Oplan Bayanihan

4 04 2011

Habi-Arts, a Los Angeles based U.S. Filipino cultural organization designed this image poster to remind the public that nothing has changed under the new Oplan Bayanihan - Human Rights Violations persist under the military's watch.


State News around the Philippines

9 03 2010

Passing on the Torch


In a survey conducted by Political Economic Risk and Consultancy (PERC), the Philippines ranked the 4th most corrupt nation in the Asia Pacific next to Indonesia, Cambodia and Vietnam.  Out of a total score of 10, zero being the best score, and ten showing the nation to have the most corrupt officials and public servants, the Philippines scored a (8.06).  Gloria Macapagal Arroyo attributed the cause to the “Filipino culture and mudslinging”.

Beyond politicians trading verbal jabs at each other, there is a serious history of graft and corruption in the Philippines.  Just because GMA allocates a certain number of money to fight graft, doesn’t mean graft will be lowered.  In 2005, GMA was caught selling off votes and changing the votes in the presidential election.  The fact that congress wasn’t acting on her illegal action was mostly due to her political allies siding with her at the time, some of them having been bought off.

GMA is right, a new culture needs to be ensure…. one of accountability to the people.  A new system needs to be in place where checks and balances are realized and the peoples needs are addressed and not pushed over for corporate money.


From Jovito Palparan, an officer who rose to the ranks of general with his brutal operations in mindoro to General Victor Ibrado and now Delfin Bangit who will now carry on the structure of a corrupt military.  Palparan has earned the nick name the “Butcher” for the hundreds that were abducted, tortured, and killed.

Many progressive students that have fought against the tuition fee increase, and for a better education free of privatization have connected the student struggles to the workers and peasants.  These students have been called trouble makers by the Armed Forces.  There fear of Palparan is legitimate after the aduction, rape, torture and murder of 2 female student activist, Karen Empeno and Sheryln Cadapan.  At night, when students have to walk alone, they tease each other to be careful otherwise “uncle palpy” will get you.

Someone should warn Bangit that history will not be kind to those who are butchers.

In 2007 alone, more than 133 military violations occurred under the command of then Lt. gen Victor Ibrado.  What will the legacy of Bangit be?  His connections to the GMA has always been close since the Estrada administration and has been incharge of presidential security ever since.

Platoon Neutralized

The Armed Forces of the Philippines had encountered a problem in Mindoro.  The New People’s Army (NPA)had neutralized soldiers that had almost made up the size of one platoon. The armies orders was to carry out Oplan Bantay Laya II (OBL II) to wipe out the communist insurgency around the country by 2010.  The army however, has been indiscriminately targeting teachers, lawyers, journalists, women, students, workers and peasants.  OBL II has seen the rise of civilians and mass activists abducted, tortured, missing, and murdered through frustrated efforts to eliminate the communists and their armed wing, the NPA, in the country.  This tactic however has draw backs to the military.  It doesn’t accomplish the goal that OBL II set out to do but instead turn the peoples wrath against the military.

Land is Life

21 04 2009

Land is life.  If you take it away, is it not the same as dying? Then why not die for your land?

(pictures to come soon)

Before shopping for laundry soap and chinelas, I had the taxi drop me off in front fo the House of Representatives in Manila.  In front of the gate, on both sides, Members of BAYAN-ST (New Patriotic Alliance in Southern Tagalog, Amihan (National federation of Peasant Women), KMP (Peasant movement in the Philippines, and  Kasama TK (The Southern Tagalog regional peasant organization of KMP)  had set up a protest camp.

The protest camp was built relatively quick on April 13th.  Within 15 minutes both sides of the camp was built like a treehouse-slim tall logs held the structure up as strips of garbage bags were used to tie the logs that held the structure up with the tarps that acted as the roof.

As I arrived to the Camp, I was greeted with smiles from youth to elders.  Their hands were rough from working the Palay fields (rice fields).  Their clothes were very simple, some with holes and some faded.  They spoke of why they set up camp and what they hope to accomplish.

I had the opportunity to interview different peasant leaders, many of them were women.  Nanay Carmen shared her life with me through gestures of her body, limited and broken english, but mostly in tagalog and kapampagan. From the beginning her eyes water.  I can see my reflection gazing into her eyes.  She is the daughter of small peasants.  After finishing elementary school she was forced to watch the carabaos on her family farm although she prefered to continue her education.

Nanay Carmen also shared with me the struggles that peasants face. Their livelihood taken away as they face poverty while those who exploit them profit off the peasants’ labor.  Nanay Carmen helps peasant women organize to fight for their right to livelihood.  Most of the peasant women who struggle come to her for help. Her story is not unique-many share her story-the majority of the Filipino people are landless, some gave up hope and others’ fight back like Ninay.  She is fierce and passionate that one day her people will be free from oppression.

I was intending to only stay for 1 hour in the camp-just to say Hello and catch-up however my stay ended up to be 9 hours.  The peasants wanted to ask me questions but they do not know how… We tried to communicate with simple language but there was frustrations from both sides.. Read the rest of this entry »