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Farmer-members of Anakpawis in Bicol, launch “Lakbay Paraoma”

anakpawis.net - 2 hours 44 min ago

Naga City, Camarines Sur – Thousands of Bicolano farmers under the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Bikol (KMB), the regional chapter of the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) and activists from organizations under Bagong Alyansang Makabayan – Bikol (Bayan Bicol) has initiated their protest caravan-march dubbed as “Lakbay Paraoma,” the regional version of the nationwide caravan “Lakbay Magsasaka” led by KMP.

The farmers are members of Anakpawis Party-list who staunchedly demanded the immediate direct distribution of the multi-billion peso coconut levy fund to small farmers, as proposed by House Bill No. 557, authored by Anakpawis Party-list Representative Ariel “Ka Ayik” Casilao who is joining the activity. He will be with the caravan until it reaches Manila on October 23.

The regional protest action was built up with the provincial activities, as part of Lakbay Paraoma in Camarines Sur, Camarines Norte, Sorsogon, Masbate and Catanduanes provinces.

“While the region is rich in natural resources, fertile vast tracks of farmlands, fishing areas, as well as coconut-based production, sugarcane, natural gas and other resources, the region was still ranked as the fourth poorest in the country, and majority among the poor are farmers who composed 75% of the population,” Casilao said during the protest caravan.

The lawmaker and leaders of KMB blamed this miserable state to the government policies, primarily the absence of a genuine agrarian reform program, destructive economic projects and undemocratic measures against legitimate protests.

Norberto Autor, Chairperson of KMP also denounced the callous government projects that leads to displacement of farmers and fisherfolks, such as the eco-tourism project in Aroroy town, Masbate. The local government is using police and military forces to repress the people’s opposition, led by Ugnayan ng Mamamayan Laban sa Mapanirang Pagmimina at Kumbersyong Agraryo (Umalpas Ka). They are opposing a tourism project of the partnership Macau gambling tycoon Stanley Ho and Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr.

The peasant leader also condmened the continuing human rights abuses against farmers who are opposing the operations of the Filminera Mining Co. at the said town. A farmer from Brgy. Capsay, Alfredo Cabatingan, was illegally detained for 21 days without appropriate charges for opposing the levelling via bulldozer of his farmland, and the mining firm’s armed security forces reported harassed a community of small-scale miners.

As assertion, KMB leads the “bungkalan” (cultivation) campaign in the region, particularly in Brgy. Concepcion Grande in Naga City, Hacienda Manubay, Delvo Estate, Hacienda Almeda, Hacienda Abella, Hacienda Jimenez, Hacienda Federis, Hacienda Tyhangco and Guballa Land Property.

KMB declared that the Duterte government failed the Bicolano farmers and his economic programs and policies are recycled or rehashed from hsi predecessors, leading to massive displacement of farmers from their land and livelihood.

“Duterte is selling out lands in the region to favor haciendero and oligarchs, opened up the mountain ranges for plunderous mining operations, converted lands and delimited fishing grounds, he is actually killing us via his neoliberal policies which are plagiarized from the ‘dilawan’ and Gloria Arroyo regimes,” KMB said.

The Lakbay Paraoma farmers are also condemning Duterte’s tyrannical measures, especially the all-out war policies in the countryside. They are holding President Rodrigo Duterte, primarily responsible for the cases of extra-judicial killings that victimized 24 farmers in the region, and for the trumped up charges against 34 political prisoners, as of last September according to Karapatan-Bikol.

“This is our contribution to the nationwide action against his tyranny, we will show Duterte, that thousands of Bicolano farmers are already fed up of his anti-people and anti-poor measures, we demand land, we demand freedom, we condemn tyranny,” Autor exclaimed. ###

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Black Friday protest: Anakpawis solon backs farmers’ call to end killings, condemns EJKs under Duterte

anakpawis.net - Fri, 10/20/2017 - 05:29

Manila, Philippines – Anakpawis Party-list Representative Ariel “Ka Ayik” Casilao joined hundreds of farmers from Northern and Southern Mindanao regions under the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) with their “Black Friday protest” demanding the “Stop Killing Farmers” slogan in front of the central office of the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) in Quezon City. In relation, Casilao recently joined the formation of the anti-tyranny group Coalition for Land, Against Martial Law and Oppression (Clamor) at the office of Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) in Manila.

“Other sectors are joining the peasant movement in their demand a stop to extra-judicial killings in the countryside, and we challenge President Duterte to heed this legitimate and moral call,” the lawmaker said in a statement.

According to Karapatan human rights group, there are already 91 farmer-victims of extra-judicial killings under President Duterte’s watch and more than half of them were from Mindanao, where martial law and all-out war policies are being executed by the administration.

The victims were mostly members and leaders of local peasant organizations who are fighting for their land rights, against land grabbing and displacement, and projects such as mining, plantation expansion and others.

“We would also like to highlight that they are not just killing peasant activists, but also targeting peasant couples such as on the cases of the Pesadillas last March in Compostela and Arrabis last September in Davao City, hence, President Duterte’s all-out war policy is making a generation of orphan peasant children,” Casilao said.

Extra-judicial killing victims Ramon and Leonila Pesadilla were members of Compostela Farmers’ Association (CFA) in Compostela town, affiliated with KMP, and they were opposing the land grabbing and actions to displace farmers by Agusan Petroleum and Mineral Corporation (Agpet), a mining firm connected to Eduardo “Danding” Cojuangco. While couple Jezreel and Dalia Arrabis, both members of Farmers’ Association of Davao City (FADC) were killed in Calinan District. Farmers groups are tagging the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) for the atrocities.

“The all-out war policy of President Duterte, akin to his sham war on drugs, is causing the systematic killings of farmers across the country, we hold him primarily accountable for this nationwide warlordism and tyrannical rule,” Casilao said.

The lawmaker also urged the public to support the nationwide peasant caravan “Lakbay Magsasaka” where tens of thousands of farmers and activists are expected to join the rally on October 25 at Mendiola bridge in Manila, demanding a stop to killings and genuine agrarian reform in the country. ###

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Anakpawis solon, fisherfolk leader to join Bicol-leg of farmers’ caravan Lakbay Magsasaka

anakpawis.net - Fri, 10/20/2017 - 05:22

Manila, Philippines – Anakpawis party-list Rep. Ariel “Ka Ayik” Casilao will join the Bicol-leg of the week long peasant campaign and caravan dubbed as “Lakbay Magsasaka” led by the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) tomorrow in Naga City, Camarines Sur. He will be joined by the party-list’s former representative and National Chairperson of the Pamalakaya – Pilipinas fisherfolk group, Fernando “Ka Pando” Hicap.

About 2,000 farmers from the said region will arrive in Manila on October 23 to set-up camp and protest at Mendiola bridge in Manila on October 25 to demand free distribution of land and end to fascist attacks on farmer communities by government forces.

This day, protest actions in the region’s provinces are already commencing, particularly Camarines Sur and Sorsogon. They are demanding the genuine distribution of coconut levy funds to small farmers, the stop to extra-judicial killings, human rights abuses and militarization of peasant communities.

Casilao and other lawmakers under the Makabayan coalition are authors of House Bill No. 557 Genuine Small Coconut Farmers’ Fund that demanded the direct distribution of the coconut levy funds to small farmers.

“Farmers from Bicol are condemning the passed coco levy bill in congress, that deprives them of their right to access the fund, as it provisions the fund’s perpetuality and privatization, they are holding the Duterte administration primarily liable for its failure to fulfill its promise to distribute the fund to the farmers,” Casilao said.

Tomorrow, thousands of farmers under Kilusang Magbubukid ng Bikol (KMB) wil protesting at the provincial offices of National Irrigation Administration (NIA), National Food Authority (NFA), Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office (PENRO) and Provincial Agrarian Reform Office (PARO).

“It is evident that the president has abandoned the legitimate calls of farmers for fundamental reforms and services, worse, he is waging the all-out war in the countryside that is victimizing peasant communities,” Casilao ended.

The lawmaker urged the public to support Lakbay Magsasaka as their call for genuine land reform will also benefit various sectors in society. ###

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Agricultural and Agrarian Situation of the Philippines and the Vital Necessity of Enacting House Bill No. 555 Genuine Agrarian Reform Bill or GARB

anakpawis.net - Fri, 10/20/2017 - 03:09

Agricultural and Agrarian Situation of the Philippines and the Vital Necessity of Enacting House Bill No. 555 Genuine Agrarian Reform Bill or GARB
Input of Anakpawis Party-list Representative Ariel “Ka Ayik” Casilao on the
Forum for Genuine Agrarian Reform and Sustainable Agriculture sponsored by Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pillipinas, Resist Agro-chem TNCs and National Anti-Poverty Commission
October 20, 2017, Quezon City

At this modern age, Philippine society remains semi-feudal. It is characterized by a political and economic system that majorly operates on a backward state of forces and relations of production, that features mainly exploitative and oppressive social relations against the peasantry and other rural-based sectors. Agriculture as shaped by past and present government not to serve the national requirements but to play raw materials supplier of the demands of capitalist countries to the extent of threatening the food security.

 

Backward means of agricultural production

Philippine agricultural lands are recognized as unirrigated or rainfed lands. Hence, rice production remains to reach full potential and among with access to irrigation systems, farmers are compelled to carry the burden of paying for irrigation, adding to the cost of production. In 2016, irrigation development is at 59% at 1.8 million hectares and with a backlog of near 1.3 million has.

Central Luzon which is recognized as the country’s rice granary, only have 65% of its rice lands serviced with irrigation. It has also the largest irrigated lands at 314,000 has. It is followed by Cagayan Valley with 188,500 has. but it is only at 64% irrigation development. With least irrigation dev’t are ARMM, Davao, SOCCSKSARGEN and Caraga regions at 30% to 43%.

In 2002, plow-tractor ratio employed on agricultural lands was at 6-4 or 2.7 million plows to 1.5 million tractors. Regions with most relative usage of tractors were Ilocos, Central Luzon, Cagayan Valley, Mimaropa, Western Visayas with 5-5 to 6-4 plow-tractor ratio. But on number of tractors used, Ilocos and Central Luzon each composed 16% of the country’s total, Cagayan Valley 14% and Western Visayas 13%.

Manual labor is also a coherent trait of country’s agriculture, particularly from planting, maintaining and harvesting of crops. It is evident in rice, coconut, sugarcane and other crop production. The rural population which is at 55% according to the government, serves as the producing class in agriculture. Mechanized transplanting which is exclusive in capitalist agriculture in developed countries remains a wishful thinking.

The lip-service program of past and present administration on the agricultural sector is principally promotion of liberalization. The government did not even food security on its proposed 2018 National Budget and only continued such programs such as the National Rice Program.

The National Rice Program, which is composed of promoting high-yielding, hybrid and even Genetically-Modified Organisms (GMO) varieties, failed to cause the attainment of rice self-sufficiency in the country. Amid being funded by at least P35 billion from 2011 to 2015, it still failed. From 2009 to 2013, rice utilization per capita fell from about 120 kg per year to 116 kg, that was about near 20 kg for a family of five.

The Department of Agriculture planned to introduce the harvester-combine since the past administration and it is promoted by the current leadership. However, farmers group in many provinces opposed the P1.6 million-machinery and labelled it as “halimaw” particularly in Nueva Ecija, when it was demonstrated in 2014. Its introduction is related to the generated opposition of farmers against the reaper farm equipment that cuts rice crops in a short period of time. It actually displaced farmworkers from their sources of income and it drove them to act directly and sabotage it by putting metal bars on the farm to damage it. The “halimaw” pose the same threat as expressed by Nueva Ecija rice farmers.

Moreover, mechanization, a development in the forces of production and an attribute of capitalist agriculture, if to be imposed on a semi-feudal economic set-up in the countryside will only trigger unrest. A development in the forces of production without the corresponding development in the relations of production will only generate a contradiction.

Furthermore, mechanized production is also predestined to fail as with the semi-feudal agriculture, where landlords and even compradors dictate the farmgate price, the cost of production, which will be enlarged by the added value of such machinery will put more farmers to more bankruptcy and landlessness. Therefore, any development in the forces of production, should require the development in relations of production and first eliminate the semi-feudal forms that enchain the farmers, as the producer class.

The Department of Agriculture boasts of its planned mapping of agricultural lands in the country, but not for the national interest, instead to allocate lands for foreign monopoly who are and are to engage in plantation businesses such as oil palm.

 

Regressing relations of production in agriculture

Social relations in agriculture is predominantly feudal and semi-feudal. It is regressing or retreating as a typical tenant-farmer is being displaced and transformed to mere farmworker.

(Displacement, from peasant to a semi-worker)
The peasant sector is also under the threat of being dislodged from agriculture, brought about by systematic land use conversion, mining, eco-tourism and other projects, consequently, it is driven to the commercial centers to do odd, contractual and irregular jobs and compose the swelling population of semi-workers or urban poor in town and cities.

As indicator of inadequacy of working on land as resulted by landlessness or small-land production, farmers get about 46% of income from working outside of their own farms, 30% of which is non-farm work. Thus, the Filipino farmer, after being displaced from his land, is not converted to an industrial worker, but to being a semi-worker or farmworker who are subjected to a more exploitative and oppressive relations in production.

(Land rent)
Farmers are usual victims of land rent. However, this archaic and exploitative social indicator is subject to the level of the consolidated strength and unity of farmers’ associations who regularly bargain for improved relations with the landlord. On areas with strong farmers’ group, land rent usually is at 13 cavans for every 100 cavans of harvested palay. However, an emerging “barok” system is transforming the tenant to a mere farmworker where is paid with P10,000 for his three to four-month work on the rice farm, that is capable of resulting an income of P75,000. Hence, his land rent skyrockets to 87% of the gross harvest, and essentially makes a slave out of him, a beggar for the landlord to keep him on the land.

In coconut areas, “tersyo” or 1/3-2/3 in favor of the landlord still exists, as well as 50-50. Still, this is subject to the farmers’ political strength, which in some parts of the country, “tersyong baliktad” which is favorable to the farmers, was already achieved and being enjoyed by poor coconut farmers. In onion production, there is also a 50-50 sharing system, but actually the bulk burden is shouldered by the farmer as it is capital and labor intensive and the landlord reaps the benefit, especially because it also acts as the trader of the harvest.

(Wage and slave-like conditions)
Farmworkers and agricultural workers across the country suffer slave-like wage levels. In 2011, nominal wage rate of farmworkers was at P207, but its real wage equivalent was P122, which is lower than real wages from 1998 to 2004. Real wages for crop lines palay, coconut, corn and sugar were all lower than its 1998 level. Thus, however much nominal increases farmworkers receive, it is inadequate to make them cope up with the worsening economic crises in the country and they are kept engrossed in aggravating state of poverty and hunger.

Low wages for farmworkers was exposed by the issue of globally-condemned Hacienda Luisita massacre in 2004. Then, farmworkers take home a pay of P9.50 that led them to launch the massive strike, and was retaliated by the landlord Cojuangcos with a brutal assault on the picketline and massacre of striking farmworkers. This wage-level was the outcome of the bombardment of feudal and semi-feudal forms of exploitation, ranging from the Stock Distribution Option (SDO) that rid them of their rights to land that barred them to cultivate their own food crops, low wages at P150 daily rate for field work, usury where farmworkers even loan for salt, and absence of social protection from non-compliance of labor laws and standards.

A merciless form of low-wage scheme is “pakyawan,” particularly in sugarcane areas. It is a form of sub-contracting that demolishes the daily wage rate system, transforming the sugarworkers to slaves. In Negros sugar areas, pakyawan schemes could impose a P500 pay for a 15-day work or a daily average of P33. It makes farmworkers so vulnerable as it exonerates the landlord of any legal liability as it is brokered by an encargado, hence, social protection is nil.

Minimum wage level for plantation workers in Negros is set at P281.50 but the National Federation of Sugar Workers (NFSW) exposed that 98% of hacienda firms do not comply to the labor law, affecting at least 300,000 sugar workers.

Pakyawan was recently unmasked by the rescue of trafficked sacada from Mindanao by Cojuangco-Lorenzo firms Central Azucarera de Tarlac (CAT) and Agrikulto, Inc. to work in Hacienda Luisita. Hundreds of sacadas from Bukidnon were promised with P480 daily wage, alongwith benefits, but they were subjected to a pakyawan scheme that earned them a beggar-like pay of P38 per week or P5.47 a day. Naturally, they resisted and escaped, through the aid of Unyon ng Manggagawa sa Agrikultura (UMA), Department of Social Work and Development (DSWD) and Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) through the progressive officials from the people’s movement.

 

Detrimental government policies and programs

Agriculture without genuine agrarian reform, remains a bankrupt sector. The absence of security of tenure of the farmers on the land, threatens their class as being producer, consequently injurious to production. It manifests in food security and its supposed social role of contributing to rural development and nationalist industrialization.

(Export-oriented agriculture)
Past and present administrations remained advocates of neoliberal economics, which is demonstrated in agriculture being shaped as export-oriented and without vital investments to keep farmgate prices at a low, or at competitive levels.

Vegetables, fruits, sugar products, agri-based oils composed bulk of the agricultural exports of the country at 6.1 million metric tons in 2014. It was valued at $3.8 billion, that crudely makes a kilogram worth $0.62. The cheapest was the vegetable and fruits category at $0.48 (P21.2) per kg, sugar products at $0.68, and oils at $1.06. Hence, agriculture with the bulky volume of production and intended for export to capitalist economies, suffer monopoly pricing and we are certain that the impact of this economic practice inherent to monopoly capitalism to the Filipino farmers are detrimental.

(Further expansion of plantations)
Plantations are characterized by cultivating permanent crops. Permanent crops are systematically eating up share in area harvested from only 1.8 million has. in 1960 or 23% to 4.2 million has. in 2002 or 44%. Almost all cash and export crops expanded area from 1990, 2002 to 2016. Oil palm increased by 40,000 has. or 201% since 2002, while cavendish banana by 42,000 has. or 97%, pineapple with 24,400 has. or 60% since 1990, and rubber by 137,000 has. or 159%.

It should be noted that plantations are usually imposed on agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARBs), via non-land transfer schemes as provisioned by the expired Republic Act No. 6657 or Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP), and is known today as agri-business ventures arrangement or AVAs. The bankruptcy of this scheme was bared by the Hacienda Luisita massacre, and recently by the ARBs demand for land distribution in Lapanday-controlled plantations, as well as the Tagum Development Corporation or TADECO in Mindanao. These AVAs protecting plantation and promoting its expansion has been promoted by the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR), instead of directly distributing the lands to ARBs.

The Duterte administration who promised reforms, is actually implementing the Philippine Palm Oil Industry Roadmap drafted by its predecessor. The present government is eyeing 1.6 million has. to be devoted to oil palm plantation. The government reported that the largest expansion of oil palm plantation were at Caraga region, at 35% of the 56,641 has. in 2012, and SOCSKSARGEN at 30%. Of the more than a million has. targeted, majority is located in Miindanao or 98%.

Obviously, this promotion threatens the rights to land of farmers, as already highlighted by the struggle of Lumad farmers in Opol, Misamis Oriental against the 1,000-has. oil palm plantation of A. Brown Energy Resources Dev’t., Inc. (ABERDI) that led to the extra-judicial killing of Gilbert Paborada in 2012. At present, his brother is being harassed by government forces and accused as a member of the New People’s Army (NPA).

 

The imperative for a Genuine Agrarian Reform and enactment of House Bill No. 555 Genuine Agrarian Reform Bill (GARB)

The legitimate demand of the Filipino peasant class for a Genuine Agrarian Reform has been elevated, as the Duterte administration promised fundamental reforms, but it is now apparent that it is not capable of doing so.

Farmers have been for decades demanded the repeal of CARP for its bankruptcy, protection of landlord interests and betrayal of farmers’ aspirations. It actually promoted SDO, leaseback and other forms of non-land transfer schemes that led to the displacement of farmers from the land and strengthened the feudal control of landlords over vast tracks of land.

Genuine agrarian reform is spirited in the legislative struggle by House Bill No. 555 – Genuine Agrarian Reform Bill or GARB, and it is condensed as provision for free distribution of land to the farmers and Filipinization of plantation lands.

GARB, as contrary to criticisms is not a socialist legislative measure. It is a national democratic proposal that aims to transform the semi-feudal state of the countryside to a genuinely developed sector that will benefit the peasant class, as well as, contribute to the rural development and nationalist industrialization.

It even provisions just compensation to landlords, but divergent to the pro-landlord provision of CARP. Its confiscatory provisions are also bounded by the existing laws within the constitution.

The main trait of GARB that landlords and compradors heavily disapprove is its coverage, as it aims to distribute all agricultural lands in the country, without exemption. They view it as dictatorial and violation of their bourgeois right to private property. This is the main contention in the agrarian reform debate, as ruling classes in favor of the present exploitative and oppressive political and economic system, while the peasant movement demands a democratic and socially just reforms in the country.

GARB adheres to the social justice and morality of free distribution of land, as encoined by historical epochs in the country. Filipino farmers have been demanding land since the Spanish colonialism, then under American rule, towards the regimes subservient to the dictates of foreign monopoly capitalism or imperialism.

HB 555 is even inferior to agrarian reform struggles tracked by Western civilization via bloody revolutions, such as the European Revolutions of 1848, which predominantly demanded the abolition of the monarchial feudal power over vast tracks of lands. Anti-feudal struggles were also waged in Asia such as in Japan, China, Korea, Middle East, India and others. These social upheavals were national democratic and not socialist, as it was led by the growing bourgeois classes in their respective societies. Likewise, GARB does not propose any proletarian take-over of state leadership, furthermore, it does not advocate the violent means and constraints its provisions to achieve the most reforms from existing jurisprudence in the country.

It is simply pushing for the sincere emancipation of the peasant class from the feudal bondage enjoyed by the landlord and comprador classes. And this emancipation will benefit not just the peasant class, but all strata in Philippine society as the maximum potential of agriculture will be unlocked.

Small-and-medium enterprises or SMEs, or the petty bourgeoisie class will benefit from genuine agrarian reform, as the monopoly control of big hacienderos conspiring with big businesses will be abolished. SMEs could tap the liberated agricultural sector for abundant sources of raw materials at lower costs. With this, employment will flourish and more workers will be taken out from the unemployed sector or industrial reserve army. By Genuine Agrarian Reform liberating at least the 55 million rural population, massive poverty in the country will be dramatically reduced, and in a way their purchasing power to upsurge, they will be a bulk addition to the market of the local and national economy.

Subsequently, with intermediate industries connecting agriculture to industry, rural development and nationalist industrialization will cease to be an unreachable vision in the country.

With Genuine Agrarian Reform as trigger to social and economic progress in the country, it is worthy of much support from various sectors based in the urban centers and countryside.

 

Anakpawis Rep. Ayik Casilao at the NAPC National Forum on Food Security, Land Reform and Sustainable Agriculture for Women Farmers in Quezon City. Photo by NAPC.

Anakpawis Rep. Ayik Casilao at the NAPC National Forum on Food Security, Land Reform and Sustainable Agriculture for Women Farmers in Quezon City. Photo by NAPC.

Anakpawis Rep. Ayik Casilao at the NAPC National Forum on Food Security, Land Reform and Sustainable Agriculture for Women Farmers in Quezon City. Photo by NAPC.

Anakpawis Rep. Ayik Casilao at the NAPC National Forum on Food Security, Land Reform and Sustainable Agriculture for Women Farmers in Quezon City. Photo by NAPC.

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Solon lauds formation of peasant-led anti-tyranny alliance

anakpawis.net - Fri, 10/20/2017 - 03:00

Manila, Philippines – Anakpawis Party-list Ariel “Ka Ayik” Casilao today lauded the formation of a peasant-based anti-tyranny alliance that helps broaden sectoral support against extra-judicial killings (EJK) and other forms of state-sponsored human rights violations in the countryside. 

Former DAR Sec. Rafael Mariano, Bayan’s Carol Araullo and Most Rev. Doegracia Ińigues were among the conveners of the Coalition for Land, Against Martial Law and Oppression (CLAMOR).

“Under President Duterte’s watch, there are already 91 farmer-victims of EJK across the country.  We blame this to his all-out war policy in the countryside, encoined by his counter-insurgency program Oplan Kapayapaan,” Casilao said in a statement.

The lawmaker said that Duterte’s warlordism has turned the country upside down, especially via his triple war: “war on drugs,” all-out war in the countryside and war against the Moro people.  He added that Duterte embraced the fascist approach by the militarists in his cabinet and veered away from pursuing peace with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) and New People’s Army (NPA). 

His promise of peace, as well as genuine rural development for the welfare of Filipino farmers has vanished in thin air and he is now engaged in totally attacking farmer communities like the recent aerial bombings in Batangas.

“We hope that more sectors will support the farmers’ battlecry of ‘Stop Killing Farmers,’ as broad as the public condemnation on drug-related killings of innocent youth,” Casilao added.

He also urged the public to support the hundreds of farmers from Bukidnon and Davao region, who are camping outside the central office of the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) calling for free distribution of land and stop to fascist attacks.

“It is a positive development that more democratic sectors are condemning Duterte for his tyrannical rule that resulted in the killings of tens of thousands across the country, we are convinced that the government will be compelled to fine-tune its policies, when majority of the people are already rallying on the streets,” Casilao said.

He also slammed President Rodrigo Duterte’s continued black propaganda and lies that opposition forces are uniting to destabilize his government when it is clear that he is being slated primarily for his contempt of human rights.

“The president is already detached from the peasant sector in the countryside, as well as poor and middle sectors in the urban centers, all he has on his side are the oligarchs and militarists, it is a matter of time for his full isolation from the people, and it is the main trigger of his threats to set up a fake revolutionary government based on fake grounds” Casilao ended.  ###

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Duterte’s corporate-backed PUV modernization drives away poor supporters from transport sector – Anakpawis

anakpawis.net - Thu, 10/19/2017 - 02:45

Manila, Philippines – Anakpawis party-list Rep. Ariel Casilao urges the Duterte gov’t not to drive away the support of tens of thousands of jeepney drivers and small operators who have trusted his leadership by implementing a corporate-backed jeepney modernization program.

“Jeepney drivers under the Pinagkaisang Samahan ng mga Tsuper at Operator Nationwide (Piston) that led a two-day transport strike is not against the modernization jeepney program, what they are against is the seemingly private take-over of business group in the jeepney upgrade program of the government”, said Casilao.

He also said that the corporate-led PUV modernization is nothing but a money-making racket which legitimizes the displacement of thousands of ordinary drivers and small operators.

Despite the rosy presentation of the transport dep’t and some pro-PUV modernization groups, there’s no concrete assurance that it will lift the lives of the drivers. Casilao questioned the hefty price of a modern jeep which reports said ranging from P1.4M to P1.6M. “With a measly subsidy of P80,000, there’s no way the drivers can finish the payment for seven years,” he said.

Moreover, Casilao also crticized the latest slur of the president against the protesting drivers saying that it shows his true color and no differ from his predecessor for being anti-poor. We condemn Pres. Duterte’s red baiting, tongue lashing and insult-inducing tirades against Piston and their supporters as the height of his hypocrisy. Blaming the poor for bieng poor is clearly a statement only comes from a leader that doesn’t care to the welfare of the underprivileged. A self-confessed left and a socialist, he is proud insulting the poor thus it is highly contrasted of his claim.

“With his latest insulting remarks, the gov’t should not be surprise if many poor and underprivileged which includes the drivers will go against Duterte’s oppressive and repressive economic program such the PUV modernization. He is in fact, driving away his poor supporters. If he will push his threat of implementing the corporate-backed PUV modernization, he will face bigger protest and condemnation”, Casilao concluded. ###

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Why OFWs support the 2-day transport strike

migranteinternational.org - Mon, 10/16/2017 - 07:59
Overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) support PISTON and No to Jeepney Phaseout Coalition’s 2-day transport strike not just for sentimental reasons. After all, the iconic “Katas ng Saudi” is symbolized by the very jeepneys that the Duterte government is now pushing to phase-out. No, OFWs realize that their present conditions can now hardly sustain their families’ […]
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Duterte fails to address hunger on 72nd World Food Day

anakpawis.net - Mon, 10/16/2017 - 02:42

Manila, Philippines – Anakpawis Party-list Representative Ariel “Ka Ayik” Casilao declared that the Duterte administration failed to address hunger on the marking of the 72nd World Food Day, coinciding the founding of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (UN FAO) in 1945.  He primarily accentuated that the security of farmers on land is yet to be attained, thus, producing-capacity of the country is under threat, especially corresponded with neo-liberal policies in agriculture.

“With majority of Fillipino based in the countryside and their rights on land systematically violated, as well as their right to secure their food sources, hence, they are subjected to indescribable state of hunger and poverty,” Casilao said in a statement.

He said that farmers across the country have been aggressive to remain on their farms, as indicated by their demand to the eradication of hacienda formations and opposition to the intensified expansion of agro-corporate plantations.  He cited the cases of farmers on lands formerly controlled by Lapanday and at present farmers are demanding distribution of lands controlled by Tagum Development Corporation (Tadeco) in Mindanao.

“These plantations supply foreign monopoly for their raw materials, and these hundreds of thousands of hectares are not contributing food security in the country, the farmers are demanding that these may be cultivated with food crops, primarily for their subsistence and supply for the local population,” Casilao said.

He added the case of farmers cultivating lands controlled by Central Mindanao University (CMU) who are camping outside the central office of the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) in Quezon City, who are threatened by displacement.  Their farms are classified as educational reserve of the university, that leads to its exemption from distribution from the expired Republic Act No. 6657 Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP).

“Farmers across the country demand to grow food crops but government laws and policies deprive them from doing so, the Duterte administration also failed to veer away from the programs and policies of past regimes, instead it gears for its continuation and intensification,” Casilao said.

The lawmaker criticized the absence of a new agrarian reform program under the administration, with only House Bill No. 555 Genuine Agrarian Reform Bill (GARB) pending in congress.  The extension of the CARP law is irresolvable as it expired when it failed to be extended as stated by its sunset provision or that it should be extended before the prescribed expiry date of the law on June 30, 2014.

“Duterte also embraced the neo-liberal policies of his predecessors in agriculture, especially the promotion of products designed by foreign monopoly agro-chemical corporations, privatization of the National Food Authority and the massive importation of rice,” Casilao said.

He said that the Department of Agriculture (DA) neglects to secure the rice industry and is re-occupied in finding lands for agro-corporate plantations as revealed by its planned mapping of agricultural lands in the country.  It abandons its supposed mandate to protect productive agricultural and rice lands from systematic land use and crop conversion, and instead thrusting on commercial, high-yielding, hybrid and even genetically-modified varieties.

The National Rice Program (NRP) was funded by at least P35 billion from 2011 to 2015, but the government still failed to reach rice self-sufficiency.  It is being continued by the DA under the Duterte administration.  From 2009 to 2013, rice utilization per capita fell from about 120 kg per year to 116 kg, that was about near 20 kg for a family of five.

“The Duterte administration is also working on fully commercializing and privatizing the rice sector as it plans for the NFA to abandon its mandate to purchase the local palay from farmers,” Casilao said.

It was stated on the Philippine Development Plan 2017 – 2022 that NFA would be decoupled with its regulatory powers and focus solely on buffer stocking sourced from imported rice.  The Duterte administration also approved of private sector-to-private sector importation (P2P) that is further liberalizing from the government-to-government (G2G) importation.  The government has no plan of reverting back that the NFA controlling to about 50% of the local rice supply in 2011 but dwindled down to 28% in 2016, and the commercial stock doubled from a minority 16% to a significat 30% during the same period.

“President Duterte who promised rural development and fundamental reforms is actually the worse of the same thing, with farmers being displaced from the lands and rice being under the control of the private sector, worsened state of hunger among the poor under his term is inevitable, thus, World Food Day is actually World Hunger Day in the country,” Casilao ended. ###

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Anakpawis supports transport strike, calls for an inclusive, democratic modernization program

anakpawis.net - Mon, 10/16/2017 - 02:41

Manila, Philippines – On the first day of jeepney transport strike led by Piston, Anakpawis Party-list Representative Ariel “Ka Ayik” Casilao expressed support, as well urged the public to oppose the Public Utility Vehicle (PUV) Modernization Program of the Duterte government that will wipe out the jeepney of the mass transport system, displacing many sectors. Instead, he pushed for an inclusive and democratic modernization program that will take into account the welfare of the affected sectors, particularly the drivers.

“The PUV Modernization Program is none other than corporatization and further commercialization of the public transport sector, that will benefit foreign monopoly automotive corporations, big businesses and their lackey transport groups,” Casilao said in a statement.

The Department of Finance reported that the program would cost P417 billion for the next five years, including the P8 billion-subsidy for the purchase of PUVs and P3.9 billion for the Office of Transport Cooperatives.

“We would rather recommend that this huge budget be used in supporting the local mass transport sector, than simply be drained as profits of big automotive companies, in this method, massive displacement of drivers, mechanics and workers of integral industries will be avoided,” Casilao said.

The Duterte government also announced that the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) partnered with the Land Bank of the Philippines for a P2.2 billion fund package to cover the P80,000 initial payment for the PUVs, followed by amortization to be shouldered by the driver amounting P800 per day, with 6% annual interest for 7 years.

“P800 per day is near P300, 000 per year, and seven years is more than P2 million, that is without interest, hence, this program intends to transform the poor driver into a slave, or that only private firms could operate under this high cost of PUVs,” Casilao said.

The lawmaker said that with this costing, the commuting public will definitely shoulder the burden as to cover the investment, fare hikes will be unavoidable. He added that with present low wage levels of poor sectors, corporatization is deemed unfitting.

Instead, the group demanded an inclusive and democratic reform for the mass transport, as well as to address traffic concerns, that included the following points:

• repeal the Oil Deregulation Law or a program that will ease the burden of oil price hikes on drivers, as high costs compels them to compete for passengers to the point of violating traffic regulations and road safety;
• government take-over of private roads as alternative routes for private vehicles to ease traffic on major thoroughfares;
• ensure and secure living income levels for drivers and prohibit exploitative boundary-system or establish government-subsidized transport cooperatives that will safeguard their social welfare;
• support the local mass transport industry through development of a locally-made engine as emancipation from high costs of imported parts and to enable assemblers to manufacture vehicles that will pass set standards for safety and the environment and to promote employment in the sector.

“Jeepney drivers are often criticized for their manner of driving, but no one bothers to ask how much do they take home to their families, which is actually the material reason for such brashness, hence, we demand that the conditions that cause their low incomes be stamped out and we are certain that mass transport will be on an orderly and safe environment,” Casilao ended. ###

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Anakpawis urges support for Bukidnon farmers fighting for land rights over CMU lands for 30 years

anakpawis.net - Thu, 10/12/2017 - 03:36

Manila, Philippines – Anakpawis Party-list Representative Ariel “Ka Ayik” Casilao urged the public to support the 100-farmer contingent from Bukidnon who were fighting for their rights to a 517-hectare land covered by the Central Mindanao University (CMU) for more than 30 years. Farmers who are members of Buffalo-Tamaraw-Limus (BTL) group marched and travelled from Maramag town, Bukidnon to Cagayan de Oro City, before arriving in Manila yesterday to set up camp in front of the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) central office in Quezon City.

“They are living witnesses that past agrarian reform programs or laws failed the Filipino farmers, hence, they are intensifying their actions by directly travelling and camping out at the DAR office,” Casilao said in a statement.

The farmers’ plight began in 1958, when former President Carlos Garcia granted CMU with a 3,401-hectare educational reserve through Presidential Proclamation No. 476. In 1975, CMU implemented a rice project with the Philippine Packing Corporation, which was a failure. Subsequently, more than 1,200 farmers organized as Bukidnon Free Farmers Association and Laborers Organization (Buffalo). In 1989, the DAR adjudication board approved the distribution of 400-hectare land, thus, other farmers were encouraged and formed the groups Tried Agricultural Movers Association of Rural Active Workers (Tamaraw) and the Landless Tillers Inhabitants of Musuan (Limus). But the CMU administration opposed the coverage that in 1992, the Supreme Court ordered the cancellation of the farmers’ certificate of land ownership awards (cloas), basically because the Republic Act No. 6657 or Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) exempted educational reserve lands for distribution.

Though with cloas cancelled, they stood firm on their farms, and clinched a lease agreement with the CMU and required relocation for their displacement. Until 2007, when the agreement was supposed to expire, farmers could not be relocated, thus, their staunch opposition against their displacement. After a decade of united struggle against harassment by CMU, they are pressing the Duterte administration and DAR to uphold their rights and sincerely fulfill agrarian reform at their lands. They are part of the tens of thousand-mass action of the peasant sector in the country to mark the 45th anniversary of the Presidential Decree 27 or the land reform program of the Marcos dictatorship this October 21.

“The case of BTL farmers has exposed the bankruptcy of CARP, for its loopholes, but with their united struggle to press this administration to exhibit political will for the welfare of the marginalized sectors, they action is more political than legal,” Casilao said.

Casilao is the primary author of the House Bill No. 555 Genuine Agrarian Reform Bill at the lower house, that basically proposes free distribution of land to farmers and covers all agricultural lands in the country. The lawmaker said that it is being “dribbled” at the Committee on Agrarian Reform, though, there is no existing program under the Duterte administration.

“The absence of an agrarian reform program under an administration is the clear declaration of its neglect and callousness to millions of landless farmers in the country. Without it, farmers only have the option to hold tens of thousand-strong rallies or more vividly, to join the armed struggle in the countryside, therefore, it is the government who are actually recruiting members of the New People’s Army or NPA,” the lawmaker said. ###

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On IACLA formation: Anakpawis solon warns against abuses akin to Oplan Bantay Laya

anakpawis.net - Wed, 10/11/2017 - 05:51

Manila, Philippines – Anakpawis Party-list Representative Ariel “Ka Ayik” Casilao slammed the Duterte administration for its formation of the Inter-Agency Committee on Legal Actions (IACLA) and claimed that it is a rehash of the publicly resented Inter-Agency Legal Action Group (IALAG) under the Macapagal-Arroyo regime. The resolution for IACLA was signed by Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief of Staff Gen. Eduardo Año and Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief Gen. Rogelio Dela Rosa during the 20th Joint Peace and Security Coordinating Council (JPSCC) on October 9, while IALAG created through Executive Order No. 493 in 2006, was then a component of the regime’s counter-insurgency program Oplan Bantay Laya, particularly the filing of trumped up charges against activists.

“It is a shame that even this anti-human rights body under former president Macapagal-Arroyo was plagiarized by President Duterte, this was a major player in abuses against the people, particularly activists demanding then her resignation,” Casilao said in a statement.

Casilao said that IALAG caused the the rebellion charges against the so-called “Batasan 6” or the party-list representatives, the Leyte and Nueva Ecija murder charges against Bayan Muna Reps. Satur Ocampo and Teddy Casiño, Anakpawis Rep. Rafael Mariano and Gabriela Rep. Liza Maza, as well as the Southern Tagalog 72, the Southern Tagalog 27, the new Rizal murder charges against Southern Tagalog activists, Tagaytay 5 and other trumped-up cases against leaders of progressive groups in Cebu and Davao. He added that IALAG contributed to the increasing number of political prisoners under the Macapagal-Arroyo regime that reached to almost 2,000 from 2001 to 2009.

“If IACLA pushes through, the possibility of us in the Makabayan bloc being accused of trumped up charges will not be remote, as it has precedent, hence, it is just to call for the immediate abolition of this authoritarian measure,” Casilao said.

The lawmaker also emphasized that the counter-insurgency program of President Duterte, Oplan Kapayapaan, had all the ingredients of its past versions, predominantly, extra-judicial killings (EJK), filing of trumped up charges and massive militarization of the countryside. Aerial bombings of communities are also becoming a standard operating procedure of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).

“EJK has been the norm of the Duterte gov’t, at the cities and the rural areas, where 81 farmers already fell victims as of end of August, while bombings on farmer communities are mounting, with the latest in Batangas,” Casilao said.

He warned that the recurring EJK of youth in the urban centers and related to Duterte’s “war on drugs” can easily be tweaked against activists akin to the Oplan Bantay Laya and butcher Maj. Gen. Jovito Palparan-led EJKs under the Macapagal-Arroyo regime. EJK victims then reached to about 1,200 while of enforced disappearances to more than 200.

With the recent drop of satisfaction ratings of President Duterte, Casilao also reminded that former president Macapagal-Arroyo suffered negative ratings since 2005 until the end of her term in 2010, with the worst at net -53 percent.

“We do not want to see the former mayor of Davao City to be despised by the whole country, and could only persist for a day to sit in power via an iron-fisted rule,” Casilao ended. ###

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“OFW Bank” further institutionalizes bankrupt labor export program

migranteinternational.org - Tue, 10/10/2017 - 05:11
Global alliance of overseas Filipinos Migrante International objects to the creation of an “overseas Filipino worker bank” (OFB), saying that it is geared towards “managing OFW remittances for the perpetuation of a long-bankrupt labor export program”. President Duterte recently authorized the transfer of shares of the Philippine Postal Savings Bank (PPSB) to the Land Bank […]
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Anakpawis welcomes House recommendation of plunder charges against Imee Marcos on using tobacco excise tax

anakpawis.net - Mon, 10/09/2017 - 08:35

Manila, Philippines – Anakpawis Party-list Representative Ariel “Ka Ayik” Casilao welcomed the recommendation of the House Committee on Good Government and Accountability to file plunder charges against Ilocos Norte Governor Imee Marcos on the anomalous use of P66.45 million from the tobacco excise tax in purchasing motor vehicles supplied by her long-time partner Mark Chua.

“We appreciate this development, but we are firm that this is not the only case, as farmers have long been demanding benefits from the fund, that even COA reported that more than a half billion pesos were unused-unobligated from 2011 to 2013,” Casilao said in a statement.

Casilao and lawmakers under the Makabayan bloc filed House Resolution No. 1126 on the determination of the actual benefits of tobacco farmers from Ilocos Norte of the tobacco excise tax. In response, the Commission on Audit (COA) submitted an initial report on the said fund from 1997 to 2016, where it indicated that about P583 million were unused-unobligated during the 2011 – 2013 term of Gov. Imee Marcos. Farmers from Alyansa Dagiti Mannalon Iti Ilocos Norte (Amin), provincial chapter of Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) and Solidarity of Peasants in Ilocos Norte (Stop Exploitation) attended the previous hearing and testified that they did not benefit from the fund.

“It should also be noted that under the governorship of Bongbong Marcos, COA cited unused-unobligated funds on how the province used the share from the tobacco excise tax,” Casilao said.

Based on the COA report, about P477 million were unused-unobligated from 1998 to 2007 when Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr. was governor. Casilao challenged the house leadership to dig deeper on the anomaly involving the tobacco excise tax, including the term of Bongbong Marcos.

“The children of the late dictator inherited the plunderous character of their father who instigated the multi-billion peso coconut levy scam, and for them they raked on the tobacco excise tax, they should be charged with plunder, aside from their historical crime against the Filipino people,” Casilao ended. ###

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Farmers, poor pulled down Duterte’s ratings – Anakpawis solon

anakpawis.net - Mon, 10/09/2017 - 02:10

Manila, Philippines – Anakpawis Party-list Representative Ariel “Ka Ayik” Casilao blamed the latest drop of people’s satisfaction on the Duterte presidency on its anti-poor and anti-peasant government policies, as the survey conducted by the Social Weather Station (SWS) indicated a significant decline of 12 to 19 percentage points from the respondents from the Rural areas (from 77 to 65) and belonging to Class E (from 80 to 61) from June to September of this year.
 
“It is natural for the people to break out from being deceived by sham promises for change, as President Duterte has nothing new to offer, he embraced the semi-feudal and neo-liberal social and economic framework he inherited from his predecessors, and exacerbated it by his triple war: “war on drugs” or war against the poor, all-out war in the countryside, and war against the Moro people,” Casilao said in a statement.
 
While killings related to the government’s “war on drugs” have been extensively publicized, extra-judicial killings of farmers and atrocities in the countryside remain unabated and yet to receive its deserved attention.  It is primarily caused by the counter-insurgency program Oplan Kapayapaan.  The national farmers organization Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) reported that 81 farmers fell to extra-judicial killings as of August 31.  Moreover, aerial bombings of farmer communities have been a standard-operating procedure by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) with the latest case in Batangas last month.
 
Casilao also stressed that the survey was conducted right after the huge protest against Duterte’s creeping authoritarianism on September 21 marking the 45th anniversary of the declaration of martial law.  He claimed that the protest effectively conveyed the issues to the people, as indicated by the survey results.
 
“Hence, the key is incessant massive rallies to oppose the fascist rule of Duterte, against war against the poor and farmer killings, hence, I urge the public to support the approaching national caravan-protest of tens of thousands of farmers across the country,” Casilao said.
  
To mark the 45th anniversary of the Presidential Decree No. 27 land reform program of the Marcos dictatorship on October 21, about 30,000 farmers will be launching protest actions in the country, with about 20,000 farmers and activists to mass up in Manila on October 23 to 25 to demand free land distribution and against all-out war in the countryside.  ###

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On Chief Justice Sereno Impeachment

kabataanpartylist.com - Fri, 10/06/2017 - 05:28

Kabataan Partylist scores the railroading done by the House Committee on Justice in the determination of sufficiency of the grounds of the impeachment complaint against Chief Justice Sereno. There was no discussion of the grounds, not even a justification on why the complaint itself was already sufficient based on the evidence presented. President Duterte fancies himself as a dictator in doing everything in his power to get rid of all opposition. After CJ Sereno, impeachment raps against the Ombudsman loom. Indeed, the marching order of the President to his allies in the House of Representatives is more than enough assurance for the impeachment proceedings to prosper and pave an expressway to dictatorship. We enjoin the public in strongly opposing Duterte’s tyranny of using impeachment as a tool to silence dissent, threaten critics and pressure institutions to bow down to his whims.

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Youth party: Upcoming Trump visit to PH betrays Duterte’s real stance on US intervention

kabataanpartylist.com - Fri, 10/06/2017 - 04:34

Kabataan Partylist called US President Donald Trump’s upcoming visit to the Philippines a concrete manifestation of the Duterte administration’s more barefaced subservience to the global superpower, contrary to President Rodrigo Duterte’s earlier claims against the US.
“First of all, the patriotic Filipino youth unequivocably rejects US President Donald Trump, including his upcoming visit this November. Some might say that the Duterte administration’s agreement to push through with this visit is a manifestation of Duterte’s change of heart as regards his attitude towards the US. But the Filipino youth can see through this cheap trick – what Duterte is actually doing is to air his administration’s deep longing and affection for US hegemony,” Kabataan Partylist Rep. Sarah Elago said.

In earlier reports, Malacanang Spokesperson Ernesto Abella confirmed that Trump’s visit to the Philippines would “underscore improving US-PH ties”.

“Not a long time ago, Duterte said he will end lopsided agreements with the US. Now, the tide has turned. Strong warnings of breaking lopsided deals are now in the dustbins of Malacanang as it seems that Duterte – who clearly wants to portray himself as a strongman to the world – is set to welcome what now appears to actually be his idol in the person of another foul-mouthed strongman in the person of Trump,” Elago said.

The youth solon called on the youth and the Filipino people to join the protest action on October 5, 9 am at the US Embassy, to call for the withdrawal of US military bases and to assert their right to national sovereignty.
“Even as the Duterte administration begins to air sweet nothings to the Trump administration, the Filipino youth and the people should continue pushing for an independent foreign policy devoid of US intervention in political, economic, and military affairs,” Elago stressed.###

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Youth Party Leads Protest Against Continuing Fascist Attacks on the Youth

kabataanpartylist.com - Fri, 10/06/2017 - 04:29

Kabataan Partylist vehemently condemned the recent wave of fascist attacks against the Filipino youth. From the PUP administration’s collusion with state forces in order to assail student leaders and undermine their democratic rights and interests to the recent spate of harassment aimed at youth and student leaders. In addition to this, the party also denounced the continuing killing of youths under the Duterte regime’s war on drugs.

“Today is the National Day of Action against Campus Repression, Fascism and Tyranny. With the seemingly endless wave of fascist attacks against youth and student leaders, it would seem that Martial Law has already taken full effect,” said Kabataan Partylist Representative Sarah Elago.

“In PUP, for instance, the student organizations, publications, and councils have come under attack from the administration. The anti-student PUP administration has refused to hold student council elections, it has intervened in the finances and management of student publication through the newly formed Student Publication Section, and it has removed the legitimate and democratically-selected Student Regent from the University’s highest policy-making body” said Elago.

The administration’s fascist attacks target not only the student institutions but also the students themselves. Organizations from the College of Social Sciences and Development (CSSD) and the College of Arts and Letters (CAL) have been evicted from their office spaces. The Gabriela Silang Hall, a space provided for students to democratically assemble, is set to be demolished.

“Kabataan Partylist condemns the actions of the PUP administration. Safe spaces for students to organize are complementary to the fulfillment of their right to education. This is clearly repression and an attack on the students’ democratic right to organize and assemble,” said Elago.

“To make things worse, the administration has initiated the militarization of the campus. There has been a sharp increase in cases of student repression, intimidation, and red-tagging since the administration brought in police elements in the campus. The latest incident saw a leader of Anakbayan harassed, threatened and robbed by suspected military men. By no means is this an isolated case as several other activists in PUP have reported similar incidents of harassment and surveillance these past few days,” said Elago.

“These cases of campus repression are not isolated. For instance, in the Lyceum of the Philippines University, the LPU Independent Sentinel is in danger of extinction. Processes involving funds and new officers are being delayed by the administration in order to create a new publication that will serve the administration’s interest,” said Elago.

“In addition to this, there was also an incident wherein a member of Anakbayan De La Salle was harassed by police elements. Based on the victim’s account, police officers came to her home and warned her about her involvement with activist organizations. She was told that she is now on their list and that they will be keeping an eye on her from now on,” said Elago.

“As the Duterte regime becomes ever more desperate, it will make use of all the tools it has at its disposal. The intensified repression and attacks against students’ rights in the campus perfectly complements the full-scale attack against the Filipino people’s civil liberties and human rights.” said Elago.

“It is quite alarming that the killings of the youth continue and has since intensified under the war on drugs in the past couple of days. Even after the outrage surrounding the deaths of Kian, Reynaldo, and Carl it seems that the state has no plans to stop the attacks against the youth and the people. In the past weeks no less than five more youths have been murdered under the Duterte regime’s war on drugs including Jayross Brondial of Pasay City and Jason Nazareno of Muntinlupa. All of them murdered in a few weeks’ span,” said Elago.

“Kabataan Partylist calls on the Filipino youth to lead the struggle against repression and fascism.  Let it be clear, these fascist attacks are meant to cripple the youth’s capacity and zeal. Our task now is to  fight for our rights and condemn the tyrants behind these assaults” concluded Elago.

 

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On Kabataan 8’s case dismissal

kabataanpartylist.com - Thu, 10/05/2017 - 16:54

Kabataan Partylist expresses its utmost gratitude for the immediate dismissal of Kabataan 8’s criminal charges. The said group of youth pleaded guilty in the court during their arraignment held last Monday, October 2, 2017 at Metropolitan Trial Court branch 43, in Quezon City Hall of Justice.

The Kabatan 8 are youth leaders who were arrested after chanting “never again to martial law” and “martial law sa Mindanao ibasura” and unfurling anti-martial law banners during the Congress special joint session tackling the extension of martial law.

The arrested youth leaders include Vinzhill Simon; youth activists Renz Pasigpasigan, Michael Joselo Villanueva, JP Rosos, and Almira Abril; and Mindanao-based Lumad community school ALCADEV teachers Chad Booc, Yasser Guitierrez, and Kenneth Cadiang.

The youth party lauds the Kabataan 8’s courage, dedication, and exhibiting uncompromised principles in the face of adversity. If it is a crime to call an end to state fascism, to call to stop the killings and to express dissent against the ongoing martial law in Mindanao, then the Kabataan 8 must and should indeed be proudly guilty of such.

“We are fully aware of the legal consequences of our action last July 22, 2017 at the House of Representatives. We have nothing to be afraid of and we regret nothing. In fact, we even enjoin each and every youth to fight fascism to the end. We would like to thank everyone concerned and everyone who took part in helping us from all throughout the duration of our incarceration and outright dismissal of the case.

“We note, however, that nothing has changed in the grim situation of our nation even after the dismissal of our case – the state and its machineries are still normalizing killings and intensifying fascism. Mindanao is still under martial law, with the entire Philippines even inching nearer to the brink of Martial Law. The few days we experienced in jail served only as a preview of what lies ahead if we stop fighting state fascism. This incident has just fanned the flame of resistance for the youth to fight tyranny and hold the US-Duterte regime for the killings and continuous violence across the country with greater fervor.”

-Michael Joselo Villanueva

Kabataan Partylist Acting National Secretary General and one of Kabataan 8

The fight of the youth against Martial Law and state fascism is far from over. Innocent people continue dying and the state continues to harass and purge the people who want genuine social change. The good fight fought by the Kabataan 8 inside Congress and inside jail must not only be continued but intensified. Bigger challenges await, and we should not stop until the killings, state fascism and the military rule in the country finally comes to an end.###

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ACT Teachers’ Rep. Antonio Tinio and Rep. France Castro’s statement on the railroading of Chief Justice Sereno’s impeachment

act-teachers.com - Thu, 10/05/2017 - 07:28
PRESS STATEMENT 05 October 2017   We strongly score the railroading done by the House Committee on Justice on the impeachment complaint against Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno.  Today’s hearing is a clear manifestation of the Duterte administration’s political arm-twisting and bullying of those who oppose him. The House of Representatives is acting as a rubber stamp in the hands of President Duterte to do the demolition jobs.   The hearing is at the stage of determination of the sufficiency of the grounds, or whether they rise to the level of impeachable offenses. However, the ...
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Solons join Teachers’ Day of Protest for Salary Increase

act-teachers.com - Thu, 10/05/2017 - 07:27
PRESS RELEASE 05 October 2017 Solons join Teachers’ Day of Protest for Salary Increase ACT Teachers Rep. Antonio Tinio and Rep. France Castro joined the Teachers’ Day of Protest march to Mendiola today to condemn the Duterte administration’s failure to increase the salaries of public and private school teachers, instructors and other education personnel after more than a year in power. National Teachers’ Day commemorates the signing in October 5 of the 1966 International Labor Organization at United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ILO-UNESCO) Recommendation concerning the Status of Teachers, a historic document ...
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