On threat to bomb Lumad
the President driving us to rebel?
July 28, 2017
It’s logical. If the
Philippine President himself threatens to bomb a school of indigenous
peoples (IP), where else can we run to?
These self-help schools were built by the bare hands of the Lumad
people because there were no schools in their communities. The schools
such as ALCADEV in Lianga, Surigao del Sur, whose executive director
Emerito Samarca was killed with Lumad leaders Juvelio Sinzo and Dionel
Campos in 2015, were expressions of Lumad people’s hunger for genuine
development while preserving their culture of collectivism and care
for environment. It is a way of the Lumad elders to secure the future
of their next generations and equip the youth to protect their
ancestral lands from corporate plunder and land grabbing.
The US-Duterte regime is now taking the anti-people road. This road
will eventually lead him to accountability unless he makes a turn
left, the road to just and lasting peace, through the NDFP-GRP peace
talks, and make radical changes in his policies which will address the
basic problems of the Filipino people.
Instead, Pres. Duterte bellied us indigenous peoples and Moro who
joined the people’s protest during his State of the Nation Address by
saying “Umuwi na kayo.” We came all the way from Mindanao to call to
stop the All-out War, martial law and the bombing of our communities.
Thousands have evacuated due to threat of bombings and human rights
violations of military and paramilitary groups.
And we were bullied by no less than the President.
Our situation as national minorities is already worse as it is. The
Maranaw people continue to suffer in evacuation centers as the Armed
Forces of the Philippines refuses to end the firefight to justify the
extension of martial law. The IPs are still facing the wrath of the
All-Out War through intensified military operations in communities.
Political killings against national minorities continue with 21
victims under the Duterte regime.
With President Duterte’s threat to bomb Lumad schools, violence is
encouraged against Lumad and Moro.
If the schools were destroyed, so is our future. Essentially, it is to
destroy our race.
If so, we are left with no choice but to resist.
opens heaven’s gate
Fr. ROY CIMAGALA,
July 23, 2017
INDEED, it is Christ’s cross
that does the trick. Our own salvation, our capacity to open heaven’s
gate has to pass through the cross of Christ, and not just any cross.
Christ’s cross is the key.
It’s in Christ’s cross that
all our sins are borne by Christ himself and forgiven. It’s where our
death leads to our life everlasting. It’s where we can truly say we
are united with Christ.
We need to carry that cross,
as Christ himself said. "Whosoever will come after Me, let him deny
himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.” (Mk 8,34) We need to
do everything to fulfill this indication of Christ everyday.
Any suffering we have in
this life, be it physical, moral or whatever, can be considered as the
cross of Christ as long as we unite that suffering to Christ’s
redemptive suffering and death on the cross. That’s simply because
Christ has made as his own all the suffering we can have.
We can make use of some
human devices so that we can be reminded of this wonderful truth of
our faith. One such device can be the practice of carrying a little
crucifix in our wallet, and taking it up from time to time to kiss it.
This can be done especially
just before going to bed so that we can associate the ending of our
day with this sublime sacrifice of Christ which we should try to
reflect in our life. We should try to end our day the way Christ ended
his life here on earth.
We can also do it upon
waking up in the morning to signify our intention to carry the cross
the whole day. It should mean that we are willing to suffer the way
Christ suffered. We should be willing to take on any offense the way
Christ accepted all the offenses and sins of men by accepting his
death on the cross.
We should try not to
over-react to any suffering that can come our way. As long as we unite
with the suffering of Christ, we can manage to echo what St. Paul once
“We are afflicted in every
way, but not constrained; perplexed, but not driven to despair;
persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed; always
carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, so that life of Jesus
may also be manifested in our body.” (2 Cor 4,8-10)
These words were spoken by
St. Paul in the context of showing how our weakness and suffering –
the fragile clay jars that we are, as St. Paul describes us – can
actually show God’s power working in us. In the same letter, St. Paul
precisely said that it’s when we are weak that we are strong. (cfr
It’s important that our
attitude and reactions to suffering of whatever kind conform to this
reasoning of faith expressed by St. Paul. It’s a reasoning that
perfectly captures the reason behind Christ’s willing acceptance of
his suffering and death.
It is this kind of
suffering, this kind of cross that led to Christ’s resurrection, and
that will lead to our resurrection too. This is the kind of cross that
opens the gates of heaven for us!
delegation included BAYAN secretary general Renato Reyes, Jr,
former Representative Neri Colmenares. Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos
Zarate, Anakpawis representative Ariel Casilao, Rep. Sarah Elago
fo Kabataan, Jerome Adonis, KMU Secretary General, Antonio
Flores of KMP, Gabriela sec gen Joms Salvador, Lumad leaders
Michelle Campos and Eufemia Cullamat, and Mindanao activists led
by Sheena Duazon of BAYAN SMR. We were joined by NAPC Convenor
Liza Maza who helped arrange the meeting.
President Duterte’s meeting with Bayan leaders ahead of the SONA
statement by BAYAN
July 19, 2017
We thank President Rodrigo
Duterte for taking time to meet with Bayan leaders in Malacanang last
July 18, 2017. We sought a meeting to inform the President of the
planned nationwide SONA protest actions on July 24 and to relay to him
20 urgent people’s demands. The meeting lasted for nearly two hours.
The Bayan delegation consisted of representatives from workers,
peasants, indigenous peoples, Mindanao activists and progressive
lawmakers from the Makabayan coalition.
Unlike past meetings, the
atmosphere was somewhat tense, more serious and revealed glaring
differences on major issues. After the meeting, it was clear why there
should be nationwide mass protests during the SONA. The people must
persevere in the fight for genuine change.
After a brief introduction,
we went straight to the issue of Martial Law. The President is bent on
extending it. We have consistently opposed it. He said that it was not
intended to target the Left. The Mindanao activists said that that was
not reality on the ground. They related how Martial Law is being used
to militarize communities and attack Lumad schools. Several
communities have been displaced as a result. Lumad leaders showed the
President pictures and other documentation.
On the issue of the stalled
peace talks with the NDFP, the President echoed the line of his
security cluster that there should first be a prolonged ceasefire
before there could be any talk of reforms. We reiterated our position
that the peace talks must continue because it is in the interest of
the people and that the surest way to achieve peace is through
socio-economic and political reforms. It appears that the fate of the
talks and the people’s desire for a just peace will again be held
hostage by the ceasefire issue.
The President gave no
commitment on the issue of militarization of communities, saying that
this was a reality in the ongoing civil war. For our part, a condition
of extended Martial Law can only mean that military abuses and attacks
While there remain openings
and agreements in principle on several issues, these will still
require firm government commitment and militant struggle by the
people. During the meeting, we sought to find common ground on the
issue labor contractualization, free tuition for State Universities
and Colleges, land reform and the issue of destructive mining. There
is no clear indication that the President will fulfill his pledge of
upholding an independent foreign policy by abrogating the Visiting
Forces Agreement any time soon. Meanwhile, he was responsive to calls
for the release of elderly and sickly political prisoners and received
personal letters and appeals form them.
We again informed the
President of the upcoming SONA rallies. He said he will not stop these
and will allow protesters to air their demands near Batasan.
After the meeting, we
returned to Mendiola to report the results to the Mindanao workers and
other sectors who were camped-out since Monday. We would have wanted
to bring more good news to them, but such was not the case.
From the foregoing
discussion – with Martial Law’s extension under way and the people’s
economic conditions worsening – the people are more than ever
justified in waging militant struggle for change. We are determined to
further expand people’s resistance to the anti-people and
anti-national policies of the regime.
The SONA rally will see huge
delegations from Central Luzon, Southern Tagalog and Metro Manila, as
well as delegations from Mindanao. Protests will be conducted in
almost every urban center in the country, from Ilocos to General
Santos. On July 23, participants for the SONA rally will begin
arriving in Quezon City and hold vigils near Commonwealth Avenue.
On July 22, we are calling
on the people to gather at Batasan to protest the Congress special
session to railroad the extension of Martial Law in Mindanao.
CHINA: A state
built on graves will not last
A Statement by the Asian
Human Rights Commission
July 14, 2017
China has lost yesterday one
of its great sons, Nobel Laurate Mr. Liu Xiaobo. Indeed, Liu Xiaobo
was a criminal for the Chinese administration. They had sentenced him
to undergo a prison term of 11 years, after being convicted by what is
passed off as ‘judicial process’ in China. The crime for which Liu
Xiaobo was convicted is ‘inciting subversion of state power’ by
co-authoring the Charter 08 pro-democracy manifesto, which called for
the Communist Party in China to uphold the commitments made in the
Anything that is even
remotely possible to be interpreted by Beijing as ‘organising for a
cause’ is perceived as a threat by the Chinese administration. This
approach is the defining character of a state that feels weekend
internally and a government that has no moral standing to remain in
power. The legislation Beijing enacted controlling all civil society
activities, internal and those that are supported from external
sources is a legislated evidence to this fear. So much so, today, a
non-Chinese seeking a language interpreter’s service within China has
to be reported to the authorities. Failing to do so is a crime.
Since its formation, China
has used its courts and the prosecutorial department to silence all
forms of public opinion, that the administration conceives as a threat
that could over time challenge the absolute authority of the Central
Party. Even lawyers appearing for their clients are not spared.
Make no mistake. What is
passed off as ‘judicial proceedings’ in China has no justice element
in it. It is merely a process, that serves the absolute authority of
the state and nothing more. Besides, the individuals who run these
institutions are deeply corrupt, like those in the administration. And
many of them are known to have ‘parked’ their ill-gotten wealth
outside the country.
China is one of the worst
economic examples of today. Its riches are built upon absolute
negation of freedom of the silenced. Anyone engaging in business with
China is merely supporting this inhuman process. This includes
international agencies, business houses and governments across the
The only way for China to
change, is for the international community to call the black pot,
black. No government has dared to do this, as was in the case of Liu
Xiaobo. There has been not a single co-ordinated and sustained attempt
by the governments of the world, to publically place pressure upon
China to allow Liu Xiaobo to obtain proper medical treatment. At the
age of 61, his life rotted in detention.
Today heads of states have
made public statements condemning Liu Xiaobo’s untimely death. They
should also perhaps ask themselves in what length they have
contributed to this murder when they rolled out red carpets to Chinese
leaders visiting them?
Our spiritual and
Fr. ROY CIMAGALA,
July 9, 2017
WE need to be more adept in
attending to the world of the spiritual and the supernatural which is
where we also live, whether we like it or not, aware of it or not.
That it’s part of our
objective reality can be verified from the fact that we can think and
reason out, discover and invent things, and do many others that tell
us we are capable of spiritual operations that presume that we also
live in the world of the spiritual.
The supernatural aspect of
our objective reality can be verified by the fact that there are many
mysterious, naturally inexplicable things that take place in our life.
There are miracles and other wonders that simply go beyond the limits
of our nature.
We have to learn how to deal
with our spiritual and supernatural world because that is where the
real action is and where our ultimate goal is. That’s where we are
truly defined, where our radical dignity is established. That’s where
we can have our encounter with God.
For us, the material and
natural world is nothing if not related to the spiritual and the
supernatural world. Our material and natural world can only have
meaning and purpose if related to the spiritual and the supernatural,
that is, if related ultimately to God.
Of course, God made himself
man in Jesus Christ so that our material and natural world, damaged by
sin, can have a way to reconnect with our Creator and our Father. And
Christ’s presence and redemptive action continues to take place with
the action of the Holy Spirit.
This is a truth of our faith
that should ever be made alive in us, kept sharp in our mind, and
deeply felt in our heart. For this, we have to submit to a certain
discipline that may involve a number of things.
We have to learn to be
recollected all the time, keeping effective control and supervision of
our senses and other faculties so that wherever we are, we could
manage to be always in the presence of God.
We have to learn to pray and
meditate on the word of God, for it is there where we begin to get in
touch with Him on a day-to-day basis. If we truly exercise our faith,
our prayer should always be exciting since we would be dealing with
the Holy Spirit who knows all the truth and who can tell us of things
We need to do everything to
make sure our prayer is a real encounter with God, a direct
conversation with the Holy Spirit who always intervenes in our life
with his constant promptings.
For this, it is truly
helpful to know more about the gifts of the Holy Spirit so we may be
able to correspond to those gifts properly. Obviously to be most
docile to the Holy Spirit, we need to clean up our mind and heart
through penance. Let’s see to it that our heart is rid of any impurity
that could prevent us from discerning the Holy Spirit’s promptings.
These are, at least, a few
of the things we can do to take care of our spiritual and supernatural
Release of cops in
rub-out case in Leyte, non-release of political prisoners, clear signs
of impunity under Duterte
A press statement by
KARAPATAN Alliance for the Advancement of People's Rights
June 20, 2017
“We express our condemnation
and extreme disappointment on the release on bail of police officers
involved in the Espinosa case, as among the clear indications of
prevailing impunity under Pres. Rodrigo Duterte. We remind the
President that his job as commander-in-chief does not entail
protecting State security forces from accountability on their crimes,”
said Karapatan Secretary General Cristina Palabay on the release of
the nineteen (19) accused policemen involved in the killing of Albuera
mayor Rolando Espinosa.
Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) Region 8 chief Superintendent
Marvin Marcos, along with 18 others, were initially charged with
murder after they launched an operation to serve a warrant against
Albuera mayor Rolando Espinosa last November 5, 2016; the operation
led to the killing of Espinosa inside his jail in Baybay, Leyte. The
National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) and the senate investigation
ruled the case as a “rub-out.”
On June 2, 2017, the
Department of Justice downgraded the charges against the 19 cops from
murder to homicide, with the regional trial court allowing bail of
P40,000 each. On June 16, all the accused were released on bail.
Earlier last April, President Duterte said that he will not only
pardon cops involved in the Espinosa slay case should they be
convicted, but that he will also promote them.
“Duterte apparently remains
true to his words when it entails ensuring the continued support of
institutions who might be detrimental to his presidency. When it comes
to promises he made for the welfare and benefit of the marginalized,
however, he falls short, or at numerous occasions, makes a reversal.
This is true for the issue of the release of political prisoners,
especially those for humanitarian considerations,” said Palabay.
As of May 15, 2017,
Karapatan puts the number of political prisoners in the country to 402
– with 39 political detainees arrested under the Duterte
administration. Palabay added that “there is a clear State policy of
absolving culpable policemen in the war on drugs campaign and soldiers
in their counter-insurgency war against the people, while maintaining
the continued imprisonment of political prisoners jailed for
trumped-up charges. It is deplorable to see scalawags being out on
bail while those unjustly kept behind bars remain fighting for
“The Filipino people have
been promised change, and we hold Duterte accountable that these
changes be for the better. Instead, we now have martial law in
Mindanao, aerial bombings and other community violations committed
with impunity, the non-release of political prisoners, a militarized
bureaucracy, a war on drugs that has claimed the lives of thousands,
and an enabled and abusive State security forces with guaranteed
protection. We urge Duterte to look closer, because for the most part,
he has largely contributed to the worsening of the same oppressive and
repressive system inherited from his predecessors,” concluded Palabay.
Joint statement on
Marawi, martial law and internet freedom
By CPU, TXTPOWER and AGHAM
June 15, 2017
After Camp Aguinaldo
spokesman Colonel Edward Arevalo warned that the military would
exercise an alleged “right to censure”, DICT Head Rodolfo Salalima has
announced arrests for “cyber sedition”.
It must be clear by now:
Whether you’re in Marawi, Mindanao or Manila, we’re all unsafe from
martial law’s effects on our basic rights. And nowhere is this more
obvious than the internet and the basic rights we enjoy online and
These threats by the
military and DICT don’t strike fear at the heart of terrorists. They
dampen civic engagement and attempt to negate the public’s right and
duty to see to it that martial law is required, that martial law is
actually aimed at the terrorists, and that martial law is not being
implemented against the public.
We warn the military and the
DICT not to overstep their bounds. Censorship, whether prior restraint
or subsequent punishment, does not help combat terrorists. We urge the
military to revisit their claim of a “right to censure”. It is an
invention, with no legal provenance or constitutional basis.
We also warn against network
shutdowns under martial law. Network shutdowns in Mindanao are
unacceptable. It would isolate and disconnect Mindanao from the rest
of the country and the world. Mindanaoans should not be silenced. It
would be bad for business, commerce, education, governance and other
aspects of our daily lives.
The dress rehearsals for
turning off our internet have started many years back. In the name of
counter-terrorism, the police, the military and the government have
taken down mobile and internet access in Metro Manila, Metro Cebu and
other parts of the country.
All the shutdowns have been
applied for and granted in an questionable manner, without hearing and
without assessment. It is not farfetched that the government would use
this if the “online noise” of widespread criticism becomes intolerable
If there’s any event and
place where the public would understand a network shutdown, it is this
incident and Marawi City from the very start. Based on "practice",
shutting down all communications there would deprive the terrorists
any means to communicate among themselves and the outside world. It is
now a virtual ghost town, with most of its 200,000 inhabitants already
transformed into evacuees.
But this appears to be
impossible. Because it would affect the military operations,
coordination between the Commander-in-Chief in Manila and the ground
forces in Marawi and media reportage that has been so kind to the
We urge citizens and
organizations to be vigilant and jealous of the rights we enjoy,
offline or online, against any arrogant overreach by the military and
government. They have a track record of abuse, and have also made
threats of doing under martial law.
Let’s keep the Philippines'
and the internet free.