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PNP blocks Bicol farmers’ caravan

Hundreds of farmer-activists from Bicol complained of harassment when members of the Quezon Province police blocked their caravan on its way to Manila Sunday night.

The Provincial Public Safety Company-6th Maneuver Platoon of the Philippine National Police (PNP) blocked Lakbay Paraoma’s 28 buses, a jeep and a van at around 7:30 last night led by a certain Major Morillo in Barangay Talipan, Pagbilao in Quezon province.

Lakbay Paraoma is the Bicol Region contingent of the ongoing nationwide Lakbay Magsasaka to Metro Manila for a series of events demanding genuine agrarian reform.

In the convoy was the vehicle of Anakpawis Rep. Ariel Casilao who joined the peasant caravan from Bicol to Manila.

The PNP issued traffic violation tickets against the 28 caravan bus drivers who they alleged were not wearing seatbelts.

Two bus drivers signed the tickets and were fined PhP5,000 each while the others refused, saying they were wearing seatbelts.

Bus driver Dude Villareal admitted he was not wearing a seatbelt but insisted it was harassment to derail the caravan.

“We will continue to fight for the rights of the farmers. The PNP will always find ways, such as issuing bogus violations to silence the protesters,” Bert Author, chairperson of Kilusang Magbubukid ng Bicol (KMB-KMP), said.

While negotiations were ongoing, caravan participants cooked dinner and threatened to stage an impromptu rally should the PNP refused to let them through.

The PNP subsequently revoked the traffic violation citations, saying it was a mere misunderstanding, alternative media outfit Baretang Bikolnon reported.

The caravan arrived at Calamba, Laguna past midnight where they spent the rest of the night.

They will join the farmers from Mindanao at the protest camp-out at the Department of Agrarian Reform before their major protest rally at Mendiola on October 25. (Raymund B. Villanueva/With reports from and photo by Baretang Bikolnon)

‘To freely oppose fascist regime,’ Makabayan bolts House majority

To be able to freely oppose the “fascist Rodrigo Duterte regime,” the Makabayan bloc announced Thursday it is bolting from the majority coalition in the House of Representatives.

The group’s sitting representatives and other leaders said in a press conference said they will henceforth be an independent bloc in Congress.

“Today, we, seven party list representatives of the Makabayan Bloc, declare our separation from the Majority Coalition in the House of Representatives to intensify our opposition to the Duterte administration that has now fully unravelled as a fascist, pro-imperialist and anti-people regime,” Makabayan said.

Makabayan is composed of Bayan Muna, ACT Teachers, Anakpawis, Kabataan, and Gabriela Women’s parties.

The group said it joined the Majority last year after being encouraged by Duterte’s reformist and populist actions and pronouncements on a range of issues.

Makabayan cited Duterte’s promise to resume the peace talks with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP), release of political prisoners, ending of neo-colonial ties with the United States of America government, pursuing an independent foreign policy, addressing the roots of the Moro rebellion, ending labor contractualization, increasing government support to farmers, putting a stop to destructive mining practices, reducing income taxes of rank and file employees, and increasing social pensions, and prioritizing basic social services over infrastructure as among the reasons for entering the coalition.

“From the very start, we consistently opposed the Administration’s anti-people bills and policies to the point that we were stripped of our committee chairmanships due to our stand against the death penalty bill. Despite one disappointment after another, we persisted in the Majority in the hope that some socioeconomic and political reforms could be achieved, if not through Congress, then through the Government of Republic of the Philippines-NDFP peace talks,” the group explained.

Duterte has failed on his promises, Makabayan said.

“Worst of all, his ‘war on drugs’ has turned into a campaign of mass murder of the poor, for which he shows no signs of turning back,” the group said.

Earlier, Malacañan said it hoped Makabayan would keep it ties with the Duterte government.

“We hope the Makabayan bloc will stay with the administration and the House majority,” Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella said at a palace briefing last September 8.

Abella said the palace hoped the progressive solons would continue to work with the administration on certain issues, even if they decide dissociate themselves from the Duterte.

“However, if they do decide to go, we wish them well and we hope that they will remain open to working together with others on issues of shared interest,” Abella said.

Makabayan in its announcement today however said the die is cast.

“We shall fight the fascist US-Duterte regime and hold it accountable for its gross violations of human rights and the further oppression and impoverishment of our people,” the group said. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)

 

Farmers challenge Duterte anew on first year of Kidapawan carnage

Peasant groups from all over the Philippines and their supporters marched to Mendiola in commemoration the first anniversary of the shooting of protesting farmers in Kidapawan City last March 31.

Anakpawis Representative Ariel Casilao challenged President Rodrigo Duterte to show the same compassion to farmers killed by government troops as he usually does when visiting the wake of soldiers killed in encounters with the New People’s Army.

The groups also called for justice for all farmers killed under the Duterte government.

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Peasants commemorate 30th anniversary of Mendiola Massacre


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.

Ka Bel’s 83rd remembered; 2016 bets dared

Workers and government officials commemorated late labor movement icon and progressive legislator Crispin “Ka Bel” Beltran’s 83rd birth anniversary at Plaza Miranda in Manila on January 7, 2016. ILPS Philippines Chair Elmer Labog led the ceremonies supported by the City of Manila represented by Ms. Flordeliza Villaseñor. In his speech, Labog challenged 2016 national and local elections candidates to emulate genuine and pro-people leadership that Beltran exemplified all his life.

Ka Bel served as chairperson of the Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) and of the International League of Peoples’ Struggle (ILPS). He was KMU’s longest-serving leader and was cited as one of the country’s best legislators several times.

(Overlapping audio is from the Quiapo Church service across the plaza.)

Human rights raps in the Philippines

Human Rights Day 2015 in the Philippines with street protests on violations under a neocolonial regime. Speakers include torture victim Fr. Ben Alforque and KARAPATAN secretary-general Tinay Palabay. The International League of Peoples’ Struggle (ILPS) also demanded the release of Palestinian leader Khalida Jarrar and all political prisoners.

REPOST: BALSA National Relief Caravan for Samar and Leyte (with English subtitles)

Makabayan endorses Poe-Chiz tandem

Led by its candidate for the Senate Rep. Neri Colmenares, the Makabayan bloc formally endorsed Grace Poe and Chiz Escudero as
their presidential and vice presidential candidates, respectively, in the coming 2016 national elections.

The endorsement came after the ongoing Makabayan National Council meeting decided on Poe and Escudero as their official bets.

Here are excerpts of the official announcement at the Quezon City
Sports Club last November 5.

Big rally set for Aquino’s final SONA


Various groups and critics of the regime are preparing to mount another big rally on the sixth and final State of the Nation Address of President Benigno Aquino III on July 27. Carrying different issues and grievances, this year’s SONA rally will sum-up the more than five years of the Aquino regime.

“For Aquino, the SONA will be his way of trumpeting his so-called achievements to justify the continuation of the already discredited daang matuwid. It will be his last time to use the annual platform in an attempt to fool the public. For the people, Aquino’s final SONA is an event to raise the most pressing issues and hold the regime accountable,” said Bayan secretary general Renato M. Reyes, Jr.

“The President now seems to be more concerned with maneuvering for 2016 than in addressing the problems of the people. Aquino wants the people to forget his many crimes of corruption, puppetry, human rights violations, and all-around neglect of the poor. Aquino is busy finding ways for his party’s presidential bet to win in 2016 and thus protect him from prosecution when his term expires. For example, what kind of a president calls for a meeting on politics and 2016 in the middle of a storm?” Reyes added.

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