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LODI: ‘Imee as guest of honor degrades Cry of Pugadlawin’

A group of artists and writers slammed the choice of Ilocos Norte Governor Maria Imelda Josefa “Imee” Marcos as guest of honor at the 122nd anniversary of the Cry of Pugadlawin in Barangay Bahay Toro Thursday, August 23.

The Let’s Organize for Democracy and Integrity (LODI) asked what was a daughter of a dictator doing in an event that supposedly celebrates the people’s heroism as when Andres Bonifacio and the Katipunan tore their “cedulas” to signal the start of country’s revolution against Spanish colonialism.

“Her presence in Pugad Lawin is a desecration of the sacred grounds where Andres Bonifacio once stood with the revolutionaries to proclaim their independence. Once more, it diminishes our collective efforts to fight for justice and emancipation from greed and avarice,” LODI said.

“She is not only the daughter of the dictator. She herself has blood in her hands,” LODI said in the statement, recalling college student Archimedes Trajano who was alleged to have been tortured and killed by Imee’s bodyguards when he dared ask her pointed questions in 1977.

LODI also said Imee is reportedly the owner of the production house that produced many a social media content debunking the people’s victory in EDSA and reducing the people’s anti fascist struggle to a Marcos vs Aquino narrative.

In her speech at the event, Governor Marcos paid homage to the revolution against Spanish colonization and the heroes that fought for freedom of the Philippines.

She also challenged the audience to look past beyond personal interests and serve the country wholeheartedly.

Ang Pugad Lawin ay historical hindi lamang sa himagsikan kundi historical pa rin noong sunod-sunod na EDSA People Power Revolution,” Gov. Marcos said. (Pugad Lawin is historical not only because of the uprising, but historical also because of the successive EDSA People Power Revolution.)

A source told Kodao that Marcos represented President Rodrigo Duterte who could not attend as he is in Davao City for the 12th anniversary celebration of the Eastern Mindanao Command of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

Ilocos Norte Governor Imee Marcos’ wreath laying at the Pugadlawin Shrine thursday, August 23 (Photo by QC PAISO)

Quezon City Vice Mayor Josefina “Joy” Belmonte led the anniversary rites in behalf of the city.

Belmonte was the daughter of the late Betty Go-Belmonte who was a prominent figure in the struggle against the Marcos dictatorship.

LODI accused the governor of wanting to run for a Senate seat, thus her current public visibility.

The group said the people cannot and should not allow another Marcos in the Senate.

“We urge Filipinos to remain vigilant and oppose any attempts by the family of the thieving dictator to rule the nation once more,” LODI said. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)

‘Hindi krimen ang lumaban’

“Hindi krimen ang lumaban. Ang tunay na krimen, mga kababayan, ay ‘yong nag=aasta lang diktador na lahat ng sabihin mo ay itinuturing na batas. Walang pakialam sa rule of law. Walang pakialam sa due process.”—Rep. Sarah Elago, Kabataan Partylist

Marcos all over again, women journalists on Women’s Day say

History is repeating itself, Filipino women journalists said at a forum on the role of women in Philippine media at the University of the Philippines last Thursday, International Working Women’s Day.

Eminent women journalists likened the Rodrigo Duterte government to Ferdinand Marcos’s martial law for its many attacks against press freedom at the Women Talk Back: We are not All Vagina forum at the College of Mass Communication Auditorium.

“The media may seem free but many are afraid. There is a chilling effect,” broadcast journalist Ces Oreña-Drilon said.

The Duterte government has been condemned for its attacks against critical media outfits such as the Philippine Daily Inquirer, ABS-CBN, Rappler, Catholic Media Network, Kodao, among others.

Duterte himself has been criticized for his rants and threats against journalists and catcalling broadcaster Mariz Umali on live television.

Broadcaster Kara David for her part criticized Malacañan Palace’s statement that people should look beyond Duterte’s jokes and instead look at his pro-women record as Davao City mayor.

David said that while Davao City has pro-women programs, it still does not look good to see a leader who constantly makes derogatory jokes and sexist remarks.

“These impacts big against women,” she said, adding Duterte should be kicked out if he were a student.

Veteran journalists, Jo-Ann Maglipon, Ma. Ceres P. Doyo, Cheche Lazaro, Melinda de Jesus, Chuchay Fernandez, Malu Mangahas and National Union of Journalists of the Philippines acting chairperson Jo Clemente were resource persons at the forum.

Recalling her experiences under the Marcos dictatorship, Lazaro said history is repeating itself under the Duterte government. # (Report and photo by Maricon Montajes)

Duterte’s Scheme of Fascist Dictatorship

By Prof. Jose Ma. Sison/Telesur

By his pseudo-independent foreign policy, Duterte is trying to turn the Philippines into a condominium of the imperialist powers.

The Negotiating Panels of the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) were poised to hold the fifth round of formal peace talks in Oslo when GRP President Duterte went into a daily series of anti-communist rants from November 18, 2017 onwards and subsequently issued Proclamation 360 to terminate the peace negotiations with the NDFP and Proclamation 374 to designate the Communist of the Party of the Philippines (CPP), New People´s Army (NPA), their suspected supporters and financiers as “terrorist.”

Ironically, the two negotiating panels were about to make the biggest advance in the peace process by finalizing and initialing the drafts of the general amnesty to release all the political prisoners listed by the NDFP, Part I Agrarian Reform and Rural Development and Part II National Industrialization and Economic Development of the Comprehensive Agreement on Social and Economic Reforms (CASER) and the Coordinated Unilateral Ceasefires (as prelude to a bilateral ceasefire agreement).

The panels expected that within the first quarter of 2018 CASER would be ready for signing by the principals and the Comprehensive Agreement on Political and Constitutional Reforms (CAPCR) would be negotiated and forged in coordination with the processes of the GRP Congress in revising the 1987 Constitution and possibly arriving at a consensus of all major political forces on what ought to be a federal system of government. But obviously Duterte had all along wished to preempt and exclude the NDFP from what is now coming to light as his scheme of fascist dictatorship under the pretense of federalism.

Duterte had allowed his panel to engage the NDFP panel in back channel consultations in October 2017 in Utrecht and in subpanel bilateral meetings in Manila from September to November 2017 to complete the aforesaid drafts for panel-to-panel processing until he abruptly changed his mind and terminated the peace negotiations. The somersault followed his extended conversations with U.S. President Trump who supposedly assured him of political and military support for a plan to crack down on the CPP and NPA and finish them off before the end of 2018.

Termination of Peace Negotiations Necessary for Duterte Fascist Dictatorship

Although the plan is overambitious and quite impossible to achieve, it is necessary for Duterte to terminate the peace negotiations and slander the CPP and NPA by labeling them as ”terrorists” to pave the way for further extension of martial law in Mindanao for the whole year of 2018 and the eventual nationwide expansion of martial law directed against the CPP and NPA. This is in line with Duterte´s scheme of imposing his fascist dictatorship on the Philippines.

Even before the first extension of the proclamation of martial law in Mindanao could lapse at the end of 2017, Duterte boasted that he had defeated the Dawlah Islamiyah (Maute and Abu Sayyaf groups) in Marawi City and therefore he had basically no more need for martial law in Mindanao. But he found in the extension of the martial law proclamation a device for including the CPP and NPA as targets in a further extension to the whole of 2018 through the expediency of terminating the peace negotiations and accusing the CPP and NPA of escalating violence and endangering public safety.

Duterte was quite confident of getting the further extension of martial law in Mindanao because of his “supermajority” in his rubber-stamp Congress. He also has a steady majority of at least eight of the justices in the Supreme Court (four are his own recent appointees and five are appointees of Gloria Macapagal Arroyo) to uphold his martial law proclamation in the same way that they have been able to dismiss the plunder case against Arroyo and allow the burial of Marcos in the Libingan ng mga Bayani due to Duterte´s super-corrupt alliance with the Luzon-based dynasties of Marcos, Arroyo, Estrada and other notorious plunderers..

Duterte is hell-bent on realizing his scheme to reimpose a fascist dictatorship on the Filipino people by revising and in effect scrapping the 1987 Constitution under the pretext of adopting a federal system of government. The trick is similar to that of Marcos in pretending to opt for a parliamentary form of government in order to scrap the 1935 Constitution and install a fascist dictatorship under the cover of transitory provisions.

Federalism As Pretext for Imposing Duterte Fascist Dictatorship on the People

Duterte is not really keen on establishing a federal system of government but on actually installing a highly centralized unitary kind of a presidential dictatorship on top of regional governments run by dynasties, including warlords and the most corrupt bureaucrat capitalists like himself. The big comprador-landlord state servile to foreign monopoly capitalism will  remain intact under his scheme.

To satisfy his appetite for autocratic power, Duterte finds it absolutely necessary to use martial law nationwide in a hysterical and futile attempt to intimidate and suppress the armed revolutionary movement, dissent and opposition in general. The suspension of the writ of habeas corpus provides an effective cover and license for abducting, dispossessing, torturing and murdering  revolutionaries and all  people who oppose him. Even now, he cannot wait for a court to approve his designation of the CPP and NPA as “terrorists.” He has repeatedly called on his military minions to kill them upon sight.

The Bicameral Resolution No. 8 with the title “Constituting the Senate and the House of Representatives,” of the 17th Congress, into a “Constituent Assembly by Adopting a Federal Form of Government and for Other Purposes” is already on the rails and will be railroaded when congressional sessions resume in January 2018. Duterte and his cohorts will be the sole determinant of the content of the pseudo-federal charter. The charter is already slated for ratification during the May 18 barangay elections. The Kilusang Pagbabago, the Duterte troll army and the pro-Duterte hacks in print and electronic media are all arranged to rah-rah the ratification.

Even before Duterte is able to get a new constitution for his despotic purposes, the Filipino people have become familiar with his propensity for mass murder and deception in Oplan Tokhang. Combine this with the suspension of the writ of habeas corpus under martial law and you can expect a far bigger catastrophe than the Marcos fascist dictatorship in terms of of murder and mayhem.

In the absence of any revolutionary social transformation,  the country will be getting more of the same ruling families of big compradors, landlords and bureaucrat capitalists at  all levels of government. Corruption will continue to run rampant on top of excessive expenditures for establishing and elaborating on the regional level of government. The U.S. and other multinational firms will continue to plunder and ravage the human and natural resources of the Philippines.

To get the blessings of the U.S. and other imperialist powers, the new pseudo-federal constitution will get rid of the nationality requirements or restrictions on foreign investments in violation of economic sovereignty and national patrimony by simply inserting the phrase, “unless otherwise provided by law.”  Precious limited resources for economic development, at best through centralized and regional planning, will be dissipated by profit remittances and capital repatriation by foreign monopoly firms, bureaucratic corruption and rising bureaucratic and military and police personnel for the central and regional levels of government.

The ever worsening crisis of the semicolonial and semifeudal ruling system will continue to result in the divisiveness of the reactionary classes, the intensification of the anti-imperialist and class struggle, the further rise of the armed revolutionary  movement, dissatisfaction of indigenous peoples and national minorities and  stronger currents of separatism among the Bangsamoro.

 Surpassing Marcos as Best Recruiter and Supplier of the Armed Revolution

Duterte is bound to surpass Marcos as the best recruiter and supply officer of the armed revolution, as the unwitting wrecker of his own regime and ruling system and as provider of an ever more fertile ground for the growth of the people´s democratic revolution through people´s war. However, Duterte does not have as many years left as Marcos had when he imposed fascist dictatorship in 1972.  His aberrant speech and behavior reveal the state of his mental and physical health.

His propensity to monopolize political power and bureaucratic loot  and his ability to run the reactionary government Mafia style will eventually work against him due to his own personal and class infirmities and more importantly due to the systemic crisis and lethal blows from the revolutionary movement and the people. The adverse results of his broken promises will soon bear heavily upon him. The broad masses of the people are already taking him to task for failing to solve the problem of illegal drugs, for destroying the entire Marawi City and for terminating the peace negotiations with the NDFP.

By his pseudo-independent foreign policy, Duterte is trying to turn the Philippines into a condominium of the imperialist powers. He thinks as if he can freely get, without strings attached, military equipment from these powers and limitless loans for limitless infrastructure building to buoy up the economy and keep himself in power. He has in fact allowed China to trample on the sovereign rights of the Philippines over the West Philippine Sea under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.

He is aggravating the semicolonial status of the Philippines as well as the underdeveloped, agrarian and semifeudal character of the economy.
This kind of economy is ever dependent on the export of cheap raw materials, semimanufactures and cheap labor, on the import of foreign manufactures for consumption and on an ever desperate resort to increasing amounts of foreign loans and speculative capital and to higher taxation to cover trade and budgetary deficits.

The broad masses of the people are angered today by the recently railroaded Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN). This further raises the prices of basic goods and services and generates inflation by increasing indirect taxes (excise, sales and value-added taxes) just to cover tax cuts and tax holidays for the upper classes and fund the counterproductive spending and debt servicing by the state. The rates of unemployment and inflation, though understated in official statistics, are actually causing more poverty and misery on a wider scale.

Contrary to the assurances of his neoliberal economic advisers, Duterte cannot be saved by any increase in the GDP growth rate. The higher the growth rate, the bigger the take of the multinational firms, the big compradors and bureaucrat capitalists and the more severe the conditions of underdevelopment, mass unemployment and poverty afflicting the broad masses of the people. In the final analysis, the big problem for the U.S.-directed Duterte regime is that the oppressed and exploited people have an armed revolutionary movement for undertaking meaningful change in terms of national and social liberation.

LakbayMagsasaka reaches Mendiola; peasants vow to ‘occupy’ more land

Thousands of farmers from all over the country marched to Mendiola today at the culmination of their month-long Lakbay Magsasaka national peasant caravan and vowing to defeat the Rodrigo Duterte government’s “fascism”.

About 5,000 farmers, many of whom earlier joined the Lakbayan ng Visayas ang Lakbay Paraoma in Bicol arrived at the National Capital Region Monday to demand genuine land reform and an end to the killings of peasants.

“Today, the Filipino peasant masses vow to further our struggle for genuine land reform through more vigorous land occupation and collective cultivation. Our campaign to dismantle land monopoly, haciendas and plantations will continue and expand on a nationwide scale,” Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) secretary general Antonio Flores said.

The nationwide peasant caravans culminate today in a major mobilization at Mendiola, delivering a strong message to President Duterte against the government’s fascism.

“To the madman in Malacanang, we tell you this: you will never win against the Filipino people. The wars that you launched against us–Oplan Tokhang, Oplan Kapayapaan and martial law in Mindanao—will all fail. Your regime will soon be exposed as one that is fragile, unstable and easy to overthrow,” Flores said.

KMP said 91 farmer leaders and members of peasant organizations have been summarily killed under the 15-month old Duterte government.

“The ultimate sacrifice of the 91 farmers and land reform advocates who were killed in the name of their struggle for land will not be in vain. We demand justice for all the victims of peasant political killings and extrajudicial killings,” Flores said.

The KMP said its collective cultivation campaign has already covered of thousands of hectares outside of the government’s land reform program, noting farmers are already tilling Lupang Kapdula, Lupang Ramos, Hacienda Roxas, Hacienda Luisita, Hacienda Peralta, Hacienda Larrazabal, Hacienda Manubay, Hacienda Uy, Hacienda Dolores, Hacienda Gancayco, Hacienda Yulo and other medium to big landholdings across the country.

“We enjoin all landless farmers and farm workers to occupy and till abandoned lands and properties. A DAR (Department of Agrarian Reform)-sponsored land reform would never work for us. We must assert our own genuine agrarian reform program,” Flores said.

“We will continue to assert genuine land reform, one hectare at a time. We will persevere in our land cultivation activities to achieve a self-sustaining agricultural production that will lay the foundations for genuine rural development,” he added.

Duterte effigy “Dut-in-Boot” being rolled to Mendiola to be burned by participants of Lakbay Magsasaka. (Photo by Kathy Yamzon)

KMP said organized peasants will defeat Duterte’s tyranny through their collective struggle for genuine land reform and resistance to militarization and state-sponsored political killings.

Farmers and peasant leaders from Central Luzon, Cordillera, Southern Luzon, Central and Eastern Visays, Negros, Northern Mindanao, Southern Mindanao and Western Mindanao participated in the Lakbayan who will lead in the burning of another Duterte’s effigy called “Duts-In-Boot.”

KMP said similar protest actions are taking place in the cities of Iloilo, Tandag, Butuan, Surigao, Davao, Bacolod, Tuguegarao and Cebu. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)  

Throng fills Rizal Park for anti-tyranny rally

Speeches, songs and poems filled the air last night at Rizal Park as tens of thousands of protesters condemned extra judicial killings and tyranny on the 45th anniversary of Ferdinand Marcos’ declaration of martial law.

The mass protest rally at Rizal Park in Manila, one of several across the country led by the Movement Against Tyranny, is yet another huge event opposing to Pres. Duterte’s own declaration of martial law in Mindanao, the spate of extra-judicial killings (EJKs), the bombing of Marawi and the militarization of indigenous peoples’ communities.

Music by Bituin Escalante (“Sa Ugoy ng Duyan”), Tubaw (“Kapayapaan”) and Buklod (“Tatsulok”).

Anti-tyranny rallies gather tens of thousands across the country and abroad

The Rodrigo Duterte government received the biggest public condemnation yet of widespread human rights violations in the country as tens of thousands across the Philippines and abroad took to the streets Thursday to protest extrajudicial killings and tyranny.

At least 30,000 protesters braved a downpour midway through the Rizal Park protest in Manila as speakers and artists took turns in condemning Duterte’s drug war and “undemocratic government.”

Earlier, at least 20,000 activists joined 3,000 members of various national minority groups in a protest action in Mendiola that ended the three-week Lakbayan ng Moro at Pambansang Minorya 2017.

Rody’s Cube was the second Duterte effigy to be burnt by the activists. (Photo by Kathy Yamzon)

They burned another Duterte effigy dubbed Rody’s Cube showing the various faces of Duterte as a US puppet, Hitler and Marcos before marching to Rizal Park for the main event.

In her speech before the Rizal Park crowd, Movement Against Tyranny convenor Mo. Mary John Mananzan, OSB said she is heartened by the many young people who attended.

Former Bayan Muna Representative Neri Colmenares likened Duterte’s style of governance to the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos who he said was quick to send opposition to jail.

“The Filipino people should never allow martial law to be imposed again on the entire country,” Colmenares said.

An evacuee from besieged Marawi City demands an end to the aerial bombing of their homes. (Photo by R. Villanueva)

The Rizal Park crowd occupied Roxas Boulevard from Padre Burgos Drive to TM Kalaw Avenue.

In Bicol, 13,000 protesters held simultaneous rallies in Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur, Catanduanes, Masbate, Albay and Sorsogon, Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan)-Bicol reported.

Thousands also held protest actions in cities across the country, including Baguio, Vigan, Tacloban, Iloilo, Cagayan de Oro, Iligan, Cebu, Butuan, Tandag, Davao and others.

In Hong Kong, members of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan held a protest rally in front of the Philippine Consulate in the city.

“We (migrant workers) did our part in resisting the old tyrant. We shall do our part in resisting the rising tyranny of the Duterte government. We say no to Duter-tyranny!” Bayan-Hong Kong chairperson Eman Villanueva said in a statement.

A picket protest was also held in The Netherlands as Migrante-Europe members read their statement of condemnation before officials of the Philippine Embassy at The Hague.

Saying it with a placard and shouting it too, (Photo by R. Villanueva)

In Tago, Surigao del Sur, 36th Infantry Battallion-Philippine Army elements held about 400 Tandag rally participants until rescued by United Church of Christ in the Philippines Bishop Modesto Villasanta.

Another Philippine Army unit in San Miguel, Surigao del Sur tried preventing more protesters from proceeding to Tandag while Philippine National Police personnel reportedly harassed protesters in Iligan City.

Meanwhile, the pro-Duterte rally at Plaza Miranda ended early at about six o’clock in the evening.

The Quiapo rally was attended by participants bussed in from Tondo, San Jose del Monte, and Caloocan, among others.

The controversial Lions Club feeding activity on Rizal Park’s Burnham Green appeared to have not happened, however.

Kodao observed no activity near the stage in front of the Quirino Grandstand despite the National Park Development Committee’s decision that the Lions Club needed the space more than the rally. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)

The Burnham Green was empty when the Lions Club feeding activity was supposed to be held. (Photo by R. Villanueva)

Progressives slam Duterte for ‘historical revisionism’ on 100th birth anniversary of Marcos

Activist groups commemorated the 100th birth anniversary of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos last September 11 at the Libingan ng mga Bayani.

In fiery speeches, they accused President Rodrigo Duterte’s “historical revisionism” for his efforts to picture Marcos as a good president and worthy of a place at the so-called Cemetery of Heroes.

Members of the Philippine National Police blocked the protesters at the cemetery gate.

Veteran activists commemorate 47th anniversary of First Quarter Storm

Bonifacio Ilagan, artist and activist, recalls the historic First Quarter Storm of 1970 that helped spark the struggle against the dictator Ferdinand Marcos.

Last January 26, dozens of FQS activists gathered at the Bantayog ng mga Bayani to commemorate the days when youth and students battled against the dictatorship. Read more

STATEMENT: Treacherous burial mocks struggle for press freedom during Martial Law

The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) shares the Filipino people’s outrage against the treacherous burial of the remains of the dictator Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan Ng Mga Bayani.

The burial mocks the life-and-death resistance of the journalists and media workers in the struggle to expand the frontiers of press freedom during the dark days of Martial Law.

While it is true that the Libingan has long been desecrated as a sacred space for the national memory, the people still cling to its intended political and social symbolism, that is, to hold in high esteem the people whose deeds reflect the values we hold dear as a society.

Marcos’ filthy record of suppressing press freedom and attacking journalists at the onset of Martial Law, and then prostituting media practice through the operation of crony news organizations is anything but deplorable.

Press freedom was among the first casualties of Marcos’ vile adventurism with political power. Martial Law not only led to mass extrajudicial murders, it also attempted to kill the truth.

Marcos ordered the closure of newspapers. His government took control of radio and television stations.

Many media workers were imprisoned, tortured and died fighting the dictatorship. Others were forced to go underground or into exile to evade arrest.

To protect and maintain his monopoly on power, Marcos allowed the operation of crony-controlled newspapers, radio and television stations whose main purpose was to air and publish the “good and beautiful” about Martial Law or the so-called “Bagong Lipunan (New Society).”

Amid the tyrannical rule, Filipino media workers continued to fight for press freedom and exposed the truth through underground newspapers and alternative news media later called the “Mosquito Press.”

These papers were secretly distributed or passed from reader to reader by hand, detailing the massive human rights violations, plunder of our economy by the Marcos family and their cronies and calling for heightened resistance. These helped in galvanizing the resistance and unity against the dictatorship leading to Marcos’ ouster on Feb. 25, 1986.

The overthrow of the dictatorship also led to the restoration of democratic institutions including the independent press.

The burial of Marcos at the hero’s cemetery seeks to gloss over, erase or worse, reverse these historical facts. This is anathema to the very essence of our role as chroniclers of our country’s contemporary history.

We stand by the people in decrying this mockery. We are one with them in ensuring that this will not happen again.

After all, it is because of the people that we exist. And it is the interest of the people that we will tirelessly serve. #