Millions of youth are needed in the people's democratic revolution

Editorial, Ang Bayan
June 7, 2011
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More than ever, it is imperative that millions upon millions of youth be mobilized to take action in solidarity with the entire Filipino people.

The ever worsening crisis, exploitation and poverty are matched only by the people's burning desire to put an end to the ruling semicolonial and semifeudal system. Massive unemployment, the workers and employees' meager wages and inability to cope with the rapidly rising prices of food, oil and other main commodities, and the growing cost of education, health care and housing are increasingly harder to bear.

The living conditions of ordinary folk are made more miserable with the Aquino regime's stubborn adherence to policies and programs dictated by the imperialists led by the US. These policies further lay bare the economy for foreign monopoly capital to exploit the toiling masses' cheap labor, extract the country's natural resour-ces and amass superprofits. They allow landlords to intensify their ex-ploitation of the peasants and farm workers and corruption to pervade the reactionary state bureaucracy.

The state responds to the masses' grievances with ever worsening repression. It mouths the slogan of "peace" but relentlessly launches a bloody military campaign that aims to defeat the people's mass struggles and their armed resistance. The US-Aquino regime is opposed to resolving the raging civil war in the country through peaceful means.

In the face of all this, the people have nothing to fall back on but their organized strength and their revolutionary action. On this also rests the Filipino youth's hope for a better future. One of the key factor in the decisive advance of the people's revolutionary struggle is the presence of a politically conscious, organized and mobilizable mass of Filipino youth.

It is the duty of the entire Party to advance the revolutionary youth-student movement in order to arouse and en-courage the Fil-ipino youth to tread the path of national-democratic revolution. The youth's important role in waging revolution cannot be underestimated. They are open-minded and ready to accept new and revolutionary ideas and methods. They are vibrant in taking action and daring in struggle. They courageously wage revolution and have an ardent desire to carve a brighter future.

We must raise the consciousness of millions upon millions of youth and fire up their desire to serve the people and join them in making history. Varied and appropriate forms of propaganda and education must be undertaken in order to reach out to the youth within and outside schools, factories and communities. Concrete analyses of their concrete conditions must be undertaken. The revolutionary youth movement must zero in on the problems of student, worker, peasant, urban poor and professional youth. Only then can the correct calls be formulated and only then can progressive and revolutionary organizations take deep root among the youth.

To reach millions of youth, we must become adept at using all forms of propaganda. We should avail of traditional methods such as speeches, newspapers, leaflets, political graffiti, posters, songs, poetry, street theater and other cultural presentations. We must also use modern methods like email, websites, blogs, social networking, video, texting and the like. We must combine all this to rapidly propagate revolutionary ideas, stir the sensibilities and raise the consciousness of the Filipino youth and the Filipino people.

The youth we are able to reach and mobilize must be solidly organized in their numbers. It is the basic duty of every member to recruit new members. Members must be recruited from the ranks of the youth, wherever they may be. The recruitment process must be made simple, systematic and quick. Meetings can be conducted to call for recruits, accept applications and swear in new members. Cadres must be assigned to see to recruitment and education. New recruits must be given tasks based on their personal capacities and the organization's duties.

Rallies and other forms of collective action must be launched in order to address issues and air the youth and the people's stand and grievances. The youth and the people in general must grasp the fact that only through collective action can their democratic interests be advanced. Hundreds of thousands of youth must be mobilized in mass actions nationwide. As history has shown, not only will this facilitate the rapid expansion of the youth's organized strength. It can result in significant changes such as the ouster of despotic and corrupt regimes.

The revolutionary youth-student movement must develop expertise in mobilizing both fellow youth and the people. Everyone within their organizations must be mobilized to reach out to and mobilize the greater number of unorganized youth or those under other organizations or institutions. They must excel in united front tactics in order to be able to reach out to and mobilize the millions who are not yet within the ambit of national-democratic mass organizations.

As the youth's mass actions and struggles grow in strength, progressive and national-democratic mass organizations can rapidly expand their ranks and en-hance their influence. For the Party, these organizations must serve as wellsprings of cadres and members for various types of revolutionary formations and tasks. The most active elements must be recruited into the Kabataang Makabayan.

The youth must be encouraged to join en masse the New People's Army and armed struggle as well as mass struggles in the countryside. The participation of tens of thousands of revolutionary youth in the armed struggle will be a major factor in the advance of people's war to a new and higher level. The Party must recruit thousands of members and cadres from among the youth in order to continue fulfilling its tasks in leading the revolution with utmost vigor.

Implement JASIG, free the consultants--NDFP

Formal peace negotiations are not likely to take place if the Government of the Philippines (GPH) continues to refuse complying with its agreement with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) in January to free detained NDFP consultants. NDFP Negotiating Panel chair Comrade Luis Jalandoni aired this warning in his June 2 letter to Atty. Alex Padilla who chairs the GPH Negotiating Panel.

The GPH pledged in its joint communiqué with the NDFP dated January 18 that it would expedite the release of detained NDFP consultants and other personalities covered by the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG). Before the end of May, both Padilla and Presidential Peace Adviser Teresita Quintos-Deles urged Comrade Fidel Agcaoili, NDFP Negotiating Panel vice chair to postpone his return to Utrecht, The Netherlands as Benigno Aquino III would allegedly announce the release of political detainees on June 1. The date passed without any of the 17 detained NDFP consultants being released.

Among the imprisoned NDFP consultants is Alan Jazmines, a member of the NDFP Reciprocal Working Committee on Social and Economic Reforms (RWC-SER). Jazmines who was illegally arrested on February 14 will be unable to fulfill his crucial role in the RWC-SER because he continues to languish at the police detention center in Camp Crame, Quezon City. Instead, authorities have threatened to transfer him to Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig City.

Aside from Jazmines, NDFP Southern Tagalog consultant Tirso Alcantara is also detained and has been handcuffed to his bed since his arrest in January. It was Alcantara who signed the International Committee of the Red Cross document when the NPA released Maj. Noel Buan of the Philippine Army in April 2001. Alcantara is protected by the JASIG.

The NDFP said that the Aquino regime's failure to fulfill its pledge to immediately release political prisoners poses a serious obstacle to the peace talks. Discussions on socio-economic reforms as well as on political and constitutional reforms have been set for June.

The NDFP demanded concrete measures from the GPH to implement the commitments it made during formal talks held last February 15-21. There are currently more than 340 political prisoners awaiting concrete action from the GPH in compliance with the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL).

Forum on CASER

A forum on the Comprehensive Agreement on Socio-Economic Reforms (CASER) was held at St. Scholastica's College in Manila on May 13. The activity was sponsored by Pilgrims for Peace, an organization advancing just and lasting peace.

Three hunded representatives of various sectors attended the forum to listen to the programs that would be included in the CASER. The speakers were National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) representative Rafael Baylosis and Government of the Philippines (GPH) representative Ednar Dayanghirang.

Pilgrims for Peace convenor Fr. Rex Reyes said the CASER's objective is to draft a comprehensve socio-economic plan for genuine agrarian reform and national industrialization. He added that when this is achieved, and with the people's direct participation, we can attain the peace we all desire, .

The NDFP and GPH representatives presented two divergent views on the raging armed conflct in the country. Dayanghirang said that one of the reasons for the civil war is the worsening environmental crisis. On the other hand, Baylos said it was worsening poverty and the uneven development of agriculture and industry that are behind the armed conflict.

Juliet de Lima will be heading the NDFP Reciprocal Working Committee on the CASER. She will be working with Baylosis and Randall Echanis. Dayanghirang will be heading the GPH's reciprocal committee whose members are Prof. Fernando Aldaba and Fr. Robert Alejo. The CASER draft is expected to be finished by September 2011.

AFP operation fails in ComVal and Davao Oriental

A unit of the Conrado Heredia Command under the New People's Army Merardo Arce Command (MAC-NPA) in Southern Mindanao Region successfully fought it out with and thwarted a platoon from the Second Scout Ranger Battalion of the First Scout Ranger Regiment (FSRR) that attacked a temporary NPA encampment in Sitio Karampil, Barangay Aliwagwag, Cateel, Davao Oriental on May 29.

Contrary to claims made by 10th ID spokesperson Lt. Col. Lyndon Paniza that the military merely sustained three wounded, MAC-NPA spokesperson Comrade Rigoberto Sanchez reported that the Philippine Army's elite unit suffered 11 casualtes (eight dead and three wounded). The NPA lost two Red fighters and suffered four wounded, three of them in serious condition.

The wounded Red fighters were treated at a medical station within a guerrilla base. One of the wounded fighters remains within the base because NPA medics are capable of treating him.

The incident was spurred by successive losses by units of the 10th ID, including the Second Scout Ranger Battalion. On the whole, the 10th ID has suffered 25 casualties--16 dead and nine wounded.

Since May 22, several battalions of soldiers have been scouring at least 13 towns in Compostela Valley, Davao Oriental and Agusan del Sur. Using "civil-military operations" and "special operations" as cover, the 10th ID has been ruthlessly attacking the towns of Maragusan, Compostela, Monkayo, Montevista, Maco, Mawab, Pantukan and Laak in Compostela Valley; Cateel, Boston, Manay and Tarragona in Davao Oriental; and Trento in Agusan del Sur.

The latest encouner with the Second Scout Ranger Battalion is the third since the massive military operation was launched. After a week, five soldiers from the 66th IB were killed in an ambush in Sitio Kahayag, Barangay Andili, Mawab on May 27.

That same day, three soldiers of the 67th IB were killed and six were wounded in another ambush in Sitio Junction, Barangay Cabasagan, Boston. Farmers in the area say that two Scout Ranger officers were among those killed in this gunbattle, based on accounts from the soldiers themselves.

COPD troops pummeled in Agusan del Norte

Two soldiers were killed and four were wounded in a series of tactical offensives in May by guerrillas under the New People's Army Pulang Diwata Command in the mountainous areas of Agusan del Norte. There were no casualties on the NPA side.

May 25. A soldier of the 30th IB was wounded when a group of Red fighers harassed them in Barangay Bangayan, Kitcharao, Agusan del Norte.

May 24. A team of guerrillas from Front 16 harassed a group of soldiers from the 30th IB along Gate 1 of Barangay Banayan, Kitcharao, at around 6 a.m. A soldier was hit in the leg.

At around 4 p.m. of the same day, another soldier from the same unit was killed by an NPA sniper.

May 20. An NPA unit from Front 21 ambushed an enemy column conductng Community Organizing for Peace and Development (COPD), the new monicker for RSOT operations under Oplan Bayanihan. The ambush was launched at around 10 p.m. in Sitio Mahayahay, Barangay Anticala, Butuan City, killing a soldier and wounding two others, including an officer of the 23rd IB.

Around eight platoons (or an equivalent of three to four companies) maintain a continued presence in different villages of Butuan City and the towns of Cabadbaran, Santiago, Tubay and Kitcharao.

A similar military operation launched in Surigao del Norte from October 2010 to January 2011 failed in its objective of bringing the revolutionary forces and masses in the area to their knees. The COPD operations in Agusan del Norte will suffer the same fate.

Meanwhile, a CAFGU element was killed when a team from the Saulo Lumadao Frnt of the Agustn Begnalen Command sniped the CAFGU/77th IB detachment in Sallapadan town in Abra at 5:15 a.m. The snipers positioned themselves some 250 meters from the detachment. The platoon of soldiers and CAFGU elements within the detachment panicked and aimlessly fired their rifles before scampering for safety. The NPA team safely withdrew at around 5:30 a.m.

The detachment is located beside the public elementary school of Barangay Sallapadan Barrio. The Parents-Teachers' Association had long been complaining about the detachment because of the dangers it poses to the pupils and the frequent rowdy behavior of the soldiers and paramilitary forces. The NPA purposely conducted the sniping operaion before the start of classes this June to avoid hitting any pupils and teachers.

Repression goes on unabated under Oplan Bayanihan

Four cases of abuse by the military and other state agents were reported to Ang Bayan from May to the first week of June.

June 1. Seventy-two activists and mass leaders from Southern Tagalog faced another round of harassment when they received a court summons from the Provincial Prosecutor's Office in San Pablo City to respond to newly filed murder and frustrated murder charges. Among those who were ordered to appear in court was Rogelio Galit, former spokesperson of the Kalipunan ng mga Magsasaka sa Kabite, who had been dead for a year due to complications from diabetes.

The "ST 72" as they have come to be called were first slapped with trumped-up charges in 2007 in connection with an ambush by the New People's Army (NPA) in Puerto Galera, Oriental Mindoro in March 2006. Although Galit had long been bedridden then and could not have done what he was being accused of, he was still arrested by the police. Six others, includin KMU lawyer Atty. Remigio Saladero were also arrested. They were released in February 2009 when the court dismissed the case.

Barely a week after their release, they were once more charged, this time with killing a CAFGU element in Rizal. The case was also dismissed.

The latest murder cases which were filed in May are the third set of trumped-up charges slapped against the ST 72.

In a related development, BAYAN-Laguna secretary-general Darwin Liwag and two other activists remain in jail after being falsely charged with murder. Firearms and grenades were planted on their person during their arrest in Lumban, Laguna in September 2010.

There are now 54 political detainees in Southern Tagalog. Eleven activists have also been summarily executed in the region under the Aquino regime.

May 27. At around 4:30 a.m., a platoon under the 54th IB led by Lt. Roland Caringan forced its way into the home of 80-year old Pablo Naogsan in Barangay Butigue, Paracelis, Mountain Province. Naogsan is the father of Cordillera Peoples Democratic Front (CPDF) spokesperson Simon "Ka Filiw" Naogsan.

The CPDF strongly condemned the miltary's harassment of the elderly Naogsan. The soldiers broke down the door, roused the old man who was then alone and ransacked his house. He was accused of receiving NPA guerrillas into his home and threatened with reprisal should he refuse to stop.

The military left only after Naogsan's neighbors started milling around to find out what was going on. Naogsan filed a formal complaint against the soldiers with the barangay.

May 26. Some 40 policemen violently demolished seven houses in a fishing community in Poblacion, Gitagum, Misamis Oriental. There were blood stains all over the area as the police attacked residents who defended their homes. The police arrested Joel Saplot, who chairs the Kasamahan ng Mangingisda sa Poblacion Gitagum at Operators (KASAMAPO) along with an entire family consisting of Fernando Oraiz Sr., Fernando Oraiz Jr., Juanie Oraiz and Adoracion Oraiz. They are currently detained at the PNP station in Gitagum. The residents were served with a notice of eviction on May 5, allegedly because their houses had been built on private property. But the residents led by KASAMAPO stood their ground and fought to defend their homes and livelihoods.

May 24. At 4 a.m., a company of soldiers under the 86th IB raided the house of Delfin Uschongsan, a resident of Barangay Kiling, Alfonso Lista, Ifugao. The soldiers ransacked the house and took Uschongsan and his two nephews to the Pakak CAA/PNP/PA Detachment in the same barangay. They were accused of being NPA members. Even Uschongsan's neighbors who were merely watching the events out of curiosity were accused of being NPA sympathizers.

When the police chief of Alfonso Lista refused to charge the three victims for lack of evidence, the soldiers threatened Uschongsan and his nephews of continued detention if they filed countercharges against the military. They were released only on May 25 after they promised not to talk about the abuse they endured in the hands of the soldiers.

Cases of AFP brutality form part of the long-term militarization of eastern Mountain Province and Ifugao. They belie the military's claims of winning the peace and respecting human rights under Oplan Bayanihan.

Artists and writers demand release of Ericson Acosta

Family, friends and other personalities from artistic and literary circles called for the release of Ericson Acosta, a freelance journalist documenting the state of human rights in Samar.

Acosta was arrested on February 13 in Barangay Bay-ang, San Jorge, Samar along with some leaders of a farmers' organization. A grenade was planted among his belongings to justify filing a case of illegal posession of firearms against him.

The Free Ericson Acosta Campaign was launched in April to support efforts to secure Acosta's release. He is currently detained at the Calbayog Sub-provincial Jail. Before he was presented to the public, Acosta was severely tortured and almost summarily executed by the military.

Acosta was a writer at the Philippine Collegian, the student paper at the University of the Philippines in Diliman. He was one of the editors of the Literary Folio of the Philippine Collegian, which they managed to put together in 1994, decades after it was last published. Acosta is not just a writer. He is also a poet, a talented actor and composer of original music.

To support the campaign, panelists and delegates to the 50th UP National Writers' Workshop condemned Acosta's continued illegal detention. They drafted the statement in Baguio City where the writers' workshop was conducted. Among those who signed the statement were National Artist Bienvenido Lumbera, Jose Dalisay Jr., Jun Cruz Reyes, Gemino Abad, J. Neil Garcia, Charlson Ong, Rolando Tolentino, Romulo Baquiran, Jr., and Cristina Pantoja-Hidalgo.

5 farmers languishing in Catbalogan jail

Five farmers have been detained for years at he Catbalogan City Jail on charges of being members of the New People's Army (NPA). The victims are Noel Galvez, Simon Gabijan, Jesus Bacnotan and Loreto and Beatriz Gabuay. Four of them are facing criminal charges stemming from their alleged involvement in NPA tactical offensives.

Forty-two year old Galvez, a farmer from Calbiga, Samar was arrested in August 2010 while accompanying fellow villagers to register at the COMELEC office. The military has implicated him in an NPA raid in Binanggaran, Calbiga in December 2009. Galvez was working in his farm at the time of the raid.

Forty-eight year old Gabijan, a farmer from Barangay Lipata, Paranas, Samar was fishing with his family when the NPA raided the police station in Motiong, Samar. When the military implicated him, he went to the police to clear his name and even talked to the judge who was handling the case. He was advised to hire a lawyer so he could have the arrest warrant against him revoked. But since he could not afford a lawyer, he decided to try his luck in Metro Manila and returned to Samar only in June 2004. He was arrested upon his return, this time for alleged involvement in an NPA raid in San Jose de Buan town in March 2004.

Sixty-four year old Bacnotan was abducted by the military in November 2008 from his home in Barangay Lipata. He was brought to various military camps and interrogated for three days. The military later transferred him to the custody of the police and charged him with rebellion, murder, frustrated murder and robbery in connection with the NPA raid in Motiong.

Sixty-three year old Gabuay, a farmer from Barangay Salay, Paranas was arrested by elements of the 34th IB in September 2008. Fearing that he would be summarily executed, his wife Beatriz insisted on accompanying him. They were both detained, with Beatriz being released ten months later. In 2010, soldiers returned to Barangay Salay to arrest Beatriz. She later found out that there were no outstanding warrants for her arrest. Nonetheless, she has chosen to stay with her husband in jail because of fears that the military would come back for her if she returns to their village.

Antimining struggles spreading in Cagayan Valley

Antimining struggles are spreading like wildfire in entire landholdings, coastal and upland areas in Cagayan Valley. From the town of Gonzaga, where the mass struggles began in 2007, they have spread to the towns of Buguey, Sta. Teresita, Dugo, Lallo, Sta. Ana, Camalaniugan, Aparri and other nearby municipalities.

National Democratic Front-Cagayan Valley (NDF-CV) spokesperson Salvador del Pueblo said more than 13,843 hectares of land and coastal areas are being seized and destroyed by foreign corporations in the extraction of magnetite, manganese and other minerals. The most prominent among these companies is Lian Xing Philippines Stone Carving Corporation in Barangay Batangan, Gonzaga which conducts magnetite sand mining.

The expansion of mining operations has resulted in the eviction of poor peasants and fisherfolk and the destruction of their land and natural resources from which they derive their livelihood. Half of the land area of Barangay Bisagu in West Aparri has sunk. The shorelines in the villages of Lallo and Camalaniugan have been eroded due to the loss of magnetite which protects rivers and coastal areas from erosion.

The people are angered no end at the tons of mineral ore that is being exported directly to Taiwan and other countries, leaving potholes in the soil and ruined rivers and shores. This clearly constitutes plunder of the people's natural wealth at the cost of the destruction of the country's resources and the people's lives and livelihoods.

But the foreign capitalists and their cohorts among the local bureaucrats could not care less, Gonzaga mayor Carlito Pentecostes Jr. said the people have nothing to complain about since the mining activties are all covered by government permits. Pentecostes' group is the main advocate of imperialist corporations and the exploiting classes of Gonzaga. They are also protected by the Enrile dynasty (Rep. Jackie Enrile and his father Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile) which has long been lording it over Cagayan province and which has the blessings of Benigno Aquino III's regime.

Pentecostes has stepped up the militarization of Gonzaga in order to perpetuate the mining projects. Pentecostes himself mauled a peasant leader to stop the farmers from launching their protest action last April 30. To defend the "legality" of the mining operaions, troops from the Special Operations Team-Bayanihan-17th IB of the Philippine Army and the Regional Mobile Group (RMG) of the Philippine National Police have been deployed to six of Gonzaga's 25 barangays. This is on top of three military camps in the area. More than 30,000 people are being victimized because of their opposition to the sinister scheme of imperialists, big comprador capitalists and landlords.

Akbayan and other co-conspirators in plunder. Counterrev-olutionary groups that pose as propeople and antimining are co-conspirators of the ruling classes. Among them are Akbayan, Alyansa Tigil Mina and PADER. These organizations have been poisoning the people's minds, peddling the erroneous idea that mining could be stopped by supplicating the government which benefits from such exploitation.

The NDF-CV spokesperson said that these groups pretend to oppose illegal mining in order to cover up the glaring fact that the biggest culprit in grabbing the lands of the peasants and destroying the environment is no other than the government. These groups are merely riding on the issue of mining and the destruction of the Cagayan River to extract funds from international funding agancies and other groups that pretend to be environmental advocates. Their goal is to derail the masses from the path of militant struggle.

The NDF-CV clarified that the solution to the problems faced by the Gonzageños and the entire people of Cagayan Valley does not lie in supplication, dialogues or leaving things to fate. It is but right for the toiling masses to give their all in joining in and contributing to the advance of people's war. As Red political power develops, the implementation of the laws of the people's democratic government is further ensured, among them the defense of the people's lives, land and livelihood against plunder and seizure by foreigners and their local minions.

Progressives demand VFA abrogation

PROGRESSIVE groups demanded the junking of the one-sided and unequal Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA), saying that it tramples on Philippine sovereignty.

The agreement's detrimental and unequal character has been thoroughly exposed. The VFA was signed on May 27, 1999, eight years after the US military bases were booted out of the Philippines. Its aim was to govern the conduct of visiting US military forces.

Though the VFA, the US government has been able to maintain the permanent presence of its military troops in the country. Aside from a neverending series of military exercises, the US' 700-strong Joint Special Operations Task-Force Philippines is permanently stationed at Camp Navarro in Zamboanga City and is involved in counterinsurgency operations. There are reported sightings of US military troops during AFP military campaigns against NPA and MILF forces. Their activities are being undertaken under the pretext of "counter-terrorism campaigns".

The VFA also favors American troops who violate the country's laws. This is a brazen affront to Philippine sovereignty and is unprecedented in its detrimental effects on the Filipino people. In addition, the country becomes a target of attack for the US' enemies. Despite such criticisms against the VFA, the Aquino regime does not plan to junk or review it.

AFP military honors for Marcos opposed

Broad sections of the Filipino people are opposed to a proposal by Vice Pres, Jejomar Binay to Pres. Benigno Aquino III to allow the burial of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos in Ilocos Norte with full military honors. Such opposition has been expressed not only by patriotic groups but also by US-based democratic groups.

In a related development, seven progressive congressmen filed House Resolution No. 1297 opposing plans to bury Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani in Taguig City.

They said Marcos was a fake hero, as attested to by exposés by Col. Bonifacio Gillego and United States Army Records stating that Marcis falsified his "brilliant record" during World War II. They also said that Marcos who was a dictator and people's enemy like Adolf Hitler of Germany and Anastacio Somoza of Nicaragua does not deserve to be honored.

Meanwhile, the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan and Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas said that Binay's recommendation to Aquino sends the wrong message to the Filipino people. It is an insult to Filipinos who fearlessly fought to overthrow the US-Marcos dictatorship. Among them are the president's father who was a victim of assassination by the Marcos regime. Granting Marcos full military honors at the Libingan ng mga Bayani or in Ilocos Norte, for that matter, implies that dictatorships should be honored instead of being condemned by history.

In the US, a Filipino-American group has expressd outrage at Binay's proposal. The US Pinoys for Good Governance (USP4GG) sent a protest letter to Aquino but has not received a reply.

Arms purchases from the US assailed

Various progressive organizations have assailed plans by the Aquino regime to purchase surplus military hardware from the US under the US' Excess Defense Articles (EDA) program.

The groups led by the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN) said that buying military equipment from the US is tied to US interests in perpetuating the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA). Purchasing weapons and other military equipment from the US is always tied to US interests, said BAYAN.

BAYAN cited the fact that US promises for the last five years to modernize the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) in exchange for maintaining its military bases and entering into an agreement with the US have come to nothing. The Aquino regime's plans to buy surplus military equipment from the US is proof that the Philippines' dependence on the US has not paid off.

The US' EDA program is a way of supporting its puppet states so they could serve the US' international politico-military strategy. In particular, the US is able to expand the scope of its military power in the Asia-Pacific by allowing the puppet Aquino regime to use its obsolete military equipment.

In recent years, a number of US officials had bared plans to lease war planes to the Philippine puppet government as a way of enhancing US imperialism's military influence and presence in the region.

The US has been further stepping up its military presence in the Asia-Pacific in the face of what it views as threats posed by the growing military power of China. The US and the Aquino regime are currently invoking territorial disputes over the Spratly Islands among the Philippines, Vietnam and China to warn against the possibility of armed conflict.

TRB stops Aquino relative from collecting toll at SCTEx

The Toll Regulatory Board (TRB) has ordered Benigno Aquino III's family to stop collecting toll fees from motorists passing along the more than seven-kilometer Subic-Clark Expressway (SCTEx). The TRB issued the "cease and desist order" on June 2 to Hacienda Luisita Inc. (HLI), Jose Cojuangco & Sons Inc. (JCSI) and Brown International Corporate Services Inc. (BICSI), corporations listed on the receipts issued to motorists stamped with the term "Passthru."

The TRB order came in the wake of strong opposition from farmers led by the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) and motorists using the stretch of road located within Hacienda Luisita in Tarlac, which is owned by the Cojuangco-Aquino family. The road connects to the SCTEx and the Manila North Road (better known as MacArthur Highway).

The KMP called on the TRB to order HLI, JCSI and BICSI to return the money collected from motorists or to create a trust fund for the farmers. In an interview, Aquino's uncle Jose "Peping" Cojuangco Jr. admitted that BICSI is the company assigned to collect fees from passing motorists. He failed to explain how such a foreign company had managed to enter the scene.

The KMP estimates that from May 17 to June 2, the Cojuangco-Aquino family had already collected P2.7 million from motorists. Cars and jeeps pay P20 each while vans and small delivery trucks pay P50. On the other hand, buses, trucks and other big vehicles pay P100 each.

Obama extends US Patriot Act

US Pres. Barack Obama was beside himself in signing a law that he had long been pushing--a four-year extension to three provisions of the US Patriot Act. This is despite opposition from within Congress and civil rights advocates. He signed the law through an autopen machine minutes before it expired on May 27, while he was in France attending a G8 meeting.

The extended provisions allow the US government to procure secret court orders to subject anything to surveillance, among them telephone conversations, exchanges over the inernet and business records that it believes are important in investigating terrorism; use unlimited "roving" wiretaps to surveil any telephone number, email account or other communications facility that it believes is being used by its target; and use "lone wolf" wiretapping which allows government to surveil any individual who is not connected to a foreign power or terrorist group.

The US Patriot Act was approved after the attacks on the Twin Towers in New York on September 11, 2001. Since its enactment, there have been numerous violations of the rights of ordinary Americans.

Growing protest actions in Spain

Thousands of people launched protest actions for more than a week in 162 towns and cities in Spain from May 15 to 23 to assal the Zapatero government's failure to resolve the economic crisis and widespread unemployment. They condemned the government's austerity measures which have worsened the people's suffering.

Despite a law banning protest actions on the eve of an election, 30,000 rallyists camped out at Puerta del Sol, Madrid's main square.

The youth led the protest action which they dubbed the "May 15 Movement." They likewise called themselves "Los Indignados" or the "Indignant Ones." They organized themselves through tweeter over the internet and other social media. Only about 150 people began rallying at the Puerto de Asul. An attempt by the police to disperse them last May 15 had the opposite effect of spurring an increase in the number of people right after such repression was exposed to the public.

To sustain the protest, a vast tent city was put up by the protesters within the camp, complete with a kitchen, a placard "factory," a daycare, nursery and communications office that responded to questions from the media. Most of the rallyists spent the night at the tent city.

Spain has the hihest unemployment rate (21.3%) among the Eurozone countries. It is included among the so-called PIGS (Portugal, Ireland, Greece and Spain), countries whose economies are in the doldrums and are in need of bailouts from big banks and financial institutions like the IMF.

The Zapatero government has been enforcing one of the most brutal austerity programs in all of Europe and which has earned it the people's intense loathing.

In a related development, rallies were also held in other countries in solidarity with Spain, The biggest rallies were held in Paris, France; Rome in Italy; and Buenos Aires, Argentina.