Philippines

Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte, elected in May on a platform that combined pledging to defend ordinary citizens against a corrupt elite with carrying out extreme repression against drug users and other “criminals”, gave his inaugural state of the nation address on July 25. The statement below was released by the socialist Party of the Labouring Masses in response. * * *
Civil society groups from across the globe, including prominent human rights NGOs, have called on United Nations drug control authorities to urge an immediate stop to the extrajudicial killings of suspected drug offenders in the Philippines. Since May 10, more than 700 people have been killed by police and vigilantes in the Philippines for being suspected of using or dealing drugs. The mass killings are a direct result of recently-elected President Rodrigo Duterte’s campaign to eradicate crime within six months.
The following statement was released by the Filipino socialist party, the Partido Lakas ng Masa, on July 11 in response to death squad killings of alleged drug dealers in the Philippines since the recent election of President Rodrigo Duterte. * * * Stop the killings! Prosecute the Generals and the top henchmen of the illegal drug trade! In less than two weeks, more than a hundred alleged drug pushers and petty drug traffickers were killed in the war against drugs called by the Rodrigo Duterte government.
The Benigno Aquino administration is down to its final days till it makes way for the new presidency of Rodrigo Duterte, who was elected in May. You could make the case that we are also seeing the curtain fall on the 30-year-old liberal democratic state that came to existence with the February 1986 EDSA Uprising that overthrew the military dictatorship of Marcos.
Ating Guro vigil outside Comelec office. Manila, May 27. Photo: Partido Lakas ng Masa. Supporters of the Ating Guro (Teachers Dignity) partylist held a three-night vigil outside the offices of the Philippines Commission on Election (Comelec) on May 24, to protest apparent irregularities in counting votes after the May 9 general election.
The May 9 election of controversial populist Rodrigo Duterte as president of the Philippines is a sign that capitalism is in crisis in the Philippines, chairperson of the left-wing Partido Lakas ng Masa (PLM) Sonny Melencio told a conference in Sydney on May 14. Melencio told the Socialism for the 21st Century conference: “People were fed up with the old 'trapo' [traditional politician] and elite forces that have long ruled the government since the overthrow of military dictator Ferdinand Marcos in 1986.
On April 1, police opened fire on indigenous and rural poor protesters who were blocking the highway into Kidapawan in the landlocked province of Cotabato on the island of Mindanao, killing three protesters and injuring at least 116. While no investigation of the police action has yet taken place, 71 protesters remain detained. On April 4 a police spokesperson announced that Cotabato police chief Alexander Tagum would be suspended pending an investigation.
A secene from the peoples' power' uprising that ousted the US-backed Marcos dictatorship 30 years ago. The EDSA Uprising of February 25, 1986, overthrew the Philippine's brutal US-backed dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos. The uprising was named after the Manila thoroughfare where events unfolded. It is often known as “EDSA 1” to distinguish it from later uprisings that occurred in EDSA.
Thousands marched in protest during the APEC Summit held in Manila on November 18-19. US President Barack Obama turned up with a "gift" of two warships to the summit perversely themed of this APEC Summit is "Building Inclusive Growth". More than a quarter of Filipinos are struggling to survive on less than US$1.25 per day but Obama does not come with food, clothing, housing or anything urgently needed by these millions in extreme poverty, but with two warships to underline Washington's latest military build up against China.
Protest at Kentex factory, Valenzuela City, Metro Manila, May 15. Photo: Partido Lakas ng Masa/Facebook. Revelations have continued emerging over safety and labour abuses at the Philippines factory where 72 people died in a fire on May 13.
On September 24, one day after the United Nations climate summit in New York once more failed to come up with any form of serious action to confront the climate crisis, Filipino socialist group Party of the Labouring Masses released the statement below. * * * Philippines President Benigno Aquino concluded his United Nations speech in New York on September 23 by posing the question: What more can we do? The question is rhetorical, even hypocritical, as the president well knows what needs to be done: to address the demands of the mass movements, which he has heard, but not heeded.
When I was travelling from Manila to Australia, I bought a copy of a book to read on the plane. It was Dan Brown’s novel Inferno. Actually, when this book first hit the bookshops, the Philippines went crazy about a small part of the novel that referred to Manila as the “gate of hell”.
Sonny Melencio is chairperson of the Filipino Party of the Labouring Masses (PLM) and a former council member of Solidarity of Filipino Workers (BMP). Melencio is also involved in a new coalition against the established “political dynasties” in the Philippines, called Alliance for Truth, Integrity and Nationalism (ATIN).
The Manila Seedling Bank, a seven hectare area of small market gardens and big and small shops selling plants, was a rare green space among the traffic jams, shopping malls and slums on the intersection of Quezon and Edsa Avenues in Quezon City, Metro Manila. It was also home to a community of hundreds of smallholding horticulturalists and their families. That was until January 20.
Residents in the urban poor settlement of San Dionisio in Barangay Cupang, Muntinlupa in Metro Manila, were woken on January 15 by a heavily armed police SWAT team. Brandishing a local government order that referred to an address in a different barangay (neighbourhood), authorities overrode objections of residents and started tearing down their homes.
“When we went out, it was like a Zombieland,” Zoreen Agustin, a student at the University of the Philippines’ (UP) Tacloban campus told me on December 2. “A lot of people were walking around, some with no shoes and their clothes all torn, a lot of people were covered in cuts.” She was referring to what she saw after Tacloban, and much of the Eastern Visayas region, were demolished by Super Typhoon Yolanda (known as Typhoon Haiyan outside the Philippines) on November 8. The storm, one of the strongest on record to hit land, killed anywhere between 5000 and 10,000 people.

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