Philippines

Laban ng Masa, a new coalition of trade unionists, community activists, urban poor organisations, feminists and socialists, marked its formation by organising a mass protest in Manila on September 21.

The protest marked the 45th anniversary of the declaration of martial law by former dictator Ferdinand Marcos and to oppose moves towards martial law by President Rodrigo Duterte, who openly admires Marcos. Duterte’s government has already declared martial law in Mindanao and overseen 13,000 extrajudicial killings of poor people in a “war on drugs”.

Filipino socialist group, the Partido Lakas ng Masa (PLM), released the statement slightly abridged below on September 3 after the Australian government announced to it would send special forces to work with the murderous Rodrigo Duterte regime in Mindanao in the name of the “war on terror”.

***
The PLM demands that the Australian government withdraw the two Australian air force Orion spy planes participating in combat since June in Marawi, Mindanao, and abandon plans announced by Australian government ministers to send special forces.

Filipino President Rodrigo Duterte’s annual State of the Nation (SONA) address on July 24 reflected his government’s increasing trajectory towards dictatorship. Outside, protest marches converged on the parliamentary complex at Batasan, reflecting the growing grassroots opposition to the worsening dictatorial trend.

US exports to China totalled US$116 billion last year, while its imports reached $463 billion. The $347 billion deficit accounts for almost 70% of the US’s total trade deficit.

US President Donald Trump’s most influential senior advisers, Peter Navarro, who heads the National Trade Council, and US secretary of commerce Wilbur Ross, call China “the biggest trade cheater in the world”.

After burying former dictator Ferdinand Marcos’ remains at the national heroes’ cemetery and helping Ferdinand’s son Bongbong Marcos in his bid to become vice president, Duterte has now placed all of Mindanao — and threatened to place the entire country — under martial law. 

Today, we may now be just one “security crisis” away from outright military rule.

Filipino police and military forces in the small city of Marawi on the island of Mindanao attempted to arrest Isnilon Hapilon, a leader of the Abu Sayyaf criminal gang, on May 23. By the end of the day, President Rodrigo Duterte’s government had declared martial law throughout the island for 60 days and launched a military assault.

By June 2, that ongoing assault, including air strikes, had killed at least 160 people and displaced hundreds of thousands.

This dramatic escalation represents the further slide of Duterte’s administration towards authoritarian rule and a betrayal of his election campaign promise to pursue a negotiated end to Mindanao’s multiple insurgencies.

The following statement was released by Filipino socialist party Partido Lakas ng Masa (PLM) on May 25 in response to the government's May 23 declaration of martial law in Mindanao for a 60-day period.

* * *

Oro
Written & directed by Alvin Yapan
Feliz Film Productions, 2016

Oro, the Filipino film written and directed by Alvin Yapan released in December, is based on the 2014 murder of four small-scale miners in Sitio, Lahuy.

For 20 years, Elmer (Joem Bascon) and his men have freely mined in the tiny but gold-rich island of Lahuy Island in the town of Caramoan in Bicol.

Thirty-four students of the Cavite State University (CvSU) in Silang, in the Filipino province of Cavite, have been sued for libel by school administrators. In response, the start of the second semester was met with a mass protest against harassment, irregularities and the deterioration of the educational system.

Aleppo, bombed out.

The statement below was released by the Party of the Labouring Masses (PLM), a Filipino socialist group, on December 14.

***

The bombs are falling on Aleppo as we issue this statement and the people of Aleppo are sending their final messages and last minute appeals to avert what can only be described as genocide by a brutal regime against its own people.

The burial of former dictator Ferdinand Marcos at the Heroes’ Cemetery (Libingan ng mga Bayani — LNMB) was hurriedly and secretively carried out, with military-style logistical support.

Marcos ruled the Philippines from 1965 until he was overthrown in the Peoples Power EDSA Uprising of 1986. He died in exile in the US three years later.

Filipino President Rodrigo Duterte’s statement declaring his intentions to “separate” from the United States in both military and economic relations should be welcomed, but it’s easier said than done. Hence the president’s constant “backtracking” on his statements.

Given the president’s inconsistency, the question is posed: What does it mean to be an anti-imperialist government today? And is lining up with China (and to a lesser-extent Russia) an anti-imperialist positioning?

My heart breaks over Category 4 Hurricane Matthew’s slamming of Haiti, Jamaica and Cuba.

When Hurricane Sandy struck New York City where I live, our entire neighbourhood was destroyed — every single house was uninhabitable.

On October 10, a protest was held outside the Philippines Consulate in Sydney by the NSW Users and AIDS Association (NUAA) as part of a global week of action by the International Network of People who Use Drugs (INPUD) against recently elected Filipino President Rodrigo Duterte’s campaign of extrajudicial executions of real and alleged drug users and dealers. More than 3500 such extrajudicial executions have taken place since Duterte assumed office on June 30. The statement below was released by INPUD.

*  *  *

The following statement was released by the Partido Lakas ng Masa (PLM) on September 7.

* * *

The dangerously deteriorating situation that the country now faces, marked by the killings and bombings resulting in the meaningless death of thousands of people, is a result of the war strategy followed by the Rodrigo Duterte regime. The war strategy, which began as a “war against drugs”, has now been extended and intensified with the “war on terror” in Mindanao.

Pro-revolution march on August 30. Photo via TeleSUR. The statement below was released by the Philippines-Venezuela Solidarity Network (PhilVenSol) on August 31. It comes after calls from Venezuela for international solidarity against new US-backed destabilisation against the elected government and revolutionary movement. ***

Pages

Subscribe to Philippines