Monthly Archives: September 2016

NO TO DISARMING THE NPA-NDFP

ALLIANCE NEWS
September 29, 2016

NO TO DISARMING THE NPA-NDFP

Los Angeles– The National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) stood firm on keeping the 10,000-strong New People’s Army even if they reach a peace agreement with the government, their chief negotiator said Thursday.

14054299_10209124495803178_1134729115577460992_o

The Alliance-Philippines based in the United States is supporting this NDFP stand on the current peace negotiations with the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GPH) especially in regards to this matter.

The NPA could “cooperate” with the military “in the service of the Filipino people,” said Luis Jalandoni, who heads the rebels’ peace panel.

“We are firm on that. No disbandment, no disarmament because the NPA has been serving the people in so many ways,” he told a forum in Manila. Jalandoni said negotiators could consider “different possibilities of integration” by NPA combatants into the military.

Sad Experience, Discrimination of the MNLF14089139_10153728563476750_2935731706573616610_n

But he cited cases of “discrimination” against former Moro fighters absorbed by the military after the 1996 peace agreement between the the Moro National Liberation Front and the US-Ramos Regime in 1996.

The Alliance Philippines cited the sad experience of the MNLF when it was “integrated with the AFP” and they were made as cannon fodder against the MILF in Central Mindanao and also against the Abu Sayaff Group in Sulu that caused wide dissatisfaction among the MNLF integrees.

This is besides the discrimination they suffered during the so-called integration being treated as “second class’ soldiers in the AFP.

“It is essential for us that the integrity and unity of the New People’s Army remain under the command of the Communist Party of the Philippines,” Jalandoni said.

Peace Agenda in Oslo, Norway

Both sides hope to hammer out a deal within a year, ending decades of armed insurgency that has killed around 150 ,000 people in the 47 years of armed conflict.

But first they have to hurdle the most crucial phase of the negotiation, which seeks to address the root causes of the armed conflict.

They will tackle socio-economic reforms such as free land distribution and the nationalization of 21 industries when talks resume in Oslo, Norway next week.

They will also formalize the bilateral ceasefire between the NDFP and the GPH, its mechanism and monitoring and also steps to speed up the talks.

“We have high hopes but we know there’s a lot of work to be done,” Jalandoni said.

END

****

RENEGOTIATE OR TERMINATE THE VISITING FORCES AGREEMENT

EPCC NEWS
September 29, 2016

RENEGOTIATE OR TERMINATE THE VISITING FORCES AGREEMENT

By Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago
Chair, Legislative Oversight Committee on the VFA
(Sponsorship speech on 16 September 2009)

( Below is the sponsorship speech of Sen. Santiago, one of her notable speeches in the Senate:-Editors)

Mr. President, distinguished colleagues:

top2_jan13

On behalf of the Legislative Oversight Committee on the Visiting Forces Agreement (LOVFA), Senate panel, I have the honor to seek approval of Senate Resolution No. 1356, entitled “Resolution expressing the sense of the Senate that the Department of Foreign Affairs should seek to renegotiate the Visiting Forces Agreement with the United States, and in case of denial, should give notice of termination of the VFA.”

Constitution Bans Foreign Military Presence

After the Marcos rule, the renewal of the country’s constitutional regime prioritized the supreme concern of putting an end to foreign military presence, and an end to the continuity of US hegemony.

Thus, the Constitution, Article 18, Section 25 provides in part: “Foreign military bases, troops, or facilities shall not be allowed in the Philippines, except under a treaty duly concurred in by the Senate, and . . . recognized as a treaty by the other contracting State.”

This supreme concern to free the country’s armed forces from the control of a foreign power intended to transform the AFP into a real backbone of Philippine sovereignty, instead of the hired spine of a foreign sovereign. The prospect of realizing the program of AFP modernization generated considerable expectation of independence right in the AFP itself.

But the advent of the VFA spelled the restoration of the AFP dependence on America. Hence, the fate of modernization has ceased to be a politically appropriate topic in civilized circles.
2009 Supreme Court Case: Doctrinal Confusion

In the 2009 case of Nicolas v. Romulo, the Supreme Court held, by a split vote of 9-4, that the VFA is constitutional. The dissenters were led by no less than Chief Justice Puno, who began by saying:

“This slur on our sovereignty cannot continue, especially if we are the ones perpetuating it.”

As a student of constitutional law, I humbly submit that the Nicolas ruling suffers from doctrinal confusion, and that it will not stand the test of time. I pointed out earlier that the Philippine Constitution requires that foreign military bases, troops, or facilities shall not be allowed in the Philippines, except under a treaty recognized as a treaty by the other contracting State.

Has the US government recognized the VFA as a treaty? The answer is no.

The US Constitution provides that the US President has the power to make treaties, but only “by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, provided two-thirds of the Senators present concur.”1 Has the VFA been concurred in by two-thirds of the US Senate? The answer is no.

The Nicolas majority opinion claimed that the VFA was submitted to the US Senate. This is misleading. The VFA was submitted as a compliance with an American law called the Case-Zablocki Act. This Act requires the US President, through the Secretary of State, to transmit to the US Congress, the international agreements entered into by the US government, or by its officials or agencies, which are not characterized as treaties. Thus, the US government does not characterize the VFA as a treaty. Therefore, the VFA, since it does not comply with the requirement of the RP Constitution, is unconstitutional and void in our country.

But because of the Nicolas opinion, the VFA is now part of the law of the land, to use RP constitutional language. By contrast, since the VFA is not characterized as a treaty in the US, it is not the supreme law of the land, to use US constitutional language. The US does not consider the VFA as a treaty, and it certainly does not consider the VFA as a self-executing treaty. Thus, US courts are not necessarily bound by it, because the US government considers the VFA as a mere executive agreement.

VFA Void for Vagueness

In the language of constitutional law, the VFA is void for vagueness, because it fails to define the terms “visit”, “temporary”, and “military activities.” Under the vagueness doctrine, it is impermissible for a statute to delegate basic policy matters to administrators, to such a degree as to lead to arbitrary and discriminatory application.

a. No Definition of “Visit”

Filipino political leaders involved in the signature and ratification of the Visiting Forces Agreement with the United States (VFA) appear to have limited themselves to the title of the VFA, and never bothered to explain the term “visit” in the text. They gave the impression that under the VFA, the US military forces would be just “visiting”.

The document is officially titled: “Agreement between the government of the Republic of the Philippines and the government of the United States of America regarding the treatment of US armed forces visiting the Philippines.” But there is no definition of a visit.

Before the VFA was signed by the two governments, President Ramos described the VFA as intended for military exercises of US and Philippine forces. Endorsing the VFA for Senate concurrence, President Estrada emphasized in his press statements that the VFA pertained only to “military exercises”. Then Secretary of Foreign Affairs Siazon, who signed the VFA for the Philippines, expressed himself more clearly: “The VFA only speaks of American military forces who come to the country to conduct joint military exercises with Philippine troops.”2 Deliberate or not, these pronouncements, authoritative as they are, give a false or even deceptive impression of the VFA.

b. No Definition of “Temporary”

The VFA, Article 1 titled “Definitions” does not define what is “temporary.” It merely states: “’US personnel’ means US military and civilian personnel temporarily in the Philippines.”

Black’s Law Dictionary, 8th edition 2004, defines “visit” in international law as a naval officer’s boarding of an ostensibly neutral merchant vessel from another state to exercise the right of search. The same law dictionary defines “temporary” as continuing for a limited (usually short) time.

The Oxford Dictionary of Law, 6th edition 2006, defines “visiting forces” as: “forces from abroad, including their civilian components.” It does not bother to define “temporary.”

In the absence of conventional dictionary definitions of the words “visit” and “temporary” as terms of international law, it becomes necessary to define these terms in any international agreement.
When the VFA failed to define these terms, then the failure to do so was done willfully and in bad faith. These undefined terms are each a lacuna, a blank space. These lacunae in substantive information are purposely devious, in order to allow the US forces to stay indefinitely in our country.

Thus, built into the VFA is a mechanism of flexibility that can deploy the US military forces in Philippine territory in a broad spread of strategic purposes, making the VFA an omnibus of US military presence of various forms and of varying objectives.

The history of the Senate contains certain defining moments, and one of them was Senate rejection of a new proposed agreement for the retention of the US military bases. But that defining moment appears to have been blurred, if not erased, by the VFA, which restores US military presence in our country.

c. No Definition of “Activities”

The political leadership that has given a deceptive description of the VFA as designed only for “military exercises” will be put to shame by their own reading of the VFA text, which NEVER uses the term “military exercise”. The Preamble merely states: “Reaffirming their obligations under the Mutual Defense Treaty of 30 August 1951.” By contrast, the text of the VFA uses the term “activities,” without defining it or setting its limits.

Although the “activities” of US military forces under the VFA are unbounded, not one office or agency of the Philippine government – including the Senate – has ever raised the fundamental issue as to the magnitude of US military presence that the VFA allows.

Similarly, the unlimited “activities” that the Philippine government may approve under the VFA has not been publicly discussed. And yet, the determination of the true nature and extent of the VFA hinges on what “activities” are contemplated by its object and purpose.

The VFA, Article 1, makes mention of “activities approved by the Philippine Government,” which may justify the presence of United States military and civilian personnel in the Philippines. Under Article 3 (1), the Philippine Government is under duty to facilitate the admission of US personnel into the Philippines “in connection with activities covered by this agreement”. What “activities” are subject to approval by the Philippine Government; and what are the “activities covered by this agreement” are questions that determine the nature, purpose, scope, and frequency of “visits” that actualize the US military presence.

The result is that the VFA, in circumvention of the prohibition against foreign military presence under the Constitution, opens the way to all forms of military activities of the US forces in Philippine territory, short of establishing a permanent military base.

Strategy of Forward Operating Bases

Your browser may not support display of this image. It must be emphasized that following the end of the Cold War with the implosion of the Soviet Union, the United States shifted its strategic policy from maintaining a permanent military base. It could be that changing power relations may require basing arrangements, in particular because of the emergence of an Enemy State, in sharpening conflict situations that may develop in US-China relations. But that is for the future.

For the present, the US policy is in favor of flexible military responses toward the development of “hybrid warfare” that calls for quick mobilization of small specially trained contingents, directed to specific incidents. This is also called “crisis response, rapid deployment unit”.

These are part of the new American military strategy of fighting so-called asymmetrical wars. Under this new lexicon, US forces establish Cooperative Security Locations where they pre-position logistical support. The Americans keep these locations small to avoid detection, but are prepared to convert them into larger military bases, when it becomes necessary.

Under cover of the VFA, the US in effect operates these mobile and flexible forward operating bases. These bases are not limited to training and capacity building. They go further by allegedly providing “logistical and intelligence support.” This term is so broad that under US interpretation, it allows actual immersion in combat operations.3
An American writer, in an article in the publication Atlantic Monthly, said:4

There is high probability as well as existing accounts that the US forces are engaged in combat operations. The US Institute for Peace, a US government funded institution, describes the role of the US forces deployed in Mindanao in its February 2008 report. The deployment of US forces in Mindanao was not for humanitarian missions or civic actions, but for specific military objectives.

US Task Force Engages in Combat

Two categories of military activities under the VFA have been established:

* The regular joint military exercises, which require temporary stay of US forces for the duration of each joint exercise; and

* The Joint Special Operations Task Force Philippines (JSOTF-P), here known as Task Force. The Task Force is intended to target “terrorists”, i.e. the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) and the Jemaah Islamiyah (JI), which are both listed by the US Department of State as “foreign terrorist organizations”. By its nature, the Task Forces, such as the JSOTF-P, normally operate in war zones as US instruments in its “global war against terror”.

The first commander of the Task Force, Col. David Maxwell, has clearly implied that combat operations are part of its business. He wrote in a military review journal this jaw-dropping example of constitutional illiteracy: 5

The deployment of U.S. troops was contentious in-country, because the local press asserted that U.S. forces could not legally participate in combat operations. However, a correct reading of the Philippine Constitution reveals that it prohibits only the stationing of foreign forces in the Philippines… The Constitution does not prohibit combat operations and provides an exception to this if there is a treaty in force and a treaty has been in force between the two countries since 1951. (Emphasis added.)

Newspaper reports, internet sources, and US military accounts indicate that through the Task Force, US forces are engaged in unconventional warfare and combat operations. Col. Maxwell has described the Task Force that he once led as conducting operations “under the guise of an exercise”. 6 It is widely believed too, through US and Philippine sources, that US forces have established small-scale military bases in Zamboanga City and Sulu.

Detailed accounts of US military presence in the Philippines are too extensive to be treated in a short sponsorship speech. Accordingly, I am prepared with an Annex “A” that gives a sampling of the sources available, in particular from US military accounts.

Adding to the expansive meaning of the term “activities” as used in the VFA, US Defense Secretary William Cohen once declared that the VFA would enable US ships to have port calls or regular calls, aside from military training. In the period April 2001 to October 2007, more than 50 US warships entered Philippine territory and docked in various parts of the Philippine archipelago.7

Mutual Defense Treaty Irrelevant

Since this Senate failed to raise the fundamental issue as to the scope or magnitude of US military forces under the VFA, what “activities” have been performed in practice in the course of the VFA implementation?

By decision of the Mutual Defense Board, the US-RP Mutual Defense Treaty (MDT) has been retooled into an anti-terrorism instrument, presumably on the basis of agreement between President Bush and President Arroyo. Quite remote from the object and purpose of the MDT, anti-terrorist activities have assumed a formal vehicle in MDT.

This gives the impression that the anti-terrorism measures by US military forces in Philippine territory are being carried out as a matter of treaty obligation on the part Philippine government. Thus, there would be no need of a separate agreement on combating international terrorism, and consequently there would be no need of Senate approval through constitutional concurrence. It is under the US policy against terrorism that the US-RP joint military exercises have been conducted through the years, such as the Balikatan exercises.

It is routinely argued that the 1998 VFA merely implements the 1951 Mutual Defense Treaty. These two instruments are 50 years apart. How could the RP and the US provide in 1951 for the problem of terrorism in 1998? And if this agreement is to be taken seriously, why is there no mention of the Mutual Defense Treaty in the text of the VFA? The MDT is only mentioned in the Preamble.

The Philippine Supreme Court considers that the preamble is not an essential part of a statute: “The preamble can neither expand nor restrict its operation, much less prevail over its text. Nor can a preamble be used as basis for giving a statute a meaning not apparent on its face.”8

In any event, the MDT merely declares in Article 4: “Each party recognizes that an armed attack in the Pacific area or either of the parties would be dangerous to its own peace and safety, and declares that it would act to meet the common dangers in accordance with its constitutional processes.”

Thus, the MDT is irrelevant to the VFA. There is no armed attack against the Philippines; what we have in Mindanao is an insurgency. In case of armed attack in the Philippines, US response would not be automatic, but would have to undergo US constitutional processes, whatever the Americans will conceive it to be.

If China launches an armed attack against the Philippines over ownership claims to the Spratleys, will the US come to the aid of the Philippines? No. During this year’s visit to the Philippines, US Defense Secretary Robert Gates was quoted as saying: “There are a number of security challenges and obvious concerns on conflicting claims in the South China Sea. The US takes no position on these claims.”9

But in realpolitik, Gates was merely saying that the US at this time cannot afford to antagonize the China. China has bought US treasury bonds worth US$1 trillion. These so-called treasuries are documents of loans borrowed by the US. Hence, the US owes US$1 trillion to China.

Benefits Are Illusory

The Philippines is not even among the Top Ten Military Aid Recipients of the US compiled by the Center for Public Integrity three years after the 9-11 bombings of the Twin Towers in New York.10 The following list uses round figures:

1. Israel – $ 9 B
2. Egypt – $ 6 B
3. Pakistan – $ 4.6 B
4. Jordan – $ 2.6 B
5. Afghanistan – $ 2.6 B
6. Colombia – $ 2 B
7. Turkey – $ 1 B
8. Peru – $445.8 M
9. Bolivia – $320.6 M
10. Poland – $313 M

From Malacañang, the VFA Commission has produced the following list of financial aid from the US, as follows:

Foreign Military Financing since 1999 – US$250 M
Foreign Military Sales 2001-07 – 76.5 M
Excess Defense Articles 1999-2007 – 76.7 M

The US calls the Philippines as a major non-NATO ally, but treats us
like a shabby country cousin. In return for the VFA, what we receive is paltry, mostly in the form of Excess Defense Articles, in other words, US military junk. According to the Federation of American Scientists: “Not wanting to pay the cost of things or destroying the surplus, the US Department of Defense dispenses most of it for free, or at deep reduction through the excess defense articles (EDA) program.”

It is said that despite years of American military aid to the Philippines, the AFP remains the most poorly equipped in Asia. Paano, akala natin bibigyan tayo ng Amerikano ng pampagara, yon pala, ukay-ukay ang inabot natin!

Conclusion

This Senate should at best express the desire of the thinking Filipino to renegotiate or else terminate the VFA, for the following reasons:

1. It violates the Philippine Constitution, which provides that the US as the other contracting state should have recognized the VFA as a treaty, not as a mere executive agreement.
2. The VFA, to use a constitutional law term, is void for vagueness, in that it fails to define the crucial terms “visit”, “temporary,” and “activities.”
3. The Supreme Court opinion in the 2009 case of Nicolas v. Romulo suffers from doctrinal confusion.
4. American military forces constitute so-called forward operating bases.
5. Only the preamble, not the text, of the VFA mentions the ancient Mutual Defense Treaty, which does not even provide for automatic US help in case of actual attack on the Philippines.
6. The alleged financial benefits under VFA for the most part constitutes US military junk.
7. The VFA is a failure, because after 10 years, the AFP has not modernized sufficiently to keep up with our Asian neighbors, and the terrorist groups are still active.

To top it all, on 21 August 2009, the New York Times reported: “Defense Sec. Robert M. Gates has decided to keep an elite 600-troop counterinsurgency operation deployed in the Philippines.” Ladies and gentlemen of the Senate, this unilateral statement, issued with the usual American military hubris, without consultation and without the consent of the proper Philippine authorities, is no less than an act of provocation against our sovereign country.
Please, President Obama, say it’s not true.

And please, ladies and gentlemen of the Senate, do not continue to look the other way, because history is looking us straight in the face.

We have tried the VFA for ten years and found it wanting. It is not for this Senate to determine the life expectancy of the VFA. That power belongs to the Philippine President. Therefore, at the very least, this Senate should ask the executive branch of government either to renegotiate or to terminate the VFA.

For, as the immortal Justice Holmes said: “It must be remembered that in quite as great a degree as the courts, legislatures are the ultimate guardian of the liberties and welfare of the people.”

End-

FOOTNOTES

1 US Constitution, Art. 2, Sec. 2.
2 With sources from M. M. Magallona, Legal Issues in the RP-US Visiting Forces Agreement, U.P. Law Center, 1998, p.1.
3 John Hendren, “Rebels shoot at US Troops in the Philippines,” Los Angeles Times, 18 June 2002.
4 Robert D. Kaplan, “Imperial Grunts,” Atlantic Monthly, October 2008, available online.
5 Military Review Journal, May-June 2004, as quoted in Focus on the Global South, Unconventional Warfare, No. 1 January 2007, pp. 8-10.
6 Focus on the Global South, At the Door of All the East, No. 2, November 2002, pp. 60-61.
7. International Herald Tribune, 4 August 1998.
8. People v. Garcia, 85 Phil. 663 (1950).
9. Ellen Tordesillas, June 2009 online.
10. Center for Philippine Integrity, “Collateral Danger: Human Rights and US Military Aid After 9/11,” issued 22 May 2007 online.
Image may contain: 1 person , meme and text

***

 

A SEASON OF PEACE, SEASON OF CEASEFIRES

KOMUNIDAD
September 29, 2016

A SEASON OF PEACE, SEASON OF CEASEFIRES

By Arturo P. Garciasub-27colombia-1-master768

It’s a good way to celebrate the coming Christmas season with a season of peace agreements.peace negotiations and ceasefires in different areas of the world. In South America, its in Colombia, in the Middle East in Syria and in Asia-the Philippines.

In Colombia, the peace agreement between the Frente Armadas Revolucionario de Colombia (FARC) and the Colombian government has been concluded in Havana, Cuba had been signed in Cartagena, Colombia last September 26, 2016

The peace agreement ended the 52 year old armed struggle in Colombia that started during the civil war between the conservative and the liberal parties in Colombia called the “La Violencia” in the 1940’s up to 2016.

After 130 days, the FARC will be demobilized, its arms will be at the safekeeping of the United Nations and a nationwide referendum will ratify the peace agreement.

In Syria, the ceasefire was a result of the peace talks between the United States and Russia in Geneva, Switzerland. The ceasefire is for humanitarian reason, to allow the entry of humanitarian aid to refugees that number in millions in the conflict area and as a breather for both side from the killings, bombings and military offensives.ISIS-Controlled-Areas

The ceasefire will only last 48 hours and is renegotiated every after 48 hours of monitoring. But people appreciate it because it gives them moments of peace.

For a while the ISIS and the other groups have used the ceasefire to their advantage. But lately, after the Russians and the Syrian resumed the airstrikes, the Syrian forces have gained ground in Allepo and other rebel held areas.

In the Philippines, as a result of preliminary peace negotiations in Oslo, Norway, the Philippine government and the National Democratic Front (NDF) gave way for the declaration of unilateral ceasefire for an indefinite period on both sides.

The first time in more than 30 years, a unilateral ceasefire agreed upon by both side sans a formal agreement and with details still to be hammered out, is in effect. And both sides have benefits and disadvantages enjoyed.14054299_10209124495803178_1134729115577460992_o

The last bilateral ceasefire between the NDFP and the Philippine government was from November 27 1986 to January 22, 1987. The ceasefire ended when the military massacre 13 farmer-protestors in Mendiola,Manila during a rally on January 22, 1987. It was called the 2nd Mendiola Massacre of 1987 during the Cory Aquino administration after the 1st EDSA Revolution.

A big advantage for the Duterte regime is that the ceasefire freed scores of battalion of the AFP from the NPA areas to de deployed at the ASG infested areas in the Sulu archipelago, Basilan and Tawi-tawi to focus on the ISIS influenced areas.

For the NDF, it was a confidence building measures after Duterte withdraw his unilateral ceasefire order after his State of the Nation Address (SONA) last July and ordered the AFP to pursue the NPA forces.

There was a spat between Duterte and Joema Sison and after the tirades from both sides, all ended well with the peace talks in Norway.It also gives time for both sides to consolidate their forces. It is the calm before the storm.

I believe that after Duterte has consolidated the AFP and his anti-drug war, he will unleash his armed forces against the NPA just like all the Philippine President did in the 70 years history of the Philippine Republic. Or make peace as he promised with the NDF, MILF and the MNLF.

As the saying goes, “in times of peace, prepare for war.”

***

KAPAYAPAAN

SALAG-BANAT
Setyembre 28, 2016

KAPAYAPAAN

Ni Arturo P. Garcia

sub-27colombia-1-master768

Nagwakas ang may 52 taong tagal na gyera sibil sa Colombia nang mapiramahan ang kasunduaan sa kapayaan sa pagitan ng mga gerilya ng FARC at ng gobyerno ng Colombia noong Setyembre 26, 2016 sa dating kapitolyo ng Colombia, sa lungsod ng Cartagena.

Sinaksihan ito ni John Kerry, Sekretaryo ng Estado ng Estado Unidos, Presidente Fidel Castro ng Cuba at Sekretaryo-Heneral ng United Nations, Ban Ki Moon. Pinirmahan ito nina President Manuel Dos Santos ng Colombia at ng Kumander ng FARC na Rodrigo Londono aka Timoshenko.

Mas matagal lang ng ilangpung taon ang armadong pakikibaka sa Pilipinas. Kung tutuusin, mas matagal ang kasaysayan ng armadong pakikibaka ng Pilipinas kaysa sa Colobia. Nagsimula pa ito noong Ikalawang Digmaang pandaigdig mula sa mga HUKBALAHAP na naging HMB noong 1948.

Gayunman may patlang ang armadong pakikikabaka sa Pilipinas dahil humina ang HMB noong 1954-1968 hanggang sa muling maitatag ang Bagong Hukbong Bayan o ang NPA noong Marso 29, 1969.

Mula noon, hanggang ngayon, may armadong pakikibaka pa rin sa Pilipinas. Ito ay sa lilalim ng pamumuno ng Partido Komunista ng Pilipinas ( MLM) na gumagabay sa bagong Hukbong Bayan (NPA).

****

14054299_10209124495803178_1134729115577460992_o

Ngayon naman, sa Pilipinas, umiiral ang unilateral na tigil putukan na pinaiiral sa pagitan ng NDF at ng Gobyerno ng Pilipinas sa ilalim ni Rodrigo Duterte mula noong mag-usap ang NDFP at GPH sa Oslo, Norway noong Setyembre.

May nakatakdang pag-uusap na gagawin sa susunod na lingo sa Oktubre 6. Dito pipinuhinang bilateral ceasefore, ang mga talakayan sa CASER o Socio Economic Reforms at kung paano pa mapapabilis ang usapangh pangkapayapaan sa Pilipinas.

Sa ngayon, nakikinabang ang gobyernong Duterte sa tigil-putukan dahil nakapagbunot ito ng may 10 batalyon na lumalaban sa NPA patungo sa Sulu, Basilan, Tawi-tawi at lanao Del Norte laban sa mpwersa ng ASG at ng Maute Group na kasapi sa ISIS.

****

Kamakailan lamang, binigyan ng hapunang salu-salo sa Malacanang ang mga kinatawan ng NDF, sa kauna-unahang pagkataon.

Dahil dito, marami ang nagtaas ng kilay lalo na ang mga konserbatibo at mga anti-komunistang tutol sa pagkakamalapit nia Duterte sa mga Komunista.

Ngunit sa kabila ng lahat, mukhang seryoso si Duterte na matamo ang kapayapaan sa kanyang panahon.

Kakaiba sa mga sgad-sagaring anti-komunista tulad ni Noynoy Aquino III na hindi nakipag-usap sa NDFP sa loob ng anim na taon

.***

Mukhang maaliwalas ang landas tungo sa kapayapaan sa Pilipinas. Bagamat masalimuoot pa rin ang lnadas, nagsisikap ang dalawang panig na mag-usap. Mas masalimuot pa ang pakikipag-usap sa MNLF at kay Nur Misurai.

Tinanggihan na ni Duterte ang kahilingan ni Nur Misuari na isama sa usapang pangkapayaan ang grupong ASG.Samantala, hinihintay na lamang ng MILF ang pagpapasa ng Kongreso sa binagong Bangsa Moro Basic Law o BBL na hindi nakapasa sa ilalim ng Rehimeng US-Aquino.

Bantayan na lang natin ang mga pagsisisikap tungo sa kapayapaan. Lagi tayong umasa sa lahat ng pagsisikap dahil wika nga sa banal na aklat, “ ang mga naghahangad ng kapayaan ay pinagpapala.”

NO FILAM PLOT TO OUST DUTERTE

JFAV UPDATES

September 27, 2016

NO FILAM PLOT TO OUST DUTERTE

By Rodel Rodis

14211991_1031784303600992_3569646119046952000_n

San Francisco-– It began with a radio interview on Manila radio station DZRH on September 19, 2016 when Pres. Duterte’s Communications Secretary Martin Andanar announced the breaking news that Filipino Americans in New York were planning a coup against Pres. Duterte in January of 2017.

“I was just talking to somebody in New York now who is also a member of the Cabinet – I won’t mention his name. But he also heard of the Fil-Ams in New York who are planning. They are hatching a plan to oust the President by January 2017. There is this kind of report,” he said.
Andanar added that he even asked this unnamed official if he has evidence to prove it or if this is another hearsay

“It’s really about the evidence that you have, isn’t it? (If there is) you let me know (because) it is the concern for the government and it should be a concern for the nation because it’s a destabilization talk,” Andanar said he told the official.
Andanar never identified the cabinet official he said he spoke with, but there were only two cabinet officials who were in New York in that time period — Department of Foreign Affairs Secretary Perfecto Yasay, Jr. and Presidential Spokesman

When he spoke at a Town Hall meeting with the Filipino-American community at the Philippine Consulate in New York on Wednesday, Sept. 21, Yasay was asked if he can confirm what Andanar reported.14212654_1340685869282398_8013393941733609277_n

Yasay replied: “I do not know whether those reports are true, I deny having said those things and I am sure Sec. Ernie Abella would not say those things,” he said.

So the question is not whether Yasay or Abella have any evidence of the plot, which Andanar announced in his radio interview, but whether Andanar has any evidence that “a member of the cabinet” actually provided the information to him. Or did Andanar just make it up as a joke?

Andanar’s background may help explain how this confusion. According to Wikipedia, Andanar from Cagayan de Oro City is “a former Filipino television news anchor, radio commentator, podcaster, audio blogger, voice-over artist and comedian.”

Unless reading a teleprompter as an anchorman qualifies one as a newsman, it does not appear that Andanar has the journalism credentials to even understand what hearsay means. He said he asked the unnamed official to present him with evidence that he heard that Filipino-Americans in New York were talking about ousting Duterte. He then said that if the official could not present him with evidence of what he said he heard, then it would just be hearsay. Huh?
denied even talking to Andanar about this issue. The lack of any evidence of this “plot” did not stop Andanar from further inflaming the issue in subsequent press conferences.

‘We have names’14233202_10154596029480362_4078307125080544810_n-1

Two days after the radio interview, Andanar announced from Malacanang Palace that the administration has already identified the people behind the supposed plot of Filipino Americans. “We have names. We know who you are,” he said.

“We are aware of this and we have names, I’ve received names, but I’m not going to mention it because, you know, I was also a journalist and we might be charged with libel,” Andanar said in a press briefing Tuesday.

According to the news reports, Andanar declined to provide any clue on the identities of the people who are allegedly plotting Duterte’s ouster. He claimed, however, that the information was provided by “credible sources.”

The difference between Martin Andanar and Hitler’s Minister of Propaganda Josef Goebbels is that the latter never claimed to be a “former journalist.” Goebbels famously said, “It is the absolute right of the State to supervise the formation of public opinion.”

It was Goebbels’ boss who famously said: “If you tell a big enough lie and tell it frequently enough, it will be believed.”

One day after Secretary Yasay denied talking to Andanar and expressed skepticism that the other cabinet official in New York, Sec. Petilla, had talked to him; Andanar was undeterred. “We have to confirm, we have to vet, but whatever they’re planning, just think twice because it is not lawful when you bring down a government. And rest assured that we will protect our president,” he said.

Andanar has used reports about a conversation that was denied by the source he used to launch a witch hunt against an imagined plot of Filipino-Americans who are critical of the Duterte administration because of its sordid record of extrajudicial killings.

Andanar is working with Duterte supporters in the U.S. to compile a list of Filipino-American critics so they will “think twice” about participating in any anti-Duterte demonstrations opposing extrajudicial killings.
Possible source of rumor

But perhaps there were conversations by Filipino Americans in New York and other parts of the U.S. about asking Pres. Duterte to resign.

On September 8, 2016, Balitang America aired an interview with Filipino American human rights lawyer Ted Laguatan where he criticized Pres. Duterte for damaging the good relations of the Philippines with the US. “I’m sorry for him that he cannot control his mouth and his brain because it gives us a bad image as a nation. It is unfitting because he is seen speaking like that against the world, against the leader of the United States, against Filipino interest. There’s only one solution. He should resign,” he said.

14138028_1165342620206412_7784357523377574689_o
The following week, on September 13, at a national teleconference of the U.S. Pinoys for Good Governance (USP4GG), led by Loida Nicolas-Lewis from New York, members discussed Laguatan’s call for Duterte to resign. While there was support for the sentiment, there was also concern that it was not yet time for it and that it would only be used by Duterte supporters to attack the credibility of his critics.

There was also a suggestion for US Pinoys to write a letter to Pres. Duterte to ask him to tone down his language and his attacks on the US, an ally supporting the Philippines claim to the West Philippine Sea.

In the end, US Pinoys for Good Governance voted unanimously to support a resolution to buy a jet ski and donate it to Pres. Duterte to help him fulfill his campaign pledge to jet ski to the Scarborough Shoal to plant a Philippine flag on it in defiance of China’s efforts to transform it into an island fortress.

It is quite possible that someone heard about this teleconference and about discussions calling for Duterte to resign and passed the word out to some unnamed cabinet official in New York who may have passed it on to Andanar. As anyone familiar with the perils of how a “broken telephone” works, the retelling of the conversion escalated the original call for Duterte to resign, to a call to impeach him, to a call to mount a coup to oust him.
January of 2017?

The remaining mystery is the date. According to Andanar, the “Fil Ams from New York” are planning to stage their coup in January of 2017. As one who participated in that September 13 teleconference, I can confirm that no one mentioned a date for Pres. Duterte to resign.

But I think I know the source of the date Andanar is referring to. January of 2017 is six months after Pres. Duterte assumed office. In his campaign speeches, candidate Duterte repeatedly promised to resign if he is not able to solve the problems of crime and drugs in his first six months in office.

As Interaksyon reported on January 20, 2016, Duterte said: “I will not ask for a (full) term…I ask for three to six months and I will finish them,” said Duterte, referring to criminals, drug lords, and corrupt public officials, during a symposium in Manila at the De La Salle University.

Duterte assumed the presidency on June 30, 2016. Duterte’s self-imposed six-month term will expire on December 30, 2016. So on January 1, 2017, Duterte will resign. This is not according to Fil-Ams in New York, as Andanar alleges. This is according to Pres. Duterte himself.

Mystery solved.

(Rodel Rodis is national president of U.S. Pinoys for Good Governance. Send comments to Rodel50@gmail.com or mail them to the Law Offices of Rodel Rodis at 2429 Ocean Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94127 or call 415.334.7800).

****

PEACE AT LAST IN COLOMBIA

KOMUNIDAD
September 27, 2016

PEACE AT LAST IN COLOMBIA

By Arturo P. Garcia

sub-27colombia-1-master768

In a Caribbean resort city of Cartagena–the former capital of Colombia also known as Nueva Espana, the Colombian government and the country’s largest rebel group-the Frente Revolucionaria Armadas de Colombia (FARC) signed a peace agreement on Monday evening, September 26, 2016

The ceremony, held in Cartagena, brought an end to a 52-year-old war with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, the longest armed insurgency in South America. .

The war started more than 50 years ago when the Conservative Party composed of landlords and capitalist refused to give democratic space to the Liberal party composed of Peasants and Professional. Instead they waged a brutal war to suppress the people who toil the lands.

In frustration, the peasant armed themselves. Led by the legendary leader Manuel Marulanda aka TiroFijo (Sure Shot). they and fought a long guerilla war against the reactionary government. Later, they joined the the FARC and its grew into a large force with a liberated area as big as Switzerland.

Very different from the Philippines, the war in Colombia, also known as “La Violencia” was an fratricidal war between Colombians. Unlike in Colombia, the Americans gave the Philippines a virtual reality of self-rule, democratic elections that made the ruling class happy to oppress the poor majority. The FARC has to fight for its rights by the use of arms.

The only similarity was the Colombian government is propped up by the United States just like in the Philippines.The equation changed when Cuba, supported the FARC and other armed groups in Latin and South America the late 1960’s.

“What we sign today is a declaration from the Colombian people before the world that we are tired or war,” President Juan Manuel Santos said in his prepared remarks,

The sitting president , Santos who was then the Defense Minister shook the hands of the very rebel leader whom government forces had once hunted in the mountains, as the two sides pledged a future of peaceful politics.

“Let no one doubt that we will now pursue politics without weapons,” said Rodrigo Londoño, alias Commandante Timoshenko the top commander of the FARC, offering an apology to the war’s victims.

The peace process was a result of four years of intense negotiations mostly held in Havana, Cuba. When the peace agreement was signed in havana, the final signing was scheduled in Colombia.

All told, some 220,000 people lost their lives, and more than five million were displaced.Many argued that the time had come at last to end generations of unrest.

**

Paglalakbay

JFAV UPDATES

September 26, 2016

Tula

Paglalakbay

KCM

Hinahanap ko ang lilim
ng mga kahoy sa Progreso,
Ang malumanay na ilog ng Rogus,
Ang maaliawalas na tugatog ng Buyon,
abot-tanaw ang ilog ng Cauayan at ang highway.

Di ko malimutan ang tamis ng tubig
Mula sa malalim ng balon ng Sinalugan,
Maging ang lambak ng Kalatbagen, Echague
At ang matataas na burol ng Dicamay, Jones,

Sa dulong norte, nakakaalis ang lungkot
Ang malawak tanap ng Masipi sa Cabagan,
Ganoon din ang tuktok ng markang bungo
Ng Tupa, San Pablo at duluhan ng Simanu.

Puting-puti ang kapatagan at mga burol.
Sa dami ng mga kawa ng bakang
Naglipana at naglilimayon,
Bumubuhay sa dulong hilaga.

Mahangin ang tuktok ng Pitso-Manok,
Ngunit mas malaya ang mga burol
Ng Dalaoig, Alcala na abot-tanaw ng Ilog Cagayan
Maging ang mga lambak ng Baggao ,Amulung ,
at Alcala sa Cagayan

Doon abot tanaw mo ang Balbalasang
ng Kalinga-Apayao,
ang tawag sa bundok ng nakahimlay na diwata,
Na di maglalaon, mula doon tatanawin mo naman
Ang Silangang pinagmulan

Totoo, hahanap-hanapin mo ang mga lunan ,
Kung saan nawasak ang iyong puso at kaluluwa,
Naghinagpis sa lahat ng buhay na naputi,
Sa magiting na pakikipaglaban.

Tigib ng dusa at lumbay ang dulot ng pagkawalay
Sa lupang tinubuan at sa pangarap na lamang
Gugunitain ang mga lunan na iyong pinagdaan
Sa mahabang, napakahabang paglalakybay.

JFAV:KmB.Ugnayan Lobbyist in the US Capitol, February 28-March 2, 2016

Ngayon, habang nakatanaw sa dagat Pasipiko
Sa taas ng talampas ng Los Angeles,
Minsan sa mga dalampasigan nito,
Hayaang bakasin ang mga paglalakabay,
Mga pakikibakang puspos ng gunita,
Ng mga kabiguan at tagumpay.

Ang dakilang paglalakbay
ng sambayanang Pilipino,
puspos ng giting at tapang
na pinagbuwisan ng dugo,
lagi ko itong gugunitain,
Tungo sa ganap na paglaya!

APG
Setyembre 12, 2016

***

PROUD TO BE A FILIPINO AMERICAN VOTER

KOMUNIDAD
September 25, 2016

PROUD TO BE A FILIPINO AMERICAN VOTER

by Arturo P. Garcia

After more than four general and numerous local elections in the United States, I can now say that I am proud to be a Filipino-American voter.

A glaring proof of our political power is when Philippine President Duterte’s PR man, Martin Andanar blamed FilAms for “plotting destabilization plot against Duterte”. It is a proof the growing political clout of FilAm voters in the Untied States.

It was a complement to appreciate the political clout of the Filipino American beyond America in the Philippines. But let us study how we build our political power through the years.

Unfamiliar with American politics, I plunged into darkness, yet emerged enlightened. At first, I wanted my unanswered questions to be resolved. And that is how the Filipino-American vote can make a difference in America.

Locally, I found my answer when Pacheco ran as a councilman in District 14. He appealed to Filipino veterans and the Filipino-American community in Eagle Rock, and he won by a narrow margin.I believed then that our seniors and veterans and our community vote made the difference, but I was still not sure. I thought it was just a gut feeling.

I can feel our community was imbibed with the brave spirit of defiance for the dictator in the elections of the snap elections of 1986 that Marcos tried to rig with the help of then Defense Secretary Juan Ponce-Enrile who did the cheating in Cagayan. That defiance resulted into the EDSA People’s Uprising in 1986 that overthrow the dictator Marcos and in 2001 the corrupt actor-president Erap Estrada.

Besides, the Americans introduced to the Philippines the concept of electoral democracy. In fact after the first elections in 1907, elections and politics became the favorite national pastime of the Filipinos side by side with radio and TV telenovelas and cockfighting.

I was proven right later, when Jose Huizar ran against him and another Filipina candidate. Later, Huizar won handily later after he got the Filipino-American community’s support. An example was the defiant Filipina-American candidate, Ruby De Vera gave Huizar a scare in that elections when she finished a good third place behind two Latino candidates in a Latino majority district, carried by Filipino-American community votes.

In District 13, when Eric Garcetti first ran as a councilman , I was proven right again. Eric was relatively unknown and was running against a known Chinese-American, who was once a council member of our district and as a Mayor of Los Angeles.

We asked him to campaign with the Filipino-American veterans and brought him to them. There were still many Filipino veterans in Filipinotown then. An ordinary veterans’ meeting can bring more than 200 of them in one place.

In that election, he narrowly won, by a very slight margin of 200 votes. And those were Filipino-American community votes. Specifically, the Filipino veterans’ votes. There were more than 18,000 veterans living in California that time out of the more than 36,000 who immigrated to America and became American citizens in 1992.

When then aspiring Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa ran for the second time against James Hahn, he ignored the Filipino-American and the API community. We joined the API groups in supporting incumbent Mayor Hahn. Hahn lost but Villaraigosa lost the Asian American votes, especially the Filipino-American voters, despite winning all the ethnic groups. We have taught him a lesson he will never forget.

Some Filipino –American minimalist and armchair analyst will question our analysis and point out the fact that the Filipino-American community is still a sleeping giant and have not proved its clout. They expect too much of Filipino pride and political power, but as always, they chide and rant from the comforts of the academe or by clogging the internet with their so-called advocacy.

But I will tell them that the Filipino-American community has existed less than a hundred years in America, contrary to the claims of some that we have been here in America as a community for 425 years.Granting them the benefit of the doubt, I say being here is a different story. As an empowered community, we have just barely begun to start the fight.

The main bulk of the core of our community came during the Kennedy years of the early 1960’s. More than 300,000 Filipinos comprised what is called the “brain drain of the Philippines.” But like “ a bad thing being turned into a good thing”, this brain drain became a diaspora for building a new community outside of our homeland.

The Filipino-American community in North America, in the United States did not stage another uprising in the United States like what they did in EDSA in 1986 and 2001.

They did not spawn a revolution like those in 1896 and 1986. Instead they mobilized and educated themselves, went to the polls as a community and voted for continuing change for the better in the last election.

For this phenomenon, I have all the reasons to be proud and call myself a Filipino-American voter.

***

KMB/SIKAP IN ACTION, SEPTEMBER 24, 2016 at SIPA

JFAV UPDATES

September 25, 2016

KMB/SIKAP IN ACTION, SEPTEMBER 24, 2016 at SIPA

14444693_1188655317875142_6276461056739851919_o

Los Angeles-KmB advocating for Pilipinx Studies attends SIPA community activity, Saturday, September 24, 2016

SIKAP (CCAPS or California Coalition Advancing Pilipinx Studies) is about perseverance and fighting for our hxstory to be relevant and accessible.

We have armbands for you to participate in the solidarity action every Tuesday in October for Pilipinx-American Hxstory Month from UCLA to Cal Poly Pomona to USC, and more!

#SIKAP #Education #Pilipinx #Filipino #FilAm #GetORGANIZED #ProPeopleYouth#KmB #EthnicStudies #LosAngeles #LA #DoubleErasure

 

JUSTICE LEAGUE MEETING, SEPTEMBER 24, 2016

JFAV UPDATES

September 24, 2016

JUSTICE LEAGUE MEETING, SEPTEMBER 24, 2016

14468414_1188630337877640_5643909894209088520_o

Los Angeles--Thank you CSUN FASA, CPP PASK, CPP/CSULB XPO, MSMU, and CSULB KPE!

Join us on Veterans Day, Friday, November 11th for the 16th Annual JFAV March in Hollywood, Los Angeles!

Meet at Hollywood and Ivar at 10 am. March is 10 am – 2 pm, and there will be an after-event to build with one another.

More details TBA. We extended the submissions deadline for this year’s shirt and/or flyer until Thursday, September 29th. Next JFAV Justice League meeting will be in early October.

If you are interested, email propeopleyouth@gmail.com.#JFAV16 #70StillNoEquity #DontSayNoNotoMyLolo#ProPeopleYouth #KmB #Solidarity #Community#LosAngeles #Filipino #FilAm #CSUN #XPO #KPE#MSMU

***