BAGUIO CITY (Mar. 21) — “We tend to believe what people do more than what they say,” a Bayan Muna national official said of Pres. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s graduation address at the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) here in a press conference Tuesday.
Arroyo, in her speech asked the 282-strong PMA Maragtas Class Mondy to conquer every nook and cranny to give Filipinos their freedom from fear and freedom from want, referring to the government’s anti-insurgency campaign and its economic recovery program.
Calling her doble-kara, (double-faced) former PMA professor Manny Loste, now Bayan Muna National vice-chairperson, dismissed Arroyo’s pronouncements as mere lip service and does not expect the Arroyo government to deliver genuine peace or economic prosperity to the people. “Mababa ang kredibilidad niya,” (Her credibility is low) Loste described GMA.
“GMA says one thing but does another thing,” Loste told the local media in a press conference here Tuesday, where he and other party list representatives condemned the intensifying political repression, as they cited the arrest and detention of Bayan Muna party list representative Satur Ocampo. “Mas titingnan namin siya sa kanyang ginagawa, hindi sa kanyang sinasabi,” (We’d rather judge her by what she does than what she says) Loste told Baguio-based media.
While GMA kept telling the young military officers to have a leader’s heart and love the people they serve, telling them to teach the children, build schools and roads, and learn the people’s culture, her sincerity is questionable, Loste said.
The picture belies the president’s pronouncements, other party list local leaders pointed out.
Arroyo also ordered PMA Maragtas class to implement the Human Security Act of 2007, which progressive party list and other groups continue to criticize as a repressive measure. “How can she claim to have genuinely ordered the new military officers to serve the people when her administration is behind the manslaughter of many mass leaders of people’s organizations?” Loste raised the question on Arroyo’s command responsibility over the political killings.
Chie Galvez of the Tongtongan ti Umili described the GMA regime as “fascist”, and is on a desperate offensive unleashing state terrorism in all forms. She said Ocampo’s arrest and detention shows a malicious persecution of progressive party lists and groups critical of the Arroyo administration.
“The GMA regime’s intensifying political repression as shown in the growing number of politically-motivated killings and enactment of repressive laws and policies indicate a desperate offensive, which would redound against the rotten, corrupt and fascist regime,” the Tongtongan statement said.
“How ironic that the woman president seems not to have a leader’s heart she is asking of the PMA graduates,” Loste said. She finds it convenient to continue with persecution and harassments. She even violates the rule of court. In her attempt to pursue her long-term agenda, she is ramming through the old chest for dirty tactics, Loste said.
Nida Tundagui of the labor sector tells of the deprived conditions of the workingman’s family under the GMA administration.
“Tutol na sa anti-mamamayang mga patakaran ang mga manggagawa. (Labor is against anti-people policies) Galit na galit na ang mamamayan (The people are outraged) Tundagui said, due to Ocampo’s arrest and detention and that of the hospital arrest of labor leader and Anakpawis party list representative Crispin Beltran. Beltran has been confined since his arrest for more than a year ago.
Gabriela Women’s Party fears for the safety of Liza Maza, its lone representative in Congress, who is now being linked to summary executions in Nueva Ecija. “Nire-recycle nila ang mga bungo,” (The skulls are getting recycled) as trumped up evidence in many alleged murder or massacre cases, Cyrene Reyes, GWP spokesperson said.
According to Cordillera Human Rights Alliance’s (CHRA) Imelda Tabiando, deputy secretary-general, “Despite condemnation by international bodies, such as the US Congress and the United Nations Commission on Human Rights, of the government’s unprecedented record of human rights violations, political killings continue unabated.” She cited Oplan Bantay Laya 2 (OBL2), the alleged master plan behind the political repression, as the culprit which seeks to break the will of those considered enemies of the state saying the country is in a de-facto Martial Law.
CHRA described in a press statement, the motive behind the charges and the detention of Ka Satur is to divert international and national attention from the people’s condemnation of the Arroyo government-perpetrated extra-judicial killings and human rights violations.
According to the CHRA statement Ocampo’s detention is a major part of OBL2. It is also a part of the government’s desperate maneuvers to control the elections.
“In your mission to serve the people, set forth with courage, integrity and loyalty,” Arroyo told the PMA graduates, all commissioned as 2nd Lieutenants of the Armed Forces of the Philippines. She disclosed the government’s two-pronged policy of soft and hard power. “It is now the government’s peace model in dealing flash points in Mindanao. Confidence-building measures coupled with dialog, infrastructure development and mutual security arrangements are the keys to lasting peace in the South,” she said s she told the young soldiers to spearhead the fight against terrorism, side by side with young professionals and entrepreneurs who would fight poverty.
Meanwhile, party list groups Bayan Muna, Anakpawis and Gabriela Women’s party, and other human rights advocates staged an indignation rally and noise barrage on March 21 at the Kilometer Zero here. They demanded the release of both Ocampo and Beltran and urged the Filipino people to end GMA’s repressive rule.
Senatorial candidate Noynoy Aquino, who was in town early this week, in his press conference, said extra-judicial killings is not a matter of state policy, but shows the inutility of the Arroyo government. # Lyn V. Ramo for NORDIS