Posts

Magsasaka sa Negros, itinuro ang militar sa mga pagpatay

Ni Jo Maline D. Mamangun

Lungsod ng Bacolod—Nagharap ang mga magsasaka at mga lokal na opisyal ng Guihulngan City, Negros Oriental noong Miyerkules, July 18, kaugnay sa mga pagpatay sa naturang bayan mula pa noong Oktubre 2010.

Bilang bahagi ng isinasagawang International Solidarity Mission hinggil sa mga paglabag sa karapatang pantao sa  ilalim ng gubyerno ni Rodrigo Duterte, nag-usap ang grupo ng mga magsasaka na KAUGMA-ON  (Kapunongan alang sa Ugma sa Gagmay nga Mag-uuma sa Oriental Negros) at  Guihulngan City Mayor Carlo Reyes sa tanggapan ng huli.

Inireklamo rin ng mga magsasaka ang malalakihang  operasyong militar sa kanilang mga pamayanan sa ilalim ng “Oplan Kapayapaan” ng pamahalaan na anila’y nagdudulot ng takot sa mga mamamayan.

Ayon sa kanila, walang tigil ang militar sa pang-uupat (harassment), pagsasampa ng gawa-gawang kaso at mga extra-judicial killings sa mga lider at miyembro ng nasabing organisasyon.

Ayon sa KAUGMA-ON, may 23 kaso ng extra-judicial killing sa kanilang lugar simula noong 2016.

Chief of Police Baquiran (left) and Mayor Reyes (right). (Photo by JoMaline Diones-Mamangun)

Subalit itinanggi ni Reyes na may nalalaman siya sa mga pagpatay.

“You’re talking about killings in Guihulngan. Wala akong alam diyan. Only the PNP can answer your question,” ani Reyes sa mga magsasaka.

Dagdag ng alkalde na, ayon sa mga naririnig daw niya, ang mga namamaril ay pawang naka-bonet o naka-helmetkung kaya mahirap makapagtukoy ng pinaghihinalaan ang pulisya.

Ayon naman kay Guihulngan Police officer-in-charge Mario Baquiran na 44 na araw pa lamang siya sa kanyang destino at inaaral niya pa lamang ang mga naitalang pagpatay.

“It’s very hard for us in conducting these investigations because we could not just identify them,” ani ng hepe.

Ngunit ayon sa Unyon ng mga Manggagawa sa Agrikultura (UMA), tanging ang militar ang nagkakainteres na dahasin ang mga magsasaka dahil sa kanilang paglaban na magkaroon ng sariling lupa.

Ikinwento ni John Milton Lozande, Secretary General ng UMA, ang kaso ng brutal na pagpatay kina Endric and Rosalie Calago noong Mayo 2015 na namatay matapos pagbabarilin ang kanilang bahay ng mga pinaghihinalaang sundalo ng 11th Infantry Battalion.

“Merong mga circumstances, circumstantial happenings na nagtuturo sa militar sa pagpatay sa biktimang ito,” ani Lozande.

(Photo by JoMaline Diones-Mamangun)

Dagdag ng lider-magsasaka, mahihirapan ngang mag-imbestiga ang pulisya kung ang militar ang nasa likod ng mga pagpatay.

Siniguro ni Baquiran na ipakukulong niya maging ang mga sundalo kung mapatunayang ang mga ito ang naghahasik ng takot sa mamamayan ng Guihulngan/

Nagkasundo ang mga magsasaka at ang mga opisyal ng lokal na pamahalaan na magsasagawa ng ibayong dayalogo upang maisiwalat ang iba pang kaso ng paglabag sa karapatang pantao sa naturang bayan.

Kasali ang mga magsasaka, taong-simbahan, misya at iba pang sektong sa naturang ISM na may panawagang “Save Life, Save Guihulngan.” #

CHRIST IS DEAD, THE SACADA ARE RISEN

By Nonoy Espina

Philippine Catholic tradition holds that Black Saturday, when Jesus Christ lies in the grave, is devoted to prayer and reflection. But these sacada, seasonal migrant laborers shipped to Negros from Panay, rise at daybreak to resume harvesting sugarcane in a hacienda in Bacolod City.

THE NPA ON NEGROS | Fully recovered and growing

by Roy Magsilang for Kodao Productions

 

CENTRAL NEGROS — If there was any region most affected by the split within the revolutionary movement in the early 1990s, it would have to be Negros.

In 1993, the then Negros Island Regional Committee of the Communist Party of the Philippines declared its “autonomy” and rejection of the Second Great Rectification Movement and, just like that, one of the strongest bastions of the revolution was decimated, losing 80 percent of its strength.

Of the New People’s Army, which was known to mount company-sized operations and could easily muster a battalion on short notice, all that was left was a lone platoon operating within only three villages.

It was to this that former priest Frank Fernandez, who had not too long before left Negros after being given greater responsibilities in the movement, returned, his mission to oversee the recovery – rebirth would probably be a more apt term – of the revolutionary movement on the island.

Fast forward to December 22, 2016, as Juanito Magbanua, commander of the NPA-Negros’ Apolinario Gatmaitan Command, gestures to the thickly forested peaks, above which hawks occasionally soar, that stand like sentries around the village deep in the Central Negros highlands where the rebels are hosting a grassroots peace forum that has gathered easily more than 3,000 people by mid-morning with even more streaming in as the day progresses.

It is the largest event the rebels say they have ever hosted.

“We have a few platoons stationed around us to guard the occasion,” he tells a journalist who has just passed an NPA checkpoint manned by one of the platoons at the road leading to the village.

And in the grounds of the school where the forum was being held, there were easily two or three more platoons, one detailed to render military honors during the singing of the communist anthem “Internationale,” the others involved in preparing and performing in a cultural program, feeding the multitude, entertaining the guests, including children, and the host of other tasks involved in such a huge event.

For all the cynicism with which the so-called millennial generation is often looked at, they were an overwhelming presence among the Negros NPA. Just as they were at the protests that followed the burial of the dictator Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani.

It was, indeed, a far cry from 1993 when the NPA platoon that remained after the split celebrated the founding anniversary of the Communist Party of the Philippines, its 25th but the first in Negros in the time of rectification.

Held in a small forest hollow in the dead of night with only some 30 or so of the masa, the songs, speeches and militant chants reduced to whispers because just that afternoon they had gone on high alert after a military patrol was spotted in the vicinity.

Speaking later to journalists at a press conference together with Fernandez, who allowed the media to show his face publicly for the first time in three decades, Magbanua said Negros is currently divided into four guerrilla fronts, each covering the rough equivalent of one congressional district: the Roselyn Pelle Command of the Northern Front, the Leonardo Panaligan Command of the Central Front, the Armando Sumayang Jr. Command of the Southwest Front, and the Rachelle Mae Palang Command of the Southeast Front.

“And we are currently busy developing even more guerrilla fronts,” Magbanua said, laughing off claims of Brigadier General Jon Aying, commander of the Army’s 3rd Infantry Division and former chief of the Negros-based 303rd Infantry Brigade, “that only around 200 NPA fighters remain” on the island.

“Just look around you and judge for yourself if what he claims is true,” Magbanua said.

In fact, he said, given that the NPA is now spread through 120 guerrilla fronts throughout the country, “the government does not have the capacity to defeat, much less, crush us.”

He noted that during the term of former President Benigno Aquino III, “he wanted to deploy one battalion to each NPA front. His problem was, there are only more than 80 infantry battalions.”

And even if it could be managed, the NPA of Negros have proven time and again that a battalion or even two are not enough to defeat a much smaller, but highly mobile and disciplined, guerrilla force.

For example, that lone platoon in 1993 survived the next few years with nary a scratch despite major offensives involving one or more Army battalions before it deployed small teams to undertake recovery and expansion work.

Militarily, Magbanua explained, “the AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines) can mount full-scale operations in only 10 guerrilla fronts and only for up to six months at most, giving the other 110 fronts the opportunity time to rest, strengthen themselves, and mount their own operations.”

“Really, the future is bright for the revolution,” he said, “which is why the government has been forced to enter into peace talks with us.” #

 

GRP harassment of civilians preventing bilateral ceasefire agreement–NDFP Negros

COMMUNISTS on Negros Island said they are not ready for a bilateral ceasefire agreement between the Rodrigo Duterte government and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) until President Rodrigo Duterte orders the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to stop targeting activists for assassination.

Speaking to journalists at a grassroots peace forum last December 22, National Democratic Front of the Philippines-Negros spokesperson Frank Fernandez said the AFP is “using the war on drugs as a justification” for targeting 16 activists all over the country, including an indigenous people’s leader.

The former Roman Catholic priest said that instead of respecting Duterte’s unilateral ceasefire declaration in effect since August, the AFP is using the anti-narcotics campaign as a cover for counterinsurgency operations.

“This is why we cannot agree right away to a bilateral ceasefire with government because we have to secure the people in the areas where we operate against abuses like this,” Fernandez said.

Duterte had been exerting pressure on the NDFP to sign a bilateral ceasefire agreement with his government, repeatedly threatening them that there will be no further releases of political prisoners unless he receives a signed declaration.

Fernandez for his part slammed the government’s anti-drug campaign and said Duterte’s approach “can never solve the problem.”

Anti-poor anti-drug campaign

Speaking in the same forum, New People’s Army (NPA) commander Juanito Magbanua said they initially appreciated Duterte’s efforts to solve the drug problems “but quickly saw something was wrong because most of those who have died are the poor.”

“Drugs reach the streets from above, from the drug lords and large distributors. Why not go after them first instead of killing only the poor, who are as much victims of the drug trade?” Magbanua asked.

The guerrilla commander said even the street pushers belong to the suffering poor.

“We are not saying they (pushers) are right but most of them were pushed to the trade by poverty,” he stressed.

Magbanua said that long before Duterte started going after drug addicts and pushers in Davao City, the NPA already had an anti-drug program in the guerrilla zones.

But while they share Duterte’s goal of eradicating illegal narcotics in the country, Magbanua said they “cannot agree to the extrajudicial executions whose targets are largely the masses.”

Both communist leaders said they are still waiting for Duterte to prove himself to the people, noting that in his first six months as president, “wala sang benepisyo sa masa (there have been no benefits for the masses).”

More than a hundred NPA guerrilla fronts are set to celebrate the Communist Party of the Philippines’ 48th founding anniversary tomorrow, December 26. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)

PODCAST: Jaime Soledad hinggil sa dapat na panawagan ng mamamayan sa gubyernong Duterte

Ang panayam kay Jaime Soledad, Consultant ng National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) ay bahagi ng programa sa radyo sa panahon ng Kampuhan ng mga Lakbayanis ng Visayas. Ginanap ito noong Disyembre 7, 2016 sa Polytechnic University of the Philippines.

Sina Raymund Villanueva ng Kodao Productions at Ronalyn Olea ng Bulatlat.com at Vice President ng International Asspciation of Women in Radio and Television – Philippines ang mga tagapagpadaloy ng programa sa ilalim ng proyektong Radyo Tacloban.

PODCAST: Jaime Soledad hinggil sa paghahanda ng NDFP para sa 3rd round of peace negotiations sa 2017

Ang panayam kay Jaime Soledad, Consultant ng National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) ay bahagi ng programa sa radyo sa panahon ng Kampuhan ng mga Lakbayanis ng Visayas. Ginanap ito noong Disyembre 7, 2016 sa Polytechnic University of the Philippines.

Sina Raymund Villanueva ng Kodao Productions at Ronalyn Olea ng Bulatlat.com at Vice President ng International Asspciation of Women in Radio and Television – Philippines ang mga tagapagpadaloy ng programa sa ilalim ng proyektong Radyo Tacloban.

PODCAST: Renato Baleros Sr on socio-economic reforms, bilateral ceasefire and political prisoners

Ang panayam kay Renato Baleros Sr., Consultant ng National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) ay bahagi ng programa sa radyo sa panahon ng Kampuhan ng mga Lakbayanis ng Visayas. Ginanap ito noong Disyembre 7, 2016 sa Polytechnic University of the Philippines.

Sina Raymund Villanueva ng Kodao Productions at Ronalyn Olea ng Bulatlat.com at Vice President ng International Asspciation of Women in Radio and Television – Philippines ang mga tagapagpadaloy ng programa sa ilalim ng proyektong Radyo Tacloban.

PODCAST: Concha Araneta-Bocala hinggil sa kanyang reaksyon kay Sec. Dureza sa kalagayan ng political prisoners sa bansa

Ang panayam kay Concha Araneta-Bocala, Consultant ng National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) ay bahagi ng programa sa radyo sa panahon ng Kampuhan ng mga Lakbayanis ng Visayas. Ginanap ito noong Disyembre 7, 2016 sa Polytechnic University of the Philippines.

Sina Raymund Villanueva ng Kodao Productions at Ronalyn Olea ng Bulatlat.com at Vice President ng International Asspciation of Women in Radio and Television – Philippines ang mga tagapagpadaloy ng programa sa ilalim ng proyektong Radyo Tacloban.

PODCAST: Concha Araneta Bocala on genuine agrarian reform and national industrialization

Ang panayam kay Concha Araneta-Bocala, Consultant ng National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) ay bahagi ng programa sa radyo sa panahon ng Kampuhan ng mga Lakyabanis ng Visayas. Ginanap ito noong Disyembre 7, 2016 sa Polytechnic University of the Philippines.

Sina Raymund Villanueva ng Kodao Productions at Ronalyn Olea ng Bulatlat.com at Vice President ng International Association of Women in Radio and Television – Philippines ang mga tagapagpadaloy ng programa sa ilalim ng proyektong Radyo Tacloban.

PODCAST: Concha Araneta-Bocala hinggil sa CASER at karanasan niya bilang political detainee

Ang panayam kay Concha Araneta-Bocala, Consultant ng National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) ay bahagi ng programa sa radyo sa panahon ng Kampuhan ng mga Lakbayanis ng Visayas. Ginanap ito noong Disyembre 7, 2016 sa Polytechnic University of the Philippines.

Sina Raymund Villanueva ng Kodao Productions at Ronalyn Olea ng Bulatlat.com at Vice President ng International Asspciation of Women in Radio and Television – Philippines ang mga tagapagpadaloy ng programa sa ilalim ng proyektong Radyo Tacloban.