Archive | December, 2011

Hope lies in peoples’ vigilance and struggle

Posted on 24 December 2011 by admin

Press Statement

Christmas and New Year’s message of the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan

December 24, 2011


This has been a year struggles and triumphs for the people.

The year will end with Gloria Macapagal Arroyo in detention and Gen. Jovito Palparan a fugitive from the law, as the clamor for justice grows ever stronger. We stopped the Aquino government from implementing a fare increase for the MRT and LRT. The Ombudsman was ousted. We were able to defend communities from demolitions. And after decades of struggle and sacrifice, the Luisita farmers have scored an important legal victory in the Supreme Court.

The year also ends with greater challenges ahead as the people work together to rebuild their lives and communities from the devastating combined effects of typhoon Sendong and the largescale mining and logging in the region. We note too the worsening political crisis as the people demand Arroyo be made accountable while the Supreme Court remains her last line of defense. The impeachment of the Chief Justice will be a major event that will shape Philippine politics in the upcoming year and the mass movement will have to play a role.

We look forward to the coming year with great hope, not because of any promises of change from the powers-that-be, but because we believe that the people themselves are determined to struggle for a better and brighter future. We saw this in the workers’ picket lines, the student walkouts, the farmers’ marches, the anti-mining protests, and the long vigils for justice, the unrelenting fight for national sovereignty, and the collective spirit that motivated relief operations amid great disasters.

The Filipino people are undaunted in the face of greater challenges in the coming year. Our hope lies in our collective struggle. ###

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In the hope for a just and lasting peace… Merry christmas!

Posted on 12 December 2011 by admin

As another year comes to a close, we would like to take this opportunity to thank you for the valuable help that you extended to us in many of our campaigns and advocacies. This was an interesting year for the cause of justice and accountability. And we know that a lot remains to be done for true and complete justice to be realized by our people.

We are glad to have worked closely with you on this journey, We hope to continue working with you on other advocacies for the coming year; for the cause of human rights; for the welfare of our people; for national sovereignty and genuine democracy and for a brighter future for our nation.

Muli, maraming salamat po!

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Groups march to Mendiola to mark Human Rights Day

Posted on 10 December 2011 by admin

News Release

December 10, 2011

Human rights defenders led by Karaptan and the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) today marched to the historic Mendiola bridge in observance of International Human Rights Day. For the past four days, the roads leading Mendiola were the site of violent clashes as police prevented protesters from reaching the protest site. It would be the first time the groups would reach the protest site after the recent clashes with police.

“Despite the praises heaped by the United State Embassy on the Philippine government for so-called achievements in human rights, the sad reality is that many of the abuses that happened during the past administration are continuing today,” said Bayan secretary general Renato M. Reyes, Jr.

“Even sadder is the fact that not a single criminal case has been filed by the government against any of the notorious human rights violators, past and present. There is zero justice, zero accountability for human rights. The government puts up a tough façade versus GMA’s corruption but has done practically nothing to achieve justice for human rights victims,” he added.

From 2001 to 2011, only 1% of the 364 cases of extrajudicial killings resulted in the conviction of perpetrators, according to an independent audit by litigator and legal researcher Atty. Al Parreno.

Bayan reiterated its call for the jailing of former president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and for the release of some 365 political prisoners nationwide. “Many of the political prisoners now were arrested during the time of Arroyo. GMA is still lucky so to speak, since her current state is infinitely better than the state of our political prisoners languishing in jails nationwide,” Reyes said.

“The ridiculous thing is that this government does not seem to recognize the existence of these 365 political prisoners, he added.

Bayan wants Arroyo to suffer the same fate as former Peruvian president Alberto Fujimori who was handed down a 25-year sentence for human rights violations in 2009.

Facebook “intel”

The group also decried the recent violent dispersal of protesters that happened during the observance of Human Rights Week.

“The Philippine National Police and the government, acting on so-called intelligence reports they gathered from Facebook and social networking sties, decided to put up an elaborate security plan to thwart the student camp-out in Mendiola. Their paranoia over the Facebook posts resulted in the massive deployment of police, some even coming from regions outside Manila, and eventually, to the violent clashes we’ve seen the past few days,” Reyes said.

“We wonder why the Commission on Human Rights has been so eerily silent over these violent dispersals  as well as other gross human rights violations happening under the Aquino government,” he added.

The CHR is headed by former Akbayan representative Eta Rosales, a known political ally of the Aquino administration.

US hypocrisy

Bayan also slammed the US government for statements praising itself and the Philippine government as being “staunch allies” in promoting human rights.

“Coming from a country that has embarked on the most heinous human rights violations in history, the praise by the US government for the Philippine government is utterly meaningless. The US does not promote human rights when it bombs sovereign nations, sponsors dictators and curtails freedoms in its own backyard,” Reyes said.###

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Bayan slams police for denying right to protest at Mendiola, dares Noynoy to junk no rally policy

Posted on 06 December 2011 by admin

December 6, 2011

Multisectoral group Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) criticized Manila police authorities for denying various youth organizations and other sectoral groups their right to peaceably assemble at the Mendiola Bridge and press Malacañang for urgent economic relief including higher budget for education and other social services.

The group also dared President Benigno S. Aquino III to reverse the repressive no rally policy at the bridge leading to the presidential residence if he is, as he likes to project, the opposite of his despised predecessor, Mrs. Gloria Arroyo. The police justified their action on the basis of the no rally policy, which the Arroyo administration used to undermine the growing mass protests during its reign.

On Monday, hundreds of protesters led by students from different universities around Metro Manila marched towards Mendiola Bridge but were blocked by riot police, who also fired water cannon in an attempt to disperse the mass gathering. The protesters had planned to camp out at the bridge leading to Malacañang to protest the budget cuts on education, escalating prices of basic goods and services, as well as to highlight the widening gap between the poor and rich in the country.

Bayan deputy secretary general Eleanor de Guzman said that the police response is reminiscent of the repressive Arroyo administration. “We were told that the days of a government that is uncaring to the plight of the people are over. But even our basic right to protest and to make our demands known continues to be undermined,” said de Guzman.

De Guzman said that instead of repression, the Aquino administration should respond to the legitimate demands of the people and address the issue of government neglect of the poor and marginalized and anti-people economic policies especially amid the ever intensifying global and domestic crisis. “Aquino may still be popular today. But failure to address the grinding poverty and the repression of those who protest such grave injustice will surely and quickly erode this popularity,” de Guzman warned. #

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