Archive for the ‘Philippines’ Category

Last week was the deadliest week in Philippines’ president Duterte’s war on drugs so far. At least 81 people were killed, including a 17 year old boy called Kian Delos Santos.  CCTV and witness accounts show Kian was dragged by cops into an alleyway, handed a gun and told to run.  When he followed their instructions he was shot dead.  

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Auckland Philippines Solidarity group protesting extrajudicial killings 25 August 2017

This case has prompted unprecedented anger in the Philippines, even among some previous Duterte supporters.  On August 25th the Auckland Philippines Solidarity group joined the an international day of action for Kian Delos Santos.  

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51Gblu33XmL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_Donny Gluckstein (ed), Fighting on all Fronts: popular resistance in the Second World War, London, Bookmarks, 2015; reviewed by Philip Ferguson

This is a fascinating book.  Its ten contributors provide eleven chapters – two are by Gluckstein – on people’s resistance to dictatorship in Europe and Asia/Pacific during World War 2 and struggles within two capitalist democracies (Australia and Ireland, the latter not being formally involved in the second great imperialist conflagration).

The struggles range from Jewish resistance to the Nazis and the Holocaust in Eastern Europe, especially Poland, to the Slovak national uprising of 1944 to resistance to French rule in Algeria to Burmese resistance to both British and Japanese imperialism to the Huk rebellion in the Philippines.  While the countries covered exclude key imperialist players, and sometimes the choice of places to cover seemed a little strange, hopefully there will be a second volume to cover struggles in the United States, Britain and Germany – especially since Gluckstein is an expert of Nazi Germany and has already written a fine book about the rise of the Nazis and the course of their regime.

Lesser-known

One advantage, however, of covering the places that are covered is that these are generally the least-known.  I certainly found that most of the chapters added considerably to my knowledge of resistance during what several generations of us used to call “the war”.  Perhaps the most fascinating for me was Janey Stone’s impressive account of struggles by East European Jews, and non-Jewish supporters, against repression and annihilation.  The ‘mainstream’ impression is that Jews went meekly to the slaughter but Janey, (more…)

New Peoples Army members' gay marriage 2005.  The NPA is a liberation movement but is designated 'terrorist' by the NZ government

New Peoples Army members’ gay marriage 2005. The NPA is a huge liberation movement in the Philippines but is designated ‘terrorist’ by the NZ government

by Cameron Walker

The Terrorism Suppression Act 2002, brought in by Helen Clark’s Labour government, contains a number of wide provisions potentially criminalising support for legitimate national liberation movements and activism.

The Act was discredited in the eyes of many of its initial supporters in 2007 when the Solicitor General described it as ‘unnecessarily complex and incoherent’, following his refusal to allow the Police to proceed with charges under the Act against the defendants in Operation 8 (the so-called ‘Urewera raids’).

Yet the Act was never repealed. The legal ability of the state to apply the sections of the Act to those supporting international solidarity causes has increased over the past five years. John Key has used his power under s 22 of the Act to designate groups as ‘terrorist entities’ 19 times since 2010!

From 2002 to 2008 Labour designated groups on the UN Lists of Al-Qaeda and Taliban-related Entities. National entered the territory of designating groups fighting for socialism (Communist Party of the Philippines and New People’s Army; the FARC and ELN of Colombia); and national liberation in the Middle East (such as the Palestinian Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade and the armed wing of Hamas) and the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK).

New Zealand’s terrorist designations list now resembles that of (more…)

Statement by BAYAN-USA – an alliance of 18 progressive Filipino organizations in the U.S. representing youth, students, women, workers, artists, and human rights advocates.

November 15, 2013

Garage-Sale-2Mr. President, let’s set the record straight: Starving people can’t eat bullets or drink excuses.  Machine guns can’t heal broken bones. Finger-pointing can’t repair homes or hospitals. Only the people working together and fully mobilized to implement the largest nationwide relief effort in the history of the Philippines will be able to meet the victims’ immediate needs and rebuild the lives and communities wrecked by Typhoon Haiyan.  And don’t forget that it is the responsibility of the Philippine government to fulfill its obligation to provide relief and rehabilitation for the entire nation.

BAYAN USA joins the international criticism of the Aquino administration’s utterly inept handling of the relief efforts as the crisis worsens with each day that passes. With over 600,000 people displaced, at least 150,000 homes destroyed, a mounting death toll that is estimated at over 10,000 people to date, and at least 15 million people throughout the country impacted by Haiyan, the Filipino people are relying on unprecedented acts of care and sacrifice for each other and aid given in the spirit of genuine and respectful solidarity by people around the world. The lack of action by the government to prioritize the people and their extreme needs right now over the political interests of the elite is painfully obvious. (more…)

Cameron Walker is a law/arts student at the University of Auckland. From November to December 2012 he took part in an exposure programme with the Philippines’ human rights movement. Here he interviews Vanessa Delos Reyes at the Southern Medical Centre of the Philippines in Davao City, a 27-year-old former guerrilla of the New People’s Army (NPA). The interview originally appeared on Pacific Scoop.  Thanks to Cameron for passing the interview on to us.

Former NPA guerrilla Vanessa Delos Reyes talks to the author, Cameron Walker, in the Southern Medical Centre in Davao City, Philippines. Image: Cameron Walker/PMC

Former NPA guerrilla Vanessa Delos Reyes talks to the author, Cameron Walker, in the Southern Medical Centre in Davao City, Philippines. Image: Cameron Walker/PMC

At first it was difficult to adapt to life as a guerrilla. Living in the mountains brings its own set of challenges. New recruits must get used to building temporary shelter, known as postings. Now Vanessa Delos Reyes is grappling with life in support of detainees after a crippling spinal wound.

Vanessa is undergoing physical therapy to restore movement to her lower body after suffering a bullet wound to the spine while carrying an injured colleague to safety during an attack by the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ Scout Rangers in 2011.

She had been a member of the NPA, the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines, since 2006.

Before arriving at the hospital, I had been told to expect to be searched by armed guards. Instead, I was greeted with warm smiles and handshakes by Vanessa’s parents and a Catholic nun who is in charge of the hospital ward.

Delos Reyes was sitting on her bed.

She laughed when I said she didn’t really look like a terrorist. It became apparent during the visit that we had a similar sense of humour. (more…)

Pro-NPA graffiti; photo by Cameron Walker/PMC

Pro-NPA graffiti; photo by Cameron Walker/PMC

by Cameron Walker

Among Tagum City Jail’s inmates are 16 young men aged in their 20s and 30s who were members of the New People’s Army (NPA), the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP). Some of them have been wounded in combat.

During my visit, one detainee lifted his shirt to show a sizeable bullet wound on his stomach, which still needed further surgery.  Their movement has been fighting the Philippine government since 1969.

Mindanao is considered one of the movement’s strongest regions.  Local media often report armed encounters between the NPA and the Armed Forces of the Philippines, which have resulted in casualties on both sides.

The Communist Party, along with the other member organisations of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDF), call for the implementation of a 12-point programme that includes genuine land reform, national industrialisation and upholding democratic rights.  They also demand an end to the extrajudicial killings of political activists by the Armed Forces and for the release of political prisoners.

The NPA is mostly based in rural areas.  It pursues the tactic of building up a strong base in the countryside, the area where the government is weakest, and fighting a protracted war.

In contrast, the Communist Party, which retains political control over the NPA, has a presence throughout the country, even in the cities.  The party is an underground organisation so members (more…)

by Jerome Small

Outsourced, locked out, sacked – and now facing jail. This is the situation facing workers at Philippine Airlines, as their long-running dispute reaches a critical stage.

But after more than a year on the picket line, hundreds of workers are still maintaining their protest camp. This is a front line battle in the global struggle against outsourcing and for regular, well paying jobs.

In September last year, Philippine Airlines decided to cut costs by outsourcing more than 2000 of its ground staff, including check-in, baggage handlers, catering and technical workers. Workers would have to apply for their former jobs with only half their former pay, no job security, and no union protection.

When workers staged a peaceful protest at their work stations, they were (more…)