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You may download the PowerPoint presentation on the peace talks via this link. This was presented at the August 18, 2016 forum of ACT for Peace at the Polytechnic University of the Philippines.

ANO ANG PEACE TALKS NG GPH AT NDFP?

  • Ang usapang pangkapayapaan sa pagitan ng GPH at NDFP ay naglalayong tapusin ang armadong tunggalian na nagaganap sa buong Pilipinas sa pagitan ng GPH at mga pwersa ng CPP-NPA-NDFP sa pamamagitan ng pag-lutas sa ugat ng armadong tunggalian

 

BAKIT BA MAY ARMADONG LABANAN?

  • Mula 1969 hanggang kasalukuyan ay may nagaganap na armadong labanan sa bansa sa pangunguna ng CPP-NPA-NDF
  • CPP – Communist Party of the Philippines, ang namunong organisasyon sa rebolusyonaryong pakikibaka
  • NPA– New People’s Army o ang hukbo na naglulunsad ng armadong pakikibaka
  • NDFP – ang alyansa ng mga rebolusyonaryong pwersa na humaharap sa gobyerno ng Pilipinas (GPH) sa peace talks
  • Kahirapan, kawalan ng soberanya, kawalan ng tunay na pag-unlad, pang-aapi at pagsasamantala ang mga dahilan kung bakit may armadong labanan.
  • “It’s the ideology they believe in. They’re fighting because they want a better chance for the people.”-Pres. Rodrigo Duterte

ANO ANG PINAG-UUSAPAN SA PEACE TALKS?

  • May apat na substantive agenda ang peace talks. Kailangang munang makamit ang mga kasunduan kaugnay sa mga ito para matapos ang armadong labanan.
  • HUMAN RIGHTS AND INTERNATIONAL HUMANITARIAN LAW
  • SOCIO-ECONOMIC REFORMS
  • POLITICAL AND CONSTITUTIONAL REFORMS
  • DISPOSITION OF FORCES AND CESSATION OF HOSTILITIES
  • Kapag natapos na ang mga kasunduan sa unang tatlong usapin saka pa lamang mapag-uusapan ang pagbababa ng armas ng mga rebolusyonaryong pwersa.
  • Sa ngayon ay napirmahan na ang unang kasunduan ang Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law.

 

ANO ANG CEASEFIRE?

  • Ito ang pansamantalang pagtigil ng labanan para sa mga depinidong layunin at kunsiderasyon. Maari itong magkahiwalay na ideklara ng dalawang panig sa labanan. Maaari ding itong pagkasunduan ng dalawang panig.
  • Hindi pa ito nangangahulugan ng pagtatapos ng armadong labanan dahil hindi pa nalulutas ang ugat ng armadong labanan. Hindi rin ito rekisito sa peace talks pero maaaring magkaroon nito para mapaganda ang klima ng pag-uusap

 

ANO ANG POLITICAL PRISONERS?

  • Bahagi ng pinag-uusapan sa peace talks ang kalagayan ng mga political prisoners o bilanggong pulitikal. Sila ang mga nakapiit dahil sa sinampahan ng mga gawa-gawang kaso bunga ng kanilang pampulitikang paniniwala.
    • Hindi makatarungan ang pagkakapiit sa kanila bunga ng mga gawa-gawang kaso
    • May obligasyon ang gobyerno na itaguyod ang karapatang pantao sa ilalim ng CARHRIHL
    • Ayon sa JASIG, ang mga NDFP consultants ay dapat protektado mula sa pag-aresto, surveillance at harassment
    • Makakatulong sa usapang pangkapayapaan ang pagpapalaya sa kanila

 

BAKIT NGAYONG NAGPAPATULOY ANG PEACE TALKS?

  • Ngayon lamang matutuloy ang peace talks matapos ang pagkabahura nito sa panahon ni Arroyo at Aquino.
  • Sa loob ng 15 taon ay walang naging makabuluhang pag-usad ang usapang pangkapayapaan.

 

 

PAANO NASUSUKAT ANG SINSERIDAD AT KASERYOSOHAN SA PEACE TALKS? 

  • Pinakamainam na sukatan ay ang pagpupursige sa pagbubuo ng mga kasanduan (human rights, socio-economic reforms, political and constitutional reforms, disposition of forces) dahil dito nakasalalay ang paglutas sa ugat ng armadong tunggalian.
  • Sukatan din ang pagtataguyod sa mga nauna nang kasunduan.
  • Hindi basta-basta dapat madaliin. Hindi rin masusukat sa simpleng ceasefire lang.
  • Ang hangad natin ay kapayapaan na nakabatay sa katarungang panlipunan.

 

 

BAKIT KAILANGANG SUPORTAHAN ANG PEACE TALKS?

  • Lahat tayo ay may pakinabang sa pagkamit ng pangmatagalang kapayapaan
  • Pag-uusapan sa peace talks ang mga problema ng karaniwang mamamayang Pilipino – kabuhayan, karapatan, lupa, kalayaan.
  • Ang peace talks ay isang larangan para isulong ang PAGBABAGO

 

Para sa dagdag na impormasyon, maaaring tumungo sa #JustPeace at sa FB ng Kapayapaan Campaign https://www.facebook.com/KapayapaanCampaignPH/

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IMG_20160819_150035_HDRPolitical prisoners, notably the National Democratic Front of the Philippines peace consultants are being released in line with the peace talks. This marks the first time in 15 years that peace consultants are being released, though temporarily, to enable them to participate in the talks.

Now before anyone starts screaming that the Duterte government is releasing these “bad, Communist criminals”, it is necessary to point out why the Tiamzons et al are actually in jail. Why are they even considered political prisoners?

Are they in jail because they’re members of the Communist Party of the Philippines? Not really. You cannot go to jail simply by being a member of the CPP. That by itself is not a crime.

They are in jail because they’ve been slapped with trumped-up charges, the kind which can keep you in jail indefinitely because these alleged crimes are non-bailable. Of course these false charges are being filed in light of their political beliefs.  A lot of the charges are based on planted evidence and false witnesses employed by the military. Take the case of Tirso Alcantara who faces 46 charges in different courts because it appears that all activities of the NPA have been blamed on him. Planting evidence and employing false witnesses and fabricating charges is not right and must not be tolerated by government. Alas, these practices have been so rampant during the regime of Arroyo and Aquino because they weren’t interested in pursuing peace talks with the NDFP.

They are political prisoners because the charges against them are in line with their political beliefs, even if the charges are false and are considered common crimes.

But aren’t they armed or are waging armed struggle against the government? Perhaps. It is another thing though if they were actually armed during their arrests because in most cases they weren’t, that’s why state agents had to plant evidence. But even assuming they were armed, isn’t that reason to arrest them? Well there is an existing agreement that prevents the government from arresting known NDFP peace consultants, or those with proper identification or those who enjoy protection under the said agreement. The NDFP consultants can’t be charged with common crimes and should be immune from arrest, harassment and surveillance according to the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees. This pact would allow them to participate in peace talks to address the root causes of the armed conflict. It is only at the conclusion of the peace talks that the laying down of arms will take place.

In the case of Ed Serrano, he was detained for 11 years, and was simply awaiting the dismissal of his remaining cases when he fell ill and died in a hospital, unable to gain his freedom. That’s how bad the trumped-up charges are. There is a fundamental question of justice when we demand the release of political prisoners, including the NDFP consultants. It is a statement that their arrest and detention were unjust to begin with.

The Duterte government is right in committing to the release of the NDFP consultants in accordance with the JASIG and in the spirit of reviving the stalled peace talks. Of course if you ask the families of the detained, they would have preferred that the false charges were dropped altogether because that it what real justice requires. It should be noted though that the NDFP consultants are only gaining temporary liberty upon orders of the courts, so that they could participate in the peace talks. The false charges against them remain. They would still need to fight those.

There would be some cause to celebrate the release of political prisoners before the start of the peace talks. That would be a significant development indeed. We should be reminded however that there are more than 500 political prisoners who need to be freed. Our work is far from done.

So when someone complains why political prisoners are being released, let us explain that they are not criminals, that many of them are principled revolutionaries who were incarcerated based on false charges. They did not steal nor oppress the poor. They are not criminals in the mold of past Philippine presidents, or of the big criminal syndicates. They deserve to be released and allowed to continue their work in the peace talks. (Photo by Kristine Mangunay, PDI)

photo beni wilma

 

 

Change is coming, they say. Thus change must also come to the annual SONA of the President. Only July 25, President Rodrigo R. Duterte is set to deliver his first State of the Nation Address. Here are some ways this year’s SONA can be different and meaningful.

  1. We agree with the President. Let’s stop the SONA red carpet and fashion show. There is something terribly wrong when paid public servants strut around in designer gowns and suits, at work, while ordinary folks struggle to make ends meet.

 

 

  1. Do away with the overkill security measures. Security for SONA 2015 seemed to rival the security for the Holy Father Pope Francis’ visit, except that those being protected inside Batasan were anything but holy. The security measures of the past were a waste of public resources and a terrible inconvenience on commuters and motorists. Every year, Commonwealth Avenue is turned into a war zone because of the presence of thousands of policemen, backed up by soldiers, container vans, razor-sharp concertina wires and firetrucks.
  2. Let the people near Batasan. It’s a matter of Constitutional right. Absent any evidence of clear and present danger, there is no reason to block rallyists from getting near the SONA venue. This is also the simplest solution to the problem of heavy traffic. By allowing people to gather along Batasan Road, government can open up Commonwealth Avenue. Commuters will thank, instead of curse government.

  1. No more gimmicks, please. Gloria Arroyo had her bangkang papel. Noynoy Aquino had his AVP’s and constant blaming of GMA. These don’t amount to much in terms of solutions. People want to hear about concrete programs to solve poverty, underdevelopment, unemployment, lack of sovereignty, human rights and so on. Answers and programs, not just sound bytes for the evening news.
  2. Keep it real. It’s called State of the Nation Address. It’s supposed to reflect our current situation. To the President’s speech writers, don’t sugarcoat it. Don’t tell us how far we’ve come and how great life is. Don’t give us statistics on the so-called growth that’s not really felt by most. Don’t bombard us about improved credit ratings and other stats  that don’t mean squat to the poor. Give us the ugly truth so that concrete solutions can be found. We’d rather have an honest SONA than one that reads like a script for Encantadia.

The current president made many firsts during his inauguration. He had no problem breaking tradition. Let’s hope he does the same for his first SONA.

Magra-rally pa ba kayo?

Posted: June 1, 2016 in Uncategorized

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Ilang beses kong nabasa ang tanong na ito matapos i-anunsyo ang pagkakatalaga ng ilang mga progresibo sa susunod na Duterte administration. Dalawa sa mga progresibo ang hahawak sa DAR at DSWD. Tinuturing na mga progresibo din ang hahawak ng DOLE at DepEd.

 

Sa ganitong kalagayan, magra-rally pa ba ang Kaliwa?

 

Maikling sagot, OO naman. Marami pang problema ang mangangailangan ng sama-samang pagkilos. Hindi naman nalutas ang lahat ng problema ng bansa dahil lamang may bagong gobyerno. At hindi naman ang pag-upo sa gabinete ang katapusan ng ating gawain. Hindi cabinet appointment, kundi panlipunang pagbabago, ang ipinaglalaban natin.

 

Pero kung ang tanong ay “magra-rally na ba kayo laban kay Duterte?”, ang sagot diyan ay “hindi pa sa kagyat, wala pang dahilan”. Hindi dahil sangayon tayo sa lahat ng kanyang pahayag at lahat ng kanyang appointments. May pagkakaiba pa rin sa pananaw. Pero ang mga pagkakaiba ng pagtingin ay sisikapin idaan sa pag-uusap. Maaaring may ilang pagbatikos pero hindi naman antagonostiko ito. Tiyak na may pagtutunggali pero meron ding pagtitimpi. Sisikapin nating makitungo sa susunod na adminsitrasyon sa batayan ng kung ano ang makakabuti sa bayan. Pero hindi rin naman tayo mangingimi na makitunggali sa nakikita nating mga kamalian. Mananatili tayong mapagbantay. Karapatan at tungkulin ito ng mamamayan.

 

Ang malinaw, sinusuportahan natin ang mga progresibo at makabayang layunin at programa ng bagong gobyerno.

 

Masasabing iba ang turing natin kay Duterte kumpara sa trato natin kay Aquino ngayon. Hindi maaaring ipagpantay ang dalawa. Ibig sabihin, hindi tayo magsusunog ngayon pa lang ng effigy ni Duterte, tulad ng nakagawian natin kay Aquino. Pag-iibahin natin sila.

 

Kung ang CPP-NPA-NDF nga ay handang makipag-interim ceasefire sa Duterte admin matapos mapalaya ang mga political prisoners at maibalik ang usapang pangakapayapaan, tayo pa kaya? (Pero take note na ibababa lang ng mga rebolusyonaryong pwersa ang kanilang armas kapag nagkapirmahan na ng isang pinal na kasunduang pangkapayapaan.)

 

Syempre, may mga protesta pa rin laban sa mga pwersa at interes na kontra sa reporma’t pagbabago. Laban sa mga hacendero na ayaw magpatupad ng land reform. Laban sa mga malalaking employer na ayaw itigil ang kontraktwalisasyon. Laban sa mga malalaking minahan sa sumisira sa kalikasan. Laban sa mga dayuhang pilit na ibinabalik ang mga base militar nila o mang-aagaw ng mga dagat at isla natin. Laban sa mga kurap at abusadong opisyal ng gobyerno. Laban sa militarisasyon ng mga Lumad. Laban sa bulok na estado at naghaharing sistemang mala-kolonyal at mala-pyudal at para sa tunay na pagbabago.

 

Ang kaibahan lang ngayon, may ilang mga kakampi tayo sa gobyerno na katuwang sa pagsusulong ng panlipunang pagbabago at paglilingkod sa sambayanan. Buo ang ating suporta sa kanila at hangad natin ang tagumpay nila. Alam nating hindi rin magiging madali ang gagawin nila lalo’t ngayon pa lang ay may mga nagnanais na sila ay mabigo.

 

Samantala, may isang bagay din na dapat nating bantayan. Ito yung pang-iintriga at panghahati. May mga Dilawan na kontra kay Duterte na ang nais ay udyukan ang Kaliwa na mag-rally para sa kanila. Ngayon pa lang, gusto na nilang ipambala sa kanyon at isubo sa labanan ang Kaliwa habang sila ay manonood lang at nakaabang sa Twitter. Ayos din, ano?

 

Huwag tayong magpadala sa ganitong pang-uudyok na kunwari ay prinsipyado pero ang totoo’y nang-uupat lang. Buti sana kung nag-rally sila laban sa lahat ng kabalbalan ni Aquino, may ascendancy silang maningil. Eh sa anim na taon ni Noynoy, ni hindi ko sila nakitang mag-rally habang pinapatay ang mga Lumad at mga magsasaka sa Mindanao.

 

Anyways, so ganun na nga. Madami tayong gagawin. Pagtulungan nating maisulong ang mga adhikaing makabayan at progresibo, sa loob man o labas ng gobyerno. Wala sa kamay ng isang tao ang pagbabago. Kalahok dito ang buong sambayanan. Magkikita-kita pa rin tayo, sa kalsada at kung saan-saan. ###

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Photo from Interaksyon

 

Yesterday, the Philippine National Police presented before the Senate a supposed witness to the Kidapawan protest that saw two people dead and scores injured and arrested.

 

Charlie Pasco, a self-confessed military intelligence asset of the AFP’s 39th Infantry Battalion, said he infiltrated the farmers’ protest and talked to Darwin Sulang who he described as a former comrade in the New People’s Army. He later said that Sulang was armed with a .38 caliber handgun. Sulang, however would die in the dispersal from a gunshot wound to the head, from an M-16 rifle.

 

Pasco’s testimony, apart from maligning the dead Sulang, was intended to shift the blame for the violence on the protesters. He tried to portray the farmer protesters as being armed and violent, which was why the police had to use deadly force against them.

 

It is very convenient for Pasco to heap accusations on the dead Sulang as the latter can no longer rebut the allegations made by the former. It is also very strange that Pasco’s testimony surfaced only now, when it is already established who actually fired their weapons on the protesters.

 

Who is Pasco? Why did he appear only now with his tall tale of the farmers being armed and violent?

 

Pasco is a professional rebel returnee. He first “surrendered” in January 2014 and “surrendered” again on March 29, 2016 or a day before the Kidapawan protests.

 

Here is a news release from the Facebook post of Alberto Caber, the Public Affairs Branch Chief at Eastern Mindanao Command, AFP

 

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Meanwhile, on March 29, two years after his first surrender, a news release showed Pasco surrendered yet again to the AFP’s 10th Infantry Division in an awarding ceremony in Digos City, Davao del Sur. He surrendered an M-14 rifle and received P60,000 for this.

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We can very well assume that he must have recycled the same M-14 rifle he earlier surrendered in 2014 for which he already got paid under the same government program .

 

Pasco may have defrauded the Philippine government by surrendering twice to claim cash rewards OR the Philippine government through the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process headed by Ging Deles, is actually recycling rebel returnees as a form of racket.

 

Whichever it is, Pasco has zero credibility as a witness because he is a paid agent of the AFP. He already confessed under oath that he was there at the Spottswood Methodist church to infiltrate the rally, upon orders by his handlers from the AFP.

 

It is another thing altogether if he was actually in Kidapawan as he claims because it was already reported that he was busy “surrendering” and claiming a cash reward in Digos City on March 29.

 

What is enraging here is the lengths the PNP and AFP will go through to cover up the truth. They will not hesitate to concoct lies and slander a dead person just to save their asses. They know fully well that dead men tell no tales, but how low can you get? Sa harap mismo ng Tatay ng namatay, nagawa nilang magsinungaling, mag-imbento at magbintang!

 

Tatay Ebao Sulang refuted Pasco. Tatay Ebao said that he was formerly with the CAFGU and made it a point that his sons would not bear arms. He also said that he did not know rebel returnee and that his son Darwin was never friends with Pasco as the latter claims.

 

The PNP made a huge mistake in presenting Pasco as their witness. It shows utter desperation to cover up the truth, a move that actually backfired on them yesterday. ###

 

 

A day before the violent dispersal of Kidapawan farmers, negotiations were held between the Kidapawan provincial government and farmer leaders representing the protesters. The groups have occupied the main highway since March 30 and were demanding the release of rice support and the much-needed calamity funds.

During the negotiations, the farmers were told that the local government could only release 3 kilos of rice for each farmer and that they should leave Kidapawan because the rice will be distributed via the municipal mayors. ln other words, the government wanted the protesters to leave with hardly anything.

Three kilos was allegedly the only amount allowed by the Commission on Audit during the election period. This, despite the fact a state of calamity had already been declared by the provincial governor. No agreement was reached that day. 

The following morning, April 1, 10am, the governor again reportedly offered a new round of negotiations through her staff who talked to a Catholic priest. The priest informed the protesters who were of course open to resuming negotiations. The priest also informed protesters that the DSWD would be coming in to get the children.

It was at this time that the police told the protesters to disperse. They were given 5 minutes to comply. Again leaders tried to reason with the Kidapawan police, to no avail. The violent dispersal ensued.Shots were fired on unarmed protesters.

So what happened to the offer of another round of negotiations? Was it all a ruse? We do not know why, despite an apparent effort to open negotiations, the violent dispersal pushed through upon orders of the provincial governor herself. kidapawan pnp

Laging kinakatwiran na mahigpit ang COA; pero wagas naman kung gamitin ang pondong publiko para sa pangangampanya. Unbelievable.

May bigas ang gobyerno. I talked to an NFA official who admitted that there was sufficient rice supply with the local DSWD. So why on earth do they not distribute it when the beneficiaries are already there outside protesting? No sense of urgency? The need to follow COA guidelines? It has to be through the mayors? There seems to be no end to the reasons why they WON’T distribute the rice to those who needed it most and who were already there.

The incident in Kidapawan highlights government’s failure to help farmers not just in Mindanao but in other drought-affected areas. It is high time to demand adequate government support for all farmers nationwide faced with the disastrous effects of the El Nino.

Food. Justice. These are the most basic and urgent demands. From Kidapawan to the rest of the country.

 

ON March 30, farmers from different parts of North Cotabato, reeling from the debilitating effects of the drought brought about by El Nino, occupied the Kidapawan highway to demand from government immediate rice support and the releases of much needed calamity funds. They were demanding 15,000 sacks of rice for 6 municipalities, for the duration of the drought, until the farmers are able to recover. The root cause of the protest was government neglect of starving farmers and their families.

There were negotiations with the provincial government headed by Gov. Lala Talino-Mendoza. Instead of heeding their demands, Mendoza reportedly offered the farmers 3 kilos of rice each every three months. Government meanwhile claims there is adequate supply of rice especially for calamities. These are supposedly pre-positioned in agencies such as the regional DSWD. The drought should be considered a calamity, yet no rice was released.

ON April 1, the police conducted dispersal operations against the farmers. It is not true that they intended to “rescue” children who were with their protesting parents at the time. It is also not true that the first shots came from the ranks of the protesters as they were all unarmed. Notice also that there are no reports citing any policeman who was injured or killed by gunshots. Video footage will reveal that it was the police that charged the protesters. The farmers fought back as expected. The police started firing their weapons.

Under the law, the carrying of firearms by law enforcers within 100 meters of a protest action is a prohibited act. Firing on unarmed protesters is also illegal. Even if the protesters threw rocks, that does not justify the use of deadly force.

The police claim that they only fired warning shots. Videos will show that the firing of weapons lasted several minutes, belying the claim that these were mere warning shots. Video footage will also show that the police trained their guns on protesters. Three died as a result of the shooting. Some 116 were reported injured.

It is not true that armed groups or the NPA infiltrated the ranks of the protesters. This is a common lie peddled by the PNP to justify the shooting of unarmed civilians. The same lie was used during the Hacienda Luisita massacre in 2004 and the Mendiola Massacre in 1987.

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As of this writing, we have yet to hear a strong condemnation by Malacanang of what happened in Kidapawan. We have yet to see any concrete action from the Palace that would address the demands of the protesting farmers.

All presidential bets not with the administration have come out strongly condemning the incident and the government’s failed response to the drought. Mar Roxas meanwhile has condemned the violece but kept silent on the root cause of the protest ; government neglect. Roxas then called on the PNP to probe the incident, a problematic response since the PNP was the one involved in the shooting of farmers. Roxas and Gov. Mendoza both belong to the Liberal Party.

The farmers regrouped at the local Methodist church. They were soon surrounded by hundreds of police. Power was cut off. On April 2, a search warrant was served where the police claimed that guns were being hidden inside the church compound. The search warrant storyline seems to support the earlier claim by the PNP that the first shots came from the ranks of protesters. The search ended with no guns found in the church premises.

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There are also at least 78 detained protesters who were arrested during the dispersal operations.

We appeal to our friends to stand with the Kidapawan farmers during this very difficult time. We should continue to pressure the Philppine government to act on the just demands of the farmers, particularly the rice subsidy, and to stop the ongoing harassment of protesters in Kidapawan. Government must end the sige of the Methodist church in Kidapawan and allow the farmers to leave. We also call for the immediate release of all detained protesters. We appreciate all forms of material support, especially rice and other food that can be used by the farmers.

We demand justice for all the victims of the violent dispersal of protesters. An impartial probe must be carried out. Congress should also look into the issue. Police officials involved in the incident should be relieved. The provincial governor must also be held accountable for ordering the dispersal of the protesters. Lastly, the Aquino regime must shoulder responsibility for failing to address the needs of the farmers affected by the drought as well as for the continuing climate of impunity that enables state forces to carry out vicious attacks on unarmed protesters. ###