BAYAN STANDS WITH THE PEOPLE OF GAZA

Press Statement

November 16, 2012

We in the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan, our member organizations and formations in the Philippines and other parts of the world, stand in solidarity with the people of Gaza against the brutal airstrikes being undertaken by Israel. The attacks, no doubt, have the support of the United States and other imperialist powers. Israel, the US and UK put the onus on Hamas and the Palestinians, despite the deadly bombings on civilians being conducted by Israel.

We call for a stop to the Israeli airstrikes. We strongly oppose any escalation of the Israeli offensives which include the possibility of a ground invasion. The Palestinian people have been living under the brutal Israeli occupation of their lands for more than  six decades now. The occupation is supported primarily by the US,  which provides  Israel with weapons and other forms of aid. The US also remains Israel’s most reliable ally and enforcer in the UN Security Council. Israel remains a vital cog in the plans of the US to impose its will on the Middle East.

Israel goes on to justify its military action dubbed “Pillar of Defense” with the allegation that Gaza is a forward base of Iran and that Hamas weapons pose a threat. However, it should also be noted that the attacks come just before the Israeli elections on January 22 where current prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu is seeking re-election. It should also be noted that Israel has long-prepared for such an invasion, raising the possibility of another ground assault  as early as February this year, because of the supposed “great success” of a similar offensive started in late 2008. Operation Cast Lead in 2008 resulted in the death of 1,400 Palestinians.

Israel also taken its war vs. Palestinians to the internet and social media, posting arrogant tweets and videos that celebrate the assassination of Hamas leader Ahmed Jahbari and live-tweeting the airstrikes conducted against the Palestinians. On the other hand, Israel  has threatened to cut internet and other communications in Gaza to prevent the world from the knowing Israeli atrocities.

Bayan stands with Gaza, the Palestinian people and the peoples of the world who are condemning the Israeli airstrikes. The path to genuine peace in the Middle East must include a free Palestine.  The road genuine peace will require the defeat of US imperialism, in the Middle East and the world.

Free Palestine!

Stop the US-backed Israeli airstrikes!

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Statement on PNoy’s “SONA” Lies

July 2012

I know and feel the problems of ordinary citizens. We all know what it is like to have a government that plays deaf and dumb. We know what it is like to be denied justice, to be ignored by those in whom we placed our trust and tasked to become our advocates.

Have you ever been ignored by the very government you helped put in power?

Have you had to endure being rudely shoved aside by the siren-blaring escorts of those who love to display their position and power over you?

Have you experienced exasperation and anger at a government that instead of serving you, needs to be endured by you?

These are the very own words of President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III at his inauguration address in 2010.

These are also the very own words of someone who clearly doesn’t understand what those words mean.

Today is the 23rd of July 2012 in the Philippines.  Today he will deliver his State of the Nation Address (SONA).  And today he will again spout words from mouth without any clear link to reality.

The Philippine government today speaks proudly of the ‘record breaking performances’ of its stock market and GDP growth rate.  It is here that we should pause.  Because it doesn’t require any fancy economics degrees to realize that the true economy, the economy of the everyday, the economy that reflects the true ability of everyday people to eat well, have access to healthcare and education, to decent and fulfilling work, and most of all, to a good quality of life—well that economy very clearly is getting worse, much worse.

What is the state of the economy?

Unemployment has peaked.  One report puts unemployment at 13.8 million in the 1st quarter of 2012.

The minimum wage remains unable to meet the cost of living needs of working families (P446/day to P1017/day for a family of six).

And all the while the 40 richest Filipinos net worth increased from $23B to $47B during his term.

The everyday Filipino suffers.  This suffering is what drives the exodus of over 4500 to leave the country everyday to become OFWs. And it is this export of people through the Labour Export Policy that is the true backbone of the Philippine economy.  Even CNN reports that remittances are “the key fuel behind [its economy].  To the Philippine government people are a commodity to be exploited for economic gain.

Here in Canada, Filipinos have become the number one source of migrants (mostly in the temporary foreign worker and live-in caregiver class).

And for those that remain in the Philippines President Noynoy (PNoy) will speak of justice and human rights.  We ask, justice for whom, and to which humans do these rights refer?

Over 90 extrajudicial killings have taken place under his watch – approximately 1300 since 2001.

Of the 385 political prisoners still incarcerated for their belief that the Philippine government should serve the Philippine people, 107 were arrested under PNoy.

His Oplan Bayanihan, the sequel to President Arroyo’s Oplan Bantay Laya, merely dresses up the same strategy of targeted human rights violations to human rights defenders in the clothes of ‘community partnership’ and so-called ‘development.’

Instead of helping people with a national industrialization strategy, decent education, and healthcare he intimidates, jails, “disappears,” or even kills those who speak the truth.  All the while, giving benefit to capitalist expropriation of Philippine national wealth.

For example, in October of last year PNoy allowed mining companies (including Canadian companies) to create and operate private militias putting human rights defenders in even greater risk.  This also disproportionately affects indigenous peoples, a sector of society already suffering, as most mining companies operate on their ancestral domains.  And his new mining policy (EO79) does nothing to stop the imperialist ravaging of Philippine national patrimony.

And to add insult to injury he has welcomed the return of the American military and has all but opened the door to the return of official American bases on Philippine soil.  By 2020 60% of the US military will be stationed in the Asia-Pacific region.

PNoy asked if the people had ever felt ignored by their own government we remind him today that this has always been the case, and continues to be the case as long as the government does not truly have the interests of the people in mind.

As a member of the political and economic elite (who are one and the same) what interest does he really have in our well being?  When justice means justice for him and his friends, when the economy means how well the pockets of the rich are stuffed—both clearly demonstrated by his own families’ continued abuse of the peasant farmers of their own Hacienda Luisita, despite a Supreme Court order to redistribute lands—what can we expect for everyday people?

BAYAN-Canada denounces today’s SONA.  The true State of the Nation is that we remain a nation for the benefit of local elites and their foreign masters.  This is a State that we cannot stand with.  This is a Nation without the people’s interest heart.  And as it is a nation whose claims to an independent and sovereign people are not, and have never been true.

We demand a Philippines for Filipinos.  We demand an end to imperialist rule.  And we demand that PNoy stop playing rhetorical games with the truth.

Stop the Killings!

Release All Political Prisoners!

End Foreign Exploitation!

National Industrialization Now!

Uphold Genuine Philippine Independence!

 

Reference: Alex Felipe, Bayan Canada National Organizing Committee, byncan.to@gmail.com

JUSTICE FOR WILLEM GEERTMAN, WELL-LOVED DUTCH COMMUNITY WORKER, A DEAR FRIEND TO THE FILIPINO PEOPLE

Statement of BAYAN, MIGRANTE and PHILIPPINE SOLIDARITY NETWORK IN CANADA

BAYAN, MIGRANTE and the Philippine Solidarity Network in Canada vehemently condemn the cold-blooded murder of Dutch NGO worker and missionary Willem Geertman by two motorcycle-riding men believed to be military agents on July 3, 2012 in Angeles City, Central Luzon.

The assassination of Willem Geertman is the latest in the train of extrajudicial killings under the Aquino administration, numbering 76 in the report of KARAPATAN (Movement for the Advancement of Human Rights) at the Universal Periodic Review of Human Rights in Geneva in May this year.  Several countries urged the Philippines to end impunity in extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances and torture and bring those responsible to justice, including Major General Jovito Palparan Jr, former Governor Joel Reyes and the perpetrators of the Maguindanao massacre.

Geertman is the second foreign national killed under the Aquino government.  In October 11, Italian missionary Fr. Faustino “Pops” Tentorio, who devoted his life to the peasants and indigenous Lumad in Mindanao, was brutally killed.

Willem Geertman worked for Alay-Bayan Luzon, a non-government organization that addresses issues of poverty and landlessness, disaster risk reduction and environmental concerns in Central Luzon.  He was dearly-loved by the poor peasants, farm workers and the community that he served.  He was known for his courageous advocacy in defense especially of the farmers in Hacienda Luisita, and his compassion for disaster victims and victims of human rights abuses.

Indeed the Aquino government knows no bounds in disposing of those who get in the way of the foreign and local elite interests that it serves – so much so that it has taken to physically eliminating foreign nationals who serve the interests of the poor and the oppressed. Meanwhile it continues to promote and protect foreign mining and other corporate interests, and welcomes the entry of more US troops and warships into the Philippines.

We join the progressive community and all freedom and peace-loving groups and individuals in demanding a thorough and impartial investigation into the circumstances surrounding his death.  We call for justice for Willem Geertman and all victims of human rights violations and an end to impunity NOW.

7 July 2012

BAYAN Canada supports the Canada-wide protest call on May 30

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BAYAN Canada, an alliance of progressive, anti-imperialist, Filipino organizations from coast to coast, calls on our members, supporters and allies to join in the May 30 nation-wide protest of pots and pans called “casserole” in Quebec. BAYAN stands with the democratic people of Quebec and Canada in opposing draconian laws and capitalist austerity measures.  BAYAN Canada is a member of the International League of People’s Struggle (ILPS) and has prestigious members such as the Migrante chapters in Canada.

Many members of our grass roots organizations in Montreal have been involved in supporting the student strike and in opposing the draconian Bill 78 in Quebec.  We have gone out night after night in an effort to try to sensitize the people in working class and mostly immigrant neighborhoods like Cote-des-neiges to join and support the legitimate people’s struggles happening in Quebec.  The casserole movement in opposition to the ruling Quebec Liberal’s Bill 78 (with the full support of the conservative held federal government and the complacent and complicit federal liberals and social democrats) was inspired by similar actions in Chile during the Pinochet regime.  This unjust law was imposed in an effort to break one of the longest student stirkes in Quebec against tuition fee increase.  The law only served to swell the ranks of nightly student demonstrations as whole families came out banging on their “casserole” to oppose Bill 78 and the Quebec government’s austerity measures.  This proves once again the truth behind the saying, “exploitation and oppression engenders resistance.”

Let us remind our Filipino compatriots of their proud history.  The student movement lead by Kabataang Makabayan in the sixties in the Philippines can be credited to the kick-starting of the new National Democratic movement that we as BAYAN are a part of.  It lead to the first Quarter Storm and the anti-Marcos dictatorship movement that persevered through the darkest times in our people’s history even as the mightiest imperialist nation, the US, backed the dictatorship. This is not to mention the youth and students who had started the propaganda movement against Spanish colonialism back in the late eighteen hundreds and who later lead in the revolutionary movement to dismantle the Spanish colonial rule in the revolution of Andres Bonifacio. Today,  youth and students in the Philippines continue to lead not only in their own struggles for free, scientific and mass-oriented education butalso take an active role for the Filipino people’s struggle for national and social liberation.

Many of our members in Quebec and Canada whether immigrants, migrants or refugees already face discrimination, harassment, and racial profiling by police and other Canadian security agents in communities that are often ghettoized. We do not support more laws that give more powers to the police forces to abuse their unjust authority over the people and to justify more repression in our neighborhoods where we live.

Many of our members are one of the most affected by crisis ridden capitalism and its austerity measures.  Because of the existing discriminated in our workplaces – the fact that we are often last to be hiredand first to be fired, policies that allow the super-exploitation of migrants such as allowing employers to pay 15% less to migrant workers than average Canadians, etc… we feel it when the tuition of our children rises whether in Quebec or in the Philippines. We feel it when social services and benefits are cut.  We see these as an extension of our exploitation and oppression as working people.

We refuse to be the scapegoats to capitalism’s crisis and reject any moves by the ruling class in this country to pit us against our working class brothers and sisters and the broader oppressed peoples in Canada.

The casserole movement in Quebec may have its roots in Chile, but in the Philippines, the people’s movement has been using the tactic of noise barrage to expose and oppose the various issues facing women, migrants, youth and student, indigenous people, workers and peasants for many years now.  We are no novices in the casserole movement and thus will be out to bang our pots loud and clear.

The crisis of monopoly capitalism is affecting us all; from the Philippines to the more than one hundred and sixty countries Filipinos have been forced to migrate, including here in Canada.  But imperialism is also bringing us closer together as a people united in anti-imperialist struggle.

Imperyalismo ibagsak!

 

Joey Calugay

Secretary-General

Fight for accountability does not end with Corona conviction

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News Release
May 29, 2012

References:
Renato M. Reyes, Jr (BAYAN secretary general)
Eleanor de Guzman (BAYAN dep-secretary general)

While we welcome the decision of the Senate to convict Chief Justice Renato Corona for culpable violation of the Constitution and betrayal of public trust, we believe that the fight for true accountability in government has a long way to go. It does not end with Corona’s conviction. It still remains to be seen if the end of this process will even lead to the accountability of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and other officials guilty of plunder and gross human rights violations.

We now say to the Aquino government, tama na ang palusot! The current regime should stop making excuses for its continuing failure to prosecute Arroyo for the crimes of plunder, human rights violations and wholesale election fraud. The current regime should stop making excuses for its failure to hold accountable its own officials facing allegations of misdeeds. The current regime should stop making excuses on its failures to address the most pressing economic problems and issues of the people.

It is expected that the Aquino regime will hail the Corona conviction as the “crowning glory” of its so-called “daang matuwid crusade”. We take exception to this for the simple reason that outside the impeachment, the Aquino government has not done much in terms of political and economic reforms, respect for human rights and the cause of justice. There is no “daang matuwid” for many of our people who continue to reel from poverty, oppression and injustice. In fact, even as the impeachment verdict is handed out, the Philippine government is again making excuses before the United Nations Human Rights Council on why impunity in human rights violations continues in the country.

Bayan supported the impeachment of Corona mainly on the basis of the key role he has played in abetting Arroyo’s schemes to evade accountability. Lest we forget, the campaign by the House of Representatives (HoR) to impeach Corona gained wide public support because of his collusion with Arroyo. The temporary restraining order (TRO) issued by the Corona-led SC in November last year that would have allowed Arroyo to flee triggered this impeachment. It is unfortunate however that the Aquino and LP-directed prosecution chose to downplay the issue of Arroyo in favor of a somewhat hypocritical crusade regarding the SALN of the Chief Justice. This raises the question of whether Aquino is indeed serious in making Arroyo accountable.

Of utmost importance right now is the vigilance and direct action of the people that will counter efforts by President Benigno Aquino III and his Liberal Party (LP) to take advantage of Corona’s ouster to control the judiciary for their own selfish political and economic agenda. Concerns raised about the possibility of an “Aquino court” are valid and should not be dismissed. The possibility of Aquino using a now friendlier SC to undermine its earlier decision on Hacienda Luisita is a particular concern that we must all vigilantly check and strongly expose and oppose.

Corona’s conviction is not the be all and end all of reforms to rid the bureaucracy of systemic graft and corruption. On the contrary, it’s just a small step forward as more thoroughgoing reforms are needed. However, we fear that under the Aquino government, it will still be business as usual, at least for its political allies and KKK’s. The people must therefore press on with their legitimate demands and struggle for genuine change that goes beyond Aquino’s overused “daang matuwid” rhetoric.

The challenge for all government officials to disclose their bank records, foreign and domestic, should stand. The Chief Justice is likely not the only government official to use foreign currency deposit accounts to conceal presumably ill-gotten wealth.

ACT Rep. Antontio Tinio already filed a bill to be heard on June 5 in House Committee on Banks amending the Foreign Currency Deposit Account to remove absolute confidentiality, and if they are consistent, this should be supported by all those who voted to impeach Corona. #

Dr Chandu’s message to the Montreal organizers of Cordillera day 2012

Video message

http://www.facebook.com/video/video.php?v=3576595328519

U.S. TROOPS OUT OF THE PHILIPPINES! STOP THE BALIKATAN MILITARY EXERCISES!

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On April 16, 2012, Bayan Canada along with ILPS Canada held a picket rally in front of the US consulate in Montreal.  The demonstration was to coincide with the start of the Balikatan military exercises between the US and Philippine troops.  It was also in solidarity with the actions lead by Bayan in the Philippines opposing Balikatan and calling for the end of the RP-US Visiting Forces Agreement.

For more photos of the Montreal demo, please follow this link:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/29070363@N06/sets/72157629834155479/detail/

Below is the statement of Bayan Canada in English and French.

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April 2012

Bayan Canada vehemently opposes the Balikatan exercises to be held this April 16th to the 27th in the Philippines.  Balikatan, meaning shoulder-to-shoulder, refers to joint military exercises between the US and Philippines.  The Philippine government justifies these exercises as being based on the Mutual Defense Treaty (MDT) and the 14- year-old Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) between the two countries.

Philippine President Benigno Aquino III is hell bent on accommodating the “new” US defense strategy that entails a so-called “rebalance to Asia”, including an increase in US military presence in the Philippines.  With China’s economic growth threatening US domination over the region, the Obama administration announced earlier this year the shift in its military focus away from Iraq and Afghanistan and to renew its commitment to re-asserting its position in the Asia-Pacific.

The Aquino government is betraying the 1991 Philippine Senate decision to shut down the US bases in the Philippines. Its recent dialogue with the US government lays down the groundwork for the consolidation of the Philippines as a key US military base location, serving as a permanent staging ground for US military offensives, storage space for surveillance drones, resupply and refueling station for US warships and aircrafts, as well as rest and recreational facility for US servicemen.

The Aquino administration is aligning the Philippines with an American military strategy that will threaten peace in the entire Asia-Pacific region. In an effort to boost up its military-industrial complex at the expense of the surrounding countries, the US government is in fact provoking military aggression and creating a war-like situation against China.

While Bayan Canada along with the Filipino people are for a peaceful resolution to territorial and maritime disputes with other nations, we are opposed to the use or threat of force from any party including China.  With the buildup of US military forces in the region, the disputes are exacerbated and tension rises.  The US is only out for its own hegemonic interests in the region and not for the security and prosperity of the Filipino people.

Recent news reports claim that more than twenty-two thousand people will benefit from the Balikatan through civil-military operations during the exercises.   Promises of new schools and clinics built in far flung areas and medical and dental treatments offered by US and Philippine forces during the military exercises are the usual protocol for “winning hearts and minds” by American forces during occupations.  Worse, these practices have been exposed as nothing more than intelligence gathering for US and Philippine forces.

The Filipino people will not be fooled by candy-coated military invasions. We ask our compatriots in Canada along with our friends and allies to join our voices with the Filipino people in demanding an abrogation of the VFA and the immediate withdrawal of US troops from the Philippines.

Junk the VFA!

US troops out now!

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TROUPES ÉTATS-UNIENNES HORS DES PHILIPPINES!  CESSEZ LES EXERCICES MILITAIRES «BALIKATAN»!

Avril 2012

Bayan Canada s’oppose avec véhémence les exercices «Balikatan» qui auront lieu du 16 au 27 avril aux Philippines.  Le mot «Balikatan», qui signifie «épaule à épaule», se réfère aux exercices militaires conjoints menés par les États-Unis et les Philippines.  Le gouvernement philippin justifie ces exercices comme étant fondée sur le Traité de défense mutuelle et l’Accord des forces en visite établi il y a 14 ans entre les deux pays.

Le président des Philippines, Benigno Aquino III, veut à tout prix accueillir la “nouvelle” stratégie de défense étatsunienne, qui vise un soi-disant “rééquilibrage vers l’Asie” et comprend, entre autres, une augmentation de la présence militaire étatsunienne aux Philippines.  En raison de la menace que constitue la croissance économique de la Chine pour la domination états-unienne dans la région, le gouvernement Obama a annoncé, plus tôt cette année, un changement d’orientation militaire des États-Unis, qui s’éloigneraient de l’Irak et de l’Afghanistan et renouvelleraient leur engagement à réaffirmer leur position dans la région Asie-Pacifique.

Le gouvernement Aquino viole ainsi la décision de 1991 du Sénat philippin de fermer les bases états-uniennes aux Philippines.  Son récent dialogue avec le gouvernement états-unien a préparé le terrain pour faire en sorte que les Philippines deviennent un lieu crucial d’établissement de bases militaires états-uniennes, servant de base arrière des offensives militaires états-uniennes, d’abri pour les drones de surveillance, de point ravitaillement en materiel pour les troupes et en combustible pour les navires de guerre et les avions, ainsi que de lieu de repos et de loisirs pour les militaires états-uniens.

Le gouvernement Aquino est en train d’aligner les Philippines sur une stratégie militaire états-unienne qui menace la paix dans l’ensemble de la région Asie-Pacifique.  Afin de stimuler son complexe militaro-industriel au détriment des pays voisins, le gouvernement états-unien est, en fait, en train de provoquer une agression militaire et de créer une situation de guerre contre la Chine.

Notre organisation, Bayan Canada, comme l’ensemble du peuple philippin, souhaite une résolution pacifique des différends territoriaux et maritimes avec les autres pays, nous sommes opposés à l’utilisation ou à la menace d’utilisation de la force par toute partie, y compris la Chine.  L’accumulation des forces militaires états-uniennes dans la région exacerbe les conflits, et la tension monte.  Les États-Unis ne visent qu’à satisfaire leurs propres intérêts hégémoniques dans la région et non ceux concernant la sécurité et la prospérité du peuple philippin.

Des rapports de presse récents affirment que plus de vingt-deux mille personnes bénéfieront des opérations civilo-militaires réalisés dans le cadre des exercices «Balikatan».  Les promesses de nouvelles écoles et de cliniques construites dans les zones les plus reculées, de traitements médicaux et dentaires offerts par les forces états-uniennes et philippines durant les exercices militaires sont la méthode habituelle qu’utilisent les forces états-uniennes pour “gagner les cœurs et les esprits” lors des occupations.  Pire encore, ces pratiques ont été dénoncées comme n’étant rien d’autre que des operations de collecte de renseignements par les forces états-uniennes et philippines.

Le peuple philippin ne sera pas dupé par des invasions militaires enrobées de sucreries.  Nous demandons à nos compatriotes vivant au Canada, ainsi qu’à nos amis et à nos allies, de se joindre à nous et au peuple philippin pour exiger l’abrogation de l’Accord des forces en visite et le retrait immédiat des troupes états-uniennes des Philippines.

À bas l’Accord des forces en visite!

Troupes U.S., hors des Philippines!