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Radio News Updates From the Philippines by BAYAN USA

11/29/18: News update from BAYAN USA

A timely news update from Jessica Antonio of Bayan USA.
Transcript:
The US-Duterte regime has intensified it’s counter-insurgency program otherwise known as Oplan Kapayapaan “Operation Peace” that is intended to (rid the country of the communist insurgency) but instead has targeted legal organizations, community activists, lawyers, church peoples, peasants, and indigenous peoples.

Measuring from the time that Duterte came into power to June 2018 there have been a recorded 169 politically motivated extrajudicial killings. On top of that are the recorded 20,000 plus killings in Duterte’s bloody “drug war” against the poor.

Within the past 30 days, there has been a series of politically motivated killings.

On October 20th a group of farmers in Hacienda Nene (Knee-Ne) in Sagay City, Negros Occidental were brutally murdered while resting in their encampment, killing 9 people including 2 minors. The government is doing nothing to solve these murders but everyone knows that the perpetrators are hired mercenaries and likely goons from the Special Civilian Auxiliary Army of the Armed Forces of the Philippines hired by the Marañon (Ma-ran-yon) family who owns the land. No justice has been delivered to the 9 victims massacred. There are now 45 documented peasants who were extrajudicially killed in Negros under the Duterte administration.

In addition, one of the lawyers fighting for justice for the Sagay 9 was also brutally murdered by two tandem riders on a motorcycle who shot him dead in a drive by attack. Attorney Ben Ramos was the Secretary general of the National Union of Peoples Lawyers – Negros Occidental chapter. He was for the longest time the “go-to” pro-bono lawyer of peasants,  environmentalists, activists, political prisoners and mass organizations in Negros. Ben is the 34th lawyer killed under the 2-year administration of President Duterte.

Within two days of Ben’s murder, Vic Ladlad was reported to be abducted, later revealed to be arrested by the Philippine National Police.

“We condemn the arrest of NDFP consultant and BAYAN Muna National Council Member. This is again an attack on the peace talks, dimming any hope for its revival.” Stated Renato Reyes Jr, Secretary General of BAYAN. The recent arrests of several peace consultants such as Ladlad, Rafael Baylosis and Adel Silva showed that the government is “more interested in a military solution” in addressing the roots of armed conflict, rather than a political one.”

BAYAN-USA is an alliance of 26 progressive Filipino organizations in the U.S. representing students, scholars, women, workers, artists, and youth. As the first and largest international chapter of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN-Philippines), BAYAN-USA serves as an information bureau for the national democratic movement of the Philippines and as a center for educating, organizing, and mobilizing anti-imperialist and progressive Filipinos in the U.S. For more details please visit Bayan USA.org.

Duterte Risks Putting the Philippines Up for Sale to China

For Immediate Release

Contact: Nikole Cababa, Secretary General, BAYAN USA, secgen@bayanusa.org

November 30, 2018

Duterte Risks Putting the Philippines Up for Sale to China

BAYAN-USA Calls On Duterte to Uphold Philippine Sovereignty Over Unequal Agreements


On November 20th-21st, 2018, Chinese President Xi Jinping visited Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte on a trip that would secure at least 29 agreements in one day alone, focusing on solidifying the “joint exploration” of the West Philippine Sea and the Philippines participation in China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).  The Belt and Road Initiative is a development strategy by the Chinese government to fund large scale infrastructure projects in several countries to link European and Asia Pacific markets and further strengthen China’s political, economic, military, and trade interests.  We as BAYAN USA oppose all unequal agreements that create the conditions for the Phiippines to become a debt colony of China, militarize the West Philippine Sea, and undermine the sovereignty of the Philippines.

China has gained notoriety for its track record of predatory lending and preying on developing countries, by enticing them to take high interests loans that are difficult to repay in exchange for funding expensive infrastructure projects.  When these countries fail to pay back China, they are forced to make certain concessions such as relinquishing the natural wealth and strategic resources of the country. Sri Lanka is a recent example of a developing country that was unable to pay back a loan, and instead they were forced to give up their strategic port and waterway to China for a 99-year lease.  

So, what are the possible impacts of these 29 deals with China?  Expensive projects imposing extremely high interests rates, dangerous threats to the environment and displacement of local communities, and even possible labor requirements strictly using Chinese workers.

Duterte has welcomed China to trample on the national interests of the Philippines by signing off on lopsided agreements and giving up Philippine territory to fund his “Build Build Build” economic program.  The first agreement Duterte and Jinping sealed was a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on oil and gas development in the West Philippine Sea. Researchers estimate some 130 billion barrels of oil sits in the strategic zone.

Duterte has chosen to uphold the interests of big business and foreign corporations over the public welfare of everyday Filipinos.  The Chico River Pump Irrigation Project Loan Agreement, costs an estimated P4.4 billion, and includes a clause ensuring the loan is governed by the “laws of China.”  This project is widely opposed by indigenous communities such as the Cordillera People’s Alliance. The New Centennial Water Source-Kaliwa Dam Project (estimated cost: P18.7 billion) is another project feared to cause even more environmental destruction in the Philippines. (Picture Right: Piya Macliing Malayao, Igorot leader and national Secretary General of KATRIBU, an alliance of indigenous peoples and organizations in the Philippines)

 

Assert Legal Authority Over the West Philippine Sea

The stakes are high and we call on the President Duterte to assert its legal authority over the West Philippine Sea and to prevent China from further militarizing the area.  China’s illegal presence in the region continues to have detrimental impacts on the environment, destroying coral reefs, preventing the livelihood of poor fisherfolks who rely on the marine life, and further escalating the contradiction between two imperialist superpowers, the US and China, vying for hegemony over the region, at the expense of the Filipino people.

We demand the Duterte government promote people-centered development, instead of profit-focused development to ensure the protection of our natural resources and public welfare.  The Philippines must build a self-reliant economy based on building national industries, creating local living wage jobs, environmental sustainability, genuine agrarian land reform, and upholding independent foreign policy.  

China and US, Hands Off the Philippines!

Assert Sovereignty over the West Philippine Sea!

Independent Foreign Policy Now!

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BAYAN-USA is an alliance of 26 progressive Filipino organizations in the U.S. representing students, scholars, women, workers, artists, and youth. As the first and largest international chapter of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN-Philippines), BAYAN-USA serves as an information bureau for the national democratic movement of the Philippines and as a center for educating, organizing, and mobilizing anti-imperialist and progressive Filipinos in the U.S. For more information, visit www.bayanusa.org

 

On U.S. Election Day, U.S.-Backed Militarization and Counterinsurgency Program Results in Murder of Human Rights Attorney in the Philippines

BAYAN-USA condemns the brutal killing of Attorney Ben Ramos, Secretary General of the National Union of People’s Lawyers-Negros Occidental. This cowardly murder perpetrated by hooded, motorcycle-riding gunmen was clearly politically-motivated, as Attorney Ramos represented political prisoners, responded to the victims of the “Sagay 9” massacre of farmers, and supported others facing persecution by the U.S.-funded Philippine military, paramilitary and police forces.

The manner of the slaying–a drive-by shooting– matches the pattern of hundreds of others over the past 15 years in which state-sponsored forces have been implicated. President Duterte’s fascist military and police are using the same tactics that became an epidemic under the administration of former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, drawing widespread condemnation from the broad masses of Filipino people as well as internationally from human rights organizations and the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial Killings.

The vast majority of the victims continue to be peasants, farmers, indigenous people, workers and other poor people, as well as human rights defenders including lawyers and journalists, targeted for their activism.  Attorney Ramos notably worked on the recent case of the “Sagay 9”: the massacre of nine farmers sleeping in their tents in Sagay City, Negros Occidental on October 20, who were growing food on barren lands of Hacienda Nene in a collective farming project of the National Federation of Sugar Workers (NFSW). Despite eyewitness accounts and evidence uncovered by a detailed fact-finding mission, the perpetrators of this heinous crime remain not only at-large, but protected by President Duterte himself. The Duterte regime has chosen to deflect the blame from the military-backed private army of the Marañon landlord family of Hacienda Nene despite overwhelming evidence of their involvement, and has instead ludicrously arrested NFSW union organizers for the killings. Worse yet, Duterte is ordering the military and police to arrest or shoot even more farmers, simply for occupying land to which they are entitled through agrarian reform.

BAYAN-USA believes that farmers who dare to occupy vacant land in order to grow food for their families should be celebrated, not vilified. In the Philippines, where the masses are starving because more than 40% of the people earn barely $1 a day, those who take bold steps to sustainably cultivate land and produce food for their communities are heroes, not criminals. And people like Attorney Ben Ramos who dare to defend these unsung heroes, are also valiant heroes themselves.

On Election Day in the U.S., we remind representatives of all political parties that the $185 million in aid that the U.S. sent to the Philippines this year is funding the murder of thousands of people like Attorney Ramos, killed under President Duterte’s “war on drugs” and “war on terror.” There is no justification for the provision of one more cent to Duterte’s fascist military and police forces. BAYAN-USA pledges to relentlessly fight to end not only U.S. support for Duterte’s tyranny, but also the U.S. policies which feed oppression, exploitation and impunity in the Philippines.

 

Justice for the Sagay 9! Growing Food to Feed the Hungry Is Not a Crime!

Justice for Attorney Ben Ramos! Defend the Human Rights Defenders!

Resist Crackdown!

Trump’s Tirades Against Migrants are a Ploy to Sway the Midterm Elections

In a desperate attempt to demonize the courageous caravan of migrants from Central America, U.S. President Trump is ramping up his fascist tactics by deploying 5,000 military troops to the southern border supposedly by the end of this week, and has now claimed that he will issue an executive order to end birthright citizenship, which is protected by the 14th Amendment of the Constitution.

The long history of colonization, U.S. military intervention, and economic plunder in Latin America has resulted in the forced migration of thousands of people fleeing to the United States to seek refuge and asylum from war and mass poverty. The inhumane response of the Trump administration to migrants, especially the hundreds of migrant children still detained and separated from their families, is disgusting, cruel, and all a part of his racist and xenophobic plans for this country. As the rise in fascism trends in the world including President Duterte and the newly elected Jair Bolsonaro, so does the people’s resistance against fascism. Their continued disregard for humanity and constant human rights violations will only fuel the fire growing the movement against fascism. Let us unite to fight and smash fascism and to build a better society!