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Aug 15 2007

Military Investigates Case Of Abducted Farmers In South RP

IPIL, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / 15 Aug) – The Philippine military is investigating the disappearance of three members of militant group linked to communist rebels in the restive southern region.

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) said the three — Antonino Roda, 39; Eric Buhain, 23; and Julius Sango, 21 — were all farmers seized by armed men this month while traveling on a commuter van in Guipos town in Zamboanga del Sur province.

“We have not received any report about this, but we will investigate it right away,” Colonel Jovencio Magalso, commander of the Army’s 102nd Infantry Brigade, told the Mindanao Examiner on Wednesday.

The three are also members of the Anakpawis’ party list group previously linked by Filipino authorities to the New People’s Army rebels.

The AHJRC, quoting reports from the local human rights group called Alliance for the Advancement of People’s Rights (Karapatan), said the three men — on their way to the neighboring town of Dinas — were abducted along a highway on Aug. 3 by several men riding on motorcycles.

It said four gunmen stopped the van and forced the three men, including two women passengers, to another vehicle and sped off towards Dumalinao town.

The gunmen then freed the two women whom they thought were also activists. It was only after the female passengers reported the abduction to the authorities that the incident was made known. Microfiber Lingerie

The whereabouts of the victims remain unknown and there has been no effort or investigation by the police to locate them, it said.

In April, Jonas Joseph Burgos, a trainer of a peasant organization, Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (Peasant Movement of the Philippines) went missing following his abduction inside a restaurant in Caloocan City in Luzon island by gunmen.

Also the same month, a member of a peasant group called Kagimungan, Alan Bumanglag, was also abducted by armed men in Cagayan province, north of Luzon.

In another case, Romualdo Balbuena, was abducted by gunmen on February from his house in Quinapondan in Eastern Samar in central Philippines. None of the cases has been solved so far.

There were hundreds of unresolved cases of disappearance and murder of political activists in the country since 2001 and militant groups blamed the government and security forces for all these.

Authorities have denied the allegations and blamed the NPA for the murder of the activists, who were suspected as spy. (Mindanao Examiner)

Mar 23 2007

AFP May Bagong Ebidensya Na Naman Sa Mga Kaliwang Party List Groups!

MANILA (Mindanao Examiner / 23 Mar) — Muli na namang nakadiskubre ang militar ng mga sinasabing panibagong ebidensya na magpapatunay ng malinaw na ugnayan ng New People’s Army (NPA) sa ilang party list groups sa bansa.

Sa nakuhang bag mula sa rebeldeng si Allan Villare na napatay sa engkuwentro sa bayan ng Juban sa Sorsogon noong Marso 20 ay nakapaloob diumano ang mga dokumento ng campaign plan para sa partylist groups na Bayan Muna, Gabriela, Kabataan, Anakpawis at Suara Bangsamoro.

«We have strong evidence that the NPA and these party list groups are connected,» diin ni Lieutenant Colonel Benigno Antonio, pinuno ng Army’s 2nd Infantry Battalion.

Magugunitang natisod naman ng militar sa Davao del Sur noong nakaraang buwan anng mga campaign posters at calendars ng Bayan Muna matapos ang sagupaan.

Ayon sa buod ng dokumento, ang campaign plan ay binubuo ng tatlong bahagi: una, isinakatuparan ng Pebrero 13 hanggang Marso 13 ang house to house campaign, paglalagay ng mga campaign posters, pagbuo ng alyansa sa mga lokal na opisyal ng gobyerno, pagtukoy ng mga poll watcher, at pagtatayo ng municipal headquarters.

Kasama rito ang pagtukoy ng mga kandidato at tagasuporta ng party list groups na kaalyado ng Malakanyang tulad ng Alliance for Nationalism and Democracy (ANAD), Partido Demokratiko Sosyalista ng Pilipinas (PDSP), Akbayan, Sanlakas, Partido ng Manggagawa (PM), Akap, at Aksa.

Ikalawa, mula Marso 14 hanggang Abril 14, ang deployment ng propaganda teams sa mga dyip at tricycles, paglulunsad ng party congress municipalities at pagpapadala ng mga delegado para sa provincial conventions ng Bayan Muna, Gabriela, Kabataan, Anakpawis at Suara Bangsamoro.

Ikatlo, mula Abril 14 hanggang May 14, magpapadala ang rebeldeng grupo ng mga delegado para sa miting de avance na sasabayan rin ng mga protesta.

Ang mobile propaganda teams ng NPA ay bubuo ng caravan na maglilibot sa Sorsogon sa isang araw at sa mismong halalan ay agad na iuulat ang resulta ng eleksyon.

TInatayang 15,000 boto buhat sa Bulan, 7,000 sa Gubat at 3,000 sa Prieto Diaz ang minimum votes na makukuha ng mga partylist. Hindi naman agad makunan ng pahayag o reaksyon ang mga nabanggit na party lists. (Juley Reyes)

Mar 10 2007

Militant Party List Groups Place Under Suveillance

MANILA (Mindanao Examiner / 10 Mar) – A militant party list group, Kilusang Mayo Uno, accused Philippine authorities of spying and said government agents were caught taking photographs of its office in Quezon City.The group said one of its members was chased by soldiers Thursday in Taguig district.Policemen and soldiers were hunting down Bayan Muna party list Rep. Satur Ocampo, who has been accused of killing scores of New People’s Army rebels suspected as government spies more than two decades ago.Aside from Ocampo, authorities also filed murder charges against 59 others, including Jose Maria Sison, founder of the outlawed Communist Party of the Philippines, who is now living in exile in The Netherlands.A court in Leyte province in central Philippines ordered Ocampo’s arrest this week, but the militant lawmaker has gone into hiding. He denied all accusations against him.»After the release of the arrest order against Bayan Muna Rep. Satur Ocampo and 59 other individuals, we felt heightened surveillance on our national office located at Project 3, Quezon City. It’s like the government ‘open season’ vs. progressives and government critics,» Lito Ustarez, KMU’s executive vice president.»We will not be surprised if we discover that the KMU National office is under surveillance 24/7. Yesterday at around 11 a.m, a suspicious looking man boarding a white Tamaraw FX van parked right outside our office and took pictures of our office building facade and entrance.”“We also noticed several strangers roaming outside our office and standing at nearby stores and passenger jeep terminals. We are not new to these kinds of harassment initiated by government agents. We are ready and alert all the time. In fact, we already outlined counter monitoring plans,» he said.Ustarez said other party list groups and peace missions allied with KMU were also harassed by soldiers around Manila and Quezon City.»Even KADAMAY members and leaders in urban poor communities in Commonwealth and Payatas in Quezon City are being harassed by armed military under the guise of civil military operations.”“In Dona Nicasia Subdivision in Commonwealth, KADAMAY members are being monitored. Active KADAMAY members are threatened by the military to stop joiningrallies organized by KMU and Anakpawis,» he said.Police and military authorities denied the allegations, but tagged the KMU and other groups, including Anakpawis and Bayan Muna, as fronts of CPP and the NPA.Bayan Muna ranked No.1 in the latest Social Weather Station and Pulse Asia surveys along with other progressive party list groups.

“The results of the surveys only prove that the Filipino people remain critical in dealing with the country’s most crucial issues. Dirty campaign tricks no longer work within a society where people are gaining higher consciousness,” Bayan Muna Rep. Joel Virador said. (Mindanao Examiner)

Mar 08 2007

Arrest Of Wanted Solon May Spark Unrest, Says Militant Group

DAVAO CITY (Mindanao Examiner / 09 Mar) — The militant party list group Anakpawis on Friday warns of a tsunami of people’s wrath which will prove disastrous to Arroyo administration bets for the May elections should the government pursue arrest of Bayan Muna Representative Satur Ocampo.The group believes that the arrest warrant against Bayan Muna Representative Satur Ocampo was the result of Malacañang bid to get rid of progressive party list groups.Danilo Ramos, national council member of Anakpawis, said the administration ticket will surely suffer the from the anger of the people who have been offended by the continued crackdown of the government against progressive partylist groups like Bayan Muna, Gabriela, Anakpawis, Suara, and Kabataan.“The people will show their anger in a manner that it will create a disaster among the candidates now being fielded by Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. The government should be ready for this as it continues to trample and run after legitimate groups that are critical on its policies,” Ramos said in a statement sent to the Mindanao Examiner.“The arrest warrant against Satur (Ocampo) only exposes the desperation of the Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo government to stop its critics from winning in the elections,” he said.He said that based on recent developments, a worse scenario would be for Ocampo to be arrested and second, for the government to relentlessly wage its own fight against progressive groups and move for their disqualification. If Ocampo will be arrested, then the thousands of people who believe in the fight being waged by the militant solon will certainly be offended and most likely will be vindictive, Ramos said.“Ms Arroyo is jittery now as it is now facing a difficulty in funding the candidacy of their candidates…it might even suffer the fate of the Bush administration,” he said. Disqualification, however, he said is less likely as they expect for the Commission on Elections to dismiss the case filed against Bayan Muna, Gabriela, and Anakpawis as it did in January when it dismissed a disqualification case filed against Bayan Muna for lack of merit.Ramos said the filing of the disqualification case was apparently the handiwork of the government.“It is a scheme of the government to stop all of us. And the looming arrest of Satur is already a part of the grand design. The military has long been deployed in the slum areas of Metro Manila and other key cities of the country and in rural areas and the soldiers are hunting down leaders of militant organization considered by the government as enemies,” Ramos said.A recent survey released this week by the Social Weather Station showed that Filipinos will likely to vote Bayan Muna over other party list groups with 17 percent followed by Anakpawis with 9.4 percent and Gabriela with 8.1 percent.Ocampo said he will face the charges and that his lawyers are working on it.

Police have mounted a massive manhunt against Ocampo. «Don’t tire yourselves, I will come out and present my self. I have never, not even once, backed out of this kind of fight,» he said.

Authorities filed criminal charges against Ocampo over the summary execution of many New People’s Army rebels suspected as government spies in central Philippines more than two decades ago.

The rebels, suspected of aiding the military in the operation against the NPA, were killed during a purge allegedly ordered by Ocampo and Jose Maria Sison, chief of the Communist Party of the Philippines.

Ocampo, linked by the military and police to the CPP and its armed wing the NPA, has gone into hiding after a court in Leyte province ordered his arrest.

Ocampo condemned as a clear miscarriage of justice the issuance of a warrant of arrest against him in connection with purported communist purge.

«I am innocent of these invented charges. My right to due process was violated by the prosecutor and the judge who ignored seven solid bases for trashing the case. I will avail myself of legal remedies to correct this injustice against me,»Ocampo said.

Ocampo, who had been arrested in the past on rebellion charges, said he was in military custody from 1976 to 1985 and had nothing to do with the crimes. (Mindanao Examiner)

Mar 06 2007

Party Lists Denounce Militarization, Anti-Terror Law; U.S. Praises Arroyo

DAVAO CITY (Mindanao Examiner / 06 Mar) — The party list group Kabataan on Tuesday criticized the Philippine military for its so-called counter-insurgency programs in school, saying, it threatened the freedom of expression of students who are vocal in their advocacy.It said soldiers held recently a forum at the Philippine Normal University where they talked about so-called evils of communism and “campus infiltration” by the outlawed Communist Party of the Philippines and its armed wing the New People’s Army and National Democratic Front.Authorities have tagged militant groups and student organizations as CPP fronts.The party list group is wary that the communist-tagging of youth organizations affiliated to Kabataan unnecessarily endangers lives of members.“This is a clear malicious threat to the members of legitimate student organizations inside the campus and in the participation of our party list in the coming elections whom the military continue to brand as communist-fronts,” Karla Hyasmind Apat said.“We condemn the military’s terrorist acts against the youth and students organizations. We condemn the government’s propagation of the culture of impunity which robs the youth of their freedom of expression” Apat said.Militant groups have earlier denounced deployment of armed soldiers in cities and provinces who are allegedly campaigning against party lists with links to the CPP and its affiliates.Philippine military chief Gen. Hermogenes Esperon denied soldiers were involved in partisan politics and said the deployment is part of security operation to help police ensure peace.“Esperon is engaging in doublespeak. What he has been telling the public is totally contradictory with what is happening in the areas where soldiers are deployed,” said Editha Duterte, spokesperson of the Anakpawis party list in Southern Mindanao.She said troops from the Army’s 39th Infantry Battalion prevented citizens from attending party list activities and farmers’ fora in Davao del Sur province. She said soldiers have been showing the military documentary entitled ‘Knowing the Enemy,’ which brazenly maligns progressive party-lists, organizations and the media and religious sectors, among others, by tagging them as NPA and CPP fronts.“No matter how Esperon, the AFP and even Malacañang deny that they are campaigning against us and our allied groups, they can never fool the majority of the population,” Duterte said.Even the militant party list group called Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) warned of an increase in human rights violations as soldiers pour into urban areas.“The deployment of soldiers in Metro Manila and other urban areas will worsen the already deplorable rights situation in the country. The counter-insurgency terror being spread in countryside will be replicated in the urban areas. Expect zonings illegal search and seizure, arrest without warrants and more extra-judicial killings,” said Elmer Labog, KMU national chairman.Labog said that with military deployment, labor disputes can turn intobloody confrontations like what happened in November 2004 at Hacienda Luisita sugar plantation in La Paz town in Tarlac where some 1,000 soldiers and policemen stormed a barricade and opened fire on farmers protesting low pay.Twelve picketers and two children were killed and hundreds of protesting farmers injured in the attack.“They accused the Hacienda workers of having been infiltrated by the New People’s Army rebels to justify the murder. What is stopping the AFP to use the same justification to break labor disputes,” asked Labog.“We are going back to the dark days of Martial Law. But the difference with Marcos is that Arroyo is using gradual constriction against the remaining democracy in the country.”“Our rights are under the vise of a political anaconda which entangles it target, then slowly squeezes the life from its prey, waits for the last breath to expire then swallows everything. If we allow the militarization to continue, will wake up one day with all our rights swallowed up and taken away from us,” he said.Militant groups were also worried over the approval of President Gloria Arroyo of the anti-terrorism bill, saying, it could be used to abuse human rights and stifle press freedom.The Senate approved the bill and the United States welcomed the signing the Human Security Act of 2007 by President Arroyo, saying, it is a positive step forward in countering and preventing terrorism in the Philippines.This new law will help provide Philippine law enforcement and judicial authorities with the legal tools they need to confront the threats posed by international terrorism, while ensuring protection of civil liberties and human rights.“The United States will continue to work with the Philippines as a partner and ally in the war on terrorism, providing technical assistance, training and sharing information with Philippine counterparts,” the U.S. Embassy said in a statement it sent Tuesday to the Mindanao Examiner.President Arroyo said the anti-terror law is a landmark in the battle against evil. She said Filipinos have nothing to fear in this law for it is a weapon that shall be wielded against bombers and not protesters.“It upgrades our preemptive capability to check the conspiracies of harm and mass murder, and contain the movement of arms and funds to sow mayhem. This brings to a higher level our successful campaign against the Abu Sayyaf, JI and Al Qaeda cells now being carried out in a broader front of national and regional vigilance.”

“We will keep bombers at bay as we drive up confidence in the Philippines, grow jobs, increase incomes and lift the people from poverty. Our message to the world is to have no safe haven for terror in our country, and to have a strong democratic society driven by freedom under the rule of law. Let us all unite behind a renewed campaign against terror and drive out this scourge to a modern Philippines,” the President said Tuesday. (Mindanao Examiner)

Mar 05 2007

Militarization In Metro Manila Increasing, Says Party List Nominee

MANILA — The militant party list group, Anakpawis, said Monday the widespread militarization in urban areas happens not only during election period but through out the year especially in areas and urban poor communities where local and foreign so-called development projects are implemented.Anakpawis nominee Joel Maglunsod said since December last year, members of urban poor group Kalipunan ng Damayang Mahihirap have been challenging the “abnormal” presence of military personnel in various villages in Quezon City, particularly in neighborhoods with Kadamay chapters in Commonwealth, Holy Spirit, Tandang Sora and other areas.»The militarization campaign in slum areas is characterized by supposed socio-civic projects led by the AFP in coordination with village councils.In reality, these campaigns aim to disband organizations of poor people who oppose demolitions and uphold other economic issues such as demands for wage hikes, social services and employment which the Arroyo government cannot sufficiently provide,» he said.He said government projects and constructions in urban poor areas are always accompanied with military component. Since 2003, village intelligence units from local police and military were deployed massively in various port area communities in Manila as part of the Medium Term Port Area Privatization and Modernization Plan implemented by Malacanang through the Philippine Ports Authority.»Maglunsod said that the heightened militarization campaign is also directed at labor organizing efforts. «Military presence is high in urban areas where there are concentration of workers and poor people. More than ninety percent of Metro Manila-based workers are residing in urban poor communities and we all know that workers are actively campaigning for P125 across-the-board legislated wage hike,» he said.

«The official document released by the Armed Forces of the Philippines detailing its anti-party list campaign in villages only confirmed active military presence in slum areas. In fact, it even worsened the current condition of urban militarization that has been happening for ages,» Maglunsod said.

Mar 02 2007

Militant Leader Slain In South RP

DAVAO CITY (Mindanao Examiner / 02 Mar) – Unidentified gunmen shot dead a leader of a militant group in a daring broad daylight attack Friday in the southern Philippine city of Digos, police said.

Police said Renato Pacaide was walking with his daughter when motorcycle-gunmen shot him in the head. His daughter was unharmed.

The 53-year old Pacaide was the secretary general of Nagkahiusang Mag-uuma sa Davao del Sur (NAMADS) and coordinator of the party list group, Anakpawis, in the province.

His group condemned the killing and blamed the government and the military for the attack.

“We hold the Arroyo government and the Armed Forces of the Philippines responsible for the killing of Pacaide,» Editha Duterte, spokesperson for the Anakpawis in Southern Mindanao, said in a statement sent to the Mindanao Examiner.

She said Pacaide was assassinated by two armed motorcycle-riding men at around 10:45 a.m. along Rizal Avenue corner Lim Street.

«In the midst of national and international condemnation against political killings, the senseless and brutal killings against members and leaders of progressive party-lists and organizations continue without compunction,” Duterte said.

Duterte accused the military of political partisan. She said soldiers, from the Army’s 39th Infantry Battalion, have been campaigning against Anakpawis and its allied party-lists in Davao del Sur.

The military linked the party list group to the New People’s Army (NPA) rebels. The NPA is the armed wing of the underground Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) which is fighting the past three decades for a separate Marxist state in the country.

«Such maneuvers of the Armed Forces of the Philippines had put our lives in peril. By relentlessly linking us with the CPP-NPA, the AFP under the aegis of the Arroyo government is giving outright license to kill our members and leaders,» Duterte said.

More than 800 mostly political activists and members of militant groups have been killed since President Arroyo assumed the presidency in 2001. An independent commission linked soldiers to most of the killings, but the military denied the accusations.

Philip Alston, United Nations Commission on Human Rights Special Rapporteur, who was in the Philippines this month to investigate the spate of killings, said the military is in state of total denial about the involvement of soldiers in the attacks.

«We demand justice for Pacaide! We dare the AFP and the Arroyo government to face their responsibility with the political killings,» Duterte said. (Mindanao Examiner)

Mar 02 2007

Militant Group Refutes MEDCO Statement On Mining Industry

DAVAO CITY – The militant party list group, Anakpawis, on Friday refuted the Mindanao Economic Development Council’s (MEDCO) that the infusion of foreign funding in the local mining industry would boost Mindanao’s economy.Editha Duterte, the group’s spokesperson, explained that MEDCO’s “two-pill solution” will solely benefit foreign capitalists while the natural resources and labor force would bleed dry.»Anakpawis Party-list and all its member organizations and alliances have been unrelentingly campaigning for years already about the adverse consequences of selling out our abundant resources to foreign direct investments.»»This comes as a surprise to us because it is essentially contradictory to their statement regarding NEDA Secy. Alfonso Neri’s bid to partner Mindanao’s economy to ‘big brother’ economies,» Duterte said in a statement sent to the Mindanao Examiner. MEDCO earlier this month debunked Neri’s opinion, saying that Mindanao’s economy is unequipped to contend with rich countries’ economies. «MEDCO was short in pointing out that we should strengthen our own economy instead of allowing foreign companies to exploit our resources.» Duterte said that foreign direct investments are eating up local economy because the small and medium businesses can never compete with the capital funding and technology of transnational companies.»How many of our small-scale mining industries have closed down due to the aggression of foreign mining companies?» she asked.»Instead of helping our home-grown economy, we kill it by letting foreigners exploit our natural resources. Worse, these foreign industries are afforded with onerous tax holidays and meager to no tariffs while our local businessmen are wrung out with stringent tax obligations. What have the foreign mining companies given to Mindanaoan’s in the past decades?»

«These companies have dislocated Filipinos from their lands and extracted them from their livelihood. In Southern Mindanao alone, seven areas have been direly affected by the forceful entry of these foreign mining industries to date. In fact, transnational companies are one of the most repressive and anti-worker capitalists in the region.» Duterte said.

Feb 28 2007

Plantation Union Shouts Harassment

DAVAO DEL NORTE (Mindanao Examiner / 28 Feb) – Picketing banana workers complained Wednesday that security guards of the Marsman Estate Plantation allegedly harassed them in the town of Santo Tomas in Davao del Norte province.The workers were demanding immediate release of their union benefits under the so-called Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) and the remittance of their Social Security System and and Pag-ibig payments.Domingo Deguma, president of Marsman Labor Association for National Democracy-National Federation of Labor Unions-Kilusang Mayo Uno, said the security guards, about 10 of them, allegedly threatened them should they continue their picket in front of the Marsman office.“We were about to assemble in front of the management building when chief security Jun Dumile came up to us and told us that there will be trouble if we will proceed with the protest,” he said.Deguma said Marsman up to now have not released the workers’ Spouse and Children’s Christmas Bonuses supposed to be due December last year. Some of the workers were not able to avail of salary loans because the company allegedly failed to remit the workers’ SSS and Pag-ibig payments. “The guards were already posted in front of the management office before we started the picket. As we were preparing the picket line, they approached us and ordered us to disperse.”“We were merely exercising our right to redress of grievance…Instead of addressing our concerns, they sent out armed guards to intimidate and force us to endure their capitalist exploitation,” said Deguma, who is also a coordinator for the party list Anakpawis.Editha Duterte, Anakpawis-Southern Mindanao spokesperson, explained: “Their fear of us mounting the picket stems out from the fact that for the past months, the workers have been successful in pressing for their economic rights though collective action.”“The workers’ experience taught them that picketing and other concerted actions are their only resort to counter capitalist exploitation. That is the reason why these workers never tire and they become more resolute—of pushing for their legitimate demands,” she said in a statement to the Mindanao Examiner.

There were no immediate statements from either officials or head of security of the Marsman.

Feb 26 2007

Banana Workers Up In Arms vs Plantation Owner In South RP

DAVAO DEL NORTE – Banana plantation workers and members of the militant party list group, Anakpawis, picketed in front of the firm’s office and demanded payments of labor union benefits.

Workers from the Marsman Estate Plantation, Inc. said the firm was allegedly delinquent in the payment of their benefits under the Collective Bargaining Agreement or CBA.

They also accused Marsman of non-payment of social security remittances and other government taxes.

Banana worker Doming Deguma, who is also the Anakpawis coordinator in Santo Tomas town, alleged that Marsman has been delinquent in giving their benefits as prescribed in the CBA.

«What frustrates us more is that the officers of the union that negotiated the CBA continue to be the purveyors of this capitalist exploitation. Instead of protecting our rights and demanding the release of our benefits, these officers are the first ones to tell us there’s nothing we can do,» Deguma said in a statement sent to the Mindanao Examiner.

In 2001, the officers of the Davao Marsman Labor Union (DAMLU) negotiated the CBA that expired March last year. Deguma said that these officers are «parrots» of the management’s interests, adding that such kind of leadership is called «yellow unionism.»

Currently, the workers of MEPI are trying to establish their genuine union, the Marsman Labor Association for National Democracy-National Federation of Labor Unions-Kilusang Mayo Uno (MARSLAND-NAFLU-KMU).

Deguma is also the president of MARSLAND-NAFLU-KMU.

But Deguma and the rest of the officers of their union are adamant. He said contrary to DAMLU’s puppet claims, there is something that the workers can do.

In December of last year and early this month, Deguma said, the workers were able to force the management to release their wages following a series of successful pickets and lobbying.

«The workers now know that through these collective actions, we can assert our demands and secure our economic rights,» Deguma said.

MEPI failed to release two consecutive payrolls in November last year and two more consecutive payrolls in January this year.

Editha Duterte, spokesperson of Anakpawis in Southern Mindanao, said yellow unionism is prevalent in the workers movement in the country.

«While genuine unions like MARSLAND-NAFLU-KMU campaign for higher wages, job security and the workers’ democratic rights, yellow unions bow down to the whims and caprices of capitalists such as MEPI,» Duterte said.

Last January 16, a certification elections (CE) was held among the workers which resulted to a run-off since none of the three contending unions garnered majority of the votes cast. The CE determines which union shall represent the workers in their CBA negotiations.

Deguma claimed that during the campaign period of the CE, the management of MEPI allegedly gave money to influence the workers into voting for DAMLU. «In effect, the unbridled and appalling connivance of the management and the yellow union DAMLU deprived the workers of establishing their genuine union,» he said.

There were no immediate statements from Marsman executives or DAMLU officials.

Feb 26 2007

Militants Hold Rally, Demand For Release of Ailing Solon

MANILA (Mindanao Examiner / 26 Feb) – The militant Kilusang Mayo Uno held a rally Monday outside the Philippine Heart Center in Manila to protest the continued detention of Rep. Crispin Beltran, who is facing rebellion charges.Beltran, who repeatedly denied accusations against him, is under medication at the Philippine Heart Center. It was his first year of detention Monday, which coincided with the 21st anniversary of the People Power revolution.Beltran’s supporters in the Philippines and progressive groups allied with KMU in Germany, Australia, Japan and the United States also held a similar rally to protest the politician’s illegal detention. KMU and another party list group, Anakpawis joined the “Free Ka Bel Movement” to demand Beltran’s release. Ka Bel is Beltran’s nickname.»We will not abandon the fight for Ka Bel’s release. Not even the malicious tagging of the AFP against our organization will stop us from campaigning for Ka Bel’s release.”“The campaign for his release is among our top priorities right now,» KMU secretary general and Anakpawis Party List nominee, Joel Maglunsod, said in a statement.Maglunsod visited the ailing politician early this week and they have discussed ways on how the solon can campaign for the Anakpawis party list despite his detention.»Anakpawis Party List have filed petition for Ka Bel to campaign outside the PHC. We are expecting that Ka Bel can join as Anakpawis nominees officially file for candidacy at the Commission on Elections early next month.»»As of now, we are exhausting all legal means to free Ka Bel. But the government’s stance on his case shows that Arroyo is very much afraid of Ka Bel and his capacity as a legislator and leader of the progressive people’s movement,» Maglunsod said.In Davao City, the militant Bayan Muna party list, also criticized Arroyo and likened her to former dictator Ferdinand Marcos. Arroyo was catapulted to power in 2001 after a people power-backed bloodless revolution toppled President Joseph Estrada, accused of pocketing illegal gambling money.Arroyo said she would not run anymore, but broke her promise and in 2004 ran against Fermando Poe Jr., and won another 6-year term in a poll tainted with accusations of massive cheating and vote-buying. She said she won fair and square and denied allegations of cheating.

«She is delusional, ambitious and insolent. Never would the people tire from braving the streets of EDSA so long as Mrs. Arroyo stays in power and continues to employ Marcosian strategies in incessantly suppressing the people’s cry for justice and genuine freedom,» Bayan Muna Rep. Joel Virador said. (Mindanao Examiner)

Feb 24 2007

Release Detained Lawmaker, Party List Group Demands

MANILA (Mindanao Examiner / 25 Feb) – A militant party list group, Anakpawis, on Sunday demanded anew the release from government detention of a lawmaker arrested on rebellion charges last year.

«We demand Ka Bel’s immediate and unconditional release in the interest of truth and justice. If the Arroyo administration remains stubborn to the cries of Filipino toiling masses and international human rights advocates, Gloria Arroyo will forever see herself among the likes of Adolf Hitler and Ferdinand Marcos, earning utmost disgust from the people,» said Anakpawis Secretary General Cherry Clemente.

The group was referring to Rep. Crispin Beltran, linked by the government to the Communist Party of the Philippines.

Clemente said there were no evidence to link Beltran to all accusations against him and only a victim of political harassment. Beltran is a known anti-Arroyo politician.

“Even the international community led by the Inter-Parliamentary Union and civil society groups across the globe are convinced that Ka Bel is a victim of political harassment by the Arroyo administration,” Clemente said.

Clemente said Anakpawis will join the “Free Ka Bel Movement” in an international day of protest on Monday. Simultaneous rallies will be held in different regions all-over the country, as well as countries across Asia, Europe and the United States.

Beltran was arrested a day after Arroyo declared Presidential Proclamation 1017.

Arroyo issued Proclamation Number 1017 on February 24, 2006 after an alleged coup attempt was foiled in the morning of the same day, thus, placing the country under a «State of National Emergency». This was later revoked by Proclamation 1021. (Mindanao Examiner)

Feb 22 2007

Militant Groups Dare Gov’t To Prosecute Those Linked To Political Killings In RP

DAVAO CITY (Mindanao Examiner / 23 Feb) — The militant party list group, Bayan Muna, on Friday challenged the Arroyo government to prosecute a retired army commander, Jovito Palparan, linked by an independent commission to the political killings in the Philippines.

«The Melo report is right in pointing Palparan’s culpability in the killings of activists, journalists and innocent civilians. The report reaffirms earlier investigations that have long been proving Palparan’s hand to all the killings that were perpetrated under his jurisdiction,» Bayan Muna Rep. Joel Virador said in a statement sent to the Mindanao Examiner.

The government put up the Melo Commission to investigate the killings. Militant groups said more than 800 political activists had been killed since President Gloria Arroyo assumed the presidency in 2001.

But Palparan, one of the most decorated army general during his time, has repeatedly denied the accusations and pointed to the New People’s Army rebels as behind most of the killings.
Palparan said there were no evidence to link soldiers to the murder of political activists.

“We maintain that the Melo Commission holds no power in decisively resolving the problem on political killings in the country. More so, the report is no better than a vindicating statement for the AFP’s high-ranking officials and its commander-in-chief Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. We are not even inclined to believe that said report will practically hold the AFP and the Arroyo regime accountable,» Virador said.

U.N. Special Rapporteur Philip Alston who also investigated the killings also blamed the army for most of the murders.

Another party list group, Anakpawis, also condemned the killings and branded the Arroyo government as worst than former Philippine dictator Ferdinand Marcos.

“The current government of Mrs. Gloria Arroyo has surpassed Marcos’ record of fascism and oppression,” said Editha Duterte, the group’s spokesperson in the southern Philippines.

“There are more than 800 victims of political killings since Arroyo assumed power in 2001. Until now, no perpetrators belonging to the military, police, and paramilitary groups, were punished,” she said. (Mindanao Examiner)

Feb 22 2007

UN Report, A Big Blow To Arroyo Gov’t: Anakpawis Party-List

DAVAO CITY (Mindanao Examiner / 22 Feb) – The Arroyo administration suffered a major blow following an initial report by the United Nations’ Special Rapporteur Philip Alston that the Philippine Army is “in a state of almost total denial” about the wave of political killings.Alston said many of the killings have been attributed to soldiers.»Mrs. Gloria Arroyo, Malacañang’s Cabinet Oversight Committee on Internal Security led by Eduardo Ermita and Norberto Gonzales, and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) suffer a great blow with the United Nations’ initial findings and recommendations regarding the distressing political killings in the country,» Editha Duterte, spokesperson of the militant Anakpawis party-list group, said in a statement sent to the Mindanao Examiner.She said Alston was convinced that the AFP is culpable to the widespread killings of members of progressive party lists and organizations, including innocent civilians, which is directly in contradiction to the government’s claim that the said killings are the result of a purge within the Communist Party of the Philippines and its armed wing, the New People’s Army.»Witnesses, families of the victims and survivors have pointed to the military, its agents and the paramilitary groups as the perpetrators. Yet, the Arroyo government made no genuine move to solve the killings, as this is part of its all-out war policy against its critics and opponents under the so-called Oplan Bantay Laya I and Oplan Bantay Laya II.»»The United Nations’ findings are points against the current administration which has given an outright license to its armed forces to kill or harass individuals by tagging progressive party-lists and organizations as communist fronts,» Duterte said.Philippine officials said Alston was brainwashed by leftist organizations, but Duterte disagreed.»The record of human rights violations under the Arroyo administration and the account of witnesses and the victims’ families do not lie. One has to be a dimwit if not outright cold-blooded to deny these facts,» she said.Duterte also noted Alston’s recommendation of «respecting the law on party-list system» and his special mention of the Anti-Subversion Act.»»Such laws were clearly violated by the Arroyo government as Anakpawis, Bayan Muna, Gabriela Women and their representatives in Congress were maliciously vilified by Malacañang and the AFP,» she said.Duterte added that Malacañang has made trumped up charges of rebellion against party-list Representatives Satur Ocampo, Teddy Casiño, Joel Virador, Crispin Beltran, Rafael Mariano and Liza Maza. Beltran is currently detained on charges of plotting to oust Arroyo.

Philippine military chief Gen. Hermogenes Esperon on Thursday said he has ordered an investigation into the alleged killings attributed to soldiers. But he also accused the NPA of murdering more than 1,200 soldiers and innocent civilians. (Mindanao Examiner)

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