“Kalokohan ang P54.6-bilyon para sa retired military dahil hindi ito ang kagyat, at ang kailangang buhusan ng pondo ngayon ay ang produksyon ng pagkain at pag-angat sa lubog nang kalagayan ng mga maralitang sektor, laluna na ng mga magsasaka at nasa kanayunan. Bahagi na naman ito ng ‘Duterte Palpak’ dahil prayoridad na naman ang militar kaysa pagkain na pangunahing kailangan ng taumbayan.” — Zenaida Soriano, Tagapangulo, Amihan
Longtime peasant leader Joseph Canlas, who had been detained over trumped-up charges, has passed away today, May 11, after he was rushed to a hospital three days ago, according to peasant group Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas.
“We condemn in strongest terms the jail authorities’ neglect and the Duterte government’s unjust incarceration of Ka Joseph which led to his untimely death this morning,” Amihan National Federation of Peasant Women national chairperson Zenaida Soriano said. “We express our deepest condolences to his family.”
Canlas, chairperson of Alyansa ng Magbubukid sa Gitnang Luzon, was arrested March 30 by the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) of the Philippine National Police in Mexico, Pampanga. He was charged with illegal possession of firearms and explosives — a criminal case that human rights groups called the “standard” charges fabricated against activists under the Duterte administration.
The peasant leader was rushed to an Angeles City hospital due to low oxygen level and possible stroke. The following morning, he was transferred to an intensive care unit due to acute respiratory failure and COVID-19.
On May 10, Canlas had lapsed into a coma despite being intubated and connected to a mechanical ventilator.
Human rights groups earlier decried “unjust treatment” of Canlas under custody of the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology. They said the land reform advocate was subjected to severe conditions that made him vulnerable to ailments like COVID-19. Hospital records showed his cause of death as pneumonia.
Peasant group Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP), where Canlas served as vice-chairperson, noted that he was in stable condition prior to detention. His health would soon deteriorate under jail custody as proven by his complaints of difficulty in breathing and stuttering speech.
“If jail authorities thoroughly checked Canlas’s health condition, they would have known that he has hypertension and diabetes which makes him more vulnerable to COVID infection,” KMP said.
“If he received proper medical attention while in detention, then the risks could have been lessened,” the group added.
A day after his arrest, Canlas was transferred and put under quarantine at the CIDG Region 3. He was not allowed to receive visitors, including family members and counsel.
According to KMP, Canlas was transferred after two weeks to the BJMP Detention Center in Angeles City after an X-ray examination. Since the BJMP’s facility was full, he was listed to be placed under quarantine.
The peasant advocate was put in BJMP’s quarantine facility along with 100 or more detainees as of April 22. He was transferred to a regular jail after two more weeks.
Who is Joseph Canlas?
Canlas was known in Central Luzon for his decades-long struggle against land grabbing and displacement of farmers in Hacienda Luisita, Hacienda Dolores, Pantabangan Dam, Fort Magsaysay Military Reservation in Nueva Ecija, Camp Gregg in Pangasinan, New Clark City, and expressways CLEX, TPLEX and SCTEX among others.
He finished BS Forestry at Pampanga Agricultural College and became an employee at the Department of Environment and Natural Resources. He soon became exposed to corruption in the government agency, especially in the implementation of environmental projects.
Canlas eventually resigned from government work and formed the group Anak Gubat to continue his advocacy of protecting the environment. He became a member of the peasant group Aguman dareng Maglalautang Capampangan (AMC) in 1997. During this time, he was also elected as an officer of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan in Pampanga.
In 2003, he became the chairperson of the AMGL and led a membership reaching up to 10,000 farmer-members. According to a Bayan-Gitnang Luson, Canlas led successful people’s campaigns in Central Luzon such as the agricultural workers’ strike in Hacienda Luisita, and against infrastructure projects like the New Clark City, Balog-Balog Dam, Aboitiz Geothermal Powerplant, massive land use conversion and the displacement of farmers and Aetas.
In the middle of the pandemic while he was being constantly red-tagged and harassed by state security forces, Canlas was still at the forefront of relief efforts and calls for sufficient health services and economic assistance to peasants and Aetas in Central Luzon.
His organizations KMP, AMGL, Bayan, as well as other progressive groups have denounced the injustice against the peasant leader. In a statement, the KMP said “we could only blame the Duterte administration for his untimely death. His unjust detention led to the swift deterioration of his health condition.”
“We point our fingers to the National Task Force to End the Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) that subjected Canlas to constant red-tagging, Angeles City RTC Executive Judge Ma. Angelica T. Paras-Quiambao who issued the search warrant against Canlas, the PNP-CIDG that executed the defective warrant and carried out the illegal arrest last March 30, and the BJMP for consciously neglecting Canlas’ health condition,” the peasant group said.
According to KMP, peasant organizations and land reform advocates will hold a series of protests, starting with an indignation rally at the Commission of Human Rights complex in Quezon City this afternoon, May 11.
With reports from Ratziel San Juan and Pokus Gitnang Luson
Sinubukang pasukin ng mga guwardiya ang isang pamayanan sa Calamba, Laguna mula Agosto 22 hanggang 24. Armado ng armalayt at shotgun, sinubukang harangin ng kababaihan at nakatatandang magsasaka ang mga guwardiya na humantong sa panunutok at pagbabantang pamamaril.
Ang Hacienda Yulo ang 7,000 ektaryang nasa mga syudad ng Calalmba, Cabuyao at Sta. Rosa sa naturang probinsiya na taniman ng tubo na dating pagmamay-ari ng Pamilyang Yulo. Kahit napasailalim na ito sa land reform, ibinenta pa rin ito sa Ayala Land Inc.
Nananawagan ang Amihan, ang pambansang pederasyon ng kababaihang pesante sa Commission on Human Rights ng agarang imbestigasyon sa insidente.
(Bidyo ng Kasama Timog Katagalugan-Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas)
“No cover-up could undermine this established political killing. Killing Ka Randy, a leader of Anakpawis and Philippine peasant movement, is clearly an act of state terrorism. This targetting of an unarmed civilian is also known as crime against humanity in the International Criminal Court. Ka Randy’s murder adds to the bloody criminal record of the Duterte regime.” — Zenaida Soriano, Chairperson, Amihan National
By JOHN AARON MARK MACARAEG
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. #
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)
“Isang dekada nang binibili ng NFA ng P17 kada kilo ang palay. Panahon na para taasan ang support price ng NFA at gawing P20 kada kilo.”–Zenaida Soriano, chairperson, Amihan
BACOLOD CITY — A councilor of the northern Negros Occidental city of Escalante, a lawyer who has longed worked with peasant and human rights groups, and a number of current and former leaders of activist groups were among more than 60 supposed communist rebels whose faces were printed on a police poster.
The National Federation of Sugar Workers issued an alert with a copy of the poster it said was being pinned up by the police force of the central Negros town of Moises Padilla.
The alert was released Monday, the same day human rights groups reported the arrest in Tarlac of Australian nun Patricia Fox, NDS, a volunteer with the Unyon ng mga Manggagawa sa Agrikultura, by Immigration officers.
At the top of the poster is the message, “CNN PERSONALITIES, if seen in the area, please text 09099191720.”
CNN is the acronym used by state security forces to refer to members of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front of the Philippines.
Among the legal personalities whose faces are on the poster are Karapatan-Negros secretary general Clarizza Singson, Zara Alvarez of the Negros Island Health Integrated Program, UMA secretary general John Lozande,NFSW secretary general Christian Tuayon, National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers-Negros secretary general Benjamin Ramos, Escalante Councilor Bernardino Patigas, Julius Dagatan, Ronald Evidente, Ma Rina Amacio, Rogina Quilop, Lary Ocena and Anecita Rojo.
A number of them are also included in the list of alleged rebels that forms part of the Department of Justice’s petition to have the CPP and NPA proscribed as “terrorist organizations.”
On the other hand, Amihan, the National Federation of Peasant Women, said Fox was arrested around 3 p.m. and is currently detained at the Bureau of Immigration’s intelligence bureau.
The group said the nun, who joined a recent international solidarity and fact-finding mission in Mindanao that was reported harassed and hounded by state forces, could be deported.
Fox’ arrest came a day after Giacomo Filibeck, deputy secretary-general of the Party of European Socialists, was barred from entering the country in Cebu, where he was scheduled to attend the congress of Akbayan.
Filibeck, who visited the country last year as a member of a human rights fact-finding mission that criticized the government’s bloody war on drugs, was informed he was on a blacklist order and deported.
The Peasant Movement of the Philippines led the commemoration of the 30th anniversary of Mendiola Massacre with a rally at the site of the bloody incident.
Families of the seven killed on January 22, 1987 called on President Rodrigo Duterte to reopen the investigation to give justice to the victims.