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Groups press demand on fare rollback

Train Riders Network (TREN), an alliance of workers, young professionals and other train riders today reiterated their call for the Supreme Court to pass a temporary restraining order (TRO) on the implemented MRT-LRT fare hikes. They held a picket protest in front of the Department of Transportation and Communications after holding an information dissemination activity at the North Avenue MRT Station in Quezon City earlier.

January 12, 2015

ITANONG MO KAY PROF: Podcast on Peace Talks Preparations (Part 3)

  1. Ano na po ang ginagawang paghahanda ng NDFP kung sakaling matuloy ang paghaharap ng dalawang panig? Wala rin po bang nabago sa inyong hanay bilang mga negosyador sa usapang pangkapayapaan?

JMS Sagot: Nananatili ang komposisyon ng NDFP negotiating panel. Pareho ang chairman at mga miembro. Estable at tuluy-tuloy ang karanasan at kaalaman. At tungkol sa usapang pangkapayapaan, desidido na ipatupad ang kanyang bahagi sa peace negotiations tungo sa makatarungan at matibay na kapayapaan.

Marami ang ginagawa ng NDFP negotiating panel para paghandaan ang pormal na pag-uusap sa kabilang panel kung matutuloy ito. Aktibo sa mga consultations ng mga special representatives ng dalawang panig para ihanda ang agenda, saklaw at direksyon ng pag-uusap. Nagpupulong ang NDFP panel, mga working team at mga consultants para patibayin nila ang prinsipyadong posisyon ng NDFP at inaaral din nila ang pleksibilidad para maisagawa ang mga comprehensive agreement, tulad ng nangyari sa pagsasagawa ng Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law.

Inaaral din nila kung paano pangingibabawan ang obsesyon o kagustuhan ng kabila na hanggang surrender ng mga rebolusyonaryo at tigil-putukan o pasipikasyon lang ang mangyayari. Para sa interes at kapakanan ng sambayanang Pilipino, gusto ng NDFP na magkaroon ng tunay na pambansang kalayaan, demokrasya, reporma sa lupa, industryalisasyong nasyonal at hustisya sosyal sa ating bayan.

ITANONG MO KAY PROF: Podcast on Peace Talks Preparations (Part 2)

Panayam kay Prof. Jose Maria Sison
Chief Political Consultant ng NDFP Negotiating Panel
Enero 12, 2015

2. Maraming naguguluhan sa pagpapatakbo ni Aquino sa peace negototations sa NDFP. Si Aquino ba mismo ang dahilan ng gulo o si Deles? Ang balitang nasagap namin ay lusaw na ang GPH negotiating dahil sa pagresign ni Alex Padilla bilang chairman at may pag-aatubili pa si Aquino tungkol sa appointment ni General Bautista bilang Chairman o member na lang ng panel? Sa kabila ng kaguluhan sa panig ni Aquino, makakaasa kaya ang mga political prisoner na ma-release kaugnay ng bisita ng Papa at mga panawagan ng mga religious at human rights organizations?

JMS: Sa tingin ko, parehong magulo si Aquino at Deles. Pero mas magulo si Deles. Nakita na ng NDFP ang panggugulo ni Deles magmula pa noong 2004 sa panahon ni Arroyo. Ika nga ng ilang observer, magulo ang utak ni Aquino pero si Deles sadyang nanggugulo. Ang balita ng NDFP hindi nabubuo agad ang GPH negotiating panel dahil gusto ni Deles na isaksak sa panel ang mga katulad niyang rabid anti-communist at mga uto-uto niya.

Kabado rin siya kay General Bautista dahil baka hindi niya kayang utus-utusan kahit magkahawig sila sa pagiging pusakal na anti-komunista. Tungkol naman sa pagrelease ng mga political prisoners, may mga umaasa na baka magrelease ang marami si Aquino dahil sa posibleng paggalang niya sa Papa at sa mga religious at human rights organizations na nanawagan ng pag release sa mga political prisoner.

Pero sa karanasan ng NDFP, matigas, walang puso at walang awa si Aquino sa mga political prisoner. Wala siyang respeto sa JASIG na nagbabawal sa pagkulong at pagpatay sa mga NDFP consultants. Wala rin siyang respeto sa CARHRIHL na nagbabawal sa pagkulong sa mga political prisoner dahil sa mga sabay-sabay na charges of rebellion at common crimes o kaya common crimes sa halip na rebellion.

ITANONG MO KAY PROF: Podcast on Peace Talks Preparations (Part 1)

Panayam kay Prof. Jose Maria Sison
Chief Political Consultant ng NDFP Negotiating Panel
Enero 12, 2015

1. Quoted kayo dati na okay lang si former AFP chief of staff Emmanuel Bautista na maging bagong chairman ng GPH negotiating panel dahil sa retired military officer na siya. Pero marami naman ang nagsasabi na kung siya ang i-appoint ni Aquino sa ganoong posisyon bale binabastos niya ang NDFP at buong kilusang rebolusyonaryo dahil nagmamalaki siya na siya ang utak o designer ng Oplan Bayanihan. Sa tingin niyo ba ay wala nang ibang mapipili ni Aquino na maging chairman ng kanyang panel. Siya na ba ang pinakamagaling o pinakaangkop kahit na mastermind siya ng Oplan Bayanihan?

JMS: Prerogative ni Aquino na piliin ang kahit sinumang sibilyan na maging chairman ng GPH negotiating panel. Technically, si General Bautista ay civilian dahil retired na. Pero totoo rin na marami ang nagsasabi na insulto sa NDFP at buong kilusang rebolusyonaryo kung siya ang gagawin ni Aquino na panel chairman niya sa punto na self-proclaimed na utak siya ng Oplan Bayanihan. Hindi baleng retired military officer siya kung katulad siya ni former General Fidel Ramos na marunong sa peace negotiations.

Pero umaabot din sa NDFP ang mga ulat na garapal na militar ang mentalidad niya at wala siyang gusto kundi ipataw daw niya ang pagsurender ng NPA dahil sa natatalo na raw ito at kung hindi payag ang NPA tuloy pa rin ang balasik ng kanyang Oplan Bayanihan. Palpak naman itong Oplan Bayanihan, lalong lumakas ang NPA. Sa tingin ko, kung seryoso si Aquino sa peace negotiations, makakapili siya ng mas angkop at mas magaling na chairman ng kanyang panel. Baka naman hindi interesado si Aquino sa pag-usad ng peace negotiations.

ON THE MURDER OF THE CHARLIE HEBDO EDITORS, CARTOONISTS, STAFF AND SECURITY OFFICERS

By Prof. Jose Maria Sison

Chairperson

International League of Peoples’ Struggle

January 9, 2015

 

We, the International League of Peoples’ Struggle, condemn the murder of the twelve Charlie Hebdo editors, cartoonists, staff and security offices in Paris and we express condolences to their families, colleagues and friends. The victims deserve the sympathy and indignation of the people. No one ever deserves to be murdered.

 

The Charlie Hebdo personnel had the status of journalists and were entitled to the freedom of the press as well as the right of everyone to the right of free expression, subject to respect to the inviolability of the just rights of others, be they individuals, groups or communities. Whether the Charlie Hebdo personnel performed their calling responsibly or not, their murder is unjustifiable because they carried on their trade with pen and ink and were entitled to the fundamental right to life and of due process.

 

But we cannot go so far as to proclaim ourselves as Charlie Hebdo because we know that this publication has sought to earn money by trading on extreme religious and racial biases, insults and taunts to entire communities and to the Islamic world of more than 1.6 billion people. It is necessary to qualify our sympathy, which is focused on the aspect of murder, in order to prevent the use of the murderous incident to further inflame religious and racial hatred against the people of color, favor the rise of repression and fascism and approve the big scale terrorism of French imperialism abroad.

 

We object to and oppose the competition among political factions of French imperialists (like those parties headed by Hollande, Sarkozy and Le Pen) to use the murderous Charlie Hebdo incident to whip up state terrorism and make a wide boulevard or express way for fascism. Islamophobic attacks have begun to break out in several French cities. We must understand that the various political factions of the French big bourgeoisie created the domestic crisis situation and pushed the aggressions abroad which have led to the Charlie Hebdo incident.

 

We must recall that one after the other the Sarkozy and Hollande regimes have taken a major role in US-NATO aggressions against countries in North Africa and Middle East or West Asia, including Afghanistan, Iraq, Palestine, Libya and Syria. They have participated in mega-terrorism involving the massacre and displacement of millions of people and the massive destruction of states, economies and social infrastructure.

 

Aside from using economic sanctions and weapons of mass destruction, the US and other Western imperialist powers (including UK and France) have shown a knack for creating their own Islamist terrorist groups in order to push imperialist objectives. They promoted Islamic fundamentalism for anti-communist purposes and this eventually led to the formation of Al Qaida of Osama bin Laden. They also financed, organized, armed and trained the Al Qaida types of terrorist groups to cause the downfall of Qaddafi in Libya and to carry out the current depredations in Syria and Iraq.###

 

The two major suspects in the Charlie Hebdo incident are supposed to be French citizens of Middle East origin who have been trained as operatives of Daash or the Islamic state (ISIS or ISIL) and who have just come from combat duty in Syria or thereabouts. The theories about them is that either on their own they were driven by the anti-Islamic satire of Charlie Hebdo to commit the murders or they are merely fictive agents or actual puppets in a 9-11 type of false flag operation carried out by French intelligence to divert attention from the worsening economic and social situation and justify the escalation of state terrorism in France as well as the aggressive actions of France abroad.###

 

 

 

 

BAYAN MUNA MOVES TO DEFER MRT/LRT FARE HIKE AT CONGRESS HEARING

Says DOTC made 3 fatal admissions vs MRT/LRT fare hike

At the first hearing of the Congress Transportation Committee on the Light Rail Transit 1 and 2 (LRT 1 and 2) as well as the Metro Rail Transit 3 (MRT3) fare hikes Bayan Muna Rep. Neri Colmenares said that Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) Undersecretary (Usec.) Jose Lotilla made at least three (3) fatal admissions against the MRT/LRT fare hikes.

“No.1 is that Usec. Lotilla admitted that the DOTC does not have the authority to increase fares, so the fare hike is illegal. No.2 he also admitted that the MRT/LRT makes profit and that the fare hike would go to the concessionaire. No.3 Usec. Lotilla also said that under the concession agreement for the LRT1 extension, this would just be the first fare increase and that there would be fares hikes every two years,” said Senior Deputy Minority Leader Colmenares.

“There is treachery and deception on Malacanang’s part because they have not been forthright about these issues and are still doing all they can to justify the fare increase. It is also deplorable that DOTC Sec. Joseph Abaya did not even show up at the hearing but is all over media defending the fare hike,” added the progressive solon.

“As it is I already moved for the Transportation committee to recommend the deferment of the fare hike pending the decision of the Supreme Court for the TRO. We will do all we can to stop these hikes because this is just the start of fare hikes especially LRT1,” said Rep. Colmenares.

Based on a study of IBON Foundation, the LRT 1 is the biggest project auctioned so far by the Aquino administration under its PPP program at P65 billion. It is also one of the most controversial because the Aquino government has given greater guarantees and perks than the ‘sweetheart deals’ done by previous administrations, the grave effects of which the public is still paying or to this day.

Quoting again from the IBON study Rep. Colmenares said that; “among the guarantees and perks that MPIC-Ayala group now enjoy are 1.)  the government will actually be paying some P34.9 billion or more than the half the of the total project cost of P64.9 billion for right of way acquisition, purchase of coaches, civil works, etc. This means that Light Rail Manila Consortiums rail business in effect benefits from the lower borrowing costs of government including from official development assistance (ODA). There is also an additional P5 billion subsidy of ‘viability gap funding’. Moreover, the concession agreement allows Light Rail Manila to pay the premium in tranches- 10% up front and the rest in a quarterly basis after five years,”

“2.) They are also assured of fare hikes, with their concept of notional fare composed of the boarding fare which is charged to commuters per trip and a distance fare which is charged according to distance travelled from the boarding station to the exiting station. The concession agreement (CA) states that by August 1, 2014 the private concessionaire is granted an initial notional fare that is actually a fare hike, which what they are demanding now. The initial notional fare is a boarding fee of P12.13 plus a distance fare of P1.10 per kilometre. This provision will result in an increase of fares up to 101.7% per trip depending on the route,” he added.

“3.) The CA also allows Light Rail Manila to have periodic adjustments in the notional fare starting August 1, 2016. The consortium is allowed to increase by 10.15% every adjustment period (every two years). Also upon completion of the extension line to Niyog station in Bacoor, which is estimated to take three years, the notional fare at that time can be hiked by five percent. On top of this, the CA also allows to adjust notional fares automatically according to inflation rates (inflation-rebasing) every four years starting from 2018 onwards.  Aside from these there are other additional increases: 1.) another 5% hike upon completion of construction of the extension; 2.) a programmed periodic adjustment of some 10% every two years; and 3.) pass-on of power cost fluctuations up to 5% of the notional fare,” said the progressive solon.

“4.) The CA also contains a mechanism assuring Light Rail Manila that it will be able to collect the notional fare if the approved fare is lower. Which means the government will pay a ‘deficit payment’ to cover the gap. This is a regulatory risk guarantee and the consortium never had it this good but at the expense of commuters. Seeing the extent of the perks the MPIC-Ayala group are enjoying it is incumbent upon us to exhaust all means so that commuters would not be at the losing end of this more than a sweetheart deal,” ended Rep. Colmenares.. ###

MRT-LRT Fare Hike: Aquino’s Great Train Robbery

Bayan calls on commuters and taxpayers to resolutely oppose the recent fare increases for the MRT3, and the LRT 1 and 2 train lines. These added burdens, treacherously announced and implemented during the holidays, are without legal basis and are patently anti-commuter. These increases merely serve the profit interests of the private companies with stakes in the train system while justifying government’s abandonment of its responsibility to provide affordable and efficient mass transportation for the people.

Aquino’s Great Train Robbery will victimize the 1.3 million daily commuters of the MRT and LRT, taking from their pockets P2.1 billion.
http://www.bayan.ph/2015/01/04/stop-the-runaway-mrt-lrt-fare/
http://www.bayan.ph

Ka Oris: Patuloy na sumusulong ang rebolusyonaryong kilusan sa buong isla ng Mindanao

Panayam kay Ka Oris, Jorge Madlos, tagapagsalita ng National Democratic Front-Mindanao hinggil sa tagumpay na naabot ng Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) sa ika-46 taon ng pagkakatatag nito.

Marihatag, Surigao Del Sur
December 26, 2014

Despite rains and harassments, CPP in Mindanao celebrates 46th anniversary with impressive attendance

Marihatag, SURIGAO DEL SUR– Military harassments and heavy rains failed to dampen the anniversary celebration of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) in Northeastern Mindanao yesterday.

Thousands of members and supporters, as well as national legislators and local executives, trekked steep and muddy roads to attend one of the biggest public events in years held around a huge, tarpaulin-covered stage in a farming village of this town.

The underground party had foregone big celebrations since 2010, electing to donate its resources earmarked for such occasions to survivors of destructive typhoons Sendong, Pablo and Yolanda in succeeding years instead.

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 Philippine Army’s 401st Brigade put up barricades to prevent dozens of buses, trucks and smaller vehicles carrying thousands of attendees from proceeding to the event venue. Mindanao journalists were also delayed and were even taunted even after presenting identification.

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But the government soldiers were forced to allow the long convoy to proceed an hour later after Surigao del Sur vice governor Manuel Alameda helped in the negotiations. Alameda later delivered a short speech and a message from provincial governor Johnny Pimentel at the celebrations.

The harassments succeeded however in delaying the start of the formal program by more than two hours, even as New People’s Army (NPA) guerrillas scrambled to put up tarpaulins against the intermittent rains.

There was no sign of any security tension as the program remained upbeat once it got started.

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National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP)-Mindanao spokesperson Jorge Madlos revealed to Bulatlat that at least a battalion-sized “people’s militia” was deployed around the area to complement several company-sized units of the NPA in attendance.

A company of uniformed NPA guerillas stood at formation and presented arms as the communist anthem “Ang Internasyunal” was sung to start the program.

In his speech, Madlos, popularly known as Ka (Comrade) Oris, said the CPP’s maintained its 46 NPA fronts despite unrelenting attacks from the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) which poured 55 infantry battalions throughout the island.

The NPA in turn launched around 300 attacks throughout 2014 that inflicted casualties against the AFP that would cumulatively amount to a battalion-sized enemy unit, Madlos said.

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The CPP also announced it has active formations in urban areas in Mindanao, including Davao, Cagayan de Oro, Butuan, Surigao, General Santos, Iligan, Zamboanga, Dipolog, Kidipawan, Cotabato and Tagum cities.

The CPP said its membership in Mindanao has increased to “tens of thousands, majority of whom are in barrios, factories, schools and communities,” without revealing exact numbers.

It said it maintained its organizational growth this year through ideological activities such as intermediate and advanced party courses among its members.

The CPP said it continues to exert strong influence on various sectors, including the religious, academic, legal and other middle forces, in their respective struggles against imperialism, local feudalism and graft and corruption in government.

The Party maintains relationships with different Bangsamoro organizations that are working for genuine autonomy, aside from the Moro Islamic Liberation Front which “has turned its back on armed struggle,” Madlos said.

The NDFP spokesperson said that the grave conflicts among the ruling classes, represented by corrupt politicians, is weakening the dominant political system in the country. The Benigno Aquino III government exposes itself as a servant of the interests of United States imperialism, landlordism, and bureaucrat capitalism, he said.

These problems pushes the people towards the struggle for genuine change and serve as bases for the CPP’s people’s democratic revolution, Madlos said.

The CPP also took the opportunity to include a peace forum and consultation in the formal program of its 46th anniversary celebrations, marked by the presence of NDFP negotiating panel member Fidel Agcaoili.

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Agcaoili accepted a manifesto of support to the (Government of the Philippine[GPH]-NDFP)    peace talks and the Mindanao Peoples’ Peace Agenda from Sowing the Seeds of Peace- Mindanao Movement for a Just and Lasting Peace (SSP-MMJLP) represented in the forum in the by bishops, priests, pastors and nuns.

SSP-MMJLP’s eight-point agenda includes calls for genuine agrarian reform, national  industrialization and development, employment and respect of workers’ rights, socio-economic  and democratic rights, respect of rights of national minorities, nationalist and scientific culture,  independent foreign policy, and equitable resource allocation for Mindanao from the national  budget of the GPH.

The movement is composed of church leaders and workers, lawyers, human rights advocates, Bangsamoro organizations, and local government unit officials.

In his short acceptance speech, Agcaoili promised to submit the documents to his colleagues in the NDFP negotiating panel upon his return to The Hague, The Netherlands.

A cultural program followed the peace forum when various individuals and groups representing provinces and sectors performed.

After the program the NPA guerrillas gathered at a clearing to wave the last of the civilian attendees off. They also took turns exchanging pleasantries with other guerrillas belonging to other units while partaking of fresh fruits and cake given by sympathetic businessmen and politicians.

Meanwhile, AFP soldiers were stationed along the road leading to the national highway well after dusk, even as the NPA guerrillas have left the village. Military checkpoints still littered the roads along the length of the province well into the night, long after most of the attendees have reached their destinations.

(Repost from Bulatlat.com/Raymund Villanueva)

http://bulatlat.com/main/2014/12/27/despite-rains-and-harassmentscpp-in-mindanao-celebrates-46th-anniversary-with-impressive-attendance/

“NO NEED FOR MRT-LRT FARE HIKES!”- BAYAN MUNA SOLONS

There are even double entries for MRT/LRT rehab on 2015 and supplemental budgets

Reacting to the planned Metro Rail Transit/ Light Rail Transit (MRT/LRT) fare hike announced by Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC) secretary Joseph Abaya, Bayan Muna party list representatives Neri Colmenares and Carlos Zarate urged the DOTC to stop the rate increase insisting that there are other options to improve the services of the mass rail systems without burdening commuters.

“It seems that the Aquino administration is really hell-bent on increasing the fares of the MRT and LRT, they have been proposing this added burden since 2011 and we will continue to oppose it. Mass transits are a public service and should be the responsibility of government and not a burden to the people,” said Rep. Colmenares.

“Sec. Abaya’s justification for hiking MRT 3 fares defeats the purpose of constructing mass transit systems which is to provide the public with cheap transportation services,” said Rep. Zarate.

“The 2015 and the supplemental budget provided for MRT and LRT of at least P11.109 billion, consisting of LRT1 North Extension (Common Station)-P 769,809,000.00, the LRT2 West Extension- P200,000,000, the MRT3 Rehabilitation and Capacity Expansion-P2,569,200,000, the Repair/ Rehabilitation of LRT Lines 1and 2-P977,690,000, MRT 3Rehabilitation and Capacity Expansion (Supplemental Budget)-P957,163,000, LRT 1 and 2 Rehabilitation (Supplemental Budget)-P977,690,000 and the Mass Transport Subsidy-P4,657,504,000. Now, where will all these money go including the double entries for the LRT 1 and 2 rehabilitation if the fare hike is implemented? ”asked Rep. Colmenares.

“While the Aquino government has no qualms in imposing rate increases to save P2 Billion, they can afford to splurge P54.9 billion for a useless endeavour to buy out the MRT which they lost because of a highly questionable sweetheart deal. Why don’t we use the P54.9 Billion to further upgrade the MRT-LRT service instead. Pag tubo palaging pinapaburan ang mga private corporations pero pag dagdag na bayarin taong bayan ang sisingilin. This is insensitivity to the public’s plight and is really unacceptable,” ended Rep. Colmenares.

Bayan Muna filed House Resolution 111 to investigate the proposed MRT/LRT fare hikes. # # #

News Release
December 22, 2014
Reference: Bayan Muna Rep. Neri Javier Colmenares, 09178350459
Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Isagani T. Zarate, 09177174014