Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Einstein on Socialism

Why Socialism?
by Albert Einstein
This essay was originally published in the first issue of Monthly Review (May 1949).

Is it advisable for one who is not an expert on economic and social issues to express views on the subject of socialism? I believe for a number of reasons that it is.

Let us first consider the question from the point of view of scientific knowledge. It might appear that there are no essential methodological differences between astronomy and economics: scientists in both fields attempt to discover laws of general acceptability for a circumscribed group of phenomena in order to make the interconnection of these phenomena as clearly understandable as possible. But in reality such methodological differences do exist. The discovery of general laws in the field of economics is made difficult by the circumstance that observed economic phenomena are often affected by many factors which are very hard to evaluate separately. In addition, the experience which has accumulated since the beginning of the so-called civilized period of human history has-as is well known-been largely influenced and limited by causes which are by no means exclusively economic in nature. For example, most of the major states of history owed their existence to conquest. The conquering peoples established themselves, legally and economically, as the privileged class of the conquered country. They seized for themselves a monopoly of the land ownership and appointed a priesthood from among their own ranks. The priests, in control of education, made the class division of society into a permanent institution and created a system of values by which the people were thenceforth, to a large extent unconsciously, guided in their social behavior.

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Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Nang mag-apply ng trabaho si Mozart

I sympathize with Mr. Wolfgang Mozart who was a victim of narrow standards.

Dear Dean:

This is in response to your suggestion that we appoint Mr. Wolfgang Mozart to our music faculty. The music department appreciates your interest, but the faculty is sensitive about its prerogatives in the selection of new colleagues.

While the list of works and performances the candidate has submitted is very full, it reflects too much activity outside academia. Mr. Mozart does not have an earned doctorate and has very little formal education and teaching experience. There is also significant evidence of personal instability evidenced in his resume. Would
he really settle down in a large state university like ours? Would he really be a team player?

I must voice a concern over the incidents with his former superior, the Archbishop of Salzburg. They hardly confirm his abilities to be a good team man and show a disturbing lack of respect for authority.

Franz Haydn's letter of recommendation is noted, but Mr. Haydn is writing from a very special situation. Esterhazy is a well-funded private institution quite dissimilar from us and abler than we to accommodate non-academics, like Mr. Haydn himself. Here we are concerned about everybody, not just the most gifted. Furthermore, we suspect cronyism on the part of Mr. Haydn.

After Mr. Mozart's interview with the musicology faculty, they found him sadly lacking in any real knowledge of music before Bach and Handel. If he were to teach only composition, this might not be a serious impediment. But would he be an effective teacher of music history?

The applied faculty were impressed with his pianism, although they thought it was somewhat old-fashioned. That he also performed on violin and viola seemed to us to be stretching versatility dangerously thin. We suspect a large degree of dilletantism on his part.

The composition faculty was skeptical about his vast output. They correctly warn us from their own experience that to receive many commissions and performances is no guarantee of quality. The senior professor pointed out that Mr. Mozart promotes many of these performances himself. He has never won the support of a major foundation.

One of our faculty members was present a year ago at the premiere of, I believe, a violin sonata. He discovered afterwards that Mr. Mozart had not written out all the parts for the piano before he played it. This may be very well in that world, but it sets a poor example for our students. We expect deadlines to be met on time, and this includes all necessary paperwork.

It must be admitted that Mr. Mozart is an entertaining man at dinner. He spoke enthusiastically about his travels. It was perhaps significant, though, that he and the music faculty seem to have few acquaintances in common.

One of our female faculty members was deeply offended by his bluntness. She even had to leave the room after one of his endless parade of anecdotes. This propensity of his to excite the enmity of some is hardly conducive to the establishment of the comity to which we aspire to maintain on our faculty, let alone the image that
we wish to project to the community at large.

We are glad as a faculty to have had the chance to meet this visitor, but we cannot recommend his appointment. Even if he were appointed, this is almost no hope of his being granted tenure. The man simply showed no interest in going to school to collect his doctorate. This is egotism at its zenith.

Please give our regards to Mr. Mozart when you write him. We wish him our very best for a successful career. All are agreed, though, that he cannot fulfill the needs of this department. We wish to recommend the appointment of Antonio Salieri, a musician of the highest ideals and probity that accurately reflect the aims and values that we espouse. We would be eager to welcome such a musician and person to our faculty.

Sincerely yours,

The Chair and Faculty of the Department of Music

P.S. Some good news. Our senior professor of composition tells me there is now a very good chance that a movement of his concerto will have its premiere within two years. You will remember that his work was commissioned by a foundation and won first prize nine years ago.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Bayan's Araullo as anti-globalization "terrorist"?

By Carolina Pagaduan-Araullo

Anti-globalization "terrorist"

How does it feel to be told to step out of the line in full view of hundreds of people, then be escorted like a criminal by at least 5 uniformed men with long arms and two-way radios (were they police or military, who knows), detained for 6 hours without being told why, interrogated twice and then just let go, also without any clear and categorical explanation. At the least, it wasn't pleasant, let me make that plain.

Still groggy from having to write my Business World column till the wee hours of the morning of December 8 then catch an early morning flight from Manila to Hong Kong, I was totally unprepared mentally for what happened while going through immigration at the HK airport.

My guard was down for, after all, this was just Hong Kong, a shoppers' paradise, not the paranoid United States of A, not the snobbish countries of the European Union nor the ones ruled by outright fascist regimes in Asia or Africa. In fact, Filipinos could go for a short visit without needing a visa and I had done just that earlier in the year and breezed through without incident.

The minute the immigration officer scanned my passport and instead of forthwith stamping it called another officer, said a lot of things in Chinese, started writing on a piece of paper while glancing every so often at the computer screen, without once addressing me or even looking at me, I knew something was terribly wrong. After standing and waiting for what seemed like an eternity, I finally asked what the matter was. The man gave me a deadpan expression and said he didn't know.

Some more minutes and he handed my passport to a woman who brought the documents into a small office, came out after another interminable wait then brought in the armed escorts.

I expected their x-raying my hand-carried luggage and turning my handbag
inside out but I didn't expect to be brought to a waiting area crawling with guards that looked to me more like soldiers rather than immigration police. I was told to sit at a specific spot and no other. (Later I was to learn that I was likely being videoed the whole time.) I was prevented from speaking with or even sitting close to the two other Filipino activists who, like me, were being detained.

Frankly, it crossed my mind that maybe the men and women guarding me thought that I may be some "extremist" who could do the unthinkable like charge into them and set off bombs strapped around my torso or simply do something awful somehow. But when I asked my chief escort again why I was being detained, he mumbled something about a problem with the computers.

The first questioning by a mild-mannered, courteous immigration officer was somewhat reassuring. He asked questions I expected to be asked like why had I traveled to HK, who invited me, where was I staying, for how long, who was paying for my expenses while in HK. He later even asked personal things like how many children did I have and what were they doing; had I been to Hong Kong previously and why.

I answered straightforwardly. I did not hide the fact that I was to speak at forums and workshops sponsored by my hosts, a regional organization serving migrant workers, and that these activities were part of the parallel activities planned to coincide with the 6th Ministerial meeting of the WTO.

"Do you plan to join any of the protest rallies against the WTO?" was the next question.

And so it was that the reason I was being held finally emerged. Without the authorities admitting it, I came to the conclusion that they indeed had a blacklist of foreigners who were involved in the "People's Action Week" (as the organizers, the Hong Kong People's Alliance, had dubbed it) and my name had landed in it somehow!

I am pretty sure I am not on any Interpol list so I thought to myself that the Philippine government must have provided the HK authorities with some derogatory "intelligence" information about me. (The thought crossed my mind that the word "intelligence" when used by governments was really an oxymoron.)

Was this part of "sharing intelligence information" in the post-9/11 era and if so, how could someone correct patently erroneous information filed secretly against her and how does she confront her accuser? How does one go about seeking redress of grievances foremost of which is being labeled some kind of "undesirable alien," or worse, a "terrorist"?

How did one get to deserve the label anyway? By being a prominent critic of the US backed-Arroyo government, by leading protest actions calling for her removal from office, by being the head of a progressive alliance of people's organizations demanding nationalist and democratic changes in government and in society? Or is it by being vocally against the state terrorism practiced by the Philippine government in the name of countering "terrorism" ala the Big White Brother?

The second interrogation, this time involving two policemen, two interpreters (one from Chinese to English and a second one from English to Filipino) and a man who later introduced himself as a "liaison officer" for the HK government was much more formal. The interrogator had a prepared list of questions, printed in a form with blank spaces for the answers, all pertaining to protests set in HK against the WTO and my previous history of joining such protests in the Philippines and abroad. They even taped the Q and A, slipped the tape cassette in a plastic envelope which they sealed and asked me to sign.

After another hour or two waiting (I had lost track of time because I was already exhausted and could hardly keep awake) I was awakened by my first interrogator who said that I should get ready because they were letting me go. But after getting my stuff together and being escorted outside the immigration holding area by three gruff policewomen, I was stopped in my tracks and made to go back. It seems that the customs people wanted to recall me and so I needed to wait some more.

This time I was really pissed and decided not to hide it. So what if I was refused entry; at that point I was past caring. I told them that would they just please make up their minds and call me when they had done so because I was tired and pissed.

Another half hour and I was brought to the customs area where they took another eternity to find my luggage and inspect them. Finding some bundles of printed material underneath my clothes, the customs officer queried me about them and I simply said, "Paper." He opened up one package but decided not to make a fuss. (Did he know that I had already been detained over 6 hours and that I was told I would be allowed to enter HK? So what was the point of rifling through my things?)

Finally I was released. It occurred to me that I had just been treated to the HK government's hospitality as a suspect anti-globalization "terrorist".

I had come to HK to be part of a growing global movement to denounce the WTO for being a scourge to the world's peoples after more than ten years in existence. Thousands of local HK people, migrant workers mostly from Southeast Asia and anti-globalization and anti-war activists from across the world were converging to bear witness to the adverse, in fact, the disastrous effects of the neo-liberal policies of deregulation, liberalization and privatization on working people and the environment most especially in poor, backward countries. Meanwhile multinational corporations and imperialist countries were lording it over the WTO the same way that they, much earlier, dictated the policies and programs of the IMF-World Bank.

I had been given a taste of what it's like to be labeled as being against "them" because I was not "for" them and therefore that they would make life hard for social activists like me from giving voice to the underprivileged, the exploited and oppressed on occasions such as the WTO 6th Ministerial.

But like the growing legions the world over who have woken up to the truth about imperialist "globalization," about who stands to gain by the plunder of the world's riches and resources and who have indeed waged wars to expand and consolidate those gains, the answer was as clear as day, "Junk WTO! Resist imperialist plunder and war!" There is no stopping the people's resistance now.#

Punlished in Business World
15-16 December 2005

Bayan's Araullo on anti-WTO protests: An unmitigated success

By Carolina Pagaduan-Araullo

An unmitigated success

Protests continued to hound the World Trade Organization at its 6th Ministerial Conference held this month in Hong Kong, Special Autonomous Region. This time the protest movement was led by the Hong Kong People's Alliance (HKPA) composed of local trade unions, community-based organizations, advocacy groups and the vibrant HK-based migrant organizations of Filipinos, Indonesians, Cambodians and others. The migrant groups provided the bulk of those mobilized, not just in the street rallies but equally important, in the herculean task of preparing for the convergence of anti-"globalization" protesters on HK that began a year earlier.

The South Koreans came in large numbers, the estimates varying from 1000-2000, despite reported denials of entry for many of them. The Filipinos were a couple of hundreds. There were scores of other South East Asians and South Asians; the latter were mainly from India as the Nepalese, Pakistani, and Bangladeshi mass formations were disadvantaged both by lack of funds and apparently more stringent screening to acquire visas. Latin Americans marked their presence as well.

The marches and demonstrations were almost a daily occurrence that started even before the MC6 officially started. Oftentimes there were simultaneous actions by different delegations either by nationality or by sector such as the ones sustained by the disciplined and creative South Koreans and the colorful, energetic actions of the migrants, peasants, and youth groups. These fanned out in the Wan Chai district in the streets surrounding the Hongkong Convention and Exhibition Center, site of the MC6, but inevitably ended up at its heavily guarded perimeter.

A government-designated area for holding the protests at the pier adjacent to the site of the WTO meeting became the scene of countless rallies to highlight the people's demands. They were punctuated by the chanting of "Junk WTO"/"Da du sai mau" in Cantonese or "Down, down WTO"/ "Kong yee sai mau", cultural presentations, effigy and US flag burning, giant streamers and the women's variegated quilt containing sharp messages against the WTO and imperialist and neoliberal "globalization", the jumping of protesters en mass into the waters by the pier adjacent to the site of the WTO meeting and the inevitable clashes with the police.

Lest it be said that the HKPA-led People's Action Week was only about street protests, there were in fact countless forums, workshops, and cultural activities held by international, regional and national organizations. There was a forum sponsored by the International League on Peoples' Struggles (ILPS) on War and Trade that highlighted the relationship between the so-called "free trade" espoused by the WTO to imperialist plunder and wars of aggression against peoples and governments that are resisting the WTO-IMF-World Bank as well as the US-led bogus "war on terror".

There were the peasant and women's tribunals to try the WTO and other multilateral instruments of imperialist "globalization". There were workshops covering the adverse impact of the WTO after more than ten years, on almost all poor and oppressed sectors of society, especially in the stunted, backward economies of Asia, Africa and Latin America. There were briefings by progressive experts, research outfits and lobby groups on the real issues and status of the negotiations in the WTO sans the world body's technical and political gobbledygook.

Thirty parliamentarians from 17 countries led by the Philippines' Bayan Muna, Anakpawis and Gabriela Women's Party drew up a resolution entitled "Defend the right to development in the negotiations on services liberalization", were active in monitoring the progress of the negotiations from inside and in exposing the US, EU and Japan-led maneuvers to give the rest of the world a "bad deal".

In the end, that is exactly what the MC6 dished out. In the words of the Third World Network, a non-government organization dedicated to monitoring, analyzing and explaining the goings-on at the WTO as well as advising governments willing to listen and movements willing to learn:

"The developing countries gave in on the key market access issues of services and non-agricultural market access. In return they did not receive any significant gain in cotton, market access for LDCs (least-developed countries), or 'aid for trade', the three main components of a so-called 'development package'.

As for the 2013 end-date for elimination of agricultural export subsidies, the most publicized claim of benefit from Hong Kong, it was no victory. This greatest-distorting subsidy of all should have been eliminated many years ago, and no price should have been asked for it."

Months ahead of the MC6 there were forecasts by WTO analysts that no major breakthroughs in the Agreement on Agriculture would be inked because the advanced, capitalist countries that heavily subsidized their agriculture would not budge an inch in lowering their subsidies while continuing to demand that poorer, backward countries heavily dependent on their agriculture take down their tariff and non-tariff barriers.

There was also resistance to any further concessions on the General Agreement on Services (GATS) and on Non-agricultural Market Access (NAMA) until more than lip service would be given by the US, European Union and Japan to the promised aid and preferential treatment for needy countries in accordance with the much ballyhooed Doha Development Round.

Thus there was talk about another impending collapse in the WTO negotiations in HK, the same as in Seattle and Cancun. That did not happen. On the contrary, the advanced capitalist countries succeeded in papering over their differences as well as in bribing, hoodwinking, and arm twisting the Third World countries into signing an agreement in HK that would lopsidedly favor them and soften the ground for even more one-sided and onerous ones in 2006.

Does this mean all the protests were for naught? Ask any of the delegations and other participants who braved the government harassment and intimidation including immigration detention together with the brutal dispersal of demonstrations by the police and who bore the expense and endured the bitter cold of Hong Kong.

On the last day of the MC6 when the HKPA decided to push through with the planned march and rally to cap the week-long protests despite the police brutality the previous day, the morale was high and the call reverberated: Junk WTO! It was clear that the world people's struggle against the WTO and imperialist "globalization" must continue in each and every country so that governments are pressured to change their anti-people positions and /or become accountable and pay the political price.

Without a doubt, the collective protest against the WTO in HK was another high point in that continuing struggle and was in that sense an unmitigated success.#

* Published in Businessworld
23-24 December 2005

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

PHOTOS: Anti-WTO protests in Hong Kong

WTO update from IBON
December 17, 2005



Hong Kong-- On its fourth day (Dec 16) the WTO’s 6th Ministerial Conference (MC6) apparently still is not making progress towards the minimum it needs to avoid being called a failure. There are still no agreements on key issues in agriculture, non-agricultural market access and services. There are also criticisms of the “development package” that the developed countries are using to bribe neocolonial country governments to agree to deals; the “package” is also a deceitful farce so that the WTO can claim to be meeting development objectives of the “Doha Development Agenda”.

Nonetheless, the informal small group “Green Room” meetings dominated by the advanced industrial powers continue with sessions lasting until the early hours of the morning (the latest began at 7:00 pm of Dec. 16). These may still produce enough results in the last two days that prevent a third Ministerial collapse that would undermine the WTO’s credibility further and boost the anti-neoliberal “globalization” movement. The next round of talks may be in March or April 2006, towards a final set of agreements and a conclusion of the Doha Round by end-2006.

The key areas for negotiation are agriculture, non-agricultural market access and services as well as some kind of “development package”.

The WTO’s target in agriculture for the MC6 is just for general agreement on the main elements of liberalization with the more definite details for further negotiation in 2006. This general framework is apparently not being reached with the US and EU not committing any real cuts in the subsidies they give to their farmers, on one hand, and the underdeveloped countries not committing further liberalization to the extent desired by the developed countries, on the other.

The target in non-agricultural market access is also just for general agreement on the main elements of liberalization with the more definite details for further negotiation in 2006. Apparently there are still divergent views on the extent, depth and pace of liberalization (i.e. on product coverage and exemptions, formulas/coefficients for tariff reduction).

In services, unlike in the previous two key areas, the WTO’s target for MC6 is for definite guidelines and procedures that intensify services sector liberalization. In particular, the target is for a change in the guidelines and procedures that had already been agreed on in 2001 for new ones that intensify services sector liberalization. The developed countries are not satisfied with the existing procedures that in principle still give underdeveloped countries the right to refuse to open up service sectors for liberalization; moreover, they want to require countries to liberalize in a minimum number of sectors and in particular “modes”. (In WTO-speak: the developed countries want to change the existing voluntary bilateral request-offer approach with a mandatory plurilateral and sectoral/modal approach; moreover, they want quantitative and qualitative “benchmarking”.)

On Thursday (Dec 15), however, a group of six countries (Cuba, Indonesia, Kenya, Philippines, South Africa and Venezuela) sent a letter to the Conference chairman saying that the proposed services agreement in the draft Ministerial text coming into Hong Kong is not in any way an agreed text and is not an acceptable basis for moving forward. A few hours after that, the G-90 comprising the majority of underdeveloped country members also submitted an alternative text on services that proposes more moderate liberalization. The extent of real conflict between the “opposed” positions – draft services text and G-90 proposal – will become clearer after the actual negotiations on them tonight.

Outside of these three key areas, a “development package” is being cooked up in the WTO. This package is mainly about: 1) five “concessions” to the least-developed countries (LDCs) basically about not expecting them to open up as much as other countries and giving them preferential access to developed country markets (particular issues being raised are: “special and differential treatment” in terms of duty free and quota free access for LDC products and exemption from TRIMS obligations; reducing US subsidies for American cotton producers to benefit West African cotton producers); and 2) underdeveloped countries being given “aid for trade”. There may also be a show of resolving issues on TRIPS and public health
so that underdeveloped countries can have access to cheap medicines.

On the concessions to LDCs, the US and EU are at the moment using a combination of legalistic arguments and outright refusal so as not to concede anything. On the “aid for trade”, there are doubts that the US, EU and Japan really mean to give the approximately US$10 billion dollars in loans and grants that they are dangling or, indeed, if there is really that much “aid” to begin with (with this “aid” actually just going to making it easier for the developed countries to open up). On TRIPS and public health, there is no substantial change in the agreement so far.

Finally, the announcement on Friday (Dec 16) of an alliance of underdeveloped countries comprised of the G-20, G-33, ACP, LDCs, African Group and the Small Economies – encompassing 120 countries and four-fifths of the world’s population – is being interpreted as making it harder for the developed countries to pressure the world’s poor countries to open up. The real test though is if this “G-120” will be able to muster the collective will to defy the big powers of the US, EU and Japan. As it is, all this “G-120” has done so far is make a show of underdeveloped
country solidarity and reaffirm long-stated requests on key agricultural issues instead of making stronger and more definite demands.

The direction of the talks for now is towards failure due to seemingly inflexible positions of country delegations. However the situation is still very fluid and things will probably be much clearer by tomorrow (Saturday) especially with the drafting of the latest proposed Ministerial text.

The main devices that the imperialist powers can use to manufacture consensus include: giving key underdeveloped countries what they want in one area of negotiation (ex. agriculture) in exchange for agreeing in another area (ex. services), using the ploy of benefits from a “development package”, threatening to increase developed country protections and support to the further disadvantage of the underdeveloped countries, raising the bogey of a global economic crisis if the overall negotiations fail, or outright political pressure.

Also, many underdeveloped country delegations (including the Philippines) seem to think that “a bad deal is better than no deal,” because they feel that the WTO gives underdeveloped countries the venue to ask rich countries like the US to reduce their farm subsidies and tariffs. This kind of thinking means that they can adopt “critical” positions but still at the end of the day agree because they don’t want to risk the collapse of what they think is a basically desirable institution that ostensibly puts them on the same level as the imperialist powers. (end)

Solidarity with Thai anti-WTO protestors

Dec 18, 2005 - 13:37pm

The Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law and Development (APWLD) is calling for the immediate release of our friends and comrades arrested last night.

In the middle of the night, 900 WTO protesters were arrested, among them are around 45 Thais and around 20 Indonesians, 5 of which are women. Yeni Rosa Damayanti was one of the women leading the Women's March Against WTO two days ago. She is now one of the detainees and is our sole contact for the Indonesians detained. Yeni has been sending SMS messages to APWLD members updating us of their situation. The arrested protesters were kept in the outdoor yard of the Kwun Tong Court from 2 am to 9 am. They had to suffer throughout the cold winter night with no blankets, no food, no water. Women were physically abused and stripped naked for body search.

Then after 9 am the arrested have been moved by police vehicles to undisclosed buildings. There are six detention centres spread all over Hong Kong. APWLD members have been going from one detention centre to another in search of friends who were arrested. It is uncertain as to whether this non-disclosure is due to a language barrier or if it is a deliberate tactic of non-disclosure of information. We believe that this is the Hong Kong Government's way of weakening the intensifying resistance against the WTO. The anti-WTO groups had been planning on holding a large united rally today at 2pm. This is likely to be a method of dispersing the strength of the international movement against WTO.

As stated in Yeni's text messages one of the conditions of release given to Indonesians is that they must show proof that they are leaving Hong Kong tomorrow. However due to the randomness of arrests, they were not prepared for this and did not carry their travel documents with them. Furthermore, friends are unable to bring these travel documents to them due to the unknown whereabouts of their detention. They are therefore left unable to carry out this unreasonable condition for release.

The arrests followed violent police dispersals using tear gas and water canons while protesters staged a peaceful sit-in on a road near the convention centre where the WTO Ministerial Conference was taking place.

APWLD condemns police brutality against people who are exercising their right to assemble and protest. APWLD demands that all protesters detained are immediately and unconditionally released; no charges have been made against the detainees so the police has no right to keep the in detention. We demand that the police provide the full list of arrested and their location

Additional Information: Nine APWLD members from Thailand have attempted to bring food and water to the 45 Thai detainees in the Kwung Tong Courts (photos below). They were denied access to the detainees, however, and have left the food at the courts in hope that it will be brought to our Thai friends. Peasants and NGO workers have been separated from each other while in custody, leaving peasants vulnerable to ill treatment and denial of rights due to their inability to communicate in Chinese or English.

For more information please contact judy 6429 0382 (HK mobile) or asha 6237 9548

Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law and Development (APWLD)
189/3 Changklan Road
Amphoe Muang
Chiang Mai 50101 Thailand
Tel: (66) 53 284527, 284856
Fax: (66) 53 280847

Thai activists demanding release of their friends in front of Kwun Tong Law Court, December 18

Solidarity with South Korean anti-WTO protestors


December 18, 2005

Philippine activists condemn violence against South Korean anti-WTO protestors

The International League of People!&s Struggles (LPS) and the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN or the New Patriotic Alliance) condemn the brutality of the Hong Kong police against the anti-WTO protestors, particularly the peasants, fisherfolk and workers from South Korea.

It is with much outrage that we denounce the HK police's use of batons, water cannons and teargas against the SoKor demonstrators. The fact that the HK police also contained the protestors, denying them sustenance as well as humanitarian help from fellow protestors from other countries exposes the ugly belly of intolerance and state violence.

Bayan and the ILPS sent a contingent of 100 people last night to Wan Chai to try and give food and water to our South Korean comrades, but the police denied us entry and refused to take the said food and water to the South Koreans.

Clearly, once the interest of the imperialist powers are at stake, they will not hesitate to use brutality. Last night!&s violent dispersal is a grave infringement on human and democratic rights of all peoples to protest against injustice and inequality. Over 60 protestors were reportedly hurt and three were hospitalized. The police also herded 900 others and detained them without charges until 3:00 am today.

Freedom-loving people, human rights advocates, civil libertarians and all anti-globalization and anti-WTO organizations must denounce the actions of the Hong Kong government and its police. We urge the HK public to rally and support the protestors and the protests against the WTO. We also demand the immediate release all the South Korean protestors from the custody of the HK police.

Finally, even as we condemn the violence done against them, we offer the highest salute to the courage and determination of the South Korean activists in opposing the WTO and its policies. We find much to emulate in their discipline and creativity in expressing their stand against the WTO's policies and their impact on their lives and livelihood. We are one with them in the fight against the WTO even as we wage own battles against it in our country.#

Monday, December 19, 2005

Revolutionary government ba o transition council muna?

16 December 2005

Nero Vallar
Bayan Muna North Mindanao Coordinator

Bayan Muna coordinator for Northern Mindanao Nero Vallar yesterday
clarified that while former Defense Sec. Fortunato Abat's "declaration"
on December 14 of a "transition government" was aimed at evicting Mrs.
Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo out of Malacañang, this was not the transition
council proposed by the Left and other progressive groups.

"While Gen. Abat's intention to remove Gloria is the same as ours, the
transition council which we are pushing does not however border on the
establishment of a civilian-military junta," Vallar pointed out,
stressing the civilian character of the transition government proposed
by the Left and other opposition groups.

He said that the civilian transition council, which Bayan Muna supports,
maintains the principle of proportionality in number; therefore,
peasants and workers, who are in fact the real majority in society,
would be allotted the biggest number representation, in terms of seats,
in the council. This council, he added, may welcome representation only
from retired members of the military or police. Vallar said that the
sheer audacity of General Abat to declare himself "president" of a
"government" was yet another testimony to the continuing disintegration
of the Arroyo regime. She, on the other hand, warned that the arrest of
Abat, further proof of Gloria's war against dissenters, would be met on
members of the Left and other progressive and opposition groups.

The Bayan Muna spokesperson also opined that the escape of Oakwood
protester Capt. Faeldon's was more proof of a fractious Armed Forces of
the Philippines (AFP). "Capt. Faeldon's disgust for GMA tells of his
disgust for the AFP, proving further that the military is at a quandary
over the credibility and legitimacy of the government they have sworn to
serve," Vallar concluded. ###

Martial Rule is coming to town

15 December 2005
Casiño bewails rushed, half-baked anti-terror bill
Rep. Teodoro A. Casiño

"Congress terrorized the people late last night by railroading a
half-baked anti-terror bill (ATB) just in time before its Christmas break."

Thus said Bayan Muna Rep. Teddy Casiño, adding, "It was clear they
railroaded the anti-terror bill to meet the President's deadline. It
took only three sessions of interpellation while in contrast, some less
important bills stagnated for months on the floor without being passed."

According to Casiño, "With the approval of the ATB, the so called
government's 'infrastructure for de facto martial rule is now complete'."

"Coupled with Executive Order 464, which radically inhibited the access
of the public to details of government transactions, and the CPR that
authorizes violent dispersals of legitimate protests, the ATB becomes
more lethal, punitive, and condemnable."

"Under the bill, street protests, mass actions, labor and transport
strikes may be classified as terrorist acts, said Casiño, adding, "The
ATB grants Malacañang draconian powers to quell legitimate political
dissenters and even silence the traditional legal opposition."

Casiño also noted that his party-list, Bayan Muna, has everything to
worry about Malacañang wielding powers from the said anti-democratic
bill. For instance, the
AFP resolutely claims that Bayan Muna, along with other progressive
party-list groups and organizations, has links with the CPP-NPA-NDF,
which the US tagged as a terrorist organization. Since then, 73 Bayan
Muna members were killed.

One much publicized AFP report even tagged Rep. Satur Ocampo as a bomb
plot financier. Both Ocampo and the NPA denied the allegations. Also, by
virtue of the CPR policy, strings of cases hound rally organizers and
prominent legislators, including Casiño. Moreover, with the anti-terror
bill, rally organizers can immediately be detained.

Is the rushing of the ATB part of Negroponte's agenda?

Bayan Muna Rep. Teddy Casiño gravely suspects that the ATB was passed on
the heels of U.S. top spy John Negroponte's visit in Manila.

Negroponte, Director for the U.S. National Intelligence, of which agency
commands the CIA, arrived in Manila last December 6 and reportedly left
two days later. His itinerary, according to U.S. Embassy spokesperson
Matthew Lussenhop was to talk to Philippine officials, particularly
National Security Adviser Norberto Gonzales, regarding the anti-terror
drive in the Philippines.

"Even while House Bill 4839 was a bill certified by the President, we
all knew that its passage was doomed as the Christmas break was
approaching. But it was rushed to meet a December 14 deadline," Casiño

"It is evident that the railroading of the anti-terror bill is part of
the bargain for continued U.S. support to the GMA regime. ###

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Subanon squatter on their own land

December 14, 2005



This is how Timuay Anoy, leader of the Subanon group described the operation of Toronto Ventures Inc., a Canadian-owned mining firm in today’s inquiry conducted by the House Committee on National Cultural Communities.

Anoy is one of the resource speakers of the group that came from Mt. Canatuan, Siocon, Za mboanga del Norte. Along with him are Subanen tribesmen Nanding Mundai and Onsino Mato, Rev. Beltran Pacatang and Godofredo Galos of Save Siocon Paradise Movement.

The investigation was initiated by Bayan Muna Representative Joel Virador based on House Resolution 426 directing the committee to probe the plight of the indigenous Subanen people in relation to the alleged encroachment and illegal operation of TVI in the area.

Rampant rights violation and alleged unscrupulous operation of the TVI prompt the militant solon to probe the Canadian mining firm.

“The Subanen people of Siocon stiffly oppose the mining operation of TVI since day 1 mainly because the mining company will only cause dislocation and division among them. The TVI mining operation likewise caused immense environmental destruction thereby destroying their sources of livelihood,” Virador said.

He added: “The subanon people’s economy is mainly agricultural. Their source of livelihood came from the seeds they plant. They don’t need gold because they cannot plant and harvest gold. So there’s no real sustainable development in mining in Siocon,” Virador said.

During the inquiry, Galos claimed that TVI’s mining operation caused more harm in the lives of the Subanen people because the mine already polluted the river Zamboanga.

“Since the operation started naging brown na ang tubig sa ilog. Napuno na ito ng putik. At isa sa mga pinagkukunan ng kabuhayan ng mga Subanen ay ang pangingisda. This is also their source of water,” Galos said.

Galos likewise accused the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) of being negligent in monitoring the mining activities of the TVI.

“We fear that TVI would cause more destruction than development in Siocon. We don’t feel safe because the DENR has lot of lapses. We really cannot feel if they are doing their best in monitoring the activities of TVI,” Galos said.

Anoy on the other hand bared that TVI forbids him from entering his home in Siocon. He said that he is often barred by TVI’s Special Civilian Armed Auxilliary (SCAA) members every time he went home to see his family.

“2004 pa ako hindi nakakauwi. Hindi ako pwedeng pumasok sa sarili kong lupa dahil
ayaw ng TVI,” Anoy said.#

Message from ILPS-Europe

Message of ILPS-Europe

On behalf of the International League of Peoples’ Struggle (ILPS)-Europe, which has recently held its first conference, we send our cordial militant greetings to all participants of the international conference and wish every success to the proceedings of the conference and the mobilizations against the plunder and imperialist WTO and its agreements.

Behind the myth of free trade hides the imperialist policy of robbery and destruction of countries, particularly the poorer countries of the Third World. Behind it also hides the attempt to smash all labour union rights and victories, the annihilation of poor farmers, and the eroding of the rights of women, young people, immigrants and minorities.

Heading this aggression is the US as well as other imperialist countries and blocks, particularly that of the European Union (EU). Their disagreements are about the sharing of the imperialist plunder. It is an economic rivalry that in our days acquires political and military characteristics and causes wars of aggression and interventions. Facing this policy the only hope of fighting this policy of prevalent
oppression and exploitation that cause untold misery to the people is peoples’ resistance and the liberation movements of all oppressed people.

We greet the popular, labour, agrarian, women, and youth movements in Asia that organize great mobilizations against WTO. On this occasion we want to send our militant greetings to all anti-imperialist, democratic, and liberation movements of Asia, to all peace movements, to all movements against US military bases, and to every popular independent initiative that struggles against the instigators of war of aggression and interventionism. We declare our determination to continue the efforts for strengthening the anti-imperialist line in the popular movements, and
our unwavering international solidarity.

Manolis Arkolakis
Deputy Chairperson and Coordinator for Europe
International League of Peoples’ Struggle

Anti-WTO Women

Dec 14, 2005 Hong Kong

Women say no to WTO at the Asia Pacific Women’s Village

Some 150 women representing various women’s organizations in Asia from the ranks of peasants, indigenous, Dalit, herders and fishers gathered in a ceremony to open the Asia Pacific Women’s Village at the Victoria Park in Hong Kong in the morning of December 14, 2005. The Asia Pacific Women’s Village is set up as a site where women come together to share their stories on the negative impacts of WTO to their lives and livelihood, have solidarity and draw strength from each other’s struggles and stories, display and share their local products and information materials and talk of common actions while the 6th ministerial meeting of the WTO is taking place.

The Asia Pacific Women’s Village is being coordinated by the Asia-Pacific Forum on Women, Law and Development (APWLD), a network of women in the Asia-Pacific region which is also currently running a women’s campaign called Don’t Globalise Hunger.

“WTO is causing us deeper hunger and poverty”, is the common call of the women. “We demand WTO to get out of agriculture where most of us derive our livelihood, for WTO to get out of our lives”, the women delegates chanted in the opening ceremony of the Asian Women’s Village. The women reverberated the call for women in Asia to resist WTO.

About 60% of food production in the Asia-Pacific region is done by women. With hunger getting more massive and poverty deepening, more and more women in Asia suffer greater violence as they are pushed to take up low-paying jobs as farm workers and farmhands of rich land owners, take up low-paying menial jobs, forced to give sexual favors in exchange of rice to eat for the next meal and out-migrate even to foreign lands just to be assured of survival.

Asia Pacific women delegates also participated in an opening march by some 10,000 WTO protesters from all over the world from Victoria Park to the designated area close to the Convention and Exhibition center where the 6th Ministerial Meeting of the WTO is being held.

Participating Asia Pacific women will also be holding a Talanoa event, a Fiji word for story-telling, at 4:00 pm today at the Asia Pacific Women’s Village. The Talanoa event will also launch the patches of women’s resistance towards global resistance, a collection of slogans of women against WTO which will be sewn together to come up with a huge patches of women’s resistance. The collective sewing of the patches will symbolize the building of a stronger unity among Asia Pacific women, specially
rural women to resist WTO and be recognized of their right to land and food and
against all forms of violence including hunger and poverty.

The Asia Pacific Women’s Village hopes to bring the less-heard voices of Asia Pacific women to the media and groups closely monitoring the development of the 6th ministerial meeting hoping to bring to the public the women’s perspective of the negative impact of the WTO. The voices of Asian women will add up to the voices of the world’s peoples to derail the 6th Ministerial Meeting towards the junking of this global trade regime.


photos available at

Message from ILPS-Greece

Greetings to the Hong Kong International Conference on the occasion of the 6th ministerial conference of the WTO
(13 to 18 December 2005)

Message from Greece

On behalf of Class March (labour union organization), Militant Movement of Students, and Antiwar-Anti-imperialist Committees, participating organization in the International League of Peoples’ Struggle (ILPS), we convey to the participants of the international conference at Victoria Park with the main slogan of “Junk WTO”, the warm militant greetings of our members and all progressive popular movement of Greece.

We join our voice with yours against the plunder and criminal policy of the imperialists headed by the US and other imperialist blocks, like the European Union (EU), who want to plunge peoples and countries into poverty, famine, misery and destruction, who want to chain the working class, destroy poor farmers, and bring the planet into a new Middle Ages which serves the interests of the multinationals and big capital.

We greet the popular demonstrations organized by the anti-imperialist and peoples’ movements of Asia in Hong Kong against the imperialist and monopolist WTO, and underline our firm belief that peoples and workers, through their struggles and movements, will stop imperialist aggression and smash imperialist agreements.

On the same day of the conference, Greek workers from the public as well as private sectors will stage a general strike against government measures that impose wage freezes, layoffs, abolition of 8-hour work, and new privatizations of state enterprises. Around the world, the people have a common enemy. The enemy is imperialism, the capitalist system and every reactionary who brings suffering to the peoples. But a united peoples will defeat them!

- Class March
- Militant Movement of Students
- Committee against Foreign Military Bases (Chania-Crete)

Athens, 7 December 2005

Filipinos lead biggest Anti-WTO protest group

15 December 2005

Hong Kong - More than a hundred Manila-based Filipino militants will be
expected to be joined by tens of thousands of overseas Filipino workers
(OFWs ) based in this city in a mammoth rally at Victoria Park on Sunday
that will mark the close of the World Trade Organization (WTO) 6th
Ministerial Conference.

The Filipino contingent, which will include those both based in Manila
and those working in Hong Kong, is expected to be the biggest delegation
in the rally, which will also include Nepalis, Bangladeshis, Koreans,
Malaysians, Indonesians, Taiwanese, Chinese, Americans, British, and
other nationalities.

The International League of Peoples' Struggle (ILPS), the Resist WTO!
Network, Bayan, and Bayan Muna expect another "collapse" of the WTO
talks as in Seattle and Cancun.

Tens of thousands of Filipino workers in Hong Kong, mostly domestic
helpers, belong to the United Filipinos in Hong Kong (Unifil-HK). Unifil
is a member-organization of the Hong Kong People's Alliance (HKPA),
which oversees the weeklong protests and hosts the bulk of Manila-based
activists who have come to the city.

"This will be a show of force of the Philippine mass movement and an
_expression of solidarity with other organizations and nationalities who
are also batting for the junking of the WTO," said Resist WTO! Network
spokesperson Rep. Teddy Casiño of Bayan Muna.

According to Casiño, the Philippines would be in a better position if
the WTO talks collapse in Hong Kong. "As of now, the U.S. and E.U. are
fighting over the billions in dollars of farm subsidies. If they decide
to radically reduce or eliminate all such subsidies in the Third World,
while protecting their own farmers, agricultural nations such as ours
will suffer immensely. Our bleeding agriculture will die swiftly."

Migrant organizations like Migrante, Migrante Sectoral Party, and
Unifil-HK also oppose the new round of talks due to the proposal to
impose the so-called "Mode 4" provision that would liberalize "human
resources exchange".

Migrante chair Connie Bragas said that Mode 4 would result in reduced
wages and salaries for OFWs and the loss of what remains of their legal
rights and privileges. "The devastating WTO effects on our families are
already the reason why more Filipinos work abroad. Now, the scourge of
the WTO is proposed to be unleased on OFWs. We are strongly against it
and that is another reason why we will join the protests on Sunday."

Activist leaders who will be at the frontlines of the Sunday march are
Bayan Chair and ILPS Vice Chair Dr. Carol Pagaduan Araullo; Reps. Satur
Ocampo and Casiño of Bayan Muna; Anakpawis Reps. Rafael Mariano and
Crispin Beltran; Gabriela Women's Party Rep. Liza Maza; Kilusang Mayo
Uno Chair Elmer Labog, Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas Secretary
General Danilo Ramos; Pamalakaya Chair Fernando Hicap; Kabataan
Partylist Chair Raymond Palatino; Gabriela Secretary General Emmi de
Jesus; Alliance of Concerned Teachers Chair Antonio Tinio; Health
Alliance for Democracy Secretary General Dr. Gene Nisperos; Agham chair
Dr. Giovanni Tapang; Kalikasan Philippine Network for the Environment
leader Clemente Bautista; College Editors Guild of the Philippines
President Jose Cosido; and a host of other leaders.

The Filipino activists are now revving up and upping the ante of
protests through fora, tribunals and symposia, as well as film-showings,
across three pavillions or giant tents maintained around the clock at
Victoria Park. ###

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Anti-WTO protests in Hong Kong

WTO protesters rally in Hong Kong
Sunday 11 December 2005, 15:14 Makka Time, 12:14 GMT

Related news:
Thousands march in first anti-globalization protest before WTO summit in Hong Kong (Dec11)
Google news

Hong Kong is bracing for potential violence as anti-globalisation protesters have started a flurry of demonstrations against this week's World Trade Organisation meeting of nearly 150 nations.

Nearly 3000 protesters waving signs reading "Junk the WTO" and "Life is not for sale" marched in a carnival atmosphere in the shade of skyscrapers in one of the world's main financial centres on Sunday.

About 10,000 activists are expected to converge on Hong Kong as the city holds a pivotal ministerial meeting
from 13-18 December in an effort to get stalled global trade talks back on track.

"We feel very frustrated with multinational enterprises," said Kenzo Sasaki, owner of a 20-cow dairy farm north of Tokyo who led a group of Japanese farmers wearing Samurai clothing.

"Our main message is for food sovereignty. Junk the WTO."

Supporters of the talks say a trade deal could generate billions of dollars in benefits and possibly lift millions out of poverty, but many opponents say it would largely benefit richer nations at the expense of developing countries.

Police in place

Protesters will be following the meeting's every move and will include an estimated 1500 South Korean workers, students and farmers, who are among the most militant anti-globalisation activists in Asia.

Worried about a repeat of the violence that marred trade meetings in Cancun and Seattle, police stepped up patrols on Sunday near the Hong Kong Convention Centre, the venue of the meeting on the city's famous harbour front.

Work crews have glued down loose pavement stones in the area and welded shut sewer grates to prevent protesters from using them as projectiles.

Pedestrian overpasses have been shrouded in mesh so nothing can be thrown onto the streets below.

Elizabeth Tang, head of the Hong Kong Peoples' Alliance, coordinating the demonstrations, said she expected any violence to be on a very small-scale and easily handled by police.

"People all over the world are feeling that the WTO and the way it has been functioning so far has failed to lift the poor out of poverty," Tang said.

Workers' rights

Han Dongfang, a fellow marcher who led workers at the 1989 Tiananmen Square pro-democracy protest, said China was richer for joining the WTO in 2001, but workers' rights had languished.
"The WTO is a double-edged sword for China," said Han, who broadcasts on a Hong Kong radio show beamed into mainland China.

"Chinese workers have no right to organise unions, so how can you protect yourself or get benefits?"

Nearby, a group of workers from Taiwan sang the communist anthem, the Internationale.

Several members of non-governmental organisations from the Philippines were delayed at Hong Kong airport last week, a move protest organisers branded a form of harassment.

Others have reported trouble in getting visas, and some say hotels cancelled reservations because the would-be guests were known radicals.

Schools shut

Police rate the chances of public disorder as high and say the possibility of terrorist attacks is moderate, although they add there have been no specific threats. Hospitals have been put on high alert and many schools in the area will shut during the talks.

Protests at a WTO meeting in Seattle in 1999 descended into chaos, with rioters smashing windows of shops and throwing rocks at police.

In the Mexican resort town of Cancun, where the WTO met in 2003, a South Korean farmer killed himself in protest.

The WTO talks could be decisive. Two of the last three WTO ministerial conferences ended in bitter disarray, and a further setback could be fatal for the chances of negotiating a new treaty by next year to tear down barriers to world trade.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Meri ba xmas nyo?

RP manufacturers brace for worst Christmas in years
The Philippine Star 12/12/2005

Philippine retailers and manufacturers are bracing for their worst Christmas in years with Filipino consumers spending much less despite record pre-holiday cash transfers from relatives abroad, according to economists.

Manila-based University of Asia and the Pacific vice president Bernardo Villegas blamed political uncertainties as well as soaring oil prices for the descent of the spirit of Scrooge over Christmas.

Villegas said major industry players are reporting sales volume declines of between 5.0 and 10 percent as they approach what is normally their peak season when this overwhelmingly Roman Catholic nation of 84 million normally opens its purse strings to splurge on gifts and consumer items.

However, shopping mall traffic in Metro Manila, which accounts for nearly a third of the country's domestic economic output, has been noticeably sparse, with the parking lots of giant malls nearly empty.

"Practically all consumer goods are suffering sales declines," Villegas, a prominent economist, told a news conference.

"We will have a bleak Christmas. We will not have the usual big increase in sales," he said. "If you talk to retailers, they have very sad faces."

Even in the provinces, trade and industry officials have noticed a distinct change in spending habits in the run-up to Christmas.

Merly Cruz, a regional trade and industry director in Davao City, told a business newspaper that people are buying less and "showing a preference for inexpensive items" this year.

The dismal sales figures are being chalked up even as the eight million-plus Filipinos living or working abroad are driving the peso to their highest levels this year with annual salary remittances expected to top the $10-billion mark.

This amount is equivalent to more than 10 percent of the Philippine gross domestic product.

Villegas said consumer research surveys indicate that "Filipinos are afraid of the future and they are saving more."

These surveys also indicate they are spending a bigger fraction of their incomes on transport and energy-related expenses "for obvious reasons," he added, referring to substantially higher oil and power rates.

Villegas said the retail malaise has been noticeable for the past 18 months in the aftermath of the bitterly disputed May 2004 presidential elections, in which President Arroyo was accused of cheating but survived an impeachment complaint last September.

In general, Villegas said Filipinos are also "abstaining from eating at fast food restaurants in order to buy more (mobile phone) cell cards," a development which also "has had a negative influence on consumer spending."

Nevertheless, he said the country's top retailers continue to build giant shopping malls because "they are seeing this as a temporary phenomenon."

Luz Lorenzo, an economist with ATR-Kim Eng Securities Inc, said there was "anecdotal evidence" to suggest spending patterns have changed although she was more optimistic than Villegas.

"The government does not produce retail spending data so the only evidence we have to go on is what we actually see for ourselves. Although shopping malls appear to be quite full we have found there has been a proliferation of flea markets in the past year.

"These markets appeal to a cross section of people as they provide a wide variety of goods at cheap prices."

Henry Sy, founder of the leading SM chain of shopping malls, told The STAR in a rare interview recently: "I'm optimistic about the year 2006 for the Philippine economy, especially for tourism growth potential."

His daughter Teresita Sy, who runs her father's vast empire, added: "Our family is confident the new year will be better for the Philippine economy, notwithstanding the troubles in politics."

Villegas said he expects Philippine GDP to muddle through this year and next, helped by a possible shift toward a parliamentary form of government and new national elections in 2006 or 2007 that would give Arroyo a "graceful exit" and lift the gloom on the retail sector.

However, the projected GDP growth of less than six percent annually over the next six years is "not good enough" with Philippine neighbors growing at a faster clip.

"If we don't grow at least six to nine percent like our neighbors we will never be able to overcome the poverty that we are experiencing now," he said, adding that a 7-8 percent growth over the next 10 years would be the minimum requirement. — AFP

Sunday, December 11, 2005

WTO killing our vegetables

December 5, 2005


The vegetables Filipinos consume may soon come only from Taiwan, mainland China, or the US rather than the Cordilleras or Ilocos as vegetable imports continue to push out local produce from the domestic market, according to independent think-tank IBON Foundation.

Since the country became a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 1995, imported vegetables have flooded local markets. From 42,000 metric tons (MT) in 1995, vegetable importation had grown 174% to 115,000 MT by 2000, five years after the country's accession to the WTO. Onion imports climbed sharply from only 50 metric tons in 1995 to 8,160 MT in 2004. Similarly, garlic imports skyrocketed from almost none in 1991-1994 to 23,130 MT last year. And these figures do not even reflect the vast quantities more that were smuggled into the country as a result of more liberal importation policies.

Because they were heavily subsidized and were able to enter the country almost tax-free, these imports could be sold more cheaply than local produce, which receives virtually no support from the government. Market prices thus became distorted. For example, at one time imported lettuce was selling at only P90 per kilo compared with P200 per kilo for local lettuce.

Hence, local farmers' incomes are falling. Pre-WTO, garlic and onion farmers earned between P40,000 to P100,000 per hectare. After the country became a member of the multilateral trade group, earnings of onion and garlic farmers fell by 60% and 80%, respectively. As a result, some 1.8 million farmers have lost their livelihood since the country became a member of the WTO.

Although cheap imported vegetables may seem like a boon to consumers with limited incomes, imports actually threaten the country's food security by making us dependent on food coming from other countries instead of developing self-sufficiency in agriculture. Unhampered importation also destroys farmers' livelihoods and worsens rural poverty. More than 4 out of 10 of the population in the countryside are poor.

IBON thus calls on government not to accede to further liberalization of the agricultural sector at the upcoming 6th Ministerial Conference of the WTO in Hong Kong. Further, government should reverse liberalization by raising tariffs in order to protect the country's farmers from the influx of imports.

IBON, a member of the local anti-WTO network Resist WTO! and the global coalition Our World Is Not for Sale, joins the call of grassroots organizations worldwide for agriculture to be taken out of the WTO. (end)

Defend Joma

9 December 2005


By Prof. Jose Maria Sison
Chief Political Consultant
National Democratic Front of the Philippines

For several months already, various minions of Gloria M. Arroyo, including some cabinet members and generals, have been subjecting me to vicious attacks. I have not answered any of these for three reasons. First, competent people have answered them. Second, the attacks are so patently malicious that they are unbelievable and self-defeating. Third, I have more important things to do.

But lest it be said that I have become reluctant to defend myself, let me comment on the vicious attacks. These are calculated to vilify me, incite official and unofficial acts of violence against my person and put pressure on the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) to capitulate to the rotten reactionary government.

The Arroyo regime gloats over my difficulties in my living conditions and keeps on claiming that I deserve the “terrorist” label. I wish to let the people know that I am under the protection of Article 3 of the European Convention and cannot be removed from the Netherlands. I have competent European lawyer s in filing complaints against the Dutch and European Union authorities. Have the US, the GRP and other governments successfully used the terrorist listing to pressure the NDFP to capitulate? They have utterly failed.

The NDFP stands on ever higher moral ground in the peace negotiations as well as in the people’s war by exposing the Arroyo regime’s betrayal and violation of The Hague Joint Declaration, Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees and the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanit arian Law.

The Arroyo regime accuses me of responsibility for the nationwide offensives of the New People’s Army against the AFP, PNP and CAFGU. My clear and simple answer is that the Central Committee of the CPP and the national command of the NPA can competently make decisions and plans within their respective jurisdiction, without having to depend on me.

The accusations of the Arroyo regime that I am responsible for the current offensive operations of the NPA and for the punishment of the notorious human rights violator Colonel Rodolfo Aguinaldo in 2001 are flattering. But I cannot be carried away by such flattery. I denounce the Arroyo regime for making false accusations. I have also asked my legal counsel, Atty. Romeo T. Capulong, and the Public Interest Law Center to oppose every false charge.

The Arroyo regime has repeatedly made clear that it cannot comply with agreements with the NDFP and cannot answer satisfactorily the prejudicial questions raised by the NDFP. For this reason, the formal talks in the GRP-NDFP peace negotiations remain postponed. The vicious attacks on my person are not helpful in resuming the formal talks. Neither can they stop the people’s resistance to a regime that is hated for its illegitimacy, puppetry, corruption, brutality and mendacity.

The Filipino people are striving to remove the Arroyo regime from power. The broad united front of legal democratic forces and the forces of the armed revolutionary movement are advancing. All of them are thriving on the crisis conditions and are carrying forward the popular demands for national liberation and democracy against the semi-colonial and semi-feudal system of oppression and exploitation. ###

The big transnational corporations (TNCs) are the real troublemakers!

December 8, 2005
Hong Kong tightens security for WTO meeting

Bayan chair, two others detained by Hong Kong immigration Filipinos bound for Hong Kong to attend activities in the upcoming World Trade Organization meeting are being detained at the HK immigration as part of what militants believe are tightened security measures for the WTO meet.

Bayan secretary general Renato M. Reyes, Jr, said that those currently detained include Dr. Carol Pagaduan-Araullo, chair of the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan, Elisa Lubi of Gabriela, and Norma Biñas of the Kilusang Mayo Uno. The three were supposed to attend different fora and protest activities organized by RESIST, a network of anti-WTO groups and the International League of Peoples Struggle (ILPS). They were supposed to be hosted by the Hong Kong Peoples Alliance (HKPA).

Araullo was supposed to speak in a forum on trade and war organized by the ILPS and RESIST. “What they are doing to us is pure harassment. We have not broken any laws in Hong Kong or in the Philippines. We should not be treated this way. We are here to speak on the ill-effects of the WTO on poor countries like the Philippines. We are definitely not troublemakers,” Araullo said.

“The real troublemakers are the big transnational corporations and foreign government that have bled the third world dry,” she said. Reyes also said that an article in the Sunday Morning Post in Hong Kong revealed that there was a “blacklist” of 300 WTO protesters. The list, though never officially acknowledge, was said to have been supplied by the Interpol. Prominent figures present during the WTO protests in Seattle and the recent APEC protests in South Korea were said to be on the list.

World Trade Organization meetings have drawn wide protests in the past because of what is believed to be exploitative and oppressive trade practices of industrialized countries. Some protests were aimed at stopping previous rounds of negotiations that will further liberalize poorer economies.

So far Koreans and Filipinos have figured in incidents with the HK immigration. A peasant from the Via Campesina in Brazil was also detained before being allowed entry to HK.

“Our counterparts in Hong Kong have reported that immigration officials there have stepped up security preparations over the past few days. They have warned against alleged troublemakers attending WTO protest activities. Even domestic helpers have been warned by their employers from joining protest rallies against the WTO,” he said.

“The Department of Foreign Affairs must at least ask the Hong Kong immigration officials on the reason why Filipinos are being harassed and detained. If necessary, an appropriate protest must be filed,” Reyes said.

300 'troublemakers' on official blacklist

As many as 300 militant protesters due to fly in for this month's WTO ministerial meeting have been put on an official blacklist and will be denied entry into Hong Kong, security sources have revealed.

It is also understood that if they become obstructive at the airport, authorities will hold them in Victoria Prison, which is being set up as a detention centre.

The blacklist has never been officially acknowledged, but the sources say it contains the names of "key troublemakers", including many South Koreans.

It was worked out with the assistance of Interpol, the Immigration Department and security consultants, the Sunday Morning Post has been told.

It is also understood that pictures were taken of protesters at the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation (Apec) forum in Pusan, South Korea, last month and have been passed to the Hong Kong police.

Authorities intend to send the blacklisted activists home as soon as they land, said the sources. But if flights are unavailable or if there are other reasons preventing immediate deportation, they will be detained in Victoria Prison.

Inmates had already been cleared from the prison to make way for the protesters, they said. The government has said the prison could hold up to 700 protesters if trouble flares during the ministerial meeting, to be held from December 13 to 18 at the Convention and Exhibition Centre in Wan Chai.

The government has consistently denied the existence of a blacklist and yesterday the Security Bureau refused to comment. Security chief Ambrose Lee Siu-kwong remained vague when asked about the subject on a radio programme.

"I would not say we have a list of people whom we would definitely refuse their entry." he said. "But of course, if, say, our intelligence from the US police tells us that this person had committed arson in Seattle, we will pay attention to this type of person."

Peter Yam Tat-wing, police director of operations, said the force was prepared for the worst. He added it would consider denying entry to visitors with a "trouble-making record".

Protesters' representatives yesterday accused the government of being evasive and discriminatory.

Rex Varona, executive director of the Asia Migrants Centre, said police had alerted at least two hotels that their rooms had been reserved by people connected with Southeast Asian activist groups.

One of the hotels had already told about 20 protesters it had cancelled their booking, he said. They were trying to persuade the other to keep their rooms.

Mr Varona said the police had checked the protesters' names and passport numbers with hotel staff. "This is discrimination. It is equivalent to harassment. They are a bunch of people who want to protest peacefully. When the government decided to hold the conference, they should have prepared to welcome different voices," he said.

He feared the situation would worsen, as the protesters already faced mounting difficulties in hiring vehicles and sound systems after the police had alerted companies of their identities.

Mabel Au Mei-po, of protest co-ordinator the Hong Kong People's Alliance (HKPA) on the WTO said: "I am very concerned. The officials have for months refused to tell us how they define high-risk militants and what measures they would adopt for this group of visitors."

Friday, December 09, 2005


December 10 is recognized as the International Human Rights Day. Below is a very important document that every Filipino must know and understand as a tool in upholding human rights in the Philippines.

Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law

Between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines

THE GOVERNMENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, including the executive department and its agencies, hereinafter referred to as the GRP


THE NATIONAL DEMOCRATIC FRONT OF THE PHILIPPINES, including the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and the New People's Army (NPA), hereinafter referred to as the NDFP

Hereinafter referred to as "the Parties",


RECOGNIZING that respect for human rights and international humanitarian law is of crucial importance and urgent necessity in laying the ground for a just and lasting peace,

CONSIDERING that a comprehensive agreement on respect for human rights and international humanitarian law should take into account the current human rights situation in the Philippines and the historical experience of the Filipino people,

AFFIRMING that the principles of human rights and the principles of international humanitarian law are universally applicable,

ACKNOWLEDGING that the prolonged armed conflict in the Philippines necessitates the application of the principles of human rights and the principles of international humanitarian law,

REAFFIRMING their continuing commitment to the aforesaid principles and their application,

REALIZING the necessity and significance of assuming separate duties and responsibilities for upholding, protecting and promoting the principles of human rights and the principles of international humanitarian law,

UPHOLDING and complying with the mutually acceptable principles as well as the common goals and objectives in The Hague Joint Declaration of September 1, 1992, the Breukelen Joint Statement of June 14, 1994 and pertinent joint agreements hitherto signed, and

FULLY AWARE of the need for effective mechanisms and measures for upholding, protecting and promoting the principles of human rights and the principles of international humanitarian law in a comprehensive agreement,

SOLEMNLY ENTER without reservation into this Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law.


Article 1. The Parties are governed by the framework of holding peace negotiations under mutually acceptable principles of national sovereignty, democracy and social justice and under no precondition that negates the character and purpose of peace negotiations, as stipulated in The Hague Joint Declaration (Paragraph 4) and reaffirmed in the Breukelen Joint Statement (No. 7 of II) and subsequent agreements.

Article 2.The Parties uphold the principles of mutuality and reciprocity in the conduct of the peace negotiations in accordance with The Hague Joint Declaration. The Parties likewise affirm the need to assume separate duties and responsibilities in accordance with the letter and intent of this Agreement.

Article 3. The Parties realize the need for a comprehensive accord on human rights and international humanitarian law based on realities involving violations of human rights and the principles of international humanitarian law.

Article 4. The Parties recognize that fundamental individual and collective freedoms and human rights in the political, social, economic and cultural spheres can only be realized and flourish under conditions of national and social freedoms of the people.

Article 5. The Parties affirm the need to promote, expand and guarantee the people's democratic rights and freedoms, especially of the toiling masses of workers and peasants.

Article 6. The Parties are aware that the prolonged armed conflict in the Philippines necessitates the application of the principles of human rights and the principles of international humanitarian law and the faithful compliance therewith by both Parties.

Article 7. The Parties hereby forge this Agreement in order to affirm their constant and continuing mutual commitment to respect human rights and the principles of international humanitarian law and hereby recognize either Party's acts of good intention to be bound by and to comply with the principles of international humanitarian law.


Article 1. This Agreement is meant to meet the needs arising from the concrete conditions of the Filipino people concerning violations of human rights and the principles of international humanitarian law, and to find principled ways and means of rendering justice to all the victims of such violations.

Article 2. The objectives of this Agreement are: (a) to guarantee the protection of human rights to all Filipinos under all circumstances, especially the workers, peasants and other poor people; (b) to affirm and apply the principles of international humanitarian law in order to protect the civilian population and individual civilians, as well as persons who do not take direct part or who have ceased to take part in the armed hostilities, including persons deprived of their liberty for reasons related to the armed conflict; © to establish effective mechanisms and measures for realizing, monitoring, verifying and ensuring compliance with the provisions of this Agreement; and, (d) to pave the way for comprehensive agreements on economic, social and political reforms that will ensure the attainment of a just and lasting peace.

Article 3. The Parties shall uphold, protect and promote the full scope of human rights, including civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights. In complying with such obligation due consideration shall be accorded to the respective political principles and circumstances of the Parties.

Article 4. It is understood that the universally applicable principles and standards of human rights and of international humanitarian law contemplated in this Agreement include those embodied in the instruments signed by the Philippines and deemed to be mutually applicable to and acceptable by both Parties.

Article 5. This Agreement shall be applicable in all cases involving violations of human rights and the principles of international humanitarian law committed against persons, families and groups affiliated with either Party and all civilians and persons not directly taking part in the hostilities, including persons deprived of their liberty for reasons related to the armed conflict. It shall likewise be applicable to all persons affected by the armed conflict, without distinction of any kind based on sex, race, language, religion or conviction, political or other opinion, national, ethnic or social origin, age, economic position, property, marital status, birth or any other similar condition or status.


Article 1. In the exercise of their inherent rights, the Parties shall adhere to and be bound by the principles and standards embodied in international instruments on human rights.

Article 2. This Agreement seeks to confront, remedy and prevent the most serious human rights violations in terms of civil and political rights, as well as to uphold, protect and promote the full scope of human rights and fundamental freedoms, including:

The right to self-determination of the Filipino nation by virtue of which the people should fully and freely determine their political status, pursue their economic, social and cultural development, and dispose of their natural wealth and resources for their own welfare and benefit towards genuine national independence, democracy, social justice and development.
The inherent and inalienable right of the people to establish a just, democratic and peaceful society, to adopt effective safeguards against, and to oppose oppression and tyranny similar to that of the past dictatorial regime.
The right of the victims and their families to seek justice for violations of human rights, including adequate compensation or indemnification, restitution and rehabilitation, and effective sanctions and guarantees against repetition and impunity.
The right to life, especially against summary executions (salvagings), involuntary disappearances, massacres and indiscriminate bombardments of communities, and the right not to be subjected to campaigns of incitement to violence against one's person.
The right to liberty, particularly against unwarranted and unjustified arrest and detention and to effectively avail of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus.
The individual and collective right of the people and of communities to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures, and to effective safeguards of these rights against any illegal operations by GRP agencies.
The right not to be subjected to physical or mental torture, solitary confinement, rape and sexual abuse, and other inhuman, cruel or degrading treatment, detention and punishment.
The right not to be held in involuntary servitude or to perform forced or compulsory labor.
The right to substantive and procedural due process, to be presumed innocent until proven guilty, and against self-incrimination.
The right to equal protection of the law and against any form of discrimination on the basis of race, ethnicity, gender, belief, age, physical condition or civil status and against any incitement to such discrimination.
The right to freedom of thought and expression, freedom of conscience, political and religious beliefs and practices and the right not to be punished or held accountable in the exercise of these rights.
The right to free speech, press, association and assembly, and to seek redress of grievances.
The right to privacy of communication and correspondence, especially against intercepting, pilfering and opening of mail matters and conducting illegal surveillance and information gathering through electronic and other means.
The right to free choice of domicile, movement and travel within the country and abroad, to seek asylum, migration and exile, and against travel restrictions for political reasons or objectives.
The right not to be subjected to forced evacuations, food and other forms of economic blockades and indiscriminate bombings, shellings, strafing, gunfire and the use of landmines.
The right to information on matters of public concern and access to records, documents and papers pertaining to acts, transactions or decisions of persons in authority.
The right to universal suffrage irrespective of sex, race, occupation, social origin, property, status, education, ideological and political conviction, and religious belief.
The right to own property and the means of production and consumption that are obtained through land reform, honest labor and entrepreneurship, skill, inventiveness and intellectual merit and to use such means for the common good.
The right to gainful employment, humane working and living conditions, livelihood and job security, to work and equal pay, to form unions, to strike and participate in the policy and decision-making processes affecting their rights and interests, and the right not to be denied these rights due to nationality, creed, minority status, gender or sexual preference, or civil status.
The right to universal and free elementary and secondary education, and access to basic services and health care.
The right to freely engage in scientific research, technological invention, literary and artistic creations and other cultural pursuits.
The right to form a marital union and to found a family, and to ensure family communications and reunions.
The equal right of women in all fields of endeavor and in all spheres of political, economic, cultural, social and domestic life and to their emancipation.
The right of children and the disabled to protection, care, and a home, especially against physical and mental abuse, prostitution, drugs, forced labor, homelessness, and other similar forms of oppression and exploitation.
The existing rights of the minority communities in the Philippines to autonomy, to their ancestral lands and the natural resources in these lands, to engage in and benefit from affirmative action, to their participation and representation in the economic, political and social life and institutions, and to cultural and all round development.

Article 3. The Parties decry all violations and abuses of human rights. They commend the complainants or plaintiffs in all successful human rights proceedings. They encourage all victims of violations and abuses of human rights or their surviving families to come forward with their complaints and evidence.

Article 4. The persons liable for violations and abuses of human rights shall be subject to investigation and, if evidence warrants, to prosecution and trial. The victims or their survivors shall be indemnified. All necessary measures shall be undertaken to remove the conditions for violations and abuses of human rights and to render justice to and indemnify the victims.

Article 5. The Parties hereby respect and support the rights of the victims of human rights violations during the Marcos regime, taking into consideration the final judgment of the United States Federal Court System in the Human Rights Litigation Against Marcos; Senate Resolution 1640; Swiss Supreme Court Decision of 10 December 1997; and pertinent provisions of the U.N. Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the 1984 U.N. Convention Against Torture.

Should there be any settlement, the GRP shall also execute with the duly authorized representatives of the victims a written instrument to implement this Article and guide the satisfaction of the claims of said victims, with regard to the amount and mode of compensation, which shall be the most direct and quickest possible to every victim or heir in accordance with the relevant Swiss Supreme Court decisions.

In case of any settlement outside of U.S. jurisdiction, all or the majority of said victims shall determine their representation by power of attorney.

Article 6. The GRP shall abide by its doctrine laid down in People vs. Hernandez (99 Phil. 515, July 18, 1956), as further elaborated in People vs. Geronimo (100 Phil. 90, October 13, 1956), and shall forthwith review the cases of all prisoners or detainees who have been charged, detained, or convicted contrary to this doctrine, and shall immediately release them.

Article 7. The GRP shall work for the immediate repeal of any subsisting repressive laws, decrees, or other executive issuances and for this purpose, shall forthwith review, among others, the following: General Orders 66 and 67 (authorizing checkpoints and warrantless searches); Presidential Decree 1866 as amended (allowing the filing of charges of illegal possession of firearms with respect to political offenses); Presidential Decree 169 as amended (requiring physicians to report cases of patients with gunshot wounds to the police/military); Batas Pambansa 880 (restricting and controlling the right to peaceful assembly); Executive Order 129 (authorizing the demolition of urban poor communities); Executive Order 264 (legalizing the Citizens' Armed Force Geographical Units); Executive Order 272 (lengthening the allowable periods of detention); Memorandum Circular 139 (allowing the imposition of food blockades); and Administrative Order No. 308 (establishing the national identification system).

Upon the effectivity of this Agreement, the GRP shall, as far as practicable, not invoke these repressive laws, decrees and orders to circumvent or contravene the provisions of this Agreement.

Article 8. The GRP shall review its jurisprudence on warrantless arrests (Umil vs. Ramos), checkpoints (Valmonte vs. De Villa), saturation drives (Guazon vs. De Villa), warrantless searches (Posadas vs. Court of Appeals), criminalization of political offenses (Baylosis vs. Chavez), rendering moot and academic the remedy of habeas corpus upon the subsequent filing of charges (Ilagan vs. Ponce-Enrile), and other similar cases, and shall immediately move for the adoption of appropriate remedies consistent with the objectives of this and the immediately preceding Article.

Upon the effectivity of this Agreement, the GRP shall, as far as practicable, not invoke these decisions to circumvent or contravene the provisions of this Agreement.

Article 9. The Parties shall take concrete steps to protect the lives, livelihood and properties of the people against incursions from mining, real estate, logging, tourism or other similar projects or programs.

Article 10. The Parties shall promote the basic collective and individual rights of workers, peasants, fisherfolk, urban poor, migrant workers, ethnic minorities, women, youth, children and the rest of the people and shall take concrete steps to stop and prevent the violations of human rights, ensure that those found guilty of such violations are punished, and provide for the indemnification, rehabilitation and restitution of the victims.

Article 11. The GRP shall respect the basic rights guaranteed by the International Labor Convention on Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organize and the standards set by the International Labor Organization (ILO) pertaining to job tenure, wage and living conditions, trade union rights and medical and social insurance of all workers, right of women workers to maternity benefits and against discrimination vis-a-vis male workers, right against child labor, and the rights of migrant workers abroad in accordance with the International Covenant on the Rights of Migrant Workers and the Members of their Families.

Article 12. The GRP shall respect the rights of peasants to land tenure and to own through land reform the land that they till, the ancestral rights of the indigenous peoples in the areas classified as public domain and their rights against racial and ethnic discrimination, the right of the poor homesteaders or settlers and the indigenous people to the areas of public domain on which they live and work and the right of poor fisherfolk to fish in the waters of the Philippines.

The GRP shall forthwith review its laws or other issuances pertinent to the rights mentioned in this and the immediately preceding Article and shall move for the immediate repeal of those found violative of such rights.

Article 13. The Parties shall promote and carry out campaigns of human rights education, land reform, higher production, health and sanitation, and others that are of social benefit to the people. They shall give the utmost attention to land reform as the principal measure for attaining democracy and social justice.


Article 1. In the exercise of their inherent rights, the Parties to the armed conflict shall adhere to and be bound by the generally accepted principles and standards of international humanitarian law.

Article 2. These principles and standards apply to the following persons:

civilians or those taking no active part in the hostilities;
members of armed forces who have surrendered or laid down their arms;
those placed hors de combat by sickness, wounds or any other cause;
persons deprived of their liberty for reasons related to the armed conflict; and,
relatives and duly authorized representatives of above-named persons.

Article 3. The following acts are and shall remain prohibited at any time and in any place whatsoever with respect to the persons enumerated in the preceding Article 2:

violence to life and person, particularly killing or causing injury, being subjected to physical or mental torture, mutilation, corporal punishment, cruel or degrading treatment and all acts of violence and reprisals, including hostage-taking, and acts against the physical well-being, dignity, political convictions and other human rights;
holding anyone responsible for an act that she/he has not committed and punishing anyone without complying with all the requisites of due process;
requiring persons deprived of their liberty for reasons related to the armed conflict to disclose information other than their identity;
desecration of the remains of those who have died in the course of the armed conflict or while under detention, and breach of duty to tender immediately such remains to their families or to give them decent burial;
failure to report the identity, personal condition and circumstances of a person deprived of his/her liberty for reasons related to the armed conflict to the Parties to enable them to perform their duties and responsibilities under this Agreement and under international humanitarian law;
denial of the right of relatives and duly authorized representatives of a person deprived of liberty for reasons related to the armed conflict to inquire whether a person is in custody or under detention, the reasons for the detention, under what circumstances the person in custody is being detained, and to request directly or through mutually acceptable intermediaries for his/her orderly and expeditious release;
practices that cause or allow the forcible evacuations or forcible reconcentration of civilians, unless the security of the civilians involved or imperative military reasons so demand; the emergence and increase of internally displaced families and communities, and the destruction of the lives and property of the civilian population;
maintaining, supporting and tolerating paramilitary groups such as armed religious fanatical groups, vigilante groups, private armed groups of businessmen, landlords and politicians, and private security agencies which are being used in land and labor disputes and the incursions in Article 9, Part III of this Agreement; and,
allowing the participation of civilian or civilian officials in military field operations and campaigns.
Article 4. The principles and standards of international humanitarian law shall likewise apply and protect the rights of persons, entities or objects involved or affected in any of the cases or situations cited hereunder.

Persons hors de combat and those who do not take a direct part in hostilities are entitled to respect for their lives, dignity, human rights, political convictions and their moral and physical integrity and shall be protected in all circumstances and treated humanely without any adverse distinction founded on race, color, faith, sex, birth, social standing or any other similar criteria.
The wounded and the sick shall be collected and cared for by the party to the armed conflict which has them in its custody or responsibility.
Neutral persons or entities and medical personnel, including persons of humanitarian and/or medical organizations like the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), shall be protected and respected. The establishments, facilities, transport and equipments of these persons, entities and organizations; objects bearing the emblem of the red cross and the flag of peaceful intention; and historic monuments, cultural objects and places of worship shall likewise be protected.
Civilian population and civilians shall be treated as such and shall be distinguished from combatants and, together with their property, shall not be the object of attack. They shall likewise be protected against indiscriminate aerial bombardment, strafing, artillery fire, mortar fire, arson, bulldozing and other similar forms of destroying lives and property, from the use of explosives as well as the stockpiling near or in their midst, and the use of chemical and biological weapons.
Civilians shall have the right to demand appropriate disciplinary actions against abuses arising from the failure of the Parties to the armed conflict to observe the principles and standards of international humanitarian law.
All persons deprived of their liberty for reasons related to the armed conflict shall be treated humanely, provided with adequate food and drinking water, and be afforded safeguards as regards to health and hygiene, and be confined in a secure place. Sufficient information shall be made available concerning persons who have been deprived of their liberty. On humanitarian or other reasonable grounds, such persons deprived of liberty shall be considered for safe release.
The ICRC and other humanitarian and/or medical entities shall be granted facilitation and assistance to enable them to care for the sick and the wounded and to undertake their humanitarian missions and activities.
Personnel and facilities of schools, the medical profession, religious institutions and places of worship, voluntary evacuation centers, programs and projects of relief and development shall not be the target of any attack. The persons of said entities shall be guaranteed their safety.
Every possible measure shall be taken, without delay, to search for and collect the wounded, sick and missing persons and to protect them from any harm and ill treatment, to ensure their adequate care and to search for the dead, prevent despoliation and mutilation and to dispose of them with respect.

Article 5. The Parties decry all violations of the principles of international humanitarian law. They encourage all victims of such violations or their surviving families to come forward with their complaints and evidence.

Article 6. The persons liable for violations of the principles of international humanitarian law shall be subject to investigation and, if evidence warrants, to prosecution and trial. The victims or their survivors shall be indemnified. All necessary measures shall be undetaken to remove the conditions for such violations and to render justice to and indemnify the victims.

Article 7. The GRP shall review and undertake to change policies, laws, programs, projects, campaigns and practices that cause or allow the forcible evacuation and reconcentration of civilians, the emergence and increase of internally displaced families and communities and the destruction of the lives and property of the civilian population.

Article 8. The GRP shall continue to review its policy or practice of creating, maintaining, supporting, or allowing paramilitary forces like the Civilian Armed Forces Geographical Units (CAFGUs) and Civilian Volunteers' Organizations (CVOs) or any other similar groups.

Article 9. Internally displaced families and communities shall have the right to return to their places of abode and livelihood, to demand all possible assistance necessary to restore them to their normal lives and to be indemnified for damages suffered due to injuries and loss of lives.

Article 10. The Parties shall provide special attention to women and children to ensure their physical and moral integrity. Children shall not be allowed to take part in hostilities.

Article 11. Medical, religious and other humanitarian organizations and their personnel shall not carry out other tasks inimical to any of the Parties. Neither shall they be compelled to carry out tasks which are not compatible with their humanitarian tasks. Under no circumstances shall any person be punished for having carried out medical activities compatible with the principles of medical ethics, regardless of whoever is benefiting from such medical activities.

Article 12. Civilian population shall have the right to be protected against the risks and dangers posed by the presence of military camps in urban centers and other populated areas.

Article 13. The Parties recognize the right of the people to demand the reduction of military expenditures and the rechanneling of savings from such reduction towards social, economic and cultural development which shall be given the highest priority.

Article 14. The Parties shall promote and carry out campaigns of education on international humanitarian law, especially among the people involved in the armed conflict and in areas affected by such conflict.


Article 1. The Parties shall form a Joint Monitoring Committee that shall monitor the implementation of this Agreement.

Article 2. The Committee shall be composed of three members to be chosen by the GRP Panel and three members to be chosen by the NDFP Panel. Each Party shall nominate two representatives of human rights organizations to sit in the committee as observers and to do so at the pleasure of the nominating Party. The Committee shall have co-chairpersons who shall serve as chief representatives of the Parties and shall act as moderators of meetings.

Article 3. The co-chairpersons shall receive complaints of violations of human rights and international humanitarian law and all pertinent information and shall initiate requests or recommendations for the implementation of this Agreement. Upon its approval by consensus, the Committee shall request the investigation of a complaint by the Party concerned and make recommendations. By consensus, it shall make reports and recommendations on its work to the Parties.

Meetings of the Committee shall be every three months and as often as deemed necessary by the co-chairpersons due to an urgent issue or complaint. The meetings shall be held in the Philippines or in any other venue agreed upon by the Parties.

Article 4. Members of the Committee and the observers shall be entitled to the safety and immunity guarantees stipulated by the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees.

Article 5. The Committee shall create a joint secretariat that shall provide staff support. Each Party shall nominate an equal number of members in the joint secretariat who shall serve at the pleasure of the nominating Party.

Article 6. The Committee shall be organized upon the effectivity of this Agreement and shall continue to exist until dissolved by either Party by sending to the other Party a written notice of dissolution which shall take effect thirty days after official receipt. Dissolution of the Committee shall not mean the abandonment of rights and duties by any Party under this Agreement and under the principles and standards of human rights and international humanitarian law.


Article 1. The Parties shall continue to assume separate duties and responsibilities for upholding, protecting and promoting human rights and the principles of international humanitarian law in accordance with their respective political principles, organizations and circumstances until they shall have reached final resolution of the armed conflict.

Article 2. The Parties recognize the applicability of the principles of human rights and principles of international humanitarian law and the continuing force of obligations arising from these principles.

Article 3. Nothing in the provisions of this Agreement nor in its application shall affect the political and legal status of the Parties in accordance with the Hague Joint Declaration. Subsequently, this Agreement shall be subject to the Comprehensive Agreements on Political and Constitutional Reforms and on End of Hostilities and Disposition of Forces. Any reference to the treaties signed by the GRP and to its laws and legal processes in this Agreement shall not in any manner prejudice the political and organizational integrity of the NDFP.

Article 4. The Parties may from time to time review the provisions of this Agreement to determine the need to adopt a supplemental agreement or to modify the provisions hereof as circumstances require.

Article 5. This Agreement shall be signed by the Negotiating Panels and shall take effect upon approval by their respective Principals.

IN WITNESS, we sign this Agreement this 16th day of March 1998 in The Hague, The Netherlands.



Chairperson, GRP Negotiating Panel






Speaker, House of Representatives


Executive Director III
GRP Negotiating Panel Secretariat



Chairperson, NDFP Negotiating Panel





Chief Political Consultant
NDFP Negotiating Panel

Senior Adviser
NDFP Negotiating Panel

General Counsel
NDFP Negotiating Panel