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Putragis Amang!

Putragis amang! Kami’y namamalimos lamang ng kapirasong lupa
Bakit pinaputok ang kanilang sandata?
Hayup nga ba kaming, hayup sa turing 
Bakit kaming gutom, bala ang pinakain!

Putragis amang! ang palasyo pala ay hindi dulugan ng awa 
Ang kongreso pala’y kongreso ng panginoong may lupa
Saan namin hahanapin 
Ang pangakong pag-laya?

Putragis amang! huwag nila kaming itulak sa dingding 
Mabangis sumalakay ang mga ginutom
Sa tagisan ng bagang kapag wala nang madurog na kanin
Huhulagpos ang malaong galit na kimkim!

Sumpain ang US!
Si Cory, si Starke, at mga katulad nila
Silang nagbibigay ng laya na busabusin ang paggawa 
Silang nagpapahintulot sa mga panginoong may lupa!

O hari ng gatilyo, hukbo ng mga hukbo
Bayani ng mga bukirin
Idulot mong sa mga kamay namin
Madurog ang mga salarin!

  • This poem had been repeatedly performed at rallies commemorating the Mendiola Massacre of 22 January 1987 when 12 peasants were killed and at least 51 others were injured. According to Mendiola Massacre survivor Mirriam Aledia, who recalled the poem from memory, the poem was performed by an old man during an indignation rally at Mendiola a few days after the massacre took place. The name of the author remains unknown.
  • The featured image is a cartoon by Mark Suva on the occasion of the massacre’s 32nd anniversary today. The background photo he used was taken from kahimyang.com. All rights to the original photographer.

Third political prisoner dies under Duterte

Another political prisoner died, bringing to three the number of activist detainees who failed to gain freedom despite repeated promises of freedom by Rodrigo Duterte earlier in his presidency.

Alex Arias, 63 years old, was declared dead on arrival at the Rizal Medical Center in Pasig City at about 7:30 Sunday night due to a heart attack, the eve of the International Human Rights Day.

Arias suffered from hypertension and diabetes mellitus type 2.

Arias was a former chairperson of Pagkakaisa at Ugnayan ng mga Magbubukid sa Laguna, an affiliate of the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas.

He was arrested on April 7, 2012 on kidnapping with murder and frustrated homicide charges.

He was detained in Metro Manila District Jail Annex 4 (formerly SICA 1).

Karapatan Alliance for the Advancement of People’s Rights said the cases were trumped up.

Karapatan added that Arias was among the 160 sickly and elderly political prisoners the Duterte government promised to release as part of goodwill measures for the peace negotiations between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines.

On November 28, 2016, peasant leader Bernabe Ocasla died of cardiac arrest. He was afflicted with hypertension and rheumatic heart disease while in prison.

On September 12, 2017, 74-year old Marcos Aggalao, who was suffering from pneumonia, dementia and hypertension, died at the Kalinga Provincial Hospital.

Karapatan said that the death of three political prisoners under the Duterte government is in stark contrast to its special treatment of convicted plunderer Imelda Marcos as well as other high government officials who have been released despite their crimes against the Filipino people.

Various group held a candle lightning and vigil in Southern Tagalog Sunday night Arias. # (Joseph Cueva/Raymund B. Villanueva)

‘October Resistance’ isasagawa ng mga magsasaka

Isang press conference noong Oktubre 8 ang isinagawa nang Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas o KMP at mga kaanib na organisasyon nito upang i-anunsyo ang kanilang pagkilos na tinaguriang “October Resistance against poverty, hunger and state fascism.”

Bilang bahagi ng buwan ng mga magsasaka ngayong Oktubre, iba’t-ibang aktibidad ang kanilang isasagawa bitbit ang panawagang tunay na reporma sa lupa, libreng pamamahagi ng lupa sa mga magsasaka, pagkontrol sa mga presyo ng bigas at iba pang bilhin gayundin ang pagtigil sa militarisasyon at paglabag sa karapatang tao sa kanayunan.

Ayon naman sa Amihan (Pambansang Pederasyon ng mga Kababaihang Magsasaka), lumalala ang kalagayan ng mga magsasaka at kababaihang magbubukid. Imbes na ibigay sa mga magsasaka ang lupain, inilaan pa ito sa ekspansyon ng mga plantasyon, malawakang pagmimina at land use conversion ang iba sa mga malaking kumpanya at panginoong maylupa.

Giit pa ng Amihan, walang plano si Pangulong Rodrigo Duterte para sa pagpapaunlad ng agrikultura at pamimigay ng lupa sa mga magsasaka.

Mariin naman nilang binatikos ang pakanang ‘Red October’ ng gubyernong Duterte at Armed Forces of the Philippines at sinabing layunin lamang nito na takutin at pahupain ang tumitinding galit ng sambayanan dahil sa walang-awat na taas presyo ng mga bilihin at serbisyo dulot ng Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion Law o TRAIN Law.

Binigyan nila ng halimbawa ang patuloy na pampulitikang panunupil at “red tagging” sa mga organisasyon at aktibista.

Patuloy din ang pagsasampa ng mga gawa-gawang kaso laban sa mga lider magsasaka kabilang na ang tagapangulo ng KMP sa Northern Mindanao na si Ereneo Ubarde at 33 iba pang lider sa rehiyon, gayundin ang pag-aresto kay Gerry Basahon, lider ng Misamis Oriental Farmers Association na kaanib ng KMP noong Oktubre 4, ani ng mga grupo.

Kinundena din nila ang pinakahuling kaso nang pamamaslang noong Oktubre 6 sa tagapangulo ng PAMALAKAYA sa Negros Oriental na si Jaime Delos Santos.

Dagdag pa ng KMP, kapag patuloy na tumindi ang atake nang rehimen tiyak na tatapatan ito ng paglaban nang taumbayan. Nakatakda ang kanilang malakihang pagkilos ng mga magsasaka sa Oktubre 19 sa ibat-ibang panig ng bansa. # (Bidyo at ulat ni Joseph Cuevas/Larawan ni Jinky Mendoza-Aguilar)

Rights groups assail Duterte’s fascist attacks

Human Rights group Karapatan and other progressive groups held a Black Friday Protest, September 14, at Gate 2 of Camp General Emilio Aguinaldo in Quezon City to call for an end to the attacks of the Duterte regime against the Filipino people.

According to Karapatan, the Duterte regime is a danger to the Filipino people.

Duterte’s reign of terror through its counterinsurgency program Oplan Kapayapaan and its imposition of martial law in Mindanao are taking advantage of alleged terrorist activities as pretext to attacks against civilians, the group said.

Two farmers from Compostella Farmer’s Association (CFA) were killed last August 19. Couple Gilbert and Jean Labial on their way home after visiting a wake from a fellow CFA member. They were killed by suspected elements of 66th IB because of their opposition to the entry of mining companies in their area, the protesters said.

Karapatan also cited the recent killing of Haide Malalay Flores last August 21 in Guihulngan City, Negros Oriental who was shot dead while on her way home. She was a businesswoman and an activist for peasant advocacies.

Karapatan reported as well the case of spouses Edison and Divina Erece who were arrested by elements of military and police last September 3 in Calayan, Cagayan. The couple were members of the peasant group Amihan-Cagayan.

They were charged with illegal possession of explosives, murder, arson and qualified assault.

Political prisoners now number 509, majority of whom are poor peasants, Karapatan said.

Meanwhile, Antonio Flores, secretary-general of Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP), stressed that aside from killings of 150 farmers, the Duterte government also slapped trumped up charges against peasant activists.

The filing of criminal offenses and red-tagging of farmer leaders as members of New Peoples Army are the trademark of this administration. Instead of addressing the problem of landlessness and poverty, continuos military operations and human rights violations happened almost everyday, Flores added.

Estrellita Bagasbas of Kalipunan ng Damayang Mahihirap (KADAMAY) said that even urban poor people were victims of Duterte’s attacks.

She cited the violence in Pandi Bulacan where “fake and ousted members” of KADAMAY are allegedly being used by the police as intelligence agents.

Some organizers and leaders of KADAMAY also recieved death threats and harassments, KADAMAY said. # (Video and report by Joseph Cuevas)

KMP: AFP-PNP ‘misencounter’ bound to happen

Farmer’s group Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) said the so-called mis-encounter between government troops earlier this week in Sta. Rita, Samar is inevitable under President Rodrigo Duterte’s counterinsurgency program Oplan Kapayapaan.

“The government’s own policy Oplan Kapayapaan and not Murphy’s Law is responsible for the mis-encounter between the 1st Platoon, 805th Company, Regional Mobile Force Battalion 8 of the Philippine National Police and the 87th Infantry Battalion Philippine Army troops in Sitio Lonoy, Barangay San Roque, Sta Rita, Samar,” KMP said in a statement.

Six police were killed and nine were wounded in the incident both the Armed forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) blamed on improper coordination.

“There was coordination. We just do not know down to what level the coordination reached,” PNP director general Oscar Albayalde said Wednesday.

The AFP said its troopers suffered no casualties.

According to news reports, the AFP’s 87th IBPA have mistaken the police troops as New People’s Army guerillas. Both units were conducting counterinsurgency operations.

The KMP, whose members have complained of being target of the government’s counterinsurgency operations said such occurrences are bound to happen.

“Wala nang sini-sino ang mga tropa ng gobyerno, kahit sila-sila nagpapatayan na. Government troops are ready to fire a gun at the least provocation, regardless of the situation or probable consequences,” KMP said.

The mis-encounter shows how indiscriminate government troops are in their conduct of military operations, particularly the Community Operations for Peace and Development (COPD) and Peace and Development Outreach Program (PDOP). No more protocols, no more observance of international humanitarian laws, the group added.

Kahit sino na lang pinaghihinalaan na NPA. Lalo na ang mga magsasaka, pinagbibintangang NPA, saka huhulihin at ito-tortyur ng militar. Ang AFP kapag may nasalubong na magsasaka sa bundok, pagbibintangan agad na NPA. With the heightened militarization and military operations in rural areas, misencounters among government troops are likely to happen,” KMP chairperson Danilo Ramos said.

At present, there are seven AFP battalions in Eastern Visayas – 20th, 43rd, 14th, 87th, 52nd, 19th and 78th Infantry Battalions under the 8th Infantry Division, KMP revealed.

SAGUPA-SB, KMP’s chapter in Eastern Visayas said it is common for Community Support Programs (CSP) and Peace and Development Teams (PDT) of the AFP, under Oplan Kapayapaan, to ‘loiter’ and conduct counterinsurgency operations in the hinterlands.

“Government troops encamp and operate in civilian areas,” SAGUPA-SB said.

KMP called on the Duterte government to resume the cancelled peace talks with the NDFP and make way for a possible stand down of forces to deescalate heavy military presence in peasant communities. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)

Farmers call for genuine land distribution on CARP’s 30th anniversary

Sa ika-tatlumpung anibersaryo ng Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP), nagmartsa ang mga magsasaka at iba pang anakpawis, sa pangunguna ng Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas, patungong Mendiola.

Ipananawagan ng KMP ang tunay na pamamahagi ng lupa sa mga magsasaka at kinondena naman ang kabiguan ng CARP na  lutasin ang kawalan ng lupa ng nakararaming magsasaka sa bansa.

Dagdag pa rito ay ang pagpapataw ng mga gawa-gawang kaso at pang-aalipusta sa mga magsasaka at mga manggagawa sa kanayunan, ayon sa KMP.

Goons harass farmers’ campout, youth supporters panic

Armed goons harassed a farmers’ campout at Lupang Ramos in Dasmariñas City, Cavite Monday night, causing panic among youth supporters staying for the night, a progressive lawmaker announced.

In an urgent alert, Kabataan Party Representative Sarah Elago said private armed goons fired gun shots in the dead of night, causing University of the Philippines medical students and other youth supporters belonging to Kabataan Southern Tagalog chapter diving onto the ground for fear of being hit.

“[N]akadapa ang lahat kasama ang mga volunteer UP Med students at members ng Kabataan mula Southern Tagalog chapter,” part of Elago’s alert said.

Farmers belonging to the Katipunan ng Lehitimong Magsasaka at Mamamayan sa Lupang Ramos (KASAMA-LR) later reported they heard seven gunshots fired at their direction at around 11 p.m.

The farmers and their supporters are encamped at Barangay Langkaan 1 to defend a 370-hectare land called Lupang Ramos from alleged land-grabbers Nelson Pangilinan and Rudy Herrera.

Condemning the incident, the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) said Pangilinan and Herrera’s group have been continuously harassing the farmers.

Tension escalated last weekend when Pangilinan’s group physically assaulted KASAMA-LR members, injuring one Rosalinda Tapawan Atienza, 62 years old, KMP said.

Lupang Ramos is reportedly being eyed for procurement and development by Ayala Land Inc. with Pangilinan’s group acting as real estate agents, KMP said.

The Katipunan ng Samahang Magbubukid-Timog Katagalugan (KASAMA-TK) for its part said the farmers’ have started collective land cultivation last year.

The farmers are already benefiting from their collective production work months before Pangilinan arrived and started harassing farmers and claiming the land, the group said.

Lupang Ramos in Dasmariñas City, Cavite. (KMP photo)

Around 50-hectares are already planted with root crops, banana trees and vegetables. KASAMA-LR farmers are also planning to plant corn in the farmland, KASAMA-TK said.

Just yesterday, the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) Region IV-Provincial Agrarian Reform Office held a dialogue with KASAMA-LR farmers, KMP said.

DAR officials were only able to promise that they would tell off Pangilinan and his group, the group added.

KASAMA-TK said Monday night’s incident was duly reported to the Dasmarinas City police but were told by the police officers on duty they are “afraid and they do not want to get involved in the land dispute.”

The KMP said it will send a Quick Reaction Team to Dasmariñas to assist the beleaguered Lupang Ramos farmers. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)

Caravan for rights and justice

Dumating na kahapon sa Maynila ang mga kinatawan ng mga magsasaka, kabataan at kababaihan mula sa Eastern Visayas. Ito ay bahagi ng kanilang kampanya laban sa kagutuman at mlitarisasyon na kanilang kinakaharap sa Samar at Leyte. Mainit silang sinalubog ng iba’t ibang sektor at nagdaos sila ng maikling programa sa Mendiola. Inaasahang magtatagal sila ng dalawang linggo para puntahan ang iba’t ibang ahensiya ng pamahalaan para sa kanilang mga petisyon at kahilingan.

 

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)  

Activist among this year’s Sampung Ulirang Nakatatanda awardee

A farmers’ rights activist and former political detainee was named among the honorees of this year’s Sampung Ulirang Nakatatanda (SUN) Award in a ceremony held at the Social Security System’s Ramon Magsaysay Hall in Quezon City Sunday.

Angelina Ipong, thrice detained and heavily tortured for her activism, was honored by the Coalition of Services of the Elderly, Inc. for her lifelong work with agricultural workers for just wages and democratic rights.

Ipong  was honored along with Eduardo Albonia (79, Bulacan), Bandayan Danwata (79, Davao Occidental), Erlinda Libor (76, Pampanga), Ceilia Ruiz (80, Baguio City), Anita Castor (64, Capiz), Esperanza Escoton (72, Quezon City), Josef Feliciano (71, Navotas City), Salvacion Garcia (64, Negros Occidental), and Leonita Labitag (73, Antipolo City).

In her acceptance speech, Ipong thanked her farmer father and the peasant sector.

Ipong accepting her Sampung Ulirang Nakatatanda 2017 award. (Contributed photo)

Sila ang nagmulat sa akin, sila ang nagbigay sa akin ng buhay. Kaya gusto kong ilaan ang nalalabi pang panahon ng aking buhay sa kanila,” Ipong said.

The 72 year-old mother of one said she spent majority of her adult life as an activist because of the injustices suffered by poor peasants.

Ang magsasaka ang lumilikha ng pagkain ng bansa pero sila ay gutom at lugmok sa kahirapan. Sila ang naglilinang ng lupa ngunit sila ang walang lupa,” Ipong said.

Pito sa sampung magsasaka ang walang lupa. Atrasadong agrikultura, walang pag-unlad sa kanayunan.  Hanggang kalian ba magpapatuloy itong ganitong kalagayan?” she asked.

Ipong, who currently works with the Unyon ng Manggagawa sa Agrikultura, was first detained in 1992 and again in November 1995.

She was abducted by the Armed Forces of the Philippines in 2005 when she was accused to be a top commander of the New People’s Army in Northern Mindanao and slapped with rebellion, double murder, double attempted murder and arson charges.

At the start of her third and longest detention, Ipong was blindfolded for days, tortured and sexually-harassed.  She was also kept in isolation for 14 days.

Ipong acting out her torture for the One Billion Rising-Philippines video. (R. Villanueva)

Activist even in jail

In jail, Ipong said she could not stand the filth in their cells and bathrooms. She organized and led the cleaning brigades and soon managed to bring down cases of skin and other diseases among inmates.

“I asked my friends who visited me to bring me soap, brushes, paint and other supplies so we can clean the jail facility,” Ipong told Kodao in an earlier interview.

She soon trained her sights on her fellow inmates’ nutrition who were forced to eat nothing but poor prison food “unfit for humans.”

“I initiated dialogues with the wardens who eventually gave in to my incessant demands to be allowed to start an organic gardening program inside the jail compound,” she said.

In no time, the garden Ipong started supplemented their prison food with fresh and organically-grown vegetables daily.

Naku, ang mga guwardiya nga, nauuna pang mamitas ng mga gulay namin kasi masarap, fresh, organic at libre,” she said.

Ipong also started a livelihood program to allow fellow inmates to earn and help their families.

When she was arbitrarily transferred in the middle of the night to another jail facility, she started all over and again succeeded until the courts dismissed all charges against her and set free in 2011.

Ipong co-authored the book on human rights A Red Rose for Andrea: Writings from Prison (Quezon City: Southern Voices Printing Press) a year after release.

Secret to a long and productive life

In her speech, Ipong said the secret to her long, productive and eventful life is keeping healthy, staying young at heart and commitment to serving the people.

Ipong said she still asks to this day how she can contribute to improving the lives of poor peasants in the Philippines.

Paano natin matuturuan ang magsasaka na umasa sa sarili, gampanan ang tungkulin na paunlarin ang atrasadong agrikultura at krudong teknolohiya, maging ng buong  kanayunan?” she asked in her speech.

Ipong said the youth should be encouraged to contribute in the development of the countryside.

Gusto kong patuloy na magturo lalo na sa mga kabataan. Hinihikayat at hinahamon ko kayo—lalo na ang young agriculturists, engineers, technicians, farmers, scientists, teachers, artists—na tumulong tayo,” she said.

“Share your time, talent and especially your commitment. We need you.  Let us join our hands with the farmers in their struggle for food, for land, for scientific development and for justice,” she added. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)