. He integrated with the poor people, learning their language.


He stood with them in facing the military who threatened them on behalf of the landgrabbers. He joined the fisherfolk in going out to sea. “They live on the edge of death,” he said, “because of the risks they take.”


When Marcos imposed martial law in 1972, he and his colleagues brought food and supplies to the freedom fighters in the mountains. The dictator launched a policy of encirclement to isolate the revolutionary forces. Jack and his colleagues broke through that encirclement. They transported freedom fighters across enemy lines. Jack rescued torture victims and brought them to safety for medical care.


The revolutionaries most hunted by the dictatorship were retrieved from danger by Jack. He and his colleagues like Pat and Vinny Healey, and Donal MacDonald risked life and limb to help the liberation movement.

In the mid-70s, he left the priesthood and married his soulmate, Lulu. Together with their children, they moved back to Ireland. He was a devoted family man.


He and Lulu continued helping the Filipino people’s liberation movement. Upon the arrest of Fr. Niall O’Brien and eight others, called “The Negros Nine”, Jack and Lulu, with the Filipino Irish Group, launched an effective nationwide campaign for their release.


When Redemptorist priest, Fr. Rudy Romano was disappeared in July 1985, he led the FIG in launching a one-year daily picket at the US embassy to protest Fr. Romano’s abduction.


When Jack Hynes died in 2006, the Filipino people presented Lulu with a wooden sculpture with the inscription, “Jack Hynes, Hero of the Filipino People.”


In his honor, and with the aim of keeping alive his legacy of outstanding solidarity, a group of us Filipinos and Irish people are launching “The Jack Hynes Solidarity Project”, with the assistance of AFRI. Jack was very involved in the Famine Walk; he was present in 1988 at the very first Famine Walk. We sincerely hope that the Jack Hynes Solidarity Project will effectively help in building a strong solidarity between the Irish people and the Filipino people.
 

     
Ferdinand Gaite, COURAGE
     
     
     
     
           
     
  Anakpawis Partylist Rep. Fernando Ka Pando Hicap  
     

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Speech delivered before community leaders of the United Methodist Church and BAYAN-USA

On Talaingod, Civil War and Peace Talks
April 16, 2014



Good evening, Friends and Kababayan, Community and Faith leaders of the United Methodist Church, and members of mass organizations of BAYAN.


I extend warmest greetings to the great indigenous people of Talaingod, Davao del Norte, for their persistent fighting spirit, opposing the landgrabbing of Alcantara and Sons since the 1990s and up to now, and their resistance to destructive mining. They are now subjected to the most brutal militarization causing their renewed uprooting. They indeed deserve our strong solidarity.


This flagrant human rights violation by the military and the Aquino regime is repeated in many parts of the Philippines. As the Ata-Manobos in Talaingod accuse the 60thInfantry Battalion of the Philippine Army, and the 4th Special Forces of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, the Cordillera people condemn the brutal massacre of the Ligiw family in Abra and demand the pull-out of the 47thInfantry Battalion, Philippine Army, whom they accuse of many human rights violations.


Similar militarization and uprooting are caused in Bicol, other parts of Luzon, and the Visayas. The policy of the Aquino regime to favor foreign destructive mining is carried out with brutal militarization.


In addition, the neoliberal policies of the regime, of privatization, deregulation, liberalization and denationalization, are causing great havoc on the lives of the workers, peasants, indigenous people, urban poor, fisherfolk, women and youth, and other sectors of the population.


Because of the intolerable exploitation and oppression of the ruling system of big landlords and compradors backed by the US, there has been a civil war in the Philippines since 1969. The liberation forces upholding and defending the rights of the exploited and oppressed are waging a war for national and social liberation. The New People’s Army led by the Communist Party of the Philippines, and the forces of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines, through 45 years of heroic struggle, have established people’s organs of democratic power in substantial portions of 71 out of the total 81 provinces in the country.


The NDFP has held peace negotiations with the Manila government and has signed more than ten agreements since 1992. The aim of the NDFP is to address the roots of the armed conflict, such as land reform and national industrialization, in order to achieve a just and lasting peace.


The Aquino government, however, has refused to comply with the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG) and the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL). It has declared the Framework Agreement, The Hague Joint Declaration, “a document of perpetual division.”

It arrested NDFP consultants Benito Tiamzon and Wilma Austria on 22 March 2014. It refuses to honor the JASIG. It detains them and 13 other NDFP consultants.


It keeps in jail 470 political prisoners, charging them with criminal offenses, in violation of the CARHRIHL.


On 27 March 2014, it arrested Andrea Rosal who is due to give birth next month. She is the daughter of the late NPA Commander Gregorio “Ka Roger” Rosal. When she was three years old in 1989, she was snatched from her grandmother’s arms to pressure Ka Roger to surrender. A powerful campaign by Ka Roger and supporters compelled the military to release her.


Extrajudicial killings under Aquino have reached 188 cases, an average of almost one each week.


The NDFP demands the release of the 15 NDFP peace consultants and the political prisoners. We demand a stop to the militarization of civilian communities.


Because of the violations by the Aquino regime of the peace agreements, the peace talks are stalled. However, the NDFP supports the Royal Norwegian Government’s proposal for holding informal talks in Oslo in late May 2014. Peace advocate organizations in the Philippines and abroad also support the holding of such talks. The Aquino regime has not responded.


You can continue your strong campaign of solidarity for the Ata-Manobos and other indigenous people struggling for their ancestral domain and resisting militarization.


You can also help in campaigning for the release of Tiamzon and Austria, and the other NDFP consultants.


You could also campaign for the release of Andrea Rosal.

You can demand the resumption of peace talks between the NDFP and the Aquino government based on the binding past peace agreements.


Your suggested action of “No US Taxes for human rights violations!” is very timely and will be effective in supporting the Filipino people’s struggle for a just and lasting peace.
 

Thank you!
 

     
     
     
     
     
           
     

NDFP Negotiating Panel Luis Jalandoni and MILF Peace Panel member Abdulah Camlian
 
     

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Speech delivered in Amsterdam, the Netherlands on the occasion of the 45th Founding Anniversary of the NPA

Strengthening the anti-feudal united front
March 30, 2014

It was in the hinterlands of Negros in Central Philippines, shortly after Marcos imposed martial law. Poor peasants discussed with me their struggle to hold on to their land. Big landlords supported by the military were driving them out. One peasant declared: "_Hasta may hangin and ilong ko, indi ko gid pagbaya-an and duta ko!_” In his down to earth peasant way he asserted: “As long as there is air in my nostrils, I will not leave my land.”

Comrades and friends, I wish to speak about the anti-feudal united front of the revolutionary movement. I cite this concrete experience with the poor peasants, because their resolute determination to fight for their land is the rock-like foundation of the anti-feudal united front.

The Main Content of the People’s Democratic Revolution

The main content of the people’s democratic revolution is agrarian revolution. This is the basic demand and aspiration of the overwhelming majority of the Philippine population, which is the peasantry. Seventy-five percent of the 100 million population of the Philippines consists of peasants and farm workers. The advance and victory of the people’s democratic revolution depends on the fulfillment of this basic aspiration. It constitutes the most fundamental democratic content of the Philippine revolution.

It is therefore most fitting that the Communist Party of the Philippines sets the anti-feudal united front as a centerpiece of the Philippine revolutionary struggle. “Rely on the poor peasants and farm workers, win over the middle peasants, neutralize the rich peasants, take advantage of the contradictions between the despotic and big landlords on the one hand and the enlightened gentry on the other, in order to destroy landlord power in the countryside. Thus runs the CPP’s policy of anti-feudal united front.

Combination of Agrarian Revolution, Mass Base Building and Armed Struggle

Through the 45 years of the Philippine revolutionary struggle, the combination of agrarian revolution, mass base building and armed struggle has resulted in the building of Red political power in more than 110 guerrilla fronts in 71 out of 81 provinces of the country. The people’s democratic government has been set up in more than ten thousand barrios (villages) and some municipalities.

The minimum program of agrarian revolution consists of the lowering of land rent, the eradication or lessening of usury and the raising of farm workers’ wages. This is carried out in the guerrilla fronts. In some areas, where the peasant association and the people’s army are sufficiently strong, the maximum program of land confiscation and free distribution of land is carried out. The gains in the agrarian revolution benefit many millions of peasants and farm workers.

Additional gains in the agrarian revolution are the improvement of farmgate prices for the peasants’ products, setting up of simple cooperatives, and sideline occupations to increase income. These gains are made possible by the implementation and strengthening of the CPP’s anti-feudal united front. The peasant masses are organized by the CPP and ably supported by the New People’s Army and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP). The NPA defends the peasant masses and their gains.

Health, Education and Cultural Programs

Other campaigns of the peasants and farm workers such as health campaigns, education including revolutionary education, literacy and numeracy, and cultural programs, serve the consolidation of the peasant organizations. People’s medics conduct Klinika ng Bayan(people’s clinic), wherein medical care, acupuncture, herbal medicines, and some Western medicine are provided to the barrio residents. They also give education in hygiene and preventive medical care. Campaigns like anti-malaria are conducted.

Schools on the primary and secondary levels provide literacy and numeracy classes and revolutionary education on Philippine history, the basic problems of imperialism, feudalism and bureaucrat capitalism, and the program of the people’s democratic revolution.

Cultural groups carry out programs of revolutionary songs, poems, theater to inspire the masses and promote a pro-people, scientific and mass culture, drawing from the rich traditions and experience of the revolutionary struggles of the people.
Firm Leadership of the Poor Peasants in the Peasant Associations

The poor peasants and the lower middle peasants who comprise the overwhelming majority of the peasantry take the leadership in the peasant associations. Middle middle and upper middle peasants, driven to deeper poverty by the US-backed Aquino regime’s anti-people and anti-national policies, join the poor and lower middle peasants in militantly opposing the despotic landlords and the Aquino regime.

Rich peasants, many of whom are impoverished by the landgrabbing big landlords, corrupt politicians and military, are neutralized and won over by the peasant associations.

Peasant associations unite with indigenous peoples who struggle against foreign mining companies, that grab their ancestral lands and destroy their livelihood and the environment. They also unite with the fisherfolk who struggle against foreign owned trawlers that destroy their fishing grounds and corrupt politicians who receive bribes from the foreign fishing companies. Lately, the peasants, indigenous people and fisherfolk have endured massive destruction caused by calamities and the Aquino regime’s anti-people policies.

Aquino’s No-Build No Dwell Zones in Yolanda Affected Areas

Aquino has declared “no build and no dwell zones” extending 40 meters from the coastline. This is depriving millions of fisherfolk and- peasants any place to live.

Aquino has allocated these lands to crony capitalist businessmen for building resorts. This scandalous policy of Aquino has enraged the peasants and fisherfolk who mount their militant resistance.

Organs of Political Power in 71 Provinces

Among the gains of the anti-feudal united front is the setting up of organs of political power, based on the mass organizations of workers, peasants, women, youth and children and cultural activists. These organs of democratic power form the people’s democratic government on the barrio level, and in some areas on the municipal level. Red political power has spread throughout 71 provinces of the country.

The gains of the agrarian revolution fire up the enthusiasm of the peasantry for the revolution. They are ready to give their best sons and daughters to the New People’s Army. As the agrarian revolution grows and the mass base building and organs of political power consolidate, the People’s War advances.

The CPP has declared that it aims to reach the stage of strategic stalemate in people’s war, from its current stage of strategic defensive, in the coming years.

Comrades and friends, at the very fundament of all these gains in the wide countryside, correlating dynamically with NDFP and the national united front and revolutionary mass movement in the cities, is the peasant’s love for land and his undying resolve to fight for it. To close my speech, I wish to recite a poem that speaks of the peasants’ love for the land.

IF THE LAND COULD SPEAK

If the land could speak
It would speak for us,
It would say, like us, that the years
Have forged the bond of life that ties us together.
It was our labor that made the land what she is,
And it was her yielding that gave us life,
We and land are one.

But who would listen?
Will they listen,
Those invisible,
Who, from an unfeeling distance, claim
The land is theirs?
Because pieces of paper say so?
Because thee pieces of paper are backed by men
Who speak threatening words’
Men who have power to shoot and to kill,
Men who have power to take our men and our sons away?

If the land could speak
It would speak for us!
For the land is us!

     
     
  Ka Mameng, KADAMAY  
     
     
     
     
     

Book cover design by Rafael Maniago
           
     
     
     
           
           
           

 

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