All NDFP representatives must be released for the peace talks to continue

Ang Bayan
21 June 2011
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All the detained consultants of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) must be released in order for the peace talks between the NDFP and the Government of the Philippines (GPH) to continue. The continued incarceration by the GPH of NDFP representatives is the biggest obstacle to the progress of the peace negotiations.

Seventeen (17) NDFP consultants to the peace talks are currently detained in various prisons of the GPH. Their capture and imprisonment are blatant violations of the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG) which protects them as official appointees of the NDFP in the peace negotiations. Two of the 17 consultants were arrested and imprisoned under the Aquino regime.

The peace talks could only move forward if the NDFP consultants are released. This will not only make it possible for the consultants to participate in the talks, it will also give the GPH the opportunity to rectify its violations of the JASIG. Compliance with the JASIG was among the commitments it entered into in its joint declaration with the NDFP in January. Fulfilling these commitments serves as an indicator of the GPH's seriousness and capability to implement agreements entered into in the peace negotiations.

Five months have passed, however, and the NDFP consultants are still imprisoned. Worse, the GPH representative has dismissed the issue of complying with the JASIG, describing it as a secondary concern of the peace talks. The GPH's negation of the JASIG's importance raises the big question of whether the GPH could even be trusted to fulfill the other agreements on social and economic reforms as well as political and constitutional reforms which comprise the next substantive agenda of the talks.

The GPH's failure to comply with its obligations regarding the JASIG and free the detained NDFP consultants has resulted in the postponement of meetings scheduled for June in Norway by the Reciprocal Working Committee on Socio-Economic Reforms and the Working Group on Political and Constitutional Reforms. If the Aquino regime remains obstinate in its refusal to release the NDFP consultants, it will be putting the talks in serious jeopardy.

The NDFP and the Filipino people remain interested in pursuing the peace negotiations in an effort to resolve the basic issues that lie at the roots of the raging civil war in the country. Through this, the NDFP and the entire revolutionary movement wish to challenge the reactionary regime to unite with them in implementing a program that will address the democratic and national aspirations of the Filipino people.

Despite mouthing the slogan of "peace," however, the Aquino regime has yet to make a substantive move that would significantly advance the peace negotiations. Its advocacy of peace will prove to be hollow if it continues to take a hardline stance on releasing the NDFP consultants.
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Present Ka Bart and allow him to speak freely--NDF-ST

The National Democratic Front in Southern Tagalog (NDF-ST) has demanded that Comrade Tirso "Ka Bart" Alcantara be presented to the media so he could speak freely and answer questions on the conditions in his prison.

The NDF-ST hurled this challenge in response to claims by the military that Ka Bart himself has said that he is being treated well in his place of detention and that he has belied reports that he is being chained to his bed.

Ka Bart is one of the NDF's consultants in the peace negotiations. He was arrested on January 4 and is currently detained at Fort Bonifacio. His continued incarceration is a violation of the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG).

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Raising tensions over Spratlys, a US design

The Aquino government and the Armed Forces of the Philippines have continuously been challenging China on the disputed Spratly Islands. The Aquino government's stance hews to the US imperialist design of stoking diplomatic and military tensions in the South China Sea in order to justify Philippine requests for US military "assistance."

Despite official statements from Malacañang that it prefers a diplomatic approach, continuing provocative declarations from Aquino's military do not help in efforts to find a peaceful resolution. A few days before, the Aquino government had condemned China for "intruding" in the Spratlys after Filipino fishermen supposedly discovered structures erected by the Chinese government in one of the disputed islands.

The Chinese government had issued arrogant and undiplomatic statements claiming sole sovereignty over the Spratlys which completely disregarded the multi-country claims over the disputed islands.

The US has long been seeking to deploy its naval fleet in the South China Sea in an effort to counter the buildup of China's military strength, secure the international sea routes to ensure the free flow of US commodities in the region, put economic pressure on China and allow US companies to explore oil and mineral resources in the area.

The Aquino government is proving to all and sundry that it is willing to be used as a pawn in the US' global strategy in the region. It hypocritically asserts sovereignty over the Spratly islands while allowing the US imperialists to blatantly trample on Philippine sovereignty.

A striking example is the permanent stationing of the Joint Special Operations Task Force-Philippines (JSOTF-P), a 700-strong unit under the US Pacific Command that maintains its headquarters inside Camp Navarro in Zamboanga City. Another example is the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) which allows the unhampered intrusion of US military troops in any part of the Philippines.

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People's militia resists 27th IB in Davao del Sur



The NPA Valentin Palamine Regional Operations Command in Far South Mindanao Region (FSMR) commended the gallantry of a people's militia unit that fought it out with soldiers of the 27th IB on June 6 in Barangay Malawanit, Magsaysay, Davao del Sur. The military suffered six casualties--two dead and four wounded. On the other hand, a member of the people's militia--Antonio "Dondon" Camag, Jr., a 22-year old B'laan warrior--sacrificed his life.

The firefight occurred in the course of the B'laan's defense of their ancestral lands from being seized by giant mining companies such as Xstrata-SMI and Alberto Mining Corp. (AMC). These two companies have been using the 27th IB as a security force.

The AMC which operates on an 8,000-hectare concession is part of Lucio Tan Conglomerates. It is also a dummy of Xstrata-SMI which operates within the FTAA area of the former Western Mining Corp. The area comprises 99.000 hectares of gold-rich territory along the South Cotabato-Sultan Kudarat-Saranggani-Davao del Sur boundary.

In a statement, Valentin Palamine Command spokesperson Ka Dencio Madrigal vowed that the people will continue to resist the giant multinational companies and their personnel.

A thousand Dondons will arise and take up arms to defend their land and fight intruders and landgrabbers who are out to seize their gold and other natural resources.

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NPA ambushes 9th Special Forces in ComVal

Red fighters of the Davao-Agusan Command of the New People's Army in Southern Mindanao Region ambushed soldiers from the 9th Special Forces Company in the morning of June 7 in Barangay Belmonte, Laak, Compostela Valley. The enemy suffered six casualties--two dead and four wounded.

The NPA ambush was mounted amid relentless combat operations by the 10th ID in the villages of Enakayan, Mabuhay, Belmonte, Adap, Ampawid, Milale, New Bethlehem and Datu Dabaw that had been going on for more than a week already.

In a desperate attempt to cover up their military setbacks, 10th ID spokesperson Lt. Col. Lyndon Paniza immediately claimed that the ambushed unit was escorting personnel of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and formed part of an anti-illegal logging task force.

NPA Davao-Agusan Command spokesperson Ka Boyet Makatindog belied Paniza's claims, saying the elements of the 3rd Special Forces Battalion were not part of an anti-illegal logging task force but were actually sent to reinforce military troops targeted in an NPA harassment operation on June 6 in Kilometer 16, Barangay Datu Dabaw in Laak. The AFP troops were aboard a KM 450 military truck.

To court public sympathy, Lieutenant Colonel Paniza insinuated that it was the NPA that was protecting illegal loggers. But the people know too well that the most powerful illegal loggers such as the "Big 4" are being protected by an AFP general in cahoots with the Philippine Army and Philippine National Police. In fact, "Big 4" personnel have been hauling newly cut logs in an area close to the 9th Special Forces Company headquarters and in front of the 60th IB headquarters in Doña Andrea, Asuncion, Davao del Norte.

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Oplan Bayanihan's fangs are showing in southern Mindoro

After barely a few months in operation in Mindoro, Oplan Bayanihan has bared its hidden fangs.

From January 14 to June 6, Philippine Army battalions under the 203rd Brigade launched a widespread and relentless military operation in the towns of southern Mindoro. The operation had three phases--the first, from January 14 to February 7; the second, from March 14 to April 7; and the third, from May 1 to the first week of June. The 80th IB from Mindoro Occidental and the 4th IB from Mindoro Oriental launched coordinated combat operations in the interior areas of Rizal, San Jose and Magsaysay towns in Mindoro Occidental and in Roxas, Mansalay and Bulalacao towns in Mindoro Oriental.

The enemy launched numerous and frequent combat operations in the interior villages, especially along the two provinces' borders.

While company-size troops conducted combat operations, the enemy likewise maintained tactical command posts in barangays such as Cambayang-Cabugao and San Isidro in Bulalacao and in Pornaga, Magsaysay.

A number of Peace and Development Teams (PDT) have also been assigned in villages covered by the operations. These teams conduct showcase activities in the barangays to cover up the brutality of their operations and the fear they instill among the masses.

In one incident indicative of the AFP operating troops' vulgar behavior, they forced a man they found bathing in a spring to pose in his underwear and took pictures of him.

Under Oplan Bayanihan, they have not stopped their old habits such as stealing chickens and other farm animals from the peasants and Mangyan minorities, taking honey and other produce from the farmers and training guns at, beating up and interrogating people they happen to meet along the way.

Oplan Bayanihan is sure to fail if this is what the AFP means by its oft-repeated slogans of respecting human rights and advocating peace. The people will utterly loathe the US-Aquino regime's counterrevolutionary military campaign.

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NDF-Negros belies military's prevarications

The National Democratic Front in Negros denied the fabricated reports that have been relentlessly issued by the spokesmen of the Philippine Army 3rd Infantry Division, particularly the 302nd and 303rd Brigades.

In a statement, NDF-Negros spokesperson Ka Frank Fernandez said Col. Jonas Sumagaysay, Lt. Col. Gubat Sgt. Batoy Imbang and other military psywar experts have been lying through their teeth about so-called encounters and other fantastic goings-on. These falsities have all been concocted in accordance with directives from the AFP General Headquarters and all its area commands nationwide to launch massive psywar offensives as a major component of Oplan Bayanihan.

In one example, the 3rd ID's officers in charge of psywar claimed that five Red fighters were killed and nine others were wounded in an encounter between the military and the NPA on April 14 in Sitio Dugma, Barangay Malatas, Calatrava, Negros Occidental.

This is the exact opposite of what really happened. A report from the NPA Roselyn Pelle Command said that Red fighters had attacked 15 soldiers of the 60th IB who had been resting in a hut. The soldiers had been exhausted after conducting clearing operations and did not notice the approaching NPA forces. Four soldiers were killed on the spot in the first volley of shots and several others were wounded. The other military troopers scampered away.

On top of this military defeat, Capt. Ariel Montenegro, commander of the 2nd Scout Ranger Company and another soldier were killed on May 3 in a firefight with the NPA in Sitio Avocado, Barangay Talalac, Sta. Catalina, Negros Oriental. The Scout Rangers had planned on encircling a group of Red fighters who were in a temporary encampment when the NPA seized the military initiative. The NPA Mt. Talinis Command said that the military officers were forced to admit their losses after the media had gotten wind of the gunbattle.

The NPA-Negros said such lies are being peddled to comply with a Philippine Army policy to conceal their battlefield casualties as much as possible from the media.

In order to recover from their shame, the psywar experts claimed that the NPA also suffered many casualties.

They also concocted a preposterous tale that a "Ka Demlan" had allegedly raped an underage female Red fighter.

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Road-building in Samar is part of Oplan Bayanihan

Road-building projects, especially in areas considered as strongholds of the revolutionary movement are part and parcel of Oplan Bayanihan's counterinsurgency program.

The 8th Infantry Division's much-vaunted road-building and -repair projects in Samar island's three provinces will purportedly be the key to peace and progress in the area and uplift the masses from their poverty.

The National Democratuc Front in Eastern Visayas (NDF-EV), however, strongly belied these claims. In a statement, NDF-EV spokesperson Fr. Santiago Salas said the P4.6 billion road project being touted by 8th ID chief Gen. Mario Chan will be funded by a $434 million grant from the US Millennium Challenge Corporation (US MCC) approved the previous year. He called the project a "road to war" because its targeted areas are priority areas for attack by the 8th ID. The roads will facilitate the deployment and movements of AFP forces. It is not true that the roads will serve the Samareños' interests. Instead, it will intensify the military's fascist aggression.

US imperialism's interventionist policy is also apparent as the US MCC grant's target is Samar, which both US imperialism and the AFP believe to be a bastion of the revolutionary movement. Fr. Salas also belied General Chan's statement that the road project will bring peace and development to Samar. He said it will only bring about more intensified corruption and human rights violations.

Corrupt government officials and high-ranking AFP officers have long treated infrastructure projects as milch cows. In fact, there are roads that have repeatedly been reported as cemented or asphalted but are virtually impassable to vehicles because of huge potholes.

What the Samareños really need is genuine agrarian reform, national industrialization and basic social services such as health services and schools. The real reason behind the Samareños' poverty is not the absence of roads but the continued existence of semicolonial and semifeudal conditions characterized by backward agriculture, exploitative relations of production between the landlords and the peasantry and bureaucratic corruption.

Conspirator, not partner. In another statement, Salas also assailed the "Kasugbong" (Partner) program which is being touted as the answer to widespread extrajudicial killings and human rights violations in Samar province.

The so-called "Kasugbong" or Multi-Sectoral Quick Reaction Team (MSQRT) is composed of the military, police and other government agencies, as well as non-governmental organizations. Sponsored by the Euro-Phil Justice Support Program, The Asia Foundation, and the Ateneo Human Rights Center, it is no different from past fora and dialogues that tackled human rights violations but never took to account the real masterminds and perpetrators of extrajudicial killings--the military, paramilitary forces and the police. Even as the "Kasugbong" program is being pushed, freelance journalist Ericson Acosta remains incarcerated at the Calbayog Sub-provincial Jail. Acosta, who was illegally arrested in Bay-ang, San Jorge, Samar in February is a victim of military atrocity.

In fact, "Kasugbong" aims to deodorize and cover up the military's counterinsurgency operations. It is a grand deception being foisted on the people to conceal the true character of Oplan Bayanihan which purports to advocate human rights.

Meanwhile, General Chan has proposed the redeployment to Samar of the 43rd IB which was sent to Mindanao after the Maguindanao Massacre. Chan said there was a need for more military forces and admitted that the revolutionary forces continue to be strong in Samar's three provinces.Coal mining in Isabela, a looming menace

With the Aquino regime's blessings, the Philippine National Oil Company-Exploration Company (PNOC-EC) is deceiving the people of central Isabela to prepare for the return of coal mining in the area.

Since 2001, attempts by then Congentrix USA to mine coal in the area have all failed due to the people's strong resistance. Now there is a looming possibility that the peasants' lands will be seized as plans are afoot to resume coal mining projects. Past projects involved 64,000 hectares in Cauayan, Naguilian and Benito Soliven towns. Now the projects will cover the town of Reina Mercedes as well.

The PNOC-EC's information drives among the people are spreading a pack of lies. The company claims that new technology will alleviate the negative effects of mining and plant operations on the soil and air and the people's health and livelihood.

But strip mining, which is the company's preferred method, will indiscriminately clear agricultural areas and remove the topsoil in the search for coal. The PNOC is peddling the lie that the people have nothing to worry about, as these areas can allegedly be planted to crops once again after a few years.

The corporation also shrewdly claims that it will only be "borrowing" the land and will compensate for the "disturbance." The "disturbance" will not be of much consequence, anyway, claims the PNOC, since a fine relocation area has been prepared for residents affected by strip mining. The relocation site allegedly has housing and other facilities such as electricity, water, schools and health centers. The land will also allegedly be designed as fishponds, farms or whatever the peasants want.

The PNOC-EC conceals the fact that agricultural lands that have long been developed and have served as the source of livelihood of thousands of peasant families in Isabela will be seized due to coal mining. The project will further be a cause of deprivation to peasants who have long been suffering from the exorbitant cost of agricultural inputs as well as from various programs of the reactionary government.

Contrary to the corporation's claims, this mining project will cause further environmental degradation. Under strip mining, coal will be sourced from the shallowest parts of the soil. But coal from this source is also the most polluting kind. Strip mining is the most polluting method of mining.

Since the government and the corporation's objective in engaging in mining is to amass superprofits, so-called "responsible mining" can never be the country's norm. Capitalists involved in mining will continue to minimize expenditures in order to maximize profits. They view environmentally friendly methods as additional costs. In fact, the PNOC never bothered to clean up the area in Barangay Sta. Maria, Cauayan where it conducted its initial exploration activities. The area's soil and water remain polluted.

Isabela Gov. Faustino "Bodjie" Dy III also pretends to be against coal mining. The US-Aquino regime's Mining Revitalization Program, however, has deprived local governmens of the right to oppose exploration or any other mining activity. The DENR and the Mines and Geosciences Bureau also have the right to reverse any previous declaration or decision regarding ancestral lands.
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Soldiers kill civilian in Agusan del Sur

Soldiers killed an innocent civilian in Agusan del Sur and accused him of being a child warrior of the New People's Army (NPA). In North Cotabato, a peasant was illegally arrested while in Ifugao and Mountain Province, military abuses continue to be widespread.

June 9. A farmer from Sitio Alimodian, Barangay Banayal, Tulunan, North Cotabato was illegally arrested. Andres Amualla, 27, who was accused of hiding ammunition and explosives in his farm, was arrested by elements of the 68th IB.

Amualla is the younger brother of Dodong Amualla, who was abducted by 57th IB elements in 2009 and has not been surfaced. Although Andres Amualla has long resigned from the revolutionarry movement and even formally surrendered to the mayor of Tulunan last year, the military has not relented in harassing the family.

May 29. Elements of the 402nd Division Reconnaissance Coy (DRC) ambushed and killed Richard Paras, 20, a civilian from Magkalatag, Padiay, Agusan del Sur. The military claimed that Paras was a member of the NPA and was only 17 years old in a bid to falsely portray him as an NPA child warrior. Prior to this, guerrillas from the NPA's Front 21 figured in an encounter with a column from the 402nd DRC near the area where Paras was ambushed. All the NPA guerrillas were able to retreat safely although they left behind two rifles. They were surprised to hear over the radio the next day that a Red fighter had allegedly been killed in the encounter.

Last week of May up to the present. Soldiers conducting military operations ransacked the house of Efren Ligudon, a farmer from Nambazal, Kiling, Alfonso Lista, Ifugao on May 26. Ligudon's four young children were traumatized because of the incident. They cowered in fear in various hiding places inside their kitchen when the soldiers entered their house. On May 24, elements of the 5th ID broke into the house of Lino Asote in the same barangay by destroying a window. They stole a bolo, a bottle of cooking oil and several kilos of betel nut. The military took advantage of Asote and his neighbors' absence when the latter decided to accompany their fellow villager Delfin Uschung and his two nephews who were arrested and brought to a nearby detachment.

The soldiers conducting operations in Alfonso Lista form part of a bigger group of troopers marauding an area extending to the eastern part of Mountain Province. In the nearby village of Botigue, Paracelis, Mountain Province, the military has been using the Senior Citizen's Hall as a detachment. Several residents suspected of being NPA supporters are being tailed and placed under surveillance. A woman from Banga, Kiling was almost abducted. Soldiers forcibly harvested the masses' string beans and other vegetable crops. A piglet owned by a farmer was also killed after being kicked by a soldier.
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UCCP files civil suit against Arroyo

The United Council of Churches of the Philippines (UCCP) has filed a civil suit Gloria Arroyo on June 16 for murder, abduction, torture and other human rights violations committed against UCCP leaders and workers. It is the first case filed against Arroyo as commander in chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

Eighteen UCCP members were killed; one was abducted and remains missing to date; three were ambushed and wounded; and four were illegally arested, detained and tortured under the Arroyo regime. The case was filed by relatives of five slain UCCP pastors and leaders and by Pastor Berlin Guerrero, a victim of illegal arrest and torture.

The five victims of extrajudicial killing are Joel Baclao (killed November 2004 in Daraga, Albay); Edison Lapuz (killed May 2005 in Leyte); Raul Domingo (killed August 2005 in Palawan); Andy Pawican (killed May 2006 in Pantabangan, Nueva Ecija); and Noel Capulong (killed May 2006 in Calamba, Laguna). Guerrero was abducted in May 2007 in Biñan, Laguna by Naval Intelligence Security Forces, tortured and imprisoned for one and a half years.

The UCCP said the killings among their ranks fall within the framework of Arroyo's Oplan Bantay Laya (OBL) counterinsurgency program where progressive groups in the democratic mass movement were the object of relentless attacks. The UCCP was targeted under OBL because it was branded by the miltary as a front organization of the Communist Party of the Philippines.

The UCCP is asking Arroyo to pay P6 million to its organization; P500,000 to each of the six victims' families; P500,000 for exemplary damages; P300,000 to Guerrero; P300,000 for litigation costs; and P300,000 for attorney's fees.

Meanwhile, hearings have begun at the Quezon City Regional Trial Court on the civil suit filed by six of the Morong 43 against Arroyo and her military officers. It was the first civil suit filed against Arroyo.

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Guards open fire on peasants in Bukidnon



Security guards of the Central Mindanao University (CMU) in Musuan, Maramag, Bukidnon opened fire on the picket line of protesting farmers right in front of the school on June 14. The victim of the attack was the Buffalo-Tamaraw-Limus (BTL), an alliance of farmers asserting their right to the land they have long been tilling within the CMU. Three farmers--Abelardo Jardin, Gregorio Santillan and Larry de Vera--sustained bullet wounds. Weni Loable, Jose Benemerito and Marilou Portin were rushed to the hospital after sustaining serious injuries from the guards' beatings. The guards also confiscated the farmers' belongings.

The farmers had been hired by CMU to plant rice in more than 3,000 hectares of idle lands within the campus. After the CMU went bankrupt in 1986, the farmers decided to lease the land and continue their farming activities. They then formed the Kilusang Sariling Sikap. In 1987, eight hundred members of Kilusang Sariling Sikap applied to become beneficiaries of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP). They were granted a CLOA for 400 hectares in 1992. The CLOA was revoked in 2002.

After this, the CMU agreed to lease the land to the farmers for P4,000 annually for five years. As part of the agreement, the local government promised to find a relocation area for the farmers. After several years, however, this promise remained unfulfilled. The government now plans to relocate them to hinterland areas unsuitable for agriculture or where there are "peace and order problems."

The real reason behind the CMU's haste in evicting the farmers is the entry of Davao Agricultural Ventures Corporation (Davco), a pineapple and banana plantation. As part of the CMU's maneuvers to seize the land, soldiers and paramilitary forces under the 8th IB have had a growing presence, on top of the CMU's private security guards. Several cases of harassment against the farmers have already been documented by the human rights watchdog Karapatan.

To ensure the peasants' security, a farming schedule was set up. The farmers also put up a protest camp in front of CMU. The camp had been there for two weeks when the guards fired on it and dismantled the picket line.

The Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas condemned the brutal dispersal. Amihan, a coalition of peasant women's organizations demanded the investigation and arrest of guards employed by Chevron Security Agency who were involved in the shooting, and the cancellation of the agency's license. They called for the suspension of the CMU president for her accountability in the violent incident. Most of all, Amihan called for the junking of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program Extension with Reforms (CARPER) because of its failure to protect the farmers' interests.
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Supreme Court defers decision on Hacienda Luisita

The Supreme Court failed to issue a decision on June 14 regarding the United Luisita Workers Union's (ULWU) petition to cancel the Stock Distribution Option (SDO) at the hacienda and have the land distributed to the farmers and farm workers. The justices did not vote because four of them had dissenting opinions on the HLI case. They will be voting again on June 21.

The Hacienda Luisita farmers were deeply disappointed with the court's inaction. ULWU chair Lito Bais equated the Supreme Court's failure to issue a decision with the farm workers' continued suffering. He said it also gives the Cojuangco-Aquino family an opportunity to mount counter-maneuvers.

Bais added that the farm workers have been waiting for six years for a decision. The land must now be distributed to them after they had fought for it for a long time, said Bais. Their struggle culminated in a bloody massacre six years ago.

Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) secretary general Danilo Ramos disclosed that the Cojuangco-Aquino family has been maneuvering by organizing another referendum. The referendum may again pave the way for the non-cancellation of the SDO, especially in the absence of a court decision. The farm workers have decided to continue tilling the hacienda lands even without a court order.
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Escalating media repression

Attacks against the media have been mounting under Benigno Aquino III's regime. The latest victim is Romeo Olea, 49, a broadcaster at the dwEB in Camarines Sur. Olea was shot to death while he was on his way to the radio station in Nabua town in the morning of June 13.

He was known for strongly criticizing corruption, anomalies and state violence. Olea is the sixth media person killed under the Aquino regime and the third in 2011.

Aside from Olea, among the other media victims in Bicol are Mike Belen, also a broadcaser at dwEB who was killed in 2010. GMA-7's Arnel Eclarinal was beaten up in Pili, Camarines Sur in May by Maj. Sesenando Magbalot of the 9th ID Training Unit after Eclarinal exposed the existence of a video tape showing the torture of new military recruits.

Meanwhile, three other media persons fell victim to harassment in June.

Jerome Tabanganay, a broadcaster at dzRK Radyo ng Bayan-Kalinga was attacked by Gov. Jocel Baac at the station, threatened with death and hit in the mouth with a microphone. Tabanganay had already survived an attempt on his life in 2010 for his criticisms of the proliferation of the illegal numbers game jueteng in Kalinga.

In Davao City, the Customs Collectors Association of the Philippines published a paid advertisement against Philippine Daily Inquirer correspondent Jeffrey Tupas for his exposé on the Davao Bureau of Customs' failure to stop rice smuggling.

In Cotabato City, dxMS broadcaster Vern Simon reported receiving death threats since May. On June 1, soldiers from the Marine Battalion Landing Team intelligence unit barged into the radio station looking for Simon, claiming that they had come to provide him protection because of the threats to his life.

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7 activists arrested

Police arrested seven activists after the latter launched a lightning rally in Laguna. Five of them are students of the University of the Philippines-Los Baños and two are members of Anakpawis-Southern Tagalog.

The youth activists launched their protest action during Benigno Aquino III's inauguration of a statue of Dr. Jose Rizal in Calamba City. They were charged with alarm and grave scandal and are temporarily detained at the Calamba City Hall.

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SC orders Cadapan, Empeño release

The Supreme Court ordered the military to release Sherlyn Cadapan and Karen Empeño, student activists from the University of the Philippines and their companion, farmer Manuel Merino. The Supreme Court said that the 7th ID and the 24th IB should immediately comply with the Court of Appeals order in 2008 to release the three victims.

Cadapan, Empeño and Merino were abducted by men under Gen. Jovito Palparan in Hagonoy, Bulacan in 2006. They were severely tortured in various military camps.Rights group slams repressive Leyte ordinance

Katungod-Sinirangan Bisayas (Katungod-SB) roundly criticized an ordinance passed by the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Leyte prohibiting civilian groups from conducting activities in the province without permission from the governor. Aside from the governor, they should also seek permission from other officials such as the chief of police and the barangay captain in the village where the activity is to be held.

Sangguniang Panlalawigan Ordinance 2011-02 covers civilian groups, non-government organizations and mass organizations providing community services and running development programs, conducting research, engaging in leisure activities and launching fact-finding missions. But it does not prohibit the military from scouring any part of Leyte. Violators will be fined from P1,000 to P5,000 or imprisoned from one to six months.

The Sangguniang Panlalawigan claims that the ordinance was passed to prevent the recurrence of cases like the killing of scientist Leonardo Co in November 2010. But Katungod-SB said it was clear that this was an attempt to stop the investigation and cover up the 19th IB's accountability for the crime. It is also part of Oplan Bayanihan's thrust of strengthening the role of local branches of the reactionary government in counterinsurgency.

A similar ordinance had also been passed earlier in Negros at the instance of the 3rd ID.

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PLGA responds to Operation Green Hunt with tactical offensives

The People's Liberation Guerrilla Army (PLGA) under the Communist Party of India (Maoist) launched a series of tactical offensives in Dandakaranya state from April to May this year. These offensives were the PLGA's response to the widespread human rights violations committed by the reactionary government's armed minions against the people in the region.

June 9. The PLGA ambushed a team of policemen traveling towards the Chhattisgarh Armed Force (CAF) camp in Nayanpur district. Seven policemen were killed and two high-powered firearms were seized. The CAF camp was put up during the second phase of Operation Green Hunt, a massive and brutal counterinsurgency operation by the Indan government against the Maoists. That same day, the guerrillas also detonated a bomb on a police MPV (mine-proof vehicle), killing ten policemen.

May 23. Guerrillas ambushed a group of policemen in Odisha, killing nine of them, including a high-ranking official.

May 19. The PLGA launched an ambush in Nargonda in Gadchiroli district, killing Chinna Venta, the notorious commander of a paramilitary group run by the reactionary military. Almost all families in Gadchiroli have fallen victim to the terrorism and abuses of Chinna Venta's group.

May 17. Seven elements of the Central Police Reserve Force (CPRF) were killed and one was wounded when guerrillas detonated a bomb on their vehicle.

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Hundreds of thousands of Greeks launch protests

Up to half a million Greeks launched a protest action in Athens on June 5 to demand the resignation of the ruling regime and the revocation of economic policies imposed by the "troika." The "troika" refers to the joint authority of the International Monetary Fund, the European Union and the European Central Bank.

The Greek people are strongly opposed to agreements that would privatize the nation's public assets in exchange for new credit from the troika. They are also opposed to the levying of new taxes and budget reductions for social services. The gathering was the largest in 20 years.

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Anti-nuke protests in Japan gather strength

Thousands of Japanese protested on June 10 to assail their government's inutility in the face of a nuclear crisis. They demanded a stop to the use of atomic power to create energy.

Three months have passed since the gigantic tsunami and earthquake in Fukushima, Japan that resulted in the biggest nuclear calamity in 25 years. Up to 23,000 people were killed in the back to back disasters which also damaged the nuclear plant in Fukushima, causing radiation to leak.

Workers, students and other sectors in major Japanese cities marched, carrying banners that said "No nukes" and "No more Fukushima." A rally was launched in front of the headquarters of TEPCO (Tokyo Electric Power Corporation), the operator of the Fukushima nuclear plant. The rallyists assailed the government and the company for refusing to disclose the extent and gravity of the nuclear radiation leak. Three reactors of the Daiichi-Fukushima plant located in northeastern Japan were destroyed after they were hit by the strong tsunami and earthquake in March. The high levels of radiation have resulted in the forced evacuation of 80,000 residents living around the plant.

The breadth and tenacity of the anti-nuclear protests have forced the government to stop the operations of the nuclear plants in Hamaoka in May. It has also put a stop to the operations of 19 out of the 54 plants running before the disasters struck.

Since the nuclear crisis in Japan, anti-nuclear protests have been spreading in other parts of the world. In Germany, up to 200,000 protested in May to demand that the Merkel government put a stop to the country's nuclear program. This has forced Merkel to declare that the country's nuclear plants will be running only until 2024. Strong protest actions were also held in Switzerland, the UK, Austria and Spain, among others. The protesters have been pushing the European Commission to meet and revise the nuclear programs of the countries under its jurisdiction.
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Soldiers kill civilian in Agusan del Sur

Soldiers killed an innocent civilian in Agusan del Sur and accused him of being a child warrior of the New People's Army (NPA). In North Cotabato, a peasant was illegally arrested while in Ifugao and Mountain Province, military abuses continue to be widespread.

June 9. A farmer from Sitio Alimodian, Barangay Banayal, Tulunan, North Cotabato was illegally arrested. Andres Amualla, 27, who was accused of hiding ammunition and explosives in his farm, was arrested by elements of the 68th IB.

Amualla is the younger brother of Dodong Amualla, who was abducted by 57th IB elements in 2009 and has not been surfaced. Although Andres Amualla has long resigned from the revolutionarry movement and even formally surrendered to the mayor of Tulunan last year, the military has not relented in harassing the family.

May 29. Elements of the 402nd Division Reconnaissance Coy (DRC) ambushed and killed Richard Paras, 20, a civilian from Magkalatag, Padiay, Agusan del Sur. The military claimed that Paras was a member of the NPA and was only 17 years old in a bid to falsely portray him as an NPA child warrior. Prior to this, guerrillas from the NPA's Front 21 figured in an encounter with a column from the 402nd DRC near the area where Paras was ambushed. All the NPA guerrillas were able to retreat safely although they left behind two rifles. They were surprised to hear over the radio the next day that a Red fighter had allegedly been killed in the encounter.

Last week of May up to the present. Soldiers conducting military operations ransacked the house of Efren Ligudon, a farmer from Nambazal, Kiling, Alfonso Lista, Ifugao on May 26. Ligudon's four young children were traumatized because of the incident. They cowered in fear in various hiding places inside their kitchen when the soldiers entered their house. On May 24, elements of the 5th ID broke into the house of Lino Asote in the same barangay by destroying a window. They stole a bolo, a bottle of cooking oil and several kilos of betel nut. The military took advantage of Asote and his neighbors' absence when the latter decided to accompany their fellow villager Delfin Uschung and his two nephews who were arrested and brought to a nearby detachment.

The soldiers conducting operations in Alfonso Lista form part of a bigger group of troopers marauding an area extending to the eastern part of Mountain Province. In the nearby village of Botigue, Paracelis, Mountain Province, the military has been using the Senior Citizen's Hall as a detachment. Several residents suspected of being NPA supporters are being tailed and placed under surveillance. A woman from Banga, Kiling was almost abducted. Soldiers forcibly harvested the masses' string beans and other vegetable crops. A piglet owned by a farmer was also killed after being kicked by a soldier.

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UCCP files civil suit against Arroyo

The United Council of Churches of the Philippines (UCCP) has filed a civil suit Gloria Arroyo on June 16 for murder, abduction, torture and other human rights violations committed against UCCP leaders and workers. It is the first case filed against Arroyo as commander in chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

Eighteen UCCP members were killed; one was abducted and remains missing to date; three were ambushed and wounded; and four were illegally arested, detained and tortured under the Arroyo regime. The case was filed by relatives of five slain UCCP pastors and leaders and by Pastor Berlin Guerrero, a victim of illegal arrest and torture.

The five victims of extrajudicial killing are Joel Baclao (killed November 2004 in Daraga, Albay); Edison Lapuz (killed May 2005 in Leyte); Raul Domingo (killed August 2005 in Palawan); Andy Pawican (killed May 2006 in Pantabangan, Nueva Ecija); and Noel Capulong (killed May 2006 in Calamba, Laguna). Guerrero was abducted in May 2007 in Biñan, Laguna by Naval Intelligence Security Forces, tortured and imprisoned for one and a half years.

The UCCP said the killings among their ranks fall within the framework of Arroyo's Oplan Bantay Laya (OBL) counterinsurgency program where progressive groups in the democratic mass movement were the object of relentless attacks. The UCCP was targeted under OBL because it was branded by the miltary as a front organization of the Communist Party of the Philippines.

The UCCP is asking Arroyo to pay P6 million to its organization; P500,000 to each of the six victims' families; P500,000 for exemplary damages; P300,000 to Guerrero; P300,000 for litigation costs; and P300,000 for attorney's fees.

Meanwhile, hearings have begun at the Quezon City Regional Trial Court on the civil suit filed by six of the Morong 43 against Arroyo and her military officers. It was the first civil suit filed against Arroyo.

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Guards open fire on peasants in Bukidnon

Security guards of the Central Mindanao University (CMU) in Musuan, Maramag, Bukidnon opened fire on the picket line of protesting farmers right in front of the school on June 14. The victim of the attack was the Buffalo-Tamaraw-Limus (BTL), an alliance of farmers asserting their right to the land they have long been tilling within the CMU. Three farmers--Abelardo Jardin, Gregorio Santillan and Larry de Vera-- sustained bullet wounds. Weni Loable, Jose Benemerito and Marilou Portin were rushed to the hospital after sustaining serious injuries from the guards' beatings. The guards also confiscated the farmers' belongings.

The farmers had been hired by CMU to plant rice in more than 3,000 hectares of idle lands within the campus. After the CMU went bankrupt in 1986, the farmers decided to lease the land and continue their farming activities. They then formed the Kilusang Sariling Sikap. In 1987, eight hundred members of Kilusang Sariling Sikap applied to become beneficiaries of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP). They were granted a CLOA for 400 hectares in 1992. The CLOA was revoked in 2002.

After this, the CMU agreed to lease the land to the farmers for P4,000 annually for five years. As part of the agreement, the local government promised to find a relocation area for the farmers. After several years, however, this promise remained unfulfilled. The government now plans to relocate them to hinterland areas unsuitable for agriculture or where there are "peace and order problems."

The real reason behind the CMU's haste in evicting the farmers is the entry of Davao Agricultural Ventures Corporation (Davco), a pineapple and banana plantation. As part of the CMU's maneuvers to seize the land, soldiers and paramilitary forces under the 8th IB have had a growing presence, on top of the CMU's private security guards. Several cases of harassment against the farmers have already been documented by the human rights watchdog Karapatan.

To ensure the peasants' security, a farming schedule was set up. The farmers also put up a protest camp in front of CMU. The camp had been there for two weeks when the guards fired on it and dismantled the picket line.

The Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas condemned the brutal dispersal. Amihan, a coalition of peasant women's organizations demanded the investigation and arrest of guards employed by Chevron Security Agency who were involved in the shooting, and the cancellation of the agency's license. They called for the suspension of the CMU president for her accountability in the violent incident. Most of all, Amihan called for the junking of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program Extension with Reforms (CARPER) because of its failure to protect the farmers' interests.

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PLGA responds to Operation Green Hunt with tactical offensives

The People's Liberation Guerrilla Army (PLGA) under the Communist Party of India (Maoist) launched a series of tactical offensives in Dandakaranya state from April to May this year. These offensives were the PLGA's response to the widespread human rights violations committed by the reactionary government's armed minions against the people in the region.

June 9. The PLGA ambushed a team of policemen traveling towards the Chhattisgarh Armed Force (CAF) camp in Nayanpur district. Seven policemen were killed and two high-powered firearms were seized. The CAF camp was put up during the second phase of Operation Green Hunt, a massive and brutal counterinsurgency operation by the Indan government against the Maoists. That same day, the guerrillas also detonated a bomb on a police MPV (mine-proof vehicle), killing ten policemen.

May 23. Guerrillas ambushed a group of policemen in Odisha, killing nine of them, including a high-ranking official.

May 19. The PLGA launched an ambush in Nargonda in Gadchiroli district, killing Chinna Venta, the notorious commander of a paramilitary group run by the reactionary military. Almost all families in Gadchiroli have fallen victim to the terrorism and abuses of Chinna Venta's group.

May 17. Seven elements of the Central Police Reserve Force (CPRF) were killed and one was wounded when guerrillas detonated a bomb on their vehicle.

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Hundreds of thousands of Greeks launch protests

Up to half a million Greeks launched a protest action in Athens on June 5 to demand the resignation of the ruling regime and the revocation of economic policies imposed by the "troika." The "troika" refers to the joint authority of the International Monetary Fund, the European Union and the European Central Bank.

The Greek people are strongly opposed to agreements that would privatize the nation's public assets in exchange for new credit from the troika. They are also opposed to the levying of new taxes and budget reductions for social services. The gathering was the largest in 20 years.

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Anti-nuke protests in Japan gather strength

Thousands of Japanese protested on June 10 to assail their government's inutility in the face of a nuclear crisis. They demanded a stop to the use of atomic power to create energy.

Three months have passed since the gigantic tsunami and earthquake in Fukushima, Japan that resulted in the biggest nuclear calamity in 25 years. Up to 23,000 people were killed in the back to back disasters which also damaged the nuclear plant in Fukushima, causing radiation to leak.

Workers, students and other sectors in major Japanese cities marched, carrying banners that said "No nukes" and "No more Fukushima." A rally was launched in front of the headquarters of TEPCO (Tokyo Electric Power Corporation), the operator of the Fukushima nuclear plant. The rallyists assailed the government and the company for refusing to disclose the extent and gravity of the nuclear radiation leak. Three reactors of the Daiichi-Fukushima plant located in northeastern Japan were destroyed after they were hit by the strong tsunami and earthquake in March. The high levels of radiation have resulted in the forced evacuation of 80,000 residents living around the plant.

The breadth and tenacity of the anti-nuclear protests have forced the government to stop the operations of the nuclear plants in Hamaoka in May. It has also put a stop to the operations of 19 out of the 54 plants running before the disasters struck.

Since the nuclear crisis in Japan, anti-nuclear protests have been spreading in other parts of the world. In Germany, up to 200,000 protested in May to demand that the Merkel government put a stop to the country's nuclear program. This has forced Merkel to declare that the country's nuclear plants will be running only until 2024. Strong protest actions were also held in Switzerland, the UK, Austria and Spain, among others. The protesters have been pushing the European Commission to meet and revise the nuclear programs of the countries under its jurisdiction.

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Rights group slams repressive Leyte ordinance

Katungod-Sinirangan Bisayas (Katungod-SB) roundly criticized an ordinance passed by the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Leyte prohibiting civilian groups from conducting activities in the province without permission from the governor. Aside from the governor, they should also seek permission from other officials such as the chief of police and the barangay captain in the village where the activity is to be held.

Sangguniang Panlalawigan Ordinance 2011-02 covers civilian groups, non-government organizations and mass organizations providing community services and running development programs, conducting research, engaging in leisure activities and launching fact-finding missions. But it does not prohibit the military from scouring any part of Leyte. Violators will be fined from P1,000 to P5,000 or imprisoned from one to six months.

The Sangguniang Panlalawigan claims that the ordinance was passed to prevent the recurrence of cases like the killing of scientist Leonardo Co in November 2010. But Katungod-SB said it was clear that this was an attempt to stop the investigation and cover up the 19th IB's accountability for the crime. It is also part of Oplan Bayanihan's thrust of strengthening the role of local branches of the reactionary government in counterinsurgency.

A similar ordinance had also been passed earlier in Negros at the instance of the 3rd ID.

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SC orders Cadapan, Empeño release

The Supreme Court ordered the military to release Sherlyn Cadapan and Karen Empeño, student activists from the University of the Philippines and their companion, farmer Manuel Merino. The Supreme Court said that the 7th ID and the 24th IB should immediately comply with the Court of Appeals order in 2008 to release the three victims.

Cadapan, Empeño and Merino were abducted by men under Gen. Jovito Palparan in Hagonoy, Bulacan in 2006. They were severely tortured in various military camps.

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Escalating media repression

Attacks against the media have been mounting under Benigno Aquino III's regime. The latest victim is Romeo Olea, 49, a broadcaster at the dwEB in Camarines Sur. Olea was shot to death while he was on his way to the radio station in Nabua town in the morning of June 13.

He was known for strongly criticizing corruption, anomalies and state violence. Olea is the sixth media person killed under the Aquino regime and the third in 2011.

Aside from Olea, among the other media victims in Bicol are Mike Belen, also a broadcaser at dwEB who was killed in 2010. GMA-7's Arnel Eclarinal was beaten up in Pili, Camarines Sur in May by Maj. Sesenando Magbalot of the 9th ID Training Unit after Eclarinal exposed the existence of a video tape showing the torture of new military recruits.

Meanwhile, three other media persons fell victim to harassment in June.

Jerome Tabanganay, a broadcaster at dzRK Radyo ng Bayan-Kalinga was attacked by Gov. Jocel Baac at the station, threatened with death and hit in the mouth with a microphone. Tabanganay had already survived an attempt on his life in 2010 for his criticisms of the proliferation of the illegal numbers game jueteng in Kalinga.

In Davao City, the Customs Collectors Association of the Philippines published a paid advertisement against Philippine Daily Inquirer correspondent Jeffrey Tupas for his exposé on the Davao Bureau of Customs' failure to stop rice smuggling.

In Cotabato City, dxMS broadcaster Vern Simon reported receiving death threats since May. On June 1, soldiers from the Marine Battalion Landing Team intelligence unit barged into the radio station looking for Simon, claiming that they had come to provide him protection because of the threats to his life.

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Supreme Court defers decision on Hacienda Luisita

The Supreme Court failed to issue a decision on June 14 regarding the United Luisita Workers Union's (ULWU) petition to cancel the Stock Distribution Option (SDO) at the hacienda and have the land distributed to the farmers and farm workers. The justices did not vote because four of them had dissenting opinions on the HLI case. They will be voting again on June 21.

The Hacienda Luisita farmers were deeply disappointed with the court's inaction. ULWU chair Lito Bais equated the Supreme Court's failure to issue a decision with the farm workers' continued suffering. He said it also gives the Cojuangco-Aquino family an opportunity to mount counter-maneuvers.

Bais added that the farm workers have been waiting for six years for a decision. The land must now be distributed to them after they had fought for it for a long time, said Bais. Their struggle culminated in a bloody massacre six years ago.

Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) secretary general Danilo Ramos disclosed that the Cojuangco-Aquino family has been maneuvering by organizing another referendum. The referendum may again pave the way for the non-cancellation of the SDO, especially in the absence of a court decision. The farm workers have decided to continue tilling the hacienda lands even without a court order.