Thursday, October 30, 2008

MIGRATION, THE PHILIPPINES AND THE ECONOMIC CRISIS
Centerstage / UPI Asia
Alexander Martin Remollino

Manila, Philippines, October 30 — UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon quite missed the point at the opening of the Global Forum on Migration and Development that took place yesterday here in Manila, when he said that "migration can and should be a tool to lift us out of (the) economic crisis."

Before making this point, he was talking about the reversal of migration flows, placing emphasis on net outflows from countries facing economic crises. He also admitted that several countries have already been experiencing slowdowns in remittance flows.

How migration can be a tool to help countries out of the global economic meltdown in the face of these realities, which Mr. Ban himself has helped put to light, is something that is known only to him.

Take the example of the Philippines — a country that is highly dependent on overseas remittances for propping up an economy that is perpetually ridden by deficit and debt.

The Philippines counts the United States among its biggest sources of remittances, with 51 percent of its remittances coming from Filipinos residing there. The United States is now in an economic crisis of a magnitude that has not been seen since the Great Depression of the 1930s.

To rescue itself from the effects of stock market over-inflation, especially in information technology-related stocks (i.e. the "dot com bubble"), the United States in 2001 blew a real estate and construction bubble. U.S. financial institutions offered low interest rates for home mortgage loans; even those with low income or virtually no collateral were encouraged to apply for home loans. Their loans, which became known as "subprime mortgages," accumulated in U.S. financial institutions, starting in 2001. To spread the risk exposure of banks for these subprime mortgages, there was a process of "securitization," in which home mortgage loan packages were combined with others, packaged and sold as bonds and securities called collateralized debt obligations. These were guaranteed in credit default swaps by insurance companies such as AIG and sold to other banks, financial investment houses and companies in the United States that deal in speculative investments for high returns.

However, beginning in the last quarter of 2006, borrowers — especially those with subprime mortgages — increasingly failed to pay their amortizations. This caused a ripple effect on the banks and financial investment houses holding both the mortgages and the CDOs, as well as those which issued CDS. This in turn led to a series of bankruptcies of banks and investment houses, which were touted as "too big to fall."

The effects of the subprime mortgage crisis have led to mortgage-credit losses of at least $400 billion, based on estimates by The Economist. The International Monetary Fund estimates a loss of some $945 billion worldwide.

The U.S. financial crisis has led to the closure of companies and the subsequent losses of jobs in a country that prides itself in being a symbol of the supposed successes of the capitalist paradigm.

The 4 million Filipinos in the United States are beginning to feel the effects of this economic crunch, as they are among those who are losing their jobs. Filipinos who took to the United States during their best years in search of greener pastures, and who were fortunate enough to establish lucrative careers there, are increasingly seeing the fruits of their hard work crumble to the ground.

Already, remittance flows from the United States are slowing down. We will surely feel the effects of this on the economy more and more acutely in the coming months.

The Philippines is now feeling the consequences of dependence on a labor-export policy crafted and implemented during the Marcos administration. This path was pursued instead of a national industrialization program, which could generate enough jobs domestically to prevent massive labor migration.

The Philippine experience should tell Mr. Ban that migration, rather than being a way out of economic crisis, can actually contribute to its adverse effects.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

CRIES FOR JUSTICE PURSUE PALPARAN

When he retired and after his appointment to the National Security Council fell through because of widespread opposition, Palparan has evaded media attention –- in contrast to his frequently hogging the headlines during his days in military service. He must have thought that by doing so, he could escape responsibility for the long lists of human rights abuses in his areas of assignment. Unfortunately for him, even in retirement, the cries for justice of his victims continue to pursue him.

BY ALEXANDER MARTIN REMOLLINO
HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH
Bulatlat


Shortly before he retired from the Philippine Army on Sept. 11, 2006, Maj. Gen. Jovito Palparan, Jr. made statements to the effect that he would still want to participate in the government’s counter-“insurgency” program.

He was to be given a post at the National Security Council (NSC) after his retirement from the Army, but this did not push through because of widespread opposition. Davao Rep. Prospero Nograles was reported to have taken him in as a security consultant, but both he and Nograles have denied this. Early this year he was involved in armed takeovers of a mining site and a port in Bulacan and Zambales, respectively. Lately he has been managing a jathropa plantation located on part of the Fort Magsaysay Military Reservation (FMMR) –- the same camp where he served his last assignment, as commanding officer of the Army’s 7th Infantry Division.

Through all these, Palparan has evaded media attention –- in contrast to his frequently hogging the headlines during his days in military service. He must have thought that by doing so, he could escape responsibility for the long lists of human rights abuses in his areas of assignment.

Unfortunately for him, even in retirement, the cries for justice of his victims continue to pursue him.

The Supreme Court, in a ruling penned by Chief Justice Reynato Puno, recently upheld an earlier Court of Appeals decision linking Palparan to the abduction of brothers Raymond and Reynaldo Manalo, and found “convincing” Raymond’s accounts of how they were tortured by their abductors.

The Court of Appeals had ruled based on an Oct. 24, 2007 petition by the Manalo brothers for a writ of amparo.

The Manalo brothers were abducted by soldiers on Feb. 14, 2006 in San Ildefonso, Bulacan. According to Raymond, they were first brought to Fort Magsaysay. They were subsequently transferred to Camp Tecson in San Miguel Bulacan, and then to a safehouse in Zambales, before being brought to the headquarters of the 24th Infantry Battalion in Limay, Bataan. The last place they were kept in custody was a safehouse in Pangasinan, from where they escaped on Aug. 13, 2007.

Habang nakakulong ako, kinakausap ako ni Gen. Jovito Palparan. Nakita ko na si General Palparan. dati sa telebisyon kaya ko siya nakilala at doon sinabi sa akin ni Palparan na sabihan ko sina nanay na huwag nang sumali sa mga rally ng mga grupong mga (karapatang) tao at huwag nang dumalo sa mga hearing sa Camp Tecson at Limay, Bataan (While I was detained, Gen. Jovito Palparan was talking to me. I have seen General Palparan on television, that’s how I knew it was him. Palparan told me to warn my mother against joining human rights rallies and that they should no longer attend the hearings at Camp Tecson and Limay, Bataan),” Raymond said.

Raymond also said in his account that he saw soldiers burning 54-year-old farmer Manuel Merino to death and that he saw them torture other detained activists –- including University of the Philippines (UP) students Karen Empeño and Sherlyn Cadapan, who were abducted together with Merino in Hagonoy, Bulacan on June 26, 2006 and remain missing to this day.

Palparan is haunted by his past even in retirement. And expectedly so, considering the kind of past that he has.

Trail of blood

His first assignment, as a 2nd lieutenant with the 24th Infantry Battalion stationed in Indanan, Sulu at the height of the revolutionary armed struggle waged by the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) in the 1970s, was already a foreshadowing of the path that he would take –- one on which he leaves a long list of human rights violations in his areas of assignment. In a July 2, 2006 interview with the Philippine Daily Inquirer’s Fe Zamora, he admitted that among the victims of his men were children from the Tausug tribe -– whence hail most of the MNLF fighters. There, he said, soldiers saw Tausug children as “future enemies, so the thinking was to finish them off while they were still young” -– a mode of thinking reminiscent of an American general, Gen. Jacob Smith, during the Philippine-American War who ordered the killing of everyone capable of bearing arms -– including 10-year-old boys – in Samar.

The 24th Infantry Battalion was transferred to Central Luzon in the early 1980s, this time to fight Communist-led revolutionaries. There Palparan rose through the ranks, eventually assuming the post of battalion commander in 1989. He held the post until 1991.

A fact sheet released by Karapatan (Alliance for the Advancement of People’s Rights) in 2004 shows Sta. Cruz, Zambales to have particularly suffered the brunt of operations by the 24th Infantry Battalion in 1991. In September that year, while soldiers were stationed by a chapel there, about 100 townsfolk were arrested, interrogated, and forced to sign “affidavits of surrender”. From Oct. 13-18, 10 families were forced to evacuate as a result of shelling operations. Three days later, more than 1,000 residents of the same town were forced to attend a “peace rally”, in which Palparan claimed that they were “rebel surrenderees”.

Karapatan’s tally also lists at least seven extra-judicial killings, one incident each of massacre and assault, two grenade bombings, five harassment cases, and five cases of illegal arrest and detention in Central Luzon during Palparan’s first assignment there. He was also implicated in the abduction and torture of peasant organizers and other activists during his first stint there, Karapatan records show.

His next assignment was in the Cordillera region. One of the most prominent cases of human rights violations in the said region during his stint there was the torture of Marcelo Fakila, a leader of the Cordillera Peoples Alliance (CPA) in Mountain Province and a village elder in Sagada.

Based on combined data from the CPA and Karapatan, in 1992 alone there were six cases of illegal arrest, five harassment cases, one case of disappearance, one summary execution, one case of wounding, and two cases of evacuations – all in Mountain Province during Palparan’s assignment in the region.

Southern Tagalog

He was given a quick succession of assignments after his Cordillera stint. These included the command of Task Force Banahaw, which holds jurisdiction over Rizal and Laguna. One of the most prominent victims of human rights violations during Palparan’s Task Force Banahaw stint was a five-year-old child killed in Laguna in 2001. Karapatan-Laguna listed seven killings of civilians in the province in 2001 alone.

In May that year, Palparan was deployed to head the 204th Infantry Battalion, which is stationed in Oriental Mindoro. It is in Oriental Mindoro, under Palparan’s command, that some of the most shocking cases of human rights violations under the Arroyo administration were committed.

On April 8, 2002, Expedito Albarillo, 48, a Bayan Muna (People First) coordinator in San Teodoro was dragged by some 10 soldiers from his hut, with his hands tied behind his back. Clinging to him and begging the soldiers for mercy was wife Manuela, 45, also a Bayan Muna coordinator in the same town. Shots rang out some 200 meters away, and relatives who rushed to the scene found the couple lying on their faces, bathed in their own blood. Expedito’s left eye was drooping from its socket.

On May 20 that same year, the Apolinar family –- Ruben, 54, a retired policeman; his wife, Rodriga, 54, a teacher; and their adopted child Niña Angela, 8 – were gunned down also by soldiers. Ruben and Rodriga were Bayan Muna leaders in San Teodoro.

Eight days after, it was the turn of activist Edilberto Napoles, Jr., 26, to be killed. He was gunned down near the Bayan Muna office in Calapan City.

The cases of the Albarillo couple, the Apolinar family, and Napoles were among those that prompted a fact-finding mission into human rights violations in Oriental Mindoro in April 2003.

Among the leaders of the said mission were Eden Marcellana, secretary-general of Karapatan-Southern Tagalog; and peasant leader Eddie Gumanoy. They themselves would end up losing their lives in the hands of soldiers from the 204th Infantry Battalion. The photos of the two that were used for Terror in Mindoro –- a book on the Mindoro killings published by Justice for Eden and Eddie, Justice for All in cooperation with the Ecumenical Consortium for a Just Peace –- showed their bodies bearing marks of torture.

The killings of Marcellana and Gumanoy stirred public outrage enough to get Palparan relieved from the 204th Infantry Battalion and transferred to Rizal. His Oriental Mindoro record, based on Karapatan data, totaled 326 human rights violations involving 1,219 individual victims.

The same week he was transferred to Rizal, the chief of a barangay (village) security force was killed. Before that he was repeatedly questioned by the military on his alleged links with the New People’s Army (NPA).

In February 2004, Palparan was assigned to head an Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) contingent sent on a “humanitarian” mission to Iraq. He returned seven months later, was given a Medal of Valor, and appointed as the Army’s chief of staff.

Eastern Visayas

The next year, he was called back to field duty as commanding officer of the 8th Infantry Division, which covers Eastern Visayas. The most prominent victims of human rights violations in the region during Palparan’s stint there are lawyer Felidito Dacut, youth organizer Marvin Montabon, and Rev. Edison Lapuz.

Dacut, 51, a leader of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) and Bayan Muna in Eastern Visayas, was on his way home aboard a jeepney when killed March 14, 2005. As the jeepney he was riding cruised along Arellano Street in Tacloban City, Leyte, two men aboard a motorcycle drove near the victim, and one fired a shot behind him. The bullet pierced through his heart and instantly killed him.

Earlier that day, soldiers had gone to Montabon’s home in Tarangnan, Samar and shot him before burning the house. The young man was burned inside the house.

Lapuz, Eastern Visayas conference minister of the United Church of Christ in the Philippines (UCCP) and chairman of Katungod-Sinirangang Bisayas, the Eastern Visayas chapter of Karapatan, had just come from the burial of his father when he was killed May 12, 2005. He was then busy organizing a mining conference for church people in the region.

Palparan’s record in Eastern Visayas shows a total of 570 human rights violations involving 7,561 individuals, 1,773 families, 110 communities and ten organizations all in a span of six months –- based on Karapatan data.

7th Infantry Division

In September 2005, Palparan was assigned to head the 7th Infantry Division –- an event that brought him back to Central Luzon more than two decades after he was first deployed there.

A Sept. 3, 2006 report by the Philippine Daily Inquirer cited Karapatan data pointing to 136 cases of human rights violations in Central Luzon under Palparan’s command from September 2005 to August 2006. Of these, there were 71 summary executions, five massacres, 14 frustrated killings, and 46 enforced disappearances.

The Manalo brothers, Merino, Cadapan, and Empeño are just a few of the victims of human rights violations in Central Luzon during Palparan’s stnt at the 7th Infantry Division.

Palparan’s ghosts

Each time that Palparan exited from an assignment, he left behind a long list of human rights violations. Most of his victims are civilians –- with many of them aging men, women, and youths barely out of adolescence.

Palaparan was never called to account for the long list of human rights violations being attributed to him and the units under his command. He was even praised by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo during her State of the Nation Address in July 2006 during the height of extrajudicial killings happening in the country, especially in Central Luzon where he was assigned. But now that he is retired, the persistent pursuit of justice by the relatives of his victims may be slowly catching up with him, especially with the recent Supreme Court ruling. (Bulatlat)

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

KUNG MAY MGA DALIRI SANA ANG LUPA
Alexander Martin Remollino

Binigkas ang tulang ito sa isang rali ng mga magsasaka may mahigit sa isang buwan na ang nakararaan, ngunit hindi pa nalalathala bago ang araw na ito. Ngayo'y iniaambag ito ng may-akda sa Blog Action Day 2008.


Hindi nila pag-aari
ang lupang kanilang pag-aari.
Paano magiging kanila
ang di man lamang nadampian
ng malalambot nilang palad?
Ang tanging pinagmumulan ng kanilang kapangyarihang mag-ari
ay ang mga daliri nilang mahusay na magturo
kung hanggang saan ang lupang nasasakop
ng kanilang pag-aari,
ng kanilang pag-aaring hindi kanila.

Kung may mga daliri sana ang lupa,
maituturo niya ang mga nararapat
sa kanyang pagkandili.
Maituturo niya ang mga lipaking palad
na nag-aruga sa kanya,
ang mga lipaking palad
na naghawan ng sukal at naghasik ng binhi
upang makapagluwal siya ng mga butil
na nagbibigay-buhay sa buong sambayanan.

Monday, October 13, 2008

NOTIONS OF PATRIOTISM
Centerstage / UPI Asia
Alexander Martin Remollino

Manila, Philippines, October 13 — There is at present such a dearth of patriotism in the Philippines that one-time performance of deeds that may be construed as patriotic is almost always mistaken by Filipinos for patriotism itself. Even some of those with supposedly higher political consciousness have fallen into this trap at one time or another.

This has several times led people to turn to the wrong kind of leaders for hope at having the country's pitiful conditions reversed.

But what is patriotism? The word is derived from the Latin "patria" and the Greek "patris," both of which are commonly translated into English as "fatherland." The Webster's New World Dictionary defines patriotism as "love and loyal or zealous support for one's country."

There are three other concepts here which combine to make patriotism what it is: love, loyalty, and zeal.

"Love implies intense fondness or deep devotion and may apply to various relationships or objects," the Webster's New World Dictionary states. Loyalty, meanwhile, is defined as "faithfulness or faithful adherence to a person, government, cause, duty, etc." and is held to be synonymous with allegiance. Zeal is defined as ardor and fervor, among other things.

Putting the definitions of the three concepts together, we can see that in order to be rightfully called a patriot, one has to ardently or fervently carry a deep devotion and faithful adherence to his or her country. Devotion suggests dedication and adherence implies firmness.

All these mean that patriotism is not a one-time show and one can rightfully be called a patriot only after passing the test of time. One can perform certain patriotic deeds at times but that does not mean he or she is a patriot. Only those who consistently perform patriotic acts are to be called patriots.

So long as Filipinos stick to wrong notions of patriotism, there will be little hope of improving the country's lot.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

ARMY MOVES TO EVICT PEASANTS FROM LAND

By virtue of a 1991 Deed of Transfer between the DND and the DAR, some 6,000 peasants and other residents in a 3,100-hectare area within a military reservation in Nueva Ecija should have acquired ownership of the land they live on and till. But they have not, and now they face the possibility of being driven away from the area.

BY ALEXANDER MARTIN REMOLLINO
Bulatlat


Melencio Rioroso, 76, and Francisco Espiritu Apellido, 60, are two of the peasants farming and residing in Barangay (village) San Isidro in Laur, Nueva Ecija. That village is part of a 3,100-hectare area within the Fort Magsaysay Military Reservation (FMMR) that is now the subject of a brewing land dispute.

Apellido has spent a good deal of his life in Brgy. San Isidro. He has lived there since 1966, or for 42 of his 60 years.

For as long as he can remember, it is the land in this village that has provided him and his family of eight with their daily needs. “Pagtatanim at pagbebenta ng gulay ang ikinabubuhay namin” (We earn our keep by planting and selling vegetables), he said.

He received a Certificate of Land Ownership Award (CLOA) for his one-hectare land in Brgy. San Isidro just three years ago.

Rioroso, meanwhile, has lived in at least three Nueva Ecija towns in the last three decades. Originally from Pantabangan, he and his family of eight moved to Palayan City in 1980 after acquiring six hectares of land there from a certain Armando Sabado. Two years later he and his wife, together with five of their children, moved to Laur, where they have lived since then.

In 1995, the Riorosos received four CLOAs for their land, which all in all covers 10 hectares.

Apellido and Rioroso are two of the over 1,000 peasants in the contested 3,100-hectare area within the FMMR who have received CLOAs since 1991. Right now, they live in fear of losing their lands to the military.

People have been settling in the 73,000-hectare area now known as the FMMR since the early 1950s.

In 1956, then President Ramon Magsaysay declared the area as a military reservation through Presidential Proclamation No. 237. The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) uses 15,000 of the 73,000 hectares as a camp and training ground.

On Nov. 5, 1991, through a Deed of Transfer between then Defense Secretary Renato de Villa and then Agrarian Reform Secretary Benjamin Leung, the Aquino government allotted 3,100 hectares of the FMMR to landless peasants, as well as to families evacuating from Pampanga following the eruption of Mt. Pinatubo.

By virtue of this Deed of Transfer, over a thousand peasants and other residents within the 3,100-hectare contested area have received CLOAs, but many more still have yet to acquire these.

And now, those who do have CLOAs –- like Apellido and Rioroso –- face the possibility of losing these. The Philippine Army’s 7th Infantry Division (ID), which is stationed at Fort Magsaysay, is hell-bent on driving them away from the land that should have been turned over to them nearly 17 years ago.

An Oct. 5-6 fact-finding mission organized by the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP or Peasant Movement of the Philippines), Alyansa ng Magbubukid sa Gitnang Luzon (AMGL or Peasant Alliance in Central Luzon), Alyansa ng Magbubukid na Nagkakaisa (ALMANA or United Peasant Alliance), Promotion of Church People’s Response (PCPR), Rural Missionaries of the Philippines (RMP), and Tanggol Magsasaka (Defend Farmers) found that the 7th ID has requested the DAR to cancel the CLOAs given to peasants within the 3,100-hectare contested area.

This request is contained in a June 24 letter by then Maj. Gen. Ralph Villanueva (recently promoted), commanding officer of the 7th ID, to a Mr. Orlando Tumacay, Provincial Agrarian Reform Officer of Nueva Ecija. Part of the letter reads thus:

This pertains to the dialogue conducted on 17 June 2008 at Hqs, 7ID regarding 3,100-hectare land within the Fort Magsaysay Military Reservation which was ceded by the DND in favor of DAR through a Deed of Transfer executed on 05 November 1991. Also, the latest dialogue dealing on said issue transpired on 25 (sic) June 2008 at the same venue attended by DENR and DAR personnel from Cabanatuan City.

Based on the background investigation conducted by the Division Judge Advocate of this Command, said area is subject to a case filed by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) against the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR). This case is still pending at the Court of Appeals.

In this regard, may I request that all issuances of titles within the 3,100 hectares of the Fort Magsaysay Military Reservation be deferred pending the litigation of the case filed at the Court of Appeals. I would like to further request that all Certificates of Land Ownership Award (CLOAs) be revoked
(emphasis supplied -– AMR) upon the affirmation of the Secretary of Justice on our stand that the Deed of Transfer regarding the 3,100 hectares is null and void since only another Presidential Proclamation can declare such land use.


The Division Judge Advocate referred to in Villanueva’s letter is Col. Hermilo Barrios –- the same “Colonel Barrios” who, Brgy. San Isidro residents told the fact-finding mission, has been going around the 3,100-hectare contested area, summoning them and the residents of the other villages to “meetings” and “assuring” them that their lands would not be taken.

Apellido and Rioroso have both lived and earned their living in Brgy. San Isidro for a good part of their lives, and cannot imagine themselves in any other place.

“Malalaman ko na lang siguro”
(I’ll probably just find out later), Apellido said when asked where he will go if he and his family are driven away from the land.

“Ewan ko” (I don’t know), Rioroso said when asked the same question. (Bulatlat)
KMU LEADER, LAWYER SLAM TAGGING OF UNION AS 'REBEL GROUP' IN TEXTBOOK

The KMU is tagged as a “rebel group” in a high school textbook; one of its lawyers is slapped with criminal charges in connection with the burning of a cellsite; there was an attempt to break into their national office. All these, says one of the KMU’s leaders, have the objective of destroying the workers’ movement.

BY ALEXANDER MARTIN REMOLLINO
LABOR WATCH
Bulatlat


The executive vice chairman and the chief legal counsel of the Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU or May 1st Movement) have condemned the labor center’s tagging as a “rebel group” in a high school textbook that has been in circulation since 2003.

In the book Filipino: Wika at Panitikan sa Makabagong Henerasyon I (Filipino: Language and Literature for the New Generation I) –- written by Angelina Binsol and Teresita Lacsina, examined by Encarnacion Jimenez, and published by Diwa Scholastic Press, Inc., the KMU is listed as a “rebel group” along with the New People’s Army (NPA), the National Democratic Front (NDF), the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF). The listing occurs as part of an exercise where the students are instructed to research on how to contribute toward the surrender of these groups’ members.

The same list describes the NPA as being under the leadership of Bernabe Buscayno, more commonly known by his former nom de guerre “Kumander Dante”.

For several years during the 1960s and 1970s, Buscayno was known as the highest-ranking NPA leader. He was arrested in 1976 and, together with opposition politician Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino, Jr., was found guilty of subversion, illegal possession of firearms, and murder. He was sentenced to death by firing squad two years later. But his sentence was never carried out and he lived to see what is now known as the EDSA I uprising of 1986, which ousted the Marcos regime. He never rejoined the NPA: he ran for senator in 1987, and has repeatedly declared that he no longer believes in the armed struggle.

In an Oct. 11 press conference in Quezon City, KMU executive vice chairman Lito Ustarez said the tagging of the KMU as a “rebel group” is part of the government’s offensive against its critics. “Because the KMU is the one labor center that really advances workers’ interests, it is being lumped into the same league with groups that are considered enemies of the state,” Ustarez said.

The KMU executive vice chairman said the union’s tagging as a “rebel group”, which they discovered last September, is just one of the many forms of harassment that they have been experiencing, not just from the Arroyo administration but also from capitalists.

He cirted the case of Remigio Saladero, KMU’s chief legal counsel, who was recently accused by telecommunications corporation Globe Philippines of being among 27 “NPA members” who burned the company’s cellsite in Batangas. Saladero, together with 26 Southern Tagalog activists –- all leaders of legal and progressive organizations –- has been slapped with criminal charges in connection with the Globe cellsite burning.

“They tagged him as an NPA member to have an excuse for arresting him without warrant,” Ustarez said.

Saladero, for his part, denounced the criminal charges against him and the 26 Southern Tagalog activists as “false, incredible, fantastic, and part of the intensifying repression of workers.”

He noted that even labor lawyers are no longer spared from open harassment. “This is so that no one will be left to defend workers,” he said.

Ustarez also cited a recent attempt to break into the KMU office in Quezon City. On Oct. 6, at around 3 a.m., a man carrying a knife was seen scaling the walls of the Balai Obrero compound in Proj. 3, Quezon City, where the KMU national office is based. Citing eyewitness accounts, Ustarez said the man was accompanied by three lookouts in a tricycle nearby. When one of the neighbors was awakened, the man jumped down and ran off with his companions.

Ustarez said they suspect the would-be burglars could actually be military personnel. “Witnesses said they were burly men sporting crew-cut hair,” he said.

The KMU leader said all these “attacks” against his group have the objective of destroying the workers’ movement. (Bulatlat)
ANG PINAKATAHIMIK MAN NATING MGA GABI AY HINDI TAHIMIK

NI ALEXANDER MARTIN REMOLLINO
Inilathala ng Bulatlat


Maging ang pinakamahimbing nating pagtulog
ay hindi mahimbing.
Sa pinakatahimik man nating mga gabi,
waring walang katapusan ang ingay ng mga buldoser,
ng nagkakapira-pirasong mga tabla,
ng nagkakayupi-yuping mga yero.
Sapagkat may ilang nagnanasang umangkin
ng ating karapatang
makumutan ng katahimikan sa kalaliman ng gabi,

ng ating karapatang huminga nang maluwag.

Sa lupang itong inaagaw nila sa atin,
ibig nilang itanim ang mga binhi
ng lalong pagrangya nilang mararangya.
Ang ating mga bangkay ang kanilang nais na pataba.

(Inilathala ng Bulatlat)