Tuesday, May 1, 2018

NDF/PKM: Fulfill the tasks of the worker-peasant basic alliance to win the revolution and build a socialist future

Pambansang Katipunan ng mga Magbubukid (PKM) propaganda statement posted to the National Democratic Front Website (May 1): Fulfill the tasks of the worker-peasant basic alliance to win the revolution and build a socialist future

Pambansang Katipunan ng mga Magbubukid
National Democratic Front of the Philippines
Labor Day 2018 | PRESS RELEASE
Reference: Andres Agtalon, Spokesperson, PKM-NDFP

As the country’s largest labor organizations unite on the 115th International Working People’s Day under one banner to strongly protest the imperialist and neoliberal policies of labor contractualization and ‘ENDO’, systematic union busting, suppression of workers’ rights, and the prevailing oppressive working conditions utilized by capitalists, the Pambansang Katipunan ng mga Magbubukid-National Democratic Front of the Philippines (PKM-NDFP) calls on all working class and the peasant masses nationwide to take advantage of the social conditions and wage revolution to overthrow the joint class dictatorship of landlords and big bourgeoisie.

“It is the historical duty of the Filipino working class and proletariat to lead the national democratic revolution to victory. The basic alliance of workers and peasants should now more than ever be unified and strengthened in the face of more challenges under the tyrannical rule of Rodrigo Roa Duterte,” according to PKM Spokesperson Andres Agtalon.

“It is the duty of workers and peasant sectors to reach out to millions of Filipinos here and abroad and draw them into the people’s democratic revolution.”

“We invite workers in factories, economic enclaves and offices, as well as service sector employees from BPOs who are severely exploited by local and foreign businesses to integrate and live with poor peasants in the countryside and in the guerilla zones of the New People’s Army (NPA). Let us strengthen the basic alliance of workers and peasants and achieve more victories for the revolution,” Agtalon said.

Agtalon said the NPA that is comprised mainly of poor and landless peasants and farmworkers all over the country is always in need of fresh boost and new recruits from the ranks of workers and intellectuals.

“The Communist Party of the Philippines, through PKM and revolutionary mass organizations in the countryside, are waging agrarian revolution at varying levels. It is building the revolutionary mass base through consolidating organs of political power. It is leading the NPA to greater strengths and victorious tactical offensives. We need workers to be in the forefront of these struggles.”

The basic alliance of workers and peasants should carry out various forms of revolutionary struggle to overthrow the class dictatorship of the bourgeoisie, build a socialist state and engage in continuous socialist revolution in the political, socio-economic and cultural fields.

Farmers, workers mark Karl Marx anniversary

From the Visayan Daily Star (May 1): Farmers, workers mark Karl Marx anniversary

Red flags bearing the hammer and sickle filled Rizal-Gatuslao streets of Bacolod City last yesterday as militants, mostly farmers and workers, marked the birth anniversary of their icon for social reform.

Close to a thousand militants marched from three points of Negros Occidental going to the downtown area of Bacolod City to celebrate the 200th birthday of Karl Marx today and to kick-off the international Labor Day protest.

Members of the National Federation of Sugar Workers, Kilusang Mayo Uno, Kilusang Mambubukid ng Pilipinas, and Bagong Alyansang Makabayan marched from Murcia (central), Bago City (south), and Silay City (north) to commemorate the life and history of Karl Marx, NFSW chair Rolando Rillo said last night.

He said therewere about 400 individuals from Silay, about 250 from Bago City, and 300 from Murcia who joined the march.

Most of the rallyists brought torches, red flags bearing the hammer and sickle that symbolize Marx’s ideology on communism, and placards with statements on neo-liberalization and contractualization.

Rillosaid that, as Marx discovered, the unity of farmers and workers is significant in changing society and uplifting their current situation.

“They are the progressive force in society and their unity will help their concerns to free them from current situation,” he told the DAILY STAR.

He also said that Negrenses should learn from Marx’s ideologies as they inspired the farmers and workers to fight for their rights for land reform amid the industrialization on a national scale.

Marx, as a social scientist, had been very significant in helping to show that progress starts in the hands of the farmers and workers, he added.

A short program was conducted in front of the San Sebastian Cathedral last night where militants listened to speeches about Karl Marx and sang the “Internationale”, the communist song.

Rillo said they will camp in front of the Department of Labor and Employment Provincial Office after the program and hold cultural presentations.

Today, NFSW and other partner organizations will march along Araneta Street of Bacolod to air their sentiments on labor issues like President Rodrigo Duterte’s non-signing of the law to end contractualization, and farmworkers wage increase, Rillo added.


Zamboanga Sibugay execs surrender 45 high-powered firearms

From the Philippine News Agency (May 1): Zamboanga Sibugay execs surrender 45 high-powered firearms

Officials of Alicia, Zamboanga Sibugay pose for photo session together with police and military officials during the surrender ceremony on Monday of high-powered guns. (Photo couortesy: PRO-9 PIO)
ZAMBOANGA CITY -- Forty-five assorted high-powered firearms were voluntarily surrendered by local government officials in two towns of Zamboanga Sibugay province, a top police official said Tuesday.

Chief Supt. Billy Beltran, Police Regional Office-9 (PRO-9) director, said the firearms were surrendered on Monday by town and barangay officials of Alicia and Tungawan.

Beltran said that 39 of the 45 firearms were surrendered by municipal and  barangay officials of Alicia led by Mayor Yashier Musa and Vice Mayor Humberto Sotto.

The surrendered firearms consisted of the 29 home-made 12-gauge shotguns; three M-16 rifles; two M-14 rifles; one Caliber .30 M1 Garand rifle; one M203 grenade launcher; and three caliber .45 pistols.

The surrender of the firearms was facilitated by Chief Insp. Rico Pondol, the police chief of Alicia, at the town plaza in Barangay Poblacion.

Meanwhile, the remaining six firearms were surrendered by Mobin Tamonan, the barangay chairperson of Tigpalay, Tungawan, Zamboanga Sibugay.

Beltran said the firearms that Tamonan surrendered were two Shooters 12-gauge shotguns; three homemade 12-gauge shotguns; and a 9-mm pistol.

Beltran said the campaign to account loose firearms in the region will continue in line with the campaign against unlicensed guns of President Rodrigo Duterte.


Soldier hurt in Cotabato City ambush dies

From the Philippine News Agency (May 1): Soldier hurt in Cotabato City ambush dies

The soldier injured in Monday morning’s attack by suspected IS-linked militants has died while being treated in a government hospital here, raising to three the number of government troops killed by riding-in-tandem gunmen here and in Sultan Kudarat.

Authorities blamed the IS - linked Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) in the two separate attacks against members of the Philippine Army here and in Lambayong, Sultan Kudarat.

Police Inspector Norberto Clayca, deputy chief of Cotabato City police station 4, said Private First Class Richard Bendanillo of the Army’s 5th Special Forces Battalion, died while getting medical attention at a government hospital several hours after he and companion, Corporal Nelson Paimalan, were ambushed in Barangay Kalanganan here.

Clayca said Paimalan died on the spot while Bendanillo sustained multiple gunshot wounds and rushed by responding policemen to a hospital.

The duo were returning home on board a motorbike from marketing chores when two men, also riding on a separate motorbike, shot them from behind using .45 - caliber pistols. Police said among the suspects were BIFF hitmen who were getting back at government forces for their losses in recent military offensives in Maguindanao.

Police are reviewing CCTV footages of business establishments near the ambush site.

In Lambayong, Sultan Kudarat, police are also blaming the BIFF hit squad in the murder of Corporal Ruel Dordas of the Army’s 33rd Infantry Battalion (IB).

Senior Supt. James Gulmatico, Sultan Kudarat provincial police director, said Dordas was with Sgt. Julhaib Ajirul, also of 33rd IB, onboard a motorbike going to their base from a peacekeeping mission in nearby village when they were waylaid in Barangay Tinumugues, Lambayong at 7:30 p.m. last Sunday.

Dordas died on the spot while Sgt. Ajirul remains in critical condition at a hospital in Tacurong City. Lt. Colonel Harold Cabunoc, Army’s 33rd IB commander, condemned the attack and vowed to bring the perpetrators before the bar of justice.

Cabunoc said his men were reaching out to communities to bring peace and yet they were waylaid. He sought the help of villagers to help the Army and the police identify and arrest the gunmen.

Police said initial investigation showed the BIFF had a hand in the ambush in Lambayong town.


Soldier killed, officer hurt in NPA attack

From the Philippine News Agency (May 1): Soldier killed, officer hurt in NPA attack

An unarmed soldier was killed while an officer was injured when suspected members of the New People’s Army (NPA) attacked them in Sitio Sto. Domingo, Barangay Lumintao, Quezon town in Bukidnon province on April 30.

1st Lt. Marisol Fulgosino, civil military operations officer of the Army’s 403rd Infantry Brigade, 4th Infantry Division, said Tuesday the NPA rebels attacked the victims at about 10 a.m.

Fulgosino identified the slain soldier as Pfc. Joehan Macalong. She, however, did not name the injured officer who has the rank of a lieutenant. A police report, however, identified the injured officer as 1Lt Kevin G. Abad.

Macalong died on the spot while Abad, who was hit on his right thigh, managed to escape from their assailants and asked help from the villagers in the area, police said.

Police said the victims were going to the town center of Quezonto withdraw money at a Palawan Pawnshop branch and were ambushed along the way.

Fulgosino said both victims were unarmed and were in civilian clothes when the attack occurred.

The remains of the slain soldier were brought to a funeral facility while the wounded officer was brought to the nearest treatment facility for proper medical attention.

Lt. Col. Randy Remonte, commanding officer of the 88th Infantry Battalion, said he was dismayed by the fate of the two soldiers. He assured that justice will be served against the perpetrators.

In a statement, Brig. Gen. Eric Vinoya, commander of the 403rd Infantry Brigade, denounced the NPA rebels for "their criminal acts of murdering a devoted soldier who only serves the residents of Bukidnon relentlessly to achieve a lasting peace."

He said the attack was a "clear manifestation that NPA rebels were anti-development and resistant to progress."


PSG apologizes for temporarily barring reporters from Palace

From the Philippine News Agency (May 1): PSG apologizes for temporarily barring reporters from Palace

LABOR DAY RALLY. Various groups calling for the end of contractualization march towards Mendiola in Manila as part of Labor Day protests on Tuesday, May 1, 2018. (PNA photo by Avito C. Dalan)
The Presidential Security Group (PSG) on Labor Day apologized for temporarily barring media from entering Malacañang, noting the heightened security implemented for the occasion.

Labor groups on Tuesday converged in various venues for their annual Labor Day protests to demand higher pay and an end to contractualization.

“Because it’s Labor Day, we are anticipating protest rallies [sic] here in Mendiola so we are on heightened alert,” PSG Chief of Staff Col. Potenciano Camba said in a mix of English and Filipino.

“We did not expect that there would be a lot of members of the MPC entering. If there was an inconvenience, we apologize,” he added, referring to members of the Malacañang Press Corps.

Camba denied that there was an order to bar media noting that a similar incident can be avoided if there is proper coordination between PSG and media.

PSG commander Brig. Gen. Lope Dagoy described what happened as a simple case of “misunderstanding.”

“There was a misunderstanding. We declared red alert because there were reports of threats that would take place there so we only wanted to be sure,” Dagoy said.

“Soldiers didn’t know that there would be media going there,” he added as he apologized and said that it was unintentional.

Last February, Rappler reporter Pia Ranada was barred from entering the New Executive Building in Malacañang where Palace briefings are usually held.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said that online media site Rappler will be barred from entering until they resolve their ownership issue at the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

The SEC earlier said Rappler violated the Constitution’s restriction on foreign ownership of local media. However, Rappler has debunked this claim stating that it is Filipino-owned.


Military scores Reds for unprovoked attack in Bukidnon

From the Philippine News Agency (May 2): Military scores Reds for unprovoked attack in Bukidnon

The commander of the military's 403rd Infantry Brigade scored the New People's Army (NPA) rebels for their unprovoked assault, which left an unarmed soldier dead and another wounded in Quezon, Bukidnon last April 30.

Brig. Gen. Eric Vinoya, 403rd Infantry Brigade commander, said Tuesday the attack demonstrates the rebels' refusal to allow progress in the area.

"This was a clear manifestation that NPA terrorists were anti-development and resistant to progress. While our soldiers thrive to promote economic growth to insurgency-affected areas, they attacked and ambushed our soldiers in a deceitful manner," Vinoya said.

The two soldiers from the 88th Infantry Battalion were gathering documents needed for a livelihood project at Sitio Sto. Domingo, Barangay Lumintao, Quezon, Bukidnon when gunned down by the rebels last April 30.

One of the troopers was killed on the spot while his companion was seriously wounded.


Soldier shot dead

From Tempo (May 2): Soldier shot dead

CAMP BANCASI, Butuan City – An unarmed soldier helping local villagers get livelihood assistance from the government was allegedly shot dead by New People’s Army (NPA) terrorists in Sitio Sto. Domingo, Baangay Lumintao, Quezon, Bukidnon Monday morning.

The attack also resulted in the wounding of another soldier. 1Lt. Marisol L. Fulgosino, Civil Military Operation (CMO) officer of the 403rd Infantry said the two soldiers both belonged to the 88thInfantry Battallion. The cadaver of the dead soldier was brought to a funeral facility in nearby Quezon while the wounded soldier was immediately evacuated to the nearest treatment facility.


ReCAAP: Impending Pirate Attack off Sabah

From the Maritime Executive (May 1): ReCAAP: Impending Pirate Attack off Sabah


Members of the Abu Sayyaf Group in an undated video still (file image)
Piracy reporting center ReCAAP has issued a warning for the waters off Lahad Datu, Malaysia, advising mariners of a heightened risk of attack.
In an unusual advance notice to shipping, ReCAAP relayed detailed intelligence about a specific band of suspected pirates who are believed to be making plans for a kidnapping attempt. According to ReCAAP, members of the Abu Sayyaf group - a terrorist organization with a history of maritime hijackings and kidnappings - are planning to get under way for a known high risk area off Sabah within the next 24 hours. The report suggests that the gang will be using a blue speedboat with three engines.

Illustration courtesy Asket / Twitter
The advisory recommends that mariners should exercise "extreme caution" if transiting off Lahad Datu.

Abu Sayyaf staged 17 successful attacks on vessels off Sabah between April 2016 and April 2017, but it has not been able to complete an attempt in twelve months, according to STRATFOR. A multinational maritime security effort has prevented the pirates from executing further hijackings, but that does not mean that the risk has disappeared, the security consultancy warns: Abu Sayyaf pirates continue to monitor shipping and pursue opportunities for kidnappings. In addition, the group is still holding some of the mariners it captured during its period of peak activity.

While the Armed Forces of the Philippines have made strides in their campaign to drive Abu Sayyaf out of the Sulu Archipelago, the group's gangs still have a limited capacity for guerilla warfare. Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has promised that "he will not stop running after the Abu Sayyaf" until the group "is wiped out," according to spokesman Harry Roque. 


Abused amazon surrenders

From Tempo (May 1): Abused amazon surrenders

GAMU, Isabela – A female New People’s Army (NPA) rebel belonging to the Leonardo Pacsi Command surrendered to the 77th Infantry Battalion on Saturday.

A report from a military camp in Upi, Gamu, Isabela said Ka Trese (not her real name), 16, was recruited by a certain Commander Jushua when she was just 14 years old.

Ka Trese said she decided to surrender after having been repeatedly subjected to physical abuse by her comrades. She yielded an M16 rifle.


Duterte’s populist pivot away from the United States may not last

From the East Asia Forum (May 1): Duterte’s populist pivot away from the United States may not last (By John West)

The rise of Philippine populist firebrand Rodrigo Duterte and his surprise victory in the 2016 presidential elections have left many in a state of shock — most notably the Philippine business, political and military elites and their close ally, the United States.

According to some commentators, the rise of Duterte was the culmination of three decades of failed ‘elite democracy’. The 1986 People Power Revolution deposed the corrupt regime of Ferdinand Marcos and saw the Philippines’ old elites return to power. Duterte’s rise came on the back of simmering public dissatisfaction with the post-Marcos elite democracy, which failed miserably to live up to its initial promise of social justice and sustainable development. In other words, Duterte is the product of ‘grievance politics’.

From another perspective, the rise of Duterte is often seen as part of the wave of populism that has been sweeping global politics in recent years as liberal elites around the world suffer stunning electoral setbacks.

But a closer examination suggests that neither explanation is entirely accurate. In contrast to the West, there is nothing new about populism in the Philippines. During the post-1986 period, Philippine politics has gyrated between establishment and populist figures — and Duterte may be just the latest twist. This is due to the Philippines’ fractured and polarised society and the inability of both sides of politics to deliver opportunity, prosperity and security to all Philippine citizens.

If history is any indication, the Philippines may shift back to the liberal establishment at the next presidential elections, as Filipinos tire of Duterte’s authoritarian rule. While many Filipinos were convinced that Duterte could replicate his great success in Davao on a national scale, this is proving challenging.

Another factor that played an important role in Duterte’s victory is the Philippines’ first-past-the-post presidential election system. While Duterte may now enjoy substantial popular support, he was able to win the presidency with only 39 per cent of the popular vote. Duterte did not win the election with a tidal wave of popular support. If the Philippines had held a runoff election between the two leading presidential candidates (as France does), it is not certain that Duterte would have won the presidency at all.

Other factors may have played a role in Duterte’s victory. Vote-buying is a chronic problem in the Philippines. Duterte’s team and supporters also seem to have been more adept at using social media, an advantage in a country crazy about Facebook.

Since becoming President of the Philippines in 2016, Duterte has dramatically transformed Philippine politics. Almost overnight, Duterte adopted an ‘independent’ and transactional foreign policy, in contrast to his predecessor Benigno Aquino and much of the previous century when the Philippines was a staunch US ally. Duterte and his team have announced that the Philippines can no longer be the United States’ ‘little brown brother’ in Asia.

Duterte’s new foreign policy has several pillars that include improving relations with China and Russia, moving away from the country’s tight and subservient alignment with the United States and strengthening ties with ASEAN, Japan and other neighbouring countries. His strategic logic makes sense for a smaller country precariously caught between competing superpowers. It is perhaps about time that the Philippines adjusted to the new geopolitical realities of East Asia, in light of the enormous growth of the region’s markets.

Duterte’s pivot is also in part a response to the United States’ lack of clear commitment to the Philippines in the South China Sea dispute with China — despite the United States–Philippines Mutual Defense Treaty. Duterte has accepted the reality of China’s occupation of the South China Sea and is leveraging this to get infrastructure financing from China. He did not want the Philippines–China relationship to be defined by the South China Sea.

Where Duterte is concerned, personal factors always come into the calculation. In this case, he is clearly miffed by his perceived personal mistreatment by the United States in the form of an alleged refusal of a visa application and the United States’ historical misdeeds in Mindanao, his home island.

But will Duterte’s pivot away from the United States stick?

If the next presidential election sees a return to a liberal establishment figure, the Philippines might also pivot back towards the United States and away from China. After all, the Philippines is inextricably intertwined with the United States through connections between business, political and military elites, through migration and through Philippine admiration of US pop culture. And the unruly Philippines will surely tire of being ‘lorded over’ by an authoritarian China.

Duterte’s ‘populist presidency’ could disappear as suddenly as it emerged, if his reportedly poor health deteriorates even further. Under the Philippine political system, Duterte would be replaced by Vice President Leni Robredo, who is an establishment figure rather than a populist one. But with Duterte at the helm, we should always be ready for surprises.

John West is Adjunct Professor at Sophia University in Tokyo. He is author of Asian Century… on a Knife-edge: A 360 Degree Analysis of Asia’s Recent Economic Development (Palgrave Macmillan, 2018).


P100K reward raised for Koronadal blast suspects

From the Manila Times (May 2): P100K reward raised for Koronadal blast suspects

SHARIFF AGUAK, Maguindanao: A P100,000 reward is being offered to anyone who can give authorities information that could lead to the arrest of the perpetrators in the Sunday bombing in Koronadal City which the Philippine National Police (PNP) blamed on the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF).

But Abu Misri Mama, speaking for the BIFF on Tuesday, denied involvement in the attack and instead blamed the Army and the police for the bombing outside a Catholic church that injured two civilians.

Koronadal City Mayor Peter Miguel said the reward money will help the police fast track the identification and prosecution of those involved in the bombing.

PNP Director Gen. Oscar Albayalde said the police have in their custody a CCTV footage showing a woman leaving a plastic bag in front of the 747 convenience store which turned out to be a powerful improvised bomb and another one who left the IED.

Abayalde on Monday visited the blast site as well as the blast victims – Dindo Legalag, 44, of Barangay General Paulino Santos and Generosa Festin, 44, vendor of Barangay Topland, both in Koronadal City.

“No relief order yet, I gave the two officials time to investigate, arrest the suspects and solve the crime,” Abayalde said referring to Supt. Ronald Allan Penaverde, Koronadal City police director, and Senior Supt. Nestor Salcedo, South Cotabato police provincial director.

Chief Supt. Marcelo Morales, Police Regional Office 12 (PRO-12) director, earlier pointed to the outlawed BIFF as among the possible suspects in the bombing.

“It was a diversionary tactic of the BIFF due to the series of arrests we made in the region,” Morales said.

More PNP and military checkpoints have been set up around Koronadal while the entire police force in PRO-12 were put under alert status to prevent similar attacks.