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Philippines

US imperialist aggression in the early 21st century

Washington has reactivated the US Navy’s 4th Fleet to ensure US power projection over the Caribbean, Central and South America.

[This talk was presented at the regional “socialism conference” was held in Manila from November 27 to 28, 2010. The conference was organised by the socialist Partido Lakas ng Masa (Party of the Labouring Masses) and the socialist-feminist regional network Transform Asia.]

By Rasti Delizo

Philippines: Successful Asian regional conference discusses socialist strategy

Delegates and international participants. Photo by Macario Sakay.

By Partido Lakas ng Masa international desk

December 11, 2010 -- A successful "socialism conference" was held in Manila from November 27 to 28. The conference was organised by the socialist Partido Lakas ng Masa (PLM, Party of the Labouring Masses) and the socialist-feminist regional network, Transform Asia. The conference was attended by 100 delegates, leaders of the PLM from Metro Manila and other leading socialists of the Philippine left, as well as 13 international guests.

The international organisations represented were the Malaysian Socialist Party (PSM); People’s Democratic Party (PRD-Indonesia); Working People’s Association (PRP-Indonesia); Political Committee of the Poor-People’s Democratic Party (KPRM-PRD-Indonesia); Left Turn Thailand; Socialist Alliance (Australia); the Left Party (Sweden); the General Confederation of Nepalese Trade Unions (Gefont); the Vietnamese Union of Friendship Organisations; and the Centre for Environment and Community Asset Development (Vietnam).

`French workers and people show the way in resisting attacks' -- solidarity from Philippines, Australia, Indonesia

Demonstration in Lyon, central France, October 16, 2010. AP Photo/Laurent Cipriani, Boston.com.
For more on the French workers' upsurge, click HERE.

Disaster management: New Zealand, Haiti and the ‘Cuban way’

Earthquake damage in Christchurch. Although similar in magnitude to the January 2010 earthquake in Haiti that killed 250,000, nobody died in the September 5, 2010, New Zealand quake.

By Reihana Mohideen, Manila

September 8, 2010 -- Comparisons must be made between the impact of the September 5 earthquake on Christchurch, New Zealand, and the quake that hit Haiti in January. The nature of a global system that maintains these inequalities should be exposed over and over again. In Haiti – with a population of around 9 million – some 250,000 people died in the earthquake and (according to government figures) 200,000 were injured and 1 million were made homeless. Some eight months later disaster still grips peoples lives. Fortunately, but in a staggering contrast, no lives were lost in New Zealand, although the earthquake was of a similar -- but slightly more powerful --- magnitude (7 on the Richter scale).

Philippines: PLM calls for an independent inquiry on the hostage killings

By Sonny Melencio, Partido Lakas ng Masa

August 28, 2010 -- The Philippines Partido Lakas ng Masa (Party of the Labouring Masses) commiserates with the families of the eight Chinese nationals killed in the tour-bus hijacking in Manila on August 23. The blunders of the Philippines police and officials in the hijacking crisis, which led to the deaths of the eight tourists, are indefensible from many aspects.

Philippines: Extrajudicial killings and the struggle for land reform under ‘Noynoy’ Aquino

Satur Ocampo.

Satur Ocampo, Bayan Muna president, interviewed by Reihana Mohideen

August 11, 2010 -- Some 1205 extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary killings, largely political activists and journalists, took place under the government of former Philippines president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, according to the human rights organisation Karapatan. In the few weeks since the June 30 inauguration of the new president Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III, six extrajudicial killings have taken place, three being members of organisations aligned with the Bayan Muna (Country First) party.

Bayan Muna is an electoral formation and Satur Ocampo is its president. Ocampo is a former member of the Philippines Congress representing Bayan Muna, when Bayan Muna topped the 2001 and 2004 party list elections (the system of proportional representation for the marginalised sectors). Ocampo headed the peace negotiations panel of the National Democratic Front, allied with the Communist Party of the Philippines–New People’s Army (CPP-NPA), after the collapse of the Marcos dictatorship in 1986.

El significado de la Presidencia de Noynoy Aquino

[English version at http://links.org.au/node/1743.]

Sin Permiso -- El pasado 9 de junio el senador del Partido Liberal Benigno Aquino III, conocido popularmente como “Noynoy” Aquino, hijo de la difunta Presidenta Cory Aquino, fue proclamado Presidente de Filipinas. Su toma de posesión tuvo lugar el 30 junio, en medio de importantes ilusiones y expectativas de una ruptura con el periodo corrupto y caciquil de Gloria Matapagal Arroyo. Reihana Mohideen, una socialista feminista que coordinada la ONG filipina “Trasform Asia” ha entrevistado a tres destacados dirigentes de la izquierda socialista filipina (Frank Pascual, Sonny Melencio y Ric Reyes) para entrever la naturaleza y el alcance del nuevo periódo político abierto en Filipinas.

Philippines: The meaning of the `Noynoy' Aquino presidency

Senator Benigno Aquino III ("Noynoy" Aquino) campaigns in Manila.

By Reihana Mohideen

(Based on interviews with leaders of the Philippines left, Frank Pascual, Sonny Melencio and Ric Reyes.)

June 13, 2010 -- On June 9 Senator Benigno Aquino III ("Noynoy" Aquino) of the Liberal Party, the son of former President Cory Aqunio, was proclaimed president by the Philippines Congress. Noynoy was a former senator “with little legislative record to speak of”, according to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper, which nevertheless campaigned hard for Noynoy Aquino’s presidency, soon after Cory Aquino’s death in August 2009.

Paradoxically, with the restoration of the Aquinos to the presidency, the elections have also resulted in the restoration of the Marcoses to national politics, with the former dictator's son Bongbong Marcos being elected to the Senate, Imelda Marcos winning a seat in Congress and her daughter Imee Marcos winning the governorship of their political bailiwick, the province of Ilocos Norte.

Filipinas: apuntes sobre las elecciones del pasado 10 de mayo

Nuestro amigo Sonny Melencio, histórico dirigente de la izquierda socialista filipina, hace un agudo balance analítico de la situación política del país asiático. 

13 junio 2010 -- www.sinpermiso.info -- De las elecciones del 10 de mayo de 2010 se han dicho que han sido las más limpias y pacíficas desde la restauración de este ejercicio tras la caída de la dictadura de Marcos en 1986. Y ello debido a la informatización del recuento de votos, que por su rapidez ha impedido que haya el suficiente tiempo como para que cualquiera de los trapo (políticos tradicionales) amañe las urnas.  

Walden Bello on Thailand: `A class war with Thai characteristics'

By Walden Bello

May 25, 2010 -- Nearly a week after the event, Thailand is still stunned by the military assault on the Red Shirt encampment in the tourist centre of the capital city of Bangkok on May 19. The Thai government is treating captured Red Shirt leaders and militants like they're from an occupied country. No doubt about it: A state of civil war exists in this country, and civil wars are never pretty.

The last few weeks have hardened the Bangkok middle class in its view that the Red Shirts are "terrorists" in the pocket of ousted Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra. At the same time, they have convinced the lower classes that their electoral majority counts for nothing. "Pro-Thaksin" versus "Anti-Thaksin": This simplified discourse actually veils what is — to borrow Mao's words — a class war with Thai characteristics.

Epic tragedy

Philippines: The May 10 elections and the left

By Sonny Melencio, Manila

May 17, 2010 – The May 10, 2010, election has been bandied about as the cleanest and the most peaceful since the restoration of this exercise after the fall of the Marcos dictatorship in 1986. This is attributed to the computerised election which ensured the quick counting of votes so that there would not be sufficient time for any of the trapo (traditional politician) to cheat.

However, there have been many reported election irregularities according to independent organisations that observed the elections. These include the distribution of “faulty” compact flash (CF) cards, which delayed the voting and transmission of results; the failure of several Board of Election inspectors to use ultraviolet lamps to verify the authenticity of the ballots; the actual number of disenfranchised voters (from 2.5 million to 5 million mostly first-time voters according to the watchdog Kontra Daya); and the many reports of malfunctioning precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machines.

Philippines faces election failure

By Reihana Mohideen

May 9, 2010 -- The country faces a possible failure of elections on May 10 due to the inability of the Philippines' elite to ensure a resolution to the political crisis through elections, and the general incompetence of a corruption ridden, elite-controlled, weak state to conduct credible elections, above all one based on a fully automated voting system.

Only five days before the elections a major test run of the equipment failed. In several precincts around the country, for example, votes cast for the opposition Liberal Party candidate Noynoy Aquino were counted as votes for the candidate backed by the government party Lakas Kampi CMD’s (Christian Muslim Democrats), Gilbert Teodoro.

In one important aspect, i.e. the public trust in the electoral commission to conduct credible elections, the elections have already failed. People are extremely distrustful of the electoral commission and its credibility is virtually in tatters. The commission is suspected of being manipulated by the president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo (known as GMA in the Philippines) to serve her personal political interests, and several commissioners are known to be in the pay of GMA.

Philippines left and the 2010 elections: Military rebels in the elections

Francisco Nemenzo.

By Reihana Mohideen, based on an interview with well-known Marxist Francisco Nemenzo

May 6, 2010 -- An important political development in recent years, a result of the widespread opposition to the government of Gloria Macapagal Arroyo [known in the Philippines as GMA], is the radicalisation of junior officers and soldiers of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), which has drawn a new generation into progressive politics.

Philippines: Ric Reyes for Pasig mayor -- a model electoral campaign for the left

By Reihana Mohideen

April 7, 2010 -- Socialist Feminist -- Ric Reyes' campaign for mayor of the city Pasig was formally launched at a 5000-strong local rally on March 26. The march, the biggest to be held in that city for many years, snaked its way on a "long march" through the working-class sections of Pasig. Ric Reyes' campaign is a model campaign for the left – an example of how to conduct a united, principled and effective electoral intervention.

The campaign unites local mass leaders and activists of Akbayan and the Partido Lakas ng Masa, in a tactical alliance with the local "yellow forces" of the Liberal Party, whose national presidential candidate is Noynoy Aquino. The local chapter of the Magdalo, one of the political formations formed by military rebels who attempted to lead a military mutiny against President Gloria Macapagal Aorroyo, is also supporting the campaign.

The electoral debacle of the Philippines left

By Reihana Mohideen

[The first two in a series of commentaries in the lead-up to the May 10, 2010 elections in the Philippines.]

March 12, 2010 -- Socialist Feminist -- While Latin America has opened up a new socialist front for the 21st century and we have the most recent victory of the united left coalition in Uruguay, the Frente Amplio (FA – Broad Front), led by a former leader of the Tupamaros Jose "Pepe" Mujica, winning thep residency in November 2009, the Philippines left, by contrast, is a tragic and even horrible spectacle going into the May 2010 elections.

While the left is undeniably present in the electoral arena, the main tactic pursued is to vie for positions in the Senate tickets of pro-capitalist trapo (traditional politicians) presidential candidates who are the frontrunners in the polls, i.e. the tickets of Noynoy Aquino, the presidential candidate of the Liberal Party (which is carrying an Akbayan Senate candidate), Manny Villar, the presidential candidate of the Nacionalista Party (which is carrying two senators for the Bayan bloc), and the previously ousted former president Joseph Estrada of the Partido ng Masang Pilipino (which is running a Sanlakas Senate candidate).

IWD in the Philippines: `For a government of the women masses and a socialist feminist society'

Women dying from the Asian `miracle': System change a must to save women’s lives

By Reihana Mohideen

March 8, 2010 -- Despite the fanfare about Asia’s "miracle" economies, the problem of "missing women and girls" is actually growing, according to the United Nations Development Program-sponsored 2010 Asia-Pacific Human Development Report.

These "missing" girls and women are a result of the abortion of girl fetuses and women dying through sheer neglect – underfed and starved and not receiving adequate health care. The birth gender disparity is the highest in East Asia, home of the Asian "miracle" economies, where 119 boys are born for every 100 girls. China and India, much touted for their economic success, account for 85 million of these 100 million "missing" women. 

Philippines: Justice for murdered journalists and human rights heroes! End trapo politics now!

Medical workers cover the bodies of massacre victims, November 25, 2009.

By Sonny Melencio, Partido Lakas ng Masa

November 25, 2009 -- The Partido Lakas ng Masa (PLM) condemns in the strongest possible terms the massacre in Maguindanao. We assert that this is not only a problem confined to Mindanao, but that it’s a symptom of a festering and rotten political system. We predict that this violence will be the feature of the coming elections, as the political elite struggle with increasing desperation and ferocity for a share of the ever-dwindling national wealth and power.

[On November 23, 57 people were massacred by the ruling Ampatuan clan that governs the province -- see news report below.]

The Philippine elections are a veritable killing fields and the killings have begun!

Philippines socialists: `Moratorium on foreign debt to pay for a modern weather forecasting service'

Scenes from Manila in the aftermath of Typhoon Ondoy. Photos: Vitamin OC.

By Partido Lakas ng Masa

Moratorium on foreign debt servicing to pay for essential and basic services! Upgrade Pagasa’s equipment now!

Philippines: Flood relief appeal from Partido Lakas ng Masa

By Reihana Mohideen, international desk, Partido Lakas ng Masa (Party of the Labouring Masses)

September, 28, 2009 -- Typhoon Ondoy swept through the Philippines on September 26, displacing some 250,000 people and, according to the most recent reports, has left some 86 people dead. Urban centres, such as Metro Manila, were also badly affected with more than 80% of the city under water. In some areas the water was around 4'-5' deep. Apparently one month’s rainfall poured down in a matter of a few hours.

We are conducting relief operations through our own networks and we are appealing for funds to support our relief work. The typhoon has now cleared and today we will be assessing the situation based on reports from our organisers on the ground. This will also include getting information on the state of the government's disaster management response. Reports are coming in about the inadequacy of the government's response -- in some areas people are still waiting for rescue operations to get to them and in other cases people are still waiting for food assistance.

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