World biggest rice importer? Peasant group renews call to junk liberalization law

By JOHN AARON MARK MACARAEG
Bulatlat.com

MANILA – A peasant group has reiterated its call for the repeal of Republic Act No. 11203 or the Rice Liberalization Law as the country is set to be the world’s biggest rice importer.

Peasant women group Amihan, citing data from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), said the Philippines will be importing up to three million metric tons this year, beating China’s 2.5 million tons.

China’s population is 13 times more than the Philippines.

In a statement, Cathy Estavillo, Amihan secretary general, said, “This is an epic failure of the Duterte government, when rice sources are supposed to be within the country, but his policies made this distant and even at the discretion of foreign traders colluding with local big traders, who will eventually dictate supply and prices in the domestic market.”

The Rice Liberalization Law was signed February this year to supposedly reduce the price of rice by removing the quantitative restrictions on rice imports.

This, however, only resulted in the falling farmgate price of palay, which fell to as low as P7 in Central Luzon.

Estavillo, also spokesperson of consumer group Bantay Bigas, underscored that they have repeatedly warned that “RA 11203 will turn Filipinos into beggars of imported rice.” “We all have witnessed this law causing bankruptcy to rice farmers, and this will lead to displacement and ultimately declined productivity,” added Estavillo.

The peasant rights advocate also said that becoming the world’s biggest rice importer in a mainly agricultural country is an obvious failure of the government to provide “food on the table.”

“We reiterate, Rice Liberalization Law is anti-peasant and anti-Filipino. It is an economic and social crime against Filipinos as it threatens our inalienable right to food and food sovereignty,” Estavillo said. #

‘Press freedom is dead if Ampatuans not convicted’ – lawyer

By RONALYN V. OLEA
Bulatlat.com

MANILA — Lawyer of the families of the victims of the Ampatuan massacre Nena Santos said she is confident that a conviction in the ongoing 10-year old case is in the offing.

In a press conference organized by the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines Tuesday, Nov. 5, Santos said the Quezon City court is expected to issue a promulgation before the tenth year of the gruesome incident that killed 58 individuals, of whom 32 were journalists.

“We are not sure of the 100% (all 197 accused), but we are sure that the principal accused will be convicted,” Santos said.

Principal suspects include brothers Andal Jr., Zaldy and Sajid Ampatuan, sons of the alleged mastermind Andal Ampatuan Sr.

Santos underscored the significance of the Ampatuan massacre case to the state of press freedom in the country.

“If there would be no conviction, I’m sorry to say press freedom is dead,” Santos said. “(Because it means) impunity, because if nobody gets to jail for killing media people, where is democracy, where is press freedom?”

Asked about the highs and lows of the ten-year trial, Santos said her low points included the deaths of witnesses and some witnesses taking offers of money.

She said, however, that all 30 major witnesses did not recant their testimonies despite threats.

“Their lives are no longer normal. Their lives are in danger,” Santos said.

Santos revealed she herself received many death threats.

“I just have one focus: just handle the case to the best of my ability without any favor or without… falling into any offers of money, influence, position until this case is finally resolved,” Santos said.

Asked why the case has dragged on for 10 years, Santos said the defense “mainly caused the delays.”

The Ampatuan massacre, which took place on Nov. 23, 2009 in Ampatuan town, Maguindanao is considered as the single biggest attack on journalists worldwide. #

Karapatan warns of more raids of activists’ offices

By Len Olea/Bulatlat

MANILA — Human rights alliance Karapatan warned of more raids and arrests of activists in the coming hours or days.

In a Facebook post, Karapatan Secretary General Cristina Palabay said that at least ten search warrants were issued by Quezon City Regional Trial Court Branch 89 Executive Judge Cecilyn Burgos-Villavert on October 30. Four of these warrants have been served so far.

Tondo, Manila – Search Warrant No. 5944
Paco, Manila – Search Warrant No. 5947
Escalante City, Negros Occidental – Search Warrant No. 5949
Bacolod City – Search Warrant No. 5953

“If all the search warrants issued by Judge Burgos-Villavert from No. 5944 to No. 5953 are offices and homes of members of people’s and human rights organizations, then we are looking at more raids in the coming hours or days,” Palabay noted.

Earlier today, policemen raided the office of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan-Manila in Tondo, Manila. Three activists were arrested and brought to the Manila Police District.

In a report, National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) Acting Director Brig. Gen. Debold Sinas said the Philippine National Police has been monitoring leaders of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) in Metro Manila. Sinas even units from the Philippine National Police (PNP) headquarters are monitoring these personalities in coordination with the military’s Joint Task Force-NCR.

Copy-paste warrants

Villavert has been criticized for issuing what Karapatan called as “copy-paste” search warrants that have led to the arrest of 57 activists in Negros island and five activists in Metro Manila.

Karapatan noted that Villavert was also the judge who issued warrants for the arrest of National Democratic Front peace consultants Vicente Ladlad, Rey Casambre, Estrelita Suaybaguio, Alexander and Winona Birondo, and Villamor couple.

In a statement, the National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers (NUPL) also questioned Villavert’s actions.

Section 12 authorizes Executive Judges of Regional Trial Courts of Manila and Quezon City – as an exception to the general rule that it must be the court within whose territorial jurisdiction a crime was committed – to act upon applications filed by the police for search warrants involving, among others, illegal possession of firearms and ammunitions.

The same circular requires that such applications shall be personally endorsed by the heads of such agencies. The Executive Judges are also required to keep a special docket book listing the details of the applications and the results of the searches and seizures made pursuant to the warrants issued.

In this light, NUPL raised the following questions:

– Who, in the PNP, if any, endorsed the application for search warrant?

– Did the OIC PNP Chief personally endorse the application for search warrant?

– What was the basis, if any, of the application for search warrant to establish probable cause, considering serious and consistent assertions that the firearms and explosives were casually planted during the search?

– What was the basis of the honorable judge to grant the application and issue the search warrant?

– Did the honorable judge hear any witness, ask and document searching questions to personally determine the existence of probable cause as mandated by the Constitution and the Rules of Criminal Procedure?

– What was the reason behind and what really transpired during the meeting between the honorable judge and the police chief the day before the issuance of the warrant?

– Will the honorable judge make available at the proper forum and time the “special docket book,” which contains the details of the application for purposes of transparency and scrutiny?

– Why was there a need to apply for a search warrant in a faraway court when the same can be procured in a closer regional court without compromising secrecy and service of the warrant?

– Why is there seemingly a pattern to issue search warrants against political dissenters and critical groups from one and the exactly the same judge even if legally allowable?

“As the perceived bastion of fairness and justice, the Judiciary must relentlessly maintain its independence against actual or perceived interference and pressure exerted by other government branches. The bench and its members must not let themselves be used, or appear to be used, wittingly or unwittingly, as tools or minions of political persecution,” the NUPL said.

Progressive groups have called on the public to resist Duterte’s crackdown against critics. #

End Impunity, Free Expression!

Imagine a world without impunity, where everyone is free to exercise their right to freedom of expression and information and able to access, generate and share ideas and information in any way they choose, without fear. We do. 

By: Annie Game

On this International Day to End Impunity for Crimes Against Journalists, it’s important to recognize the essential link between the right to freedom of expression and the right to information. Journalists are too often the direct targets when either right is under attack, and ultimately — we are all victims. 

Two weeks ago, the UN General Assembly voted to declare 28 September the International Day for Universal Access to Information. A significant victory, following a decade of sustained advocacy by numerous civil society groups, including many African members of the IFEX network. 

Some people — but probably no one involved in the struggle to promote and defend freedom of expression — might have greeted this news of a new UN Day with a shrug.  But they should think again, for our right to information is inseparable from our right to expression, and both are increasingly under attack.

Threats to information are coming in many forms — from attacks on journalists, to deliberate disinformation, to the obstruction of newspapers — and the impacts are far-reaching: keeping people from the information they need to engage with the issues they care about, exacerbating political polarisation, and undermining democracy.

Let’s take a recent high-profile example of the power of expression, and its reliance on access to information. 

Last month, an estimated 6 million people took to the streets in response to the climate change crisis. The creativity of their protests inspired many as they marched; expression in action, emboldened by facts.  

Swedish climate activist Greta Thurnberg implored us to “listen to the scientists” — but what if the voices we need to listen to are silenced, directly or indirectly? 

Voices can be silenced through censorship, or drowned out in a sea of disinformation. But in a growing number of instances, the silencing tactic used is murder. Murder without consequences. Murder with impunity.

A comprehensive study released in August 2019 revealed that killings of environmental activists have doubled over the past 15 years. In 90% of those cases no one has been convicted — a shocking level of impunity, matched by those of murdered journalists.

As we mark another International Day to End Impunity for Crimes Against Journalists, this deadly form of censorship is never far from our thoughts.

UNESCO’s list of journalists who have been killed around the world — over a thousand since 2006 — is a sobering reminder. The proportion of women among fatalities has also risen, with women journalists facing increased gender-specific attacks.

Of the 207 journalists killed between January 2017 and June 2019, more than half were reporting on organized crime, local politics and corruption. 

Their right to expression was ended, forever, to stop them from sharing information. 

Every time such a crime goes unpunished, it emboldens others. Those who would share information in the public interest rightfully ask themselves – is this worth my life?  Is it worth putting my family at risk? And if they decide that it is not, who can blame them? The ripple effects of impunity are endless.

That is why, for over eight years, the IFEX network has campaigned to end impunity for crimes against journalists and all those exercising their right to freedom of expression.

It’s not work that lends itself to quick successes. As the expression goes, it’s a marathon, not a sprint. The work does not end with finding the perpetrators; states must be held accountable for allowing or encouraging a climate of impunity in which such crimes flourish. 

We embrace every win, large and small. The good news is that at IFEX we are seeing creative, collaborative, and powerful new strategies, and tangible progress. 

In the past 12 months, we’ve seen the truth finally coming to light in The Gambia about the 2004 killing of journalist Deyda Hydara; a landmark ruling by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights that found the government of Colombia culpable in the 1998 murder of Nelson Carvajal Carvajal, and the historic decision by the Inter-American Commission to take to the Court the case of the brutal attack in May 2000 that nearly took the life of investigative journalist Jineth Bedoya Lima. 

Just two weeks ago, we welcomed the decision by Kyrgyzstan to re-open the 12-year old case of the murder of journalist Alisher Saipov, following sustained pressure by IFEX and its local members the Media Policy Institute and Public Association Journalists. 

Imagine, these cases represent a combined 66 years of impunity.

So let those responsible for — or contemplating — violence against journalists, hear this loud and clear: long after the world’s attention may have moved on, you may think you have gotten away with murder. No. Those of us committed to fighting impunity are persistent. We do not give up. So you can never rest easy.For us, the culture of impunity surrounding attacks on journalists represents one of the single greatest threats to freedom of expression worldwide. The progress we have made toward ending impunity would never have been possible without the resilience, persistence, and tenacity of those who fight it.

We must use our freedom of expression, to defend it. We must use it to call out crimes against journalists, and end impunity. #

——-
The International Day to End Impunity for Crimes Against Journalists is one day, but this important work goes on year-round. I invite you to watch this short video and be inspired by the growing number of ways people around the world are working to end impunity and make it safer to be a journalist. Annie Game is the Executive Director of IFEX, the global network promoting and defending freedom of expression and information.

(This piece is a pooled editorial between IFEX and the People’s Alternative Media Network (Altermidya) on the occasion of the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes Against Journalists. Kodao is an Altermidya member.)

A timeline of the birth and attacks on Salugpongan schools

by Kene E. Kagula/Davao Today

DAVAO CITY, Philippines —

2003

The Salugpongan Schools started as a literacy-numeracy school for the Talaingod Manobo children. Volunteer teachers were facilitated by the Rural Missionaries of the Philippines (RMP).

2007

Salugpongan Schools were established as a formal learning institution aiming to provide basic education to the Manobo and was accredited by the Department of Education.

Its full name, Salugpongan Ta Tanu Igkanogon Community Learning Center, Inc. (STTICLCI), was derived from its founders, the Salugpongan Ta Tanu Igkanogon (Unity in Defense of Ancestral Land), an organization formed by Talaingod Manobo leaders.

They envisioned to provide the Talaingod Manobo and other IP communities free, quality and culturally relevant education. They said this is the “concrete expression of their collective effort” to defend the Pantaron Mountain Range in their ancestral territory.

2009

Salugpongan school administrators joined in the consultation held by the Department of Education (DepEd) for the creation of the Indigenous Peoples Education (IPED) framework.

The framework has become what is now the DepEd Order No. 62 series of 2011, or “Adopting the National Indigenous People’s Education (IPED) Policy Framework intended to be “an instrument for promoting shared accountability, continuous dialogue, engagement, and partnership among government, IP communities, civil society, and other education stakeholders.”

Salugpungan schools encountered the first red-tagging incident from the 60th Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army, as the DepEd presents evidence that Salugpungan was granted a permit.

2012

The STTICLCI received accreditation status as a learning center from the Sangguniang Bayan of Talaingod.

2014

Its very first campus in Sitio Dulyan, Barangay Palma Gil, Talaingod, serving Kinder to Grade 6 learners, was granted Certificate of Recognition by the DepEd.

April — Due to the increasing military deployment and operations in Talaingod that has harassed its residents, the Salugpongan embarked on an evacuation, seeking sanctuary at the United Church of Christ of the Philippines’ (UCCP) Haran compound.

Dialogues went on and off for a month between local officials of Talaingod, Davao del Norte provincial LGU, Davao City LGU, and military officers that resolved the Manobo’s demand to pullout the paramilitary and soldiers.

November — The Davao del Norte DepEd division officer urges the 68th Infantry Battalion to spare the Salugpongan schools from military operations after complaints were raised by school administrators of soldiers “residing near the school and establishing patrol bases”.

2015

March — A fact finding mission in Talaingod in March confirms that military personnel were encamped in 257 households, two schools, a health center and a barangay hall.

July — The DepEd delayed the release of operating permits of the Salugpongan schools, which was released a month later after the Salugpongan community held a camp-in protest in the DepEd Regional office. Salugpongan decided to hold bakwit schools in UCCP Haran because of the attacks of the military and paramilitary.

davaotoday file photo

2016

January — A Salugpongan student, 16 year old Alibando Tingkas, was shot dead by the paramilitary Alamara in Barangay Palma Gil.

Amelia Pond, the Curriculum Development Officer of the Salugpongan Schools, and coordinator of RMP Southern Mindanao, was arrested during an RMP assembly in Cebu. She was arrested on a warrant bearing a different name allegedly of a New People’s Army member and was charged for murder. Pond was detained for 16 months, including a few months in hospital arrest following a spine surgery, before the case was dismissed for “mistaken identity”.

The Talaingod Manobos returned to their communities after President Duterte’s promise to act on their call to pullout troops in their villages. But later they found the military continues to encamp in their communities and schools.

2017

June — A Salugpongan teacher survives a strafing incident from a paramilitary member. The strafing traumatized the Lumad students.

July — Lumad schools camped out in “Panacañang” and at the DepEd regional office to raise public awareness on their continuing displacement, and urged the government to stop the attacks and red-tagging of their schools.

After his 2nd State of the Nation Address (SONA), President Rodrigo Duterte said in a press conference that he would “bomb Lumad schools” over allegations that they are built by the New People’s Army. The pronouncement forced students and communities to stay in sanctuaries while institutions such as UCCP Haran and UP Diliman hosted “bakwit” (evacuation) schools.

September 5 — 19-year old Salugpungan student Obello Bay-ao was murdered by CAFGU and Alamara members in the community of Sitio Dulyan. The suspects remained to be at large.

November 2018

18 Salugpongan teachers, and delegates of a National Solidarity Mission headed by former Bayan Muna Party-list Representative Satur Ocampo and ACT Teachers Party-List Representative France Castro was detained and charged with kidnapping and trafficking. The group was headed to help rescue the students and teachers the Salugpongan campus in Sitio Dulyan who fled after the paramilitary Alamara forcibly closed their schools.

The group, called “Talaingod 18” was granted bail as their case continues.

2019

July 8 — The DepEd Division released a memorandum calling for the suspension of 54 Salugpongan schools. The issuance was based on the recommendation of National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr. that accused the school of not following the DepEd curriculum and teaching “ideologies that advocate against the government”.

July 22 — The Salugpongan schools submitted a reply to the DepEd order, firmly denying all the allegations. They also questioned the agency’s issuance of such order “without following due process”.

September 2019

In defiance to DepEd’s order of suspension, the school continue their operations for its students, re-opening “Bakwit schools” in UCCP Haran, and in University of the Philippines-Diliman in Quezon City for this school year.

October 7

DepEd Region 11 issued its final resolution calling for the closure of all Salugpungan schools. It claimed the basis on their fact-finding mission that verified Esperon’s claims and cited other instances that the schools did not comply with DepEd standards and curriculum. # (davaotoday.com)

Lumad leader, mother of seven, killed in Bukidnon

By Davao Today

DAVAO CITY, Philippines — A Lumad woman leader is the 14th victim of extrajudicial killings against indigenous peoples defender in the province of Bukidnon.

The Kalumbay Regional Lumad Organization reported that Bai Leah Tumbalang, 45, a Tigwahanon leader from San Fernando town of Bukidnon, was gunned down last Friday, Aug. 23 in Valencia City by riding in tandem gunmen suspected to be military agents.

According to the report, a witness claimed that two men riding a motorcycle was seen tailing the victim before she was shot in her forehead, causing her immediate death.

Kalumbay identified Tumbalang, mother of seven, as an active member of Kaugalingong Sistema Igpapasindog Tu Lumadnong Ogpaan (KASILO), a local Lumad and peasant organization in Bukidnon. She is also an organizer of Bayan Muna.

Tumbalang was reported to have received a death threats prior to her death.

Since 2011, Tumbalang and other KASILO members have been receiving threats to their lives as they lead the opposition against the deployment of paramilitary groups believed to be backed by mining interest in their communities.

Former KASILO secretary general Jimmy Liguyon was shot to death in that year by suspected paramilitary members after defending the ancestral domain from an expansion of a plantation project.

Kalumbay condemned the death of Tumbalang, whom they said is the 14th victim of summary killings of rights advocates in the province this year alone.

On August 12, Jeffrey Bayot, a KASILO member was also gunned down by motorcycle-riding men.

Four days before Bayot’s death, similar shooting incident also happened on August 9, killing another member of the group, Alex Lacay. #(davaotoday.com)

Cagayanos want blacksand mining ‘disguised as dredging’ stopped

By ACE ALEGRE
www.nordis.net

BAGUIO CITY — Cagayanos asked President Rodrigo Duterte’s help in stopping dredging activities at the mouth of Cagayan River they said is “disguised” magnetite mining.

The Cagayan Province Provincial Board approved last August 7 a resolution asking the president to suspend the dredging operations at the mouth of the Cagayan River in Aparri town.

This came after the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) confirmed that it did not issue any dredging permit to the private firm involved in the dredging.

Pacific Offshore Exploration Inc.  (POEI), a firm owned by a former Isabela town mayor, has been dredging the country’s biggest river system for months.

The company reportedly ships the dredged materials to a reclamation project in Hong Kong and may earn about $50 million monthly if it sells the sand at current local prices, according to the resolution.

A cubic meter of sand in Cagayan is being sold at P160 to P180.

The exportation of black sand to Hong Kong was met with protests from locals.

Provincial Board member and resolution author Mila Lauigan said the deal with the dredgers has to be investigated.

“That is why we are appealing to the President to immediately suspend the dredging operations and inquire whether the company has complied with all the requirements before it proceeds,” Lauigan said.

According to the provincial legislator, “the contractor is only extracting black sand and leaves waste (non-mineral sand) material back into the river.”

It is reason why environmentalists and locals are raising heaven and hell [while] Gov. Manuel Mamba had been defending POEI’s operations amidst the environmental mess it has been causing, she said.

Mamba’s camp had been defending the dredging operation they said is meant to prepare for the reopening the Port of Aparri.

Mamba said the port’s reopening would improve economic and trade relations between Cagayan province and China as well as neighboring Asian countries.

Mamba, who entered into a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with Pacific Offshore Exploration Inc. (POEI) under the authority of a resolution passed by the Cagayan Provincial Board last January, insists there is only dredging activities in the area and not magnetite (black sand) mining.

The provincial board has yet to be shown a copy of the memorandum of agreement between Mamba and POEI.

Mamba’s camp said there is no economic value to the exportation and the dredging activities help clear the river of heavy silt for free.

Engr. Mario Ancheta of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources’ Mines and Geosciences Bureau agreed with the governor that there is no mining but dredging operations that should be sanctioned by the DPWH.

“There is sand extraction, but it is not mining but dredging,” Ancheta said.

The Cagayan Export Zone Authority (CEZA), meanwhile, had been silent on the controversial dredging and “exporting” of the dredged sand to HK.

Immigration officials and the maritime police in Cagayan are also silent on the presence of foreign workers on the sand barges regularly approaching the shores of Aparri town. # (With additional reports from Raymund B. Villanueva) nordis.net / Photo from Gising Cagayan Facebook Page

International groups express condemnation, concern on journalist shooting

By KYLE EDWARD FRANCISCO
www.nordis.net

BAGUIO CITY — An international media watchdog and environmental protection institution expressed condemnation and concern on the recent attack against Brandon Lee.

The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), an independent, nonprofit organization that promotes press freedom worldwide, condemned on Friday, August 9, the shooting of Lee, who writes for Northern Dispatch and a paralegal volunteer of the Ifugao Peasant Movement.

CPJ’s senior Southeast Asia representative Shawn Crispin urged the authorities to “leave no stone unturned” in their investigation.

“Until President Rodrigo Duterte shows he is serious about protecting journalists, all the talk of investigations will come to nothing and violent attacks on the press will continue,” he said.

The Police Regional Office Cordillera formed a task force to conduct a thorough investigation of the case. To date, the police have yet to release the progress of their work to identify the perpetrators and motive for the attack.

Meanwhile, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature National Committee of The Netherlands (IUCN NL), expressed shocked over the incident. The institution has been working with local organizations in the country to increase the safety of environmental defenders.

The institution said that Brandon is one of their local partners “who stands up for the rights of people and nature.”

“Violence against environmental defenders in the Philippines is increasing at an alarming rate,” said Antoinette Sprenger, Senior Expert Environmental Justice of IUCN NL.

The Philippines recorded the most number of killings of environmental and land defenders in 2018 according to the recent report released by Global Witness. # 

Tens of thousands brave the rain, threats from gov’t, to protest state of the nation

By ANNE MARXZE D. UMIL
Bulatlat.com

MANILA — This year’s State of the Nation Address protest could be mistaken as a parade of under the sea creatures; only that it carries significant calls like “Atin ang Pinas! China layas!”

The almost 40,000 strong protesters withstood the heavy rain yesterday to echo their grievances against the Duterte administration ranging from its subservience to China to the workers’ call for salary increase and an end to contractualization.

Called as the United People’s SONA, groups vowed to further unite against a “dictator president.”

Benedictine nun Mary John Mananzan of the Movement Against Tyranny (MAT) commended the huge number of people who joined the protest, which, she said, shows the real state of the nation.

“Tuwang tuwa ang lolang aktibista nyo dito. Hindi kayo natakot sa ulan, at lalong lalo na hindi kayo natakot kay Duterte,” said Mananzan during the program. (Your activist grandma is elated. You were not afraid of the rain and most especially you are not afraid of Duterte.)

Photo by Carlo Manalansan/Bulatlat

She said now is the time to unite and show the people’s strength especially that democracy is being threatened as Duterte has made steps to control all branches of government.

Duterte’s subservience to China

Fernando Hicap, Pamalakaya chairperson, lambasted Duterte’s inaction on many issues hounding China and its incursion into the West Philippine Sea.

He said Duterte, like China, continues to neglect the Permanent Court of Arbitration ruling that the Philippines has the exclusive sovereign rights over the West Philippine Sea.

Photo by Carlo Manalansan/Bulatlat

He called Duterte, “bentador” and a traitor against the Filipino people when he admitted that he made a deal with China’s president, Xi Jin Ping, to not assert the right of the Philippines to the West Philippine Sea.

This, he added, is enough to file impeachment complaint against Duterte.

Former Bayan Muna Representative Neri Colmenares asked, “What help did China extend to Duterte during the elections that he immediately changed after he won the presidency?”

Colmenares is referring to Duterte’s brave stance against China during the 2016 presidential elections.

He said there is no truth that China will wage war against the Philippines because the international community will surely oppose it. “Our neighboring countries, smaller than the Philippines at that, is standing against China’s incursion. But Duterte does not,” he added.

Photo by Carlo Manalansan/Bulatlat

3 years of Duterte presidency is misery for the people

The groups lamented that for three years, the administration of Duterte has not brought comfort to the Filipino people.

It has been three years of misery, they said, as life has become more difficult. The government data shows that inflation has gone down from 6.7 percent in the past year to 2.7 percent as of June this year. However, people of the marginalized sector did not feel it.

Former Agrarian Reform Secretary and Chairperson Emeritus of Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) Rafael Mariano said that with the enactment of Rice Tariffication Law, farmers experienced further bankruptcy with the influx of imported rice in the market. He said the price of the farmers’ produce are too cheap that they did not earn at all from their harvest. He said a palay now only costs P14 to P16 per kilo.

Photo by Carlo Manalansan/ Bulatlat

“The cost of production is too expensive and yet they only sell it at a low price. This has resulted in the bankruptcy of many farmers,” Mariano said.

Leody De Guzman of Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino, meanwhile, criticized Duterte for not being true to his promise as contractualization has not ended. What’s worse is that there is the Security of Tenure bill, which, he said, only legalizes contractualization.

Elmer Labog, chairperson of Kilusang Mayo Uno chairperson said that under Duterte, workers work to live and not to earn.

“Three years under Duterte, workers’ wages are pegged far below living standards, contractualization remains rampant and legitimized, and unemployment is still one of the worst in Asia. The ITUC’s global index rights index listed Philippines as one of the top ten world’s worst country for workers in terms of trade union and human rights. If Duterte can’t do anything about it, then he must go,” said Labog.

Satire artist Mae Paner’s performance depicted the life of the Filipino people and how China has slowly taken over the Philippines. “Mayaman ang Pilinas, pero ang mga Pilipino naghihirap pa rin!” (The country is rich in resources but the Filipino people are still poor.) She wore a camiso chino with a net and a shark in her back painted with China’s flag.

Mothers from Rise Up for Life and for Rights also lamented how they were deprived of justice just because their loved ones were allegedly “drug users.” They appeal for independent investigation especially now that the United Nations Human Rights Council adopted Iceland’s resolution to conduct comprehensive investigation on extrajudicial killings in the Philippines.

Karapatan Secretary General Cristina Palabay hit the Philippine National Police’s data on the drug-related killings saying that from 6,000 deaths, it is now 5,000.

“Are they like Comelec (Commission on Elections), the number changes in just a blink of an eye?” she asked.

Photo by Carlo Manalansan/Bulatlat

She also slammed the Duterte administration for attacking its critics — from Sen. Leila de Lima, the peace consultants, the farmers fighting for their land, activists and human rights defenders who are being slapped with trumped-up charges.

“To dissent against the government is not a crime. It is not terrorism,” she added.

Unite against dictatorship

Bagong Alyansang Makabayan Secretary General Renato Reyes Jr. said a dictator can be defeated if the Filipino people are united.

Photo by Carlo Manalansan/Bulatlat

“The President is acting like a dictator and there seems to be no end to his evil designs. Where could we derive our strength? We could derive our power from collective action, from our united ranks fighting for sovereignty and democracy. Our unity is the only effective obstacle against a dictatorship,” Reyes said in Filipino.

Joshua Mata of Kalipunan said now more than ever the people should unite against Duterte. “We have experienced dictatorship before, will we let it happen again now?” he asked to which the people answered with a resounding no.

The program ended with a performance by rapper Calix with his song, Giyera ng Bulag, a single from Kolateral album that tackles Duterte’s so-called war on drugs. “Di mo ba nakita, Duterte, mga tao din kami!” (Can’t you see Duterte, we are humans.) was Calix’s last line that received applause from the audience. #

Atin ang Pinas

Mga Tanong-Sagot sa Paglabag ng China sa Teritoryo at Yamang dagat ng Pilipinas sa Ilalim ng Rehimeng Duterte.

by PW Staff

Mula nang maging pangulo si Rodrigo Duterte noong Hunyo 2016, naging mas madalas at tampok na usapin ang paglabag ng China sa teritoryo at yamang dagat ng Pilipinas. Umani ng malawak na pansin at galit ng mga mamamayan ang mga paglabag na ito. Lalo pang nakadagdag sa pansin at galit ang mga pahayag ng rehimeng Duterte, na tahasang nagtatanggol sa China at tumatalikod sa pagtatanggol sa ating teritoryo at yamang-dagat.

Paglilinaw sa mga salitang ginagamit: tinutukoy ng “teritoryo” ang mga isla at kalupaan na kapwa inaangkin ng Pilipinas at China. Mula sa ating punto-de-bista, sa Pilipinas ang mga ito, saklaw ng soberanya ng bansa. Tinutukoy naman ng “yamang-dagat” ang mga bahagi ng karagatan na saklaw ng Exclusive Economic Zone EEZ ng Pilipinas. Sa mga ito, may eksklusibong karapatan ang Pilipinas na makinabang sa yamang-dagat, bagamat hindi ito makakapagpataw ng mga patakaran sa paglalakbay o iba pang aktibidad dito. Saklaw naman ito ng hurisdiksiyon ng ating bansa.

May pangangailangang tipunin at talakayin ang mga impormasyon hinggil sa mga paglabag na ito ng China, isiwalat ang mga sanhi nila, at linawin ang marapat na tindig at panawagan ng mga mamamayang Pilipino.

(1) Ano ang pinakahuling tampok na insidente ng paglabag ng China sa teritoryo at yamang-dagat ng Pilipinas?

Nitong Hunyo 9, 2019, sa West Philippine Sea, partikular sa bahaging kung tawagin ay Recto Bank, binangga ng Yuemaobinyu 42212, isang trawler (pleasure boat o barkong panlibangan) ng China ang F/B Gemvir 1, isang malaking bangkang pangisda, na naglalaman ng 22 mangingisdang Pilipino na residente ng Occidental Mindoro.

Dahil sa pagbangga, nasira at lumubog ang bangka. Habang lumulubog, binalikan ito ng barko, tila tiniyak na palubog, at iniwan. Muntikan nang malunod at mamatay ang mga mangingisda. Mabuti na lang at may mga mangingisdang Vietnamese na nasa lugar at nagligtas sa kanila. Bantog na ngayon ang sinabi ng mga mangingisdang Vietnamese, na hindi marunong mag-Ingles o mag-Filipino: “Philippines. Vietnam. Friends.”

Ang Recto Bank ay matatagpuan sa hilagang silangan ng Spratly Islands at malapit sa probinsiya ng Palawan. Bahagi ito ng West Philippine Sea na ang kalakha’y inaangkin ng China na bahagi ng teritoryo nito. Malinaw naman sa Pilipinas na saklaw ito ng territorial waters o teritoryong katubigan ng bansa at sa gayon ay nasa ilalim ng ating hurisdiksiyon.

Sa hatol ng Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) sa The Hague, The Netherlandsnoong Hulyo 12, 2016, bahagi ang Recto Bank ng EEZ ng bansa. EEZ ang buong katubigan sa loob ng 200 nautical miles mula sa pampang ng teritoryo ng bansa. Kapag sinabing EEZ, may espesyal na karapatan ang isang bansa na alamin, linangin at gamitin ang mga yamang marino, kasama na ang enerhiya mula sa tubig at hangin dito.

Noong 2013, nagsampa ng kaso ang gobyerno ng Pilipinas sa PCA laban sa kaliwa’t kanang paglabag ng China sa teritoryo at yamang dagat ng bansa. Ang batayan ng China, ang tinatawag nitong “nine-dash line” na batay sa isang mapa noong 1947 at sumasaklaw sa halos 85 porsiyento ng West Philippine Sea. Ayon sa PCA, walang batayang legal o historikal ang pag-angkin dito ng China. Absurdo ang “nine-dash line”: ang Scarborough Shoal ay 120 nautical miles ang layo sa Zambales habang 500 nautical miles ang layo sa China. Kung gagamitin ang lohika nito, puwedeng angkinin umano ng bansang Italya ang buong kontinente ng Europa.

Sang-ayon ang konsepto ng EEZ sa United Nations Convention of the Laws of the Sea (UNCLOS) na pinirmahan noong 1994 ng 120 bansa kasama ang China. Pero simula’t sapul, hindi kinilala ng China ang PCA.

Ayon sa Konstitusyong 1987, partikular sa Artikulo XII, Seksiyon 2: “Poprotektahan ng Estado ang yamang dagat ng bansa sa mga katubigan ng arkipelago, katubigang teritoryal, at exclusive economic zone, at irereserba ang paggamit at pakinabang nito eksklusibo para sa mga mamamayang Pilipino.”

Sa kabila ng sinapit ng mga mangingisda, ng malinaw na isinasaad ng batas pandaigdig at Konstitusyon, at ng malawak na pagkondena at protesta, minaliit ng rehimeng Duterte ang nangyari, at tinawag itong “simpleng aksidenteng pandagat” – tulad ng sinabi ng gobyerno ng China bago nagsalita si Duterte. Bago nito, kinukuwestiyon ng mga tagapagsalita ng rehimen ang katotohanan ng kuwento ng mismong mga mangingisdang Pilipino.

Hindi nagtagal, sinuhulan at tinakot ng rehimen ang mga mangingisda para patahimikin tungkol sa nangyari. Hindi nga lang pagpapatahimik ang ginawa, itinulak pa silang humingi ng paumanhin kay Duterte para sa pagkukuwento ng nangyari.

Pinapalutang ng rehimen na dalawa lang ang pagpipilian ng Pilipinas – ang giyerahin ang China o maging sunudsunuran dito. Pinagtakpan nito ang posibilidad ng mapayapang paggigiit ng ating teritoryo at yamang dagat sa China. Sa dulo, sinabi nitong puwedeng mangisda ang China sa katubigan ng Pilipinas dahil “kaibigan” ang naturang bansa.

Sa panig ng China, noong una, sinabi nitong inaatake ang bangkang pangisda nito ng walong barkong pangisda ng Pilipinas. Pero pinasinungalingan ito ng mga larawang kuha ng satellite sa lugar sa panahong iyon.

Pagkatapos, nagpahayag ito ng pakikiramay sa mga mangingisdang nasiraan ng bangka at muntik malunod at nagpanukala ng magkasamang imbestigasyon ng Pilipinas at China sa insidente. Agad naman itong sinang-ayunan ng rehimeng Duterte. Tinutulan ito ng mga kritiko dahil malinaw na naganap ang insidente sa loob ng teritoryo ng Pilipinas. Ang gayong imbestigasyon, anila, ay isa na namang pagsuko sa kontrol ng Pilipinas sa sariling teritoryo at yamang dagat.

(2) Anu-ano ang paglabag ng China sa teritoryo at yamang dagat ng Pilipinas sa ilalim ng rehimeng Duterte?

Pinakahuli lang ang nangyari sa Recto Bank sa maraming insidente ng arogante at agresibong pagangkin ng China sa halos buong West Philippine Sea – kasama ang Spratly Islands, Scarborough Shoal, at Paracel Islands na teritoryo ng Pilipinas, gayundin ang saklaw na yamang-dagat ng bansa. Matagal nang ginagawa ng China ang iba’t ibang hakbangin para angkinin ang mga teritoryo at yamang dagat ng Pilipinas sa lugar.

Sa panahong 2011-2015, narito ang mga paglabag ng China sa teritoryo at yamang dagat ng Pilipinas:

  • pagtataboy sa mga mangingisdang Pilipino (sa pamamagitan ng pagpapaputok ng baril at water cannon),
  • pagtatayo ng mga istrukturang militar,
  • pagpasok ng mga bangka at barkong pangisda,
  • pagkuha ng endangered species,
  • pagharang sa mga sasakyang Pilipino na makapasok sa Scarborough Shoal,
  • pagpapalayas sa mga barkong Pilipino,
  • pagharang sa mga barko ng gobyerno na maghahatid ng rekurso sa puwestong militar ng Pilipinas,
  • pagbabantang banggain ang isang barko ng Pilipinas,
  • pagpapataw ng patakaran tungkol sa fishing permit,
  • pagtatayo ng paliparan sa Johnson Reef,
  • pagtatayo ng 3,125 metrong paliparan sa Fiery Cross (Kagitingan) Reef,
  • pagtatayo ng daungan ng mga submarine sa Mischief (Panganiban) Reef, at
  • paglulunsad ng taunang war drills.

Isa sa pinakatampok na insidente noon ang standoff o girian sa pagitan ng navy ng Pilipinas at China simula noong Abril 11, 2012 at tumagal nang tatlong buwan. Matapos makakita ng mga sasakyang pangisda ng China sa Scarborough Shoal, idineploy ng Philippine Navy ang BRP Gregorio del Pilar, ang pinakamalaking barkong pandigma ng bansa. Nagpadala naman ang China ng mga barkong paniktik para balaan ang Philippine Navy na umalis sa lugar.

Ang nangyari, namagitan ang US at nagtulak ng kasunduan na aalis pareho ang Pilipinas at China sa lugar. Umalis ang Pilipinas, pero hindi ang China. Mas malala, nagdala ito ng mga barkong pandigma. Nobyembre 2012, naglabas ang China ng bagong e-passport na naglalaman ng larawan ng “nine-dash line,” patunay ng paggigiit nito.

Simula naman 2016, partikular nang maging pangulo si Duterte, narito ang mga paglabag ng China sa teritoryo at yamang-dagat ng Pilipinas: pangha-harass ng coast guard ng China sa mga mangingisdang Pilipino sa Scarborough Shoal, pagharang sa bukana ng Scarborough Shoal para hadlangan ang pagpasok dito, pagpapatrolya ng coast guard ng China sa naturang shoal, pagtugis-pagpapalayas sa mga mangingisdang Pilipino sa Union Banks matapos magpaputok ng baril sa ere, paglalagay ng mga eroplanong pambomba sa Woody Island na parte ng Paracel Islands (pinakamalaking base ng China sa West Philippine Sea at saklaw ng target ang buong Pilipinas), pag-agaw sa huling isda ng mga mangingisdang Pilipino, paghadlang sa midya ng Pilipinas na kumuha ng footage sa Panatag Shoal, at paglalagak ng mga barkong pandigma.

Noong Enero 2018, nagsimula ang epektibidad ng permit na ibinigay ng rehimeng Duterte sa China para magsaliksik sa kanlurang dalampasigan ng bansa, kasama ang Benham Rise. Umabante pa ang China sa pagbibigay ng pangalang Tsino sa mga bahagi ng Benham Rise. Noong Pebrero 2018, nalathala ang mga larawan na nagpapakitang nagsasagawa ng reklamasyon ang China sa West Philippine Sea. Nagtayo ito ng artipisyal na mga isla sa ibabaw ng mga bahura sa Spratly Islands kung saan may mga nakalagak nang base ng mga sasakyang panghimpapawid, mga pasilidad pandagat, at mga kagamitang pangkomunikasyon. Nangyari ito sa kabila ng pangako ng China na hindi ito magsasagawa ng reklamasyon sa naturang lugar. Paglaon, napabalitang mayroon na ring missiles ng China sa naturang lugar.

Noong Abril 2018, nagpanukala si Duterte ng hatiang 60-40 sa mga makukuhang rekurso mula sa pinagsamang eksplorasyon ng West Philippine Sea. Ayon sa mga kritiko, pagsuko ito sa tagumpay na nakamit ng Pilipinas sa PCA noong 2016. Hulyo 2018, dumaong sa Davao City ang barkong pansaliksik na Yuan Wang 3, ginagamit para subaybayan at suportahan ang mga satellite at intercontinental ballistic missiles ng China.

Nitong Enero 2019, may nakitang 657 sasakyang Tsino, pinaghihinalaang kabilang sa People’s Liberation Army Maritime Militia Forces, ang nakita ng militar ng Pilipinas.

Sinasabi namang 275 sasakyan na may makabagong electronic communication at posibleng armado ang pumalibot sa Pag-asa Island, parte ng Spratlys.

Kaiba sa mga bansang naggigiit ng kontrol sa mga teritoryong pinag-aagawan – tulad ng Pilipinas, Vietnam, Taiwan, Malaysia at Brunei – hindi naghapag ng petisyon ang China sa International Tribunal for the Laws of the Sea Itlos. Para sa pagangkin nito, ginagamit nito ang armadong lakas nito, ang People’s Liberation Army Navy.

Ayon sa mga eksperto, maliban noong Mayo 1988, kung kailan inagaw ng China ang anim na isla sa Spratlys at pumatay ng 72 mandaragat ng Vietnam, gumagamit ang China ng mga taktikang hindi hayagan para igiit ang pag-angkin nito sa mga teritoryo: mapanindak na mga maniobra sa ere at dagat, kiskisan, at pagkuyog ng mga sasakyang pandagat para harangan ang mga dadaan sa teritoryong inaangkin.

Noong Hunyo 2012, itinayo ng China ang Sansha, isang lungsod na sumasaklaw sa Spratly Islands, Paracel Islands, at Macclesfield Bank, na kinabibilangan ng Scarborough Shoal. Ang tawag nito sa naturang mga lugar ay Nansha, Xisha at Zhongsha.

Nitong mga nakaraang taon, pinalaki ng China ang puwersang milisya at paramilitar nito na lumilibot sa mga pinagtatalunang bahagi ng dagat. Ang naturang puwersang milisya ay nakakatanggap ng subsidyo sa gasolina at batayang pagsasanay-militar mula sa gobyerno. Nangako rin sa kanila ang gobyerno ng China ng suporta kapag humarap sa komprontasyon sa mga sasakyang pandagat ng ibang bansa. Ayon sa gobyerno ng China, “ekstensiyon” sila ng PLA Navy.

Gumagamit din ng panlalansi ang China sa mga layunin nito. Noong 2015, nangako si Xi Jinping, presidente ng China, kay Barack Obama, presidente ng US, na hindi magmimilitarisa sa South China Sea. Pero noong Hunyo 2018, nang makapagtayo na ito ng mga base-militar sa lugar, pinanindigan na nito ang hakbangin.

Pahayag ni Xi noong 2016: “Ang mga isla at bahura sa South China Sea ay mga teritoryo ng China simula pa sinaunang panahon… Ipinamana sa China ng aming mga ninuno. Hindi papayagan ng sambayanang Tsino ang sinuman na makialam sa soberanya at kaugnay na karapatan at interes ng China sa South China Sea.”

Babala ng mga eksperto, plano ng China na magtayo ng “exclusion zone” sa naturang bahagi ng karagatan: may hadlang sa kalayaan sa paglalayag (freedom of navigation) at maging sa paglipad sa ere ng mga ito.

(3) Ano ang naging tugon ng rehimeng Duterte sa naturang mga paglabag?

Makikita sa naging tugon sa insidente sa Recto Bank ang laging tugon ng rehimeng Duterte: pangmamaliit sa insidente, pagtatanggol sa China, pagkontra’t pagpapatahimik sa mga tumutuligsa. Anu’t anuman, hindi ito gumagawa ng paraan para mapayapang igiit ang ating teritoryo at yamang dagat.

Halimbawa, nang minsang mapabalita ang pagkuha ng Chinese Coast Guard sa mga huling isda ng mga Pilipinong mangingisda, pilit ang sabi mismo ni Duterte: barter raw ito sa pagitan ng dalawang panig. Sabi naman minsan ni Salvador Panelo, tagapagsalita ng pangulo kaugnay ng isa na namang napabalitang paglabag: “Ang tanong ko naman sa ‘yo, may magagawa ba tayo eh sila ang may control as of now ‘di ba? Mayroon silang puwersa doon.” At marami pang iba.

Pana-panahon lang ito napupuwersang magpahayag ng pabalat-bungang pagkondena kapag malakas ang pagtutol at protesta. Nagsasalita rin ito kontra sa China kapag napapabalita ang panghaharas ng mga puwersang pandagat ng China sa mismong mga puwersang pandagat ng Pilipinas – kung saan tuluy-tuloy na nagpapalakas si Duterte. Kapansin-pansin ding naganap ang mga pahayag na ito bago ang eleksiyong 2019, sa pangamba ng rehimen na maging isyung pang-eleksiyon ang pagkapapet nito sa China at ikatalo ng mga kandidato nito.

Pilit pinapalabas ng rehimen na ang tanging magagawa ng Pilipinas ay ang pumili sa pagitan ng paglulunsad ng giyera o pananahimik. Sa dahilang hindi kaya ang una, ang gusto nito ay tanggapin na lang natin ang paglabag ng China sa ating teritoryo at karagatan.

Hindi rin iginigiit ni Duterte sa kahit saang larangan ang mahalagang desisyon ng PCA noong 2016. Sa halip, tuluy-tuloy niya itong minamaliit at tinatangkang ikutan sa pamamagitan ng iba’t ibang panukalang kasunduan at hakbangin kasama ang China.

Katunayan, kahit sa antas ng Association of Southeast Asian Nations Asean, tutol si Duterte sa paggawa ng kolektibong tindig laban sa militarisasyon ng China sa South China Sea.

Matatandaang sumikat si Duterte dahil sa pangako niya noong eleksiyong 2016 sa isang debate sa telebisyon: sasakay siya ng jet ski, itatarak ang watawat ng Pilipinas sa mga teritoryong inaangkin ng China, at handang mamatay para rito. Noong Marso 2018, nang hamunin siyang isakatuparan ang pangako, sinabi niyang isa na naman ito sa kanyang mga biro.

Kung matatandaan, noong eleksiyong iyon din, nagbanta siya sa mga unyonista. Aniya, hahayaan niya ang China na magtayo ng mga lungsod sa mga isla ng bansa. Banta niya, kapag nag-unyon dito ang mga manggagawa – at pinangalanan niya ang Kilusang Mayo Uno – ay papatayin niya sila.

Nang maging pangulo, nagdeklara si Duterte ng “independiyenteng patakarang panlabas,” na ang kahulugan lang ay pagiging sunud-sunuran din sa China bukod sa US. Hindi kataka-takang kasabay ito ng deklarasyon niya ng “Pivot to China” ng Pilipinas.

Mula rito, sunud-sunod nang pahayag ang ginawa niya para papurihan ang China at palabasing sunud-sunuran dito ang Pilipinas. Pebrero 2018: “Kung gusto ninyo, gawin na lang ninyo kaming probinsiya.” Abril 2018: “Kailangan ko ang China.” Mayo 2018: “Nakakahikayat ang mga pangako ni Xi Jinping… ‘Hindi kami papayag na matanggal ka sa puwesto, at hindi kami papayag na magkagulo sa Pilipinas’.” At marami pang iba.

(4) Bakit nilalabag ng China ang teritoryo at yamang-dagat ng Pilipinas?

Sa kagyat, iisiping dahil iginigiit nito ang pag-angkin sa teritoryo at yamang dagat na itinuturing nitong saklaw nito. Pero ang totoo, dahil isa na itong kapangyarihang imperyalista sa daigdig, na nangangailangan ng kontrol sa paparaming likas na yaman at bagong saklaw na teritoryo.

Maraming yamang natural ang matatagpuan sa West Philippine Sea: 11- Bg bariles ng langis, 190 trilyong talampakan ng natural gas, at 10 porsiyento ng yamang pampangisdaan ng daigdig. Partikular sa Recto Bank, halimbawa, kapag hindi nalinang ang enerhiya mula rito sa loob ng 8-10 taon, mapuputol ang suplay ng enerhiya sa Luzon, at magkakaroon ng mga brownout tulad noong dekada 1990.

Gusto rin nitong magpakita ng lakas sa mga rehiyong malapit sa kanya – lalo na sa itinuturing na mahalagang lugar gaya ng Timog Silangang Asya. Bukod sa mahalagang ruta ng kalakalan at transportasyon ang West Philippine Sea at ang China Sea, lugar din ito para igiit ang lumalakas na kapangyarihan laban sa nangungunang imperyalistang kapangyarihan sa daigdig, ang USSangkatlo (1/3) ng pandaigdigang kalakalan ang dumadaan sa West Philippine Sea, nagkakahalaga ng tinatayang $5 Trilyon. Umaabot sa 2.2-Bg konsiyumer ang nakikinabang sa kalakalang dumadaan dito, malaking bahagi kung ikukumpara sa 7.6-Bg populasyon ng daigdig noong 2017. Sinasabing kapag naangkin ng China ang mga teritoryong inaangkin din ng Pilipinas, magkakaroon ito ng batayan na mang-angkin pa ng karugtong na mga lugar. At kapag nagawa ng China ang pagkontrol sa lugar, sinasabing lalong mapapahina nito ang kontrol ng US sa tinatawag na Pacific Rim.

Sa maraming bansa sa mundo, ginagamit ng China ang pagpapautang para makontrol ang mga yamang-likas, teritoryo at ekonomiya ng iba’t ibang bansa. Sa balangkas ito ng higanteng proyektong pangimprastruktura nito na Belt and Road Initiative. Ang problema, maraming bansa ang hindi makabayad sa pautang, at bilang kolateral, kinukuha ng China ang kanilang mga likas na yaman at mahahalagang ari-arian.

Ito ang tinatawag ngayong “debt trap diplomacy.” Binigyan ng Sri Lanka ang China ng 99-taong lease sa estratehikong Hambatota Port matapos nitong mabigong magbayad ng utang. Ganito rin ang panganib na mangyari sa Mombasa, sikat na lungsod sa tabing-dagat sa Kenya, kung saan gumawa ang China ng US $3.8-Bilyong riles ng tren. Pumayag naman ang Djibouti ang paggawa ng unang base militar ng China sa labas ng bansa dahil sa napakalaking utang nito sa China. Sa pamamagitan ng ganitong hakbangin, napapalawak ng China ang kontrol nito sa daigdig, at napapasunod ang gobyerno ng maraming bansa – patunay at halimbawa ng neokolonyalismo. Sa Pilipinas sa ilalim ng rehimeng Duterte, sinasabing kapalit ng pautang ang teritoryo at yamang dagat ng bansa – kahit pa marami pang teritoryo at likas na yaman ang puwedeng makuha ng China kapag hindi nakabayad ang bansa sa mga pautang nito.

Kung matatandaan, isang bansang sosyalista ang China simula 1949, nang magtagumpay ang rebolusyon ng sambayanang Tsino. Sa panahong ito, naglabas ang China ng mapa ng teritoryo nito na gumagalang sa pagangkin ng iba’t ibang bansa sa mga teritoryong inaangkin din ng China. Malinaw sa panahong ito ang pagrespeto ng China sa pambansang kalayaan at soberanya ng iba’t ibang bansa.

Nang mamatay si Mao Zedong, sosyalistang lider ng China, noong 1976, gayunman, nanumbalik sa kapangyarihan ang bagong burgesya na nagpapanggap na sosyalista – ang mga modernong rebisyunista – sa pamumuno ni Deng Xiaoping. Sa panahong ito, binaligtad ang mga patakarang sosyalista ni Mao at pinapasok ang mga hakbanging kapitalista sa China – na lalo pang bumilis simula dekada 1990.

Sa kabila nito, tinanganan ng China ang soberanya nito: pinapasok ang dayuhang pamumuhunan at kapital pero pinalakas ang sariling ekonomiya. Panandang-bato ang taong 2005 sa paglakas ng China, kung kailan sinimulan nitong imanupaktura ang mga produktong dati nitong inaangkat.

Sa ilalim ng kasalukuyang lider nitong si Xi Jinping, na naging pangunahing lider noong 2012 at nagtulak ng Belt and Road Initiative at Maritime Silk Road noong 2013,tumatanaw ang China ng mas malaking papel sa ekonomiya at pulitika ng daigdig. Patuloy na lumalalim ang ugnayan nito sa mga bansa sa Asya, Aprika at Latina Amerika.

Sa Timog Silangang Asya, pinapalakas nito ang kapangyarihan laban sa pagtutol ng Vietnam at Malaysia. Mayroon ito ngayong maingay na alyado sa rehimeng Duterte ng Pilipinas. Kung hindi lalabanan, magpapatuloy ang China sa kasalukuyang direksiyon nito ng pag-angkin sa teritoryo at yamang-dagat ng bansa.

(5) Bakit tiklop ang rehimeng Duterte sa mga paglabag ng China sa teritoryo at yamang dagat ng Pilipinas?

Sinasabing nasa isang “ginintuang panahon” ngayon ang ugnayang Pilipinas-China dahil sa rehimeng Duterte – kahit pa nananatiling tuta rin ito ng US.

Dahil sunud-sunuran ito sa China, kasabwat sa mga hakbangin nito sa pulitika at ekonomiya ng bansa, at tumatanggap ng premyong kurakot at suhol.

Ekonomiya. Noong 2016, nag-uwi si Duterte ng US $24- B na pautang at pangakong pamumuhunan mula sa China para sa mga proyektong pangimprastruktura. Sa 75 proyekto sa programang “Build, Build, Build” ni Duterte, kalahati ang nakalaan sa pautang, tulong at puhunang Tsino.

Sa unang bahagi ng 2017, sumirit agad ang angkat ng Pilipinas mula sa China nang 26 porsiyento, lampas-lampas sa paglago ng angkat ng China mula Pilipinas na lumago lang nang 9.8 porsiyento. Habang lumago nang husto ang pamumuhunan ng China sa parehong panahon: US $181-Milyon sa unang walong buwan ng 2018, kumpara sa US $28.8-M sa buong 2017. Kaakibat ng mga hakbanging ito ang paglakas ng kontrol at paglaki ng pakinabang ng China sa ekonomiya ng bansa.

Pinapalabas ng rehimen na makakatulong sa Pilipinas ang mga pautang ng China, pero may interes ito na dalawa hanggang tatlong (2- 3) porsiyento, habang ang sa Japan ay 0.25 hanggang 0.75 porsiyento lang. Ibig sabihin, mahal na pautang. Ang sagot ng rehimen, mas madaling maglabas ng pera ang China – bukas samakatwid sa suhulankatiwalian at sabwatan. Ang masama pa, rekisito ng mga pautang ang paglahok ng mga Tsinong kontraktor sa mga proyekto.

Ang naunang pangulo na pumasok sa mga kontrata sa China ay si Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo – na siya ring itinuturing na arkitekto ng relasyong China-Pilipinas sa ilalim ng rehimeng Duterte. Sa panahon niya lumabas ang katiwalian sa proyektong NBN-ZTE, na nagkakahalaga ng US $329-M. Sa panahon din niya naganap ang proyektong Northrail na kung hindi naayos ang obligasyon ng bansa ay magbabayad ang Pilipinas ng US $100-M pataas. Sa ngayon, may tatlong proyektong priyoridad sa pagpopondo ng China: Chico River Pump Irrigation Project (US $60-M), New Centennial Water Source-Kaliwa Dam Project, at ang North-South Railway Project-South Line. Lahat nang ito, magpapalayas ng mga nakatirang katutubo at maralita, at sisira sa kalikasan ng bansa.

Kaalinsabay nito, pinayagan ni Duterte ang maramihang pagpasok ng mga ilegal na manggagawang Chinese sa Pilipinas, gayundin ng online gambling casino at online gaming. Papasok din ang isang kompanyang Chinese sa sektor ng telekomunikasyonsa bansa. Pulitika. Suportado ng China ang madugong “giyera kontra-droga” ng rehimeng Duterte. Nanawagan pa ito sa ibang bansa na suportahan din ang naturang kampanya. Nagpondo ito ng mga drug rehabilitation center, pampabango sa esensya ng kampanya na patayin ang mga pinaghihinalaang adik at tulak ng bawal na droga.

Kahit ang giyera ni Duterte sa Marawi, suportado ng China. Nagbigay ito ng libulibong armas na nagkakahalaga ng US $7.35-M para umano labanan ang mga terorista. Nagsusuportahan din si Duterte at ang China sa paggigiit sa prinsipyo ng “non-interference” o hindi pakikialam ng mga Kanluraning kapangyarihan sa mga isyu sa Asya – halimbawa sa United Nation Human Rights Council. Makikinabang ang China rito dahil gusto nitong maigiit sa pamamagitan ng lakas ang kontrol nito sa maraming bahagi ng Asya. Makikinabang si Duterte rito dahil gusto niyang makaligtas sa imbestigasyon at pagpaparusa sa kanyang madugong rekord sa karapatang pantao.

Premyo sa porma ng suhol at kurakot. Pakinabang ng pamilya Duterte at mga kroni sa komisyon mula sa mga pautang ng China na mataas ang interes at mga proyektong pang-imprastruktura na overpriced. Nakikinabang din sila sa malawakang smuggling at distribusyon ng ilegal na droga ng mga sindikatong kriminal na Chinese. Kapansin-pansing libu-libong maralita na ang pinatay sa “giyera kontra-droga” pero wala pang malaking druglord ang napapanagot.

(6) Ano ang tugon ng US sa harap ng lahat ng ito? Makakasandig ba tayo rito para tulungan tayo sa ginagawa ng China?

Makikita ang tugon ng US sa mga paglabag ng China sa teritoryo at yamang-dagat ng Pilipinas sa naging tugon nito sa insidente sa Recto Bank.

Nag-ingay ang US at nagbanta ng interbensiyong militar. Ayon mismo kay US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, ang insidente’y puwedeng magtulak ng paggamit sa Mutual Defense Treaty ng 1951. Inanunsiyo rin nito ang pagpapalaot ng USS Stratton, isang US Coast Guard cutter, para umano protektahan ang teritoryo ng Pilipinas. Sabi naman ni Sung Kim, embahador ng US sa Pilipinas, na ang pag-atake ng mga milisyang dagat ng China ay puwedeng maghudyat ng interbensiyong militar ng US.

Sa madaling salita, sinasamanatala ng US ang mga paglabag ng China para palakihin ang presensiyang militar nito sa Pilipinas at sa West Philippine Sea. Katunayan, naganap nito lang ang mga pinakamalaking pagsasanay-militar sa pagitan ng US at Pilipinas.

Sa kabilang banda, taliwas sa sinasabi at pag-asa ng mga maka-US sa bansa, hindi naman makapagsabi ang US na ipaglalaban at poprotektahan nito ang interes ng Pilipinas sa West Philippine Sea. Dahil ang totoo, bagamat umiigting ang girian ng US at China, hindi pa hinog ang kalagayan para magdigmaan ang mga ito – lalo na para sa interes ng isang bansang mahirap katulad ng Pilipinas.

Ni hindi rin mabangga nang direkta ng US ang mga hakbanging maka-China ni Duterte. Ang ginagawa nito, pinagsasalita ang mga opisyal-militar at pamunuan ng Department of National Defense na mas matapat dito kaysa sa China laban sa mga hakbangin ng China at mga hakbangin ni Duterte na maka-China.

Katunayan, nakikipagmabutihan ang gobyerno ni Donald Trump sa rehimeng Duterte. Makikita ito sa pagpuri mismo ni Trump sa madugong “giyera kontra droga” ni Duterte.

Sa panig naman ni Duterte, pinapanatili niya ang mga kasunduan at patakarang pabor sa imperyalismong US sa Pilipinas. Para ito mapanatiling masaya ang kanyang among US, at para mapanatili ang suporta ng pamunuan ng militar na malinaw na maka-US. Kilala si Duterte sa pagligaw sa militar para mapanatili ang suporta sa kanyang paghahari.

Ibig sabihin, hindi makakaasa ang sambayanang Pilipino sa imperyalismong US na ipagtanggol ang Pilipinas laban sa China. Parehong ang gusto ng US at China ay palakihin ang kanilang presensiyang militar sa Pilipinas at West Philippine Sea – sa kapinsalaan ng teritoryo, yamang-dagat at soberanya ng Pilipinas.

Sa pampang ng West Philippine Sea, protesta ng mga manggagawa ng Kilusang Mayo Uno. Kontribusyon

(7) Ano ang dapat tindig nating mga Pilipino sa paglabag ng China sa ating teritoryo at yamang-dagat?

(a) Ang tindig ng sambayanang Pilipino, ay para sa tunay na pambansang kalayaan, soberanya sa ating mga teritoryo, at hudikatura sa ating mga yamang-dagat. Ipaglalaban ito sa sinumang lumalabag dito, China man o US. Ipaglalaban ito sa rehimeng Duterte na sunudsunuran sa naturang mga dayuhang kapangyarihan.

(b) Tutol tayo sa paglabag ng China sa ating teritoryo at yamang-dagat.Napakaraming puwede at dapat nating gawin para maipahayag ang ating pagtutol, hindi kailangan ang giyera. Pabor tayo sa paggamit ng lahat ng mapayapang paraan para ipaglaban ang ating teritoryo at yamang dagat.

(c) Partikular sa nangyari sa Recto Bank, dapat malakas na magpahayag ang gobyerno ng pagkondena, at maggiit ng kompensasyon at kaparusahan para sa mga nagpalubog sa bangkang Pilipino. Ganito rin ang dapat na mga hakbangin nito sa mga katulad na insidente na tiyak na magaganap sa hinaharap. Sa pagtanggi nito sa mga hakbanging ito, lalo nitong inilalantad ang sarili na tuta ng China.

(d) Dapat itigil ng China ang militarisasyon sa West Philippine Sea. Dapat itong umalis sa mga nilikha nitong artipisyal na isla. Dapat din itong magbigay ng kompensasyon kapalit ng pagkasira at pagkawasak ng kapaligirang pandagat.

(e) Kinokondena ng mga mamamayan ang pampulitikang pagsuporta ng China sa kontra-mamamayang mga patakaran ng rehimeng Duterte, tampok ang giyera kontra-droga at iba pang giyera.

(f) Dapat matamang suriin ang mga pang-ekonomiyang hakbangin ng China sa Pilipinas. Hindi puwedeng ituring na kapalit ng paglabag sa teritoryo at yamang-dagat ang mga pang-ekonomiya at pampulitikang hakbangin ng China. Hindi rin dapat na tumatapak ang mga hakbanging ito sa karapatang pantao, kalikasan at tunay na kaunlaran ng bansa. Hindi dapat malubog sa pagkakautang ang Pilipinas sa China.

(g) Tutol din ang mga mamamayan sa mga paglabag ng US sa teritoryo at yamang-dagat ng Pilipinas. Dapat ibasura ang Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement ng 2014, Visiting Forces Agreement ng 1999 at Mutual Defense Treaty ng 1951 sa pagitan ng Pilipinas at US. Dapat lumayas ang mga tropa at kagamitang Amerikano sa teritoryo at yamang-dagat ng Pilipinas.

(h) Tutol ang mga mamamayan sa pag-igting ng alitan ng US at China sa Pilipinas.Tutol tayo sa pagsasamantala nila sa mga usapin sa West Philippine Sea para palawakin ang kanilang presensiyang militar at pandagat sa anumang usapin. Hindi kapakanan ng Pilipinas ang pakay nila, kundi ang sariling imperyalistang interes.

(i) Kaalinsabay, dapat na inililinaw na ang katunggali ng bansa ay ang gobyerno ng China, hindi ang mga mamamayang Tsino. Gaya rin ng hindi ang mga mamamayang Amerikano ang kalaban, kundi ang imperyalismong US.

(j) Dapat kondenahin at labanan ang pagpapakatuta ni Duterte kapwa sa US (na pangunahing among imperyalista ng rehimen) at China (umuusbong na imperyalista na lumalakas ang kapangyarihan sa bansa). Dapat tutulan ang mga panlilinlang at kasinungalingan nito, tampok ang pagpapalabas na giyera ang kahulugan ng paggigiit ng teritoryo at yamang dagat ng bansa.

(k) Sinisingil at pinapanagot ng mga mamamayan si Duterte sa pagpapakatuta sa China at sa US. Tampok na bahagi ito ng napakarami na niyang krimen sa sambayanang Pilipino. Ang hindi niya paglaban para sa teritoryo at yamang-dagat ng bansa ay pagtataksil sa sambayanang Pilipino at patunay na hindi na siya dapat pang maging pangulo. #