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EDCA threat to communities, biodiversity

September 16, 2014

Various groups under Bagong Alyansang Makabayan – Southern Tagalog (Bayan-ST) trooped to the Embassy of the United States of America today to slam the ongoing effects of the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA), saying that it gives continuing peril to local communities and environmental biodiversity.

ulugan palawan

In the region, the reconstruction of the Philippine Navy base in Ulugan Bay, Palawan, risks serious damage to the people and nature. The reconstructed Navy base will be transformed into a US naval base, as one of the agreed locations in the executive agreement. Andrianne Mark Ng, spokesperson of Bayan-ST, mentioned the consequences of the deal in the province. “Due to the increased US military and naval movement in the area, an estimated 50 families have been displaced, which is also caused by the base reconstruction,” Ng said. Near the bay, the annual Balikatan exercises imposed restrictions on fishing in the whole lake, requiring permission from the Philippine Navy. In Barangay Bahile, the mentioned families evacuated because of the operations,the mentioned families evacuated because of the operations, which continues to shoo the townsfolk.

PJ Santos, regional coordinator of Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment – Southern Tagalog (Kalikasan PNE-ST) cited the environmental degradation brought by US military goings-on in the area. According to Santos, 15% of the country’s mangrove-covered forest area is in the same site where the naval base is reconstructed and military operations ensue. Ulugan Bay also has a diverse ecosystem and flora and fauna. “The paradise we know as Ulugan Bay may just as well be history because of the recklessness of the US and its puppets like Aquino,” Santos added.

Ulugan Bay is also a coveted zone because of its strategic location for the claim of Spratly Islands, Islands, a very disputed group of islands said to be rich of oil and natural gas. It has been fought for by nearby Southeast Asian countries, including the Philippines, and China; the defense of the former allegedly one of the reasons why the US shifted more than half of its naval forces into the region. Ng said that US domination in the country severed in the Aquino administration. “Under the EDCA, US requests are followed by BS Aquino, like a slave kowtowing to its master. That is why Aquino continues to be the Obama’s lapdog, implementing foreign, colonial economics, politics and culture,” he said.

ulugan

Ng added that the expanding US occupation in the country will also symbolize a moral crisis: that is, the reinstitution of prostitution and illegal recruitment of laborers for its military operations, such as what happened in the US bases before. He warned that the resurgence of US presence in the country will intensify human rights violations. “The freedom-loving and nationalist in the Filipino intensely detests this surrender of our sovereignty. To return to the colonial days of old and the greater degradation of the environment through the EDCA angers the Filipino people,” Ng ended

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Slams SONA devoid of the real state of the nation

July 29, 2014

ST groups to Aquino: “We won’t buy your drama”

Militant groups from Southern Tagalog expressed their dismay over Aquino’s 5th State of the Nation Address (SONA) which according to them has turned more into a teledrama rather than reporting the genuine state of the nation and the people.

Bagong Alyansang Makabayan-Southern Tagalog (BAYAN-ST), dismissed Aquino’s emotional display on his SONA as an attempt to gain sympathy through sensationalized coverage. “The media seem to highlight Aquino’s tears rather than more relevant issues on his SONA that should be discussed”.

“Yet the people, the masses, long exploited and punished had already shed more tears under his administration, and is therefore not buying anymore to this kind of drama” Ng added.

According to Bayan-ST, the President insists on creating ploys to divert attention from the real concerns of the people. He also pointed out that their Effigy and cultural presentation yesterday at Commonwealth Ave. entitled “Karnabalbalan”, wherein various freak circus creatures emerge from Aquino’s mouth to entertain the people while hiding the administration’s real agendas, speaks exactly the same about the president. “Not only that he tried to divert people’s attention, his SONA actually is devoid of the real situation of his people”.

In his SONA, Aquino pointed out that poverty incidence went down to 24.9 % in the first quarter of 2013. However, an SWS survey in the same year reported that 55% of the people considered themselves poor while 41% said they were experiencing hunger.

Aquino also lauded several infrastructure projects under the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) stating that these will ease the burden of the of the people by providing quality services when in reality, it has just succeeded on privatizing social service and infrastructures, effectively raising their cost inhibiting the poor to access these services.
He also boasted the immediate relief efforts of the government to help the people struck by Typhoon Yolanda along with power restoration and road and airport repairs done immediately after the typhoon. However, it can be recalled that most of the relief goods brought in the area after the typhoon were from private groups and individuals, and that there have been no immediate repairs and restorations—a thing that has even caught the attention of the international media.

As expected by critics, the president also went to defend DAP even with an earlier Supreme Court ruling. According to Ng, the ceaseless efforts of the president to defend his anomaly just points out how adamant the president is to gain control over the legislative and judiciary.

Bayan-ST also expressed dissent with the president’s statements against his detractors. In his speech, Aquino said that under his term, progress brought about by his reforms is already showing, and that those in opposition to his administration are just afraid of the change that is to come because they have been benefiting from the old system. He also added that it is him who is pushing forward the interest of the Filipino.

“This could have been the biggest hypocrisy he could say. His ‘progress’ only speaks for the elites, not the masses. The masses have ever since wanted to push a genuine social change and it is him, along with other bureaucrat-capitalists, that is afraid of change since they are benefitting from the current system. And the people certainly know who pushes forward their interest—of course, not him.” Ng Said.

Morever, militants condemn Aquino’s stand on human rights violations explicitly displayed through the use of water cannons to disperse militants along the Commonwealth Ave who were exercising their right to organize and free speech.

“To sum up his SONA, Aquino wants us to believe to his utopic Philippines that is made up of his recycled promises and invented facts and figures packaged in rhetoric and cheap sensational tactics. However, no promise nor rethoric would ever make the masses, long experiencing tribulations under his term, believe in his scripted lies”.

Militant groups storm Times Street, castigate Aquino’s defense of DAP

July 26, 2014

As prelude to the region’s series of protests that will culminate during the President’s State of the Nation Address (SONA) on 28 July, militant groups in Southern Tagalog led by BAYAN-ST staged a rally today outside President Benigno Aquino III’s home in Times Street, QC to denounce Aquino’s defense of the controversial Disbursement Acceleration Fund (DAP).

“Aquino’s defense of DAP is an insult to all Filipinos. His defiance to abolish DAP despite Supreme Court’s ruling of its unconstitutionality manifests the motive why DAP was implemented. We are enraged by how the funds that should have been used for social services were pocketed and exploited for Aquino’s personal use and patronage,” said Adrianne Mark Ng of BAYAN-ST.

Around 200 protesters wore peach ribbons in support to the growing call for Aquino’s impeachment and ouster. They also burned an effigy of Aquino signifying their disgust over a regime that has only served the US imperialist and the ruling elite.

“If DAP was really meant to ‘untangle the bottlenecks and accelerate projects’ as boasted by the Aquino administration, how come important projects were shelved only to be the source of funds for DAP later on? How come the marginalized sectors particularly in Southern Tagalog remain in dismal state?” asked Ng.

Ng cited the salaries of workers in CALABARZON that have remained meager, the privatization of more public hospitals and universities, the left and right demolition of houses such as the case in Sitio Balakbakan in San Juan, Batangas, and the increasing conversion of agricultural lands into development and recreational areas for land developers and companies. “Surely, the relief that was supposedly to be brought by DAP has not trickled down to the poorest of the poor,” stressed Ng.

The Southern Tagalog region is set to launch a three-day protest that will begin with a State of the Region Address (SORA) on 26 July in Crossing, Calamba. According to Ng, the protests will highlight five of the most glaring problems under the current term: human rights violations (HRVs), neoliberal policies, corruption, enhanced defense cooperation agreement (EDCA) and the country’s perpetual socio-economic problems. It will also expose the many local and sectoral issues that continue to plague the nation.

“As with his previous SONAs, we expect Aquino to baffle the public with claims of development under his ‘Daang Matuwid’ program. We will, however, counter these lies and empty rhetoric thru the people’s own version of SONA. The ordinary Juan dela Cruz perfectly knows that the ‘progress’ being peddled by the administration is a mere illusion and none of this was felt by the toiling masses,” noted Ng.

Liking the Aquino regime to a “grand freak show” as it “banks on illusions and deceptions”, the protest will be highlighted by a 13-foot effigy called “PNoy’s Karnibal-balan” with live freak show characters who are dressed as puppeteer, mermaid, clowns, magician and fortuneteller. Each character represents an issue haunting the Aquino regime.

The 2000-strong contingent from Southern Tagalog will join delegates from Central Luzon and national peasant group Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas on July 26, 5pm at the National Housing Authority in QC. They will join the thousands of protesters in the July 28th people’s protest in Commonwealth, QC

Protesta sa mga Opisina ng Meralco sa Southern Tagalog — Inilulunsad!

February 12, 2014

Naglulunsad ang ibat-ibang organisayon sa Timog Katagalugan sa pangunguna ng Bagong Alyansang Makabayan ang lingguhang protesta tuwing-lunes sa mga opisina ng Meralco sa rehiyon.

Ginipit ng mga gwardiya ang mga naglunsad ng protesta ng mahigit isang oras na programa sa main office ng Meralco sa Ortigas noong January 28.

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Naglunsad din ng protesta noong January 27 sa Sta Rosa, Laguna at Taytay, Rizal. February 3 sa Calamba, Laguna at Antipolo City. Nakaranas naman ng panggigipit mula sa mga gwardiya ang muling protesta sa Calamba, Laguna kasabay ng One Billion Rising noong February 10. Nakaranas din ng panggipit mula sa mga gwardiya at SAF ang mga naglunsad ng protesta sa Cainta, Rizal.
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Ilulunsad naman sa February 24, sa araw ng People Power ang malalaking kilos-protesta sa mga opisina ng Meralco sa San Pedro, Laguna at Antipolo City sa Rizal.

Bago ito, may protesta din sa February 17 sa San Pablo City at Montalban, Rizal. Sa March 3 ay Los Banos, Laguna at Tanay, Rizal.

Samantala sa Cavite ay inilulunsad din ang lingguhang protesta sa Dasmarinas, Imus at Bacoor.

Dagdag-Singil sa Kuryente, Dagdag-Pasakit ni Aquino sa Mamamayang Pilipino!

February 4, 2014

Magdudulot ng dagdag na P830 sa buwanang singil sa kuryente ang komukonsumo ng 200 kilowatt kada buwan ang P4.15 na dagdag-singil sa kuryente ng Meralco noong Disyembre na nabigyan ng Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) ng Korte Suprema sa loob ng 60 araw at pagdedebatehan ba ito sa Enero 21. Ngunit kalakhan sa Southern Tagalog ay sinisingil na ang dagdag-singil sa kuryente ngayong taon. Humihirit pang muli ang Meralco ng P5.33 kada kilowatt na dagdag-singil noong Enero. Kung tutuusin, kalahati lamang ng ating bayarin sa kuryente ang tunay na nakokonsumo. Bakit nga ba binabalikat ng mga konsyumer ang mga dagdag na bayarin tulad ng sysytem loss, universal charge, government taxes, subsidies, transmission at generate loss. Bakit nga ba babayaran ng mga konsyumer ang mga kapabayaang gastos ng Meralco na hindi naman tayo ang may kagagawan? Ang totoo, pinayagan ng Energy Regulatory Commission ang mga dagdag-singil na ito.
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Noong 2013, kumita ang Meralco ng P17.5 bilyon dahil mula ng maisabatas ang EPIRA LAW (RA 91360), inalis na ng gobyerno ang kanyang kapangyarihan na magtayo ng sariling industriya sa elektrisidad, hinubad ng gobyerno ang kanyang kontrol para sana panatilihing mababa ang singil sa kuryente. Katulad ng Meralco , binigyang-laya ang pribadong kumpanya sa serbisyong elektrisdad sa lahat ng yugto — simula paglikha, transmisyon at distribusyon na sila rin ang kasosyo ng mga Independent Purchased Power (IPP) na pinagkukunan ng kuryente ng Meralco.

Hindi bumaba ang singil sa kuryente dahil sa pribatisasyon, liberalisasyon at deregulasyon na nakapakete sa EPIRA LAW. Ang mga IPP na pag-aari ng gubyerno ay tuluyan ng ibinenta sa mga pribadong kumpanya katulad din ng NAPACOR. Nirerepaso sa Purchased Power Agreemnets (PPA) ang mga kontratang hindi nagamit ngunit binabayaran ng mga konsyumer. Dinadahilan din ng Meralco ang System Loss Charge o mga nawawalang kuryente sa transmisyon dulot ng kahinaang teknikal. Hindi ba’t sarili nila itong kapabayaan. Bakit natin papasanin ang kapabayaan ng Meralco na hindi naman tayo ang may kagagawan.

Ibinenta rin ng gobyerno sa mga dayuhan at pribadong kumpanya ang mga Coal Thermal Plant tulad ng Masinloc sa Zambales at Calaca sa Batangas. Gayundin ang mga planta ng tubig na nagpapatakbo ng kuryente ang Tiwi sa Albay, Makban sa Bay Laguna at Batangas, Angat at Ambuklao Dam.

Tuluyan Tinalikuran ng Gobyerno ang Kanyang Obligasyon sa Mamamayang Pilipino!
Tiyak na papaboran ni Aquino ang hinihinging pagtataas ng singil sa kuryente ng kanyang kapamilya at kumpare na sumuporta sa kanya sa nakaraang eleksyon upang suklian ang kanyang utang na loob.

Pinagmamalaki ng MERALCO na nagpagsisilbihan nila ang 5.3 milyong kosyumer sa Metro Manila at CALABARZON. Ngunit sa kabila ng kanilang serbisyo, walang ibang makikinabang sa pagtataas ng singil na ito kundi ang mga pribadong may-ari sa eletrisidad tulad ng Pamilyang Lopez, Danding Cojuangco, Ty, Consunji at Aboitiz. Mayroon silang sariling IPP, mga planta at ari-arian sa transmisyon. Ilijan – San Miguel Corporation, San Lorenzo Power – pamilya Lopez, Calaca coal thermal plant – Consunji, GN Power – pamilya Ayala, mayroon ding pag-aari si Manny Pangilinan. Sila ang pangunahing nakikinabang sa proyektong pribatisasyon ng Gobyernong US-Aquino.

Tiyak tayong hindi haharangin ni Aquino ang dagdag-singil dahil tiyak na lalaki rin ang makukulekta ng gobyerno sa VAT sa kuryente. Lalo pang pinapabigat ng VAT ang bayarin sa kuryente, na inilalaan sa pambayad-utang na dapat sana’y inilalaan sa serbisyo sa kalusugan, edukasyon at mga batayang bilihin at bayarin ng mamamayan. Nangangahulugan na ang “tuwid na daan” at Public-Private Partnership ni Aquino ay para lamang sa mga pribadong kumpanya.

Ganid sa tubo ang mga pribadong kumpanya sa kuryente. Kalampagin natin ang sabwatang Aquino-Meralco na pangunahing utak sa pagtataas ng singil sa kuryente. Dagdag pa ang pagtataas ng presyo ng langis at mga batayang bilihin, demolisyon, kawalan ng serbisyo sa kalusugan at edukasyon at trabaho.

Sama-sama nating tutulan ang dagdag-singil sa kuryente. Maari tayong magsuot ng istiker o anumang papel na maaring idikit sa ating mga damit na may nakasulat na “Tutol Kami sa Pagtataas ng Singil sa kuryente”.

Tutulan ang Pagtataas ng Singil sa Kuryente!
EPIRA Law, Ibasura!
Labanan ang PPP ni Aquino! Serbisyo, Hindi Negosyo!
Ibasura ang Patakarang Pribatisasyon!

US TROOPS OUT NOW!’ SAYS PEOPLE OF SOUTHERN TAGALOG

September 16, 2013

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Protesters dressed as Katipuneros held a demonstration in front of the US Embassy this afternoon. People of Southern Tagalog celebrate the anniversary of the September 16, 1991 Declaration to kick out US troops from Philippine soil. Holding jungle bolos on their left hands and torches on their right hands, they symbolically burned a seven-foot tall US flag to show how they condemned the anti-people and pro-US policies of Aquino’s administration.

“22 years have passed but our fight has not yet come to an end. The fight for our sovereignty and the fight for our country still live on. Today, we mark in history that the people of Southern Tagalog is still dismayed in Aquino’s continuous unequal relations with the United States,” Andrianne Mark Ng, BAYAN-ST Spokesperson said.

“After the visit of Sec. Hagle, Aquino has opened all the headquarters of the Armed Forces of the Philippines for the use of joint US-RP military operations and exercises. We should work together to push for the scrapping of the US-RP Visiting Forces Agreement,” he added.

Meanwhile, Tata Pido Gonzales, BAYAN-ST Vice-Chairperson and a survivor of military operations in Quezon Province stated, “Decades have passed after the lifting of Marcos’ Martial Law but until now, we are still living in hell. The Zamboanga crisis, along with the US’ direct interventions to the war in Syria and its Asia-Pacific pivot plan in occupying third world countries, really shows how imperialism made US stay in power.”

“Upon hearing the announcement of Obama’s visit this October, the people of Southern Tagalog is getting ready to hold its biggest protest against Obama and also against Aquino’s continuous support for the US,” he added.

After the protest action in front of the US Embassy, the protesters continued their program at Sangley Point in Cavite City, Cavite. This is where the US military forces conduct its Balikatan Exercises and will also be a US-RP military and naval base for the remaining years in Aquino’s administration.

Mark Duller, BAYAN-Cavite Spokesperson said that “The people of Cavite have spoken in history. When Sangley Point became an open port for the US warships, the people did not stop campaigning and protesting against it. Eventually, they victoriously kicked out US troops in Cavite. Truly, the Caviteños live the life of our great revolutionary, Andres Bonifacio, and keeps on fighting for the love of the people and country.”

Wakasan ang Pambababoy sa Kabang Bayan ng Bansa

August 28, 2013

stop pork

[Calamba, Laguna] – Sa pambansang araw ng pagprotesta ng taong bayan laban sa PORK ay ginanap naman sa iba’t-ibang dako ng Timog Katagalugan gaya ng Cavite, Rizal at Laguna ang iba’t-ibang aktibidad, programa at kilos-protesta laban sa lahat ng uri ng PORK, Katiwalian at Korupsyon sa gubyerno.

Sa kabila ng kasalukuyang kalagayang binabaha at nasa ilalim ng State of Calamity ang ilang mga bayan sa Cavite, Rizal at Laguna dulot ng nagdaaang Habagat, ay hindi naman nagpag-awat ang mamamayan ng Timog Katagalugan na lumahok at makiisa sa araw na tinaguriang malaking pagkilos laban sa PORK kahit sa kani-kanilang mga lugar lamang.

Sa pangunguna ng Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN-Timog Katagalugan) at Kilusang Bayan Para sa Mabuting Pamahalaan ginanap ang mga koordinado at sabay-sabay na kilos protesta laban sa Pork.

Sa bayan ng Dasmariñas at Rosario Cavite, ay nagkaroon ng magkahiwalay na programa laban sa PORK dakong alas-9 ng umaga at matapos nito ay nag-caravan sila patungong Maynlia upang sumama sa malaking protesta sa Luneta at sa Mendiola. Gayunrin sa Rizal, nagsagawa ng programa sa Sta. Lucia, Cainta ng alas- 9 ng umaga at dakong alas-11 ng umaga ay nag-caravan pa-Maynila upang sumanib sa Luneta at sa Mendiola.

Sa Calamba naman, sa ganap na 8:00 ng umaga ay naglilibot na ang mga Mobile Patrol Team ng BAYAN-TK sa
Calamba at Sta. Rosa, Laguna upang manawagan sa mamamayan na makiisa at lumahok sa pambansang kilos protesta laban sa pork. Layunin din nito na bigyang kaalaman ang marami pang mamamayan kung bakit kailangang tutulan ang lahat ng uri ng PORK. At sa ganap na 3:00 ng hapon ay naglunsad naman ng kilos protesta sa Crossing, Calamba at sa Balibago Complex, Sta. Rosa, Laguna. Dinaluhan ito ng mga biktima ng pagbaha.

Ayon sa Kilusang Bayan Para sa Mabuting Pamahalaan, “Sumali sa pagtutol sa PORK ang mga maralita sa tabing lawa ng Laguna dahil dama nila lalu sa ngayon ang kawalan ng direktang serbisyong panlipunan. Umaasa lamang sila sa mga relief. Isang kabalintunaan na habang nagdurusa ang mga kababayan natin na nasalantan ng bagyo ay pag-aagawan naman sa pork ang preokyupasyon ng mga mambabatas”. Dahil sa malaking budget ay napupunta sa PORK na mistulang kailangang limusin sa mga kongresista at senador tuwing may kalamidad, nananawagan kami na alisin na ang lahat ng PORK at bagkus ay ilaan sa sebisyong panlipunan.

Sinabi naman ni Andrianne Ng, tagapagsalita ng BAYAN-ST, “Ang mga mamamayan ng Timog Katagalugan ay malaon nang tumututol sa lahat ng uri ng PORK. Hindi lamang ang PDAF, bagkus higit sa lahat ay ang Presidential PORK na umaabot sa P1 Trilyon kada taon. Kailangan ipakita ni Aquino na seryoso siyang tanggaling ang pork, kasama na ang presidential pork. Huwag niyang linlangan ang mamamayan. Malinaw na ang Pork Barrel ay hindi para sa kapakinabangan ng mamamayan. Ito ay nagpapatatag lamang sa Patronage Politics. Mismong sa bibig ni DBM Secretary Abad nagmula na hindi matatalikuran ang sistemang pork barrel dahil sa ang umiiral sa ating bansa ay isang patronage politics. Kung gayon, Paano natin ipagkakatiwala sa mga taong nasa gubyerno na may ganitong kaisipan ang kaban ng yaman ng ating bansa?” ###