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Iloilo

CRACKDOWN AGAINST FARMERS, INTENSIFIES!

ILOILO CITY — Members of the Military and Police who were not in uniform, masked, and did not introduce themselves entered the house of Herman Allesa, a peasant leader in Maasin, last November 10, 2019, 5 o’clock in the morning.

Allesa was a former Barangay Kagawad for 3 terms and Barangay Captain for 1 term in Barangay Bolo, Maasin. He was also a former treasurer of Pamanggas.

The said raid was rooted from the search warrant issued by RTC Branch 31 Assisting Judge Gemalyn Faunillo-Tarol against Allesa, who allegedly owns 45 and 38 arms.

However from the raid, a rusty grenade was found resting in the fireplace of the house.

Allesa strongly denied the grenade and condemned the operation against him.

According to Allesa, this operation is part of the attack against the critics of the administration to threaten and silence them.

IN A RELATED NEWS,

Three farmers in Cabatangan, Lambunao were arrested by the Military last November 11 in Sitio Tinagong-Dagat while hunting.

According to the relatives of the victims, they have long been intrigued by the military as supporters of the NPA, and due to the threats of the Military, they cannot freely go to their fields to farm.

The investigation whether or not the three are still in the hands of the Military, is still ongoing.

A proposed tourism project by the LGU of Lambunao will be built in Cabatangan that is why people are being displaced and that militarization in the area intensifies.

IN ANOTHER RELATED NEWS,

Masipag-Visayas strogly condemns the continuous surveillance and illegal entry of the Regional Mobile Group in their backup farm in San Dionisio last October 27 and November 7, 2019.

Police members disguised themselves as buyers of bamboo and in the second time, they were accompanied by their official, Col. Oscar, who was looking for Alias Reagan and alleged that members of the NPA are conducting their meeting in the area.

Farmers of Estancia have also reported that PTL Col. Julius Bolano redtagged the progressive groups and Partylists in an assembly of the Barangay Intelligence Network, to form an anti-insurgency group.

Bolano is the head of the Provincial Drug Enforcement Unit of Capiz PPO.

Pamanggas strongly condemns the intensifying attacks against the farmers and the organizations helping the farmers.

These attacks, according to Pamanggas, must be fought against and opposed through the collective unity of the farmers./ www.panaytoday.net

OFFICE OF BAYAN AND KARAPATAN WAS INSPECTED BY THE COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS, BARANGAY OFFICIALS, AND MEMBERS OF THE MEDIA

ILOILO CITY — Bayan-Panay and Karapatan opened their office in front of Jaro I Elementary School last November 13, 2019 to the members of the Commission on Human Rights Region 6, Barangay Officials of Cuartero and Fajardo, and the Media, for inspection.

This was the answer of the said groups on the ceaseless raid of the AFP and PNP towards their affiliates in Negros and Manila, which caused for the arrest of 62 members of the progressive groups, alleged by the government as criminals.

According to Elmer Forro, Secretary General of Bayan-Panay, they are not afraid to open their office in order to show that they do not store nor hide arms and bombs inside, which are usually the things found in the raids of the AFP and PNP.

Forro believes that the arms confiscated from their affiliates were planted by the agents of the state themselves to prove their questionable raids.

Forro added that the reason why they are being attacked by the government is because of their outright actions to forward the democratic rights of the people and the need to change the rotten system, which are all legitimate causes and a practice of our rights.

Some of the policies that the group opposes include TRAIN Law, Rice Liberalization Law, Oil Deregulation Law, Jeepney Phaseout, Corruption, Contractualization, low wages, and the continuous enslavement to the Imperialists.

Their group is not threatened, according to Forro, because this move by the Duterte government only shows how desperate they are and that they cannot anymore exert their power under democracy, which is why they resort into using brutal and ceaseless violation of human rights.

However this move of Duterte, according to Forro, will only be a factor for a stronger and broader people’s struggle.

IN A RELATED NEWS,

Karapatan-Panay spokesperson, Lucy Francisco, called PRO 6 spokesperson Joem Malong a liar and a deceiver after the latter said that progressive groups should not be afraid if they do not commit any wrongful acts in the first place.

According to Francisco, Malong’s statement only supports the set-up raids, wherein the planting of arms and bombs are a modus operandi, in order to show that their operation is legitimate and prove that activists are criminals.

Francisco added that they are not threatened because it is clear that they do not violate anything at all.

The weakling and the cowards, according to Francisco, are the AFP and PNP themselves for violating through their modus operandi of planting arms and bombs in order to show that their operation is legitimate.

This move, according to Francisco, is being done by the AFP and PNP, under Duterte’s command, to criminalize the critical masses who calls out the flaws of the government because this government only wants to develop the culture of killings, censorship, and adherence only to the commands of the dictator.

Francisco challenged Malong to stand with the truth and stop the twisting of the story as well as to resign if what he only does is to spread the wrongful acts of the AFP and PNP. /www.panaytoday.net

YOUTH PARTY WARY OF IMPUNITY, CALLS YOUTH GROUPS TO MOBILIZE AGAINST KILLINGS

Iloilo City – Youth Party-list KABATAAN expressed worry over the recent spate of killings and shooting incident in Iloilo and have told youth organizations to question government’s inaction and tolerance of impunity.

KABATAAN cited the killing of a village leader allegedly involved in narcotics and a shootout of a police officer in a populated high-way. The village leader, Barangay Captain Remia Prevendido Gregori of Bakhaw, Manduriao district has been shot dead by unknown assailants last month. A shootout also transpired on June 26 that resulted in the wounding of PO1 Dorben Acap Jr.

“A climate of impunity is apparent. It echoes the general climate of prevalent killings in the country,” said JC Alejandro, spokesperson of KABATAAN Partylist Western Visayas.

The party cited the 20,000 killings recorded under President Duterte’s war on drugs. KABATAAN also said that there are 27 farmers killed in the country. Farmer leader Julius Barellano was shot dead on June 27 at San Carlos City, Negros Occidental.

“President Duterte and his armed mercenaries are inculcating fear through violence against the poor. We have to demand accountability and due process,” said Alejandro.

“If the government is perpetuating this senseless killings and impunity, we ought to seek not just policy reforms but the removal of Duterte from office,” Alejandro continued.

Progressive groups like Kilusang Mayo Uno have previously asked President Duterte to resign from office over his ‘unfulfilled promises, anti-poor policies, and subservience to foreign interests’.

“We are also alarmed over the arrest and crackdown of ordinary citizens who casually lounge in public places. The government have criminalized those who are unemployed and those without decent housing,” Alejandro said in reaction to the Philippine National Police’s campaign against idlers and loiterers.

KABATAAN have called on youth and student organizations to ‘conduct forums, gatherings, and public discussions’ on the state of the country under President Duterte.

“We have to mobilize against impunity and collectively work to stop this senseless violence perpetuated by the Duterte government,” said Alejandro.

KABATAAN further urged the public to pressure government officials to pursue due process, respect of human rights and dignity, and the protection of public welfare.

A nation-wide ‘Black Friday Protest’ on June 29 and July 6 was called by KABATAAN to protest President Duterte’s tyrannical rule.

MILITANTS HOLD PANAY-WIDE PROTEST AGAINST DUTERTE’S CHA-CHA

ILOILO City – Various organizations in Panay held a protest last January 18 slamming the Congress of railroading proposals to revise the 1987 Constitution through a constituent assembly.

In Iloilo City, hundreds joined the protest denouncing the Congress’ move as an ‘effort to concentrate power’ to president Duterte.

Congress discussed constitutional amendments through a consolidated bill from a number of proposals including the Resolution of Both Houses No. 8 (RBH 8). Most bills have suggested a shift from a unitary presidential form of government to federalism.

BAYAN Panay criticized RBH 8 for containing provisions that abolishes Congress and grants Duterte legislative powers that would abolish current constitutional commissions, and overhauls the judiciary from the Court of Appeals and Sandiganbayan down to the Regional Trial Courts.

The group also slammed provisions in RBH 8 that gives congress power to pass laws allowing foreign corporations to exploit our natural resources, lease and acquire public lands, operate public utilities, educational institutions and the media.

“The treacherous Duterte-controlled Congress is using the shift to federalism as an excuse to circumvent the constitution in his favor,” said Elmer Forro, BAYAN Panay secretary general.

“The dangerous proposals are set to galvanize the tyrannical one-man rule of Duterte” said Forro. “It is important that we express our opposition to challenge this tyrannical government.”

In Aklan, militants wore headdresses and bamboo drums as they participated in the yearly Ati-atihan’s merry-making event.

“The celebration of Ati-Atihan should not isolate the people from the tyrannical condition of our country especially now, that the US-Duterte regime is so aggressive to suppress, and delete all the democratic guarantees of human rights under the current 1987 constitution via charter change through constitutional assembly,” said Kim-Sin Tugna, BAYAN Aklan’s officer-in-charge.

Tugna added that the government’s move for cha-cha is Duterte’s bribing and fascist tool to ensure his reign as a dictator,” Tugna added.

PANGUMA Aklan, the provincial formation of farmers in the province also lambasted Duterte’s cha-cha as a desperate move to spare him from the crimes of bombing Marawi, extra-judicial killings on drug war and political killings of progressive leaders.

Mitchel T. Tagumpay, provincial chairperson of PANGUMA, added that cha-cha will also legalize anti-people, militarist and economically regressive impositions of the present administration such as martial law and Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) as being packaged in his Build, Build, Build, a program subservient to foreign domination.”

Meanwhile, Bayan Capiz also lambasted Duterte’s plan to stay in power and install a government that will further exploit and oppress the people.

The Movement Against Tyranny (MAT) Panay, in a statement, has denounced charter change as an act against the interest of the Filipino people. According to the group, there is no imperative basis to change the ‘principles of democracy, national sovereignty and integrity’ enshrined in the Constitution. They have pledged bigger protests in the coming weeks to counter constitutional revisions. (panaytoday.net)

31 YEARS AFTER, FARMERS STILL BEING KILLED, LANDLESS

ILOILO City – Thirty one years after ‘Mendiola massacre’, peasant group Paghugpong sang mga Mangunguma sa Panay kag Guimaras (PAMANGGAS) continue to demand justice as killings of farmers remain unabated under president Duterte.

Dubbed as Mendiola Massacre, on January 27, 1987 in Mendiola, Metro Manila, protesting farmers calling for land reform under then landlord president Cory Aquino were fired upon by state forces killing 13 farmers and wounded several others.

PAMANGGAS said that after 31 years of the massacre, justice remains elusive for victims and their families. The group also lambasted Duterte’s internal security program, Oplan Kapayapaan which resulted to the escalating number of farmers being killed under his regime.

Citing the latest statistics of Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP), PAMANGGAS said that out of 126 victims of political killings under Duterte’s Oplan Kapayapaan, 110 are farmers.

“An average of six farmers are killed every month since Duterte assumed office in June 2016. More than hundreds of farmers were also arrested and detained, thousands suffered from forced evacuations due to intense military operations, and tens of thousands suffered from rights violations especially in Mindanao where Martial Law was declared,” said Lucia Capaducio, the group’s chairperson.

“Those killed are leaders of our peasant groups and farmer-activists fighting for land and calling for genuine land reform. We were also red-tagged and accused of supporting the New People’s Army by the Duterte regime. This is a clear method of this regime to silence its critics and those calling for meaningful reforms,” Capaducio added.

The group also expressed concern over the Duterte’s ”plan to put up a dictatorship under the guise of federalism.”

“Aside from killings, this regime is also gradually killing us farmers by his anti-people policies like the TRAIN law and his plan to push for constitutional amendments. Under TRAIN, we are burdened by increasing prices of commodities while no government subsidy on agricultural production is given to us. In our local study, a family of farmer with 6 members will have an estimated PHP661.00 a week or PHP94.43 a day of additional expenses under the TRAIN law,” said Cris Chavez, Anakpawis Panay coordinator.

“Charter change also poses threats to open our agricultural lands to 100% foreign ownership and investments and eliminating protectionist provisions of the 1987 Constitution. It is a clear disregard for land distribution and social justice,” Chavez continued.

“Landlessness remains a concern for most of us farmers in the country as 9 out of 10 farmers do not own the land they till,” he added.

The group called for wider support of farmers for genuine land reform and distribution and justice to hundreds of farmers killed by the state and to thousands of victims of human rights violations.

They also demand the end of Martial Law in Mindanao and the scrapping of policies like TRAIN and the government’s plan to revise the constitution in favor of Duterte’s tyrannical dictatorship.

“We cannot allow the Duterte regime to continue its massacre of farmers through political killings and burdensome economic policies. It is high time that we unite to fight against his looming dictatorship,” concluded Chavez. (panaytoday.net)

Ilonggos form network vs Duterte’s TRAIN

ILOILO City – Various organizations and personalities in the city have gathered on Wednesday to form the broad network to oppose the anti-poor but pro-rich tax reform law of President Duterte.

Named SCRAP TRAIN NETWORK, the newly formed alliance claimed that Duterte’s new tax law is geared to fatten business tycoons’ pockets while emptying the poor’s.

“These business oligarchs like Henry Sy, Manny Pangilinan, Ramon Ang, among other billionaires will be benefiting largely from managing and profiting infrastructure projects under Build, Build, Build such as superhighways, subways, mega dams and airports,” said Bayan Panay secretary general and SCRAP TRAIN Network lead convenor Elmer Forro.

The government aims to collect PHP1.3 trillion from TRAIN and will be used to finance Duterte’s infrastructure projects.

“But these projects, as what we have experienced, shall be taken over by private companies that will turn them into businesses that will deny the poor affordable access to these projects,” Forro added.

The TRAIN however will lower personal income taxes of professionals and uniformed officers in the government. But this does not translate to savings, Bayan Muna claimed.

According to Bayan Muna, a family of five will have an additional PHP2,442.75 expenses monthly due to direct and indirect impact of TRAIN.

Previously, items without excise tax are now taxed under TRAIN. Diesel will have an additional PHP2.50/L, sugar-sweetened beverages such concentrated juices at PHP6.00/L and softdrinks at PHP10.00/L.

Meanwhile, local shipping, housing, electric transmissions and cooperative are now added with 12% VAT which are previously not taxed. Gasoline on the other hand will have an increase from PHP4.00 to PHP7.00 for excise tax.

“Basic logic would tell us that price increases in oil petroleum products will have a domino effect on basic commodities’ prices. It is being felt right now by ordinary Filipinos especially the poor whose wages remain low and meager. That makes Duterte’s TRAIN anti-poor,” said Forro.

The network is expected to conduct series of information campaign drives, lobbying efforts and mobilizations to push for the scrapping of TRAIN.

“Instead of taxing the poor, Duterte should run after these billionaires and corporations who still have unpaid taxes of PHP400 billion according to IBON. A progressive tax system should be implemented by taxing those who earn more, lower taxes of consumers goods especially the scrapping of VAT and increase the minimum wage to PHP750.00/day for private and PHP16,000.00/month for the government,” Forro ended. (panaytoday.net)

Solidarity campaign for demolished Ybiernas vendors gains support

ILOILO City – The University Student Council of the University of the Philippines Visayas, Kabataan Partylist, and various student organizations decried the demolition of carenderia and sari-sari stores along Ybiernas street covering barangay Inday and San Felix in Iloilo.

On January 3, Iloilo city government’s Task Force Anti-Squatting and Illegal Structure demolished at least 15 stalls along Ybiernas St. citing violations of the Revised Philippine Highway Act of 1972 and the Urban Development and Housing Act of 1992.

More than 70 individuals who depend on the kioks and stores were affected by the demolition.

Barangay officials of San Felix were outrage over the demolition.

The officials said that the stalls were registered as livelihood projects for the barangay residents.

Documents obtained by Kabataan Partylist show that the livelihood project was supported by the previous Iloilo City government.

Residents of Barangay Inday and San Felix depend their income rendered from services to the students, mostly UPV.

In a joint statement of different student councils in UPV, student leaders expressed solidarity and support to Ybiernas’ residents right to live decently. They denounced Iloilo city government’s lack of compassion to the poor. The statement also encouraged the students to stand with the vendors and assert their right to live with dignity.

The student leaders plan to conduct consultations and dialogue with the Iloilo City government.

As of press time, hundreds of students have already signed a petition in defense of the livelihood of Ybiernas residents. (panaytoday.net)

KMU Panay condemns compressed work week

ILOILO City – Militant labor group Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) – Panay staged a picket protest Wednesday in front of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) VI condemning the proposed compressed work week scheme of congress.

Roxanne Javellana, spokesperson of KMU-Panay, said the activity is a nationwide coordinated protest action against the Congress-proposed 10-12 working hours a day in 4-day workweek scheme.

Javellana added that the proposed scheme is contrary to the Congress claim that workers will have “longer rest days“ equivalent to 3 days.

“This scheme is designed to lengthen the number of hours of workers for further capitalist exploitation of the worker’s labor and its resulting superprofit.”

Moreover, Javellana stressed that the 3-day rest from work is without pay, a scenario which will only aggravate the deplorable state of the Filipino workers. She pointed out that this also means bastardization of the historical victory of the worker’s movement for the 8-hour workday.

President Duterte’s rhetoric championing of the Filipino workers have seen its end in DOLE’s implementation of D.O. 174 or the legalization of contractualization and the failure to address a decent living wage among millions of workers and the urgency of national industrialization in the country. (KMU-Panay | Panay Today)

Iloilo town honors Communist son on National Heroes Day*

ILOILO City – Tigbauan town, 20 kilometers south of this city, celebrated on Monday the National Heroes Day by laying boquettes to the monument of Jose Rizal and unveiling the marker for its own son, Jose Aquilino Tronco Tangente, communist guerilla killed in combat exactly 30 years ago.

Mayor Suzette Alquisada, was almost in tears, as she expressed gratitude that Tangente, her uncle, is finally recognized and thanked members of the municipal council for enacting a resolution for that. “I am grateful to the municipal council for recognizing his great contributions in the struggle against the Marcos dictatorship,” she said.

Tangente went underground when dictator Ferdinand Marcos declared martial law on September 21, 1972. He was in his second year at the Loyola School of Theology, two years shy of ordination in the Archdiocese of Jaro. He was “Ka Brando” and “Ka Baran”, among his other aliases, in the countryside.

He was a member of the local negotiating panel of the National Democratic Front (NDF) in the peace talks with the Corazon Aquino administration after the downfall of dictator Marcos. He was killed during the peace talks, August 28, 1987 in Pandan, Antique, in a clash with the Army’s 47th Infantry Batallion.

His wife, Elma Villaron, also a Communist cadre, was killed years ahead of him. A Panay Tumandok, “Ka Randa” was buried with her four comrades in a common gave in the hinterlands of Capiz.

Vice Mayor Virgilio Teruel read the resolution recognizing Tangente’s heroism and handed the copy to Easter Grace, 37, elder of the two children of Tangente. Her younger sister, Hasmin Roja, was in Manila and could not make it to occasion.

Maria Cristina Rodriguez, representing the Bantayog ng mga Bayani, admitted she and members of the Bantayog Foundation, have to explain why it recognizes as heroes those who took up arms and waged a rebellion against the government.

“When a government such as the Marcos dictatorship becomes illegal and oppressive, it the duty of the people to oppose it,” Rodriguez explained.

Bantayog ng mga Bayani, a park in Quezon City has memorial walls where the names of the anti-Marcos opposition leaders and members of the armed resistance to the dictatorship, are enscribed. (Atty. Pistong Melliza | panaytoday.net)

* This article by Atty. Melliza first appeared in his blogspot pet-thebeekeeper.blogspot.com.

Panay farmers urge CA to #ConfirmKaPaeng

Justice for the Farmers! Land for the People!

ILOILO City – Various farmers organizations in Panay, in a press conference this afternoon, urged the members of the Commission on Appointments (CA) to confirm the interim appointment of Rafael “Ka Paeng” Mariano as Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) Secretary.

According to Cris Chavez, Western Visayas coordinator of Anakpawis Partylist, which Ka Paeng represented as congressman for nine years, there is no other person most suited for the position other than Ka Paeng.

“He himself is a farmer, has represented the farmers’ voice in congress, and has consistently lobbied and fought for farmers rights and welfare for almost four decades now.”

Joselito Sira of Uswag Mangunguma sa Balabag, Sta. Barbara, an organization of victims of land-use conversion, said that Ka Paeng has already brought some developments in their struggle against land-use conversion.

“He has already issued a TRO against land conversion on some areas. There has been a lot of illegal conversions going on robbing us of our livelihood and leave us hungry,” said Sira of UMASBI.

In San Miguel, Iloilo, farmers received their individual CLOAs during Ka Paeng’s term.

“In less than a year only, we have received our individual land titles which was denied to us for several years already. Though we are just lowly farmers and far from where Ka Paeng is, he always see to it that as farmers, we get justice,” said Judy Supelario, a farmer-leader from San Miguel.

Farmers in Capiz also want Sec. Mariano to stay as DAR Secretary.

“Our land case in Bungsuan Stockfarm in Dumarao has been static for the last 20 years. But during Ka Paeng’s term, he was able to get the Department of Agriculture’s (DA) approval to put under DAR’s jurisdiction the remaining 120 hectares to be distributed to us,” said Cornelio Gaspar of Kahublagan sang mga Mangunguma sa Capiz (KAMACA).

The Bungsuan Stockfarm has remained under DA for a long time. It was in the 1980s when 465 of the total 585 hectares was first distributed to the farmers. DAR that time said that the Bureau of Animal Industry of DA will use the remaining 120 hectares as dairy farm.

In Culilang, President Roxas, farmers continue to stage their Kampuhan and Bungkalan inside the disputed Tan Estate. Last February, a farmer was killed while defending their lands against armed goons of the landlord.

Angelo Orinse of Unyon ng mga Mangangawa sa Agrikultura (UMA) Panay chapter said that farmers have already made productive a certain portion of land as rice farms.

“We have continued to assert our rights because we are now equipped of it and we have Ka Paeng to support us.”

PAMANGGAS chairperson Lucia Capaducio stressed that only Ka Paeng could serve the farmers better without corruption and with compassion.

“Ka Paeng has proven himself worthy of the position as secretary of DAR. He has the support of his team and most especially of us farmers. It is our pride to have a fellow farmer serving us who knows exactly of our rights and struggles,” Capaducio added.

This August 30, Wednesday, various farmer’s groups and other sectoral organizations will have a day-long activity in time of Commission on Appointments’ deliberation of Sec. Mariano’s confirmation.(John Ian S. Alenciaga | panaytoday.net)