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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

BIDA Bill, Approved on the Second Reading Despite Public Clamour

AKLAN – Despite the opposition of local and some national government officials, different groups, and personalities, the BIDA Bill was approved, on the second reading, by the House of Representatives last August 4.

As one of Duterte’s priority legislations, the BIDA Bill aims to establish the Boracay Island Development Authority (BIDA) as a government-owned and controlled corporation (GOCC).

According to BAYAN Muna Representative Carlos Zarate, the establishment of the BIDA corporation will negatively affect the residents and the local small-scale businesses in Boracay. Once approved, BIDA corporation will have the authority and power to “contract, lease, buy, sell acquire, own, or dispose real property whatever nature”. This is also one of the reasons why Senator Leila de Lima opposes the approval of the said bill.

In addition, Zarate states that there are several senators who fear that the bill would further open the island of Boracay to the control of large corporations and foreign investors.

According to BAYAN Aklan, the approval of the BIDA Bill on the second reading despite public opposition is a manifestation of the Duterte administration’s desperation to control Boracay. BAYAN Aklan adds that the establishment of BIDA would remove the power and authority of the LGU to manage the island, which is a violation of the Philippine Constitution and the Local Government Code.

Aklan 1st District Representative Carlito Marquez has also submitted a withdrawal of his support due to the outcry of different stakeholders in Aklan who have expressed their opposition to the bill./PT

Aklanons Continue to Strengthen their Call for the Junking of the BIDA Bill

KALIBO, Aklan – In Duterte’s last State of the Nation Address which happened last July 26, Akeanons and progressive groups called for the junking of the proposed BIDA Bill as well as the formation of a Boracay Island Development Authority. The groups put up streamers with the calls “No to Bida!”, calling for the junking of said bill which would only result in the displacement and unemployment of the locals and workers in Boracay Island.

Under the government’s proposed plan, they would be putting up a government-controlled corporation or a GOCC under the name ‘Boracay Island Development Authority’ which would then handle the management of the island of Boracay. This is one of the priority bills that were highlighted by Duterte during his then State of the Nation Address last 2020.

The local government of Aklan also expressed their dissent over the government’s proposal as that would lead to them having no authority over the island of Boracay.

According to Kim Sin Tugna of Bayan Aklan, the BIDA Bill aims to make Boracay Island an exclusive zone for the elites and for foreign businesses and companies. The national government wants to control all socio-economic activities in the Island, Tugna adds. Tugna also emphasizes that this is in line with the closure of Boracay island last 2018 which was a prelude to opening the island to multinational businesses. BAYAN Aklan also stated that the majority of the land in Boracay is now owned by foreign investors and soon will be occupied by a Chinese-owned casino.

Bayan Aklan urges all Akeanons to remain steadfast in calling for the junking of the proposed bill.

Last July 15, in a joint committee meeting in the House of Representatives, the Committee on Government Enterprises and Privatization as well as the Committee on Local Government approved the BIDA Bill or House Bill 6214./PT


KALIBO, AKLAN – Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN) – Aklan’s provincial chairperson, George Calaor, yet received another libelous remark from the state forces during a joint police and military welcome ceremony for the 14 alleged rebel returnees in Libacao town, Aklan last July 8, 2021.
According to Calaor’s statement sent to the media, Atty. Ronilo Inventado, who represented the Department of Justice in the said event, claimed to be in dismay with the activist who, despite being such a gifted student before, has chosen the wrong path. Moreover, Inventado claimed to be closely acquainted with Calaor, who was his former classmate in one of the subjects in AB class during college. However, Calaor said that he was never enrolled in any AB classes as he was taking up Bachelor of Secondary Education (BSED) back in Aklan Catholic College, formerly Aklan College. Furthermore, Calaor said that Inventado has never been closely acquainted to him nor was his classmate before.
Calaor denounced the malicious vilification by Inventado and condemned the continuous red-tagging perpetuated by the state against him and his fellow activists in Aklan.
“I believe he used his fabricated knowledge about me to build his credibility to convince the people that I am a terrorist,” said Calaor. Moreover, Calaor said that Inventado’s claim “is a blatant lie and clear fabrication to belie his intent to further their efforts to condition the mind of every Aklanons that I am atrocious, that the likes of me [have] no place in this world and that my acts and advocacy should not be followed by every citizen”.
According to Calaor, the continuous attacks against their ranks by the state’s elements in the province of Aklan, clearly manifests the ruthless, barbaric and desperate effort of the National Task Force to End Local Communist and Armed Conflict (ELCAC) to condition the minds of every Aklanons for the possible events of illegal and warrantless search and arrest likewise extra-judicial killings in the province.
Calaor also declared that Atty. Ronilo Inventado’s prejudgment against the correctness of his political standpoint and principle is malicious and baseless.
“I was not astray and have not wasted my gift of knowledge when I decided to selflessly submit myself to the masses and joined them in their nationalist and democratic struggle for genuine freedom and democracy. I cannot afford to put a price to my service at the expense of the unjust sufferings from landlessness and exploited labor of the peasants and workers,” said Calaor. “I challenge his objectivity to be critical on how the US-Duterte government gallantly wasted people’s money in the NTF-ELCAC while being so inutile in responding to the urgent needs of the Aklanons in this trying time under the pandemic. I also challenge Atty. Inventado prove his allegations in the proper venue to put merit to his representation,” Calaor added.
In a final statement, Calaor challenged Atty. Ronilo Inventado for public retraction of his statement against him. He also calls the Department of Justice (DOJ) to investigate and make the involved element of the state be made accountable for orchestrating malicious and baseless attacks against him and his fellow activists in Aklan. Calaor also appeals to every citizen to support his plea.
Who is Calaor?
Calaor is graduate of Bachelor of Secondary Education (BSED) not AB, from Aklan College now Aklan Catholic College in Kalibo, Aklan.
He is the Provincial Chairperson of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN)-Aklan.
Calaor is also a poet and have published of book entitled Uyayi Ng Himagsik, a collection of poetry of love and struggle. Some of his works are also published in various literary folios and publications, local and abroad.
Calaor is among personalities and leaders of BAYAN and MAKABAYAN bloc in posters red-tagged as organizers of legal front organizations of the CPP and New People’s Army (NPA) posted in the strategic areas of Iloilo in 2018 and 2019, and in Aklan on 2020./PT


2021 AMBON Mural
John S. Heredia, in memoriam
5 X 10 feet
Acrylic on Canvass

Text by Tomas Talledo

The mural is an offspring of collaboration by creative fellows of the honoree, PG Zoluaga, Boy Dolar, Jeline Laporga and Nelson Licoto. They depicted and memorialized their comrade-in-brush-and-paints, John Heredia of the Artista kag Manunulat nga Makibanwahanon (AMBON), himself is a socially sensitive painter and a dedicated public servant.

Heredia’s treacherous murder is an anagnorisis: it announces the deathlessness of his art, the immortality of shared aspirations that captives of oppression and inequality will be finally set free. The killers were abysmal fools, they can never be proud of their deeds. The mural depicted the communion of dreams, a high salute to the artist’s well-lived life and death like “mountain Tai”.

The mural makers unmistakably painted him singing with his guitar, “Ang kalinong nga akon ginahandom/ isa ka kalisod sang tagipusuon/ ang kasanag sang paalabuton/ luyag ko maangkon sa sining panahon” while sailing to the haven of all yearnings. In our archepelagic setting, the flowing river is a transcendent motif of what passes for time, spaces, generations of energies that were aroused, organized and mobilized. As such the mural depicts the characteristic of our people’s war.

Bouquets of flowers are send off gifts by those left behind now carried by waters as solemn ornaments of John Heredia’s final journey. Thus our eyes behold a signature of studied beauty, an expression of quiet elation, the template of what isn’t yet that will soon be.

From his group AMBON the perfect honor for John Heredia is in its public testimony: “His composition and art works are reflective of his unwavering stand to serve the people, especially the workers and the peasants”.

The grand design is to depart when the sun sets to certainly arrive with the trembling dawn. # # #


KALIBO, AKLAN – The dialogue launched by Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN) – Aklan with Aklan Electric Cooperative (AKELCO) on December 10 was a success. The said dialogue was part of their activities in line with the commemoration of the 72nd anniversary of the Universal Declaration of International Human Rights Day.

BAYAN-Aklan laid out their suggestions regarding the Power Supply Disconnection Freeze signed by the members of different organizations who are also consumers of the AKELCO.

AKELCO immediately responded to some of the group’s appeals  such as agreeing to accept a promissory note addressed to AKELCO’s administrator from its consumers for a staggered basis of payment or an installment based on the capacity of the consumers to pay.

The said dialogue was pushed through as many consumers were worried about their combined bills from April 2020 to December 2020. AKELCO also agreed to reduce the cost of the installment of electricity meters.

Moreover, AKELCO promised that their administration will discuss other matters and concerns submitted to them by their consumers through BAYAN-Aklan, and that it will be open for future dialogues as soon as possible.

According to Kim-Sin Tugna, BAYAN-Aklan’s spokesperson, victory can only be achieved through the unwavering support and mobilization of the people. He added that such victory of the Akeanon people will serve as an inspiration to achieve real social change./PT


ILOILO City – Guihulngan City top health officer Dr. Mary Rose Sancelan and husband Edwin Sancelan, also a government employee, were shot dead around 5:20 this afternoon by a riding-in-tandem near their residence at Carmen Ville Subdivision, Brgy. Poblacion, Guihulngan City. Dr. Sancelan served as an incident commander of Guihulngan’s Inter-Agency Task Force on the Management of Emerging Infectious Disease (IATF-MEID).

According to human rights group Karapatan Negros Island, Dr. Sancelan was named number one in the so called “hitlist” of Kawsa Guihulnganon Batok Komunista (KAGUBAK), an anti-communist vigilante group in Negros Oriental in 2017.

Dr. Sancelan was tagged as JB Regalado, the spokesperson of Leonardo Panaligan Command of NPA-Central Negros.

Karapatan condemned the killing and believed that this is part of the liquidation operation of the NTF- ELCAC.

The “hitlist” also included Public Attorney’s Office lawyer Atty. Anthony Trinidad who was killed on July 2019 and activist Haide Malalay Flores who was killed on August 2018./


(Photo from from Dr. Sancelan Facebook account)


ILOILO CITY – On the very day of International Human Rights Day, Duterte demonstrated his fascist nature and committed human rights violations in the form of syndicated raids, planting of evidence and filing of trumped up charges against union organizers and a member of the media.

According to Karapatan Secretary General Cristina Palabay, Duterte haphazardly scandalized the International Human Rights Day following the arrest of the seven activists.

Palabay added that the main objective of such raids and baseless arrests by Duterte would be to silence the people from voicing out and the media from exposing its corrupt administration.

Despite the crackdowns, thousands of people marched towards Mendiola calling for the ouster of Duterte. They condemned the Duterte administration’s crackdown against its critics.

In Panay, different organizations and sectors have successfully gathered in the city of Iloilo and Roxas, as well as in the town of Kalibo, to commemorate the International Human Rights Day.

In Iloilo City, progressive groups gathered inside the University of the Philippines Visayas despite the deprivation of the city government to give a permit, series of intimidation, and the efforts of the police forces to stop the said activity.

The persistence of the people to conduct such protests, in various parts of the country, only shows Duterte’s isolation from the interests of the wider population.

According to those who participated in the protests, hunger, landlessness, low price of palay, unemployment, and the expensive prices of basic commodities, pushed them to join the protests despite the threats of the government.

For Bayan Panay, Duterte should be ousted because of his useless response to the crisis while being busy with spreading violence to silence the people and to cover up his inutile response.

In order to do this, the conveners of the Panay Peoples’ Coalition called for the people to unite to end Duterte’s tyrannical rule./PT


ILOILO – The NTF-ELCAC is now forcing the Tumandoks (Indigenous Peoples) to sign a declaration stating the CPP-NPA-NDF as persona-non-grata.

According to Barangay Captain Jobelyn Giganto of Barangay Lahug, Tapaz, Capiz, they have been visited or summoned, several times already, by members of the NTF-ELCAC and the military to force to them to declare the CPP-NPA-NDF as persona non grata in their barangay.

Barangay Lahug is the only remaining barangay in the municipality of Tapaz that have not signed nor agreed in the said declaration.

According to Captain Giganto, they have no bases to work it out. If they have to ban somebody from entering their community, it should be the members of the military and the NTF-ELCAC who have been spreading fear and panic among the people since they entered the village in June.

The council and the people have presented the problem to Mayor Roberto Palomar of Tapaz but the Mayor himself also forced them to sign the declaration.

The people were disappointed with the Mayor’s reaction, who they thought would defend their rights even more as the military pressures them.

According to the threats of the military, they may increase their forces in the community or replace their forces with even more violent groups, however, the Tumandoks are firm with their stand to defend their rights and be free from the dictates of the military and the NTF-ELCAC.

In Tacayan, also in Tapaz, the military took control of the Barangay Council and ordered the people to relocate near the center of the barangay or along the road. They were only given until December to move and the Tumandoks view that it will have an intense impact on their farming.

Many leaders of the Tumandok organization have been summoned and interrogated by the military several times already.

The victims sought refuge in the office of the Commission on Human Rights last week to seek assistance for the ongoing military harassment in their community./PT


ILOILO CITY – Progressive groups led by Bayan-Panay have again protested to register their resistance against the RA 11479 also known as Anti-Terror Act of 2020.

According to Bryan Bosque, Deputy Spokesperson of Bayan-Panay, Duterte is using the Anti-Terror Law to silence his critics who are exposing his corrupt administration.

Bosque added that the Anti-Terror Law will be a tool for Duterte to legitimize his crackdown against activists who are fighting for their rights guaranteed by the constitution.

He said that even without the said law, the widespread human rights violations such as torture, arrests by fabricated cases, ang state-sponsored killings, remain unresolved.

The group also condemns the baseless red-tagging of the military through senate hearings joined by fake witnesses.

According to Bosque, the senate hearing held, where Jeffrey Celiz and the military freely red-tagged legal organizations, is a huge violation of the due process.

According to Bayan, if their allegations are true, why didn’t they present this in court? The time they’ve wasted for such non-sense hearing could have been used to help the victims of typhoon Rolly.

Bayan is calling on the people to strongly fight the Anti-Terror Law so they would not have to sacrifice their lives like Jory Porquia and Zara Alvarez, who were victims of widespread red-tagging by the state forces before they were killed.

Bayan added, the 37 petitions against the Anti-Terror Law only show the resistance of the people against the repressive law that should be junked by the Supreme Court./PT