Today, September 24, 2008, is the seventh day since the enforced disappearance of Cordillera Peoples Alliance member, James Balao. James could not be located since he left his residence at Fairview, Quezon Hill, Philippines last September 17, 2008.

Where is James Balao?

We strongly believe that James was taken by intelligence agents of the Armed Forces of the Phillipines. We believe that the State through its agents are the perpetrators of this violation.

We believe that his enforced disappearance is because of the continuing implementation of Operation Plan Bantay Laya which considers civilians and progressive legal organizations as enemies of the sate and thus are targets for neutralization.

We strongly condemn this act by the State and its agents.

From February 2001 - June 2008, there has been 193 cases of enforced disappearances in the country. James Balao is the 194th victim. Most of the victims are members and leaders of progressive people's organizations categorized as sectoral fronts of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP), or the New People's Army (NPA). Before the enforced disappearances or abductions, the victims experience surveillance, tagging and be threatened through text messages similar to the cases of victims of extrajudicial killings.

According to a reliable source, James was listed in the AFP dossier as the head of the Communist Party of the Philippines Education Bureau. We believe that his enforced disappearance is due to this.

We demand speedy investigation from the Philippine National Police and the Armed Forces of the Philippines. We hope to receive word on his whereabouts as soon as possible.

We urge all government institutions particularly the Commission on Human Rights to aggresively assist us in finding James Balao. The search for him gets more and more urgent by the minute. We demand the Intelligence Security Unit whom we believe has him in their custody to surface him. We demand a stop to Oplan Bantay Laya II and the attack on legal peoples organizations.



Jude Baggo
Secretary General
Cordillera Human Rights Alliance


BAYAN Canada Launch a Resounding Success

Dr. Chandu Claver, Bayan-Canada chairperson

Toronto, Canada - Eighty-five people from across Canada representing 20 organizations from Victoria to Montreal came together in Toronto on September 21 to witness the successful launch of BAYAN Canada. Present during the event was keynote speaker, Dr. Carol Pagaduan-Araullo, chairperson of BAYAN Philippines, the multisectoral alliance of anti-imperialist and democratic organizations of the Filipino people.

Dr. Araullo, also a columnist of Businessworld delivered a presentation on the intensifying crisis of Philippine economic, social, political and cultural life. She also pointed out that through its mining companies, terrorist listing, and intent for the Visiting Forces Agreement negotiations with the Philippines, Canada is experiencing an "erosion of its image of benevolence".

She underlined the need for Filipinos in Canada to raise the level of their political struggle in order to expose and oppose the anti-national and anti-people policies of the US-backed Macapagal-Arroyo regime, the complicity of the Canadian state in such, and to advance the rights and welfare of Filipinos in Canada. Dr. Araullo emphasized that BAYAN Canada is this alliance for coordinating such struggles of Filipino organizations, finding synergies in their activities, and being their political campaign centre.

Several years ago while at a conference in Vancouver, and having witnessed the growing strength of the Filipino organizations here, I asked about the possibility of building a BAYAN chapter in Canada... several years later I am happy to see that some organizations had taken this on and are now launching BAYAN Canada on this important day, says Dr. Araullo who flew all the way from the Philippines to attend the event.

The launching of BAYAN Canada marks the 36th anniversary of the martial law imposed by the Marcos dictatorship. The organizers of Bayan Canada wanted to make the link between the US-Marcos fascist regime and the current US backed Arroyo regime scheming to stay in power while perpetrating some of the worst human rights violations in Philippine history.

Also speaking at the launching was Bernadette Ellorin, Secretary-general of BAYAN-USA. Ellorin shared some lessons and summarized the advances in the struggles of Filipinos living in the US because of the formation of a BAYAN chapter there. In a statement, the BAYAN chapter in the US expressed their solidarity and commended the years of painstaking work to build the organizations in Canada that have promoted the national democratic movement in the Philippines for decades.

As with the formation of the BAYAN USA in 2005, we understand that the formation of BAYAN Canada had its share of struggles before breaking through and moving forward... the formation of BAYAN Canada by far signifies a higher level of commitment to advance the national democratic line in the Philippines on a widespread level, the statement read.

Sending a solidarity message for the International League of Peoples struggle was ILPS chairperson, Prof. Jose Maria Sison. In the recorded message played for the assembly, Prof. Sison highlighted the worsening world economic crisis that will see imperialist and reactionary forces gearing to use the state as a system of organized violence to intimidate and attack the people in anticipation of growing mass protests and resistance.

"It is therefore necessary for BAYAN-Canada and its component organizations to intensify their efforts to arouse, organize and mobilize the Filipinos in Canada and thus to assert, defend and promote their rights and interests," states Prof. Sison.

The presentations were followed by an introduction of the BAYAN Canada national organizing committee, and a lively question and answer period. Dr. Constancio Chandu Claver, formerly the chairperson of Bayan Muna in Kalinga and now based in Victoria BC, summarized the discussions and outlined the important tasks for BAYAN Canada.

The assembly affirmed the BAYAN Canada national organizing committee and its chairperson Dr. Chandu Claver and its work leading to the first congress of BAYAN Canada. BAYAN Canada is calling on all patriotic Filipino organizations in Canada to join in advancing the Filipino peoples movement for national liberation and democracy.

Speech by Marie Boti at 20th anniversary of massacre of political prisoners in Iran

I bring warm greetings of solidarity to our Iranian comrades from the Centre d’appui aux Philippines - Centre for Philippine Concerns (CAP-CPC). The Philippines is also commemorating a terrible anniversary today, September 21: the 36th anniversary of the declaration of Martial Law by the dictator Ferdinand Marcos.

Thousands of people spanning several generations marched yesterday to Mendiola Bridge demanding justice for the victims of the Marcos dictatorship as well as the human rights victims under the current Arroyo administration. In particular, the protesters are calling for the release of 218 political prisoners.

“The Arroyo regime has gained the sole distinction of being the regime closest to the Marcos dictatorship in terms of its human rights record, corruption and foreign policy. The Arroyo regime is the best argument that we should never allow a return to a fascist dictatorship, no matter what the pretext is,” said Bayan Secretary General Renato M. Reyes, Jr. Bayan played a key role in the struggle to topple the dictatorship in 1986.

I will talk about a campaign we are waging at the Centre for Philippine Concerns and in the Philippines called Free Our Sisters! Free Ourselves! and then show you a short film excerpt.

Free Our Sisters! Free Ourselves!

The first Free Our Sisters! Free Ourselves! Campaign was run by the large women's organization GABRIELA in 1989. Its goal was the release of Luisa Posa Dominado, an activist who fought against the Marcos dictatorship, and her 7-year-old daughter, Maywan. They were both detained in a provincial City jail, with Maywan as the youngest political prisoner in the whole country.

The campaign got wide international support with thousands of postcards and letters mailed from different parts of the world demanding freedom for the mother and daughter. Luisa and Maywan were subsequently released from detention. Luisa continued her work as a human rights advocate and Maywan studied law. We filmed with Luing Posa Dominado in 1985, during the time of the Marcos dictatorship. (Kababaihan: Filipina Portraits was a film about the role of the women's movement in ousting the dictator in 1986.) We last saw Luisa in February 2007.

On April 12, 2007 Luisa was abducted by suspected military men and hasn't been heard of since. Luisa is one of some 200 forcefully disappeared people in the Philippines since 2001. Her daughter Maywan is heading a campaign to surface her mom.

Meanwhile, the number of political prisoners in the country has swelled, including at least 24 women political prisoners under the administration of current president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. In most cases, these women were abducted, arrested illegally and detained on trumped-up charges. In detention, they suffer inhumane treatment and prolonged incarceration due to long-drawn out legal battles.

Such is the case of Angelina "Angie" Bisuña Ipong, now 63 years old, a peace advocate who devoted her life to the cause of peace and human rights. She was arrested in March 8, 2005 and was tortured and sexually abused before she was surfaced to the media. She remains incarcerated at the Pagadian City Jail in Zamboanga del Sur, sharing a small prison cell with 21 other women prisoners accused of common crimes.

Elizabeth Principe was illegally arrested on November 28 2007, grabbed and shoved into a van in a busy shopping mall. She was kept incommunicado, tortured and illegally detained by the intelligence group of the Philippine Army until they finally presented her to the media three days later. She remains in detention at Camp Crame prison on charges of subversion and murder. She was a consultant for the National Democratic Front of the Philippines during the peace talks with the Philippine government.

Elizabeth's daughter Lorena Santos has been spearheading the campaign for her release. Lorena is a friend of ours and a spokesperson for Karapatan, a human rights organization. She is part of a new generation of activists and advocates taking the place of those who are in prison or dead. Their struggle continues.

My partner Malcolm Guy and I are connected directly or indirectly to these three women. We are making a film about Luisa, and some of the other among the hundreds of activists, workers, farmers, advocates who have been killed, disappeared, or imprisoned at part of the "War on Terror," Philippines-style. I will show you a 12 minute demo of the film.


During the commemoration of Martial Law in the Philippines yesterday, the spokesperson from Bayan said:

“The fear of a return to Martial Rule by any name is not unfounded. We see the desperation of the regime to stay in power at all costs. We see the unrestrained role of the military in government. We see the continued backing of the United States for an unpopular regime,” Reyes said.

“The only thing that stands in their way is the people. Our people have learned enough from Marcos and they will never allow such a monstrosity to return. Our people will resist,” Reyes added.

The same is true for the Iranian people.

Long Live International Solidarity!


For more information about the activity organized by our friends in the Iranian community to commemorate the terrible massacre of political prisoners in Iran two decades ago please visit: http://www.1980smassacre.com

Please visit the web sites, sign petitions, and keep informed about the situation in the Philippines. If the government, backed by full military might of the US is so intent on crushing all progressive opposition forces in the country, it is because they pose a threat to the existing power structure - they do offer an alternative, a hope for a brighter future and a truly democratic and just society. Canada has recently decided to add its military presence in the Philippines, not content to just exploit the mineral wealth of the country with Canadian mining companies. Please look out for upcoming campaigns about this. Join the campaign to Free our sisters! Free ourselves! by consulting the web site by that name in the Philippines, and by getting in touch with us, the Centre for Philippine Concerns at capcpc@web.ca and visiting our blog at http://cap-cpc.blogspot.com


Marie Boti is a documentary filmmaker with a dozen films documenting the people's movement in the Philippines. Kababaihan: Filipina Portraits (made with Malcolm Guy) featured the role of the women's movement in the overthrow of the Marcos dictatorship of 1986.

She is currently working on a new project with Malcolm about the political killings and disappearances in the Philippines, including that of Luisa Posa Dominado. Marie is also an active member in the Centre d’appui aux Philippines - Centre for Philippine Concerns, a solidarity group in Montreal which is celebrating its 25th anniversary.


Help rebuild daycare in Iloilo destroyed by Typhoon Frank

Daycare students in their uniforms.
My name is Malcolm Guy, I live in Montréal, Québec and and I am a member of the Centre d'appui aux Philippines - Centre for Philippine Concerns. I visited Iloilo on June 25, 2008, four days after Typhoon Frank had hit the island. I had a two-day research trip planned for an on-going documentary project on the island of Panay. I had seen the images on TV but had no idea of the impact on the lives of the local people. I was touched and felt the need to do something. It was hard to know where to start but my friends proposed that I help raise funds to rebuild a local daycare centre run in an urban poor section of the city of Iloilo.

You can find out more information about the daycare and how you can help on the website:

-- Malcolm Guy