Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Be there and cheer for the truth!

March 14, 2008, 2pm, Liwasang Bonifacio
Assembly points: 1pm, Taft Avenue cor. Kalaw/UST Espana
Also featuring Datu's Tribe, Wuds, Radioactive Sago Project*, The Jerks*, Stick Figgas*, Musicians for Peace
Wear your school color, bring your school flags, represent your alma mater!

Visit http://youthactnow.com

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Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Things we can do on February 28 Youth Action Day

1. WEAR WHITE vs. CORRUPTION – as a symbol of the youth's crusade for truth, accountability and hope.

2. ACCESSORIZE – with shirts, pins, bracelets, headgears, white armbands, etc. Be creative. Show your protest through your fashion sense.

3. DECORATE – your school, tambayan, class room with 'protest art.' Designs are available at youthactnow.com. Or better yet, be resourceful and come up with your own Youth Action Day theme for your school. Transform your schools into 'Truth and Accountability Zones'.

– set up a text hotline in your school, or put up freedom walls all around campus, or set up a 'punching bag or dart board vs. corruption'. Provide a medium for students to unleash their youthful energy and show their protest.

5. INVITE – to the Youth Action Day Konsiyerto para sa Katotohanan! at the University of the Philippines Diliman on February 28, 6-9pm.
Showcase, share and compare your Youth Action Day themes and protest art at the February 29 rally in Ayala where different schools are expected to converge.

Youth Action Day in 10 key cities nationwide!

YOUTH ACT NOW! coordinators and member organizations from Metro Manila, Baguio City, Albay, Naga City, Tacloban, Bacolod, Davao, Iloilo, Laguna, Cavite will participate.

For inquiries, contact:
Alvin Peters, YOUTH ACT NOW! Spokesperson, 09206209362
Terry Ridon, UP Student Regent, 09158513904

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Thursday, February 14, 2008

A Call to the Filipino Youth to Stand Up for Truth

A Call to the Filipino Youth to Stand Up for Truth

As the nation faces intense moral and political crisis, the Filipino youth is called upon to take up its role as bearers of the future and stand up for truth and accountablity in government. The Filipino youth must act now.

We are youth, students and professionals from different organizations, schools, colleges, universities, workplaces and communities. We unite in collective aspiration to knock on the conscience of our leaders and to awaken hope in the spirit of the Filipino people to bring forth a movement for truth and social change.

We commend Rodolfo "Jun" Lozada, Jr. for divulging truths with regard to anomalies and corrupt acts in government. We admire the courage and determination he showed as he faced efforts of government forces to harass his person in order to stop him from testifying in Senate investigations.

We express our solidarity with various church groups, the business sector, people's organizations and concerned Filipino citizens who have similarly expressed confidence in Mr. Lozada's sincerity and credibility.

We believe that national leaders should be accountable to the people and that government officials should portray the highest standards of morality and integrity to be able to propel the nation towards genuine progress, justice and peace.

As young people moved with our conscience and aspirations for good governance and accountability for wrong deeds done, we condemn the following acts by government:

• The attempted cover-up and past and present whitewash of evidence implicating Mrs. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, the First Gentleman and the First Family, along with Malacanang's minions, in numerous issues of bribery and corruption and other shady deals of government;
• The gross and systematic plunder of the country's coffers and resources for the benefit of a few influential government officials and cronies;
• The Arroyo administration's shameless disregard of the intensity and effects of such allegations and its continuous brushing off of still unresolved issues of bribery and corruption despite overwhelming public clamor for morality, transparency and accountability; and
• The blatant and unabashed misuse of the administration machinery, including the Department of Justice, the Philippine National Police, the Armed Forces of the Philippines and other agencies of government, to conspire in the further deception of the people and betrayal of public trust.

The government has lost its moral ascendancy to govern due to the long list of scandals, electoral fraud and corruption issues that have mired its rule. The Arroyo administration has long ceased to perform as a role model government for the youth. It has caused the widespread disillusionment among young people and have been a disappointment to the youth's desire to instill reforms in government.

We call on the government of Mrs. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to stop efforts to cover-up the truth and be accountable for its immoral and corrupt acts. The government's desperate efforts to continuously cling to power have sown deep social discontent and division among the people.

We strongly believe in the sovereign right that rests on the people to change a morally bankrupt and corrupt regime with a conscientious leadership that can genuinely unite the nation and can bring forth meaningful social change.

YOUTH ACT NOW against a morally bankrupt government. YOUTH ACT NOW for truth, accountability and meaningful change.

YOUTH ACT NOW! (Youth for Accountability and Truth Now!

The Undersigned,

National Union Of Students of the Philippines (with 650 member councils nationwide)
College Editors Guild of the Philippines (with 750 member publications nationwide)
Kabataan Party
University of the Philippines (UP) University Student Council
UP Office of the Student Regent, Student Regent Teri Ridon
UP Manila University Student Council
UP Manila College of Arts and Science Student Council
Student Alliance for the Advancement of Democratic Rights in UP (STAND-UP)
University of Santo Tomas ACT-NOW
Ateneo de Manila University Tanggulan Network
Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP) Office of the Student Regent, Student Regent Sophia Prado
PUP Sentral na Konseho ng Mag-aaral
Samahan ng mga Mag-aaral para sa Sambayanan (SAMASA)-PUP
KKKP (Kalipunan ng Kristiyanong Kabataan sa Pilipinas)
Student Christian Movement of the Philippines
Christian Youth Fellowship
Samahan ng Kabataang Episcopal sa Pilipinas
Adamson University University Student Government
Philippine Christian University Supreme Student Government
SAMASA-Far Eastern University
Kabataang Pinoy
League of Filipino Students
Kabataang Artista para sa Tunay na Kalayaan (KARATULA)
UP The Philippine Collegian
UP Manila Collegian
PUP The Catalyst
ADMU Matanglawin
Arellano Herald
MLQU The Quezonian
PUP Mass Communications The Communicator
Velez College SSC
niversity of Negros Occidental-Recoletos SSG
Bicol U
niversity University Student Council
St. Louis U
niversity SSG, Kasama
niversity of the Cordilleras SSC
ntral Mindanao Colleges SSC
non State University SSC
nga Apayao State College SSC

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Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Like father (and mother), like sons

Youth group to Arroyo brothers: So young yet so corrupt

Youth group Anakbayan criticized brothers Mikey and Dato Arroyo for their 'Mafia-like operations and maneuverings' at the House of Representatives.

The Arroyo brothers are said to be the ones who clandestinely brokered last night's 'showdown' at the House of Representatives, resulting in Speaker Jose de Venecia's (JDV's) ouster.

Anakbayan chairperson Eleanor de Guzman condemned reports of massive bribery, amounting from P500,000 to P1 million allegedly per solon who agreed to vote against JDV.

Solons who attended last weekend's 'final meeting' at the brothers' home in La Vista were also reportedly seen with suspicious 'brown paper bags'.

"They can deny all they want but no one would believe that they did not have anything to do with last night's brouhaha. One need only see one of Mikey's sleazy B-movies to see what an ugly character he has," said de Guzman.

Talks of moves to oust JDV first sprung from Mikey's resignation from the Lakas-CMD party last week.

(Mikey Arroyo whispers to new Speaker Prospero Nograles during last Monday's 'showdown' session)

"The Brothers Arroyo, like their parents, are fickle-minded and cannot be trusted. All their moves would only be for their political survival. Their cohorts in KAMPI should be warned. So young yet so corrupt, kanino pa ba sila magmamana?" said de Guzman.

More than an inter-family rift

Furthermore, de Guzman stressed that the Arroyo clan's 'act of vendetta' against JDV was more than a matter of JDV's son Joey having hurt FG Mike in light of his ZTE expose.

"This political development should not be downplayed as a mere inter-family rift, or even a split between trapos."

De Guzman added, "More than anything else, last night further exposed Arroyo's desperation to stay in power despite the unresolved cases of bribery and corruption that both de Venecias appear geared to pursue."

"We challenge JDV to consummate his act of repentance, to expose all and side with the people," said de Guzman. ###

(photo courtesy of gmanews.tv)

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Saturday, February 02, 2008

police brutality at education summit protest

January 31, 2008

Police violently disperse student protest vs. Palace-led educ summit

(photo courtesy of EPA. more photos here. view news footages here and here.)

Six students were illegally arrested while 23 others were injured after police forces brutally dispersed today's protest against what they called the 'anti-student education summit.'

Joanna Rose Adenit and Emman Montado of the Philippine Normal University, Crimson Laglera of Anakbayan-Polytechnic University of the Philippines, Alvin Cerrano of the League of Filipino Students-PUP, Vic del Rosario from Caloocan and Arlo Cervantes of UP Diliman were among those arrested. A certain Ophie of Caloocan is still missing.

As of press time, they are said to have been brought to the Ospital ng Maynila. Meanwhile, their companions are holding an indignation rally in front of the Western Police District Main Headquartes to demand their immediate release.

Twenty-three students from UP, PUP, UE, Adamson, PNU and Lyceum also suffered injuries from the police's attacks.

Alliance of Concerned Teachers President Antonio Tinio acquired cuts and bruises on his arms while attempting to negotiate with WPD Chief Rosales.

Youth groups National Union of Students of the Philippines (NUSP), College Editors Guild of the Philippines (CEGP), ANAKBAYAN, League of Filipino Students and Kabataang Pinoy, along with teachers from ACT, staged a protest rally against the Malacanang-sponsored education summit which opened this morning at the Manila Hotel.

The students commenced with the protest just as Pres. Gloria Arroyo entered the hotel to deliver her keynote address.

The rallyists were immediately dispersed as they marched towards Manila Hotel without the benefit of negotiations.

From Roxas Avenue, they were chased towards Luneta Park, a Freedom Park, where they were able to hold a short program. They were about to end the program when police troops arrived at the scene and attacked them again.

The rallyists criticized the non-inclusion of student and teacher representatives in the summit. They also protested against the government's general thrust of commercialization and privatization of education resulting in yearly budget cuts and a deregulated tuition policy.

"All we wanted was to voice out our issues and demands as primary stakeholders in the education sector. It was not at all our intention to disrupt the summit. All we wanted was to air our grievances because the government appears to have deliberately ignored our interests. Hindi na nga kami pinakinggan sinaktan pa kami," said NUSP President Alvin Peters.

"We are determined to file legal charges against our police attackers," said Peters.

The youth groups, however, remained unperturbed as they vowed to stage a bigger protest tomorrow, the last day of the summit. Students from Southern Tagalog are expected to join the protest.

They also said that they are preparing to come up with a critique of the recommendations of the education summit over the weekend. ###

*the students were released yesterday after more than 24 hours of detention. we will be filing charges of assault and violation of BP 880 against the perpetrators and their police commanders by next week. will update.

we were also able to hold another protest the next day at the same venue. this time, the police negotiated with us and allowed us to hold a short program. seems the police acquired more bruises from the flak and condemnation they received due to the violent dispersal and illegal arrests.

below was Anakbayan's statement presenting the reasons for the student protest:

Education not for sale
Youth group slams 'anti-student education summit'
Palace-led conference to worsen rising cost of education

Anakbayan along with other youth and student groups held a rally in front of the Manila Hotel as the Malacanang-led education summit opens today.

The youth groups summarized in three points the reason for their protest:

• The non-inclusion of the student sector in the summit.
• The blatant prioritization of interests of private sector groups, especially capitalist-educators, in the agenda and selected topics of discussion.
• The composition of the so-called Presidential Task Force on Education.

"Firstly, it is most hypocritical and in fact anti-youth and anti-student to hold an education summit without taking into consideration that youth and students are the primary stakeholders in the education sector. This sole point proves how the Arroyo administration deliberately overlooks and neglects youth and students' demands and interests," said Anakbayan chairperson Eleanor de Guzman.

De Guzman added, "The Arroyo administration is also unapologetic and continues to promote without remorse the privatization and commercialization of education in favor of big businesses, at the expense of students."

De Guzman said that the basic and most pertinent dilemma of the sector at present is the rising cost of education brought about by privatization and commercialization schemes.

"It is common knowledge that education has become more and more inaccessible to our youth because of yearly budget cuts and the general scheme of tuition deregulation wherein capitalist-educators are given free reign to increase tuition and other miscellaneous fees without any sanctions from government education agencies."

Lastly, de Guzman questioned the composition of the Presidential Task Force on Education, namely, CHED Head Romulo Neri as acting chair, DepEd Chair Jesli Lapus, the TESDA Chair, the Presidential Assistant for Education and five representatives from the private sector appointed by the President.

"These are all people close to the president and in tune with the government's anti-student policies. CHED chair Neri, for one, aside from his qualifications for the CHED chairmanship being questioned, has failed to address tuition regulation issues, consequently allowing for the average 10 percent tuition increase in almost 100 schools for this academic year without consultation with students. Deped head Lapus, meanwhile, continues to champion the anomalous and controversial CyberEducation Project over the basic woes of classroom and textbook shortages."

"We do not have to wait for Pres. Arroyo's keynote address to conclude that this government's main thrust is to transform education as a commodity. It is geared not for nation-building or academic development but for the production of cheap labor through voc-tech courses and other outsourcing institutions that benefit not youth and students but big business and foreign interests. Thus the primary roles of the TESDA and the private sector in the summit."

"Education is not for sale. We declare the education summit a failure because it falls short of addressing the issues that have plagued the education sector for so long." ###

other related reports:










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Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Debunking Myths on the RP Oil Crisis

from Vencer Crisostomo's StudentStrike

As the government's "energy summit" starts today, it is becoming more obvious that the government does not really intend to stop the oil price hikes, but instead insists on pursuing foolish efforts pretending to do so. Worse, it wants to address the oil crisis by intensifying liberalization and deregulation schemes -- the same culprits which drove the oil prices to unreasonably high levels during the past decade.

The fact that the summit, with the theme "$100/per barrel, crisis or opportunity", was funded by Asian Development Bank (ADB), the World Bank (WB), the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and the United States Agency for International Aid -- the same institutions that pushed for deregulation -- tells a lot.

Nothing we can do?

The government's stubborn refusal to address the roots of the crisis banks on the public's misconceptions regarding the oil price hikes. Government representatives and "economic analysts" propagate the false notion that "there is nothing we can do" with regards to the rising oil prices, that it is "inevitable," and that the rise of oil prices is only "natural" as this is what the "world market" dictates.

This line of analysis ignores the studies made by research and consumer groups saying pump prices have been overpriced by as much as P4.50/liter from 2001-2007 and that oil companies engage in price manipulation schemes; the most obvious among which is the automatic price increases implemented as soon as world prices rise, regardless of reserves they have bought before the increase.

According to reports, oil companies get at least P200,000 PER HOUR in super profits from this pump overpricing scheme. This would amount to billions in profits annually at the expense of the consumers. The only "natural" thing about this robbery scheme is that it has been done to us almost on a daily basis for a more than a decade.

Myth: The increases in oil pump prices are justified and are reasonable because world market prices are increasing.

Fact: The oil companies have been overpricing their products and exploiting increases in the world market to rake super profits. We should investigate these and stop the oil companies from unjustly increasing prices.

Crude arguments

As to the argument that "spot market" prices dictate the prices of local petroleum products, this is another part of the quackery the government and oil cartel make up in order to jack up profits. First off, the oil companies do not buy their products from the "spot market," and definitely not in "spot market" price levels. They buy their crude products, in far cheaper prices, from their own mother companies and overprice their products via "transfer pricing" schemes. We must understand that these oil giants monopolize the production process from oil exploration to gas station distribution.

According to studies, only half of the crude prices per barrel amount to the real costs of production; the other half goes to the pockets of the oil giants. No wonder that in 2006, Exxon Mobil, the top among the oil giants, raked $25.3 billion in runaway profits -- the largest among all TNC's ever.

And as if the moral consequences of this plunder isn't enough to bring them all into the dark depths of hell, they even play their little games to artificially and continuously jack up world crude prices in their favor. There isn't really any reason for oil prices to increase as much, for according to the oil crude producers, the supply is stable and there are enough reserves to keep the world turning for another four decades. Speculation -- that game capitalists play to jack up prices, at the expense of the world's peoples -- and the big oil monopolies manipulation of oil supply, are the real evils that cause the skyrocketing world price increases.

Myth: Oil price hikes are inevitable because of the rising costs of crude in the "spot market."

Fact: The rising costs of crude in the world market are mainly speculative and prices are artificially jacked up. Big monopolies are benefiting big time with their evil racketeering schemes.

Crisis or opportunity?

Is there really nothing we could do? Of course not. Fact is that there are alternatives other than energy conservation, liberalizing by tariff reduction, "carpooling" and other idiotic "solutions" that our government wants us to accept.

We should stand up against the plunder being done by these oil giants and bring the prices down to reasonable levels. We should take steps towards nationalizing our oil industry in order to free our economy from its dependence to these profit greedy oil cartels. We must reverse the neoliberal policies which brought us to where we are now.

True, in crisis there is opportunity. But either this becomes an opportunity for us to reform and turn away from the problematic policies we have wrongly embraced, or this becomes an opportunity for the greedy monopolies to further exploit our nation's people and resources. Unfortunately, under this puppet regime, and with the myths its lapdogs continue to propagate, we can expect the latter.

For more information check out the LFS primer on the oil crisis here.

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Tuesday, January 22, 2008

How to "People Power"

from Vencer Crisostomo's Studentstrike

Many activists and Filipinos are reminiscing their EDSA 2 moments today and most are reminding themselves of how great those days were, how ecstatic, idealistic and determined the people were then, and how, after seven years of suffering under this puppet regime, we badly need that People Power spirit with us again -- one that's even greater than what we had before.

Not a few of the people I have been talking to, in urban poor communities, the working class, and even middle class folks, wish of seeing that glorious day when the rotten and corrupt Arroyo government gets forced to step down from office by hundreds of thousands of people marching in the streets, accompanied perhaps by churchmen and anti-Arroyo military commanders.

There is a reason the nation gets excited when events of large political significance, such as the Manila Peninsula take-over, occur: people are praying for that "moment," for that "spark," hoping the the event would be beginning of the end for the regime. Heck, maybe the stock market stability that day in Makati showed that even the businessmen were not that worried over what's going to happen with their money anymore. That people have really had enough already.

Mass movement not sparks and moments

Many are now starting to understand though that "moments" don't necessarily lead to People Power. Not especially under a government like Arroyo, which is extremely desperate and hell-bent in its efforts clinging to office. Looking back, we might have already had a lot of those "moments" under this regime: scandals, controversies, issues, mass resignation of cabinet officials, military dissent, strong church opposition. But the more decisive of the factors, massive street protests -- hundreds of thousands of people in collective will and action --- still has to be developed.

People Power 2 didn't happen overnight. It wasn't as if the nation just suddenly woke up on the other side of the bed and decided to go to the streets because they believe they are destined to do so. Before the refusal of the Senate to open the second envelope, tens of thousands of people have already participated in massive rallies, vigil protests and student walk-outs against an array of issues: all-out war, VFA, budget cuts in social services, price hikes, government corruption, etc. Various formations and organizations ranging from anti-Estrada to progressive to revolutionary, have emerged and have swelled their ranks, making them capable of leading multitudes in the streets.

"Think big"

How do we, the youth and students in particular, revive mass protests during these times? How do we create that muscle which "powers" people's uprisings, and thus prove ourselves deserving of being referred to as "cutting-edge" and "spearhead" of social movements? How do we create People Power in our schools and communities?

First, we must look back at what happened at EDSA and believe that we can lead historically significant and radical activities. Student leaders and activists at present must learn how to "think big" and plan activities way beyond the pocket rallies and media actions we do several times a month. Successful strikes, nationwide walk-outs, peace camps, gigantic street protests, however complicated they are, all begin with simple ingredients. Among them: a little imagination and a strong determination to win.

In order for the student leaders to capture the imagination of the student population, they must come up with definite programs of action, must comprehend the requirements for the fulfillment of which, while being able to implement particular tasks and attain short term objectives. They must desist from implementing rigid and short-sighted plans, in false hope that constantly repeating the same "standard" tasks, will someday lead to something fruitful. Young activists in schools today must share radical visions and plans of action, and must work hard collectively to reach such. We cannot just wait for uprisings to suddenly happen, instead, we must painstakingly strive to fulfill the requirements of building strong mass-based organizations, highly politicized studentry, broad alliances, and others.

Broad Actions

Students must be mobilized in their tens of thousands in different activities in-campus and off-campus. Mass organizations and progressive alliances must thus realize the need for creative, broad, activities, that will engage not only the relatively advanced sections of the studentry but the population as a whole. While maintaining that the militant actions are the more decisive, they must also utilize broad forms of protest.

In danger of being branded TH (trying hard), the relatively advanced student organizations must also be careful not to artificially conduct "broad" and "creative" forms of protest (which might look broad in character but does not really engage the broad population), but instead develop the initiative of traditional groups and sectors.

Sinong papalit?

Contrary to government and reactionary propaganda, I don't believe that most young people are "tired" of people power and are disillusioned. Most young people who ask "sinong papalit?", ask the question not in a cynical manner. Rather, they are seriously asking for genuine, long-term solutions to our country's crisis -- solutions that progressives must readily articulate and propagate. People are not tired of People Power, rather, they are starting to see the limitations of regime change and are trying to understand the long-term solutions to the problems of our country.

Activists should thus engage more young people in discussions regarding Philippine society in general and the need for revolutionary change. Discussions about the semi-colonial and semi-feudal nature of our society and its basic problems and how to change it, must flourish in the campuses. The people are asking, and this fact requires us to be, more than ever, ready to respond. Analysis and discussions of current issues are well and good, but activists must not stop there, they must be able to deepen theirs and the masses' knowledge of the roots of these issues and basic problems of society.

A step in the right direction

While we stress that what's most important now is our systematic and conscious organizing, propaganda and mass work, activists must also be ready for twists and turns, sudden "moments," historically significant events and turn them to our favor. We must also learn how to adjust when we fail to reach particular objectives. Mass actions might not always be successful in terms of attaining its tactical, immediate target, but if led consciously, will, for sure, always bring fruit for the strengthening of the long-term struggle for change and will always be a step in the right direction.

We can and we must, for our country's sake, work together to develop another People Power uprising. One that's more conscious and organized. One that's ready to defeat the regime's fascism. One that will push the people's movement as well as the entire country forward, and will be a significant stride in the struggle for truly meaningful change.#

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Friday, December 07, 2007

tribute to sir nick

Prof. Monico Atienza's wake lies at the UCCP (United Council of Churches of the Philippines) chapel along EDSA. he will be cremated tomorrow, december 8, 10am.

Arkibong Bayan mounted a loving tribute to sir nic here and here. bulatlat provides us a glimpse into sir nic's colorful and meaningful life.

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Friday, November 30, 2007

STP (Siyam na Taong Pakikibaka) ng Anakbayan!

Mabuhay ang Siyam na Taong Pakikibaka ng Anakbayan!
Sulong tungo sa isang dekada ng militanteng paglaban,
hay na pag-aaral at puspusang pag-oorganisa!

Pahayag ng Anakabayan sa
kanyang Ika-9 na
Pambansang Komiteng Tagapagpaganap
Nobyembre 30, 2007

Ipinagdiriwang ng Anakbayan ang ika-9 na anibersaryo nito sa diwa ng rebolusyonaryong tradisyon ng Kabataang Makabayan na itinatag noong 1964, at ng kadakilaan ni Gat Andres Bonifacio. Isa itong pagdiriwang kasama ang mamamayang Pilipinong patuloy na nakikibaka laban sa imperyalismo, pyudalismo’t burukrata kaptalismo sa tunguhing makamit ang pambansang paglaya’t demokrasya.

Hindi magiging maningning at matagumpay ang Siyam na Taong Pakikibaka ng Anakbayan kung wala ang militanteng paglaban, masikhay na pag-aaral at puspusang pag-oorganisa ng mga kasapi at balangay nito. Ngayong ika-9 na taong ng Anakbayan, mainit ang ating pagkilala at pagpupugay sa lahat ng mga magigiting na Anakbayan na walang-sawang nag-ambag ng kanilang lakas at talino alang-alang sa sambayanan.

Pinakamalugod na pagbati ang nais ipaabot ng Pambansang Komiteng Tagapagpaganap ng Anakbayan sa patuloy na lumalawak na mga balangay nito sa ibayong-dagat. Gayundin, pinakamataas na pagkilala sa mga Anakbayan na taus-pusong sumanib sa kilusan ng masang manggagawa at magsasaka; habang sadyang di matatawaran ang lumalakas, lumalawak at lumalabang pwersa ng Anakbayan sa mga komunidad at paaralan. Ang kasalukuyang malaking bilang ng mga kasapi ng balangay ng Anakbayan ang siyang buhay na testimonya ng Siyam na Taong Pakikibaka nito.

Higit sa lahat, pinakamataas na pagtatangi at pagpupugay ang iginagawad ng Anakbayan sa lahat ng mga dakilang martir nito na nag-alay na kanilang buhay para sa sambayanan. Sila ang nagsisilbing inspirasyon at huwaran ng mga bagong dugo ng Anakbayan sa kasalukuyang panahon at sa hinaharap.

Siyam na Taong Pakikibaka

Ang siyam na taong pakikibaka, tulad ng anupamang pakikibaka, di man dalisay ay kakikitaan ng malalaking mga tagumpay.

Kinatatangian ito ng mayamang karanasan sa pagpupukaw, pag-oorganisa at militanteng pagkilos ng kabataan. Hindi kailanman ito lumayo o lumihis sa pangkalahatang komprehensibong oryentasyon ng Anakbayan. Kung saan may kabataan, may Anakbayan – sa hanay man ng mga estudyanteng nasa loob ng mga paaralan, mga kabataang di nakakapag-aral, mga kabataang kalahok sa produksyon sa mga pagawaan man o kabukiran, mga kabataang migrante, at mga kabataan sa iba pang mga aping sektor ng lipunan.

Hindi naging madali ang pagsisimula ng pagtatag ng Anakbayan. Ipinanganak ito sa panahon ng papatinding krisis ng malakolonyal at malapyudal na lipunang Pilipino, at agad na sumabak na hamon ng panahon. Oktubre 1999, ilang buwan bago ang unang anibersaryo ng Anakbayan, buong-loob na pinagpasyahan ng Pambansang Komite sa Pag-oorganisa ng Anakbayan sa unang pulong nito ang panawagang patlasikin si dating pangulong Joseph Estrada sa pwesto.

Ang kapasyahang ito sa pambansang saklaw ng Anakbayan ang nagluwal sa sunud-sunod na pagkilos ng libu-libong kasapi, masaklaw at masigasig na pagpukaw at pag-organisa upang matagumpay ng mapalaganap ang paglaban sa pahirap at korap na rehimeng Estrada at tuluyan na siyang mapatalsik sa pwesto.

Ibinunsod din ng malawakang pangangampanya ang alon-along paglawak ng Anakbayan sa una nitong mga taon. Mula nang inilunsad ang Pambansang Kumperensya ng Pagtatag noong Nobyembre 30, 1998, itinayo na ang Anakbayan sa iba’t ibang rehiyon, sa batayang antas, antas siyudad, probinsya’t rehiyon. Mabilis ang naging paglawak kapwa sa mga paaralan, mga komunidad sa siyudad, at pamayanan sa nayon.

Ang mga taong 2000-2001 ay kinatampukan din ng masiglang mga paglaban para sa TLEKS (trabaho, lupa, edukasyon, karapatan at serbisyo). Laganap sa mga paaralan at komunidad ang kampanya at pakikibakang-masa laban sa pagtataas ng matrikula at pagkaltas ng budyet sa edukasyon, sa “all-out war” ng rehimeng Estrada sa Mindanao, sa pagtaas ng presyo ng langis, sa matinding katiwalian sa gobyerno.

Matapos ang matagumpay na pagpapatalsik kay Estrada, inilunsad agad ng Anakbayan ang kilusang walk-out sa klase laban sa ROTC (Reserved Officers’ Training Corps) upang ipanawagan ang pagbubuwag nito. Umalingawngaw sa buong bansa ang panawagang “ABOLISH ROTC!” at "Dagdag Bayarin, ROTC Buwagin!" kaugnay pa rin ng matataas na singilin sa mga paaralan. Dumulo ito di naglaon sa tuluyan nang pagkabuwag ng ROTC at hinirang bilang isang maningning na tagumpay ng kilusang kabataan at estudyante.

Sa mga taong 2002-2003, nagsimulang umusbong bilang malakas na larangan ng labanan ng Anakbayan ang mga komunidad. Tinanganan nito ang pakikipaglaban para sa pagtaas ng sahod ng manggagawa, paglaban sa sunod-sunod na pagtaas ng presyo ng langis, mataas na singil sa kuryente, at mga demolisyon sa maralitang komunidad.

Naganap ang mga ito sa gitna ng umiigting ding pakikibaka ng kabataan laban sa mga gerang agresyon at panghihimasok ng imperyalistang Estados Unidos sa pambansang soberanya at patrimonya. Nakapamuno ang Anakbayan upang labanan ang gerang agresyon ng Estados Unidos sa Iraq at Afghanistan at ang panghihimasok nito sa Pilipinas sa pamamagitan ng pagpapatupad ng Visiting Forces Agreement at panunumbalik ng mga base military sa bansa.

Ang lahat ng ito ay hindi maisasagawa kung hindi matamang nag-aaral at nagsusuri ang mga kasapi ng Anakbayan sa pambansang kalagayan, at masusing naikakawing ito sa lokal at pandaigdigang mga pakikibaka. Sa pamamagitan ng masikhay na pagtaas ng pampulitikang kamulatan ng kanyang mga kasapi, siya ring umaani ang Anakbayan ng mga kadre-aktibista at lider-kabataan na namumuno sa sinasabak nitong mga kampanya at pakikibakang-masa.

Nabubulok na estado sa ilalim ni Arroyo

Taong 2004-2005, inilunsad ng Anakbayan ang mga militanteng pagkilos para sa pagpapasigla ng kilusang pagpapatalsik sa kinamumuhian nang rehimeng Arroyo – mula sa paglantad at pagkondena sa kontrobersiyang Hello Garci; paglaban sa pangungurakot ng mag-asawang Arroyo; pakikipaglaban sa kapakanan ng mga manggagawang-bukid ng Hacienda Luisita; at, paglaban sa pampulitikang pamamaslang at panunupil.

Sa nakaraang dalawang taon, abot-abot na ang pagkamuhi ng kabataan at mamamayan sa salimbayang pagpapahirap at pang-aapi ng rehimeng Arroyo. Nilabanan ng Anakbayan ang panibagong pasakit sa mamamayan na R-VAT (Reformed Value Added Tax); ang pakanang charter change ni Arroyo, militarisasyon sa mga kampus at lunsod. Inilunsad ang mga pagkilos at boykoteo sa mga paaralan laban sa pagtaas ng matrikula at panunupil sa mga demokratikong karapatan sa loob ng kampus.

Walang kapantay na ang desperasyong ipinapamalas ni Arroyo sa kasalukuyan. Ang samu’t sari niyang maniobra, pandarahas, panlilinlang at pagnanakaw sa kaban ng bayan ay lalo lamang nagpapainit sa nag-aalimpuyo nang galit ng mamamayan. Ang bawat hakbang na ito, sa halip na isalba ang kanyang imahe, ay pawang nagsisilbi upang ibayong ihiwalay si Arroyo sa mamamayan.

Ang matinding yanig ng pampulitikang krisis ng rehimen ay may kaakibat na papatinding krisis sa ekonomiya. Upang mapanatili ng pangkating Arroyo ang suporta ng imperyalistang US, bigay-todo ito sa pagbibigay pabor sa mga neo-liberal na patakaran ng imperyalismo at sa dikta’t interes ng mga dambuhalang negosyong dayuhan. Pinasisinungalingan ng matinding kagutuman, kahirapan at kawalang-kabuhayan ang mga ipinagmamalaking paglago sa ekonomiya ng Malakanyang.

Nananatili ang malawakang pambubusabos sa kabataan sa mamamayan. Kinatatangian ito ng patuloy na pagkait sa mga kabataan sa karapatan sa edukasyon bunsod ng pangkalahatang programa ng pamahalaan sa komersyalisasyon. Libu-libong pamilya ang biktima ng demolisyon ng kanilang mga tirahan at kabuhayan. Walang-habas ang pagtaas ng presyo ng langis at iba pang mga batayang bilihin at produkto.

Sa halip na paunlarin ang mga industriya ng bansa, isinasapribado ng gobyerno ang mga natitira pang kontralado’t pagmamay-aring korporasyon at pampublikong serbisyo. Gayundin, taliwas sa pagpapatupad ng isang tunay na reporma sa lupa upang maging tuntungan ng pambansang industriyalisasyon, lalong kinokonsentra ng gobyerno ang mga agrikultural na lupain sa kamay ng mga dayuhang agro-korporasyon at mga lokal na panginoong maylupa.

Tuloy-tuloy nang nalalantad ang kabulukan ng rehimeng Arroyo at lalong bumibilis ang pagkakahiwalay ni Arroyo sa malawak na mamamayan. Dahil sa kagahaman nito sa kapangyarihang pampulitika, lalong nabibitak ang hanay ng naghaharing uri at patuloy na dumadusdos ang ekonomiya. Sumisidhi ang krisis ng malakolonyal at malapyudal na lipunan.

Tungo sa Unang Dekada

Napakainam ng kasalukuyang kalagayan para sa pagmumulat, pag-oorganisa’t pagpapakilos sa mamamayan. Muli na namang hinahamon ang Anakbayan ng kanyang panahon upang paghusayin ang kanyang mga tungkulin.

Kinakailangan ang mabilis nating pagkilos, pagtungo kung nasaan ang masa, mas masinsin nating pagmumulat at pag-oorganisa, at ang malakihang pagpapakilos sa kanila. Dapat magpakahusay tayo sa pag-uugnay sa pambubusabos na nararanasan ng mamamayan, sa mga patakaran ng papet na gobyerno, at sa pangkalahatang krisis ng ating lipunan. Dapat mapanday natin ang mga pinakamahuhusay na lider at aktibista.

Kinakailangan ang mas masiglang kampanya sa pagpapanagot sa mga kasalanan ni Gloria sa bayan –ang pandarambong niya sa kayamanan ng bayan, matinding katiwalian, at maging ang kanyang pandarahas sa mamamayang lumalaban. Kahit sa harap ng pasismo, mananatili tayong matatag at palaban, sa ating pagpupunyagi sa ating pakikibaka.

Ang ating pakikibaka ay magiging malakas lamang kung ito ay nakasanib sa pakikibaka ng batayang masa, ng malawak na mamamayang api; at kasama nila isulong natin ang ating pambansa demokratikong pakikibaka sa mas mataas na antas.

Tanawin nating ang ating unang dekada ng bitbit ang diwang palaban at may direksyon tungo sa ibayong pagsulong ng ating organisasyon. Isulong at ipagpatuloy ang militanteng paglaban, masikhay na pag-aaral at puspusang pag-oorganisa. Itunton ang lakas at talino para sa pagpapatalsik sa kasalukuyang rehimen at pagbabago sa mismong sistemang panlipunang kinakatawan nito. Ubos-kayang ipamalas ang patuloy na lumalakas, lumalawak at lumalabang kabataan para sa pagsusulong ng pambansa demokratikong mga layunin ng sambayanan.

Maaliwalas ang kinabukasan ng Anakbayan at nagkakaisang kabataan. Sulong Anakbayan!

Tungo sa mas malalaki pang tagumpay kasama ang mamamayang Pilipino! Mabuhay ang kabataan, at mamamayang lumalaban!

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Thursday, November 29, 2007

notes on the Makati stand-off

Senator Antonio Trillanes and Brig. Gen. Danilo Lim walked out of the Makati Regional Trial Court this morning and led a herd of Magdalo soldiers and their armed guards in a march towards the Manila Peninsula Hotel.

Trillanes and Lim called on the public to support the overthrow of the Arroyo government. below was their statement issued to the media:
“Today, we address all decent Filipinos to announce that now is the time to end the sufferings and miseries inflicted upon us by the illegitimate Gloria Macapagal Arroyo government and start a new life, a new Philippines. The die is cast pursuant to our constitutional mandate as protector of the people and state.

And by these acts the officers and men of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police supported by the masses of our people and the various political forces give substance to the constitutional provisions which says the Philippines is a democratic and republican state.

Sovereign peace resides in the people and all government authority emanate from them. That we take the faithful steps of removing Mrs Arroyo from the presidency and undertake the formation of a new government.

Mrs Arroyo had occupied the presidency under a questionable mandate publicly disputed by a vast majority of Filipinos. She stole the presidency from President Estrada through unconstitutional and deceitful means and later manipulated the results of the 2004 elections to perpetuate herself in power.

some of Trillanes' supporters as well as some civil society groups trooped to Makati while this Inquirer article reports how websites responded to Trillanes and Lim's call.

Bayan (Bagong Alyansang Makabayan), on the other hand, synthesizes the national democratic movement's position on the stand-off.

i personally sympathize with Trillanes and view his groups' demands as legit. but i have no confidence whatsoever in any puschist means of instilling change in government (or Arroyo's ouster for this matter) but only via a powerful mass movement (People Power). some of the issues brought forth by Trillanes and Lim were the unresolved cases of electoral fraud (Hello Garci 1&2), corruption scandals, extra-judicial killings, economic plunder and human rights violations.

the stand-off lasted for 7 hours until military troops forcibly entered the Manila Penn by ramming an APC tank into the hotel's entrance, and only after an exchange of gunshots.

Trillanes and Lim surrendered. arrested with them were former Vice President Teofisto Guingona, former UP President Francisco nemenzo, Bishop Labayen, Father Robert Reyes, the other Magdalos and their supporters and some 50 journalists and members of the media.

a late press conference in Malacanang had DILG chief Puno announcing that the media people could be charged with 'obstruction of justice.' i was saddened to learn that former Philippine Collegian correspondents DJ Yap was among those 'arrested'. and for what? no other reason but the Arroyo administration's overkill tactics. geesh, they were only doing their jobs! some media crew were even dragged out of the hotel in handcuffs! Sen. Chiz Escudero, in a radio interview, said that the troops have the media to thank for if not for their presence there would have been bloodshed. (update: as of press time, 11 abs-cbn personnel freed)

tonyocruz here and here offers a first-hand account of the events in Makati today while he was covering the stand-off for Malaya.

another overkill: Arroyo will enact a curfew starting at 12 midnight tonight to 5:00am tomorrow. Police Chief Avelino Razon admits that the imposed curfew is meant for operations to arrest 'threat groups' -- a very similar scenario 35 years ago, before the declaration of Marcos' Martial Law.

today's events, if anything, just made the public more vigilant against repressive measures that the government may implement. tomorrow's rally spearheaded by Bayan will go on as planned. it will be peaceful (at least, from our end), and a legitimate exercise of the public's democratic demands.

view photos of the Makati stand-off at Arkibong Bayan.

gusto ko lang sabihin na naaawa ako kay VP TG. ginagawa siyang laughingstock ng Malakanyang when his greatness is more than any of them will ever achieve.

tomorrow, november 30, is Anakbayan's 9th anniversary. mabuhay! ###

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Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Karen and Sherlyn fight on

below is a rough transalation of the article written by my friend krguda for the latest issue of pinoy weekly. (click here for the original article written in Filipino.)

Karen and Sherlyn fight on

Despite her present predicament, Sherlyn Cadapan remains strong. She displayed this characteristic even at a young age, up to when she became an athlete. Her undefeatable stance in spite of her struggle in the hands of the military, as in all other tournaments she has participated in, may be likened to her attitude in a game of will and determination.

One day in April of this year, Sherlyn planned to escape. She devised a strategy to let others know of her and her friend Karen Empeno’s whereabouts.

The game plan: make their military guards believe that she has given in. That she has decided to capitulate to their demands. That she is willing to admit whatever it is they want her to admit. She planned to make them believe that she would accompany them to the house of her lover in Calumpit, Bulacan to tell them where firearms and other weapons are supposedly being hidden.

On April 11, together with a band of female soldiers, Sherlyn went to her lover’s house. In her pocket was a slip of paper revealing that she and Karen were being detained in Camp Tecson, San Miguel, Bulacan.

Her lover’s parents were happy to see her and welcomed her with warm hugs. But before she had a chance to give them her slip of paper, her secret was found out by one of her guards. She was immediately whisked back to their vehicle. She was gravely punished for her ‘betrayal’.

Raymond’s story

The account above is from Raymond Manalo’s sworn statement. Raymond is one of the Manalo brothers who were abducted by the military on February 2006. They managed to escape their captors on August 13, 2007.

This is part of Raymond’s second sworn statement. The first was signed and submitted to the Supreme Court for his appeal requesting for protection. The second, however, was not signed and submitted only to Karapatan, a human rights alliance.

During the last hearing for the filing of the writ of amparo for the Empeno-Cadapan case, the Court of Appeals ordered Raymond to testify and reveal all he knew.

Because the second statement was not signed, the courts immediately dismissed it for lack of legal basis. But for Karapatan, it confirmed information they received from various sources: Karen and Sherlyn are indeed alive and in military custody ten months after they were forcibly and illegally abducted last June 26, 2006 in Hagonoy, Bulacan.

Raymond further accounted that he had a deep talk with Sherlyn. “I didn’t know her at first, I thought she was one of the military’s mistresses…It was only after two or three days later that we were able to exchange stories,” he said.

He said that the first time he saw Sherlyn she was “very thin and gaunt-faced, her eyes were deep”. Her hands and feet were bound in chains. While Karen was mostly silent, Sherlyn was always ready to converse.

In some instances, he said the two “did the military’s laundry and gave them massages.”


The military were very angry when they found out about Sherlyn’s plan. According to Raymond, Sherlyn was tortured when they returned to the camp. So was Karen. “They delivered heavy punches to the whole of Sherlyn and Karen’s bodies, their mouths bled, they were hanged upside down with only one foot tied while naked…Then the military poured water in their nostrils.”

Reynaldo Raymond’s brother, was ordered to throw away the two’s urines “splattered with blood.” “While I was made to wash their bloodied clothes and underwear,” Raymond said. It was not included in Raymond’s second sworn statement but he said that Sherlyn told him that their captors also raped them.

The Manalo brothers said that they spent quite a long period of time with Karen, Sherlyn and Manuel Merino (the farmer abducted with the two) in the same camp. On May 2007, they were brought to a safehouse in Iba, Zambales. Raymond said that he knew the place because he saw the arc of the town. On the first week of June, they were then returned to the camp of the 24th Infantry Battalion in Bataan. “On the 8th or 9th of June, the three of us (Reynaldo, Mang Manuel and I) were brought to the forests beside the camp,” Raymond said. He said that that was the last time he saw Karen and Sherlyn.

Writ of Amparo

In the writ of amparo petition filed, Karen and Sherlyn’s parents requested an inspection of the camps and safe houses mentioned in Raymond’s testimony.

It was very difficult for Linda Cadapan, Sherlyn’s mother, and Connie Empeno, Karen’s mother, to hear Raymond’s story. But they said they were “expecting it.” Linda rages at the ‘kind of monsters’ their daughters’ military captors and torturers are.

The Armed Forces of the Philippines, on the other hand, refused to answer Raymond’s statements. But in their reply to the petition filed by Connie and Linda, they said that they would not allow for the investigation of the camps and safe houses because it would be “dangerous”. According to Atty. Amparo Teng of the Office of the Solicitor General representing the AFP in court, to approve it would only seem like a “fishing expedition”.

The courts, for its part, agreed to hear the testimonies of Karapatan witnesses, including Raymond’s and the parents of Sherlyn’s lover who refused to be identified in the media.

Connie says “she just wants to see her daughter, dead or alive.” For Linda, “While there is no evidence, I do not consider Sherlyn dead.”

For now, they are both hoping that legal processes will aid in their continuous search for their daughters. But, notwithstanding legalities, these developments have made their judgments more clear: on one hand the government’s brazenness and on the other hand the greatness and heroism of their daughters.

Not a day passes that she does not think of her daughter, said Connie. She said that she only has deep admiration for her daughter’s commitment to help famers in Bulacan. She thought, “My daughter is a great, great person.”

“Even as a young girl, Sherlyn has always been strong. She always braved the waters by herself,” recounted Linda. It was when Sherlyn joined the varsity team, Linda said, that Sherlyn was honed to become a firmer and stronger person.

And now, in the merciless hands of the military, she continues to fight on, together with her friend Karen. ###

more the version of the Writ of Amparo later.
read also my related post on karen and sherlyn.

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Monday, November 12, 2007

Hinggil sa Pagtaas ng Presyo ng Langis

Isang gabay sa pagtalakay
Inilabas ng Anakbayan, Nobyembre 2007

Ang gabay na ito ay dagdag sa mga nauna nang inilabas ng iba’t-ibang progresibong organisasyon at institusyon. May diin ito sa pagtalakay ng katangian ng pandaigdigang monopolyo sa langis at ang papel ng rehimeng US-Arroyo sa pagtatanggol sa interes ng mga ito. Inaasahang magagamit ito sa mga talakayan sa paaralan, komunidad at pabrika para maitaas ang pag-unawa ng mamamayan hinggil sa isyu at makalahok sila sa mga kilos-protesta.

Mga sanggunian:
a. Institute for Political Economy, Imperyalistang Krisis at Pagtaas ng Presyo ng Langis, Agosto 2005
b. Institute for Nationalist Studies, Deregulasyon at Kartel ng Langis, Pahirap sa Mamamayan, Pagsasabansa ang Kailangan, Setyembre 2004.
c. IBON Foundation, “Ugat ng Pagtaas ng Presyo ng Langis” IBON Facts and Figures Filipino, Hunyo 20

Nitong nakaraang mga linggo, sumambulat sa gitna ng maigting na krisis sa pulitika ng bansa ang nakababahalang pagtaas ng presyo ng langis sa pandaigdigang pamilihan. Umaabot na sa mahigit-kumulang $100 kada bariles ang presyo nitong Nobyembre, mula $40 kada bariles noong Hulyo 2004.

Napakabilis ng pagtaas ng presyo ng krudo sa pandaigdigang pamilihan. Tiyak ang epekto nito sa lokal na pamilihan at industriya ng langis sa bansa. Sa katunayan, apat na beses nang nagtaas ng tinatayang P1/liter per round ang gasolina at krudo at P0.50/liter naman para sa diesel; habang halos mahigit P13 average na ang itinaas ng bawat tangke ng LPG nitong nakaraang mga linggo. Tinatayang P4 sa average ang itataas pa ng presyo ng langis bawat litro hanggang Disyembre.

Dagdag na pasanin ng mamamayan ang tuluy-tuloy at sunud-sunod na oil price hike (OPH) sa harap ng patuloy na pagsadsad ng kabuhayan at matinding kagutuman sa bansa. Sa kabila ng mga deklarasyon ng pag-unlad sa ekonomiya ng Malakanyang, nananatiling hindi nakararamdam ng pag-asenso at pag-alwan ng kabuhayan ang nakararaming mamamayan.

Ano ang sanhi ng pagtaas ng presyo ng langis sa pandaigdigang pamilihan?

Patuloy ang ispekulasyon sa merkado, o pagmanipula ng presyo, kaya tumataas ang presyo ng langis sa buong mundo. Tinatayang umaabot sa $15 kada bariles ang nadadagdag dahil lamang sa ispekulasyon. Ngunit nangyayari ito dahil nakapagdidikta ng presyo ang mga monopolyo kapitalista sa langis – ang mga dambuhalang kompanya o mga transnational corporations (TNCs)-- sa pangunguna ng Exxon Mobil (US), British Petroleum (UK), Royal Dutch Shell (UK-Netherlands), Chevron Texaco (US) at Total (France). Pawang mula sila sa US at Europa at kumikilos bilang isang kartel. Ibig sabihin, monopolisado nila ang produksyon ng langis sa buong mundo, kasama na ang refinery at marketing – mula sa oil fields, tankers, barges, depot, refinery, retailers, tank trucks, pati advertising companies. Kaya naman kaya nilang imanipula ang suplay ng langis at hilahin pataas ang presyo nito. Noong 2006, ang Exxon Mobil ay tumubo ng $25.3 bilyon-- ang pinakamalaking tubo na naitala sa kasaysayan ng lahat ng TNCs sa buong mundo!

Nakakontrata din sa mga TNCs na ito ang proseso ng pagrerepina at pagbebenta maging ang mga bansang kasapi ng Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), na pinagmumulan ng 55 porsyento ng ikinakalakal na krudo sa daigdig. Kaya kayang kontrolin ng mga TNCs ang suplay ng langis sa pandaigdigang pamilihan para tumaas ang presyo nito at makapagkamal sila ng ibayong tubo.

Ano ang sinasabing dahilan ng mga Oil Companies sa pagtaas ng presyo?

Sinasabi ng oil companies na sobrang kapos ang produksyon ng langis sa mundo kaya tumataas ang presyo nito. Anila, may gyera sa Middle East, laluna sa Iraq, kaya apektado ang produksyon at suplay ng krudo. Taglamig na at tataas pa ang pangangailan sa langis. Kinakain ng China at India ang malaking bulto ng langis dahil sa industrialisasyon ng mga bansang ito. Nasisira ang mga oil fields dahil sa gyera at kalamidad. Sagad na rin ang mga refineries at maliliit ang kapasidad ng mga nabubuksang bago.

Pero ang nagsusuplay ng pinakamalaking langis (55%) sa mundo – ang OPEC (o Organization of Exporting Countries)-- ay nagsasabing hindi ito totoo. May sapat na produksyon at suplay kaya hindi maaaring magkulang ang langis. Ayon mismo sa Oil Market Report na inilabas ng IEA (International Energy Agency) noong nakaraang taon, nasa 81.9 milyong bariles kada araw (mbd) ang pandaigdigang pangangailangan habang umakyat sa 84.6 mbd ang produksyon o suplay sa langis noong ikalawang kwarto ng taong 2006. Gayundin, tinatayang nasa 1.3 trilyong bariles ang reserbang langis sa mundo, na sasapat upang matugunan ang pangangailangan sa loob ng 42 taon batay sa kasalukuyang antas ng konsumo.

Ano ang kinalaman ng gera sa Iraq?

Tinatayang 56 porsyento ng reserbang langis ay nasa Persian Gulf na binubuo ng Bahrain, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia at UAE. Kaya di nakapagtataka ang gerang agresyon ng US sa Middle East dahil nais nitong makontrol ang reserbang langis. Matapos lusubin ang Iraq noong Marso 2003, pinupuntirya naman ngayon ng US ang Iran. Nais ng gobyerno ni Bush na maging tuta ng US ang mga iuupong administrasyon sa mga bansang nilulusob nito. Nagsasaya ang mga ispekulador sa tensyon sa Middle East at itinutulak ang pagtaas ng presyo ng langis sa katwirang maaantala daw ang suplay ng langis mula sa Persian Gulf.

Subalit sa isang pag-aaral ng IBON, may mga panahong tumitindi ang tensyon sa Middle East ngunit hindi rin naman tumataas, bagkus bumababa pa ang presyo ng langis. Sa pag-aaral na isinagawa ng Ibon Foundation, halimbawa, mula 1996 hanggang kasalukuyan, wala mang mayor na gerang naganap sa Gitnang Silangan, patuloy pa ring tumaas ang presyo ng langis kada taon. Kaya walang direktang kaugnayan ang sigalot sa Middle East sa baba-taas ng presyo, liban na lamang kung sinasadya o ginagawang dahilan ito.

Paano naaapektuhan ang presyo ng langis sa Pilipinas?

Una, kontrolado ng mga dambuhalang kompanya ang industriya ng langis hanggang sa Pilipinas. At ikalawa, may sabwatan sa pagitan nila at ng gobyerno ng Pilipinas sa pagsasamantala sa mamamayan.

Ang industriya ng langis sa Pilipinas ay kontrolado ng kartel ng langis sa bansa na bahagi ng pandaigdigang monopolyo sa langis. Ang Pilipinas Shell ay yunit ng Royal Dutch Shell, ang Caltex Philippines ay pag-aari ng Chevron Texaco habang ang Petron Corporation ay 40 porsyentong pag-aari ng Saudi Aramco kung saan may malaking impluwensya ang Exxon Mobil.

Lubhang nakaasa ang Pilipinas sa pag-import ng langis mula sa mga dayuhang monopolyo. At dahil may monopolyo sa langis, madaling gawin ang transfer pricing/overpricing. Ibig sabihin, habang dumaraan sa iba’t-ibang yugto ng produksyon at distribusyon ang mga produktong petrolyo, pinapatungan na ito ng limpak-limpak na halaga ng mga Parent Companies sa ibang bansa hanggang sa makarating ito sa mga affiliates at gasolinahan sa Pilipinas. Nangyayari na mas mataas pa tuloy ang presyo ng langis sa Pilipinas bawat litro kumpara sa US o Europa.

Samantala kalakaran din ang overpricing. Hindi bababa sa tatlong buwan ang iniimbak na langis, na binili sa mas mababang presyo. Mula 2000 hanggang 2004, overpriced na ng P4.62 kada litro ang ibinebentang produktong petrolyo sa lokal na pamilihan, idagdag pa ang overpricing nila sa sumunod pang mga taon.

Limpak-limpak na tubo rin ang naiuuwi sa Parent Companies hindi lamang sa pagbibenta ng langis. Maging ang mga royalties, management at service fees ay ibinabalik sa kanila ng mga affiliates.

Ano ang kinalaman ng gobyerno sa pagtaas ng presyo ng langis?

Gumagawa ang gobyerno ng mga batas tulad ng Oil Deregulation Law (ODL) para malayang makapagtaas ng presyo ng langis ang mga oil companies Labas pa rito, sa bawat pagtaas ng presyo ng langis ay humahamig din ng kita ang gobyerno sa anyo ng buwis

Binibigyan ng ODL ang mga lokal na kumpanya ng langis ng awtomatikong karapatang magtaas ng presyo. Ginawa ng gobyernong inutil ang sarili nito para pigilan o kontrolin ang pagtaas ng presyo ng langis. Tinanggal ng ODL ang limitasyon sa tubo ng mga kumpanya ng langis, inalis sa Energy Regulatory Board ang pag-apruba ng presyo at mga public hearings bago itaas ang presyo, at pinawi ang subsidyo ng pamahalaan sa LPG, kerosene, at diesel. Taliwas sa sinasabi ng gobyerno, lalo pang tumindi ang dominasyon ng Big Three (Caltex, Shell, Petron) sa pamamagitan ng deregulasyon. Sa loob lamang ng 10 taon, umabot na ng 62 rounds ang pagtaas ng presyo ng langis kumpara sa 23 rounds sa loob ng 25 taon bago maipatupad ang deregulasyon.

Sa kabilang banda, 10% Reformed Value Added Tax (R-VAT) ang itinatakdang buwis sa mga produktong petrolyo. Kung P30 ang bawat litro ng gasolina, nagiging P33 ito dahil pinapatungan ng P3 para sa buwis. Tinatayang P95-P105 bilyon sa isang taon ang buwis na nakukuha ng gobyerno. Kaya tuwing tumataas ang presyo, lumalaki rin ang kita ng gobyerno. Ngunit halos 80% nito ay pambayad-utang lamang, at nauuwi din sa mga dambuhalang bangko.

Gaano katindi ang epekto ng OPH sa mamamayan?

Istratehiko ang papel ng langis sa pagpapatakbo ng ekonomya. Kapag tumataas ang presyo nito, tumataas din ang halaga ng produksyon kaya napipilitang magsara ang maliliit na empresa at lumolobo ang bilang ng mga manggagawang nawawalan ng trabaho. Tumataas din ang mga pangunahing bilihin at serbisyo at lumalaki ang gastusin sa pamumuhay.

Tumaas na sa 8.5 porsyento ang inflation rate ng bansa, wala pa man ang pagsirit ng presyo ng langis. Ngayong Nobyembre, nadagdagan ang pamasahe ng P0.50 mula sa huling P2 pagtaas nito dalawang taon na ang nakalipas. Sa bigas, mula P24.49, tumungong P30.00 kada kilo ang fancy rice, habang halos P2.50 ang itinaas ng ordinary rice. Umaabot naman sa P10 ang itinaas ng bawat kilo ng manok at 25 sentimos sa itlog ng manok. Ang bawat kilo ng bangus na dating P65 ay umabot na sa P80, habang P10 ang itinaas ng bawat kilo ng tilapia. Tumaas din ang presyo ng mga gulay dahil na rin sa paglaki ng gastos pangunahin sa transportasyon.

Itinatakda ngayon na P629.10 ang daily cost of living ng bawat pamilya sa Metro Manila, habang P517.60 sa average sa buong bansa. Ibig sabihin, nasa ilalim ng poverty line ang halos 80 porsyento ng mga Pilipino, taliwas sa sinasabi ng gobyernong maliit na bilang ng mahirap sa bansa. Ayon na rin sa mga panukat (macroeconomic indicators) ng gobyerno, inaasahan ang pagbagsak ng GDP (Gross Domestic Product) sa 1.9 percentage points. Kapalit nito ang pagtaas ng inflation rate ng 1.4 hangang sa 1.7 percentage points sa taya ng NEDA. Gayundin ang unemployment rate na nasa mahigit 12.9 porsyento na noong Abril 2005. Kaya walang ibang maidudulot ang di-mapigilang pagtaas ng presyo ng langis kundi ibayong pagbagsak ng kabuhayan ng maralitang mamamayang Pilipino.

Anu-ano ang panukala ng rehimeng Arroyo bilang tugon sa krisis sa langis?

Paghihipit ng sinturon at pagsasakripisyo ang agarang panukala ng rehimen, habang patuloy na itinuturo ang mga dahilang panlabas sa pagtaas ng presyo ng langis. Nangungunang panukala nito ang ‘energy conservation’: pagtitipid sa paggamit ng kuryente at langis sa mga opisina at establisimiyento ng gobyerno at maging sa mga pampublikong paaralan (ilaw, aircon, paggamit ng mga public at government vehicles, etc); pagpanukala sa mga may-ari ng mga malalaking billboard na maagang magsara ng kanilang mga ilaw para diumano makatipid sa kuryente; paggamit at pagprayoritisa sa alternative sources ng langis tulad ng bio-diesel at compressed natural gas; pagpapatupad ng 4-day work week; carpooling; pagrarasyon ng langis sa mga pampubliko at pribadong sektor.

Lahat ng ito ay ‘band-aid solutions’. Nananatiling walang signipikante at istratehikong tugon ang gobyerno ni Arroyo para pigilan ang patuloy na pagtaas ng presyo ng langis.

Ano ang dapat gawin ng mga mamamayan?

Kagyat na dapat magkaisa at kumilos ang mamamayan para ipatigil ang pagtaas at susunod pang pagtaas ng presyo ng langis. Wala nang ihahaba pa ang pisi ng bayan. Patuloy na nakapako ang sahod, lay-off at tanggalan, demolisyon ng mga tahanan, pagkawasak ng mga bukirin, kalamidad kaliwa’t kanan. Idagdag pa rito ang hagupit ng sunud-sunod na pagtaas ng presyo ng langis at ang kaharap sa araw-araw na mas matindi pang gutom at kahirapan. Pinsala sa mamamayan,pakinabang sa iilan.

Kaugnay nito, kailangang ibasura na ang mapagsamantala at mapanlinlang na Oil Deregulation Law. Karanasan ang nagpapatunay na hindi bumaba ang presyo ng langis, hindi nangyari ang sinasabing malayang kompetisyon sa pamilihan, at, sa halip,nagpatuloy at lalo pang lumakas ang kontrol at manipulasyon ng mga dambuhalang kompanya ng langis sa suplay at presyo. Simula nang aprubahan ang ODL noong Marso 1996 tumaas na ang presyo ng langis ng 535%! At kumpara sa mga nakaraang rehimen, higit na ramdam ang delubyo ng ODL sa ilalim ng rehimeng Arroyo.

Kailangan ding alisin na ang patung-patong na buwis sa presyo ng langis dahil ipinapasa lang ito sa mamamayan. Ginagamit ang buwis na pambayad-utang gayong di naman mamamayan ang nakinabang sa utang. Lalo pang delikado ang pondong mula sa buwis sa kamay ng korap at bulok na rehimeng Arroyo. Sunud-sunod na ang katiwalian na kinasasangkutan ni Gloria, ng kanyang pamilya, at mga alipures nito.

Patuloy na nasa sentro ng usapin ang rehimeng Arroyo. Hindi lamang ito inutil sa pagtaas ng presyo ng langis; kasabwat at nakikinabang pa ito sa pagtaas ng presyo. Walo sa bawat sampung Pilipino ang nagnanais nang mapatalsik siya sa pwesto matapos mailantad ang malawakang pandaraya, katiwalian sa gobyerno, maigting na krisis sa ekonomya at pulitika, pagkatuta sa dayuhan at ang tumitinding panunupil sa mamamayan. Idagdag pa rito ang sunud-sunod na pagtaas ng presyo ng langis na sasalanta sa sambayanan.

Nasa kagyat na interes at kapakinabangan ng bayan na mapatalsik o mapaalis na si Arroyo sa pwesto. Hanggat nananatili ito sa poder, sunod-sunod pang parusa at pasakit ang hahagupit sa sambayanan. Wala ring makabuluhang repormang maipatutupad sa industriya ng langis, laluna ang pagsasabansa nito, hanggang nasa pwesto ang rehimeng Arroyo. Sa sabwatan at pakinabang ay kasama nito ang mga dayuhan. Agaran nang pagpapatalsik kay Gloria ang makakapigil sa sobrang pahirap pa sa bayan. Walang ibang masasaligan sa pagbabago kundi ang lakas ng sambayanan.

Itigil ang pagtaas ng presyo ng langis!
Ibasura ang Oil Deregulation Law!
Alisin ang buwis sa mga produktong petrolyo!
Pahirap sa masa, patalsikin si Gloria!

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Monday, November 05, 2007

A challenge to JDV’s ‘moral revolution’

Youth group to Speaker: Uphold new, stronger impeachment complaint

Youth group Anakbayan today joined other sectoral groups, concerned citizens and anti-Arroyo forces in a rally at the Batasan Complex to support the filing of a ‘multi-pronged impeachment complaint’ against Mrs. Gloria Arroyo.

Anakbayan challenged Speaker Jose de Venecia, who earlier called for a ‘moral revolution’, to uphold the stronger impeachment complaint and not to allow technicalities and tactics to ‘make a sham out of the Constitutional process.’

“All complaints to be filed have the common denominator of seeking accountability for the recent cases of bribery and corruption linked to Malacanang. If Speaker JDV indeed wants his ‘moral revolution,’ no best way to start but to investigate these cases via an impeachment proceeding,” said Anakabayan vice-chairperson Sarah Katrina Maramag.

Maramag assured lawmakers that a genuine and stronger impeachment would have the full support of youth and students.

“The resumption of Congress coincides with the re-opening of classes after the long-weekend vacation and we are geared to aid in publicizing the many atrocities of Arroyo and her cabal to youth and students,” Maramag said.

Impeachment not enough, pressure from public needed
The youth group, however, said that whether or not the impeachment case prospers, it would still push for the investigation of bribery and corruption scandals beleaguering the Arroyo administration.

Maramag said that while some opposition leaders have publicly announced their lack of support for the possibility of another people power uprising as means of un-seating Arroyo, they continue to rely more on the powers of pressure from the public than on ‘vacillating power plays in government.’

“Our fearless forecast for 2008, Arroyo will not finish her term. Not if we have our way. All we want for Christmas and the year ahead is an Arroyo-free Philippines.” ###

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Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Halloween Protest

more photos here.

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Friday, October 26, 2007

Erap pardon shows GMA continuous betrayal of youth, Edsa Dos - Kabataan Party

More corruption, loss of trust in gov't seen with Estrada's release,
unsolved scandals

The Kabataan Party today hit the Arroyo government for its continuous
betrayal of the Filipino youth and EDSA Dos, saying that the rash
granting of pardon to former President Joseph Estrada shows Mrs.
Arroyo's ultimate abandonment of EDSA Dos principles.

"Such developments only show how Mrs. Arroyo continues to betray the
youth and the ideals and principles of the people's uprising that
catapulted her to power," Kabataan Party President Raymond Palatino

Palatino warned that the hasty pardon for Estrada and the unresolved
cases of bribery and corruption involving Malacanang and several
politicians set a bad precedent for future officials and could further
erode public trust in the government.

"The impetuous pardon for Estrada and unsolved cases of corruption
highlight how hypocrisy and lack of accountability has reached new
heights under the current administration. It's distressing to see how
the present government is more than willing to sacrifice long-standing
legal and democratic rights and even credibility and morality in the
government for political accommodation and greed for power," he
pointed out.

"It is appalling to see how the Arroyo government is using the
Estrada case to divert public attention from far worse cases of
corruption and plunder involving the president herself and her
cohorts," he added.

Bad precedent for village polls

"It's also disturbing that we are having this shameless display of
decadence in the government in the eve of the barangay and Sangguniang
Kabataan elections," he lamented.

Palatino also expressed fear that the scandals of corruption and the
new twist in the Estrada plunder case might send a negative message to
future government officials that they are above the law and can have
the government run at their own whim.

He added that these events could also result to an increase in the
number of corruption cases in the government as it gives corrupt
politicians the notion of being "invincible."

"What would prevent crooked politicians from engaging more in
corruption and other unlawful practices if mechanisms for
accountability are weak and can be easily bent by political interests
and money?"

"We fear that these events will further erode the remaining
confidence of the people, especially the youth, to our democratic
institutions and processes and embed corruption deeper in our
political system, "he added.

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Erap pardon will not save Arroyo

Anakbayan's statement on the Estrada pardon grant

Youth group Anakbayan expresses deep doubts over Mrs. Gloria Arroyo’s real motives for having granted Executive Clemency to ousted president and convicted plunderer Joseph Ejercito Estrada.

Anakbayan questions the timeliness of the pardon. The response to Estrada’s petition for clemency was so abrupt that even Estrada’s lawyers were caught off-guard.

Coincidentally, it came at a time when Mrs. Arroyo was implicated anew in the ZTE scam via a damning testimony from Jose ‘Joey’ de Venecia at the resumption of the Senate hearings. It also conveniently comes at a period when Arroyo faces the public’s overwhelming distrust over what is perceived as the most irreconcilable political crisis yet to ever beset her administration.

Anakbayan has reason to believe that, like all other diversionary tactics being perpetrated by Malacanang, Estrada’s pardon is not for ‘reconcilition’ and humanitarian purposes but still for the survival of Arroyo’s beleaguered administration.

Estrada’s pardon, however, will fail to save Arroyo. It has done nothing but display the Arroyo administration’s lack of moral ascendancy in imposing sanctions to corrupt wrongdoers. It demonstrates the Arroyo administration’s practice of political expediency in legal and judicial decisions that come as a threat to its tenure.

History will indeed judge Arroyo’s decision but we pose a challenge to the Estrada camp, known personalities of the political opposition, amid this development. Youth and students will not hesitate to condemn even the slightest inkling of Estrada’s capitulation towards the Arroyo administration following his pardon.

We will not be diverted from our cause to build the broadest movement against the present corrupt and Mafia-like Arroyo regime. ###

Related articles and documents:
Read full text of Arroyo's pardon order here.
State prosecutor's statement.
Estrada's motion for reconsideration.
Sandiganbayan's guilty verdict.

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