July 31, 2006
On July 31 at 12pm, our exposure team was scheduled
to attend a presentation on
the human rights situation in the Philippines. However, the presentation
started much earlier that morning.
At 7:45am I received a text stating, "Rie
Mon "Ambo" Guran, 21, League of
Filipino Students, spokesperson of Aquinas University was shot dead today
in Bulan, Sorsogon. Justice for AMBO! End Arroyo's tyranny!
At 9:24am I received another text stating, "Dr.
Chandu Claver (Bayan Muna
Chair, and Cordillera Peoples Alliance [CPA] member in Kalinga) and his
(Alice) were shot early this morning in Bulanao, Kalinga. Dr. Chandu is
danger but his wife is in critical condition." The text did not include
Sandy, their 11 year old daughter was also hurt in the incident.
At 11:30am, upon arriving at the location of the
human rights presentation, I
was informed that a news photographer was shot in my family's hometown
Malabon in Manila.
Finally at 1:30pm I received a text from a friend
at CPA stating, "We are now
in tears for the death of Alice Claver, Bayan Muna Kalinga."
Three people were murdered all in the span of
a few hours this morning.
Literally, I received several wake up calls to the horrid human rights
situation in my homeland. The three deaths bring the extrajudicial killing
total under the Arroyo administration to 717. 120 of the murders occurred
the first eight months of this year.
One important question to ask is who is responsible
for the seven hundred and
seventeen extrajudicial killings. Many witnesses as well as organizers
the militant mass organizations such as Bayan Muna and League of Filipino
Students point to the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).
In a documentary entitled "State of War"
broadcasted on mainstream Philippine
television last week, a reporter asked Major General Jovito Palparan of
AFP, if he was directly responsible for the long list of killings. Palparan
replied with a smile, "Not directly, but maybe indirectly."
that he trained his men to be agressive and that his training could encourage
such killings. Furthermore, the major general openly commented that because
victims were associated with leftist militant organizations, the murders
good for the country.
Ultimately, it is the President of the Philippines,
Gloria Macapagal Arroyo
(GMA), who is responsible for the spate of extrajudicial killings. She
either responsible for causing them or at the very least she is responsible
bringing the perpetrators to justice.
It is more likely that GMA is a cause behind the
killings based on her open
endorsement of Jovito Palparan in her State of the Nation Address (SONA)
week. At SONA, GMA stated, "Jovito Palparan has come to grips with
He will not let go until the communities in the long night of terror emerge
into the light of law and freedom.” Placing GMA behind the cause
murders explains why the perpetrators of all 717 incidents were never
Even further beyond GMA, the United States government
is also responsible for
the horrid human rights situation in the Philippines. Each year the Philippine
Government receives hundreds of millions of dollars in military aid as
training from the U.S.
The hundreds of millions in military aid to the
Philippines from the U.S.
explains why GMA openly endorses Major General Jovito Palparan even though
may be "indirectly" responsible for the long list of unjust
The clear target of all the murders are those associated with militant
organizations under the BAYAN or Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (New Patriotic
Alliance) umbrella. BAYAN is a pro-people, national democratic alliance
opposes foreign domination and exploitation of the Philippines.
BAYAN believes the Philippines suffers from poverty
because the government
allows multi-national corporations (MNCs) such as Dole Pineapple and Nestle
use the land, resources, and people of this country at extremely low costs
without appropriate compensation. The low operational costs generates
profit for the MNCs. In return, the MNCs payoff the government officials
allowing the practice to continue. The result is what we see in the
Philippines today-a small rich elite 1% of the population with a majority
living in extreme poverty.
The U.S. being home to many of the largest investors
of the MNCs is highly
supportive and extremely agressive in developing and maintaining such
economic practices with third world countries. That is why the U.S. government
allocates hundreds of millions in military aid to the AFP even though
Philippine military is engaged "indirectly" in murdering hundreds
It is also the millions in payoffs the MNCs give
to corrupt government
officials such as GMA that explains why the Philippine president would
behind the killing of BAYAN organizers.
For the last twenty years BAYAN has been educating,
organizing, and mobilizing
the Philippine masses against the corrupt government of the Philippines.
the organizations under BAYAN that are primarily responsible for both
Power I and II. It is clear, based on the efforts of the governent to
BAYAN and both people power uprisings, that the pro-people alliance poses
serious threat to the unjust order.
The Protracted Peoples War carried out by the
National Democratic Front,
Communist Party of the Philippines, and the New Peoples Army (NDF, CPP,
also a direct threat to corrupt Philippine government. The NDF, CPP, NPA
been the primary enemy of the AFP for the last forty years.
Now the Philippine government and the AFP have
changed its primary target. It
is no longer aiming primarily at the NDF, CPP, NPA. The Philippine government
and AFP's number one enemy is now the unarmed civilian mass movement led
BAYAN. The government and its military is making the allegation that BAYAN
a front for the NDF, CPP, NPA and therefore is no longer distinguishing
armed combatants and unarmed civilians. Under the Oplan Bantay Laya, the
government aims to wipe out all opposition to its corrupt practices by
away the most basic human right, the right to life. #
This statement comes from one of the members of
the League of Filipino Students
and babae San Francisco Philippine Exposure team. Both organizations are
members of BAYAN-USA. For more information on BAYAN USA go to www.bayanusa.org.