Martial Law victims press call vs Marcos at Libingan ng mga Bayani

HUMAN RIGHTS groups held another rally in front of the Supreme Court (SC) last September 7 during the second round of oral arguments on the petition against the burial of former President Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani (LNMB).

The rally was in support of the petitioners and their lawyers who said that instead of healing, the Rodrigo Duterte government’s plan to bury the late dictator at the so-called cemetery of heroes would open old wounds.

Bonifacio Ilagan, Campaign Against the Return of the Marcoses to Malacanang (CARMMA) convenor, questioned the use of the term “healing” on the issue of Marcos’ burial at the LNMB.

“Whose wounds are going to be healed? The victims are scarred. Will their scars be healed through Marcos’ burial? I don’t think so,” he said.

“If we want healing, then give Martial Law victims justice,” Ilagan said.

“Even if they say that a burial is a simple thing, it means a lot to us, because it would mean the rehabilitation of the Marcoses and the reversal of our history,” he added.

The group Samahan ng Ex-Detainees Laban sa Detensyon at Aresto (SELDA) also said it is important not to allow Marcos, his heirs and cronies to escape punishment.

“As long as the Marcoses remain unpunished for their crimes, the burial of Ferdinand Marcos at the LNMB will only add to our pain, as it allows for the warping of the truth and the recognition of Marcos as a hero,” the group said.

More than a hundred Marcos “loyalists” held their own rally farther down Padre Faura Street.

Rally at the Supreme Court protesting Marcos' burial at the LNMB revives old slogans against the former president.

Rally at the Supreme Court protesting Marcos’ burial at the LNMB revives old slogans against the former president.

No burial yet

Before the Supreme Court en banc, Solicitor General Jose Calida and Marcos family lawyer Hyacinth Rafael-Antonio defended Marcos’ ‘right’ to burial at the LNMB.

Calida said that the government does not see any law violated by Duterte’s plan and, in turn, cited Armed Forces of the Philippines Regulation No. 161-375 allowing soldiers, commanders in chief and war veterans burial at the LNMB.

Calida and Rafael-Antonio said the burial would not affect the issue of compensation of the victims of Marcos’ Martial Law.

Associate Justice Marvic Leonen, however, found fault with Calida and Rafael-Antonio’s argument that Marcos would be buried only because he was a president and a soldier.

Leonon also questioned their treatment of Marcos the President and Marcos the soldier as two different people.

“Which part of Marcos is President?  Which part is being accused by the victims of human rights violations? Why is it that government wishes to take only (a) part of Marcos’ life and use it as a justification to bury him in the LNMB?” Leonen asked.

Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno, for her part, spoke against the potential use of public funds for the burial, saying that public funds should only be used for public purposes.

Calida denied that public funds would be used and said that Marcos would receive “simple graveyard military honors.”

Calida added that the public purpose would be Duterte’s policy of healing and reconciliation.

But Sereno countered Calida, saying, “There is a campaign promise.  That is a political purpose. That is not a defined public purpose.  And public money cannot be used to fulfil a political promise.”

At the end of the hearing, the SC announced a status quo ante order to October 18, preventing Marcos’ planned burial in the LNMB on September 18.# (By Abril Layad B. Ayroso)

Peasants demand justice for victims of Fort Magsaysay massacre

PEASANT groups Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) and Alyansang Magbubukid ng Gitnang Luzon (AMGL) and human rights organization Karapatan condemned the killing of four peasants inside the Fort Magsaysay Military Reservation (FMMR) in Barangay San Isidro, Laur, Nueva Ecija last September 3.

According to KMP, the farmers were taking part in a land cultivation activity inside the reservation Saturday morning when a helicopter landed and delivered rifles near their area.

For more details, visit this news report. Read more

Bayan: Send Pemberton to Bilibid

Bagong Alyansang Makabayan and other patriotic organisations held a protest rally in front of Camp Aguinaldo last December 4 to condemn what they believe is preferential treatment to convicted killer US Marine Lance Corporal Joseph Scott Pemberton.

According to Aaron Bonette, chairperson of the LGBTQ organisation Bahaghari, Philippine President Benigno Aquino killed Filipino transgender Jennifer Laude for agreeing to a special facility for the US soldier instead of a national Filipino prison as originally ordered by the trial court that convicted him.

The US refused to turn over to Philippine authorities after his conviction last December 1 and instead insisted that Pemberton be brought back to the military camp where it has its own facilities.

Both Philippine and US governments are reported to be jointly building a new jail for Pemberton in accordance with Visiting Forces Agreement provisions.

Patriotic organisations however say that the move is not only unjust to the victim but is in fact another violation of Philippine sovereignty by the US government.

The protest rally also called on the abrogation of the Visiting Forces Agreementbetween the US and Philippine governments. #

US Marine found guilty of killing Filipino transgender

Militant organizations cheered as the Olongapo Regional Trial Court found US Marine Lance Corporal Joseph Scott guilty of homicide for killing Filipino transgender Jennifer Laude.

Led by the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan, they held a vigil rally last December 1 as the promulgation of the judgement was ongoing.

Bayan secretary general Renato Reyes Jr said that the Filipino people should remain vigilant on where the convict would be jailed.

Their fears were proven correct soon after as the Philippine government agreed to returning Pemberton to the US-controlled facility Joint US Military Advisory Group compound inside Camp Aguinaldo.

This move violated the court’s order that Pemberton should first be committed to a Philippine jail facility such as the National Bilibid Prisons pending formal agreements on where the convict should serve the rest of his jail term.

Pemberton should be committed to a Philippine jail, militants insist

Militant organizations held a protest rally while the promulgation of the judgement on US Marine Lance Corporal Joseph Scott Pemberton was being read at the Olongapo Regional Trial Court last December 1.

Pemberton was found guilty of committing homicide in connection with the death of Filipino transgender Jennifer Laude last year.

He was sentenced to a minimum of six year and a maximum of 12 years for the crime.

While declaring partial victory over the conviction of the US soldier, the militants said that he should be jailed in a Philippine correctional facility.

They warned that the US government may initiate moves to take custody of the convict and that the Philippine government may agree to such machinations.

They were proven correct when the US and Philippine government immediately agreed to transport Pemberton to a US facility inside Camp Aquinaldo last night.

The move is contrary to the explicit instructions of the court to bring Pemberton to a national jail such as the National Bilibid Prisons.

Ampatuan Massacre: Still no justice after six years

On the sixth year of the Ampatuan Massacre journalists marched from the National Press Club (NPC) to Mendiola to demand justice for the 58 victims, including 34 journalists.

NPC members were joined by the College Editors Guild of the Philippines (CEGP) and the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan)-National Capital Region Chapter.

The Ampatuan Massacre is said to be the worst such incident in human history that killed the most number of journalists in a single day. It is also considered the worst election-related crime in Philippine history.

As a presidential candidate in 2010, Benigno Aquino promised justice to the victims. Very near the end of his six year term, the Aquino presidency still has to deliver on its promise.

NPC Pres. Joel Egco and BAYAN-NCR Sec-Gen. Mong Palatino spoke at the rally before an effigy of “Pnoy-chio” was burned.

KODAO PODCAST: #RememberHaiyan (Part 3/4)

LIVE PODCAST: ‪#‎RememberHaiyan‬ 2015
Mga pangyayaring sinubaybayan mula 8 Am – 11:00 Am
Martsa ng magsasaka sa ikalawang taon ng trahedyang Yolanda
Tacloban City, Philippines
November 6, 2015

Anchor: Kelvin Tonzon

Mga tagapagbalita:
Janeth Darantinao – Carigara
Lourdes Lacerna – Alang Alang
Rose Ann Tejones – Palo
Michael Jay Advincula – Tanauan

Yolito Tabontabon – Pinabacdao

Metro Tacloban
Rev. Cesar Tumandao Jr.
Frenchie Mae Cumpio
Glody Ann Ocale

Health Groups: Justice for Calago Couple, Stop Attacks Against Health Workers

On June 25, 2015, Health Action for Human Rights (HAHR) joins the Council for Health and Development (CHD) in a press conference at the Max Restaurant, Quezon Avenue, Quezon City to condemn the brutal murder, by suspected state elements, of Barangay Health Worker (BHW) Rosalie “Saling” Calago and her husband Barangay Kagawad and community leader Endric “Bayoto” Calago last May 24, 2015 at Sitio Bantayan, Barangay Tacpao, Guihulngan, Negros Oriental.

According to Dr. Magdalena Barcelon of CHD, “The couple was strafed by bullets, and their bodies scorched inside their home at around 10:00 PM by suspected elements of the 11th Infantry Battalion based in Brgy. Mckinley, Guihulngan City. This is the latest in a series of brazen attacks against health workers involving the AFP and a testament to its long history of human rights violations.”

Aside from being a BHW, Saling, 45 years old, is also a Barangay Nutrition Scholar, a barefoot reporter of local radio programs Kaling Kag Tugda and Pugasan in Negros and Cebu, and a supporter of Community Health Workers (CHWs) in their locality. Bayoto, 47, is a Barangay Kagawad (village official) and Vice-Chairperson of Kaugmaon-Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas. The couple are also members of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

Dr. Edelina dela Paz of HAHR explains that, “Health professionals, health workers, and health advocates such as the Calago couple dedicate their whole time and effort in order to serve the masses, especially in our country where adequate health services are inaccessible to the poor and the far-flung areas. This is why it is unacceptable that military elements continue to commit such heinous crimes against healthcare providers yet they remain unpunished. The government refuses to neither condemn nor investigate human rights abuses committed by the AFP.”

HAHR has tallied several cases of violations committed by the AFP and its paramilitary forces. In Manila, health advocates are accused of being armed, and portrayed by the police as ‘enemies of the state’. In Samar, a 70-personnel medical mission team for Typhoon Yolanda survivors was repeatedly shadowed by military forces which scared-away the civilians from availing the services. At least 50 community health professionals and workers were subjected to harassment, threats, illegal arrests, or filed trumped-up charges in Baguio, Cabanatuan, Cebu, Bukidnon, and Zamboanga. In Negros, Misamis Oriental, Davao, and CARAGA, frustrated murders and extrajudicial killings, at least 6 cases, were committed since 2006 against CHWs who simply stood-up for their rights, but neither suspect nor perpetrator has been prosecuted.

In the light of the incident on the Calago couple, HAHR and CHD challenge the Department of Health (DOH) and the Aquino administration to conduct an impartial, thorough, and speedy investigation so that justice may be served and the people behind the crime will be punished to the fullest extent of the law.

Likewise, HAHR and CHD challenge the DOH and the Aquino administration to protect the rights of its people including the health workers.

“Under fire, we, health workers pledge to strengthen our commitment to serving the masses, and fortify the struggle to achieve just and lasting peace in pursuit of the people’s health and human rights. Hopefully, all of these will redound to achieving justice and end the culture of impunity in the Philippines”, concluded Dr. Barcelon.###

A Prayer for Kentex 72

Joined by Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU), Migrante International and other affiliates of ILPS-Phils., an inter-faith mass of the Churchpeople-Workers Solidarity was held at the Kentex Manufacturing Corp. where 72 workers, mostly contractual women piece-rate laborers, perished in the worst factory fire in the country’s history. Arjohn Batiklop, whose mother and aunt were among the fatalities in the May 13, 2015 fire, called for justice lest their memory be buried with the dead. Sweatshop conditions using contractual labor persist under a neoliberal regime.

LARAWAN: Rebolusyonaryong pagkilos ng sektor pangkalusugan sa ika-36 na taong anibersaryo ng MSP

Nagdaos ng lightning rally kaninang umaga ang Makabayang Samahang Pangkalusugan – National Democratic Front (MSP-NDF) sa panulukan ng CM Recto at Abad Santos, Maynila bilang pagdiriwang sa ika-36 na taon ng kanilang pagkakatatag. Ang MSP-NDF ay binubuo ng mga rebolusyonaryong doktor, narses, istudyante at manggagawang pangkalusugan na hayagang nananawagan na ibagsak ang rehimeng Aquino dahil sa patuloy na pagkatuta nito sa Estados Unidos, sa malawakang korapsyon at malalang paglabag sa karapatang pantao. Ang kanilang pagkilos ay bunsod din ng ika-46 na taong anibersaryo ng Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP).

CM Recto cor Abad Santos, Manila
December 16, 2014