Sunday, February 25, 2018

News and Updates

Press Statement
February 24, 2018


BAYAN joins the nation in remembering the 32nd anniversary of the fall of the Marcos dictatorship through the EDSA People Power uprising. The uprising was the culmination of years of fierce resistance to the US-backed dictatorship, which included huge mass protest actions in the cities and armed struggle in the countryside by the CPP-NPA, MNLF and MILF.

We remember the heroism of the many martyrs who made the greatest sacrifice fighting the fascist dictatorship.

We salute the youth and students who walked out of their classes on February 23 to protest the Duterte regime’s fascism and anti-people policies. This is unassailable proof that “people power” is alive and well among the current generation.

EDSA reminds us that dictatorships do not last forever. It is a warning to all would-be tyrants that the people will always resist and triumph over authoritarian rule, no matter how long and no matter how difficult.

Such lessons are relevant today as the Duterte regime carries out a bloody war on drugs, all-out war against the people, Martial Law in Mindanao and Charter change maneuvers to centralize power and extend terms of elected officials.

It is a supreme irony that the President labeled himself a dictator on the very same month the people are commemorating the fall of the Marcos dictatorship.

The President’s absence during this year’s EDSA rites does not come as a surprise, given his recent support for the Marcos family, including Ferdinand Marcos’ interment at the Libingan ng mga Bayani. Past official celebrations have also been reduced to reminiscing the role of personalities, while downplaying the importance of “people power” as a means to effect change.

In these dark times, Bayan calls on the people to be ever vigilant and ready to resist tyranny in all its forms. We call on the people to frustrate moves to amend the Charter and install a fascist dictatorship masquerading as pseudo-federalism. We call for the lifting of Martial Law in Mindanao and a stop to attacks on communities and human rights defenders. We call on the people to stand for a free press and oppose moves to stifle press freedom. We call for an end to political persecution and the filing of trumped-up charges against activists and critics of the administration. We call for the resumption of peace negotiations between the NDFP and GRP and an end to all-out war in the countryside.

We demand genuine freedom and democracy, not Charter change and tyranny. ###

Press Statement
February 23, 2018


Today marks the start of mass protests against dictatorship and tyranny, coinciding with the anniversary of EDSA People Power.

On Feb23, students will stage walkouts in various schools nationwide as they demand respect for human rights and call for true freedom and democracy. On Saturday, Feb24, various sector will converge at 4pm at the EDSA People Power Monument in protest of Charter Change and the tyranny of the Duterte regime.

The legacy of People Power is alive and well and is thriving among Filipinos who are opposed to a return to dictatorship. There is a great sense of urgency in these protests because of the worsening human rights situation and because of relentless efforts to amend the Constitution to pave the way for dictatorship. The attacks on activists and journalists, indigenous peoples and women, have become more frequent as the regime moves to silence dissent.

People power reminds us that dictatorships do not last forever. Those who follow in Marcos’ footsteps will risk the same fate as the fallen dictator. ###

Press Statement
February 16, 2018


Nationwide mass actions are set on February 23 and 24 in time for the 32nd anniversary of the EDSA People Power uprising that toppled the US-backed Marcos dictatorship. This year’s protests are imbued with a great sense of urgency as the Duterte regime pushes for Charter change, extends Martial Law and wages all-out war against the people.

Recent pronouncements by the President point to an escalation of attacks on the people. This includes his threats to shoot female NPA fighters in their genitals and his repeated offer of bounties for killed rebels. The Duterte regime wants to wage a bloody war against revolutionary groups and the people — disregarding international humanitarian law and closing all avenues for peace negotiations. It is an intensification state terror that aims to force the people into blind submission. In truth, the regime really wants to eliminate any and all opposition to its plans of imposing a fascist dictatorship through Charter change or Martial Law.

The last few months also saw increased attacks on press freedom, the right to organize as well as the socio-economic rights of the people. Because of the tax reform law, inflation is at a 3-year high, with the worst effects yet to come for petroleum products, food products and electricity. The President’s promise to end contractualization remains unfulfilled. Land reform is set aside in favor of big plantations and foreign investors. The Presidents so-called independent foreign policy has been exposed as a sham.

It is ironic that on the same month the nation is set to commemorate the downfall of the dictator Marcos, President Duterte saw it fit to label himself as a dictator. It is ironic that as the nation remembers the evils of dictatorship, Duterte’s congressional allies are pushing for term extension ala-Marcos.

Bayan welcomes the efforts of the broad united front now opposed to the Charter change scheme. Various sectors and people from different walks of life are now coming together to block the Cha-cha train being rushed by Congress. Legal luminaries have described the move to amend the Constitution as tyranny. Indeed, a regime with a bloody human rights record and a penchant for disregarding checks and balance in government cannot be given a carte blanche to tinker with the Constitution. By all indicators, the proposals for Charter change are self-serving for incumbent officials and political dynasties and in favor powerful foreign corporations out to plunder the Philippine economy. The proposals to amend the Charter also constitute another attack on civil liberties as safeguards against abuse are also removed.

Bayan supports the student walk-outs and regional protests being organized on February 23 and the broad actions against Charter change set on February 24. It is important that the people speak out and demonstrate before the Duterte regime that the we will not accept another dictatorship, even one that is couched in the deceptive terms of pseudo-federalism and Charter change. It is imperative that the people denounce the fascist pronouncements and actions of the regime which have resulted in widespread abuses nationwide.

The people demand genuine freedom and democracy, not Charter change and tyranny. The people continue to express their strongest opposition to another fascist dictatorship. Never again! ###

News Release
February 10, 2018


Filipino activists today trooped to the Chinese consulate in Makati to protest China’s militarization of the disputed islands in the West Philippine Sea as well as denounce the Philippine government’s inaction over China’s “illegal activities”.

The Philippine government had recently said that it could not do anything to stop China’s construction of military facilities in several disputed islands, including one that falls within the Philippine’s exclusive economic zone.

“If the Philippine government won’t strongly protest China’s military build up, then the Filipino people will. We cannot just stand by and allow these illegal activities to go unchallenged. It is important that we continue to defend our country’s sovereign rights to these waters and reefs, lest China think the Philippines has already given up by default,” said Bayan secretary general Renato M. Reyes, Jr.

“We are not saying the Philippines should go to war. Far from it, the Philippines should instead assert the legal victory it already attained in so far as the Philippine’s exclusive economic zone is concerned. International law already recognizes the Philippines sovereign rights to waters and formations within its exclusive economic zone,” Reyes said

Bayan slammed China’s reclamation and construction activities on Fiery Cross Reef (Kagitingan), Calderon, Burgos, Mabini, Zamora ,Panganiban or Mischief Reef, and McKennan or Hughes reef. Panganiban or Mischief Reef lies within the Philippines 370 km exclusive economic zone.

“It appears that our foreign policy is heavily influenced by the Duterte government’s reliance on loans from China. That is not an independent foreign policy. That is a subservient foreign policy,” Reyes said .

Bayan also slammed the recent statements from a Palace spokesperson that said the Philippines will one day be thankful for China’s facilities that the imperial power will leave behind.

“Nanakawan na tayo, tayo pa ang magpapasalamat. It’s like being thankful that thieves returned your wallet, even if it’s already empty. The statement shows everything wrong with Philippine foreign policy,” the Bayan leader said.###

Press Statement
February 7, 2018


A foreign policy held hostage by foreign loans is not an independent foreign policy. It is a subservient foreign policy. The Duterte regime has refused mounting calls to protest China’s military build-up in the disputed islands, relying instead on the non-existent “good faith” of Duterte’s Chinese benefactors.

The Philippine government’s reliance on loans from China to fund an ambitious infrastructure program has severely undermined our sovereign rights to these islands. The Philippine government is not even making full use of the legal vicotry won at The Hague that already recognized these sovereign rights. It has taken the defeatist position, exclaiming “What are we to do?”

So while the the Philippine government builds foreign-funded bridges and ports, it will be ceding our islands, waters and vast resources to China. It is an utterly shameful situation. It is a betrayal of national interest.

The Filipino people however can and must protest China’s military build up. The people can and must protest the Duterte regime’s subservience to foreign powers like China.

Press Statement
February 1, 2018


NDFP peace consultant Raffy Baylosis was arrested yesterday, on the basis false or trumped-up charges, and after the peace talks were terminated by Duterte. The arrest is a violation of the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees and the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law. He must be immediately released. The trumped-up charges must stop. Rather than persecute peace consultants, Duterte should resume peace talks on the most important substantive agenda. Ka Raffy has worked on the Comprehensive Agreement on Socio-economic Reforms as a means to address the roots of the armed conflict. This includes provisions on land reform and national industrialization. In contrast, the Duterte regime has wrecked havoc on the lives of the poor with neoliberal economic policies, higher taxes, the phaseout of public jeepneys and the sell-out of the national economy and patrimony to foreign interests.

Peace advocates and social activists stand with Raffy Baylosis. He is no criminal. Resistance to injustice, and working for a just peace, are not crimes. ###

*Photo from web

Press Statement
January 31, 2018

Bayan views the suspension of Deputy Ombudsman Arthur Carandang as an act of tyranny by the Duterte regime. Despite the legal prohibition set by the Supreme Court, the Duterte regime pushed through with the suspension because it wants to create a chilling effect on independent bodies that serve as checks and balance against abuses by the executive. The suspension is a stern warning to all who would dare cross Malacanang.

It is because of this propensity to disregard or undermine constitutional checks and balance that the current regime cannot be trusted with Charter change. Plans to amend the constitution may end up further weakening the independent commissions, thereby empowering a dictatorship. Duterte should lift the suspension order. Malacanang should keep its hand off the Office of the Ombudsman. The people should oppose any Charter change effort that aims to further weaken checks and balance in government. ###

*Photo from MB

Press Statement
January 29, 2018


BAYAN condemns in strongest terms the harassment and attempted arrest of the president of Alliance of Concerned Teachers – National Capital Region (ACT-NCR) Union, Joselyn Martinez earlier today.

The harassment happened today in front of the Imelda Elementary School, Malabon, by three civilian men presenting an invalid warrant of arrest, which was expired, unreadable in most parts, and with the name Joselyn Ramirez as the accused. Martinez stood her ground and the perpetrators left with the threat to come back with a new warrant.

ACT-NCR Union is a registered organization that solely represents public school teachers in the NCR and promotes legitimate economic, political and social rights. They recently conducted actions calling on the government to increase the salaries of teachers and other government employees.

The act of harassment happened two days after the threat of President Duterte to crush so called communists’ “legal fronts.” It is entirely possible that the arresting persons and their superiors may have been inspired by Duterte’s rant and thought of pleasing their commander in chief.

We demand an explanation from the Philippine National Police and a commitment that such brazen attempts at harassment and intimidation will not happen again.#


January 22, 2018


Umarangkada na ang pakanang Charter change ng rehimeng US-Duterte ngayong Enero. Isang malaking panloloko at atake sa mamamayan ang Cha-cha. Nagpapanggap itong panukala para sa pagbabago ng porma ng gobyerno tungo sa pederalismo, pero ang totoong hangad nito ay bigyan ng kapangyarihan ng diktador si Pangulong Duterte, palawigin ang termino ng mga halal na opisyal, pahinain o palabnawin ang karapatan ng mamamayan, tanggalin ang pagbabawal sa dayuhang base militar, at ibenta ang pambansang ekonomiya at patrimonya ng Pilipinas sa mga dayuhan. Ito na ang maituturing na pinakamasahol na tangka para baguhin ang Saligang Batas pabor sa pinaka-reaksyunaryong interes ng pasistang diktadura at imperyalistang paghahari sa bansa.

Noong Enero 16, 2018 ay naipasa na sa Kamara ang House Concurrent Resolution No. 9 (HCR No. 9) na nananawagan para buuin ang Kongreso bilang isang Constituent Assembly na may kapangyarihang magbalangkas ng bagong Konstitusyon. Ang Con-Ass ang itinutulak na pamamaraan dahil tiyak ang kontrol ni Duterte sa Kongreso. Magagawang iratsada ang mga reaksyunaryong panukala dahil sa supermajority sa Kamara at mayora sa Senado. Samantala, hindi pa naipapasa ng Senado ang naturang resolusyon at ngayon ay nagsasagawa pa ito ng mga pagdinig. Tutol ang Senado sa gagawing joint voting sa Con-Ass dahil mawawalan ito ng poder – lalamunin lang sila ng boto ng mayorya sa Kongreso.

Ang mga partikular na panukalang pagbabago sa Konstitusyon ay nilalaman naman ng panukalang Resolution of Both Houses No. 8 (RBH No. 8), ang panukalang Konstitusyon ng PDP-Laban, at iba pang panukalang nagtutulak ng pederalismo. Pero sa likod ng mga ito ang maitim na balakin na ipataw ang pasistang diktadura. Matapos mapagtibay sa plebisito ang bagong Konstitusyon, magkakaroon ng transition period tungo sa pagbubuo ng Federal Congress. Sa panahon ng transisyon, lulusawin ang dating Kongreso at ibibigay kay Duterte kapwa ang kapangyarihang ehekutibo at lehislatura. Si Duterte ay magkakaroon ng kapangyarihang gumawa ng batas at di na lamang ang magpatupad ng batas, tulad ng ginawa ni Marcos noon. Hindi nakasaad kung gaano katagal ang naturang transisyon.

Upang mahikayat ang mga mambabatas na suportahan ang Cha-cha, minumungkahi rin na palawigin ang termino ng mga halal na kongresista at senador. Posibleng ipagpaliban ang eleksyon ng 2019 at gawing 2022 o kung kailan man itakda ng bagong Konstitusyon. Ibig sabihin, mananatili sa pwesto ang mga kasalukuyang nasa pwesto kahit paso na ang kanilang termino sa 2019. May panukala ring gawing 5 taon ang dating 3 taong termino. Ang pangulo ay maaari nang mahalal nang 2 termino, na may 5 taon kada termino. Katunayan, walang

probisyon sa mga panukalang amyenda na nagbabawal kay Duterte na tumakbo uli sa 2022 at magkaroon ng panibagong 5-taong termino.

Bukod sa pagsentralisa ng kapangyarihan kay Duterte at pagpapalawig ng termino ng mga halal na opisyal, may ilang panukala rin para magkaroon ng income tax exemption ang pangulo, mga senador at congressman, mahistrado ng Korte at miyembro ng mga constitutional commissions. Samakatwid, ang Kongreso ay nagtutulak ng mga amyenda na sila rin mismo, kasama ng amo nilang si Duterte, ang pangunahing makikinabang. Bukod sa sagadsaring reaksyunaryo, garapal na para sa sariling pakinabang ng mga kasalukuyang nakaupo sa poder ang mga panukulang pagbabago sa Saligang Batas.

Sa pamamagitan ng pederalismo, ipapataw sa taumbayan ang isang panibagong istruktura ng burukrata kapitalismo – ang mga regional government. Ito’y pamumunuan ng mga regional governors at may kani-kaniyang regional assembly at iba pang ahensyang panrehiyon. Sa panukalang RBH No. 8, aabot sa 18 regional governments ang nais nilang itayo, dagdag sa kasalukuyang mga provincial, municipal at city governments. Paraan ito upang madagdagan ang mekanismo ng pangungurakot at kontrol sa kapangyarihan ng mga political dynasty at warlord. Panibagong gastos at mabigat na pasanin ito sa taumbayan.

Sa pagtatayo ng bagong Pederal na Republika, magkakaroon ng reorganisasyon sa buong burukrasya, kasama ang mga pambansang ahensya at mga korte. Sa mga nakahaing panukala, isang katiyakan na ang malawakang tanggalan ng mga kawaning publiko kapag binuwag na ang mga opisina na kinabibilangan nila.

Sa magaganap na reorganisasyon ng burukrasya, magkakaroon si Duterte ng pambihirang oportunidad na magtalaga ng mga pinuno at miyembro ng Commission on Elections, Commission on Audit, Civil Service Commission at mga mahistrado ng Federal Supreme Court hanggang sa mga mababang korte.

Ang ikalawang bugkos ng mga rebisyon sa Konstitusyon ay patungkol sa ekonomiya, partikular sa mga nalalabing proteksyon sa pambansang ekonomiya kontra sa dayuhang pag-aari. Kapwa ang RBH No. 8 at ang panukalang Konstitusyon ng PDP-Laban ay may layong tanggalin ang ilang nalalabing protectionist provisions ng Konstitusyon. Alinsunod na ito sa tunguhin ng rehimeng Duterte na ibukas nang todo ang lokal na ekonomiya sa dayuhang pag-aari at pamumuhunan. Nakaayon na rin ito sa matagal nang dikta ng dayuhang monopolyo kapitalismo at mga ahensya nito tulad ng American Chamber of Commerce, European Chamber of Commerce, World Bank at iba pa. Kalkulado rin ito upang makuha ang suporta ng mga malalaking burgesya komprador at mga imperyalistang amo nila para suportahan ang Charter change sa balatkayo ng proyektong “pederalismo”.

Kasama sa mga nais tanggaling probisyon ay ang pagbabawal sa 100% dayuhang pag-aari ng lupa, public utilities, educational institutions at mass media. Dalawa ang paraan ng rebisyon. Sa panukala ng PDP-Laban, tuwirang tatanggalin na ang mga naturang probisyon sa konstitusyon.

Sa RBH No. 8 naman ay idadagdag sa mga probisyon ang “otherwise provided by law”, upang bigyan ang Kongreso ng kapangyarihan na magpasa ng batas na magpapahintulot ng 100% dayuhang pag-aari sa lupa at mga naturang empresa na nakareserba dapat sa mga Pilipino. Sa pagbibigay ng poder sa Kongreso na magpasa ng batas na sa aktwal ay mag-aamyenda ng Konstitusyon pabor sa mga dayuhan, asahan na lalong sasahol ang burukrta kapitalismo.

Lubhang mapanganib ang panukalang pahintulutan ang 100% dayuhang pag-aari sa lupa at mga estratehikong empresa tulad ng public utilities, maging sa mass media at educational institutions. Pagbebenta ito ng buong ekonomiya at patrimonya ng Pilipinas sa mga dayuhan. Pamamayagpag ito ng mga dambuhalang dayuhang kumpanya sa pagmimina at mga plantasyon. Pagsuko rin ito ng soberanya ng bansa. Maging ang mga pangkulturang institusyon na humuhubog ng kaisipan ng mamamayan ay isusuko na rin sa mga dayuhang interes. Kaugnay din nito, maging ang ilang propesyon na nakareserba sa mga Pilipino ay maaari na ring ibukas sa mga dayuhang propesyunal.

Kamakailan ay binawi ng Securities and Exchange Commission ang registration ng online media outlet na Rappler dahil daw sa isyu ng foreign ownership. Lumalabas na pantabing lang ito sa totoong layunin ng panunupil sa Rappler, lalo’t ang tunguhin ng rehimen ay payagan din ang 100% dayuhang pag-aari sa mass media kapag nabago na ang Konstitusyon.

Walang magiging pakinabang ang mga naghihirap na manggagawa, magbubukid, maralitang lungsod at pambansang minorya sa ilalim ng iskemang ito. Pinabubulaanan din nito ang pangako na ang pederalismo ang solusyon sa mga problema ng mga mahihirap na probinsya malayo sa sentro ng kapangyarihan, ang Metro Manila. Lalo lamang nitong palalalain ang problema ng kawalan ng lupa, pagsasamantala, mataas na bayarin, pagkawasak ng kalikasan at sapilitang pagpapalikas. Magpapatuloy rin ang paghahari ng mga political dynasties kahit sa ilalim ng pederal na porma ng gobyerno. Tuloy ang kurakot, tuloy ang pang-aabuso sa kapangyarihan.

Ikatlong bugkos ng mga amyenda sa Saligang Batas ay may kinalaman sa iba pang pulitikal na usapin, lalo na sa karapatang pantao at pambansang soberanya. Sa isang panukala, nais ilimita ang proteksyon sa kalayaan sa pamamahayag (freedom of expression) sa “responsableng ehersisyo ng kalayaan sa pamamahayag”. May panukala rin na ilimita ang soberanong kapangyarihan ng mamamayan sa simpleng eleksyon lamang. Layon nitong maliitin ang direktang pagkilos (direct action) tulad ng pag-aalsang “people power”. Sa isa pang panukala, aalisin na rin ang probisyon na nagbabawal sa dayuhang base militar na walang tratado na sinang-ayunan sa Senado. Magiging mas madulas ngayon ang pagpapatupad ng EDCA at iba pang katulad na tagibang na tratado na imposisyon ng US.

Maging ang ilang mga probisyon na kumikilala sa karapatan ng mga manggagawa, magsasaka, mamamalakaya, maralitang lungsod at pambansang minorya ay ipinapanukala na ring tanggalin sa bagong konstitusyon.

Sa kabuuan nito, ang panukalang Charter change ay anti-mamamayan, anti-nasyunal, pasista at sagadsaring reaksyunaryo. Ito ay daan tungo sa pagpapataw ng “constitutional dictatorship” sa mamamayan, sa tabing ng pekeng “pederalismo”. Ito ay pagbebenta ng pambansang ekonomiya at patrimonya sa dayuhang interes. Ito ay pagsagasa sa karapatang pantao, kalayaang sibil at pambansang soberanya. Ang Con-Ass na itinutulak ng mga alyado ni Duterte ay anti-demokratiko at lantarang pambabaluktot at paglabag sa mismong Konstitusyon. Sa kabila ng pagtutol ng Senado, nagsasabi ang pamunuan ng Kamara na itutuloy pa rin nila ang Con-Ass kahit walang partisipasyon ang mataas na kapulungan.

Mahalagang tungkulin ngayon ng mamamayang Pilipino ang paglaban sa Charter change at banta ng diktadura mula sa pasistang rehimeng US-Duterte. Mahalagang igiit ang pambansang soberanya laban sa pagbebenta ng Pilipinas sa mga dayuhan. Marapat ding ipagtanggol ang ating mga demokratikong karapatan at kalayaang sibil laban sa panggigipit at panunupil.

Ang hangad nating pagbabago ay hindi lamang sa anyo ng gobyerno kundi sa mas pundamental na katangian nito. Ang hangad nating pagbabago ay nagtataguyod ng pambansang kalayaan, tunay na demokrasya at makatarungang kapayapaan.


Press Statement
January 22, 2017

The Philippine government has kept the Filipino people in the dark about Operation Pacific Eagle: Philippines, a new US-“counter terror” operation in the country which aims to maintain active US military presence in the region. The operation was launched by the US as early as September 2017, yet the Duterte government has kept silent about it.

The US Special Operations Command had listed the Philippines among its priorities for military intervention along with Afghanistan, Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Somalia, Libya, and Africa. The vice chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Paul Selva, testifying before the US Senate Armed Services Committee in July 17, 2017 said that the United States should consider restarting a named military operation in the Philippines, similar to Operation Enduring Freedom, in order to counter the rise of the Islamic State.

The Wall Street Journal reports that the US has embarked on an Overseas Contingency Operation in the Philippines as early as September 2017, or two months after defense officials sought a named-operation in the country.

The revelation that the US is again engaged in a named-operation in the Philippines similar to Operation Enduring Freedom- Philippines in 2002 raises a lot of questions on the involvement of the US in a direct combat role in our country, a flagrant violation of the Philippine Constitution. The last time the US launched its operations, it also resulted in the permanent presence of 600 US troops in Mindanao for more than 15 years, even without a basing treaty as required by the Constitution. The uninterrupted presence of US forces in Mindanao engaged in various unspecified activities including direct combat participation, is a gross violation of our national sovereignty.

In the case of Marawi, the US through its exclusive control of surveillance equipment, practically directed the conduct of the war. This included almost daily aerial bombings that leveled the city.

The Duterte government should break its silence about Operation Pacific Eagle. Was the US also the one that recommended that Martial Law in Mindanao be extended to 1 year, to allow unhampered US intervention and basing? What are the terms of reference for armed US troops conducting operations in Mindanao? The Philippine government has declared victory in Marawi, so why allow continued US military intervention?What does this say about Duterte’s so-called independent foreign policy? This seems to be more of the same subservient foreign policy we saw with past puppet regimes. How long will US troops be allowed to engage in direct military operations in the Philippines?

It must be pointed out that the US merely uses “counter-terrorism” as pretext for its permanent basing and power projection in the region. The US continues to advance its imperialist agenda in Asia and may be using the conflict in Mindanao to gain a more permanent foothold in the Philippines.

The Philippine Senate Foreign Relations Committee should also look into this new US operation as it did previous operations during the term of the late Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago. The Senate should look into how the US is circumventing the treaty requirements on foreign basing through its so-called Overseas Contingency Operations that provide the deployment of an unlimited number of troops to engage in unspecified activities for an undetermined period of time. ###

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