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AFP, PNP raid Cagayan peasant leaders’ house

The military and police raided the house of Anakpawis regional coordinator and Danggayan ti Mannalon ti Cagayan Valley (Danggayan) chairperson Isabelo Adviento midnight of Wednesday, December 2, but failed to find the peasant leader, a Cagayan Valley support group reported.

About 100 soldiers swooped down on Adviento’s house at Barangay Carupian, Baggao, Cagayan and, at about 3:30 AM, forced their way in to search for him, the group Taripnong Cagayan Valley said.

The group did not identify the soldiers’ unit.

Adviento, however, was not home as he was leading relief operations elsewhere to help victims of the massive floods that hit the region the past weeks, Taripnong added.

Frustrated at missing their target, the government troops tried to intimidate the household by placing a grenade and a loaded gun underneath a chair at the house’s living area.

The soldiers also accosted and handcuffed Adviento’s neighbor and Baggao Farmers’ Association (BFA) member Richard Dagohoy, Taripnong added.

The group said the local police arrived after two hours with a warrant and proceeded to search the entire house.

The police warned the people in the house, including Adviento’s mother, that the next to be raided are the houses of BFA members Ranchi Billones and Ronald Reyes.

“Here I am helping to bring relief to flood victims daily and they planted evidence so they can arrest me,” Adviento said in this post on his Facebook page hours after the raid on his house.

“While Adviento’s group is busy raising and distributing relief goods in the entire region, the soldiers and the police chose to threaten them,” Taripnong said.

“Taripnong Cagayan Valley condemns the grave intimidation the farmer-leaders and activists suffer from the government,” it added.

Adviento, a long-time peasant leader, is a repeated victim of red-tagging, harassment and surveillance by armed state forces.

The Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) also condemned the raid, saying the “fascist act” is the “height of inhumanity” occurring amid a health crisis and right after a disaster in the region.

“We condemn the AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines) who has wasted public funds and resources, much needed by disaster-stricken Filipinos, into terrorizing the rural poor,” KMP chairperson Danilo Ramos said in a statement. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)

More rights violations with Sinas as top cop, groups warn

A farmers’ group and a human rights organization warned that more rights abuses will follow National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) commander Major General Debold Sinas’s appointment as the next Philippine National Police (PNP) chief.

Following the announcement by Malacanan Palace that the controversial officer is the country’s next top cop, the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) said Sinas’ record is enough proof that the police would be further tainted with more human rights violations once he assumes command.

The group said Sinas is accountable for Oplan Sauron in Negros it blames for the deaths,   arrests, and detention of farmers and activists during his stint as Central Visayas Regional Police Office chief.

“Sinas is also behind the arrests of Manila-based activists including Reina Mae Nasino. Sinas is also on the hook for the still unresolved brutal killing of peasant leader and peace consultant Randy Echanis last August 10,” the KMP said in a statement.

Sinas, described by the KMP as an “attack dog” of President Rodrigo Duterte, will replace outgoing PNP Chief Lt. Gen. Camilo Cascolan.

The police general also courted widespread condemnation by celebrating his birthday last March with a party at Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig City despite a government-imposed ban on gatherings.

The KMP said that with Sinas at the PNP’s helm the public must expect for the worst from the police and remain vigilant at all times.

“The PNP only serves at the pleasure of the President who terrorizes the people on a daily basis,” KMP chairperson Danilo Ramos said.

Human rights group Karapatan for its part said it is not surprised at Sinas’ appointment as PNP chief as Duterte has a clear penchant for rewarding the most notorious of human rights violators with rank promotions.

Karapatan warned that with Sinas’s appointment, ”a bloody party of human rights violations” is sure to follow.

“Duterte’s most rabid and murderous lapdogs are given freer rein to merrily kill, kill, and kill with wanton impunity,” the group said in a statement.

Karapatan said it fears Sinas will continue the Duterte government’s “sham and bloody drug war and the repression of critics and activists.”

The group recalled that the Commission on Human Rights reported the increase of drug-related killings in Central Visayas from July 2018 to October 2019 when he was police chief in the region.

“Karapatan has nothing but indignation and disgust for Sinas’ appointment. The messages being sent are clear as day: follow the president’s orders and you will be protected and promoted,” Karapatan said.

“[T]his fascist regime is gearing up for an intensified crackdown on dissent and assault on human rights by appointing one of its most loyal butchers as the country’s top cop,” the group added. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)

‘Day of Defiance’ ng magsasaka sa Mendiola, naningil kay Duterte

Pinangunahan ng Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas ang unang kilos protesta sa Mendiola simula ng pandemyang coronavirus bilang ‘Day of defiance’ sa Buwan ng Magsasaka noong Oktubre 21, 2020.

Isang ‘Hukumang Magbubukid’ ang kanilang isinagawa kung saan hinatulan nilang “guilty” si Duterte dahil sa anila’y kriminal na kapabayaan at pasismo. Kinondena nila ang Rice Tarrification Law at pagpaslang sa halos 300 mga magsasaka sa ilalim ng administrasyong Duterte. (Bidyo ni Joseph Cuevas/Kodao)

Groups hold protest to cry for justice for slain peasant leader

Peasant groups hold a protest today, August 14, in front of Commission on Human Rights in Quezon City to cry for justice for one of their leaders, Randall “Randy” Echanis.

Echanis was brutally killed in his rented house last August 10. Aside from being a peasant leader, he was also a peace consultant and known member of National Democratic Front of the Philippines’ Reciprocal Working Committee on Social and Economic Reforms.

Pinilit Kang Binunot Ngunit Hindi Nagtagumpay

(Alay kay Randall “ Ka Randy” Echanis)

by Prestoline Suyat

Pusikit pa ang gabi

nang pilit kang binunot

binistay ng mga bala

pinagsasaksak

hanggang malagutan nang hininga.

Pinilit kang inilayo

itinangging ikaw ang bangkay

na dinuhagi ng mga demonyo.

Ngunit paanong hindi makikilala

ang mabuting binhi

ang sibol na pinagyaman

ng mapagpalang mga kamay

ng mga mangunguma;

ang bigas na pinalusog

ng maraming taon ng paglilingkod at pakikibaka?

Pinilit kang binunot

ngunit tulad ng iba

ginintuan ka ng palay

sa matabang lupa

ng paglaban ng masa.

Nag-akala sila

ngunit nalinlang.

Paano ka mabubunot sa amin?

Hindi ang lagablab ng digmaan,

Hindi ang kadiliman ng bartolina,

Hindi ng mga dagok at hambalos ng pang-aapi,

Hindi ng mga unos ng pagmamalupit,

Hindi ng brutalidad ng pagpaslang.

Ikaw din na di na lang binhi

kundi nagpataba ng lupa

ng rebolusyong inangkin mo

at inalay sa bayan.

REVOLUTION

(For Randall Echanis)

by Lou Gartha Kho-Mawis

After that slow fear

crawling over our spirits

The rage takes over

Quick

Shooting like lightning

Charring the apathy of day

The helplessness of night

Then elightenment

We wriggle

Free from our chains

On tiptoe

we reach for the dreams

We thought were behind us

The gap that we must bridge

is worth our final breath

Our dreams conceive

a world without borders

Hands without chains

In the darkness

we have already died

Struggle is

Our resurrection

NDFP peace consultant Randall Echanis murdered

Randall Echanis, long-time National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) peace consultant, was killed early Monday morning, August 10, in Novaliches, Quezon City.

His peasant organization colleagues said Echanis’ murder may be by state forces.

He was killed with a still unidentified neighbor, Anakpawis Party also reported.

Echanis died of multiple stab wounds on his back based on an early police report, his colleagues told Kodao. His remains will be autopsied, they added.

Former Anakpawis Congressman Ariel Casilao said that Echanis “was undergoing medical treatment, and was unarmed, when suspected state forces raided his house.”

Echanis actively participated in peace negotiations with the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) since 2002 and served as vice-chairperson of the NDFP’s Reciprocal Working Committee on Social and Economic Reforms.

He was NDFP’s leading consultant on agrarian reform and played a key role in the drafting of documents on agrarian reform and rural development and the Comprehensive Agreement on Social and Reforms.

The victim, 72 years old, was also the incumbent deputy secretary general of the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas.

As peasant leader, Echanis spearheaded nationwide campaigns for genuine agrarian reform, including free land distribution to Filipino farmers. He was instrumental in crafting the Genuine Agrarian Reform Bill (GARB) repeatedly filed in Congress since its first filing in 2007.

A former political detainee, Echanis was arrested three times during the Marcos, Aquino, and Arroyo regimes. He became Anakpawis Party’s third nominee after his latest release from jail in 2010.

Randall Echanis (left) with fellow NDFP peace consultant Vicente Ladlad (partly hidden), NDFP Negotiating Panel member Benito Tiamzon (center) and former NDFP resource person for political and constitutional reforms and now Manila City Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Damagoso (right). [Photo by Jon Bustamante/Kodao]

Swift condemnation

NDFP chief political consultant Jose Maria Sison condemned the murders, saying Department of Interior and Local Government secretary Eduardo Año may know about the killings.

“It is widely known that the DILG secretary Año has been boasting to his staff and other people that he has mapped out the locations of all social activists through the local governments and neighborhoods and that he can wipe them out the social activists anytime,” Sison said.

“This boasting of Año is taken seriously by all the social activists that he threatens to kill,” he added.

Sison said Echanis’ murder will have far reaching consequences as it arouses the indignation and just wrath of the peasant masses and the entire Filipino people.

“All social activists have no choice but to intensify in every necessary way their struggle against the tyrant, traitor, butcher and plunderer Duterte,” he said.

NDFP Negotiating Panel legal consultant Edre Olalia for his part said “ruthless dark forces have struck again” with Echanis’ murder.

“Are we totally and almost irretrievably shutting the doors and windows of a potential peaceful resolution of the perennial ills of society by sowing terror and trepidation among those who present alternative solutions? Where will the people go thence for their legal struggles if they are not welcome?” Olalia asked.

Echanis is the third NDFP peace consultant killed after President Rodrigo Duterte cancelled peace negotiations in June 2017.

Felix Randy Malayao, NDFP peace consultant for Cagayan Valley, was killed in his sleep inside a bus in Aritao, Nueva Vizcaya in January 2019.

Julius Giron, designated as National Consultant Number 1 due to his seniority in the Communist Party of the Philippines, was also brutally killed in a combined police and military raid in Baguio City last March 13.

Giron was the holder of a Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees Document of Identification (DI) number 978410 under the name of Arnold Cruz.

All three were killed in the early hours of the morning.

They also were born and raised in Northern Luzon: Echanis in the Ilocos Region, Malayao in Cagayan Valley and Giron in the Cordilerras.

“How bad can it get? It is almost conclusory that the ruthless dark forces have struck again. How then can we encourage people to openly and effectively engage in legitimate causes and advocacies for social and economic reforms if you treacherously silence them?” Olalia further asked. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)

‘Farmers are seeking for urgent production subsidy’

“Farmers are seeking for urgent production subsidy to aid them in cropping and food production. However, DA chose to channel the budget to projects that are vulnerable to corruption.

The projects listed by DA under ALPAS-COVID all have lump sum budget without specific details on the actual implementation and target beneficiaries. We demand full transparency on the utilization of funds as well as the list of beneficiaries who have received cash aid, loans, and other assistance from DA and its agencies.”

Danilo Ramos
Chairperson,
Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas

Carlo Francisco

Ika-33 anibersaryo ng masaker sa Mendiola, ginunita

Nagtipon sa tulay ng Mendiola sa Maynila ang mga progresibong grupo sa pangunguna ng Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas upang gunitain ang masaker na pumatay sa 13 magsasaka noong 1987.

Kasabay ng panawagan ng hustisya para sa mga martir ng Mendiola ay ang pagpapatuloy ng usapang pangkapayapaan sa pagitan ng National Democratic Front of the Philippines at Government of the Republic of the Philippines na ang susunod na adyenda ay ang Comprehensive Agreement on Socio-Economic Reforms kabilang na ang tunay na reporma sa lupa para sa mga magsasaka. (Bidyo ni Joseph Cuevas/ Kodao)

SEAG cloaks land-grabbing and illegal deals, farmers claim

Beyond the series of embarrassing reports related to the ill-prepared hosting of South East Asian Games (SEAG) are possible cases of massive land-grabbing and illegal deals, a farmers’ group claimed.

The Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) accused the Philippine SEA Games Organizing Committee (PHISGOC), led by House of Representatives Speaker Allan Peter Cayetano, of selling off vast tracks of agricultural land in Central Luzon to a Malaysian firm under the guise of hosting the biennial sports event.

“The Philippines government’s real intention in the hosting of the SEA Games is to pimp our land and resources, particularly the 9,450 hectare-New Clark City in Central Luzon,” KMP vice-chairperson Joseph Canlas said in a statement.

Canlas said that the Bases Conversion Development Authority (BCDA) inked a multi-billion deal with a Malaysian company MTD Capital Berhad for the development of New Clark City (NCC) as a SEAG venue for two events.

Canlas’ group, however, said the sports complex is a part of the Phase 1A Development of the NCC that also includes the construction of a national government center complex.

The group said the PHISGOC and the BCDA, chaired by Vivencio ‘Vince’ Dizon, “circumvented legal processes and entered into a Joint Venture Agreement with MTD Capital Berhad for the construction of world-class sports facilities inside the New Clark City in Capas, Tarlac.”

 “As a result of the deal, the [Philippine] government will have to pay the Malaysian firm the amount of Php11.1-billion for five years as repayment for the 20,000-seater athletics stadium, a 2,000-seater aquatic center, and an athletes’ village,” the KMP said.

The Office of the Government Corporate Counsel (OGCC) gave a green light to the deal that did not go through proper public bidding, the group added. 

As it turned out, the KMP noted, the project was a build-and-transfer and not a joint venture agreement.

“Dizon, who leads the BCDA, was recently appointed as Presidential Adviser for Flagship Projects. He is a known broker of Chinese investments in the Philippines, and a close ally of House Speaker Allan Peter Cayetano who is also under fire because of the overpriced Php50-million Olympic cauldron and the despicable PHISGOC SEA Games hosting,” the KMP revealed.

By 2020, MTD will start Phase 1B of the project that will build two seven-story government buildings, an integrated operations center, government housing, parks, and recreation centers, among other infrastructure, the farmers added.

The group also revealed that at least 10 local and foreign firms are eyeing investments in NCC including the $2-billion China Industrial Park spanning 500-hectares to be constructed by the China Gezhouba Group. 

The Chinese industrial park will cater to light and medium industries such as those engaged in semiconductor and information technology, the group said, adding that farmers and indigenous peoples groups will finally be driven away from the area.

“Wala o kulang ang lupang sinasaka ng mga magsasaka pero ibinuyangyang sa mga dayuhan ang mga lupang agrikultural at lupang ninuno sa Tarlac at Pampanga,” Canlas said.  

“May kumikita ng bilyon-bilyon sa mga proyektong nakakabit sa SEA Games at isinasangkalan ang karapatan sa lupa ng mga magsasaka at katutubo,” he added.

P2.2 billion a year

KMP’s revelations echoed warnings repeatedly issued by Senator Franklin Drilon who earlier slammed the Rodrigo Duterte government’s decision to borrow a large sum of money to host the games.

“We are incurring a loan here. Inutang natin ito from a Malaysian firm payable in five years’ time at P2.2 billion a year,” Drilon said in a television interview on November 21.

The government will be paying a Malaysian bank a total of P11 billion for the next five years over its hosting of the 30th Southeast Asian (SEA) Games, Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon has claimed.

 While clarifying that he is not against the hosting of the SEA Games, Drilon said that borrowing money raises the question of propriety considering the government is already suffering from a P624-billion deficit this year.

Drilon and Cayetano also traded bards on the P50 million spent on the games cauldron to be lit on the formal SEAG on November 30 at NCC.

Cayetano has reportedly confirmed that P1.5 billion of the funds for the SEAG did not undergo bidding due to time constraints brought about by delays in the Senate’s approval of their requested budget.

Cayetano blamed Drilon for the delay. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)