Category: BAYAN USA

BAYAN USA: Liberalizing Philippine Economy Will Bring More Misery to the Filipino People!

Just yesterday, the Philippines House of Representatives approved House Bill No. 78, a measure amending the 84-year-old Public Service Act to allow full foreign ownership in the public service sector including the transportation, communication and power industries according to reports from the Philippine Star.  The provision in the 1987 Philippine Constitution, which caps foreign ownership at 40 percent and reserves 60 percent for Filipinos, is meant to protect the rights of Filipino citizens to more affordable services which should be dictated by the majority Filipino ownership.  

 

 

“This House bill surrenders the Philippine economy to complete foreign ownership and investment. In essence, this is charter change of the Constitution through legislative means. Having foreign ownership of key utilities can and has already resulted in major disasters because they only prioritize profits and do not care about public service obligations and the well being of the Filipino people.” stated Rhonda Ramiro, Chairperson of BAYAN USA, referencing the plunder and destruction caused by 100% foreign ownership of mining projects under the Mining Act of 1995, “If implemented, this attack on Philippine sovereignty will exemplify the worst of what the neoliberal economic agenda imposes on the world’s poorest nations.”

 

Duterte’s economic plan of “Build Build Build” already includes foreign business investments in his costly infrastructure projects and has received large amounts of foreign loans especially from China, reaching $924 million U.S. dollars.  Many of these projects disregard the communities in the pathways of the airports, railways and dams constructed under Build Build Build and will ultimately displace them. The recent water shortage in Manila was due to the major Kaliwa Dam project which is part of the Philippines’ involvement in China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). This project would uproot more than 20,000 indigenious peoples from their ancestral land.

 

“The passing of this Bill is in line with Duterte’s pro-big business and anti-people stance. As he pushes forward with his grand projects, Duterte will steamroll over the poor communities in his way,” continued Ramiro. “This is a move against the people’s demands for national industrialization that places more importance on the country’s needs for jobs and affordable finished goods for the people and not for profit.  The Philippines has a wealth of natural resources, which should never be handed over on a silver platter to foreign ownership when it should benefit the country and its people. The Filipino people will fight this underhanded maneuver by Duterte and his loyalists in Congress.”

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FREE THE LEYTE 5! STOP Attacks on Progressive Organizations!

“We condemn Duterte’s despicable attacks on human rights defenders in Leyte, Eastern Visayas Philippines. The regime continues to employ arrests on trumped up charges, wide-scale raids, and brute violence to crack down on anyone who opposes Duterte’s reign of terror. This shows to the world that martial law, in fact, rules the country, even if it has been formally ended in name,” stated Rhonda Ramiro, Chairperson of BAYAN USA, in response to today’s simultaneous raids of offices of progressive organizations including BAYAN Eastern Visayas, Karapatan, People’s Surge, Rural Missionaries of the Philippines and Anakpawis, which resulted in the arrest of five people.

BAYAN USA demands the Duterte regime to stop the blatant attacks on progressive organizations and the immediate release of the Leyte 5:

Frenchie Mae Cumpio, Journalist

Alexander Abinguna, Katungod Eastern Visayas

Marissa Cabaljao, People’s Surge Spokesperson

Mira Legion, BAYAN Eastern Visayas 

Marielle Domequiel, Rural Missionaries of the Philippines

These attacks will continue to plague the Philippines under Duterte’s counterinsurgency program Oplan Kapanatagan and Executive Order 70, which have placed the Philippines under a de-facto martial law with the purpose of violently suppressing any opposition to his regime. 

“Duterte’s fascist repression will fail to prop up his regime for long. The people will continue to respond with relentless opposition, invoking the spirit of the First Quarter Storm, that 50 years ago today lit a fiery, long-burning resistance against the Marcos dictatorship–and ultimately toppled it,” continued Ramiro. 

BAYAN USA calls on its members and all people who stand in solidarity with the Filipino people in our fight against the rotten fascist U.S.-Duterte regime to organize indignation rallies calling for release of the Leyte 5 as well as all political prisoners!

#FreeLeyte5 

#ActivismIsNotACrime 

#EndStateFascism

#FreeAllPoliticalPrisoners

 

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Join BAYAN USA’s Philippine Solidarity Week of Action Feb 4th-11th!Fight for Philippine Sovereignty! Down with U.S. Imperialism!

Fight for Philippine Sovereignty! Down with U.S. Imperialism! The Filipino people’s struggle for genuine independence continues today 

February 4, 2020 marks the 121st anniversary of the Philippine-American War that killed more than one million Filipinos who rose up in an armed people’s resistance against the U.S.’s first war of imperial conquest. Though this genocide is commemorated through the “celebration” of Philippine Solidarity Week, BAYAN USA recognizes that today the Philippines, though on paper an independent nation, is in truth still not free from foreign domination from U.S. imperialism, and now Chinese imperialism. BAYAN USA calls on all people who stand in solidarity with the Filipino people fighting for national democracy and Philippine sovereignty to participate in actions and events for Philippine Solidarity Week to express our growing international condemnation of the U.S.-Duterte regime’s crimes against humanity.

Recently, Duterte threatened to terminate the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) between the Philippines and the U.S. as his retaliation for the U.S. revoking former General De la Rosa’s U.S. visa (1), likely due to his involvement in Duterte’s deadly drug war as Chief of Philippine National Police (PNP), and possibly the recently passed 2020 appropriations act of the United States which provides sanctions against Philippine officials linked to Senator Leila de Lima’s detention (2).

 

“The people have demanded the termination of the VFA ever since it was enacted, and just like all the other puppet presidents before him, Duterte has taken no action. Instead, Duterte makes empty threats, whenever it serves his personal interests. He backpedals because he is beholden to the millions of dollars the U.S. contributes to him and his administration to maintain his fascist reign. We demand for the VFA and all other unequal agreements between the U.S. and the Philippines to be terminated, not as retaliation, but rather, for genuine Philippine sovereignty!” stated Rhonda Ramiro, Chairperson of BAYAN USA.

 

Since the launch of its war on terror, the U.S. government has poured billions of dollars in aid into the Philippines, now enabling Duterte’s bloodbath: the war on drugs killing 30,000 urban poor Filipinos, mass raids of the offices of community organizations under the pretense of fighting terrorism, and the political arrests and attacks on anyone who opposes the reactionary government. Duterte’s “Whole of Nation” approach, militarizing all government departments, is further institutionalizing fascism and will only lead to more killings and repression.

 

In addition, instead of exerting sovereignty over the West Philippine Sea, Duterte has bent over backwards for China, and now even the Philippines’ power grid is under the full control of the Chinese government (3). Duterte dares to betray the Filipino people by offering up our motherland to the highest bidder and allowing for China and foreign corporations to extract and plunder its natural resources. As imperialist rival China encroaches upon Philippine Sovereignty, U.S. imperialism continues to be the primary inflicter of suffering on the Filipino people and principal enemy of the broad masses.

 

Meanwhile, millions of peasants cannot make a living because Duterte has maintained the backward semi-feudal economy and allowed the big comprador landlords to retain their vast majority of land holdings. To make matters worse, he has allowed imported rice from foreign countries to dominate the markets through the Rice Liberalization Law. Data from the Philippine Rice Research Institute shows that Filipino farmers lost P61.77 billion due to rice liberalization (4). “[This] will turn Filipinos into beggars of imported rice,” according to Amihan secretary-general and Bantay Bigas spokesperson Cathy Estavillo (5). As the people’s hunger grows, so does their desire to resist and overthrow the Duterte regime.

 

“As long as Duterte continues to be a lap dog to U.S. imperialism and foreign interests, the Filipino people will not be free. We must address the root issues of hunger and livelihood of the people, by building national industries and redistributing the land, ultimately towards genuine independence and national sovereignty,” continued Ramiro.

 

BAYAN USA calls for the broad masses to join the National Democratic movement in a week of action to:

Uphold and Defend Philippine Sovereignty!

U.S. and China Out of the Philippines Now!

Oust the Rotten Fascist Duterte Regime!

 

  1. Join Actions & Events in your area or plan an action! You can print these SIGNS

  2. Take Action Online: share & repost material featured on our Facebook page each day! Take a photo with one of the Signs above & post it! TAG @BAYANUSA

  3. DONATE!

 

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BAYAN-USA is an alliance of over 30 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 info, visit bayanusa.org

 

References

  1. Restore Bato’s US visa or VFA scrapped – Duterte
    https://www.philstar.com/headlines/2020/01/24/1987378/restore-batos-us-visa-or-vfa-scrapped-duterte

  2. EXPLAINER: How the US budget law bans Philippine officials
    https://cnnphilippines.com/news/2019/12/28/united-states-budget-law-philippine-officials-ban-.html

  3. China can shut off the Philippines’ power grid at any time, leaked report warns https://www.cnn.com/2019/11/25/asia/philippines-china-power-grid-intl-hnk/index.html

  4. 2019 deadly year for FIlipino Farmers http://davaotoday.com/main/todays-views/2019-deadly-year-for-filipino-farmers-and-phs-agriculture/

  5. World biggest rice importer? Peasant group renews call to junk liberalization law https://www.bulatlat.com/2019/11/11/world-biggest-rice-importer-peasant-group-renews-call-to-junk-liberalization-law/

 

Militarization Still Remains Despite “Lifting” Martial law in Mindanao

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Martial Law in Mindanao has been “lifted” after two and a half years of bombardments, displacement, curfews, checkpoints, among other increased human rights violations. However it remains under a “state of emergency” as described by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP). Our National Democratic alliance of BAYAN USA, composed of Migrante USA, Gabriela USA, and Anakbayan-USA understands this move by the U.S.-Duterte regime as a mere PR stunt, scrubbing the title of “martial law” while the conditions of militarization by both the Philippine and U.S. military will remain in Mindanao. 

“While martial law has been lifted, the economic destruction, political persecution and displacement of communities continue. More than 200,000 people are still displaced in Mindanao with 100,000 of them still homeless after the Marawi siege in May 2017,” says Bernadette Herrera, Migrante USA Chairperson. “Meanwhile, the government has readily paved the way for the U.S., China and other foreign countries to benefit from the destruction of Marawi through construction projects, foreign loans and other means,” adds Herrera.

The current state of the Philippines is that a de-facto martial law is in force across the whole country. With Oplan Kapanatagan and Executive Order 70, among other memoranda, the US-Duterte regime has weaponized the civilian bureaucracy to engage in the “whole of nation” counterinsurgency approach, creating a National Task Force to End the Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTFELC). The government departments are organized into twelve “operational clusters” to support military operations against the revolutionary movement as well as groups and individuals opposing Duterte and labeled as “communist fronts” in order to justify violent attacks against them.  

EO70 and M32 have institutionalized Duterte’s counter-insurgency program throughout the entire civilian bureaucracy, so now he has no need for the label of martial law. We are witnessing de facto martial law in effect, through the nationwide crackdown on activists and their organizations, from Negros to the Cordilleras. The AFP and PNP goons of NTFELC are surveilling, harassing, vilifying, charging with fabricated crimes, and murdering farmers, religious leaders, journalists, lawyers, workers, and students who continue to resist the repression of the Duterte regime,” stated Rhonda Ramiro, BAYAN-USA Chair. 

“The control that US Military exerts over Mindinao draws parallels to the control exerted over working women’s bodies and livelihoods amidst the semi-feudal and semi-colonial crisis in the Philippines”, stated Irma Shauf-Bajar, Chairperson of Gabriela USA. “ AFP, PNP and CAFGU, the state-sponsored forces who enforced Martial Law in Mindanao,  are directly trained and armed by US tax dollars and personnel. We have seen the devastation and degradation of self determined communities of women and all oppressed masses over the course of this overseas contingency operation.”

The Filipino people will not be fooled by this stunt of the Philippine government. The conditions that stoke conflict in Mindanao—landlessness, the plunder of resources by multinational companies, the lack of dignity and respect for the Moro people, among many others—are still present despite martial law being lifted in name. “We must ramp up, not let up, our fight against these root problems,” asserted Adrian Bonifacio, chairperson of Anakbayan-USA. “The youth—who have been terrorized by martial law in indigenous schools, at agricultural plantations, and at the picket line—must be ready to struggle even harder and lead the next generation in the fight for genuine democracy and independence.”

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