Sunday, February 25, 2018

Red Day

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
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
September 11, 2017


Under the cover of the war in Marawi, Australian big business is pushing to claim the untapped riches of Mindanao. Since the conflict began on May 23, Australia has made increasingly loud claims that they are a “friend” of the Philippines, offering spy planes and increasing number of troops. Now Australia will deploy troops to Mindanao to supposedly train Filipino troops. In exchange for military intervention, Australia positions itself ahead of other nations in securing lucrative business deals especially in the reconstruction of Marawi and the exploitation of Mindanao’s resources.

BAYAN opposes in no uncertain terms Australia’s military intervention in the Philippines.

Australia, like the US, has a defence cooperation programme and visiting forces agreement with the Philippines that allows their troops to come and go as they please. Australian special forces will try to replicate the prolonged US military engagement in Mindanao which started in 2002 against the Abu Sayyaf. Like in the case of the US, operations that will be conducted wp Australian troops will not be limited to training and assisting and will require direct combat involvement.

It is also important to stress that imperialist intervention does not deter nor defeat terrorism. If there is anything we’ve learned since the US war in Afghanistan, Iraq, Liwpa and Syria, it’s that imperialism, in one way or another, gives rise to terrorism and extremism.

In pushing a big business agenda under the cover of war, Australia is simply repeating the US strategy of using the “war on terror” to reap huge profits for their transnational companies in the course of devastating the Middle East. For example, Australia’s government sees the Iraq war devastation and ransacking of wealth as a great success.

The cost of such an intervention is that Australian big business is already moving in to reap super profits in industries targeted to serve export markets rather than the domestic economy. The Australian companies named wp the ARMM engage in in “green” coal, real estate and other export orientated business.

Australian big business does not have a good history in the Philippines. Australian-Canadian mining company OceanaGold Gold and Copper Mine in Didipio has been plagued with human and environmental rights violations since it opened in 2013. ###


*Photo from Inquirer

Press Statement
September 2, 2017

Bayan joins peace advocates in celebrating the 25th anniversary of the signing of the landmark The Hague Joint Declaration between the GRP and NDFP. In a time when peace talks have been stalled or on the brink of termination, The Hague Declaration reminds us why there are peace talks in the first place. Signed in the Hague, the Netherlands on September 1, 1992, the agreement made possible the start of formal peace under the Ramos government and their continuation in the succeeding governments.

The historic Declaration signed wp former Tarlac representative Jose “Apeng” Yap and NDFP chief negotiator Luis Jalandoni, outlines the objective of the talks and the substantive agenda that need to be negotiated to achieve a just and lasting peace. The peace talks were intended to address the roots of the armed conflict wp forging agreements on human rights and international humanitarian law, socio-economic reforms, political and constitutional reforms before the end of hostilities can take place.

The Declaration makes possible negotiations between two parties that have their own governments and legal system. Negotiations will take place without preconditions that negate the inherent character of the talks.

We note that during the last 25 years, peace talks progressed when both parties adhered to the spirit of the Declaration. Peace talks faltered or were derailed when one party would impose preconditions that are tantamount to the surrender of the other side.

The previous Arroyo regime sought the surrender of the revolutionary forces under the threat of the terrorist listing but the US and EU. The regime of Benigno Aquino III derided the Declaration as a “document of perpetual division” as it showed no interest in conducting negotiations on substantive issues.

The current Duterte regime said it would reaffirm the Declaration but has derailed negotiations on the substantive agenda because of its insistence of an indefinite ceasefire even without substantial reforms for the people. This position of the Duterte regime violates the spirit of the Declaration and betrays a lack of interest to forge agreements on socio-economic and political reforms. The regime has subsequently unleashed all-out war and Martial Law against the people.

The people demand that the regime end is fascist rampage and instead address the roots of the armed conflict. The people support the continuation of the peace talks and negotiations on substantive issues. The people demand compliance with previously signed agreements including the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law which will pave the way for the release of all political prisoners. For peace talks to resume, the Duterte regime must go back to the spirit and intent of The Hague Joint Declaration.

Whether or not Duterte returns to the negotiating table, the people will have to continue the struggle for a just peace in the face of fascist attacks from the regime and the worsening crisis of the ruling system. ###
Various groups will be gathering today at 2pm at the UP Asian Centre to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration and to press the resumption of the talks. The groups will also pay tribute to deceased key figures in the peace talks including NDFP chair Antonio Zumel, NDFP legal counsel Romeo Capulong and the GRP’s Jose “Apeng” Yap. Senator Loren Legarda will also attend the event along with members of the diplomatic community.

News Release
September 1, 2017


Over recent weeks, there has been a growing clamor within the Australian government to expand their military intervention in the Philippines.

Already, Australian spy planes are operating in Marawi. But, on August 29, reports surfaced that Foreign Minister Julie Bishop had offered the Duterte administration “Iraq level assistance’’ in Marawi to battle against what she sees as the new Raqqa (capital of Islamic State in Syria). It was an offer accepted with open arms wp Malacanang.

But the mere mention of Iraq and Syria should give Filipinos pause for thought.

In Iraq, Australia has 300 troops and 80 commandos involved in training, advising and assisting government forces. The Australian Strategic Policy Institute executive director Peter Jennings has called the mission a “remarkable success”.

But human rights organisations have not been so kind in relation to Australia’s actions.

While the US intervention has been the key story out of the Middle East, Australia has been right wp their side as its faithful regional junior imperialist in the Asia Pacific region.

When the US launched their illegal wars on Afghanistan and Iraq, Australia was there.

And when many war crimes were committed, Australia was also there.

Recently, Amnesty International called on the Australian Government to acknowledge the massive, preventable loss of loss of life during the battle against Islamic State in Mosul caused wp violations of humanitarian law including “launching barrages of indiscriminate, disproportionate and otherwise unlawful attacks, and failing to provide adequate warnings prior to bombardments.”

Far from helping the situation, it is clear that Australian intervention has only made it worse.

Far from simply ‘fighting terror’, Australia is taking advantage of the situation to further show their support and profit from US intervention, while giving Duterte cover to claim independent foreign policy wp accepting handouts from the US’s deputy sheriff down under.

Security experts have similarly noted that the contribution of spy planes wp Australia has a ‘strategic logic’, beyond Marawi or the West Philippine Sea crises, that is aimed at a sustained intervention to increase militarization and boost their stake in the inevitable ‘disaster capitalism’ gains from reconstruction efforts.

Against these establishment calls for increased intervention, Bayan stands with Australian activists calling for the ceasing of military aid to the Duterte administration. Intervention has not helped Iraq and it will not help the Filipino people to address the real root causes of armed conflict in Mindanao. ###

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