5184On October 19, more than a thousand protesters, mainly from indigenous and Moro groups under the Sandugo Alliance, and supported by BAYAN, staged a protest in front of the US Embassy. They were able to reach the front gates of the embassy and proceeded with their program. The peaceful program was disrupted by the police when they started dispersing the protesters.

Let us address point by point the claims of the police as they appeared in the media.

1. “I did not order the dispersal” – Col. Marcelino Pedrozo, MPD operations chief

The truth: A video by GMA7 shows Pedrozo berating the Manila police for not arresting anyone and for allowing protesters near the embassy. They have lost face with the US embassy, he says. He then orders the ground commander to disperse the protesters despite being told that the rally was about to end. All this is on video.


2. “The police did not intentionally run over the protesters.” The driver was maneuvering and was under threat as protesters wanted to overturn or take control of the vehicle, according to Pedrozo and NCRPO Chief Gen. Abayalde.

The truth: A careful review of the video prior to the vehicle rampage will show that the driver of the police van was under no immediate threat. Protesters were not even touching his vehicle. There was no attempt to seize or overturn his vehicle. All of a sudden he accelerated in reverse and started running over protesters. Video footage will show he drove backwards twice and forward twice. Such movements could hardly be considered accidental. Upon review of the video, it is clear that the police van was actually used to clear protesters. It was deliberate, not an accident. The driver of the police vehicle has been identified as a certain PO3 Franklin Kho.

It is also disturbing that during the rampage, not one police official could be seen intervening to stop the vehicle and protect the protesters. Had it been a legitimate accident, the PNP should have intervened to prevent further injuries. The police van only stopped when the front of the embassy was cleared.



3. Protesters were violent and had no permit.

The truth: The protesters had been holding a peaceful program in front of the US embassy for more than an hour. They were down to their last speaker when Pedrozo gave the order to disperse. In the first video, the ground commander could be heard telling Pedrozo that the program was down to its last two speakers. The violent dispersal involved tear gas fired by the SWAT team, truncheons from the dispersal unit, and a vehicle used to ram protesters. The police had planned the dispersal to save face with the US embassy. Moments before the commotion, a plainclothes police official approached me and told me how mad the District Chief was and that there was an order to disperse the protesters. I told him we were down to our last speaker and that the group was about to leave the area. From this particular conversation, it is plain that the dispersal was planned and unprovoked. It began with the arrival of Pedrozo at the rally site. It ended with 42 arrests, which included our entire medic team including a doctor, a nurse and health volunteers and a media person. Most of those arrested were Lumad from Mindanao including two minors. All injured who were brought to the hospital were deemed arrested and were placed under police guard. A jeepney driver was pulled out from his vehicle and repeatedly hit on the head with truncheons by anti-riot police and was left to die, until a police official brought him to a hospital.

Violent protesters? Clearly it was the PNP who was dishing out the most gruesome violence during the protest.

Philippines US Violent Protest









1. Historic assertion of national sovereignty and an independent foreign policy against US intervention. Ending US war games in the Philippines, ending joint patrols in disputed waters, reviewing the EDCA and opening PH doors for equal and mutually beneficial relations with countries not aligned with the US.
2. Resumption of peace talks with the NDFP, the release of political prisoners, affirmation of previous agreements, acceleration of discussions on substantive agenda and the historic indefinite unilateral ceasefires by both sides of the armed conflict. 
3. Appointments of progressives to key cabinet posts such as DSWD, DAR, NAPC, as well as officials in DOLE and the Presidential Commission on Urban Poor.
4. Distribution of 358 hectares in Hacienda Luisita and a nationwide freeze in land conversion as ordered by the Presidential Agrarian Reform Commission. 
5. Mining audit and the suspension of companies engaged in destructive mining operations. 
6. And end to the “tanim-bala” scam and the scrapping of the Overseas Employment Certificate for returning OFW’s. 
7. DSWD Memorandum Circular 9 which upholds the Supreme Court ruling against pork barrel funds by members of Congress, and gives the DSWD the final say in determining what kind of assistance will be given to requests endorsed by lawmakers. 
8. Creating favorable conditions for the return of the displaced Lumad to their communities. Official acknowledgement that paramilitary groups sowing terror in the countryside are government-backed.
9. Exposing the gravity and extent of problem of illegal drugs and its connection to corruption in the police, local government units and agencies of the executive.
10. Freedom of Information Executive Order during its first month in office, covering all agencies under the executive branch. 

10 major issues and challenges

1. Increased  US intervention and other counter-actions aimed at undermining the Duterte government amid its strong assertion of national sovereignty. Resistance from within the government by pro-US cabinet and military officials. 
2. Resistance by rightist, militarist and pro-imperialist groups to peace efforts. Continuing militarization and operation of paramilitary groups. The need to address the socio-economic roots of the armed conflict as well as the need to pass a general amnesty proclamation for political prisoners. 
3. The rising death toll in the war on drugs and the worsening climate of impunity involving state security forces. Increasing violations of due process and human rights. 

4. The continuing adoption of the neoliberal economic framework by Duterte’s economic team, relying heavily on foreign investments, foreign debt, overseas remittances and public-private partnership projects. 
5. Resistance by big business to efforts to end contractualization and for the passage of a national minimum wage. The lack of clear guidelines and steps by the DOLE to end contractualization.
6. The persistence of the neoliberal, anti-student K-12 program in the service of global manpower needs and of private profits in the education sector.
7. Continuing corporatization of health services and the adoption of neoliberal programs in the health sector by the DOH.
8. Transportation and traffic woes and questions regarding emergency powers for the transportation department.
9. DOF’s anti people tax reforms that seek to remove  VAT exemptions to senior citizens and PWD’s and raise excise taxes on petroleum products. 
10. Intensifying contradictions among different political factions, exposing the rottenness of the ruling system.

Ito ang nakakalungkot na kwento ng LRT-MRT Common Station.

Kapag ang public infrastructure ay nakatali sa business interests, kawawa ang publiko. Narito ang kaso ng sinasabing “common station” para sa LRT at MRT. Itatayo ang project para magdugtungan ang 3 linya ng tren at maging mas maayos ang paglalakbay ng mga commuters. Pansinin na sa unang disenyo ay magkakatabi ang linya ng MRT3, LRT1 at ang itatayong MRT 7. Madaling makakalipat ng linya ang pasahero. Pero dahil ito ay sa tapat ng SM North Edsa Annex itatayo, ayaw ang Ayala na may-ari ng Trinoma. Kaya nung panahon nina Mar Roxas at Jun Abaya sa DOTC, binago ang plano. Nilagay nila sa Trinoma ang common station, kung saan hindi maaaring magtagpo ang 3 linya at maglalakad pa nang malayo ang pasahero para lumipat ng linya. Pumalag ang SM dahil nakapagbayad na sila sa gobyerno at umabot sa SC ang kaso. Naglabas ng TRO ang SC. Ang proyekto na dapat sana ay 2010 matatapos, 2016 na ay wala pang anino tayo na nakikita. 

Nagyon, may compromise na raw sa issue ng common station. Nagpirmahan pa nga ang mga Ayala, SM, MVP at SMC. Itatayo daw ang compromise common station sa pagitan ng Trinoma at SM, sa kanto ng EDSA at North Avenue! Pero anong itsura? Hindi common station ang itatayo dahil magkahiwalay ang linya ng tren at kailangang maglakad nang malayo ng commuter para makalipat ng linya. Talo na naman ang publiko. 

Ang unang larawan ay ang orihinal na disenyo ng common station na magkakatabi ang linya ng tren at madaling makakalipat ang pasahero. 

Ang ikalawa at ikatlong larawan ang disenyo ng compromise common station sa kanto ng EDSA at North Avenue kung saan mas malayo ang lalakarin ng commuter. Ayon sa mga engineers, aabot sa 150 meters ang kabuuang lalakarin kung dadaan sa atrium at 200 meters naman ang lalakarin kung sa secondary route dadaan. 

Bakit kanyo nangyari ito? Dahil ang Department of Transportation Undersecretary for Rails and Tolls  na si  Noel Kintanar ay dating opisyal ng Ayala at ayon sa aming sources sa loob ng ahensya ay kilalang tagapagtaguyod ng interes ng Ayala. 

LESSON: Hangga’t ang public infrastructure ay nakakabit sa business interests, kawawa ang publiko. Interes ng negosyo ang laging kunsiderasyon at mananaig.

Sa orihinal na disenyo, nasa ilalim ng isang bubong ang 3 linya ng tren, madaling makakalipat ang mga pasahero.

Pero sa bagong disenyo, hindi na magtatagpo ang 3 linya ng tren. Dalawang magkahiwalay na linya na at maglalakad ng malayo ang pasahero. Dadaan pa sa isang commercial “atrium” na gets na natin sino ang may-ari. 

Below is a design of the exterior of the proposed common station, which matches the drawings above. The design was purportedly made by Systra Philippines. 


Ang orihinal na halaga ng proyekto ay P778 million. Sabi ng iba, maaaring umabot sa P2 bilyon ang proyekto dahil sa bagong disenyo. 


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.


  • 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



  • 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


  • May apat na substantive agenda ang peace talks. Kailangang munang makamit ang mga kasunduan kaugnay sa mga ito para matapos ang armadong labanan.
  • 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.



  • 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



  • 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



  • 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.




  • 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.




  • 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/


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


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. ###