PHNO HEADLINE NEWS THIS PAST WEEK

NOY: MAY BONIFACIO'S PATRIOTISM INSPIRE PINOYS 

NOV 30 --PHOTO: The Andres Bonifacio monument in Liwasang Bonifacio. EDD GUMBAN MANILA, Philippines - President Aquino yesterday wished that more Filipinos would be inspired by the heroism and patriotism of Andres Bonifacio amid the struggles the country has gone through in fighting for “liberty and dignity, freedom, and sovereignty for the land of our ancestors.” “We have created for ourselves the opportunity to fulfill the dreams Gat Andres envisioned for us. May this day renew the spirit of camaraderie in all of us and inspire us to aspire to greater heights of prosperity,” he said in his message marking the 151st birth anniversary of Bonifacio, regarded as the father of the Philippine revolution against Spain in 1896. Aquino said it was Bonifacio’s spirit that ignited the passion within Filipinos who have fought many battles, including the EDSA People Power revolt. READ FULL REPORT...

ALSO: 3 labor leaders, an Augustinian nun, 4 other activists are Bantayog honorees

DEC 1 --PHOTO: FREEDOM ADVOCATES Rolando Olalia (left), Felixberto Olalia Sr. (top, left) and Crispin Beltran are among this year’s Bantayog ng mga Bayani honorees. CONTRIBUTED PHOTOS MANILA, Philippines–Three fearless labor leaders, four massacre victims, one Augustinian nun and four other activists were among those honored at Bantayog ng mga Bayani (Monument of Heroes) in Quezon City this week. Their names brought to 235 the names etched on the black granite Wall of Remembrance, centerpiece of the Bantayog complex that honors those who fought, died or were martyred during the dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos. This year’s honorees were labor leaders Felixberto Olalia Sr., Rolando Olalia and Crispin Beltran; human rights worker Sr. Violeta Marcos; “Daet martyrs” Elmer Lagarteja, Jose E. Alcantara (killed at 40), Benjamen Suyat (killed at 47) and Rogelio Guevarra (killed at 45); Jorge Checa, Ceasar Gavanzo Jr., Venerando Villacillo and Julieto Mahinay. WEAD FULL REPORT...

ALSO From Mindanao: Lumad leaders to Aquino: ‘Address our Demands!’  

NOV 30 --PHOTO: Lumads and Peasants from Mindanao calls for President Noynoy Aquino to take action on alleged human rights violations perpetuated by AFP. Photo by Demie Dangla  Lumad (indigenous people) leaders from Mindanao are reminding the Aquino administration about the six urgent demands they have been registering for days now since they arrived in Metro Manila last November 24 after a 14-day journey. “The issue here is not spraying slogans during our protest action. It’s a trifle concern for a president. Instead, he should address the demands concerning our situation in Mindanao,” said Jomorito Goaynon, spokesperson of Manilakbayan ng Mindanao, referring to Aquino’s recent remarks on the November 29 protest action staged by participants of the Manilakbayan ng Mindanao and other supporters in front of his residence at Times Street, Quezon City. READ FULL REPORT...

ALSO: Raps set vs protesters at Aquino home

NOV 20 --The Quezon City Prosecutor’s Office recommended on Saturday the filing of vandalism and slight physical injuries charges against the protest leader and others who led 300 people in a rally outside President Aquino’s private home in Quezon City that resulted in a clash with the police. Antonio “Ka Tonying” Flores, 66, secretary general of the Kilusang Mambubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP), was arrested Saturday morning for leading the protest without a permit on Times Street, Barangay (village) West Triangle, at 9:20 a.m., spray-painting the street with messages such as “Patalsikin si P-Noy” and ordering the protesters to throw stones and pieces of wood at the cops, according to the police report. READ FULL REPORT...

ALSO: CBCP slams corruption, ‘selfish rich’  

DEC 1 --The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) yesterday called on the government to take further steps to stamp out corruption. In its early message for 2015, declared “Year of the Poor,” the CBCP said corruption should be addressed as it continues to worsen poverty in the country. “In the Philippines, this means, urgently: stop the corruption. Stop the misuse of the people’s funds,” said the statement signed by CBCP president and Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas. Apart from corruption, the CBCP said there is the need for the government to address pressing concerns on the environment, education and the economy. “Stop the wanton destruction of the environment. Fight the poverty of the poor. Build vibrant companies that use our resources to create wealth for our people, but distribute that wealth equitably,” the CBCP said. READ FULL REPORT...

ALSO: Pope clasps hands in reflection in Istanbul mosque

DWC 1 ---Pope Francis (C) visits the Blue Mosque (Sultan Ahmet mosque) with Mufti Rahmi Yaran (R) on November 29, 2014 in Istanbul. The pope held talks with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Ankara on Friday, calling for dialogue between faiths to end the Islamist extremism plaguing the Middle East. The pope's visit is seen as a crucial test of his ability to build bridges between faiths amid the rampage by Islamic State (IS) jihadists in Iraq and Syria and concerns over the persecution of Christian minorities in the Middle East. AFP PHOTO / FILIPPO MONTEFORTE ...READ FULL REPORT...

ALSO: Cyclone may enter country this week

DEC 1 --State meteorologists are keeping a close eye on a developing storm off the Pacific Ocean that could enter the Philippine area of responsibility (PAR) later this week. Jori Loiz, senior weather forecaster of the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA), said the looming cyclone was located some 1,500 kilometers east of the PAR as of yesterday afternoon. He warned the developing weather disturbance is likely to reach the typhoon category as it hovers over the Pacific Ocean in the next few days. Loiz told The STAR of two scenarios for the cyclone. The most likely is that the storm could intensify further but will veer north towards Japan. The second scenario is the cyclone will intensity into a typhoon and enter the PAR on Friday. READ FULL REPORT...


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:

Noy: May Bonifacio’s patriotism inspire Pinoys


The Andres Bonifacio monument in Liwasang Bonifacio. EDD GUMBAN

MANILA, DECEMBER 1, 2014 (PHILSTAR) By Delon Porcalla -  President Aquino yesterday wished that more Filipinos would be inspired by the heroism and patriotism of Andres Bonifacio amid the struggles the country has gone through in fighting for “liberty and dignity, freedom, and sovereignty for the land of our ancestors.”

“We have created for ourselves the opportunity to fulfill the dreams Gat Andres envisioned for us. May this day renew the spirit of camaraderie in all of us and inspire us to aspire to greater heights of prosperity,” he said in his message marking the 151st birth anniversary of Bonifacio, regarded as the father of the Philippine revolution against Spain in 1896.

Aquino said it was Bonifacio’s spirit that ignited the passion within Filipinos who have fought many battles, including the EDSA People Power revolt.

“Now with our history and identity tested by the many challenges we have overcome, we unite as one nation to remember his sacrifice and desire to see us take charge of our destiny,” he said.

He added that the Philippines has become a dynamic and progressive hub of business and commerce, and it will continue to thrive as the government fights to vanquish the culture of greed and corruption by fostering integrity and accountability in institutions.

Books on revolution

Meanwhile, the Quezon City government yesterday emphasized the need for new books about the 1896 revolution as it marked the birth anniversary of Bonifacio in simple rites at the Bonifacio Shrine in Balintawak.

Mayor Herbert Bautista and Vice Mayor Joy Belmonte agreed with Rene Escalante, commissioner of the National Historical Commission (NHCP) and guest speaker at the event, that citizens have the right to enhance their knowledge of the country’s history. – With Rey Galupo


FROM THE INQUIRER

3 labor leaders, an Augustinian nun, 4 other activists are Bantayog honorees Ma. Ceres P. Doyo @inquirerdotnet Philippine Daily Inquirer 3:41 AM | Monday, December 1st, 2014


FREEDOM ADVOCATES Rolando Olalia (left), Felixberto Olalia Sr. (top, left) and Crispin Beltran are among this year’s Bantayog ng mga Bayani honorees. CONTRIBUTED PHOTOS

MANILA, Philippines–Three fearless labor leaders, four massacre victims, one Augustinian nun and four other activists were among those honored at Bantayog ng mga Bayani (Monument of Heroes) in Quezon City this week.

Their names brought to 235 the names etched on the black granite Wall of Remembrance, centerpiece of the Bantayog complex that honors those who fought, died or were martyred during the dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos.

This year’s honorees were labor leaders Felixberto Olalia Sr., Rolando Olalia and Crispin Beltran; human rights worker Sr. Violeta Marcos; “Daet martyrs” Elmer Lagarteja, Jose E. Alcantara (killed at 40), Benjamen Suyat (killed at 47) and Rogelio Guevarra (killed at 45); Jorge Checa, Ceasar Gavanzo Jr., Venerando Villacillo and Julieto Mahinay.

They were all “freedom advocates” who opposed the dictatorship. They lived and died in different ways but had in common a heroic streak that made them worthy to be included in the list of martyrs and heroes etched on the Wall of Remembrance.

The wall stands a few meters away from a towering 13.7-meter (45-foot) bronze sculpture titled “Inang Bayan” (Motherland) created by Eduardo Castrillo. The monument depicts a vertical female figure (symbolizing the Motherland), her left hand raised to the sky in triumph as her right hand lifts up a fallen martyr.

The monument, the commemorative wall and the other structures in the Bantayog complex honor the martyrs and heroes who fought to restore freedom, peace, justice, truth and democracy in the country.

The Bantayog ng mga Bayani Foundation adds more names to the roster of heroes and martyrs as new individuals are nominated and their specific contributions established.

Grand old man

Called the “grand old man of Philippine labor,” Felixberto Olalia Sr. (1903-1983) was the first chair of the militant Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) founded in 1980.

But long before KMU, Olalia was already involved in trade unionism. An icon of the Philippine labor movement, he was a founder of the National Federation of Labor Unions.

Born in Pampanga province to poor farmers, “Ka Bert” studied only up to fourth grade. He worked as a houseboy and in a shoe factory, where his initiation to the trade union movement began.

Olalia followed in the footsteps of Crisanto Evangelista, whose bold leadership of labor unions earned the praise even of then Commonwealth President Manuel L. Quezon.

During World War II, Olalia joined the resistance movement against the Japanese occupation. After the war, he and other labor leaders rebuilt the unions and resumed the agitation for reforms.

Undaunted

In the 1950s, several labor leaders, including Olalia and poet Amado Hernandez, were arrested and jailed on charges of rebellion and for having communist links.

After his release, Olalia, then in his 50s, went back to organizing and advocating for genuine independence from foreign interference.

Shortly after martial law was declared in 1972, Marcos ordered Olalia’s arrest. After his release from prison, Olalia continued championing the cause of the workers.

In the 1980s, he was again thrown in jail. He was then 79 and of frail health. Protests led to his release from prison. He was put under house arrest and died not long after.

Like father, like son

Olalia’s son, KMU lawyer Rolando Olalia (1934-1986), and his driver Leonor Alay-ay suffered a brutal death in 1986, just eight months after the Marcos dictatorship was toppled and a few months into Corazon Aquino’s presidency.

Their mutilated bodies were found by a roadside in Antipolo, Rizal province, a day after their disappearance. They were shot at close range, their mouths stuffed with newspapers.

In its report to then President Aquino, the National Bureau of Investigation said the murders were a prelude to the staging of the “God Save the Queen” coup plot by a renegade military group, Rebolusyonaryong Alyansang Makabansa, to rid the Aquino Cabinet of left-leaning members.

Beltran

After Olalia Sr.’s death, Crispin Beltran (1933-2008) succeeded to the leadership of KMU. Coming from humble beginnings, Beltran never got to finish college. He worked as a janitor, messenger and taxi driver.

In 1955, when he was 22, he helped establish a federation of taxi drivers’ unions, called the Amalgamated Taxi Drivers Association. He was elected president and held the post for eight years.

In 1982, Beltran was one of the labor leaders ordered arrested by Marcos. In 1984, Beltran escaped and went underground.

After democracy was restored in 1986, he continued his work in the labor sector. He later occupied one of the party-list seats in the House of Representatives, representing the Bayan Muna and Anakpawis party-list groups.

In 2006, during the presidency of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, Beltran was arrested for rebellion and detained for one and a half years until the Supreme Court ruled that the charges against him were baseless.

Beltran died in a freak accident in 2008.

‘Dialogue with poor’

Starting her religious life as a school-based Augustinian sister with an impressive academic background, Sr. Violeta Marcos (1937-2001) saw the plight of sugar workers while on assignment in Negros Occidental province, often described as a restless social volcano.

In 1975, she gave up schoolwork and immersed herself in social action.

Undaunted by the repressive Marcos regime, Sister Violeta joined the Task Force Detainees (TFD) of the Association of Major Religious Superiors of the Philippines and worked for the defense and release of political detainees.

She joined human rights workers in searching for the missing and helping the victims of military abuses. She helped document cases of arbitrary detention and execution of workers and Church lay leaders.

In 1990, she and some of her fellow religious formed a new congregation, the Augustinian Missionaries of the Philippines, becoming its first head.

Sister Violeta died of an illness in 2001, ending what she called her “dialogue of life with the poor.”

Daet martyrs

Jose Alcantara (40), Benjamen Suyat (47), Rogelio Guevarra (45) and Elmer Lagarteja (21) were killed on June 14, 1981, in an anti-Marcos rally in Daet, Camarines Norte province. They were among thousands who marched from different towns to Daet’s Freedom Park, shouting “Down with the Marcos dictatorship!” “Raise the prices of copra!” and “Dismantle Cocofed.”

At the Camambugan crossing, they were stopped by soldiers of the Philippine Constabulary led by a Capt. Joseph Malilay. The marchers refused to disperse and, with arms linked, made as if to march ahead. Pushing and shoving ensued between the two sides. Malilay ordered his men to fire.

Malilay was among those seen firing at close range. The PC provincial commander, Col. Nicasio Custodio, was reportedly present during the shooting, which lasted less than a minute.

When the smoke cleared, four unarmed marchers lay dead with more than 40 bullet wounds. Soldiers pursued the fleeing protesters and those caught were lined up by the roadside and threatened with being shot.

Human rights lawyer Jose W. Diokno rushed to the scene the day after the massacre and was detained for a few hours at a military camp.

According to a TFD report, all the wounded and killed were standing at the front of the march; the four who died took direct shots from where the soldiers stood; and no weapons were found on the marchers.

Singing group

When Marcos declared martial law in 1972, Jorge Checa (1951-1984) went into hiding on learning he was on the military’s wanted list. He and other members of a youth group called Kamanyang went underground and organized the youth in northern Metro Manila.

Checa founded a singing group called Salt of the Earth. The group sang songs to raise people’s awareness about the burning issues of the day.

Checa and his girlfriend Corazon married in 1973 and the couple’s home became the headquarters of community organizers in the area. At the time, organizing was considered a subversive activity.

A few months later, the couple were arrested and detained for three months at Fort Bonifacio.

Letters stopped coming

After their release, the couple headed for Mindanao and joined the anti-Marcos resistance. They lived with farmers and indigenous communities.

Checa and his wife were not always together but they wrote letters to each other. When Checa’s letters stopped coming, his wife feared the worst.

The search for Checa proved to be a perilous journey. Two lawyers assisting in the search, Zorro Aguilar and Jacobo Amatong, were assassinated.

Checa’s remains and those of another person were eventually found. Checa’s body bore multiple stab wounds, which disproved the military’s suggestion of suicide.

First casualty in Sorsogon

Activist Ceasar Gavanzo Jr. (1947-1972) is considered Sorsogon province’s first casualty of martial law.

A student activist from Manuel L. Quezon University, Gavanzo returned to his home province after martial law was declared and continued his resistance work against dictatorial rule. His home was under constant surveillance and, despite offers of sanctuary by known influential persons, he continued with his work, unprotected.

One day, his family received information that Gavanzo was dead and that his body had been dumped at Bulusan Municipal Hall. Gavanzo’s body bore bullet wounds, his legs and ribs had been broken, and several of his teeth extracted.

Still missing

A tall man with a gift for public speaking, Venerando Villacillo (1950-1985) studied criminology and martial arts. He dreamed of becoming a detective.

When martial law was declared in 1972, he and other activists went to Isabela province to organize the rural folk. When Isabela became heavily militarized, Villacillo worked among evacuees who had fled their homes.

When things became too hot, Villacillo moved to Mindanao to continue his antidictatorship work. He became a wanted man.

Villacillo and his family were on a trip to Manila in 1985 when he was abducted. His family tried to resist but when his daughter was threatened with a gun he allowed himself to be taken away.

The search for Villacillo yielded nothing. He is missing to this day.

Church worker

Julieto Mahinay (1935-1984) was a catechist of the Diocese of Surigao del Norte province. He was well liked and respected. People went to him for leadership and guidance.

Mahinay worked with the Episcopal Commission on Tribal Filipinos, a social action arm of the Catholic bishops that served indigenous communities. He worked among the Mamanwa, a semi-nomadic group, holding literacy classes for the Mamanwa while staying in a farm run by the diocese. He taught them farming techniques to help them improve their livelihood.

Mahinay also helped the communities displaced by military operations and land-grabbing activities. He made them aware of their rights.

On March 14, 1984, Mahinay was on his way to Claver National High School to hold a spiritual retreat for graduating students. At a checkpoint of the 36th Infantry Battalion, soldiers stopped the jeepney that Mahinay was riding.

The soldiers found in his possession a Bible and a map of tribal settlements in Mindanao. They let the jeepney and the passengers go but detained Mahinay.

He never made it to his appointment with the students. He never made it back to his home in Amontay, a village outside Surigao City.

The Free Legal Assistance Group filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus for Mahinay but to no avail. His family and coworkers followed leads that yielded nothing.

Mahinay was never found. His family believed that the soldiers who seized him were responsible for his death.


Press release --Manilakbayan ng Mindanao November 30, 2014 For reference: Jomorito Goaynon, Spokesperson Manilakbayan ng Mindanao -C#: (+63) 936-334-7754

Lumad leaders to Aquino: ‘Address our Demands!’


Lumads and Peasants from Mindanao calls for President Noynoy Aquino to take action on alleged human rights violations perpetuated by AFP. Photo by Demie Dangla

MANILA -- Lumad (indigenous people) leaders from Mindanao are reminding the Aquino administration about the six urgent demands they have been registering for days now since they arrived in Metro Manila last November 24 after a 14-day journey.

“The issue here is not spraying slogans during our protest action. It’s a trifle concern for a president. Instead, he should address the demands concerning our situation in Mindanao,” said Jomorito Goaynon, spokesperson of Manilakbayan ng Mindanao, referring to Aquino’s recent remarks on the November 29 protest action staged by participants of the Manilakbayan ng Mindanao and other supporters in front of his residence at Times Street, Quezon City.

He reiterated that the demands Aquino should be addressing are the following:

1. Pull out military troops from schools and civilian public places in the community and prevent further military deployment to Mindanao.

2. Stop the recruitment of armed paramilitary groups and disband existing ones. Investigate local warlords, private corporations and military battalions that provide logistical support and actively instigate the violation of human rights by these paramilitary groups.

3. Dismiss Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation (SLAPP) charges, which criminalize leaders and members of progressive organizations.

4. Demand for the investigation and subsequent suspension of operations and notorious mining corporations for the environmental plunder and blatant violation of the comprehensive human rights of the communities, organizations and individuals that are adversely affected by their operations.

5. Demand for the immediate revocation of Department of Education Memorandum Order 221, which allows military to utilize schools and its facilities as their base camps.

6. Pull out US troops in Mindanao and the investigation of US enclaves in military camps in Mindanao.

He also found it an insult for the president to say that the spraying was “far worse than mining plunder and extrajudicial killings.”

“Such pronouncement all the more rub salt on the already deepening wounds of the families of the victims of extrajudicial killings and victims of human rights violations brought about by the incursions of huge foreign agro-industrial projects such as mining and plantations,” Goaynon said.

“But it is expected that a president like him who belongs to the oppressive landed class and obeys imperialist masters is bound to resort to issuing callous remarks,” Goaynon said.

“There is a big difference between a landed president who lives in a posh residence and indigenous people who got evicted from their simple dwelling huts by the projects of the president’s masters,” he added.

“The president defends his interest and that of his class. The indigenous people defend their ancestral lands and their very lives,” he said.

“The heart of the matter is that he is killing us.”

Over 300 people representing Mindanao’s different sectors and mostly indigenous people participated in the Manilakbayan ng Mindanao. They started their Manilakbayan (Journey to Metro Manila) last November 12 passing by Visayas, and the Bicol and Tagalog regions where their counterparts met and joined them. Presently having their “Kampuhan” (People’s Camp) in Liwasang Bonifacio, their Manilakbayan will conclude on December 10.


FROM THE INQUIRER

Raps set vs protesters at Aquino home Christian V. Esguerra, Rima Granali | Philippine Daily Inquirer 5:46 PM | Sunday, November 30th, 2014

Farmers and indigenous peoples protest outside President Benigno Aquino III’s house in Times St., Quezon City. Photo contributed by Unyon ng mga Manggagawa sa Agrikultura (UMA).

MANILA, Philippines–The Quezon City Prosecutor’s Office recommended on Saturday the filing of vandalism and slight physical injuries charges against the protest leader and others who led 300 people in a rally outside President Aquino’s private home in Quezon City that resulted in a clash with the police.

Antonio “Ka Tonying” Flores, 66, secretary general of the Kilusang Mambubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP), was arrested Saturday morning for leading the protest without a permit on Times Street, Barangay (village) West Triangle, at 9:20 a.m., spray-painting the street with messages such as “Patalsikin si P-Noy” and ordering the protesters to throw stones and pieces of wood at the cops, according to the police report.

Twelve policemen were injured while seven protesters were brought to East Avenue Medical Center after the clash.

Malacañang on Sunday assailed the activists who attacked the policemen.

“We are strongly condemning [the incident],” Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma said over government radio.

“What the [protesters] did in terms of vandalism and inflicting injuries on members of the PNP (Philippine National Police) clearly exceeded the maximum limits of freedom of expression and the government will not allow that to happen again,” he said.

Asked if the government would tighten security at the President’s house, Coloma said the police would continue their “policy of maximum tolerance” but “would implement the law.”

Quoting the PNP, he said two policemen suffered fractures on their thighs while another was wounded in the eye.

KMP chair Rafael Mariano earlier described the incident as “a testament to the escalating human rights violations under the Aquino regime.”

Fascist treatment

“Just and concrete issues of the people are met with violence and rights abuses. We denounce this kind of fascist treatment. This is the height of state-sponsored terror under Aquino,” he said in a statement.

Quezon City Police District director Senior Supt. Joel Pagdilao said cases of illegal assembly, direct assault on a person in authority, serious physical injuries and vandalism were filed in the city’s prosecutor’s office against Flores and other leaders of the protest, including Pastors John Ver and Pio Mercado of the United Church of Christ of the Philippines.

But assistant city prosecutor Pedro Travalles recommended the filing of less physical injuries, slight physical injuries and vandalism, Pagdilao said in a text message.

Cases of illegal assembly and direct assault on an agent of a person in authority against Flores, and charges against Ver and Mercado were set for further investigation, he added.

Ver, Mercado and other protesters managed to escape while Flores was detained at Camp Karingal in Quezon City.

Christina Palabay, secretary general of Karapatan, said Flores will post bail on Monday.

KMP staged the protest as part of the ongoing “Manilakbayan,” a caravan of Mindanao-based farmers and indigenous peoples condemning the military operations in southern Philippines, such as bombings that resulted in the evacuation of indigenous peoples from Bunawan, Agusan del Sur, and from three villages in Claveria, Misamis Oriental.


FROM THE INTERAKSYON.COM

Cops break up farmers rally in front of Aquino residence in QC


SCREENGRAB FROM VIDEO NEWS

QUEZON CITY - Farmers from the Luisita sugar plantation estate in Tarlac joined peasant and lumad delegates of the Manilakbayan ng Mindanao on Saturday as they trooped to the Aquino residence on Times Street in Quezon City to condemn human rights violations and alleged militarization of their rural communities.

Leaders of Unyon ng mga Manggagawa sa Agrikultura (UMA) condemned dispersal actions undertaken by law enforcers at around 10:30 a.m. after they held a peaceful program.

Antonio Flores, Secretary-General of Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP, Peasant Movement of the Philippines) was reportedly hauled off to police headquarters in Camp Karingal, Quezon City.

The Manilakbayan ng Mindanao contingent arrived in Metro Manila last November 24 after a 14-day journey from Mindanao.

Coming from the different regions of Mindanao, they aimed to inform the public about the human rights situation in Mindanao, and to relay their demands to the Aquino administration.

"Instead of addressing the demands of the Mindanaoans who traveled afar to register the human rights situation of hinterland Mindanao to the president and to the broadest Filipino people, we were met with a violent dispersal from the police," said Jomorito Goaynon, spokesperson of Manilakbayan ng Mindanao.

"Instead of talking to us, and instead of addressing our legitimate demands, the Aquino administration answered us with truncheons and batons," Goaynon said.

In reaction to the incident, the Alliance for the Advancement of People's Rights (KARAPATAN) issued a statement that said, in part: "Violent dispersal was the response of the Aquino administration to the legitimate dissent of the Manilakbayan ng Mindanao contingent."

Hanimay Suazo of Karapatan-Southern Mindanao region said that the police officers left the protesters with no choice but to resort to violence in order to defend themselves from the violence inflicted on them while leaving Times Street.

According to a statement issued by UMA, among those reportedly threatened with detention was the contingent from Hacienda Luisita, which included kin and survivors of the 2004 massacre.

"We also condemn some press reports that made it appear more policemen were hurt in the melee and that the dispersal was justified because the protesters allegedly vandalized Times St.," the UMA statement indicated.

"Sampung taon nang walang hustisya para sa mga biktima ng masaker sa Hacienda Luisita (It's been 10 years of injustice for the victims of the massacre in Hacienda Luisita)," laments Florida Sibayan, who survived the 2004 massacre after suffering gunshot wounds in the back.

Sibayan is currently the chairperson of the Alyansa ng mga Manggagawang Bukid sa Asyenda Luisita (AMBALA).

She added, in Filipino: "And now they violently disperse us even if we are just peacefully airing out our grievances."

Sibayan lamented that the perpetrators of the massacre were never tried and punished, and now even hold top posts in the government and military bureaucracy.

UMA Deputy Secretary General Ranmil Echanis said that the military's Oplan Bayanihan still targets civilians and people's organizations by utilizing terror tactics and principles of "counter-insurgency" used to justify the violence in Hacienda Luisita.

AMBALA is UMA's local affiliate in Tarlac.

UMA claims that Hacienda Luisita, the 6,453-hectare sugar estate in Tarlac controlled by the Cojuangco-Aquino clan for decades, "is still heavily-militarized. Army detachments are found in each of the 10 farm worker barangays, including a company headquarters of 31st Coy of the 3rd Mechanized Battalion situated within contested property fenced off by Cojuangco firm TADECO from farmers."

Farmers also reported that military personnel in full battle gear have been seen actively roaming around communities in Luisita for the whole month of November, apparently to preempt and later, harass participants of the Luisita massacre's 10th year commemorative gathering last November 15-16.

© Provided by InterAksyon Fully-armed military personnel were reported to have occupied the elementary school in Barangay Balete, Luisita a week after the gathering.

On Friday, UMA reported, army personnel were seen conducting operations in contested agricultural lands in Sitio Maligaya, Mapalacsiao also within Hacienda Luisita.


CBCP slams corruption, ‘selfish rich’ By Edu Punay (The Philippine Star) | Updated December 1, 2014 - 12:00am 2 3 googleplus0 0

MANILA, Philippines - The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) yesterday called on the government to take further steps to stamp out corruption.

In its early message for 2015, declared “Year of the Poor,” the CBCP said corruption should be addressed as it continues to worsen poverty in the country.

“In the Philippines, this means, urgently: stop the corruption. Stop the misuse of the people’s funds,” said the statement signed by CBCP president and Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas.

Apart from corruption, the CBCP said there is the need for the government to address pressing concerns on the environment, education and the economy.

“Stop the wanton destruction of the environment. Fight the poverty of the poor. Build vibrant companies that use our resources to create wealth for our people, but distribute that wealth equitably,” the CBCP said.

The bishops said it is also pertinent for the government to build “an economy that responds to the unconscionable poverty of the fishermen, the tillers of the soil, the urban laborers... (and) that is open to the world, but whose benefits do not exclude the poor.”

“Provide jobs. Provide education that respects all our people as human beings and children of God, not just cogs in a global production machine. But provide education relevant to the fight against dehumanizing poverty: basic education to all, and higher education to all who desire it,” the prelates stressed.

The CBCP also urged wealthy Filipino faithful to extend help to the poor.

They lamented how wealthy Filipinos continue to enrich themselves without caring for the poor and sometimes, even at the expense of others.

“For you, the fullness of life is the good life: your doing. It is not gifted, but taken. It is not brought to you as a blessing from above, but seized as a result of pushing and shoving from below. It is not selfless, but selfish. It is fueled by pride, scheming ambition, the exhilaration of power, the taste of blood,” the bishops said.

“To achieve the sweet life, to outdo your ambitions, to over satiate your sycophants, to make them applaud without end, you abuse your bodies, you break the law, you violate your conscience; you ravage Creation. Your social life is your needy ego. You manipulate people, exploit their skills; take advantage of their weaknesses; pay them poorly. What is rightly theirs, you steal; what rightly belongs to society, you conceal. What is there for all, you horde for yourself,” they added.

The CBCP further lamented the growing gap between the rich and the poor in the country as shown by people who have more than one house and those who are left in the streets.

“You build your first house, then your second houses; you provide for your family, then for your second families. You fill your lives with deceit, hypocrisy and misery, and so glory in your ‘good life.’ You take great satisfaction in that you are not like the rest of the rabble,” the CBCP declared.


FROM THE MANILA BULLETIN

Pope clasps hands in reflection in Istanbul mosque by AFP November 29, 2014 Share this:


Pope Francis (C) visits the Blue Mosque (Sultan Ahmet mosque) with Mufti Rahmi Yaran (R) on November 29, 2014 in Istanbul. The pope held talks with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Ankara on Friday, calling for dialogue between faiths to end the Islamist extremism plaguing the Middle East. The pope's visit is seen as a crucial test of his ability to build bridges between faiths amid the rampage by Islamic State (IS) jihadists in Iraq and Syria and concerns over the persecution of Christian minorities in the Middle East. AFP PHOTO / FILIPPO MONTEFORTE

Pope Francis on Saturday paused for two minutes and clasped his hands in reflection during a visit to the Sultan Ahmet mosque in Istanbul, an AFP correspondent reported.

The pope closed his eyes, clasped his hands in front of his chest beneath the cross he wears around his neck and bowed his head, as he stood next to Istanbul Mufti Rahmi Yaran who performed an Islamic prayer known as the dua.

Francis’ gesture was remarkably similar to that of his predecessor Benedict XVI who visited the mosque on the last papal visit to Turkey in 2006.

Benedict assumed the Muslim attitude of prayer and turned towards Mecca in what many saw as a stunning gesture of reconciliation between Islam and Christianity.

The Vatican later made clear he had not actually prayed in the mosque but was “in meditation” and had indicated that Pope Francis would make a similar gesture in this visit.

Francis then left the Sultan Ahmet mosque—known abroad as the Blue Mosque and one of the great masterpieces of Ottoman architecture—and headed to his visit of the Hagia Sophia museum.


FROM PHILSTAR

Cyclone may enter country this week By Helen Flores (The Philippine Star) | Updated December 1, 2014 - 12:00am 6 353 googleplus0 0

MANILA, Philippines - State meteorologists are keeping a close eye on a developing storm off the Pacific Ocean that could enter the Philippine area of responsibility (PAR) later this week.

Jori Loiz, senior weather forecaster of the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA), said the looming cyclone was located some 1,500 kilometers east of the PAR as of yesterday afternoon.

He warned the developing weather disturbance is likely to reach the typhoon category as it hovers over the Pacific Ocean in the next few days.

Loiz told The STAR of two scenarios for the cyclone. The most likely is that the storm could intensify further but will veer north towards Japan. The second scenario is the cyclone will intensity into a typhoon and enter the PAR on Friday.

“The movement of the developing cyclone will depend on the high-pressure area northeast of the Philippines,” Loiz said, noting that the HPA has not moved in the past days.

“The most possible scenario is it will enter the PAR but will recurve toward east of Japan… But if the HPA will not move, the cyclone, which could be a strong one, could make landfall in the Philippines,” he added.

He noted that the location of the looming cyclone is also the place where Super Typhoon Yolanda formed last year.

“Hopefully, the HPA will move, because we expect this to be really strong. It is still far and could gain more strength while over the sea,” Loiz said.

He said one or two cyclones are likely to enter the Philippines this month, warning that cyclones during this time of the year usually make landfall.

The usual track of the cyclones during the latter part of the year is Visayas and Mindanao.

On Nov. 8 last year, Yolanda slammed the Visayas, leaving more than 6,000 people dead and 1,700 missing. Strong storms Pablo and Sendong hit Mindanao in December.

Meanwhile, Loiz said fair weather is expected in most parts of the country in the next three days, apart from isolated rain showers and thunderstorms.

He said a low-pressure area (LPA) that dumped rains in Mindanao and parts of Visayas and Luzon over the weekend was spotted at 75 km west southwest of Romblon, Romblon as of 10 a.m. yesterday.

The LPA was likely to dissipate or continue to cross Southern Luzon towards the West Philippine Sea, where it could regain strength, he said.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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