Love in the time of corona has left the group chat

By L.S. Mendizabal

You are now probably jaded with the barrage of information and opinions—some educated and quite helpful and others downright moronic—on “flattening the curve” circulating here on the Internets. I know I am. But there’s something we need to commit to memory as long as we still enjoy three square meals a day in the midst of this pandemic pandemonium. Repeat after me: We are the lucky bastards, the privileged stinkin’ suckers.

Philippines in lockdown

The working class whom some of us have called “tanga,” “pasaway” and even “motherfuckers” of late cannot afford steady internet connection to keep abreast of the latest developments in the national and global COVID-19 crisis. Most of them have only the Malacañang Palace to turn to for advice, which means that they are likely to ward off the virus by eating bananas and gargling saltwater. Those who reside outside but work in Metro Manila who don’t have a television or electricity at home might not have known about the enhanced community quarantine guidelines and found themselves stuck in Manila without any money to spare for food for the long walk back home now that mass transport has been suspended. People crossing the city boundaries experienced having to literally run in agitation over the armed authorities’ 30-minute countdown before lockdown. Meanwhile, thousands have been held up in the streets by a sheer number of AFP-PNP personnel in full battle gear pointing only two or a few more thermal scanners at people’s heads, interrogating their identities, who they were with, where they were going and why. Once the number of patients infected with COVID-19 began to rise in the Philippines, the administration’s knee-jerk response was militarization. “Obey first before complaining.” Groundbreaking.

Honestly, I was not the least bit surprised by the total lockdown, given that Duterte has been consistently grabbing every conceivable opportunity to maintain his fascist reign. Neither am I as dismayed by the exponential spread of COVID-19 as I actually am by the callousness of so many posts and comments, some of which are made by friends or acquaintances (or are they still?), on social media regarding the plight of the least fortunate—those who cannot afford to “work from home” and must brave the outside world to, I don’t know, probably earn money, find food and shelter maybe? It must also be noted that ironically but not surprisingly, the people who are calling the poor “pasaway” and “naghahanap ng sakit” are the same ones who called them “bobotante” after last year’s botched elections. How disgustingly swift some people have ceased to be humane after their #quarantinediaries selfies earning likes and follows are rudely disrupted by news of the poor struggling to continue living despite government’s orders for them to essentially stop doing just that. How sickening and revolting it has been to know how some of us might act in dire situations such as these, safely perched in their homes, watching TV, clicking and swiping on links in their smartphones or laptops while more than half of the Filipino populace are fighting for their lives in conditions more precarious than ever before, less fearful of the virus and more of hunger and ejection from their homes that may or may not have their own bathrooms and running water to begin with, if they had homes, that is.

The Philippines pre-COVID19

I wish I could write about something more optimistic to lessen our collective anxiety or a detailed objective analysis and critique of the nation’s healthcare system (a.k.a. an easy target for the trolls because apparently, they’ll defend anything their golden calf does), but what really keeps me up at night is not the shortage of 70% isopropyl or ethyl alcohol in stores but the seeming scarcity of empathy in many Filipinos I’ve encountered, at least online. Naturally, the prevailing people in power will do most anything in order to stay in power, while the powerless and exploited will always find ways to fight back. That’s just the kind of society we were born into, sadly. But I’m afraid that this element of “class struggle” has somehow left the consciousness of many a Filipino as we deal with this new unseen enemy they are so afraid of that they cannot be bothered about their fellow Filipinos, especially if in huge crowds in congested places.

In other words, y’all missing the context. Before Luzon went on lockdown, many things have happened in the Philippines besides Sarah Geronimo’s secret wedding. Here are the following, to remind you of a few:

  • The pending ABS-CBN franchise renewal;
  • Apart from non-remittance of taxes, reports of various crimes linked to POGOs, most of which have victimized Filipino citizens, have risen to an alarming rate;
  • Millions of Filipino drivers, operators, dispatchers, mechanics and their families and commuters face the impending jeepney phaseout as well as the inevitable fare hikes as the PUV Modernization Program pushes through in June this year;
  • Contractualization of workers remains rampant despite Duterte’s promise to end ENDO. Police offices have also been erected in Central Luzon industrial zones, a clear threat to workers’ rights to self-organize and fight for their basic interests and welfare;
  • Filipino farmers and millers are plunged further into bankruptcy because of the liberalization of rice importation which has resulted into the Philippines, an agricultural country, currently being the world’s biggest importer of rice;
  • Mindanao is still heavily militarized even after the lifting of martial law, where Lumads are driven to mass exodus as their lands get overrun by military and paramilitary forces, their schools being closed down, their leaders and allies harassed or killed. Meanwhile, Marawi remains in ruins as true rehabilitation has yet to take place;
  • Human rights violations keep recurring as elements of the state continue to redtag, file trumped up charges against, abduct and murder social activists, human rights workers, journalists, church leaders, lawyers, environmentalists and other critics. Last Tuesday, in the thick of the COVID-19 lockdown and Duterte’s incitement of ceasefire between the AFP and CPP-NPA, choreographer and activist, Marlon Maldos, was abducted and killed in De la Paz, Cortes in Bohol province; and all along,
  • The proposed Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020 is still underway, which seeks to repeal the Human Security Act of 2007, amending provisions to supposedly strengthen the government’s campaign against terrorism. Simply put, these amendments may lead to anyone getting accused of being a “terrorist” and punished for “terrorist crimes.” For instance, journalists in Cagayan de Oro City and Iloilo City campaigning for the ABS-CBN franchise renewal have been tagged as “communist-terrorists.”

It may sound like it but I am not reading all this as if it were the apocalypse. I only want you to understand that the nation has already been in a state of catastrophe even before the COVID-19 lockdown, and the two main takeaway points here are: 1) No matter how shitty, life goes on, especially for the working class because they have no other choice; and 2) Extreme militarist measures have caused us, notably the poor, more fatal harm than good. So to all those who dared repost photos of progressive groups holding placards that called for a medical solution to the national crisis, and saying that they deserved to be shot down by the military or hurt in any way, please know that persecuting people for fighting for ourrights only highlights your ignorance and apathy. They could have chosen to stay safe and quiet, indeed, but they sacrificed a day out in the streets before eventually bringing the protests online, albeit in masks and at arm’s length between each other, to speak out for you. And yet, you choose to not see the significance of protest in fascist times like these when so many are being terrorized, even slaughtered, into silence. You have neglected the fact that protest and dissent have taken you to where you are today, when you can call yourself a Filipino, enjoying unfiltered internet connection in your cozy house slippers and your soft couches with your Netflix subscriptions and smug faces. You lucky basturd, you.

One may credit this online idiocy to deindividuation, which social psychology defines as the loss of self-awareness because of the feeling of security that stems from anonymity or being in a mob or group like, say, Marcos apologists or passive-aggressive millennials who buck at anyone and everyone on Twitter but can’t bring themselves to ask for ketchup at the fastfood (just a personal observation, sincerely no offense meant). Deindividuation does not, however, make people any less liable for their actions. With or without the COVID-19 crisis, cheering on any human rights violation is just vile and an abuse in itself. If you disagree with the protests, fine. You do you. But please do not attempt to gag them just because you are in a position of privilege. I know you could not afford to house your entire family at St. Luke’s Medical Center if you caught the virus. Leave the discrimination and the bigotry to the elite.

Love in the time of COVID-19 and fascism

Now, more than ever, when the national setting is being engineered to be more conducive to isolation, deindividuation, individualism and segregation, when “social distancing” is the new norm, the Filipino people must strengthen social solidarity. We may not be able to physically link arms with one another, but there are many ways to fortify our unity and national spirit, as proven by:

  • The brilliant scientists and artists who have worked hard to create the COVID-19 test kits and sanitation tent design, respectively;
  • The doctors, nurses and health workers who actually respect human rights and tirelessly toil in and out of the hospitals in spite of the slashed health care funds and lack of facilities and resources;
  • The journalists, researchers and writers who keep us properly informed through the news, online public service announcements and statements;
  • The governors, mayors and other government officials and their staff who are present on the ground, making sure that their constituents are being looked after;
  • The government and bank employees, telecommunications workers, pharmacists and other agents who uphold their duties to secure the daily operations of our most important institutions and systems;
  • The responsible netizens who use social media as an effective platform to launch campaigns that extend all sorts of help to those in need such as petitions, donations and food distribution for the homeless who cannot self-quarantine, free rides for those who are forced to walk across cities because of the absence of public transit, and many other efforts; and last but definitely not the least,
  • Our farmers and farmworkers, some of whom are collecting harvest now as you read this, the workers in the factories, truck drivers, security guards, grocery salespersons, clerks and baggers, couriers, street sweepers, garbage collectors, vendors and the rest of the underprivileged but hardworking masses who are the main reason we are able to eat food that isn’t stale, have clothes on our backs, sleep soundly in relatively cleaner and safer neighborhoods, or for the smokers to even remotely have access to a pack of cigarettes.

The Philippines we woke up to this morning is a fascist authoritarian’s erotic fantasy— stifled press freedom, empty streets, no jeepneys, tricycles or public vans servicing commuters, no teachers or students in schools, no work, food and shelter for the poor, and no mass testing to keep people in the dark while we are being divided and conquered, slowly massacred, or in the case of those who dare criticize him, abducted and killed. Martial Law can’t even.

Our democratic space is constantly shrinking into a cramped cell and only the few and the powerful will not be held prisoners. So unless you see this as a bright future for yourself and your children, you might want to rethink if apathy and blind faith is indeed convenient for you and your fellow human beings. Perhaps now is the time to stock up on an unlimited supply of love, empathy, kindness and compassion, and courage partnered with critical thinking. If there’s anything our long history of Filipino social struggles have proven time and again, it is that nothing can defeat a united front—not an army of foreign colonizers, not a single viral sickness or a single tyrant.#

= = = = = =


Socialite Cat Arambulo calls workers getting arrested on TV “motherfuckers” and other elitist reactions to COVID-19 lockdown:

Panelo claims eating bananas is effective to combat COVID-19:

People running to cross city boundary:

Cagayan de Oro City and Iloilo City journalists campaigning for ABS-CBN franchise renewal tagged as “communist-terrorists”:

University of the Philippines unveils new subject on the Marcos dictatorship to counter historical revisionism

The subject was offered 33 years after the downfall of Marcos

By Karlo Mongaya

A new General Education (GE) subject that will tackle the dark years of military rule in the Philippines during the Ferdinand Marcos dictatorship will be taught at the Diliman campus of the University of the Philippines (UP), the country’s premier state university.

Philippines Studies 21 (PS 21) tackles the historical experience of repression and resistance under Martial Law as a way of countering attempts by political allies of the late dictator Marcos, including the incumbent Rodrigo Duterte government, to whitewash the crimes, corruption, and rights abuses under the martial law regime.

The new subject will focus on the language, culture, and literature from the Martial Law era. The course title PS 21 was taken from the date of the declaration of Martial Law on September 21, 1972. Then President Ferdinand Marcos imposed dictatorial rule for 14 years until his overthrow by a popular uprising at EDSA in 1986.

The new subject has stirred controversy as the Marcoses complained that it may be “one-sided” against their family while the armed forces raised the alarm that it would be used as a recruitment tool for “communist rebels”.

Instituting PS 21

PS 21 has been in the works since 2014 when it was first proposed by Philippine Studies professors at the UP Department of Filipino and Philippine Literature (DFPP).

But efforts to institutionalize the subject gained renewed impetus late in 2018 when the issue of UP President Danilo Concepcion dancing with Senator Imee Marcos, the eldest daughter of the dead dictator, at a function in the university was reported by the media.

The UP Diliman University Council issued a statement calling for stronger efforts to educate the public on the horrors brought about by the Marcos dictatorship, including the creation of additional subjects in the university.

After passing several steps in the rigorous academic process for approving subjects, PS 21 finally made it through the UP Diliman University Council last September 2019. The proposed syllabus of PS 21 has been uploaded online.

Asked by media about the subject, Senator Imee Marcos appealed that her family’s side of the story be included in the course. The PS 21 proponents assured her that the late dictator’s speeches and writings legitimizing military rule are indeed part of the subject.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo, who served as counsel for the Marcoses in their cases on their ill-gotten wealth, said the subject is a good idea: “Every student should know and learn any subject that concerns governance.”

Contentious history

The Martial Law era remains a contentious topic in the Philippines today. On the one hand, many Filipinos continue to seek justice for those whose rights were violated — the tens of thousands who were imprisoned, tortured, killed, disappeared — by the Marcos regime.

Marcos’ debt-driven development programs and massive corruption favoring his family and cronies have been cited even by mainstream economists for the many ills facing Philippine society today.

On the other hand, human rights activists said that the failure of post-Marcos administrations to convict the dictator’s family and his cronies has allowed the Marcoses to return to power. The dictator’s son and namesake Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. almost won the vice-presidency in the 2016 elections. His sister Imee Marcos currently occupies a seat in the senate.

President Duterte, who has openly expressed admiration for Marcos, and his officials have been blunt in calling on the public to “move on” from the horrors of dictatorial rule while his officials tout those years as the “Golden Age” of Philippine history.

A propaganda video released by the state-managed Philippine News Agency (PNA) against activist organizations as part of the government’s counter-insurgency campaign, for example, praises the Marcos era as the highest point of the country’s economy.

Duterte moreover allowed the burial of the body of the dictator at the Libingan ng mga Bayani (Heroes’ Cemetery) on November 18, 2016 sparking indignation and nationwide protests.

Students listen as proponents explain the rationale and contents of the PS 21 subject during its launching held in UP last September 18, 2019. Photo by author

Target of red-tagging

Ironically, the subject that tackles abuses of the dictatorship is itself now subjected to Marcos era-style repression. PS 21 is yet to be taught but the new subject is already in the cross-hairs of the Duterte government and its armed forces.

The UP Rises Against Tyranny and Dictatorship (UPRISE) network recently condemned the Philippine military for falsely red-tagging the new subject as a recruitment tool for “communist rebels” in a lecture at the Isabela State University Cauayan campus.

Target of red-tagging

Ironically, the subject that tackles abuses of the dictatorship is itself now subjected to Marcos era-style repression. PS 21 is yet to be taught but the new subject is already in the cross-hairs of the Duterte government and its armed forces.

The UP Rises Against Tyranny and Dictatorship (UPRISE) network recently condemned the Philippine military for falsely red-tagging the new subject as a recruitment tool for “communist rebels” in a lecture at the Isabela State University Cauayan campus.

UPRISE said that red-tagging is in line with President Duterte’s Executive Order No. 70 mandating a “whole-of-nation” approach that synchronizes the activities of all civilian agencies as part of the military’s counter-insurgency efforts:

This presentation was made in line with Executive Order no. 70, fronted as a talk on ensuring student safety and security, but is in essence a massive smear campaign against nationalist and critical education espoused by schools and legal organizations.

Senator Bato dela Rosa, who as former police chief was the lead executor of Duterte’s “War on Drugs”, is leading a crusade to “save students” against “communist infiltration” in schools and universities.

His Senate Committee Report no.10 proposes school administrators clampdown on “radicalization” thru increased police and military presence in campuses, regular review of academic programs, monitoring of school events, up to the filing of charges against professors.

Students, faculty, and employees hold protests last August 20, 2019 at the historic Palma Hall of the University of the Philippines Diliman against the threat of military and police intrusions on campus. Photo by author.

Conscientization amidst repression

Last October 31, 56 activists in Bacolod City, Negros and 2 in Manila City were arrested in raids conducted by Duterte’s security forces on the offices of legal people’s organizations and homes of activists in Negros and the national capital.

This was followed by an early morning November 5 raid on the office of activist group Bayan in Tondo, Manila and threats of state reprisals on legal offices of human rights defenders and progressives.

The crackdown on legal activists who have been the most vocal critics of the Duterte administration has not stopped, with various humanitarian and religious groups included in the military’s list of “communist terrorist groups”.

As the current administration intensifies the constriction of democratic spaces in the country, the new PS 21 subject hopes to be a platform for the “conscientization” of a new generation of Filipino youth on the importance of human rights, social justice and the continuing struggle for genuine freedom and democracy.

Concerned faculty in other UP campuses outside Diliman are endeavoring to institute the same subject in their respective regions. The proponents hope that the same efforts will be pushed in other schools and universities in the country. #

Disclosure: The author teaches Philippine Studies at the UP Diliman Department of Filipino and Philippine Literature.

(This article was first published by Global Voices, an international and multilingual community of bloggers, journalists, translators, academics, and human rights activists. It is republished by Kodao as part of a content sharing agreement.)

Pahayag ng Alliance of Concerned Teachers hinggil sa tangkang pagpatay sa guro sa Bukidnon

Nagbigay pahayag si Joselyn Martinez, tagapangulo ng ACT Philippines, kaugnay sa tangkang pagpaslang sa kasapi ng ACT Region 10 na si teacher Zhaydee Cabañelez noong Oktubre 15 sa Valencia City Bukidnon.

A timeline of the birth and attacks on Salugpongan schools

by Kene E. Kagula/Davao Today

DAVAO CITY, Philippines —


The Salugpongan Schools started as a literacy-numeracy school for the Talaingod Manobo children. Volunteer teachers were facilitated by the Rural Missionaries of the Philippines (RMP).


Salugpongan Schools were established as a formal learning institution aiming to provide basic education to the Manobo and was accredited by the Department of Education.

Its full name, Salugpongan Ta Tanu Igkanogon Community Learning Center, Inc. (STTICLCI), was derived from its founders, the Salugpongan Ta Tanu Igkanogon (Unity in Defense of Ancestral Land), an organization formed by Talaingod Manobo leaders.

They envisioned to provide the Talaingod Manobo and other IP communities free, quality and culturally relevant education. They said this is the “concrete expression of their collective effort” to defend the Pantaron Mountain Range in their ancestral territory.


Salugpongan school administrators joined in the consultation held by the Department of Education (DepEd) for the creation of the Indigenous Peoples Education (IPED) framework.

The framework has become what is now the DepEd Order No. 62 series of 2011, or “Adopting the National Indigenous People’s Education (IPED) Policy Framework intended to be “an instrument for promoting shared accountability, continuous dialogue, engagement, and partnership among government, IP communities, civil society, and other education stakeholders.”

Salugpungan schools encountered the first red-tagging incident from the 60th Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army, as the DepEd presents evidence that Salugpungan was granted a permit.


The STTICLCI received accreditation status as a learning center from the Sangguniang Bayan of Talaingod.


Its very first campus in Sitio Dulyan, Barangay Palma Gil, Talaingod, serving Kinder to Grade 6 learners, was granted Certificate of Recognition by the DepEd.

April — Due to the increasing military deployment and operations in Talaingod that has harassed its residents, the Salugpongan embarked on an evacuation, seeking sanctuary at the United Church of Christ of the Philippines’ (UCCP) Haran compound.

Dialogues went on and off for a month between local officials of Talaingod, Davao del Norte provincial LGU, Davao City LGU, and military officers that resolved the Manobo’s demand to pullout the paramilitary and soldiers.

November — The Davao del Norte DepEd division officer urges the 68th Infantry Battalion to spare the Salugpongan schools from military operations after complaints were raised by school administrators of soldiers “residing near the school and establishing patrol bases”.


March — A fact finding mission in Talaingod in March confirms that military personnel were encamped in 257 households, two schools, a health center and a barangay hall.

July — The DepEd delayed the release of operating permits of the Salugpongan schools, which was released a month later after the Salugpongan community held a camp-in protest in the DepEd Regional office. Salugpongan decided to hold bakwit schools in UCCP Haran because of the attacks of the military and paramilitary.

davaotoday file photo


January — A Salugpongan student, 16 year old Alibando Tingkas, was shot dead by the paramilitary Alamara in Barangay Palma Gil.

Amelia Pond, the Curriculum Development Officer of the Salugpongan Schools, and coordinator of RMP Southern Mindanao, was arrested during an RMP assembly in Cebu. She was arrested on a warrant bearing a different name allegedly of a New People’s Army member and was charged for murder. Pond was detained for 16 months, including a few months in hospital arrest following a spine surgery, before the case was dismissed for “mistaken identity”.

The Talaingod Manobos returned to their communities after President Duterte’s promise to act on their call to pullout troops in their villages. But later they found the military continues to encamp in their communities and schools.


June — A Salugpongan teacher survives a strafing incident from a paramilitary member. The strafing traumatized the Lumad students.

July — Lumad schools camped out in “Panacañang” and at the DepEd regional office to raise public awareness on their continuing displacement, and urged the government to stop the attacks and red-tagging of their schools.

After his 2nd State of the Nation Address (SONA), President Rodrigo Duterte said in a press conference that he would “bomb Lumad schools” over allegations that they are built by the New People’s Army. The pronouncement forced students and communities to stay in sanctuaries while institutions such as UCCP Haran and UP Diliman hosted “bakwit” (evacuation) schools.

September 5 — 19-year old Salugpungan student Obello Bay-ao was murdered by CAFGU and Alamara members in the community of Sitio Dulyan. The suspects remained to be at large.

November 2018

18 Salugpongan teachers, and delegates of a National Solidarity Mission headed by former Bayan Muna Party-list Representative Satur Ocampo and ACT Teachers Party-List Representative France Castro was detained and charged with kidnapping and trafficking. The group was headed to help rescue the students and teachers the Salugpongan campus in Sitio Dulyan who fled after the paramilitary Alamara forcibly closed their schools.

The group, called “Talaingod 18” was granted bail as their case continues.


July 8 — The DepEd Division released a memorandum calling for the suspension of 54 Salugpongan schools. The issuance was based on the recommendation of National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr. that accused the school of not following the DepEd curriculum and teaching “ideologies that advocate against the government”.

July 22 — The Salugpongan schools submitted a reply to the DepEd order, firmly denying all the allegations. They also questioned the agency’s issuance of such order “without following due process”.

September 2019

In defiance to DepEd’s order of suspension, the school continue their operations for its students, re-opening “Bakwit schools” in UCCP Haran, and in University of the Philippines-Diliman in Quezon City for this school year.

October 7

DepEd Region 11 issued its final resolution calling for the closure of all Salugpungan schools. It claimed the basis on their fact-finding mission that verified Esperon’s claims and cited other instances that the schools did not comply with DepEd standards and curriculum. # (

Paggunita sa Batas Militar at ang papel ng Kabataan noon at ngayon

Sa ika – 47 anibersaryo ng deklarasyon ng Batas Militar ni dating pangulong Ferdinand Marcos, nagsagawa ng kilos protesta ang iba’t ibang mga grupo upang gunitain ang malagim na karanasan ng mga biktima sa ilalim nito.

Ang ilan sa mga kabataang biktima ng batas militar noon ni Marcos ay nagbahagi ng papel ng kanilang sektor sa paglaban sa diktadurya. Panoorin kung ano ang tingin nilang papel ng kabataan ngayon sa ilalim ng rehimeng tila-diktadurya rin. (Video by Jek Alcaraz/Kodao)

KODAO ASKS: Ano ang pagkakaiba o pagkakapareho ng Batas Militar ni Marcos at ni Duterte?

Matagumpay ang kilos-protesta ng mamamayan noong Setyembre 20 bilang paggunita sa ika-47 taon ng deklarasyon ng batas militar ni dating Pangulong Ferdinand Marcos.

Tinanong ng Kodao Productions ang ilang dumalo kung ano ang pagkakaiba o pagkakapareho sa martial law noon at sa sinasabing “de facto martial law” ngayon ni Pangulong Duterte, at ito ang kanillang mga sagot. (Background music: Bumper Tag by John Deley/Video by Joseph Cuevas)

Groups blame Duterte’s martial law for the deaths of 52 environmentalists

An international anti-corruption group has revealed that the Rodrigo Duterte government’s heavy-handed rule in Mindanao and many other parts of the country has caused the deaths of 52 environmentalists in the hands of the military in the past three years.

In a report entitled “Defending the Philippines”, the group Global Witness said that Duterte’s “martial law has emboldened [the military] to use force to silence environmental and indigenous activism, with 52 defenders have been killed extra-judicially by the army in the last three years.”

The group, in a press conference in Quezon City last Tuesday, September 24, said it uncovered shocking evidence of widespread attacks against land and environmental defenders when they stand up to destructive coal, agribusiness, mining and tourism projects.

The group also identified major local and international corporations as the beneficiaries of the systematic attacks against Filipino citizens.

 The report accused major players Dole Philippines, Del Monte Philippines, San Miguel Corporation, Standard Chartered and the World Bank of “corporate greed” that caused killings and widespread displacement of marginalized communities.

The revelations come after the Philippines was named last July as the world’s deadliest country for land and environment defenders in 2018 back, sparking widespread international coverage of the issue.

In his presentation, Global Witness Senior Campaigner Ben Leather said his group’s report could not be clearer in its finding that the Duterte government has miserably failed in protecting land and environmental defenders.

“Businesses from coal to agribusiness, from mining to tourism, are allowed to run rampant and irreparably damage the lives of ordinary Filipinos,” Leather said, adding corruption and conflicts of interest within government affecting well-known politicians also remain out of control.

“If the Filipino government is going to deliver on its promises, it has to protect land and environmental defenders and stand up to big business and corrupt politicians. And if companies and investors like Del Monte Philippines, San Miguel and Standard Chartered want their sustainability and human rights pledges to be anything other than poisonous hot air – then they too need to take immediate action to tackle the root causes of these attacks and support defenders,” Leather said.

Impunity against land and defenders

Local environmental group Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment (PNE), a partner to the investigations, agreed with the Global Witness analysis that “the killings are the sharp end of a broader impunity against land and environmental defenders.”

“The Global Witness report reveals damning evidence of how Duterte’s military and paramilitary have essentially functioned as mercenaries for large-scale mining and other extractive and destructive business projects. By using brute armed force to guarantee and secure dirty investments, Duterte has indeed failed in his promises to protect the environment and indigenous peoples, and curb corruption,” Kalikasan PNE national coordinator Leon Dulce said

“Martial Law is clearly not the so-called tool to save democracy that Malacanang wants to paint it to be. For us Filipino environmental defenders, it has functioned as a tool for repression and to promote the unimpeded plunder of our natural resources by big businesses,” Dulce added.

Kalikasan PNP demanded an independent into the function of military and paramilitary groups as ‘mercenaries of large-scale mines and other extractive and destructive projects across the Philippines.’

‘We also demand for the immediate cessation of the Martial Law declaration over Mindanao and the institutionalization of a national policy that will protect the rights of Filipino environmental defenders and other human rights defenders from the atrocities especially of state security forces,” Dulce said. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)

Itanong Mo Kay Prof: Hinggil kay Robert Mugabe at hinggil sa martial law nina Marcos at Duterte

Panayam ng Kodao Productions kay Prof. Jose Maria Sison hinggil sa yumaong Robert Mugabe, dating presidente ng Zimbabwe at ang Martial Law sa panahon ni Marcos at Duterte.

TOPIC: 1. Robert Mugabe, dating pangulo ng Zimbabwe
2. Martial Law ni Marcos at De Facto Martial Law ni Duterte
SEPTEMBER 18, 2019

Prof Sarah: Magandang araw sa mga tagapakinig sa ating paluntunang Itanong Mo Kay Prof. Sa araw na ito ay makakasama nating muli ang Chair Emeritus ng ILPS upang talakayin ang mahahalagang sitwasyon sa ating malawak na kilusang mapagpalaya.

Magbibigay tayo ng pagpupugay sa kilusang mapagpalaya ng Zimbabwe at sa naging lider nito na si President Mugabe. Maglalaan din tayo ng panahon sa pagtalakay ng mga kundisyong bunsod naman ng mga presidenteng diktador at anti-mammayan. Bukod pa at higit rito ay pag-uusapan din natin ang pagbabalikwas ng mamamayang magigiting laban sa mga korap at abusadong lider ng ating nakaraan at kasalukuyan. At siyempre makakasama natin si Propesor Jose Maria Sison dito sa Itanong Mo Kay Prop.

Prof Sison: Maalab na makabayang pagbati sa inyo Prof. Sarah Raymundo at sa lahat ng ating kababayan!

Mga Tanong:

Prof Sarah: Prof Sison, bago tayo tumungo sa mahahalagang usapin sa ating bayan, puntahan muna natin ang isang mainit at pinag-uusapan din ngayon sa buong daigdig. Ito ay ang pagpanaw ng dating pangulo ng Zimbabwe na si Robert Mugabe, noong September 6 sa idad na 95 taon. Magkakaiba ang damdamin ng kanyang mga kababayan sa pagtingin ng kanyang naging kasaysayan bilang pangulo ng Zimbabwe, na dating Rhodesia.

Prof Sarah: Sabi ng mga matatandang Aprikano, si Mugabe daw ay revolutionary fighter at liberator. Maaari po ba ninyong ibahagi sa ating mga tagapakinig sino po ba talaga si Robert Mugabe. Tutuo ba na naging mahusay na lider siya at rebolusyonaryo?

JMS: Si Robert Mugabe ay totoong revolutionary fighter at lider sa pagpapalaya ng Zimbabwe. Sa kanyang pagpanaw, pinarangalan bilang bayani ng gobyerno at mga mamamayan ng Zimbabwe. Sa matagal na panahon, itinuring siya na bayani at ama ng kanyang bayan laban sa kolonialismo at imperyalismo ng Bretanya at sa white minority rule ng mga Ingles. Taglay niya ang African nationalism at naging tagapangulo ng Non-Aligned Movement, Organization of African Unity at African Union.

Sa ilang panahon, sinikap niyang mag-aral ng Marxismo bilang gabay sa pagpapalaya sa itim na mayorya ng kanyang bayan. Kinulong siya nang sampung taon (1964-74) ng mga kolonyalistang Ingles. Sa paglabas niya ng preso, tumungo sa Mozambique para pamunuan ang sandatahatang pakikibaka ng Zimbabwe African National Union (ZANU) laban sa white minority rule ni Ian Smith ng Rhodesia (dating tawag ng mga Ingles sa Zimbabwe.)

Pumasok siya sa peace negotiations na minungkahi ng Bretanya at natuloy ito sa pagtigil sa sandatahang pakikibaka. Nagkaroon ng general election ng 1980 kung kailan nanalo ang ZANU-Patriotic Front at naging unang Prime Minister ng Zimbabwe si Mugabe mula 1980 hanggang 1987. Naging presidente siya mula 1987 hanggang 2017. Sa kanyang katungkulan, pinalawak niya ang sistema ng health care at public education. Sa umpisa nakipagcompromiso siya sa Bretanya tungkol sa economic policy. Pero itinulak pa rin niya ang dekolonisasyon, laluna sa land reform laban sa mga puting panginoong maylupa.

Prof Sarah: Tinawag din siyang diktador ng maraming Zimbabwean. Marami daw pong pinapatay si Mugabe at siya daw ang dahilan ng pagbagsak ng kanilang ekonomiya. Naging ganid daw siya sa kapangyarihan. Inabot niya ang 37 taon sa pwesto bago siya napabagsak at napaalis sa ng mga militar sa kanilang bayan. Ano ang masasabi ninyo dito, Prof Sison?

JMS: Ang pagkumpiska ng lupa mula sa mga puting panginoong maylupa para ipamudmod sa mga itim na magsasaka ang naging dahilan ng malaking paninira kay Mugabe mula sa minoryang puti, mga kasapakat nilang itim na nasa partido naZimbabwe African People’s Union (ZAPU) at mga pahayagan ng Bretanya at Kanluran. Sinabotahe ng mga imperyalista ang mga eksport ng Zimbabwe at dahil dito napinsala ang ekonomya nito. Pero naligtas ang ekonomiya dahil sa tulong ng mga bansang hindi palasunod sa US at Bretanya.

Pinakamasamang hamon kay Mugabe ang paglunsad ng armadong oposisyon sa kanyang gobyerno. Dito nagkamatayan ng marami. Dinurog ng Fifth Brigade ni Mugabe ang armadong oposisyon sa Matabeland kung saan iniulat na galibu ang nasawi. Gayunman sa mga eleksyon, pinayagan ni Mugabe ang paglahok ng partido ng oposisyon. Hanggang ngayon, buhay na buhay ang mga legal na kalaban niya sa pulitika.

Prof Sarah: Ano ang aral na ating mapupulot sa naging kasaysayan ni Robert Mugabe, Prof Sison? May kabuluhan ba ang kanyang mga ginawa para sa mga Aprikano at sa mamamayan ng daigdig?

JMS. Malaki ang kabuluhan ng ginawa ni Mugabe sa pagpapalaya at pagpapaunlad ng Zimbabwe at sa pagtataguyod ng pagkakakaisa ng mga bansang Afrikano laban sa kolonyalismo, imperyalismo at paghahari ng puting minorya. Sa kabila ng mga tagumpay niya at pagsuporta ng masa, parang hindi niya namalayan ang kanyang pagtanda at pangangailangan na magretiro. Sa edad na 93, gusto pa niyang magpatuloy na presidente ng Zimbabwe pero pinagsabihan na siya ng militar na palitan na siya ng bise presidente. Ang aral dito ay dapat may retirement age at limitasyon sa termino ng mga lider.

Prof Sarah: Noong September 21, 1972 ay pinirmahan ng dating pangulo ng bansa at diktador na si Ferdinand Marcos and Proclamation No. 1081. Isinasaad dito ang paglalagay sa buong bansa sa ilalim ng Batas Militar o Martial Law. Ginawa ito ni Marcos para lalong lupigin ang nag-aalburutong galit ng mamamayan na noon ay nakakaranas na ng matinding pang-aabuso ng mga may kapangyarihan sa bansa. Bagsak ang ekonomiya. Marami ang walang hanapbuhay. Marami ang hindi kumakain sa maghapon at kaliwa’t kanan ang pang-aapi ng mga kapitalista at panginoong maylupa sa mga manggagawa at magsasaka.

Ipinagbawal ang organisasyon ng mga kabataan at guro sa eskwelahan. Ipinasara ang mga publikasyon at tinanggalan ng karapatan sa pamamahayag at ekspresyon ang mamamayan para hindi malaman sa buong daigdig ang nagaganap na karahasan sa bansa.

Marami ang hinuli, tinortyur, pinatay at mga dinukot na hanggang ngayon ay hindi pa nakikita.

Kasama nating muli ngayon si Prof Jose Maria Sison para magbahagi ng kanyang karanasan noong panahon ng Batas Militar.

Prof Sarah: Prof Sison, isa kayo sa mga lumaban noong panahon ng Batas Militar. Ano po ang inyong masasabi sa ginawang ito ni Marcos?

JMS: Tunay na masamang tao si Ferdinand Marcos. Sakim sa kapangyarihan at sa kayamanan. Nagpataw ng batas militar sa bayan para magtayo ng pasistang diktadura at mawalan ng hadlang ang kanyang paglabag sa mga karapatang demokratiko at pantao at gayundin ang kanyang pandarambong sa kabangyaman ng bayan at sa mga proyektong overpriced at kaakibat nitong mga utang sa loob at labas ng bansa.

Noon pa mang 1965, tantiyado na naming nasa mga makabayan at progresibong organisasyon na may balak si Marcos na maging pasistang diktador habambuhay. Dahil dito, determinado kaming magpalakas ng kilusang masa hanggang maitayo ang isang rebolusyonaryong partido at hukbo. Lalong naging halata ang hilig ni Marcos noong 1969 at 1970 na gumamit ng militar para manakot at pumatay.

SR5. Kayo po ay nahuli noong 1977. Sino po ba ang dumakip sa inyo, Philippine Constabulary (PC) o mga sundalo? Paano ninyo hinarap si Marcos at ano ang ginawa nila sa inyo?

JMS: Composite forces ng Philippine Constabulary and dumakip sa akin noong Nobyembre 10, 1977. At pagkatapos ikinulong ako nang matagalan hanggang 1986 sa Military Security Unit ng Philippine Army. Parang gentlemen kami ni Marcos nang magharap. Nagkunwari pa siyang mag-alok ng national unity and reconciliation. Tugon ko na pag-aralan namin kung ano ang mabuti para sa bayan. Nagreklamo pa ako tungkol sa pagdukot at pamamaslang ng militar sa mga aktibista sa Timog Katagalugan.

Nang ibinalik ako sa aking piitan sa MSU sa Fort Bonifacio, ilang araw akong pinupuntahan ng mga imbestigador hanggang Sabado. Halata kong yamot sila na walang makuha sa akin na impormasyong makapagpahamak sa iba. Pagdating nang Sabado at Linggo, ipinailalalin na ako sa physical torture, kabilang na ang pambubogbog at maraming oras ng water cure: paulit-ulit na pagpapaagos ng tubig sa aking ilong hanggang para akong nalulunod.

Prof Sarah: Prof Sison, anong aral ang maibabahagi ninyo sa ating mga tagapakinig bilang isa sa mga naging biktima ng Martial Law?

JMS: Napakasama ang martial law. Lisensiya ito ng presidente bilang commander-in-chief at mga utusan niyang militar na gumawa ng lahat ng human rights violations, kabilang na ang mga abduction, torture, pamamaslang at pandarambong. Dahil sa martial law napakaraming dinukot, desaparesido, tinorture, pinatay at inagawan ng property. Sa pinakamababang estimate, nakapagnakaw si Marcos ng 10 to 15 billion USD.

Prof Sarah: Ngayon naman ay dumako tayo sa panahon ng Pangulong Duterte. Maaari ninyo po bang ipaliwanag muna sa ating mga tagapakinig, ano ang ibig sabihin ng de facto martial law?

JMS: Tulad ng panahon ng pasistang diktadura ni Marcos at tulad sa Mindanao ngayon magmula 2017 may pormal na proklamasyon ng martial law. Pero sa Luson at Bisayas, wala pang ganitong proklamasyon, de facto o sa katunayan meron nang martial law dahil sa aktwal na paggamit ng militar ni Duterte para manakot, manghuli, magtorture at pumaslang sa mga tao nang walang paghapag at pagproseso ng kaso sa harap karampatang husgado ng sibilyan na gobyerno. Sa ilalim ng Executive Order No. 70 ilinalagay ni Duterte ang gobyerno at lipunan sa kanyang kamay na bakal o kanyang militar na instrumento.

Prof Sarah: Napakarami na po ang mga dating pulis at militar na ngayon ay nasa Kongreso, Senado at Malacanang. Pinasok na rin ng Philippine National Police ang mga eskwelahan at unibersidad sa Kamaynilaan para daw supilin ang pagrerekrut ng mga NPA sa mga kabataan. Ito rin daw ay bahagi ng kanilang kampanya ng pagsupil sa mga pinagbabawal na gamot. Ano ang inyong opinyon hinggil sa mga bagay na ito, Prof Sison?

JMS: Ang mga binanggit mo ay pruweba ng de facto martial law. Sa utos ng commander-in-chief, nagiging dominante ang mga militar sa gobyerno at sa lipunan. Pinakikialaman ng militar ang lahat ng bagay para maghasik ng lagim at gumawa ng anumang krimen sa ngalan ng anti-communism at national security.

Prof Sarah: Noong May 23, 2017 ay ibinaba ang martial law sa buong Mindanao. Kasunod nito ay kinansela ng gubyerno ang panglimang round ng usapang pangkapayapaan sa pagitan ng Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) at National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP), na noon ay parehong nasa (The) Netherlands ang mga negosyador. Ano po ang inyong masasabi dito, Prof Sison?

JMS: Magmula sa petsang binanggit mo,, nagproklama ng martial law sa saklaw ng buong Mindanao para umpisahan niyang labanan nang lantaran ang CPP, NPA at iba pang pwersang rebolusyonaryo. Sadyang sinira ni Duterte ang peace negotiations nang sa gayon magawa niyang dahilan ang armed conflict o ang CPP at NPA para magtayo ng pasistang diktadura.

Prof Sarah: Prof Sison, hindi lamang isang taon ang martial law sa Mindanao. Ito ay naextend pa hanggang matapos ang taong 2019. Ano po ba sa inyong pagtingin sa dahilan ng pamahalaan at bakit kailangang ipagpatuloy pa ang martial law sa Mindanao?

JMS: Ipinagpatuloy ang martial law sa Mindanao bilang pundasyon ng de facto martial law sa buong Pilipinas at bilang pundasyon na rin ng pandaraya sa nakaraang eleksyon at anumang susunod na eleksyon. Dominado na ni Duterte ang Kongreso at local governments dahil sa malaking pananakot sa oposisyon at pandaraya sa eleksyon sa Mindanao. Isa pang mahalagang punto, dahil sa martial law sa Mindanao, napadali ang pang-aagaw ng lupa at natural resources mula sa mga kawawang lumad at mga magsasaka.

Prof Sarah: Ano po ang epekto ng martial law sa Mindanao? Sa inyo po bang pagtingin Prof Sison, malulupig ng pamahalaan ang mga rebolusyonaryong pwersa ng CPP/NPA/NDF?

JMS: Sa palagay ko, hindi malulupig ng bulok na gobyerno ang pwersang rebolusyonaryo sa Mindanao. Lalo pang lalakas ang mga ito dahil sa ibayong pang-aapi at pagsasamantala at dahil taglay nila ang tamang linya ng demokratikong rebolusyon ng bayan. At tama rin ang estratehiya nila na pangmatagalang digmang bayan at mga taktika ng digmang gerilya na malawak at masinsinan batay sa malawak at malalim ng suporta ng masang api.

Prof Sarah: Sa September 21 ay aalalahanin ng mamamayang Pilipino ang ika-47 taon ng Batas Militar sa bansa. Ano po ang inyong pabaong mensahe sa ating mga tagapakinig, Prof Sison?

JMS: Mensahe ko sa lahat ng ating kababayan na tandaan ang malalaking krimen ng pasistang diktadura ni Marcos at ipagbunyi ang dakilang pakikibaka ng masang Pilipino at mga makabayan at demokratikong pwersa para ibagsak ang diktadura iyon. Matuto sa karanasan at labanan nang puspusan ang balak at mga hakbang ng tiraniyang Duterte na magpataw ng martial law at pasistang diktadura sa sambayanang Pilipino.

Prof Sarah:

Prof Sison: Nagpapasalamat ako muli kay Prof. Sarah Raymundo at sa lahat ng takapakinig. Mabuhay kayo!

Prof Sarah: Maraming salamat Prof Sison sa isang mayaman at matalas na diskusyon. Maraming salamat sa ating mga tagapakinig.

Apat na pu’t pitong taon matapos ang deklarasyon ng Martial Law ay nahaharap na naman tayo sa malalagim na kundisyon. Mabangis ang gobyernong Duterte at ang galamay nito lalong-lalo na sa mga manggagawa at magsasaka. Tintatakot at pinapatumba rin nito ang mga nagtatanggol sa karapatang pantao at nais magsulong ng kapayapaan.

Tandaan natin, hindi magiging ganito kasahol ang paninikil sa ating mga laya kung wala ring matinding krisis na hinaharap ang ating sistema. Ang gustong mangyari ng mga nasa kapangyarihan ay panatilihin ang umiiral na sistema sa kabila ng krisis. Kaya tinatakot at inaagawan nila ng buhay ang mga nagnanais baguhin ang sistema upang masolusyunan ang krisis. Habang sila ay papahina, nais din nila tayong maging mahina. Kaya’t nararapat lamang na tayo ay humugot ng lakas sa pagtitiwala sa kilusang masa.

Ito po si Sarah Raymundo ng Bagong Alyansang Makabayan at Unibersidad ng Pilipinas. Hanggang sa muli dito sa Itanong Mo Kay Prof.


Malaking protesta sa Setyembre 20, pangungunahan ng kabataan

Nagsagawa ng press conference ang alyansang United People’s Action sa gusali ng Sangguniang Laiko ng Pilipinas ngayong araw ng Lunes, Setyembre 16, para sa itinakda nilang kilos-protesta sa Setyembre 20 bilang paggunita sa ika-47 anibersaryo ng deklarasyon ng batas militar ng diktador na si Ferdinand Marcos.

Pangungunahan ng mga kabataan ang pagkilos na may temang ” Laban Kabataan, Laban Bayan! Inhustisya at Diktadurya Wakasan!” Nagpahayag ng suporta at pagsama sa pagkilos ang iba’t-ibang grupo.

Binasa din ni dating Supreme Court Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno “Unity Statement” ng United People’s Action. (Music: News Background. Bidyo ni: Joseph Cuevas/Kodao)

Groups condemn red-tagging of 2 CDO journalists

Media groups condemned the worsening attacks against the press in the Philippines following the death threat against Mindanao Gold Star Daily associate editor Leonardo Vicente Corrales, who is also alleged to have a P1 million bounty on his head.

In a press conference, the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) raised concerns over the red-tagging of Corrales, along with veteran journalist Froilan Gallardo of MindaNews.

On August 27, Corrales received flyers sent via courier service alleging that both him and Gallardo are members of the Communist Party of the Philippines and New People’s Army.

The courier packet, sent on August 24, identified the sender as Danilo Tirso Mantangan of Sitio Camansi, Lagonglong, Misamis Oriental with mobile phone number 09091020123.

“It’s an attempt to brand journalists as combatant parties of the conflict, instead of journalists and civilians,” NUJP Western Mindanao safety officer JB Deveza said.

Deveza pointed out that the flyers also attacked the credibility of the journalists by describing them as “biased” and “supporters of terrorist organizations.”

“We expect that this is not going away soon,” Deveza said, explaining the need “to express our outrage and for the state to do something about it.”

“It does not only endanger the life of our colleagues but also depriving the community of fair and unbiased reporting,” he added.

Conflict journalists

Gallardo, who has covered the various conflicts of Mindanao for since the 1980s, said he was included in the ongoing red-tagging of journalists, lawyers, church workers and activists for having recently interviewed the New People’s Army about a raid they carried out in August.

“We cannot just write the government’s side, but also the rebels’,” Gallardo said.

“If they think that by doing this they would kill the idea of journalism, they thought wrong”

Gallardo said journalists are duty-bound to get the side of rebels in the many conflicts in Mindanao as they are expected to interview government armed forces as well.

“We fail to get both sides of the story, then we are no good as journalists,” Gallardo explained.

Predicate to ‘terrorism’

Former NUJP chair Inday Espina-Varona said journalists do not work in a vacuum and called the attacks part of a national government policy stemming from President Rodrigo Duterte’s vow to “crush Asia’s longest running communist insurgency.”

“Actually, he (Duterte) had given himself his own deadline of June 2019, so there is a sense of urgency now,” she said, adding that the red-tagging on Gallardo and Corrales are connected and appeared to be in line with government’s efforts to amend the Human Security Act.

Among others, this could lead to the classification of journalists’ interviews of persons or groups tagged as terrorist as “an accessory to crime and to terrorism.”

“There is a strong attempt from government officials to not allow this (interviews with rebels) anymore because it is deemed to be giving succor to their enemies,” Varona said.

“The government’s view is: if you don’t want to be red-tagged then you need to condemn certain parties, which is not what a journalist does,” she added.

Making journalists vulnerable

Varona said the sedition charges filed against opposition figures, which stemmed from a bogus ouster matrix Malacañan Palace itself released, makes journalists vulnerable as it opens the possibility of their inclusion in the case.

“There’s a lot of institutional repression, but it’s not just enough to say ‘let’s wait for a law or a campaign’ because these attacks are not a joke and should be taken very seriously. They should be laid at the feet of a government that consistently failed to recognize these threats,” she said.

Jonathan de Santos, NUJP National Capital Region chair stressed that journalists are civilians and should not be labelled as belonging to any side in the conflict for simply doing their jobs. He added that if this can happen to journalists, it could happen to anyone.

Ms. Azenath Formoso of the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) read spokesperson, Atty. Jacqueline Ann C. de Guia, CHR spokesperson, calling attacks on journalists attacks on people’s right to the truth and to be fully informed.

The CHR It also echoed calls for security forces in Cagayan de Oro and Northern Mindanao to investigate the red-tagging and ensure the safety of targeted individuals.

The College Editors’ Guild of the Philippines (CEGP), meanwhile, said the attacks against Corrales and Gallardo extend to the ranks of the campus press.

“Military intelligence agents infiltrate campuses all over the country and take pictures of student publication offices,” CEGP national secretariat member Trixia Amboy said during the press conference.

In a statement, the Philippine Press Institute (PPI) for its part called the red-tagging of Corrales and Gallardo “baseless and irresponsible.”
This does not only endanger the profession and render chilling effect but also put the lives of those red-tagged and their families at risk,” PPI said.

“We urge the government to hold accountable the perpetrators of such false, malicious and dangerous propaganda,” PPI added. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)