Category Archives: US intervention

World Bank eyes RP as Asia’s begging capital

By Gerry Albert Corpuz, Bb. Tayuman Recto-Yap and Akihira Tatchu

MANILA, Philippines- The plan of the Brettonwoods institution to support the direct cash assistance fund to millions of impoverished Filipinos through an increased fresh loan to Manila government sparked protest from a Philippine group highly critical of the World Bank (WB) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The leftist fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) on Sunday assailed WB over its recent move to double its assistance in the country for 2011 so the national government could fund its conditional cash transfer (CCT) program to poor Filipinos. Impressed by the Philippine government’s initiatives on good governance, WB country director Bert Hofman last Friday said WB will increase the current overall assistance to the Philippines from $ 630 million to $ 1.3 B in total assistance to the administration of President Benigno Simeon Aquino III.Hofman said the aid increase was approved last week at the annual meeting of the WB and International Monetary Fund (IMF)with the Philippines economic team.

In 2007, the WB approved a five year support to CCT with $ 400 million loan as funding support for 2008 as launched by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) then under President Gloria Macapagal- Arroyo administration. This year, Congress passed the national budget for 2011, allotting P 21 B for CCT, an increase of P 9 billion compared to last year. The P 21 B for CCT elicited protest from 100 congressmen.

But Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap said the increase in aid assistance merely suits the political agenda of WB-IMF to turn millions of Filipino poor into beggars and mendicants, transform them into passive political entities highly allergic or hostile to politics of change in the country.

“The WB-IMF supports the CCT program because it sees it as a socio-political instrument that would convert this nation of over 90 million starving Filipinos into a Republic of mendicants and beggars rather than into a progressive nation with critical thinking and struggling people fighting for land, jobs, rights and justice.The increase in assistance with the purpose of supporting the CCT program is mainly a counter-insurgency program in form and in substance,” Hicap explained.

“The WB-IMF backed CCT program is also counter-productive in the sense that it does not create jobs and does not transform people into productive citizens but helpless folks begging for alms,” the Pamalakaya leader added.

The WB country director said the initiatives of the Aquino administration for poverty alleviation were doing well for target beneficiaries and that transparency under the new government made them more comfortable to provide additional assistance to Aquino government.

“It is business as usual for IMF-WB. It will lure the Aquino administration enter into another cycle of debt trap and national death bed due to debt. Behind the triple platinum debt offer of this US-led financial monster is the cruel intention of IMF-WB to get involved in Jurassic public-private partnership (PPPs) economic escapade of the Aquino administration,” said Pamalakaya.

The militant group also slammed the Philippine officials who signed the deal with IMF-WB during a meeting in Washington D.C. Pamalakaya said Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima, Budget and management SecretaryFlorencio Abad and Socio-Economic planning secretary Cayetano Paderanga Jr. should be condemned to the highest order for what the group called a millennium sell out of the national economy.

“These officials of Noynoy Aquino committed one of the major blunders in the 21st century when they offered the Philippines at the altar of IMF-WB millennium exploitation.They should be remembered in history as modern-day traitors along with President Aquino for undertaking this sell out of national patrimony and grand scam denationalization and privatization of national economy,” said Pamalakaya.

According to Pamalakaya, the IMF-WB aside from raking super profits from interest on loans, would also take part in highly profitable business in the country including but not limited to the expansion of Light Railway Transit system, the improvement of sewerage system of Maynilad and Manila Water.

The militant group said IMF-WB also wants to facilitate PPPs in tourism, food supply chain, construction of airports and other road networks, mass transport, national highways, water, power and other utilities.

Pamalakaya said the P 18.7 B Laguna Lake Dredging Project in Laguna de Bay was one of the PPPs approved by the Arroyo government prior to the May 2010 elections.The group said the project is between the Philippine government and the Fortis Bank of Belgium, which is a private commercial bank based in Brussels. It said around 400,000 lake families or roughly 2 million people in Laguna Lake will be displaced by the Laguna Lake dredging project #

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Rebel priest says US aid meant for war

By Gerry Albert Corpuz, http://www.allvoices.com MANILA, Philippines-

Rebel priest Fr. Santiago Salas, spokesperson on the communist led_national Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) in Eastern Visayas said the $ 200 million US Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) grant will bring militarization and human rights violations and not genuine development in the highly militarized island in Eastern Philippines.

Fr. Salas tagged 8th Infantry Division chief Gen. Mario Chan a barefaced liar for denying the sinister agenda of US funded projects currently undertaken in Samar as part of the counter-insurgency program of administration of Philippine President Benigno Simeon Aquino III and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) under the extended Oplan Bantay Laya.

“It is sheer duplicity for Gen. Chan to deny Samar’s militarization,” the NDFP-Eastern Visayas spokesperson said in a press statement, a copy of which was sent to http://www.allvoices.com. Salas added: “Victims of human rights violations have publicly denounced widepread and extended military operations since August in Jiabong, Motiong, San Jorge, Catbalogan, Gandara, Paranas, San Jose de Buan and Matuguinao in Western Samar, as well as several adjacent towns in Northern and Eastern Samar.

The rebel priest said it only shows the Aquino government is enamored with the militarist solution and Gen. Chan is implementing this by militarizing Samar.He said is already clear the present government is dragging its feet in the peace process with the NDFP, extending the widely condemned (national security program) Oplan Bantay Laya until January 2011, and carrying out the US Counterinsurgency Guide in plotting its own counterrevolutionary war.

Anti-development?

The NDFP-EV spokesperson also rebuked Gen. Chan for maliciously accusing the revolutionary movement of being against development in opposing the US-funded Samar Road project.

“Without basic socio-economic reforms, the MCC project will be a mere publicity and psywar gimmick to glamorize the Aquino government and to justify militarization in the name of securing this project,” Fr. Salas said. The NDFP-Eastern Visayas maintains that to assure genuine economic development, land reform and national industrialization are needed.

But Samar reflects the backwardness and imbalance under semifeudalism in Eastern Visayas.The democratic front argued the crops planted do not benefit the people and over 60% goes to commercial crops for export such as coconut and abaca, while less than 20% is left for rice and other basic foodstuffs.The agricultural conditions are also dire in Eastern Visayas with the number of irrigated rice fields is drastically declining, farmlands continue to be divided into smaller and less productive parcels, and the use of agricultural machinery or even farm animals is woefully inadequate.

“Such is the explosive situation where the peasants are becoming increasingly landless, desperate and hungry,” the NDFP-EV added.Meanwhile, other economic activities such as mining and logging have not resulted in industrialization but the plunder of the island’s rich natural resources as raw materials for export.”Thus it is Gen. Chan who is against development, for pushing a project that will not solve the island’s economic ills, but will hasten the exploitation and oppression of the people,” the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP)-led NDFP-EV added.

Bureaucratic loot

The NDFP-EV likewise charged Gen. Chan of hustling for the US-funded project in his greed to ensure his share from the bureaucratic loot.

“The NDFP-EV is aware that civilian contractors in Samar have been complaining in recent years that they are being muscled out by the 8th ID in construction projects,” it said. ” High-ranking military officials not only back certain contractors to share the kickbacks, but also use the army engineering battalions to grab corruption-tainted projects that should have been done by the civilian government,” the NDFP-EV asserted.
“Isn’t it strange otherwise why Gen. Mario Chan makes vulgar demands to the local government to rush the US-funded project, when he is out of line in doing so, as a military official who should be subordinate to civilian authority?” it asked.

Oppose MCC in EV

The NDFP-EV spokesperson called on the people to express their grievances and expose the real situation in opposing the US Millennium Challenge Corporation project.

“We call on the peasantry and the people to press the demands for land reform and national industrialization against a grandiloquent but deceptive project. We call on the Church and the human rights and peace activists to expose and oppose the ‘counterinsurgency’ scheme behind the MCC project based on the US COIN Guide,” Salas said. The NDFP spokesperson also rallied anti-corruption activists to study and criticize the US-funded project that will surely be undertaken by the same thieves responsible for the neglected state of Samar’s roads and other public works.

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Pamalakaya assails Red exporting tag

By Gerry Albert Corpuz and Krelin Montenegro

MANILA, Philippines-The militant fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya), a member of the International League of People’s Struggle (ILPS) assailed on Saturday the Philippine government’s claim that the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) was sending communist cadres in place like India and Thailand under the banner of the league.

“This is too much. This brazen and bizarre state terrorism campaign of Defense Secretary Norberto Gonzalez and NICA director general Pedro Cabuay should be condemned to the highest level. We demand the two terrorist officials of the Manila government to retract their statements, issue public apologies here and abroad and refrain from making further outrageous claims based on and mobilized by the doctrines of national security and global terrorism,” said Pamalakaya national chair and ILPS fisherfolk representative Fernando Hicap in a press statement.

The Pamalakaya leader said ILPS is an international assembly of 350 progressive and democratic organizations from 50 countries fighting for the collective rights and interest of the working peoples of the world.

“It is the Philippine government who is exporting its state terrorism campaign against Filipino progressives abroad by spreading these malicious claims and false allegations in the name of US led terrorism all over the world and in the name of national security doctrine in the name of modern day global slavery and oppression,” added Hicap.

Pamalakaya said it had participated in various international conferences and gatherings under the banner of ILPS not to export cadres and train local insurgents but to promote international solidarity through sharing of Filipino fisherfolk issues and struggles in the Philippines and support their peers’ struggles in other parts of the world through campaigns, mobilizations and other form of advocacy.

The militant group said it had been to India twice for international gatherings opposed to World Trade Organization and free trade liberalization in 2005 and 2008, and had been to Thailand in 2002 once and thrice in 2009 not to export communist rebels but to discuss the impact of trade liberalization on fisheries, share experiences on disaster preparedness and express sectoral views on the ASEAN Human Rights charter.

Pamalakaya said it is planning to file appropriate criminal and administrative charges against Secretary Gonzalez and Cabuay and that they will soon consult their lawyers about what charges shall be filed against the two security officials.

For a start, the group said it will ask the 350-member organizations of the ILPS in 50 countries to declare the two Philippine defense officials persona-non-grata in their respective countries and issue statements denouncing the Manila government’s claim against the ILPS to high heaven.

In 2008, Pamalakaya attended the 3rd General Assembly of the ILPS in Hong Kong. During the assembly, Pamalakaya sponsored a resolution urging the Philippine government to stop all offshore mining activities in the country.

The resolution was signed by 350 member organizations of the ILPS that include social activists and respected leaders of people’s movements in the United States, Canada, Italy, Turkey, Belgium, United Kingdom, Germany, India, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, South Korea, Japan, China, Taiwan, Australia, New Zealand, Iran and Brazil to mention a few.

Last year, Pamalakaya attended a fisherfolk conference in Bangkok, Thailand which was sponsored by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations (UN).

During the conference, Pamalakaya and ILPS-Philippine chapter of the league conducted a petition signing that urged FAO officials to investigate the left-and right destruction of food and fish baskets in the Philippines by the Macapagal-Arroyo government through privatization and anarchic conversion of agricultural lands and fishing areas by foreign monopolies and their domestic partners in the country. The petition was supported by food security groups in the US, North and South America, Italy, France and countries from Central, South and East Asia. #

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RP militants: Take back Nobel Peace Prize award from Obama

By Gerry Albert Corpuz, senior reporter, The Pamalakaya Times

Manila, Philippines-Fisherfolk activists belonging to Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) on Monday urged organizers of the yearly Nobel Peace Prize to take back the award from US President Barack Obama, after the American president decided to continue its war of aggression in Afghanistan by sending more 30,000 US troops to the war ravaged nation.

“The 2009 Nobel Peace Prize given to Obama is diametrically opposed to the global people’s demand for just and lasting peace. The Norwegian committee in charge of the award should admit their mistake and one way of correcting its mistake is to recall the award given to the war-mongering and war-freak US President,” Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap said in a press statement.

October 9, 2009, the Norwegian Nobel Committee awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for 2009 to President Obama for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples. The Committee has attached special importance to Obama’s vision of and work for a world without nuclear weapons.

According to the Oslo-based Norwegian Nobel Committee, President Obama created a new climate in international politics. It cited Obama’s role in pursuing multilateral diplomacy with emphasis on the role that the United Nations and other international institutions can play. Dialogue and negotiations are preferred as instruments for resolving even the most difficult international conflicts.

“The vision of a world free from nuclear arms has powerfully stimulated disarmament and arms control negotiations. Thanks to Obama’s initiative, the USA is now playing a more constructive role in meeting the great climatic challenges the world is confronting. Democracy and human rights are to be strengthened,” the committee said.

The Nobel Peace Prize committee further added: “Only very rarely has a person to the same extent as Obama captured the world’s attention and given its people hope for a better future. His diplomacy is founded in the concept that those who are to lead the world must do so on the basis of values and attitudes that are shared by the majority of the world’s population”.

But Hicap said the decision of Obama sending 30,000 US troops more to Afghanistan is tantamount to war of aggression and political-military colonialization and invasion that violates the principles of sovereignty and independence.

“Obama is carbon copy of former US President George W. Bush. Like Bush, this bogus anti-war US President will soon face deluge of protests from anti-US war activists for following the Bush terrorist policies and projects all over the world,” the Pamalakaya leader added. @

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Arrival of more US troops from Okinawa seen

By Sugar Hicap

Manila, Philippines-The left-leaning fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) said the arrival of more US troops from Okinawa, Japan to the country is not a remote possibility after the new installed Japanese government rejected the presence of American military and the proposed new basing deal by 2014.

“Of course we are proud of the patriotic tradition and struggle of the Japanese people against US military aggression and intervention forces in Okinawa and entire Japan. In the name of global people’s solidarity and resistance to US imperialism and militarism, we in the Philippines should reject the Okinawa-based US military forces’ possible re-deployment in the country under the Visiting Forces of Agreement,” said Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap said in a press statement.

The Pamalakaya leader noted hundreds of US troops from Okinawa where here in the country over the last three weeks and joined rescue and relief missions to calamity stricken areas in Southern Tagalog, Central Luzon and Northern Luzon.

“The US government under the Barack Obama administration is using the disaster situation in the country as a smooth way of getting in with or without prior notice for the forward deployment of their troops from Okinawa. To stop these overt and covert deployment and redeployment of American mercenaries, the government should immediately terminate the Visiting Forces Agreement ,” added Hicap.

Hicap said the US military command in Asia and the Pacific is now facing a major problem on where to move their US troops currently stationed and deployed in Okinawa. He said there are about 47,000 US military troops in Okinawa, and the decision of the Japanese people to dismantle the US military bases and the expulsion of US troops from Japanese soil is now creating a heavy problem to Washington D.C.

“Where and when they will move these White House mercenaries? As of now what is clear is the Washington government will exploit the VFA for the temporary, if not permanent basing of US troops all over the Philippines, while White House is convincing the new Japanese leadership to sign a new military deal that will allow White House to keep and expand its bases for its 47,000 regular troops in Okinawa,”the Pamalakaya leader said.

Japanese Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada said Thursday last week that US President Barack Obama should respect Japan’s democratic process in a row over a US base, adding that the issue would not be resolved before Obama’s visit next month.

Earlier, US Defense Secretary Robert Gates bluntly pressed Tokyo to “move on” quickly with previously agreed plans to build a new US airbase on southern Okinawa Island.

Japan’s new government has said it will review an agreement to build the new base by 2014 – a project opposed by many Okinawans who object to the US troop presence and complain of aircraft noise and the risk of accidents.

“The will of the people of Okinawa and the will of the people of Japan was expressed in the elections,” Okada said on television, predicting that the issue won’t be resolved before Obama’s scheduled November 12-13 visit.

“I don’t think we will act simply by accepting what the US tells us, just because the US is saying this, in such a short period of time.” Okada added.

Half of the 47,000 US troops stationed there all over Japan are currently in Okinawa, the site of one of the bloodiest battles of the war. Their presence has often caused friction with the local community, especially when American servicemen have committed crimes.

Under a 2006 bilateral agreement between US and Japan, the heliport functions of the base would be moved to a coastal area of Okinawa by 2014, while 8,000 Marines would be moved to Guam in a relocation to be partly financed by Japan.#

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Termination of VFA pressed after Jolo incident

Termination of VFA pressed after Jolo incident

The left-leaning fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) today urged President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to immediately terminate the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) a day after an explosion incident occurred in Jolo on Tuesday morning, killing 2 US soldiers and a Filipino Marine.

In a press statement, Pamalakaya vice-chairperson Salvador France said President Arroyo should order the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) to prepare the termination paper, sign it right away and just fax it to the US Embassy and the Office of US President Barack Obama.

“The termination of VFA by the Philippine government can be done in less than 24 hours. What is decisive here is political will and the readiness of President Arroyo to face her American military master and tell him it is the end of the road for military pact,” France explained.

The Pamalakaya leader agreed with the observations raised by Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago that the US troops in Jolo were actually engaged in combat operations because of their presence in combat zones, and supported her call for the abrogation of the VFA.

France said the Jolo incident should lead senators to update their previous resolution—Senate Resolution No. 1356 entitled “Resolution expressing the sense of the Senate that the DFA should seek to renegotiate the VFA with the US, in a case of denial, should give notice of termination of the VFA.

Pamalakaya proposed to update Senate Resolution No. 1356 that should be read: “ Resolution expressing the sense of the Senate strongly urging President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to terminate the VFA in the name of national sovereignty.”

“We hope the senators, as well as the congressmen in the House of Representatives will rise above the occasion, express the patriotic will of the people through legislative action. No more debates please, just send the Yankees home,” the group said.

Pamalakaya said the Jolo incident would also remind the Supreme Court of their past mistakes in upholding the constitutionality of the VFA, the last of which is the 2009 case Nicolas vs. Romulo, where the high tribunal, through a 9-4 vote, declared the military agreement as constitutional,

Quoting Senate Resolution No.1356 sponsored by Sen. Santiago, chair of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, Pamalakaya said US troops in the country are engaged in combat operations. It said, the first commander of the Joint Special Operations Task Force Philippines (JSOTF-Philippines) Col. David Maxwell, clearly implied that combat operations are part of the US military business.

According to Maxwell ,the Philippine constitution only prohibits stationing of foreign forces but it does not ban US troops from engaging in combat operations. The US military official said the Task Force that he had led once as conducting operations under the guise of an exercise.

From April 2001 to October 2007, more than 50 US war ships entered in the Philippine territory and docked in various parts of the Philippine archipelago. #

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Palace told: Indefinitely suspend VFA, while talks of renegotiation is on

Palace told: Indefinitely suspend VFA, while talks of renegotiation is on

A group calling for the abrogation of the controversial Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) on Saturday urged Malacanang to immediately and indefinitely suspend the effectivity of the military agreement, while talks of its renegotiation or possible scrapping is still being finalized by senators and officials of the Department of Foreign Affairs.

In a press statement, the fisherfolk alliance Pamalakaya said President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo should immediately notify the US government of the proposed suspension of the VFA because talks are underway for its renegotiation or possible abrogation as the case may be.

Malacanang on Friday said it was supporting the position of some senators to renegotiate the VFA and has asked the Commission on the VFA to work with senators on the issue.

But Palace deputy press secretary Lorelei Fajardo appealed to senators not set aside the gains and benefits the country are getting from the military agreement, which the Senate ratified in 1999, eight years after the same constitutional body rejected the 1991 RP-US Military Bases Agreement.

“Given this latest development in the Senate and the mounting protest against the military agreement, the executive department led by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and her defense and foreign affairs officials should open their hearts and minds for the immediate suspension of the VFA and the near future dissolution of the VFA in the name of national sovereignty and public interest,” Pamalakaya’s Hicap added.

To put premimum to its assertion that the VFA should be abrogated, Pamalakaya said in Bicol region where one of the joint RP-US military exercises was held this year, their members saw US troops joining their local counterparts in conducting census activities which they said were part of the surveillance operations conducted by the Armed Forces of the Philippines against the New People’s Army in the region.

“As far as we are concerned US troops are strictly prohibited from conducting census and military surveillance according to the 1987 Constitution because its violates the sovereign rights of the Filipino people and by nature, by design and by purpose the census participated by US troops is US military intervention,” the group said.

“Why they are allowed to join government census? It is not the job of American mercenaries to conduct census and surveillance unless they are really planning something big like directing and joining actual combat operations against state targets. It is not even the job of AFP regular forces to conduct census since it is the job of civilian authorities,” said Pamalakaya.

In a report sent to Pamalakaya headquarters in Quezon, it said small fishermen started seeing US personnel joining the military census activities in Barangay Mayngaran in Masbate City, Barangay Bagacay, Marintuk, Lalaguna and Balatukan in Mobo town, barangays Marcilla, Dapdap, Panisihan, Buenvista, Armenia, Sawang, Buenasuerte and Magsaysay in Uson town, and in the municipality of Cataingan proper all in Masbate.

Lambat-Bicol also noted the disturbing presence of US troops in Oas town, Albay, particularly in the farming villages of San Pascual, San Miguel and Talisay, where the 5th engineering battalion of the Philippine Army is currently detailed. A number of US troops were also seen in Barangay Liyang, municipality of Irosin in Sorsogon province, ahead of the scheduled RP-US joint military exercises last March.

Pamalakaya said the survey of communities was followed by the announcement of Mr. Celso del Socorro, Officer-in-charge of Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Reforms (BFAR-V) about its plan to impose a region-wide fish ban in Bicol once the Balikatan exercises start in April 2009.

The fish ban according to Pamalakaya was announced, because the war games will make use of the interconnecting bodies of water in Bicol region namely the Ragay Gulf, Albay Gulf and Sorsogon Bay that join the provinces of Camarines Sur, Camarines Norte, Albay, Sorsogon and Masbate for the loading and unloading of 3,000 US troops and personnel who will participate in the Balikatan exercises.

To show proof that a Balikatan-induced fish ban was implemented, a fish ban in the form of curfew in three coastal towns— Tiwi, Tabacco and Malilipot, all in Albay province were executed last Feb. affecting the fish capture activities of not less than 10,000 small fisherfolk.

The curfew ordinance in Tiwi, Tabaco and Malilipot was effectively utilized to effect a fish ban ahead and during the Balikatan exercises. The three coastal areas in Albay are being used as pilot areas for the Bicol wide fish ban in the name of the RP-US Balikatan exercises and the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) last march.

Reports that reached the national secretariat office of Pamalakaya said the local government units and barangay officials in mentioned coastal towns in Albay have started implementing a 9-hour fish curfew and fish ban from 8:00 pm to 5:00 am beginning February 23 until the Balikatan exercises officially ended sometime in April. #

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