Stoke the fires of peasant struggles

Editorial
Ang Bayan
Nov 7, 2011 (English)

The widespread poverty and hunger suffered by the peasant masses nationwide are tinderboxes, sparking fires of peasant struggles everywhere. Farmers have been mounting fierce resistance to various forms of landgrabbing and struggling for genuine land reform to dismantle monopoly control over land. They have been standing up for their democratic rights even in the face of intense militarization and fascist violence.

The peasant masses rage in anger at the landlord president who has done nothing but add to their suffering. After merely more than a year in power, Benigno Aquino III has already imposed several policies that have been detrimental to the interests of the peasant masses.

Aquino applauded the Supreme Court's decision in July outrightly disregarding the peasantry's historic cry for genuine land reform. The decision, which calls for a referendum among the peasants to determine whether they prefer land distribution or the stock distribution option has given the Cojuangco-Aquino family another opportunity to further consolidate its monopoly control over the 6,500-hectare hacienda. It exposes anew the inutility of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program Extension with Reforms (CARPER).

The Supreme Court decision will definitely be used by other big landowners as a precedent to block the implementation of genuine land reform. It already poses a threat to the peasants of Hacienda Looc in Nasugbu, Batangas who have been demanding that the 8,650-hectare estate be subjected to genuine land reform. The decision obliterates the peasants' struggle to block the construction of a subdivision and tourist area on the land they have long been fighting for.

Aquino has also been enforcing widespread landgrabbing by foreign big capitalists, big landlords and comprador bourgeoisie which has resulted in the expulsion of hundreds of thousands peasants from their farms. He has paved the way for the conversion of vast tracts of agricultural land into mining sites and plantations and various infrastructure projects under his Public-Private Partnership program.

Like the Arroyo regime, Aquino has been auctioning off vast landholdings to foreign big capitalists. He has already offered more than 11,000 hectares in San Mariano and nearby towns in Isabela to big Japanese capitalists during a visit to Japan last year. There is likewise a looming possibility that millions of hectares of coconut lands will eventually come under the control of big American companies after Aquino announced plans by the former to invest $15 million in the extraction of buko juice (coconut water).

The Aquino regime is also pushing for the construction of a bus and train terminal (MRT-7) as well as residential areas and commercial establishments in a 311-hectare plot in Tungkong Mangga, San Jose del Monte, Bulacan that is currently being farmed by some 300 peasant families. Aquino's transportation secretary Mar Roxas has personal interests in going all-out to pursue the project, since the land is being claimed by the powerful Araneta clan, to which his mother belongs.

On the other hand, the Aquino regime has done nothing to raise the incomes of the peasant masses. His government has failed to raise the palay procurement price and likewise leaves the gates open for big corporations and exploitative merchants to undercut the farmgate prices of tobacco, pineapple, banana, vegetables and other agricultural products.

The Aquino regime has pulled all stops to attract foreign big capitalists to plunder the country's mineral resources. Aside from the usual come-ons like granting them tax holidays and the right to repatriate their profits, Aquino has also assured the security of foreign capitalists by training paramilitary groups to guard their mining operations.

Aquino's all-out campaign to ease the way of plunder for foreign big capitalists is resulting in the widespread displacement of peasants and minority peoples. Plunderous mining corporations have destroyed mountains, polluted springs and streams, caused rivers to swell and degraded vast tracts of agricultural land.

Through his minions, Aquino is currently pushing for charter change to amend provisions of the reactionary 1987 constitution that proscribe foreign ownership of land and impose a 40% limit on foreign equity. This means no less than the recolonization of the country, the demise of land reform and the further condemnation of the peasant masses to poverty and hunger.

The abject poverty resulting from the Aquino regime's policies has sparked peasant struggles in many parts of the country repudiating the ruling regime for being pro-imperialist and pro-landlord. The peasantry has been fighting for just prices for their produce and just wages for agricultural workers. Farmers have marched and demonstrated in town centers and cities against the seizure of their lands. They have been struggling to block the entry of foreign big mining enterprises and plantations and demand genuine land reform.

Through their organizations, the peasants have collectively farmed idle lands within the haciendas (bungkalan) to assert their right to till the land and reap the fruits of their labor. This has improved the livelihoods of farmers nationwide engaged in the bungkalan campaign.

The peasant struggles that have erupted create excellent conditions for invigorating the participation of the peasant masses in revolutionary armed struggle. Simultaneously, the active support of the New People's Army and the revolutionary forces for the struggles of the peasantry in accordance with the program for agrarian revolution imbues the peasant masses with more energy, courage and determination to advance their cause.

The Aquino regime's anti-peasant and antipeople policies and programs are quickly giving rise to antifeudal, anti-imperialist and antifascist struggles throughout the country. The abject poverty and oppression this has engendered are fanning a conflagration of peasant struggles that threatens to consume in its flames the reactionary rule of landlord president Aquino. ~

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h1. Landgrabbing in Bulacan

More than 300 peasant families from Tungkong Mangga, San Jose del Monte, Bulacan are in danger of being evicted from their farms and homes on a 311-hectare plot to give way to the construction of the Metro Rail Transit-7 (MRT-7), a railway system linking Tungkong Mangga to North Edsa, Quezon City as well as LRT Line 1 (Baclaran-Monumento) and MRT 3 (Pasay-North Edsa).

The farmers are vehemently against MRT-7 and their looming eviction. The land to be used by the project should have long been distributed to them. Instead, the Aquino regime sold the land to the private corporations involved in the MRT-7 project. The land will be the site of a depot and intermodal station and related commercial and industrial infrastructure. Among the project's investors are San Miguel Corp. (SMC), Universal LRT Corp. and other local and foreign capitalists.

MRT-7 will cost $1.235 billion or more than `53.105 billion. DOTC Secretary Mar Roxas has shamelessly endorsed the project in order to secure funding from the Aquino regime, which will be borrowing up to a billion dollars to finance it. ~

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h1. Continuing struggle in Hacienda Looc

The peasants' struggle at Hacienda Looc has intensified in the face of renewed attempts by big comprador bourgeoisie to seize the lands within the vast estate.

Hacienda Looc spans five barangays in the adjacent towns of Nasugbu, Batangas and Maragondon, Cavite with a total land area of 8,650 hectares. The land is fertile and rich in natural resources. More than 1,700 hectares are planted to rice, corn, sugarcane and vegetables. It also has banana plantations and is rich in fruit trees such as mango, jackfruit and star apple.

In 1990, the peasants of Hacienda Looc received their certificates of land ownership award and emancipation patents under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program. After five years, however, the government revoked the CLOAs and EPs after the Assets and Privatization Trust sold the entire hacienda to Manila Southcoast Development Corp. (MSDC) which is under the SM Group of Companies.

MSDC and its partner Fil-Estate Lands have been pushing for the implementation of the Royal Cliff, Harbor Town and Golf and Country Club projects. They plan to construct four golf courses, two yachting ports and an exclusive beach resort and subdivision that will cater to the very rich.

SM Land, on the other hand, is behind the Hamilo Coast Project that will cover 5,800 hectares, including a 25-kilometer long seacoast dotted with 13 caves and thick forests, among other resources. More than 10,000 families are set to be evicted once this SM Land project pushes through.

The peasants continue to resist SM's land-use conversion and the structures being built by the company. They demand the right to own the lands within Hacienda Looc. ~

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h1. Peasant struggles for land

Progressive organizations are commemorating Peasant Month through a series of activities and protests from September to December. From October 17 to 21, peasants conducted a lakbayan (people's march) to call for the repudiation of the US-Aquino regime and demand genuine land reform.

The central call in these mass actions is the fight against the widespread landgrabbing going on in various parts of the country. The peasants exposed the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program Extension with Reforms (CARPER) as an instrument of the hacienderos to expand their monopoly control over land. In just over a year since the new government's ascension to power, the peasantry has resoundingly repudiated Benigno Aquino III's regime whose pro-landlord character has become excruciatingly apparent.

The peasants brought to the city centers the various agrarian issues from their localities and their struggle for genuine land reform.

Some 1,500 peasants led by the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas traveled to Manila from various haciendas in Central Luzon, Southern Tagalog, Cagayan Valley and the Ilocos Region to camp out at Mendiola to demand genuine agrarian reform.

Meanwhile, up to 10,000 farmers from Bukidnon and Misamis Oriental camped out at the provincial capitol grounds in Cagayan de Oro. These people's marches were merely the culmination of several mass actions launched by peasant organizations since September.

In Eastern Visayas, some 1,500 farmers from various provinces, town centers and cities marched under the banner of the Samahan han Gudti nga Parag-uma-Sinirangan Bisayas (SAGUPA-SB) on October 21 and rallied in front of various offices of the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) to demand genuine land reform from the Aquino regime, the junking of CARP, the passage of the Genuine Agrarian Reform Bill and a stop to militarization in the countryside. In Catarman, Northern Samar, members of SAGUPA-SB and the Northern Samar Small Farmers Association (NSSFA) marched to protest continuing militarization in the countryside. NSSFA chair Oscar Tulin said that the AFP has been arming even minors and terrorizing peasants during their military operations. They also demanded the release of political detainees like Dario Tomada and Felicidad Caparal, peasant leaders who have been slapped with trumped-up charges.

In Eastern Samar, the protests broke a five-year hiatus brought about by the reign of terror under Gen. Jovito Palparan. The Kapunungan han mga Parag-uma ha Eastern Samar (KPES) led about 400 peasants from the towns of Borongan, Maydolong, Arteche, Llorente, McArthur and Quinapondan in a march-rally to protest widespread mining operations in the province. Two big mining companies--the Masada Mining Co. and King Resource Mining Company--also continue to operate in Eastern Samar, covering McArthur, Llorente and Salcedo towns.

In Catbalogan, some 700 farmers from various towns of Samar province joined a protest against poverty, hunger and militarization.

In Tacloban City, up to 200 farmers rallied in front of the Department of Agrarian Reform regional office (DAR-8) and later launched a noise barrage at the Old Bus Terminal to protest widespread landgrabbing, militarization and the peasants' continued landlessness. ~

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h1. Landgrabbing worsens in Cagayan Valley

The government has set aside 457,000 hectares of fertile agricultural land in Cagayan Valley for the use of multinational agribusiness corporations such as those engaged in bio-ethanol production. This land area covers 75% of the region's agricultural land in addition to lands classified as "forested"or "upland"areas even if these have long been cultivated by peasants.

On the whole, more than 80,000 hectares will be devoted to plantations that will feed bio-ethanol production. From the overall target of 11,000 hectares in eight towns of sabela province, an additional 3,000 hectares from four other towns will be covered by the bio-ethanol contract. In Cagayan, 20,000 hectares will be set aside for a plantation and a bio-ethanol processing plant in Lallo town.

Government seizures of land go on unabated through the use of various bogus reforestation schemes such as the Community-Based Forest Management (CBFM), Socialized Industrial Forest Management Agreement (SIFMA) and the Certificate of Ancestral Domain Claim (CADC). Under these schemes, the peasants will not own land and will instead serve as "stewards"of the forest. As stewards, they can be evicted anytime by the company doing business in the area or even by the government. These schemes are means of evading land distribution. Instead of distributing the land to the peasants, the government tells them to engage in tree planting, as was the case in a 15,303-hectare area within the Sandoval Estate and a 943-hectare plot in Sindon, Ilagan, Isabela.

The same thing has happened in a CBFM-covered 600-hectare area in Cagayan that lies along the boundary of Baggao and Gattaran towns. The area is still classified as"forested"although peasants have been farming the land for decades and most of it is inhabited by Agay minorities. "Reforestation"is also being used as a pretext by agribusiness corporations for seizing vast tracts of land. In San Mariano, Isabela, 50% of SIFMA areas are planted to sugarcane instead of trees. Based on the peasants' experience, not only can they lose their land at any time, they can become victims of violence in the hands of the landgrabbers, as what happened in a 500-hectare CBFM in Bangag, Lallo, Cagayan.

Bogus reforestation schemes exist side by side with the operations of five giant logging companies in 184,316 hectares of the region's remaining forestlands. Large-scale logging has been detrimental to the lives and livelihoods of the people in the region.

Not a single farmer has been given land under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) despite claims by the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) that it has distributed 341,793 hectares as of 2010. In fact, DAR has even expanded its landgrabbing schemes through the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program with Reforms (CARPER), principally targeting problematic agrarian reform cases. Lands that have long been the subject of Presidential Decree 27 (the martial law land reform edict) have not been awarded to the farmers. The DAR has instead been demanding renewed amortizations and transferring ownership of the land to others through the Voluntary Offer to Sell option. The farmers either end up having their Certificates of Land Transfer, Emancipation Patents and Certificates of Land Ownership Award cancelled or fake ownership papers suddenly crop up transferring ownership to wealthy and powerful people and to usurers.

Growing numbers of peasants have been slapped with criminal cases before the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) Adjudication Board to force their eviction from their lands and homes. The biggest case so far involves the 7,000-hectare Borja Estate in Amulung, Cagayan where most tenants were able to complete the high amortization fees under PD 27 through sheer hard work. The DAR has nonetheless been demanding another round of amortizations to the tune of `100,000 per hectare. In Del Pilar, San Mariano, Isabela, the peasants have been ordered to pay fees for a World Bank irrigation project supposedly under the aegis of land reform--for the next 381 years!

At the same time, langrabbing syndicates led by both bogus and licensed lawyers, surveyors and engineers in cahoots with DAR, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), the Land Bank, the Register of Deeds, the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR), agribusiness companies and local government units continue to deceive and extort from the masses and seize their lands. In Cagayan, the biggest syndicate is led by Engr. Ruben Ulita and in Isabela, the most notorious swindlers' group is led by bogus attorney Nenita Balmaceda-Perez.

Antipeople project. Before the elections and right after the Aquino regime came to power, a propaganda blitz was conducted, that included giving the people some measure of relief through "development projects"that were in fact antipeople in character. In Cagayan province, the Enrile clan's Cagayan Economic Zone Authority (CEZA) built provincial roads, casinos and hotels, but evicted 300 farmers from Barangay Samoc-samoc, Sta. Ana town in January. CEZA is the province's leading landgrabber, seizing 54,000 hectares in Cagayan.

The government is focused on initiating other projects that would serve imperialist interests. For instance, there are plans to put up five hydro-electric plants in Isabela, including one in San Agustin town that will be funded by Japan. Other projects include the Ngarutngot Dam in Cagayan and the Ilaguen Dam in Isabela, the Lallo International Airport and the construction of provincial roads. ~

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h1. Opposition mounts against mining, foreign projects in Panay

Tumanduk minorities and peasants in Capiz and Iloilo provinces are determinedly resisting continued landgrabbing by the military of their ancestral lands in addition to other pending projects that will wreak havoc on their livelihoods and the environment.

Aside from the Philippine Army 3rd ID's seizure of 33,310 hectares of their ancestral lands and using it as an Army Reservation, the Tumanduk are confronting the P19.2 billion Jalaur River Multipurpose Project Phase II. The project, which will start in 2012, is funded by the Chinese and South Korean governments which will also be providing their own contractors.

The Jalaur dam will provide 11 megawatts of electricity to Iloilo City, potable water, and irrigation for 22,000 hectares of agricultural land in Iloilo province.

On the other hand, the project will displace residents in the villages of Aglunok, Hilwan, Marandig, Supanga, Caratagan, Guinbunyugan, Binulosan Pequeño, Cahigon, Masaroy, Garangan and Arcalaga, all in Calinog town, Iloilo.

The dam which will be built along the Jalaur River will be at least 120 meters high. Water from the Alibunan River will be drawn upstream over a distance of 12 kilometers to fill the dam. The area around and upwards of the Alibunan River will be declared a watershed area where farming will be strictly prohibited. Downstream areas will be endangered during the rainy season due to flash floods triggered by the opening of the dam gates to release excess water.

The entry of large-scale mining also poses a threat. Some of the companies that will be initiating operations are TMC International Corporation (TMCIC) and Quarry Ventures Philippines Inc. in five towns of Capiz. TMCIC will cover 10,344 hectares of land in the villages of Abangay, Aglinab, Apero, Artuz, Gebioan, Katipunan, Roosevelt, San Miguel Ilawod and Wright in Tapaz town. On the other hand, Quarry Ventures Philippines will be conducting mining operations on a 8,524-hectare concession in four barangays of Jamindan.

There are continuing antimining struggles in Maayon, Cuartero and Dumarao, all in Capiz. In January, the gold-mining applications of three companies--Teresa Marble, Quarry Ventures Philippines Inc. and Walter Mining and Industrial Development Corporation--were approved.

Meanwhile, hundreds of residents from Igbaras town in Iloilo have signed a petition against the application of Emerald Mineral Resources Company to conduct exploration activities in more than 2,360 hectares of the municipality. The residents submitted the petition to the office of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources Mines and Geosciences Bureau in June. The petitioners are from the town center and the 12 affected barangays of Igbaras. ~

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h1. NDFP rails against P31M grant to bandit group

The National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) has assailed the government's `31 million grant to the bandit Rebolusyonaryong Partido ng Manggagawa-Pilipinas (RPMP), Revolutionary Proletarian Army (RPA) and Alex Boncayao Brigade (ABB).

NDFP chief political consultant Prof. Jose Ma. Sison said Teresita Quintos-Deles, head of the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) should be slammed for engaging in a scam and malversing public funds. Sison said Deles has been recycling and misrepresenting paramilitary forces of the GPH like the RPA-ABB and the CPLA as anti-GPH groups. He added that she must be held responsible for deception and for stealing public funds in collaboration with GPH paramilitary groups.

NDFP Negotiating Panel chair Luis Jalandoni said the government's grants to the RPMP-RPA-ABB were deceptive because they create the illusion that advances are being made in the peace process. Jalandoni pointed out that the RPMP-RPA-ABB bandits had long stopped fighting and are now being used by the state against the people. They are also being used as paid goons by politicians and landlords.

The `31 million fund is under the OPAPP's Payapa at Masaganang Pamayanan Program (PAMANA). The grant forms part of the "peace pact"signed by the bandit group and the Estrada regime on December 6, 2000 which formalized the RPMP-RPA-ABB's surrender and cooperation with the government.

The RPMP-RPA-ABB had already received `500 million earlier that year, which led to squabbles over money and the creation of a breakaway faction. The group also received another `10 million for its members who wanted to be integrated into the military.

OPAPP has a history of fund misuse. Former OPAPP secretary Gen. Hermogenes Esperon left `170 million in unliquidated Social Integration Program (SIP) funds which are given to surrenderees. Deles, on the other hand, has been accused of using the agency's funds to campaign for Gloria Arroyo during the 2004 elections. This revelation has prompted progressive legislators to demand the OPAPP's abolition. ~

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h1. Bicolanos launch anti-OPB campaign

Up to 12,000 Bicolanos launched a caravan, rally and protest camp against the US-Aquino regime's counterrevolutionary program Oplan Bayanihan (OPB).

The Alyansa na Kilusan Laban sa Militarisasyon sa Kabikolan traveled on October 17-18 to different cities in the region to call on the people to resist OPB and demand justice for the victims of human rights violations under the Aquino regime. According to Vince Casilihan of Karapatan-Bicol, there have been 24 cases of extrajudicial killings, 18 cases of illegal arrest, 20 cases of abduction and 39 cases of terrorism and intimidaion since OPB began. Casilihan cited the acts of an AFP Community Peace and Development Team that went from house to house in 11 barangays in Guinobatan, Albay, forcing residents to join the Barangay Defense System. A resident of Pio Duran, Albay was beaten up by the military, causing bleeding and pain in various parts of his body.

Meanwhile, Kilusang Mayo Uno-Bicol said that OPB's main victims are farmers. Aside from being accused as rebels, struggling peasants in big haciendas, mining companies and areas where land-use conversion is rampant are also targeted during AFP operations.

Meanwhile, the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan-Bicol (BAYAN-Bicol) said that the regime's OPB is nothing but a pretentious and deceptive program being launched in the name of peace. Militarization continues side by side with bogus programs ostensibly for the poor. Nonetheless, said BAYAN-Bicol, OPB will also be defeated the same way the Arroyo regime's Oplan Bantay Laya was vanquished. ~

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h1. A Red tribute to Ka Roger in the heart of Metro Manila

A huge gathering was held on O±ctober 21 at the University of the Philippines (UP) Theater in Diliman, Quezon City to honor Gregorio "Ka Roger"Rosal, the late spokesperson of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP). More than 2,500 people from various provinces and organizations paid tribute to Ka Roger--a reflection of how much he was admired and loved by revolutionaries and the Filipino people.

Many of those who came were from the working class and the peasantry--the classes Ka Roger fought for in almost four decades of service to the people. Several fisherfolk, students, professionals, church people, urban poor and people from other sectors were also present. His relatives and friends were there, and so were journalists and a former government official.

Not only were the seats at the UP Theater filled to capacity. The aisles brimmed with people as well. Many of those who came wore T-shirts emblazoned with Ka Roger's image and Mao caps which formed part of the late spokesperson's favorite get-up and eventually became his trademark. On the UP Theater's walls were hung banners of the CPP, the New People's Army, the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) and its allied organizations.

A round of applause rang through the entire theater as Ka Roger's portrait first appeared onstage. Beside his huge likeness were the words "Ka Roger--the undying voice of the people."

The most striking parts of the tribute were the video presentations of Ka Roger's interviews, his family, friends, comrades in struggle and leaders of the revolutionary movement. The videos showcased his childhood and schooling, his political awakening, arrest and escape from detention, his membership in the New People's Army, his life as a leader, an effective and much-admired CPP spokesperson and his being an exemplary revolutionary and communist. Many of his statements spoken on screen were greeted with hearty applause, proving that even in death, his words remained sharp as steel.

The speeches paid the highest tribute to the late spokesperson. The NDFP honored Ka Roger through a statement read on video by Ka Luis Jalandoni. NDFP chief political consultant Jose Ma. Sison sent a separate videotaped tribute. On stage, various individuals who had worked with, or knew and admired Ka Roger gave their eulogies. Among them were NDFP peace consultant Vicente Ladlad; Philippine Peace Center executive director Rey Casambre; BAYAN chair Dr. Carol Araullo; GABRIELA secretary-general Lana Linaban; Tata Pido from Pamalakaya; former Bayan Muna representative and Makabayan alliance president Satur Ocampo; and Fely Indanan, Ka Roger's younger sister. DzRH anchor Deo Macalma who often interviewed Ka Roger on the air hailed the late Party spokesperson. Former GPH negotiating panel chair Atty. Silvestre Bello III paid his respects.

The speeches focused mainly on how well Ka Roger fulfilled his role as CPP spokesperson. They underscored his fine revolutionary attitude in integrating with comrades, the masses, the media and even with GPH representatives. Most of all, they extolled the firmness of his revolutionary standpoint.

The cultural presentations during the special program were militant. Song and dance presentations from various groups and individuals further invigorated the tribute. As poet Jess Santiago sang and played on his guitar "Awit ng Kainginero,"an original composition by Ka Roger, the Sinagbayan cultural group performed an interpretative dance. Kumasa, a workers' cultural group from Southern Tagalog sang revolutionary songs, including Ka Roger's poem Baseng Bukid which was set to music. The First Quarter Storm Movement, the People's Chorale and Chikoy Pura of The Jerks also presented songs.

Messages sent by political detainees Alan Jazmines, Eduardo Serrano, Eduardo Sarmiento and Prospero Aguda from their prison cells in Camp Crame and from Tirso Alcantara in Fort Bonifacio were read during the program.

The tribute was capped with all the participants standing with their clenched fists raised singing the Internationale. The singing was led by the People's Chorale, leaders of various legal organizations and other personalities. Simultaneously, videos of one of the gun salutes for Ka Roger conducted in an NPA guerrilla zone and a lightning rally held by the RCTU-NDFF in Southern Tagalog were shown on screen. The UP Theater thundered with cries of "Long live Ka Roger!"and "Long live the Communist Party of the Philippines!" ~

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Fr. Fausto Tentorio
h1. He made the cause of the Filipino people his own

More than 15,000 people joined a caravan and funeral march on October 25 for Fr. Fausto Tentorio, the Italian priest who was mercilessly gunned down by minions of the 6th Infantry Division in front of his parish in Arakan, North Cotabato on October 17. Aside from his friends and family, among those who saw him to his final resting place were various Lumad groups, peasants, church people, human rights advocates, environmentalists and progressive leaders.

While traveling from Davao City to Kidapawan City, the caravan stopped in front of the 57th IB headquarters in Makilala, Cotabato. The participants got off their vehicles to condemn the slaying of the Italian priest and Ramon Batoy, a peasant leader closely associated with Fr. Tentorio (see related article). Brimming with anger, the Lumad and peasants who joined the protest destroyed a billboard in front of the headquarters extolling Oplan Bayanihan. They also used red paint to write the word "berdugo"(henchman/executioner) on the camp's signboard.

Military and police elements tried to stop the caravan three times. Military agents harassed and took pictures of the protesters. But this failed to deter them. The mourners had one cry: Justice for Fr. Tentorio!

The Italian priest is the 54th victim of extrajudicial killing under the Aquino regime.

For more than three decades, Fr. Tentorio served as a missionary of the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions (PIME) in the Philippines. He became known for his unstinting service to the Lumad and other impoverished people in Mindanao's vast countryside. He advanced various education and health programs as well as other social services for the Lumad and other deprived sectors. In North Cotabato alone, he helped build up to 80 daycare centers that mainly serviced Lumad and peasant children.

But it was not only material assistance that he provided. He gave moral support to them in their struggles for their rights. In the process, Fr. Tentorio incurred the ire of forces who exploited and oppressed the Lumad and the peasantry.

Foremost among them were the big mining companies and their protectors among the reactionary military and other state armed forces. They saw him as a threat and an enemy because of his opposition to antipeople projects and policies.

When Benigno Aquino III ordered beefed up security this October for mining operations, he gave the go-signal to step up acts of violence against antimining activists. Fr. Tentorio was the first pillar of the progressive antimining movement in Mindanao to be felled by fascist butchers after Aquino gave his marching orders. In snuffing away his life, the Aquino regime, the AFP and the big mining companies they have been protecting believed that this would be enough to terrify the Lumad and peasants being robbed of their land and resources into retreating. But Fr. Tentorio's killing has only succeeded in firing up their courage and anger.

The revolutionary forces in Mindanao recognized and hailed Fr. Tentorio's heartfelt service to the people, especially the Lumad who suffer from layers of oppression. Tributes poured in for him from NDF-Mindanao, NDF-Far South Mindanao, Kabataang Makabayan-Southern Mindanao and the Southern Mindanao Regional Party Committee (SMRPC).

Said the NDF-Mindanao, Fr. Tentorio took a bold stand against big mining interests, against the continuing militarization of the the Arakan Valley Complex, and against those who trample upon the rights of both the peasants and the Lumad. He was a true friend of the Filipino people.

The NDF-Far South Mindanao hailed Fr. Tentorio as a people's martyr, honoring him for his selfless and wholehearted service to the people in many remote place in Mindanao. It added that his untimely death strengthens the revolutionary forces' resolve to live and fight for the noble cause of peace, justice and freedom.

KM-SMR likened Fr. Tentorio to Norman Bethune for being an Italian missionary who did not have second thoughts about serving the Filipino masses. Bethune, a Canadian citizen and member of the Communist Party of the US who joined the Chinese revolution is hailed as an example of the communist spirit of internationalism.

The SMRPC gave Fr. Tentorio the highest praise and paid the highest tribute. The regional committee summed up how his life and personality were molded during his long years of integrating with and serving the masses, his study of their conditions and his participation in their struggles. Said the SMRPC, Fr. Tentorio was an Italian who became a great Filipino--a communist and internationalist who devoted more than half of his life to serve the interests of the poor Filipino masses and make the cause of the Filipino people his own.

The regional committee vowed revolutionary justice for Fr. Tentorio, saying that the people's army stands ready to confront and hold the enemy accountable for killing him. Amid their expressions of grief, they declared their determination to struggle to overthrow the enemies who have felled him and attain a society free from exploitation and oppression. ~

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h1. Justice for the Tineg 8

Elements of the 503rd Brigade and 41st IB committed grave violations of the international rules of war and the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL) when they killed eight Red fighters belonging to a unit of the Agustin Begnalen Command (New People's Army-Abra) who were encircled by the enemy in the morning of October 10 in Barangay Caganayan, Tineg, Abra.

According to accounts by the surviving guerrillas, the eight Red fighters were all wounded and rendered hors de combat. In spite of this, the soldiers finished them off. Still not content, the military desecrated the remains of seven of them. The latter's bodies all bore signs of torture and other forms of abuse.

Contrary to media reports, the military did not bring the comrades' bodies to Bangued, Abra's capital, but left them with the local residents who had no way of transporting the remains. Neither could residents of Tineg and the nearby town of Lacub approach the encounter site to retrieve the bodies because the military had been continuously bombing and raining machine gun fire on the area. Abra Gov. Eustaquio Bersamin was compelled to take action to retrieve the decomposing bodies after residents and representatives of human rights groups spent days airing their demands.

The Abra governor commended Lt. Jeson Capoquian who led the assault. The following accounts of the savagery inflicted by the military troops on the "Tineg 8"show the kinds of acts that are worthy of praise to reactionaries and fascists:

#. Edgardo "Ka Recti" Balbin's skull was crushed and cracked open. He was alive when the soldiers sprayed him with gunfire. His other injuries were caused by heavy blows and not from gunshots.
#. Reynaldo "Ka Kris"Masadao was shot near his left ear at close range. Like Ka Recti, he was wounded. His right leg was almost severed from his body after the military severely crushed his bones. He was also hacked and kicked by the soldiers.
#. The top of Miguel "Ka Oxy"Anggaboy's skull was blown off, and his brain removed. Ka Oxy was the team leader of the guerrillas. He was wearing a pair of shorts when his body was retrieved, but he was in pants when the fighting took place.
#. Reyna "Ka Ogie"Villacarlos was shot near her right ear at close range. Her shorts and panties were torn in the crotch area. Residents said that when they first found her, she was naked.
#. The left side of Rodel "Ka Bunso"Corpus' torso bore hack wounds. So did his arms, thighs and calves. The top of his skull had been blown off by two gunshot wounds.
#. Marks on "Ka Omeng's"neck show that the military used rope or a piece of cloth to hang or strangle him.
#. "Ka Berlin's"nose was blown off.

Only Dorothy "Ka Winnie"Ating's body did not bear signs of abuse.

In a statement, the Communist Party of the Philippines called on human rights advocates, lawyers, church people, international human rights agencies and the Joint Monitoring Committee which oversees the GPH and NDFP's compliance with the CARHRIHL to conduct their own investigations on the Tineg 8. It called on forensic experts to examine the bodies and expose the truth.

The CPP said it was very evident in the case of the Tineg 8 that there is no difference whatsoever between Aquino's Oplan Bayanihan and the former Arroyo regime's Oplan Bantay Laya when it comes to savagery and brutality. ~

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h1. Soldiers torture 3 Red fighters in Rizal

Three Red fighters of the Narciso Antazo Aramil Command (New People's Army-Rizal) have been arrested, tortured and held incommunicado. The three, who are former students of the Polytechnic University of the Philippines were captured in the evening of October 26 in Barangay Sta. Inez, Tanay, Rizal. They were identified as Marissa Espedido, 21; Hermogenes Reyes Jr., 22; and Jared Valero Morales, 21.

The victims were arrested by combined elements of the 16th IB, Rizal PNP and CAFGU. In a statement, the Narciso Antazo Aramil Command said the three were conducting consultations on the peace talks when they were arrested.

The victims were detained overnight in a detachment under the 59th IB where they underwent intense interrogation and torture. They were blindfolded and bound and brought to the 16th IB headquarters in Pinugay, Baras, Rizal the next day where they were subjected to more intense interrogation and torture.

The victims were prevented from seeing or conversing with their relatives and were slapped with criminal charges to prolong their detention. They are currently being held at the Rizal Provincial Jail in Taytay, Rizal.

The Communist Party of the Philippines demanded that the victims be accorded prisoner of war status and their rights respected. The CPP said that the three victims' cruel treatment contrasts with the NPA's humane treatment of captured soldiers and policemen.

Meanwhile, bishops and progressive organizations in Davao City called for the release of NPA fighters Vanessa delos Reyes, Ariel Haducana and Jason Casilum who were all hors de combat when captured by the AFP. Bishop Delfin Callao has appealed for the three detainees on humanitarian grounds. ~

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h1. 30,000 Moros flee

Up to 30,000 Moro civilians from Zamboanga Sibugay and Basilan provinces have fled their homes since the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) began relentless aerial bombing and ground attacks on their communities in the last week of October.

The evacuees are from the towns of Ipil, Naga, Kabasalan, Alicia, Payao and Mabuhay in Zamboanga Sibugay and five barangays in Al Barka, Basilan.

The AFP's massive military offensive was allegedly spurred by the deaths of 19 soldiers in an ambush by Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) fighters in Al Barka on October 18. The casualties were part of an AFP Special Forces team of more than 40 men that attempted to raid an MILF position. The MILF condemned the attack as a violation of their ceasefire agreement with the GPH.

Even if the AFP's own investigations revealed that the big number of casualties resulted from weaknesses as well as mistakes committed by the soldiers, Malacañang propagandists quickly pounced on the Al Barka ambush to use it as a pretext to step up the military offensive against the MILF.

To obscure its brutality, especially against the civilian population, Malacañang dubbed the AFP's anti-MILF campaign as one of "all-out justice"instead of "all-out war."The gimmickry behind the label was bared when word leaked out that the "all-out justice"slogan was coined by the Aquino regime's tourism secretary, who is a former advertising executive. Through this deceptive slogan, the Aquino regime aims to go all-out to suppress the Bangsamoro struggle through military might even as it continues its attempts to trap the MILF into capitulating through deceptive peace negotiations.

Said the Moro Resistance and Liberation Organization (MRLO), an allied organization of the National Democratic Front, instead of addressing the legitimate grievances of the MILF and the Moro people, the Aquino regime's main agenda has been war and deception. Aquino himself has been pushing for all-out war against the Bangsamoro to defeat their struggle and pave the way for the plunder of the Bangsamoro homeland.

The MRLO therefore believes that the Bangsamoro armed struggle within the framework of national-democratic revolution is the only solution that will put an end to Bangsamoro oppression and achieve genuine peace and justice. ~

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h1. Libya after Gaddafi

US imperialism and its allies in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) rejoiced when their putschist minions besieged and killed Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi in the city of Sirte on October 20.

The US, France, Great Britain, Italy and other imperialist countries have been circling like vultures over a prostrate Libya, relishing the thought of feasting on the spoils of war after mounting a seven-month siege. They now control billions of dollars worth of Libyan assets deposited in various European banks. (In fact, days before the fall of Tripoli in the last week of August, the US had already asked the National Transitional Council to reimburse it for its war expenditures). The imperialists have also tightened control over Libya's vast oil fields and gold resources. Plans are also underway to privatize Libya's water system and rake in superprofits from contracts for the reconstruction of the war-ravaged country. __(Read Ang Bayan's September 21 issue for more details).__

While the imperialists enjoy their war booty, there is stiff in-fighting among the various factions that temporarily united under the pro-monarchy banner and their common hatred for Gaddafi. These armed factions have their own interests and their own special forces and advisers. Under these circumstances, it would be very easy to establish the US African Command (AFRICOM) military base to monitor these rival factions.

Prof. Jose Ma. Sison, who chairs the International League of People's Struggle (ILPS), cited these various rival forces.

First in line are the main leaders of the National Transitional Council (NTC) who are now jockeying for position after the assassination of their commanding general Abdul Fatah Younis. Younis, Libya's defense minister before he bolted the Gaddafi camp was assassinated by fellow NTC leaders while advancing towards Tripoli. Members of his tribe, the Obeidi, are now rearing to avenge their leader's treacherous killing. Second are the Qatar-backed Islamic groups that include the veteran pro-al Qaeda Libyan Islamic Fighting Group and the leaders of military juntas ruling Tripoli and Benghazi ranged against secularists supported by rebels based in Mistrata and Zintan. Aside from these, there are other feuding armed factions, tribes and regions.

Contrary to expectations, there will be no "democracy"in Libya even if it now has a new prime minister in the person of Abdel-Rahim al-Keeb or even if elections are held. This is because any armed faction that takes power will tend to be corrupt and rule with a mailed fist because of its absolute hold on power, said Sison.

On the other hand, conditions are favorable for the development of a national liberation movement that the new puppet, brutal and corrupt regime will give rise to. Intense rivalry persists among the various armed factions. In addition, the Gaddafi camp still has a significant number of supporters. With the existence of the new regime, the broad masses will definitely be deprived of the benefits they enjoyed under the Gaddafi regime such as free education, health services, housing and electricity, subsidies for vehicle purchases, allowances for newlyweds and pregnant women and the like.

Despite the imperialists' contempt and their attempts to demonize Gaddafi, his death as an anti-imperialist martyr and fighter still provides inspiration to the various tribes and to black Libyans (who comprise one-third of the population) to struggle for national liberation.

The ILPS foresees that after the rise of an anti-imperialist movement, the patriotic and progressive forces will emerge including the revolutionary party of the working class and the unionist movement as well as the democratic mass organizations that were formerly suppressed. ~

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h1. Summit for nothing

Signifying the depth of the crisis of the international capitalist system, imperialist leaders failed anew to unite on what measures to take to address threats of a new explosive economic crisis. The latest G20 summit held in Cannes, France on November 3-4 came to nought. At the meeting were the leaders of the 20 biggest economies worldwide as well as their finance ministers and representatives of their central banks. But after the two-day summit, and the billions of dollars spent for it, the imperialist leaders failed to agree on what to do. The meeting was dubbed the "Summit for Nothing"by the media.

The G20 leaders could not agree on the details of how to finance the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF) which provides the Eurozone bailout funds for crisis-ridden governments. The G20 also failed to expand the resources of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) as a global institution that provides services during economic emergencies. The EFSF and the IMF both need more than a trillion Euros each but could only provide loans of up to 400 billion Euros.

The summit's only real achievement came when Germany and France suceeded in coercing Greek prime minister George Papandreou to abandon plans of subjecting to a referendum the austerity measures imposed by the European Community Bank, the European Commission and the IMF as conditions for a bailout.

Everyone was shocked on the first day of the summit when Papandreou announced his plans because of the tremendous implications this would have not only on Greece but on countries in the Eurozone, EU and the world over. Everyone knew that should measures such as wage freezes and curtailed benefits and social services be subjected to a referendum, the Greeks would answer with a resounding NO. ~

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h1. Protests paralyze major US port

Port operations in Oakland, California, USA were paralyzed after a protest attended by more than 7,000 people on November 2. The Oakland port is the country's fifth busiest.

The Oakland demonstration is part of the "Occupy Oakland"protest actions which draws inspiration from "Occupy Wall Street."Most of the protesters were workers who condemned their unfair treatment and the growing gap between the rich and the poor.

On the night of November 2, a number of protesters occupied a vacant building. The police came and dispersed the protesters who were outside the building. The protesters remained undaunted in the face of police brutality. They put up a barricade that was dismantled when police lobbed tear gas and shot at the protesters, wounding a man and seriously injuring more than a hundred others. The police arrested and beat up more than a hundred protesters. Nonetheless, the demonstrators set up their camp once more where they held meetings to plan more protests.

Occupy Oakland began on October 10 when protesters occupied two parks and set up more than 150 tents. At dawn on October 25, the police dismantled the camp but the protesters tried to return. In the ensuing clashes, three protesters and two police officers were wounded and more than a hundred arrested.

Among the demonstrators who were seriously wounded was Scott Olsen, one of many Iraq war veterans currently unemployed and impoverished. From his hospital bed, Olsen has come to symbolize the extent of the US government's neglect of its citizens.

Occupy Oakland is only one of the many other protest camps in the US. In California, protesters are also occupying the cities of San Francisco and San Jose. ~