Monthly Archives: October 2016

Comrade Jose “Joe Pogi” ” Navidad, 68

FAI NEWS
October 30, 2016

Comrade Jose “Joe Pogi” ” Navidad, 68JOEN (1948-2016)

Los Angeles– AS THE PILIPINO AMERICAN HISTORY MONTH THIS OCTOBER 2016, OUR LAST FEATURED FILAM LEADER IS JOE NAVIDAD.

Jose or Ka. Joe Navidad was one of the durable and well-seasoned leaders of the Filipino-American community and the progressive sector.

Actually, he was the first Filipino teacher who taught Tagalog courses in different high schools especially at the Eagle Rock High School and one who initiated the teaching of the Pilipino language in schools.

He also introduced the community organizing as a concept in non-profit organizers in California until it became fashionable to call non-profit employees that.

Progressive Anti War and Anti-Racism Community Leader

PCORE1998

He almost single-handedly formed the BAYAN-International USA to counter the effects of the “rejectionist” who was able to take hold of the progressive FilAm movement in the early 1990’s.

After some organizational conflict with that movement, he helped organized the Alliance-Philippines (AJLPP) that replaced the now Philippine based alliance.

Joe “Pogi” Navidad was born on February 14, 1948 in the southern Philippines and died on April 22, 2016 in his home in Pasadena, CA.

Joe Navidad was the Executive Director of People’s CORE and a former founder and member of the National Committee of the International ANSWER Coalition (ANSWER Coalition ) founded on September 29, 2001. 

He was also a founding member and member of the International Coordinating Committee (ICC) of the International League of Peoples Struggle (ILPS) from 2001-2004.

He was also the founder of the Philippine Peasant Support Network (PESANTE-USA) and the National Coordinator of BAYAN International-USA or New Patriotic Alliance -USA based in the United States from 1993 to 2005. 

Red salute to you, Ka. Joe!

***

GENERAL ANTONIO LUNA, THE GREATEST FILIPINO ANTI -IMPERIALIST GENERAL

CULTURAL NOTES
October 29, 2016

GENERAL ANTONIO LUNA, THE GREATEST FILIPINO ANTI -IMPERIALIST GENERAL

By Arturo P. Garciaantonio_luna_small

( In honor of the 150th Birth Anniversary of General Antonio Luna, i re-published this article. I added small notes and minor editions. General Luna was born of October 29, 1866 in Binondo, Manila.

I wrote this article In commemoration of the 149th Birth Anniversary of General Antonio Luna on October 29, 2015. The Justice for Filipino American Veterans (JFAV) published this article)

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As a historian and a military historian, I rise to the defend of the greatest anti-imperialist Filipino General Antonio Luna and to refute the innuendoes of the so called”pre-immenent Filipino historian”

Teodoro Agoncillo who by the way is related to the family of Emilio Aguinaldo. He who says, “ General Luna is no hero, and a general who never won any battles.”

Wild and False Charges

The charges of Agoncillo is not true but a continuing campaign to malign General Antonio Luna including also UP professor Dr. Vivencio Jose who wrote the book, “The Rise and Fall of Antonio Luna” (1982) which became the reference of the film-Heneral Luna.

The Agoncillo led campaign is to demean General Luna as a ‘temperemental hot-head” and “abrasive” to justify his assassination and dastardly murder on June 5, 1899 and hide the accountability of General Emilio Aguinaldo in the assassination of Luna.

As a military historian unlike the armchair historians like Agoncillo, I rise to defend Luna , Bonifacio and others to protect not only their honor.

This also to defend and to protect the honor of those brave patriots who died in the defense of our freedom against the Spanish Colonialist and American imperialist and those who want to malign them.

General Luna Won his First Battle as A Brigade Commander

General_Manuel_Tinio,_General_Benito_Natividad,_LtCol_Jose_Alejandrino

First, it is not true that General Luna never won a battle. Actually he was one of then a Colonels of the Republican army that liberated Manila during the Battle for Manila in August 13, 1898 in the coordinated American and Filipino attack against the Spanish forces.

Luna headed a Republican army brigade that handled the sector that occupied and drove away the Spanish army in their block houses in the suburbs of Sampaloc and Quiapo up Santa Cruz and Binondo. Luna was just a new commissioned General and together with other Filipino Generals took the suburbs of Manila except the walled City of Manila.

Luna and other Generals like Pio Del Pilar and Mariano Noriel saw the duplicity of the Americans when they occupied Intramuros and won’t let the Filipinos entered the walled city. That early, their suspicion was proven true when they were not allowed to enter the walled city of Intramuros after the “mock battle of Manila.”

How they hated the Americans when they saw that the Spanish surrendered the city and raised the American flag on top of th walled city. They knew they were robbed of victory.

And yet the naïve General and President ( Sic) Emilio Aguinaldo trusted more his pro-American cabinet and his American allies than his generals on the field. Dr. Jose gave the details on this battle on his book. So who now never won any battle as a general?

Luna led the attack on Manila, February 1899Heneral Luna

2nd, Dr.Jose in an interview with the ANC last September 29, (Manila time)2015 explained to Karen Davila that : ” how can General Luna win any battle when General Aguinaldo kept the best and majority of the forces with him, centralizing the forces loyal to him like the Pampanga Brigade and the Kawit Brigade under him when they were needed in the battlefield.? “

Dr Jose explained that the Luna plan to attack Manila faltered because the Kawit Batallion under Captain Jalolino and other forces refused to reinforce his (Luna’s) forces in Caloocan. Precisely because the Pampanga Brigade under General Mariano Hizon was taking a beating at the Battle Of Caloocan. The cowards ran away, saving themselves and leaving the brave Filipino partriots to die and hold the line in front of the overwhelming American enemies at the Battle of Manila and Caloocan.

Dr. Vivencio Jose said, “the plan was good but it in implementation it was not good.” Can we blame General Luna about this?

Even the Asian leader Mao Zedong explained, “there is no such thing as an ever victorious general.”

He further explained, that ” a good general or a military leader can be good if he can use the forces at his disposal and make do with his limitations.” And that what General Luna did.

Agoncillo Erred

3rd. Agoncillo again erred when he said, “the American forces were still weak then so there is no need to wage guerilla warfare.” Again the historian erred because he is not a military historian.

Most of all, I find Agoncillo as so arrogant to malign Luna the way he malign Bonifacio. HE said of Luna;

— “ How did he become a hero? ….He never won any battle, papaano mo sasabihing hero iyan? sinunod daw si Luna, yung guerilla warfare. Noong panahong sinasabi niyang maggegerilya, hindi maaari ang guerilla eh because the Americans were still weak at the time, papaano gegerilyahin iyan? Pangalawa, there was no preparation for guerilla warfare. Hindi niya ina-analyze. All that he wants is to justify all the things that Luna did.”

Agonclilo erred again. This time big errors. I agree, he was an nationalist historian but he lacks acumen in military history. He made a wrong assessment of the military forces at that time.

Luna excelled despite limitationsAntonio_luna_PG

The American forces are strong. They have naval support. It was because the US Asiatic Fleet was anchored in Manila Bay shelled the Filipino forces in Manila up to Tondo and even as far as Bulacan and Cavite can be reached by their naval guns.

This is a big advantage that the Americans have because the Filipinos have no navy to speak of.

Add to that , the small gunboats that can traverse the Pasig River, these naval artillery punished the Filipino forces that was depending the road towards Malolos. Bulacan, the Capital of the Republic.

The American forces although composed of volunteers were commanded by American generals who were veterans of the Civil War and the Indian Campaigns. They possess good artillery pieces and Gatling guns or the early version of the machine guns that were superior to the little artillery and small arms that the Filipino forces had.

The Americans have a mounted cavalry. They brought their horses to the Philippines. These cavalrymen were veterans of the Indian wars in America and some of them were composed of African Americans that brought fear to the Filipinos. While the Filipinos have none. Only the officers rode horses.

So where in the world Agoncillo get his conclusions that guerilla warfare is not needed at that time.? And the American forces were weak?

Luna learned the hard facts that the Filipino forces cannot win the fixed set piece battles that they were fighting from February to May 1899. They were always on the losing end and the only thing they can do is to delay the advance of the enemy by fighting at every strong point they can establish , fight and hold the line.

Thus with his limitations in fighting a conventional warfare or mobile regular warfare, Luna held the line for Aguinaldo who would rather keep thousands of forces at his disposal than to release them to the command of Luna on the battlefield of Luzon.

Despite fighting a regular mobile warfare on fixed battle lines, General can do as much within his limitations and the limitation of of his forces. Despite that the Republican forces won victories like at the Battle of Quaiga, Bulacan on Aprill 27, 1899 and the south of Manila like in the Battle of Mabitac, Laguna.

Only after is death, when Aguinaldo issued Luna’s memorandum to wage guerilla warfare then the Filipinos has some small measures of victory.

Dr.Jose and General Jose Alejandrino were right; “Aguinaldo was thrust as a national leader with no vision and has small town mentality.

On the other hand, Luna though he did not study formally in the academy learned from his Belgian and French military fiends and has the vision how to defeat the Americans but was waylaid to satisfy the ambition of a weak dictator president who want to play as a general.

Luna. A Victim of Regionalism called Cavitismo14595808_10207871654854601_8029198642329058949_n

4th, General Luna was a victim of regionalism that the Spaniards used to rule over the Filipinos. For more than 300 years. The Spaniards kept regional forces of Guardia Veterana of Civil Guards like the Macabebes of Pampanga, The Ilocanos ad the Guardia Tagala.

General Aguinaldo fostered this regionalism by favoring his Cavite people and dispensing favors and ranks to those who are loyal to him and who would not fight but only obey him.

In fact, he replaced Luna with his subaltern, General Mariano Trias, also from Cavite who willfully surrendered to the Americans after Aguinaldo was captured and took his oath of allegiance to the Americans.

He did not even issued an order for his second -in-command General Miguel Malvar to take over as the Commander of the revolutionary forces as provided for the orders of succession in the Philippine Republican Army.

He favored the Bulacan Brigade under Gregorio Del PIlar, The Tarlac Brigade under General Venancio Conception and Servillano Aquino and used them to purge officers and men who are perceived to be loyal to Luna after the assassination.

Del Pilar tortured and killed the Bernal brothers from Mandaluyong because they were the staff officers of Luna.Generals Venencio Concepcion and Servillano Aquino (the great grandfather of President Aquino)  of the Tarlac Regiment also were the henchmen and loyalist of Aguinaldo who purged Luna’s officer and men.

That can also be said of the Pampanga Regiment under General Tomas Mascardo who refused to take orders from Luna.

General Luna was a good military commander and the only thing that they can say to him was he was a “mananampal.” . That he verbally abuse those who went against him.

He was mercurial especially when he is on the right. He calls a spade a spade. He called cowards as cowards and mince no word. An Avant garde during his time.

The Soldier’s General14695405_10207850348441954_5232161676933159161_n

5th General Luna was not an ordinary General. He was a hands on General. He was always right in to thick of the battle.

At the Battle of La Loma, he personally retrieved his friend who was wounded, Col Jose Torres Bugallon in the thick of battle in the midst of enemy naval and artillery.bombardment.

He was not an armchair general or a ‘Chateau General” of World War I commanding from the comforts of his villa way from the battle. He was fearless and personally led his man in battle like Alexander the Great and Civil War Confederate generals Thomas “ Stonewall” Jackson and Union Army Ulysses Grant.

He was wounded at the Battle of Santo Tomas, Pampanga and only a purse of coin saved his life. While fighting the battles, he was also the editor of the paper of the Republic, the “La Independencia” until he died of a cowardly assassination.

And yet his detractors like Agoncillo played to the hilt his being abrasive and being abusive. That is because he tried to install discipline among his men.

When his soldiers refused to dig trenches, he said to them,” Its better to dig trenches that can protect you than dig graves when you are dead.”

Thus Luna was more respected by his enemies- the Americans than his fellow Filipinos. The saying was right,” the courage of his enemy does him honor”. Prompting General Hughes to say,” The Filipinos killed the only General they had.”

Thus, for me, it is very unpatriotic to insinuate that Luna was a “traitor” and “should never be a hero, “because he never won any battles.” It is just a simple and baseless talk.

It is easy for Agoncillo to say Bonifacio and Luna never won any battle because for him as a historian, you are a good military leader only if you win battles.

He was a historian yes, but he is not a military historian thus he cannot fathom the circumstances that can make or unmake a military leader or even understand the art of military leadership.

Agoncillo did not know that even great military man like George Washington lost many his battles too. Even Fidel Castro was captured during their failed attack on the Moncada Barracks on July 26.1953 But later they won the Cuban revolution.

There are also great Generals who won many battles like General Robert Lee but who eventually lost the war. There are also great generals like Hannibal and Field Marshal Erwin Rommel who were losers. So it is not winning battles that counts but winning the war.

Agoncillo should blame Aguinaldo who lost the war, not Luna who fought the good fight. He only did his duty up to the time his death ,, obeying orders when was assassinated on June 5, 1899 fulfilling his duties to his president.

***

14 DAYS TO THE JFAV MARCH/RALLY IN HOLLYWOOD!

JFAV UPDATEs

October 29, 2016

14 DAYS TO THE JFAV MARCH/RALLY IN HOLLYWOOD!JFAV March,Nov.11, 2015

14572888_1224741117599895_2684201107979362884_n 14900348_1224741107599896_1617805578308148814_n

THE COUNT DOWN BEGINS: 14 DAYS TO THE 16th JFAV VETERANS DAY RALLY/MARCH IN HOLLYWOOD

JFAV UPDATES
October 29, 2016
THE COUNT DOWN BEGINS: 14 DAYS TO THE 16th JFAV VETERANS DAY RALLY/MARCH IN HOLLYWOOD
Greetings Kasamas,14900348_1224741107599896_1617805578308148814_n
We have 14 days left until #JFAV16 March!
See attached for the official JFAV flyer (front +back) in jpg and pdf formats for this year. Share/print/distribute in the community. We will have hard copy flyers by 11/2.
Complete this endorsement form: bit.ly/jfav16
JFAV March,Nov.11, 2015Invite friends to the FB event: https://www.facebook.com/events/186912715068209/

Moreover, use these images and captions for your posts on social media:

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1cur-k_IFcFQcWuS9oHMtCWF_Z3gTzKh5-VSpr1W8mu8/edit?usp=sharing.Additional designs (attached)

by Stephanie Sajor. Following are the # of recommended posts per week to be posted at 11 AM to promote the march:

  • 10/2310/30 – 3 posts organizational / 1 personal
  • 10/31 – 11/6 – 4 posts organizational / 2 personal
  • 11/7 – 11/11 – everyday posts organizational / 3 personal

Use the following: #JFAV16 and #70StillNoEquity

Upcoming events:http://bit.ly/jfav16calendar.

Reminder: NEED ASSISTANCE
We need 5 volunteers to assist with managing sign-in sheets and distributing petitions at 10 AM on 11/11. Tasks will include checking in participants and collecting signatures at the beginning and end of the march. Please confirm with us by this Friday, 10/28 if you or your organization are interested.

FINAL TWO JFAV Justice League meetings will be on Monday, 11/1 and Thursday, 11/10 from 7:45-9:45 PM. Location is TBD. Confirm attendance here by Friday, 10/28: https://doodle.com/poll/xrv5pdnttk96uon ’15-16

PILAC / KOR-HFT MARKED 150TH BIRTHDAY OF GENERAL ANTONIO LUNA, OCTOBER 27, 2016

For Immediate Release
Philippine Institute of Language,Arts and Culture (PILAC)
October 28, 2016

PILAC / KOR-HFT MARKED 150TH BIRTHDAY OF GENERAL ANTONIO LUNA OCTOBER 27, 2016

Los Angeles–Mabuhay ang ika-150 taong kaarawan ni Heneral Antonio Luna!antonio_luna_small

For the first time ever, the Filipino-American Community in the United States marked the 150th Birth Anniversary of the Greatest Filipino General of the First Philippine Republic.

The commemorative event was held at the Mayflower Restaurant in Chinatown, DTLA last Thursday, October 27, 2016

PILAC Founder Emily Roberts made the opening remarks. She said, “General Antonio Luna was known to be the bravest General of the first Philippine Republic.That is why we honor him today,”

The Cultural Program in Honor of General Luna14890509_1122793811091209_6878248684450018740_o

The Seniors of the Silver Lake Adult CBA’s featured the folk dance “Bulaklakan” They were led and mentored by newly elected PILAC President Bernie Targa-Ganon.

The guest speaker Vice Consul Rainier Casis represented Consul General Adel Cruz said, “I thanked PILAC and KOR holding this event for the Filipino American Heritage Month.

I wish them more power. This is so they can more empower the FIlipino-American community.”

BALAGTASAN Redux14876614_10207854794633106_4993560283722204532_o

And then PILAC staged a BALAGTASAN or poetic joust on Pilipino language. The topic was on the use of National Language vs the use of English.

Ms. Bernie Targa-Ganon stood for the National Language while Art Garcia and Susan Adorable argued for the foreign language. On the other hand, the moderator of LAKADIWA was played by Macky Fortu and Pastor bautista.

This is In line with the celebration of the Filipino American Heritage Month (FAHM) ,PILAC and the Knights of Rizal (KOR)-Historic FIlipintown Chapter commemorated General Luna and the sacrifices of our martyrs and heroes during the Filipino-American War and in defense of our republic.

14876413_10154359135555073_8381874219588955352_oThe emcee of the program was Ret.Commodore Jun Caringal, PN. He is also the President of the Pangasinan Brotherhood-USA Inc.

Dances, Songs and Celebrations

The crowd was regaled later with Tagalog songs performed by Sir. Rudy Ferran of the KOR-California..

The program ended with songs, dances and tee a tee of scores of community leaders from PILAC,KOR-Chapters, Silver Lake Adult CBAS, COTIFA, FACLA Inc., SCALA,Rotary Club of HFT, LASOS and other groups.

Also present at the affair was celebrated FilAm Atty. Mariano Alvarez.

For more information please call Bernie at (323)683-6477 and Art at (213)318-9065) or email us at Pilipinokami76@yahoo.com

END

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PILAC / KOR-HFT CELEBRATES 150TH BIRTHDAY OF GENERAL ANTONIO LUNA ON OCTOBER 27, 2016

For Immediate Release
Philippine Institute of Language,Arts and Culture (PILAC)
October 27, 2016

PILAC / KOR-HFT CELEBRATES 150TH BIRTHDAY OF GENERAL ANTONIO LUNA ON OCTOBER 27, 2016

Los Angeles–Mabuhay ang ika-150 taong kaarawan ni Heneral Antonio Luna!

Antonio_luna_PG

For the first time ever, the Filipino-American Community in the United States will commemorate the 150th Birth Anniversary of the Greatest Filipino General of the First Philippine Republic.

PILAC President Bernie Ganon said, ” The Philippine Institute of Language Arts and Culture (PILAC) and the Knights of Rizal (KOR)-Historic Filipinotown Chapter will have lunch commemoration to honor General Antonio Luna on his 150th birth Anniversary

The event will be held at the Mayflower Restaurant, 967 N.Spring, DTLA on October 27, 2016 at 12 noon. There will be a $25.oo donation at the door.

General Antonio Luna is the Captain General of the First Philippine Republic from 1898-1902. He was born in Manila on October 29, 1866. He died in Cabanatuan, Nueva Ecija on June 4, 1899.

General Antonio Luna, The Filipino’s Greatest General

Heneral Luna2This is In line with the celebration of the Filipino American Heritage Month (FAHM) , we commemorate General Luna and the sacrifices of our martyrs and heroes during the Filipino-American War and in defense of our republic.”

The guest speaker for the event is Vice Consul Rainier Casis of the Philippine Consulate General of Los Angeles. He will speak in lieu of Consul General Adel Cruz, the new Consul General for Los Angeles.

There is a $ 25.00 donation for the lunch reception and event commemoration. This is a fund raiser of PILAC and KOR-HFT for its cultural activities

For more information please call Bernie at (323)683-6477 and Art at (213)318-9065) or email us at Pilipinokami76@yahoo.com

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ALLIANCE-PHILIPPINES : PASS THE BBL BEFORE FEDERALISM REFORMS

Article
October 27, 2016

ALLIANCE-PHILIPPINES : PASS THE BBL BEFORE FEDERALISM REFORMS

By Arturo P. Garcia

Alliance-Philippines

KCM

Support the rights of the Moro People for Self-Determination!

The Alliance-Philippines based in the United States supports the demand of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) chairman Al Haj Murad Ebrahim who said, ” the passage of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) should come before the Philippines shifts to a federal form of government.”

Murad made the statement in a speech delivered for him by MILF Central Committee secretary Ahmad Amer at the forum on Global Autonomy, Governance, and Federalism on Wednesday,October 19, 2016

The Alliance reiterated its supports to the MILF and believed that the PRRD government must not use the MILF as a trojan horse to pass the federal system of government during PRRD’s term and tinker with the 1987 Freedom Constitution.

Self -Determination, Solution to Centuries Old Problem

 

“The MILF holds on to the commitment of President Duterte to implement the CAB first with the passage of the BBL, and then the prospective Bangsamoro government shall serve as a template of a Philippines federal state,” Murad said.

Congress’ passage of the BBL, which would have established a new political entity for the Bangsamoro people, was stalled after the deadly Mamasapano incident in 2015.

The Aquino III prides itself for signing the GPH-MILF Peace Agreement 0n 2014. The peace agreement was signed in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia under the auspices of the Malaysian government.

But other groups were marginalized and were not involved in the peace agreement like the Moro national Liberation Front (MNLF) under former Chair Nur Misuari.

Thus, the MNLF launched a failed offensive in Zamboanga City in 2013. This failed attack in the city caused casualties and damage to the city and to the peace in the area.

The PH Congress under the US-Aquino III Regime failed to pass the BBL and was overtaken by the May Presidential Elections of 2016. The MILF has a prolonged ceasefire with the Philippine government pending the BBL approval until now.

Complications

abu-sayyaf-ap-file-photo

The MILF-GPH ceasefire have some complications since the failed peace talks of 2008 and the GPH-MILF Peace Agreement in 2014. It arose from the formation of groups that were against the peace agreements like the Bangsa Moro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) and splinter groups that vowed loyalty to ISIS like the Abu Sayaff Group(ASG).

Lately small groups from Lanao like the Maute Group, Maguindanao’s AlKalifa Group  and Saranggani have claimed loyalty to the ISIS and have made their own tactical offensives like bombings in Davao City and other urban areas have made the news

Although the Armed Forces and the police denied that there is an alliance of ISIS inspired groups in Mindanao, the military is closely monitoring such groups.

But military analysts have confirmed that the United States have been being the formation of such groups like the ASG in 1995. Actually, the CIA was instrumental in the formation of the Abu Sayaff Group (ASG) that started from spilter groups from the MNLF from Sulu, Baslana and Tawi-tawi in 1995.

Pass the BBL before Federalism Reform

The Alliance supports Muran’s assertion, “since the Bangsamoro has a separate, historical experience and narrative from the rest of the Filipinos, the negotiated political settlement that took almost 18 years of long, protracted negotiations must necessarily lead to a unique solution, which we simply referred to as the [Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro] or CAB,”

“The implementation of the CAB, particularly its political track, which means the passage of the [BBL], must precede this shift from unitary to federal form of government,” he added.

The CAB was signed on March 27, 2014 following negotiations between the Aquino administration and the MILF.

Implement the CAB Now!

CYkGDWHUsAAaJrd

The MILF pushed  CAB as the  recognized the legitimacy of the cause of the Bangsamoro people in southern Philippines and provided for the creation of a new autonomous political entity, the BBL.

“While federalism is generally good for the entire Philippines, we should not lose sight of the uniqueness of the Bangsamoro situation,’ Murad said.

“We cling to the CAB as the solution to the centuries-old Bangsamoro problem, and any legislation that discards it, or simply selects provisions out of it, is to us mutually disadvantageous,” he added.

The Alliance supports the Moro people’s struggle since they launched the armed struggle for self-determination in March 1972. It supported the MILF’s peace agreement with the Philippine government since 2014.

It is only right and just for the Moro people to decide the fate of their people and nation for self-determination, for just and lasting peace in Mindanao.

***

PLANNING FOR THE 16TH JFAV VETERANS DAY, NOVEMBER 11, 2016

JFAV UPDATES

October 26, 2016

PLANNING FOR THE 16TH JFAV VETERANS DAY, NOVEMBER 11, 2016 

Los Angeles–We discussed intention and reminded each other why we do this work for Filipino-American WWII veterans. #JFAV16 March is only 19 days away!14753487_1220325381374802_364283104430089594_o

We organize because #70StillNoEquity and because the Rescission Act must be fully reversed for full equity and justice.

Final two meetings will be on November 1st and 10th from 7:45 – 9:45 pm.

Thank you Claremont Colleges Kasama, MSMU, and UCLA Samahang Pilipino for your solidarity and Pilipino Workers Center for providing the space. See you all on Veterans Day at 10 am on Hollywood and Ivar!

#ProPeopleYouth #KmB#LosAngeles #Activism #LA #VeteransDay #Filipino #Pilipinx#HistoricFilipinotown

Justice and Equity, NOW!

***

ALLIANCE-PHILIPPINES SUPPORTS MILF DEMAND: PASS THE BBL BEFORE FEDERALISM REFORMS

ALLIANCE NEWS
October 26, 2016

ALLIANCE-PHILIPPINES SUPPORTS MILF DEMAND: PASS THE BBL BEFORE FEDERALISM REFORMS

Los Angeles- Support the rights of the Moro People for Self-Determination!

The Alliance-Philippines based in the United States supports the demand of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) chairman Al Haj Murad Ebrahim who said, ” the passage of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) should come before the Philippines shifts to a federal form of government.”

Murad made the statement in a speech delivered for him by MILF Central Committee secretary Ahmad Amer at the forum on Global Autonomy, Governance, and Federalism on Wednesday,October 19, 2016

The Alliance reiterated its supports to the MILF and believed that the PRRD government must not use the MILF as a trojan horse to pass the federal system of government during PRRD’s term and tinker with the 1987 Freedom Constitution.

Pass the BBL before Federalism Reform

The Alliance supports Muran’s assertion, “since the Bangsamoro has a separate, historical experience and narrative from the rest of the Filipinos, the negotiated political settlement that took almost 18 years of long, protracted negotiations must necessarily lead to a unique solution, which we simply referred to as the [Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro] or CAB,”

“The implementation of the CAB, particularly its political track, which means the passage of the [BBL], must precede this shift from unitary to federal form of government,” he added.

The CAB was signed on March 27, 2014 following negotiations between the Aquino administration and the MILF.

Implement the CAB Now!

The CAB recognized the legitimacy of the cause of the Bangsamoro people in southern Philippines and provided for the creation of a new autonomous political entity, the BBL.

“While federalism is generally good for the entire Philippines, we should not lose sight of the uniqueness of the Bangsamoro situation,’ Murad said.

“We cling to the CAB as the solution to the centuries-old Bangsamoro problem, and any legislation that discards it, or simply selects provisions out of it, is to us mutually disadvantageous,” he added.

Self -Determination, Solution to Centuries Old Problem

“The MILF holds on to the commitment of President Duterte to implement the CAB first with the passage of the BBL, and then the prospective Bangsamoro government shall serve as a template of a Philippines federal state,” Murad said.

Congress’ passage of the BBL, which would have established a new political entity for the Bangsamoro people, was stalled after the deadly Mamasapano incident in 2015.

The PH Congress under the US-Aquino III Regime failed to pass the BBL and was overtaken by the May Presidential Elections of 2016. The MILF has a prolonged ceasefire with the Philippine government pending the BBL approval.

END

*

As death toll rises, Duterte deploys dubious data in ‘war on drugs’

JFAV UPDATES

October 24, 2016

Suspect Stats

As death toll rises, Duterte deploys dubious data in ‘war on drugs’

Top anti-narcotics officials in the Philippines admit that data the president uses to justify his battle against drugs is flawed and exaggerated. That could determine who gets drug treatment – and who ends up on dreaded hit lists.

MANILA – Philippines’ President Rodrigo Duterte ended a recent speech in Manila with a now-familiar claim: Two policemen were dying every day in his violent battle to rid the country of illegal drugs.

But police statistics have shown that figure to be exaggerated. From July 1, when Duterte launched his “war on drugs,” to Oct. 12, when he spoke in Manila, 13 police officers were killed. That’s an average of one every eight days.

This is not the only dubious claim Duterte has used to justify his bloody anti-narcotics campaign, according to a Reuters review of official government data and interviews with the president’s top anti-drug officials.

These officials say that data on the total number of drug users, the number of users needing treatment, the types of drugs being consumed and the prevalence of drug-related crime is exaggerated, flawed or non-existent. But they say the problematic statistics don’t matter because the campaign has focused attention on a long-neglected crisis in the Philippines.

“I don’t see it as a problem,” said Wilkins Villanueva, the Metro Manila regional director for the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA), the country’s leading anti-narcotics agency. “Before, our fight against dangerous drugs was a lonely battle… Now, everybody’s helping us – the community’s helping us.”

Nearly 2,300 people have been killed in police operations or by suspected vigilantes since Duterte took office on June 30, according to the Philippines police. That figure was revised down this month by the police from an original tally of 3,600 deaths.

In response to questions from Reuters, Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar said the story was “malicious” and referred Reuters to the Philippine National Police.

The crackdown has been criticised abroad but enjoys widespread support in the Philippines, which Duterte has said faces collapse if the “drug menace” isn’t tackled.

In his inaugural State of the Nation Address on July 25, Duterte declared that there were 3.7 million “drug addicts” in the Philippines.

“The number is quite staggering and scary,” he said. “I have to slaughter these idiots for destroying my country.”

But according to a 2015 survey by the Office of the President’s Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB), the main drug policy and research unit, the Philippines has fewer than half that many drug users.

And rather than being “addicts,” as Duterte refers to all drug users, about a third of the 1.8 million users identified in the DDB survey had taken drugs only once in the previous 13 months. Fewer than half of them – 860,000 – had consumed crystal meth, or shabu, the highly addictive stimulant widely blamed by officials for high crime rates and other social ills. Most were marijuana users.

PDEA’s Villanueva said he didn’t care if President Duterte “overestimates” the number of drug users as long as it made people aware of the problem.

Officials in the president’s media office contacted by Reuters could not say where the data came from to back up another of the government’s central claims: that 75 percent of serious crimes in the Philippines are drug-related.

Police and senior officials have used the claim to justify tough measures against drug users and pushers, and say those measures have been vindicated by a drop in crime since the anti-drug campaign began.

The faulty figures have other real-world implications. They determine, for instance, how many people the government says must be targeted to eradicate drug demand in the Philippines. That has led to the drawing up of police “watch lists” with the names of drug suspects, hundreds of whom have been shot dead either in police operations or by unknown gunmen.

The president’s statistical claims continue to drive policy. In September, Duterte said the number of “addicts” would rise to four million by the end of the month and vowed to extend his drug war for another six months – to June 2017. That statement came after remarks on Sept. 30, when Duterte seemed to compare himself to Hitler and said he would be “happy to slaughter” three million drug addicts.

BURDEN OF HARM

A senior Philippines law enforcement officer said Duterte’s “arbitrary” figures had put pressure on police and government officials.

DRUG BUST: Wilkins Villanueva (L), the Metro Manila regional director for the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA), says it doesn’t matter if President Duterte “overestimates” basic data. Here he is seen briefing the media in August after the interception of ecstasy worth $64,000 at the airport. REUTERS/Romeo Ranoco

“He just exaggerates it so we will know that the problem is very big.”

Senior anti-narcotics official Wilkins Villanueva

“The problem is, every time the president says something, it’s already some sort of a policy statement,” said the officer, who spoke on condition of anonymity. “We have to toe the line.”

The officer pointed, for example, to the more than 700,000 people who have registered in the past three months with the authorities as drug users or pushers, a process known as “surrendering.” But, he said, authorities were expected to produce at least 1.8 million “surrenderers” to match the number of users cited in the DDB report.

“That’s the reason we are having a hard time. We need to produce,” he said. “Even if we add up everything . . . we are not even close to 1.8 million.”

PDEA’s Villanueva said the president’s assessment of the drug problem was reasonable, and he felt no pressure.

“He just exaggerates it so we will know that the problem is very big,” Villanueva said of Duterte. “The implication is that we have to work hard to solve the problem and we have to work hard so that . . . occasional drug users do not turn into regular drug users.”

Statements by Duterte and other officials not only fail to distinguish between users and problem users, say drug-treatment specialists, but also between users of shabu and marijuana. Shabu is a highly addictive stimulant with side effects that can include aggression and psychosis.

KILLING HOUR: A woman cries after her husband was shot dead by motorbike-riding assassins in Manila on October 10. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj

“To argue that killing people for consuming drugs is associated with crime reduction is blatantly unsupported.”

Alison Ritter, researcher at Australia’s National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre.

“They are completely different substances in terms of risk profiles and harms,” said Robert Ali, director of a University of Adelaide research centre on drug and alcohol treatment who works with the World Health Organization. “Shabu has a higher risk of addiction. It is associated with a greater range of physical and psychological harms.”

While drug abuse is a real problem in the Philippines, said Ali, it was hard to devise an effective national response based on flawed data. “With public health, whether it’s diabetes or drug use, you need a sense of the burden of harm to understand how to use your resources,” he said.

Joanne Csete, a specialist in health and human rights at the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University in New York, said that the term “current drug users” usually refers to those who have used drugs in the past month. However, the DDB survey counts anyone who has used drugs in the past 13 months, which Csete says could inflate the number of users.

“So the president can make up whatever numbers he likes – the survey does not adequately estimate current use,” she said.

CRIME ALREADY DOWN

The claim that 75 percent of “heinous crime” in the Philippines is drug-related features in an official booklet called “Winning the First Phase of the Drug War.” It was handed out by the president’s media team in September at a regional summit in Laos attended by world leaders.

According to the booklet, heinous crimes include murder, rape, human trafficking and treason.

It is not clear where the president’s media team got the 75 percent figure. The booklet identifies the source of the number as the Philippines National Police Directorate for Investigation and Detective Management (DIDM). But six officials in the office responsible for the booklet and at the DIDM were unable to point to a specific study or explain how the figure was calculated.

Nimfa Reloc, who monitors heinous crime cases for DIDM, said the office had released no such data or analysis and did not know where the number came from. She said 15 percent of heinous crimes are drug-related. Benjamin Reyes, the DDB’s chairman, said there was “actually no data” on crimes committed under the influence of drugs.

SINGLE CELL: Detainees eat a meal in police detention in Manila. Prison overcrowding has worsened ever since Duterte launched his anti-drug campaign. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj

An estimated 18 percent of convicted prisoners worldwide are in jail for drug-related offences, according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).

“Illegal drugs do create a substantial burden on societies, and it’s important that governments respond in ways that reduce the economic cost of drug use… and reduce pain and suffering from drug use,” said Alison Ritter, a researcher at Australia’s National Drug & Alcohol Research Centre.

But crime is complicated, and the rise and fall in crime rates can’t be attributed to a single campaign or even a single institution such as the police, Ritter said. “To argue that killing people for consuming drugs is associated with crime reduction is blatantly unsupported,” she said.

“Index” or serious crimes in the Philippines dropped by 31 percent in January to August this year compared with the same period in 2015, according to police statistics presented to a Senate hearing on extrajudicial killings on Oct. 5.

“If you don’t call it winning, I don’t know what to call it,” said Villanueva at PDEA.

But the same police statistics show serious crime was already in decline during the administration of Duterte’s predecessor, President Benigno Aquino, who did not conduct a war on drugs.

In fact, Aquino was still in office for most of the period covered by the 2016 statistics. The police figures show that in the January-August period of 2015, serious crime was down 22 percent compared with the same period the previous year. In 2014, it declined 26 percent.

While the crime rate has been dropping for several years, under Duterte the murder rate has risen since he launched his anti-drug campaign. In the first three months of his administration, police recorded a total of 3,760 murders, compared with 2,359 in the same period last year, a rise of 59 percent.

“Compared with last year, we are better off this year,” said Dionardo Carlos, the national police spokesman. “Most of the victims this time are the drug users.”

In Davao City, where Duterte was mayor for 22 years, he led an equally brutal anti-drugs crackdown. There, death squads killed hundreds of alleged drug dealers, petty criminals and street children, said Human Rights Watch in a 2009 report. Duterte denied any involvement in the killings.

Despite the crackdown, Davao still ranks first among 15 cities in the Philippines for murder and second for rape, according to police crime data from 2010 to 2015.

METH VERSUS MARIJUANA

Senior anti-narcotics officials in the Philippines also invoke conflicting or incomplete data in trying to identify how many people are problem users, which drug they use and what treatment they might need.

CRACKDOWN: Security forces join a drug raid in Manila earlier this month. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj

While the DDB survey says about 860,000 people are shabu users, PDEA chief Villanueva puts the number at 1.4 million. He explained to Reuters how he reached this number.

Villanueva started with an estimate based on drug-rehab facility data that he said showed 75 percent of patients at these facilities were shabu users. He then applied this percentage to the DDB’s 1.8 million figure for all drug users.

He acknowledged that rehab data was already skewed towards shabu users, who seek treatment more often than users of less addictive drugs, and that applying the percentage to another study was problematic.

“Actually, the 75 percent does not translate, but it’s a pretty good assumption,” said Villanueva, who spent 12 years with PDEA in Davao City, where he said he got to know Duterte.

Of the 1.4 million shabu users Villanueva had identified by his method, about 700,000 people had already “surrendered” to the police as drug users and pushers, he said.

“We are taking away already one half of the demand,” said Villanueva.

Treatment experts dispute this claim, since the severity of drug use among those who surrender is unclear. A spokesperson at the Philippines’ Department of Health said he didn’t know how many “surrenderers” had been medically screened.

This matters, said Ali, the University of Adelaide treatment specialist, because “drug use is not necessarily drug dependence.” Only about 10 to 15 percent of shabu users might require residential care, he said. Ali said he based this estimate on his clinical experience and the experience of treatment services in the United Kingdom.

The DDB’s survey does not distinguish between users and problem users.

“We did not try to categorize them, whether or not they were addicts, problematic drug users, or just plain users,” said DDB chairman Reyes.

INFLATED FIGURES: Philippines Senator Vicente Sotto says exaggerating the drug statistics is fine if the data serves as a deterrent to drug users. REUTERS/Romeo Ranoco

To calculate the number of problem users, said Reyes, the DDB relied on global estimates from the UNODC that say 0.6 percent of drug users are problem users, which means they require treatment.

Reyes said he rounded this figure up to one percent and applied it to the figure of 1.8 million users, and concluded that the Philippines had, at most, 18,000 drug users in need of treatment.

“It’s a small number,” he said.

“HARDLINE APPROACH”

Yet Reyes said domestic support for the drug war wouldn’t change even if it was widely known that the country had far fewer drug users than Duterte claims. “There is really a perception that we need a hardline approach to the problem,” he said.

Other top backers of the drug war agree. The 3.7 million figure cited by Duterte “doesn’t mean anything,” said Villanueva. “I believe he has his own survey, aside from the DDB. But it’s not a scientific one.”

What’s important, he said, is that the president is now marshalling the resources needed to address the drug problem. PDEA is hiring and training another 400 agents and is expecting more firearms, vehicles and surveillance equipment, he said.

Philippines Senator Vicente Sotto, a former DDB chief who supports Duterte’s drug war, said inflated figures serve a purpose if they scare users into quitting.

“If they make people alarmed, then why not? It doesn’t hurt anyone,” he said. “People don’t care how it’s done as long as it’s done.”

Additional reporting by Neil Jerome Morales and Karen Lema in Manila.

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