Sunday, October 31, 2010

A certain future in a tropical setting

A certain future in a tropical setting

An assessment on the movies made during the Khmer Rouge era in Cambodia

by Lualhati Madlangawa Guererro

I was watching a series of movies produced during the Khmer Rouge regime, and it mostly depicts a Utopian-like appearance similar to the movies of Eisenstein and Fritz Lang. But then, despite its semi-futuristic appearance, it was more focused on human power, with limited approach to machinery to the point that most of the people, especially in the west would think of it as an anti-modern tendency.

These movies, somehow would also inculcate a view different from what the western media showed about Cambodia then. Despite of the tragedies happened during that time, the Killing Fields, the Famine, and other atrocities happened under the adventurist regime of Pol Pot, Ta Mok et al. the scenes made during at that time shows how Cambodia experimented its own, fusing primitive agrarianism and modern technology in the name of Year Zero, of the Angkar.

This video, made under the ministry of information, showed how the Khmer Rouge experimented the Cambodian society with its own adventurist line. Composed of petit-borugeoisie like Pol Pot, Ieng Sary, Ta Mok, and Son Sann, the Khmer Rouge as if wanted to create a "Communist state" directly without any transition at all. Worse, they are creating far from expected.

This movie shows the same as the first movie sets of-using the idea of "reconstruction", Cambodia at that time was as if making its own "from scratch", literally "from scratch" as they mobilized the entire population, pushing them to undergo "Peasantization", and build more reservoirs, irrigation systems, grow rice, build some monumental buildings, yet neglected the entire urban zone as the Khmer Rouge, with its adventurism wanted anything to be "into the soil", "into the roots" like those of the ancient Angkor.

Here, contrary to the countryside-focused scenes shows the production of cotton textiles using the equipment used before the Angkar era. The machines used for producing textiles, and the dying machines depicts the modern machinery being used and its goods usually for exportation.

These movies somehow show the Utopian-like attempts of the Khmer Rouge to create a different Cambodia, from their attempts to infuse the ancient Angkor rice-water idea of progress and modern day machinery, their so-called future in a tropical setting, like those of Fritz Lang and Eisenstein, was somewhat promising. But then, their instances, problems, dogmatism and adventurism, including their killings failed to achieve what their videoes stated. The unsystematized "planning" of their so-called development failed to reach its full capacity due to their inclination: having no primary planning, a transition despite the construction of infrastructure and less approach to basic access to social services. The "peasantization" process was and is, a failure, far from what as expected, far from the pictures shown.

After all,
to them it was all "nothing," like Pol Pot, it is neither gain nor loss to their un-pragmatic dream.



New Zealanders express international support for peace talks without preconditions in the Philippines as they host the Peace Speaking Tour of MR. LUIS JALANDONI and MS CONI LEDESMA, representatives of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) Peace Negotiating Panel, from 24 October – 12 November around New Zealand.

Addressing Filipinos and New Zealanders in the city of Christchurch, Jalandoni and Ledesma shared latest news about prospects of reviving the stalled peace talks. In a welcome development, Philippine Pres. Benigno Aquino III's appointed human rights lawyer Alexander Padilla as the government’s chief negotiator for the peace talks. Padilla reportedly expressed that there were better chances now to forge a peace agreement under the Aquino administration.

For their part, Jalandoni and Ledesma presented the 12-point NDFP programme at the Christchurch public meeting, saying "There's no short cut to a peace agreement, solving fundamental socio-economic issues like landlessness and joblessness of the vast majority is crucial to resolving the decades-old conflict. Land reform is a principal issue that must be addressed to pave the way for just and lasting peace in the Philippines."

Aquino gov’t urged to implement land reform

"At the very core of the NDFP program is the genuine land reform that will adequately respond to the demand of the peasantry which comprises the overwhelming majority of the population. A small landed elite and foreign multinationals monopolize land ownership in the country," Jalandoni stressed. The NDFP leader described the reality of land monopoly in the Philippines with the outstanding case that hounds Pres. Aquino - the long disputed Cojuangco-Aquino owned Hacienda Luisita covering 6,453-hectares of land that could benefit thousands of poor peasant families if redistributed justly.

From Christchurch, Jalandoni and Ledesma will also speak in public meetings organised by Philippines Solidarity Network of Aotearoa (PSNA), Wellington Kiwi Pinoy (WKP) and Auckland Philippines Solidarity (APS) in Blenheim, Wellington (they have already spoken in Blenheim – where they also visited the Waihopai spybase - and Wellington), Palmerston North, New Plymouth, Hamilton, Whangarei and Auckland. Awaiting approval of Jalandoni's application for an Australian visa, they hope to fly for a similar speaking tour 15-25 November in major cities in Australia.

"We are hopeful that like Norway and The Netherlands that have hosted formal peace talks and ‘backdoor negotiations,’ New Zealand and Australia can also play significant roles in urging the Aquino government and NDFP to immediately return to the peace negotiating table without preconditions,” Murray Horton, PSNA Secretary and main tour organiser stated.

“Being a major labour-exporting country and trade partner of New Zealand, the Philippines’ fragile peace process certainly deserves our attention. By organising this tour, we present a unique opportunity for New Zealanders to hear firsthand about a four decades long war and accompanying peace process in our Asian neighbour where NZ dairy products are widely marketed while Filipinos have been filling NZ’s skills shortage in return,” Horton added.

"Like Norway, we believe that New Zealand can play a positive role by supporting the peace process and campaigns to end land-rooted human rights violations and US military intervention in the Philippines. While New Zealanders were recently devastated by a massive earthquake here in Christchurch, the Filipino people need peace and security as they have long been devastated by both natural and man-made calamities such as large-scale government corruption and massive social inequalities that fuel armed conflict,” Horton concluded.

Murray Horton
Philippines Solidarity Network of Aotearoa (PSNA)

Aquino urged: Negotiate for peace without preconditions, not for Trans-Pacific Partnership entry

Aquino urged: Negotiate for peace without preconditions,
not for Trans-Pacific Partnership entry

Sun, October 31, 2010

A group of New Zealanders is calling on the Philippine president to push for resumption of peace talks without preconditions instead of pushing for another unfair trade deal with the US.

Speaking at the 26th October kick-off public meeting of a national speaking tour to promote international support for peace process in the Philippines, Murray Horton, Secretary of Philippines Solidarity Network of Aotearoa (PSNA) highlighted the challenge for the Aquino administration to “make principled peace negotiations a priority instead of negotiations for another unfair trade deal with the US.”

PSNA is hosting MR. LUIS JALANDONI and MS CONI LEDESMA, representatives of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) Peace Negotiating Panel on their speaking tour “Justice and Liberation: The Road to Peace in the Philippines” between 24 October – 12 November around NZ.

"We are aware that Pres. Benigno Simeon Aquino III courted the support of the United States for Philippines' bid to become a member of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) during his recent meeting with US Pres. Barack Obama. Just like the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade – World Trade Organisation (GATT-WTO) and other US-designed trade deals, TPP spells more profits for big business and nothing but losses for ordinary people in the Philippines, New Zealand and other countries.

If Aquino is serious about making lives better for ordinary Filipinos, negotiating for TPP and other unfair economic deals with the US should be junked altogether. It would be better for Filipinos if formal peace negotiations on the agenda of urgent social and economic reforms will be pushed by the Aquino administration instead of Philippines' entry to the TPP," Horton stated.

Horton, who is also the Spokesperson of 'New Zealand Not for Sale' campaign, concluded, "Filipinos and New Zealanders have had enough of unrestrained trade liberalisation that destroyed local agriculture and industries. Thus the TPP issue is a common ground for us to oppose what is essentially a back door way of achieving another free trade agreement that will mainly benefit the US.

Murray Horton

Philippines Solidarity Network of Aotearoa (PSNA)

Interview with Jose Maria Sison on GRP-NDFP Peace Negotiations

Interview with Jose Maria Sison on GRP-NDFP Peace Negotiations

Interview transcript
25 October 2010

By Lira Dalangin-Fernandez
Philippine Daily Inquirer

1. How do you see Alex Padilla and his team? Are they acceptable to the NDFP panel?

JMS: PNoy has made an excellent choice of Alex Padilla as the chair of the GRP Negotiating Panel. Alex has an understanding of the Filipino people's struggle for national independence and democracy. He was a human rights lawyer and was once with Bayan. I also know Pablito Sanidad personally. He is also an excellent choice by PNoy. He is known as a man of integrity, a human rights lawyer, a patriot and progressive. I do not know the three other GRP panelists personally.

PNoy as GRP principal has the prerogative of appointing his own panelists . His panel appears to be so composed as to encourage the belief that there will be serious peace negotiations towards mutually satisfactory agreements. Through NDFP negotiating panel chairperson Luis Jalandoni, the NDFP has already publicly welcomed and accepted the new GRP panel.

2. What should be a good starting point for the renewal of the talks?

JMS: The chairmen of the GRP and NDFP Negotiating Panels should start immediately to communicate with each other. It is possible that by the time you go to press they shall have started to communicate and try to arrange preliminary talks between teams of the panels as soon as possible in Oslo. The preliminary talks are intended to pave the way for the resumption of formal talks in January or February.

Likely topics for the preliminary talks include compliance with the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (particularly to enable NDFP consultants to attend negotiations), the release of political prisoners in the same manner that Ramos released both the military prisoners and political prisoners in 1992, the enhancement of the work of the Joint Monitoring Committee under the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law and the acceleration of negotiations on social and economic reforms.

3. What is it that the PNoy government should do to show it is sincere in talking peace with you? what can the NDF panel do on its part to show the same?

JMS: PNoy has begun to show serious interest in peace negotiations by composing his panel. The NDFP has responded promptly by welcoming and accepting the new GRP panel. By way of showing goodwill and building confidence, PNoy can release the 388 political prisoners. After all, he has already ordered the release of close to 400 military prisoners.

The NDFP does not have a comparable number of prisoners of war to release in exchange or in reciprocation. That is because the NPA has always released its prisoners as soon as possible and does not accumulate them. But the NDFP can assure the GRP with concrete proposals for the acceleration of the peace negotiations and for the implementation of CARHRIHL in order to lessen human rights violations by the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police.

4. I heard the NDFP panel is willing to send somebody to Malacanang to meet with PNoy before the start of the talks, is this true? who is going to meet the president?

JMS: Indeed, the NDFP is willing to send somebody to Malacanang to meet with PNoy. To show goodwill, no less than the NDFP negotiating panel chairperson Luis Jalandoni is prepared to visit Manila and pay a courtesy call to Pnoy. The visit can be made under the protection of the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees.

5. What time frame are you looking at?

JMS: Luis Jalandoni and his wife Coni Ledesma are now on a speaking tour in New Zealand and Australia. They will be in Hongkong at the end of November. From there they can go to Manila on December 1 or 2 to have informal one-on-one talks with his counterpart Alex Padilla and possibly to make a courtesy call on Pnoy.

6. Will you still go by the old framework of negotiating through the four agenda?

JMS: The GRP and NDFP will continue to negotiate in accordance with The Hague Joint Declaration as framework agreement and will tackle the three remaining subjects in the substantive agenda; namely, social and economic reforms, political and constitutional reforms and end of hostitlities & disposition of forces. After the comprehensive agreement on social and economic reforms, fifty per cent of the peace process shall have been accomplished and shall push the further acceleration of negotiations on the two remaining subjects.

41st IB ambushed in Abra, 3 killed, another 3 wounded-NPA (NDF)

41st IB ambushed in Abra, 3 killed, another 3 wounded*

Spokesperson, Agustin Begnalen Command
NPA - Abra

Saturday, 30 October 2010

An initial field report confirmed that a vehicle of the 41st Infantry Battalion, Philippine Army, was ambushed by New People's Army guerillas of the Agustin Begnalen Command at 5:30 am on 30 October 2010, at Barangay Bonglo-Lengas, Baay-Licuan, Abra. Three soldiers were killed and about three more were wounded. Two M16 rifles, an M60 machinegun, other logistics and documents were carted away by the NPA guerillas, who swiftly retreated after the firefight.

The ambush site is situated along the Abra-Kalinga Road, just a few minutes away from the 503rd Brigade HQ at Barbarit, and the Bacooc Patrol Base in Lagangilang, and from Bituen Patrol Base and the Advanced Command Post (ACP) of the 41st IB in Bakiro, Baay-Licuan. The 41st IB was punished anew by the ABC-NPA for a series of human rights violations, as they intensified their counter-insurgency operations in line with Oblan Bantay Laya 2 (national security program) and its current extension program under the Noynoy Aquino Regime.

With their intensification of Internal Security Operations since 2008, the 41st IB have been conducting Special Operations Team campaigns in the towns of Lacub, Malibcong, Baay-Licuan, and Sallapadan; it is also involved in joint operations with the 50th Infantry Battalion in Boliney and Tubo. Indigenous Tinggian communities have been terrorized with indiscriminate bombings, machinegun strafing, illegal arrests and detentions, tortures, and murders. Day Care centers, barangay halls, and homes were used as barracks by 41st IB soldiers conducting SOT operations. Witchhunting were common, mobility and travel were restricted, and agricultural production and small scale mining were hampered. Womanizing, drunkeness, brawls, and other forms of decadence and public disturbance abound where soldiers from the 41st IB operated.

The 41st IB was likewise punished for serving as security escorts and propagandists of large-scale mining companies. After then Department of National Defense Sec. Gilbert Teodoro announced in 2008 that Abra will be prioritized in counter-insurgency operations because of mining interests in the province, the 41st IB immediately deployed its forces where mining permits have been granted or where mining applications abound. A minimum of 36 mining permit applications in Abra have been filed with the Mines and Geosciences Bureau - Department of Environment and Natural Resources, and companies such as Rio Dorado, AMIC (Abra Mining Industrial Company), Olympus-Pacific, Magdaleno/Miguel M. Pena, Sulfotara, CEXI (Cordillera Exploration Company, Inc.), and others have been issued permits. Most of these applications and permits cover the municipalities of Tineg, Lacub,Baay-Licuan, Malibcong, Sallapadan, Daguioman, Bucloc, Bucay, Boliney, and Tubo. It is no coincidence that the 41st IB troops have been deployed in these areas.

The latest tactical offensive launched by the NPA-Abra indicates the heightened fighting will and capability of the people's army and is a manifestation of the resolve of the revolutionary movement to fight along with the people of Abra against plunderers, landgrabbers of ancestral and agricultural land, human rights violators, and large-scale destroyers of the environment. After all, the ambush near the 503rd Brigade HQ, the ACP of the 41st IB, and 2 Patrol Bases, would not have succeeded if the people are not supportive of the NPA. As history have shown, the people of Abra will unite, in the tradition of the anti-CRC (Cellophil Resources Company) struggle, against common enemies. And the true people's army, the NPA, will be one with them in this historic fight!

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Militarization in EV the result of Aquino regime's deception and militarism-NDF

Militarization in EV the result of Aquino regime's deception and militarism*

Fr. Santiago "Sanny" Salas
NDF - Eastern Visayas
October 29, 2010

In the past two months, the 8th Infantry Division of the Philippine Army has been hastening its counterrevolutionary attacks on the people. It is carrying out widespread and intense military operations on Samar, while also hyping civil-military operations and psywar throughout the region. This reflects the Aquino regime's use of its initial popularity in pursuing its counterrevolutionary objectives. But that popularity is fast waning precisely because of the 8th ID's militarization, a continuation of the fascist repression of the past ten years under Oplan Bantay Laya.

The new Aquino regime had promised changes for the better. But such reformist illusions of hope have been dashed to pieces as the regime's deception and militarism are bared. Political repression is widespread in rural and urban areas. Entire communities in the countryside are being garrisoned by Aquino's troops with artillery planted in the midst of civilians. Soldiers terrorize men, women and children with indiscriminate killings, torture, robbery, destruction of property and
other violations of human rights and international humanitarian law. In urban areas, soldiers enter schools and communities, feigning to help the people but threatening them against asserting their democratic rights.

The 8th ID is thus on a rampage of militarization while strenuously lying it is doing so. It has been ordered by the Aquino regime to crush the revolutionary movement in three years, by continuing Oplan Bantay Laya till yearend and then pursuing a new "internal security operational plan". It is also emboldened by US support of Aquino's "counterinsurgency" program, specifically by the more than $200
million assistance by the Millenium Challenge Corporation that will bolster its war. The 8th ID is also rushing to put down the resistance of the people against large-scale foreign mining operations and other pro-imperialist and big business schemes in the region. Attempting to camouflage its bloody image, the 8th ID tries to fool the people with civil-military operations and psywar, such as in paying lip service to human rights and in vilifying the revolutionary movement.

The 8th ID cannot deny its militarization while the people keep on exposing its mounting human rights violations. Through persevering and fearless militant struggle, the people will certainly defeat the Aquino regime's fascist repression and bogus reforms. They must unite against the US-engineered militarism of the Aquino regime. They must expose and oppose the MCC assistance, the conditional cash transfer scheme, "sustainable mining" and other deceits and mockeries of
development. They must press for the resumption of peace talks to discuss basic socio-economic reforms and other just and lasting solutions to the civil war. The people must struggle and demand for answers to widespread hunger, poverty and repression in Eastern Visayas.

The New People's Army will also intensify tactical offensives to defeat the 8th ID's fascist military operations and punish the Aquino regime. The NPA's tactical offensives will surely increase and become increasingly bigger in confronting the Aquino regime and advancing the people's war towards the overthrow of the reactionary ruling system.

The 8th ID's militarization signifies darker days of political repression ahead. In the face of the looming darkness, we call on the people that there is no other way but revolutionary and militant struggle to answer the Aquino regime's deception and militarism.

Extra-judicial killings and human rights violation, rampant in Rizal province!-NDF

Extra-judicial killings and human rights violation, rampant in Rizal province!*

Spokesperson, NDFP-Rizal
27 October 2010

Since Benigno "NoyNoy" Aquino III assumed the presidency and continued the most hated counter-insurgency program named OPLAN BANTAY LAYA II, the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police (AFP-PNP) have continued to harass, maim and kill civilians they suspect as members of the revolutionary movement.

Noynoy Aquino's campaign promise that once in power, his government will be different from the Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo regime is turning out to be an empty pronouncement and a normal traditional politician's promise that is expected never to be fulfilled.

Instead, what is happening now is that human rights violations are continuing with the perpetrators never prosecuted because they belong to the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP).

In Rizal Province alone, since Noynoy assumed power, human rights violations become rampant. Extra-judicial killings continued with six (6) civilians being killed helplessly by members of the notorious "butcher" Palparan Batallion, the 16th Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army-AFP, and by members of the Special Action Force Maneuver Battalion-PNP.

Those killed were three members of indigenous tribe DUMAGAT who are also members of KATRIBU partylist namely Galman Navarte, Demilita Largo and Benita San Jose who were killed by motorcycle riding members of 16th IB-PA-AFP death squad last 19 July 2010 in San Isidro, Rodriguez, Rizal. They also killed Rene "Buhawi" Resureccion, Macabud, Rodriguez, Rizal whom they shot in the head last August 2010. These four civilians were killed near the army detachment of the 16th IB-PA.

Another batch of civilians were killed last week of September 2010 in Puray, Rodriquez, Rizal. Members of a joint platoon from the 16th IB-PA and SAF Maneuver Battalion-PNP strafed the huts of wood gatherers (magkakahoy) and instantly killed a 25 year-old power saw operator Mr. Junior Asyong and his helper Mr. Cocoy, both of Sitio Lucutan, San Isidro, Rodriguez, Rizal. Four of their companions luckily escaped unhurt and are hiding now, fearing for their lives. To cover-up for this crime, the 16th IB-PA and SAF-PNP claimed that the persons they killed were New People's Army-Rizal members.

Last 13 October 2010, two members of DUMAGAT tribe who were also former NPA members were illegally arrested, detained without charges and until now are being held against their will and not being shown to their families and friends. They are Alberto San Jose, 24 years old, single and residing in Puray, Montalban, Rizal and Crisanto dela Calzada, 23 years old, single and temporarily residing in Puray, Roriguez, Rizal.

They are being forced to act as guides during military operations. It's just a matter of time before the 16th IB-PA will present them to the media as NPA officers who voluntarily surrendered to them. We are expecting that they will be boastful in their claims and they will surely claim that the two former NPA members are officers with high positions in the NPA-Rizal, coupled with the claim that they are winning the war against the revolutionary movement in Rizal.

The whole revolutionary movement in Rizal Province vehemently condemns these cowardly acts of members of the AFP-PNP. Extra-judicial killings and human rights violations must be stopped and perpetrators must be punished.

We are calling the attention of the church and concerned local government official and individuals who revere human rights to continue their fight to protect the peoples' rights and prosecute the perpetrators of these crimes. We are also calling on the newly elected Sanggunian Bayan of Rodriguez, Rizal, thru its Mayor Cecilio "Ilyong" Hernandez and Governor Casimiro "Jun-Jun" Ynares III to investigate, prosecute and punish the perpetrators. They must remove the notorious "Butcher" Palparan Batallion 16th IB-PA and the SAF Maneuver Batallion-PNP from the province of Rizal.

They must act before it's too late. Surely, these extra-judical killings in Rodriguez, Rizal will not be the last. We also would like to remind the newly elected local government officials in Rodriguez and the Province of Rizal to fulfill their promise of serving their constituents. Being silent on the issues of extra-judicial killings and human rights violations in Rizal is tantamount to condoning them.

These extra-judicial killings perpetrated by AFP-PNP are desperate acts because of their inability to defeat the revolutionary movement in Rizal Province. Instead of being defeated, the revolutionary movement in Rizal continue to grow in strength and influence, and successfully foils the campaign of suppression by the AFP-PNP.

Instead of being weakened, the Communist Party of the Philippines, the New People's Army and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines in Rizal province are becoming stronger. In the past, the Arroyo regime became one of the recruiters of the NPA. It is turning out now that the present Aquino regime is no different from its predecessor in terms of recruiting warm bodies for the New People's Army. Together with the different sectors of our society, we demand:




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41st IB hides behind humanitarian relief and election duties as shield for combat operations-NDF

41st IB hides behind humanitarian relief and election duties
as shield for combat operations

Ka Diego Wadagan
Agustin Begnalen Command
October 25, 2010

After Typhoon Juan ravaged Northern Luzon, news was circulated that 3 Abra towns namely Tineg, Lacub, and Malibcong, have been isolated and more than 6,000 people have been trapped due to road cuts, landslides, and swelled rivers. It was then announced that relief operations will be conducted, as helicopters were requested from the NOLCOM (Northern Luzon Command) of the Armed Forces of the Philippines. It was even said that the wife of Gov. Bersamin and Rep. Joy Bernos will distribute relief goods on October 21, 2010, to be airlifted from the capital town of Bangued to the affected municipalities.

Ironically, even at the height of Typhoon Juan, regular jeepney rides went normally with their business in Baay-Licuan, Lacub, and Malibcong; never-mind Tineg as the 1st rains have inundated the roads, as usual. Regular rides were suspended for 2 days, but resumed on October 21, the day relief goods were supposed to be airlifted to the alleged isolated towns. That very same day and thereafter, vehicles of the 41st IB and the 503rd Brigade came roaring into Baay-Licuan, Malibcong, and Lacub. The irony is that only fully-armed troops ready for combat operations were in these vehicles, and to date, no relief operations have ever been conducted in the said towns.

The officers of the 41st IB are real good students of Uncle Sam. The US Government Counterinsurgency (COIN) Guide issued in January 2009 states: "The economic and development function in COIN includes immediate humanitarian relief and the provision of essential services……" This simply means exploit disaster conditions to conduct counterinsurgency operations, and pretend to be benevolent, feign sincerity and help your wretched little brown brothers and sisters. The 41st IB have even gone ahead of their mentors, innovating disaster conditions as cover and shield for combat operations.

If, along the way, their troops shall meet harm from NPA fire, AFP propagandists will automatically say "our troops were mercilessly fired upon on their way to conduct relief missions."

It will be recalled that at the height of Typhoon Pepeng on October 2009, the 41st IB conducted combat operations in Lacub, and attacked abandoned NPA camps. In December 2009, the 41st IB conducted a token medical mission in Malibcong Poblacion, using the occasion to safely position their forces, after which combat troops launched their attacks to neighboring communities and started their SOT operations in most Malibcong barangays and communities, paving the way for human rights violations.

Acting like a fox can be deceiving. And launching terrorist attacks and using humanitarian missions as cover is no different. The 41st IB should be condemned and punished for capitalizing on people's miseries.

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Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The US-Aquino regime will worsen the feudal exploitation of the peasantry; the Filipino people must unwaveringly struggle for genuine land reform-NDF

The US-Aquino regime will worsen the feudal exploitation of the peasantry;
the Filipino people must unwaveringly struggle for genuine land reform

Jorge "Ka Oris" Madlos
NDF - Mindanao
26 October 2010

The National Democratic Front of the Philippines in Mindanao (NDFP – Mindanao) reaffirms the call for genuine land reform of millions of Filipino peasant masses across the country who, in marking October as Peasant month, recently took their long-time demands to the streets, challenging the newly-installed Aquino government to seriously address the problem of land.

However, a real solution to the land problem of the Filipino peasantry, who comprise more than 70% of the country’s population, is not forthcoming as their grievances fall on ears that only listen to and act on the dictates of the big landlord, comprador classes and its imperialist boss. Thus, even as the peasant masses celebrate Peasant month, they continue to be deprived of their right to own the land they till.

One after another, reactionary regimes in the past – from Roxas to Macapagal-Arroyo – violently quashed any attempt to bring about genuine land reform in the Philippines to favour landlord and imperialist interests against that of thousands upon thousands of peasants. To appease the growing discontent and, eventually, to snuff out the aspiration for revolutionary change of the peasantry, these governments of landlord and big bourgeois compradors offered bogus agrarian programs that only managed to shove the peasant masses deeper into deprivation and destitution.

Under the new regime, the peasant situation is expected to turn for the worse because Noynoy Aquino, who comes from the powerful Cojuangco-Aquino landlord clan well-known for committing anti-peasant acts, has, in collusion with local big business, blocked genuine agrarian reform. And, by way of his so-called “private-public partnership” and other similar schemes, offered up vast tracts of arable land for sale to foreign monopoly capitalists. Tellingly, Don Aquino’s response to the demands of the Hacienda Luisita farmers was to offer them with bogus schemes more insidious than the SDO (Stock Distribution Option), which aim to weaken peasant unity rather than provide a genuine and lasting solution to the problem.

In Mindanao, the Aquino government, in continuing what the US-Arroyo Regime did in the last decade, has opened the island’s vast expanse of land for agri-business, plantations, destructive logging and large-scale mining operations to forcibly grab, resulting in the displacement of countless peasants and peasant-workers. It is no surprise that the US imperialist anointed Aquino as the president in a pre-programmed automated election.

In Southern Mindanao, capitalist plantations owned by AJMR Sumitumo and Dole, two of the largest in agri-business, are currently expanding operations, rapidly gobbling up land, in collusion with local big landlords Floriendo, Soriano, Dizon, etc., to the very detriment of thousands of peasants. In the Far Southern Mindanao, Dole has already laid claim to more than 35,000 hectares of prime land; the largest foreign mining company in the country, Xstrata SMI, took over more than 90,000 hectares of land from the Western Mining Corp. in the quadri-boundary of this region’s four provinces; and, Danding Cojuanco’s San Miguel Corp. has begun agri-business and mining operations in the provinces of South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat and Sarangani. In North Central Mindanao, multi-national companies Dole, Del Monte, Nestle, Inc. and San Miguel Corp. now dominate both the provinces of Bukidnon and Misamis Oriental. In Caraga, the large mining firms Red V Ltd., BHP Billitton, Marcventures Mining and Development Corp., the Puyat-owned logging company SUDECOR, and banana and oil palm plantations owned respectively by Soriano and FPPI and API have displaced peasant and lumad communities as well as ravaged the region’s rich environment.

Massive militarization by the AFP, PNP and armed paramilitary units under the guise of counter insurgency is an indispensable component to guarantee the unhampered operations, exploitation and expansion of these foreign monopoly companies. As mercenaries, AFP troops have acted as Industrial Defense Force (IDF) units to secure these said multi-national companies. These military operations have resulted in the perpetration of grave of human rights abuses against both the Moro and non-Moro peasants and the lumad people, which include extra-judicial killings, forced disappearances, torture, divestment of crops and property, rape and the displacement of whole communities.

This condition is expected to worsen once the constitution of the GRP is amended by the reactionary legislature to make way for treasonous policies such as allowing foreign entities 100% land ownership. The evisceration of remaining safeguards for the protection of national patrimony and sovereignty preludes the wholesale plunder of our land and our resources.

As far as genuine land reform is concerned, the landlord Benigno Aquino III is only bound to make his imperialist master content and leave the peasantry and farm workers languish in abject poverty. Thus, the only solution is for the peasant masses to take the initiative into their own hands and to resolutely launch their own version of genuine land reform by way of an agrarian revolution, which would smash the chains of feudal exploitation. Agrarian revolution, which aims to end the feudal exploitation and oppression of the peasants, is the main content of the New Democratic Revolution waged by the CPP-NPA-NDF.

Recently, peasant masses across the country and, particularly, in Mindanao have launched series of mass actions that herald agrarian issues, demanding for the step by step lowering of land rent and usury; increase of farm wages; increase in the farm gate prices of farm products and decrease in the prices of farm inputs and basic commodities – an overture to the eventual crushing of feudal bondage. These waves of collective peasant actions have increasingly become frequent, intense and widespread in the island, benefiting thousands of peasants and lumad.

As the struggle for genuine land reform becomes more intense, the ruling class and their armed apparatus will become ever more violent. Thus, we call on the peasant masses to remain steadfast in their historic struggle to liberate themselves from feudal yoke of oppression and exploitation. You always have the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) to lead the way and the New People’s Army (NPA) to depend on to make certain that victory in this epochal battle for national liberation and democracy is attained.

We call on progressive groups and sectors, church people, and well-meaning individuals to support and unite behind the peasant masses in the struggle for land.

Long live the peasant masses! Carry the Agrarian Revolution forward!


Monday, October 25, 2010

Barangay, SK Elections: A mockery of popular participation and absolute personalism over popular will

Barangay, SK Elections: A mockery of popular participation
and absolute personalism over popular will

By Katleah Iskre Ulrike

Last time, we encounter people filling up the lines for a common purpose: of participating in the electoral process for village-level leaders and youth representatives in the country. These people, with ballot in hand, is somehow thinking about the fate of their village since it is supposedly geared towards the progress of the nation, that the people behind should be "for the people" as well.

But despite the people's willingness to vote for their bets in the village level, there are some instances that most politicians are rather using politics for personal will, again, like those in the municipal to national level-using populist rhetoric yet putting personalism over the will of the people, that is seemingly contrary to the ideas vested in the constitution.

The actions played much by future village chiefs, village elders and youth representatives in our villages, somehow unveils mockery towards the people- except those who really intent to put the ideas of popular will into practise. And speaking of mockery of popular will, it includes personal stress on contributions originally made using government funds: like basketball tournaments, cleanliness campaigns, even curfew hours that in fact seemingly short term, unless they do village level drainage work, of small scale flood control project supported by the municipal council. Village level politics and youth representation in government became a mere facade-not because of negligence, self-interest, but also the system's disdain for distribution of power to the people and instead to a clique.

Regarding village-level leaders and representatives

We all know that the Barangay is the smallest level of the government, situated on the villages within the Municipality. This kind of government is somehow has the capacity to mobilize people for people empowerment same as the municipal council and even the mayor itself, same as in enacting laws for the well being of the village itself and even for the municipality in general.

The Barangay was also originally concieved as a social experiment led by President Ferdinand Marcos, as a means for distributing power down to the village level, replacing the municipal council and the councilors as its lawmakers. It also envisioned a partyless, direct democracy while in fact encouraging to unite under Marcos' New Society Movement. This kind of social experiment end up reduced to a basic degree as the 1987 constitution effectively revived the municipal council, making village-level politics and management reduced.

And like any other government levels, the Barangay became prone much to personalist tendencies, especially corrupt practises that, in the name of the people-using their funds for self interest. We have witnessed much all of these, that also contributes much to the growing crisis of the society in general. The Barangay nowadays became a mere facade of Philippine democracy all except for those who tried to run seriously as officials, the rest? Using their names for fame yet the way they run is useless and limited for a mere purpose such as self interest.

Regarding youth representatives, of Sangguniang Kabataan

The Sangguniang Kabataan, like the Barangay, represents the youth and its willingness to be a part of the society as partners and contributors for its well being. Also created by the Marcos regime as the Kabataang Barangay, allegedly to counter the growing progressive movement like the Kabataang Makabayan of Jose Maria Sison, this kind of movement called forth the youth to mobilize and contribute-from arts and crafts to basic traffic management and other Barangay skills. The Sangguniang Kabataan, or originally, the Kabataang Barangay somehow envisioned to make the Pilipino youth "the new Pilipino", acting as a contributor for the well being of the society.

But contrary to the vision and mission of the Sangguniang Kabataan, these youth representatives, for instance is somewhat becoming less of a contributor and more of a figurehead in terms of action not for the youth, but also to the people. Using "schoolwork" as its reason, or rather say an alibi, these youth leaders-to-be finding it hard to use their talent for early governance and instead being left to those as if capable to rule and yet, like their adult counterparts became prone to corrupt practises. People again may have called such youth participation useless and telling that "they should be on their studies" instead-to the maximum point of abolishing the Sangguniang Kabataan and letting the youth limit, if not to engage in societal affairs.

As according to the Manila Times, it stated that:

"The Election Commissioners, according to Commissioner Rene Sarmiento and Comelec spokesman James Jimenez, favor the abolition of the youth council.

For many years now since not very long after its inception 17 years ago, the SK has been criticized by many right thinking Filipinos. They observed how elections in every barangay to choose the youth councilors have been tainted in most places by all the evils seen in adult politics."

Fine, but do they have any other cause except corrupt practises? Or rather they wanted to dissuade the youth from popular participation in politics and in the community in general, being "the nation's hope" and yet being insisted to "limit their skills to the classroom?" Corrupt practises can be solve thoroughly by education and discipline, but telling the entire youth representatives in general that they are corrupt? That they should focus much on studies? They have no time setting particularity as these "right thinking Filipinos" show disdain for youth involvement in societal issues!

But then, anti-youth idea, through abolishing the SK was even fueled by another sentiment, as according to Ben Oplas, convenor of the Minimal Government NGO which is batting for socio-economic and political reforms, said:

“The Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) or ‘Youth Council’ at the barangay or village level, is creating baby political dinosaurs out of otherwise simple and non-politicized youth. The design, like the ‘party-list’ system, is wrong from theory to practice; from concept to implementation.

“At ages 15 to 18, the youth these days have lots of things to do aside from politics. Foremost of which is to study in high school or in college. If they are in school, there are lots of avenues for school, civic and community involvement as there are various clubs, academic or otherwise, and school councils. There are also school papers or campus journalism opportunities.

“If the youth at that age bracket are not in school, then most likely they will be working, mostly in the informal sector or in the house, like helping taking care of younger siblings, both of which can make them busy.

“Thus, there is really no need to elect and sustain tens of thousands of young politicos, to be funded from taxpayers’ money. The youth should be diverted away from politics and unproductive political wranglings whenever possible. There are plenty of anecdotal evidences of how the youth learn to practice bribery and corruption at a young age just to win elections at the barangay or village level.

“The SK, therefore, should be abolished. And it should have been abolished yesterday, not to be abolished tomorrow.”

Well... its like telling them "to be apathetic". Like China during Chiang Kai-Shek, the Guomindang wanted to limit youth participation on the threat of radicalism, and instead telling them that "Studying is a means to develop the country" yet failed to mobilize as the Japanese foe advanced thoroughly during the Sino-Japanese war. And here, those "right thinking Filipinos" like those of Ben Oplas et al. recycled that idea as a means to "reform the bureaucracy" but in fact intensifies the system's efforts to preserve the order of things, thus fuels discontent from the people, particularly the youth for having no voice for the society. Oplas's statement didn't speak much of alternatives except dissuasion in popular participation except studying, work or at home, and telling it to the youth is somewhat a "stab at the front" or "at the back" in the name of small governance.

Secondly, abolishing Sangguniang Kabataan means failure of the government's urge for youth participation. What's the use of the National Youth Commission then? A ministry without a purpose except a figurehead authority for the youth? Of affirming the government's intention for the youth to inculcate apathy and leaving Rizal's statement a mere phrase? Rizal and the propaganda movement, and even the earlier companerismo, Kidlat club and the Indios Bravos spoke much of the youth's participation in societal affairs, and it includes political ones-that lead to Bonifacio's action. Is the government, and the "right minded Filipinos" scared of Bonifacios?

Violence as a manifestation of personalism

Like any other elections and politics in general in the Philippines, violence remains rampant. And despite the government's call for lessening crime during the elections, this personally-motivated act, supported by vested interests, intensifies much of conflicts within the bureaucracy-that even village-level politics are also having blood stains in it.

As according to ABS-CBN, it stated that:
"Thirty-three people have died while 14 others were injured during the barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) election period nationwide, police said Monday.

Twenty of the deaths occurred in Mindanao, particularly in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao and Region 12, according to the Philippine National Police (PNP)."

but despite the continuous trend of violence during the elections, the PNP responded this:

"...have arrested 741 people for violating the gun ban. They will face 1-6 years imprisonment if found guilty.

A total of 500 assorted firearms and 26 explosives were confiscated during the election period."

The growing trend of violence during the elections somewhat gives enough a bad image for the society. Since these politicos, motivated by personal interest laced with populism, it involves illegal acts just to keep their throne and the territory as theirs. We have witnessed enough violence nowadays that the Commission on Elections forced to postpone the elections on violence-prone areas, as Commissioner Armando Velasco said that:

"Elections were postponed in 2,341 barangays on Monday."

While a total of 1,836 barangays in Region 5 failed to hold elections.

And according to Comelec data, the postponed elections nationwide, being rescheduled on Tuesday, affected 1.86 million voters, all due to the atmosphere of personally-motivated political violence prevailing on those communities, like those of Abra, Maguindanao, and others-unveiling the system's unwillingness to control for the sake of maintaining 'personally-motivated' conflicts like these, thus greatly affecting the people in general, not just the voters.


As a writer, I consider the entire election atmosphere, like last May, a series of violent reactions. All motivated by ultrapersonalist interest and populist rhetoric. Killings involving village-level candidates and youth representatives, the overspending of public funds, and the like shows how the system tolerates much of social degeneracy yet using the word reform for a band aid solution. Speaking of Oplas' statement abolishing the SK, why not also abolish the Barangay? Citing the corrupt practises at the village level, and instead its powers be handed down to the councilors? After all, the social experiment made by Marcos hath taken for granted, especially the Sangguniang Kabataan that end up reduced to a mere 'without portfolio' position with honoraria.

And as the title stated, the elections evenly unveils mockery, that is, mockery of popular will, of participation all motivated by money and cheap crass promises these village-level candidates spoke about. And of all the problems these institutions got badly about, it is personalism, wherein the subsets like corruption, nepotism, and other antipeople practises destroys the reputation of both the Barangay and the Sangguniang Kabataan in village-level governance, same as those from the municipal up to the national level.

And for the candidates, what are they speaking for? Basketball tournaments? Cleanliness campaigns? Why not having long term but beneficial ones, all despite of less budget? There's the people who can support and get though with it, using their skill enough to complete the long term tasks to do so. Village-level politics needs much drastic, long term change to benefit both the individual and the community as the partaker of social progress-starting from stopping actions contrary to people's will alongside the application of direct democracy as a means of popular participation in the community.

NDFP-EV seeks release of detained consultant to participate in peace talks

NDFP-EV seeks release of detained consultant to participate in peace talks

CPP Information Bureau
24 October 2010

The National Democratic Front of the Philippines-Eastern Visayas today urged the release of Eduardo Sarmiento, the detained NDFP peace consultant for the region, in light of the Aquino government's formation of a negotiating panel for peace talks with the NDFP.

"We look forward to the release of NDFP consultant Eduardo Sarmiento to participate in the peace talks," said Fr. Santiago Salas, NDFP-EV spoksperson.

"Mr. Sarmiento has forty years of experience of immersion and struggle with the peasant masses and other poor people of Eastern Visayas. He is aware of the people's problems and can elucidate on the basic socio-economic reforms needed to uplift the region and the country. His representation for the region can clarify matters such as whether a $200 million US grant will really benefit Samar, and why there is a clamor over rising hunger, poverty and repression in Eastern Visayas."

Fr. Salas also said Sarmiento's release would be a confidence-building measure to show the Aquino government's sincerity.

"The Philippine government has to address the outrage and distrust of the NDFP after the attacks over the years on its consultants by state security forces. For example, NDFP consultants Leo Velasco and Prudencio Calubid were abducted and remain missing to this day. And for one, Mr. Sarmiento was arrested on February 24, 2009 while in Manila for consultations, despite his safety and immunity guarantees and on the basis of trumped-up charges.

The Philippine government should show its compliance with the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees and other agreements with the NDFP that lay the framework for peace negotiations."

The NDFP-EV spokesperson also chided the Aquino government for the lame excuse of unable to do anything about removing the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People's Army from terrorist listing by the US and the European Union.

"The Aquino government should show political will and uphold national sovereignty in pursuing the peace talks. It is a bad sign of obsequiousness to foreign powers for the Aquino government to fail to strive for the removal of the CPP-NPA from the US and EU terrorist listings. In other words, the Aquino government would rather be servile to foreign countries than assert the matter of sovereignty in the peace talks, by urging the US and the EU to unlist the CPP-NPA.

We hope that the Aquino government and the NDFP can move the peace process forward over such obstacles. We look forward to the slated discussion towards an agreement on socio-economic reforms, which will be welcomed by the impoverished and suffering people."

Aquino government pushes anti-people budget-NDF

Aquino government pushes anti-people budget

By Ed Ladera
Liberation, July-September issue

The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) sternly criticized the PhP 1.64 trillion budget proposal for 2011 of the newly-installed Benigno Aquino III government, calling it “a counter-insurgency budget”. The CPP pointed out its “counter-insurgency” framework and priority, especially as it gives priority to beefing up the military and other security agencies, alongside debt servicing.

This budget is very much in line with the US Government Counter-Insurgency Guide of 2009, the CPP declared. The Aquino government proposes to increase the budget of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) by 81%. This unprecedented increase is scandalous. In contrast, the budget to assist Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) is going to be slashed by almost 50%.

There are some nine million overseas Filipino workers in over 160 countries worldwide. Seven thousand of them are in jails in different countries, at least ten thousand are stranded in the Middle East seeking repatriation, and 108 are in death row. All of them are in dire need of legal and diplomatic protection, and yet the Aquino government chooses to reduce funds for their assistance.

Garry Martinez of Migrante International and John Leonard Monterona of Migrante Middle East Chapter condemned the anti-OFW move of President Aquino. Budgets for vital social services are also going to be cut. The budget for education has been reduced and is going to be at least PhP 100 billion short of the required amount to address shortages in teachers, classrooms and other facilities. The budget for health is likewise going to be slashed.

Allocations for agriculture and agrarian reform is proposed to be cut by 26%, water resources development and flood control by 21.4%, power and energy by 65.5%. The proposed 123% increase in the budget of the Department of Social Work and Development (DSWD) is meant to make the Aquino government appear generous to the “poorest of the poor”. 85.5% of its P34 billion budget will go to cash and other dole outs. Moreover, the DSWD performs a function in counter-insurgency by assisting in the uprooting of hundreds of thousands caused by intensified militarization by the AFP.These military operations are meant to destroy suspected mass base areas of the revolutionary movement.

In a statement released to the mass media, the CPP also condemned the priority given by the Aquino government to debt servicing in adherence to the imperialist International Monetary Fund (IMF), ruling that at least a third of the national budget be allocated to foreign debt payments. Debt servicing, which has been condemned as “legal stealing”, takes up a whopping PhP 823.27 billion of the Aquino government’s budget, an increase of 29.2% over the 2010 figure.

New Aquino government: 100 days of perdition and servility

New Aquino government: 100 days of perdition and servility

By Andrea Ibarra
Liberation editorial,
July-September 2010

Barely 100 days into his term, Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) President Benigno C. Aquino III has come under fire for a number of tinderbox issues.

For starters, he gave the green signal to the Armed Forces of the Philippines to continue Oplan Bantay Laya, the infamous military campaign targeting human rights advocates and political activists. He has also approved proposals to increase by 100 percent public train fares; to impose value added tax on highway toll fees; and to reduce budget appropriations for public schools, public hospitals, and assistance for overseas Filipino workers.

In the meantime, his handling of the tragic hostage incident that claimed the lives of eight tourists from Hongkong last 23 August also exposed a level of incompetence that made even his staunchest supporters cover their faces in shame.

In his first State of the Nation Address on 23 July, Aquino delivered a 45-minute tirade against the corruption and other abuses in office of his predecessor Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. But in the aftermath of his speech, nothing substantial has happened. Aquino says that the Truth Commission he created will investigate and settle corruption issues that took place during Arroyo’s term. But already it’s becoming evident that this new institution will fail, given that it can only recommend the filing of criminal charges against Macapagal-Arroyo and other high ranking officials of her former government. It has no authority to proceed with its recommendations or prosecute the suspected criminals.

Expanding privatization, regressive taxation From day one, Aquino has not mentioned any program to promote genuine and nationalist industrialization, nor has he expressed any support for the demand New Aquino government: 100 days of perdition and servility 100 days, of industrial workers and government employees for increased wages, salaries and benefits.

All that his economic platform offers is the continuation and expansion of the bankrupt build-operate-transfer (BOT) scheme, and the strengthening of so-called “private and public partnerships”, which is merely another name for privatization. There are undeniable indications that privatization and deregulation will not only continue but expand under the new government.

Oil prices and electricity rates have already gone up as the oil cartel of Shell, Caltex and Petron just recently raised the pump prices of diesel, kerosene and gasoline by 50 centavos to P1 per liter. And the cartel announced that more price hikes are in the offing. The Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) jacked its generation charge by 44 centavos per kilowatt-hour (kWh).

The Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) has additionally said that it is swamped by petitions from the big capitalists in the privatized and deregulated power industry calling for rate increases. Instead of taking the side of consumers and the public, the Aquino administration welcomes these price increases. It reasons that rate hikes mean bigger value-added tax collections for the government. Petroleum and electricity are the two largest sources of VAT revenues, which increase in direct proportion with rising pump prices and monthly electricity bills.

The Aquino government, no different from its predecessors, utilizes regressive, antipoor taxation schemes as a means to solve its fiscal woes.

Anti-poor 2011 Budget Plan

The Aquino government’s proposed budget for 2011 would increase the Filipino people’s debt burden while effectively slashing the already minimal resources for the poor.

For instance, the proposed budget for the health sector in 2011 is lower by P1.4B, from P40B in 2010 to only P38.6B in 2011. Concretely, the Aquino administration slashed the budgets for the Lung Center, Kidney Center and Heart Center – all national-level specialized hospitals – by P970.6M.

Based on its proposal submitted to Congress, the Aquino government earmarked more than 77.6 percent of the P104.4-billion increase in the 2011 budget. The increase comes from the huge P80.99-billion rise in interest payments for government’s debt. While personal services grew by P47.24 billion, maintenance and other operating expenses (MOOE) fell by P10.92 billion and capital outlays and net lending, by P12.8 billion.

These reflect the Aquino administration’s declared policy of turning over to the private sector the vital functions of government, including the provision ofservices and undertaking infrastructure development. Public infrastructure spending will fall by P21.13 billion in the 2011 budget. This policy will ultimately take its toll on the poor and marginalized in the form of, among others, exorbitant fees for using public infrastructure.

In the meantime, Aquino is determined to follow the tradition set by his predecessors when it comes to foreign debt: the proposed interest payments in the 2011 budget is pegged at P357.09 billion, or 21.7 percent of the total budget. The overall debt burden for 2011, however, could actually reach P823.27 billion if the principal amortization of P466.18 billion is added to interest payments.

All in all, the country’s debt burden (interest payments plus principal amortization) represents a whopping 38.9 percent of the total 2011 budget proposal. Greater allocations for foreign debt payments mean, fewer allocations for social and economic services for the public. What makes this state of affairs even worse is the fact that the so-called development projects funded by the foreign loans and Official Development Aid (ODA) do not benefit the people. Many of these projects even proved disastrous for the livelihood and communities of many Filipinos particularly
in the provinces, and wrought irrevocable damage to the environment. The primary beneficiaries of these foreign aid are private contractors, corrupt government
officials, and the creditors.

Shirking away from land reform

It’s impossible not to notice how Aquino continues to shirk away from issues concerning the demand of Filipino farmers for genuine land reform.

In his SONA, Aquino expounded on the need to improve post-harvest facilities. But any improvement would benefit only a miniscule fraction of poor farmers. In the meantime,
big landlords, big bourgeois comprador and foreign monopoly agri-businesses readily applauded his proposal because they would greatly profit from selling and operating
these facilities.

Aquino’s refusal to address agrarian reform issues is directly caused by the monsters of his past: his own family’s role in the bloody massacres of poor peasants in Mendiola, Manila in 1987 and in the family-owned Hacienda Luisita in 2004. Aquino has taken a vow of silence on the issue of Hacienda Luisita after being proclaimed president. Even during the election campaign, Aquino’s declared intention to redistribute the land was contradicted by his cousin who is managing Hacienda Luisita. There was no longer any mention of the hacienda nor land distribution during his inaugural address.

The Cojuangco-Aquino family does not want to let go of the land. The Supreme Court is currently reviewing the petition of the family against the 2006 decision of the Department of Agrarian Reform ordering the distribution of the land. In his silence, Aquino condones the actions of his family – the continued usurpation of land that the government has already earmarked for agrarian reform. He insists that he controls only 1/32 of the HCI shares, but he is still unable to let go of this even if only for symbolic purposes.

Peace Negotiations and human rights

With regard to the peace negotiations, the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) has been consistent in its willingness and preparedness to negotiate peace with the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP), especially now that a new administration has come to power. The NDFP continues to uphold and promote all the previously signed agreements to its constituents and allies.

Aquino exposed his ignorance when he asked “Handa na ba kayong magbigay ng mungkahi?” (Are you now ready to offer proposals?) in his first SONA. The NDFP Peace Panel has been prodding the GRP to enter into the second substantive agenda, which is the Comprehensive Agreement on Socio-Economic Reforms (CASER), drafted 12 years ago.

The burden of proving sincerity to put an end to the armed conflict and to bring about a just and lasting peace lies on Aquino’s shoulders. If his current inaction on calls for the resumption of peace negotiations with the NDFP is anything to go by, it appears that Aquino does not consider settling the armed conflict of any importance. The Aquino regime through its spokespersons in the Armed Forces of the Philippines continues to label the Communist Party of the Philippines, the New People’s Army and the NDFP as terrorist groups.

Neither has it acted on the issue of political prisoners. Currently, there are at least 388 political prisoners in the country. Of these, 317 were arrested during Macapagal-Arroyo’s term, including the Morong 43 who are comprised of doctors and health workers maliciously accused of being members of the NPA.

Since Aquino assumed the presidency, 16 activists of the political opposition have been assassinated, three of them members of progressive party-list groups, and four are members of the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP, Peasant Movement of the Philippines).

The GRP also refuses to withdraw trumpedup criminal cases filed against 54 political activists, including progressive members of parliament and NDFP Peace Negotiating Panel members and consultants. US imperialism’s latest puppet. Very recently, Aquino made an official visit to the US with a 60-person entourage.

Taxpayers are set to shoulder the expenses of the trip: P25 M for seven days. He had also authorized the hiring of a public relations firm to help in the media blitz for his visit, reportedly costing P45M. Aquino’s primary agenda in his week-long visit to the US besides speaking at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), includes the signing of the $434-million grant by the Millennium Challenge Corp.,meeting with US President Barack Obama, and attending a list of business conferences.

He was expected to meet with officials of the World Bank, investment bank Citibank Corp., and information technology firm Hewlett-Packard Co.

The MCC’s $434 million grant was based, among others, on a criteria of so-called adherence to the rule of law and civil liberties. If this was the real criterion, the Philippines would have been disqualified outright because of the dismal conviction rate for cases of extra-judicial killings, among others. A recent study showed that only one percent of these assassinations during the nine years of the Arroyo administration, and the first two months of the Aquino administration, have been resolved in court.

The MCC Compact Grant is in fact a foreign policy tool of the US government to impose neo-liberal policies on third world countries. Grants like this and other so called aid are instruments to advance US economic and political interests in other parts of the world, in the guise of promoting democracy and good governance. This is particularly true now because the US economy is in crisis, and the US government will increase its efforts to extract more profits from poor countries like the Philippines. The MCC is chaired by US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton. The straight path to greater exploitation The first Aquino government promised to be the exact opposite of the Marcos dictatorship.

But the regime change of 1986 did not lead to any significant reduction of poverty, industrialization, shift to an independent foreign policy, or redress of historical grievances.The second Aquino regime’s approach to these very same matters does not promise much improvement in the daily lives of the poor majority. Now, just like during the campaign period, Aquino is offering the Filipino people nothing but empty words, palliative and myopic solutions.

The Filipino people continue to live in poverty and oppression, under the yoke of imperialism, bureaucrat capitalism and feudalism. If Aquino’s first 100 days in office is a foretaste of things to come, the next six years will see an ever increasing mass of people outraged by this regime’s incompetence and subservience. The people are faced with no other option but to wage revolutionary and militant struggle in order to defend and advance their interests.

In the next six years, the people are bound to rise up in resistance against the policies of the Aquino regime and the entire ruling system.

Expose and oppose the Aquino regime's deception and militarism-CPP (NDF)

Expose and oppose the Aquino regime's deception and militarism

Ang Bayan
October 21, 2010

Not for a moment since Benigno Aquino III's new regime took power did the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) relent in its counterrevolutionary military campaign against the Filipino people. The US-Aquino regime is making full use of the political capital it gained from the last election to court support for its campaign of repression.

But it is this same campaign that is rapidly dissipating whatever political capital Aquino has left. The people who were blinded by the glare of his promise to change the old ways are gravely disappointed with the extension of the US-Arroyo regime's bloody Oplan Bantay Laya (OBL). The present regime is turning out to be no different from its predecessor in terms of the intensity and brutality of its fascist repression.

The AFP has been conducting a relentless and allout military campaign for more than two months now in Ilocos-Cordillera, Bicol, Eastern Visayas, Negros and practically the whole of Mindanao. Up to seven Philippine Army divisions are now launching military operations and sowing terror among the people in these areas. AFP military operations have also continued in other regions.

These operations have resulted in myriad cases of fascist violence and human rights violations and wrought havoc on the people's livelihoods. The AFP has been brazenly abusing human rights and international humanitarian law.

In a matter of a little over two months, soldiers and other military operatives have committed massacres, abductions and torture, destroyed crops and other sources of livelihood, conducted illegal searches, theft and forcible recuitment and terrorized civilians. There has so far been an average of more than one victim of extrajudicial killing per week under the new regime.

The renewed spate of fascist suppression by the AFP in the first few months of the new puppet Aquino regime is driven by three factors that are inextricably intertwined.

The first are Aquino and the AFP top brass' marching orders to crush the people's armed revolutionary resistance in three years. The orders were issued after the AFP's failure to defeat the NPA despite a decade of the bloody OBL. Aquino has ordered its extension while he prepares his own "internal security operational plan" for next year. He has practically doubled the AFP budget for 2011, announced plans to expand the military and is now begging for more military assistance from his imperialist master.

Second, there has been an outpouring of US support to the AFP and the puppet Aquino regime's counterinsurgency program. The US has recently approved $434 million in aid for programs related to the counterrevolutionary war, on top of the financial aid and surplus military equipment it has been providing to the AFP and the police. The 2010 Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) is currently being held in various areas of Luzon involving more than 4,000 American soldiers and 1,000 elements from the Philippine Navy and Marines. The US continues to intervene and call the shots in the AFP's counterinsurgency operations. It is the moving force behind the new operational plan being drafted for next year, which will focus on stepping up psywar and political gimmickry to justify and support an intensified campaign of suppression.

Third, current massive military campaigns are closely connected to particular big foreign comprador and bourgeois comprador projects. These campaigns are aimed at suppressing the people's resistance to plans to initiate and expand the operations of large-scale mining and agro-industrial companies as well as other plunderous projects that are detrimental to the people's livelihoods, rights and other interests.

No matter how much the US-Aquino regime and the AFP rely on psywar gimmicky and lies, they cannot cover up the brutality of their fascist acts. The AFP has been taking instruction from the US Counterinsurgency Guide to rev up its psywar and civil-military operations (CMO). Thus, alongside its military operations, the AFP has been conducting showcase medical and dental missions. Alongside its terroristic acts, the AFP has continuously been prating about "advocating human rights." It has been utilizing the mass media to spread distorted information and malign the NPA and the revolutionary movement.

Aquino and his subalterns have also been going on and on about "peace" despite the absence of any decisive step towards the resumption of talks with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP). In perpetuating the policies that have served as stumbling blocks to the peace talks' resumption, Aquino has shown his lack of intention to resolve the roots of the civil war through political negotiations.

The large-scale campaign of repression and unrelenting violence against the people expose the US-Aquino regime's militarist, reactionary and antipeople character lurking behind its promises of change. Aquino's much-vaunted "straight path" is in fact a crooked road paved by fascism and watched over by its armed forces in order to give full vent to foreign monopoly capitalists and their big bourgeois comprador, landlord and bureaucrat capitalist cohorts to plunder and oppress the people.

Aquino's intensification and expansion of his campaign of repression and violations of the people's rights are stoking the people's anger and fuelling their determnation to defend themselves and wage resistance.

We must pull all stops to expose and oppose the deceitful US-Aquino regime's worsening militarism and oppression.

The Filipino people must unite against the puppet regime's US-dictated militarist policy. We must continuously expose the US-Aquino regime's pretenses and its sham promises of change. We must support the widespread clamor to resume the peace talks in order to seek a just and lasting resolution to the civil war raging in the country.

We must fire up the people's courage to resist the various ways by which the military and the state's armed forces have been brutalizing and terrorizing the countryside and urban areas. The people must mobilize themselves in their numbers to show that they see through the US-Aquino regime's deceptions and have not been crushed.

The NPA must step up its tactical offensives to thwart the AFP's fascist military operations and punish it and the Aquino regime for its atrocities against the people. Let the US-Aquino regime shake to its very foundations as it confronts tactical offensives growing in scale and intensity. Let us show the entire nation that the national democratic revolution continues to advance and gain strength.


NDF-EV assails 8th ID for hustling for US grant and promoting militarization and underdevelopment

NDF-EV assails 8th ID for hustling for US grant
and promoting militarization and underdevelopment*

Fr. Santiago "Sanny" Salas
NDF - Eastern Visayas
October 22, 2010

The National Democratic Front-Eastern Visayas today called 8th Infantry Division chief Gen. Mario Chan a barefaced liar for denying militarization in Samar and for claiming the $200 million US Millenium Challenge Corporation grant will bring development. "It is sheer duplicity for Gen. Chan to deny Samar's militarization," said Fr. Santiago Salas, NDF-EV spokesperson. "Victims of human rights violations have publicly denounced widepread and extended military operations since August in Jiabong, Motiong, San Jorge, Catbalogan, Gandara, Paranas, San Jose de Buan and Matuguinao in Western Samar, as well as several adjacent towns in Northern and Eastern Samar. This goes to show the Aquino government is enamored with the militarist solution and Gen. Mario Chan is implementing this by militarizing Samar. It is already clear the present government is dragging its feet in the peace process with the NDFP, extending the widely condemned Oplan Bantay Laya until January 2011, and carrying out the US Counterinsurgency Guide in plotting its own counterrevolutionary war."

The NDF-EV spokesperson also assailed Gen. Chan for maliciously accusing the revolutionary movement of being against development in opposing the US-funded Samar Road project. "Without basic socio-economic reforms, the MCC project will be a mere publicity and psywar gimmick to glamorize the Aquino government and to justify militarization in the name of securing this project. To assure genuine economic development, land reform and national industrialization are needed. But Samar reflects the backwardness and imbalance under semifeudalism in Eastern Visayas. Of the agricultural land there, the crops planted do not benefit the people: over 60% goes to commercial crops for export such as coconut and abaca, while less than 20% is left for rice and other basic foodstuffs. The agricultural conditions are also dire: the number of irrigated rice fields is drastically declining, farmlands continue to be divided into smaller and less productive parcels, and the use of agricultural machinery or even farm animals is woefully inadequate. Such is the explosive situation where the peasants are becoming increasingly landless, desperate and hungry. Meanwhile, other economic activities such as mining and logging have not resulted in industrialization but the plunder of the island's rich natural resources as raw materials for export. Thus it is Gen. Chan who is against development, for pushing a project that will not solve the island's economic ills, but will hasten the exploitation and oppression of the people."

Fr. Salas likewise charged Gen. Chan of hustling for the US-funded project in his greed to ensure his share from the bureaucratic loot. "The NDF-EV is aware civilian contractors in Samar have been complaining in recent years they are being muscled out by the 8th ID in construction projects. High-ranking military officials not only back certain contractors to share the kickbacks, but also use the army engineering battalions to grab corruption-tainted projects that should have been done by the civilian government. Isn't it strange otherwise why Gen. Mario Chan makes vulgar demands to the local government to rush the US-funded project, when he is out of line in doing so, as a military official who should be subordinate to civilian authority?"

The NDF-EV spokesperson called on the people to express their grievances and expose the real situation in opposing the US Millenium Challenge Corporation project. "We call on the peasantry and the people to press the demands for land reform and national industrialization against a grandiloquent but deceptive project. We call on the Church and the human rights and peace activists to expose and oppose the "counterinsurgency" scheme behind the MCC project based on the US COIN Guide. We also call on the anti-corruption activists to study and criticize the US-funded project that will surely be undertaken by the same thieves responsible for the neglected state of Samar's roads and other public works. Let us oppose the US imperialist design against our national sovereignty in the MCC project and the related US COIN Guide. Let us fight for basic socio-economic reforms that should be undertaken for genuine development. Let us fight for a just and lasting peace against the militarist and fascist direction charted by US imperialism and its puppet Aquino regime."