Sunday, February 25, 2018

Press Statement

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! ###

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.#

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. ###

Press Statement
January 15, 2018

 

The Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) today is spearheading a protest action at the gates of the House of Representatives to urge legislators and the public to reject proposals for Congress to convene as a constituent assembly to revise the Constitution.

The Duterte cha-cha is no different from previous self-serving and anti-people attempts to revise the Constitution. It is another attempt wp politicians ot skirt term limits, extend their terms of office, increase their wealth and expand their powers. Ganyan din ang cha-cha na nilabanan natin noong panahon nina pangulong Ramos, Estrada at Arroyo.

The so-called no-election scenario, the proposal to extend the terms of public officials, and exempt them from income taxes is but the tip of the iceberg. Duterte’s cha-cha is actually an attempt to impose another dictatorship and further open up the country to imperialist plunder and war.

In the House supermajority’s proposal is a provision that gives Duterte both executive and legislative powers during the transition period prior to the convening of the Federal Congress. This is exactly the powers that Marcos had under the 1973 Constitution that ushered in his 14-year dictatorship.

Duterte’s pretext for his power grab – the shift to a federal system of government – is itself an abomination. It will impose an entirely new layer of bureaucracy to be feasted upon wp the old and new breed of political dynasties and warlords who hunger for more positions of power.

Duterte’s cha-cha is also meant to remove the protectionist provisions of the Constitution, paving the way for unbridled foreign ownership of lands, public utilities and strategic enterprises at the expense of our farmers and local producers.

It is meant to water down the prohibition on US bases, troops and facilities as well as dilute provisions guaranteeing social justice, civil liberties and the people’s sovereign will.

We therefore call on congressmen, senators and the public that they represent to reject charter change and prevent the rise of another imperialist-serving fascist dictatorship.#

Press Statement
December 13, 2017

 

Congressional concurrence to the 1-year extension of Martial Law is all but a certainty today. Despite the utter lack of legal and factual basis, the Duterte regime has pushed for the extension even if the conflict in Marawi has been deemed finished. The original basis Duterte cited for declaring Martial Law no longer exists, hence there is no basis to extend Martial Law for the entire island of Mindanao.

The Duterte regime and the AFP are abusing the Martial Law provisions of the Constitution wp invoking just about every imaginable issue to justify its extension. They have cited the Marawi reconstruction, possible ISIS recruitment, criminality and even economic development as factors for the extension. In his letter to Congress, Duterte has extensively cited the continuing attacks of the NPA as another factor for extending Martial Law. However, none of these are basis for declaring and extending Martial Law under the Constitution.

Martial Law extension and the suspension of the writ of habeas corpus are instruments of state terror against the people and revolutionary movements in Mindanao. These provide the legal cover for widespread human rights violations, militarization of the countryside, illegal arrests, trumped-up charges and other abuses. Martial Law is an instrument of fascism aimed at silencing critics of the Duterte regime.

It is also important to note that the extension of Martial Law has the support of the US government as it continues to use the “war on terror” as pretext for expanding US military presence in Mindanao.

That a one-year extension is being justified on flimsy and patently unconstitutional grounds opens up the possiblity for Martial Law’s expansion nationwide and wholesale political repression. There is no such thing as benevolent Martial Law under a fascist regime.

In the coming months, we call on the Filipino people here and abroad to stand with the people of Mindanao as they resist the imposition of Martial rule. We call on the people to intensify resistance to the fascist US-backed Duterte regime and oppose nationwide martial rule and dictatorship. ###

Press Statement
December 10, 2017

 

On the occasion of International Human Rights Day, Bayan calls on the Filipino people to wage all-out resistance against the escalating fascist attacks of the US-Duterte regime and its push for a fascist dictatorship. We march today for all the victims of human rights violations of the current occupant of Malacanang.

The past weeks have seen a rise in cases of human rights violations; from extrajudicial killings to displacement of entire communities, all in the name of a counter-insurgency program that seeks to show terror among the people. The attacks escalated after the Duterte regime cancelled peace talks with the NDFP and moved for the designation of the CPP-NPA as terrorist organizations, in accordance with the US designation.

Duterte himself had threatened a crackdown on legal progressive organizations that he slanders as mere fronts of revolutionary groups. This is ultimately an attack on legitimate dissent, freedom of expression and the right to organize and reinforces the drive towards a dictatorship. More than 400 political prisoners remain under the Duterte regime.

Efforts to erode human rights are also highlighted wp the return of the PNP to the drug war, attacks on the institutional checks and balance in government, threats to media freedom and intimidation of critics.

The Duterte regime makes no effort to hide its disdain for human rights. Human rights are seen as stumbling blocks to whatever goals the regime has – whether it’s the suppression of illegal drugs, law and order, imposing anti-people economic policies, the rehabilitation of Marawi and even the so-called shift to federalism. The regime encourages impunity in the drug war, counter-insurgency and the so-called “war on terror”.

On this day, we reiterate that activism is not a crime. Resistance to injustice is not a crime. Fighting for the rights and welfare of the people is not a crime.

There will be accountability for the real criminals and there will be justice for the victims. We will continue to fight and thwart any attempt to return the country to a fascist dictatorship. The people will not allow it. Never again! ###

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