Ampatuan, Copenhagen, India... human rights in 2009

CAP-CPC invites you to Filipino-style coffee house / Kapihan

When: Thursday, December 10, 2009 from 6 pm - 8:30 pm
Where: Café Hubert-Aquin
UQAM - Pavillon Hubert-Aquin
400, Sainte-Catherine East, Montréal
local A-2030 - 2nd floor (Metro Berri-UQAM)

Please join us for a "Kapihan" at Café Hubert-Aquin in Montréal on Thursday, December 17, 2009, from 6 pm - 8:30 pm. It's an evening of coffee, art and politics - Filipino-style with sharing about the human rights situation in the Philippines and elsewhere. We have a thought-provoking lineup of subjects and speakers.

1. Impact of recent Ampatuan massacre on regime of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo with Malcolm Guy
2. Discussion on eco-socialism in the wake of Copenhagen with Roger Rashi of Masse Critique
3. Rana Bose - India : Tribal Insurgency and anti-Globalization Struggles

At the same time, you can catch Stefan Christoff's photo exhibit, based on his trip to the Philippines for the International Observers Mission in 2007, which is featured until the end of the year at the very friendly Café Hubert-Aquin.

Malcolm Guy
info: 514 574-9906 (cell)

Ampatuan, Copenhague, l'Inde... et les droits humains

CAP-CPC vous invite au Kapihan, une soirée café-échanges

Quand: jeudi le 17 décembre 18h à 20h
Où: Café Hubert-Aquin
UQAM - Pavillon Hubert-Aquin
400, rue Sainte-Catherine Est, Montréal
local A-2030 - 2e étage (Métro Berri-UQAM)

Vous êtes invité à une soirée "Kapihan" au Café Hubert-Aquin à Montréal le jeudi 17 décembre de 18h00 à 20h30. C'est une soirée de café, art et politique incluant des échanges sur la situation des droits de la personne aux Philippines et ailleurs dans le monde.
1. La situation aux Philippines suite au massacre d'Ampatuan with Malcolm Guy
2. discussion sur l'éco-socialisme et les résultats de Copenhague avec Roger Rashi de Masse Critique
3. Rana Bose - Inde: la lutte des indigènes et l'anti-mondialisation

En même temps, vous aurez l'occasion de visiter l'exposition de photos de Stefan Christoff, prises lors de son voyage aux Philippines en 2007 pour participer à la Mission internationale d'observation.

Malcolm Guy
info: 514 574-9906 (cell)


Coalition of media groups calls for independent probe into massacre of journalists in Ampatuan

(CMFR/SEAPA/IFEX) - 9 December 2009 - The November 23 Movement, a coalition of media groups, including SEAPA, has issued a statement "calling for justice for fellow journalists and other innocent civilians who were abducted, slaughtered and hastily buried in mass graves in Ampatuan, Maguindanao on November 23, 2009."

A Joint Media Statement

The brutal, indiscriminate mass murder on Monday (November 23, 2009) in Ampatuan town, in Maguindanao province, raises the ultimate challenge of conscience. It carries the culture of impunity at work in this country to such levels of horror that, if it remains unpunished for long, can send the nation into an inexorable descent into absolute dehumanization.

The crime thus calls for swift justice, which can only be achieved through a credible and independent process, which in turn can only be achieved without the hand of this government - a government justly mistrusted generally and openly friendly precisely to the very members of the clan accused in the massacre.

We, ourselves colleagues of the more than a score journalists who were killed, demand the following:

One, the creation of a commission outside the government to investigate the crime;

Two, the arrest and prosecution of all the people involved in it in any way, as murderers themselves or their protectors;

Three, the formation of a special court to try the case;

Four, fully guaranteed protection for the witnesses;

Five, the disarming and dismantling of all private armies, such as those evidently employed in the massacre.

Six, the enlistment of persons of unquestioned probity in the whole process;

And finally, the resignation of the government if it fails to deliver such basic satisfaction - indeed, the very same government that has encouraged, by partisanship and conspiracy, the culture of impunity of which the massacre has been the most abominable manifestation.

* The November 23 Movement is a loose coalition of media organizations calling for justice for fellow journalists and other innocent civilians who were abducted, slaughtered and hastily buried in mass graves in Ampatuan, Maguindanao on November 23, 2009. It has been calling for an independent investigation of the crime that killed 30 journalists in a single attack, suddenly catapulting the Philippines to the position of the world's deadliest place for journalists.


For more information:
Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility
2/F Ateneo Professional Schools - Salcedo
130 H.V. dela Costa St., Salcedo Village
Makati City 1227
staff (@) cmfr-phil.org
Phone: +632 8400903
Fax: +632 8400889

Southeast Asian Press Alliance
Unit 3B, Thakolsuk Place
No. 115 Tetdumri Road
Dusit, Bangkok 10300
seapa (@) seapa.org
Phone: +66 2 243 5579
Fax: +66 2 244 8749

Business World
Center for Community Journalism and Development (CCJD)
College Editors Guild of the Philippines (CEGP)
Davao Today Freedom Fund for Filipino Journalists (FFFJ)
National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP)
Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ)
Philippine Daily Inquirer (PDI)
Philippine Human Rights Reporting Project (PHRRP)
Philippine Press Institute (PPI)
Pinoy Weekly People's Journal
555 Richmond St. West, # 1101, PO Box 407
Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5V 3B1
tel: +1 416 515 9622 fax: +1 416 515 7879
alerts e-mail: alerts(@)ifex.org general e-mail: ifex(@)ifex.org
Internet site: http://www.ifex.org/


Vigile pour condamner le massacre d'Ampatuan aux Philippines

Quand: mercredi le 2 décembre 2009 de 10h00 à 11h30
Ou: l'Église unie St-James, 463 Rue Ste-Catherine Ouest, Montréal, Qc

Organisé par le Centre d'appui aux Philippines, le Réseau de solidarité avec les Philippines - Canada, la Compagne pour faire cesser les assassinats politiques aux Philippines (STKP) et La ligue internationale de luttes des peuples - Canada

Vigil to demand justice for victims of Ampatuan Massacre in the Philippines

When: Wednesday, December 2, 2009, 10 am - 11:30 am
Where: St. James United Church, 463 Ste-Catherine Street West, Montreal, Qc

Organized by Centre d'appui aux Philippines - Centre for Philippine Concerns, Philippine Solidarity Network - Canada, Stop the Killings in the Philippines, International League of People's Struggle - Canada

The Centre for Philippine Concerns (CAP-CPC) condemns the Ampatuan Massacre in the Philippines and demands justice for all victims

Montréal, Québec, Canada - November 28, 2009

The Centre d'appui aux Philippines / Centre for Philippine Concerns (CAP-CPC) vehemently condemns the barbaric massacre of at least 57 people, including many women and children, 29 journalists, and human rights lawyers on November 23, 2009 in Ampatuan, Maguindanao on the island of Mindanao in the southern Philippines.

The victims were abducted and executed by approximately 100 gunmen while en route to file election papers for Ismael Mangudadatu as a candidate for governor of Maguindanao in the May 2010 elections. The candidate was not with the entourage as he had received death threats.

The 29 journalist victims constitute the largest group of media personnel killed in a single incident in the world. Twenty-four of the victims were women including the candidate’s wife and sisters and two lawyers, Concepcion Brizuela and Cynthia Oquendo. Many of the victims were beheaded and mutilated; some of the women were raped.

It signals the opening round of what we fear to be an extremely bloody lead up to the Presidential elections in May 2010 in which entrenched forces will use any means to maintain control behind a facade of democracy.

Police have named as the chief suspect, Andal Amputuan Jr., son of the three-term governor of Maguindanao province and a powerful supporter of the Lakas Kampi colation led by Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. Andal Ampatuan Jr. was being groomed to take over his father’s position as Governor. He was assisted by senior police officials, local police and paramilitary forces who function as a private army of the Ampatuan clan. An earth digger registered to the provincial government was even on hand to bury the victims in common graves prepared in advance.

The Ampatuans are governors of both Maguindanao and the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) and the family includes a cabinet undersecretary, congressmen and several town mayors . These warlords delivered large numbers of questionable votes to the ruling coalition of President Arroyo in the 2004 and 2007 elections. The town nearest the massacre site carries the family's name.

The Ampatuan warlords apparently consider themselves untouchable because of their loyal ties to the Arroyo government. A climate of impunity reigns for human rights violators and mass murderers in the Philippines.

Since 2001 over 800 people have been killed in the Philippines, all of them in some way seen as opponents or critics of the regime led by President Arroyo. The dead include peasants, lawyers (22), judges (15), opposition politicians, journalists and other members of civil society as well as 51 incidents of massacres victimizing 255 persons.

These extra-judicial killings are perceived to be a result of the U.S.- initiated counter-insurgency plan to eliminate the New People’s Army - Operation Plan Freedom Watch (Oplan Bantay Laya - OBL). The OBL was first ceated by the Arroyo regime in 2002 as a 5-year plan and extended in 2007 with the support and encouragement of the U.S. Government under its “global war on terror” policies. There have been no proper investigations of these extrajudicial killings and only one prosecution and conviction.

In the case of the Ampatuan massacre, it took four days before the principal suspect was taken into custody and only after intense public outcry for justice. The Arroyo government’s initial response was to declare a state of emergency in the province which would be enforced, of course, by the local state apparatus controlled by the Ampatuans.

Over the past few years, the Arroyo government has given the Ampatuan clan the authority to recruit and arm civilians to assist in fighting “insurgents” in the region. As a result, the Ampatuans now have a 500-strong army, which includes entire regular military and police units assigned to ensure the security of the clan members, as well as 200 special armed civilian auxiliary forces. These paramilitary forces of the Civilian Volunteer Organization (CVO) and Civilian Armed Forces Geographical Unit (CAFGU) are officially designated and financed by Manila as auxiliaries of the Philippine National Police (PNP) and Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) in line with Oplan Bantay Laya.

Through its continuing support for OBL, Washington bears responsibility for this crime against humanity. The US military considers Mindanao strategic for its forces in this part of the world. It maintains military facilities on the island in direct violation of the Philippine Constitution. It has conducted at least seven military exercises in Mindanao since 2001, poured in millions of dollars of military aid and has trained local security forces to enhance “interoperability” with US troops.

Ottawa also shares responsibility. Canadian mining companies are active in several islands of the Philippines including mineral-rich Mindanao and are known to use local private security forces as well as the AFP and PNP to protect their interests.

In a statement, the Lawyers Rights Watch Canada (LRWC) and Asian Legal Resource Centre (ALRC) pointed out that in 2007, Philip Alston, United Nations Special Rapporteur for extra-judicial, summary or arbitrary executions, made a number of recommendations to prevent further and punish past extrajudicial killings.

Their statement reads: (Alston's) recommendation that, “(C)onvictions in a significant number of extrajudicial executions must be achieved” has not been implemented. His recommendation that, “IALAG [Inter-active Legal Agency Group] should be abolished, and the criminal justice system should refocus on investigating and prosecuting those committing extrajudicial executions and other serious crimes” has not been implemented. His recommendation that “(H)uman rights should be safeguarded within the peace movement” has not been implemented.

The statement concludes: “The Philippine government failed to take effective steps to prevent or punish those extrajudicial killings, in spite of the careful recommendations of Professor Alston. That failure violated the Philippine government’s primary legal duty to protect the right to life and to ensure adequate criminal and civil remedies when that right is violated. It also created the climate of impunity that encouraged and allowed the November 23 2009 massacre. For a period of over eight years, the Philippine government has on the one hand refused, and on the other, demonstrated a lack of capacity, to carry out the investigations required by both international law (binding on the Philippines) and domestic law.”

The Stop the Killings in the Philippines Network and the Philippine Solidarity Network - Canada calls on all justice-loving people to denounce the Ampatuan Massacre and all other extra-judicial killings in the Philippines, demand an independent international probe of these killings, and condemn the Arroyo government for coddling mass murderers and human rights violators as well as its direct implication in the extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances.

We demand the dismantling of the private armies of the warlords in Maguindanao Province as well as other parts of the Philippines and the immediate rescinding of Executive Order 546 created by the Philippine government in July, 2006 which allows local politicians to convert and fund their private armies as legal entities in the counter-insurgency program.

We demand that those responsible for this attack as well as those involved in the more than 1,000 extrajudicial killings perpetrated with impunity, be they hired thugs or ranking officials in the government and its police and armed forces, be immediately investigated and made to face prosecution and such further actions as required by local and international law.

Too many people have died, the bloodbath and the climate of impunity must stop now.



Given the intimate ties of the Ampatuans and other forces in the Philippines with the U.S.-backed Arroyo government, there is no reason to expect that any fact-finding body or investigation initiated by the present Philippine government will be credible or will bring justice to the victims of massacres and other human rights violations in the Philippines.

To this end we join with other lawyers and human rights organizations around the globe in demanding:

1. The appointment of a team of professional investigators from outside the Philippines;
a) qualified in the various necessary aspects of criminal investigations,
b) absolutely independent of the Arroyo regime; and
c) authorized to compel production of evidence and examine witnesses; and
d) mandated to conduct a thorough, transparent and accountable inquiry into the 57 murders that occurred on November 23, 2009; as well as put into place the mechanisms for uncovering the facts and responsibility behind the other political killings and forced disappearances, and
e) mandated to make recommendations for the prosecution of the suspected perpetrators identified by the inquiry and to make recommendations of alternatives in the event that the Philippine courts are unable or unwilling to proceed with the prosecutions recommended.
2. Monitor and assure the safety of others likely to be under attack, including the witnesses.


On movements in Manila: photo exhibit by Stefan Christoff at UQAM

for the months of November/December 2009 at UQAM

Exhibit opening
Tuesday, December 1, 6 pm - 8 pm
Café Hubert-Aquin
UQAM - Pavillon Hubert-Aquin
400, Sainte-Catherine East, Montréal
local A-2030

A photo exhibition presenting portraits and visual mediations from Manila, Philippines captured by Stefan Christoff showing throughout the month of November and December 2009 at Café Hubert-Aquin at UQAM (University of Quebec in Montreal).

In striking colours Christoff's photos portray moments, symbols and faces from the Philippines, focusing particularly on grassroots social movements.

Present in the photographs is the human impacts of an economic crisis in the Philippines, fueled by corporate globalization and free trade policies.

Today the majority of people in the Philippines live below the poverty line, according to the U.N. more than 15 million people survive on less than one U.S. dollar a day.

In the Philippines extreme economic disparity is leading to increasing political unrest, channeling grassroots support towards revolutionary political parties in the cities and guerrilla movements in the countryside.

In photographs this exhibition offers images that attempt to capture the mood of a country struggling against intense poverty, state corruption and for national liberation.

* on Facebook/Twitter:

* co-presented by the Center for Philippine Concerns


Mouvements à Manille: exposition photographique de Stefan Christoff à UQAM

Novembre/Décembre 2009 à UQAM

Vernissage de l'exposition
Mardi le 1 décembre 18h - 20h
Café Hubert-Aquin
UQAM - Pavillon Hubert-Aquin
400, rue Sainte-Catherine Est, Montréal
local A-2030

Une exposition photographique présentant des portraits et des méditations visuelles de Manille, aux Philippines, captées par Stefan Christoff sera présentée tout le mois de Novembre et Décembre 2009 au café Hubert-Aquin à UQAM.

Avec des couleurs vives, les photos de Christoff dépeignent des moments, des symboles et des figures des Philippines, se concentrant en particulier sur les mouvements sociaux populaires.

L'impact humain de la crise économique aux Philippines, causé par la mondialisation et les politiques de libre échange, est visible sur les photographies. Aujourd'hui, la majorité de la population aux Philippines vit sous le seuil de pauvreté. D'après l'ONU, plus de 15 millions de personnes survivent avec moins d'un dollar US par jour. L'extrême inégalité économique est un facteur d'instabilité politique grandissante qui accroît le soutien envers les partis politiques révolutionnaires dans les villes et envers les mouvements de guérilla dans les campagnes.

Par la photographie, cette exposition présente des images qui tentent de capturer l'atmosphère d'un pays qui se bat contre une pauvreté extrême, la corruption de l'Etat et pour la libération nationale.

* co-présentée par le Centre d'Appui aux Philippines

* sur twitter et facebook


Book launch in Montreal featuring Philippine revolutionary Jose Maria Sison on November 7

Featuring author live from The Netherlands

When: Saturday, November 7, 2009; 2 pm - 4 pm
Where: Maison Norman Bethune Bookstore, 1918 Frontenac Street in Montreal, right next to the Frontenac Metro
Free admission

The Norman Bethune Bookstore, with the Centre for Philippine Concerns and BAYAN Canada, invites you to the Quebec launch of the first two books in the Selected Works of Philippine revolutionary, Professor Jose Maria Sison. This special event will be held Saturday, November 7, 2009 at the Bookstore located at 1918 Frontenac Street in Montreal, right next to the Frontenac Metro. The author, who lives as a political refugee in The Netherlands, will be present via videoconference. It is to be noted that November 7 marks the 92nd anniversary of the October Revolution which led to the founding of the Soviet Union.

Founder of the new Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) in 1968, Jose Maria Sison, or Joma for short, is one of the most important political personalities in this South-East Asian archipelago of 7000 islands. Arrested during the time of the Marcos dictatorship, Sison spent nine years behind bars before his release in 1986. But repeated threats on his life from the military and the Philippine regime eventually forced him to leave his homeland. Jose Maria Sison is presently the chief negotiator in the peace talks with the Philippine government for the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP). He also heads the International League of People's Struggles, a global anti-imperialist organization.

After having been persecuted for more than seven years by the Council of the European Union and included on a “black list” of international terrorists, Sison recently won an important victory when all Council decisions were annulled by the European Court of First Instance, which also ordered that his name be removed from the terrorist listing.

Admired by millions of Filipinos who consider him an outstanding patriot, Sison is also respected internationally by groups and organizations struggling for national liberation, democracy and socialism. In 1986, Robert A. Gorman's Biographical Dictionary of Marxism lists Prof. Sison as one of the 200 most important Marxist thinkers since the Manifesto of the Communist Party was published. Sison is the author of many works including the well-known Philippine Society and Revolution, which was published in 1971 under the nom de guerre Amado Guerrero and has been republished four times.

The first two books in Sison's Selected Works were published in the spring of 2009 by the Philippine publishing house, Aklat ng Bayan (www.askatngbayan.org). The first, For Socialism, Justice and Peace, covers the period of 1991-1995. The second, For Democracy and Socialism against Imperialist Globalization, covers the following period until 2000. In both works are writings on the economic, political and social situation in the Philippines, as well as essays on crucial issues on the international scene (imperialist war, economic crisis, globalization). The two works reveal the importance of Prof. Sison as a revolutionary thinker and activist as well as the depth of the national democratic movement in the Philippines.

The Norman Bethune Bookstore and distribution centre was set up in March 2009 by the Revolutionary Communist Party. It focuses on historical and contemporary works which promote the struggle against the capitalist system and the pertinence of socialist revolution in the 21st Century.

The November 7 event is presented in collaboration with the Centre d'appui aux Philippines – Centre for Philippine Concerns (CAP-CPC) and BAYAN Canada. Founded in 1982, the CAP-CPC http://cap-cpc.blogspot.com is made up of Filipinos and non-Filipinos in Quebec who support the movement for National Democracy in the Philippines. BAYAN Canada http://byncan.wordpress.com is an initiative of over 20 Philippine groups across Canada and was founded in Toronto in September, 2008.

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For more information
514 563-1487

Lancement des deux premiers tomes des œuvres choisies de Jose Maria Sison le 7 novembre

Avec la participation de l'auteur, directement des Pays-Bas

La Maison Norman Bethune vous invite à un événement très spécial où l’on procédera au lancement québécois des deux premiers tomes des oeuvres choisies du professeur Jose Maria Sison. L’événement aura lieu le samedi 7 novembre 2009 à compter de 14h à la librairie, située au 1918, rue Frontenac, à Montréal (à deux pas de la station de métro éponyme). L’auteur, qui vit actuellement aux Pays-Bas avec le statut de réfugié politique, s’adressera au public par vidéoconférence et en profitera pour souligner le 92e anniversaire de la Révolution d’octobre, qui aura lieu le même jour. (La traduction simultanée sera offerte sur place.)

Fondateur du Parti communiste des Philippines en 1968, Jose Maria Sison est l’une des personnalités politiques les plus importantes de cet archipel d’Asie du Sud-est. Arrêté à l’époque de la dictature de Marcos, il a passé près de neuf ans en prison avant d’être finalement libéré en 1986. Les menaces proférées contre lui par les militaires et le régime ayant succédé à celui du dictateur l’ont finalement contraint à l’exil. Jose Maria Sison agit désormais comme consultant auprès de l’équipe de négociation du Front national démocratique des Philippines. Il préside également un important regroupement anti-impérialiste, la Ligue internationale des luttes des peuples (International League of People’s Struggle).

Après avoir été persécuté pendant plus de sept ans par le Conseil de l’union européenne qui l’avait placé sur sa « liste noire » des terroristes internationaux, Jose Maria Sison vient tout juste de remporter une importante victoire alors qu’il a été blanchi par le Tribunal de première instance des communautés européennes, qui a ordonné que son nom soit retiré de cette liste inique.

Admiré par des millions de gens aux Philippines qui le considèrent comme un grand patriote, Jose Maria Sison est aussi un militant internationaliste connu et respecté parmi les groupes et les organisations qui luttent pour la libération nationale, la démocratie et le socialisme ailleurs dans le monde. En 1986, le Dictionnaire biographique du marxisme (Biographical Dictionary of Marxism) de Robert A. Gorman a inclus le professeur Sison dans la liste des 200 plus importants penseurs marxistes depuis la parution du Manifeste du parti communiste. Il est l’auteur de nombreux ouvrages dont le plus connu est Philippine Society and Revolution, publié en 1971 sous le pseudonyme d’Amado Guerrero et qui a depuis été réédité à quatre reprises.

Les deux premiers tomes de ses oeuvres choisies ont été publiés au printemps dernier par un éditeur philippin, Aklat ng Bayan (www.aklatngbayan.org). Le premier, For Socialism, Justice and Peace, couvre la période allant de 1991 à 1995. Le deuxième, For Democracy and Socialism against Imperialist Globalization, court jusqu’à l’an 2000. Dans les deux cas, on y retrouve des écrits sur la situation économique, politique et sociale qui prévaut aux Philippines, ainsi que d’autres qui abordent de front les questions les plus brûlantes sur la scène internationale (guerre impérialiste, crise économique, mondialisation, etc.). Les deux ouvrages témoignent à la fois de l’importance du professeur Sison comme militant et penseur révolutionnaire et de la profondeur du mouvement national démocratique des Philippines.

La Maison Norman Bethune, qui organise l’événement, est une librairie et un centre de diffusion mis sur pied en mars dernier à l’initiative du Parti communiste révolutionnaire. Elle met à la disposition des intéresséEs des documents historiques et actuels susceptibles de favoriser la réflexion sur la lutte contre le capitalisme et la pertinence de la révolution socialiste dans le contexte du 21e siècle.

L’événement du 7 novembre prochain est présenté en collaboration avec le Centre d’appui aux Philippines et l’organisation BAYAN Canada. Fondé en 1982, le Centre d’appui aux Philippines (http://cap-cpc.blogspot.com) regroupe des PhilippineEs et des CanadienNEs d’origine à Montréal qui soutiennent le mouvement national démocratique philippin. L’organisation BAYAN Canada (http://byncan.wordpress.com) a quant à elle été fondée en septembre 2008 à Toronto, à l’initiative d’une vingtaine d’organisations patriotiques de la communauté philippine.

Quand: le samedi 7 novembre 2009 à compter de 14h
Lieu: Maison Norman Bethune, 1918, rue Frontenac, Montréal (Qc) H2K 2Z1
Entrée libre

La traduction simultanée sera offerte sur place

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Pour information :
514 563-1487


On October 11 we honour the memory of Bishop Alberto Ramento

Bishop Alberto Ramento of the Philippine Independent Church (IFI) was assassinated three years ago this October. I remember it well since we were in the Philippines at that time and our Tagalog teacher received a text messsage which caused her to stare at her cell phone screen in disbelief. An active member of the IFI who knew the Bishop well, she was naturally very upset by the news of his brutal killing. She told us how Bishop Ramento had been on the front lines to support workers' rights and was a staunch advocate of basic human rights for the Filipino people. But instead of being honoured, he had been stabbed to death. Over the next few days thousands came out to pay their respects... and today back in Montreal we continue to honour his memory. MG

Commemoration for Bishop Alberto Ramento
and other vicitims of human rights violations in the Philippines

When: Sunday, October 11, 2009, from 5 pm to 8 pm
Where: St Paul's Church, 3970 chemin Sainte-Catherine, Montréal QC H3T 1E3 (near Metro Côte Ste-Catherine)

Ecumencial Service led by Fr. Art Calaycay: 5 pm - 6 pm
Community pot luck supper and program (film and cultural presentations): 6pm - 8 pm

Bishop Alberto Ramento of the Philippine Independent Church (IFI) was brutally murdered on October 3, 2006 in his parish in San Sebastian, Tarlac City, Philippines. Before his murder he was categorized as an "enemy of the state" and listed in the "order of battle" of the military and that he received death threats by text messages for opposing the charter change campaign of the Arroyo regime condemning the extrajudicial killings and supporting the workers and peasants flighting for their labor rights in Hacienda Luisita.

Bishop Ramento is one of many church people who have died during the ongoing wave of politically motivated killings and forced abductions in the Philippines.

Fr. Dionisio Gingging of the Philippine Independent Church (IFI) was killed in Surigao del Sur.

Fr. William Tadena was shot and killed in the morning of March 3 2005a victim of 93state persecution94 and was killed because of his support to the workers of Hacienda Luisita and for discharging the church's mission to the poor and the oppressed.

Roman Catholic priest Father Cecilio Lucero of the diocese of Catarman parish priest of Catubig Northern Samar was a member of the Promotion of Church People's Response (PCPR) and also chaired the Committee on Human Rights and the Task Force Peace and Order of the Diocese of Catarman. He was gunned down by some 30 men in San Jose Northern Samar last Sept. 6 2009.

In May last year three of the priests suffered direct attacks from suspected military agents. Fr. Quince was waylaid by gun-wielding men as he arrived home at his church in Paniqui Tarlac but he managed to evade his assailants.

Armed men knocked on the door of the home of Fr. Lacanera in Pangasinan in the dead of the night. Also in May, 2008, the chapel of Fr. Garcia in Gerona town was surrounded by soldiers as they slept. Only the presence of family and parishioners prevented what the priests described as clear attempts on their lives.

Karapatan the human-rights group has documented 1093 victims of extrajudicial killings 209 victims of enforced disappearances and more than a thousand victims of torture under the present government of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.

Come and join us in commemorating Bishop Ramento, while at the same time honouring the heroism and dedication of these church people who opted to be with the people they serve and stand with them in their struggle for justice and as well the men, women and youth, journalists, medical personnel and community leaders of peasants and workers who have perished at the hands of the current regime.

An ecumenical service will be held at the St Paul's Church, 3970 chemin Sainte-Catherine, Montréal QC H3T 1E3 on Sunday, 11 October, 2009 at 17h00 to be followed by pot-luck supper and program from 18h00-20h00. All welcome.

We Commemorate their untimely and senseless deaths
We Condemn the Regime and hold it responsible for these killings
We Cry for justice and say Stop the Killings in the Philippines


Montrealers hold town hall for victims of flood in the Philippines

Media Advisory
October 3, 2009

The Centre for Philippine Concerns and Filipino community groups will gather on Sunday, October 4 at 6pm in a town hall meeting to assess their relief efforts for victims of Typhoon Ketsana in the Philippines. The Town hall meeting to be held at 6767 Cotes-des-Neiges Community Centre will provide participants with all the information needed to assure that their donations reach the victims of the relief effort.

This comes just after Manila averted another potential disaster when Typhoon Parma switched course and hit the northern parts of Luzon Island (especially in the province of Cagayan). Organizers will attempt a live internet link with Philippine relief workers so that the audience can ask questions directly and get immediate answers.

When: Sunday, October 4, 2009 - between 6pm to 8pm

Cote-des-Neiges Community Centre
6767 Cotes-des-Neiges, 6th floor
Montreal, Qc

Organized by: Centre d'appui aux Philippines / Centre for Philippine Concerns with BAYAN Canada and Migrante Canada groups in Montreal
Tel (cell): +1 514 574-9906
Email: capcpc@web.ca


Célébrons une importante victoire! Jose Maria Sison, leader du mouvement de libération des Philippines, retiré de la liste des "terroristes"

Communiqué de presse
1er octobre 2009

La Cour européenne de première instance a annulé hier toutes les décisions et un règlement du Conseil de l’Union européenne qui avaient maintenu le nom du professeur Jose Maria Sison inscrit sur la soi-disant «liste noire de terroristes».

Le retrait du nom du professeur Sison de la liste noire est le point principal du jugement de la Cour européenne de première instance sur le Cas T-341/07 du professeur Sison.

Les avoirs de Sison a été immédiatement dégelé et il peut maintenant utiliser son maigre compte de banque effectué des transactions comme toute personne ordinaire.

Pour annuler les mesures adoptées par le Conseil telles que la mise du prof. Sison sur la liste noire et que la congélation de son compte de banque, la Cour européenne de première instance a statué que les décisions nationales prises par les Pays-Bas et observées par le Conseil ne correspondaient pas à l’enquête ou aux enquêtes ou à l’accusation ou à la condamnation pour activité terroriste, contrevenant à la Loi de la Communauté européenne.

En plus de dégeler les avoir du professeur Sison, la Cour européenne de première instance permet à celui-ci d’affirmer et de se prévaloir de tous les droits qui lui ont été réduits ou enlevés en raison des fausses accusations de terrorisme. Il peut profiter du jugement de la façon suivante :

1) Il recevra les prestations sociales de vie, de logement, d’assurance sociale et de pension de vieillesse qui lui ont été refusées depuis 2002.

2) Il pourra trouver du travail ou offrir des services professionnels contre rémunération;

3) Il sera accepté légalement au pays en tant que réfugié et obtiendra un permis de résidence’

4) Il pourra voyager librement sans restrictions;

5) Il ne sera plus étiqueté et accusé d’être un terroriste; et

6) Il pourra réclamer une compensation pour les dommages matériels pour ce qu’il a souffert depuis 2002.

Le Comité international DEFEND invite tous ses membres, ses sympathisantes/ants et ses amis à célébrer la victoire judiciaire remportée par le professeur Jose Maria Sison à la cour européenne et, en même temps, à lutter avec encore plus de détermination opur exiger que le gouvernement hollandais et le Conseil de l’Union européenne modifient leur politiques d’hostilité contre lui.

Le gouvernement des Pays-Bas et le Conseil de l’Europe doivent cesser de servir d’outil aux gouvernements des États-Unis et des Philippines en lançant de fausses accusations et en persécutant le professeur Jose Maria Sison. On doit lui permettre et l’encourager de jouer librement et de façon efficace de consultant politique principal du Front national démocratique des Philippines dans les négociations de paix avec le gouvernement de la République des Philippines.###

Pour de plus amples information contactez :
Ruth de Leon
Coordinatrice internationale de DEFEND
Téléphone: 00-31-30-8895306
Courriel : defenddemrights@yahoo.com

(Merci à Antonio Artuso pour la traduction!)


European court removes Joma Sison from European Union terrorist blacklist

Press Release
1 October 2009

The European Court of First Instance (ECFI) annulled September 30, 2009, all decisions and a regulation of the Council of the European Union (EU) that had maintained Prof. Jose Maria Sison in its so-called terrorist blacklist.

The removal of the name of Prof. Sison from the blacklist is the essence or main point of the ECFI judgment on Case T-341/07 of Prof. Sison against the Council of EU. It directly unfreezes Sison's funds in his small bank account and allows him to engage in financial dealings like any ordinary person.

To annul the acts of the Council in blacklisting Prof. Sison and freezing his account, the ECFI ruled that the national decisions done in The Netherlands and relied upon by the Council did not relate to the instigation of investigations or prosecution or to a conviction for terrorist activity, contrary to the requirements of European Community Law.

Aside from unfreezing the funds of Prof. Sison, the ECFI judgment opens the way for him to assert and enjoy all his rights that have been restricted or suppressed due to the false charge of terrorism. He can benefit from the judgment in the following ways:

1. To claim back the social payments for living allowance, housing, health insurance and old age pension which have been withdrawn from him since 2002;
2. To seek gainful employment or render professional services with remuneration;
3. To secure legal admission as a refugee and a residence permit;
4. To travel freely without restrictions;
5. To be free from being labelled and stigmatized as a terrorist; and
6. To claim moral and material damages for what he has suffered since 2002.

The International DEFEND Committee is calling on all its adherents, supporters and friends to celebrate the legal victory of Prof. Jose Maria Sison in the European Court and at the same time to become more determined than ever before in demanding that the Dutch government and Council of the EU change their hostile policy towards him.

The Dutch government and the Council of the EU must cease and desist from being the vehicles of false charges and tools of persecution of the US and Philippine governments against Prof. Jose Maria Sison. He must be allowed and encouraged to act freely and fruitfully as the chief political consultant of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines in peace negotiations with the Government of the Republic of the Philippines.###

For reference please contact:
Ruth de Leon
International Coordinator-Committee DEFEND
Telephone: 00-31-30-8895306
Email: defenddemrights@yahoo.com


CAP-CPC supports BAYAN Canada call to help Typhoon Ondoy victims

You have undoubtedly seen the amazing images of the destruction and death in the Philippines that has resulted from Typhoon Ondoy (Ketsana). The Centre d'appui aux Philippines / Centre for Philippine Concerns (CAP-CPC) deplores the deaths and offers its condoleances to the families of the victims. We join with our friends at BAYAN Canada and Migrante organizations in Montreal and across the country to request your help for the victims, who have been abandoned by their own government. (Photo taken in Marikina by King Catoy: Bulatlat)

As a member of the Philippine Solidarity Network in Canada (PSNC), CAP-CPC has been a long-time partner of the National Council of the Churches in the Philippines (NCCP) and other Philippine organizations, which are mobilizing relief activities for the victims.

Where to give help

You can connect your local church effort with the churches in the Philippines, particularly through the National Council of Churches of the Philippines who have been consistent in ensuring that help gets to those who need it the most.

People can get in touch with the following BAYAN Canada and Migrante organizations through the following contacts:

BAYAN Canada at e-mail: bayan.canada.noc[at]gmail[dot]com

Migarante International Canada chapter at e-mail: migrantecanada[at]gmail[dot]com

Migrante Sectoral Party coordinator in Canada, Jonathan Canchela at +1 647 833-1023 or email migrantepartylist.toronto[at]gmail[dot]com

BAYAN Canada contacts :
Montreal – Joey Calugay, cell +1 514 947-3662
Ottawa – Yasmeen Maryam, cell +1 613 558-1625
Toronto – Diwa Marcelino, cell +1 416 809-3492
Winnipeg – Jomay Amora-Mercado, cell +1 204 509-2491
Red Deer – Aubrey Makilan, +1 403 392-7178
Vancouver – Beth Dollaga, +1 604 320-0285

For more information please read the press communique from BAYAN Canada:

Also see: Various groups in Philippines launch Ondoy relief operations: BULATLAT

If you have suggestions or questions, please contact the PSNC national coordinator, Malcolm Guy, in Montreal at +1 514 574-9906 or email him at capcpc[at]web[dot]ca

Update: Tropical Storm Ondoy (Ketsana) affects almost 2 million Filipinos


Kapihan: coffee, art and politics at sablo kafé in Montréal to mark anniversary of martial law

BAYAN Canada groups in Montreal and the Centre d'appui aux Philippines / Centre for Philippine Concerns held a Kapihan at the sablo kafé in Montréal on Tuesday, September 22 from 6 pm - 8:30 pm.

It was an evening of coffee, art and politics - Filipino-style as a way of marking the 37th anniversary of the declaration of martial law in the Philippines (September 21, 1972).

At the same time, participants admired Stefan Christoff's photo exhibit, based on his trip to the Philippines for the International Observers Mission in 2007, which is featured to the end of September 2009 at sablo kafé.

See BAYAN Canada September 21, 2009 press release: Never again to martial law!



Press Statement
17 September 2009

By Prof. Jose Maria Sison
Chief Political Consultant - National Democratic Front of the Philippines Negotiating Panel

In their most recent statements, the de facto president Gloria M. Arroyo and her OPAPP secretary Avelino Razon Jr. have paid lip service to peace negotiations between the Government of the Philippines (GRP) and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) only to proclaim the end of peace negotiations and blame the NDFP for their own malicious action.

Despite the extremely hostile pronouncements of Arroyo and Razon, the NDFP Negotiating Panel continues to seek the resumption of formal talks in the GRP-NDFP peace negotiations and demand respect for and compliance with the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG) and all other bilateral agreements made since 1992.

At the same time, the NDFP is acutely aware of the fact that GRP is hell-bent on seeking the destruction and pacification of the revolutionary movement of the people mainly through the military force of Oplan Bantay Laya and secondarily through psywar pretenses at wishing peace negotiations. The GRP has shown its malevolent scheme in the following ways:

1. It does not want to give up its policy and practice of using false charges of common crimes to demonize, harass, abduct, detain, torture and murder suspected revolutionaries, social activists and the NDFP panelists, consultants, staffers and other JASIG-protected people. It is thus incapable of respecting and complying with the JASIG and the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL).

2. It wants to prevent the negotiation of social, economic and political reforms in accordance with the substantive agenda set forth by The Hague Joint Declaration and the Joint Agreement on the Sequence, Formation and Operationalization of the Reciprocal Working Committees. It does not wish the peace negotiations to be a way of addressing the roots of the armed conflict and laying the basis for a just and lasting peace through basic reforms.

3. It wants to front load the end of hostitilies, which is the fourth and last item in the agenda, so that it can actually destroy the peace negotiations as a way of bringing about basic reforms for the benefit of the people. It is obsessed with imposing the framework of disarmament, demobilization and reintegration simply to pacify the people and perpetuate the rotten ruling system of oppression and exploitation.

By all indications, the Arroyo regime does not want the resumption of formal talks in the GRP-NDFP peace negotiations, unless it realizes immediately its malevolent scheme and attain its malicious objectives against the Filipino people and their struggle for national liberation and democracy.


Coni Ledesma from National Democratic Front meets Montrealers

Coni K. Ledesma, a member of the negotiating panel of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP), with journalist and photographer Stefan Christoff, whose photo exhibit, On movements in Manila, is being presented during September 2009 at the sablo kafé in Montreal. Ledesma was in town as part of a cross-Canada tour at the invitation of the Philippine Solidarity Network and BAYAN Canada to promote the immediate resumption of peace negotiations and to address the NDFP's position on the 2010 Presidential elections in her homeland.

While in Montreal, the NDFP representative also met with the Philippine community, the solidarity group Centre d'appui aux Philippines / Centre for Philippine Concerns and the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace.

Ledesma began her tour in Toronto on September 10, 2009 and will be heading to Ottawa and Winnipeg before wrapping up the trip in Vancouver September 23. MG
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Coni K. Ledesma from National Democratic Front of the Philippines to tour Canada to promote peace talks

In the face of an armed conflict which has been underway in the Philippines for the last forty years, the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP), the underground revolutionary organization, recently announced plans to resume peace negotiations. The last formal discussions were held five years ago.

To talk about these latest peace initiatives, as well as the upcoming elections in the Philippines, Coni K. Ledesma, member of the NDFP Negotiating Panel and a former political prisoner, will be touring Canada September 9 – 23, 2009. She will be in Montreal September 13 – 15, 2009 and is available for interviews.

(PHOTO: Coni Ledesma (head of table in red) with other members of NDFP negotiation panel (left of photo) meet Philippine government representatives in Oslo, Norway for informal talks in October 2003- BULATLAT)

The peace talks, set for the end of August 2009, are presently stalled, with the NDFP negotiating panel accusing the government of failing to comply with agreements made during a meeting of some members of the GRP and NDFP panels on June 15, 2009, particularly regarding immunity from arrest to members, consultants and staff of the NDFP negotiating team.

“Earlier this year the Philippine government promised to lift its so-called suspension of the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG). Yet only one NDFP consultant, Randall Echanis, has been released, and it was conditional for only six months in gross violation of the terms of JASIG,” said Coni Ledesma. She said that as a result, NDFP consultants, who are still detained and the subject of arrest warrants, have been prevented from participating in the formal peace negotiations which were set to begin in Oslo, Norway.

Filipinos in Canada, along with Canadian citizens concerned about the situation in this Asian country, welcomed the initial announcement of the resumption of negotiations aimed at “resolving the armed conflict” and attaining a “just and lasting peace.” They realize it has been seventeen years since the GRP and the NDFP signed The Hague Joint Declaration containing those twin objectives, and eleven years since the signing of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Respect of Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL). This agreement, signed by both parties following intensive discussions, outlined the path to peace while recognizing official belligerent status for the NDFP and its armed component, the New People's Army (NPA).

“With the impact of the global economic crisis on our brothers and sisters at home and the millions of Filipino migrants abroad, the next set of peace talks are crucial since the main part of the agenda will look at basic social and economic reforms in the Philippines,” said Joey Calugay, Secretary General of Bayan Canada, an organization representing progressive Filipinos across Canada.

But Calugay points out that the hindrances to the resumption of talks are major. “Among them are human rights violations, including over 1000 political killings and enforced disappearances of progressive leaders and activists since 2001 in which the military and police have been implicated, and President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo's declaration to wipe out the insurgents by 2010,” said Calugay. Shortly after a visit in 2002 by then US State Secretary Colin Powell to the Philippines, President Arroyo redeployed troops to various NPA-controlled areas of the Philippines, virtually declaring “all- out war” on the CPP-NPA-NDFP, he said. The NPA is presently active in 70 of the country's 79 provinces.

In the Philippines, the Ecumenical Bishops Forum in the Philippines has come out strongly in favour of the of peace negotiations “to resolve the issues that spawn unrest and civil strife,” in a declaration signed by the co-chairpersons, Most Rev. Deogracias S. Iniguez, Jr. and Bishop Solito K. Toquero. They are joined by other peace advocates such as the Pilgrims for Peace, the Philippine Peace Center, and the Philippine Ecumenical Peace Platform.

“Our country can attain a just and lasting peace,” Ledesma said, “once the roots of the armed conflict or civil war have been resolved. Concretely, this means ending the control and domination of imperialism over the economy and politics of the Philippines, eliminating feudalism, the system that enslaves the majority of our population, the peasantry, and dismantling what we call bureaucrat capitalism, which we see as the main source of corruption in our society. With these changes, the Philippines can become a truly free, democratic and prosperous country.”

The New People's Army was established in 1969, closely following the reestablishment of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) in December 1968. The Bangsa Moro Army was likewise established by the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) in 1971.

Rey Claro Casambre, Executive Director of the Philippine Peace Centre, believes that it was no coincidence that both groups launched their armed resistance against the Philippine government at about the same time. “These were the inevitable outcome of the people suffering intolerable poverty, injustice and oppression over the decades,” Casambre said.

Peace talks have been held before between the government and the MNLF and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF). Peace accords were actually signed between the Philippine government and the MNLF, but problems in implementation and issues of ancestral domain have seen the conflict continue.

The peace talks between the GRP and NDFP appeared to be back on track in 2001 and 2004 and produced two agreements in Oslo, Norway, before they were suspended, along with the JASIG. Subsequently several members of the NDFP negotiating panel were arrested, assassinated or disappeared.

“The recent announcements that formal talks will resume between the GRP and the NDFP rekindled our hopes,” said Casambre. “However, learning from the past we have no illusions that the talks shall now proceed unimpeded.” He pointed out that the formal or substantive talks have been suspended or frozen for about 11 of the last 14 years, with GRP-MILF talks suffering a similar fate.

“We are intent on getting the peace talks back on track,” said Coni Ledesma. “We (the NDFP) intend to propose to the GRP through the Norwegian government that a preparatory meeting between the two sides with their respective lawyers be held in early September in order to produce a written agreement that reaffirms the JASIG and spells out the methods for complying with its stipulations."

“Of course, it is difficult to achieve a just and lasting peace through the peace negotiations alone,” Ledesma continued. “The fact is the forces against social change in the Philippines use all the coercive instruments of the state including the courts, police and armed forces to perpetuate their rule and suppress the people's demand for a free, democratic and prosperous society.”

“In this situation, we believe the people have the right to use all forms of struggle including legal, parliamentary and militant mass actions as well as armed struggle to defend themselves and advance their interests,” Ledesma said.

“I look forward to meeting with my compatriots and with Canadian citizens as well as elected officials during my trip across Canada,” said Ledesma. “I will ask Canadians to help us get the peace negotiations back on track, and if necessary to put pressure on the Philippine government to help make that happen. For the benefit of the people of the Philippines, but also the people of Canada and the world, we continue to strive for a just and lasting peace in our country.” MG

For interviews with Coni K. Ledesma please contact the Centre for Philippine Concerns at: capcpc@web.ca


Photo exhibition: "On movements in Manila"

September 11- 31, 2009
Sablo Kafé **
50 St. Zotique East
Montreal, QC
Téléphone : +1 514 342-2111
E-mail: capcpc[at]web[dot]ca
Free admission

A photo exhibition presenting portraits and visual mediations from Manila, Philippines captured by Stefan Christoff will be showing throughout the month of September 2009 at the Sablo Kafé in Montreal.

The exhibit opens Friday, September 11, 2009 with a vernissage from 7 pm - 10 pm.

In striking colors Christoff’s photos portray moments, symbols and faces from the Philippines, focusing particularly on grassroots social movements.

Present in the photographs is the human impacts of an economic crisis in the Philippines, fueled by corporate globalization and free trade policies.

Today the majority of people in the Philippines live below the poverty line, according to the U.N. more than 15 million people survive on less than one U.S. dollar a day.

In the Philippines extreme economic disparity is leading to increasing political unrest, channeling grassroots support towards revolutionary political parties in the cities and guerrilla movements in the countryside.

In photographs this exhibition offers images that attempt to capture the mood of a country struggling against intense poverty, state corruption and for national liberation.

Co-presented by the Center for Philippine Concerns
** Sablo Kafé is located at the corner of St. Zotique and St. Dominique, close to Metro Beaubien.
See Facebook: http://bit.ly/28WTIN

Une exposition photographique présentant des portraits et des méditations visuelles de Manille, aux Philippines, captées par Stefan Christoff sera présentée tout le mois de septembre 2009 au Kafé Sablo.

Avec des couleurs vives, les photos de Christoff dépeignent des moments, des symboles et des figures des Philippines, se concentrant en particulier sur les mouvements sociaux populaires.

L'impact humain de la crise économique aux Philippines, causé par la mondialisation et les politiques de libre échange, est visible sur les photographies. Aujourd'hui, la majorité de la population aux Philippines vit sous le seuil de pauvreté. D'après l'ONU, plus de 15 millions de personnes survivent avec moins d'un dollar US par jour. L'extrême inégalité économique est un facteur d'instabilité politique grandissante qui accroît le soutien envers les partis politiques révolutionnaires dans les villes et envers les mouvements de guérilla dans les campagnes.

Par la photographie, cette exposition présente des images qui tentent de capturer l'atmosphère d'un pays qui se bat contre une pauvreté extrême, la corruption de l'Etat et pour la libération nationale.

* sur twitter: http://twitter.com/spirodon


US Troops in Philippines: America Pursues Expansionism, Protects Economic Interests


MANILA – When former Navy Lt. Senior Grade Mary Nancy Gadian gave a press conference in Quezon City on Wednesday, August 26, 2009, to expose the wrongdoings of US troops stationed in the Philippines, she mentioned, among other things, the economic agenda behind America's continued presence in the country.

“The US is after the natural resources of the Philippines,” she said, adding that the Philippines has a “strategic location” in relation to the rest of Southeast Asia.

Gadian only affirmed what has always been the core of US expansionism: using its military power to exploit the wealth and resources of another country. This was the core strategy in practically all the wars America had fought — from Iraq to Afghanistan to the Philippines, where it had maintained military bases.

When these Philippine bases were removed by the people’s will in 1991, it did not signify the end of US military intervention in the Philippines. After the attacks in the US on Sept. 11, Washington found a convenient justification for sending its troops here – the so-called war on terror.

More at: US Troops in Philippines: America Pursues Expansionism, Protects Economic Interests - Bulatlat


Global Trade Union and Workers Action on the Global Economic Recession

G20 Meeting, September 24-25, 2009, Pittsburg, USA
Concept Paper


The deepest worldwide crisis of capitalism since the Great Depression has so far seen the efforts of global finance capitalists, whose actions were its immediate cause, to make workers and peoples of the world bear the cost of the crisis. These ruthless capitalists use their political power to full effect for their own narrow benefit. Workers and peoples world-wide desperately need to challenge them before the situation gets even worse for the majority of the world’s population.

Unemployment, under-employment and job insecurity are soaring everywhere, with some analysts predicting a drop in remittances of migrant workers to their families and massive layoffs of migrant workers. Meanwhile, the “bonus pool” for finance executives is again bursting with billions of dollars – this time, composed of public funds smuggled into their coffers under the banner of “bailout.”

Many companies are taking advantage of this crisis as a most deceitful propaganda line to freeze wages, retrench workers and replace them with contractual or flexible labor, reduce working days or hours, bust unions and close plants and relocate to places with lower wages, more worker repression and weaker environment laws.

Women workers are most affected by this global capitalist crisis. They are losing their jobs and working hours. They are receiving low wages, enduring the break-up of their families and being forced into prostitution and sex-trafficking.

Instead of abolishing or radically democratising the International Monetary Fund, the G-20 has promoted and re-financed it. This could only empower the IMF which was responsible for promoting savage “structural adjustment programs” which deregulated global finance, enthroned the business model of transnational corporations, and attacked workers’ minimum wages and right to organise and strike.

The root causes of the global recession lie in the global capitalist system and “free-market globalisation” driven by the US, European and Japanese imperialists.

These have also caused the over-exploitation and depletion of the world’s resources, environmental destruction and excessive release of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere – which have all resulted in global warming and increase in violent natural events.


As the ruling classes of various countries tighten their unity in the face of the global financial and economic crisis, we workers and peoples of the world are working closer together and uniting even more to defend and advance our rights and interests against the offensive being carried out by the ruling classes.

We workers and peoples have always needed strong and active trade unions but especially in these times, when capitalists want to lay all the burden of the crises on our shoulders. They want to split us and increase the competition between us, even provoke hatred and violence between us, because they know – workers, united, will never be defeated!

We workers and peoples want to realize our right for a secure job without being blackmailed, a secure job that will enable us to provide a humane life for us and our families.

We don’t want our children to have to leave school for the reason that we have no more money to pay for their education.

We don’t want poor people dying and the sick remaining uncured because there are no health services available to them. We don’t want the poorest have to become homeless.

We don’t want the livelihood of peasant farmers to be ruined by big agro-industrial transnational corporations. We don’t want them to lose their lands to TNCs like Nestle and Monsanto.

We don’t want to be modern slaves of the World Trade Organization, which is desperately calling for more “free trade” to help TNCs recover from the great slump in trade.

We have the right to do political work, to fight independently and to strike, without any interference by those who collaborate with capitalists and without being harassed by police, soldiers or security. Yet in many countries, to stifle our legitimate dissent, we are illegally dismissed, intimidated, harassed, abducted or killed by company goons or state security forces.

It is our task as workers and peoples, and of our trade unions and trade union representatives, to struggle for the interests and rights of working families. We should oppose policies of collaborating with the boss’s schemes to bolster profits, and we should fight directly for workers' basic demands.

We say “no” to oppression and dismissals of workers’ leaders and activists – all for one and one for all! Touch one, touch all!

We fight against temporary work and contract work – we are one workforce.

We fight for the reduction of working hours with full wage compensation instead of job cuts.

We stand for human rights in all workplaces. We demand a stop to the killings of labor leaders, union members and labor advocates. We say “no” to all forms of labor repression.

We are strong when we join together.

We workers and peoples can make a new world that is more equal, more just, more humane and environmentally sustainable, if we can challenge and defeat the political power of the global capitalists.


Many of us believe that the global capitalist system, which we also call imperialism, has no solution to this crisis, except to make working men and women pay the heavy cost of corporate recovery, and even to launch wars of conquest to do so.

The G-20 Leaders Meeting scheduled for Pittsburgh, USA on September 24-25, 2009, is a good opportunity to protest against the perpetrators of this crisis and their moves, and to show that working people can unite – whatever our colour, gender, nationality, religion or age – to defend our common interests. Like Seattle, Pittsburgh is a fine union city.

We need to project socialist, green, worker-control and public sector alternatives to the global power of the big US, European and Japanese capitalists, if we are to build a world where our children and all people can enjoy a most beautiful paradise of humanity!

It is our right to fight state policies inimical to workers’ interests – those that destroy our jobs and livehood and that which slowly kill us!

It is the order of the day to fight corporation-wide and across borders! It is time. Let us fight together hand in hand!

We call on trade union organizations and workers’ associations around the world to prepare effective actions on September 24-25, 2009, devising slogans relevant in each of our countries but which also resonate globally. Since our calls are directed at governments, we call on trade union organizations and workers’ associations to launch these actions near the centers of political power in our countries. Each of our actions in those two days will strengthen all of our actions.

It is also a call to build an ever-stronger unity of the workers movements to win the imagination of the world for a democratic, inclusive, peaceful and environmentally sustainable world. This is a vital part of a process to win political power from the capitalists, amid this global economic and environmental crisis which is unlikely to abate, in fact at present is more likely to deepen.


Initial thinking for this proposition was done by workers, trade unionists from 17 countries gathered at the 25th International Solidarity Affairs of Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) in Manila and Tagaytay City, Cavite, Philippines, soon after May Day this year. We all face common problems, even if we are far away of each others and even if we are coming from rich and poor countries.


Peasant Activist Randy Echanis Released

After nineteen long months, peasant activist Randy Echanis is celebrating his first break from detention with the Supreme Court's order granting him provisional release for six months. Friends and family held a public event to mark freedom for the Deputy Secretary-General for External Affairs of Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP, Peasant Movement of the Philippines).

KMP statement on the release of Randy Echanis:

Echanis’ release, victory for the peasant and people’s movement


Arroyo regime scuttling resumption of peace talks — NDF

The National Democratic Front accuses the Arroyo government of showing bad faith by not complying with an agreement that provides immunity guarantees to members of the NDF’s panel.


MANILA — The Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) appears bent on scuttling the resumption of formal peace talks with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP), according to NDFP chief negotiator Luis Jalandoni. This, he said, is because the GRP has been violating the agreement reached in Oslo, Norway, last June 15, which covers among other things the reaffirmation of previously signed agreements as well as the release of detained NDFP consultants and other political prisoners.

(PHOTO - National Democratic Front chairman Luis Jalandoni and Coni Ledesma arrive at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport July 13, 2009 to prepare for the resumption of peace talks between the government and the NDFP. Photo by Rudy Santos MANILA, Philippines)

The GRP-NDFP peace negotiations, which have been going on and off since 1986, were last stalled in 2002 when the US and the European Union included the Communist Party of the Philippines and the New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) and NDFP chief political consultant Jose Maria Sison in their “terrorist” lists. Since then the armed conflict has escalated, especially after the Arroyo government ordered the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to crush the insurgency by 2010. Its counterinsurgency program Oplan Bantay Laya 1 and 2 (Operation Freedom Watch), which was implemented full-scale in 2002, resulted in more than a thousand extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances victimizing political activists in a seeming war of annihilation targeting unarmed civilians suspected by the military of having sympathies for the CPP-NPA.

Last June 15, the GRP and the NDFP agreed to resume formal negotiations in informal talks held in Oslo. The Royal Norwegian Government is facilitating the negotiations. It is hoped that the formal negotiations would seriously address the issue of human rights violations, including extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearance, as both parties signed the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL) way back in 1998.

More at: Arroyo Regime Scuttling Resumption of Peace Talks — NDF - Bulatlat


Philippine kidnapping case has Vancouver link

By Carlito Pablo
Publish Date: August 13, 2009

Faint from the torture inflicted on her, the terrified young woman was taunted by one of her tormentors.

“Do you think the Canadian government can do anything for you?” the man said. He called her “Maita”.

But her name wasn’t Maita. Nor was she a Canadian.

The woman was Melissa Roxas, an American citizen visiting the Philippines, the birthplace of her parents. An aspiring artist based in California, she was gathering material for a writing project when she and two companions were abducted in the town of La Paz in Tarlac, a province 120 kilometres north of Manila, on May 19. (PHOTO: Melissa Roxas talks to supporters when she returns to Manila to demand justice)

Taken to what she believed was a military camp and accused of being a communist rebel, Roxas was repeatedly beaten, choked, and threatened with execution. At one time, plastic bags were pulled down over her face and secured around her neck until she started suffocating. She was released six days later, on May 25.

Who is Maita, and was Roxas’s abduction a case of mistaken identity? Is there a Canadian connection to this case?

Migrante International, a Philippines-based group critical of the labour-export policies of the government there, believes that the target of Roxas’s abductors may have been its former secretary general Maita Santiago, of Vancouver.

Santiago ran for Vancouver city council in 1993, on the slate of then–Coalition of Progressive Electors mayoral candidate and now NDP Vancouver East MP Libby Davies.

Santiago and her family arrived in Canada in 1977, when she was a young child. She moved back to Manila in 1999 and was Migrante’s secretary general from 2002 to 2008. She returned to Vancouver last year.

She is currently the constituency assistant of NDP Vancouver-Kensington MLA Mable Elmore.

Read rest of article at: Philippine kidnapping case has Vancouver link

Also see Bayan Canada statement: There are many Melissas and Maitas


Happy 54th Birthday, Luing, from the CAP-CPC

It was in April 2007, just weeks after CAP-CPC members Marie Boti and Malcolm Guy had spent time with her in Iloilo, Philippines, that our friend Ma Luisa Posa Dominado, or Luing, was abducted along with her companion, Nilo Arado. They were on their way back from an election meeting with Bayan Muna when their vehicle was ambushed and the driver, human rights worker Leeboy Garachico, left for dead with bullet in his neck. Malcolm And Marie spent time in Panay this June 2009 with Luing’s daughters, MayWan and Tamara, and her friends and comrades. They interviewed the police and military who have done little to find the abductors, leading us to presume that once again they were involved. There has been no news yet of Luing’s or Nilo’s whereabouts, but we will continue, with her daughters, friends and supporters to keep struggling for their surfacing. Happy 54th birthday, dear Luing.

Surface Luisa Posa Dominado and Nilo Arado NOW!


NDF message of condolence on the death of former Philippine President Corazon Aquino

2 August 2009

The National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) Negotiating Panel and its Consultants convey their heartfelt condolences to the family, relatives and friends of former President Corazon Aquino on her passing away yesterday.

Corazon Aquino was an outstanding and inspiring figure in the anti-fascist alliance against the Marcos dictatorship, especially after the assassination of her husband, Benigno Aquino. She was openly critical of the longrunning support of the US for the Marcos dictatorship in exchange for the aggrandizement of US economic interests and the continuance of the US military bases. (Photo from Edsa 20/20 by Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism)

Upon assuming the presidency after the fall of the dictator Marcos, she fulfilled her commitment to release all political prisoners, including Prof. Jose Maria Sison, founding chairman of the Communist Party of the Philippines and the Chief Political Consultant of the NDFP.

She engaged the NDFP in peace negotiations, but the military and police caused the termination of the ceasefire agreement between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and the NDFP when they indiscriminately fired on the peasants and their urban supporters marching for land reform on January 22, 1987.

The 1987 constitution, which was framed under the Aquino administration, contains provisions which may be used to counter land reform. But it also carries provisions which uphold human rights and restrain the proclamation of martial law, retain national restrictions on foreign investments and prohibit foreign military bases, foreign troops and nuclear weapons on Philippine soil.

Beset by coup attempts and threats by pro-Marcos and pro-Enrile factions of the military and police, then President Corazon Aquino sent Congressman Jose V. Yap to NDFP officials in The Netherlands in September 1990 to explore the holding of GRP-NDFP peace negotiations. These efforts were, however, derailed by Generals Fidel Ramos and Renato de Villa.

After she finished her term as president, Corazon Aquino strongly opposed the grossly anti-democratic policies and actions of her successors, Fidel Ramos, Joseph Estrada, and Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. In this regard, she was willing to join up with the patriotic and progressive forces of the people in mass protest actions.

Though suffering from failing health, she condemned the anti-democratic machinations of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to cling to power beyond her term ending in June 2010. From her sickbed, she sent a powerful message of support to thousands of demonstrators protesting Mrs. Arroyo’s Con-Ass scheme. She called it “a shameful abuse of power!”.

The NDFP Negotiating Panel and its Consultants express their solidarity with the family, relatives and friends of former President Corazon Aquino in their time of mourning and grief and wish them much strength and courage.

(Sgd.) Luis G. Jalandoni
Chairperson, NDFP Negotiating Panel

(Sgd.)Fidel V. Agcaoili
Vice-Chairperson, NDFP Negotisting Panel

(Sgd.) Ms. Julieta de Lima – Sison
Member, NDFP Negotiating Panel

(Sgd.) Coni K. Ledesma
Member, NDFP Negotiating Panel

(Sgd.) Asterio B. Palima
Member, NDFP Negotiating Panel

(Sgd.) Prof. Jose Maria Sison
Chief Political Consultant

(Sgd.) Atty. Romeo T. Capulong
Senior Legal Adviser

(Sgd.) Vicente Ladlad
Political Consultant

(Sgd.) Dan Borjal

(Sgd.) Randall Echanis

(Sgd.) Rafael Baylosis


Justice for Melissa Roxas website launched

Dear Friends:

We are pleased to announce the official launch of the Justice for Melissa Roxas Website, sponsored by the Justice for Melissa Roxas Campaign. Melissa is the Fil-Am who was recently abducted and tortured by the Philippine military, along with two companions.

Please visit www.justiceformelissa.org for news and information on Melissa's fight for justice and learn how you can help support the campaign!


In solidarity,

Bernadette Ellorin


"People's SONA": National day of action in Canada July 26

View photos and details of very successful People's SONA events held in Vancouver, Ottawa, Toronto and Montreal (see above photo) on Bayan Canada blog at http://byncan.wordpress.com/

This is the original invitation to the events in Toronto and Montreal:

Everyone is invited to participate in a national day of action in Canada on Sunday, July 26, 2009 to protest against another possible dictatorship in the Philippines.

When: Sunday, July 26, 2009 @ 3PM to 5PM
Where: Our Lady of the Assumption Catholic Church (2565 Bathurst St, Toronto)
Please contact Diwa Marcelino 416-809-3492 for more information.

Organized in Toronto by Migrante-Ontario member organizations http://www.migrante.ca :
Filipino Migrant Workers Movement; AWARE; Philippine Advocacy Through Arts and Culture (PATAC); Damayan Migrant Education and Resource Center; Migrante Youth; Migrant Workers and Family Resource Center - Hamilton; Pilipinong Migrante sa Canada (PMSC) - Ottawa; Pilipinong Migrante sa Barrie (PMB) - Barrie

When: Sunday, July 26, 2009 @ 4PM to 5PM
Where: Van Horne Park (Beside Shadd Academy) – corner Van Horne and Lemieux **assembly Corner of Victoria (Plamondon Metro)

Organized by Bayan Canada and Migrante Quebec organizing committee and supported by Centre for Philippine Concerns and members of IMA-Canada.

This action, complete with street theatre, will protest the anti-people and pro-imperialist Charter Change by the government of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.

It is held on the occasion of the 9th, and what should be the last, State of the Nation Address (SONA) by President Arroyo to be held in the Philippines, Monday, July 27, 2009.

Her address comes amidst renewed efforts to change the Constitution and the form of Government of the Philippines to permit Arroyo to stay in power, and in the midst of a serious world economic crisis.

Listen to live broadcast of SONA events in Philippines (remember time difference!) on Bulatlat.com: http://www.facebook.com/ext/share.php?sid=105740503562&h=6MNWZ&u=hXMXZ&ref=nf


Manitoba statement on the Global Day of Action against Open-pit Mining

The following statement by Bayan Canada organizations in Winnipeg, Manitoba was read out during a rally for the global day of action against open-pit mining on July 22, 2009 in Toronto, Canada

Statement on the Global Day of Action against Open-pit Mining

22 July 2009

Warm greetings from Damayan Manitoba and Bayan Manitoba Organizing Committee!

Since the enactment of the Republic Act 7942, or the Philippine Mining Act of 1995, large-scale operations by transnational mining corporations (mining TNCs) have proliferated all over the country. These mining TNCs slowly cover the whole archipelago with their mining projects and plunder the country’s mineral resources in order to rake in billions of dollars in profit.

The Philippines is considered to be “potentially the world's fifth-biggest mineral producer in the world”, with around 24 medium to large-scale metallic mines operations all over the country. (Photo by Alex Felipe reveals environmental destruction caused by Canadian-owned Marcopper on Marinduque Island. More at Alex's excellent website - http://alexfelipe.com/tag/mining/)

As of January 2008, there were 294 mining agreements in existence, consisting of two Financial and Technical Assistance Agreements (FTAAs), 262 Mineral Production Sharing Agreements (MPSA) and 30 Exploration Permits (EP).

Among the giant foreign mining companies in the Philippines who rake in millions of dollar of profit every year are Canadian-owned companies. One of these is the Canadian-owned mining firm TVI Pacific Inc., who reportedly gained 67.3% increase in income in the first quarter of 2007.

As we celebrate the “Global Day of Action against Open-pit Mining”, Damayan Manitoba and Bayan Manitoba Organizing Committee join all other progressive groups and individuals who are involved in anti-imperialist mining campaigns and human rights and environmental defense struggles throughout the world.

We urge the Philippine government to scrap the Philippine Mining Act of 1995, cancel the mining applications and revoke the mining permits of big capitalist corporations, both foreign and local.

We denounce the Supreme Court’s reversal of its own decision on the constitutionality of provisions in the Mining Act of 1995 regarding Financial or Technical Assistance Agreements (FTAA) between foreign mining corporations and the state.

We demand that these big foreign and local mining companies should be held liable for the severe environmental degradation and should indemnify all affected communities who are suffering from the long-term effects of pollution and contamination.

We strongly denounce the intensified mining operations, militarization and human rights violations targeting mining-affected communities and anti-mining activists in the Philippines and around the world.

We call for an end to all bombings and shelling, the firing of cannons within communities, illegal searches of houses, and the use by the military of schools, medical, religious and other public places, as well as private residences, and other human rights violations committed by government troops in the said areas.

We assert that the natural resources of the country should be used for the well being of the people, not for the profit of foreign capitalists and their local partners within and outside the government.

We affirm our stand that capitalist mining will not solve the country’s financial crisis and will not result in improved human development among the people.

We enjoin everyone to remain vigilant in guarding and defending our lands, and that we will employ all possible means to prevent the destruction of our territories by large capitalist mining.

Scrap the Philippine Mining Act of 1995!
Stop the liberalization of the Philippine mining industry!
Defend the land and patrimony of the people against imperialist mining!
Assert the genuine recognition of the indigenous peoples collective rights over their land and resources, and to self determination!
Stop militarization and the violation of human rights!

Jomay Amora-Mercado, member, 204-509-2491


FilAm activist to testify in Philippines about her abduction by AFP

(INQUIRER.net) MANILA, Philippines, July 19, 2009 — The Filipino American activist who has accused the military of abducting her a couple of months ago is set to arrive in the Philippines on Monday evening, July 20, 2009, to pursue her case here, the Commission on Human Rights said today.

In a press statement, the rights body said it would take protective custody of Melissa Roxas upon her return from the United States.

“We will do everything we can to keep Ms. Roxas safe. At the same time, however, this demonstrates that there is a need to overhaul the witness protection program in the Philippines,” said CHR chairperson Leila De Lima.

“It is vital that the survivors of human rights violations are protected. Their safety and well-being must be safeguarded so that they can be allowed to tell their stories, and shed light on the true situation in the Philippines today,” she added.

Roxas is coming back to the country to attend the next hearing on her petition for a writ of amparo before the Court of Appeals. She is also scheduled to testify before the commission on July 23 about her alleged abduction and torture.

More at FilAm activist to return to RP Monday - INQUIRER.net, Philippine News for Filipinos