Political prisoners subjected all the more to heavy congestion and poor health conditions

We, National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDF) peace consultants and other political prisoners presently detained at the Special Intensive Care Area 1 (SICA 1) Jail, Camp Bagong Diwa, protest the foul and cruel transfer of seven fellow political prisoners (including three fellow NDF peace consultants, Adel Silva, Eduardo Serrano and Ruben Saluta) from the Philippine National Police (PNP) Custodial Center to this jail.

While we welcome very much being together, we protest the lies that the PNP Headquarters Support Services (HSS) used to justify the pretext for the transfer. One is supposedly to decongest the PNP Custodial Centre.

The fact is that, at the PNP Custodial Center, there are only one or, at the most, two detainees per cell, while at the part of the SICA 1 Jail, where political prisoners are detained, there have already been four to five per cell before the transfer. (The prison cells at the PNP Custodial Center and here at the SICA 1 Jail are of practically the same size.) The transfer here of seven political prisoners, made right after the anniversary of the declaration of martial law, has only made the political prisoners’ quarters here at the SICA 1 Jail all the more congested: There are now five to six political prisoners per cell — with no more bed spaces (so that some of us have to sleep on the floor) and all the more conducive to various health problems.

Worse, most of the political prisoners transferred are elderly, have serious health problems, and would suffer all the more the very unhealthy heavy congestion of political prisoners’ quarters here at the SICA 1 Jail.

Alan Jazmines
Ernesto Lorenzo
Tirso Alcantara
NDF peace consultants
and other political prisoners

Continuing fascism under faint democratic fascade

(On the 43rd anniversary of the outright declaration of martial law)

As far as developments are concerned that have taken place since the downfall of outright fascist dictatorship, there is in reality and increasingly much to continue condemning today as the nation recollects the 43rd anniversary of the declaration of the Marcos martial law regime.

Extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances; illegal searches and seizures; illegal arrests and detention; torture; threats; forced evacuations of communities; military takeover of schools, religious, baranggay facilities and other public places in rural areas have kept on increasing and revealing the fascist fangs of subsequent regimes, up to the present ruling regime, even if martial law was supposedly ended 29 years ago.

Of late, fascism against indigenous people, most significantly against Lumad communities in Mindanao, especially in the Caraga region, have particularly been intensifying. This, in effort to break their resistance to pernicious large-scale mining, illegal logging and other wanton destruction of natural resources in their ancestral lands. Lumad people have of late been suffering intensified massive destructions and forced evacuations of their communities; torture, illegal detention and murder of their leaders; rape of their women and daughters; raids, takeover and closure of their schools by military and paramilitary forces; burning of their cooperatives; and other fascist attacks against them.

De facto martial law has intensified in Lumad Mindanao, as it continues throughout the country.
Since its onset, the present Benigno S. Aquino III regime has repeatedly been mouthing that there no longer are political prisoners in the country. Yet it has had the most number of political prisoners — numbering more than 500 — since the downfall of the Marcos outright martial law regime.

Practically all of these present political prisoners have been swamped with trumped-up criminalized charges. Most have been kept in prison for several years now, with their trumped-up court cases going through snail’s pace, and many without having gone through court hearings for many years. Many of these present political prisoners have been kept under “special intensive care” (euphemism for “maximum risk detention”), and cruelly subjected to severe rigidities and fascist restrictions.

Among these political prisoners have been an increasing number (now more than 17) of National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDF) peace consultants and staffs, in violation of long-standing peace agreements supposedly for the protection of these peace consultants and staffs from surveillance, arrest, torture, trumped-up charges and other harsh measures that have been detering their effective participation and work in the peace process.

A number, like Eduardo Sarmiento, Emeterio Antalan and Leopoldo Caloza — all long-term NDF peace consultants — have further been subjected to spurious convictions under trumped-up charges, with twisted “justifications” made by the courts, under pressure by the ruling regime’s fascist military and intelligence forces.

All these only reveal — even under democratic facade — the fascist pangs of the ruling regime, and cast heavy doubts in regard to its “interest” in the peace process.

We, NDF peace consultants and other political prisoners, who continue to be jailed and subjected to harsh treatments and cruelties, and who deeply sympathize with the masses severely subjected to fascist repressions under past and present ruling regimes, decry the continuing reality of fascist practices under thin democratic facade.

We raise loud our clamor for real end to fascism and, despite our frustrations in peace efforts with series of ruling regimes, continue to call for real and serious peace talks for the establishment of a truly democratic, pro-people and progressive governance.

NDF peace consultants

Alan Jazmines
Tirso Alcantara
Ernesto Lorenzo
Leopoldo Caloza
Loida Macpatoc

and other political prisoners in Camp Bagong Diwa, Taguig City
(September 21, 2015)


By Randy Felix Malayao
NDFP Peace consultant

Where is the Government of the Philippines (GPH) – National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) Peace Talks heading? Despite the widespread calls of peace advocates, the Aquino government has paralyzed the peace talks after failing to impose its unjust wishes on the NDFP.

The Aquino regime has declared The 1992 Hague Joint Declaration as a ‘document of perpetual division,’ a position that would put the whole process back to zero.
The Hague Joint Declaration outlines the agenda of the peace talks, namely, 1) human rights and international humanitarian law; 2) socio-economic reforms; 3) political and constitutional reforms, and the 4) on the cessation of hostilities and disposition of forces, in this order.

The Aquino regime has also rendered the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG) inoperative (JASIG).

JASIG provides protection, immunity from arrest and surveillance to peace talks participants that include panelists, consultants, technical and security staff.
JASIG is deemed inoperative 30 days after (both parties) the declaration of the termination of peace talks. Neither party has declared that it has already terminated the talks.

The GPH has deliberately refused to comply with its commitments in agreements forged with the NDFP, despite the full knowledge that compliance would immediately break the impasse and cause the resumption of the formal talks.

Oslo Agreement of 2011 stipulates that most if not all political consultants are to be released on the basis of JASIG, humanitarian or for practical reasons.

No releases were made resulting to the suspension of peace talks. The GPH did not only renege on the signed accord, it has continuously arrested NDFP consultants and their staff. Such arrests are deemed violative of the JASIG that have caused temporary setbacks to the peace process.

More JASIG violations

As of late, there are now about 20 consultants detained and charged of trumped-up common crimes.

Among them is Kennedy Bangibang, consultant for Cordillera and national minority affairs. He was arrested on February 23, 2013 in Abatan, Buguias, Benguet and since his arrest, he has been transferred from Camp Molintas to Camp Bado Dangwa in La Trinidad, Benguet, where he was detained overnight after the arrest, and then to the Kalinga BJMP District Jail (February 24–July 25, 2013), to the Baguio City Jail on August 2014 and then back to the Kalinga BJMP District Jail.

The arrests constitute JASIG violations. The most recent are as follows:
1) Benito Tiamzon – with NDFP Document of Identification (DI) Number No. ND978227 under the assumed name “Crising Banaag”. Arrested in Cebu on March 22, 2014 along with Wilma Austria.
2) Wilma Tiamzon – No. ND978226 using her real name Wilma Austria. She was delisted in the Joint DND-DILG Order of Battle Memo as she is a consultant of the NDFP. But she was arrested March 22, 2014, along with Benito Tiamzon.
3) Rogelio Posadas, with NDFP DI Number ND978313/“Angel Jose”, was arrested on January 9, 2015.
4) Reynaldo Hugo, with NDFP DI No ND978239 /“Orgel Dimaano”, was arrested on January 27, 2015.
5) Ruben Saluta, with NDFP DI No ND978240.“Lirio Magtibay”, was arrested on March 4, 2015 along with many others.
6) Alberto Silva – NDFP National Consultant; he drafted portions of the NDFP’s documents regarding genuine land reform, national industrialization, and proposals for labor laws and policies. He has been issued a DI, No. ND978229/“Percival Rojo” was arrested on July 1, 2015.
7) Ernesto Lorenzo – NDFP Regional Consultant for Southern Tagalog Region, with DI No. ND978299/“Lean Martinez” was arrested on July 20, 2015 in Gilmore, Quezon City and is currently detained the BJMP- SICA at Camp Bagong Diwa, Taguig City. On the day of his arrest, Lorenzo’s residence in San Jose del Monte, Bulacan was also raided and his wife, Joyce Latayan, was arrested.
8) Concha Araneta-Bocala – NDFP Consultant for the Visayas, with DI No. ND978245/“Remi Estrella”, arrested on August 2015. She also served as negotiator during the 1986 peace talks in the Visayas.

Clamor for the resumption of talks

Despite all these violations, the NDFP has declared it is willing to hold informal talks, as proposed by the Third Party Facilitator, the Royal Norwegian Government. Ambassador Hon. Elizabeth Slattum is moving heaven and earth to revive the talks as the Aquino Regime only has a few months in power.

Various peace and human rights advocates have been pressing both parties to return to the table and resume the peace talks. The NDFP welcomes this. The GPH on the other hand asserts that the NDFP is making unreasonable preconditions (i.e. release of prisoners and consultants).

The NDFP Peace Panel Chair Louie Jalandoni has assured that the panel is ever ready to resume formal talks on the basis of past bilateral peace agreements in order to address the roots of the armed conflict. It asserts that the demand to release peace consultants is not a precondition as it is covered by past agreements (e.g. Oslo Agreement of 2011 and CARHRIHL).

Jose Maria Sison, the chief political consultant of the NDFP, on the other hand, has repeatedly declared that it is the policy of the revolutionary forces to be open to negotiate with any administration of the reactionary government that is seriously willing to negotiate with it.

During the course of the three rounds of informal talks (September, October, December 2014 and February in The Netherlands), a draft agreement to be signed by the two Panels was made for the resumption of the formal talks, which include, among others, the following:
1) respect for all signed agreements;
2) negotiations on CASER;
3) reconstitution of the JASIG and release of detained consultants who would participate in the talks; and,
4) negotiations for the truce and cooperation as proposed years earlier by the NDF will take place with the participation of Benito Tiamzon, Wilma Austria and JMS.

On the CASER, the NDFP sees the urgent need to tackle socio-economic reforms such as land reform and national industrialization. It seeks to take up concrete issues like the Hacienda Luisita and other haciendas; destructive and plunderous mining; the killing of indigenous peoples’ leaders and activists; the public private partnership and its effects on urban poor communities; the disastrous effects of mining on the indigenous peoples and the environment, among others.

A timetable has been set for the negotiations. As a sign of goodwill, both sides also agreed to make releases. But all these have yet to be realized as talks have been suspended indefinitely since February.




Pahayag ng mga Bilanggong Pulitikal sa Camp Bagong Diwa kaugnay ng Nagdaang Limang Taon at Tatapusing Huling Taon ng Rehimen ni Benigno S. Aquino III

Pahayag ng mga Bilanggong Pulitikal sa Camp Bagong Diwa kaugnay ng Nagdaang Limang Taon at Tatapusing Huling Taon ng Rehimen ni Benigno S. Aquino III

Ilan lamang kami sa marami pang mga bilanggong pulitikal dito sa Camp Bagong Diwa, at maliit na bahagi lamang ng kabuuang mahigit 500 bilanggong pulitikal sa buong bansa.

Marami sa amin ay mga inosenteng sibilyang arbitraryo at walang pakundangang inaresto at patuloy na ikinukulong sa batayan ng gawa-gawa lamang na mga kaso, gamit pa ang kung anu-anong pangalan ng iba o ang kung anu-anong alyas, para lamang gahaman at walang-pakundangang makakabig ng daan-daang milyong pabuya ang mga kawatan at pasistang pwersa ng reaksyunaryong estado. Ang mas marami pa sa amin ay inaresto, patuloy na ikinukulong at hinihigpitan dahil sa mga pinagsisikapan naming maisulong na makabuluhang saligang pagbabago para sa kapakanan ng bayan, laluna ng mga naghihirap at aping mamamayan. Ang mga ito ang siyang dahilan sa aming pagiging mga bilanggong pulitikal. Ang mga ito, sa kabila ng palaging pagbubukang-bibig ng rehimen ni Benigno S. Aquino III na walang bilanggong pulitikal sa bansa.

Sa nagdaang limang taon na ng paghahari ng rehimeng BSA III, wala kaming nakita at wala kaming nakikitang anumang makabuluhang pagbabago sa nagpapatuloy na usapin sa pagpapalaya, pagkakamit ng hustisya at pagrespeto sa mga karapatang tao ng mga bilanggong politikal. Bagkus ay higit pa at patuloy na lumalaki ang bilang at sumasama ang kalagayan ng mga bilanggong pulitikal sa bansa. Patuloy kaming dumaranas ng di-makatarungang pagkukulong, napakabagal at halos-kawalang pag-usad ng hustisya, sobrang paghihigpit, napakaraming kalupitan, at sari-sari pang mga paglabag sa aming mga karapatang tao.

Kung tutuusin, bahagi lamang ang mga ito ng higit pang mga paglabag sa mga karapatang tao sa bansa, na naitala ng Karapatan at iniulat sa katatapos lamang na paglilitis ng International People’s Tribunal sa mga kasalanan sa bayan ng rehimeng BSA III mula simula ng paghahari nito noong Hulyo 2010 hanggang nitong Hunyo 30, 2015, at hinusgahang malulupit na karahasan at pagkakait ng mga pinakasaligang karapatang-tao sa mga pinakaapi at napagkakaitang sektor sa bansa: 262 kaso ng extrajudicial na pagpatay; 27 kaso ng sapilitang pagkawala, 125 kaso ng tortyur; 273 kaso ng iligal na pag-aresto na di pa humantong sa tuluyang pagkukulong, 723 kaso ng iligal na pag-aresto at tuluyang pagkukulong, 133,599 kaso ng mga marahas na pagbabanta, 29,684 kaso ng mga karahasan sa mga pampublikong pagtitipon, 60,155 marahas at pwersahang pagpapalikas sa mga lider at mga nagpoprotesta laban sa malakihang pagmimina, paninira sa kalikasan, at mga katulad, at marami pang iba.

Sa nagdaang limang taon na ng paghahari ng rehimeng BSA III, wala kaming nakita at patuloy na walang nakikitang anumang makabuluhang pagbabago para sa kapakanan ng mamamayan sa kamay ng mga maramot at malupit na reaksyunaryong naghahari. Mga kunwaring pagbabago lamang ang mga ginagawa nila sa anyo ng mga islogan (tulad n/g “Daang matuwid” at “Kung walang kurap, walang mahirap”) na, pawang hanggang bukang-bibig lamang.

Nang tuluyan nang nalantad, napatunayan ang mga pandarambong at panunuhol sa pamamagitan ng “pork barrel” sa anyo ng Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF), at nahusgahan na itong labag sa batas at sa konstitusyon, sa pakana ng kasalukuyang rehimen ay binago na lamang ang pangalan at pamamaraan nito, at gumawa ng bagong bersyon nito sa anyo naman ng Development Acceleration Program (DAP). Ginamit ang pamamahagi ng tig-P50 milyong alokasyon ng DAP bilang pansuhol sa mayorya ng mga senador (at doble pa niyon, sa ilan) para bumoto pabor sa impeachment (sa kasong pandarambong) sa noo’y Chief Justice ng Supreme Court na si Renato Corona. Sa tulong nito’y hinusgahan ng mayorya ng Senado si Corona na maysala. Gayundin, nalantad at nahusgahan din ang DAP na labag sa batas at sa konstitusyon. Sumulpot naman ngayon ang Lump-Sum Budgetting at iba pang mga paraan ng pagmamaniobra para patuloy silang makapandambong.

Ang mga seryosong sinampahan ng mga kaso at ikinulong gawa ng pandarambong sa pamamagitan ng “pork barrel” ay tatatlong lider ng oposisyon at mga tinukoy na nakasabwat nila, samantalang ang mas maraming nanguna pa rito na nasa kapangyarihan ay nananatiling ligtas pa sa mga kaso, napagtatakpan at hindi nakukulong, kahit na mas nanguna pa sila, gamit ang mga pusisyon nila sa administrasyon, mas malalaki pa ang mga dinambong nila, at palalong pinaghihirap ang mamamayan bunsod na kanilang mga pandarambong.

Panay naman ang pangangalandakan ng rehimeng BSA III nitong mga huling nagdaang taon, sa ilusyon na ang Pilipinas pa nga ngayon ang pinakasulong sa paglaki ng ekonomya — sa anyo ng pagkakaroon ng pinakamataas na tantos ng pagsulong ng Gross National Product (GNP) — sa buong rehiyon ng Asia. At nitong mga nakaraang buwan ay humantong pa ito sa ibayong ilusyon na pumipinto pa ngang maging pinakamataas o isa sa pinakamataas raw sa buong mundo ang pagsulong ng GNP ng Pilipinas.

Ngunit, mistula lamang ang paglaki ng GNP ng Pilipinas nitong mga huling nagdaang taon. Hindi nito ipinakikita ang aktwal na nangyayari sa ekonomya ng Pilipinas, laluna ang aktwal na nangyayari sa hirap na kabuhayan ng nakararaming mamamayan sa Pilipinas. Sa katunayan, hindi nagbabago, bagkus ay lumalala pa, ang pagiging nahuhuli o ang pagbubuntot, sa aktwal, ng ekonomya ng Pilipinas kumpara sa iba pang bansa, kahit dito lamang sa Southeast Asia.

Dahilan nito ang relatibong pagiging mas maunlad na — sa katunayan at sa matibay na batayan — ng mga ekonomya sa maraming bansa sa Southeast Asia, at sa mas marami pang bansa sa Asia. Ito’y dahil mas marami nang ibang bansa sa Asia, at maging sa Southeast Asia, ang seryosong nagsisikap at aktwal na nagagawa nang makapagtayo at makapag-abante ng kanilang mga industriya sa paggawa at ng kanilang agrikultura, habang naiwan na at nananatiling isa sa pinakaatrasado at pinakakapos ang mga industriya sa paggawa, pati na ang agrikultura, sa Pilipinas.

Sa halip, mas umaasa pa ang ekonomya sa Pilipinas pangunahin na sa mga serbisyo at komersyo.

Pinakamalaking bahagi pa ng mga serbisyo — sa partikular, ang business process outsourcing (BPO) — ay para sa mga higanteng kumpanya sa U.S., Europa, Australia, at iba pang ibayong mauunlad na bansa, at nagsisilbing ekstensyon lamang dito para makatipid sa pagpapasahod. At malaking bahagi rin ng mga komersyo ay pagbebenta rito ng mga produktong inaangkat mula sa ibang bansa. Ampaw lamang, sa katunayan, ang ipinagmamalaki ng rehimeng BSA III na diumano’y pagiging pinakamabilis ngayon, sa rehiyon ng Asia at maging sa buong mundo, ang paglago ng ekonomya ng Pilipinas, sa anyo ng paglaki ng GNP nito.

Pinalalabas ng rehimeng BSA III na apat na milyon na lamang sa ngayon ang walang trabaho sa Pilipinas. Ngunit, ayon sa isang independyenteng sarbey, umabot na ito sa 12.4 milyon (pati na ang kulang sa sapat na trabaho) noong 2014 at papataas pa ngayon.

Malaking problema pa na halos lahat na ng mga bagong nakapaghahanap ng trabaho at malaking kalakhan na rin ng mga may trabaho ay kontraktwal at pinapalitan ng iba pang kontraktwal, makaraan ang ilang buwan lamang. Nagsisilbi rin ang pagmamantine bilang kontraktwal ng malaking kalakhan ng mga pwersa sa paggawa sa Pilipinas, upang mapigilan ang kanilang pag-uunyon at epektibong pakikipaglaban para sa kanilang mga karapatan.

Umaabot na rin sa 6,000 araw-araw ang umaalis sa ating bansa para doon makapagtrabaho. Malaking kalakhan ngayon nitong mga Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW) ay nagtatrabaho bilang mga domestic helper o kasambahay sa ibayong dagat.

Sa aktwal, ang pangunahing bumubuhay sa ekonomya ng Pilipinas, ilang taon na ang nagdaan hanggang sa kasalukuyan, ay ang mga padalang remittance ng mahigit 12 milyon nang OFW. Ang naipapasok sa bansa na kita ng mga ito ay inungusan na lamang kamakailan ng mga dumarami nang naitatayong BPO, pangunahin na mga call center, sa bansa.

Mas masahol pa sa kalagayan ng mga manggagawa, ang pinakamalaking sektor sa hanay ng mamamayan, ang mga magsasaka, ay hirap na hirap sa kabuhayan. Lalo ito’t ang nakararami sa kanila ay patuloy na umuupa o nakikitrabaho lamang sa mga lupang patuloy na inaari ng mga panginoong maylupa. Nagpatupad diumano ng reporma sa lupa ang umiiral na gubyerno, ngunit sa katunaya’y bigo ang malaking kalakhan ng mga ito, at sa aktwal ang nakararaming magsasaka ay nananatiling tenante sa lupa o manggagawang-bukid sa malalaking lupain ng mga panginoong maylupa.

Ayon mismo sa mga datos ng Department of Agrarian Reforms (DAR), mula sa 8.9 milyong ektaryang pribadong lupain, 2.6 milyong ektarya ang diumano’y nasaklaw na ng Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) ng umiiral na gubyerno. Sa gayon, may 6.3 milyong ektaryang nananatiling pribado at malaki pang bahagi nito ang kailangan pang masuri kung masasaklaw pa rin ng CARP, kabilang ang mga pag-aari ng malalaking korporasyon at mga naiba na ang gamit. Maging sa mga nasaklaw ng CARP, maraming mga kwestyon sa katapatan ng pagpapatupad, lalo’t maraming inilipat lamang sa iba’t ibang pangalan para maiiwas sa aktwal na reporma sa lupa.

Tampok sa mga ginawan ng iba’t ibang paraan sa pagsisikap na mabigo ang pagpapatupad ng CARP ay sa lupaing pag-aari ng angkan ni BSA III, ang Hacienda Luisita. Mula sa 6,453 ektarya nito, 4,099 ektarya lamang ang pinasaklaw sa CARP — makaraan ang mahaba at maraming gitgitan, pati na ang paggamit ng karahasan laban sa mga magsasakang naggigiit ng reporma sa lupa. Ginamit pa ng rehimeng BSA III ang DAP sa pagbayad ng P471.5 milyon sa angkan ni BSA III para sa nasaklaw na lupa. Kasabwat ang DAR, winasak ng rehimeng BSA III ang “bungkalan” (kolektibong pagsasaka) sa 300-ektaryang bahagi ng asyendang ibinenta sa isang bangko, at gumamit ng tambiolo para sa indibidwal na pamamahagi ng mga parsela, para mabago-bago ang pagtatao-tao sa mga parsela, para mapatigil ang kolektibong pagsasaka, gawing sahuran ang paggawa sa lupain, at sa gayon mapanatili ang kontrol ng angkan ni BSA III sa lupain, gayundin ang produksyon ng tubo para sa Central Azucarera de Tarlac ng angkan ni BSA III.

Sa mga mas interyor pang bahagi ng kanayunan, partikular na may katindihan ang tuluy-tuloy na kalupitang dinaranas ngayon ng mga pambansang minorya. Tampok dito ang kalupitang kasalukuyang inihahasik ng mga pwersang militar ng umiiral na estado laban sa mga Lumad sa Mindanao. Hindi tintantanan ang paglulunsad nitong malulupit na pwersang militar ang mga komunidad ng mga Lumad, tulad ng mga nasa interyor ng North Cotabato, kung saan naobligang kumalas na muna ang 700 na mga Lumad roon tungo sa mga evacuation center na itinayo ng United Church of Christ of the Philippines sa sentrong bayan. Pati mga eskwelahan ng mga batang Lumad ay pinaghahasikan ng karahasan nitong malulupit na pwersang militar, kaya’t hindi na makapasok sa mga paaralan nila ang mga batang Lumad. Napupwersang mag-aalisan na rin sa mga komunidad nila ang buo-buong mga tribong Lumad sa maraming interyor na bahagi ng kanayunan sa Mindanao.

Napatunayan din sa katatapos na paglilitis ng International People’s Tribunal na maraming mabibigat na kasalanan ang rehimeng BSA III sa malupit na pang-aapi sa mga pambansang minorya, tulad sa Talaingod at Balit, kung saan ang mga pasistang pwersang militar ay ginagamit ng malalaking operasyon sa minahan sa pang-aapi sa mga Lumad roon na tumututol sa malaking pagmimina. Inooperasyon at inookupa nitong mga pasistang pwersang militar maging ang mga paaralan nitong mga Lumad.

Dahil naman sa pagtayang malawak ang kahirapan sa bansa, isa ang Pilipinas sa mga pinakamalaki ang tinatanggap mula sa Millenium Development Goals, para sa umano’y ayuda sa mga naghihirap na pamilya, sa anyo ng Conditional Cash Transfer o CCT (binansagan naman dito sa bansa, na “Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program”). Mula 6,000 pamilya lamang na saklaw ng CCT noong sinimulan ito noong 2007 hanggang umabot sa 800,000 katao noong 2009 (panahon pa ng rehimeng Gloria Arroyo II), ngayo’y mahigit nang 4.4 milyong pamilya (na kinabibilangan ng mga 20 milyong katao) ang saklaw nito. Sa papel, nilayong ilaan ito sa mga pinakamahihirap, panagot diumano sa ilan sa pinakakinakailangan nila (medikal tsekap para sa mga ina at sanggol, at batayan hanggang segundaryong antas ng edukasyon para sa mga batang dapat nakapag-eeskwela na). Ito, sa halip na pantulong sa kanilang produksyon at kabuhayan. (Kaya’t, kung tutuusin, mas nagsisilbi lang ang CCT sa pananatili ng mga mahihirap sa pagiging palaasa sa ganoong uri ng mga palimos, sa halip na sa pagpapalakas ng kanilang kakayahang makatayo-sa-sarlili at tunay na makapagpaunlad ng kanilang kabuhayan.)

Dahil ang kalakhan ng mga tumatanggap ng mga padalang CCT ay baon sa utang, ang pinagkakautangan nilang mga usurero na ang siya nang aktwal na direktang kumukuha ng mga padalang CCT, gamit ang mga nakasangla sa mga ito na mga CCT card ng mga pinadadalhan ng CCT.

Masahol pa, ayon naman sa ulat ng Asian Development Bank, mga sangkatlo ng pondo (mga P19 bilyon, mula sa kabuuang P62 bilyon) ng CCT sa Pilipinas, sa aktwal, ay hindi nailalaan sa pinakamahihirap sa bansa. Sa halip, napupunta iyon sa mas matataas ang antas ng kabuhayan.

Malaking bahagi rin ng pamamahagi ng CCT ay dumaraan sa mga bulok na tradisyunal na pulitikong naghahari sa mga lokalidad. Nagsisilbing balon para sa mga ito ang pondo ng CCT para sa pambili ng boto at iba pang paraan sa kanilang pagpapalakas ng pampulitikang impluwensya at kontrol sa kanilang mga pinaghahariang lokalidad.

Karaniwang nagsisilbi lamang, sa gayon, ang CCT sa pagsusuhay sa bulok na pulitika, pagkaatrasado ng ekonomya at sa patuloy na pagsasamantala ng mga gahaman sa mga nangangailangan.

Dahil sa kawalan ng tunay na naitutulong ng CCT sa aktwal na pagpapaunlad ng kabuhayan at katayuan sa buhay ng mga maralita at kulang na kulang ang kabuhayan, ang ginagawa na lamang ng tanggapang namamahala rito sa bansa — ang Department of Social Works and Development — ay ang pagsisilid ng mga palatandaan ng problema sa mga pagkakataong maaaring malantad at tumampok ito, tulad ng pagdadala ng mga maralitang bata sa isang malayong mamahaling resort para maitago sila nang dumalaw sa bansa si Pope Francis I noong Enero.

Dati nang problema ang pagpapatuloy ng imperyalistang U.S. ng pagbabase-militar nito sa bansa, sa pamamagitan ng matagal nang Mutual Defense Treaty at mas bagong Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) — kahit natapos na ang U.S. – Philippines Bases Agreement at isinara na noong 1992 ang mga base militar ng U.S. sa bansa.

Pinasasahol pa ngayon itong problema dulot ng bagong Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) at, labag sa batas at konstitusyon ng bansa, nilaktawan pa ang pangangilangan ng pagsang-ayon ng Senado para sa ganoong kasunduan. Balak ng imperyalistang U.S. na kasangkapanin ang EDCA sa tinatawag nitong “pivot to Asia” (pagpihit ng 70% ng sandatahang lakas nito para sa pagkontrol sa Asia-Pacific, pangunahin na sa South China Sea) at gamitin ang mga pwersa at baseng militar at, kung tutuusin, ang buong teritoryo ng Pilipinas, laban sa sinisikap ngayon ng China na pagsosolo ng kontrol sa South China Sea, labag sa interes at pag-aari ng Pilipinas at iba pang kalapit na bansa sa mga teritoryo ng mga ito sa baha-bahagi ng nasabing dagat.

Sa kasong isinampa sa International People’s Tribunal laban sa rehimeng BSA III, hinusgahang maysala ang rehimeng BSA III sa pagpapakatuta nito sa imperyalismong U.S., kabilang na ang paglabag sa kasarinlan at mga interes, bukod sa konstitusyon, ng bansang Pilipinas sa pakikipagkasundo sa U.S. sa pagbubuo ng VFA, EDCA at iba pang mga paraan, kabilang na ang mga iligal na paglahok ng mga pwersang militar ng U.S. sa mga operasyong intelidyens at pangkombat, bilang bahagi ng pagmamantine nito ng kapangyarihan sa bansa at sa rehiyon.

Marami sa mga nabanggit na isyu, sa katunayan, maraming pampulitika, sosyo-ekonomiko, at iba pang mabibigat na buhay-at-kamatayang isyu ng mamamayan, na, habang hindi pa nalulutas sa kapakanan ng mamamayan ay nagsisilbing sanhi ng nagpapatuloy na malalim at matagalang tunggalian sa pagitan ng mga pwersang makamamamayan sa isang banda at ng mga reaksyunaryong naghahari sa kabilang banda.

Patuloy na ginigiit ng National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDF) na dapat saklawin ng usapang pangkapayapaan sa pagitan nito at ng Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP/GPH) ang mga nabanggit na saligang problema at ang inihahapag ng NDF na mga kumprehensibong panukala tungo sa sistematiko at makabuuang paglulutas sa mga ito.

Ngunit matagal nang naantala at nababara — sa nakaraan, hanggang sa kasalukuyang paghahari ng rehimeng BSA III — ang usapang pangkapayapaan.

Patuloy na nilalabag ng umiiral na gubyerno sa bansa ang dating nakamit nang mga kasunduan sa usapang pangkapayapaan. May dati nang umiiral na mga kasunduan sa proseso ng mga usapang pangkapayapaan sa pagitan ng NDF at GRP/GPH, kabilang ang kasunduan para sa pagrespeto sa mga karapatang-tao at pandaigdigang makataong batas, at para sa proteksyon ng mga konsultant pangkapayapaan ng NDF — na hindi dapat isinusurbeylans, inaaresto, pinahihirapan, ikinukulong, sinasampahan ng mga gawa-gawang kaso, at idinaraan sa iba’t iba pang mga karahasan ng estado. Ngunit, patuloy pa ring binabalewala at nilalabag ng umiiral na rehimen ang nasabing mga kasunduan, kung kaya’t tuluy-tuloy ang pagdami ng mga bilanggong pulitikal, pati na mga protektadong konsultant pangkapayapaan ng NDF. Mayroong nang mahigit 18 konsultant at istap sa usapang pangkapayapaan ng NDF na kasalukuyang nakakulong (lima sa mga ito, dito sa Camp Bagong Diwa). Maging ang mga di nakakulong ay patuloy na patraydor na ipinaiilalim sa surbeylans, sinasampahan ng mga gawa-gawang kasong kriminal at idinaraan sa ibat iba’t marurumi at pasistang aksyon at iba pang mga paglabag sa kanilang mga karapatan at sa mga kasunduan sa usapang pangkapayapaan.

Maging ang relatibong mas abante nang inabot kamakailan ng usapang pangkapayapaan sa pagitan ng Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) at ng GRP/GPH ay nagkaroon na ng mga problema at naantala na, dulot na mga problemang bunsod ng kawalan o masyadong pagkahuli ng pakikipagkoordina ng rehimeng BSA III sa MILF kaugnay ng Oplan Exodus ng Special Armed Forces ng Philippine National Police (SAF-PNP), sa lubos na pagpapaubaya ng Malakanyang sa pagpapatupad nito ng isang sa wala sa pwesto, sa nalantad na sikreto sanang panghihimasok ng mga pwersang intelidyens at pangmilitar ng U.S. sa operasyong iyon at sa marami pang operasyong militar sa Mindanao-Sulu at iba’t iba pang lugar sa bansa, sa mga angal ng iba pang mga signipikanteng pwersa (pangunahin na ang Moro National Liberation Front) at mamamayan (kabilang ang mga Lumad at iba pang di-Moro), sa marami nang pinalabnaw sa mga napagkasunduan at sa naglitawang maraming iba pang mga usapin at balakid sa pagsasabatas ng mga napagkasunduan sa usapang pangkapayapaan sa pagitan ng MILF at GRP/GPH.

Tulad ng nabanggit na, marami na ring naipon nang mga problema sa pagpapatuloy at pag-usad ng usapang pangkapayapaan sa pagitan naman ng NDF at GRP/GPH.

Sa harap ng mga ito, inaasahan pa rin naming may mapagtatagumpayan sa pakikipag-usapang pangkapayapaan ng MILF sa GRP/GPH, at matutuloy na rin ang labis nang naantalang usapang pangkapayapaan sa pagitan naman ng NDF at GRP/GPH.

Mabilis nang nauubos ang panahon, lalo’t sa loob ng isang taon ay may panibago na namang rehimen sa umiiral na estado, habang patuloy ang mga saligan at mabibigat na suliraning dumadagan sa mamamayan at nilalabanan ng mga naghahangad ng mga kumprehensibong pagbabagong panlipunan tungo sa totohanan at matagalang kabutihan sa buhay at hinaharap ng naghihirap at aping mamamayan.

Patuloy kaming nakikipaglaban para sa aming mga karapatan at patuloy pa ring nagsisikap gawin — maging sa harap ng maraming pagtatraydor, pangigipit, paninikil at pagbabanta ng mga pwersa ng reaksyunaryong estado sa amin, sa kasalukuyang napakakitid at hirap na kalagayan kasalukuyang kinalalagyan namin — ang aming mga bahagi sa laban ng mamamayan at pag-ambag pa rin sa mga pakikibaka at sa usapang pangkapayapaan.

Hanggat may nananatiling pag-asa, sa hangaring makamit pa rin nang mas maaga ang ipinaglalabang mga komprehensibong pagbabagong panlipunan, umaasa pa rin kami sa pagtutuloy ng seryoso, sustantibo at kumprehensibong pag-uusap tungo sa kapayapaan, kaharap man ng NDF ang papatapos nang rehimeng BSA III, o kung hindi man ay kaharap ang papalit na bagong rehimen.

Mga konsultant pangkapayapaan ng NDF

Alan Jazmines

Tirso Alcantara

Emeterio Antalan

Leopoldo Caloza

Loida Magpatoc

at iba pang mga bilanggong pulitikal na kasalukuyang nakakulong sa Camp Bagong Diwa

(26 Hulyo 2015)

A Red Salute to Kumander Parago

Roy Erecre
NDFP Consultant for Visayas
July 10, 2015
The revolutionary forces in the Visayas unite with the Filipino people especially the oppressed masses, the Communist Party of the Philippines, the New People’s Army and the organs of political power all over the country in honouring the memory of Leoncio “Kumander Parago” Pitao. We not only mourn his death but, most importantly, commemorate his countless significant contributions to the national democratic revolution.
Ka Parago and medic-comrade Vanessa “Ka Kyle” Limpag were inhumanely murdered while hors de combat by a raiding team composed of the 6th Scout Ranger Company, 2nd Scout Ranger Battalion under the 1st Scout Ranger Regiment led by General Ano last June 28, 2015 in Barangay Panalum, Paquibato district, Davao City.
Kumander Parago was an exemplary revolutionary in serving the people and leading the first Pulang Bagani Battalion of the Red Army in Southern Mindanao. In his 37 years in the revolution, he was resolute in his revolutionary principles and he grasped firmly the theory and practice of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism (MLM).
Ka Parago wa a model Communist for the sacrifices and struggles he overcame with the interest of the masses at heart. Though his family was constantly under threat to the point of his daughter, Rebelyn, being raped and murdered by military agents, the interest of the majority of the Filipino people prevailed and he continued in his revolutionary work. Despite his illnesses, he refused to depart from the masses he loves to seek medical attention. With his last breath, he bellowed, “Long live the revolution, long live the oppressed masses!”
The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) boasts of its triumph in Commander Parago’s murder and predicts the downfall of the revolutionary movement in Mindanao. Rather, the AFP will be dumbfounded with the resounding march of the new Paragos not only in Mindanao but the entire Philippines. While it is true that the death of every comrade is a loss to the revolution, we will transform our grief into a force of victory.
The national democratic revolution will continue until victory is achieved with the inspiration of Commander Parago and other revolutionary heroes and martyrs, who, apart from offering his life to the people, left us with his great legacy and example.
A red salute to Comrade Parago and all revolutionary martyrs!
Follow the communist spirit and legacy of Commander Parago in advancing the New Democratic Revolution to greater heights!
Long live the revolution, long live the oppressed masses!

Press Statement of NDFP Consultant Adelberto Silva

I am a consultant of the National Democratic Front (NDF) in its peace negotiations with the Philippine government. I helped prepare the labor and economic agenda in the 1987 peace negotiation and in the current peace talks between the Philippine government and the NDF. I am committed to the struggle for a just and lasting peace and to paving a path by which our country can get its people out of the quagmire of crisis, poverty, mendicancy and corruption that we currently find ourselves in.
Contrary to the claims of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, I have a Jasig (Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees) documentation of identification, with the assumed named “Percival Rojo” and number ND 978229. I have been a trade union organizer since the martial law period.
My wife Rosanna Cabusao and companion, Isidro de Lima, were arrested on June 1, 2015, in Molino, Bacoor, Cavite, by some 30 members of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group of the Philippine National Police. Cabusao is a researcher/consultant of the Crispin B. Beltran Resource Center and a founding member of Gabriela.
The Philippine government and the AFP have criminalized the work that I do as a peace consultant. In fact, they have arrested and detained peace consultants like myself based on trumped-up criminal charges and planted evidence. They have consistently disregarded and violated the Jasig between the Philippine government and the NDF.
There are 17 NDF peace consultants among the 528 political prisoners in the country today.
I surmise that I am made to appear as the new secretary general of the Communist Party of the Philippines so that the AFP and and PNP could collect a higher monetary reward or bounty for my arrest and for psywar operations. I categorically deny any involvement in the trumped-up multiple charges against me. All accusations hurled against me, my wife Rosanna Cabusao and my companion Isidro de Lima, are false, malicious and baseless.
NDFP peace consultant,
DI number ND 978229
Criminal Investigation and Detection Group-National Capital Region

“Double Food Budget” Schemes of Top BJMP Officials, Just the Tip of the Iceberg

We, National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDF) peace consultants and other political prisoners detained at the Special Intensive Care Area 1 (SICA 1) Jail in Camp Bagong Diwa, Taguig City salute Jail Inspector Angelina Lumba Bautista, Warden of the Bataan District Jail (earlier called “Bataan Provincial Jail”).
We, who are being detained because of our fight against the sufferings of the mass of our people in the hands of the abusive and oppressive powers that be in the ruling government and state, are highly in praise of J/Insp. Bautista for her very courageous filing (last March 20, before the Ombudsman) of a plunder case against top officials of the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP). She has charged them of pocketting of scores of millions of pesos supposedly to be used for the detainees’ subsistence allowance (food rations, medicines and the like), but have instead been used only to fill the pockets of those top BJMP officials.
We could see her real concern and sincerity in her exposure of the plunderous anomalies by top BJMP officials at the expense of the victimized detainees in BJMP jails (more than 84,000 in 462 BJMP jails throughout the country), as,  in a TV interview last May 5, she called on other wardens in other jails, and others with information about the BJMP top officials’ plunderous anomalies, to expose similar anomalies victimizing detainees in BJMP jails.
Armed with budget and appropriations documents both from the Bataan provincial government and from the Bataan District Jail, after the latter was transferred from the jurisdiction of the provincial government to that of the BJMP, she exposed the anomalous “double budgetting” supposedly for the BJMP detainees’ subsistence allowance.
She revealed that, while the Bataan provincial government was still appropriating budget for such during the August 2010 to August 2013 transistion period for the transfer of administration of the jail from the provincial government to the BJMP, the latter was already also reflecting supposedly the same allocations as supposedly coming from the BJMP’s funds.
With further investigations, J/Insp. Bautista also gathered data about similar “double budgeting” anomalies by the BJMP national leadership supposed for detainees’ subsistence allowances in jails also being transferred from the custody of other provincial governments — in Bohol, Iloilo, Albay and Quezon — to that of the BJMP. She estimated that the accumulated amount in the “double budgeting” could reach up to Php 50 million.
That, however, is just the tip of the iceberg…
J/Insp. Bautista also blared out the even more greedy and wicked continuing plunder by BJMP top officials long after provincial jails have been fully turned over to the BJMP. In the case of the Bataan District Jail, she revealed that long after it was already fully turned over to the BJMP and the earlier  “double budgeting” had stopped, the actual worth in kind of the detainees’ subsistence allowance being delivered by the top leadership of  BJMP  to the Bataan District Jail was, in practice, reduced to a mere P15 per detainee per day — 33% of what the detainees should be receiving in kind, as per the BJMP’s budget. The top BJMP leadership centralizes and tightly controls the purchase and delivery of food rations to local jails, and can thus, in actual practice unilaterally greatly reduce the actual expenditures and divert the larger part of the detainees’ subsistence allowance.
The government’s General Appropriations Act allocates for each inmate under the custody of the BJMP and the Bureau of Corrections, P50.00 for food subsistence and P3.00 for medicine allowance daily. Practically all cities in Metro Manila and in many provinces also allocate P20 per detainee for additional food subsistence in jails within their area, even if the administration of those jails have already been transferred to the BJMP.
The SICA 1 Jail and SICA 2 Jail are exceptions and are the only BJMP jails in Metro Manila, that do not receive any additonal food subsistence from city governments, aside from the P50 supposedly allocated daily for each BJMP detainee.
Even then, as we have for several years been observing and meticulously recording daily, we are not being given the equivalent of P50 per detainee per day for our food subsistence. In our daily observations and computations, the cooked food rations being given us are in reality worth just a little more than P15 per detainee per day — practically the same worth presently being delivered to the Bataan District Jail, as J/Insp. Bautista is complaining about.
We had actually earlier raised this matter before the present SICA 1 Warden, J/Insp. Michelle Ng Bonto. But her answer was: “Local jail authorities have practically no say in regard to food rations for detainees. The top leadership of the BJMP centralizes and controls practically everything in regard to the food rations — from the menu to the budgetting and purchase of all food materials — in practically all BJMP jails, including SICA 1 Jail.”
The whole set up has been “perfected” by the top BJMP leadership for plunder — made all the more easier as the victims are held in their hands, and are very vulnerable to reprisals.
The revalations before the public and charges in court made by J/Insp. Bautista would, however, be of very great help.
We hope she would survive and we would see her succeed.
NDF peace consultants
and other political prisoners
detained at SICA 1 Jail,
Camp Bagong Diwa, Taguig City
Alan Jazmines
Emeterio Antalan
Leopoldo Caloza
Tirso Alcantara
(9 May 2015)

Intensified Fascist Reprisals, Restrictions Versus Peace Consultants, Political Detainees

NDFP Consultant

We, National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) peace consultants and other political prisoners detained here at the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology — Special Intensive Care Area 1 (BJMP-SICA1) Jail in Camp Bagong Diwa, protest the intensifying fascist reprisals and restrictions being inflicted against us by BJMP-SICA1 Jail authorities.

Such fascist reprisals and restrictions qualitatively started to intensify when we waged a 10-day fasting and hunger strike, five days before and five days during the visit of Pope Francis to our country. We waged such acts of self-sacrifice to amplify our calls for our freedom, for justice, for real solutions to social ills, for serious efforts towards peace in our country.

Since the start of our 10-day fasting and hunger strike, and even afterwards, not even once were our doctors allowed to see us and check us up. There were times when even our lawyers and some of our loved ones were also barred. Many, many visitors from human rights organizations, and many more supporters were also cruelly barred from visiting us.

Worse, jail authorities even worked up vicious schemes to induce from other inmates, particularly from their lumpen prison gang lapdogs, vicious antagonisms and threats against our lives and limbs, by also barring their visitors a couple of times and blaming for such our “kalokohan” (“foolishness”) of a hunger strike.

The jail authorities have further escalated their fascist reprisals and restrictions after we, political prisoners, filed court charges against them, especially against the SICA1 jail warden.

Last February 26, four human rights workers, led by KARAPATAN Deputy Secretary General Roneo Clamor, wanted to visit us and look into our conditions. But the SICA1 Jail authorities barred them on the pretext that they were not able to request “clearance” from the higher jail authorities, i.e., from the level of National Capitol Region Director and the National Headquarters Director of the BJMP.

KARAPATAN human rights workers have regularly been visiting us for years already, and this is the first time that they have suddenly been required to obtain “clearance” first from the jail authorities’ higher-ups for every time they (the KARAPATAN human rights workers) want to visit political prisoners at the SICA1 Jail.

It is quite ironic that such further intensification of fascist reprisals and restrictions have taken place on the 29th anniversary of People Power Uprising that overthrew the Marcos Fascist Dictatorship in 1986.

We call for the real replacement of fascism and its fake garb of democratic pretense, by the institition in their place, of real people’s democracy.

We call for the immediate release of all political prisoners, including detained peace talks consultants, and the immediate, serious resumption of the long-stalled peace talks between the NDFP and the prevailing Government of the Republic of the Philippines.

Detained NDFP peace consultants:
and other political prisoners at Camp Bagong Diwa, Taguig City
27 February 2015

Foul Reactionary and Repressive moves of Jail Authorities Against Our Hunger Strike

For five days before the visit of Pope Francis I to our country, we, political prisoners at the Special Intensive Care Area 1 Jail in Camp Bagong Diwa, have been on partial hunger strike to express our urgent plea for freedom, justice and human rights. Now, on the day of arrival of Pope Francis I, up to the day of his departure, we, jailed advocates of freedom, justice, people’s interest and peace, have escalated our form of struggle to total hunger strike.

This, to make louder our protest against our unjust arrest and imprisonment, the trumped-up charges against us and continuing failure of justice in our cases, the criminal repression and fascist restriction on us, and other violations of our human rights.

While our actions have been and continue to be waged on the matter of principles and our rights, the response of the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology jail authorities have been very reactionary and repressive.

Our doctors, lawyers, families, human rights supporters and other friends have cruelly and illegally not been allowed to visit us right after we started our fasting and hunger strike. This, even if they have been urgently wanting to look into our medical and other conditions, especially as some of us have already been suffering deterioration of their condition.

Worse, aside from blocking the visits to us of our doctors, lawyers, families, human rights supporters and other friends, the jail authorities have also malicously not allowed the entry of visitors of other detainees in this jail, and pointed to our fasting and hunger strike, as the reason for their not allowing visits to detainees in this jail. This, induce division between us and other, non political inmates here.

Unfortunately, this has induced violent reaction by some leaders and members of the Sputnik prison gang, as they are now blaming us, political prisoners, for the blocking too of visits to them yesterday. Leaders of the Sputnik prison gang together with some of their members, were shouting last night at the top of their voices that their visitors have been denied entry yesterday, and were blaming us, political prisoners, and our hunger strike for their visitors not having been able to come in. Furthermore, they were threatening to kill us, political prisoners especially the senior leaders among us. We worry a lot that those, who have been shouting their threats at the top of their voices, have actually already been involved in murders of fellow inmates in jail.

Now, supposedly because of such threats to our lives, the jail authorities have been padlocking additional gates at the corridor leading to our cells, and have further been limiting our movements. We are the ones being madeto suffer much for the foul threats to our lives.

We maintain our demand that we, political prisoners, should be returned our freedom.

In the meantime that we are not returned our freedom, we ask that we be transferred to some other jail, where the jail authorities are not as repressive as here, and are not instigating the antagonism of other inmates, particularly prison gangs, against us.

Political Prisoners at the SICA1 Jail,

Camp Bagong Diwa,

Taguig City


Tirso Alcantara

Emeterio Antalan

Cesar Balmaceda

Leopoldo Caloza

Alan Jazmines

Jesus Abetria Jr.

On the Fourth Anniversary of Black Valentine’s Day Arrest

I was arrested four years ago – on Black Valentine’s Day – on the eve of the long-stalled resumption of the formal peace talks between the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) and the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP/GPH).

The principal agenda in the would-be resumption of the formal peace talks was supposed to center on the second of the four substantive agenda in the NDFP-GRP/GPH peace talks, i.e., on Comprehensive Socio-Economic Reforms (CASER).

The first substantive agenda, that centered on respect for human rights, was already agreed upon in 1998, and had resulted in the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL). Aside from the CASER, the other remaining agenda – on Political and Constitutional Reforms (PCR) and on End of Hostilities and Disposition of Forces (EHDF) – are supposed to immediately follow after the start of and progress in the second substantive agenda.

On my part, as a regular member of the NDFP Socio-Economic Reforms Committee in the NDFP-GRP/GPH Reciprocal Working Committees on Socio-Economic Reforms, I was supposed to directly participate in the slated NDFP-GRP/GPH talks on the socio-economic reforms agenda, with the objective of coming out a unity on CASER.

85 of us, long-since listed as peace talks participants, consultants and other officers and personnel of the NDFP significantly involved in the peace process with the GRP/GPH, are supposed to be protected by the NDFP-GRP/GPH Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG) and not subjected to surveillance, arrest, detention, torture, trumped-up court charges and other antagonistic acts that would deter our effective participation and work in the peace process.

As I was being arrested on Black Valentine’s Day, I invoked, before the head of the arresting forces, my JASIG protection. But the answer was that their higher-ups insist on the arrest – no matter the JASIG.

I also asked to immediately and directly be able to consult with the People’s Interest Law Center (and its head then, Atty. Romeo Capulong) that serves as legal counsel of the NDFP, its peace panel and consultants in the peace process, and to confer with our attorneys on the matter of my arrest, including on the question of its “legality” (especially as there was no warrant of arrest served at the time of my arrest) and its violation of peace agreements. But the only answer was that all these would have to be coursed through the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP), which accordingly has been on top of the situation all along. (I was, however, able to confer with my lawyers, only the next day arranged via other channels.)

The formal peace talks between the NDFP and the GRP/GPH were again stalled after a couple of days, because of the latter’s failure to release the victim of the Black Valentine’s Day Arrest and the other earlier arrested and still-detained NDFP peace talks participants and consultants supposedly protected by the JASIG.

While informal talks on the side continue to seek prospects and favorable conditions for the resumption and advance of formal peace talks, many hurdles and setbacks still need to be resolved and overcome, including:

The continuing detention of NDFP peace talks participants and consultants, together with some 500 other political prisoners;

  • The continuing failure to account and answer for the subjection to enforced disappearances and extra-judicial killings of some NDFP peace talks participants and consultants, their staffs and loved ones;
  • The further victimizing of detained NDFP peace talks participants and consultants and other political prisoners by swamping us with trumped-up criminalized charges. in violation of the Hernandez Doctrine, and thus keeping us in jail practically indefinitely;
    The overly long hibernation and very slow crawl of justice in our cases, all the more prolonging our detention;
  • The utter lack of concern and effort to solve the many problems of prisoners being long-detained, even if they are minors, elderlies, sickly/incapacitated, mistakenly identified, with cases that have been mixed-up, and other discrepancies in the course of justice;
  • The very, very poor quality and unhealthy food rations, not even worth half the nominal P50/inmate/day food budget supposedly allotted to us;
  • Niggardly limiting our access to sunning and exercise in open air to only one hour a week, at the most. This, even if Philippine law and the United Nations Standards state that at least an hour daily of sunning and exercise in open air should be allowed to prisoners;
  • The abusive “greyhound” operations, supposedly to search for “contrabands”, but – since political prisoners do not have “contrabands” – the resorting to cruel and heartless confiscations, wanton spoilings, and even outright theft of harmless, essential necessities for the humane existence of detainees, like vitamins, nail cutters, long toothbrushes, ballpens, blunt scissors and other materials for writing and artwork, cooking stoves, CDs/DVDs (even on human rights) and the absurd justifications for such. (The confiscation, too, of a typewriter sent by the NDFP peace panel so that detained NDFP peace talks participants and consultants may still be able to continue with some – even if minimum – part of their work for the peace process, while still in jail.)

Human rights violations, heavy and unwarranted repressions and restrictions have escalated recently as a result of the jail authorities’ fascist reactions to the fasting and hunger strike, we, political prisoners, waged here at the Special Intensive Care Area 1 (SICA1) Jail in Camp Bagong Diwa, five days prior to the visit of Pope Francis I and during his five days of actual visit to this country, bringing along with him his call for “mercy and compassion.”

Our 10 days of fasting and hunger strike was an act of self-sacrifice to make loud our calls for our freedom, for justice, for real solutions to social ills, for serious efforts towards lasting.peace in our country.

Our calls emphasized our dire situation as political prisoners – imprisoned because of our struggles for political and social changes in the interest of our people; subjected to severe repressions, reprisals, abuses, deprivations, and other fascist acts by state and jail authorities; made to suffer one of the most rotten and slowest crawl of justice in the world; and frustrated with the long lack of progress in the peace process.

But in reaction to our act of self-sacrifice and our calls, the jail authorities resorted to foul and fascist acts. They violated our rights to the extent of disregarding international protocols on respect for human rights, the United Nation’s norms on the treatment of prisoners, as well as the prevailing state’s own laws.

The whole time we went through our act of self-sacrifice – and even afterwards – our doctors were totally barred from visiting us and checking on our medical conditions. There were instances, when even a lawyer of ours and some of our loved ones were also barred. Many, many visitors from human rights organizations, church organizations, other people’s organizations, and many more other supporters and sympathizers were also cruelly barred.

Worse, the jail authorities even machinated and unleashed malicious and vicious schemes to isolate us, political prisoners, and induce, from other inmates under the hands of leaders of a lumpen prison gang and of those accused by the government as terrorists, intensified antagonisms and orchestrated threats of violence against our lives and limbs. This, by also barring the visitors of all other inmates, and casting the blame for such on the “foolish” (“kalokohan”) hunger strike of political prisoners.

While we do still need to effectively fend off attacks by rotten and fascist jail authorities and their trigger-happy pawns, and more so also need to push for the rectification of the rotten, fake and abusive penal system, we maintain our focus on our prime objective – our fight for freedom, for justice, for social and political causes, and for related serious advances towards lasting peace – all in the interest of the mass of the people we were brought here for and continue to sacrifice for.

In the meantime, it has been four years since the Black Valentine’s Day Arrest …

The fight goes on!

NDFP peace consultant
detained at the
Special Intensive Care Area 1
Camp Bagong Diwa,
Taguig City
(February 13, 2015)