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Iloilo

JOHN S. HEREDIA, IN MEMORIAM

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. # # #

72ND INTERNATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS DAY PROTESTS, SUCCESSFUL AMID THREATS, INTIMIDATION, AND ARRESTS!

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

DROP THE TRUMPED-UP CHARGES VS ELMER FORRO! STOP REDTAGGING ACTIVISTS!

ILOILO City – The local militant group Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN) Panay condemns in strongest terms the current harassment by state forces through a trumped-up case lodged against its secretary-general, Elmer Forro.

Last August 13, Forro received a subpoena for a murder and multiple attempted murder case filed by the Philippine National Police (PNP) Lambunao in relation to an alleged encounter between the New People’s Army (NPA) and the Philippine Army in the morning of April 7, which resulted in the death of PFC Mark Nemis.

According to the complainant’s witness, Cpl. Christopher Llono of the 301st Brigade of the 3rd IDPA, Forro was among the NPAs that killed Nemis.

“The accusation against me is nothing but pure harassment by state forces to stop me from my advocacy work as an activist,” said Forro.

“I and my colleagues have been subjected to threats and harassment and it escalated even in the time of pandemic that led to us facing multiple charges because we exercised our constitutional rights and engaged in relief operations for those worst affected by the lockdown. Surveillance, redtagging, and tailings remain non-stop,” Forro added.

Forro said that, during the pandemic, he had been busy with relief operations, health trainings and meetings with representatives of other cause-oriented groups, public officials including Iloilo City Mayor Jerry P. Treñas, and church leaders like Msgr. Meliton Oso.

Forro, together with other activists, have been charged with violating BP 880, Bayanihan Act, and RA 11332 for a protest action last April 3 at the DSWD Regional Office 6 and for demanding aid to people affected by Duterte’s militaristic lockdown. On May 1, he and dozens of activists were arrested for attempting to hold a motor caravan to demand justice for the murder of Bayan Muna Iloilo City coordinator Jory Porquia.

“This systematic crackdown has already claimed the lives of some of our comrades like Jory Porquia and Zara Alvarez, who were themselves subjected to harassment and surveillance, or faced trumped-up charges before they were killed,” Forro quipped.

Last December 11, 2018, March 16, 2019, and August 27, 2020, posters with photos of progressive leaders, including Forro, were seen plastered around Iloilo City and recently seen in a village in Oton town. The poster accused Forro, together with lawyers, a priest, a former House representative, and 30 others of being terrorists, extortionists and members of the Communist Party of the Philippines and New People’s Army.

Last May, Forro also noticed motorcycle-riding men watching from outside his residence, and at one point, he was even tailed while going to his office in the city by a vehicle and men on motorcycles.

“Almost all of my colleagues in the Bayan Panay secretariat also experienced surveillance, tailings, redtagged and were being maliciously approached to talk and given contact numbers,” added Forro.

“This trumped-up case is ridiculous and outright false and should be dismissed immediately. We cannot let state forces continue their evil deeds and suppress our rights and freedom,” Forro added.

“We have to fight the tyrannical reign and terroristic acts of the Duterte regime. It is time to end his regime to end the sufferings of the people,” Forro ended./www.panaytoday.net

UPV professor receives death threat

ILOILO City – University of the Philippines Visayas College of Arts and Sciences Social Science Division Prof. Tomasito Talledo just received a threat to his life early morning today, Tuesday.

In a message from a suspected troll account, the suspect quipped “May pa hands-off Sir Tom pa ngayon ang mga estudyante mo Tomas! Pagkatapos mo silang na-brainwash.”

The suspect went on and threatened Professor Talledo “Huwag kang mag-alala, malapit na lang matapos ang buhay mo.

Last week, Professor Talledo was also attacked by trolls tagging him as a recruiter of the New People’s Army and blaming him for the death of Malvin Christian Cruz who was killed by the 61st IBPA in a clash last June 29.

In a statement, the UPV SAMASA Alumni Association condemned the harassment against Professor Talledo who they said “is a public intellectual, an esteemed scholar who has mentored generations of morally upright citizens of our Inang Bayan.”

The Association furthered that the attacks against Professor Talledo “confirm the correctness of our concerns that the “mere suspicion” standard of the recently enacted “Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020” is not only unconstitutional, but likewise reckless and that the Act does not really address the root causes of terrorism. It is actually against “terrorists”, as defined by the law itself (i.e., “mere suspicion”).”

“We call on our fellow Iskolar ng Bayan – the Scholars of the People – to rise with one voice to protest this blatant violation of Prof. Talledo’s constitutional rights, and to protect him from further harassment and threats,” said SAMASA.

The group also called on the Filipino people to never be silent and always be witnesses to and advocates of democracy and the rule of law./www.panaytoday.net

JORY PORQUIA COMMUNITY KITCHEN, LAUNCHED TO REMEMBER AND CONTINUE THE STRUGGLE FOR JUSTICE

ILOILO CITY

“To continue what you have started!” – this was the living promise of the comrades and friends of activist, Jory Porquia, brutally slayed last April 30 at Sto. Niño Norte, Arevalo, Iloilo City.

Even as they marked the 30th day of his murder, his comrades and loved ones continue to demand justice. Thirty days have passed and yet there was no investigation launched, none of his murderers brought into justice.

To honor his lifetime of activism and to continue his legacy of serving the people, the Jory Porquia Community Kitchen was launched yesterday in several urban poor communities all over Metro Iloilo.

The communities which Porquia served as an organiser and leader of Bayan Muna have continued to raise funds for the kitchen communities, and are the ones organizing the feeding programs which serve hot meals to children of the communities./PT

MILITARY MEN KILL PEASANT LEADER IN ILOILO

ILOILO City – A peasant leader in Miag-ao, Iloilo was killed by the 61st Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army last Saturday, April 18.

The 61st IBPA in their statement on Saturday that their troops encountered about 40 members of the New People’s Army (NPA) in Sitio Anoy, Cabalaunan, Miag-ao, Iloilo. A firefight took place for about 35 minutes which resulted in the death of an NPA member, the arrest of seven personalities including a minor, and recovered a rifle, ammunition, sub-machine gun, backpacks, flags, documents, and medical paraphernalia.

The NPA Southern Front Mt. Napulak Command, however, denied the military’s accusations.

“Our unit was prepared even before they were attacked by the military troops. No one was arrested, wounded or dead. None of the NPA unit’s personal belongings nor rifles were left in the incident area,” said Ka Ilaya Kanaway, the command’s spokesperson.

The local peasant alliance Pamanggas identified the casualty as John Farochilin, 50 years old.

According to Pamanggas, Farochilin served as chairman of the Alyansa sang mga Mangunguma sa Miag-ao (Alliance of Farmers in Miag-ao) and council member of Pamanggas.

“He was instrumental in availing food relief and seed subsidy for Miag-aoanon farmers during the campaign against hunger brought by El Niño in 2019. He also facilitated dialogues with the Miagao LGU on several occasions,” said the farmer’s group.

Local human rights group Panay Alliance Karapatan condemned the killing and arrests of innocent civilians. The group also seeks justice for all the victims.

“Justice should be given to the civilian victims and their families after proper investigation by the Commission on Human Rights and other concerned agencies. The soldiers responsible for the killing, arrest, and detention of these civilians should also be prosecuted and made accountable,” said Karapatan./www.panaytoday.net

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Local PNP chief slammed for blocking food meals, misinformation

ILOILO City – A local chief of the Philippine National Police was called out for maligning and blocking the initiatives of urban poor to feed themselves amid COVID-19 pandemic.
In a statement sent to the media, Bayan Panay said it received reports this afternoon that Molo PNP Chief Engelbert Banquillo asked the village chief of San Juan in Molo district to stop the feeding program initiated by Bayan Muna urban poor members in the community.
According to witnesses, Banquillo also told the village chief not to receive and eat the meals prepared because it may contain the virus.
“[The] people in the urban poor communities are joining hands to mitigate the impact of the pandemic. Even the good Mayor [Jerry Treñas] recognizes these efforts as a sign of help to the local government unit’s efforts,” said Elmer Forro, Bayan Panay’s secretary general.
The locals who are members of Bayan Muna Iloilo City chapter and also the ones who prepared the meals were angered and lambasted Banquillo.
“We personally prepared the meals and distributed them to our members and neighbors. Banquillo is not only lying but also maligns our efforts which are in response to Mayor Treñas’ calls to help each other in this time of pandemic,” they said.

Forro reminded Banquillo that the efforts of the urban poor are in accordance to the wishes of Mayor Treñas.

Human rights group Panay Alliance Karapatan also slammed Banquillo’s desperate act.
“The acts of Banquillo should be condemned and he must be investigated for harassing the people instead of helping them in this time of pandemic,” said Reylan Vergara, the group’s secretary general.
Vergara added that the efforts of progressive and partylist groups are actual solutions to ease the hunger being experienced by the people under enhanced community quarantine.
Forro added that Banquillo also maliciously spread wrong information and insulted the members of communities when he suggested that the community members will harm their own family and neighbors.
“Clearly, Banquillo has no compassion and has ulterior motives in spreading such blatant misinformation, and should be held liable,” said Forro.
Banquillo was also responsible for the deployment of police during a picket at the DSWD Regional Office 6 last April 3.
During the activity, Banquillo even threatened the protesters, who are calling for food aid, to lock them up in unoccupied cells.
Bayan Panay called on the people to denounce this action of Banquillo. Karapatan asked the city’s PNP director to investigate the matter.
“We have to fight this pandemic and assert our rights against fascist acts of the PNP and Duterte,” Forro said./www.panaytodaynet

PNP 6 vilification and red-tagging, a desperate move – Bayan Panay

ILOILO City – Progressive group Bayan Panay called “a desperate move” the recent vilification and red-tagging post of the Philippine National Police Regional Office VI in their official Facebook Page Police Regional Office 6.

“The PNP’s desperate move to vilify us calling us “deceivers” speaks of the level of stupidity and ignorance of the PNP,” said Elmer Forro, the group’s secretary general.

In its official account, the Police Regional Office 6 posted a photo collage showing Bayan Panay members in a picket at Camp Delgado yesterday, January 15, 2020, rallyists burning a presumed effigy, a photo of CPP in what appears to be their 45th anniversary celebration and a spray painted wall calling for a revolution and not elections.

According to Forro, the picket at Camp Delgado only happened yesterday where they raised the issue of typhoon Ursula victims on the government’s slow and minimal response because they have not received ample help from the government due to bureaucratic red taping.

“Specifically, the picket was addressed to the Office of the Civil Defense as head of the inter-agency cluster in rescue and relief delivery operations for typhoon victims,” Forro added.

“For the PNP to vilify instead of hearing the issue [we are raising] only shows their fascist intentions to crackdown activists and legal democratic organizations,” Forro added.

For the PNP, Forro exclaimed, the legal mass movement is no different from the armed revolution waged by the CPP-NPA.

“They tend to put in a single basket everyone that they perceived as threats when in fact, they, the fascist troops are the real threats,” Forro said.

”They are the ones killing unarmed and innocent civilians especially farmers,” said Forro.

He added that the PNP is conducting illegal searches borne out from irregularly issued search warrants and worst, they plant pieces of evidence to make the whole thing legitimate.

For Bayan, the PNP is not truly aiming for peace.

”They are the spoilers of peace and are warmongers by nature. They profit from the Task Force ELCAC through thousands of fake surrenders they made up. These are the people that must be condemned,” the group said.

Bayan reminded the PNP that they are working within the metes and bounds of their constitutional democratic rights enshrined in the 1987 Constitution’s Bill of Rights.

”We call on the PNP to stop this madness and make proper use of the people’s taxes they are using to vilify and red-tag us, and serve and protect the people they are tasked to defend,” the group said./www.panaytoday.net

Inter-agency cluster for relief operations inutile, says disaster victims

ILOILO City – The disaster victim’s organization Kusog sang Pumuluyo lambasted today the inutile response of the inter-agency cluster in relief operations led by the Office of Civil Defense (OCD) in assisting the victims of typhoon Ursula.

In a picket held at Camp Delgado where the OCD is located, the group claimed that the inter-agency cluster created supposedly for immediate rescue, rehabilitation and relief distribution has done nothing for the victims.

“Instead, the cluster has only restricted people’s organizations participation in relief efforts, DSWD’s role was constricted and the aid the victims received are very minimal,” said Rev. Fr. Marco Sulayao, the group’s spokesperson.

Last week, Kusog sang Pumuluyo held a picket at the DSWD Regional Office VI to air their disgust and grievances and submit their petitions, but the regional office claimed that their hands are tied because of the inter-agency cluster.

“This goes to show that instead of learning from past experiences like typhoon Yolanda, this government has chosen a more sophisticated approach, added another layer of bureaucratic red tape, but in the end, has only brought more sufferings to the victims of disasters,” added Fr. Sulayao.

Fr. Sulayao stressed that “instead of letting the agencies do their job directly to assist immediately, the OCD has controlled everything and everyone that made the delivery of services more difficult.”

The inter-agency cluster was created under the Executive Order No. 70, an order primarily addressing the counter-insurgency problem.

“It is therefore clear that the main task of this cluster is not delivery of service, but more on constricting the aid that must be received by the people, especially those that organized themselves and are considered enemies of the state,” said Fr. Sulayao.

The disaster group called on the government to dismantle the inter-agency cluster and let the agencies directly involved to use and deliver their resources for all victims without discrimination and to do away with political patronage./www.panaytoday.net

NPA active defense results in PNP casualties in Iloilo

ILOILO City – The New People’s Army Napoleon Tumagtang Command – Larangan Dose admitted to having caused the casualties of the PNP 1st Provincial Mobile Force members yesterday, December 23, around 9:30 in the morning.

In a statement released to the media this afternoon, Ka Ariston Remus said that the military action was in response to the five-day Oplan Galugad by the combined forces of the AFP and PNP that started December 19 in the territories of the people’s revolutionary government.

According to Remus, PNP regional spokesperson Lt. Col. Joem Malong already admitted that their forces, composed of four columns of more than 100 composite members from the 1st Provincial Mobile Force and Regional Mobile Force that came from Janiuay, are conducting the Oplan Galugad.

But the wide mass base support, according to Remus, provided the NPA the upper hand against the offensive attacks of the state forces and turned the situation in their favor that resulted in two harassment actions that resulted in casualties in the PNP.

The first incident happened on December 21 where three casualties were reportedly taken to the hospital by ambulance via Leon route evening of December 22. Yesterday’s incident was a result of a command-detonated explosive that went off in Brgy. Singon, Tubungan.

Remus added that Malong is lying when she said PNP forces have been pulled-out in response to the Suspension of Police Operation (SOPO).

Before the firefight, a column of the state forces was spotted in Brgy. Nagba, Tubungan. Around 6 a.m yesterday, military presence was also reported in Brgy. Ayubo of the same town and as of press time, another column of the Special Action Forces was in Brgy. Cawilihan, Leon. This is clear treachery despite the ceasefire declaration, said Remus.

All units of the NPA according to Remus are ready to implement the order of the Communist Party of the Philippines and its higher command to cease from implementing tactical offensives as a response to the peoples’ celebration of Christmas and New Year. However, the NPA will remain in active defense mode, Remus explained./www.panaytoday.net