Prepare for the escalation of the Aquino regime's war of suppression

Ang Bayan
7 September 2011
Download PDF

Judging by the actuations and statements of the Philippine government (GPH) and its representatives over the past few weeks, it is becoming increasingly apparent that the Aquino regime is determined to put an end to peace negotiations with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) and further escalate its war of suppression under Oplan Bayanihan.

The GPH has not shown any serious interest in advancing peace talks with the NDFP after failing to use it as a tool for pacification. The NDFP negotiating panel has stood its ground, maintaining that agreements jointly entered into by the GPH and the NDFP should be upheld by both parties. Among these are The Hague Joint Declaration of 1992, the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG) and the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL).

Working under the baton of their US counterinsurgency advisers, Benigno Aquino III and his negotiating panel have stubbornly refused to abide by the joint agreements, including the Oslo Joint Statements of January and February 2011, where the Aquino regime agreed to expedite the release of at least 17 JASIG-protected NDFP consultants currently detained by the GPH, as well as more than 350 political prisoners. Not only has the GPH reneged on its obligations, it has gone to the extent of declaring the JASIG as "inoperative," putting the entire peace negotiations with the NDFP on the brink of collapse.

It has become obvious that the GPH is only interested in using the peace negotiations with the NDFP as a bait to hook the revolutionary forces into agreeing to one ceasefire after another, without addressing the socio-economic and political issues that lie at the roots of the armed conflict.

Instead of addressing the roots of the civil war, the Aquino regime has stepped up its efforts to decimate the revolutionary armed forces and suppress the Filipino people's resistance. Unarmed people and entire civilian communities are among the main targets of Oplan Bayanihan. There has been a renewed campaign of extrajudicial killings against activists under the Aquino regime that has already claimed at least 50 victims. The Aquino regime has also repeatedly employed state brutality to suppress demonstrations and mass struggles.

We must thoroughly resist the Aquino regime's maneuvers to scuttle the peace talks and discard the victories already achieved in this arena in the past. The Filipino people must likewise prepare for the definite escalation of the reactionary war of suppression.

The Filipino people have no other recourse but to intensify their revolutionary armed struggle and democratic mass resistance. They must strengthen their will and militancy in the face of escalating state terrorism. They must actively expose and vigorously oppose military abuses and violations of human rights.

The revolutionary forces will continue to engage the GPH in peace negotiations as long as the GPH shows serious intent and willingness to talk within the framework set by The Hague Joint Declaration and abide by all previous agreements.

In an effort to pursue the peace talks, the NDFP has requested the Norwegian government, as third party facilitator, to have an audience with the heads of the two negotiating panels. The talks took place on September 5-6, resulting in renewed pledges from the GPH to release the detained NDFP consultants. On this basis, the next round of formal talks has been set for late October.

Meanwhile, in the face of the ongoing escalation of the Aquino regime's war of suppression, the Communist Party of the Philippines and New People's Army (NPA) will continue intensifying guerrilla warfare in order to fulfill the requirements for advancing to the next higher stage of people's war. The NPA must recruit more Red fighters and seize more weapons from the enemy. It must carry out one tactical offensive after another in order to disrupt and defeat the AFP's counterrevolutionary campaign of suppression.


Drive out the AFP plague from the communities

Oplan Bayanihan is a scourge that is wreaking havoc in the countryside and growing areas in the towns and cities. It targets entire communities. In the countryside, it particularly targets those that resist destructive mining operations. Communities that actively defend their political, economic, environmental and cultural rights are automatically suspected by the AFP of being sympathetic to the New People's Army and subjected to military and psywar operations. In the urban areas, the targets are communities resisting demolitions that pave the way for projects under the Aquino regime's Public-Private Partnership program.

Oplan Bayanihan leaves a bloody trail of human rights violations in the places it ravages. It subjects entire communities to martial rule. Contrary to the provisions of International Humanitarian Law and the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL), soldiers put up detachments in population centers. They require residents to donate wood and other materials and order them to construct the military's barracks.

In cases where they do not construct separate detachments, the soldiers occupy school buildings or school grounds, barangay halls, clinics, churches and other civilian facilities. In doing so, they disrupt the normal and orderly pattern of life in these communities. They particularly violate the rights of children because heavy military presence in schools disrupts the children's studies and places them in danger. The children are also exposed daily to vices, lascivious acts, crude and other bad behavior exhibited by the fascist troops (see related article).

The AFP imposes a reign of terror over wide swathes of the countryside, violating the rights of tens of thousands of people. Under Oplan Bayanihan, the military controls every aspect of the people's lives. It imposes economic and food blockades. The people's right to travel is curtailed because roads are dotted with checkpoints and various documents are required from travelers before they are allowed to proceed. People are restricted from working in their fields and limits are set on the volume of commodities they could buy. Under threat of harm, the military forces people to identify local mass leaders and activists. Young peasants are forced to serve as guides in the AFP's search and destroy missions against the NPA. Those who oppose these measures are harassed, branded as rebels and become in danger of being arrested, abducted or killed.

To obscure the brutal and repressive character of their operations, the AFP disguises them using so-called medical missions and other civic acts. The AFP shrewdly hides behind the monicker of "peace and order" to intensify militarization and its suppression of the people. Oplan Bayanihan works hand in glove with the DSWD's cash doleout program in order to cover up the reactionary government's assault on the people's welfare and draw them away from the path of militant struggle.

Civilians must thoroughly resist the AFP fascist troops' attempt to lord it over their communities. They must continue to expose and strongly oppose violations of their human rights and the AFP's imposition of martial law with impunity in the areas it occupies. The people must use all political arenas and means of propaganda at their disposal to expel the military from their areas and their very homes which the reactionary military has forcibly taken over. To demonstrate their extreme loathing, the people can undertake direct mass actions such as destroying or sabotaging the detachments in order to drive away the pestilence that is the AFP from their communities.


Trampling on the rights of civilians

The rights and safety of civilians are among the biggest casualties of Oplan Bayanihan's escalation.

Ang Bayan has received increasing reports on how the military has been systematically trampling on the rights and welfare of civilians in the course of advancing the Aquino regime's counterrevolutionary goals.

In Paquibato District, Davao City, residents have long been complaining about the 69th IB's encampment near the Paradise Embac Annex School and civilians' houses because of the dangers this poses to the people. The military has insisted on staying despite opposition from the residents. Those who oppose the military's presence are immediately branded as supporters of the New People's Army (NPA) and receive death threats.

To justify the military's continued presence in the community, 69th IB chief Lt. Col. Alfredo Patarata produced an endorsement under false pretenses. After failing to receive the endorsement of barangay officials, Patarata called for a mass meeting of residents from Purok 6, 7 and 8 of Barangay Paradise Embac ostensibly to discuss a water system project. He passed around a blank sheet of paper, saying it was an attendance sheet and had it signed by the residents. The people's signatures were later misrepresented as endorsements for the military's encampment in the middle of the community.

The Paradise Embac residents' hatred for the soldiers comes as no surprise. Aside from maintaining an unwanted detachment within the community, the 69th IB has committed many other human rights violations. Families on the military's watchlist are not allowed to work their farms. The soldiers take down the names of everyone passing through the military's checkpoints. Travelers are also banned from conversing with each other or creating any kind of noise while walking. Last June, residents who were to attend a march-rally in Davao City against Benigno Aquino III's State of the Nation Address were detained for six hours and accused of being NPA supporters. Motorcycle drivers are accused of transporting members of NPA "sparrow units."

At least three residents have been mauled by soldiers on different occasions. Villagers are constantly threatened that they would pay dearly should anything bad happen to the soldiers in the detachment.

Schoolchildren are particularly harassed by the military. They are ordered to taunt the Red fighters into attacking the detachment, knowing how near it is to the school. Young boys and girls are given money by soldiers to extract information from them on the whereabouts of the NPA. Troops also routinely barge into classrooms while classes are going on to ask the pupils about the NPA.

In Davao del Sur, 73rd IB troops relentlessly harassed teachers and staff of the Blaan Literacy School and Learning Center (BLSLC) in Sitio Dlumay, Upper Suyan, Malapatan, Saranggani, eventually forcing them to leave the area for their own safety.

The BLSLC which was being run by the Center for Lumad Advocacy and Services (CLANS) had operated for four years without incident. Aside from the school for Blaan children, CLANS also had a micro-hydropower project in the area in cooperation with Sibol ng Agham at Teknolohiya. Before CLANS arrived in the community, the children had to walk three hours every day to the nearest school which was in the Upper Suyan village center.

But in November 2010, the 73rd IB arrived to harass the CLANS projects and the villagers.

The soldiers took pictures of the BLSLC teachers and interrogated them. They were called "communist teachers" and "anti-government elements" and were threatened with death because of an antimining poster the military found in the school. They had to close down the BLSLC by March.

Since the soldiers came, all Blaan seen buying rice from neighboring villages were arbitrarily accused of being NPA supporters. Community leaders like Francisco Mangka were constantly "visited" in their homes and told not to believe anything that CLANS said because "their style of teaching was similar to that of the NPA." On March 22, Manangka and eight other community leaders were forcibly taken by the mayor of Manapla to the 73rd IB camp for interrogation. They were detained for three days, during which they were compelled to appear in a television interview.

In Panay, 61st IB and CAFGU forces have been staying in the village centers of Libertad, Wright, Roosevelt, San Miguel Ilaya, Tacayan, Acuña, Nayawan, Lahug, Aglinab, Katipunan and Abangay in Tapaz town; and in Barangay Masaroy in Calinog town. The villagers have already petitioned for the removal of the military troops.

The civilians have every right to reclaim their communities, fight for their right to live peacefully in their areas and demand the expulsion of the abusive and burdensome military.


AFP using students and villagers as human shields

The military's practice of encamping near public schools and other population centers is widespread in Southern Mindanao. Children and other village residents are used as human shield against possible attacks by the New People's Army. The AFP has been using the following schools in Maragusan and Maco towns in Compostela Valley: Paloc Elementary School (Maragusan); Tandik Elementary School (Maragusan); Parasanon Elementary School (Maragusan); Cambagang Elementary School (Maragusan); New Leyte Elementary School (Maco); and Sangab Elementary School (Maco).

On the other hand, the 72nd IB maintains patrol bases near population centers in the villages of Anitapan, Panamin and Cabuyuan in Mabini; in the barangays of New Visayas, New Asturias, Libay-libay, Kinuban and Mapaang in Maco; and in the sitios of Palo, Bukobuko sa Anay and Gumayan in Barangay Napnapan, Pantukan.

The 71st IB has its headquarters just behind the Pantukan municipal hall and the 2nd Scout Ranger Battalion has a camp in Barangay Pangibiran, Mabini.


CPP condemns state brutality against urban poor

The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) strongly condemned the Aquino regime for the series of violent demolitions of urban poor communities in Quezon City and Cebu towards the end of August.

Some 200 policemen from the Quezon City Police District (QCPD) forcibly demolished a barricade that had been put up by residents of Old Balara, Quezon City on August 31. Several residents were injured in the ensuing clash, two arrested and up to a thousand homes torn down by demolition teams from the Metro Manila Development Authority and National Housing Authority. The demolition of houses in the one-hectare property owned by major land developer Susana Realty pushed through amid a heavy downpour and despite the people's protests.

Two days prior, police brutality reigned in a demolition in Sitio Camarin, Barangay Bonbon, Aloguinsan, Cebu. Several people were injured and 39 arrested, including a 70-year old man, three students from UP-Cebu, women and minors. The policemen broke through the barricades put up by some 250 farmers and supporters.

Some 300 peasant families are up in arms against the fencing off of their land which they say is not part of the property being claimed by the Gantuangco family. The Gantuangcos plan to evict the residents to give way to the construction of a shipyard and economic zone. When the residents began their standoff, the sheriff asked for 200 police reinforcements from the PNP forces of nearby towns and cities, aside from firetrucks and bulldozers. The demolition was the biggest and most violent incident in Cebu since the first half of the 1980s.

The CPP said that the Aquino regime's antipoor policies were evident in the violent eviction of urban poor residents in favor of the interests of big businessmen involved in the Public-Private Partnership scheme, to which the government has allotted P22 billion. The urban poor group KADAMAY has declared Aquino persona non grata and called him "Demolition King."

In light of these recent incidents, the CPP called on the urban poor to resist the Aquino regime's campaign to demolish their homes. The CPP added that the current regime continues to implement the Philippine Development Plan which is designed and funded by the International Monetary Fund and World Bank and prioritizes big comprador projects in joint venture with foreign big capitalists to the detriment of urban poor communities.


Activists observe 2nd International Day of the Disappeared

Human rights advocates and hundreds of activists commemorated the 2nd International Day of the Disappeared by launching protest actions in the cities of Quezon, Bacolod and Iloilo on August 30.

Members of Desaparecidos, Hustisya and the End Impunity alliance held protests in front of the Ever-Gotesco Mall along Commonwealth Avenue in Quezon City where activist Jonas Burgos was abducted by military agents on April 28, 2007. The demonstrators put up an image and streamer saying "Mag-ingat sa mandurukot. Dito dinukot ng militar si Jonas Burgos."*

According to Mary Guy Portajada, secretary-general of Desaparecidos, 206 persons were abducted under Gloria Arroyo's nine-year rule. In the 14 months since Benigno Aquino III took over, there have been eight abductions. This is alarming, said Portajada, whose father Armando was abducted on July 31, 1987 and has not been surfaced to date.

Meanwhile, 11 persons have been abducted in Negros since 2005, according to Julius Dagatan, spokesperson of the Negros Black Ribbon Crusade (NBRC). In a gathering of members of KARAPATAN-Negros, NBRC and BAYAN-Negros at the Philippine Independent Church in Bacolod City, the victims were identified as Perseus Geagoni (December 5, 2005), Roberto Marapo and Deonilo Borres (May 6, 2006), Felicidad Katalbas (January 5, 2007), Flaviano Arante and Reynold Yanoc (January 2008), cousins Razel and Jason Pelayo (May 26, 2009) and Michael Celeste, Gerald Alabe and Julie Devero (July 19, 2011). The perpetrators are military agents and elements of the bandit Revolutionary Proletarian Army.

In Iloilo City, activists from the Panay Alliance-KARAPATAN, Mothers and Relatives Against Tyranny (MARTYR) and Save Luisa and Nilo Movement (SLNM) led a rally at Plazoletagay, the city's main intersection. Nilo Arado and Ma. Luisa Posa-Dominado were abducted by armed men on April 12, 2007 in Barangay Cabanbanan, Oton, Iloilo. Dominado was the spokesperson of SELDA-Panay and Arado chaired BAYAN-Panay.

Progressive and democratic organizations and relatives of victims of human rights violations from 1986 to the present are demanding that their cases be investigated and justice be given to the victims.

This is the second year that the International Day of the Disappeared is being commemorated under the auspices of the United Nations. The practice of setting aside the 30th of August to call attention to the plight of persons arrested or abducted and detained in secret prisons was initiated by the Federacion Latinoamericana de Asociaciones de Familiares de Detenidos-Desaparecidos or Fedefam, an association of various Latin American groups working against secret imprisonment and abductions. The International Day of the Disappeared has been observed for years in several countries and by organizations such as Amnesty International, the Office of the UN High Commissioner on Human Rights and the International Committee of the Red Cross.

*Beware of pickpockets. This is where the military abducted Jonas Burgos." It is a play on the root word "dukot" which means both "to pull out (something from a pocket)" and "to kidnap."


Extrajudicial killings go on unabated

There has been no letup in extrajudicial killings despite the Aquino regime's claims of valuing human rights in the country. In the last week of August, two farmers fell victim to death squads. One of the victims was killed while the other survived the attack.

The latest victim was 33-year old Roger Bantog Jr., a farmer and village watchman from Barangay Caguiba, Camalig, Albay. On August 28, two armed men who introduced themselves as personnel of the Commission on Human Rights visited him in his house. While conversing with him, the men drew their guns, shot him at close range and even picked up the empty shells before leaving. They also stole the victim's motorcycle.

Bantog Jr. was seriously wounded and died while being treated at a hospital.

His relatives believe that military agents were behind his brutal murder. Only soldiers of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) would have motive to kill Bantog Jr. due to his membership in the Anakpawis Party.

Meanwhile, in Negros Occidental, a 33-year old member of the National Federation of Sugar Workers was wounded after he and other farmers were shot by elements of the Revolutionary Proletarian Army (RPA) on August 27. Elmer Cabahug was with other farmers planting corn in a vacant lot in Sitio Calintaan, Barangay Lopez Jaena, Sagay City when ten RPA elements led by Remar Agabon demanded that they leave the area. The RPA thugs shot at them when they refused. Cabahug was hit in the right calf and was brought to the Don Vicente Gustilo Hospital in neighboring Escalante town.

Policemen arrived at the scene of the shooting but failed to catch up with the RPA. Aside from Agabon, Cabahug identified three of the assailants as Jimmy Ordanesa, Reynante Ordanesa and Angel Bucaling.

The RPA is an armed group organized by Arturo Tabara and Nilo de la Cruz from members of the New People's Army who refused to abide by the decisions of the CPP Central Committee's 10th Plenum and the Second Great Rectification Movement. The RPA formally signed a memorandum of agreement with the reactionary Estrada government in 2000. Since then, it has served as an active partner of the AFP against the CPP-NPA-NDFP and the revolutionary masses.


NDFP roundly assails obstructions to peace talks

The regime of Benigno Aquino III is not interested in forging an agreement with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) that will address the roots of the armed conflict and pave the way for a just and lasting peace.

NDFP peace panel spokesperson Ka Fidel V. Agcaoili made this assessment after Government of the Philippines (GPH) negotiators came out with their own statements that violated existing agreements and undermined the peace negotiations between the GPH and the NDFP.

Agcaoili assailed GPH negotiating panel chair Alexander Padilla for violating the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG) by declaring it "inoperative." Agcaoili said that the revocation of the JASIG can only be done by the GPH principal after issuing a notice of termination 30 days before. He said Padilla's unilateral termination of the JASIG has endangered the lives of the people involved in the negotiations.

Agcaoili has also assailed the GPH's refusal to abide by earlier agreements. He said it was clearly stated in an agreement between the NDFP and the GPH in January that 17 NDFP consultants currently detained in various prisons of the GPH would be freed before formal talks were to resume on February 15. So far, only five of these consultants have been released.

Padilla had also earlier stated that the NDFP consultants should not be freed because the New People's Army (NPA) had not yet released prisoners of war that were being held in Mindanao. Agcaoili retorted that the POWs arrested by the NPA were not JASIG-protected personnel and that the revolutionary movement in the island had the right to investigate the POWs because there were cases filed against them in the people's court.

Meanwhile, Agcaoili also assailed Benigno Aquino III’s peace adviser Teresita Deles for her maneuverings against the peace process. Agcaoili said Deles has been forcing changes in the current setup of talks between the GPH and the NDFP as well as between the GPH and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

Instead of recognizing that the peace talks are a continuing process, Deles wants to discard previously signed agreements between the GPH and the NDFP, among them The Hague Joint Declaration which defines the character and conduct of the talks.

Deles also wants to replace the third party facilitaor in the GPH-MILF talks before formal negotiations begin.


MILF rejects Aquino's proposed autonomy

Peace talks between the Government of the Philippines (GPH) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) are back to square one because the Moro people refuse to accept the bogus autonomy being offered by Benigno Aquino III's regime. Thus, peace talks between the MILF and GPH that had been scheduled for August 22-24 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia ended abruptly on August 23, according to the MILF Peace Panel.

The gap between the compact peace proposal presented by the GPH negotiating panel and the MILF proposal for a substate was like that between "heaven and earth". The GPH proposal, which does not address the basic issue of the Moro people's right to self-determination was outrightly rejected by the MILF negotiators who said that they would immediately submit a report to their Central Committee. The talks teetered on the brink of collapse after GPH chief negotiator Atty. Marvic Leonen refused to acknowledge the MILF's rejection of the government proposal.

MILF chief negotiator Mohagher Iqbal said that the peace negotiations between the MILF and the GPH had been going on for 14 years when Aquino and MILF chair Murad Ebrahim met in Tokyo, Japan and agreed to expedite the process of finding a solution to the problem of the Bangsamoro. The MILF had withdrawn its secession bid and had agreed to advance the formation of a semi-independent state (or substate). But the GPH responded with a "peace agreement" that was contrary to the aspirations of the Bangsamoro.

The GPH proposal calls for a "transition government" where the MILF would comprise a third of the administrators. The remaining two-thirds would be composed of the GPH and representatives of civilian organizations. The MILF proposal of genuine autonomy in the form of a substate has been answered by the GPH with "reintegration" into the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), calling it "enhanced autonomy."

Under the "reintegration" concept, the MILF will be a minority force. The transition government will also be placed under the Office of the Presidente, or under Aquino himself, added Atty. Michael Mastura, a senior member of the MILF Peace Panel. This prompted the panel's rejection of the GPH proposal and the reassertion of the MILF's demand for a substate.

Iqbal and Mastura also branded as "malicious" the unauthorized inclusion by the Department of Interior and Local Government of the names of four MILF leaders among those who will serve as "Acting Governor" of the ARMM. They are MILF Vice Chiarman for Military Affairs Aleem Abdulaziz Mimbantas; MILF Vice Chairman for Political Affairs Ghadzali Jaafar; Atty. Michael Mastura; and Hj. Abdula Camlian.

The MILF does not recognize the ARMM because nothing has changed in the lives of the Bangsamoro in the 15 years of its existence. If anything has changed, said Iqbal, it was the lives of the ARMM officials.


WikiLeaks confirms Dutch-US-GPH conspiracy vs. Ka Joema

The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) official organ Ang Bayan had long written about a conspiracy among the Philippine, Dutch and US governments against CPP founding chair Ka Jose Maria "Joema" Sison.

The conspiracy has been confirmed in a series of exposés by online whistleblower WikiLeaks of diplomatic cables sent by former US ambassador to the Philippines Kristie Kenny to the US State Department.

The WikiLeaks exposés featured a cable sent on September 4, 2007, where Kenny reported on a visit by Foreign Affairs Secretary Alberto Romulo to her house on September 3. Kenny said Romulo happily recounted to her the years-long collaboration between the Philippine and Dutch governments to build an airtight case against Sison.

Sison has been living in exile since 1987 in Utrecht, The Netherlands where he serves as the chief consultant of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines in the peace negotiations. He was arrested by Dutch police on August 28, 2007 on trumped-up murder charges for the killing of Romulo Kintanar and Arturo Tabara. Kintanar and Tabara who were both involved in criminal and anti-Party activities were expelled from the CPP during the Second Great Rectification Movement.

Kenny said that Romulo spiritedly reported about Sison's arrest by Dutch authorities. She added that because the US government had a strong interest in going after "terrorists," Romulo was confident of US assistance to the Dutch government regarding Sison's prosecution. Nonetheless, after two weeks of detention, Sison was released by Dutch authorities for lack of evidence.

Desperate for results, the Arroyo regime, through then National Security Adviser Norberto Gonzales hatched up another scheme in April 2009 to have Sison deported from The Netherlands and sent back to the Philippines to face the same manufactured murder charges against him. Gonzales' scheme against Comrade Joema likewise failed.


Enemy suffers 8 killed, 14 wounded in NPA strikes

Eight military troopers were killed and 14 others were wounded in a series of attacks by New People's Army (NPA) units in Albay, Capiz and Aurora in the last two weeks of August.

Albay. Three soldiers from the 7th Scout Ranger Company who were aboard a KM 450 truck were wounded in a sniping operation by a unit of the NPA Santos Binamera Command (SBC) on August 31. The sniping operation was conducted at around 6 a.m. in Purok 3, Barangay Morera, Guinobatan.

To save the Scout Rangers from embarrassment, 2nd IB spokesperson Maj. Narsan Obetes immediately announced that some 30 Red fighters were involved in the ambush. In fact, in a correspondence report sent to Ang Bayan, SBC spokesperson Ka Florante Orobia said that a small team had conducted the sniping operation, and fired only three rounds.

In another lie, the military claimed that the ambushed soldiers had been providing free rides to commuters stranded by a Bicol-wide transport strike that day. The truth is that the truck was transporting soldiers back to their headquarters in Pili, Camarines Sur after several days of military operations in Sorsogon.

Capiz. A soldier was killed and five others were wounded, including two officers of the 61st IB Bravo Coy in an ambush by an NPA platoon under the Jose Percival Estocada Jr. Command (NPA-Central Panay) in Tapaz town on August 28.

From Barangay Lagdungan in Tapaz, the soldiers planned on meeting with other military units in the area. At around 10 a.m., however, the KM 450 truck they were riding was hit by a command-detonated explosive between Barangay Bagong Baryo and Barangay Switch and met by a hail of gunfire from the Red fighters. Aside from the the truck driver who was killed, among the wounded military casualties were Bravo Coy commander 1Lt. Joselito Dalida and platoon leader 2Lt. Lisbon Caesar Brawner. Only one soldier was left unscathed.

Meanwhile, another group of soldiers that was supposed to reinforce the ambushed troops failed to arrive when the truck they were riding fell off a cliff in Sitio Ambulong, Barangay Malitbog, Tapaz, injuring the driver.

The ambush was the third military action launched against the 61st IB in five days. At 10 a.m. of August 23, an NPA unit harassed a "Peace and Development Team" (PDT) under the same battalion's Charlie Coy that was based in an elementary school in Barangay Tacayan. In the afternoon of August 28, another NPA unit harassed another PDT based in an elementary school in Barangay Acua. The Red fighters first ensured the safety of the civilians before undertaking the harassment operation.

Aurora. The 48th IB suffered heavy casualties after seven soldiers were killed and six others were wounded in an encounter with a unit under the Domingo Erlano Command (NPA-Aurora) in Barangay Dikapinisan, San Luis at 6:30 a.m. of August 23.

To conceal their casualties, the military loaded the dead aboard a helicopter. Before this, however, the helicopter strafed and bombed the mountainous areas of Dikapinisan to make sure there were no NPA snipers around. The helicopter bearing their casualties arrived at the PNP Provincial Headquarters at around 4:30 p.m. with several people witnessing the unloading of the dead soldiers' bodies.

The wounded were brought by boat to the Baler Fishport, arriving at 9 p.m. Of the seven wounded, three soldiers were hit in the torso. Two others were wounded in the back and one had a leg wound.

This latest blow meted by the NPA on the military in Aurora is a big slap in the face of the AFP, PNP and the Angara dynasty because of their boastful claims that Aurora province is now "insurgency-free."


Military actions in Southwest Negros

Red fighters under the Armando Sumayang Jr. Command (NPA-Southwestern Negros) launched a series of military actions from August 5-19 against 47th IB troops, their assets and other counterrevolutionary elements.

On August 15, NPA Red fighters burned the motorcycle of a soldier from the 47th IB in Sitio Cambogui-ot, Barangay Camindangan, Sipalay City in Negros Occidental.

Three days before, an NPA team harassed 47th IB soldiers staying at the house of their military asset known only as JR in Sitio Linumsan, Barangay Camindangan. The terrified and rattled soldiers scampered towards different directions and weren't even able to bring their firearms.

Witnessed said that five soldiers were killed in the harassment operation. Two of them were brought to their detachment while three others were found in a vacant lot in Sitio Cambinunyag. The bodies were later brought by helicopter to Valladolid town.

On August 5, an NPA partisan unit attacked a videoke house in Sitio Bactolon, Barangay Camindangan where soldiers from the 47th IB were having a drinking spree. Two of the soldiers and their civilian asset were wounded in the operation. (Read Ang Bayan's August 7, 2010 issue for more details)

Meanwhile, an NPA team implemented the death penalty on a criminal upon orders of the people's court. Raymundo "Monding" Agaze was meted punishment in Sitio Makilo, Barangay Camansi, Kabankalan City on August 19. In a statement, Armando Sumayang Jr. Command spokesperson Ka Andrea Guerrero said Agaze, a resident of Barangay Pinggot, Ilog town had been accused in 2006 of raping his maid who was then a minor. That year, charges were filed against Agaze before the people's court.

The case was tried in the presence of both the victim and the accused. Agaze admitted raping the victim and promised to pay damages. He also promised never to commit another crime.

The victim, her family and Agaze agreed on a settlement. But in 2008, Agaze attempted to kill the victim's father by shooting him. This prompted the local people's court to reimpose the death penalty and raise the matter before the regional people's court. The higher court automatically reviewed the case and affirmed the lower court's decision.


Photos, videos of POWs published by media

Photographs and videos of four personnel of the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) who are currently being held as prisoners of war (POW) by the New People's Army (NPA) were published by the media on August 29. The POWs were arrested more than a month ago by Red fighters in Bukidnon.

The photos and video clips taken on August 24 featured Jail Warden Ericho Dacillo Llamasares, Jail Inspector Murphy Bonoway Todyog, Special Jail Officer 2 Rogelio Begontes and Jail Officer 1 Rolando Delta Bajoyo Jr. A few days later, photographs and video clips of Lingig, Surigao del Sur Mayor Henry Dano and his two military escorts were also published by the media.

The BJMP personnel as well as Mayor Dano and his bodyguards pleaded to authorities to expedite negotiations for their release. They particularly called for a stop to "rescue operations." Continuing military offensives by the AFP Eastern Mindanao Command have disrupted efforts to effect the swift and safe release of Dano's group and the four POWs.

Meanwhile, NDF-Southern Mindanao Region spokesperson Rubi del Mundo assured the public that the captives are being treated in accordance with the provisions of International Humanitarian Law, Protocol I of the Geneva Conventions and the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law.


Health care suffers budget cuts

Various sectors strongly assailed cuts in the health budget for 2012. Kilos Bayan para sa Kalusugan led a protest action at the Department of Health on August 24 and in Congress on August 25 to demand a higher budget for public health care.

The P42.693 billion health budget for 2012 is severely inadequate, said Dr. Geneve Rivera, secretary-general of the Health Alliance for Democracy (HEAD). It is not enough to address the needs of public hospitals.

Not a single peso has been added to the budget for Maintenance and Other Operating Expenses (MOOE) of five hospitals which are among 12 specialty hospitals based in the National Capital Region (NCR), and 18 local hospitals in various other parts of the country. In fact, in 2011, the MOOE of eight NCR hospitals had already suffered a P70.8 million budget slash. The MOOE budget of San Lazaro Hospital was reduced by P9.3 million and that of San Lazaro Hospital by P6.5 million.

A total of P70.8 million was also sliced from the MOOE of the Philippine Heart Center, National Kidney and Transplant Institute and the Philippine General Hospital. Meanwhile, P363.7 million was slashed from the MOOE of all hospitals outside of Metro Manila.

The budget cuts have forced hospitals like the Philippine Orthopedic Center to raise fees for medical services such as X-rays. The hike from P120 to P250 is a huge burden to the poor.

Worse, a big chunk of the health budget is allotted to Philhealth, which has not been beneficial to the poor. With public hospitals being so ill-equipped, Philhealth members are compelled to spend their own money for medical services that have to be accessed at better-equipped private hospitals or facilities. Indigent patients who do not have enough funds to pay for hospital bills are obliged to provide some collateral such as cellphones and wrist watches.

The Aquino government's much-vaunted P10 billion hike for the Department of Health budget has actually been earmarked for Public-Private Partnership projects. Government counterpart financing for PPP projects in 25 regional hospitals amounting to P3 billion will be sourced from this P10 billion fund. The scheme is based on the regime's program of privatizing health care and the corporatization of public hospitals.

Health workers are demanding an alternative health care budget for 2012 amounting to P100 billion. Under their proposal, all 12 specialty hospitals must receive a P1 billion budget and public hospitals P500 million each. The funds will be used to improve and replace old and damaged equipment and ensure that hospital pharmacies have enough medicines and other medical needs.

They are also demanding a P6,000 hike in the minimum wage of all government health workers. Nurses should receive P24,887 and doctors P50,000 in monthly salaries. There should also be appropriate funds set aside for their welfare. Most important of all, government should provide free medical services to the poor.


SUC budget slashed anew

The Aquino regime has slashed the budget for State Universities and Colleges (SUC) for the second year in a row.

According the the Kabataan Party, SUCs will be alotted only P21.8 billion in the 2012 budget from the current level of P22.03 billion. The budgets of more than 50 SUCs nationwide have been cut by a total of P569 million. This includes a P250.9 million reduction in the Maintenance and Other Operating Expenses (MOOE) of 45 SUCs. Fifty-eight SUCs will also be suffering a P403.3 cut in their Personnel Services budget. Not a single peso has been provided for the construction of new classrooms or school buildings.

Kabataan Party Rep. Raymond Palatino has roundly criticized the planned SUC budget cuts, saying that instead of providing opportunities for impoverished youth to acquire an education, the government has opted to pour its resources into the Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) program which merely provides doleouts and is an insult to the poor. The CCT budget has swelled by P18.3 billion or 86% while the Public-Private Partnership program has enjoyed a P7.1 boost in its budget.

Students, teachers and employees of SUCs protested at the Batasang Pambansa on August 25 during hearings called to discuss the education and health budgets for 2012. A number of students were injured when the protesters were dispersed by policemen using water cannons. The rallyists warned that they would launch a series of protest actions and student walkouts on September 15-26.


Aquino regime inutile in the face of dengue epidemic

The Aquino government's gross incompetence in resolving the worsening dengue fever epidemic is increasingly being brought to the fore. The past several weeks have underscored the inadequacy of public hospital facilities to deal with the mounting dengue cases. Two to three pediatric patients often have to share a bed, while others have no choice but to sleep in corridors. Other patients have had to bring their own beds to hospital.

More than 56,000 dengue cases have been recorded in the first eight months of 2011, with 321 deaths. In the National Capital Region (NCR), most of the cases have occurred in Quezon City, Caloocan City and Manila.

Aside from the NCR, dengue cases have risen in Region 1 (286%), Region 2 (103%) and Region 3 (225%). Dengue outbreaks have also been reported in other cities and municipalities nationwide. In Central Luzon, for example, there have been 2,172 cases in Pampanga; 3,090 in Bulacan; 2,080 in Nueva Ecija; 1,213 in Tarlac; 593 in Bataan; 398 in Zambales; and 126 in Aurora.

Instead of releasing funds to assist hospitals, Benigno Aquino III has even banned local governments from tapping into their calamity funds if the dengue outbreaks in their areas are "not serious."

Dengue epidemic reflects rottenness of society. Studies show that more people fall victim to dengue fever, malaria, leptospirosis and other infectious diseases in areas where there is overpopulation, congestion, poor sanitation, no potable water system and no effective system of waste disposal.

Such a situation results from the government's failure to provide adequate social services to residents of various urban areas. In the face of such neglect, the Department of Health has no other prescription than to call for a cleanup of the communities' surroundings. The Aquino government, however, has done nothing to upgrade public infrastructure to ensure order and sanitation in the homes of millions of families living in urban areas.

Worse, the government has done even less to improve the economic conditions of millions of unemployed who live in shanty towns. In fact, many residents endure such conditions because of the lack of employment opportunities in the countryside. Others have been driven to urban areas because of intensifying militarization.

The Aquino government has no long-term plan to address the epidemic even if such disease outbreaks occur every year.


Widespread workers' layoffs in the US and Eurozone

The widespread layoffs of workers from the world's biggest companies is a reflection of the continuing crisis of the international capitalist system. Thousands of workers have been terminated from the biggest banks and other industry lines in the US, and more are set to be become jobless in the near future.

The biggest layoffs in the banking sector took place in August, when more than 60,000 employees were fired.

Layoffs in major banks (August 2011)
Bank Country Fired For firing
HSBC UK 2,000 30,000
BoA US 3,500 35,000
Lloyds Bank UK 2,000 15,000
RBS UK 2,000 67,000
UBS Switzerland 3,500 5,000
Barclay UK 3,000
ABN-Amro Sweden 2,350
Credit Suisse Switzerland 2,000
Total 20,350 152,000

Particularly in the US, up to 66,414 employees were terminated in July. The United States Postal Service plans to lay off 120,000 workers in the face of government budget cuts for public services. In the private sector, more than 16,300 have been booted out by Pfizer Company and 11,000 by EON Computers in the US this August.

The number of laid off workers has been steadily rising for the last 16 months. The figures for July are 60% higher than those for June and 57% bigger than those for July 2010.

Layoffs in the US (July 2011)
Company Fired For firing
Merck & Co., 15,000
Borders 10,700
Cisco System Inc. 6,500 12,050
Lockheed Martin 6,500
Boston Scientific 1,400
State & Local Gov’t 12,050
Colleges & Universities 1,914
United States Postal Service
Total 54,064 132,050

More than five million workers and employees have lost their jobs in the last three years since the US economy ran aground and entered a recession in 2008, followed by other capitalist countries.

Layoffs are now occurring at a faster pace after banking giants and other huge companies had used up the $16 trillion bailout fund provided by the US government. The bailout packages were able to help the companies temporarily by staving off bankruptcy. Many big capitalists, however, merely squandered these funds.

The massive workers' layoffs mark the depths of the capitalists' desperation to bring down production costs and continue raising their profit margins in the face of market slowdowns. The swelling numbers of the unemployed will further pull down workers' wages.

The growth of the army of the unemployed bodes ill for the living conditions of workers in the coming years and will cause even more intense poverty and other deleterious effects to the proletariat and other sectors. These effects are already being felt not only in the US and Europe but worldwide. On the other hand, the widespread layoffs will create conditions that will rouse the workers' class consciousness and point them towards the path of socialist revolution.


Drivers launch successful transport strike

Drivers and supporters from other sectors launched a successful nationwide transport strike on August 31 to protest the relentless oil price hikes.

Led by the Pinagkaisang Samahan ng Tsuper at Operators Nationwide (PISTON) and other progressive groups, various forms of protest were launched in several towns and cities across the country. A transport caravan that made its way from Quezon City to the offices of the oil cartel in Makati City was joined by more than 50 vehicles. The protesters bewailed the continuing increases in the prices of petroleum products despite the intensifying effects of the economic crisis on the people.

PISTON secretary-general George San Mateo said petroleum products have been overpriced by P9 since 2008. PISTON demanded a P9 price rollback from the oil companies. They also demanded that Shell, Chevron and Petron open their books of accounts to enable the public to ascertain whether oil price hikes are needed and to determine the extent of these companies' profits. He likewise assailed the government for refusing to put a stop to the oil companies' exploitative practices. San Mateo singled out the Department of Energy which has virtually served as a mouthpiece of the oil giants.

Meanwhile, members of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan-National Capital Region trooped to the Pandacan Oil Depot in Manila while youth and students picketed a number of gasoline stations in Sta. Mesa, Manila and Philcoa in Quezon City.

In Bicol, the transport strike achieved an average 93% paralysis. According to the Concerned Drivers and Operators for Reform (CONDOR-PISTON), transportation was paralyzed in Camarines Sur (85%), Albay (98%), Sorsogon (99%), Camarines Norte (92%), Masbate (95%) and Catanduanes (85%). In Southern Tagalog, a number of transportation lines were paralyzed in Balayan, Calaca, Lemery, Lipa, Sto. Tomas and Tanauan in Batangas; Dolores, San Antonio and Tiaong in Quezon; and Dasmariñas and Silang in Cavite. Ninety percent (90%) paralysis was achieved in Laguna. Simultaneous protests were held in the cities of Baguio, Angeles, Santiago, Tuguegarao, Iloilo, Bacolod, Cagayan de Oro, Butuan, Surigao and General Santos.

BAYAN called for the junking of the 12% Value Added Tax on Oil and the Oil Deregulation Law because of the sufferings they have caused to drivers and the people. A nationwide transport strike of various transport groups is set for this month due to the unending oil price hikes.

The latest price increase was P0.90 per liter of gasoline and P0.70 per liter of diesel from Chevron and Shell.


PAL contractualization is on

The Philippine Airlines (PAL) management is set to implement its outsourcing scheme starting October 1, leading to the termination of more than 2,600 employees through early compulsory retirement.

The employees who will be losing their jobs work in PAL's airport services, inflight catering and call center reservations which will all be spinned off.

PAL's management claims that the company incurred losses in 2008-2009 due to the worldwide economic crisis. The Department of Labor and Employment approved the spinoff scheme in 2010, prompting PAL to issue notices of termination to the affected employees. It will reportedly provide them separation pay and other benefits.

The Kilusang Mayo Uno strongly condemned PAL's outsourcing scheme. KMU chair Elmer Labog slammed the Aquino regime, saying it has demonstrated its pro-capitalist bias through its decisions favoring PAL owner Lucio Tan. Labog said that if Aquino truly wanted to defend the workers and stop the layoffs, he should not have approved PAL's outsourcing plans on March 25 and again, on August 11. He added that the decision was good news for capitalists like Tan, Henry Sy and others who have been given the green light to step up the contractualization of their workforce through such schemes as outsourcing.

The KMU called on PAL workers to launch protest actions to defend their livelihood and avoid being ensnared by management. The KMU also demanded the junking of all of the regime's antiworker and antipeople policies.