As “peace talks” get no traction, Philippine government war on people’s resistance slated to expand

Revved-up counterinsurgency

AT GROUND LEVEL, by Satur C. Ocampo (The Philippine Star) | January 19, 2013

“I am now in a position to influence the implementation of (Oplan) Bayanihan as chief of staff because I now become its operational commander. Unlike when I was the CGPA (commanding general of the Philippine Army), I had a limited role as the force provider. But now I will have a direct hand in the implementation of Bayanihan.”

Thus declared Lt. Gen. Emmanuel Bautista, who became AFP chief last Thursday, regarding the Aquino government’s six-year counterinsurgency program for which he is credited as key author. Basically the program is lifted from the 2009 US Counterinsurgency Plan applied in Iraq and Afghanistan.

One can gather from his statement both a sense of relief and gratification: relief from frustration, as Army commander having had an ancillary or “limited role as the force provider,” and gratification for finally being put fully in-charge of implementing his own plan.

Hence the go-go spirit exuded by Gen. Bautista. He told the press he would “hasten the tempo” of the AFP’s 44-year-old campaign against the Left armed revolutionary movement, with the end-goal to “render irrelevant” the NPA and its armed struggle.

Going by the timeframe of Oplan Bayanihan, officially known as the Internal Peace and Security Plan, Bautista has to work really hard and fast. (His stint as AFP chief ends on July 20, 2014.) The plan calls for the “substantial completion” of the end-goal within the first three years of the program, or in 2011-2013.

This is because within 2014-2016 the AFP aspires to relinquish its lead role in counterinsurgency “to appropriate government agencies” so that it can “initiate its transition to a territorial defense-focused force.” Continue reading

Philippine NDF rebels on Moro-Government peace moves, urge armed resistance

Mobilize Moro people for their struggle for self-determination — NDFP

Thursday, 08 November 2012

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By JORGE MADLOS
Spokesperson, NDFP-Mindanao

The National Democratic Front of the Philippines – Mindanao urges the Moro Resistance Liberation Organization (MRLO), as one of its allied organizations, to be more resolute in its mandate to educate, organize and mobilize vast numbers among the Moro people to advance their struggle for the right to self-determination under the aegis of the national-democratic armed revolution.

While the signing of the Framework on the Bangsamoro may be considered a watershed in the Moro struggle, it cannot be denied that the pact itself is riddled with lopsided provisions that ultimately favor the design of the ruling classes, its reactionary government and US imperialism to fully and finally subdue the Moro people’s long-drawn armed resistance against national oppression and exploitation.

Underneath all the semantics in the pact, the US-Aquino regime has insidiously placed the avarice of local and imperialist monopoly capitalists to rake in superprofit over and above the general economic and socio-political well-being of the long-suffering Moro people.  After the signing, like moths to a fire, several multinational corporations immediately expressed interest to invest on and exploit the vast natural resources, such as arable lands, natural gas and minerals, in areas under the MILF’s control or influence.  In his foreign trips and kowtowing abroad, Aquino also used the MILF-GPH pact as a ticket to invite more investments in the country. Continue reading

Mindanao: “MILF hails UN, EU, UK, US, other states’ support”

http://www.luwaran.com

October 11, 2012 — The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) today said the support of the international community for the recent breakthrough in the GPH-MILF peace process has been overwhelming as it expressed gratitude to world leaders and foreign envoys who have welcomed the Framework Agreement reached between the Government of the Philippines and the (GPH) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

MILF Chairman Al Haj Murad Ebrahim has hailed with great satisfaction and utmost gratitude these expressions of support from the United Nations, The European Union, Malaysia, The United Kingdom, Japan, United States Australia, Switzerland, and Indonesia.

“We are deeply honored and humbled, and assured by their support,” Murad told Luwaran in an interview this morning.

Murad particularly took note of the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon commendation of President Benigno Aquino III for his vision and courage, as well as the commitment of the MILF leadership, in reaching the landmark agreement. Continue reading

MILF urges gov’t to postpone awarding of oil exploration bids in Moro areas

October 30, 2012 — The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) has called the Government of the Philippines (GPH) anew to postpone the awarding of the oil exploration contract in Moro areas in Mindanao particularly those in the Liguasan Marsh in the Cotabato Basin and in Sulu seas.

The call was formally raised by MILF Chairman Al Haj Murad Ebrahim during his press conference in Darapanan in Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao last October 27.

The 64-year old MILF leader said his group has urged the government not to continue with the bidding on some exploration projects in central Mindanao until the wealth-sharing issue is fixed. Continue reading

Philippines: “Support the Moro struggle against the Aquino regime’s deceptiveness”

[Reporting on the recently-announced negotiations and agreement between the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and the Philippine government, this article from Ang Bayan (organ of the Communist Party of the Philippines) traces the CPP’s view of the agreement, its dangers, and the CPP’s relationship with the Moro Independence movement. — Frontlines ed.]
Editorial, Ang Bayan
October 21, 2012
The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and the national-democratic revolutionary forces are among the most ardent advocates of the Moro people’s struggle for their right to national self-determination.
The Program for a People’s Democratic Revolution supports the struggle of national minorities against chauvinism and oppression and recognizes their aspirations for autonomy and their right to secede from the ruling oppressive state. This support is also unequivocally contained in the 12-Point Program of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP).
The struggle of the Filipino and Moro peoples are tightly intertwined. Both of them resist the same reactionary state that oppresses and exploits the toiling masses. As an instrument of US imperialism, the Philippine puppet reactionary state tramples on the rights of the Filipino people to national liberation in allowing American and foreign big companies to exploit the Filipino nation’s natural resources. It further allows the US military to interfere, dominate and freely operate in the country and make use of the Philippines as a platform for its power-projection and interventionism in other countries.
In recent decades, this same reactionary state, from the Marcos to the current Aquino regime, has gravely abused the Moro people’s political, economic and cultural rights. Fascist troops of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) occupy the ancestral land and political territory of the Moro nation in an effort to impose the constitution and political power of the reactionary state upon the Moro people.
The violent suppression of the Moro people has sparked their armed resistance throughout history. They largely succeeded in resisting over three centuries of Spanish colonialism. Their aspiration for self-determination was, however, more effectively suppressed with the supplanting of the Spanish colonialists by the new US colonial power. Using its bigger, more economically and technologically advanced capability, US imperialism, and later, its puppet reactionary state were later able to completely dominate the Moro homeland.
It was only through persistent revolutionary armed struggle since the 1970s that the Moro people were able to defend themselves, gain recognition for their struggle for self-determination and provide it a more national form. The Maguindanao, Maranao, Tausog, Samal, Yakan and other Moro groups united under the banner of armed struggle. Since the start of their national armed revolution, the revolutionary movement has been one with the Moro people in advancing their struggle for their right to national self-determination. Continue reading

Philippines: Military abuse and extra-judicial killings are not “humanitarian”

Army chief hit over human rights remark

Sun Star, Saturday, June 25, 2011

ARMED Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief General Eduardo Oban drew flak from a militant group for saying that the government’s counter-insurgency program is founded on “human rights.”

Karapatan chairperson Marie Hilao-Enriquez said initial results of “Oplan Bayanihan” show that some Filipinos were “displaced from their homes and communities, harassed, arrested and detained, tortured and killed” due to the policy.

The group has documented 17 persons killed through extrajudicial means from January to mid-June this year, bringing the number of people killed under President Benigno Aquino III to 45. Continue reading

Philippines: Hacienda Luisita peasants launch alliance to take back lands of the Aquino family

Philippine troops shot down Hacienda Luisita strikers, November 2004

Luisita Peasants and People’s Alliance

LUISITA FARMERS AND SUPPORTERS LAUNCH ALLIANCE URGING FOR DISTRIBUTION OF COJUANGCO-AQUINO LAND

Various groups joined the farmworkers of Hacienda Luisita as they launched the formation of the widest alliance compelling the Aquino government and the Supreme Court to immediately distribute the 6,400 hectares owned by the Cojuangco – Aquino family.

Luisita Peasants and People’s Alliance (LUPPA) today formally launched the broad network of support it gathered from church groups, artists, academe and different sectoral organizations at De La Salle – College of St. Benilde.

Joining Velarde and Bais as convenors of the said alliance are Fr. Gregorio Obejas, O.S.M., Tarlac City Councilor Emmie Ladera, Sentro para sa Tunay na Repormang Agraryo (SENTRA) Executive Director Atty. Jobert Pahilga, visual artist Rustum Casia, and the Catholic Bishop Conference of the Philippines-National Secretariat for Social Action.

The CBCP-NASSA affirmed their commitment to help Luisita farmworkers in their struggle to be owners of the land they have been tilling for ages. Likewise, the Social Justice arm of the Catholic Church join the farmers in their call to junk the spurious Stock Distribution Option (SDO) scheme. Continue reading

Peace talks in the Philippines slated to begin soon

Below are 3 articles from the press in the Philippines on plans to start formal peace talks in early 2011 in Norway between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP), which includes the Communist Party of the Philippines and the New People’s Army.

Interview with Jose Maria Sison on GRP-NDFP Peace Negotiations

Philippine Daily Inquirer, October 25, 2010

1. How do you see Alex Padilla and his team? Are they acceptable to the NDFP panel?

JMS: PNoy [President Benigno Aquino] has made an excellent choice of Alex Padilla as the chair of the GRP Negotiating Panel. Alex has an understanding of the Filipino people’s struggle for national independence and democracy. He was a human rights lawyer and was once with Bayan. I also know Pablito Sanidad personally. He is also an excellent choice by PNoy. He is known as a man of integrity, a human rights lawyer, a patriot and progressive. I do not know the three other GRP panelists personally.

PNoy as GRP principal has the prerogative of appointing his own panelists . His panel appears to be so composed as to encourage the belief that there will be serious peace negotiations towards mutually satisfactory agreements. Through NDFP negotiating panel chairperson Luis Jalandoni, the NDFP has already publicly welcomed and accepted the new GRP panel.

2. What should be a good starting point for the renewal of the talks?

JMS: The chairmen of the GRP and NDFP Negotiating Panels should start immediately to communicate with each other. It is possible that by the time you go to press they shall have started to communicate and try to arrange preliminary talks between teams of the panels as soon as possible in Oslo. The preliminary talks are intended to pave the way for the resumption of formal talks in January or February. Continue reading

US military presence in the Philippines under fire from various quarters

Nuns lead march against US troops in the Philippines

Asia Times, October 19, 2010

Filipinos aim to give US army the boot

Al Labita

MANILA – Some 3,000 United States Marines are currently in the Philippines for joint training exercises with their Filipino counterparts amid mounting opposition calls to scrap a controversial bilateral military pact.

Held in key parts of Luzon, the country’s largest island, the two-week maneuvers are meant to enhance the “inter-operability” between the armed forces of the allies as part of a Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA).

The training sorties, code-named Carat and Phiblex, also seek to bolster the Philippines’ territorial defenses, including its claims to part of the Spratly Islands, now the focus of an intensifying row between Washington and Beijing, the latter insisting on its historic rights over the potentially oil and mineral-rich islands.

Despite the VFA’s strategic importance in the wake of conflicting territorial claims over the strategic islands, Manila’s opposition groups still want the decade-old deal scrapped for legal and nationalistic reasons.

Opposition lawmakers in both houses of the Philippine Congress filed a joint resolution calling for the immediate abrogation of the VFA. The call is in sharp contrast to newly elected President Benigno Aquino’s position, which favors only a review or fine-tuning of the agreement. Continue reading

Philippines: CPP criticizes Aquino counter-insurgency budget for 2011

Military officials escort Philippine President Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III after reviewing troops during his inauguration as the 15th President of the Philippines in Manila June 30, 2010.

http://www.philippinerevolution.net

September 15, 2010

The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) today sternly criticized the P1.64 trillion budget proposal of the Aquino government for 2011 calling it “a counterinsurgency budget.” The CPP pointed out its “counterinsurgency” framework and priority, especially as it gives first place to beefing up the military and other state security agencies alongside debt servicing.

The CPP pointed to the “unprecedented 81% increase” in the budget for the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), “a clear endorsement of the fascist terror being sown by the military in its counter-revolutionary war of suppression.”

“Aquino is doubling the budget of the AFP in complete disregard of its gross violations of human rights, notably the ten year bloody Oplan Bantay Laya military campaign,” said the CPP. “Aquino’s proposed 2011 budget is principally a ‘counter-insurgency’ budget framed in accordance with the US Counterinsurgency Guide,” said the CPP. “He has only shown utter contempt for the plight of hundreds of thousands of victims of military abuses, including those who have been extrajudicially killed, forcibly abducted and disappeared, illegally detained, tortured, harassed, forcibly evacuated from their homes and terrorized by military and other armed agents of the state.” Continue reading

New Aquino Government Violently Disperses Peasant Demonstrators in Manila

Scenes at the peasants’ camp-out in Menidola before the violent dispersal on July 3(Photo courtesy of Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas / bulatlat.com)

http://www.philippinerevolution.net

July 4, 2010

The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) today condemned the violent dispersal of peasant demonstrators near Mendiola Bridge yesterday afternoon, calling the act “a signal fire of the new Aquino regime against the mass movement of peasants and their continuing clamor for genuine agrarian reform.”

At least 40 peasant demonstrators were arrested during the violent dispersal. Among the demonstrators were farm workers from the Aquino-Cojuangco-owned Hacienda Luisita in Tarlac. A number of demonstrators were hurt and brought to hospitals.

The demonstrators led by the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) have been camping out at the vicinity of the Mendiola Bridge since Aquino’s inauguration last Wednesday. They intended to stay in the area to press the new government to address the issue of land reform, and specifically to voice their demand to scrap the Stock Distribution Option (SDO) and thus allow the distribution of the Hacienda Luisita land to the farmers and farm workers. Continue reading