July 31, 2011 in Featured
By ALMA B. SINUMLAG
BAGUIO CITY – “Walang pagbabago sa panahon ni Aquino,” (There is no significant change in Aquino’s regime).
This was the cry of the Baguio multi-sectoral group after the 2nd State of the Nation Address (SONA) of President Benigno Aquino III today, July 25 at the Peoples park where around 200 people gathered for the public viewing of President Benigno Simeon Aquino III deliver his state of the nation address this year.
Tracy Dumalo of Anakbayan – Cordillera said, PNoy has not done anything in favor of the education sector. “Tuluy-tuloy pa niyang binawasan ang budget sa edukasyon kung saan ito ang pinakamalaking paraan kung paano niya sinagkaan ang quality and affordable education,” (He had continuously decreased the budget for education which is his way to suppress the quality and affordable education) she added.
She even said that PNoy is probably living in the world of fantasy. This was in relation to PNoy’s statement that his administration has provided 1.4 million jobs since 2010, that has made an 8% decrease in the unemployment rate and among others. “Nabubuhay siguro siya sa pantasya dahil kabaligtaran naman ng katotohanan ang kanyang sinasabi,” (His statements are contrary to reality) she pointed out.
The first part of PNoy’s speech on poverty incidence in the country that has decreased by 15.1%. This was met by disgust in the audience and remarks saying the president’s data was not true.
Dumalo explained that PNoy has not addressed the problems in the country correctly. “His answer to poverty is the Public Private Partnership (PPP)”, she said.
This she added is another form of privatizing the industries and basic social services. His answer to unemployment she added is the migration of labor force.
Moreover, she said PNoy’s answer to the peoples call to pull out the military forces in the country sides is deployment of more state forces. This is evident she added with the map that was displayed the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) was deployed in almost all the provinces of the Cordillera.
Abigail Anongos, secretary-general of the Cordillera Peoples Alliance (CPA) said they recognize that one year is not enough to address the problems raised by the sectors however she added that one year is long enough for PNoy to have made concrete actions on these problems.
Last year, CPA passed the Indigenous Peoples Agenda (IP Agenda) to representatives of the president. The IP Agenda presented the issues that the indigenous peoples not only in the region but in the entire Philippines are facing. One of these she said is Development Aggression. There has not been any concrete action to confront this, she said.
She added that applications of destructive mining explorations and mineral exploitations, geothermal and others are increasing.
“They say that Cordillera is the watershed cradle of the North but what will happen if the said applications will be approved?” she asked. #
By ARTHUR L. ALLAD-IW
BAGUIO CITY – Aside from his total failure to uplift the situation of Cordillera indigenous peoples, the militant Cordillera Peoples Alliance (CPA) said that Pres. Benigno C. Aquino III has no regard for justice to victims of human rights violations when it accommodated, as its economic partner in the region, “a para-military group known for its records of killing community leaders.
In an interview at a People’s SONA today, Monday, July 25, at the People’s Park here, CPA Secretary-General Abigail Anongos said that “PNoy has no regard for justice to victims of human rights violations when he embraced the CPLA, like his mother (the late president Cory Aquino), and gave the thumbs up for the armed group to be ‘converted’ into a socio-economic group, just recently.”
CPA, the oldest regional federation of indigenous community organizations, was founded in 1984, and counts more than 100 community and sectoral organizations in its membership in the region.
She added that the president made a mistake of accommodating them (CPLA), like his late mother did, even if it is a supposed conversion into a socio-economic group.
Anongos added that the CPLA were given privilege positions during the time of his mother who issued Executive Order 220.
EO 220 created the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR); the Cordillera Executive Board (CEB); and Cordillera Regional Assembly (CRA) which were controlled by the Cordillera Bodong Administration (CBAd), CPLA’s political arm. It was dissolved during the time of ex-Pres. Joseph Estrada due to the demand of various sectors on alleged ineffectiveness and corruption.
“PNoy repeated history. We are very disappointed,” added Anongos. The CPA actively lobbied the regionalization of the Cordillera provinces, and during the 1986 Constitutional Commission for the incorporation of a provision for the autonomous region of the Cordillera.
The provision now mandates for the autonomous regions of the Cordillera and Muslim Mindanao.
She added that the CPLA had committed various crimes and gross human rights violations.
”This same paramilitary group is the one accountable for the extrajudicial killing of CPA leaders and organizers like Ama Daniel Ngayaan and Romy Gardo―and yet, PNoy’s mother, former Pres. Cory Aquino, integrated the CPLA into the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) during her term,” CPA said in its statement issued in time for the SONA of Pres. Aquino. Ngayaan, a tribal leader of Tanglag, Kalinga was abducted by CPLA and his remains were never located up to this day. Gardo was a Tinggian youth leader who was murdered by the CPLA. Justice has never been served to the families of these CPA leaders, this writer learned.
Cordillera remains a mere resource base to government, CPA added, “the ancestral domain is a resource base where the plunder and exploitation by large multi-national mining and other destructive projects continue unabated.
It noted that the mining industry was further liberalized under PNoy, with mining investments having increased by 65% in 2010 alone. Since March 2011, approved mining agreements at a nationwide scale now reach 785, while mining concessions increased to cover 1,042.531 hectares compared to 782 hectares in 2009.
“247 applications were endorsed and approved under PNoy, and five of the 23 priority mining projects across the country are in the Cordillera. Of the Cordillera’s total land area of 1.8 million hectares, close to a million is covered by mining tenements,” added the CPA statement issued on time for Pnoy’s second SONA.
Apart from mining are projects to tap the region’s energy resources. Five geothermal projects are in the offing: the Acupan and Daclan projects in Benguet, the Buguias-Tinoc project in Benguet and Ifugao, the Mainit-Sadanga project in the Mountain Province and the Kalinga project.
The last is the biggest – involving substantial portions of the municipalities of Tinglayan, Pasil, and Lubuagan. It is being undertaken by the global energy giant Chevron, which has a clear track record violating indigenous peoples’ rights in the Amazon, CPA added.
”These developments pose serious threat to the Cordillera region, which is the watershed cradle of Northern Luzon,” added CPA pointing that the only source of the indigenous peoples livelihood – their ancestral lands – will be destroyed.
Comparing it with his predecessor in terms on the effect of militarization, CPA pointed out that PNoy’s administration is no different from GMA regime’s Oplan Bantay Laya I and II. “With PNoy’s Oplan Bayanihan, intense militarization continues in the region, with operations of the 501st, 502nd and 503rd Brigades, all under the 5th Infantry Division, it added citing reports from the Cordillera Human Rights Alliance (CHRA) state that Oplan Bayanihan has intensified military operations in the Cordillera, resulting in the destruction of properties, bombings, shellings, sexual abuse, illegal search and seizure; threats, harassment and intimidation; illegal arrest and detention, and encampment.”
”It is true that one year is not enough for any president to resolve social and economic woesof the country – but one year is enough to create building blocks for genuine reform and set strategic directions for the Filipino people’s interests. Pnoy has simply failed to do this, and many were blinded with hype and rhetoric. What is clear is a year after the Pnoy presidency is an administration that tolerates and licenses corruption, human rights violations and further marginalizes the majority of the Filipino people,” CPA ended. # nordis.net
VIGAN CITY, Ilocos Sur – Militant groups of Ilocos Sur led by ANAKBAYAN, KARATULA, NUSP, CEGP, STOP Exploitation and Ilocos Human Rights Alliance (IHRA-KARAPATAN), held a protest march around Vigan City four hours before Noynoy Aquino’s 2nd State of the Nation Address (SONA).
Pointing out that after a year in the palace, “Noynoy fails to address the basic problems of the people, the rising poverty and joblesssness, alarming state of human rights and education, and landlessness of farmers continue to distress the people,” they said.
The groups marched with Higantes figures of the President Benigno S. Aquino III and former president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, to demonstrate “that there is really no difference between the two regimes. They both lack in political will in addressing the problems of the people.”
The march culminated at he the Plaza Burgos where participants held a program where speakers took turns to present sectoral issue. They have also invited the people “to join them and participate and be part of the people’s movement for genuine change”.
The groups also called for the immediate release of Gloria Floresca, a former peasant leader and an organizer of the women’s group GABRIELA. Floresca was arrested in her home in Naguillian, La Union. The grandmother was accused as the third most wanted criminal in Region 1.# nordis.net
By PAULA ESPIRITU
LA UNION — In their own version of the State of the Nation Address (SONA), more than 4,000 students joined in the State of the Youth Address (SOYA) on July 19 to convey disappointment on the government’s continuing state desertion of education and call out for higher state budget for education.
The SOYA was organized by Kabataan Partylist together with the National Union of Students of the Philippines (NUSP), College Editors Guild of the Philippines (CEGP), Anakbayan, Kabataang Artista para sa Tunay na Kalayaan (Karatula).
The Marcos Sports Center was filled by more than 4,000 students from Don Mariano Marcos Memorial State University-South La Union Campus (DMMMSU-SLUC), students from other DMMMSU campuses and other schools in La Union.
The SOYA looked back at President Benigno ‘Noynoy’ Aquino’s first year in office and assessed his programs and policies especially those for the youth and the education sector.
The students criticized PNoy’s administration declaring that it was no different from the previous administration of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in terms of policies for education, economy, politics and others. Participating organizations cited the continuing cuts in the budgets of State Universities and Colleges (SUC) like that of DMMMSU amounting to P3,575,000 or 9.54 % from their budget.
“Nagpapatuloy ang malakihang pagkaltas ng budget sa mga State University tulad ng DMMMSU na humahantong sa pagtaas ng mga bayarin sa unibersidad. Tulad ng Student Development Fee sa DMMMSU na tumaas dahil, ayon mismo sa aming university president, walang binibigay na budget ang gubyerno para sa pagpapatayo ng mga facilities sa eskuwelahan. Napipilitan ang mga eskuwelahan na magtaas ng mga bayarin,” (Budgets cuts to SUCs like DMMMSU is continuing resulting to tuition and other school fees increase. DMMMSU’s Development Fee increased because according to the university president, the government do not allot budget for school facilities thus, SUCs are force to increase the fees) Katrin Hazel Hipona of NUSP said.
Aside from continuing budget cuts, students from private schools participating in the SOYA also expressed distress over the continuing commercialization of education as tuition and other fees of private higher education institutions (HEI) continue to sky rocket.
“Hindi humihinto ang pagtaas ng matrikula at iba pang mga bayarin sa mga eskuwelahan na nagpapahirap sa mga kabataan na mag-aral. Maraming mga exorbitant fees, unnecessary fees, redundant fees, at kung anu-ano pang fees na hindi naman kelangan ng mag-aaral. Nandun lang yung fees na mga ‘yun para madagdagan ang kita ng mga schools at ito ay pinapabayaan ng gubyerno,” (Tuition and other fees continue to increase. There are a lot of exorbitant, unnecessary and redundant fees imposed by school administrators for them to raise their profit but the government is not doing anything about it) Jean Alonzo of Kabataan Partylist said in an interview.
According to NUSP, the number of out of school youth is at 7.93 million and the government has cut 1 Billion peso from the education budget while the government allocate 1 Trillion peso for debt servicing.
The activity was part of a nationally coordinated Walkout for People’s Right against the Education Crisis under the US-Aquino regime. # nordis.net
By KIMBERLIE NGABIT-QUITASOL with reports from RONALYN OLEA/Bulatlat
BAGUIO CITY — Another activist, a member of Gabriela-Ilocos was arrested after she was accused of being a high ranking official of the local communist group in her region.
Gloria Quinones Floresca, 57, former provincial coordinator of Gabriela-Ilocos, was arrested July 21 from her home in Naguilian, La Union. She was brought to Camp Diego Silang in San Fernando City, the PNP provincial headquarters. She was charged with rebellion.
Police reports said Floresca was arrested by the joint forces of the La Union Police Provincial Office Intelligence Branch (LUPPO-IB), Baguio City Police Office (BCPO), First Regional Criminal Investigation and Detection Unit, Regional Intelligence Office 1, and Naval Security Group – Northern Luzon.
Girlie Padilla of Ecumenical Movement for Justice and Peace (EMJP) said Floresca was arrested in front of her four-year-old granddaughter. Padilla said Floresca had even asked permission from her captors to let her cook lunch for her granddaughter before taking her.
According to Ilocos Human Rights Alliance (IHRA) reports, Floresca was taken from her house at around 12:00 noon and was brought to the Ilocos Training Regional Medical Center (ITRMC) for a medical check up but for unknown reasons the attending physician did not issue a a medical examination result. She was then brought to the provincial headquarters where her mug shots and finger prints were taken.
The IHRA report pointed out that Floresca was interviewed by several police officers even without a lawyer representing her. Floresca, in the said interviews asserted that the accusations against her are not true.
In a press release dispatched to the media right after the arrest, the PNP accused Floresca of being the Head of the Finance Bureau of the Ilocos Cordillera Regional Committee EXECOM.
Floresca was temporarily placed under the custody of the PNP’s Women and Children Crisis Desk (WCCD) where she and her daughter stayed for the night before she was brought to Tagudin, Ilocos Sur the following day, July 22.
IHRA reported that at the WCCD, an unidentified police officer invited Floresca for questioning at around 11:00PM. The questioning lasted for 30 minutes before she was allowed to sleep.
Court records showed that Floresca’s case is under Criminal Case No. 969-T Tagudin RTC Branch 25, was filed by 1LT Romy Andres, Cpl. Paulino Tabug, Jr., Cpl. Felix Casil, Pfc. Joseph Hoyohoy, Pfc. Noel Bilog, Pfc. Michael Saldo, all from 50th Infantry Battalion, 5th Infantry Division Philippine Army. The Warrant of Arrest was issued by retired Judge Melanio Rojas last June 28, 2007 and later on by Judge Sixto Diompoc last February 19, 2010 after the case was archived.
Floresca is currently detained at the Ilocos Sur Provincial Jail in Vigan City. # nordis.net
July 24, 2011 in Cordillera
By KIMBERLIE NGABIT-QUITASOL
BAGUIO CITY — The Cordillera People’s Democratic Front (CPDF) in an emailed statement called for the disintegration, disarming and punishment of the Cordillera People’s Liberation Army for committing various human rights violations against the people.
The CPDF also criticized the memorandum of agreement (MOA) made between the Arsenio Humiding faction of the CPLA and the government saying that the MOA will not lead to the “cessation of hostilities”. The statement explained that the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) can easily re-arm the Humiding group as an augmentation force.
The statement further said Humiding is both a victim and a political opportunist. It added that the Aquino administration took advantage of his need for employment for its counter insurgency program Oplan Bantay Laya.
CPDF in its statement reiterated that the CPLA was never a liberation army. It stressed that the CPLA has already been absorbed into the AFP, criminal syndicates and various private armies. The statement also pointed out that CPLA members were involved in gross human rights violations that include the abduction, torture, and murder of Cordillera Bodong Association chairman and Cordillera People’s Alliance Vice Chairman Ama Daniel Ngayaan, and the harassment and killings of scores of Cordillera activists and civilians.
It also mentioned that the various factions of the CPLA serve in the private armies of warlord-politicians in Abra and other Cordillera provinces. “In Isabela, CPLA members serve in the private army used by the warlord Dy clans in land-grabbing activities. They figured in a mis-encounter with rival illegal loggers, a unit of the AFP in the province of Apayao,” the statement mentioned.
Moreover, CPDF stressed that the CPLA serves as psywar agents to misrepresent the Cordillera peoples struggle and as a special paramilitary force for AFP counterinsurgency operations in the region.
“Peace talks are held between adversaries, and the CPLA has never been a foe of the government. What is laughable and silly is their empty threat of “going back to the hills” whenever they beg for more financial assistance and projects from the government. “Do tell us, what “hills” not currently active with the New People’s Army are they talking about?” the CPDF statement read.
It can be recalled that the Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo regime earlier signed an Executive Order integrating the remaining 254 CPLA at the time from the four rival factions. Now Humiding came up with a list of 1, 200 names who will benefit from the P400 M livelihood fund coursed throught the Presidential Assistant on Peace Process.
“Time and again, the CPLA will never give up its insistence of being the so-called regional security force as stated in the Mt. Data Accord with Noynoy Aquino’s mother. Whenever the need warrants, whenever psy-war experts deem it necessary as agents for Oplan Bayanihan, the AFP and Malacanang will revive the spectre of an indigenous hired gun in the future, just like zombies rising from the dead,” the statement reiterated. # nordis.net
July 24, 2011 in Cordillera
By ALMA B. SINUMLAG
BAGUIO CITY — Kilusang Mayo Uno-Cordillera (KMU-Cordillera) gave President Benigno Aquino III a failing mark on his administration’s attention to labor issues.
Michael Cabangon, spokesperson of KMU-Cordillera said the economic situation of the workers here is worsening. “Hindi lang malala, kundi lalo pang lumalala,” he added.
It is evident, he said, that here in the region, contractualization and union busting are increasing. He cited Lepanto Consolidated Mining Company’s (LCMC) recent retrechment of 452 workers. The firm he said retrenched the workers in preparation for its contractualization scheme. “Patungo na sila sa kontraktuwalisasyon,” he added.
Moreover, he said that most of those who were retrenched were members of labor unions like the Lepanto Security Force Union – National Federation of Labor Union – Kilusang Mayo Uno (LSFU-NAFLU-KMU) and the Lepanto Employees Union (LEU-NAFLU-KMU). Almost all the members and officers of LSFU were retrenched. Thus, Cabangon said, this was a clear issue of union busting.
As of the moment, he said LCMC continues to hire contractual employees.
Contractualization he added favors the capitalists rather than the workers.
Workers in the region he added are gravely affected with the continuing price hike of basic commodities. “Tuluy-tuloy ang pagtaas ng mga bilihin ngunit wala namang makabuluhang dagdag sa sahod ng mga manggagawa,” (The price of basic commodities are continuing but there has not been any substantial wage hike) Cabangon said.
The minimum wage in the region he added which is P275 is far below the “living wage” stipulated in the constitution. “That workers are entitled to a living wage,” he said.
This he said is the reality of labor in the region. The group thus demand PNoy to act in favor of the laborers. They want the House Bill 375 to be passed in Congress. This Bill will legislate the long time demand and battle cry of the workers which is the P125 across the board wage increase.
Appeal to Cordi solons
During the 20th celebration of the E.O. 220 forming the CAR on July 15, KMU appealed to CAR solons for them to support the HB 375. They personally gave them a letter. Among the congressmen, Teddy Baguilat Jr. of Ifugao was the one who gave his verbal support to the said Bill. The others he said told them that they will look into the Bill first before giving their support.
Congressman Bernardo Vergara however, said “approve daytan” on July 15 but the group want to concretely ensure his support. They will be scheduling a dialogue with Vergara to explain the HB and get his opinion. “Napaka-Informal kasi iyong statement niya,” (His statement was informal) he added.
Aside from Vergara, the group will have to find a venue to have a dialogue with the congressmen for them to be informed of the reality of labor in the region and make them appreciate the need to pass the Bill. # nordis.net
July 24, 2011 in Cordillera
By ALMA B. SINUMLAG
TUBLAY, Benguet — The Sangguniang Bayan (SB) of this town through a resolution oppossed the establishment and operation of a mineral processing plant at Sitio Suyoc, of Barangay Caponga by proponents David Luo and Merry Ann Francisco.
Resolution No. 59 series of 2011 states “resolution vehemently opposing the application of LHD mineral enterprise for a permit to establish/operate a mineral processing industry”.
The proposed activity according to the resolution is near a river or creek and it will not only affect the direct vicinity but all areas that these creeks run through.
This includes barangay Daclan, Basil, Tuel, and other barangays of the municipality of Sablan and down stream to the Naguilian River.
Moreover, the area of the proposed processing plant is susceptible to landslides that will, according to the resolution, have a grave environment impact on their locality which is contrary to the program of national government and the local government unit (LGU) to ascertain peace and order and a wholesome environment.
The August body is vehemently opposed to the establishment and operation of the said plant.
Preventing its establishment is seen to “prevent disorder and to ensure that this will not cause environmental destruction that will endanger the lives and properties of the cultural communities”.
The resolution was forwarded to the office of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and to the chairman of the Provincial Mining Regulatory Board (PMRB).
On the other hand, Caponga barangay captain Edward Cosalan, said there has to be a continuing consultation regarding the issue for their constituents to be aware of the pros and cons of the proposal before the barangay can come out with a decision.
The problem he said is that during consultations, those that are opposed to the project are not attending.
If they attend, Cosalan lamented that they fail to react to the discussions.
“Nu malpas ti consultation gamin ket ijay dan nga agsao,” (They only voice out their opinion after the consultation) he said.
He added that they will be conducting another consultation and encourage their constituents to say their piece. If it will not work, he said they can try a house to house consultation.
He also expressed his sentiments on the actions of the MGB. He said, the agency warned them that the area is dangerous but then the MGB endorsed the establishment of a bunk house and a copper processing plant on the same area.
The agency he said should be decisive for the people.
Meanwhile, Mayor Ruben Paoad has sent his letter for reconsideration to the Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board (HLURB) relative to their issuance of a clearance for building housing tenements. As of press time, Paoad is waiting for a reply. # nordis.net
By MARY LOU MARIGZA
BAYOMBONG, Nueva Vizcaya — The people of Nueva Vizcaya, particularly the people of Kasibu and Quezon, are determined to oppose three mining giants exploring for gold and other minerals in their areas.This was the finding of the International Study Tour to Mining Communities of Nueva Vizcaya (ISTNV) last July 10-11. The ISTNV visited the areas of Oceana Gold Philippines, Inc. in Didipio, Kasibu; FCF Minerals in Runruno, Quezon; and Royalco Resources, Ltd in Belance, Kasibu.
The international delegates came from Australia and New Zealand where the three mining corporations are located and listed or have mining claims. Local delegates were organized from the Rural Missionaries of the Philippines-Cagayan Valley, Clergy Laity Formation Program, Cagayan Valley Regional Ecumenical Assembly, Katinnulong daguiti Umili iti Amianan, Masipag, Defend Patrimony, Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment and Kabataan Party List.
The ISTNV findings show that Oceana Gold and FCF are already in the development phase of their application while Royalco is still in the exploration stage. Oceana and FCF intend to start commercial production in 2012.
The areas covering 19,363 hectares were applied for by Australian Climax-Arimco Mining Corporation which sold its concession to Oceana Gold when it could no longer proceed. Their mining operations was delayed by the fierce opposition put up by the affected people.
While the FCF Mining Corporation got its concession from the Greenwater Mining Corporation application covering 3,093 hectares in Runruno. The Royalco concession of 5,873 hectares was from the former exploration application made by Oxiana Philippines.
The opposition remains strong despite harassment and other ploys being resorted to by the three mining companies. Some of their leaders might have sold them out to the company but new ones took over and have remained steadfast in their opposition. In the study tour, the women have taken a very active role in their opposition to large scale, open pit mining.
The battle cry of the diocese of Nueva Vizcaya under Bishop Villena was displayed in many areas – No to mining, YES to Life!
The years 2007 to 2009 saw violent dispersals of people’s barricades set up to protest mining and prevent company equipment from entering the areas. In 2009, a Congressional Hearing in aid of legislation was conducted by the Committee on National Cultural Communities which held an on-site investigation with the congressman from Nueva Vizcaya as member on June 2008.
The Congressional committee saw for themselves the destruction of the environment and livelihood of the people from the exploration of Oceana Gold in Didipio and Royalco in Kikidungen, Kasibu. They also heard reports of human rights violations from the people affected. The Committee was headed by then Ifugao Representative Solomon Chungalao, Nueva Vizcaya Representative Carlos Padilla, Bayan Muna Representative Teodoro Casino and Gabriela Women Partylist Representative Luz Ilagan.
In November 2009, the Commission on Human Rights conducted an investigation of human rights violations in the affected mining communities. The CHR was able to document many cases of illegal demolition, harassment, and shooting of residents who tried to stop the demolition of their homes. The CHR report cited Oceana Gold committed for violations against the right to property, right to adequate residence, freedom of movement and the right to security.
The tension in the mining areas eased a bit after the investigation of the CHR headed by then Commissioner Leila de Lima. The mining companies employed a new tack in their engagement with the people to push for their exploration.
Oceana Gold started to buy the lands of the people ostensibly to clear the mountains for their mine tailings. Some were offered money they could not refuse or worse their ricefarms were covered with rocks and soil, condemning it not fit for farming. Their citrus farms could not be watered since the creeks and rivers were diverted to make way for the construction of the mill and mine tailing containment dam.
In Belance, the community is now divided by armed, pro-mining Bugkalots and non-armed opposition to Royalco. Much like the experience of Bakun, Benguet Royalco has fomented divisiveness among the people causing the once peaceful community to be on the edge of tension and disarray.
In fact, the ISTNV team to Belance was prevented from going to Yabbi for an ocular survey and talks with the people at a checkpoint set up by pro-mining Bugkalots supported by Royalco for nearly the whole afternoon of Sunday. The persistence of the team to reach the area and talk to the people as well as the intervention of the barangay council and priests who were with the group finally got them to reach the elementary school in sitio Yabbi where they slept for the night.
FCF, like Oceana is buying lands of the people and preventing them from engaging in small scale mining which used to be their livelihood for a long long time as recounted by their elders. FCF has also allegedly bribed leaders of the opposition who have now turned pro-mining and are cajoling the people to sell their lands to the foreign mining company.
It is also a fact that nearly all anti-mining candidates lost in the recently conducted barangay elections. Most barangays officials of the areas are pro-mining and have received largesse from the mining companies like “ambulances.”
The community people interviewed admit that small scale mining has increased when the mining companies tried to take over their lands. Informants admit this is a matter of survival since their once rich valleys planted to citrus, vegetables, rice and corn are now fenced off areas for the mining companies.
In Didipio, Oceana has fenced off a large area it has bought and placed guardhouses along the long fence to prevent “illegal entry” of people in their territory. In Runruno and Belance where there is only one road, FCF and Royalco placed guardhouses that check on people and vehicles going to the barrios.
In Didipio, there are 11 cases pending with the DENR of illegal cutting of trees in the citrus farms of the opposition farmers. These are citrus they have planted and which are providing for their daily needs even before martial law.
This year, two of the cases were dismissed when the two farmers decided to sell their citrus farms covering 32 hectares to Oceana. Now they are facing a new threat — the water source for the community will be diverted by Oceana for its mining operation. Even now, they have to buy drinking water from afar since their former household water supply is now polluted or is too muddy for household use.
The ISTNV presented their findings to the Sangguniang Panlalawigan in their weekly sessions. Only the Didipio and Runruno team were able to proceed to the Provincial capitol since the Belance team were still on their way to Bayombong.
The Australian delegates promised to bring the case of the people of Kasibu and Quezon to the headquarters of Oceana, Royalco and FCF as well as the public to put pressure on the companies to stop destructive mining and respect the rights of the people. Later the group met with Governor Cuaresma and invited her to the forum in the afternoon. The Governor reiterated her commitment to oppose large scale mining in Nueva Vizcaya.
In the afternoon of July 11, the Belance, Didipio and Runruno teams presented their findings to the students, concerned advocates for the environment and teachers of the Nueva Vizcaya State University. The gym was jampacked and reverberated with cries of “No to Large Scale Mining” as the international team and the local advocates presented the findings. The students were challenged to support pro-people and pro-environment initiatives since they will eventually inherit the riches of Nueva Vizcaya.
In attendance at the forum were Atty Edu Balgos, Executive Secretary of the province representing the governor; SP Rina Balgos and SP Theo Daniel, the only two SP members who opposed large scale mining in Nueva Vizcaya; Bishop Basilio Wandag of the Philippine Episcopal Church and representatives of Bishop Villena particularly Radio Veritas. The ISTNV received wide coverage due to the participation of the media especially Radio Veritas of the ongoing study tour. The tour was monitored on the hourly news and commentaries of the radio station.
The international delegates pledged to bring the case of the people of Nueva Vizcaya to the Australian and New Zealand public so they would know that the foreign mining companies glowing financial reports are covering the truth about the mining aggression in Nueva Vizcaya. # nordis.net
By LOUIE SANTOS
LA UNION — The Ilocos Human Rights Alliance (IHRA) in coordination with Kabataan Partylist held a forum on the National Situation and the State of Human Rights at the Apilado Hall of Don Mariano Marcos Memorial State University-Mid La Union Campus (DMMMSU-MLUC) on July 21, 2011.
The forum critiqued Pres. Noynoy Aquino’s first year in office and the present economic and political condition of the country.
Sophia Flor Garduce from Gabriela Partylist discussed how come the national situation is not better under PNoy. According to her, PNoy’s policies and programs are no different from those of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
Girlie Padilla on the other hand discussed the national human rights situation citing the continuing human rights violations. She emphasized that Oplan Bayanihan is a mere continuation of the murderous Oplan Bantay Laya. According to Karapatan under PNoy’s presidency, there are already 48 cases of extra-judicial killings.
Oplan Bayanihan is patterned after the US Counter-insurgency Guide of 2009. It claims to be different from the previous counterinsurgency programs especially on the respect for human rights. But Karapatan believes that it is an oxymoron to say that a counter-insurgency program is respectful of human right
Jean Alonzo of Kabataan Partylist tackled the topic of the state of youth sector particularly the continuing crisis of Philippine education.
The Forum was attended by more than a hundred students from DMMMSU, members of Solidarity of Peasants Against Exploitation, PAMA-NA, IHRA and La Union Peace and Justice Advocates (LUPJA). # nordis.net
July 24, 2011 in Cagayan Valley
By GIL CORPUZ
ILAGAN, Isabela — Marcelino Espiritu, a 53-year old peasant and indigenous peoples’ leader from San Mariano, Isabela was recently appointed a sectoral representative of the farmers sector in the Sangguniang Panlalawigan.Espiritu, chairperson of the Asosasyon Dagiti Katutubo nga Mannalon ti San Mariano (Association of Indigenous Farmers of San Mariano) and officer of the Danggayan Dagiti Mannalon ti Isabela (DAGAMI-KMP) was endorsed by numerous peasant and IP organizations in the province because of his long term record of leading peasant campaigns for genuine agrarian reform, social justice and human rights in Isabela.
He is also one of the leaders of the Kalinga tribe representing the Kalinga-Agta Tribal Organization which spearheaded indigenous peoples rights advocacy and helped set up an Agta School, Literacy-Numeracy Programs, malaria prevention campaigns, potable water systems, relief, medical and human rights missions in the province. He also joined the recently concluded international fact finding mission on the huge Japanese-Filipino biofuel project in San Mariano, Isabela.
Espiritu was appointed by the provincial governor in recognition of the several decades of struggle of the peasants of Isabela in defense of their rights to land and social equity and the state’s obligation to allow participation of marginalized sectors in governance.
In his Privilege Speech at the provincial council last June 28, Espiritu stressed that 5 main issues comprise his legislative agenda: land to the actual tiller, provision of support services mainly for poor peasants, just wages and benefits for agri-workers, protection of farmers against criminalization of agrarian cases and access of poor peasants and IPs to adequate and affordable social services.
He has already taken his oath before the governor during the patronal fiesta of Reina Mercedes last June 13, and has vowed to push alternative measures for the peasant sector and highlight the peasantry’s plight and genuine aspirations while actively joining militant and organized peasant actions for their rights and welfare. # nordis.net
July 24, 2011 in Cordillera
By ALMA B. SINUMLAG
BAGUIO CITY — One of the member of the Board of Trustees of the Mountain Province State Polythecnic College (MPSPC) said that the students have gone beyond the so called academic freedom.
According to Juan Ngalob, the students already have crossed the line. “We would like to tell the students that academic freedom, while it is encouraged has also limits,” Ngalob said .
Recently, the students and other members of the faculty is calling for the school to shut down if MPSPC president Nieves Dacyon will not resign.Moreover, Ngalob said that it is an illegal move and he said that they do not have authority to do that.
He added that they already formed a fact finding team that includes the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) to look into the matter.
This was also his answer to the allegation of the students that they (BOT) are not acting on the issues. “Their complaints actually was our basis to form the fact finding team,” he said. The chairman of the BOT he said also advised them to take their issues to a proper forum.
The team he added was formed even before the rally that forced Dacyon to sign the resignation letter.
He also expressed the BOT’s continuing support to Dacyon. “I do not see any reason for us not to support her. It is even unlawful not to,” he added.
On the other hand, with regards to the issue raised by the protesters through their placards stating “Dacyon-Ngalob tandem is killing MPSPC”, he said he does not know why they are writing those. “As far as I’m concerned, it is probably part of their academic freedom to write that,” he said. However, he hopes that there will be no slanderous utterances made by the protesters.
Meanwhile, in an interview with Dacyon, she said classes resumed already however, harrassments from the group of protesters led by certain Mila Fana-ang (a member of the community) is continuing. According to her, on Wednesday, July 20, the group are forcing the students and faculty to move out of their classrooms. “Awan pulis tayo till now nga mang-Restore ti order,” (Until now, we have no police to restore the order) she added.
On the other hand, the provincial peace and order council (PPOC) of Mt. Province during their meeting passed a resolution expressing support to the thorough investigation of the grievances raised to them by the faculty and the students. If warranted, they will also support the filing of charges against Dacyon. The PPOC members are requesting that the students will go back to their classrooms while the problem is being addressed and a proper resolution will be achieved. They also advised the protesters to refrain from using the gongs and loud sound systems so as not to disturb offices.
The investigating body according to the PPOC includes the National Bureau of Investigation, Commission on Higher Education, Office of the Ombudsman and the Civil Service Commission. # nordis.net
By ALMA B. SINUMLAG
TUBLAY, Benguet — The municipal agricultural officer (MAO) of this town shared how the municipality is mitigating the effects of Climate Change with focus on agriculture.
MAO Jeffry Sotero said there has been a lot of changes in the agricultural cycle since the temperature rose. The life span of the crops Sotero said were shortened. “The harvesting time needs to be advanced because the required temperature for the crops exceeded,” he said.
According to Sotero, pests that are origiinally found in the lowland areas are now infesting the temperate vegetables. He added that they had also observed other rats and insects seem to grew in number.
With the effects of climate change, Sotero said the depletion of their water source worsened. “Kurang ti irigasyon para iti farm lands,” (There is no enough irrigation for the farm lands) he added. In effect, he said, there is an idle production especially during dry season.
This town aside from being an agricultural is also a mining town. In a previous interview with Tublay Mayor Ruben Paoad, he said because of the exploitation of several mining firms boring holes underneath the earth and logging operations that their water resources have depleted.
Sotero said on the other hand that the large volume of precipitation during wet season had cause severe soil erosions. This he said impede the farmers to transport their crops to the market. Some agricultural lands he added are even covered by large boulders making them unsuitable for planting.
With the mentioned ill effects, Sotero said the municipality already started their mitigation measures. He added that their office has an advocacy of shifting into organic farming. They do not want to be dependent on commercial fertilizers and pesticides Sotero said.
Vermiculture is now the trend in the municipality. The Department of Agriculture (DA) Sotero said distributed African night crawler worms (vermiworms) to some of the farmers for them to cultivate and share it also to other interested farmers.
Barangay Captain Edward Cosalan who is using the vermiculture as his fertilizer observed that it had lessen the volume of pesticides that he is using. He was one of those who successfully cultivated the worms from the DA.
He is also encouraging farmers of barangay Caponga to also use the said fertilizer. He is even inviting them to get their share from the worms that he cultivated and do the same.
On the other hand, he is looking forward to really shift to pure organic farming that is why he is saving money for the facility that produces the organic pesticide.
An alternative to commercial pesticides
The municipality is trying to do away with the use of commercial pesticides. The infestation of various pests had lead the farmers to use more volume of pesticides. Sotero pointed out that Japan introduced to them an organic pesticide which is the mokusaku or the wood vinegar. This he said can be use as pesticide, soil conditioner and even odor nuetralizer. This is also the answer to the early maturity of their crops.
Sotero added that according to research, the mokusaku lengthens the life span of the crops by making them adapt with a higher temperature.
Mokusaku, Sotero explained, is produced by a composting facility that traps the smoke from the leaves of vegetables, grass, and even branch cuttings of trees except for pine trees. The smoke will turn into vapor and then to droplets of liquid. The liquid form will be the ones to be used as pesticide.
Aside from being an alternative to pesticides, mokusaku, Sotero said, suppresses the emission of methane gas.
Agro-forestry to address water depletion and erosion
To solve the depletion of water sources, Tublay is now developing their water shed areas by tree planting. They have already started planting fruit bearing trees in order to become a source of livelihood in the future.
Sotero added that they are also looking into planting kinds of trees that can absorb the water during wet season and release it during dry season.
According to Sotero, one positive effect of climate change is that some fruit trees that were not able to grow here is already growing because of the rise of temperature. So in their watershed development, they can include planting those kinds of fruit trees, he added.
Tublay is also identified by the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) as a land slide prone municipality. To address this, Sotero said they have already started planting coffee, specifically arabica along with vitiber grass and bamboos. The coffee tree he said is good in holding and strengthening the loosened soil while vitiber grass roots he said can grow up to five meters.
Sotero mentioned that climate change consciousness and mitigation measure trainings to the grassroots level is being conducted by the municipal agriculture office.“ We cannot avoid climate change but we can mitigate the effects through these methods,” Sotero said. # nordis.net
Last year our president defined in his first state of the nation address the paths he may take and said; “My beloved countrymen: Our administration is facing a forked road. On one direction, decisions are made to protect the welfare of our people; to look after the interest of the majority; to have a firm grip on principles; and to be faithful to the public servant’s sworn oath to serve the country honestly. This is the straight path. On the other side, personal interest is the priority, and where one becomes a slave to political considerations to the detriment of our nation. This is the crooked path. …”
From the passed year’s events it was visible that PNoy’s administration thought of the straight path, stumbled into the crooked, made some left and right turns, took some barrel turns, maneuvered over some pot holes and also fell into that pit it is trying to climb out of now, or bury in the sound bytes it can muster.
True, this administration must not be expected to be a superman and keep its promises all at once. The present administration is into its second year but please it can not continue blaming all the shortfalls as something it inherited from the last. In the SONA last year, it listed gross anomalies of the last administration. It was aware of the many wrong doings and it promised justice to the wronged – the greater Filipino masses.
On August 5 last year, the indigenous people’s agenda was submitted to Malacañang. It articulated urgent issues faced by indigenous peoples nationwide and their strong commitment to work in solidarity with a leadership that would help them break free from national oppression. They called for: a stop to corporate plunder of resources in the ancestral lands; stop militarization; resume the peace negotiations; and issues on policy reform.
The Kalipunan ng Katutubong Mamamayan ng Pilipinas (KAMP) said the liberalization of the mining industry heightened under the Aquino presidency. The Cordillera Peoples’ Alliance said that “mining and energy companies have violated the right of indigenous communities to self-determination and to free, prior, informed consent (FPIC). – often with the collusion of officers of the Mines and Geosciences Bureau and the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples, etc.”
Militarization in the Cordillera is substantiated by the deployment of four regular and three special battalions of the AFP in mining areas within indigenous peoples territories; the continuing persecution and harassment of political activists, development workers and health workers. The launching of PNoy’s Oplan Bayanihan, even if it is called a different name and given more media mileage it is no different from GMA’s Oplan Bantay Laya.
A number of attempts to allow big mining corporations take over ancestral domains; and attempts to manipulate FPIC processes have been foiled by community based organizations who refuse to succumb to trickery, bribery, pressure or coercion.
All of these developments in the past year, at the national level and in the region, indicates that the present Aquino leadership has yet to prove the sincerity of its promise for good government. Sadly, it has utterly failed to uplift the marginalized Cordillera indigenous peoples making it no different from the past administrations.
It also proves that indigenous peoples, like the greater Filipino people, can only rely on their united strength and persist to build their mass movement to defend their right to their ancestral domain, and the right to self determination. # nordis.net
By KATHLEEN T. OKUBO
Being Cory’s son many had high expectations on PNoy’s presidency. I give the column space today to one group that did not have such high expectations:
‘Failure’ aptly describes President Benigno Aquino III’s first year of presidency, with the absence of substantial reform on urgent issues confronting the Filipino people. His promises of hope and change at the start of his term amounted to nothing, as he merely continued many of the past regime’s policies and programs that violate people’s rights. To date, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo has not been tried for the cases of corruption and human rights violations during her 9-year term. The economic hardship worsened, plunging the majority of the Filipino people into deeper poverty and hunger. In his inaugural speech last year, PNoy said the Filipino people can dream again—but he did nothing to make the people’s dreams come true.
The economy and respect for human rights a year after
Under PNoy, the prices of food, fuel and transportation soared and continues to do so, while wages remain nailed at meager amounts. The minimum daily wage in the National Capital Region of P426 is a far cry from the P1,000 needed daily for a family of 6 to survive. The rate of employment and underemployment is continually rising, such that employment rate was at 7.2% in April 2011 from 8% in April 2010, while underemployment rose to 19.4% in April 2011 to 17.8% in 2010—this translates to about 827,000 Filipinos not earning enough from their jobs. The economic policies PNOY adopted are essentially the same ones causing low growth, joblessness, falling incomes and increasing poverty.
According to IBON Foundation, economic growth has slowed down, with government data itself saying that GDP is now at 4.9% in the first quarter of 2011, compared to 8.4% in the same period last year. Debt service and public debt stock continued to rise, with government paying P634 billion in debt servicing between July 2010 and April 2011, and P4,706 billion public debt stock in March 2011. The Aquino administration has actually cut back on social services to prioritize debt servicing. Budgets for health and education were also reduced by P1.4 B and P364 B, respectively. IBON further notes that the Aquino administration is the ‘second worst performer in terms of land distribution in the post-Marcos era of five administrations’—which is not at all surprising for a president who comes from a well-landed clan. Landlessness therefore, remains widespread, but so does land grabbing big businesses and foreign companies.
In the human rights front—PNoy failed to render justice to the victims of human rights violations under the GMA regime. He actually tolerated rights violations in his first year by not trying and punishing GMA, and for unleashing Oplan Bayanihan. KARAPATAN has documented 48 cases of extrajudicial killings and 5 cases of enforced disappearance from July 2010 to July 2011 alone, including 29 torture cases, 151 illegal arrests and 3,010 victims of forcible evacuation from rural villages, as a result of massive and intense militarization.
Worsened National Oppression of Indigenous Peoples
At the start of the PNoy administration, indigenous peoples all over the country made clear what they wanted and needed. These were articulated in the Indigenous Peoples Agenda, duly submitted and officially received by Malacañang by various indigenous peoples’ organizations and networks. Among the highlights of the Agenda include: plunder and exploitation of ancestral lands by large mining and other destructive projects; militarization and human rights violations, legislation (Mining Act of 1995 and the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act), advancement of the peace talks and the implementation of international agreements of which the Philippines is a signatory, recognizing indigenous peoples rights.
PNoy has not responded to any of these and has done nothing to uplift the situation of indigenous peoples.
Development aggression continues unabated, with militarization and destructive projects swarming indigenous communities and resulting in various human rights violations. The mining industry was further liberalized under PNoy, with mining investments having increased by 65% in 2010 alone. Since March 2011, approved mining agreements at a nationwide scale now reach 785, while mining concessions increased to cover 1,042.531 hectares compared to 782 hectares in 2009.
The Cordillera region remained a haven for plunder and exploitation. 247 applications were endorsed and approved under PNoy, and five of the 23 priority mining projects across the country is in the Cordillera. Of the Cordillera’s total land area of 1.8 million hectares, close to a million is covered by mining tenements.
Apart from mining are projects to tap the Cordillera’s energy resources. Five geothermal projects are in the offing: the Acupan and Daclan projects in Benguet, the Buguias-Tinoc project in Benguet and Ifugao, the Mainit-Sadanga project in the Mountain Province and the Kalinga project. The last is the biggest – involving substantial portions of the municipalities of Tinglayan, Pasil, and Lubuagan. It is being undertaken by the global energy giant Chevron, which has a clear track record violating indigenous peoples’ rights in the Amazon. These developments pose serious threat to the Cordillera region, which is the watershed cradle of Northern Luzon.
The Cordillera was one of the priority areas of Oplan Bantay Laya I and II under the GMA regime. With PNoy’s Oplan Bayanihan, intense militarization continues in the region, with operations of the 501st, 502nd and 503rd Brigades, all under the 5th Infantry Division. Reports from the Cordillera Human Rights Alliance (CHRA) state that Oplan Bayanihan has licensed intensified military operations in the Cordillera, resulting in destruction of properties, bombings, shelling, sexual abuse, illegal search and seizure; threats, harassment and intimidation; illegal arrest and detention, and encampment.
PNoy also made the same mistake of recognizing the Cordillera Peoples Liberation Army (CPLA) and giving the thumbs up to its supposed conversion into a socio-economic group. This same paramilitary group is the one accountable for the extrajudicial killing of CPA leaders and organizers like Ama Daniel Ngayaan and Romy Gardo—and yet, PNoy’s mother, former Pres. Cory Aquino, integrated the CPLA into the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) during her term.
Persist in our Challenges to the Aquino II Regime
It is true that one year is not enough for any president to resolve the social and economic woes of the country—but one year is enough to create building blocks for genuine reform and set strategic directions for the interest of the Filipino people. PNoy has simply failed to do this, and many were blinded with hype and rhetoric. What is clear a year after the PNoy presidency is an administration that tolerates and licenses corruption, human rights violations and further marginalizes the majority of the Filipino people. PNoy is no different from GMA.
Thus, the Filipino people must persist in challenging the PNoy administration to live up to its promises and genuinely put the people first before his own interests. We will continue to demand for justice for victims of rights violations, for economic relief from the ever-worsening national economic crisis, and for the respect and recognition of indigenous peoples’ ancestral lands and right to self determination. We will not be deceived.
Karapatan ng mamamayan, ipaglaban!
Ilantad at labanan ang papet, pahirap at inutil na rehimeng US-Aquino!
Isulong ang pakikibaka para sa kalayaan, karapatan, katarungan at pagbabago! # nordis.net
This is the statement of the Cordillera Peoples Alliance dated July 25, 2011.
By REV. LUNA DINGAYAN
“When the Holy Spirit comes upon you, you will be filled with power, and you will be witnesses for me in Jerusalem, in all of Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” — Act 1:8
First of seven parts
This presentation is an attempt to look into what Protestantism in the Philippines had significantly contributed in the shaping of our society for the past one hundred years or so, whether by intention or by mere accident of history. When we talk of Protestantism we are essentially referring to the spirit “of constant renewal in the hands of God” (Brown, pp.40-50). It means openness to the judging and renewing activity of the living God. Historically, Protestantism in the Philippines refers to the kind of Christianity brought into the country by our American colonizers at the turn of the 20th century.
PROTESTANTISM AND AMERICAN COLONIALISM
The “Divine Comedy”
The Philippine revolution against Spain was already two years old when the United States declared war against Spain in 1898, sending Admiral Dewey into Manila Bay. In the guise of helping the revolutionaries get rid of their Spanish colonial masters, the American forces came and stayed put. A three-year Filipino-American War (1899-1902) with casualties estimated at 600,000 in a population of 7 million. The Aguinaldo leadership capitulated, and with brutal repression the United States annexed the Philippines as a colony.
Historical analysts view the Battle of Manila Bay as a “mock battle”, with the occupation of the Philippines as its main goal. For not too long, the imperialist designs of the U.S. began to unfold. In 1932, a distinguished American theologian, Reinhold Niebuhr, remarked in his book, Moral Man in an Immoral Society, saying: “Though the little junta, of which Theodore Roosevelt and Senator Lodge were leaders, had carefully planned the campaign of war so that the Philippines would become ours, the fiction that the fortunes of war had made us unwilling recipients and custodians of the Philippine islands was quickly fabricated and exists to this day”(Niebuhr, p, 100).
This impression was strengthened by the “divine comedy” which President McKinley put up for a group of Methodist clergymen who visited him at the White House. He said to them, “I walked the floor of the White House night after night until midnight. And I am not ashamed to tell you, Gentlemen, I went down on my knees and prayed to the Almighty God for light and guidance more than one night. And one night it came to me this way – that there was nothing left for us to do but to take them all, and to educate the Filipinos, and uplift and civilize and Christianize them, as our fellowmen for whom Christ died” (Niebuhr, p. 162).
As shown by subsequent historical events, all these pious words about humanitarianism, civilization, and peace were meant to mask the economic and strategic motives behind the American colonization of the Philippines. Parker Thomas Moon, a historian of colonial policy, wrote about the real guidance McKinley got on that fateful night. He said, “The decision to colonize the Philippines did not come quite so suddenly or so mysteriously, as the President’s words would indicate. Mr. McKinley communed not only with his conscience, but also with his advisers. Divine light and guidance had to be confirmed with detailed reports on the economic and strategic value of the islands before the final decision was made”(Simbulan, p.62).
There were actually three major groups that lobbied for the annexation of the islands to the United States. These groups included the trading companies looking for Asian markets, the advocates of U.S. naval power in the Pacific, and the Protestant mission boards. All these groups embodied the economic, political, and religious interest of the U.S. Their mutual interdependence suggests that the mission boards tacitly acknowledged their role in the total colonization effort, even if they appeared to have come to teach the Filipinos the meaning of “true Christianity”.
In his study about Providence and Politics behind Protestant Missionary Beginnings in the Philippines, Gerald Anderson, a renowned American church historian, said that the first American Protestant missionaries in the Philippines arrived in 1898 under the banner of Manifest Destiny, the idea of divine mandate to expand and wield power and to justify the U.S. colonization program (Anderson, p.289).
Anti-Roman Catholic Sentiments
The introduction of Protestantism in the Philippines was accompanied by strong anti-Roman Catholic sentiments. Understandably, this was encouraged by most mission boards not only to discredit Roman Catholicism, but to break Spanish control over religion and to check the growing people’s national awareness. The new Protestant churches preached religious freedom as opposed to the one-religion policy of Spain, the open Bible as opposed to its exclusive use by priests, and the priesthood of all believers as opposed to hierarchical church.
Different Protestant denominations, except the Episcopalian Mission headed by Bishop Charles Brent, considered the Roman Catholics “unsaved” or not yet Christian. This view justified Protestants’ move to convert Roman Catholics to Protestantism. Consequently, such proselytizing thrust generated ill-will between Roman Catholics and the new Protestant converts, which resulted to numerous violent incidents against followers of both denominations.
The Roman Catholics were apprehensive that the American colonial government would use its power to crash Roman Catholicism altogether by fueling the vocally anti-Roman Catholic sentiments of Protestantism. Up to 1949, this rabid anti-Roman Catholicism was evident even among leading Protestants as shown in their attempts to picture Protestantism as a religious and political liberator (Moving Heaven…, p. 17).
The anti-Roman Catholic sentiments, however, did not die down through the years. As a matter of fact, it is still very much strong among the more conservative evangelicals at present, especially those groups who entered the country in recent years. Such divisive sentiments fit so well within the divide-and-rule framework of imperialist domination in the country and even elsewhere. # nordis.net
(Next week: The beginnings and growth of protestantism)
By ALMA B. SINUMLAG
“Entayo agpabuya, paypayew kalkalsada, salidummay salidummay ay ay. Minas ken kabakiran, teatro pay ti babaknang, salidummay salidummay ay ay. Bannog, puyat ken bisin, tudo pudot ken lammin, salidummay salidummay ay ay. Uray kasta karigat na gana-ganasen tay latta, salidummay salidummay ay ay,” (Let us perform on the rice fields, streets, mines, forest and even in the theatres of the rich. Fatigue, hunger, rain, heat or cold. No matter how difficult, let us give our all).An exerpt from the Salidummay song entitled Kultura ti wayawaya (Culture of freedom). The verses above clearly stated how the Dap-ayan ti Kultura iti Kordiyera (DKK) reached its 20th anniversary. They struggle through art to serve the masses which is bigger than life itself. Also, they struggled and continue struggling to keep the torch afire, no matter how difficult it is.
Ignited by the Bontok and Kalinga tribes struggle to defend their land, life and resources from drowning because of the World Bank funded Chico River dams, student activists based in Baguio immersed themselves with the community and recorded the protest songs of the people in the 1980s. These students formed a singing group called Salidummay. They released their 1st album in 1987 – Salidummay.
Through the protests songs of the 1st album, they were able to share to a wider audience the struggle not only of Bontoks and Kalingas but also that of the Tinggian tribe in Abra in their defense of their ancestral land against the massive logging of the Cellophil Resources Corporation (CRC).
As time passed, development aggression in the Cordillera worsened. Large mining companies continue to exploit the mineral resources not only in Benguet but throughout the region. Protest was met with state terrorism through militarization. Culture is being sold. Laborers of the mine firms are gravely violated of their rights to a decent wage and many more.
This prompted the group to form an alliance in 1991 not only of singers but all cultural workers with a common aim which is to defend our land, life, resources and cultural heritage. The DKK was then formed with Salidummay, Children of the Cordillera (Chico), Shengnget (the open pit mining kids of Itogon), Grupong Binhi and others as founding member organizations.
They started educating, organizing and mobilizing not only artists and cultural workers but even the students through street plays, concerts and theatre performances.
Literally, bannog, puyat ken bisin were experienced by the alliance in organizing, integration to the basic masses, educating themselves on social issues through discussions, and advancing their art.
Aside from albums, a lot of theatre and street plays were written and played by the group.
From the younger generation of the alliance, Ivy Annaway, a volunteer member and the Miss Kaigorotan 2010 shared how the alliance opened her mind on urban poor issues. “Through community cultural workshops, I have seen the real situation of the urban communities here in Baguio,” she added.
She also realized that cultural work does not end in performing but it is a continuing process where you learn from communities’ situations, put it any form of art to educate the wider youth and mobilize them to act. She herself experienced the bannog, puyat ken bisin in the night practices, long hours of assessment. These however helped her developed her self discipline.
Ivan Torafing, a member of the alliance and now the secretary general of the Asia Pacific Indigenous Youth Network (APIYN) said the alliance developed his revolutionary character. He said, he became more creative, more open to new ideas, and more patient. His first involvement with DKK was the play, “Panagsubli ni Gatan” which was presented during the 24th Cordillera Day celebration in Licuan-Baay, Abra.
“I got to know the issues of the Tinggian people and how they struggled for their rights to kick the assess of the CRC. It build a stronger and militant peoples movement in the Cordillera,” he added.
Warren Mangili, one of the singer/guitarist of Salidummay said, their art is not different from the mainstream art when it comes to form. “It only makes a difference when it comes to whom or where our master pieces come from and for whom it will serve,” he said.
With various member organizations from different schools and artists, the alliance celebrates its 20th anniversary this month by providing venues for its organizations to learn and share their skills. It also provides venues for educational discussions that will arm each of the organizations in producing mass oriented works of art.
A culminating activity will be held on July 31 in the city. The venue will be announced later. # nordis.net