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Int’l tribunal finds Duterte ‘guilty’ of slaughter and other crimes

The International People’s Tribunal (IPT) held in Brussels, Belgium found President Rodrigo Roa Duterte “guilty” in a two-day hearing held in Brussels, Belgium.

After hearing 31 testimonies and experts’ reports on Duterte’s alleged crimes, including his government’s war on drugs that has killed at least four thousand victims, as well as “essentially genocidal war especially among indigenous peoples,” among other charges, the tribunal said they found Duterte culpable of anti-democratic and anti-people policies.

“The consistency and robustness of the testimonies has unanimously appeared to us as to be so compelling to justify the deliberation of a clear verdict on the main responsibilities of the main defendants,” the tribunal said.

Although not a strictly legal and judicial proceeding, the IPT, composed of globally eminent lawyers and human rights defenders is hoped to draw more attention on the state of human and other social and political rights in the Philippines under Duterte.

Watch this video of the presentation of the verdict.

Families, human rights groups celebrate Palparan’s conviction

The families of missing University of the Philippines students as well as human rights groups celebrated when the Regional Trial Court in Malolos City, Bulacan found retired Army Major General Jovito Palparan guilty of kidnapping and serious illegal detention Monday, September 17.

Cheers erupted when those gathered outside the courthouse were informed of the verdict on the case filed by Concepcion Empeño and Erlinda Cadapan, mothers of missing UP students Karen and Sherlyn, respectively.

Right after the promulgation, Palparan berated Judge Alexander Tamayo as well as the public prosecutor. (Video and report by Joseph Cuevas / Featured photo by Jinky Mendoza Aguilar)

Rights groups assail Duterte’s fascist attacks

Human Rights group Karapatan and other progressive groups held a Black Friday Protest, September 14, at Gate 2 of Camp General Emilio Aguinaldo in Quezon City to call for an end to the attacks of the Duterte regime against the Filipino people.

According to Karapatan, the Duterte regime is a danger to the Filipino people.

Duterte’s reign of terror through its counterinsurgency program Oplan Kapayapaan and its imposition of martial law in Mindanao are taking advantage of alleged terrorist activities as pretext to attacks against civilians, the group said.

Two farmers from Compostella Farmer’s Association (CFA) were killed last August 19. Couple Gilbert and Jean Labial on their way home after visiting a wake from a fellow CFA member. They were killed by suspected elements of 66th IB because of their opposition to the entry of mining companies in their area, the protesters said.

Karapatan also cited the recent killing of Haide Malalay Flores last August 21 in Guihulngan City, Negros Oriental who was shot dead while on her way home. She was a businesswoman and an activist for peasant advocacies.

Karapatan reported as well the case of spouses Edison and Divina Erece who were arrested by elements of military and police last September 3 in Calayan, Cagayan. The couple were members of the peasant group Amihan-Cagayan.

They were charged with illegal possession of explosives, murder, arson and qualified assault.

Political prisoners now number 509, majority of whom are poor peasants, Karapatan said.

Meanwhile, Antonio Flores, secretary-general of Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP), stressed that aside from killings of 150 farmers, the Duterte government also slapped trumped up charges against peasant activists.

The filing of criminal offenses and red-tagging of farmer leaders as members of New Peoples Army are the trademark of this administration. Instead of addressing the problem of landlessness and poverty, continuos military operations and human rights violations happened almost everyday, Flores added.

Estrellita Bagasbas of Kalipunan ng Damayang Mahihirap (KADAMAY) said that even urban poor people were victims of Duterte’s attacks.

She cited the violence in Pandi Bulacan where “fake and ousted members” of KADAMAY are allegedly being used by the police as intelligence agents.

Some organizers and leaders of KADAMAY also recieved death threats and harassments, KADAMAY said. # (Video and report by Joseph Cuevas)

Groups hit Marcos-Duterte alliance on dictator’s 101st birth anniversary

The Campaign Against the Return of the Marcoses to Malacañang (CARMMA) and groups belonging to the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN) denounced what they call an alliance between the family of the late dictator and President Rodrigo Duterte in a picket protest at the Libingan ng mga Bayani in Taguig City on the 101st birth anniversary of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos Tuesday, September 11.

The protesters said Duterte sponsored the wholesale accomodation of the ousted tyrant’s family by allowing him burial at the Libingan ng mga Bayani and enabling them to be firmly entrenched back into power.

BAYAN also slammed Ilocos Norte Governor Imee Marcos’ statement that those against their family should “move on and accept the reality.”

“How can we  forget the atrocities under Martial Law and the ill gotten wealth amassed by the late dictator and his family? The Marcos regime was a curse to the Filipino people and the dictatorship  that devasted the people are now treated by President Duterte as heroes,” BAYAN said in a statement.

They also warned Duterte against attempts to revise the history and impose his own Marcos-inspired brand of dictatorship.

“Almost one third of the country is under Martial rule and Duterte has already surpassed Marcos in terms of extra-judicial killings,” the protesters said.

CARMMA and BAYAN called on the Filipino people to join the United People’s Action Rally in Luneta on September 21 to thwart “threats of another dictatorship.” (Video and report by Joseph Cuevas)

Farmers decry rice crisis

Farmers from the Alyansa ng mga Magbubukid sa Gitnang Luson (AMGL), AMIHAN (National Federation of Peasant Women) and rice watchdog Bantay Bigas, trooped to the Department of Agriculture (DA) Office in Quezon City last September 5 to protest the prolonged rice crisis in the country.

The groups also decried National Food Authority (NFA)’s importation of weevil-infested rice on one hand and and essentially near zero ‘palay’ procurement on the other.

According to Joseph Canlas, AMGL chairperson, the DA and NFA are useless in solving the problem of rice shortage.

“There was enough ‘palay’ that were harvested by farmers and, in fact, the NFA is buying them at a lower price but still they keep the plan to import weevil-infested rice which is a big insult for farmers and consumers,” Canlas said.

He also belied NFA’s excuses that farmers intend not to sell their harvest due to its low buying price.

During dry season, private traders buy at P20 per kilo of palay, which declines during wet season.

The group scores the TRAIN law because of the triggered unabated oil price hikes that resulted to increases in the cost production of rice.

They cited from October to May planting season, the cost for fuel increased by P914 or 15 percent from the previous P6781 to P7195 per hectare.

Meanwhile Bantay Bigas challenged the government to immediately stop rice importation and procure majority of palay this coming harvest season.

They also warned Secretary Manny Piñol not to insist on feeding weevil-infested rice to consumers.

“If they don’t act on the crisis, they must resign,” Bantay Bigas ended.# (Video and report by Joseph Cuevas)

UP educators, alumni and students condems Imee Marcos and Kabataang Barangay Reunion at UP

Naglunsad ng press conference ang No Revisions, No Erasures: Educators Against the Rehabilitation of the Marcoses upang kundenahin ang ginanap ika-43 anibersaryo ng Kabataang Barangay sa UP Bahay ng Alumni noong Agosto 25, 2018 kung saan panauhing pandangal si Rep. Imee Marcos.

Sinagot din ng alyansa ang mga pahayag ni UP President Danilo Concepcion sa kanyang pagdalo sa nasabing pagtitipon at ang pahayag ng administrasyon ng UP tungkol sa pagpapahintulot na magamit ni Imee Marcos at Kabataang Barangay ang mga pasilidad ng UP. (Video by Maricon Montajes)

 

Families commemorate International Day of the Disappeared

Members of Desaparecidos (Families of the Disappeared for Justice) and other progressive groups commemorated the International Day of the Disappeared in a gathering at the Plaridel Hall, College of Mass Communications of University of the Philippines Diliman in Quezon City Thursday, August 30.

They paid tribute to the families and friends of the Desaparecidos from the Marcos era up to the present who are until now looking for their loved ones.

Mrs. Editha Burgos, mother of the missing activist Jonas Burgos, said that enforced disappearances, aside from being politically motivated and state sponsored, are now being used by the Duterte government on its so-called war on drugs.

There are many cases of disappearances especially the poor under Oplan Tokhang of the Philippine National Police, Mrs. Burgos said.

She added that the effect of enforced disappearance is rampant because it is a continuing crime not only at the time when person was disappeared but, more importantly, on its impact to the victim’s family, friends and even to society.

 

Mrs. Concepcion Empeño, mother of missing UP student Karen, cast doubt on the upcoming verdict of the court against Jovito Palparan, primary accused on her daughter’s abduction and disappearance, along with Sherlyn Cadapan and Manuel Merino.

Mrs. Empeño said that the supposed promulgation was set on May but has been delayed for several months already.

The event was also the launching of UP RISE! (UP Against Tyranny and Dictatorship), a multi-sectoral alliance based in UP committed to unite against the tyrannical rule and fascist dictatorship of the Duterte regime.

The group denounced the recent visit of Imee Marcos, daughter of the late dictator, to the University last August 25 in a reunion with Kabataang Barangay colleagues.

It said the Filipino people will never move on and never forget the atrocities of the Marcos family.

Isaac Punzalan, RISE UP convenor, said that the unholy alliance of the Marcoses, Arroyos and Duterte will intensify the attacks against the Filipino people.

“We are ready to embrace the historic role of being the forefront of the struggle for genuine change”, Punzalan declared. (Report and video by Joseph Cuevas)

MAT marks first anniversary

Various personalities and groups under Movement Against Tyranny (MAT) gathered at Visual Light Studio in Makati City to celebrate their first year anniversary, August 27.

Teddy Casiño, convenor of MAT said that so far it is the broadest alliance of different sectors and political forces against the Duterte government since he took in office in 2016.

MAT was established after Kian Delos Santos killing, one of the victims of Oplan Tokhang.

The group brought the resistance against Duterte’s tyranny to a higher level and made a strong opposition against extra-judicial killings and human rights abuses of the regime, Casiño added.

The group recalled their one year report and achievements amidst the tyrannical rule of the Duterte regime.

This includes the Luneta Rally where tens of thousands participated in commemorating Martial Law anniversary.

The group position against human rights abuses of the regime on International Human Rights Day last December.

They also launched an anti-Charter Change Assembly and mass action in EDSA People Power anniversary.

Together with Coalition for Justice, they held a rally in Baguio City against Quo Warranto petition of Supreme Court Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno.

MAT also led the United Peoples SONA last July 23 which is the biggest anti-Duterte mobilization against charter change and dictatorship.

Sr. Mary John Mananzan, one of the convenor of MAT pointed out that since last year there is an accumulation of combustible events that will lead to a critical mass because MAT done its part and because the government made its own destruction.

She added that MAT will lead the broad movement of active and enlighten citizens against tyranny and for democracy, social justice, human rights and good governance.

She challenged the President about his repeated pronouncement of resignation.

The group made a loud and clear answer, to Duterte’s repeated threat to step down from office.

“Ok. Just Do it. Resign!” MAT told Duterte.

Meanwhile, MAT criticized the appointment of Teresita De Castro as the new Supreme Court Chief Justice and describes as a payment of the regime for her participation on the ouster of former Chief Justice Sereno.

UP launches Jess Santiago’s book ‘Usapang Kanto’

Jess Santiago, iconic progressive singer and multi-awarded poet, sings one of his most beloved songs “Laging Ikaw” at the launch of his book “Usapang Kanto” at the University of the Philippines Main Library last August 28.

A collection of ‘Koyang’ Jess’ columns in various publications written as poems, the book contains about 200 pieces that comments on important social issues at the time of their writing.

“Usapang Kanto” was among the several books launched by UP’s Sentro ng Wikang Filipino as part of its observance of Buwan ng Wika this month. (Video by Raymund B. Villanueva with Joseph Cuevas)

Mga manggagawa, nagmartsa sa Araw ng mga Bayani

Nagsama-sama ang libu-libong manggagawa sa Araw ng mga Bayani sa tinaguriang nilang “Martsa ng Manggagawa” noong Agosto 27 mula Welcome Rotonda hanggang sa Mendiola sa Maynila.

Panawagan nila na itigil na ang kontraktwalisasyon sa paggawa, ipatupad ang pambansang minimum na sahod na P750, at wakasan ang iba pang porma ng pagsasamantala sa manggagawa.

Ayon sa Kilos na Manggagawa (KnM), sa nakalipas na dalawang taon, umabot na sa 40 milyon na manggagawa sa buong bansa ay kontraktwal.

Karamihan sa mga ito ay nasa sektor ng manupaktura at serbisyo na tumatanggap din nang napakababang sahod o mas mababa pa sa minimum na sahod.

Isang halimbawa dito ay sa Southern Tagalog na umabot sa mahigit 20,000 ang kontraktwal.

Dagdag pasakit din sa mga manggagawa ang mga patakaran na ipinataw nang gubyernong Rodrigo Duterte tulad ng Department Order 174 at Executive Order 51 na sa katunayan ay nagpapatindi lamang ng iskemang endo.

Dagdag pa nang KnM, malaking dagok din ang TRAIN law na siyang bumubutas sa bulsa at kita ng mga manggagawa.

Habang binabarat ang sahod, patuloy naman na pinahihirapan ang mamamayan sa mga dagdag bayarin at buwis.

Binigyang-pugay din nila ang mga manggagawa na siyang tunay na bayani at tagalikha ng yaman.

Malaking hamon naman sa mga manggagawa na labanan ang tumitinding atake sa mga manggagawa kagaya nang pambubuwag sa mga unyon, pagpaslang at pagsasampa ng mga gawa-gawang kaso sa mga lider unyonista. # (Ulat at bidyo ni Joseph Cuevas)