Rafael Baylosis, NDFP Consultant

30 04 2011

Rafael Baylosis, NDFP Consultant

by— Ina Alleco @ 4:27 am

Rafael Baylosis

Intro:  Rafael Baylosis was not known to me until I attended the Cordillera Day 2011.  Rafael Baylosis is the consultant for the Comprehensive Agreement for Social and Economic Reform (CASER) during the Cordillera Day.  I dug around the web and found that one of my favorite bloggers already work with Baylosis. Below is a copy entry of her blog.

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I first wrote this blog entry in 2005; and this same piece was published in the Philippine Daily Inquirer in April or May 2006 as part of a series of essays on Fathers’ Day.

I decided to repost this in the light of the upcoming peace negotiations between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and the National Deomocratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP). Rafael Baylosis is an NDFP adviser on socio-economic reforms, but there is a major hindrance in his being able to partcipate in the talks because of the completely false and fabricated criminal charges filed against him by the GRP.

Despite the implementation of the Joint Agreement on Security and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG) which gives protection and immunity for NDFP consultants and staff — particularly those participating in the peace talks– Ka Raffy’s safety is still in question.

What sort of man is Rafael Baylosis and why is it important that he be able to attend the talks? Why is he being persecuted by the GRP? What does he stand for and believe?

These questions cannot be answered in one sitting; but I wrote this entry in tribute to one of the two people who have helped shape the way I view the world and how life should be lived as a national democrat.

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Sensei

Sunday, August 21st, 2005

When I was in college, I was a member of the UP Karate Association. Our sensei — or teacher — was shihan (synonymous with teacher, or master) Jerome. He was a tall, well-built man who was on the quiet side. He was friendly but firm. He wasn’t a perfectionist, but he demanded that his students — us UPKA members who kicked and punched and leaped and jumped like sweating lizards in white gis within a red dojo)– perform the exercises or kata with a little more than plain dexterity. I think he wanted us to be graceful. Not surprising, what with karate-do a sport of grace, not unlike ballet.

So there I was trying to control my breathing, steadying my legs (which in the beginning hurt like heck from having to bend and squat halfway for 15-20 minutes at a stretch every hour), focusing what physical force I had in my fists and aiming at invisible opponents. I learned how to place well-aimed blows; how to make the proper fist (thumbs tucked under the other fingers to secure them from being broken upon impact with a hard object like, say, someone’s skull); how to make the air whistle with kicks swiftly delivered then retracted; how to pivot, with my center of gravity nearer to the ground and my body below hitting range. I learned to slow-breathe, focus and meditate.

It was exhilarating. Sensei Jerome was a great teacher. He hardly spoke, but he communicated volumes with a nod of his head, a gesture of his steady hands, or by executing an absolutely perfect, graceful yet very powerful movement such as blocking a blow with his arm.

Now, a decade later, I have a different sensei. I’m not studying karate anymore (I wish I was, though. I miss it, my body misses the light and weightlessness of feeling), but I’m studying something more difficult and demanding than karate.

My sensei’s name is Rafael Baylosis. He is alleged to be the secretary general of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) before he was imprisoned by the Marcos dictatorship until he was released in 1995. Now, as a strictly legal, above-ground civilian, he is the vice-chairman of Anakpawis National Political Party and a consultant on socio-economic concerns in the peace negotiations between the National Democratic Front (NDF) and the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP).

I’ve had the honor of working with and learning from Ka Raffy since 1998 when I was still in the Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) labor center as propaganda officer, and he was the Political affairs secretary. It was from him that I learned to get up at 6am and be ready to begin writing 15 minutes later (he was always my wake-up call. Used to bug the hell out of me).

He taught me how to be consistent with my work habits (and I try to imitate and adopt his own work ethic — constancy, timeliness, economic but determined movements, sharp awareness of developments. I still lack patience and cool-headedness, though. I’m still trying to overcome my tendency to become quite the monster when confronted with upsetting things) and how to recognize, analyze and then resolve political contradictions in concepts and ideas.

He taught me to push the limits of what I used to believe as the limits to my abilities and skills.

But apart from these, I learned and still learn from Ka Raffy how to live with integrity. I know this sounds stilted, but this is the only way I can describe this.

Rafael Baylosis is a great father, a loving husband, a supportive comrade, an intellectual and a dreamer. He has, since he became an activist at 18 in UP Diliman, a friend and comrade of the likes of then 21- year old Jose Ma. Sison and other veterans of the First Quarter Storm and the Diliman Commune, lived plainly and simply; but always his actions and thoughts have been profoundly in service to a cause greater to himself.

After presiding over important campaign or consultation meetings, he washes the dishes after meal times in the Anakpawis headquarters and cleans the conference room.He always ask after the health of Kasamas, or how they’re doing in their respective line of work. He makes silly and corny jokes that people often laugh at, not so much because the jokes themselves are funny, but because they are amused at Ka Raffy’s boyishness.

He is a calm and confident leader in rallies and demonstrations, a fiery public speaker, a well-read ideologue, a lover of music, and a great cook (well, they say he is — I’m too finicky an eater to actually try his more complicated Ilocano dishes made up of, well, various vegetables. I’m not crazy for vegetables).

Ka Raffy is capable of compelling such fierce loyalty, because to put it plainly, he is such a good person and worthy of the highest respect. Approachable and light-hearted, young activists like myself can always rely on Ka Raffy to give comforting but well-grounded advice. While an understanding and tolerant person, he is strict when it comes to the core activist principles and their application to work and living.

I am no end humbled and awed at how such an evolved human being, a well-known and highly-respected individual in the Kilusan sees it fit to trust me with his confidence and guide me through my political work and growth as an activist.

Though right now (and often in the last seven years) I give him headaches because of my stubborn nature, it is one of my life’s highest ambitions to make Ka Raffy proud of me, because I am so proud and honored to say that what I am today and what I am capable of doing and achieving for the Kilusan is largely because of his influence. He is my Jedi master, and I hope never to be like Anakin Skywalker but to be as Obiwan Kenobi. He trains and teaches by example, and this, I think, is the best way to teach. He, along with Crispin ‘Ka Bel’ Beltran are the biggest political and personal influences in my life. From them I learn not only how to be activist, but to be, hopefully, a good person.

Often, to be worthy of one’s teachers, to be a good person are the highest and best things one should hope to be.





Confronting Black Prop and Other Musings

3 05 2010

Well, Its that time again – saying goodbye is always hard and who’s to say how long I’ll actually be away this time.  This journey to the Philippines is coming to an end.  I just wish I could have stayed to see the outcome of the elections, the outcomes of the senator nominees Liza Maza and Satur Ocampo as well as the progressive Indigenous Partylist Katribu and the other MAKABAYAN Partylists.

MAKABAYAN COALITION

During the time I spent to campaign for MAKABAYAN, I got mad at a Trike driver who tried to overcharge the usual fare .  To make the short story shorter, I gave him the amount he had asked.  Actually, as much as that pissed me off, the cab driver has been exploited harder than I’ve been.  Actually living in this country, you can experience for yourself the deep and widespread corruption.  Graft doesn’t just happen on the national scale but also on the local scale.  Stealing is not just something kids and juveniles engage in, its an act that has been encouraged in politics and an act encouraged with entrepreneurs and the business world.  The more you exploit, cheat, and steal, the more you gain and profit.

Kabataan Youth poster the town while distributing fliers and voters education materials

I must say, one of my personal favorite moments here was campaigning with the Kabataan Partylists volunteers.  Their youthful energy is something that should be emulated in all campaigns for the people.  Their volunteerism is invoked by their duty to the country.  I remember even when most staff would call it a night by 5 or 6pm, the youth would continue until 8 or 9pm.

In the short span I was also pushed hard by an elderly man who kept saying that Satur and Liza are against the government.  I had to instantly calm him down by placing one of my hands on his back and telling him its okay, I’m not telling you how to vote.  If you dont’ want to vote for Satur, that’s your right, your democratic freedom to do so.

But its also my democratic freedom to campaign for Satur and Liza

Almost anyone who had listen to what I had said about Satur and Liza believed in their platform and believes in their fight for a better Philippines.  Especially for those thousands leaving the Philippines a year, Satur authored the Overseas absentee voting to allow for MORE democratic freedom. Liza championed women’s issues consistently that no one can dispute her on the issue.  Both Satur and Liza are championing the MAKABAYAN platform of nationalizing the industries so that the youth and students can have opportunities here to rebuild this great country instead of going abroad to do so.  They are both encouraging the wage hike of 150 pesos instead of the meager wage hike that Aquino is asked for.  Both Maza and Ocampo are fierce leaders that have fought on the ground and in the legislative sessions to help the basic people.

In early April, some local government officials in the province of Ifugao started receiving negative propaganda letters against the MAKABAYAN coalition (BAYAN MUNA, ANAKPAWIS, GABRIELA, KABATAAN, KATRIBU, ACT, AND AKAP BATA Partylists as well as Satur Ocampo and Liza Maza whoa re senatorial candidates.

The letters are not an isolated incident sent by the supposed “Patriots of the Philippine Democracy.”  Many local, Municipal, and provincial candidates around the Philippines have been sent similar letters to tarnish the reputation of the MAKABAYAN coalition.

Contrary to what the name of the senders denote, it is unpatriotic to intimidate people with severe threats and false accusations, which are all part of the Oplan Bantay Laya campaign systematically aimed at isolating genuine people’s organizations, progressive people’s Partylists, allies and supporters from the broad public in order to conduct un-democratic arresting, intimidation, threats, kidnapping, torture and extrajudicial killings.

Clean and Fair elections? Posters such as this one has been Vandalized while other Makabayan posters have been pulled down

Earlier this year, the Makabayan Coalition filed a complaint with the regional office of the COMELECT against the proliferation of black propaganda against the group.  Large streamers linking KATRIBU and other progressive Partylists with the underground movement have dolled highways and road systems in Norther Luzon since last year, 2009.

The complaint also stress that ‘the black propaganda materials which you have also received creates a climate of fear for our leaders and members thus preventing us from effectively conducting our campaign.

The progressive Partylists along with Satur Ocampo and Liza Maza have been recognized as legitimate and accredited by the COMELEC.  We will will exhaust all legal means available to counter their accusations, defend ourselves and defeat Oplan Bantay Laya while championing progressive peoples’ agenda and programs.

Satur’s reputation as challenging the government should be appraised not admonished.  He bravely fought against corruption during the Marcos Martial Law era, was punished for his truthful journalism that expose the corruption, and tortured for fighting for freedom.  He has since been accused and charged of rebellion but each time he’s been charged, the courts release him due to unsubstantial evidence.  This has been the same ploy and tactics used by the corrupt ruling elite and military scums alike.

Its very clear there is a hatchet job conducted on the Makabayan coalition, EVEN if there is any significant impact to the people, it won’t be for long.  Traditional Politics dictates the same traditions-the same old cheating status quo to make the rich richer and the poor, well… content enough that they don’t rock the boat too hard.  In short, the people are not stupid-you can pitch the same lies about how MAKABAYAN is the partylists of the NPA but it won’t work for long.





AFP: Hot Bed for Disaster

6 03 2010

Its been a minute since I updated this book.  The pages are still blank and waiting to be filled.  Here in the Province, the burning heat of summer is browning my skin.  With the rolling brownouts, fans and aircon is decommissioned. Meralco, the Energy company was found to be overcharging its customers yet a spokesperson said to expect more energy fee hikes and rolling brownouts due to the summer heat.  I wonder how those ice cream stores are doing and how much money was lost.  I wonder how Internet shops are doing or how government agencies function.

Fishes all around the Cordillera and Isabella province have died with rivers drying up.  In fact, many rice, corn, and other types of vegetable and fruit plants have gone bad due to the summer heat.  The rivers run dry and the people are starving yet the GMA and her government said there will be enough food and power to last this summer.

While on the field, in far top mountains where ancient rice terraces cover the landscape, the people cry of irrigation problems due to el nino and landslides that have blocked some of the waterways.  At the same time, I helped campaign for KATRIBU partylist, an Indigenous Peoples’ partylist that fights for a progressive agenda that addresses issues of ancestral domain, environment and cultural protection and social welfare of all IPs.  Indigenous People make up 15% of the population here in the Philippines.

On a sidenote, there were 43 health workers arrested and detained illegally by elements of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.  How many times must the military violate legal rights before they realize that what they are doing is actually making the people hate them.  The only thing the health workers were doing were getting health training to serve the poor.  It reminds me of a famous Ka Bel quote, “If serving the poor is a crime, I am guilty as charge”.  While 40 of the 43 were released to the Philippine National Police, the other 3 were still being interrogated.  In fact, the 4o that were released were found to be harmless to national security.  While in custody, the 40 remain strong while the PNP attempts to divide them up to break their spirit.  Across all sectors of society, people detest the illegal arrests especially that of the poor and women sector who benefits the most from the free health care provided by the arrested. Read the rest of this entry »





My First Cordi Day

2 07 2009

My 1st Cordi Day

The old school Kasamas from the United States would always share their stories about Cordi Day annually held in April. Cordi Day is a beautiful celebration of political unity and culture drawn from the common shared experience for the struggle for land, life and rights!

I remember my first time to the Cordillera’s back in 2007, my exposure group “Baliksam bayanan” (BSB) went to Kalinga on a Human Rights Fact Finding Mission while ChestCore, a Non Government Organization in Baguio also came along on a separate but related Medical Mission.

In the Communities, we found that many of the infrastructures were missing or deteriorating due to the corrupt government pocketing and mishandling the treasury. We also found the military to be the cause of the many abuses which include physical and verbal harassment and threats, wildly thrown accusations of being subversives, and stealing and butchering the locals’ pigs,

This year, I returned back to the Cordillera to attend the 25th Cordi Day. I traveled from Baguio to Bangued from 1am to 4am Santos Mero, the Deputy Secretary of the Cordillera Peoples Alliance (CPA), and Vernie Yocogan-Diano, the Treasurer of CPA and CWEARC, the Gabriela Chapter here in the Cordillera.

Pulling the Jeepney because of the deteriorating road condition in Sallapadan.  Thanks government for pocketing the money of the people and letting them down year after year.  Time for real change to happen and not some phony con-ass cha cha GMA bull shit

Pulling the Jeepney because of the deteriorating road condition in Sallapadan. Thanks government for pocketing the money of the people and letting them down year after year. Time for real change to happen and not some phony con-ass cha cha GMA bull shit

In Bagued, we were able to convene at the office of KASTAN, the provincial chapter of CPA where we met with many masses, organizers, and leaders in Abra. At noon, we traveled in 3 jeepneys to the venue for Abra’s Cordi-Day in Nagas-asan, Ud-uddiao, Sallapadan, Abra arriving at 9pm. Along the way, the three Jeepneys had to be pulled up hill. When we reached Sallapadan Barrio I couldn’t believe there was a detachment of the military pointing their M-16 towards us.

During the program, I was able to represent BAYAN-USA (Bagong Alysang Makabayan-USA), also known as the New Patriotic Alliance. During the speech, I highlighted the solid support from many of the Filipinos living in the United States against the intense militarization, gentrification caused by mining corporations, and a corrupt government at odds with the basic people in the Philippines.

Yup, we had to push the Jeepney too.. I know they make fun of Filipinos for not having their own national cars but this is Ridiculous... we need change we can believe in...

Yup, we had to push the Jeepney too.. I know they make fun of Filipinos for not having their own national cars but this is Ridiculous... we need change we can believe in...

It was impressing witnessing the affirmation of the Peoples’ Organizations to strengthen and intensify the peoples’ resolve to fight against any exploitation and oppression. Many local officials such as mayors, governors, and senators were also invited to participate in the Peoples’ vow. The will and strength of the people should not be underestimated. The military were invited to answer to the people but instead the military chose not to attend for various reasons.

“The 25th Cordillera Day demonstrates the advancement of the Cordillera Mass movement, which continues to expand and gain strength, especially in the face of the worst crisis of the world capitalist system and domestic social order. The current global economic order and ‘free market globalization’ driven by the imperialists and their transnational corporations is the root cause of over-exploitation and depletion of resources, environmental destruction and excessive release of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere resulting in climate change and the present environmental crisis of catastrophic proportions” –CPA

When the cultural night started, gongs were beating, and dancing and singing broke out. The kitchen was no joke either. I helped scrub as many pots as my arms allowed after the Ceremony.

But when all was said and done, the people went back to their own communities to again, plant and harvest their crops. In the back of their minds, the unity of the people will carry on, their strength for justice is reinvigorated as they pursue better working and living conditions.

For the hosts here in Nagas-asan, there is a local term to express sorrow and emptiness from the departure of the beautiful crowd, Kawal. Today, I am Kawal because I leave behind a beautiful family and friends who I’ve come to learn and respect very well. Wherever they are, the work of the people will be further.

Abra

SAPIT Convenes 2nd General Assembly and Hosts Cordillera Day 2009

With the theme, “Pairuten ti panagkaykaysa! Iyabante ti tignayan! Salakniban ti daga a Nagtaudan!”, Salakniban Pita Takay (SAPIT), the municipal-wide peoples’ organization in Sallapadan affiliated with KASTAN-CPA, successfully held its second general assembly in Nagas-asan, Ud-uddiao, Sallapadan, Abra on April 23, 2009.

Established in 1998, SAPIT served as a strong vehicle for the people’s successful protest and struggle against the entry of the Newcrest/Newmont mining company applying in the area then. It also strengthened the pappango/bayanihan system and other indigenous systems in sustaining natural resources for future generations.

Niño Oconer discussed the mining situation and its implications at the local level despite the global financial crisis. Rudy Reyes of Kastan explained the indigenous perspective on land as opposed to the Western viewpoint of the state which does not recognize the inherent rights of indigenous peoples to their ancestral lands. He stressed that like story behind the name of the community; the current situation necessitates sharpness of mind in critically analyzing its implications and solid unity in taking concrete measures. Read the rest of this entry »





We are the Product of our Experiences

15 04 2009

I try to remember the struggles of the people and the freedom that they demand. I remember watching many people, old and young, friends and strangers, media and police anticipating the release of Ka Bel, a champion of the people.  He was detained at the Heart Center medical facility in Quezon City for his stance in protecting the rights of the majority living in the Philippines- seeing many cry to see him release was moving.  This man has been through a lot of harassment by the police and politician for his pro people, pro national democracy points of view. 

 

 

Ka Bel

Ka Bel

It was humbling meeting people who are affected by the corrupt government of the Philippines.  I will remember their stories and feeling helpless when they asked for my advice on what they should do.  These are the people who are countlessly having their land stolen.  These are the people who lack resources because the corporations, elites, and corrupt politicians take them. These are the people who walk dozens of miles up and down hills and hazardous conditions to go to work and school sometimes without chinelas (sandals). 

 

“If helping the poor is a crime, and fighting for freedom is rebellion, then I plead guilty as charged.”  –Crispin “Ka Bel” Beltran

 

 

One particular person I was not able to meet was Cris Hugo because he was gun down for his political believe.  Cris Hugo was a 20 year old student from Bicol and the first student killed for his believes in 2006.  He was only 4′ 11″ but instead of just being timid he shown a fighting spirit and determination to fight for student’s rights.  He was a powerful speaker and motivated many to care.  Because he was vocal, he was assassinated.  Imagine speaking up for justice and then instantly silenced, to be made into an example to those who wish a better future for the people.  His passion is survived by the many who he’s touched personally and internationally. 

 

Justice for Cris Hugo

Justice for Cris Hugo

I didn’t know Cris personally, but the work he has done is moving.  While in this process of reflecting for the second trip to the Philippines, I found myself crying.  I feel very bless to have strong friends I call kasamas.  I remember close to the end of our integration, we visited the Nestle worker’s HQ and watched a video I’ve seen before.  I don’t know why, but I couldn’t stop crying then whereas before it hadn’t phase me much.  Maybe because I was at ground zero where many had died and got injured during the Nestle massacre.  Ka Fort had also been assassinated because of his role in people’s rights. 

 

As I commit myself to the movement as so many people before me has done and so may people after me will, I take a step back and breathe and recognize the work that I’ve done and try to understand the value of this commitment.  My personal dedication is a testament to the work of other organizers because if it were not for them I would be lost and angry looking for a way to channel that anger.   Read the rest of this entry »