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NPA celebrates 51st anniversary with mass health campaign

The New People’s Army celebrated its 51st founding anniversary today, Sunday, March 29, by mobilizing its forces to fight the corona virus disease (Covid-19) pandemic, the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) said.

“In its message to the NPA, the CPP Central Committee directed the NPA to mark this day by reaffirming its pledge to serve the people by mobilizing its forces, together with the revolutionary mass organizations, in a public health campaign to prevent the spread of Covid-19.,” the CPP’s Information Bureau said in a statement.

The CPP directed the NPA, especially its medical units, to carry out the campaign in coordination with revolutionary village health committees to help contain the disease, give special attention to the elderly and pregnant women, help care those who have been infected and promote personal hygiene and community sanitation,” the statement reads.

A face mask serves as a precaution against the corona virus, a disguise, and a placard for this NPA fighter. (Photo by Nonoy Espina)

In addition, the CPP directed its members in the cities to carry out similar mass campaigns, while raising demands for mass testing and other public health measures.

“In fighting the Covid-19 pandemic, the Filipino people must draw lessons and inspiration from the victories and achievements they have accumulated through collective action,” the CPP said.

The CPP also pointed out that the Filipino must take action and resist what it calls “repressive measures” adopted by the Rodrigo Duterte government to control the spread of Covid-19.

It also urged Filipinos to “raise their call for the president’s ouster to make him answer for his criminal sabotage of the public health care system.”

The CPP called on the Filipino people to surmount the Covid-19 pandemic by acting as one, “as they have achieved numerous victories in their revolutionary struggle for national and social liberation.”

Celebration in Negros

In Negros Island, the Apolinario Gatmaitan Command (AGC) of the NPA today celebrated the guerrilla army’s anniversary with a program.

AGC-NPA spokesperon Juanito Magbanua. (Photo by Nonoy Espina)

The event was marked by the presence of AGC spokesperson Juanito Magbanua, one of the high profile guerrilla leaders in the island.

Speeches and a cultural program were presented during the celebration.

A New People’s Army guerrilla reads from “Ispading,” the Negros rebels’ cultural publication. (Photo by Nonoy Espina)

Both the NPA and the Duterte government are currently on ceasefire after each party declared their respective unilateral truce orders to allow both of their forces to respond to the Covid-19 emergency throughout the country. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)

A Red fighters walks past the makeshift “stage” in the NPA’s celebration of its 51st founding anniversary today in Negros Island. (Photo by Nonoy Espina)
NPA fighters in Negros Island celebrate their army’s 51st founding anniversary. (Photo by Nonoy Espina)

CPP orders nationwide ceasefire in response to UN’s appeal

The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) issued a unilateral nationwide ceasefire order to all commands and units of the New People’s Army (NPA) as well as the people’s militias Tuesday night, March 24.

The order, published on the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) website, says the ceasefire will take effect from 00:00 of Thursday, March 26 and ends on 23:59 of April 15.

The CPP said the order is upon the recommendation of the NDFP Negotiating Panel by way of direct response to the call of United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres for a global ceasefire between warring parties for the common purpose of fighting the corona virus disease (Covid-19) pandemic.

“As advised by the NDFP Chief Political Consultant [Jose Maria Sison] and relayed by the NDFP Negotiating Panel to the NDFP National Council, the broad masses of the people themselves need to refrain from launching tactical offensives to gain more time and opportunity to fight the Covid-19 pandemic and to look after the health and over-all welfare of the people in both urban and rural areas,” the order reads.

The underground party said the purpose of its unilateral ceasefire is to ensure and facilitate necessary, unhampered and immediate medical, health and economic assistance, support and movement of the people brought about by the exigencies of the current Covid-19 worldwide pandemic.

“This ceasefire is also a gesture towards national unity and based on humanitarian principles in the context of the serious public emergency to ensure the health, safety and welfare of all, the CPP said.

“This ceasefire order shall take effect immediately and is not dependent on the issuance of the Suspension of Military Operations (SOMO) and Suspension of Police Operations (SOPO) issued or to be issued by the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP),” the CPP said.

Not a reciprocal truce order

Earlier today, NDFP Negotiating Panel chairperson Fidel Agcaoili formally recommended to the NDFP National Council the declaration of a ceasefire, clarifying however that their truce order is not reciprocal to the GRP ceasefire declaration effective March 19 to April 15.

“As in the past, the [Rodrigo] Duterte government cannot be trusted in any mutual or unilateral ceasefire agreements, as the bombings of communities, harassment, abductions and killings perpetrated by its armed forces continue unabated. Thus, even while respecting and following the unilateral ceasefire order, the New People’s Army and the people’s militia must be alert and act in self-defense against any offensive by hostile forces,” Agcaoili said.

Agcaoili’s recommendation followed Sison’s advise that the NDFP Negotiating Panel may ask its principal, the NDFP National Council, to heed Guterres’ call for a global ceasefire.

Malacañan Palace for its part welcomed Sison’s advise for the NDFP forces to observe its own unilateral ceasefire amid the pandemic.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said Sison’s advise is “a positive development.”

“It is about time they join the collective efforts of the nation to fight the spread of the coronavirus,” Panelo told reporters.

The CPP however said that long before the GRP’s quarantine declarations and “repressive measures”, NDFP forces have been informing, training and mobilizing the people on how to fight the pandemic.

‘Active defense’

In its ceasefire declaration, the CPP ordered all NPA units and people’s militias to cease and desist from carrying out offensive military operations against the armed units and personnel of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), the Philippine National Police (PNP) and other paramilitary and armed groups attached to the GRP.

“All units of the NPA must be vigilant and be ready to act in self-defense against any tactical offensives or any hostile actions or movements contrary to the ceasefire order launched by any enemy force against the people and revolutionary forces in the guerrilla fronts of the people’s democratic government,” it warned.

The CPP further clarified that “active-defense” operations by the NPA shall be undertaken only in the face of clear and imminent danger and actual armed attack by hostile forces.

“All branches and committees of the CPP, units of the NPA and people’s militias and revolutionary mass organizations should closely monitor any hostile actions being carried out by the armed units and personnel of the GRP or of any act or omission inconsistent with the intent and purpose of this ceasefire. Such information should be reported to the concerned commands of the New People’s Army and leadership of the Communist Party of the Philippines,” it said.

The CPP said that with both the NDFP and the GRP declaring their unilateral ceasefire orders, the situation may potentially contribute “towards a positive atmosphere conducive to the eventual holding of informal talks preparatory to the formal meeting to resume the peace negotiations.”

Backchannel talks between GRP representatives and the NDFP Negotiating Panel have been ongoing since December last year.

The NDFP also urged the GRP to release all political prisoners and a general amnesty be issued “as a matter of justice and necessity.” # (Raymund B. Villanueva)

NDFP may respond to UN appeal for ceasefire, Joma advises

The National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) Negotiating Panel may recommend for a unilateral ceasefire declaration in response to the United Nation’s (UN) appeal for a global truce during the corona virus disease (Covid-19) pandemic, Jose Maria Sison said.

Sison said he is advising the NDFP peace panel to recommend to its principal, the NDFP National Council, the issuance of a unilateral ceasefire declaration by the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) to the New People’s Army (NPA) in response to UN secretary general Antonio Guterres’ call for a global ceasefire.

“The NDFP and the broad masses of the people themselves need to refrain from launching tactical offensives to gain more time and opportunity to fight the Covid-19 pandemic and to look after the health and over-all welfare of the people in both urban and rural areas,” Sison said.

“The world must know that long before the belated quarantine declarations and repressive measures of the GRP (Government of the Republic of the Philippines), the NDFP and the revolutionary forces have been informing, training and mobilizing the people on how to fight the pandemic,” he added.

Guterres called for an immediate global ceasefire in all corners of the world last Monday, March 23, saying it is time for humankind to put armed conflict on lockdown and focus together “on the true fight of our lives.” 

Guterres asked the warring parties to pull back from hostilities, silence the guns, stop the artillery and end the airstrikes. “This is crucial to help create corridors for life-saving aid, open windows for diplomacy and bring hope to places among the most vulnerable to #COVID19,” he said.

Sison said the UN’s appeal is what the revolutionary forces in the Philippines may respond to, instead of the “bogus unilateral ceasefire declaration of the GRP.”

He warned that reciprocating President Rodrigo Duterte’s ceasefire order may appear as “directly condoning and becoming complicit in the criminal culpabilities of the Duterte regime for allowing the Covid-19 to spread nationwide since January, for making no preparations against the pandemic and for making lockdowns on communities and yet failing to provide mass testing and treatment of the sick, food assistance and compensation for those prevented from work.”

The GRP declared a unilateral ceasefire against the CPP, the NPA, and the NDFP effective 00:00 hour of March 19 to 24:00 hours of April 15, Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo announced Wednesday evening, March 18.

Sison further advised that while the NPA can cease and desist from launching tactical offensives, it must be vigilant and be ready to act in self-defense against any tactical offensive launched by GRP military, police and paramilitary forces against its own guerrilla fronts.

He added that the GRP has persisted in launching tactical offensives and bombing of communities in the countryside as well as campaigns of red tagging, abductions and murder in the urban areas against civilians, justifying NDFP’s desistance from reciprocating Duterte’s ceasefire offer.

NDFP Negotiating Panel chairperson Fidel Agcaoili told Kodao that they shall submit their recommendation to their National Council soon. # (Raymund Villanueva)

ITANONG MO KAY PROF: COVID-19 at si Duterte

Panayam ng Kodao Productions kay Prof. Jose Maria Sison sa pamamagitan ni Prof. Sarah Raymundo ng BAYAN National hinggil sa COVID-19 at paano hinaharap ito ng pamahalaang Duterte.

______________________________________________________________________________

ITANONG MO KAY PROF

TOPIC: Covid-19

March 18, 2020

SARAH: 

Opening: Kamusta sa ating mga tagapakinig! Sana ay nananatili tayong ligtas at nasa maayos na disposisyon sa gitna ng krisis pangkalusugan na dala ng   bagong Corona Virus Disease na lumitaw noong 2019 o COVID-19. Sa mga nakaraang araw, nasaksihan at naranasan natin ang pagkadeklara ng COVID-19 bilang isang global pandemic, ibig sabihin ay kumakalat ito sa maraming bansa sa buong mundo. Isa sa mga dumagdag sa ating ligalig ay walang iba kundi ang naging tugon ng gobyernong Duterte rito.

Marami ang hindi naaabot ng ayuda ng gobyerno, o halos walang ayuda, matumal at hindi malinaw ang impormasyon hinggil sa COVID-19.  Minarapat natin dito sa Itanong Mo Kay Prof na makasama kayong muli lalong-lalo na ang ating mga mahal na tagapakinig sa kanayunan at maralitang lungsod, na nananatiling kumakayod sa harap ng COVID-19.

Hindi nga ba, kung hindi lumalabas at magtatrabaho, walang gobyernong Duterte ang susuporta sa gitna ng kinakaharap nating sakuna? 

Pag-uusapan at uunawain din natin ang nangyayari sa atin at sa buong mundo kasama na ang ilang mga hakbang na kaya nating pagtulungan. Kagaya ng lagi, kasama natin ang Chairperson Emeritus ng International League of Peoples’ Struggle at Chief Peace Consultant ng National Democratic Front of the Philippines si Professor Jose Maria Sison dito sa Itanong Mo Kay Prof. 

Kamusta sa inyo, Prof. Joma?!

JMS: Maalab na makabayang pagbati sa inyo Prop. Sarah Raymundo at sa lahat ng ating kababayan. 

Mga Tanong:

SR1: Prof Sison, ipaliwanag muna natin sa ating mga tagapakinig kung ano nga ba itong tinatawag na coronavirus o Covid-19.

JMS:  Ang Covid-19 ay isang tipo ng sakit sa anyo ng virus na lumitaw  sa Wuhan, China noong Disyembre 2019 at nailathala ito bilang epidemya sa Wuhan noong Enero 2020. Ang mga mayor na sintomas nito ay lagnat,  ubong tuyo, hiráp sa paghinga at bulós. Nauuwi ito sa pneumonia na puedeng humantong sa kamatayan para sa 2 hanggang 5 por syento sa mga nagkakasakit ng Covid-19 sa ibat ibang bansa. 

Mabilis makahawa ang virus na ito sa mga tao sa pamamagitan ng paghawak sa iba at paghawak sa hinawakan ng maysakit o may dala ng virus.  Pinakabulnerable ang matatanda at  dati nang  may sakit sa baga.  Madaling kumalat bilang epidemya sa isang bansa tulad sa Tsina kung saan nagsimula.

At dahil sa mga byaherong may dala ng sakit, kumalat na ang virus sa higit ng 160 countries at naging pandemya o epidemya sa maraming bansa. Ayon sa Worldometer noong Marso 18, 198, 739 na ang nagkasakit sa Covid-19, 107,971 ang recovered at 7,989 ang patay.   Kabilang sa mga bansang may pandemya ng Covid-19 ay Tsina, Italy, Iran, South Korea, España, Estados Unidos  at iba pa.

Unang nahalata ang virus sa Pilipinas noon pang Enero nang namatay sa virus na ito ang matandang lalake sa mag-asawang  turistang Tsino.  Nahawa pa ang ilang Pilipinong doktor na nag-asikaso sa kanila. Ayon sa Department of Health (DOH) noong Marso 18, 193 na ang  nagkasakit sa Covid-19, 14 ang namatay at 4 ang recovered sa kanila. Hindi tumpak ang mga bilang na ito dahil sa kumalat na ang sakit sa buong Pilipinas sa nakaraang dalawang buwan at kung kailan lamang nag-umpisa ang bilangan sa mangilan-ngilang lugar.

SR 2.: Marami na pong mga bansa ang apektado ng kumakalat na Covid-19. Sa panahong tinatalakay natin ito sa ating programa, 14 na ang namatay at 187 at positibo sa COVID-19. Lockdown ang naging tugon ng gobyernong Duterte. Enhanced Community Quarantine ang utos niya sa lahat ng residente hindi lang sa National Capital Region kundi sa buong Luzon. Ano po ba ang ibig sabihin ng Enhanced Community Quarantine? At ano po ang inyong masasabi dito, Prof. Sison?

JMS:  Kasalanan ni Duterte at kanyang buong rehimen na kumalat na ang Covid-19 sa buong Pilipinas, lampas sa  opisyal na sinasabing bilang ng nagkasakit sa virus.  Noong ikalawang linggo pa lang  ng Enero, may alerto na ng World Health Organization tungkol sa epidemya ng COVID-19 sa Wuhan, Tsina.  Pero pinayagan pa rin ni Duterte na  pumasok sa Pilipinas ang mga biyaherong mula sa Tsina, higit sa 14,000 mula Wuhan at kalahating milyon mula sa buong Tsina. Katwiran  niya na kailangan ang kita  mula sa mga turistang Tsino at sa  tinatawag na mga POGO o mga kasinong Tsino.

Militarista at pasistang katarantaduhan ang lockdown na ipinataw ni Duterte sa National Capital Region. 40,000 ang bilang ng militar at pulis na dineploy para harangin ang mga tao sa napakaraming checkpoint.  Sinisita ang bawat isa para magpresenta ng ID at kunwari may isang gumagamit ng thermal scanner sa noo ng napakaraming tao.  Ang masama pinagtitipon ang mga malusog at mga posibleng maysakit. Nagagambala ang hanapbuhay ng mga tao at lalong kakalat ang Covid-19 dahil pinaghahalo ang may dala ng sakit sa mga  walang  sakit.

Lalo pang masama ang Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) na sumasaklaw na sa buong Luzon. Ipinagbabawal  na ang mga tren, bus, jeepney, taxi, SUV, P2P bus at tricycle. Lalong hindi nakakarating ang mga tao sa trabaho nila. Lalong patay ang ekonomya, mga pagawaan at mga serbisyo. Ang pinakamasama ay hindi makarating sa mga ospital at klinika ang mga may sakit ng Covid-19 o anupamang seryosong sakit. Pati mga doktor, nars at medikal supply ay mahirap  o hindi makarating sa mga ospital, klinika o health center. 

Katarantaduhan ang panghaharang ng mga armadong alipuris ni Duterte sa malulusog na tao, mga health professional at mga maysakit.  Ginamit ang Covid-19 bilang dahilan para gambalain at takutin ang mga tao.  Mas masahol pa ang Duterte virus sa Corona virus. Sa totoo lamang, nakapatay na ng higt sa 30,000 ang Duterte virus magmula pa 2016. Kung paghambingin, kakarampot pa lang ang pinapatay ng Covid-19.

SR 3: Sa unang araw ng mga checkpoints na ginawa ng mga pulis at sundalo, lumikha ito ng mahabang pila at trapik. Marami ang nagalit dahil sa nahuli sa trabaho ang maraming commuters. Ano po kaya ang marapat talagang gawin para sa maraming nagtatrabaho sa Metro Manila mula sa mga kalapit na probinsya, Prof. Sison?

JMS:  Dapat medikal ang solusyon sa Covid-19, hindi militar.  Antemano dapat nagdeploy ng mga doktor, nars, health attendants, face masks, personal protection equipment, thermal scanner, testing kit, mga oxygen tank, mga gamot at mga bed space para sa mga pasyenteng nasa malubhang kondisyon sa mga quarantine centers sa antas ng mga komunidad.  At dapat libre ang testing at treatment. Nagawa ito sa Tsina, Vietnam , Cuba, Singapore, South Korea at iba pang bansa.

Sa gayon, naihihiwalay ang mga may sakit  at malayang magbiyahe ang mga malulusog para makapunta sa kanilang mga trabaho. Masama na pinagbabawalang magbiyahe ang malulusog. Mamamatay sila sa gutom dahil walang kita. At babagsak ang ekonomya.  Pinamakasama para sa mga may sakit na hindi sila makarating sa opspital, klinika o health center. O kaya ihinahalo sila sa mga walang sakit sa mga military at police checkpoints.

SR4: Ayon sa Alliance of Health Workers o AHW, kulang ang mga health workers at doktor ng mga tamang kagamitan para sa monitoring ng mga pasyenteng posibleng may Covid-19 . Face mask nga ay halos wala o tumatagal ng tatlong araw imbis na ilang oras na paggamit lamang sa isang araw. Dahil sa budget cut sa pangkalusugan kung bakit lalong gipit ang kalagayang ng mga health workers. Ano po ang inyong masasabi sa bagay na ito, Prof. Sison?

JMS: Totoo ang sabi ng  Alliance of Health Workers o AHW, kulang ang mga health workers at doktor,  mga tamang kagamitan para sa monitoring at testing ng mga pasyenteng posibleng may Covid-19. Pati face mask ay halos wala at kung mayroon, ginagamit ito nang maraming araw imbes na ilang oras lamang. Mas masahol pa ay walang sapat na public health workers at kagamitang panggamot sa mga positive sa COVID-19.

Ang ugat na dahilan kung bakit  walang preparasyon at sapat na mga tauhan at kagamitan sa public health ay ang military overspending at korupsyon ng rehimeng Duterte.  Kinaltasan nang malaki ang mga badyet ng Department of Health nang 14 bilyong piso,  gayundin  ang mga badyet sa public education at iba pang social service para mapalaki ang badyet para sa office of the president,  sa militar at mga kagamitan nila ,  sa intelligence at discretionary funds at  sa pork barrel ikinabubusog ng pamilya, mga kroni at mga kongresista ni Duterte.

SR5: Sa talumpati ni Pangulong Duterte, humihingi siya ng ceasefire sa New People’s Army. Ceasefire daw muna pareho habang hinaharap natin ang ganitong kalagayan. Ano po ang inyong opinyon sa kahilingan na ito ni Duterte, Prof. Sison?

JMS:  Mahirap maniwala na sinsero o seryoso siya sa paghingi ng ceasefire sa New People’s Army o NDFP. Kung kailan lamang nag-utos siya sa kanyang mga militar na tapusin ang NPA at kilusang revolusyonaryo bago matapos ang term niya sa 2022. At ‘yong deployment ng militar at pulis sa mga lungsod ay hindi naman para lutasin ang problema ng Covid-19 kundi supilin ang legal na demokratikong kilusan at para palakasin ang kanyang tiraniya at mapili niya ang kapalit kung malubha na ang sakit niya mismo.

Maniniwala ang NDFP na talagang gusto niya ang ceasefire na masasang-ayunan nito kapag itigil  ang pananalakay at panunipil sa mga legal na demokratikong pwersa sa mga lungsod at mga larangang gerilya ng demokratikong gobyerno ng mga manggagawa at magsasaka at palayain niya ang lahat ng bilanggong pulitikal sa pamamagitan ng general amnesty on humanitarian grounds tulad ng pagpalaya ng Iranian government sa mga gasampung libong political prisoner para hindi sila madali ng COVID-19 sa loob ng preso.

SR6: Sinabi rin ni Pangulong Duterte na pwedeng hulihin ng pulis ang sinumang lalabag sa panahon ng checkpoint. Ang sabi naman ni Atty Chel Diokno, hindi pwedeng hulihin ang taong gustong pumasok sa NCR para magtrabaho. Ano po ang inyong masasabi hinggil sa bagay na ito?

JMS:  Tama ang sabi  ni Atty Chel Diokno, hindi pwedeng hulihin ang taong gustong pumasok sa NCR para magtrabaho, magdala ng pagkain o sinumang may sakit  na dapat pumunta sa doktor para magpagamot.  Pananakot at pagmamalabís ang utos ni Duterte na arestuhin ang sinumang lalabag ng batas sa mga checkpoint. Natural na magalang ang karaniwang tao. Malisya ni Duterte ang kanyang ipinaparatang sa mga tao na basagulero sila, tulad niya.

SR7: Disyembre 2019 nang pumutok ang Covid-19 sa China. Pero ngayong Marso lang naalarma ang gobyerno matapos maitala ang mga naging biktima ng Covid-19. Meron po bang responsibilidad ang gobyerno sa pagkaantala ng paghahanda ng Pilipinas sa pagpasok ng Covid-19 sa bansa?

JMS: Tulad ng dati ko nang sinabi, malaking kasalanan or krimen ni Duterte at mga kasapakat niya sa rehimen ang pagkalat ng Covid-19 sa Pilipinas sa Enero pa lamang.  Pinapasok ang 14, 000 Tsino mula sa Wuhan at 500,000 mula sa kabuan ng Tsina. At walang ginawa ang rehimen para maglaan ng mga tauhang pangkalusugan, mga rekurso at kagamitin para agapan at pigilin ang pagkalat ng COVID-19. Prayoridad ng mga may kappangyarihan ang pangungurakot  ang pagpapabaya sa kalusugan at paglabag  sa mga karaptan at interes ng mga mamamayan.

SR8: Ano po ang inyong mensahe sa ating mga tagapakinig? Marami po sa ating mga kababayan ang tila hindi mapakali dahil hindi lamang ang Covid-19 ang kanilang inaalala, kundi ang pagkain sa mesa sa araw araw.

JMS: Dapat panagutin ang rehimeng Duterte sa pagpapasok at pagkakalat ng Covid-19 sa Pilipinas at  sa kawalan ng wastong patakararan at mobilisasyon ng mga tauhang pangkalusugan at mga mamamayan para labanan ang pandemya .  Kriminal na  kapabayaan ito  ni Duterte. Tuwirang kaugnay nito ang mga pangunahing interes ng  rehimeng Duterte sa  pagiging taksil sa bayan, tirano, berdugo, mandarambong at manggagantso.

Dapat ibayong patatagin ng sambayanang  Pilipino ang kanilang pagkakaisa at kapasyahan para wakasan ang rehimeng Duterte. Dapat kumilos pa nang may ibayong militansya para ihiwalay at ugain ang rehimeng ito mula sa pundasyon hanggang sa atip. Dapat ibayong  palakasin  ang mga makabayan at demokratikong pwersa para ibagsak ang rehimeng ito  sa lalong madaling panahon. At maisulong ang mga pwersang ito ng sambayanang Pilipino para sa ganap na independensiya, demokrasya, hustisya sosyal, lahatang panig na pag-unlad at makatarungang kapayapaan.

Sarah: Maraming salamat po Prof. Joma talagang kailangan natin, higit kailanman ang mensahe ng kritikal na pagsusuri sa sitwasyon, kabaligtaran ng “sumunod na lang kayo” na kalakaran ni Duterte. Mas mahalaga, ay ang mensaheng sama-sama nating aksyunan ang ating pagsusuri at napagkaisahan. 

JMS: Ako po’y nagpapaalam kay Prop Sarah Raymundo at sa lahat ng tagapakinig. Umaasa akong makasama kayo muli sa ating susunod na panayam.  Sa kritikal na kalagayan ng ating bayan, laging may malaking isyu na dapat pag-isipan, talakayin at aksyunan. Maasahan ninyong handa akong makipanayam tungkol sa anumang mahalagang isyu. Maraming salamat. Mabuhay kayo!

SARAH: Naririyan ang ating mga organizasyon na sa gitna ng panggigipit ng rehimen ay nakatayo pa rin at ibayong magpapakilos para sa ating mga pangangailangan sa kasalukuyan. 

Mag-organisa, magtiwala sa mga kasama, abutin ang mga pinakanangangailangan sa pamamagitan ng ating mga grupong pangsimbahan, asosasyon, pederasyon, unyon, at iba pang porma ng organisasyon. 

Maraming may pagtingin na lockdown o ang pag-kontrol sa kilos ng mga tao ang isa sa mga solüsyon para pababain ang pagtaas ng mga nahahawa at namamatay sa COVID-19. 

Pero kung tayo ay may isang sistemang buhos ang resources sa pampublikong kalusugan, may mga sapat at libreng testing kits, hospital beds, at maging mga hospital, kung pampublikong serbisyo ang prioridad sa budget ng gobyerno na galing sa ating buwis, makatutugon ang gobyerno sa pangangailangan ng mamamayan kasaba ng pagprotekta nito sa frontliners, mapapaisip din tayo ng mga mas marangal, makatao, risonable, epektibong solusyon bukod sa lockdown.

 Ang lilikha ng sistemang iyon ay walang iba kundi tayo. Kaya ang pagiging kritikal sa gobyerno sa panahong ito ay may layuning makaambag sa bagong sistemang tumutugon sa pangangailangan ng tao at hindi ganitong kumikitil sa laya at buhay ng sambayanan sa gitna ng pisang matiging krisis. 

Salamat sa inyong pakikinig! Ibayong pag-iingat, pangalagaan ang ating mga komunidad laban sa COVID-19 at sa pasistang rehimeng Duterte. Hanggang sa muli, ito si Sarah Raymundo, aktibista ng Bagong Alyansang Makabayan o BAYAN at guro ng Unibersidad ng Pilipinas-Diliman, kasama niyo at ni Prof Joma dito sa Itanong Mo Kay Prof! 

END.

NDFP says no need to rush into reciprocating Duterte’s unilateral ceasefire announcement

GENEVA, Switzerland—There is no clear basis for the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) to rush into reciprocating the government’s unilateral declaration of ceasefire, its chief political consultant Jose Maria Sison said.

In a statement, Sison said that while there is ongoing communication between the NDFP and Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) negotiating panels, there is yet no agreement for reciprocal unilateral ceasefires in regard to efforts in containing the corona virus disease (Covid-19) pandemic.

In asking for certain “considerations, requirements and modalities” for the NDFP to think about reciprocating GRP’s unilateral ceasefire announcement, Sison said there has to be clarifications.

He added that without such understanding, the ceasefire announcement by Malacañang Palace is “premature, if not insincere and false.”

President Duterte has decided to declare a unilateral ceasefire against the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), the New People’s Army (NPA), and the NDFP effective 00:00 hour of March 19 to 24:00 hours of April 15, Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo announced Wednesday evening in Manila.

According to Panelo, the President directed the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP), including the national defense as well as the interior and local government departments, to cease and desist from carrying out operations against the revolutionary forces.

Duterte last Monday publicly asked the underground communist groups for a ceasefire during the Covid-19 pandemic, promising to repay them “with a good heart in the coming days” if they agree.

Sison however said the NDFP is not assured and satisfied that the ceasefire announcement is based on national unity against Covid-19, the appropriate solution of the pandemic as a medical problem and the protection of the most vulnerable sectors of the population, including workers, health workers, those with any serious ailments and the political prisoners.

“Unless it receives sufficient assurances from the GRP, the NDFP will be inclined to think that the GRP unilateral ceasefire declaration is not sincere and is not intended to invite reciprocation by the NDFP but is meant to be a mere psywar (psychological warfare) trick,” Sison warned.

Sison pointed out that according to the people and their own forces in the Philippines, Duterte’s lack of sincerity in seeking a real ceasefire is manifested by the following”

  1. The militarist lockdown on the whole of Luzon is mean not to fight the Covid-19 pandemic but to intimidate the people, suppress democratic rights, commit human rights violations and prevent the working people from going to their workplaces, and immobilize even the health workers and people who wish to be tested and treated for Covid-19 and other serious ailments; and
  2. The AFP and the PNP continue to redtag, abduct and murder social activists, including human rights defenders, in urban areas and to unleash attacks against the people in the guerrilla fronts of the NPA.

The NDFP and the CPP earlier condemned the killing of senior cadre Julius Giron, his physician Lourdes Tan Torres and their aide last March 13 in Baguio City. Human rights activists also blamed the military for the abduction and killing of choreographer and activist Marlon Maldos last Tuesday, March 17, in De la Paz, Cortes in Bohol province.

Sison said that despite all the above, the NDFP continues to hope that Duterte orders the GRP negotiating panel come to clear terms with its counterpart “for the benefit of the people.”

“Promises of Duterte, such as doing a good turn from a good heart, can be believed only as they are realized promptly and according to a definite schedule,” he said. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)

Ceasefire ends ‘successfully’, but no extension

The reciprocal unilateral ceasefire agreement between the government and the communist rebels ended without further incident at midnight last night, but Jose Maria Sison thinks there is no reason to extend the truce at this point.

Sison, National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) chief political consultant, expressed disappointment that despite the ceasefire’s success, the Rodrigo Duterte government did not release a single political prisoner in the last two weeks to further bolster chances of resuming formal peace negotiations between the parties.

“There is no reason for the NDFP to recommend to the CPP (Communist Party of the Philippines) the extension of the ceasefire, especially because GRP did not release a single political prisoner who is sickly, elderly or NDFP consultant in the entire period of the ceasefire agreement,” Sison told Kodao in an online interview.

Sison said the holiday truce between the CPP and the government had been successful nationwide “despite some two incidents of self-defense by the New People’s Army (NPA) before the GRP (Government of the Republic of the Philippines) submitted its SOMO (Suspension of Military Operations) and SOPO (Suspension of Police Operations) to the NDFP belatedly on December 26.”

Sison was referring to the separate ambuscades undertaken by the NPA in Camarines Norte and Iloilo provinces that killed one police officer and injured several others on the morning of December 23 on the day the ceasefire agreement was supposed to take effect.

The Philippine National Police (PNP) admitted its troops were on combat operations on both occasions but claimed they were in the process of pulling out when waylaid by the communist guerrillas.

On the other hand, government soldiers belonging to the 401st Infantry Brigade of the Philippine Army “swarmed” a village in Bacuag, Surigao del Sur last December 30, causing the NPA to cancel its celebration of the CPP’s 51st founding anniversary and mass wedding of its members.

Sison said the troop movement was offensive, provocative to the NPA, disturbing to the community and was, therefore, a violation of the ceasefire.

Despite the general success of the nearly two-week truce, however, Sison revealed there is no further agreement between the two parties to extend the ceasefire agreement.

“Instead, what the NDFP is getting from the GRP side are the warmongering statements of AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines) and PNP officials announcing offensives and insisting on fake localized peace talks staged by AFP military officers for racketeering,” Sison said.

Sison was referring to the 9th Infantry Division-Philippine Army’s claim that 306 alleged NPA members surrendered last December 26 on the occasion of the CPP’s 51st founding anniversary that immediately backfired when netizens pointed out that photographs released by the Philippine Army purportedly showing the surrenderers were faked.

The AFP later admitted to the fakery.

Sources in the backchannel talks between government representatives and the NDFP said labor secretary Silvestre Bello III is expected in The Netherlands in the third week of the month for another “informal talk” aimed as preparatory to a formal meeting for the resumption of formal peace negotiations. # (Raymund B. Villanueva) 

Ceasefire finally on; NDFP receives GRP’s truce orders

The Philippine government has finally transmitted its ceasefire orders to the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) Negotiating Panel the group said paves the way for the unilateral and reciprocal ceasefires to “proceed effectively.”

In an announcement, NDFP chief negotiator Fidel Agcaoili said they received copies of Suspension of Offensive Military Operations (SOMO) and Suspension of Offensive Police Operations (SOPO) from the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) at 8:54 a.m. Thursday, December 26, at their office in The Netherlands. (3:54 p.m., Philippine time.)

“We hope that from hereon the unilateral and reciprocal ceasefires declared by the two Parties shall proceed effectively,” Agcaoili said.

Agcaoili said former GRP chief negotiator Silvestre Bello III sent the documents. 

The NDFP chief negotiator said the SOMO, dated December 24, was issued by Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief of staff Noel Clement while the SOPO, dated December 22, was issued by Philippine National Police (PNP) officer in charge Archie Gamboa.

Both documents comply with a memorandum issued by Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) secretary Eduardo Año, Agcaoili added.

Last December 22, Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo announced that GRP President Rodrigo Duterte has ordered the AFP, PNP, DILG and the Department of National Defense to issue the government’s truce orders.

On the same day, the Communist Party of the Philippines has issued its truce order, a day ahead of the scheduled start of the ceasefire agreement last December 23, Monday.

Earlier, questions were raised whether government military and police forces would abide by their commander in chief’s directive as combat operations were reported to have been conducted as late as December 23.

Ninth Infantry Division-Philippine Army public affairs chief Major Ricky Aguilar told reporters Monday that a platoon of government soldiers on combat patrol was ambushed by New People’s Army (NPA) fighters in Labo, Camarines Norte.

A government trooper was killed while six others were injured by an improvised explosive device as the soldiers were pulling out from Barangay Paat at about 9:20 a.m., Aguilar said.

Also last Monday, PNP’s Gamboa accused the NPA of staging an ambush against the Iloilo Mobile Force Company that injured two police officers in Tubugan town, Iloilo Province.

NDFP chief political consultant Jose Maria Sison said that both incidents were not violations of the ceasefire agreement as the GRP has yet to issue its truce orders at the time.

The ceasefire would be in effect only after both parties have issued their respective truce orders, the December 21 NDFP-GRP Joint Statement signed in Utrecht, The Netherlands reads.

As to GRP’s transmittal of its truce orders, Sison said there is no more problem about continuing the CPP ceasefire order to the NPA.

“The best thing to do is cool down and proceed with the reciprocal ceasefires and let them generate goodwill and confidence in preparation for the resumption of the peace negotiations,” Sison added.

The holiday truce shall be in effect until January 7. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)

Joma frustrated with Duterte’s postponement of talks

While National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) chief negotiator Fidel Agcaoili was diplomatic in expressing his disappointment, Jose Maria Sison expressed outright frustration over President Rodrigo Duterte’s postponement of the resumption of formal talks.

READ: Duterte postpones resumption of formal GRP-NDFP talks

In a statement after the Government of the Republic of the Philippines’s (GRP) Thursday, Sison said it is both disappointing and frustrating Duterte has unilaterally cancelled the scheduled start of the stand-down ceasefire on June 21 and the resumption of formal talks in the peace negotiations in Oslo a week later on June 28.

“The written agreements pertaining to the aforesaid scheduled events have been signed by no less than the respective chairpersons of the GRP and the NDFP negotiating panels, DOLE (Department of Labor and Employment) Secretary Silvestre Bello and Fidel V. Agcaoili, and witnessed by the Royal Norwegian special envoy Ambasador Idun Tevdt on June 9,” Sison said.

In a press briefing in Malacañan Thursday, Dureza said the initial timeline both parties worked on had to be “necessarily adjusted” after Duterte instructed to government panel to “engage the bigger peace table, the general public.”

“Our peace efforts to succeed should have good support from the general public. Hence, it is necessary that all efforts must be exerted first to inform then engage them in the same way that the government engages the rebels in addressing the root causes of conflict,” Dureza explained.

Dureza’s announcement came after Duterte has said in his Independence Day speech last June 12 the talks shall happen sometime in mid-July, which Agcaoili suspects the GRP President has already decided upon even before meeting the GRP peace panel Wednesday.

In light of Duterte’s order to his negotiators to consult the wider public, Sison challenged the NDFP and GRP panels to divulge the results of four backchannel talks since March.

“I urge the two negotiating panels to release to the public and to the press the written and signed agreements of June 9 and 10 signed by the chairmen of the GRP and NDFP negotiating panels and by the members of their respective special teams,” he said.

Sison said the President’s unilateral decision makes it starkly clear that the GRP under Duterte is not interested in serious peace negotiations with the NDFP

“It is interested vainly in obtaining the NDFP capitulation under the guise of an indefinite ceasefire agreements and breaking the provision in the GRP-NDFP Joint Agreement on the Security and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG) which requires formal negotiations in a foreign neutral venue and therefore putting the negotiations under the control and under duress of an emerging fascist dictatorship and its armed minions,” Sison said.

“Because the GRP under Duterte is obviously not interested in serious peace negotiations, the revolutionary forces and the people have no choice but to single-mindedly wage people’s war to achieve the national and social liberation of the Filipino people,” he added. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)

GRP-NDFP’s week-long ‘stand down’ agreement to start June 21

The “stand down” agreement between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) shall start on June 21, one week before the resumption of formal talks in Oslo on June 28.

NDFP chief political consultant Jose Maria Sison confirmed to Kodao that the stand down ceasefire was agreed upon by the two parties in writing during their successful backchannel talks in The Netherlands last June 5 to 10.

Sison said the thrice-cancelled fifth round of formal talks shall push through on June 28 to 30, contrary to GRP President Rodrigo Duterte’s latest statement that the negotiations would resume sometime in mid-July.

Kodao earlier learned from government sources that the backchannel talks pushed through last week on the strength of the GRP’s efforts to allow NDFP panel member Benito Tiamzon and other consultants to travel to Europe for the negotiations.

Vicente Ladlad, Randall Echanis, Edilberto Silva, Allan Jazmines and Rafael Baylosis, are also due to join the NDFP panel in Europe for the negotiations.

Baylosis was arrested last February on charges of illegal possession of firearms and explosives and is jailed at Camp Bagong Diwa. He denied the charges, saying the so-called evidences were planted by the military and police.

Tiamzon, Ladlad, Echanis, Silva and Jazmines were also under threat of arrest when their bail bonds were cancelled and were named in a GRP petition proscribing the Communist Party of the Philippines and the New People’s Army (NPA) as terrorist organizations following Duterte’s third cancellation of the fifth round of talks last November.

NDFP chief negotiator Fidel Agcaoili for his part said he thinks Duterte has yet to be briefed by the GRP panel on the results of the informal talks last June 5 to 10.

“In fact, we were informed that the members of the GRP Panel who attended the informal talks have a scheduled meeting with him on Wednesday, June 13,” Agcaoili told Kodao.

“So he (Duterte) would know only tomorrow that the two sides have agreed to hold the resumption of formal talks on 28-30 June in Oslo and to make a joint announcement of a stand down of their forces a week before the resumption or on 21 June in Manila,” he said.

Agcaoili added it is clear to both parties and the Third Party Facilitator, the Royal Norwegian Government, that the announcement of the stand down depends on the date of the resumption and shall be effective for no longer than one week.

The NDFP earlier said a stand down ceasefire agreement means that both the NPA on their side and the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police on the GRP side are to cease conducting offensive military operations to pave the way for the signing of an interim peace agreement.

The interim peace agreement is expected to be signed by the GRP and the NDFP during the fifth round of formal talks and shall consist of a coordinated unilateral ceasefire, general amnesty for more than 500 NDFP-listed political prisoners, and agrarian reform and rural development as well as national industrialization and economic development agreements.

Both parties have said the social and economic reform negotiations are the most important parts of the peace negotiations. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)

CASER may be approved by July or August—Joma

Jose Maria Sison said a Comprehensive Agreement on Social and Economic Reforms (CASER) may be approved between the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) and the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) in about two months.

In response to yet another assurance from GRP President Rodrigo Duterte for his safety should he come home to the Philippines, Sison said both parties are a few weeks away from completing the most substantial of issues in the peace negotiations.

“For sure I shall return to the Philippines after the signing of the interim peace agreement, which is already being prepared for June, and the subsequent mutual approval of the comprehensive agreement on social and economic reforms by the GRP and NDFP either in July or August,” Sison said.

The NDFP and the GRP are set to meet in June in Oslo, Norway for the resumption of the fifth round of formal talks that has been cancelled by Duterte three times in the past 12 months.

The parties are reportedly set to sign an interim peace accord via a coordinated unilateral ceasefire agreement as well as a general amnesty proclamation for NDFP-listed political prisoners and the signing of the agrarian reform and rural development and national industrialization and economic development components of the CASER in late June.

Earlier, Duterte again assured Sison he will not be assassinated should he decide to come home for a face-to-face meeting between them.

“Walang [Benigno] Aquino style na patayan na barilin ko sa likod. (There will be no Aquino-style assassination where I’ll shoot someone at the back). It’s not my [style],” Duterte said Wednesday in a speech in Manila.

Aquino was assassinated on August 21, 1983 upon landing at the Manila International Airport after years of exile in the United States of America.

“I welcome the assurance of safety by President Duterte. It is much better that there is such an assurance,” Sison said in reply.

“The most important thing is that we can dialogue and agree on how best we can serve the interest of the Filipino people, especially the toiling masses of workers and peasants through the peace negotiations and cooperation under the principles of national sovereignty, democracy and social justice,” Sison added. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)