Freedom of the Morong 43 is fruit of the people's struggle

Thirty-eight of the 43 unjustly imprisoned health workers in the Philippines have been released. The Centre d'appui des Philippines -  Centre for Philippine Concerns in Montréal, Canada salutes the courage and determination of the Morong 43 along with their supporters in the Philippines and around the globe. Struggle can and does make a difference!

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They braved indefinable forms of human rights violations so that they may live to see the day when they will finally be reunited with their families and people they serve.? The Morong 43 are finally free!

Today (December 18, 2010), ten months of roaring cries for freedom and justice voiced in different languages from all over the world bears fruit.Judge Gina Cenit Escoto, presiding judge of the Morong Regional Trial Court Branch 78 has finally released a decision late in the afternoon today to withdraw all cases filed against all of the 43 health workers.

Thirty-eight of the health workers were detained at Camp Bagong Diwa, Taguig City since May 1 while five others remained in military custody since their illegal arrest at Camp Capinpin in Tanay, Rizal.

Relatives and supporters have been waiting anxiously outside the Morong RTC since Department of Justice Secretary Leila de Lima filed for a motion to withdraw the cases Monday this week. They peacefully 'picketed outside' the court building since Wednesday.

After the judge released the official decision, court staffs followed by the Morong 43 relatives and supporters proceeded to Camp Bagong Diwa, a civilian detention facility, to deliver the hard copy of the order which will facilitate the release of the detained health workers.

Registered nurse and alliance spokesperson Carlos Montemayor said that the health workers underwent a mandatory physical check-up by prison doctors for clearance, a requirement before a detainee is released from the prison camp's custody.

Nursing mothers Judielyn Oliveros and Mercy Castro were transported from the Philippine General Hospital to Camp Bagong Diwa with their newborns to undergo prison protocols before they too are finally released.

From Taguig, the health workers will proceed to Quezon City for a press conference to thank all the people, including the media for keeping the faith and not giving up on their case. Montemayor said that the Morong 43 took strength and refuge in the massive local and international support this campaign gained since day one adding the struggle to free the 43 is within the overall struggle to free all political prisoners.

"Definitely, this is not the end of their story. The international movement on the campaign for health and human rights welcomes the additional 43 people with burning fervor and inspiration," Montemayor added. ##

Alliance to support the Morong 43
Carlos Montemayor, RN
+63 922 499 6237 / +63 2 929 8109


Free the 43! Excellent video from friends in British Columbia, Canada

Excellent video production from our friends in British Columbia on the story of the 43+ health workers illegally imprisoned in the Philippines, a group known as the Morong 43. On the seventh day of their hunger strike, two have been taken to hospital and the Philippine government refuses to release the two mothers in the group who have given birth while in detention.

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43 imprisoned health workers in Philippines continue hunger strike

Warm greetings from the Philippines!

Today, December 8, 2010, the Morong 43 are on the 6th day of indefinite hunger strike to demand their immediate and unconditional release, one of them was earlier rushed to the Camp Bagong Diwa Infirmary. In other parts of the country families and supporters, including other political prisoners are also staging solidarity hunger strike and fasting to demand the release of the 43 health workers and all political prisoners.

The Filipino people and people from all over the world will never get tired of calling for the Philippine government to release the Morong 43. GABRIELA Alliance of Filipino Women is calling all women and people to join us in a solidarity fasting for the Morong 43, at the Iglesia Filipino Independiente church along Taft Avenue in Manila, where some families of the Morong 43 are also staging hunger strike and fasting. A candle lighting and noise barrage along Taft Avenue, Manila's busiest street will also follow.

Once again, we are calling on you to show our untiring support to the Morong 43. We suggest that you send messages to the Philippine President NoyNoy Aquino by posting to this websites. A simple message saying "Free the Morong 43!" would do. You can also post on his Facebook page if you have one http://www.facebook.com/presidentnoy. Let us know if you send messages.


We would like to thank all of you for your continuous support in the the struggles for justice in the Philippines. Let us continue our call to free the Morong 43 and all political prisoners.

In solidarity,
Lana Linaban
Secretary General


Call to International Networks in Support of Morong 43 and All Political prisoners

On Friday, December 3, 2010, the Morong 43 started their hunger strike for freedom. December 6, 2010 would be the 10th month of their illegal arrest and detention.

We demand their immediate and unconditional release.  The 43 health workers, who were attending a grassroots medical training, are victims of illegal search, arrest, detention and torture.  They are ridiculously charged with illegal possession of explosives. The pieces of evidence against them are either planted or inadmissible since these are, in legal jurisprudence, “fruits of the poisonous tree”.

Charges against them can be withdrawn if only President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III will heed the advice of respected legal minds including the Secretary of Justice. That he continues to pass the burden to courts can either mean ignorance of the legal process or propensity for sticking his head in the sand.

Aside from the main venue of the hunger strike at Camp Bagong Diwa, a Support the M43 Hunger Strike Center has been set up in Manila for the families, other relatives, friends and multi-sectoral networks and individuals who will be on sympathy hunger strike or fasting. Cultural groups plan to perform at the center.
Political prisoners in various detention centers and prisons in different provinces will hold their own fasting and/or sympathy act such as noise barrage and others. Their actions aim to cap the year’s campaign to free all political prisoners especially those who have long been deprived of their liberty like Angie Ipong in Misamis Occidental, Eduardo Serrano and Eduardo Sarmiento in Camp Crame and Sandino Esguerra in Camp Bagong Diwa.

Let us drum up international support for the Morong 43 and all political prisoners. You may:

-          Join the hunger strike on December 6, their 10th month anniversary in jail, and issue a statement of support;
-          Organize sympathy fasting or a few-day hunger strike;
-          Picket the Philippine Embassy and demand freedom for the Morong 43 and other political prisoners especially Ipong, Serrano, Sarmiento and Esguerra;
-          Highlight the hunger strike in your commemoration of human rights week and December 10 International HR Day;
-          Lobby with your Parliament, congress and/or senate;
-          Write your ambassadors stationed in the Philippines;
-          Encourage international organizations/institutions and those in your network to send support statements to the hunger strike (addressed to Malacanang cc Philippine Embassy in your country, Secretary of Justice Leila de Lima and Karapatan);
-          Keep those postcards coming, we want them by the thousands;
-          Circulate this and further announcements plus the hunger strike bulletins which we will issue from time to time;
-          Solicit financial and material support for the Morong 43, other political prisoners and their families;
-          Share your ideas with us and others so we can have a variety of support actions.

Free the Morong 43!
Release Angie Ipong, Eduardo Serrano, Eduardo Sarmiento and Sandino Esguerra!
Free all political prisoners!

International League of Peoples Struggle (ILPS)


Morong 43 in high spirits

Manila, Philippines, November 30, 2010 – Detained community health workers collectively known as the Morong 43 are in high spirits even as they mark 10 months in jail, lawyers from the National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers (NUPL) said yesterday in a statement.

“Hindi kami pinaghihinaan ng loob dahil alam namin na nasa likod namin kayo,” Eulogio Castillo, one of the detained, told lawyers who visited on Sunday, November 28, 2010.

Castillo, who considers the group as political prisoners, said they also rely on the larger social movement to secure their release. “We know that [the outcome of] our case holds implications for other political prisoners across the country,” he said in the vernacular. He also thanked the domestic and foreign groups and personalities taking up the cause of their release.

The men and women separately entertained the lawyers with songs of hope. The women also taught the lawyers their signature four claps, three stomps and chant “Free the 43”.

The Morong 43 all support the rally of lawyers and doctors set on Thursday, December 2, 2010. The legal and medical communities plan to march from Espana to Mendiola at noon, to ask the executive to drop charges against the Morong 43, on account of the illegality of their arrest and the subsequent search.

“Those of us who are concerned that fundamental rights embodied in laws whose very purpose is to protect citizens from possible abuses by the state are disregarded in such a brazen manner, must take a stand,” said NUPL secretary-general and counsel Edre Olalia.

The Morong 43 were arrested in February this year, while undergoing a health training in Morong, Rizal. A joint police-military operation, using a defective search warrant, swooped down upon the group early in the morning. The warrant did not specify the particular place to be searched.

The search allegedly yielded guns and ammunition, so the 43 were then blindfolded, handcuffed and brought to an undisclosed place where they were continuously interrogated day and night, denied their right to counsel and tortured physically and psychologically.

Charges of illegal possession of firearms and explosives were filed against the 43 health workers five days after their arrest. The law specifies a 36-hour deadline for the filing of charges against anyone arrested without a warrant.

NUPL lawyers visited the Morong 43 after its national legal consultation on extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances and other human rights cases. NUPL and the Public Interest Law Center (PILC) represent the health workers in the criminal case filed at the Morong Regional Trial Court and Metropolitan Trial Court and in the petitions they have filed in the Commission of Human Rights, Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court.

Meanwhile, administration ally and House Deputy Speaker Rep. Lorenzo “Erin” Tanada III reiterated his appeal to release the Morong 43.

“I think that amnesty is not what they need as they are not guilty of anything.  What they need is nothing but just plain and simple respect for their basic human rights ,”  Tañada emphasized in a separate statement.

Reference:  Atty. Edre U. Olalia - Secretary General – 09175113373; Atty. Julius Garcia Matibag - 09279293089
National Secretariat
National Union of Peoples' Lawyers(NUPL)
3F Erythrina Bldg., Maaralin corner Matatag Sts. Central District,Quezon City, Philippines
Tel.No.920-6660,Telefax No. 927- 2812
Email addresses:nupl2007@gmail.com and nuplphilippines@yahoo.com

Visit the NUPL  at http://www.nupl.net/

By calling yourselves the 'people's lawyer,' you have made a remarkable choice. You decided not to remain in the sidelines. Where human rights are assaulted, you have chosen to sacrifice the comfort of the fence for the dangers of the battlefield. But only those who choose to fight on the battlefield live beyond irrelevance."  Supreme Court Chief Justice Reynato S. Puno, in his message to the NUPL Founding Congress,Sept. 15, 2007


KMU condemns the killing of Caloy Rodriguez, public union leader

Press Statement: 12 November 2010

We strongly condemn the killing of Caloy Rodriguez, president of the Nagkakaisang Lakas ng Manggagawa ng Calamba Water District or NLM-CWD, today at 5:30 in the afternoon by motorcycle-riding gunmen in Calamba, Laguna. NLM-CWD is an affiliate of the Confederation for Unity, Recognition and Advancement of Government Employees or Courage – which is a fellow member of the Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU – May First Movement) in the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan or Bayan. Courage has been indefatigable in fighting corruption in government and militant in advancing its members’ rights and interests, thereby earning the wrath of successive regimes.

We point our fingers at the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the regime of President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III as the culprits behind this yet another case of extra-judicial killing in the country. The shooting and death of Caloy Rodriguez is yet another consequence of Pres. Aquino’s decision to continue implementing the murderous Oplan Bantay Laya counter-insurgency program of his predecessor and to adhere to the US Counter-insurgency Guide.

It is also a consequence of the utter failure of the Aquino regime to prosecute (former Philippine President) Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and her butchers, such as former General Jovito Palparan, for the grave human-rights violations that they have committed while in power. Pres. Aquino says that carrying out extra-judicial killings is not his government’s policy, but his military’s actions speak louder than his words; his military’s gunshots speak louder than his all-too soft denial.

During the Arroyo regime, we sought help from the Commission on Human Rights under Leila de Lima in condemning and investigating cases of extra-judicial killings. The current CHR chief, Akbayan’s Etta Rosales, was appointed to her post on the basis of her supposed record in defending human rights. Her refusal to fully engage with cases of human-rights violations involving activists, however, has only emboldened the military to continue carrying out the extra-judicial killings of activists under a regime that has promised “change” to the Filipino workers and people. Her statements about focusing on “lesser-known” cases of human rights violations – as compared with, for example, the case of the Morong 43 – does not at all help in the struggle to uphold human rights in the country.

Reference: Elmer “Bong” Labog, Chairperson, Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU – May First Movement), +63 908-163659


CAP-CPC supports Bayan Canada rally in front of Philippine Embassy in Ottawa

Bayan Canada and supporters of the 43 illegally detained health workers held a rally in front of the Philippine Embassy on November 5, in Canada’s capital, as part of the international day of action. Representatives from the Canadian Auto Workers (CAW), Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), Ontario Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines (OCHRP), and the Centre d'appui aux Philippines - Centre for Philippine Concerns (CAP-CPC) were also present to join in the world-wide demand for the immediate release for the Morong 43.

Building security and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP – or Canada’s federal police force) tried to prevent the rally from happening directly in front of the embassy building but the demonstrators insisted on their right to hold the peaceful protest in front of the building. A delegation was also prevented by the RCMP and building security from going up to the offices of the Philippine Embassy to submit a petition signed by 145 health professionals so the groups insisted that embassy officials come out to meet the demonstrators. Finally the embassy’s Public Relations Officer came down and the petition was submitted.

BAYAN Canada
Press Statement
November 5, 2010


Joey Calugay
+1 514-947-3662


Rally at Philippine Embassy in Ottawa to demand freedom for Morong 43

free_the_43November 6, 2010, marks the ninth month of illegal  detention for 43 Filipino health workers, a group known as the Morong 43, which includes two nursing mothers.  The Council for Health and Development, National Council of Churches in the Philippines, the Health Alliance for Democracy and Bayan Philippines are calling for coordinated actions world-wide to put pressure on the Aquino government to release the 43. See their appeal statement below.

We are planning to hold actions across Canada for this event.  This Friday, November 5 in the afternoon (which will already be the Nov. 6 in the Philippines) BAYAN Canada organizations along with the Centre for Philippine Concerns and other supporters will be holding a protest rally in front of the Philippine Embassy in Ottawa between 4 pm and 5 pm.  We will be presenting petitions calling to free the 43 signed by more than 140 health professionals. Volunteers for a delegation to present the petition to the Embassy are welcomed. 

We are calling on all our member organizations, friends and solidarity groups to take half a day and to come out to support the demonstration. In Montreal, we are car pooling to Ottawa and will be leaving the city by 1 pm.  For those who wish to come along please email or call me at the number below before Thursday to reserve seats or offer to drive a group with your vehicle.

We hope to see you with us on Friday, November 5, 2010.

Joey Calugay
+1 514-947-3662

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November 6, 2010 marks the ninth month in detention of the Morong 43.

On February 6, 2010, over 300 elements of the 202 Infantry Brigade of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) raided the farmhouse of Professor Emeritus of the College of Medicine of the University of the Philippines, Dr. Melecia Velmonte. The AFP and the Philippine National Police arrested 43 health workers on charges of illegal possession of firearms and explosives. The state forces used a defective warrant and planted evidence to justify the arrest of the 43. The health workers were subjected to physical and psychological torture, denied counsel and visits and subjected to various indignities will inside a military camp. They have since been known as the “Morong 43”.

Bayan is calling for an internationally – coordinated action to press Pres. Benigno Aquino

III for the immediate and unconditional release of these community health workers who are now detained at Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig, Rizal.

The Philippine Department of Justice has submitted its review and recommendations to the Philippine President. The Department of Justice (DOJ) secretary Leila de Lima has indicated that her recommendations should lead to the release of the detainees.

Aquino himself has admitted that the search warrant was defective. Furthermore, the evidence “wrongly gotten cannot be used, and therefore ( cases ) cannot prosper”. However, he said that the release of the health workers will have to be sanctioned by the courts.

Despite his admission, Aquino has yet to act on the DOJ recommendations.

The advocates of the 43 have suggested that President Aquino direct the Department of Justice to file a motion withdrawing the criminal charges against the 43 before the Morong Regional Trial Court and the Metropolitan Trial Court . The courts would have no choice but to release the 43.

Aquino’s statements on the 43 comes in the wake of his granting of amnesty to some 300 rebel soldiers who were detained by the Arroyo regime. Many have asked why the detained health workers have not been released given that there is really no case against them and that their constitutional rights were violated.

Two women detainees have already given birth during detention. Judilyn Oliveros gave birth in July 2010 while Mercy Castro gave birth this October. Both are under hospital arrest at the Philippine General Hospital. Both mothers have fought for their right to breastfeed their babies.

Various well-known international organizations have sent letters of appeals to Aquino for the release of the 43, to cite a few: World Council of Churches, World Student Christian Federation, the International Association of Democratic Lawyers, the Japan Lawyers Intl Solidarity Association, the General Assembly of Presbyterian Church, the United Church of Canada, and many more.

Let us continue to press the Aquino regime to act to rectify the historic injustices committed by the US – Arroyo regime and to respect all the rights of the Morong 43 as well as all political prisoners in the Philippines.

On November 6, 2010, various organizations will converge at Camp Bagong Diwa where the health workers are being detained and hold a protest action, religious service and short program. Allies and supporters of the 43 health workers are expected to attend the gathering.

We appeal to friends and organizations abroad to launch actions at the Philippine embassies and consulates to press for the release of the 43 health workers. ###


Lawyers Rights Watch Canada demands release of Filipino health workers, the" Morong 43"

Philippines broadcasting network ABS-CBN interviews Ms. Gail Davidson, Executive Director of the Lawyers Rights Watch Canada (LRWC), on the plight of the "Morong 43", illegally arrested volunteer community health workers.


Another Morong 43 mom gives birth; detained doctor also brought to PGH

October 19, 2010 -- Ma. Mercedes Castro or Mercy Castro, one of the Morong 43 moms, gave birth October 18, 2010, to a baby girl through caesarian section at the Philippine General Hospital.

“We are happy that despite all the suffering and injustice Mercy and Morong 43 endured, she gave birth to a healthy baby girl. We hope that she and her child will no longer be threatened of being separated out of an unjust and illegal detention,” said Dr. Julie Caguiat, spokesperson, FREE THE MORONG 43 HEALTH WORKERS ALLIANCE.

“We maintain our call that the Mercy Castro be immediately released not just because of humanitarian reasons but the because of the prolonged injustice against her and the Morong 43 collectively,” Caguiat said.

Mercy Castro had a delicate pregnancy because of her asthma and made worse because her pregnancy was spent mostly in jail considering that Morong 43 have been illegally detained for 8 months. During her pregnancy, she has been denied pre-natal check-up twice. Castro is the second detaineee to birth among the Morong 43. Earlier, Judilyn Oliveros also gave birth at the PGH where she now remains under hospital detention as she breastfeeds her child.

The group said they would take legal actions to allow Castro to be released in order to recover and take care of her newborn. “We expect that the Aquino administration and the court gives due recognition of this fact and alllow Castro to recover and take care of her child, just like Judilyn Oliveros and just like every mother should,” Dr. Caguiat said.

Meanwhile, Dr. Merry-Mia Clamor, 34, was brought to PGH today because of her scheduled medical check-up. The doctor has since been suffering from hypertension and diabetes. The Morong RTC court allowed the medical consultation thru a court order dated October 5. Clamor was also brought back today to Camp Bagong Diwa and is set to admitted again to PGH following recommendations of an endocrinologist and thru another order from the court.

Ultimately, the group urges the Aquino administration to immediately move to withdraw the case against the Morong 43.

Reference: Dr. Julie Caguiat

Mobile : +63 909 113 3038 / +63 919 486 1580

Original link to above article: Another Morong 43 mom gives birth; detained doctor also brought to PGH

Primer by Free the 43 Health Workers: A Primer on the Illegal Arrest, Detention and Torture of 43 Health Workers


Clan Planned Philippine Massacre Over Dinner, Witness Says


MANILA — The clan accused of orchestrating the Philippines’ worst political massacre — also considered the single worst killing of journalists on record — plotted the attack over a family dinner, a longtime housekeeper testified Wednesday, September 8, 2010, at the start of a long-delayed trial here.

The patriarch of the clan that has long controlled the province of Maguindanao in the southern Philippines, Andal Ampatuan Sr., gathered his sons, brothers and other guests at the dinner table six days before the killings of 57 political rivals and journalists last November, said the witness, Lakmudin Salio. (Ed. note: to date 6 witnesses to this event have been killed!)

Mr. Ampatuan asked how they could pre-empt a political rival, Esmael Mangudadatu, from challenging them for the post of governor, according to Mr. Salio, who said he was serving food at the dinner as the family hatched the plan. Mr. Salio testified that Mr. Ampatuan’s son Andal Ampatuan Jr. replied by saying: “That’s easy. If they come here, just kill them all.”

The father asked his other children if they agreed, Mr. Salio said, adding, “Everybody laughed, saying, ‘It’s O.K. for everybody to be killed.’ ”

Six days later, a convoy of Mr. Mangudadatu’s relatives and journalists traveling to the provincial capital to file his candidacy papers was ambushed on a highway by as many as 100 gunmen. The 57 victims, including Mr. Mangudadatu’s wife, Genalyn, and about 30 journalists, were driven to the top of a hill, separated into groups of men and women and then shot and buried there in mass graves. Two vehicles, one belonging to UNTV, a local television network, were buried on another side of the hill.

More at: http://nyti.ms/9DMpFn


Ka Roda, pioneer of Philippine drivers’ movement, passes away

MANILA, Philippines—Pioneer of the progressive drivers' movement in the country, staunch fighter for the rights of the marginalized, and a most endeared transport leader for many drivers and poor people, Medardo “Ka Roda” Roda, passed away on September 5 due to cardiac arrest.

Ka Roda, arguably one of the most well known and undoubtedly one of the most well-loved transport leaders the country has ever had, is the Chairman Emeritus of Piston (Pagkakaisa ng mga Samahan ng Tsuper at Operator Nationwide) until he died. Piston is one of the federations under Kilusang Mayo Uno and is the organization where Ka Roda concretized his struggle for nationalism and genuine democracy for more than 30 years.
More at Philippine Inquirer: http://bit.ly/aIcLzi



Alexander Martin Remollino: journalist of the people

Statement of the Antonio Zumel Center For Press Freedom on the Passing of Alexander Martin Remollino 4 September 2010


The Antonio Zumel Center for Press Freedom extends its deepest condolence to the family, friends and confreres of Alexander Martin Remollino, who passedaway last September 3. Ka Alex, as he was fondly called, was a longtime writer for Bulatlat.com, a poet and an activist.


In his poetry, Ka Alex lent his fervent voice to denounce oppression.


In his activism, most recently with the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan, he showed a commitment to side with the Filipino masses.


In his journalism, he trumpeted the struggle of the Filipino people for genuine democracy.


Ka Alex made a real sacrifice. With his writing skills, he could have easily sought a job with mainstream media or advertising companies. But he chose to pursue alternative and progressive journalism, realizing early on that his pen can be used as a sword to fight injustice, oppression and tyranny.


He embodied the ideals that activist-journalists like Antonio Zumel had sought to live up to: to relentlessly seek the truth and to always side with the people.


He serves as an inspiration to young Filipino journalists. His legacy will remind them that serving the people is something that journalists can -- and must -- do.


We are proud of Ka Alex. We will miss him.




Montreal International Women’s Conference concludes with the founding of the International Women’s Alliance

Press Release - Montréal, Québec, August 16, 2010 -- Further momentum was generated towards a global, militant women’s movement with the establishment of an International Women’s Alliance (IWA) this afternoon following the Montreal International Women’s Conference (MIWC).

MIWC logo for web Today marked the Founding Assembly of the International Women's Alliance after an immensely successful two-day conference, uniting more than 350 participants from 32 countries, including Pakistan, India, Kyrgyzstan, the Philippines, Mali, the Czech Republic, Germany, Cuba, Guatemala, Ecuador, and Mexico.

From August 13 to 15, delegates participated in plenaries, workshops, and discussions surrounding a wide variety of themes, including indigenous struggles, developmental aggression, violence against women, racism, discrimination and genocide, as well as resistance to wars and imperialist aggression.

During a plenary session on Saturday, April 14, delegates unanimously endorsed a declaration in support of the 490 Tamils from Sri Lanka who arrived aboard the MV Sun Sea in Vancouver, Canada, decrying their ongoing detention while calling upon the Canadian government to accept them as refugees.

In addition, participants also affirmed their solidarity with the Algonquin indigenous community of Barrière Lake, Québec, while calling for the release of the 43 health workers illegally detained in the Philippines.

The Conference was followed by the founding of the International Women’s Alliance on August 16 in order to foster the creation and coordination of local, regional and international campaigns, to promote mutual support and the sharing of resistance strategies, and to mobilize women around the world in the struggle against imperialism, violence and capitalist globalization.

Discussions unfolded surrounding the Basis of Unity, as participants advanced numerous resolutions, including ones highlighting the struggles faced by women in Palestine and upholding the role of women as defenders of Pachamama (Mother Earth).

The Constitution and Basis of Unity will be adopted at the time of the first General Assembly of the International Women’s Alliance, projected to take place within a year’s time in order to carry on with the important work of the conference. An international coordinating committee has been set up to prepare the IWA General Assembly.

A list of all resolutions, along with the proposed Basis of Unity, will be available within the next few weeks. Complete speakers’ bios, conference details, the workshop program and more can be found on the conference blog at http://miwc2010.wordpress.com/.

The initiative for the MIWC and IWA came out of a resolution of the women’s commission of the International League of People’s Struggle (ILPS) which met during the 3rd International Assembly of the ILPS in Hong Kong in 2008.

For more information, to arrange interviews with conference organizers and/or international delegates, please contact:

MIWC Media Committee +1 514-961-4047


Montreal activists call on Harper to sanction the Philippines

By Chloé Fedio, Montreal Gazette

"MONTREAL, QUEBEC: JULY 31, 2010 -- Holding up photos of political prisoners and an "anti-imperialist solidarity" banner, about 15 people gathered in downtown Montreal Saturday afternoon and called on the Canadian government to impose sanctions against the southeast Asian nation of the Philippines.

The Montreal activists said the new president, Benigno Aquino, is falling short of his election promise to clean up government and usher in a new era of anti-corruption. They say political prisoners remain behind bars and five activists have been killed since he was inaugerated June 30.

Read more: Montreal activists call on Harper to sanction the Philippines (Photo: John Kenney/THE GAZETTE)

Check out the slide show of photos from the vigil thanks to CAP-CPC member Sid deGuzman!


Carina Oliveros, one of Morong 43, gives birth to son, sends solidarity message

Judilyn Carina Oliveros, one of the imprisoned health workers in the Philippines known as the Morong 43, gave birth last July 22, 2010, at 12 noon to a baby boy. However, her return to detention remains a great ordeal to the young mother. We received the e-mail below from Tanya Roberts-Davis, who is presently in the Philippines.


From: "Tanya Roberts-Davis"
Date: July 25, 2010 11:51:19 AM EDT
To: "Marco Luciano"

Subject: Free the 43 Solidarity Message

Hi, (you can fwd this onwards, I don't have all the lists on email)

I know this is late to post this message with you all holding an event this afternoon, but I just got back from the hospital meeting with Carina Oliveros (of the 43), who gave birth a few days ago. there are 3-5 high level security guards watching her at all times.

She is strong and determined , but also clearly there is the incredible and horrifying threat she will be back in jail.

In fact, while I was in her hospital room, a guard came rushing in to alert her to her imminent return to prison, and for her to consider who she would give permission to care for her child, as otherwise the boy may be taken by the gov. social services.

We discussed the possibility of her returning to jail with her baby, as this would open up space for the continued advocacy for their freedom on humanitarian grounds, or at least that there be special times and places reserved for her to breastfeed and see her baby.

Through tears and a smile, her message to you:

Thank you for the solidarity, this has kept us strong and reminds us of all our friends around the world who are supporting our demands for freedom.  Now, I have two feelings in my heart: First, I am continuing to be strong and determined -- we will find a way to be free. I was an activist before and will continue to be active as an advocate for community health, and for justice. But I am now facing going back to jail. I want to be with my son, and don't want to be separated. I would just want for us to be together, and be free. We will try to find a way. I appeal to you all to not give up. No Justice, No peace!


I will post pics soon... Please do continue your work-I wonder about the possibility of a protest at the embassy and consulates-intl pressure is needed now. Carina also laughed about her dream that she saw her son with his fist up calling to Free the 43... and we all smiled as he woke up with his little arms in the air...

onwards in sol.



Letter of concern to Canadian PM on latest wave of political killings in Philippines

July 16, 2010
The Honourable Stephen Harper
Prime Minister of Canada

Dear Prime Minister,

On behalf of the STOP THE KILLINGS COALITION OF CANADA, we are writing to express our grave concern regarding the latest wave of political killings in the Philippines. Barely five days after the new President was sworn into office, the first extrajudicial killing of a political activist occurred. On July 5, 2010, Fernando Baldomero was shot to death in front of his 12-year-old son just metres from his home. Mr. Baldomera was the provincial coordinator for Bayan Muna and a reelected councillor of Lezo town. Since then, the killings have continued.

On July 11, peasant activist and Anak Pawis member Pascual Guevarra, 78, from Nueva Ecija was gunned down in his home while his 18 year old grandson survived. Just two days earlier, on July 9, 2010 in Masbate, Mark Francisco, 27, a member of the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) partylist organization, and Edgar Fernandez, 44, a public school teacher, were shot dead. Two journalists have also been killed.

Canada has a great deal of leverage to press the Philippine Government to take action and remedy the situation. CIDA's current annual disbursement to the Philippines is approximately CAD $25 million, and there is roughly CAD $1.5 billion in annual bilateral trade between Canada and the Philippines. In this context, it is imperative that that the Canadian government condemn these killings and take action to ensure that Canadian tax dollars are not complicit in funding the political assassinations and human rights violations perpetrated by the Philippine government.

The member organizations of the Canada-wide coalition to Stop the Killings in the Philippines (STKP) call on the Canadian Government to publicly press the newly-elected Government of President Aquino to take immediate and tangible steps to end the extrajudicial killings and to take effective action to bring the perpetrators of these crimes to justice and to ensure that human rights are upheld in their country. We also call on the Government of Canada to continue diplomatic pressure on the Government of the Philippines in this regard.

The impunity enjoyed by those responsible for these attacks and the extrajudicial killings in the last few years have only aggravated the violence. We sincerely hope that the new administration in the Philippines will act immediately to stop these senseless human rights violations that frequently result in death.

We sincerely hope that the Canadian government will take action to promote the protection of the human rights of Filipino peoples. Your actions and statements will also reassure and gain the confidence of members of Canada’s large Filipino community, which numbers over 400,000.



c.c.: Honourable Lawrence Cannon (PC), Minister of Foreign Affairs
His Excellency Jose S. Brillantes, Ambassador of the Philippines to Canada
John Cannis (L), Member of Parliament for Scarborough Centre
Don Davies (NDP), Member of Parliament for Vancouver-Kingsway
Francine Lalonde, Vice-Chair, Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development
Bernard Patry, Vice-Chair, Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development

The coalition to Stop the Killings in the Philippines (STKP) is made up of the following Canadian Churches, non-governmental organizations and solidarity groups: AgroPaix, PINAY -  Filipino Women's Organization in Quebec ,Anglican Church of Canada, KAIROS, Beaconsfield United Church, Ontario Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines, Canadian Advocacy Group on the Philippines, MiningWatch Canada, Canada-Philippines Solidarity for Human Rights, Philippine Solidarity Group-Toronto,
Centre d'appui aux Philippines - Centre for Philippine Concerns, Primate's World Relief and Development Fund, Chaire d'études asiatiques - Université de Montréal, Victoria Philippines Solidarity Group, Development and Peace, The United Church of Canada 


Justice for Fernando Baldomero and all victims of extrajudicial killings

The following statement was read by Fr. Artemio Calaycay, IFI, a member of the Centre for Philippine Concerns in Montreal, at an event on the island of Panay in the Philippines today, July 13, 2010, to demand justice for Fernando Baldomero, Bayan Muna coordinator. Baldomero was killed July 5 in front of his 12-year old son.

Justice for Fernando Baldomero and all victims of extrajudicial killings

Joint Statement from Bayan Canada and ILPS Canada

July 13, 2010 -- Our thoughts and hearts go out across the miles that separate us to the family and friends of Fernando Baldomero, the first activist killed under the new Aquino administration. We were shocked when we heard that Baldomero, a Bayan Muna provincial coordinator in Aklan, had been gunned down in front of his son by motorcycle-riding men right outside his home.

Just when we hoped the spate of killings begun under the former Arroyo regime would be coming to an end, it took barely five days after the new President was sworn in for the first extrajudicial killing of a political activist to occur.

But the shock had not worn off when the news of more killings reached our shores: Anak Pawis member Pascual Guevarra, 78 years old, from Nueva Ecija was killed right in his home on July 9, the same day as Mark Francisco, 27, an ACT Teachers partylist member and Edgar Fernandez, 44, another public school teacher, both from Masbate. Another ACT member and public school teacher, Dexter Legazpi, 36, also from Masbate, fortunately survived a shooting on July 6.

When are the these killings going to stop! When will the bloody climate of impunity put into place during the Arroyo reign be ended once and for all!

It is obviously not enough that the new President instruct the military to uphold human rights in its counter-insurgency campaign. They appear not only incapable of doing that, but instead are on a killing spree.

When will the new President have the strength of character and the human decency to do what is right and scrap Arroyo’s bloody counter-insurgency program known as Oplan Bantay Laya that has targeted unarmed activists?

Fernando Baldomero, a political detainee in the 1980s, paid the ultimate price for wanting justice, true democracy and a decent standard of living for the majority of Filipinos. Despite previous threats on his life he continued as a councillor of Lezo, Aklan and as the coordinator of the party-list group Bayan Muna and an official of the Makabayan Coalition in the province.

Just last March, two men on board a motorcycle with no plate number lobbed two grenades at Baldomero’s house. This was only one of several attempts on Fernando's life in the last year.

Be assured that we in Canada, part of Bayan Canada, along with our friends in ILPS Canada and the member groups of the Stop the Killings campaign will continue to be at your side across the miles demanding justice for Fernando, Pascual, Mark, Edgar and the hundreds of victims before them

We will not stop until the perpetrators of these atrocities have been brought to justice, no matter how high up the chain of command in the military structures it is necessary to go, and until the counter-insurgency campaign Oplan Bantay Laya has been scrapped. Human decency and a respect for fundamental human rights demands no less.

Stop the Killings in the Philippines
Justice for Fernando Baldomero and all victims of extrajudicial killings


Bayan activist shot dead: Gunman kills victim in front of 12-yr-old son

By Nestor P. Burgos Jr.
Inquirer Visayas
First Posted 00:36:00 07/06/2010

ILOILO CITY—It seemed like any other school day. Fernando Baldomerro was getting his motorcycle ready to bring his 12-year-old son to school just a kilometer away.

But it was a different Monday morning.

As the provincial coordinator of the party-list group Bayan Muna and his son were about to drive away, an unidentified man pointed a gun at Baldomero, who quickly covered his son and tried to parry the gun away.

The gunman was quicker. He repeatedly shot ....

More at: http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/inquirerheadlines/nation/view/20100706-279398/Bayan-activist-shot-dead


CAP-CPC Philippine trip sharing / BBQ-pot luck Saturday, July 3

Centre for Philippine Concerns and Friends
BBQ-pot luck and stories from the Philippines

Bring your meats, vegetables to BBQ and drinks to share!

Elections, human rights, environment, youth and student organizing:  While Philippine society is largely unchanged since US colonial rule and elections are held like musical chairs for the ruling elites, a vibrant people's movement shines a path to a brighter future for the Filipino people.  Amidst the poverty, political corruption and human rights abuses rises hope in the people's organizations who struggle for genuine freedom and democracy in the Philippines.

Come listen to the stories, and find out how we can become part of this living history. And help plan the next steps.

Saturday, July 3, 2010, at 4:00 pm - 7:30 pm

Jill Hanley's place
7027 Boyer, between Bélanger and Jean-Talon (2 streets east of St-Hubert)
Jean-Talon Metro, St-Hubert exit.


Statement of Gratitude to Our International Supporters: Morong 43

We, the illegally detained community health workers, say it again that we are not spared from Gloria Arroyo’s most vicious and cruel government. The Filipino people have already judged the most hated Arroyo regime. As her reign will end on June 30, 2010, we wish to inform our local and international supporters that as community health workers who are witnesses to the sufferings of the poor and marginalized people in our country that have worsened during the Arroyo regime, we will carry on our struggle for our rights, justice, and freedom.

We are witnesses to the poor and oppressed families who are deprived of the fruits of their labours because they did not own the parcel of the land they till. We are witnesses to the cries of the people who are hindered to bring their sick loved ones to the hospital or even to buy the necessary medicines because of their extreme poverty. We are witnesses to the children who are forced to work in the farms who are supposedly seen in the classrooms.

It is ironic however that because of our desire to help these poor and oppressed families by carrying out a health education on healthy treatment of symptomatic ailments, we are languishing in jail. While undergoing health skills training, combined military and police forces raided the training centre we had rented, and handcuffed, blindfolded, tortured, and illegally detained us in detention cells inside the military camp. Though, we were already transferred from the military camp to the jail administered by civilian authority, we declare that our human and constitutional rights were grossly violated.

Without a lawyer of our choice, we are falsely charged of having participated in “bomb making training” and “illegal possession of firearms.” If we possessed those firearms, we could have fought for our way out. But our blood pressure apparatuses and medical instruments have not much to their high-powered rifles and armoured tanks. We did not squarely face them because we are unarmed community health workers who just want to serve the poor and the marginalized in the communities in our country. At that time of our abduction, we had no choice but to submit ourselves and endure the cruelties inflicted to us by our tormentors.

To boast for the “good” results of the counter-insurgency program of the Arroyo regime dubbed as Oplan Bantay Laya, the state forces exhibited us in public as medical officers and staff of the New People’s Army. We vehemently deny this accusation. We are community health workers who just want to share our knowledge, skills, and talents with the poor people in the different impoverished communities in our country.

Our plight now as detained community health workers is not separated from the plight of the Filipino people. In serving the poor communities, we have seen the injustices being experienced by the poor families who could not afford to earn a living and eat full meals in a day. Our heart breaks with the poor parents who cannot send their children to school and force them to work at an early age just to augment the income of their parents. We cannot help but to be angry in witnessing people who cannot afford to buy necessary medicines for their sick loved ones or bring them to the hospital.

As of now, we stand firm with our resolve to serve the poor while demanding the jail authorities to solve the problem of the poor ventilation of our small cells. We are also coping with poorly cooked and low standard food being served to us. We share our hope to our fellow prisoners charged of common crimes that someday they will also enjoy complete freedom from their inhuman conditions. Sometimes, we cry because of our ordeal, but we are happy because our loved ones and friends are with us. With clinched fists, we are shouting for justice and call on the new regime to set free the 43 health workers and all political prisoners in our country.

In our continuous call for justice and freedom, we are elated that you work and struggle for our immediate freedom. Your continuing support in our struggle strengthens our resolve to steadfastly serve the poor communities in our country.
We are prepared to face the hardships inside the jail. We are also prepared for a long battle in the court of justice. We can do this because our families, friends, and supporters take up our struggle and the struggle of the poor and oppressed people in our country and of the people around the world. We really feel this warm and strong solidarity.

We, the 43 health workers, express our heartfelt gratitude to you, our supporters. We wish you to continue your (moral, political, material and financial) support. Again, thank you!


We have received the following request from Fr. Dionito Cabillas of SELDA (Society of Ex-Detainees for Liberation and Amnesty) and Karapatan. Fr. Dion was the head organizer of the foreigners' visit to the Morong 43 during the recent People’s International Observers Mission to the Philippines. He appeals to Canadians to help the families of the detainees with materials and money, along with continued advocacy until their Supreme Court decision.

Fr. Dion said, "They are also anxious of the sustenance of their families left at home without a breadwinner. Thus, we appeal to our friends here and abroad to continue in their gathering of financial and material support for the Morong 43."


Philippines: Free the Morong 43 Health Workers!

By Émilie Fontaine, Laura Cliche and Emily Misola Richard

The maximum security jail where the health workers are being held is depressing and dirty, especially on a boiling, suffocating day with temperatures rising to 40 degrees. Our international delegation includes participants from Canada, the US, and Australia. After waiting for more than an hour beneath a leaden sky at the entrance to the prison compound, we were allowed to enter after a strict inspection including a strip-search.

The first shock was to see the age of the prisoners, most of who are between 18 and 25. Two of the women are pregnant. We came to offer solidarity and support to the prisoners, but could not restrain our tears on seeing these young women and men so unjustly deprived of their liberty.

free_the_43 They are all health workers and include two doctors, a nurse and a mid-wife as well as trainees and volunteer support workers. They were all participating in a weekend training session devoted to emergency care when they were arrested on February 6, 2010.

Following a typhoon in September 2009 that killed more than 300 people in the capital, Manila, many doctors were critical of the government’s slow response in providing emergency medical treatment to its citizens. Public health workers joined together to express their indignation and to organize themselves in order to be able to offer better services when such a catastrophe occurs. They never suspected that they risked being arrested and tortured for accepting their responsibility to their fellow citizens.

Besides being illegal according to both Filipino and international law, their arrest was carried out in a brutal fashion that still leaves its marks on their bodies. Doctor Mendes, an experienced surgeon who was arrested along with the others, described the arrest as humiliating and said that for three months they were confined in a military camp where they were tortured, sexually harassed, and interrogated in the middle of the night.

One man, Jigs Clamor, visibly distressed by his wife’s imprisonment, explained that the techniques used by the army resemble those of the CIA: “Electrodes or a crown of thorns were placed on their heads, which produce a sense of being dazed, and constant pain. When we complained about this treatment of our loved ones, we were told that this is standard procedure.”

One young detainee, just turned 18, told us in a trembling voice about the torture she experienced: “They would come to get me in the middle of the night , dragging me out of the cell and from the arms of my companions, to interrogate me for hours at a time. Each time another woman was taken out we were terrorized, thinking of the punishment the soldiers would inflict on her.”

Four months after their arrest, no official charges have been laid against the Morong 43, which makes their detention illegal according to Filipino law. Local human rights groups told us this is a common way to harass and silence anyone who is critical of the government.

According to local allies of Amnesty International, more than 1,100 activists have been killed or disappeared over the last ten years. The International Federation of Journalists has declared the Philippines to be the most dangerous place on earth for journalists, ahead of Iraq and Afghanistan where wars are being waged. The UN Special Rapporteur, Philip Alston, has categorically condemned the repressive practices of the Philippine authorities and military, who go unpunished for attacking those working for civil rights.

Jigs Clamor, whose wife, a doctor, is still in jail, held their four-year-old son in his arms as he told us, “The only thing we want is that these health workers be released, so that they can continue their work for the underprivileged, and we are trying by every means available to get the government to listen to us.”

In the face of such severe repression, the international community must pass on their cries for justice and insist that the political authorities in the Philippines conform to international law.

Today we are calling on the Canadian government to urge the newly-elected Filipino government, which will take over at the end of June 2010, to put an end to this reign of violence and terror. This is particularly urgent since there have been six new victims of extrajudicial killings since election day: farmers Julito Etang and Borromeo Cabilis, labour leader Edward Panganiban, human rights worker Benjamin Bayles, and radio journalists Desiderio Camangyan and Joselito Agustin.

We demand the immediate, unconditional release of the Morong 43 healthworkers!

We demand the liberation of all political prisoners in the Philippines!

We demand the immediate application of the recommendations by UN Special Rapporteur Philip Alston!

= = = =
The three authors are human rights activists who were in the Philippines at the time of the elections (7-18 May, 2010) as delegates from Quebec to the non-governmental People’s International Observers Mission (PIOM).

Emilie Fontaine is a political advisor to Bloc québécois MP Serge Ménard (Marc-Aurèle Fortin), and has a degree in Political Communications from the University of Montreal.

Laura Cliche is a Master’s level graduate student in Political Science at the University of Montreal, working on human rights issues in the Philippines.

Emily Misola Richard is studying International Law at the University of Québec in Montréal (UQAM) and currently completing an internship in Manila with the National Union of Filipino Lawyers.

The Canadian campaign to “Free the Morong 43 Health Workers” was inspired by their meeting with political prisoners and their families during the PIOM.


Libérez les 43 travailleurs de la santé

par Émilie Fontaine, Laura Cliche et Emily Misola Richard

29467_10150210578865381_717095380_12986385_4198352_n.jpgLa prison à sécurité maximale où sont enfermés les détenus est triste et sale et tout particulièrement en cette journée étouffante où il fait plus de 40 degrés.

Après plus d’une heure d’attente à l’entrée de la prison sous un soleil de plomb, notre délégation internationale, comprenant 18 participants du Canada, des États-Unis et de l’Australie, peut entrer, mais non sans être soumis à des contrôles stricts, incluant la fouille à nue.

Notre premier choc fut l’âge des prisonniers. Il était impossible de rester insensible devant ce groupe composé en majorité par des jeunes entre 18 et 25 ans, dont deux femmes enceintes. Nous venions partager un message de solidarité avec les détenus, mais nous n’avons pu retenir nos larmes devant ces jeunes femmes et jeunes hommes privés de leur liberté de façon terriblement injuste.

Les travailleurs de la santé, incluant deux docteurs, une infirmière, une sage-femme et de nombreux volontaires, furent arrêtés le 6 février 2010 lors d’une fin de semaine de formation.

Le séminaire portait sur les soins d’urgence ; suite à un typhon qui a tué plus de 300 personnes dans la capitale en septembre 2009, les médecins ont été très critiques à l’égard du gouvernement philippin et sa lenteur à promulguer les soins de base à ses citoyens. Les travailleurs du domaine de la santé se sont associés pour crier leur indignation et s’organiser afin d’offrir eux-mêmes des services en cas de catastrophes. Pendant tout le processus, jamais ils ne se sont doutés être arrêtés et torturés pour une telle solidarité citoyenne.

Leur arrestation, en plus d’être illégale selon les lois philippines et internationales, a été perpétrée de façon brutale, laissant encore aujourd’hui des marques sur le corps des détenus. Le Docteur Montes, chirurgien d’expérience arrêté dans la foulée, nous a décrit ces moments comme étant humiliants autant pour l’arrestation subie que pour les conditions inhumaines de détention. Pendant plus de trois mois, ils ont été confinés dans un camp militaire où ils ont été torturés, harcelés sexuellement et interrogés en plein milieu de la nuit.

Jigs Clamor, visiblement éprouvé par l’emprisonnement de sa femme, a accepté de nous rencontrer pour nous faire part de sa détresse. Il nous explique comment ces techniques utilisées par l’armée ressemblent aux méthodes de la CIA : « Des électrodes ou des couronnes d’épines sont placées sur la tête, créant une sensation d’engourdissement et des douleurs constantes. Lorsque l’on dénonce cette torture de nos proches, on nous répond qu’il s’agit de procédure standard d’opération. »

Une jeune volontaire, qui vient d’avoir 18 ans, a partagé avec nous, la voix tremblante, la torture qu’elle a vécue : « Ils venaient me chercher en plein milieu de la nuit, m’arrachant de ma cellule et des bras de mes collègues pour m’interroger pendant des heures. Chaque fois qu’une femme était prise de la sorte, nous étions terrorisées en songeant aux châtiments que les soldats lui feraient subir.»

Quatre mois plus tard, aucune accusation officielle n’a été déposée contre les 43, rendant leur détention illégale selon les lois philippines. Les organisations locales des droits humains nous ont expliqué que malheureusement, il s’agit d’une façon commune d’harceler, et surtout de faire taire, toutes critiques face au gouvernement.

Cette arrestation de masse exacerbe le climat politique déjà insoutenable des dernières années. Selon les alliés locaux d’Amnistie internationale, plus de 1 100 activistes sont morts ou disparus lors des 10 dernières années. La Fédération internationale des journalistes a déclaré les Philippines le pays le plus dangereux au monde pour les journalistes, triste premier devant l’Irak et l’Afghanistan en situation de guerre. Le rapporteur spécial de l’ONU, Philip Alston, a condamné catégoriquement ces pratiques de répression par les autorités philippines, s’attaquant avec impunité à la société civile.

Jigs Clamor, dont l’épouse médecin est détenue, nous parle en serrant leur fils de quatre ans dans ses bras : « La seule chose que nous voulons, c’est que ces travailleurs de la santé soient relâchés, qu’ils puissent continuer leur travail auprès des démunis, et nous tâchons par tous les moyens de convaincre le gouvernement de nous écouter».

Devant une telle répression, la communauté internationale doit relayer ces cris d’injustice, et exiger que les autorités philippines se plient aux normes internationales.

Aujourd’hui, nous exigeons que le Canada réclame au nouveau gouvernement philippin, qui sera en poste le 30 juin 2010, la fin de ce régime de violence et de terreur.

Nous exigeons la libération immédiate et sans condition des 43 travailleurs de la santé.

Nous exigeons la libération de tous les prisonniers politiques philippins.

Nous exigeons l’application immédiate des recommandations du rapport de Philip Alston, Rapporteur spécial de l’ONU.

===== ===== =====

Les trois auteures sont des militantes des droits humains qui ont représenté la société civile québécoise lors de la Mission d’observation internationale populaire des élections philippines, qui s’est déroulée du 7 au 18 mai 2010 aux Philippines.

Lors de la Mission, elles sont allées à la rencontre de prisonniers politiques et de leurs familles. De ce rendez-vous est née la campagne canadienne « Libérez les 43 travailleurs de la santé ».

Émilie Fontaine est conseillère politique de Serge Ménard, député de Marc-Aurèle Fortin et bachelière en communication politique de l’Université de Montréal.

Laura Cliche est une candidate à la maîtrise au département de science politique de l’Université de Montréal travaillant sur les questions de droits humains aux Philippines.

Emily Misola Richard est une étudiante en droit international à l’UQAM, qui complète présentement un stage à Manille pour l’Union nationale des avocats philippins.


Survivor speaks of human rights horrors in Philippines | AsianPacificPost

The beatings one year ago have left her with a bad shoulder.

The metal handcuffs have left bracelet-like marks on her hands.

The anguish of surviving where many have died gives her harrowing nights.

But Melissa Roxas considers herself lucky.

She lived to talk about the men who abducted and tortured her, unlike the estimated 1,000 people in her country who have been victims of political killings over the past decade.

This week, Roxas, a human rights advocate, brings her story to Vancouver as part of her Canadian tour with the creators of the Filipino film Dukot! (Abduct!) to raise awareness of extra-judicial arrest, torture and execution in the Philippines."

More at: http://www.asianpacificpost.com/news/topnews/article/survivorspeakshumanrightshorrorsphilippines


Centre d'appui aux Philippines - Centre for Philippine Concerns (CAP-CPC) condemns Israeli aggression on civilians aboard Freedom Flotilla to Gaza

The Centre d'appui aux Philippines - Centre for Philippine Concerns (CAP-CPC) joins with people around the globe in holding the state of Israel guilty of an act of bloody "terror" in attacking unarmed civilians aboard ships of the Freedom Flotilla, guilty only of trying to bring aid to the people of Gaza.

Israel has reach new depths of depravity and lies in trying to disguise it's military assault on these civilians under, once again, the excuse of "self defence". The Canadian government, meanwhile, refuses to take a firm stand against these acts of terror, simply content to exlaim that it "regrets" the loss of life.

This farce has gone on long enough, we demand to bringing to justice of the leaders of Israel and their military for "war crimes" and "crimes against humanity". We demand that Canada denounce this act of blatant agression in international waters as an act of piracy and demand that all those responsible, at all levels of the Israeli state and military machine, be immediately arrested and made to answer in an international court for their crimes.

Our hearts go out to all those who lost loves ones in this disgusting display of military might against a passenger ship. Our hearts also go out to the people of Gaza, who continue to suffer under an inhumane Israeli blockade after suffering from a military onslaught in 2009, the horrendous images of which we witnessed in our living rooms. Enough is enough!!

RCI interview: Stefan Christoff, Montreal member of the People's International Observers Mission

Stefan Christoff, an independent journalist and activist from Montréal, is interviewed by the Radio Canada International program The Link about his participation in the People's International Observers Mission (PIOM). Christoff was one of 89 international observers for the recent May 10, 2010 Presidential elections in the Philippines.

Listen to the audio of the interview here: http://www.rcinet.ca/english/column/the-link-s-top-stories/philippines-elections/


Tour of Philippine film Dukot (Abduct) comes to Montréal

Friday, May 28, 2010 -- The visit to Montreal by the creators of the award-winning film, Dukot (Abduct), accompanied by U.S.-based poet-artist Melissa Roxas, a survivor of torture and abduction in the Philippines, got underway with a press conference today.

A delicious lunch was graciously provided by the Federation of Filipino Canadian Associations of Quebec at the FAMAS community centre.

Pictured are the members of the tour group, scriptwriter Boni Ilagan (front, 2nd from right), Melissa (fr, 3rd from right), lead actor Allen Dizon (fr, centre) and producer Dennis Evangelista (back, 3rd from left) and press con organizers. A pot-luck meet and greet with community members was held the same evening, also at the FAMAS community centre.


Award-winning Filipino film DUKOT screens in Montreal

Montréal, May 27, 2010 -- As hopes ride high in Manila, where a new President is set to replace one of the most despised governments in recent history, the hard-hitting Philippine film DUKOT (Abduct), will screen in Montréal May 29-30, 2010.

This thriller has sparked controversy across the Philippines since it dares to expose that country's hidden story of human rights abuses. DUKOT brings back the political film genre, made popular by Filipino directors like Lino Brocka and Mike De Leon.

The film, the 2010 Philippine Gawad Tanglaw Award winner for Best Story and Movie Screenplay, will be presented in Tagalog with English sub-titles.

Directed by former political prisoner and one of the country's top filmmakers, Joel C. Lamangan, DUKOT is based on true stories and is written by Bonifacio P. Ilagan, himself a former political prisoner and victim of enforced disappearances.

It had its world premier at the Montreal Film Festival where it earned positive acclaim for its “great storytelling, thematic urgency, technical competence and tour de force performance of lead actors.” Several of the Philippine's top actors and actresses, including Gina Alajar and Allen Dizon, lent their talents to make the film a reality.

Three of the films creators will be in attendance at the screenings: Allen Dizon (the lead actor), Bonifacio P. Ilagan (scriptwriter), and Dennis Evangelista (producer), along with US-based poet and artist Melissa Roxas, who last year survived her abduction and torture in the Philippines.


Saturday, May 29, 5 pm
Sunday, May 30, 5 pm

Cinéma du Parc
3575 avenue du Parc (corner Prince Arthur)
Metro Place des Armes (Autobus 80)

Also on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=513218437#!/event.php?eid=115927711778484&ref=ts or http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=513218437#!/event.php?eid=112680278769954&ref=ts

Sponsored by: Philippine Association of Montreal and Suburbs (FAMAS), PINAY Filipino Women's Organization of Quebec, Federation of Filipino Canadian Associations of Quebec, Inc., Centre d'appui aux Philippines - Centre for Philippine Concerns

FOR Tickets and MORE INFORMATION: FAMAS Community Centre +1 514-341-7477; Joey Calugay +1 514 947-3662, e-mail: capcpc@web.ca

Funds raised from the screenings will go to support Karapatan, the Philippine human rights alliance, and Desaparecidos, the organization of the families and relatives of the disappeared in the Philippines, as well as local education and advocacy programs.

DUKOT film trailer at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XmiT77pI4cI


Pot-luck dinner with creators of Dukot film

Meet the film's creators at a pot-luck dinner on Friday, May 28, 6-8 pm at the FAMAS Centre,  4710 Van Horne  (Metro Plamondon). All welcome!


The Philippine elections: People power rising in Payatas - rabble.ca

May 25, 2010

Along the winding pathways in Payatas, a major urban-poor community on Manila's outskirts, election signs are plastered to the walls of makeshift homes, electricity wires rest in ruff hanging bundles, weaving down a steep hill, looking out towards the gleaming office towers of downtown Manila.

The thousands of urban poor in Payatas are among the most marginalized in the Philippines, a community constructed on scavenging, metal sheet shacks, one-storey brick homes and junk shops, clinging to a steep hillside, resting just beyond Manila's main trash site. Thousands of tonnes of garbage are dumped each year in Payatas, creating a trash mountain that has become the engine to the neighbourhood economy, as many locals scavenge and sort garbage, selling recyclables or scrap metals for a few coins.

As an example of life of the 13 million urban poor in the Philippines, the extreme living conditions in Payatas reflect a broader reality in a country where millions of families do not have access to safe drinking water, quality healthcare or education; these millions represent a flipside to sharp figures of economic growth in the Philippines often projected in headlines of business newspapers globally.

More at: http://rabble.ca/news/2010/05/philippine-elections-people-power-rising-payatas


Tears flow as Canadian election observers visit in jail with detained health workers, the ‘Morong 43’

By Dyan Bandayrel Ruiz
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 04:26:00 05/21/2010

MANILA, Philippines—There was not a dry eye when foreigners and locals met on Tuesday with some members of the “Morong 43” detained at Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig City.

Twelve foreigners and members of Manila-based groups gathered around a table in the visiting area with 23 women detainees. Later, they spoke with the male detainees in the hallway outside their cells.

The visitors brought messages of solidarity and were moved to tears as the women talked about their feelings and experiences in detention.

More at: Foreigners cry with ‘Morong 43’ in jail visit - INQUIRER.net, Philippine News for Filipinos


Five-city Canadian tour of award-winning film Dukot launched in Winnipeg

Lead actor Allen Dizon (2nd from left) and screenwriter Boni Ilagan with audience members after launch of Dukot film tour in Winnipeg. (Photo: Damayan Manitoba)

 Sunday May 16, 2010 - for immediate release

A five-city tour of Canada by the creators of the award-winning Philippine political thriller, Dukot (Abduct!), got off to a successful start with intense media coverage and three film screenings in Winnipeg, Manitoba, this past weekend.

The tour is organized by Philippine community and solidarity organizations in Canada in conjunction with the film's Philippine producers.

A packed house at the Eckhardt-Gramatté Hall at the University of Winnipeg stayed after the film, Friday, May 14, for an animated Q&A period with screenwriter Boni Ilagan, lead actor Allen Dizon, as well a real-life torture and abduction survivor, Filipino-American Melissa Roxas.

Leading up the screening, Ilagan and Dizon were interviewed by CKFJ, CJOB and CBC radio and were guests at a reception hosted by Dr. Lloyd Axworthy at the University of Winnipeg. They are to meet with Manitoba premier, Greg Selinger, on Monday, May 17.

Dukot is based on the stories of real life desparecidos (the disappeared) as well as the first-hand experience of scriptwriter Boni Ilagan, a former political detainee who was twice forcibly abducted. The film provides a powerful filmgoing experience while revealing the reality of the forced disappearances and ongoing human rights violations in the Philippines.

The film has already won awards for Best film, Best Director (Joel Lamangan), Best Story (Ilagan) & Best Actor for Dizon at the "8th Gawad Tanglaw Awards" along with a Best Actress Award for Iza Calzado and Best Original Song, "Mahal Kita Habambuhay," (lyrics - Boni Ilagan; arrangement - Lucien Letaba) at the "Golden Screen Awards" in the Philippines.

Many people in the audience were deeply touched by the story of Melissa Roxas, who was abducted and tortured in the Philippines in 2009, but has bravely decided to reveal what happened to her so that it will not happen to others.

The film tour will now proceed to Toronto (two screenings Saturday, May 22), Ottawa (screening Thursday, May 27), Montréal (screenings Saturday, May 29 and Sunday, May 30) and concluding in Vancouver with screenings on Thursday, June 3, Friday, June 4 and Saturday, June 5, 2010.

For more information about the film tour please check out the following Facebook connections or local contacts:

Toronto: http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=513218437#!/event.php?eid=115268951834310&ref=ts
Jonathan Canchela - +1 647.833.1023
Chris Sorio - +1 416.828.0441
Email: migrantecanada@gmail.com

Ottawa: http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=107805302596428&ref=ts
Tickets are available at Octupus Books, Divisoria Market and at Exile Info Shop

Montréal: http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=513218437#!/event.php?eid=115927711778484&ref=ts or http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=513218437#!/event.php?eid=112680278769954&ref=ts

Vancouver: http://www.facebook.com/home.php#!/event.php?eid=112315895472833


International observers from Canada, U.S. and Australia hide as 2-hour gunfight breaks out during Philippine elections: exclusive video footage

Amazing footage from Lanao del Sur in the Philippines. A two-hour gunfight breaks out despite the presence of international observers from Canada, Australia and the U.S. They were fortunately unhurt, but in the chaos one women is killed and two others injured.

This is just one of thousands of polling centers across the Philippines as over 50 million people voted in the first ever electronic elections on May 10, 2010. What went on where there were no outside observers and cameras from Kodao Productions and Bulatlat.com... I leave that to your imagination after viewing this video!

Also, see statement from People's International Observers Mission (PIOM): http://cap-cpc.blogspot.com/2010/05/international-observers-philippine-govt.html

- Malcolm


International observers: Philippine gov’t not committed to fair, honest and peaceful elections

The first automated election in the Philippines was far from being fair, honest and peaceful, is the conclusion of a major group of international observers from 11 countries, saying that it was "the sacrifices made by the public school teachers and the resilience of voters" that made the elections possible.

The People’s International Observers’ Mission (PIOM) composed of 86 delegates from Australia, Canada, United States, United Kingdom, Japan, Hongkong, New Zealand, France, Germany, Denmark and Argentina drew this conclusion from their experiences in monitoring the elections in the country’s nine regions. (Photo from Kodao.org)

The People’s IOM delegates went to Northern Luzon, Central Luzon, Southern Tagalog, Bicol, Western Visayas, Caraga, Davao and the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao and monitored the pre-election preparations the day before, the voting process on May 10 and the initial canvassing on May 11.

Did the automated electoral system (AES) achieve its objectives? For the People’s IOM, the widespread intimidation, vote-buying, corruption and violence showed that automation could solve only part of the problem.

“In focusing on the machines, the Comelec [Commission on Elections] lost the people,” they said.

“The Philippine government is not committed to free and honest elections,” the People’s IOM delegates further said, noting that there was a sore lack in the preparations.

The People’s IOM delegates also noted that political dynasties and their armed militias still lord it over local politics. “The political and economic inequality creates vulnerability to intimidation and vote-buying,” the mission delegates said.

Read full statement here: http://piom2010.wordpress.com/2010/05/15/philippine-govt-not-committed-to-fair-honest-and-peaceful-elections/


Les élections automatisées: un chaos annoncé

Cet article provient de Laura Cliche et Emilie Fontaine, déléguées Montréalaises à la Mission d’observation électorale aux Philippines.  Cet article a été écrit avant la tenue du scrutin mais son analyse s'est avéré bien fondée. D’autres nouvelles de Laura et Émilie suivront.

Tout récemment, un représentant de la Commission des élections philippines a affirmé aux médias : « Les Philippins ne devraient pas avoir de fausses attentes; l’automatisation de l’élection va échouer». Considérant que ces élections seront déterminantes et assigneront plus de 17 000 élus à travers le pays, une telle citation est plutôt surprenante, du moins pour deux Canadiennes.

Photo by Tudla Productions - Bulatlat.com: Teachers from Cembo Elementary School in Makati City are having difficulty making the PCOS machine print a complete initialization report during testing.

Les élections automatisées, où le vote est calculé par une machine et non à la main par des scrutateurs, a pourtant fait ses preuves. 21 pays utilisent présentement ce système, dont les Etats-Unis. Toutefois, celui-ci devient de plus en plus contesté, particulièrement depuis que la Cour suprême de l’Allemagne a demandé son retrait pour des raisons de transparence.

Les Philippines ont tout de même décidé de se lancer tête première dans l’aventure, sans hésitation, comme nous l’a affirmé Bobby Tuazon du Centre de gouvernance populaire : «Aucun pays dans le monde n’oserait tester pour la première fois des élections automatisées en les soumettant à 50 millions de votants. N’importe qui aurait décidé d’y aller étapes par étapes, mais bon, pas ici.»

Cet empressement crée de grandes craintes dans la population pour le succès des élections. Nous avons découvert que celles-ci sont malheureusement fondées.

La plupart des pays entreprenant un tel projet se sont assurés d’une qualité optimale des machines pour éviter toute contrainte lors du jour du vote; l’administration Arroyo, de son côté, a choisi le plus bas soumissionnaire. Celui-ci construira les dispositifs en Chine et ceux-ci sont considérés comme étant la plus basse qualité disponible sur le marché.

Le constructeur ne s’est toutefois pas penché sur une particularité géographique importante des Philippines; le pays est constitué de 7000 îles et de peu de routes asphaltées. Les machines devront donc se rendent par cheval, par chaloupes ou même à dos de buffles capables de traverser les rivières à grands courants.

D’ailleurs, deux jours avant les élections, elles n’ont pas terminé leur grand périple vers leur destination finale. Les journalistes, impressionnés du processus de déploiement, ont demandé au coordonnateur des élections comment il pensait s’y prendre pour apporter un appareil dans l’île de Batan, particulièrement éloignée des autres. Ils furent bien surpris d’apprendre que l’homme responsable ignorait l’existence de cette dernière!

Ces dispositifs, une fois rendus sur place, ne peuvent pas assurer une automatisation complète. L’électeur doit lui-même noircir au crayon les cases sur son bulletin de vote avant de l’entrer dans la machine. Leur piètre qualité complique ce processus puisqu’elle ne peut détecter que 16 intensités de gris du crayon, comparativement à la norme habituelle de 20 000 ! Face à cette situation, des tests extensifs sur les machines devaient être conduits; selon le plan initial 1000 électeurs devaient passer aux urnes en simulation pour rassurer la population, mais finalement le tout s’est arrêté après 50 personnes.

Selon les estimations les plus conservatrices, les électeurs ne sont pas au bout de leur peine. On s’attend à ce qu’entre 30% à 50% d’eux soient incapables de voter, malgré leur volonté (ces chiffres n’incluent pas l’intimidation des électeurs ni l’enlèvement de ceux-ci pour les empêcher d’exercer leur droit de vote le 10 mai). De ceux qui y parviendront, le tiers des bulletins devraient être rejetés.

Une fois que toutes ces épreuves seront relevées, la transmission du vote sera aussi un défi. Les résultats doivent être envoyés par le web, ce qui sera relativement complexe considérant que le tiers du pays n’a aucun accès Internet, ni onde cellulaire. Un satellite est prévu pour pallier à la situation, mais lors d’un test dans la capitale, celui-ci a échoué… Inutile de dire que de grands doutes existent.

Bobby Tuazon explique que face à toutes ces confusions sur l’automatisation « on s’attend à de plus en plus d’achats de votes puisque, même ceux aux intentions malveillantes ne feront pas confiance aux machines ». Selon lui, demain, la dernière journée avant le jour du vote, on pourra voir beaucoup de «bagmen », c’est-à-dire des hommes qui se promènent, soit en hélicoptère, en avion ou en voiture, chargés de sac contenant des millions de pesos pour acheter les électeurs.

Un membre du Congrès, Neri Colmenares, nous a affirmé que la seule chose qui soit certaine le 10 mai c’est que « peu importe ce qui arrive, c’est certain que tout se fera dans la confusion la plus totale ».

Laura Cliche
Émilie Fontaine
Manille, le 8 mai 2010