Archive | January, 2012

Posted on 31 January 2012 by admin

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US military buildup is biggest threat to regional peace – Bayan

Posted on 30 January 2012 by admin

News Release

January 30, 2011

The umbrella group Bagong Alyansang Makabayan today called on the Philippine government not to allow the country to be used by the United States in its attempt to strengthen its dominance in Asia. The call came after the US announced it would be stationing more troops in the Philippines to counter the alleged threats from China. The Chinese government has called for peace and stability in the region but state newspaper Global Times has called for sanctions against the Philippine government.

“While we may not agree with the call to punish the Philippines, we must also point out that the US military does pose a threat to regional peace. If we think China has tendencies to impose its power in the region, the same can certainly be said of the US which is an even bigger bully. The US wants to encircle China and counter North Korea because they are not wholly subservient to the US,” said Bayan secretary general Renato M. Reyes, Jr.

We support a peaceful resolution of all maritime and territorial disputes in the region and vehemently oppose the use or threat of force from any party including China. However, once the US military is involved, the disputes will become even more complicated and tensions will rise. The US only cares for its own hegemonic interests and is merely exploiting the weakness of the Philippine government,” Reyes added.

Bayan also criticized the Philippine government’s inconsistent reasoning for allowing additional US troop deployment in the country. Initially, the Philippine government said that the added deployment was meant to counter China. It later backtracked and said that the deployment was aimed at modernizing the AFP, with or without the ongoing disputes in the region.

“The Philippine government is mistaken on both counts. If the reason is to counter China, then this undermines the prospect of a peaceful resolution of the disputes. If the reason is modernizing the AFP, we don’t see how this could happen if all we are getting are Excess Defense Articles from the US. We have a Mutual Defense Treaty with the US which has been in effect for 60 years but has not led to the modernization of the AFP,” Reyes said.


Disclose results of VFA review

Bayan called on the Aquino administration to officially disclose the results of the review it conducted on the Visiting Forces Agreement before entering into any negotiations for additional US troops in the country.

“The Aquino government pledged to review the VFA and from the information we received from various sources, the review has been concluded, yet no results have been made public. We have not addressed the problems of the VFA yet here is the Aquino government asking for more US troops to be stationed in the country. Where is the national interest in that?” Reyes asked.

“How can the Philippine government justify more US troops when the outstanding problems such as the custody of erring or convicted US soldiers and their permanent stationing in the country are not even discussed?” he added.   ###

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Militants slam plan for more US troops in the PH

Posted on 30 January 2012 by admin

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Groups protest plans for more US troops in PH

Posted on 30 January 2012 by admin

News Release

January 28, 2012

The umbrella group Bagong Alyansang Makabayan today slammed the Philippine and US governments for the ongoing negotiations that aim to put more US troops and ships in the Philippines as part of the US build-up against China. Bayan and its member organization held a protest action today in front of the US embassy and demanded discolusre of the terms of the negotiations while opposing additional US troops.

“The US and Philippine governments are reversing the hard-won gains in booting out US bases from our country. They want more US troops to have a permanent and continuing presence, much like during the time of the US bases. They are deceiving the public when they say that US troops will be here on a temporary basis. That’s a big, fat lie,” said Bayan secretary general Renato M. Reyes, Jr.

“If the US troops are here on a temporary and rotational basis, how come they haven’t left Mindanao since 2002? If we allow more US troops to enter our country, the entire archipelago will be transformed into one military outpost for US hegemonic interests. Worse, the VFA does not set a limit on the number of US troops that can enter the Philippine territory,” Reyes added.

Prof. Roland Simbulan of the JUNK VFA Movement lamented that talks of additional US troops are underway when government has not addressed the problems with the Visiting Forces Agreement.

“This is an about-face from the position taken by P-Noy when he was senator, reneging on the resolution he signed to review the VFA and if the US ignores it, have the VFA abrogated,” Simbulan said.

The International League of People’s Struggle Philippine chapter meanwhile said that the people of Southeast Asia should oppose US expansionism and bulllying. “The US, not China, is the biggest bully around. The US is the biggest threat to world peace, having launched two major wars over the past ten years. US military presence is not a detterent to war. US presence here adds tension to the region,” the group said.

Reyes said that the Philippine government is either naïve or ignorant when it believes that US troop presence will help our claims over the West Philippine Sea.

“It is so obvious that the US is merely playing-up the China-card and the Spratly’s issue so they can get a better foothold on this region. The US doesn’t care for our interests. They only care for their own economic, political and military agenda,” Reyes said.

“Let’s not put a price tag on our sovereignty and national interest. The Aquino government is so easily swayed and dictated upon by the promise of US miiitary junk and second-hand equipment,” he added.

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Condemn Spate of South Korean Immigration’s Repression against AWC-Japan!

Posted on 30 January 2012 by admin

AWC-Japan
30 January 2012

South Korean immigration authority rejected the entry of AWC international secretariat and co-representative of AWC-Japan into South Korea and deported them to Japan. They have planed to attend the 15th Campaign Coordinating Body (CCB) meeting held in Seoul, South Korea on 28-29 January 2012. We, AWC-Japan, strongly condemn the deportation by South Korean immigration and the ‘entry-ban-order’ against them by the Department of Justice of ROK under Lee Myong-bak administration.

South Korean Justice Department continue to ban the entry of other 2 activists of AWC-Japan into South Korea since last August 2011. On this time, we recognized that South Korean government have issued the ‘entry-ban-order’ against at least 4 members in AWC-Japan.

We believe that deportation of AWC international secretariat and co-representative of AWC-Japan, that followed the case on the end of last August 2011, is part of repression against anti-naval base struggle in Jeju Island, South Korea. Those 2 delegates have joined AWC-Japan’s ‘peace tour to Jeju’ showing their solidarity for anti-naval base struggle there on last August 2011. On the other hand, other delegates from AWC-Japan who have no experience of visiting to Jeju could enter to South Korea safely. An immigration staffs said to AWC international secretariat, ‘you are prohibited to enter South Korea because you oppose the policy of South Korean government’. However, it is unforgiving act that the government issued the ‘entry-ban-order’ arbitrary in order to accomplish its wrong policy. Such government’s act itself is illegal.

We condemn the political repression of Lee Myong-bak administration against us. At the same time, we also condemn the behavior of immigration officials in airport and airport police. There is similarity on the cases that we faced: 1) no explanation of the reason of rejection of the entry; 2) denying the rights of objection; 3) lying and threat in order to deport; 4) deportation by violent measures. These violate human rights association obviously.

In addition, South Korean embassy in Philippine obstructed the visit of representative of BAYAN-Philippine to South Korea. The embassy officials have delayed the issue of visa by demanding of him to submit many additional documents. He could not attend the AWC-CCB meeting because of such embassy’s harassment.

AWC-Japan, with AWC Korea Committee, had implemented the signature campaign to demand the lifting of the entry-ban-order of our members that issued on last August 2011. We also brought the case to the National Human Rights Commission of Korea with 394 signatory of social activists both in South Korea and Japan on 18 January 2012 already. In face of escalated repression, we shall organize bigger protest both in South Korea and Japan to demand the lifting of the ‘entry-ban-order’ against our fellow members by South Korean government. We also demand of Japanese government to work for lifting it as its responsibility.

Regardless of repression by South Korean government, the 15th AWC-CCB meeting held successfully. The voice of condemnation against political repression and human rights violation against South Korean government spread internationally. On the AWC-CCB meeting issued the international joint statement to Condemn immigration’s repression against members in AWC by the governments in Asia, including the government of South Korea.

Denouncing the ‘entry-ban-order’ against our fellow members that South Korean government issued, we shall fight for making South Korean government lift such unjust order thoroughly. We shall be never defeated any repression.

Lastly, we express our determination of our further commitment of advancing solidarity among struggling people in the Asia-Pacific region, and toward the development of our struggle against war, U.S. base and neoliberal policies under the line of anti-imperialism. ###

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Bayan slams plans for more US troops in PH

Posted on 27 January 2012 by admin

News Release

January 27, 2012

The umbrella group Bagong Alyansang Makabayan today slammed the Philippine and US governments for the ongoing negotiations that aim to put more US troops and ships in the Philippines as part of the US build-up against China. The group described the deal as “treacherous and violative of the Philippine’s constitution and national sovereignty.”

“The negotiations aim to increase the deployment and the power-projection of the US in the Philippines and in the region. They say that they will not bring back the US bases but the proposal aims for virtual basing just the same. They are decevingthe public when they say that US troops will be here on a temporary basis. That’s a big, fat lie,” said Bayan secretary general Renato M. Reyes, Jr.

“We should remind the Aquino government that the US troops have been based in Mindanao for the last ten years. They are no longer visting troops on temporary missions. They are here permanently. They did that in Mindanao and they now plan to use the same strategy in other parts of the Philippines. They have not ruled out stationing US warships back in Subic. They may not set up formal bases but what they will be doing is virtual basing using Philippine facilities such as those in Subic. Our country will be one big US military outpost and forward base in Southeast Asia,” Reyes warned.

“Among the options under consideration are operating Navy ships from the Philippines, deploying troops on a rotational basis and staging more frequent joint exercises. Under each scenario, U.S. forces would effectively be guests at existing foreign bases… Neither Philippine nor Obama administration officials would rule out a return by U.S. ships or forces to Subic Bay,” the Washington Post reported yesterday.

“This is against national interest. Why is the Aquino government entering into negotiations on increased US troop deployment when it has not even addressed outstanding issues and problems with the Visiting Forces Agreement? Is Aquino that desperate to get more US military junk they call aid?” Reyes said.

Bayan earlier revealed that the new US defense strategy that focuses on Asia and the Middle East will pave the way for more US troops in the Philippines.

“The negotiations come in the wake of recent high profile visits to the Philippines by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and senators John McCain and Joe Lieberman of the powerful US Armed Services Committee. The question now is: Does the Aquino government plan to keep details of these negotiations secret? Will we be simply surpirsed that US troops are returning en masse to the country and reclaiming Subic?” Reyes said.

“We should not allow our country to be a military outpost of the US for the latter’s hegemonic interests. The PH government must say NO to more US troops and demand the pull-out of the US forces based in Mindanao for about a decade now. The review of the VFA that was concluded by the Palace should now be made public,” he added.

Bayan called on the Philippine Senate to probe DFA officials on the status of the negotiations. The Senate has oversight on the implementation of the VFA.

“On the question of China, having US troops surround the Philippines is not an assurance of peace in the region. Quite the contrary, it will only serve to provoke China and increase tensions in the region,” he added.

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Washington Post article reveals ongoing US, PH negotiations for more US troops, ships in Philippines

Posted on 26 January 2012 by admin

News Release

January 26, 2012

The Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) today expressed alarm over a Washington Post article publisehd on January 26 which revealed that negotiations are underway between Manila and Washington on the increased presence and access of US troops in the Philippines. The article entitled “Philippines may allow greater U.S. military presence in reaction to China’s rise” was written by Craig Whitlock and appears on the following link .

“Although negotiations are in the early stages, officials from both governments said they are favorably inclined toward a deal. They are scheduled to intensify the discussions Thursday and Friday in Washington before higher-level meetings in March. If an arrangement is reached, it would follow other recent agreements to base thousands of U.S. Marines in northern Australia and to station Navy warships in Singapore,” the article said.

“Among the options under consideration are operating Navy ships from the Philippines, deploying troops on a rotational basis and staging more frequent joint exercises. Under each scenario, U.S. forces would effectively be guests at existing foreign bases,” it added.

“Philippine officials said they favor allowing the United States to deploy more troops or ships, as long as they rotate periodically or are considered temporary. Neither Philippine nor Obama administration officials would rule out a return by U.S. ships or forces to Subic Bay,” the article said.

A senior PH official was quoted as saying that the Philippine is not alone in embracing more US military presence saying that “Nobody wants to have to face China or confront China.”

The article also reveals that both the US and PH governments are sensitive that the moves may be construed as the return of Cold War-era US bases. The Philippine official said that it hopes to meet the objective of increased US military presence sans “political friction”.

Two decades ago, the PH senate booted out the US bases from the Philippines. There is a constitutional ban on foreign bases sans any treaty ratified by both countries. US troops however are able to stay in the Philippines under the very vague Visiting Forces Agreement. Bayan has protested the decade-long deployment and basing of US troops in Mindanao.

Bayan opposes more US troops, return of bases

Bayan secretary general Renato M. Reyes, Jr. said that the Washington Post article confirms the group’s fears of increased US troop presence and return of virtual US bases in the country. The group warned of this after the US revealed its new defense strategy last January 3. He said that the Aquino government will be answerable to the people and to Congress should it enter into a “virtual basing agreement” with the US.

“The revelation comes in the wake of recent high profile visits to the Philippines by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and senators John McCain and Joe Lieberman of the powerful US Armed Services Committee. The question now is: Does the Aquino government plan to keep these negotiations secret? Will we be simply surpirsed that US troops are returning en masse to the country and reclaiming Subic?” Reyes said.

“With the new US defense strategy in place, and with the mendicant and pliant PH foreign policy carried over from the Arroyo regime, there will be more US troops in our country, in violation of our national sovereignty. We should not allow our country to be a military outpost of the US for the latter’s hegemonic interests. The Aquino government must say NO to more US troops and demand the pull-out of the US forces based in Mindanao for about a decade now,” he added.

Bayan called on the Philippine Senate to probe DFA officials on the status of the negotiations. The Senate has oversight on the implementation of the VFA.

“Clearly the PH and US officials involved in the negotiations aim to circumvent the constitution by making it appear that the US troops are here on a rotational and temporary basis, quite similar to what they are doing in Mindanao. We believe that is still virtual basing that violates the constituion and our national sovereignty. The US troops in Mindanao have been here for a decade yet the US and PH governments still consider them ‘visitors’ deployed on a ‘temporary’ basis,” Reyes said.

“On the question of China, having US troops surround the Philippines is not an assurance of peace in the region. Quite the contrary, it will only serve to provoke China and increase tensions in the region,” he added.

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Posted on 25 January 2012 by admin

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Amid series of oil price hikes and volatile global market – Bayan urges House to act on pending bills regulating oil prices

Posted on 25 January 2012 by admin

News release
January 25, 2012

Members of multisectoral group Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) today picketed the House of Representatives to press lawmakers to act on pending bills that aim to regulate oil prices. The group said that these bills should be treated with utmost urgency considering that pump prices are again threatening to skyrocket amid renewed volatility in the global oil market.

Bayan reminded House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte of his commitment to facilitate the scheduling of hearings on the pending oil bills during a dialog with leaders of Bayan last October 2011. Leaders representing Bayan member-organizations Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU), Pinagkaisang Samahan ng mga Tsuper at Opereytor Nationwide (Piston) and Gabriela sought the said meeting, through Anakpawis partylist Representative Rafael Mariano, with Belmonte, who was also joined by Deputy Speaker Crispin Remulla in the dialog.

Unfortunately, the House energy committee has yet to set a public hearing on the pending bills even as oil prices continued to climb especially in recent weeks. Bayan expressed fear that the uptrend in pump prices will persist in the coming months after the European Union (EU) embargoed oil exports from Iran as pushed by the US, which is accusing the Middle Eastern country of developing nuclear weapons. Iran, meanwhile, threatened to close off the Strait of Hormuz, a critical shipping lane for global oil trade. These developments, Bayan said, will surely fuel more speculation in the global oil market that would further push up domestic oil prices.

The group argued that band aid measures like the Pantawid Pasada program of the Aquino administration are severely lacking even as a palliative due to the intensity of the recurring problem of exorbitant pump prices and unabated oil price hikes. Bayan said that Congress, as the country’s legislative body, must be pushed to initiate a long delayed but much needed policy shift away from oil deregulation in order to truly address the issue of high oil prices.

Bayan has been pushing for the legislation, in particular, of House Bill (HB) 4355 filed by progressive partylist groups Bayan Muna, Anakpawis, Gabriela, Act Teachers and Kabataan that will repeal Republic Act (RA) 8479 or the Oil Deregulation Law and will institute a regime of effective regulation of the downstream oil industry. Other pending bills include HB 2569 filed by Rep. Rufus Rodriguez of Cagayan de Oro City and his brother Maximo of partylist group Abante Mindanao which will also repeal RA 8479 and revive the Oil Price Stabilization Fund (OPSF).

The group vowed to intensify its pressure on Congress until it takes a decisive action on calls to repeal the Oil Deregulation Law. Bayan added that members of the House and even the Senate could not afford to be too preoccupied with the ongoing impeachment trial of Supreme Court (SC) Chief Justice Renato Corona to the point of ignoring the economic woes confronting the people such as oil price hikes. #

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25 years of injustice!

Posted on 24 January 2012 by admin

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New Photos

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