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KODAO TO PREMIERE FILM ON BABY RIVER

Today, October 9, marks the first death anniversary of Baby River Emmanuel, the three-month old infant who was born in detention by her political detainee mother Reina Mae Nasino. Mother and child were separated early and the infant died weeks later due to the State’s denial of maternal care for her.

In a display of State cruelty, the Philippine National Police and the Bureau of Jail Management ran away with the infant’s remains on October 16, 2020, during her burial. It shocked the country and the whole world.

In partnership with human rights groups Karapatan Alliance for the Advancement of People’s Rights and Kapatid, Kodao Productions will premiere a film based on the events surrounding Baby River’s death and burial.  It will be held next Saturday, October 16, at four o’clock in the afternoon.

The video-documentary “River of Tears and Rage” is directed by multi-awarded filmmaker and former political prisoner Maricon Montajes and written by journalist Raymund Villanueva. It is based largely on Kodao Productions team’s Facebook Live coverage of the controversial burial, led by Jola Diones-Mamangun, Sanaf Marcelo, Jek Alcaraz and Joseph Cuevas. Music was by Jhoc Jacob.

The premiere will be streamed live on Kodao, Kapatid and Karapatan’s Facebook pages.

The film is dedicated to the memory of the recently-departed National Artist for Literature Bienvenido Lumbera, Kodao’s long-time Board of Directors chairperson. #

Pinoys in Europe urge UN to press investigations into Duterte’s human rights violations

Report and photo by Rex Culao

GENEVA, Switzerland—Filipinos in Europe held a rally at the United Nations (UN) headquarters in this city to press for an international investigation into harassments against human rights defenders and critics of the Rodrigo Duterte government in the Philippines.

Geneva Forum as well as Europe-based chapters of Migrante, Anakbayan and Gabriela gathered at the city center last Wednesday, October 6, as the 48th Regular Session of the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) was ongoing.

The groups said they also support the investigation by the International Criminal Court on the state of human rights in the Philippines.

“Activists have been killed over the last year, both by the security forces and by unknown individuals. In many instances, activists were killed after being red-tagged. In virtually none of the cases has anyone been held accountable for the killings,” the groups in a statement said.

The organizations urged the UNHRC to establish mechanisms that would address rights violations in the Philippines.

“We appeal to International organizations and community to help us put an immediate stop to the criminalization and attacks against activists, lawyers and journalists, which has continued over the year, with impunity, despite the fact that the UNHRC has adopted the resolution extending technical assistance and capacity-building to the Philippine government,” the protesters said.

In his speech, Fr. Angel Cortez of Franciscan International noted that the proposed investigation by the UNHRC on the state of human rights in the Philippines has yet to fully proceed.

“As a Filipino, I want to raise a voice and bring the voice of our people on the present situation in Duterte’s administration that until now there’s no independent investigation mandated by the UNHRC and the killings is go on amid the [coronavirus] pandemic.”

President Duterte said UNHRC and ICC investigations are unwanted interventions into internal matters and have threatened to slap and arrest international investigators who dare come into the Philippines.

During the rally, the protesters also expressed support to international rights institutions such as CIVICUS Monitor and Investigate PH that demanded accountability for the perpetrators of rights violations in the Philippines.

In a recent country research brief, CIVICUS Monitor said that “serious civic freedoms violations continue to occur, creating a chilling effect within civil society” a year after the UNHRCs adoption of a resolution that pointed out extrajudicial killings and political repression in the Philippines.

CIVICUS Monitor said the resolution is “profoundly weak” if it does not investigate violations in the Philippines as recommended by UN High Commissioner on Human Rights Michelle Bachelet in 2020. #

Teachers demand unpaid benefits, protest repression on World Teachers’ Day 2021

Unfazed by “thinly-veiled threats” by the Rodrigo Duterte government, teachers from various federations held protest actions in many schools in Metro Manila to demand for unpaid benefits on World Teachers’ Day today, October 5.

“Overworked, underpaid and under-supported” teachers held mini protest actions in their schools and hung tarpaulins listing five demands they said is owed them by the government amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Manila Public School Teachers’ Association members participate in a nationally-coordinated protest action on World Teachers Day 2021.

Led by the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT), the teachers said they demand salary upgrading, service credits and overtime pay, laptops and other gadgets for their online classes, P3,000 inflation adjustment allowance and P10,000 tax-exempt honorarium for their work as election inspectors in next year’s national and local elections.

“World Teachers’ Day is our day, and we are again presenting our dire situation and just demands on this day. We call on the Department of Education (DepEd) and the rest of the Duterte administration: spare us your empty messages of gratitude for teachers this year. This year, we urge you to simply listen and act on our just demands,” ACT secretary general Raymond Basilio said in a statement.

ACT said the demands have been repeatedly presented to the DepEd but were instead met with threats of administrative charges if the teachers hold protest actions.

“The shameless attempts of DepEd to invalidate our calls and dampen our resolve to fight for teachers’ rights and welfare will not stand. Our teachers have been struggling for too long because of DepEd and Duterte’s extreme neglect and incompetence. We will take no more of it,” the group said.

Political repression

Aside from ignoring their economic demands, ACT said DepEd has allowed the government’s anti-insurgency campaign to sow terror among teachers who are members of various organizations.

In a press conference last Saturday, ACT recalled their organization has been the target of vicious red-tagging activities by the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) that has resulted in the filing of trumped up charges against their leaders.

The government also accused several universities in being involved in the so-called “Red October Plot” a Malacanan Palace spokesperson said was hatched to overthrow the Rodrigo Duterte administration.

The group also complained against NTF-ELCAC’s seminars among students and teachers as well as recently-revealed operations to purge libraries of alleged “subversive books.”

ACT however said the teachers are not fazed by government’s fascist campaigns.

“[W]e have the lessons of history on our side and we know where we stand. We will fight for academic freedom and all other rights and liberties put under siege by this wretched government,” the group said.

In Pasay City, ACT Teachers Party has chosen World Teachers Day to file its Certification of Nomination and Acceptance with the Commission on Elections for next year’s party list elections. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)

2022 ELECTIONS: Progressives ask 1Sambayan to use all means to unite opposition

Progressive groups urged 1Sambayan to pursue its “original mission” to unify non-administration candidates into a single slate as a convenor announced the alliance is endorsing Vice President Leni Robredo to be its standard bearer in next year’s presidential elections.

Activist 1Sambayan member organizations said they believe the possible continuation of President Rodrigo Duterte’s “incompetent and tyrannical rule” as well the return to power of the Marcos dynasty should compel the alliance to “mobilize the broadest range of forces and inspire the voters to defeat Duterte and Marcos candidates in 2022.”

The Kilusang Mayo Uno, Tanggol Magsasaka, National Union of Student of the Philippines, Youth Act Now Against Tyranny, Alliance of Concerned Teachers, Promotion of Church People’s Response, Health Alliance for Democracy and Katribu said in a statement Friday they are concerned that 1Sambayan’s role in contributing to unification will be hampered by the perception that it has sealed support for a particular candidate with its early endorsement of Robredo’s candidacy.

“In a situation that remains very fluid, all efforts at forging a single unified slate should be exhausted and all options should remain open,” the groups said.

1Sambayan convenor and former Supreme Court senior associate justice Antonio announced on the first day of the week-long period for the filing of certificates of candidacy (COC) last October 1 it is endorsing Robredo as their candidate for the presidency.

The progressive groups’ statement however suggests the decision to announce the endorsement was not unanimous among 1Sambayan members.

“We had expressed on occasion that it would be best for 1Sambayan to make a decision on the endorsement after the period of filing of certificates of candidacy. By then we would have a clearer picture of who are running. This would also allow all unification efforts, including VP Robredo’s, to proceed unhampered,” they said.

The groups said Robredo remains to be among 1Sambayan’s choices as standard bearer and they support the Vice President’s current position to remain engaged in efforts to unite various parties against Duterte and Marcos forces.

“Vice President Leni Robredo is a very competent and principled leader worthy of 1Sambayan’s support,” the activists said, urging the alliance to support her position to unite the opposition and have a better chance at defeating administration candidates.

Other 1Sambayan convenors have yet to reply to the progressive groups’ statement.

Meanwhile, only Senator Manny Pacquiao among the popular names has formally filed his COC so far while Senator Panfilo Lacson and Manila Mayor Isko Moreno have yet to file after their announcements of their respective intentions to seek the presidency.

Seven other candidates have also filed their COCs the past two days.

In a move that surprised the country, Senator Christopher Go has instead filed his COC for the vice presidency on Saturday despite the announcement of a PDP-Laban Party faction he is its presidential candidate next year.

His announced running mate President Duterte has instead announced he will retire from electoral politics.

Activists however noted that Duterte has a history of announcing his retirement, only to later use the substitution provisions of election laws for his candidacy. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)

Highlights of the #TamaNaWakasanNa protest last Tuesday

Commemorating the 49th anniversary of martial law declaration in the Philippines, social activists from the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (New Patriotic Alliance) vowed to end the Duterte regime which they likened to the Marcos fascist dictatorship. (Video by Philip Brown)

NDFP: Esperon, Parlade in Europe to set up death squads

The National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) expressed fears high ranking Rodrigo Duterte government officials are in Europe to hatch terrorist plots and set up assassination groups against Filipino activist groups.

In a statement, the NDFP Information Office in Utrecht, The Netherlands said National Security Council chairperson Hermogenes Esperon and his newly-appointed vice-chairperson Antonio Parlade Jr. in Milan, conducting meetings with former government soldiers and police officers who have resided in Italy.

“This is not the first time that Parlade came to Europe to undertake terrorist activities against progressive forces based in Europe. Last year, the Duterte regime through its NTF-ELCAC (National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict) traveled to several countries in Europe purportedly to set-up cells of the NTF-ELCAC,” the NDFP said.

The NDFP said these cells are aimed at undertaking surveillance and red-tagging activities against progressive compatriot organizations, foreign solidarity friends and entities, anti-Duterte individuals and personalities, especially open leaders of the NDFP and its peace panel.

Those who will be subjected to surveillance are possibly targets for assassination, the group added.

NDFP-supplied photo of newly-appointed National Security Council vice chairperson Antonio Parlade partying with OFWs in Milan, Italy. A check on the Facebook accounts of the persons identified in the screenshot did not show the photos or may have been already deleted.

Independent sources confirmed the two officials were in Milan and have partied with known Rodrigo Duterte supporters among Filipino migrant workers in the Northern Italian city where tens of thousands of Filipinos reside.

Parlade and Esperon’s trip was unannounced in the Philippines. The government’s top security officials have yet to respond to the NDFP’s allegations

Not the first time

The NDFP recalled at least two earlier circumstances when such plots were hatched and launched by the Philippine government against Europe-based revolutionaries and activists.

“Years ago, according to NDFP sources, the NDFP leaders based in Europe got hold of information that an assassination team has been formed in Milan and was ready to travel to the Netherlands to assassinate NDFP leaders,” the group said.

During the Joseph Estrada regime, a member of an assassination team the regime organized and sent to kill NDFP chief political consultant Prof. Jose Ma. Sison, came forward to expose the plan after it failed, and after the Dutch police confirmed the plan’s existence, it added.

The NDFP also alleged a similar plan to assassinate Prof. Sison came to the attention of the NDFP leaders last year and was similarly confirmed by the Dutch police.

The Dutch police Sison to take precautions, it said.

Compatriots, the NDFP member organization for migrant Filipinos, said the Philippine government’s newest attempts to set up death squads in Europe are likely to fail.

“Like earlier attempts of Parlade and Esperon to recruit OFWs (overseas Filipino workers) to the NTF-ELCAC and possibly set-up a death squad or assassination team in Europe, their terrorist and fascist plan is sure to fail and will be foiled by freedom and democracy-loving overseas Filipinos and European friends,” Compatriots said. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)

Wakasan si Duterte, sigaw sa Pambansang Araw ng Protesta

Nagtipon ang iba’t-ibang grupo sa Liwasang Bonifacio bilang bahagi ng pambansang araw ng pagkilos para sa panawagang wakasan na ang administrasyong Duterte, Setyembre 21, 2021. Itinaon ang protesta sa ika-49 taong komemorasyon ng batas militar na ayon sa mga progresibong grupo ay walang pinagkaiba si Duterte sa dating Pangulong Ferdinand Marcos lalo na sa usapin ng paglabag sa karapatang pantao at korapsyon sa gobyerno.

GABI NG LAGIM

Ni Pablo Tariman

Mahirap alisin

Ang tagaktak ng pawis

Sa maalinsangang hapit

Ng hangin

Sa biglaang buhos ng ulan.

Ubos na ang mga laway

Sa magdamag na pagmumura.

Nawala ka na naman sa iyong sarili

Bunga ng sigalot sa magdamag.

Hindi ko masyadong napansin

Ang pagsara ng Graphic magazine

At ABS CBN noon Setyembre 1972.

Tahimik kong tinanggap

Na wala na akong trabaho

Sa edad 23.

Upong diyes pa noon

Sa mga jeepney.

P35 isang buwan ang bed space.

Proofreader ako P240 isang buwan.

Ngunit napagkakasya

At may natitira pang

Naipapadala sa probinsiya.

Kung iisipin

Isa lang namang network ang nasarhan

Sa kakaibang ‘martial law’ ng 2020.

Pero bakit kumukulo

Ang iyong mga dugo

Tuwing nakikita mo imahen

Ng berdugo sa telebisyon?

Kakaiba ang martial law ng 1972

May namamatay

Pero hindi nabibilang ng DOH.

Hindi puno ang mga ospital

Ng mga agaw buhay at

Mabilis na yayao.

Kakaiba ang ‘martial law’ ng 2020

Ang dami ng nagugutom

Marami ang nakatira sa mga jeepney

Dahil napalayas na

At hindi na makabayad ng upa.

Bakit?

Nasa gitna pa

Ng walang katapusang konsultasyon

Ang mga butihing mga tauhan

Ng DOTC na walang kibo’t bibig

Kundi kung ano-anong hierarchy

Ng mga priorities.

Maraming salita sa English

Na hindi halata

Ang harapang pandarambong.

Kakatayin ka na lang

Pero ipapakita ang mukha

Kuno ng compassion

At pikit matang binigay mga rota

Sa mga modern jeepneys.

Bakit masaklap ang ‘martial law’

Ng 2020?

Ang daming gutom.

Ang daming nawalan ng trabaho.

Ang daming naglalakad

Dahil walang masakyan.

Kalunos-lunos ang mga hiyaw

Ng mga OFW

Sa evening news ng TV

At humihingi ng tulong.

Ngunit inuna

Ang pagpapasa ng Anti Terror Law

Sa gitna ng paghihirap

Ng mga tao.

Ubos na ang mga laway

Sa magdamag na pagmumura.

Puyos ng galit

Ang lumalabas sa mga bibig mo.

Hindi na maiibsan

Ang paghihirap

Sa pagbigkas

Ng mga tula ni Maya Angelou

At mga pahimakas ni Walt Whitman.

Malinaw na ang daan

Na tinatahak

Ng diktador ng Mindanaw.

Nagkukumahog na dumalaw

Sa mga namatay na mga sundalo

Para sabihin lang

Walang ibang pangulo

Ang nagbigay ng maraming benepisyo

Sa kanila

Kundi siya.

Sa totoo lang

Takot siya na iwanan

Pag kumampi ang mga kawal

Sa galit na sambayanan.

Inabutan na ako

Ng dalawang kakaibang martial law.

Isa lang ang may pakana noong 1972.

Sa 2020, kakutsaba ang kongreso

At mga galamay na matsing

Na todo intense acting

Sa hearing.

Pero laging nabubuking

Ang mga

Totoong pakay.

Ako’y handa na

Sa susunod na gabi ng lagim.

Handa na ang mga kuwento

Ng mga halang na kaluluwa

Sa gitna ng pandemya.

* * *

‘We commit ourselves to the highest standards of journalism to serve the oppressed’

“We, the member student publications of the College Editors Guild of the Philippines, strongly call and urge every campus journalist to join us in commemorating the evils witnessed by the nation during the Marcos dictatorship. In honor of our brave predecessors Liliosa Hilao, Leticia Ladlad, Ditto Sarmiento and Antonio Tagamolila, we will never forget the horrors that the Marcos regime tried to hide but never succeeded. We commit ourselves to the highest standards of journalism to serve the oppressed and exploited masses. We won’t and will never forget!”

Global rights group: Duterte committed more violations than Marcos

An international group accused Rodrigo Duterte as not only the new face of martial law in the Philippines but that his government has caused more human rights violations than the 14-year Ferdinand Marcos dictatorship.

In a statement marking the 49th anniversary of the imposition of Marcos’ martial law, the International Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines (ICHRP) enumerated various cases of rights violations in the country.

As Marcos declared martial law in 1972 to counter alleged threats by the then newly re-established Communist Party of the Philippines, Duterte imposed martial rule in Mindanao on the pretext of fighting armed groups that took over Marawi City.

ICHRP said that Duterte’s own martial rule led to an alarming increase in human rights violations that were not limited to the displacement of Moros and the bombing and destruction of Marawi City.

“Indigenous people’s schools (in Mindanao) have been shuttered and their communities remain under attack and occupation by the Philippine Army…While peasants in Negros and Panay islands are being arrested and massacred as they defend their right to till and their ancestral domain,” ICHRP global chairperson Peter Murphy said.

Murphy added that Duterte has also unleashed a war against the poor through his drug war that claimed more than 27,000 lives, including children.

“Worse, the country is now one of the most dangerous places in the world for human rights defenders,” Murphy said.

Unlike most presidents after the 1986 uprising that ousted Marcos, Duterte is an avowed Marcos admirer who permitted the dictator’s controversial internment at the Libingan ng mga Bayani (Heroes’ Cemetery).

Murphy said that justice is yet to be served to the victims of both martial law impositions, as the Duterte government refuses to cooperate with the formal investigation launched by the International Criminal Court based in The Hague, The Netherlands.

“We call on Duterte and his cohorts to end the repression now in the Philippines and to take accountability for all the human rights violations they committed against the Filipino people. We challenge him to face the ICC,” Murphy said.

The ICHRP also called on governments of the international community to stop supporting Duterte through military aid to the Philippines. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)