Friday, August 01, 2008

Kasalanan ni Gloria itong kahirapan ng mga Pilipino

GMA's Government Must Take Blame for Crisis
by BAYAN MUNA Rep. Satur C. Ocampo
Privilege Speech delivered at the House of Representatives

30 July 2008

Mr. Speaker,

I rise on a matter of personal and collective privilege on behalf of my colleagues from the progressive party list bloc to give our views on the President's State of the Nation Address delivered last Monday in time for the opening of our second session.

We in the progressive party list bloc feel it is our obligation to at least give an alternative and truthful view of reality, from the point of view of the underrepresented and marginalized majority that we represent both by commitment and by mandate through popular election. In the face of the President's lies and distortions, we hope this attempt at presenting the truth will be taken constructively by our colleagues in the Majority.

Ginoong Speaker, Noong Lunes, sinimulan ni Gng. Arroyo ang kanyang talumpati sa pamamagitan ng paghuhugas kamay sa matinding kahirapang nararanasan ng ating mamamayan. Ibinaling niya ang sisi sa buong daigdig – sa paggalaw umano ng presyo ng langis at bigas sa international market at paghina ng ekonomiya ng US.

The President was trying to be clever by blaming everything but herself, her government, and her policies for the miserable state of the Filipino people. Worse, she even had the gall to claim that if not for her "foresight, grit and political will," the situation would have been worse. In the end, she turned reality on its head by repackaging the unjust and oppressive VAT into an ultimate panacea.

Clearly, the President is so used to lying that she can't help it.

Ano ba ang katotohanan, Ginoong Speaker? What is the real state of the nation?

The fact is that even before the dramatic increases in world oil and food prices, the poverty rate in the Philippines was already rising, family incomes were falling and the gap between the rich and poor was widening. Mula pa 2003, dumarami na ang bilang ng ating mahihirap, bumabagsak ang kita ng karaniwang pamilya, at lumalaki ang pagitan ng mahirap at mayaman.

Ayon sa pinakahuling Family and Income Expenditure Survey (FIES), bumaba ang kita ng halos siyam sa bawat sampung pamilyang Pilipino. Bumaba nang 20% ang netong kita ng karaniwang pamilyang Pilipino o bumaba ng P20,400 kada taon (batay sa 2000 consumer price index. Kontrolado ng pinakamayamang 20% ng pamilya ang mahigit kalahati (52%) ng kabuuang kita habang ang yaman ng pinakamayamang 20 Pilipino ay katumbas ang sa 10.4 milyon nating kababayan.

According to research think tank IBON Foundation, the number of people jobless or otherwise looking for more work because they were earning so little from their current jobs increased by 2.2 million in 2007 from 2001. The number of unemployed increased by over 400,000 and of underemployed by 1.8 million. The 630,000 jobs supposed to be created each year are not enough to make up for the annual increase in labor force of some 690,000.

Alam ng ating mamamayan na walang saysay ang pinagyayabang na paglago ng ekonomiya noong 2007. It was during this period that the share of agriculture to GDP reached a historic low of 18.4%. In 2007, the share of manufacturing to GDP had deteriorated to its lowest level since 1956. Dahil higit pang humina ang agrikultura at pagmamanupaktura, mahigit 10 milyon ang walang trabaho o naghahanap pa ng dagdag na trabaho.

Dumarami rin ang bilang ng mga batang hindi nakakapag-aral, pati mga ina at sanggol na hindi naseserbisyuhan ng ating mga ospital at health center.

The point I'm making, Mr. Speaker, is that despite glowing GDP and GNP figures, poverty is increasing, incomes are dwindling, prices are skyrocketing, and joblessness is increasing. For Mrs. Arroyo to casually blame this phenomena of jobless, inequitable growth on external shocks is to evade responsibility and accountability for her flawed economic policies.

Mrs. Arroyo's much loved value added tax is a prime example of such unjust and oppressive economic policies. In 2006, the already miserable situation of our people was further exacerbated by the expansion and increase of the VAT to include oil, power, medicines,
instant noodles and a host of other products and services. Overnight, government coffers were overflowing from the increased taxes imposed on our ordinary, mostly poor, consumers.

Today, the cruelty of the VAT is manifested in the VAT on oil. Not only does VAT make oil prices higher by P6 to P7 per liter, it also rakes in an annual bonanza of P18.8 billion to P30 billion in windfall tax revenues. These are surplus collections and therefore not covered by the General Appropriations Act. Through the VAT on oil, the government is actually cashing in on the people's misery.

Ang sabi ni Mrs Arroyo, pumayag na tayo sa VAT dahil meron namang limang bilyong "Katas ng VAT" na ipinamumudmod sa mahihirap. Unang-una, talaga bang sa mahihirap ito napupunta at hindi sa bulsa lamang ng kanyang mga opisyal? Pangalawa, limang bilyon lang ang ipinamimigay pero mahigit P18 hanggang P30 bilyon ang sobrang kinokolekta. Saan napupunta ang iba?

But that is just as far as the VAT on oil is concerned. How about the other windfall VAT revenues resulting from the general increase in prices of goods and services, considering that inflation is at 11.4%, the highest in 14 years? No wonder that the DOF, in several hearings of the House Ways and Means Committee, has refused to provide Congress with pertinent data on VAT collections and disbursements. Ayaw nilang malaman kung gaano talaga kalaki ang kotong sa VAT.

Indeed, where does the VAT go? The fact is that the biggest beneficiaries of VAT are not our people but our creditors who will be paid 62% of all government revenues this year. During the deliberations on the tax measures in 2005, we were informed by the Department of Finance that as much as 80% of additional revenues from the new taxes would go to our creditors. No wonder a year after the imposition of VAT, we were paying loans in advance to the detriment of the budgets for health, housing, education and other social services. No wonder the credit rating agencies are ecstatic that we are taxing our people to death just to pay our debts.

Kinumpirma ni Gng. Arroyo na pambayad ng utang ang VAT. Sa kanyang
SONA sinabi niya: "Napakahalaga ng VAT…una nabawasan ang ating mga utang…" Again, it is a clever ruse of Mrs. Arroyo to justify an oppressive, windfall-earning tax by saying that she's returning it to the poor anyway.

In the first place, the poor would be better off without the government collecting kotong on their taxes. Removing the VAT on electricity would immediately and perpetually reduce the bills of lifeline rate customers by at least P66.79 a month forever, definitely more than a one-time dole out of P500. This will cost the government a mere P12.4 billion, a pittance compared to the more than P140 billion in annual uncollected duties on imported goods.

Removing the VAT on oil, on the other hand, would immediately prevent another round of fare hikes and possibly even lead to a rollback in jeepney and bus fares. That may be nothing to the rich but definitely something substantial for the poor.

Kung talagang nag-aalala si Mrs. Arroyo sa mga mahihirap na maybahay, sa mga manggagawa at magsasaka, dapat ay tanggalin na niya ang VAT sa langis at kuryente.

Katulad ng pagdepensa niya sa VAT, pinagpililitan din ni Mrs. Arroyo ang patakarang deregulasyon sa industriya ng langis. Perhaps the most glaring example of the failure of neoliberal economic policy can be seen in the oil industry. Sampung taon na mula nang ma-deregulate ang industriya ng langis at ibenta ang Petron sa mga dayuhan. Mula noon, hindi man lang natupad ang pangako ng murang gasolina o pagbuwag ng kartel ng dayuhang oil companies.

Today, the government is reduced to pleading for mercy from the oil companies who continue to rake in superprofits from their cartel operations in the country. In fact, the DOE can not even explain to us the oil cartel's pricing mechanism. Their claims of under-recoveries are considered Gospel truth. Under deregulation, government has become inutile in the face of the oil companies rapacious greed.

Kung talagang nag-aalala si Mrs. Arroyo sa mahihirap, ibabasura niya ang deregulasyon sa langis, kokontrolin ang presyo, ibabalik ang Petron sa pagmamay-ari ng publiko, at sisimulan ang sentralisadong pag-angkat ng ating pangangailangan sa langis at produktong petrolyo.

In her SONA, the President made much ado about her thrust towards self-sufficiency in rice, as if this were really her policy. The fact is that the Arroyo government had long abandoned the policy of self-sufficiency in rice and agriculture. We have not been self-sufficient in rice not because of the limits of our topography but due to the limits of our government's imagination and political will.

It is an outrage, for example, that a substantial portion of the NFA's resources are used to subsidize farmers from other countries where we import rice from. While farmers in other countries get full support in terms of technology, production inputs, credit and infrastructure, our lowly rice farmers are basically left to fend for their own. Wala na ngang suporta, kinokotongan pa ng mga opisyal ng gobyerno ang fertilizer at seed funds at iba pang pondong pang magsasaka.

Central to the issue of agriculture is the issue of agrarian reform. Mrs. Arroyo is pushing for the extension of an agrarian reform program that has proven to be insufficient at best, a sham at worst. In her SONA, Mrs. Arroyo noted, "There are those who say agrarian reform is a success – if only because anyhting is better than nothing." Now she would even make it worse by allowing CARP lands to be used as collateral, a measure that would further transform CARP beneficiaries into not into agribusinesses as she claims, poor and indebted

Mr. Speaker, the bankruptcy of the government's economic policies is reflected in its penchance for quick-fixes, palliative measures and dole outs. All government wants to do is to create safety nets because they don't have the guts to change their disastrous free market economic policies.

Mrs. Arroyo refuses to accept the flaws in her economic policy and so is limited to scrambling for dole outs to quell the people's dissatisfaction. Such is the so-called new social welfare program unveiled by her last Monday. These dole outs are especially attractive to Mrs. Arroyo and her candidates for the 2010 elections who are desperately trying to score brownie points in the face of their dwindling popularity ratings.

Speaking about satisfactory ratings, Mrs. Arroyo was conspicuously silent on the systematic plunder of the national coffers under her administration. Since 2005, it has been the policy of the Arroyo government to cover up every anomaly involving the President and her family. Until now there is no closure to the IMPSA deal, the Jancom contract, the Diosdado Macapagal Avenue overprice, the fertilizer fund scam, the Hello Garci tapes, the Venable contract, the NBN-ZTE deal and similar questionable transactions involving the highest leaders of the land.

This policy of cover up has led to the undermining of systems of transparency and accountability that are supposed to be the bedrock of good governance. In particular, the Executive's actions have led to the bastardization of the impeachment process and the sabotaging of Congress' function of legislative oversight.

She was also conspicuously silent on the issue of human rights and peace. In the face of the people's protests against the government's flawed economic and political policies, Mrs. Arroyo has resorted to the systematic violations of the people's civil and political rights in order to quell dissent and ensure her survival in office.

The killings and enforced disappearances have not stopped. Since Mrs. Arroyo's presidency in January 2001 to June this year, the human rights organization Karapatan has documented 910 victims of extrajuidcial killings, 193 victims of enforced disappearances, and 331 cases of frustrated killings. For the first six months of 2008,

Karapatan has documented 20 cases of extrajudicial killings, one case of enforced disappearance, 41 cases of illegal detention and 67 cases of illegal arrest. The surveillance, harassment and physical attacks against progressive organizations and their members have likewise not stopped.

Hardly any of the perpetrators have been investigated, arrested or tried, leading to a culture of impunity among state security forces and state-backed para-military groups. Again, this is a question of policy, particularly the counter-insurgency program Oplan Bantay Laya which, since 2001, has targeted activists and political dissenters as enemies of the state. Mr. Speaker, the true state of the nation is quite the opposite of what Mrs. Arroyo envisioned last Monday.

Gloria Arroyo cannot evade blame for this dire state of the nation by pointing to external causes as the culprits. What cannot be denied or hidden by contrived statistics is that the Philippine economy's growth has been gravely stunted. It has remained basically backward, with neither a modern agricultural base nor an industrial backbone to speak of, all because the Arroyo regime, like her predecessors, has adamantly stuck to the anti people neo-liberal globalization prescriptions of the IMF-WB-WTO triad – liberalization, deregulation and privatization.

By her canine devotion to both these multilateral instruments of global capitalist plunder and to the discredited George W. Bush administration, Mrs. Arroyo has encouraged the marginalization of our farmers, the demise of many industries, the assualts of labor unions.

By her policies she has deprived the economy and her government of any defensive shield and flexibility to withstand the destructive impacts of the frequently recurring crisis of global capital.

The fact is that there are more poor, hungry and jobless Filipinos than ever before. The fact is that it is government's neoliberal economic policies that has magnified the negative impacts of external shocks on the local economy. The fact is that unabated graft and corruption has made matters even worse. The fact is that human rights
continue to be trampled and peace remains a pipe dream.

And the fact is that the government and the President is to blame for the hardships that have befallen our people.

This is the sad state of affairs we find ourselves in. The earlier we recognize this the better it will be for efforts to address our people's yearning for democracy and reform.

Thank you.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

It is only when they are together that they see hope

Mothers of 'desaparecidos' left to seek children, justice on their own
07/17/2008 | 09:15 PM

If there is one person best placed to explain why the best definition of torture includes the deliberate infliction of mental as well as physical pain, it is Erlinda Cadapan, the 59 year-old mother of missing university student Sherlyn.

It is now more than two years since her daughter was abducted by suspected military agents and joined the long list of desaparecidos -- human rights activists and political leaders who have ‘been disappeared’ and simply vanished.

Sherlyn, a sports science student at the University of the Philippines in Quezon City, was taken at gunpoint on June 26, 2006 alongside fellow student Karen Empeño and farmer Manuel Merino, who stepped in to try and help after hearing the girls' scream. All three were reportedly bundled into a stainless steel jeep with license plate number RTF597.

The three disappeared two years ago last month while working as community organizers in Bulacan just north of Manila. Jonas Burgos was similarly working there at the time he was famously abducted from a shopping mall in Quezon City 10 months later.

"The only thing normal in my life is the abnormality of it," said Mrs. Cadapan who, like Edita Burgos, mother of missing Jonas, refuses to give up looking or simply stay home waiting for news that might not ever come.

While the government and the executive may be systematically failing all those missing -- unable or simply unwilling to help -- the families of the disappeared refuse to give up and become silent victims themselves.

Mrs. Cadapan can no longer count how many times she travels three hours to Manila each week to give interviews, attend forums and speak at meetings. Often she arrives home late at night only to receive a text asking her to return to the capital the following day for another event.

Despite financial constraints and the incessant traveling that is taking its toll, she welcomes each and every invitation to speak.

"I have to do this as mothers who give up never find their children," she told the Philippine Human Rights Reporting Project.

"I really need to remain active so the international community, our local media, even the authorities and, too, the perpetrators know that I know where my daughter is. The military is holding her and it is the military's responsibility to help me find my daughter," Mrs. Cadapan said.

Speaking last month in a live television debate, Mrs. Cadapan explained how she had repeatedly been turned away by soldiers at gunpoint when turning up at military bases to look for her daughter.

Last December, two farming brothers testified at the Court of Appeals how they had been held captive by the military alongside Sherlyn and the two others.

Raymund Manalo provided a detailed account of the time he spent with Sherlyn, Karen and Manuel as part of a petition for a writ of amparo served on the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) by Mrs. Cadapan.

The writ of amparo obliges respondents to prove they did not violate the human rights of the named people.

Manalo, whose testimony corroborated accounts given by other abductees, stated how he and his brother had been held captive alongside Sherlyn and the others in Camp Tecson in San Miguel in Bulacan. Camp Tecson hosts the First Scout Ranger Regiment. He added that they were then all transferred to the 24th Infantry Battalion (IB) camp in Limay in Bataan.

He testified how Sherlyn, who was expecting her first baby when abducted, was chained up, tortured and repeatedly raped. He also claimed that the two women suddenly disappeared from the military camp one day in June 2007 when he, his brother and Merino were all taken out and forced to sleep overnight in a nearby forest.

Manalo testified that they were brought back the following day but that neither he nor his brother ever saw Sherlyn and Karen again. He claimed Merino was subsequently killed and his body burnt inside the camp, and was told by a soldier not to bother looking for Sherlyn or Karen as they and Merino were "already together."

The AFP continues to deny any responsibility for the abductions or knowledge about their whereabouts. However, the Court of Appeals has ruled that there was strong evidence that Merino and the others were abducted by the military. It moreover found that Major General Jovito Palparan, former commander of the 7th Infantry Battalion, "was not telling the whole truth," and his men were "evasive and contradictory" in their claims to know nothing about the case.

Palparan, the army's former counter insurgency chief and a fierce anti-Communist, has been charged by the media and human rights groups with responsibility for abductions and extra judicial killings. When it was finally published in February last year, the government's own Melo Commission report claimed "there was an increase in activist killings in the areas where Gen. Palparan was assigned."

Palparan denies any responsibility for extra judicial killings.

Still hoping

Yet despite testimonies, both Mrs. Cadapan and Karen's mother, Mrs. Concepcion Empeño, are still hoping that their daughters will one day return safely home.

"The only hope I am holding on right now is that I will be able to see Karen soon," Mrs. Empeño said in a phone interview. "We are always waiting for her. I will always keep on searching."

Says Mrs. Cadapan: "I never thought that something bad would happen to my child because I see nothing wrong with her being an activist, helping the people who were not familiar with the laws and the benefits they should be receiving. To me this constitutes helping the government but the government obviously thinks otherwise."

Mrs. Cadapan added that it was only after her daughter disappeared that she realized their family had been under some kind of surveillance. Still, though, she cannot quite believe it.

"I never thought my family would be a victim of a human rights violation by the government. I am respected in our community as the secretary of the homeowners association. When the head is not available, people come to me and so I never had any inkling that we had a problem with the authorities," she said.

Now though her heart is full of pure anger for those she considers responsible for her daughter's disappearance.

"When I imagine how they tortured my daughter, my anger with the government boils up as I expect them to protect and serve the people as mandated by our Constitution," Mrs. Cadapan said.

Perhaps not unexpectedly, the case of their missing daughters has turned both mothers into activists themselves. It is both part therapy and part solidarity. The mothers of the disappeared help and strengthen each other. Many of them also look to and receive support from the human rights group Karapatan.

According to its general secretary, Marie Hilao-Enriquez, Karapatan provides a range of services to the families of victims including legal support, assistance and even counseling.

"Our office is an office in the morning and a safe house in the evening for people to come when they need to," she said, adding that they encourage the relatives to organize themselves into a group "because it is only when they are together that they see hope".

Mrs. Cadapan agrees. By bonding together and with the support of groups like Karapatan and support among the media, the families of the victims are able to gain strength from each other, and to make a lot of noise and heap pressure on those deemed responsible for the desaparecidos -- both perpetrators and the politicians who claim to be in charge. - Philippine Human Rights Reporting Project

Friday, July 25, 2008

Bakit pa tayo maghihintay ng 2010 kung kaya nating paalisin NGAYON NA?

From a fellow egroups member in another egroups. So right about his
recollection of what happened in the early 70s.
Two years and two days (assuming we're using the Theory of Relativity here)- is still a long time and a lot of agony under a corrupt, inept, and
repressive regime. Even a day at the hands of the hangman is an eternity.

So...exactly what is Chiz trying to tell the people - "Konting tiis lang, at 2010 na...pagkatapos...mapapalitan din iyan." Whoa! Our politicians are just repeating history. In 1970, many of our so-called leaders were already positioning themselves for a run in the 1973 elections, they played along with Macoy, fooling themselves into thinking that, come 1973...his term would "expire". And with a Con-Con in the works, they were even more confident that a "Ban Marcos" provision could be inserted into the new constitution. And corrupt and unpopular as his administration was...he was able to pull off an "auto-golpe", a "self-coup" via Proclamation 1081, while the wannabes were caught unawares, with their pants down.

"Tiis"? Iyong politico at elite makakatiis, iyong karamihan ay hindi.

And appended is former Chief Justice Panganiban's take on the same subject
of Arroyo after 2010


Can Arroyo reign beyond 2010?
By Artemio V. Panganiban
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 23:36:00 07/19/2008

PRESIDENT MACAPAGAL-ARROYO'S PRESENT term expires on June 30, 2010. Can she
legally extend her reign beyond that date? My answer: Yes, if our Congress,
Supreme Court, Commission on Elections and people will agree to a revision
of our Constitution.

Failed Cha-cha bid

Let me begin my thesis by recalling the most recent bid
for Charter change (Cha-cha). In 2006, during my term as chief justice, the
allies of the President, led by then Speaker Jose de Venecia Jr., launched a
"people's initiative" to alter our form of government from presidential to

Armed with the alleged signatures of 6.3 million voters, the initiative's
visible proponents—the "Sigaw ng Bayan" and the Union of Local Authorities
in the Philippines (Ulap)—asked the Supreme Court to compel the Comelec to
authenticate the signatures and to schedule a plebiscite to ratify their

However, the Court—by a close 8-7 vote—refused. It described the Sigaw-Ulap
initiative as "a deception" and "a gigantic fraud" because the signatures
were gathered "without first showing to the people the full texts of the
proposed amendments." Equally important, a change from the presidential to
the parliamentary system is a "revision, not a mere amendment" that cannot
be authorized by an initiative.

The decision was penned by Justice Antonio T. Carpio, concurred in by
Justices Consuelo Ynares-Santiago, Angelina Sandoval-Gutierrez, Ma. Alicia
Austria-Martinez, Conchita Carpio Morales, Romeo J. Callejo Sr., Adolfo S.
Azcuna, and yours truly. Since then, three (Gutierrez, Callejo and I) of the
eight have retired.

On the other hand, the dissenting opinion was written by Justice (now Chief
Justice) Reynato S. Puno, joined by Justices Leonardo A. Quisumbing, Renato
C. Corona, Dante C. Tinga, Minita V. Chico-Nazario, Cancio C. Garcia and
Presbitero J. Velasco Jr.

Initiative—as a means of overhauling the Charter—is indeed problematic.
Hence, I believe the Palace allies will not repeat the mistake of launching
a new one. Neither will they avail of the more tedious constitutional
convention (Con-Con). Furthermore, the Cha-cha proponents may not be able to
elect enough partisans into the Con-con, due to the low popularity rating of

Weapon of choice

I think their new weapon of choice will be the constituent
assembly (Con-ass). Under this method, the shift to a parliamentary system
shall be proposed by "Congress, upon a vote of three-fourths of all its
Members." Per Article XVII of the Constitution, the proposal "shall be valid
when ratified by a majority of the votes cast in a plebiscite which shall be
held not earlier than 60 days nor later than 90 days after the approval of
such revision."

The big question is whether the two houses of Congress shall vote jointly or
separately. Voting separately, the Senate will—I believe—turn down the
parliamentary shift. However, if the voting is done jointly—meaning that the
votes of the senators and the representatives would be added and thereafter
the three-fourths count obtained from the total—then the shift may get the
needed majority.

How? GMA's ruling coalition lists more than 200 of the 240 House members.
Hence, in a joint vote, even if all the 24 senators would align with the
House's puny minority, the required "three-fourths vote of all Members"
could still be obtained. Will the Senate agree to convene a Con-ass? It
seems so. Sen. Aquilino Pimentel has already proposed to the Senate to
tackle his plan for a federal system. Once convened, nothing prevents the
Con-ass from dancing the parliamentary Cha-cha.

The Supreme Court will ultimately decide the validity of a joint vote.
Considering that the eight justices who rejected the "Sigaw" initiative have
been decimated by three retirements (four by Feb. 6, 2009 when Justice
Azcuna turns 70) and considering further that GMA has lately been winning
controversial cases, the high court may affirm a "joint" vote. It may wash
its hands and say: Let a plebiscite be held to determine whether the people
want the parliamentary system.

Ideally, a plebiscite determines the peoples' choice. However, the voting
process here will be easy to manipulate. Voters will simply choose between
"Yes" and "No." In fact, the Marcos Constitution was approved by a mere
raising of hands during "citizens' assemblies," a scandalous voting process
validated by a compliant Supreme Court.

Expect the GMA administration to use its full resources to secure a
resounding "Yes" from the Court and from the people. Hence, the Comelec's
role in counting the ballots (and those of Namfrel and PPCRV in guarding
them) will be critical.

Sufficient time for change

Will there be enough time to approve the
parliamentary shift? Yes, under this timeline: congressional approval by
Dec. 31, 2008, Supreme Court decision by June 30, 2009, and plebiscite in
September 2009.

The elections scheduled on the second Monday of May 2010 will then be held
for members of the new Parliament, not for president, vice president, or
senators. GMA will secure a parliamentary seat in Pampanga and then become
prime minister in a Lakas-Kampi-dominated Parliament after her term as
president expires on June 30, 2010.

Theoretically, it is possible to revise the Constitution and enable GMA to
continue her reign after June 30, 2010. But will our Congress, Supreme
Court, Comelec and people allow her? Realistically, can GMA—unlike Ferdinand
Marcos—extend her reign without martial law?

See my answer next week.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

UP will forge through risk-filled neoliberal terrain; so will militant

UP will forge through risk-filled neoliberal terrain; so will militant
activism persist

by Satur C. Ocampo

An Outsider's View of the University of the Philippines delivered as part of
the UP Centennial Lecture Series on July 10, 2008 at the NISMED, UP Diliman

Before we begin, may I invite everyone to stand up for three minutes of
silence in honor of the former students of the University of the Philippines
who gave up their lives in the continuing struggle for national liberation,
economic emancipation, social justice, equitable development and genuine and
lasting peace for the Filipino people.

Thank you. I also thank you for inviting me, through President
Emerlinda R. Roman, to be one of the speakers in this Centennial Lecture
Series. I hope that my sincere and humble efforts to cope with your
expectations will be met with relative satisfaction. If not, I'll ask for
another chance, but please not in the next Centennial.

Your first speaker representing an "Outsider's View," the businessman
and civic leader Ramon R. del Rosario Jr., banteringly attested to his being
"truly an outsider" as a "true-and-through Green Archer" whose encounters
with UP to this day have been to root for the De La Salle team against the
UP Maroons during UAAP basketball games. Then he delighted you with his
proud declaration that his two daughters graduated from UP with academic

I am an "outsider" not in the sense that Mr. del Rosario is, he having
freely chosen not to study in UP but acquiring his education here and abroad
in his field of choice. On my part, I dreamed of studying in UP as early as
my high school days in the early 1950s in my hometown of Sta. Rita,
Pampanga. For reasons I'll explain, I never got to do so. My college
education was rough-edged, and I never got a college diploma. I am proud to
say, however, that the alumni association of the Polytechnic University of
the Philippines (formerly the PCC or Philippine College of Commerce) chose
to consider me an outstanding PCC alumnus in 1999 for pursuing my political

My boyhood dream of studying in UP began when my father's cousin
happened to bring a copy of The Philippinensian to our home. I leafed avidly
through its pages. Gazing at the photographs of student leaders at that
time, I thought I could also be like them in UP. I soon realized that it was
an impossible dream. Still, some years later, enrolled at the Lyceum of the
Philippines, the influence of UP intellectuals there -- notably Sotero H.
Laurel, who was the president of the Lyceum, and Dean Jose A. Lansang of the
school of journalism -- reinforced my nationalist orientation and honed my
analytical skills. Yes, you could have that experience outside of UP – just
as today our young people continue to be taught by UP products in many of
our institutions of learning, at least those UP graduates who have chosen to
commit themselves to this country (and they are many).

The youthful hope of being able to enter UP fired me up to study hard
even as I continued to help my parents and siblings with the work on the
farm. Thus, finishing high school as class salutatorian was a cruel blow,
because being valedictorian would have entitled me to a UP scholarship. That
was one of my earliest frustrations in life and I remember it with pain to
this day. But then again, my parents would not have been able to afford the
other expenses entailed by having a son in UP, even on a scholarship. (Let
us note that more than half a century later since then, the new UP Charter
now explicitly mandates the University to take affirmative action to enhance
the access of disadvantaged students to its programs and services.)

There are thousands upon thousands of poor boys and girls for whom the doors
of the state university failed to open in the last 100 years. Former Chief
Justice Artemio V. Panganiban was one of them in the early 1950s, who
although he had been granted a UP scholarship had to enroll instead at the
Far Eastern University. As the head of the FEU student council, he recently
reminisced, he "specially prized" the friendship of fellow student leaders
from UP because they were trained to think and behave independently and
upheld student rights at the risk of their own studies and careers. In my
own encounters with UP student leaders at the time, I held most of them in
high regard for their intellectual keenness and boldness in taking the
initiative. I also encountered some who annoyed others by their
intellectual arrogance and hubris, and yes, frivolousness.

My first experience of student life in Manila was at PCC – the
quintessential college for the poor, with its overcrowded classrooms in
cramped wooden buildings. It was at various student conferences, held
annually, that the budding politicians and fledgling writers among us met
each other. At a YMCA conference held in Baguio, I was put in charge of the
daily newsletter, one issue of which came out with two steamy poems by UP's
Sonny San Juan (now a staid but unrepentant academic in America). This
earned me an upbraiding by the conference adviser, a well-known guardian of
conservative politics.

At another conference, I met other UP students among them the writer
Pete Daroy, who invited me to a colloquium in Diliman which I was too
intimidated to attend. Then Jose Ma. Sison invited me to join several small
group discussions with members of the Student Cultural Association of the
University of the Philippines (SCAUP). Being unfamiliar with the UP Diliman
campus, I would meet somewhere else with the poet Jun Tera and he would lead
me to Little Quiapo and other nooks. In the group were Luis V. Teodoro,
Vivencio Jose, Ferdinand Tinio and Reynato S. Puno, now Chief Justice of the
Supreme Court, who was the group's authority on issues surrounding the
RP-US military bases agreement. From those SCAUP discussions emerged the
publication of the Progressive Review, a radical quarterly, and subsequently
the Kabataang Makabayan which was organized in 1964.

So much for the musings of a frustrated UP alumnus. Allow me now to
begin my main discussion by paying the highest tribute to those who gave
their best efforts and sacrificed their lives – most of them in the prime of
their youth – to the revolutionary cause. While many of these heroes had
studied in UP there were others, more numerous in fact, from other schools
and from all walks of life, who contributed to the national-democratic
revolutionary movement since the mid-1960s and early 1970s.

Similarly, let me salute the thousands of activists today, the older
and the young, from UP and elsewhere who, with commitment, enthusiasm and
hope, carry on the revolutionary struggle shoulder to shoulder with the
masses -- through its multifarious ramifications, means and methods and up
to its highest form.

Regardless of how some people, or perhaps a good number of people, may
view its continuing relevance to our national life, or its prospects of
succeeding in its avowed goals, the national-democratic revolutionary
movement is undeniably alive. It is persevering to advance and to win. In
the process of waging life-and-death struggle against the forces seeking to
destroy it, the movement is endeavoring to establish a genuine state of the
people from its basic units in the countryside communities. It has had its
ups and down, its ebbs and flows. It has suffered setbacks from serious
errors committed at various levels of its leadership, the most serious of
which took place in the 1980s. A painful campaign was launched to rectify
the errors, which has been largely successful, although some manifestations
do appear now and then indicating that lessons from the past have yet to be
completely comprehended and assiduously applied.

There are those who believe that armed struggle has become passé in this
day and age. They include some who used to be involved in it and who still
yearn for revolutionary change in our society but have opted to contribute
towards that end only through peaceful and legal means. Certainly that is a
positive, worthy undertaking. Having been part of the legal democratic mass
movement all these years, I have found rich meaning in my own work in the
parliamentary arena despite its numerous pitfalls and limitations. But let
us listen to the insight of Angel Baking, editor of the Philippine Collegian
in 1940-41, twice jailed for political offenses. In a university convocation
at the Abelardo Hall on January 23, 1970, shortly after being released from
prison the first time, the grizzled revolutionary said:

"Not all those who desire revolutionary change in the existing order
subscribe to armed struggle, and the majority perhaps to this day, believe
they are contributing their share to the over-all revolutionary struggle
through peaceful and legal means. But this does not negate the reality of
the armed struggle going on in our midst, and whatever settlements might be
arrived as resolutions to the basic conflicts in our society can no longer
be said to have been resolved independent of this armed struggle. This is an
important aspect of our concrete historical situation which renders
theoretical discussion of means academic."

Sometimes, indeed, it has been necessary to set aside the consideration
and discussion of theoretical or academic issues due to the urgency of
continually defending one's life and fundamental rights against vicious,
murderous attacks. But through it all the movement lives on. As the
Macapagal-Arroyo regime itself acknowledges, it remains the most formidable
and most consistent challenge to the sense of security and the survival not
only of the current government but of the entire ruling system that
continues to rot and decay.

What was UP's role in the beginning of this movement – or rather, its
self-renewal in the 1960s and 1970s, for the present revolutionary struggle
stretches back to the 1930s -- and how can it continue to be a relevant part
of this great collective effort towards radical transformation? I need not
go through many details of how the national-democratic mass movement spread
nationwide after the formation of the Kabataang Makabayan in 1964, with key
founding leaders mostly coming from UP, and the consequent flowering of
national-democratic oriented youth and student organizations in secondary
and tertiary level schools and in communities of the urban poor across the
country on the heels of the First Quarter Storm of 1970.

While the resurgent revolutionary movement will always be associated
with the student activists, it is important to remember that even earlier,
UP was already a seedbed of new ideas, where nationalists and freethinkers
like Teodoro Agoncillo, Cesar Adib Majul, Ricardo Pascual, Leopoldo Yabes,
Renato Constantino and others did research, published their books, engaged
in intellectual combat, and took promising young people under their wings.
Books written byAgoncillo, notably "The Revolt of the Masses", and
Constantino's "Dissent and Counter-consciousness" and "A Past Revisited"
were among the staple readings of the activists. Academic freedom, so
strenuously defended, ensured that acrimonious debates nevertheless produced
good fruit on all sides. Even we who did not enjoy the luxury of these
sharp discussions vicariously benefited from it.

Student activism in the late 1960s and early 1970s thrived on any and
all issues: foreign monopoly of the oil industry and oil price hikes, the US
war of aggression against Vietnam, the presence of US military bases, graft
and corruption, foreign domination of the economy, police brutality and
fascism, even beauty pageants. In 1971 UP experienced its own Diliman
Commune – spurred by the students' support of jeepney drivers striking
against the increased cost of fuel and police intrusion into the campus --
when for nine days the campus was barricaded with classroom tables and
chairs and activists operated DZUP round the clock. Students dropped out of
school to go fulltime into mass organizing, supporting labor strikes and
other revolutionary work. The movement very soon spread to other schools,
then to the provinces.

And when Ferdinand Marcos attempted to solve the political crisis by
imposing martial law in 1972, UP students and faculty alike were put to the
test. Would they resist, putting theory into practice, or would they search
their books anew to justify compliance if not subservience? Historic
choices were made, the nation moved forward, while some were left behind.

Armed only with their theories and a few unreliable weapons to defend
themselves, the students who fanned out to the countryside found that they
would be learning their own lessons from the peasant masses, much more than
they would be teaching. At the same time, the sincerity and dedication of
these youth, almost all in their teens, inspired the people, who then found
their own ways of supporting and undertaking the struggle for change, and
making it their own.

It has become commonplace to point out that the issues that spurred
student unrest and militant protests forty years ago are still burning
issues today, but they have become part of the landscape, so to speak. We
remember how three-centavo increases in the price of diesel would spark
strikes in protest; today gasoline is still rising from sixty pesos per
liter but many now simply resign themselves to walking or taking the train.
The US war of aggression billed as a "war on terror", domination of the
Philippine economy, its renewed military presence since 2002 – it's the
same, and yet not quite the same. If in the past hackles were raised by the
"Americanization" of UP, today it's about "commercialization of education"
and "privatization" of the University that critics within and outside UP say
are some disturbing aspects of the new UP charter.

Under RA 9500, aside from its usual academic, research and service
duties, the UP as the National University will have an enhanced
fund-generating corporate structure, orientation and operation. It is also
mandated to "regularly study the state of the nation in relation to its
quest for national development in the primary areas of politics and
economics, among others", identify key concerns and formulate responsive
policies on these and give advice and recommendations to Congress and the
President of the Philippines. Is this not the responsibility of the National
Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), to which many UP economic
professors have been seconded or named to head it over the years? Can the
UP give advice and recommendations that would be counter to established
policies or programs of the government?

What to do with this charter now will be a big challenge to the UP
community. How will it maintain the highest possible level of academic
excellence and academic freedom, and without impairing these roles ensure
the financial viability of the corporate entity that it will now become? I
share the apprehension of many of you that the reorientation and expanded
roles of the UP will surely align it to serve the requirements of global
capital via neo-liberalism or globalization with its three prescriptions:
liberalization, privatization and deregulation. The destructive impact of
unbridled globalization over the last 18 years in every part of the world
has been widely acknowledged: first among the poorest countries, such as
those in Africa, then among the less-developed countries including the
Philippines, and now in the heartland of capitalism itself, the United
States. What then is the sense in proceeding along this perilous path?

The UP is thus forewarned of the risks it faces as it sets out to forge
its path through the neo-liberal terrain. For now the adherents of
neo-liberalism are dominant both in the Macapagal-Arroyo government and
within UP itself, and they are much more optimistic than me. Still we all
know that the road will not be easy to traverse. The militant activism that
underwent the ups and downs of ideological and organizational struggles in
the last decade, even as it was able to mobilize a significant part of the
UP community to oppose tuition fee increases and commercialization of
education, can build up strong opposition. The debates, the struggles over
policies and programs will play out in the UP, as they have in the long
tradition of the University, with the "iskolar ng bayan" and their
supporters in the UP community vigorously asserting their right to have a
bigger say in how the university will be run.

Undoubtedly, all these issues provide a legitimate basis for militant
activism to persist and spread throughout society and specially within the
campuses of colleges and universities, including the UP. On the other hand,
the University can maintain its social relevance only by continuously taking
part in the dynamics of the larger society. It must do this not only through
the militant participation of the UP community in political questions of the
moment, but also through the concerns that guide its teaching and research
activities – among the most important of which, today, are the delineation
and affirmation of our Filipino identity in the midst of globalization, and
speeding up the broad democratization process.

In this regard, there have been criticisms that the present-day
national-democratic activists tend to sound outdated in their political
sloganeering. One such criticism from the UP, way back in 1993, referred to
the activists as "a dwindling breed who isolate themselves by ranting
obsolete slogans and re-enacting the First Quarter Storm." The old slogans
of the 1970s, for instance "Imperyalismo, Ibagsak!", may grate on the ears
of many people, but this cannot negate the continuing validity of the
slogan's message. Even if US imperialism now sports a new name, its
essential exploitative character has not changed – in the era of neo-liberal
globalization this has only worsened. It is true, however, that more
creativity on the part of the new generation of activists would be highly
appreciated. I have personally witnessed the emergence of new cultural forms
or themes of protest in street marches, rallies and cultural presentations
all over the country. It seems to me that the cultural activists are now
becoming more adept at comprehending the social and economic conditions and
the struggles of the people and are expressing these in various ways that
appeal to a broad audience.

Another criticism raised against present-day activists is actually an
old, recurring complaint -- that they tend to be arrogant and
self-righteous, a weakness that turns off many people (especially from UP!)
who would otherwise be more open to the movement's analyses and proposals.
Already in 1970, Angel Baking pointed this out in his lecture at Abelardo
Hall, and he suggested that "the recognition that the masses are really the
most powerful controlling elements in a revolution, the most stable base and
the profoundest source of revolutionary wisdom" should be an effective
antidote to such self-importance. "All too often," Baking observed,
"intellectuals without firm links with and faith in the masses tend to go
astray, unable to maintain the clarity of their vision and the steadfastness
of their affiliations."

Apparently, Baking was aware that the "diverse distractions and
preoccupations of students" and the periods of lull in their activities
might make it difficult for them to maintain their revolutionary ardor and
momentum. "To solve this difficulty," he counselled, "it would be necessary
to relate in a sustained manner the activities of students to the problems
and struggles of the masses especially of the organized and revolutionary
masses. This would dissolve the psychological barrier which makes student
activists think there is no value in their work if it is not dramatic enough
to attract wide attention." In effect, Baking was saying, and I concur,
that a sustained relation between the activism of the youth and students and
the work of the revolutionary masses would make the former more relevant and
enhance the latter.

In that same speech Baking paid rhapsodic tribute to the masses of the
people that he pledged to serve even as he endured bitter disappointments
and crushing failures. "In the most difficult of times," he said, "it is
the revolutionary masses that never lose sight of the revolutionary goals
and keep intact the hard core of unity and organization. It is their ardor
which keeps aflame the fires of revolution even when everything seems lost.
The reassuring warm hand one feels on the shoulders during darkest moments
of temporary defeat is often the hand of a peasant worker. This is a tested
lesson derived from revolutionary experience...." It was this lesson that
he wanted to get off his chest, as soon as he could, to the young people who
were eagerly listening to his every word.

As I come to the end of this talk I think of Ka Angel Baking, UP
engineer, intellectually gifted, who gave up a promising career in the
foreign service to serve the Filipino people through revolutionary struggle,
enduring imprisonment for almost two decades, and lending his brilliant mind
and experienced hand in the movement's self-renewal. If during his time they
were but a handful to take the difficult path of revolution, the two
succeeding generations have produced a bountiful harvest of capable,
intensely motivated patriots who have taken up the challenge to carry on.
I am now nearly the same age as Ka Angel was in the early 1990s when I used
to visit him and ask for his advice. I am proud to have marched along the
same road with him, and I can say to him now with confidence, "Tumula ka,
Abe. Be glad, comrade, because the youth will not fail us."

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Pagbagsak ng ekonomiya ng Estados Unidos

Status Report on the Collapse of the U.S. Economy
by Richard C. Cook*
The author *is a former U.S. federal government analyst, whose
career included service with the U.S. Civil Service Commission, the
Food and Drug Administration, the Carter White House, NASA, and the
U.S. Treasury Department.*

Global Research, July 16, 2008

With the economic news of the week of July 14—the continuing crisis
among mortgage lenders, the onset of bank failures, the announced
downsizing of General Motors, the slide of the Dow-Jones below
11,000—we are seeing the ongoing collapse of the U.S. economy.
Even the super-rich are becoming nervous as cries for an emergency
suspension of short selling ring out.

What is really taking place, however, is that the producing economy of
working men and women is being crushed by the overall debt burden on
households, businesses, and governments that could reach $70 trillion
by 2010. The financial system, including mortgage giants Fannie Mae
and Freddie Mac, is bankrupt, as the debts it is based on cannot be

This is because the producing economy of people who work for a living
simply can no longer generate enough purchasing power for people
either to pay their debts or allow them to purchase what is being sold
in the marketplace. In turn it is the debt burden and the loss of
societal purchasing power that are crashing the stock market. Thus the
collapse of the
financial economy has started to destroy the producing economy as well.

It's a "perfect storm," the result of a 200-year-old financial system
where money is largely created by bank lending and where since 1980
our industry and jobs have been increasingly outsourced abroad to
cheap labor markets. Thus domestic incomes have stagnated while the
nation's GDP has not been able to keep up with the exponential growth
of debt.

While the mainstream media are blind, deaf, and dumb as to the causes,
the victims within the middle and working classes are seeing their
livelihoods ruined, jobs taken away, pensions eroded, homes foreclosed
on, and are being saddled with ever-increasing debt and forced to work
under more and more stress due to rising burdens of taxation, gas and
food price
inflation, and bureaucratic rules and regulations. The only places a
more-or-less normal life may still be possible will be the wealthiest
imperial centers like Washington, New York, Houston, Chicago, or San

All that the current bailouts being engineered by the Federal Reserve
are doing is to create more debt to shore up failing financial
institutions. No new wealth is being created. It's band-aids on
band-aids. The problem politically is that control of the U.S. long
ago was turned over to the bankers and the financiers of the Western
world. It was called financial "deregulation," accelerated under
President Ronald Reagan, and has run amok since then.

From a longer historical view, it's the same phenomenon that first
created and then ruined the British Empire , and it's what created and
is now ruining the American Empire today. A side-effect of control by
the bankers and financiers is that they are also Zionists, so we have
the added multi-trillion dollar burden of trying to conquer the Middle
East on behalf of the international oil interests and the state of

The situation has deteriorated sharply since the 1970s as U.S. affairs
have been managed on behalf of the financial interests by what you
might call the "Three Amigos"—Henry Kissinger, Paul Volcker, and Alan
Greenspan. Kissinger, while Nixon's secretary of state, made the U.S.
dependent on the Middle East for oil, lavished billions on Israel 's
war machine, and created the petrodollar to support our trade and
fiscal deficits. Volcker, while chairman of the Federal Reserve,
crashed the U.S. producing economy in the recession of 1979-1983,
leading to the rise of the "service economy." Greenspan, during his
own Federal Reserve chairmanship, presided over the bubble economy
which was created through massive official fraud in home mortgage
lending and is now sinking like the Titanic.

The politicians have enabled these financial crimes. Above all it's
been the Bush family which has served as a political Trojan Horse for
the financiers for three generations, with affairs having become much
worse since George H.W. Bush invaded Iraq for the first time in 1991.
The enablers have included a majority of the members of the U.S.
Congress. (See the
conclusion of Patrick Buchanan's new book, Churchill, Hitler, and the
Unnecessary War for an account of how the U.S. since the Bush I
presidency has replicated the catastrophic errors of failed British

The American people are not entirely innocent. We have been so lulled
to sleep by the financier-owned media that we have allowed these
disasters to take place and are now reaping the consequences. We have
been the fodder for their wars and the signers of their loans. We have
tried to carve out our own piece of the pie which is now crumbling.
What is taking place is not just the collapse of the U.S. , but more
than likely the final crash of Western civilization, since we are the
last of the world empires to go down the drain. World War I saw the
end of the German, Austro-Hungarian, Russian, and Ottoman empires.
World War II saw the disappearance of the French, British, Japanese,
and Italian empires, along with Nazi Germany. The Soviet empire
collapsed in 1991. The American is next. The danger is that we may
lash out and start a nuclear World War III out of frustration and to
appease the elitists of the world who see war and famine as their
pathway to world control. Such a war would also mean a military
takeover domestically to manage the pathetically weak nation that we
are becoming.

The bankers and financiers do not care if nations and empires destroy
themselves and each other, because they are internationalists. In
fact, the more war and mass starvation there is the better off they
feel. All they need is a base from which to operate. London has been
their main base of operations since the Bank of England was founded in
1694, though they have a strong presence in other nations. They have
been especially influential in northwest Europe , where elitism in the
form of Freemasonry endeavored since the time of the French Revolution
to destroy the authority of the Catholic Church.

In fact, World War I was a project of the Freemasons in dismembering
Germany and the Austro-Hungarian Empire, both largely Catholic. This
destruction allowed the masters of usury to flourish within the
atheistic and materialistic culture that Freemasonry fostered across
Europe . World War I also resulted in the virus of Communism, largely
egged on by the internationalists and Freemasons, though it had such a
tragic impact on Russia and Central Europe before spreading to China
and East Asia .

It is theoretically possible that the US as a nation could still save
itself through an internal revolution, while playing a much reduced
role in the world. After all, England , France , and Italy still exist
as shadows of their past greatness. But, realistically, all ordinary
people can do today is try to survive, perhaps by working with friends
and neighbors in planting food and living within the underground
economy. At least people might not then have to starve to death,
because hard as it is to believe that "it could happen here,"
widespread famine in the U.S. seems a real possibility over the next
several years.

Nations take such risks when they allow capitalist agribusiness to
destroy local agriculture.
On a national level, it is likely that as a response to the economic
crisis some attempt will be made by desperate politicians to try to
replicate the New Deal, but to do this effectively would require
political control by a nationalistic reform party. Even then,
additional reform measures such as control of credit as a public
utility, a basic income guarantee, and a national
dividend would be needed for real economic security to replace the
current madness that could soon make the U.S. a relic of history.

Richard C. Cook is a former U.S. federal government analyst, whose
career included service with the U.S. Civil Service Commission, the
Food and Drug Administration, the Carter White House, NASA, and the
U.S. Treasury Department. His articles on economics, politics, and
space policy have appeared on numerous websites and in Eurasia Critic
magazine. His book on monetary reform, entitled We Hold These Truths:
The Hope of Monetary Reform, will be published soon by Tendril Press.
He is also the author of Challenger Revealed: An Insider's Account of
How the Reagan Administration Caused the Greatest Tragedy of the Space
Age, called by one reviewer, "the most important spaceflight book of
the last twenty years." His website is at

Sunday, July 13, 2008

On the very bloody anticommunist purge in Korea

US wavered over S. Korean executions

SEOUL, South Korea - The American colonel, troubled by what he was hearing, tried to stall at first. But the declassified record shows he finally told his South Korean counterpart it "would be permitted" to machine-gun 3,500 political prisoners, to keep them from joining approaching enemy forces.

In the early days of the Korean War, other American officers observed, photographed and confidentially reported on such wholesale executions by their South Korean ally, a secretive slaughter believed to have killed 100,000 or more leftists and supposed sympathizers, usually without charge or trial, in a few weeks in mid-1950.

Extensive archival research by The Associated Press has found no indication Far East commander Gen. Douglas MacArthur took action to stem the summary mass killing, knowledge of which reached top levels of the Pentagon and State Department in Washington, where it was classified "secret" and filed away.

Now, a half-century later, the South Korean government's Truth and Reconciliation Commission is investigating what happened in that summer of terror, a political bloodbath largely hidden from history, unlike the communist invaders' executions of southern rightists, which were widely publicized and denounced at the time.

In the now-declassified record at the U.S. National Archives and other repositories, the Korean investigators will find an ambivalent U.S. attitude in 1950 — at times hands-off, at times disapproving.

"The most important thing is that they did not stop the executions," historian Jung Byung-joon, a member of the 2-year-old commission, said of the Americans. "They were at the crime scene, and took pictures and wrote reports."

They took pictures in July 1950 at the slaughter of dozens of men at one huge killing field outside the central city of Daejeon. Between 3,000 and 7,000 South Koreans are believed to have been shot there by their own military and police, and dumped into mass graves, said Kim Dong-choon, the commission member overseeing the investigation
of these government killings.

The bones of Koh Chung-ryol's father are there somewhere, and the 57-year-old woman believes South Koreans alone are not to blame.

"Although we can't present concrete evidence, we bereaved families believe the United States has some responsibility for this," she told the AP, as she visited one of the burial sites in the quiet Sannae valley.

Frank Winslow, a military adviser at Daejeon in those desperate days long ago, is one American who feels otherwise.

The Koreans were responsible for their own actions, said the retired Army lieutenant colonel, 81. "The Koreans were sovereign. To me, there was never any question that the Koreans were in charge," he said in a telephone interview from his home in Bellingham, Wash.

The brutal, hurried elimination of tens of thousands of their countrymen, subject of a May 19 AP report, was the climax to a years-long campaign by South Korea's right-wing leaders.

In 1947, two years after Washington and Moscow divided Korea into southern and northern halves, a U.S. military government declared the Korean Labor Party, the southern communists, to be illegal. President Syngman Rhee's southern regime, gaining sovereignty in 1948, suppressed all leftist political activity, put down a guerrilla uprising and held up to 30,000 political prisoners by the time communist North Korea invaded on June 25, 1950.

As war broke out, southern authorities also rounded up members of the 300,000-strong National Guidance Alliance, a "re-education" body to which they had assigned leftist sympathizers, and whose membership quotas also were filled by illiterate peasants lured by promises of jobs and other benefits.

Commission investigators, extrapolating from initial evidence and surveys of family survivors, believe most alliance members were killed in the wave of executions.

On June 29, 1950, as the southern army and its U.S. advisers retreated southward, reports from Seoul said the conquering northerners had emptied the southern capital's prisons, and ex-inmates were reinforcing the new occupation regime.

In a confidential narrative he later wrote for Army historians, Lt. Col. Rollins S. Emmerich, a senior U.S. adviser, described what then happened in the southern port city of Busan, formerly known as Pusan.

Emmerich was told by a subordinate that a South Korean regimental commander, determined to keep Busan's political prisoners from joining the enemy, planned "to execute some 3500 suspected peace time Communists, locked up in the local prison," according to the declassified 78-page narrative, first uncovered by the newspaper Busan Ilbo at the U.S. National Archives.

Emmerich wrote that he summoned the Korean, Col. Kim Chong-won, and told him the enemy would not reach Busan in a few days as Kim feared, and that "atrocities could not be condoned."'

But the American then indicated conditional acceptance of the plan.

"Colonel Kim promised not to execute the prisoners until the situation became more critical," wrote Emmerich, who died in 1986. "Colonel Kim was told that if the enemy did arrive to the outskirts of (Busan) he would be permitted to open the gates of the prison and shoot the prisoners with machine guns."

This passage, omitted from the published Army history, is the first documentation unearthed showing advance sanction by the U.S. military for such killings.

"I think his (Emmerich's) word is so significant, " said Park Myung-lim, a South Korean historian of the war and adviser to the investigative commission.

As that summer wore on, and the invaders pressed their attack on the southern zone, Busan-area prisoners were shot by the hundreds, Korean and foreign witnesses later said.

Emmerich wrote that soon after his session with Kim, he met with South Korean= officials in Daegu, 55 miles north of Busan, and persuaded them "at that time" not to execute 4,500 prisoners immediately, as planned. Within weeks, hundreds were being executed in the Daegu area.

The bloody anticommunist purge, begun immediately after the invasion, is believed by the fall of 1950 to have filled some 150 mass graves in secluded spots stretching to the peninsula's southernmost counties. Commissioner Kim said the commission's estimate of 100,000 dead is "very conservative. " The commission later this month will resume excavating massacre sites, after having recovered remains of more than 400 people at four sites last year.

The AP has extensively researched U.S. military and diplomatic archives from the Korean War in recent years, at times relying on once-secret documents it obtained
through Freedom of Information Act requests and declassification reviews. The declassified U.S. record and other sources offer further glimpses of the mass killings.

A North Korean newspaper said 1,000 prisoners were slain in Incheon, just west of Seoul, in late June 1950 — a report partly corroborated by a declassified U.S. Eighth Army document of July 1950 saying "400 Communists" had been killed in Incheon. The North Korean report claimed a U.S. military adviser had given the order.

As the front moved south, in July's first days, Air Force intelligence officer Donald Nichols witnessed and photographed the shooting of an estimated 1,800 prisoners in Suwon, 20 miles south of Seoul, Nichols reported in a little-noted memoir in 1981, a decade before his death.

Around the same time, farther south, the Daejeon killings began.

Winslow recalled he declined an invitation to what a senior
officer called the "turkey shoot" outside the city, but other U.S.
officers did attend, taking grisly photos of the human slaughter that
would be kept classified for a half-century.

Journalist Alan Winnington, of the British communist Daily
Worker newspaper, entered Daejeon with North Korean troops after July
20 and reported that the killings were carried out for three days in
early July and two or three days in mid-July.

He wrote that his witnesses claimed jeeploads of American
officers "supervised the butchery." Secret CIA and Army intelligence
communications reported on the Daejeon and Suwon killings as early as
July 3, but said nothing about the U.S. presence or about any U.S.

In mid-August, MacArthur, in Tokyo, learned of the mass
shooting of 200 to 300 people near Daegu, including women and a 12- or
13-year-old girl. A top-secret Army report from Korea,
uncovered by AP research, told of the "extreme cruelty" of the South
Korean military policemen. The bodies fell into a ravine, where hours
later some "were still alive and moaning," wrote a U.S. military
policeman who happened on the scene.

Although MacArthur had command of South Korean forces from early in the war, he took no action on this report, other than to refer it to John J. Muccio, U.S. ambassador in South Korea. Muccio later wrote that he urged South Korean officials to stage executions humanely and only after due process of law.

The AP found that during this same period, on Aug. 15, Brig.
Gen. Francis W. Farrell, chief U.S. military adviser to the South
Koreans, recommended the U.S. command investigate the executions. There
was no sign such an inquiry was conducted. A month later, the Daejeon
execution photos were sent to the Pentagon in Washington, with a U.S.
colonel's report that the South Koreans had killed "thousands" of
political prisoners.

The declassified record shows an equivocal U.S. attitude continuing into the fall, when Seoul was retaken and South Korean forces began shooting residents who collaborated with the northern occupiers.

When Washington's British allies protested, Dean Rusk, assistant secretary of state, told them U.S. commanders were doing "everything they can to curb such atrocities," according to a Rusk memo of Oct. 28, 1950.

But on Dec. 19, W.J. Sebald, State Department liaison to MacArthur, cabled Secretary of State Dean Acheson to say MacArthur's command viewed the killings as a South Korean "internal matter" and had "refrained from taking any action."

It was the British who took action, according to news reports at the time. On Dec. 7, in occupied North Korea,
British officers saved 21 civilians lined up to be shot, by threatening
to shoot the South Korean officer responsible. Later that month,
British troops seized "Execution Hill," outside Seoul, to block further
mass killings there.

To quiet the protests, the South Koreans
barred journalists from execution sites and the State Department told
diplomats to avoid commenting on atrocity reports. Earlier, the U.S.
Embassy in London had denounced as "fabrication" Winnington's Daily
Worker reporting on the Daejeon slaughter. The Army eventually blamed
all the thousands of Daejeon deaths on the North Koreans, who in fact had carried out executions of rightists there and elsewhere.

An American historian of the Korean War, the University of Chicago's Bruce Cumings, sees a share of U.S. guilt in what happened in 1950.

"After the fact — with thousands murdered — the U.S. not only did nothing, but covered up the Daejeon massacres," he said.

Another Korean War scholar, Allan R. Millett, an emeritus Ohio State
professor, is doubtful. "I'm not sure there's enough evidence to pin
culpability on these guys," he said, referring to the advisers and
other Americans.

The swiftness and nationwide nature of the 1950 roundups and
mass killings point to orders from the top, President Rhee and his
security chiefs, Korean historians say. Those officials are long dead,
and Korean documentary evidence is scarce.

To piece together a fuller story, investigators of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission will sift through tens of thousands of pages of declassified U.S. documents.

The commission's mandate extends to at least 2010, and its
president, historian Ahn Byung-ook, expects to turn then to Washington
for help in finding the truth.

"Our plan is that when we complete our investigation of cases
involving the U.S. Army, we'll make an overall recommendation, a
request to the U.S. government to conduct an overall investigation, " he

Associated Press investigative researcher Randy Herschaft in New York contributed to this report.

On the Net:
South Korean Truth and Reconciliation Commission:

Sunday, June 29, 2008

The original rebel soldier, mas nauna pa kay Honasan at Trillanes

Ka Dan, original rebel soldier, dies at 79

By DJ Yap
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 07:32:00 06/25/2008

MANILA, Philippines -- “He was the original rebel soldier.”

The words were said in tribute to Danilo “Ka Dan” Vizmanos, retired military officer turned political activist, one month before he died Monday night at the age of 79.

Vizmanos had fought martial law and crusaded against the United States military bases in the Philippines, among other patriotic causes.

A Navy captain, he had joined the dissident movement, blazing a trail for others like him in the military to follow.

Upon the declaration of martial law in 1972, Vizmanos retired from the service, citing “incompatibility with an armed forces that was converted into a huge private army and oppressive instrument of the Marcos dictatorship.”

He was incarcerated for more than two years at Camp Crame, Fort Bonifacio and Bicutan with no formal charges filed.

While in detention, he was subjected to physical and psychological torture, including being injected with “truth serum,” in an effort to get him to betray his friends in the resistance movement.

“My mind was slowly giving up but I still had control,” he had recalled.

In May, a month before he died, his family, friends and comrades paid tribute to him in a special ceremony at the University of Makati.

“Ka Dan is the original rebel soldier,” Bagong Alyansang Makabayan secretary general Renato Reyes Jr. said then.

Openness, enthusiasm

“The admirable qualities of Ka Dan were his openness to new and radical ideas, enthusiasm in making everyone understand and unpretentious leadership,” said Bayan Muna Rep. Satur Ocampo at the ceremony.

Exiled communist leader Jose Ma. Sison sent a recorded tribute: “We and all his countrymen take pride in Ka Dan Vizmanos, great hero and true soldier of the people.”

At the end of the two-hour tribute, highlighted by an emotional rendition of “Ikaw Lamang” by his grandchildren, an overwhelmed Vizmanos fought back tears.

“I can never forget this night,” he said. “This is the first time I have felt so honored.”

Vizmanos died of complications arising from a host of ailments, including cancer of the prostate, his daughter Diane said.

“He had gone increasingly frail the past month,” she said. “It’s very sad but at least he is no longer suffering.”

Vizmanos is survived by four children, Diane, Erwin, Alice and Danny, and 12 grandchildren, A.G., Joseph, Demi, Veron, Angelique, Japeth, Shem, Carolyn, Kevin, Vince, Danmark and Josheil.

His body lies at the National Shrine of the Sacred Heart of Jesus on Dao Street in Makati City.

Celebrate life

Diane said her father, otherwise strong and robust, had suddenly become weak in 2006 after the death of his wife, Alicia.

“After she died, my father lost his will to live. He would always be in a melancholy mood,” she said in Filipino.

Diane said the family would rather celebrate their father’s life than mourn his death. “He lived a full life and devoted it to the Filipino people… he’s my idol,” she said in an interview.

After he was tortured, Vizmanos said he left the “reactionary organization” that was the military to become a “militant activist.”

On his release from detention, he assumed leadership positions in leftist organizations like Bayan, Samahan ng mga Ex-Detainee Laban sa Detensyon at para sa Amnestiya, Ibon Foundation and Philippine-Cuba Friendship Association.

Testified vs Marcos

In 1992, he testified at the US Federal District Court of Hawaii about the atrocities committed during the Marcos dictatorship. The same court would later hold Marcos liable for human rights violations.

Vizmanos authored three books, “Through the Eye of the Storm,” “Martial Law Diary” and “A Matter of Conviction.” His writings were described as “a critique of a social order that has chained the country to its colonial moorings and perpetrated social injustice.”

Diane said she was glad her father experienced being held in such high esteem before he died.

“It’s as though his life had become complete. He had done everything he set out to do,” she said.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Pagpanaw ni Ka Bel, pagpanaw ng isang tunay na bayani ng inaaping uri

'Maraming salamat, Ka Bel'
abs-cbnNEWS. com
http://www.abs- storypage. aspx?StoryId= 119730

"Maraming, maraming salamat Daddy!"

This was part of what Rosario "Ka Osang" Soto-Beltran had told her husband, Anakpawis Rep. Crispin "Ka Bel" Beltran, the day he died in the hospital.

"Sigaw ako ng sigaw noon nakaratay siya sa ospital. Sinisigaw ko sa kanya na maraming salamat daddy. Una sa pagmamahal, pangalawa sa pagmumulat. Hindi lang ako ang namulat, pati ang mga anak natin namulat," said Ka Osang.

Ka Osang said she couldnÂ’t ask for a better person than her husband who had given color and a new meaning to her life. As a husband, Ka Bel gave his wife love, utmost respect and strived to provide for his family.

"Isang mabuting asawa, isang mabuting tatay ng 10 ko na anak, isa siyang mabuting lolo ng mga apo namin at napakagaling niya bilang isang lider manggagawa," Ka Osang said.

Wedding anniversary in detention

In 2006, the couple celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary by renewing their vows at the Philippine Heart Center, where Ka Bel was detained for his alleged participation in the botched February coup.

The five decades were not always blissful, but the love they shared was tested and proven and made even stronger over the years as they weathered storms of challenges together.

Instead of feeling bitter, Ka Osang appeared to be a vision of courage and strength even as his death not only meant losing a husband but also a best friend.

She smiled as she described their relationship as a "developed love".

Who was Ka Bel?

Most people identified Ka Bel as a veteran of the parliament of the streets and a lawmaker, but only a few are aware of his background.

In a statement by Anakpawis, it said that Ka Bel, at an early age, volunteered as a courier for the guerillas during the Japanese occupation of the Philippines. He also served as a farm hand and janitor after the war to support his studies. He then worked as gasoline boy, messenger, bus driver and then a taxi driver.

A strike against unfair labor practices firmed up his determination to fight alongside the working class after many were injured and three protesting workers died when police attacked their picket line. >more

"Saan ka nakakita ng dalawang hindi magkakilala na nagsama?" she said. Their lives crossed when then 15-year-old Ka Osang ran away from home and took a cab driven by Ka Bel who was 26. He offered her a place to stay when she told him that she had nowhere else to go.

Her father was angry when he found out that she stayed with a man for three days.

"Kaya kinasal kami. Walang pag-ibig noon. Ayaw ko talaga, iniirapan ko siya, sinusungitan. Pero siya, bukas ang isip. Sabi niya, napag-aaralan naman ang pag-ibig," said Ka Osang from the Kilusang Mayo UnoÂ’s Web site.

As years went by, Ka Osang began to love and understand everything about the man she married, and even his sense of humor.

In an interview during a tribute at his wake at the Iglesia Filipino Independiente (IFI) church in Manila, she said that Ka Bel would want her to tell reporters in the event of his death, his call for President Arroyo to step down.

"Sabi niya, pag ako namatay, ang bilin ko pag na-interview ka ng reporter, sabihin mo pababain na si Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, pag hindi siya bumaba, hilahin ko paa niya," Ka Osang said.

One of his children, Ofel Beltran-Balleta said the family deeply mourns this personal loss but they draw their strength from the multitude of people whose lives have been touched by Ka Bel.

Shared with the people

"Naniniwala kami na hindi naman namin kailanman naging solo si Ka Bel. Kahati namin ay sambayanan," she said.

Unlike other public officials, Ka Bel stayed simple and lived humbly. In fact, he only declared P50,000 as assets in his Statement of Assets and Liabilities (SAL), making him the poorest among congressmen.

Ofel said her father even applied for a loan in order to continue paying for a house in San Jose del Monte in Bulacan.

"Yung bahay sa San Jose del Monte nakapangalan sa bayaw ko na-acquire niya yun nung nagta-trabaho pa siya. Dahil hindi naman niya nahuhulugan at napapabayaan niya, ini-offer niya yun sa father ko. So father ko nag-loan sa opisina para may pambayad doon. Hinuhulugan niya iyun ng parang P5,000 a month pero nasa pangalan iyun ng bayaw ko," Ofel explained.

Humbling experience

Ka Bel never asked for anything in return, and the life he led even became an inspiration not only to his family but to others as well.

"Siguro sapat na napalaki niya kami ng maayos habang siya ay puspusang nakikibaka para sa uring manggagawa. Enough proof na balansiyado niyang dinadala ang mga bagay-bagay. In fact, sa kabila ng napakarami niyang schedule mayroon pa siyang panahon para magkumpuni ng bahay namin o magpaligo ng mga aso, magtanim," said Ofel.

At the time of his death, Ka Bel was 75 years old. But his age did not deter him from carrying out the responsibilities he chose to shoulder.

"Habang may naghahanap ng katarungan kung bakit siya illegally tinanggal sa trabaho, habang maraming manggagawa ang sumasahod pero nagugutom pa rin ang pamilya hindi nakakasapat iyung kinikita—iyun ang motivation niya para hanapin, bakit ba ganito? Ano ba ang dapat para sa kanila? Hindi man sobrang, at least, makasapat para mabuhay ng maayos," said Ofel.

Unselfish act

Ka Bel lived his life the way he wanted it to—simple but to its fullest.

"Siya ay talagang tunay at taal. Puro talagang manggagawa na naging lider-manggagawa. Sa istilo ng kanyang pamumuhay, hindi na siya umalis doon, pinili niyang manatili sa antas na iyun," said Bayan Muna Rep. Satur Ocampo.

Ocampo remembered Ka Bel as a very principled man and a highly effective leader who never lacked the passion and the drive to represent not only the toiling masses in Congress but also the other marginalized sectors of society.

Ka Bel served as vice-president and one of the three representatives of Bayan Muna partylist in Congress from February 2001 to November 2003. In 2004, he was elected as representative for Anakpawis and was on his third term when he died.

"Isang tunay, walang pagkukunwari, di niya itinatagong mahirap siya, di niya itinatago ang antas ng pinagaralan niya, prangka siyang makipag-usap. Kaya niyang makipagusap ng patas," Ocampo said. "Bihira ang ganung lider ng manggagawa na hindi makukuwestiyon yung katotohanan at genuineness ng paninindigan ng kanyang sariling katauhan."

"Unshakeable" was how Ocampo defined Ka BelÂ’s commitment to the working class, adding that the labor leader would have offered to lay down his life, if necessary.

Ocampo said Ka Bel took pride in the lapel pin of the House of Representatives which he always wore because it reminded him that his position was entrusted to him by the people.

His death showed a character of Ka Bel who valued simple-living. "Hanggang sa huling buhay niya, ginagawa niya yung gawain kamay--pagkukumpuni ng bahay, hinahanap-hanap ng kanyang katawan," he said.

Although Ka BelÂ’s death is considered as a great loss, Ocampo is confident that his legacy will continue.

"Mabubuhay siya doon sa diwa at damdamin ng mga naniniwala sa kanya," he said.

His life as an Inspiration

Another Bayan Muna party list representative considered Ka Bel an idol and inspired him to follow his cause.

Bayan Muna Rep. Teodoro Casiño said he had a high regard for Ka Bel even when he was still with the Kilusang Mayo Uno.

"Para sa akin, isa siyang huwarang lider at talagang gustong-gusto ko sa kanya ay iyung pagiging mapagkumbaba niya sa kabila ng napakalayong inabot niya bilang lider ng kilusang unyon, bilang isang mambabatas," Casiño said.

Casiño added "Hindi umaabot sa kanya iyung anumang kapangyarihan na iginagawad sa kanya sa mga maraming posisyon na nahawakan na niya," he explained.

Ka Bel was a product of his time, he said. In terms of wisdom and experience, he was one of the last labor leaders of his generation.

"Malaking hamon para sa KMU, para sa kilusang paggawa ang pagkawala ni Ka Bel. Pero sigurado akong maraming lider na hahalili sa kanya, but we will probably never find another Ka Bel," said Casiño.

Ka BelÂ’s chief-of-staff Lualhati Roque joined ranks with thousands of people who mourned his death. For her, Ka Bel symbolized what public servants should be--fearless, incorruptible and ready for any consequences in fighting for what is right.

"Sa panahong ito, ang isang tunay na public servant incorruptible, hindi mo siya pwedeng matakot, basta sa paniniwala niya dapat ilantad ang mga bagay-bagay, ilalantad niya kahit anong mangyari sa kanya—makulong siya, i-harass siya o manganib man ang buhay ng pamilya niya. Kaya siya ay isang simbolo talaga ng matapat na lingkod ng bayan," Roque said.

The outpouring of support, she said, would show how the people realize the grave loss.

KMU chairperson Elmer "Ka Bong" Labog said Ka Bel was an outstanding labor leader and freedom fighter.

"We will miss his presence in the peopleÂ’s movement and in the militant labor movement led by KMU. But we will carry on his fight and struggles," Labog said.

Senator Aquilino "Nene" Pimentel Jr., in his tribute to Ka Bel, said that as Anakpawis representative he was "a source of embarrassment to those who trudged the easy path to power, pelf and fame."

"His life puts to shame many of our brethren in politics and in religion who claim to love and serve the poor," said Pimentel.

Pimentel praised Ka BelÂ’s transition from being a firebrand "who in the minds of the conservators of the status quo meant being an arsonist who would burn anything which stood on the way to liberating his fellow workers" to a torch bearer "who in the minds of all well meaning citizens meant illuminating the path of those who search for the better life in a democratic and peaceful manner."

His journey may have been cut short but those he left behind are determined to continue his legacy of being true to the calling of serving the people and the country. #

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Party list groups push for wider representation in the party list system


[April 23, 2008] Reference Person: Atty. Neri Colmenares [09178350459]

BAGUIO CITY – In a press briefing today, Bayan Muna reiterated its firm resolve to pursue wider representation for the party list system in Congress by asking the Supreme Court to strike down as unconstitutional the first party rule and the 3-seat cap.

The 3-seat cap and the first party rule, which were imposed by the Comelec in the 2007 elections, essentially disallow the filling up of the 54 party list seats in Congress and disenfranchising millions of voters.

Both these issues were raised by Bayan Muna during the Oral Arguments before the Supreme Court yesterday.

Comelec Imposition

The COMELEC, then headed by Chairman Benjamin Abalos, imposed the first party rule which allocates a maximum of only three seats to the ‘first party’ regardless of the votes of the other parties.

Buhay which garnered 7.2% of the party list votes was given 3 seats while Bayan Muna which garnered 6.5% of the votes [Comelec Report No. 27] was only given two seats.

The 3-seat cap provides that any party will only get a maximum of 3 seats even if its vote entitles it to more than 3 seats.

The First Party Rule and the Three Seat Cap rule violate the proportional representation mandated by the Constitution which requires that the party list groups are allocated seats in proportion to their share of the votes.

The First Party Rule and the Three Seat Cap resulted in disenfranchising a total of 5,053,132 voters in the 2007 elections since only 23 of the 54 party list seats are currently filled up.
Thirty-eight seats were not filled up after the 1998 party list pools, while 32 seats remained vacant after the 2001 elections. In 2004 only 24 of the 53 party list seats were occupied.

These Comelec impositions specifically violate Article VI, Section 5 (1) and (2) of the Constitution on the party list system which intends to empower and enfranchise the marginalized majority via party-list representation in the House of Representatives.

During the Oral Arguments, Atty. Colmenares also asserted that the major political parties should not be allowed to participate in the party list elections. The Supreme Court decided in favor of Bayan Muna in 2001 to disqualify those who are not marginalized or underrepresented from participating in the party list election.

The major political parties such as Kampi, Lakas-NUCD, and Liberal Party with their massive resources and machinery are not marginalized or underrepresented and their participation will take seats away from deserving party list representatives of the people. In its petition (G.R. No. 179295) filed by Bayan Muna, A-Teacher and Abono on September 7, 2007 with the Supreme Court, the groups said that the principle of proportional representation, which is an essential feature of genuine people empowerment, has been gravely distorted.

The Bayan Muna lawyer said that to give flesh to the clear intent of the constitution, all that is needed is to adopt the formula outlined in RA 7941, the party list law, so that the 20% allocation for the party-list representatives can be filled up.

The other members of the Bayan Muna legal panel in the oral arguments were Atty. Manja Bayang, Atty. Jonel Torregosa and Prof. Lex Muga of the Ateneo de Manila University Math Department.

We are earnestly hoping that the Supreme Court immediately decide on the petition and correct the current anomaly attending the partylist system. #

Vincent Michael L. Borneo
Political Affairs Officer
(Media and Public Relations)
Office of BAYAN MUNA Rep. Teddy A. Casiño
Rm. 508, North Wing Bldg.,
House of Representatives, Quezon City
Telefax no: 931-5911

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Universal Periodic Review (UPR) recommendations to the Philippine Government

As part of the KARAPATAN Submission Related to the Philippines
For the UPR First Session in April 2008

For the Philippine Government
  1. Immediate stop to and abandonment of the implementation of the Oplan Bantay Laya and other similar national internal security plans of the government.

  2. Resume peace negotiations between the parties to the armed conflict to pave the way in addressing and resolving the roots of the conflict and contribute to the achievement of a just and lasting peace.

  3. Effect special laws, procedures, remedies and courts that would effectively protect human rights including the speedy investigation, arrest, prosecution, trial and conviction of perpetrators without regard to technicalities and eliminating opportunities for various delays at different stages.

  4. Immediate repeal of the Human Security Act of 2007 and other existing repressive laws and issuances and reversal of jurisprudence engendering or providing sanction or impunity for human rights violations (including those authorizing checkpoints, expanding warrantless searches and sanctioning saturation drives, allowing the filing of common crimes with respect to political offenses, restricting and controlling the right to peaceful assembly, authorizing the demolition of urban poor communities, legalizing paramilitary groups, lengthening the allowable periods of detention without charges, allowing the imposition of food blockades, making political offenses as continuing crimes, expanding allowable warrantless arrests, rendering inutile the remedy of habeas corpus). Effectively, seriously and immediately address, prosecute and punish acts of terrorism and human rights violations by agents of the State.

  5. Immediate inventory, review, recall or non-passage of legislative, administrative, executive and judicial acts that either openly violate human rights, disguise their violations or merely formally recognize protection or promotion of human rights but in practice actually contribute to the engenderment of such violations.

  6. Discontinue the practice of criminalizing political offenses and actions for acts in pursuit of one’s political beliefs at the arrest, investigation, prosecution and trial stages and uphold the political offense doctrine by charging the proper political charges instead of common crimes.

  7. Unconditionally free all political prisoners, whether those arrested, charged, prosecuted, tried or convicted of political crimes or, as is the practice by the government, common crimes but with clear or convincing evidence that they are politically-motivated.

  8. Rebuke and discontinue the arbitrary, unfounded and malicious labeling of national liberation movements, progressive nationalist organizations and patriots as “terrorists” both in the national and international forums.

  9. Encourage the meaningful and full participation of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in monitoring and documentation of human rights abuses and effective consultations with them.

  10. Immediate, speedy, meaningful and effective justice to all victims of human rights violations including adequate compensation, indemnification, restitution and rehabilitation and establishing mechanisms for this purpose.

Original Source here

Relevant Links:
United Nations Human Rights Council
UPR Philippines Stakeholder Information