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Working class hero Crispin “Ka Bel” Beltran leaves a living legacy

From the Office of Rep. Crispin B. Beltran

National Headquarters 426-9442 Email.
Reference: Rep.Crispin Beltran 0927.8711080
Chief of Staff, Lu Roque, 931.6615
Media Liasion Officer, Mao Hermitanio 0926.4469017

Today, Rep. Crispin B. Beltran, ANAKPAWIS Party list representative on his 3rd term in Congress, a great labor leader, an incorruptible parliamentarian, staunch fighter for national freedom, democracy and international working class solidarity, died at 11:48am at the FEU hospital in Quezon City due to severe head injuries. He was 75.

We mourn with his family and friends, comrades and colleagues. Yet, in his passing, he left a distinctive and brilliant legacy of fighting for the interest of the workers and oppressed peoples. Rep. Beltran is scheduled to file a bill to remove the e-vat on electric power to lower the rates affecting his constituents. Rep. Beltran’s study of his legislative measures are for the protection of the underprivileged and other marginalized sectors.

Crispin Beltran, more endeared to the masses as “Ka Bel”, is a living legend and epitome of militancy and progressive lawmaking in the country. He is currently the Chairman of the national political party Anakpawis (Toiling Masses) Partylist and is its re-elected Representative in the Philippine Congress.

Having been an activist for over fifty long years, Ka Bel is esteemed by laborers, peasants, urban poor and other marginalized sectors as a true defender of the toiling masses and staunch critic of privatization, deregulation and other destructive policies of globalization.

Ka Bel also stands against the United States’ war of aggression on Iraq and its war on terror. He also is steadfast in his call for respect for national sovereignty and international unity against foreign intervention.

During the Japanese occupation of the Philippines, at an early age, Ka Bel volunteered as a courier for the guerillas. After the war, he worked as a farm hand and janitor to support his studies. He then worked as a gasoline boy, messenger, bus driver and later on, a taxi driver. At age 20, he joined his fellow drivers in a strike against unfair labor practices. The police attacked their picket line, injured many and claimed the lives of three protesting workers. Since then, Ka Bel vowed to fight alongside the working class.

He organized the Amalgamated Taxi Drivers Association, for which he served as President from 1955 up to 1963. Together with Felixberto ‘Ka Bert’ Olalia and Feliciano Reyes, leaders of the Filipino labor movement’s militant tradition, he organized the Confederation of Labor of the Philippines (CLP). He was CLP’s Vice-President from 1963 to 1972. Ka Bel also helped found the Philippine Workers Congress and other labor organizations such as KASAMA and PACMAP, which de facto asserted their recognition during Martial Law.

Under the repressive martial law, Ka Bel helped establish the Federation of Unions in Rizal and the Philippine Nationalist Labor Organization (PANALO) until KMU was founded in 1980. From 100,000, KMU’s membership soared to 500,000 in the 1980s. The establishment of KMU united and strengthened the people in its fight against the fascism of the Marcos dictatorship.

When Marcos launched a crackdown in August 1982, Ka Bel was one of those arrested and detained. In November 1984, he was able to escape, and went back to organizing workers and peasant s in the countryside. When Ka Rolando “Lando” Olalia was brutally murdered in 1987, Ka Bel took over the presidency of KMU. He ran for senator under the banner of Partido ng Bayan that same year and garnered 1.52 mi llion votes but lost due to massive “dagdag bawas” (ballot and vote switching) scheme of elect ion fraud. He remained a leader of the militant union until March 2003.

He also became a National Council Member of multi-sectoral alliance Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN) which means New Patriotic Alliance) in 1985 and also served as its national chairperson from 1993 to 1999.
Ka Bel became the chairman of the International League for People’s Struggles in 2002. He is also considered as one of the pillars of international working class solidarity in the era of globalization.

From February 2001 to November 2003, he served as Vice President and one of the three representatives of Bayan Muna (People First) Partylist to Congress, where he introduced legislations imbued with his high sense of patriotism and advocacy of the rights and welfare of the marginalized sectors.

In 2004, he became the representative for Anakpawis Partylist as a sectoral representative of workers, peasants, urban poor and other toiling masses.

Ka Bel was cited by the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism as the partylist representative in the 13th Congress with the most number of bills and resolutions filed, totaling to 130, and with a nearly perfect attendance before his arrest in February 2006.

His three-term stint in the House of Representatives has garnered him awards such as Filipino of the Year and Most Outstanding Congressman for four consecutive years from 2002 – 2005, and in 2006, was adjudged part of the Congressional Hal l of Fame – all these and the respect of the public he reaped even as the Arroyo regime continues to persecute him and his fellow activists.

After his arrest and year-and-a-half long arbitrary and illegal detention initiated by the Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo administration, Ka Bel was proven innocent of the rebellion charges against him.
Persecution, however, persists through the fabricated inciting to sedition case that the Metropolitan Court of Quezon City refuses to dismiss until now, despite legal prohibit ions for duly-elected officials to be charged with crimes punishable by not more than six years of imprisonment such as inciting to sedition.

In October 2007, Ka Bel exposed bribery attempts by administration allies, particularly by KAMPI member Francis Ver. He was offered P2 million in exchange for his support to the weak impeachment complaint
against President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

Ka Bel is survived by 11 children, 29 grandchildren and 5 great-grand children. His remains will be interred at his home, May 20, at Lot 16, Blk. 30 Francisco, San Jose del Monte, Bulacan, and transferred to the UP Catholic Chapel starting May 21.

In the midst of preparing for today’s anti-charter change rally, another KMP member killed!!!

Ka Willy Marbella, internal deputy secretary general, KMP
Carl Anthony Ala, public information officer

The militant Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) is raging at the lost of another member in Cagayan Valley who was killed by Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s death squads. According to Ka Willy Marbella, internal deputy secretary general of KMP, “Nelson Asocena was killed on December 13 by a six member death squad of the 21th Infantry Battalion. Nelson is just 19 years old, an active member of KAGIMUNGAN and Anakbayan, he is also the Sangguniang Kabataan chairman in his village in Barangay San Juan, Zinundungan Valley, Rizal, Cagayan.”

“He was killed around 10:30pm right in front of his house. The 6 soldiers first asked for water and when Nelson was about to clear the glasses he was repeatedly shot by the soldiers. The criminals ran and their boot prints were seen to be heading to the camp of the 21th IB in Brgy. Bural, Zinundungan Valley, Rizal, Cagayan,” added Marbella.

“Nelson is the youngest of four siblings married and has a child. His brother in law is a member of the 17th IB which is also assigned in the province. The 21th IB has been in Zinundungan for more than three weeks and is being led by 2nd Lt. Marcelo Pascua under the 5th Infantry Division. They were recently expelled from the Kalinga province for grave human rights abuses like the killing of Robert Sabado, a national minority, last November,” said the peasant leader.

“Nelson was killed while he was in the middle of preparations for the massive anti-charter change prayer rally set in Cagayan Valley to coincide with the rally here in Manila today. It is obvious that Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is so desperate that she would even kill so that less people will be mobilized against her aborted and discredited Cha-cha,” ended Marbella.

The news of Nelson’s death only reached the national office after a few days because the place was so remote and cell phone signals are to come by in the area.

More than 100 mourners process through Seattle’s streets for a mock funeral commemorating International Human Rights Day

Contact: Brett Jelinek
206-383-9741 |

Seattle, WA—On Sunday, community members, progressive groups, unionists, church leaders, and youth and students came together to commemorate the 58th anniversary of the United Nations adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. As part of an internationally coordinated effort, more than 100 community members, clad in formal black attire, slowly walked the cold, rainy streets of downtown Seattle in a funeral procession, mourning the victims of human rights abuses and calling for justice.

Onlookers read the sides of coffins displaying human rights statistics, such as the number of civilian casualties in Iraq and the number of children, women, and men trafficked internationally for forced labor and sex. Tombstones memorialized Philippine religious leaders, youth leaders, government officials, and labor leaders who have all been the targets of political killings in the Philippines. There have been nearly 800 such political killings since 2001, when president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo took office.

Banners called for justice in Oaxaca, Mexico where over members of the state military have abducted over 300 political prisoners. There has been over 30 disappearances, and more than 10 assassinations. Demonstrators dressed as prisoners wearing elaborate oversized masks of George W. Bush and other members of his administration, while other demonstrators dressed in orange jumpsuits to remind everyone of the prisoners at Guantanamo Bay who are under indefinite detention without trial.

The diverse gathering included members of many organizations including the Philippine U.S. Solidarity Organization (PUSO), AnakBayan Seattle, Pinay sa Seattle, BAYAN-USA, El Comite Oaxaquena-Seattle, World Can’t Wait, Committee in Solidarity with the People of El Salvador, Northwest Alliance for Human Rights in the Philippines, as well as concerned individuals.

The funeral march started at the Washington State Convention and Trade Center and wound through Pike Place Market reaching its destination at Westlake Park. Following the march was a ceremony to eulogize victims of human rights abuses. Trixy Garcia of AnakBayan Seattle facilitate the mock funeral ceremony.

Retired Reverend Paul Pruitt of Fauntleroy United Church of Christ gave a passionate speech on the importance of human rights. Teresa Bazan of El Comite Oaxaquena-Seattle provided a eulogy in Spanish that was translated by fellow member, Erin Fanning. She spoke about the many human rights abuses, such as forced abductions and political assassinations occurring in Oaxaca City, Mexico where the people are protesting against widespread government corruption.

Trixy Garcia concluded the event by urging all in attendance to not be saddened by the weight of their sorrow and mourning, but to instead rage against the continued murders of innocent people around the world. She called for all in attendance to continue organizing, base-building, and consciousness-raising so that we may continue on with the struggle for justice and hold the U.S. government accountable for its human rights abuses at home and worldwide.

Mourners carried tombstone signs with pictures of slain victims in the Philippines.
This banner led the funeral procession through hushed alleys of Pike Place Market.

Mourners also carried 5 coffins representing statistics of human rights violations in Iraq, Philippines, Mexico, and the United States. One coffin was the size of a small child.
The mock funeral procession ended in Westlake Plaza where mourners gave eulogies for the victims.

The coffins were ceremoniously laid in Seattle’s Westlake Plaza beginning a ceremony of remembrance for all victims of state violence.
Community members gave passionate eulogies commemorating those who have been tortured and murdered because of their political beliefs.

Union leader killed, 2 wounded in EMI-Yazaki

Reference: Luz Baculo, PAMANTIK Secretary-General
Mobile No: 09193198268

Barely six months after the failed ambush of EMI-Yazaki workers’ union president Gerry Cristobal, his successor was ambushed in front of the company gates in Imus, Cavite at 6:15 AM today.

Labor leader and organizer Jesus Buth Servida just came out from Gate 2 of EMI-Yazaki when motorcycle gunmen fired .45 caliber shots on him. He died instantly with still undetermined number of bullets fired on him. Two of his co-workers were also wounded. Joel Sali and a still unidentified companion were brought to the hospital.

Servida assumed presidency of the 7,000-strong workers”’ union in EMI-Yazaki after the failed assassination of union president Gerry Cristobal on May 1, 2006 by confirmed police gunmen. However, the management of the Japanese-owned company illegally terminated Servida after a collective bargaining agreement between the union and management was signed.

Meanwhile, the militant Pagkakaisa ng Manggagawa sa Timog Katagalugan (PAMANTIK-KMU) or Solidarity of Workers in Southern Tagalog expressed condolences to the bereaved family of Servida. PAMANTIK condemned in highest possible terms the killing of Servida and the wounding of 2 other unionists.

“We see that the government has done nothing to look into the matter of all these killings of our union leaders and members. Ironically, it has even gone worse in the past weeks and months,” said Luz Baculo, PAMANTIK secretary-general. (see related news)

Baculo added, “As it happened to the failed murder of Cristobal, it is by no doubt the military and the police who have a hand on this incident.”

Baculo said that PAMANTIK believes that the surveillance and killings will not stop, stating the insincerity of the Philippine government to prevent and solve such appalling activities inflicted against unionists. “The Philippine government’s implementation of the United States’ so-called campaign against terrorism has arbitrarily and ridiculously defined trade unions as terrorist organizations.”

“The surveillances and killings of unionists are themselves terrorist activities, sowing alarm and fear to workers mostly in export processing zones to discourage them from forming their unions and fight for their legitimate rights,” said Baculo.

AFP operatives arrested for surveillance and harassment

In related news, 3 operatives of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (ISAFP) were nabbed by barangay tanods while a labor organizer reported for blotter in Barangay Dita, Santa Rosa, Laguna on December 4, 2006.

Joycee N. Rosales, a 24 year-old labor organizer was reporting for blotter how she was followed and harassed by 2 unidentified men, when she saw the stalkers in front of the barangay hall. The barangay tanods immediately arrested 3. The suspects were identified as Nilo V. Enciso, Noel Samaniego and Mark Ryan Lopez. Despite their refusal to present identifications, they were forced to show their ID’s confirming them to be members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines. One 2-way radio handset and a .45 caliber gun were seized from the military operatives. They did not deny following Rosales.

Rosales reported, “I was followed from an office. When I rode a jeep, one of them also got into the same jeep, while another one was tailing us with his motorcycle. From there, I knew I was downrightly being followed.”

“In my intent to get rid of my stalkers, I got down to a subdivision, knocked to one of the doors to allow me entry as I said I fear for my life because I am being followed. One kind-hearted woman permitted me. Surprisingly, one of my stalkers tried to knock and barged into the door. By offering her cellphone, I was allowed by the woman to contact my companions and help me to get out.”

Around 15 workers came to Rosales’s rescue and immediately went with her to formalize her report to the nearest barangay outpost in the area. It was while she was doing her blotter report when she spotted her stalkers boldly watching them from across the street.

The barangay tanods turned the suspects to the police.