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Smartmatic slammed for misleading website, Other countries warned

Posted on 04 June 2013 by admin

A PCOS machine that failed to function during the 2013 elections

Press Statement

June 4, 2013

Renato M. Reyes, Jr, Bayan Secretary General

Smartmatic is trying to dupe people again through the disinformation posted on its website according to the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan. If we are to believe the company’s posts found on Philippine site , it would appear that the elections in the Philippines were smooth, efficient, transparent and problem-free.

In its website, Smartmatic claims:

“Following the successful May 2010 General Elections, the Republic of the Philippines was set to conduct another massive e-voting project – the Midterm Elections of May 2013.

Once again, Smartmatic played a vital role in this year’s elections byproviding technology and services to contribute with the overall efficiency and transparency of the process.

Smartmatic also supplied the compact flash cards for the voting machines, and the modems to transmit data from precincts to tallying centers.

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) recently bought from Smartmatic the 82,200 voting machines that were used. Those are the same machines which COMELEC leased and used to great success in 2010. The machines were deployed in most of the 7,100 islands comprising the archipelago nation. 18,022 national and local posts were decided by 52,333,801 voters.”

(all underscoring by Smartmatic).
Smartmatic makes the amazing claim that they provide technology for “better run elections”. Nothing could be farther from the truth. As we have seen from our experience in 2013, there is neither transparency or reliability with the Smartmatic system. This foreign company sold us unreliable PCOS machines. Some 18,000 units failed to transmit results on election day. We also take not of the absence of transparency in the system as no real and credible source code review by interested parties were ever done. The source code in fact only arrived in the Philippines just a few days before the elections.  Smartmatic also failed to mention in its website the many documented problems with their CF cards during the 2013 polls. It failed to mention discrepancies in the electronic results and the random manual audit. It failed to mention that it will likely face a congressional probe for the conduct of the polls. Right now, so many groups have raised doubts about the results of the 2013 elections.

Smartmatic is now using the Philippines as a showcase for its international operations. According to reports reaching us, Smartmatic recently attended an international conference last week where it claimed that the polls in the Philippines were a huge success. Smartmatic now wants other countries to follow the Philippine example.

We call on other countries who may have been taken by Smartmatic’s initial PR pitch to exercise extreme caution and due diligence when dealing with this corporation. In the Philippines, we are now embarking on a campaign to junk the PCOS system provided by Smartmatic based on our experience in 2010 and 2013. We thus call on the people of other countries to reject Smartmatic and its automated election technology. ###

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“Oil firms, like bad dogs without a leash”

Posted on 09 March 2012 by admin

The Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) today hit the country’s oil firms as they raised prices of petroleum products anew this week, the ninth in less than three months.

“These oil companies are like bad dogs without a leash, and the Aquino government just lets them bite Filipino consumers until we bleed,” said Eleanor de Guzman, Bayan Deputy Secretary-General.

Bayan issued the statement as it joined thousands of women and supporters in a demonstration in Manila against oil price hikes and increasing US military presence during the celebration of the International Women’s Day.

“Filipinos are left at the mercy of the big oil companies that impose high fuel prices. The country’s oil deregulation law allows oil firms to further pad local pump prices on top of the already artificially bloated global oil prices,” said De Guzman.

In its recent study, Bayan estimated a 60%-70% overpricing in global oil prices as Dubai crude is being sold at an average of almost $110 per barrel (January 2012) while the cost of exploration, production, and royalties for crude oil is only about $28 to $42 per barrel. The group said that the huge discrepancy in the published price of crude oil and the estimated cost of production represents monopoly profits and speculation.

“The profit-hungry oil firms are raking billions of pesos in profits while consumers are being burdened with weekly increases in the price of petroleum,” said De Guzman, citing Petron’s registered net profits of PhP 8.5 billion for 2011 due to oil price hikes last year.

“It’s government’s duty and responsibility to protect the public from excessive oil prices and unwarranted price increases. It should stop justifying the oil price hikes and acting helpless by blaming the world market,” said De Guzman.

Bayan pointed out that government could take immediate actions to bring down local oil prices, such as removing the 12% value-added tax (VAT) on oil and the scrapping the Oil Deregulation Law.

“Government should control local oil prices and put these oil companies in a leash,” added the Bayan leader.

Bayan called on the public to oppose the incessant oil price hikes and work to end foreign monopoly control over the country’s oil industry.

The group reiterated its support for House Bill (HB) 4355 filed by progressive partylist groups which will effectively regulate the prices of petroleum products and ensure a cheap and steady supply of oil, among others. Bayan said that reversing deregulation and instituting state control over the industry should pave the way for the nationalization of the oil and energy sector, which is the only long-term solution to the problem of high and increasing oil prices. #

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Bayan pays tribute to Ka Wilson

Posted on 06 May 2011 by admin

Paninindigan September 2009

By Eleanor de Guzman

The Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) paid tribute to Ka Wilson Baldonaza, the late secretary-general of the Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU), with a cultural program last July 3, 2009.

Through songs, poems, and speeches, member-organizations of the multisectoral group honored the memory of Ka Wilson, who dedicated almost four decades of his life in organizing and educating the people, especially the workers.

“Ka Wilson was a very dedicated leader of the working class and the Filipino people. I personally remember him as a competent speaker and lecturer not only about the plight of workers but on the state of national politics and economy”, Bayan secretary-general Renato Reyes said in his speech opening the program.

He also noted that Ka Wilson was a former secretary-general of Bayan’s chapter in Valenzuela City from 1987 to 1990. KMU is a member of Bayan.

Leaders of the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP), Gabriela, Kalikasan, Karapatan, Kalipunan ng Katutubong Mamamayan sa Pilipinas (KAMP), Confederation for the Unity, Recognition, and Advancement of Government Employees (Courage), Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT), Alliance of Health Workers (AHW) and Anakbayan gave tribute speeches in behalf of their organizations.

Some shared light moments they had with the labor leader.

Poems dedicated to Ka Wilson were delivered by Axel Pinpin, members of Kilometer 64, and the Health Alliance for Democracy (HEAD) while Karatula and the People’s Chorale rendered songs during the program.

Ka Wilson started his activism in his youth as a member of the Samahan ng Demokratikong Kabataan (SDK) at the University of the East (UE) and also did organizing work in his hometown Victoria, Tarlac before Martial Law was declared in 1972. He later became a security guard at the Manila Domestic Airport. His involvement with militant unionism started in 1985 at the Mabuhay Textile Mills in Valenzuela City, where he also led Bayan’s local chapter.

Prior to his election as KMU secretary-general in April 2007, Ka Wilson was chairperson of the Alliance of Nationalist and Genuine Labor Organizations (ANGLO) since 2000. He also spent nine years with the Ecumenical Institute for Labor Education and Research (EILER) as instructor.

Ka Wilson died on June 1 due to complications in his heart, lungs and liver, several weeks after suffering a stroke, at age 57. He is survived by his wife Lily. #

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Bayan Congress set

Posted on 06 May 2011 by admin

Paninindigan September 2009

By Eleanor de Guzman

The Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) will hold its 8th National Congress on October 23-25, 2009 in Iloilo City, Iloilo just months before the 2010 national elections.

“There are many major challenges ahead, not just with the electoral struggle but also with the issues confronting the people because of the bankruptcy of the Arroyo regime”, said Bayan secretary-general Renato Reyes.

Representatives of the alliance’s member-organizations nationwide as well as delegates from Bayan chapters abroad will gather for the three-day Congress. Considered as the highest decision-making body of Bayan, the Congress – last convened in 2004 – will review the past four years of mass campaigns and struggles the alliance has engaged in.

It will also take a look at the level of consolidation and expansion Bayan has achieved during the period. The Congress is expected to outline Bayan’s program for the next three years as it continues to exercise its role in the anti-imperialist, anti-feudal, and anti-fascist struggle of the Filipino people.

Bayan’s Congress comes amid the worst socioeconomic crisis facing the country and its people. The global recession, the worst since the Great Depression of the 1930s, has intensified the permanent crisis of Philippine underdevelopment and worsened job scarcity and poverty.

This is further aggravated by the continued implementation of neoliberal economic policies of the Arroyo administration, which has isolated itself from the people by engaging in electoral fraud, massive corruption, human rights violations, and perpetuation in power and imperialist domination through charter change (Cha-cha). It has totally sold out the country’s national patrimony and sovereignty to its imperialist patrons through the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) and free trade deals.

“We are confident that Bayan, our forces and our allies, are up to the challenge of playing a key role in the Filipino people’s united front against all forms of oppression and exploitation. The coming Congress should strengthen us in our resolve to tirelessly struggle for a truly democratic, progressive, and sovereign country”, Reyes said. #

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CA grants amparo, habeas data to Melissa Roxas

Posted on 06 May 2011 by admin

Paninindigan September 2009

By Rita Baua

“I will learn to die a thousand times and be resurrected.”
– Melissa Roxas, after her abduction and torture

Last August 27, the Court of Appeals (CA) granted the petition of kidnap and torture victim Melissa Roxas, for a writ of amparo and habeas data.

The ruling stemmed from a case filed by Roxas, a Filipino-American member of the US chapter of the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan), accusing the military of abducting and torturing her. The court, however, denied the appeal for it to order the inspection of Fort Magsaysay in Nueva Ecija where Roxas believes she was detained by her abductors.

Torture exists

In its decision, the CA said that evidence shows Roxas “was indeed abducted” and that there is substantial evidence indicating that there is threatened violation of Roxas’s right to security. It added that regardless of her bias and political beliefs, Roxas is entitled to protection from “other persons or entities who are threatening to violate (her) right safeguarded by the Writ of Amparo”.

Bayan welcomed the CA decision.  “(The court) recognized Melissa’s allegations that she was abducted, detained, and tortured by military elements… and that there was no truth to the AFP’s claim that it was staged-managed or self-inflicted”, said Bayan secretary-general Renato Reyes. He added that the decision boosted the fact that torture and other forms of human rights abuses exist under the Arroyo administration.

The writ of amparo provides protection to Roxas and her relatives in the Philippines while the habeas data prevents the military from disseminating alleged video, photos, and other documents of Roxas supposedly establishing her membership with the New People’s Army (NPA). “It violates her right to privacy and endangers her life”, the court said.

Melissa’s courage

The CA earlier warned that it could archive the case of Roxas if she does not appear personally before the court to testify about her ordeal in the hands of her abductors. She was then in the US with her family, trying to recover from the trauma caused by the incident.

But Roxas mustered the courage to return to the Philippines to pursue her fight for justice. “I want the world to know what happened because the Philippine government and the military should not get away with what happened to me…. Many families are still looking for their loved ones and many more are still missing”, said Roxas.

The Arroyo administration has been under fire for its atrocious human rights record. Data from the Karapatan Alliance for Human Rights show that the number of torture victims from January 2001 to March 2009 has reached 1,036 while victims of enforced disappearance reached 202. During the same period, there have been 1,013 victims of political killings.

Keeping the light

During her stay, Roxas also attended hearings scheduled by the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) and the House committee on human rights to retell her ordeal.

“Talking about that is like going back to that dark place. But knowing I spoke the truth about what happened to me keeps… silence and fear from drowning me. And instead, I get to keep that bit of light inside of me”, Roxas said.

Retired General and now Bantay party-list Rep. Jovito Palparan, widely believed as behind many of the killings, abduction, and torture of political activists, and ANAD party-list Rep. Pastor Alcover Jr., released alleged videos and photos of Roxas while in an NPA training camp.

The move was a bid to bolster the military claim that Roxas was a communist rebel and weaken the case against the military. But CHR chairperson Leila de Lima argued that the issue is not Roxas’s alleged ties with the NPA but whether the military abducted and tortured Roxas or not.

Fight continues

Through her lawyer, Roxas told Paninindigan that she has not been cowed by the horrible torture and abuse she went through. Roxas said she would continue her work until social justice and genuine democracy and freedom has been achieved by the Filipino people.

On the issue of inspecting Fort Magsaysay, Atty. Rex Fernandez, Roxas’s lawyer in the Philippines, said that they may ask the Supreme Court (SC) to reverse the CA decision.

Meanwhile, Roxas’s lawyer in the US, Atty. Nedo Valera, has already filed an official complaint with the US State Department and the United Nations (UN). He will be joined by American lawyer Atty. Leonard Wineglass, who has handled prominent cases such as the Cuban 5, in handling Roxas’s case in the US. #

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Bayan Canada launched

Posted on 05 May 2011 by admin

Paninindigan January 2009

Eighty-five people from across Canada representing 20 organizations from Victoria to Montreal gathered in Toronto on September 21, 2008 to witness the successful launch of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) Canada.  Present during the event was keynote speaker, Dr. Carol Pagaduan-Araullo, chairperson of Bayan Philippines, the multisectoral alliance of anti-imperialist and democratic organizations of the Filipino people.

Dr. Araullo delivered a presentation on the intensifying crisis of Philippine economic, social, political and cultural life. She also pointed out that through its mining companies, terrorist listing, and intent for the Visiting Forces Agreement negotiations with the Philippines, Canada is experiencing an “erosion of its image of benevolence”.

She underlined the need for Filipinos in Canada to raise the level of their political struggle in order to expose and oppose the anti-national and anti-people policies of the US-backed Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo regime, the complicity of the Canadian state in such, and to advance the rights and welfare of Filipinos in Canada. Dr. Araullo emphasized that Bayan Canada is this alliance for coordinating such struggles of Filipino organizations, finding synergies in their activities, and being their political campaign center.

“Several years ago while at a conference in Vancouver, and having witnessed the growing strength of the Filipino organizations here, I asked about the possibility of building a Bayan chapter in Canada… several years later I am happy to see that some organizations had taken this on and are now launching Bayan Canada on this important day,” said Dr. Araullo.

The launching of Bayan Canada marked the 36th anniversary of the martial law imposed by the Marcos dictatorship. The organizers of Bayan Canada wanted to make the link between the US-Marcos fascist regime and the current US backed Arroyo regime scheming to stay in power while perpetrating some of the worst human rights violations in Philippine history.

Also speaking at the launching was Bernadette Ellorin, Secretary-general of Bayan USA. Ellorin shared some lessons and summarized the advances in the struggles of Filipinos living in the US because of the formation of a Bayan chapter there. In a statement, the Bayan chapter in the US expressed their solidarity and commended the years of painstaking work to build the organizations in Canada that have promoted the national democratic movement in the Philippines for decades.

“As with the formation of the Bayan USA in 2005, we understand that the formation of Bayan Canada had its share of struggles before breaking through and moving forward… the formation of Bayan Canada by far signifies a higher level of commitment to advance the national democratic line in the Philippines on a widespread level,” the statement read.

Sending a solidarity message for the International League of People’s Struggle (ILPS) was its chairperson, Prof. Jose Maria Sison. In the recorded message played for the assembly, Prof. Sison highlighted the worsening world economic crisis that will see imperialist and reactionary forces gearing to use the state as a system of organized violence to intimidate and attack the people in anticipation of growing mass protests and resistance.

“It is therefore necessary for Bayan Canada and its component organizations to intensify their efforts to arouse, organize and mobilize the Filipinos in Canada and thus to assert, defend and promote their rights and interests,” said Prof. Sison..

The presentations were followed by an introduction of the Bayan Canada national organizing committee, and a lively question and answer period. Dr. Constancio “Chandu” Claver, formerly the chairperson of party-list Bayan Muna (BM) in Kalinga and now based in Victoria BC, summarized the discussions and outlined the important tasks for Bayan Canada.

The assembly affirmed the Bayan Canada national organizing committee and its chairperson Dr. “Chandu” Claver and its work leading to the first congress of Bayan Canada. Bayan Canada is calling on all patriotic Filipino organizations in Canada to join in advancing the Filipino people’s movement for national liberation and democracy. (Press Release – Bayan Canada) (END)

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Thousands join broad anti-Cha-cha protest

Posted on 05 May 2011 by admin

Paninindigan January 2009

Singing “We wish you wala nang Cha-cha” to the tune of a popular Christmas carol, some 7,000 to 8,000 people joined the interfaith prayer assembly and protest action against Charter change last December 12, 2008 in Ayala Avenue, Makati City.

Multisectoral group Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan), one of the main organizers, described the activity as the broadest gathering yet of various political forces to express rage against the planned term extension of Mrs. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo through Cha-cha. More than 70 organizations took part in the prayer assembly and protest.

Speaking before the crowd that includes several senators and congressmen, religious leaders, civil society personalities, former government officials, and corruption whistle-blowers, among others, Bayan chairperson Dr. Carol Pagaduan-Araullo said, “The Filipino people, even the entire Philippine Senate, are opposed to Cha-cha. It should send a clear message to Mrs. Arroyo and her allies that it is time to quit moves to revise the Charter and extend her term in office”.

Araullo added that by insisting on Cha-cha through the Constituent assembly (Con-ass) mode, Arroyo’s allies at the House of Representatives will only exacerbate the current political crisis.

Member-organizations and allies of Bayan assembled at the Rustan’s Department Store along Ayala Avenue and held a short program. The group then marched towards nearby Paseo de Roxas to join the other groups for the interfaith prayer assembly at around 4:00 PM. The Bayan contingent carried huge Christmas decors marked with anti-Cha cha slogans. They also brought Christmas trees, wreaths, gift boxes and giant candles as part of a colorful march of several thousands. Bayan’s regional chapters also held simultaneous actions in Baguio, Central Luzon, Southern Tagalog, Bicol, Iloilo, Cebu, Tacloban, Davao and Cagayan de Oro.

La Union Representative Victor Ortega, chair of the House committee on constitutional amendment, recently said that “depending on the discussions”, committee members will vote on the mode to implement Cha-cha before January ends. But Mrs. Arroyo’s political party, the Kabalikat ng Malayang Pilipino (Kampi), has been gathering signatures from House members since last year for the Con-ass mode.

Under the Kampi scheme, the House and the Senate will be convened into single Con-ass and vote together on charter amendments. Many quarters see the scheme as a ploy to perpetuate Mrs. Arroyo in power and for Kampi to consolidate its hold on the government since the Kampi-dominated House can easily overwhelm the 23-member Senate.

Cha-cha proponents desperately try to conceal their narrow political agenda by claiming they only want to change the Constitution’s economic provisions as contained in Speaker Prospero Nograles’s House Bill (HB) 737. “What they don’t tell us is that once the Con-ass is convened, nothing can stop it from revising any provision in the Charter including the removal of term limits or making Mrs. Arroyo Prime Minister for life”, Araullo said.

Bayan has also noted that even the proposals to revise the economic provisions in the Constitution are patently anti-people. The Cha-cha proponents argue that the country has failed to develop supposedly due to restrictive constitutional provisions on foreign investment, such as foreign ownership of land. They argue that liberalizing the economy would help the Philippines in this time of the US financial crisis.

But for decades, and especially since the 1990s, the country has been significantly opening up its economy to foreign capital. A recent Bayan study showed that from 2001-2007, almost 4 million workers were jobless per year and the annual unemployment was at 11.3%. A total of 61,476 firms went bankrupt or reduced work force from 2000 to 2007 – most of them small and medium Filipino establishments unable to compete with foreign firms.

“This shows that further liberalizing the economy through Cha-cha will only aggravate our already bad situation. What we must implement are measures that will protect our local industries and livelihood, especially amid a raging global recession”, added Araullo.

Bayan said that the December 12 rally is just the start of people’s growing protest against Cha-cha. The group vowed of more, bigger, and wider actions if Mrs. Arroyo and her allies will insist on changing the Constitution before the 2010 elections. (END)

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