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PH groups commemorate ‘Nakba’ in support of Palestine

By Nuel M. Bacarra

To commemorate the 76th year of Nakba, progressive forces from different organizations held a day of protest in support of Palestine at the Boy Scout Rotunda in Quezon City last Wednesday, May 15.

The activists decried that the Philippines is next only to India in terms of purchases of armaments from Israel amounting to billions. Last year alone, a $114 million contract between the Philippines and the Israeli government was forged for refurbishing two planes for intelligence gathering.

The groups said such contracts help fund Israel’s genocidal wars against the Palestinian people.

Photo by N/ Bacarra/Kodao

“Nakba” is the Palestinian word for “catastrophe” that describes the displacement of around 750,000 Palestinians when 530 communities were depopulated in 1948 after the creation of the Jewish state of Israel.

The protesters said Israel’s crimes against Palestinians continue as around 35,000 have been killed since October 7 last year in the latest and ongoing military operations in the Gaza strip.

The United Nations (UN) have reported that 7,797 of the Palestinian victims were children and 4,959 were women as of this month.

In the last 24 hours, 72 Palestinians have been killed, UN added.

International League of People’s Struggle (ILPS) secretary general Liza Maza said: “Marcos and (Indian Prime Minister Nerendra) Modi are not only puppets of the US but also support genocide by continuing their lucrative arms deals with the Zionist state.”

Kabataan Party List Rep. Raoul Manuel meanwhile said that there are similarities between the Filipino youth and the Palestinian people in terms of struggles.

“There are those who conspire to destroy lives and continue to repress the people who fight in the Philippines, in Palestine and anywhere in the world,” he said.

Manuel added: “We, the youth, together with the people will fulfill our role to liberate all countries that are occupied and free the people from all oppression and exploitation.”

Photo by N. Bacarra/Kodao

ILPS said Wednesday’s activity was part its call for global protests against the genocide in Palestine and in solidarity with the Palestinians’ right to return to their homeland.

The global network also called for the strengthening of people’s movements to condemn and expose the US-Israel genocidal conspiracy.

ILPS said: “We must flood the streets and tirelessly call for the end of the genocide. On Nakba Day and the days after, we must demand justice for the Palestinian people’s right to retire to their homeland.” #

Groups rally at Manila police HQ, demand release of 6 arrested activists on Labor Day

by Maujerie Ann Miranda

Progressive organizations staged an indignation rally in front of the Manila Police District (MPD) Headquarters to demand the release of six arrested activists during the Labor Day mobilizations in Manila on May 1.

The six arrested activists are currently being treated at a hospital but will be taken back to the MPD headquarters medical checkups.

Activists demand the release of their six comrades arrested by the police on Labor Day.

They were arrested during a clash between progressive groups and the Manila police that barred them from protesting in front of the United States (US) Embassy against foreign intervention in the Philippines and US imperialism.

The National Capital Region Police Office of the Philippine National police said in a radio interview the arrested protesters were workers and youth supporters.

The rallyists, led by the Kilusang Mayo Uno, were successful in holding a program along TM Kalaw Avenue despite heavy-handed police actions.

The police ganging up on a protester during Labor Day rallies in Manila.

Earlier, thousands of workers and their supporters marched from Espana Boulevard to Morayta Avenue to hold their traditional Labor Day rally to demand for wage increases amid their worsening economic conditions under the Ferdinand Marcos Jr. government. #

The police blocking protesting workers and supporters from holding a rally at the US Embassy in Manila on Labor Day. (Maricon Montajes/Kodao)

Workers commemorate Andres Bonifacio’s 156th birth anniversary with protest rally

Workers held a protest rally in front of the US Embassy in Manila on Bonifacio Day, November 30, 2019, in commemoration of the 156th birth anniversary of Andres Bonifacio.

As they condemned the police for blocking their path towards Roxas Boulevard, Jerome Adonis, Kilusang Mayo Uno secretary general, said the security forces have acted like the civil guards (guardia civil) Bonifacio fought against when he led the Philippine revolution against Spanish colonialism.

The workers said their rally in front of the Embassy was to denounce US imperialism in the Philippines.

Activists later held a similar protest action near the Chinese Consulate in Makati City. (Video by Jek Alcaraz/Kodao)

Protest marks Filipino-American Friendship Day

Isang kilos-protesta ang pinangunahan ng mga kabataan malapit sa US Embassy sa Maynila para sa pagdiriwang ng Filipino-American Friendship day noong Hulyo 4.

Ayon sa League of Filipino Students (LFS), walang ganap na kalayaan ang bansa at nakatali pa rin ito sa patakaran ng US. Isang larawan nito ay ang patuloy na mga pagsasanay-militar sa ilalim ng Visiting Forces Agreement at Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement.

Para naman sa Gabriela Women’s Party, patuloy na nangangayupapa ang gubyerno ni President Rodrigo Duterte hindi lamang sa US kundi sa karibal nito na China. Patunay dito ang mahinang paninidigan sa isyu ng West Philippine Sea at malambot na independent foreign policy.

Nanawagan ang dalawang grupo na igiit ng mamamayang Pilipino ang soberanya ng bansa laban sa dalawang imperyalistang bayan. (Music: Background News / Bidyo ni: Carlo Francisco/ Kodao)

SOLIDARITY: A Trip to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (with English subtitles)

In light of yet another threat by the United States of America and its allies to attack the Democratic People’s Republic of North Korea, Kodao Productions reposts its 2012 video shot entirely in the said country.

In this video, former Anakpawis Representative and Philippines-Korea Solidarity Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Korean Peninsula (PKSCPRKP) President (now Agrarian Reform Secretary) Rafael Mariano takes us to many historical places around this seldom-visited country and explains why international mass media depiction of DPRK is wildly exaggerated, if not entirely false. He also explains why peoples of the world should support the peaceful reunification of the Korean peninsula and its people. He is joined in this film by former Gabriela Representative Luz Ilagan, Kilusang Mayo Uno vice chairperson for external affairs Joselito Ustarez, and PKSCPRKP official Norma Biñas.

(Written, filmed and directed by Raymund B. Villanueva; edited by Cris B. Balleta; produced by Jola Diones-Mamangun)

STREETWISE BY CAROL P. ARAULLO: Unmasking Duterte

These days, President Rodrigo Roa Duterte is turning out to be his own worst enemy.

He cannot keep himself from rambling on and on, revealing his bloodlust, megalomania, contempt for objectivity and truth, small-mindedness and bigotry, gullibility for the “intelligence” briefings by the AFP and the propensity for using strong-arm techniques to get his way.

A year ago, at the beginning of Duterte’s presidency, his crassness seemed to be just an idiosyncratic style born of his being an uncouth politician from the boondocks, used to the rough-and-tumble and straight-talking ways of those who are reared in the frontiers of Mindanao.

Many ordinary folk found him engaging, even refreshingly tactless, hence appearing to be honest and sincere.

What was important is that he promised to wipe out the illicit drugs trade in three to six months by means of a bloody “war on drugs”; zero tolerance for graft and corruption; a stop to the practice of “endo” (end-of-contract) that undermined workers’ security of tenure; easing the burden of taxation while spending more on social services for the poor; siding with landless peasants in their fight against the landed oligarchy; an end to the despoilment of the environment through large-scale mining; and to top it all, to release all political prisoners and bring about a negotiated, peaceful settlement of armed conflicts by engaging in peace talks. He also did the unexpected by appointing three avowed Leftists in his Cabinet.

High hopes abounded as well as serious misgivings. The revolutionary and progressive forces on the Left of the political spectrum decided to give Duterte a chance to prove his claims to being the first “Leftist” and “socialist” President.

While long-time mayor of Davao City, traces of his Leftist background surfaced in so far as 1) he acknowledged the CPP-NPA as a political entity born of endemic poverty and oppression; 2) he had a modus vivendi with the CPP-NPA with regard to their de facto existence as a shadow government, including their collection of revolutionary taxes and punitive actions against exploitative and oppressive businesses; 3) he did not consider “all-out war” as the correct or even viable solution to insurgency; 4) he maintained open lines of communication with the CPP-NPA 5) he upheld the human rights of rebels and political activists; 5) he asserted political independence versus US military intrusions in Davao City; 6) he welcomed peace negotiations as a means of resolving armed conflicts by addressing their root causes in unjust socioeconomic and political structures.

A short year later, Duterte is close to fully unfolding towards the Right. Whatever background of activism in his youth has become overwhelmed by the conservatism of his adult years as a politician in the mold of a bureaucrat capitalist until winning the presidency and becoming CEO of the reactionary state.

President Duterte has scuttled peace talks by insisting on an indefinite, bilateral cease-fire even before reaching a comprehensive agreement on socioeconomic reforms (CASER). Duterte not only failed to fulfill his promise to amnesty and release all political prisoners, he continued his regime’s brutal counterinsurgency program including the bombardment of civilian communities suspected to be supportive of the CPP-NPA and the targeted killings of unarmed activists.

He resorts to lies and ad hominem attacks on NDFP Chief Political Consultant and CPP Founding Chairperson Joma Sison to belittle, insult, and dismiss him as a revolutionary leader. He parrots the worn-out AFP line demonizing the CPP-NPA as terrorists and plain criminals extorting from the people and businesses.

Duterte is in over his head. His conceit is that his overrated stint in Davao City provides him the blueprint for dealing with the complexities of the country’s historical ills. He misrepresents authoritarianism for political will and resort to mass murder and bullying tactics for decisive leadership.

Duterte’s opportunistic alliances with the Marcoses and ex-President Gloria Arroyo, his over dependence on the pro-US, militarist troika of Lorenzana-Año-Esperon and pandering to the AFP and PNP to preempt a coup attempt by his rivals — all these reveal that he is indeed an ultra-reactionary contrary to his self-delusional pose as a “leftist.”

But as a Marcos wannabe, Duterte lacks sophistication. His expressed intention to bomb lumad schools as a counterinsurgency measure makes him vulnerable to charges of genocide and other war crimes. His demagoguery is repetitive and tiresome. His resort to martial law in Mindanao and the destruction of Marawi City to deal with the disastrous Mamasapano-like police operation against Isnilon Hapilon is a testament to his incompetence and brutality as a commander-in-chief.

Duterte’s “war on drugs” is an unmitigated failure. It’s outcome: an unending body count of alleged small-time drug users and dealers, victims of extrajudicial killing by police and touted vigilantes incited on their murderous killing spree by no less than President Duterte. Impunity reigns with Duterte shielding the police establishment that he once described as “rotten to the core” from investigation by the Commission on Human Rights and the Ombudsman. A police official, coincidentally surnamed Marcos, who stands accused of murdering a suspected drug lord while in jail has been reinstated and will soon be eligible for promotion upon the specific instruction of no less than President Duterte.

Duterte’s economic policies and programs have not departed from the failed policies of his predecessors in keeping the economy backward and the majority of the people eking out a precarious existence with no stable sources of livelihood or forced to take their chances working overseas. His resort to dole-outs, including one-time subsidies for higher education, is unsustainable. Social services like housing and health care remain unaffordable, of poor quality and inadequate. Whatever economic growth benefits foreign multinationals, their domestic business partners and corrupt politicians and bureaucrats.

Finally, Duterte has maintained his off-and-on diatribe against the US, citing its track record as a brutal colonizer of the Philippines and as an exponent of wars of aggression against sovereign countries in the Middle East and elsewhere. His tirades intensify as criticisms from US quarters of his regime’s bloody war on drugs intensifies and as the US government hedges on the delivery of armaments and other forms of military aid.

But as the US well knows, Duterte is not about to touch any of the lopsided military agreements such as EDCA and the VFA that allows US military presence on Philippine soil and power projection in the Asia Pacific region.

Meanwhile, Duterte’s courtship of China for loans and investments is leading us to debt peonage to a new master and abandonment of our sovereign rights over the West Philippine Sea.

The Duterte regime is headed towards complete unmasking and isolation as anti-people unless it drastically changes course. Unfortunately, there are few signs that this can or will happen. # (First published in BusinessWorld, 31 July 2017 / [email protected])

 

Joma to Digong: You do not dictate on me

Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) founder Jose Maria Sison rebuffed President Rodrigo Duterte’s challenge for him to go home and continue his fight in the country.

“I do not have to prove again that I have the revolutionary will and courage to wage armed struggle against oppression,” Sison said, adding he surpasses the field record of many officers in the “reactionary military.”

Duterte continued his verbal attacks against Sison telling his former professor, “If you are truly a revolutionary leader…come home and fight here.”

“Your people here, your NPA (New People’s Army) members, have been dying, losing their husbands. (They) have not even seen Sison. (Their) leader is a coward. Is there a leader who just rest(s) in Utrecht?” Duterte said in a media interview after visiting the wake of the six police officers killed in an ambush in Guihulngan City, Negros Oriental.

Sison retorted he was an active part of the people’s war against the Marcos regime for nine years, 1969 to 1977 and then went to fascist prison for another nine years.

Sison is said to be among those who suffered the worst kinds of torture by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) under the Marcos dictatorship.

“I surpass the field record of many reactionary military officers who are in the field for a few years until they are assigned desk jobs and then retire at the age of 56,” Sison said.

Sison, also the chief political consultant of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP), said he will return to the Philippines to “fight the Duterte puppet regime of US imperialism” if deemed necessary by the revolutionary movement.

“That means surmounting my being in the same old age bracket as Duterte and evading the constant surveillance by the US, Dutch, European and Philippine reactionary intelligence agencies,” Sison said.

“At any rate, I must remind Duterte that we are well past the age of retirement in the NPA and AFP,” he added.

“At his ripe old age of 72, he should not try to project an image of being a strutting young fighter at my expense,” Sison further said.

The CPP founder said he chooses the battlefield where he fights and the types of battles the wages, adding these cannot be dictated by Duterte.

“The way he continues to talk he really hates to engage in peace negotiations with the NDFP. He should sober up and allow his negotiating panel to seriously negotiate with the NDFP negotiating panel and make agreements on social, economic and political reforms that lay the basis of a just and lasting peace for the benefit of the Filipino people,” Sison said. # (Raymund B. Villanueva/Photo by Jon Bustamante)

Mga batingaw ng Balangiga

Tula ni Jose Maria Sison

 

Sabay sa repike, hudyat na malinaw

Ng mga batingaw ng Balangiga,

Sa dibdib ng bayan umalingawngaw

Ang nasang lumaban at lumaya.

Sinugod ang banyagang halimaw

Ng taumbayang nagbalikwas

Laban sa pananakop at pag-agaw

Sa kalayaan ng mahal na bayan.

 

Ang halimaw nagpasyang manira

Sa lahat ng pamayanan,

Sinunog ang mga tahanan.

Tinipong parang hayop ang mga tao

Pinahirapan at pinaslang

Ang kalalakihan sampu ng mga bata

Ginahasa ang mga kababaihan

Dinuro ang matatanda.

 

Inakyat at kinulimbat mula sa tore

Ang mga batingaw ng Balangiga,

Itinawid sa malawak na karagatan

Upang bihagin ang mga ito sa kuta

Sa kalooblooban ng imperyo.

Ipinagmamalaki na tropeo

Ng paglupig sa ibang bansa

At paglapastangan sa kasarinlan nito.

 

Ilang salinglahi na ang dumaan

At nanatili ang mga batingaw

Bilang bihag sa ibayong dagat.

Nais sikilin ng imperyalista ang tunog

Subalit lagging umuugong ito,

Umaalingawngaw sa sa puso’t diwa

Ng taumbayang patuloy sa pakikibaka

Para sa kanilang kalayaan.

 

9 Agosto 2009

 

Mula sa aklat ng mga tula, The Guerilla is Like a Poet

(The Hague, Ujtgeverij, 2013), pahina 201-203

Photo by Davao Today

The Balangiga Massacre (Audio plug)

In his State of the Nation Address Monday, President Rodrigo Duterte demanded from the United States of America the return of the three Balangiga bells taken by the US 9th Infantry during the Filipino-American War in 1901.

“Give us back those Balangiga bells,” Duterte told the US. “They are ours. They belong to the Philippines. They are part of our national heritage,” the president said, adding the US’ genocidal  war is a “painful memory” for the Filipino people.

The president’s remarks revived repeated petitions by Bayan Muna since 2007 for the Philippine government to demand the bells back from the United States of America.

Click the play icon above to play the clip.

This audio clip was part of a series of information plugs produced by Kodao Productions in time for US President George W. Bush’s visit to the Philippines in October 2003. #

Activists storm US embassy on 119th Independence Day

Activist groups from all over the country marched to the United States embassy in Manila on the 119th Philippine Independence Day celebrations to demand for the pull out of foreign soldiers.

Groups led by Bagong Alyansang Makabayan said there is no genuine independence in the Philippines as long as foreign intervention is present in the country.

The activists also scored US military presence in the ongoing battle in Marawi City between government troops and ISIS-supported Maute and Abu Sayyaf groups. (Videography by Ivan Dexter Tolentino, Jola Mamangun and Esther Anne Cabrillas / Editing by Jo Maline D. Mamangun) Read more