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Farmers Marched for Land, Aid, and Justice

October 22, ILOILO Farmers held protest actions across the country last October 21 to voice out their call for land, aid and justice.

Together with progressive organizations led by the Kilusang Magbubukid ng PIlipinas (KMP), the protest action is the culmination of the group’s October Peasant Month campaign. The protest action also commemorates the signing of Presidential Decree 27 or the land reform program of former Ferdinand Marcos.

According to Danilo Ramos, the chairperson of the KMP, PD 27 and subsequent agrarian reform programs have failed to destroy monopoly on land that has pushed farmers into extreme poverty.

According to KMP’s data, the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program does not cover various lands especially those with 8% slope. The group added that the total 5.4 million hectares covered by CARP is only 44% of the total 12.4 million hectares of arable land. As of August 2021 alone, there were only a total of 2.9 million CARP beneficiaries and did not include the nearly 10.75 million farmers registered on various agrarian reform lists of the government.

Farmers from Bulacan, Pampanga and Nueva Ecija are demanding that agricultural lands, especially paddy fields, be protected against land use conversion. According to the KMP, Central Luzon, the country’s rice granary has become the hotspot for land conversions.

Farmers also called for a Php 15,000 production subsidy. According to PAMANGGAS, the pandemic has worsened their situation but they have not received adequate support from the government. The P5,000 cash assistance provided by the DA to the farmers is selective and not enough to address the production losses of the farmers.

Amihan, meanwhile, challenged those running for the presidency to address the farmers’ demands for land, aid and justice. The group challenges the candidates for presidency to lay concrete platforms that will address the decades-old call for genuine land reform, support services and production subsidies, and justice for all the victims of human rights violations.

The protest and call were joined by farmers from the National Capital Region, Central Luzon, Southern Tagalog, Cebu, Negros Occidental, Panay and other parts of the country./PT

OPINION | On Robredo’s Senate Slate Announcement

OPINION | Prof. Tomasito T. Talledo

“Ang hindi marunong lumingon sa pinanggalingan ay hindi makarating sa paroroonan”

I will vote for Robredo but my vote is not for her: my vote is against her despicable rivals for presidency come May 2022. Ah, I embrace this as instance of tragedy in my biographical lifeline. I accept this tragedy as I walked on the side of bad faith. Since alone I cannot reverse the storm I find myself in, I will bow to the strong wind like the proverbial oriental bamboo.

My vote for Robredo as President is without conviction. It will be in hollow form without substance. It will in my tongue taste like a bittermelon of “negation of the negative”. Some sort of medicine for my attachment to diabetic “sweetness and light”.

By all indications Robredo as presidential candidate appears to have agency but without reflexivity. Her initial reluctance to run was effectively reversed by the oligarchic cunning of the Liberal Party caboodles (also sweety coated by 1Sambayan coalition). The caboodles, of course, scripted her sugary speech addressed to the many. And she was made to sound warm and maternal to the receiving ears of the public.

Lo! the trapos who were currently “out” (those kicked by the trapos of Duterte) suddenly gained new enthusiasm to get back into business. Robredo’s acceptance speech sounded as siren call to their ears. And the public relations artists around the uragon presidentiable smiled from ear-to-ear for the prospect of landing in Malacanang Palace.

Robredo may have agency but without reflexivity in the choice of candidate senators in her list. When she publicly disclosed the names, not a few were disappointed since she included those who clearly do not share her advocacies for the commonweal. She collected a bundle of notorious trapos, shameless double dealers, intellectually dishonest persons.

What for? To boost high the prospects of her electoral victory and of the oligarchic Liberal Party? What about the victory and vindication of the exploited laborers, famished peasants, marginalized indigenous peoples, victims of EJKs and political prisoners? After hi-jacking the label as Opposition to the Duterte Administration, Robredo and the oligarchic Liberals walked away quickly without looking back who they left behind. Ah, they forgot: “Ang hindi marunong lumingon sa pinanggalingan ay hindi makarating sa paroroonan”. Isa pa: “Ang lumakad ng matulin kung matinik ay malalim”. # # #

COUNCILOR LOVE BARONDA PROMISES TO CARRY THE LIGTAS BALIK ESKWELA CAMPAIGN

ILOILO CITY – The Back-to-School Network Panay held a dialogue with Iloilo City Councilor Love Baronda on the safe re-opening of schools last October 5 at Iloilo City Hall. Councilor Baronda is the standing chair of the Committee on Education of the city council.

BTS Network Panay submitted a petition to the councilor’s office that included the 10 demands of the alliance, which the councilor affirmed to support.

During said dialogue, Sir Francisco Golez, a teacher and former president of the Alliance of Concerned Teachers Union in the region, revealed that parents cannot afford to buy gadgets for their children and to purchase load daily to access the internet. He added that the situation is also difficult for the teachers and there are even times when the cost of printing of the modules comes from their own personal pockets.

Hershey Sumpay, the current University Student Council Chairperson of West Visayas State University, also expressed her sentiments as a student. According to Sumpay, the quality of education during face-to-face classes really changed and differ from online learning. She added that the people have the right to education and services and healthcare, therefore these must be ensured by the government at the same time.

The Philippines and Venezuela are the only remaining countries in the world that have not yet opened schools.

Baronda promised that she would bring the campaign of the BTS Network to the local council and she asked for additional data so that she can defend the alliance’s demands to the best of her ability.

The Back-to-School Network believes that this is a positive step towards the safe re-opening of schools in the midst of the worsening health crisis that the Duterte government failed to address.

The BTS Network is an alliance of students and faculty, and of various organizations that carry the people’s interests in education, health, and the economy./PT

ROXAS MEMORIAL HOSPITAL’S SUPPLEMENTAL BUDGET, STILL HAS NOT BEEN APPROVED; HEALTH CARE WORKERS TO FILE MASS LEAVE

ROXAS CITY – The employees of the Roxas Memorial Provincial Hospital (RMPH) intend to pursue their plan to file for leave of absence if the hospital’s supplemental budget will not be approved.

According to Dr. Edmarie Tormon, OIC of RMPH, there are more than 68 healthcare workers who have already filed for leave of absence and they have also received a petition from the employees who plans to file for mass leave if they will not get paid.

Last July 13 of this year, RMPH submitted their request for Supplemental Budget to the Provincial Budget Office (PBO), which amounts to P94,526,432.54. In July 22, RMPH submitted their revised request to the PBO, which amounts to P47,500,000.00.

Moreover, in August 3, RMPH submitted their request for Supplemental Budget to the Capiz Sangguniang Panlalawigan (SP), to which Governor Nonoy Contreras marked as “urgent”. The first budget hearing of the SP happened last August 27, while the second hearing happened last September 8.

In September 24, RMPH employees held a protest and candle lighting activity to demand to the Capiz SP to immediately approve their request for Supplemental Budget. According to the employees, they have not received their salary for two months now and the hospital resources are now depleting due to lack of budget. Employees added that they are now at a point where patients would have to bring their own oxygen tanks for them to be admitted to the hospital.

The employees further added that if the SP won’t approve their request, it will violate the people’s right to healthcare as the hospital can no longer attend its patients’ needs due to limited resources.

According to the SP, they need some documents from RMPH like the hospital’s list of employees to find out if there are so-called “ghost employees”. However, the employees said that they are not ghost employees.

The SP also questioned why the hospital needs supplemental budget as they still have budget left before the fiscal year ends. However, based on a certification from the PBO dated September 23 of this year, RMPH only has P12,489.36 left for its ‘other professional services’ and P1,183,665.75 for its general services.

According to the employees, more than 500 of them are the ones suffering from this ‘political war’ as they have not still received their salary since August.

According to Alliance of Health Workers – Panay, the responsibility of increasing the hospital funding should not be left in the hands of the local government units alone, the national government should also increase the funding for public hospitals to also increase the salaries of healthcare workers, additional facilities and equipment to strengthen the healthcare system.

The healthcare workers of the RMPH are calling for the immediate approval of their requested supplemental budget so that they can provide their full service to their patients especially this time of health crisis./PT

LIGTAS BALIK ESKWELA CAMPAIGN REACHED MORE COMMUNITIES IN ILOILO CITY

ILOILO CITY – Ligtas Balik Eskwela (LBE) campaign has reached more communities in Iloilo City and nearby towns. According to a report by Nagkakaisa nga Katilingban sang mga Kababainhan nga Imol sa Syudad, the campaign reached Oton town and barangays in Iloilo City such as Rizal, Calaparan, San Juan, Tabuc Suba, Bito-on, Punong, and Sinikway.

“I can’t help my child much in school because I’m working. The online classes are burdensome because I have to provide the gadget to my child and spend also for his internet. It would be good to implement LBE so that our burden as poor families will somehow be lifted,” said a parent in Lapuz when asked why they want their children to go back to school.

In a short period of time, according to the Kabataan Partylist-Panay, they were able to collect thousands of signatures from the communities for their campaign. This, they added, shows greater support for such campaign and a manifestation that students, teachers, and parents already want to open schools.

Ligtas Balik Eskwela is the major campaign of the Back-to-School Network (BTS). According to BTS Network spokesperson Phillipe Hiñosa, the so-called ‘online learning modality’ is an additional burden to the people who are now suffering from the pandemic where the price of goods is very high and the lockdown in the communities is still ongoing.

It can be noted that on September 12, the said alliance held an online discussion on the education crisis, where they explained why schools need to be open, and why is there a need to increase budget for education and health. The discussion also included the group’s demand for 10,000 pesos student aid.

On the day of class opening this year, September 13, youth groups Anakbayan, Kabataan Partylist, and others submitted the third batch of signatures they have collected under the LBE campaign to the offices of the City’s Mayor and Congressman, Commission on Higher Education 6 and Department of Education 6.

Last week, September 30, workers, youth, women, and peasants gathered in the House of Representatives for a protest action to condemn the government’s immediate passing of next year’s national budget without considering the condition of the people.

According to the Kabataan Partylist’s first nominee Raoul Manuel, a large percentage of next year’s budget is still reserved for confidential and intelligence funds despite the fact that millions of Filipinos are hungry and impoverished due to the pandemic. Among the calls of the group are to abolish the NTF-ELCAC and the realignment of military funds to education and social services.

ILOILO CITY DRIVERS COMPLAIN OF DELAYED PAYOUT UNDER LIBRE SAKAY PROGRAM

ILOILO CITY – Various transport groups in Iloilo City filed a complaint in the Department of Transportation (DOTR) over the unfair treatment experienced by Public Utility Jeepney Drivers and Operators in relation to the pay-out of the city’s libre sakay program.

The drivers said they were surprised that the Vallacar Transit, Inc. (Ceres buses) had already been allowed to ply for the city’s libre sakay program, who also competed with them. Drivers also complained that the pay-out of large companies like VTI was given priority compared to small drivers like them.

For Piston Panay, since the start of lockdown, the government’s negligence and incompetence has caused difficulties for small operators and drivers. The group further said that it has been two years already since the drivers face the health crisis but the PUJ drivers have not yet recovered.

The group added that the government’s libre sakay program is deceptive as it is only used to phase out the traditional PUJs, and to favor and support the business of corporatized transport cooperatives.

For PISTON, if DOTR and LTFRB 6 have the capacity to provide a budget for modernized buses owned by large companies, they should also set a budget for small operators and drivers to continue their service.

Finally, PISTON calls for the development of technology and industries for the creation of a public mode of transportation, which is owned and operated by the government and not by large companies like VTI and others./PT

ILONGGO ACTIVISTS ELECTED AS PARTYLIST NOMINEES

ILOILO City – Three Ilonggos were announced as Partylist nominees during the national convention of Makabayan Coalition held on September 27 at UP Diliman, Quezon City. Raoul Manuel and Jandeil Roperos are the first and third nominees of Kabataan Partylist respectively, while long-time women’s rights activist Lucy Francisco is elected as the third nominee of Gabriela Women’s Party.

Currently, Kabataan Partylist and Gabriela Women’s Party hold one seat each in the House of Representatives.

Manuel and Roperos both came from the University of the Philippines Visayas (UPV) in Miag-ao and served as chairpersons of the College of Arts and Sciences Student Council in AY 2014-2015 and AY 2016-2017 respectively.

Manuel was a graduate of Applied Mathematics and was the first Summa Cum Laude of UPV. He also represented the UP studentry as a student regent in 2016. He was also the former national president of the National Union of Students of the Philippines or NUSP and currently the national president of Kabataan Partylist.

Roperos is an advocate of LGBTQ rights. She is currently the national president of the NUSP.

This is Francisco’s third time as a nominee of the Gabriela Women’s Party (GWP). She was a founding member of the GWP and one of the founding members of Gabriela in Panay Island.

The Makabayan Coalition also announced the senatorial candidacy of former Bayan Muna Representative Neri Colmenares and Kilusang Mayo Uno National Chairperson Elmer “Ka Bong” Labog.

Despite the incessant attacks against activists and progressive organizations, the Makabayan Coalition launched its participation in the 2022 national elections and has vowed to oppose any candidate of the Duterte administration.

The Makabayan Coalition is composed of Bayan Muna, Anakpawis, Gabriela Women’s Party, ACT Teachers Partylist, and Kabataan Partylist.

Currently, Makabayan Coalition has six representatives in the 18th Congress./PT

OPINION | FRUSTRATE DUTERTE’S DYNASTIC SUCCESSION BID IN THE 2022 ELECTIONS

OPINION | FRUSTRATE DUTERTE’S DYNASTIC SUCCESSION BID IN THE 2022 ELECTIONS

By Siegfred Deduro, former Bayan Muna Representative, is a human rights defender, environmentalist, and fair-trade advocate.

 

PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte running for Vice President in the 2022 elections is unprecedented in the country’s history. Political observers view such move as a circumvention of the ban against the re-election of a President under the 1987 Constitution.  Duterte claims that, if he wins, he will be gain immunity from suit from the International Criminal Court and local courts.

Mayor Sara Duterte’s public pronouncements as to her uncertainty in running for president does not concur with her own actions.  She has been busy visiting potential allies in vote-rich regions, organized a nationwide campaign network, and her supporters have adorned strategic areas with posters and billboards bearing the message “Run Sara, Run!”.

Duterte’s playbook involves confusing the public and his opponents and using squid tactics to obfuscate and deflect politically damaging issues. He played the public by discouraging Sara from running for president, and having Sen. Bong Go chosen as the presidential candidate for the Cusi-led faction of PDP-Laban. Eventually, Bong Go declined the nomination for presidency and offered himself to Sara Duterte as a potential VP candidate, should President Duterte withdraw his own VP candidacy under the Cusi-led faction.

Duterte brags that he would again trounce the Opposition in the 2022 elections, like he did in 2016 and 2019. But can he do it under the present circumstances?

Duterte has a seemingly formidable advantage in terms of the resources and machinery that come with the presidency. He posted high ratings despite so many negative issues against him in dubious poll surveys conducted amidst a climate of fear and impunity and waves of extra-judicial killings and militarized restrictions during the pandemic.

Effectively using pork barrel and intimidation, Duterte controls a supermajority of congressmen in the House of Representatives.

He caused the ouster of former Supreme Court Justice Sereno and the overwhelming majority of the Court are justices he appointed.

Two months before the upcoming elections, after Comelec Chairman Sheriff Abas and Commissioners Rowena Guanzon and Antonio Kho retire on Feb. 2, 2022, all COMELEC Commissioners will be Duterte appointees, joining Socorro Inting, Marlon Casquejo and Antonio Kho Jr. – the three incumbent commissioners previously appointed during his term.

Moreover, Dennis Uy, the owner of F2 Logistics and Duterte’s rising crony and biggest campaign contributor in the 2016 elections, won the bidding for a ₱1.61-billion contract with the COMELEC to transport 2022 election paraphernalia.

The Anti-Terrorism Act, though still pending review by the Supreme Court, is now in effect, further aggravating the impunity in red-tagging, persecution, and extra-judicial killings targeting critics of the government.

As the pandemic worsens, militarized lockdowns are used to justify the repression of protest actions.

Duterte has an organized and competent core of personnel effectively playing the public towards their desired goal.

Strategic Communications Laboratories or SCL Group, which owns the political consultancy at the centre of a Facebook data-harvesting scandal linked to the 2016 US presidential race, boasted on its website that it helped get Duterte elected in 2016 by rebranding him as a tough crime fighter.

Facebook has shut down over 100 fake accounts traced to police and military units in the Philippines for engaging in “coordinated inauthentic behavior”, according to Nathaniel Gleicher, cyber-security policy chief of the said social media organization.

Presidential Communications Operations Office Undersecretary Kris R. Ablan confirmed that the PCOO hired 375 contractual employees which cost the office P70 million last year. These contractual employees are suspected to be trolls or people paid to anonymously interfere in shaping political opinion online.

Human rights group KARAPATAN suffered a massive and prolonged Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack for three weeks. The attack came only a month after waves of DDoS attacks targeting the alternative online publications Bulatlat and Altermidya.

Qurium Media Foundation, a Swedish non-profit digital security solutions provider linked the attacks to the Philippine government.

The DDoS attacks are taking place amid the online solidarity campaign #StopTheKillingsPH co-hosted by KARAPATAN, which marks one year since human rights organizations and advocates across the world launched the call to stop the killings in the Philippines and to prosecute Duterte for his crimes against the Filipino people.

On the other hand, Duterte is fast losing his grip on political initiative and is becoming increasingly isolated.

He is now trapped in the quagmire of obviously-fraudulent transactions red-flagged by the Commission on Audit involving executive agencies like the Department of Health, the Department of Social Welfare and Services, the Department of Interior and Local Government, and the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict, among others. The people are aghast with this blatant waste of billions of public funds in the middle of a pandemic, even as the government incurs trillions in debt.

The “smoking gun” goes up to Malacanang!

Like a boxer successively hit by a combination of haymakers, Duterte appears to be “losing his buttons” in his daily press conferences, ranting and vilifying the COA and the Senators conducting a legislative inquiry into these suspicious transactions, and appealing to the people to trust him. Duterte has no moral authority in his avowed fight against corruption.

Duterte is unrepentant and in denial of his administration’s epic failure in handling the COVID-19 pandemic. The utter failure to contain the spread of the virus is the hallmark of Duterte and his militarized Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Disease (IATF-EID).

As of Sept. 5, there are 20,019 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the total infections to 2,080,984 with 157,438 active cases; 20,089 new recoveries bringing the total to 1,889,312; and 173 new deaths, bringing the total fatalities to 34,234.

On September 2, according to the Pharmaceutical Technology webpage, only 13.2% of the country’s population is full vaccinated, five months after first jabs were administered.  This is too slow if the target is to vaccinate 70% of the population to achieve herd immunity. The vaccines administered include a slew of various brands, a large portion of which were donated by the WHO COVAX facility and China.  The so-called “Vaccine Czar”, ex-General Carlito Galvez, showed his incompetence in ensuring a prompt and steady supply of COVID-19 vaccines.  With the current rate of vaccine roll-out, herd immunity may not be achieved until the May 2022 elections. The much hyped “vaccine hesitancy” is a minor problem; the biggest problem is the lack of vaccines.

In a recent congressional budget hearing, a former DOH Secretary and now party-list representative, revealed that “Vaccine Czar” Galvez has been sitting on a multi-party (LGU, private sector, national government) signed purchase order of 10 million doses of vaccines.

The government has now realized the folly of imposing militarized general lockdowns after the Gross Domestic Product decreased by 9.5% in 2020. It is the sharpest dip on record since data dating back to 1947, and also the first GDP decline since 1998 (-0.5%).  According to epidemiology experts, general lockdowns is like “burning a house to kill a rat”.

The Coalition for People’s Right to Health asserts that lockdowns are ineffective if contact tracing and mass testing are not effectively undertaken to identify hot spots of infection. Insufficient assistance to affected communities aggravates hunger among the poor.

Before the end of her term, Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda of the International Criminal Court sought authorization from The Hague tribunal to open a full investigation into Duterte’s ongoing war on drugs that killed thousands of people, including innocent children. She said preliminary probe that began in February 2018 determined “that there is a reasonable basis to believe that the Crime Against Humanity of murder was committed” in the Philippines between July 1, 2016 and March 16, 2019, which was when Duterte ordered that the Philippines withdraw from the court.

As an ordinary citizen, Duterte faces a real possibility of imprisonment for his numerous crimes against the people and the nation, in the same manner that his predecessors – Estrada and Arroyo – were imprisoned.

With Duterte’s tolerance of Chinese incursions into Philippine maritime areas, the latter is getting bolder in claiming portions of Philippine patrimony. Reports now point to the possibility that in crafting a Code of Conduct for all Asian claimants in the West Philippine Sea, China would likely insist on formalizing its claim and military bases in the Spratly islands and Panatag Shoal where it seems intent on setting up similar installations. Duterte has said he will not oppose China if they do that. The vast majority of Filipinos are infuriated at this treasonous collaboration with China.

Defying risks and threats of militarized policies and lockdowns, the people nationwide launched militant protest actions against repressive policies, continuing extra-judicial killings and the persecution of dissenters, and demand just compensation for their work, among others. The ban on rallies is the only reason why gigantic protest actions don’t happen. As direct street protests are banned, the social media and mainstream media is rife with people’s gripes against Duterte’s incompetence, corruption, human rights violations and betrayal in the West Philippine Sea.

The rift among the local elite is widening. Former allies, notably Sen. Pacquiao, Sen. Lacson, Rep. Alvarez and former Sen. Pimentel have joined the opposition. The anti-Duterte broad opposition is increasingly gaining traction.

Political isolation, failed management of the COVID-19 pandemic, worsening economic crisis, treason in the WPS, human rights violations and international isolation, growing strength of the people’s movement and widening rift within the local elite will weigh heavier that Duterte’s advantages. The people will prevail in the 2022 elections. ###

OPINION | PEOPLE OF PANAY AND GUIMARAS WILL OPPOSE ANOTHER DUTERTE IN MALACANANG

PEOPLE OF PANAY AND GUIMARAS WILL OPPOSE ANOTHER DUTERTE IN MALACANANG
By Siegfred Deduro, former Bayan Muna Representative

The confluence of three major factors bodes defeat in Panay and Guimaras for Sara Duterte and her vice-presidential candidate in the upcoming 2022 national elections.

1) Panay and Guimaras are not the bailiwicks of Rodrigo Duterte but, rather, those of several local political dynasties capable of perpetuating themselves in power, with or without Duterte’s support.

In the 2016 elections, Western Visayas did not vote for Duterte. He ranked a poor third – after Mar Roxas and Grace Poe.

The midterm elections in 2019 saw the majority of local politicians ally themselves with Duterte, but this was a matter of political convenience for local dynasties. They were after the Presidential pork barrel and were intimidated by Duterte’s impunity in terrorizing local executives and officials. The local political dynasties won mainly because of their own network, patronage, and resources. Alignment with Duterte’s PDP-Laban merely added to their advantage over their opponents.

Isko Moreno and Manny Pacquiao have more appeal to Ilonggos than Sara Duterte. The much publicized “support of Ilonggo governors” – i.e. Iloilo Gov. Art Defensor Jr., Capiz Gov. Evan Contreras, and Aklan Gov. Florencio Miraflores – for Duterte’s candidacy is “written in water”.

Contreras, who aims to break the Roxas dynasty in Capiz, may support Sara Duterte, thinking that aligning with her would be a crucial advantage against the Roxases. On the other hand, Miraflores and Defensor are most likely biding their time and may end up supporting Duterte’s opponent.

For traditional politicians, the timing in choosing whom to support is of the essence. After the funds (from the pork barrel or the national fund) for local projects are released on or just before the prohibition period comes into force on March 25, 2022, the big shift will likely happen.

2) After 6 years in office, Duterte is not what he used to be when he launched his 2016 campaign – a “rock star” packaged as a decisive reformer who had a heart for the poor.

He is now a tyrant, an epic failure when it came to curbing the Covid-19 pandemic, an abettor of corruption, the author of heinous crimes in his anti-drug campaign and war against dissenters, and a traitor to the country’s rights in the West Philippine Sea.

His government’s terrible Covid-19 response proved detrimental to the people’s physical and mental health and exacerbated the country’s economic crisis.

Duterte and his cabal of generals in the IATF-EID are clueless on how to contain the pandemic and improve the economic conditions of the masses.

In his first year in office, Duterte shamed and publicly accused several government officials in Panay and Guimaras as drug protectors. Foremost among them was former Iloilo City Mayor Jed Mabilog, whose political career was destroyed without due process.

Until now, Duterte has not proven that Mabilog was a drug protector.  Others in his list were: Alex Centena of Calinog, Iloilo; Julius Ronald Pacificador of Hamtic, Antique; Sigfredo Salangutin Betita of Carles, Iloilo; Marciano Malones of Maasin, Iloilo; Vice Mayor Francis “Ansing” Amboy of Maasin, Iloilo; Attorney Antonio Pesina and Erwin “Tongtong” Plagata of Iloilo City; and Ex-Rep. JC Rahman Nava of Guimaras. No one in this list was ever convicted by a Court in connection with Duterte’s claims.

The aforementioned political figures and their families and friends have axes to grind against Duterte. For them, the 2022 elections is pay-back time.

The notoriously infamous drug personality in Duterte’s list is Jeffrey Celis, now a rabid attack dog of the NTF-ELCAC.

3) Anti-Duterte sentiments are growing more popular in Panay and Guimaras as the people suffer from the physical and mental stress and the grave economic impact of lockdowns, not to mention Duterte’s oppressive rule and the state-sponsored terrorism he unleashed.

Despite a blanket prohibition on mass gatherings, creative protest actions were launched across the region. The floodgates will open and protest actions against the Duterte regime will spill out into the streets once restrictions are lifted.

The December 30, 2020 massacre of 9 Tumandok leaders in Tapaz, Capiz and the illegal arrest of 16 others based on “planted evidence” using search warrants issued by judges from the National Capital Region was the tipping point for all Catholic Bishops in islands of Panay, Negros and Romblon to denounce and demand justice for victims of extra-judicial killings and arrests on trumped-up charges. All other leaders of major churches in the region decried these incidents and joined the call for justice for the victims.

The attempted murder of human rights lawyer Atty. Angelo Karlo Guillen on March 3, 2021 aroused the indignation of the IBP and even the Supreme Court.  The earlier murder of Bayan Muna Iloilo City Coordinator Jory Porquia on April 30, 2020 and the illegal arrest of 42 activists the following day fueled the outrage of the general public.

These events contributed to the national and international anger of Duterte’s bloody, tyrannical regime.

Aklanons are indignant and oppose the Boracay Island Development Authority (BIDA) Bill and Duterte’s plan to turn the island into an elite gambling and tourism destination, to the detriment of Aklanons and other stakeholders.

They oppose Duterte’s cronies and their Chinese partners taking control of Boracay. Tens of thousands of workers were displaced when Duterte closed the island and they are now facing total eviction.

Despite the advantage of having government funds and trolls doing relentless propaganda work for Duterte, the social media and the mainstream media in the region is rife with anti-Duterte sentiments.

Duterte’s bid for dynastic succession in the 2022 national elections will be frustrated in Western Visayas. ###

CAPIZ HEALTHCARE WORKERS DEMAND ADDITIONAL FUND FOR THEIR SALARY

ROXAS CITYEmployees of Roxas Memorial Provincial Hospital protested last September 23 in front of the said hospital to call for the immediate approval of the supplementary budget intended for their salary.

Through the hospital’s official Facebook page, employees said that they are not ‘ghost employees’, instead, tired frontliners due to relentless service to the people in the midst of the pandemic.

That same night, employees held a candle lighting to convey to the government and other concerned agencies that the hospital is already in a critical situation.

The employees also stated to set aside any ‘political war’ as there is still pandemic. They further called that the requested supplementary budget, which has been demanded by the hospital management for a long time, should be approved immediately. According to the group, healthcare workers face risk every day in the hospital while attending their patients, that is why it is only right for them to receive a fair salary and other benefits./PT