16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence: Indigenous Women Rise for Justice

Bai Indigenous Women Network (BAI)

Gastambide to Mendiola, Manila
November 27, 2014

“On this day, indigenous women rise for justice. We face the militarization of our communities and suffer from human rights abuses. We are impoverished and made landless because of the plunder of our ancestral lands. These are biggest forms of violence against indigenous women that should be put to an end,” Kakay Tolentino, a member of the Dumagat tribe and the National Coordinator of BAI said.

Solidarity with Mindanao


ILPS-Philippines affiliates join the 2014 Manilakbayan for food and peace in Mindanao at the start of their Mendiola campout towards International Human Rights Day. Indigenous Lumads perform their ritual offering and sharing of blood (“pamaas” in Manobo culture) as a token of solidarity in the struggle against large-scale mining, militarization and human rights violations.

The festering Hacienda Luisita problem

[By Carol Pagaduan-Araullo | Streetwise] Ten years is a long time to await justice for the massacre of striking farm and sugar mill workers at the Hacienda Luisita Incorporated (HLI), the sprawling 6,435-hectare sugar plantation owned by the Cojuangco-Aquino clan, by a combined force of military, police and private security guards.

Peasant families who have lived and worked for generations at the hacienda and militant peasant organizations and land reform advocates providing unwavering support, marked the tenth year of the brutal, premeditated killings with protest actions in front of Malacanang Palace and at the massacre site itself inside HLI.  Their pained yet defiant cries for “Justice!” and “Land to the tillers!” reverberate together with demands for the ouster of President Benigno S. Aquino III, scion of the powerful and entrenched landlords of Hacienda Luisita.

The search for justice has reached a dead end with the Ombudsman earlier on having thrown out the criminal complaints filed by the victims’ families. Seven strikers and their supporters lie dead and the official line then and now is that the victims attacked the phalanx of well-armed security forces, soldiers and police provoking a defensive reaction on the part of the latter.  How it is that the dead and wounded only came from the ranks of the protesters strains credulity but apparently this fact is immaterial to the state’s spineless investigators.

The land problem in Hacienda Luisita remains unresolved to this day despite the widely decried massacre and scores of related extrajudicial killings of supporters of the farm and mill workers including Iglesia Filipina Independiente Obispo Maximo Alberto Ramento and Tarlac Councilor Abel Ladera.  The  Supreme Court final ruling for the HLI land be distributed to its farmer-beneficiaries has yet to be implemented properly and fairly.

This can only be because President BS Aquino has been able to move Congress to impeach and convict a sitting SC Chief Justice who, while being a Gloria Arroyo hold-over and point man in the SC, also had the temerity to lead the High Court in making decisions favorable to the peasants of HLI versus the Cojuangco-Aquino hacienderos.

This same president holds sway over the Department of Agrarian Reform that has embarked on means most foul to further dispossess the farmer-beneficiaries, break their unity and weaken their organizations in thinly-veiled collusion with the HLI management. What comes to mind in the light of this brazen display of abuse of one’s position is the famous one- liner by Senate President Jose Avelino, a Liberal Party stalwart of old: “What are we in power for?”

To those who say that agrarian reform has been achieved by the series of land reform programs pre- and post-independence  — think HLI.  To those who say that the Philippine economy has progressed from the backward agricultural, in fact feudal, mode to that of a modern, manufacture-based one – again, think HLI.

To those who decry the deep, widespread and multi-generational poverty of our people and all the socio-economic evils that go with it – open your eyes to the abject plight of the HLI peasants and their families.

To those who sing paeans to democracy in the Philippines – can this mean anything so long as landlordism is alive and well, upheld by the law and protected by the state apparatus of coercion as well as airbrushed as part of the heritage of the “old rich” and therefore not susceptible to charges of graft and corruption unlike the ill-gotten wealth of the “new rich”?

To those who believe the yarn that the New People’s Army (NPA) is the cause of the agrarian and labor unrest and that before the NPA and union organizers became active in HLI there was peace – think the peace of the graveyard and the peace of coopted yellow labor union leaders.

Isn’t is hypocritical that the pro-Aquino/Liberal Party camp and the yellow media make much ado about the alleged 150-hectare Binay hacienda and the Binay dynastic hold on Makati City that paved the way for the institutionalized plunder of Makati coffers while turning a blind eye to the decades-old land problem in the Cojuangco-Aquino hacienda that Cory Aquino’s fake land reform program and its extension up till the administration of her son, BS Aquino, has perpetuated?

Is it coincidental that only when the ruling regime is not held by the Cojuangco-Aquinos but by their actual or eventual political rivals and with the intensification of the rivalry between them, that there are some legal victories in the farmers’ struggles to retake the land that is historically, morally and legally theirs to begin with?

Hacienda Luisita, with its vast land area equivalent to Makati City and its adjoining two cities, stands out as a national symbol and well as actual stronghold of feudal exploitation and oppression in the 21st century.

It also showcases the abuse of the highest political office, the Presidency, to circumvent land reform, displace dirt-poor peasant families from their tenuous hold on the land, convert wide swathes of the hacienda for more profitable non-agricultural purposes and quash any and all efforts and struggles of the peasantry to liberate themselves from their shackles.  A president who is of cacique origin and continues to derive substantial wealth and privilege from being heir to his clan’s landholdings can never sympathize with much less uphold the rights and aspirations of the landless peasantry.

Hacienda Luisita is a microcosm of what ails Philippine society today.  The social, including armed, conflicts that have been spawned by the rank social injustice in Hacienda Luisita is repeated many times over in the rest of the country.  Which is why a radical overhaul of society brought about by the autonomous mass movement of the impoverished, immiserated and disempowered provides the only remaining hope for true social emancipation. #

Food and Peace in Mindanao: Karapatan calls for support


“The justness of the calls of the Manilakbayan ng Mindanao for food and peace is emphasized when on November 11, almost 400 individuals evacuated from Rosario and Bunawan, Agusan del Sur due to military operations of the 75th Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army (IBPA). One was killed during said operation, while two remain missing,” said Karapatan Secretary General Cristina Palabay.

“As the more than 300 Manilakbayan contingent members travelled thousands of kilometers to get to Metro Manila,  Philjohn Poloyapoy, 22, was killed by the elements of the 75th IB-PA in Sitio Bagong Silang, Bayugan 3, Rosario, Agusan del Sur. His two brothers, Philims and Philip, are missing,” she added.


The Manilakbayan 2014 is a journey of mostly peasants and indigenous peoples from the six regions in Mindanao who are now in Metro Manila. With the various sectors and advocacy groups, the Manilakbayan aims to amplify the call for a stop to military attacks in their communities, save indigenous people’s schools, end implementation of Oplan Bayanihan. As militarization is closely linked to big business interests in Mindanao, Manilakbayan also calls for an end of plunder of Mindanao resources by mining companies, and the resumption of the peace talks between the National Democratic Front of the Philippines and Government of the Republic of the Philippines.

Survivors and relatives of victims of human rights violations are among those who joined the Manilakbayan ng Mindanao 2014 to give testimonies on how BS Aquino’s Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) sow terror in their communities.


Aside from the killing and disappearance of the Poloyapoy brothers, several other incidents of abuses and rights violations are going on in Agusan del Sur. Initial documentation conducted by Karapatan-Caraga cited the following:

In Sitio Katipunan, also in Rosario, Agusan del Sur, roving soldiers called and then went after Greenfield Torenia,16, who ran away from the soldiers, in fear. The soldiers followed Greenfield to his sister’s house. They threatened to stab the boy as another soldier was sharpening a bolo.

On several occasion and in different villages, the soldiers fired their guns indiscriminately, which has caused fear among the residents. The people did not want to get out of their houses anymore, not even to their farms because they were afraid to run into the soldiers.  On November 11, the residents of the populated village of Sta. Monica and Sitio Kiatsan, Brgy. Bunawan Brook decided to evacuate after they heard another round of gunfire.


“Members of progressive organizations are scheduled to welcome the Manilakbayan ng Mindanao on November 24 at the Morayta-Recto intersection. Together, they will march to Mendiola to amplify the call of the people of Mindanao for food and peace,” Palabay added.

Meanwhile, the almost 400 evacuees are now at the Bayugan 3 gymnasium. “The people said they will remain where they are now until soldiers leave their communities,” said Palabay.

There are at least nine full sized AFP combat battalions in the Caraga region to date. Combat operations are conducted as part of BS Aquino’s Oplan Bayanihan—to suppress people’s protests and to defend large-scale domestic and foreign investments especially in mining. There are at least seven known paramilitary groups in the region, as AFP’s force multiplier.

The evacuation in Agusan del Sur this November is the fourth documented case of forcible evacuation in the Caraga region in 2014. ###

Lupa – Ericson Acosta and Renato Reyes, Jr.

Solidarity Night: Hacienda Luisita masaker, 10 taong walang hustisya
(2004-2014) November 15, 2014

Ang lahat ng larawan sa video ay kuha mula sa pagkilos ng mga mamamayan noong bisperas ng ika-10 taong anibersaryo ng pamamaril at masaker sa mga magbubukid at manggagawa ng Hacienda Luisita. Pampanga at Tarlac, November 15, 2014.

Ang “Lupa” ay orihinal na awit mula sa grupong The Jerks.

Luisa, “Anak ng Hacienda Luisita”

Si Luisa ay sampung taong gulang at tinaguriang “anak ng Hacienda Luisita” ng mga magbubukid sa Hacienda Luisita. Siya ay nagtalumpati sa bisperas ng ika-10 taong anibersaryo ng pagmamaril at masaker sa pitong magbubukid ng Hacienda Luisita.

The Hague: Thousands marched in solidarity with the people of Kobanê

Thousands of Kurdish sympathisers marched through the streets of The Hague to show their solidarity with the people of Kobanê, a kurdish city in Syria which is under attack by the ISIS for over a month now. The protesters from various organizations (Kurdish, Armenian, Turkish, Arabs) expressed their support with the Kurdish freedom fighters defending the city against what they called barbaric attacks by the ISIS.

They also accused the Turkish and US governments as well as other countries in the region as terrorists as they support the ISIS in terms of logistics, weapons and financial support. Filipinos from ILPS Netherlands also participated in the protest action. The protest is part of the call for Global Day of Action (Nov. 1) to defend Kobanê.