Archive for the ‘history’ Category

Imperialist (In)Justice: The Case of Sergeant Calloway

April 21, 2009

Battalion Sergeant-Major John W. Calloway, US Army, fought the Spaniards in Cuba, and then the Filipinos for two years, 1899-1900 – when an order was made in Manila that he be reduced in rank to private and discharged “without honor”. What was it that impelled the American colonial officials to rid themselves of this fine African-American non-commissioned officer who had served his country faithfully for ten years, and whose character had always been rated “excellent”, his “services eminently satisfactory”? Why was he dealt with through administrative procedures rather than a court-martial for the treason of which he was suspected?

BY GILL H. BOEHRINGER
Contributor
Bulatlat

Battalion Sergeant-Major John W. Calloway, US Army, fought the Spaniards in Cuba, and then the Filipinos for two years, 1899-1900 – when an order was made in Manila that he be reduced in rank to private and discharged “without honor”. What was it that impelled the American colonial officials to rid themselves of this fine African-American non-commissioned officer who had served his country faithfully for ten years, and whose character had always been rated “excellent”, his “services eminently satisfactory”? Why was he dealt with through administrative procedures rather than a court-martial for the treason of which he was suspected?

Calloway had become friendly with a number of Filipinos, as had many black soldiers who felt sympathy for people who were often treated as inferior and uncivilized. It was a familiar and deeply disturbing scenario, especially as the white Americans referred openly to Filipinos as “niggers” In the case of Calloway, it led to disaster. He had some education, a printer by trade, and was an astute, thoughtful man. He did an informal survey, interviewing Filipinos about their feelings toward the war and the occupying troops. In this process he learned a great deal about the real nature of the war, so different from the benevolent mission portrayed in the media at home (and in The Manila Times and the Manila Freedom, the jingoistic and imperialistic American-owned press.) The Sergeant wrote to an African-American newspaper in his hometown, the Richmond Planet, that the black soldiers were “between the devil and the deep sea” in regard to the war. They faced the dilemma of doing their duty for America where their people were repressed, while they were repressing the nationalist ambitions of a colored race which they found anything but uncivilized. And the concept of inferiority was, of course, anathema to him.

But Calloway went further. Having befriended the Consunji family of San Fernando, Pampanga in February 1900, he wrote to Tomas Consunji that he was “haunted by the feeling of how wrong, morally, we Americans are in the present affair with you. What a wrong to crush every hope and opportunity of a youth of a race… Would to God it lay in my power to rectify the committed error, and compensate the Filipino for the wrong done.” Calloway made other comments, some of which were along the lines that with the growth of education in the country they would gain their independence. He was obviously influenced by the conservative American black leader, Booker T Washington. None indicated an intention to assist the insurgents in any way.

Unfortunately for the Sergeant, the Consunjis, in particular the father Antonio, were under surveillance by US intelligence agents. They reported that the pair were “well known sympathizers with the insurrectos” and Tomas was said to have acted as a “political agent” for them. Perhaps this was particularly worrying to the Americans as they employed him in their own bureaucracy. Later, in justification of his friendship with the Consunjis, Calloway made the point that contact with him seemed appropriate. To no avail.

In October 1901, the Consunji house was raided and Calloway’s letter was discovered. As a result he was given a Court Martial. But strangely, he was charged with “breaches of discipline”. It was alleged that “being a married man” he had “lived in open adultery with a native woman”. Calloway was acquitted – the evidence did not support such a charge. A later official report indicates that “Mrs. Calloway is now in Manila, and apparently on good terms with Calloway, whose release she is trying to bring about.”

It is likely that the Army officials believed they had no case for treason based simply on the letter. No doubt they did not want to reveal the extent of their surveillance operation. (It was Calloway who told the Consunjis of his troubles three years later.) Another motive would have been to avoid the revelations that he had been especially sympathetic to the Filipinos as a result of hearing Tomas’s descriptions of US forces’ brutality to the population of San Fernando. Such allegations would have been spread all over the press in the Islands, and at home by the Anti-Imperialist forces. The Americans seem to have tried to destroy his career by using a trumped up charge.

Having failed to convict Calloway, the Americans were determined to get him out of the country as they considered him an “ extremely dangerous” character. Indeed, the American officials were concerned at the degree of friendship which had developed between their black soldiers and the “natives”. Reports of the number of marriages between them was a matter of particular concern.

Calloway, of course, denied that he was in any way treasonous, pointing to his dedicated service and his heroic volunteer mission some months previously in which he had to sneak through insurgent lines at night to deliver an important order to attack them. He tried to explain that he had private sympathy for the plight of the Filipinos, and that his hope was for them in the future, but that in no way detracted from his commitment to do his public duty for his country. He said this while reminding his interrogators that his people had been very badly treated for hundreds of years back home. He was not afraid to speak the truth to power! Calloway sought a court-martial for the alleged treason so that he could be vindicated.

Instead of another court-martial, the next step against Calloway was to build up the case for an administrative procedure leading to his deportation and discharge. Asked for a recommendation, his Regimental Commander, who had only served as such for three months, showed his prejudice as well as a common fear that the black soldiers were proving unreliable:

‘The education of this man has fostered his self-conceit to an abnormal degree, and he has shown himself to be without principle by abandoning his legal American wife for a Filipino woman… He is likely to join the Filipino ranks should a favorable opportunity offer.” He therefore recommended that Calloway be confined in Manila until he could be deported and discharged without honor. Calloway was extremely unlucky here; in October the previous year, he had been recommended for appointment as 1st Lieutenant by his previous Commander. He sought in vain to have all of his previous commanders contacted.

The matter went up the chain of command, with concurring recommendations at each level. The Commanding Officer of the Northern Luzon Department, Major General Lloyd Wheaton, commented, “In my opinion he will desert to the assasins (sic) infesting this Department if he has the opportunity.” (This was the war criminal who, after his unit was ambushed in the opening weeks of the war, ordered all villages within a 12-mile radius destroyed, and the inhabitants killed. Of course he was never prosecuted, and came to be considered a war hero for his part in defeating the Filipino armed forces.)

Although Calloway was unaware of the precise evidence against him, and the substance of the recommendations against him, he had gained a reasonable idea of what he was up against. In late November, from the National Bilibid Prison, he petitioned the military judicial office for a reversal of the orders against him. In addition to believing himself very badly treated-humiliated and abused in confinement-he also had a dream of staying in the country, in order to start a business, as many black veterans were to do. From his meager pay, he had saved about US$1500 towards that goal.

But his plea was not answered. The matter was referred to the Inspector General, who provides insight on the gaze of accusatorial authority: “Calloway is a bright man, with an adroit mind, a very good command of language, and a marked skill in evading a question and misconstruing words… In view of Calloway’s education, command of language, and knowledge of the meaning of words, as shown in his conversations, and the education of the man to whom he wrote, this letter can only be taken as meaning exactly what it says.” His conclusion: “I regard him as a dangerous man, in view of his relations with the natives, as shown by this letter, and the circumstances of his court-martial.” So dangerous that he concurred with the recommendations to deport and discharge without honor, but added that Calloway “not be allowed to return to these Islands as a civilian.”

By Dec. 12 the recommendations against him were on the desk of the Commanding Officer in the Philippines, who agreed with the conclusions of his Inspector General, and concurred that Calloway should be deported, demoted to rank of private and dishonorably discharged.

In a last ditch attempt to have his case properly heard, he somehow managed to get legal assistance for the first time. His lawyer, Eber C. Smith, was an American with a general practice in Manila. The American dominated Supreme Court denied an application for habeas corpus, holding it had no jurisdiction over persons arrested by the US authorities. (Such a result in the Guantanamo Bay cases would have gladdened the heart of President George W. Bush, but the context of American repression has changed.)

Calloway was shipped back to San Francisco where he remained in prison until the case was reviewed in Washington, D.C. He again wrote a strong plea for re-consideration, pledging once again his loyalty, explaining he had never intended treason and reminding them once again of his record, especially his loyal service for many months after the letter was written. He again sought a court-martial so he could defend himself. Nevertheless, in February 1901, he was informed that the orders stood, he was officially broken in rank to private, discharged without honor.

Eight months later he attempted to re-enlist, but was forbidden to do so. Determined to prove himself, he returned to the Philippines at his own expense and found civilian work in the Bureau of Public Printing. He worked diligently for two years. In April 1904, there followed another petition to re-enlist in the Army, addressed to the Secretary of War, now William Howard Taft of Philippine Commission fame. His faith in the authorities is moving, but was quite ill-judged. The reply was swift, and negative. Subsequently, without Calloway’s knowledge, the authorities in Washington warned the Philippine authorities that a “dangerous character” was now back in the Islands, living at No. 35, San Jose Trozo, Manila.

After that rejection, it seems that Calloway was a defeated man. He appears to have returned to the USA. It is likely he was forced out following the warning about his whereabouts. What happened to him is not known. One commentator suggests that he again attempted to re-enlist to serve his country in World War I, without success.

An interesting twist to the case is that he served in the same “colored” Infantry Regiment as the famous American defector, David Fagan, who fought so effectively as a guerrilla leader with the Filipino army. It was Calloway who had counter-signed Fagan’s original enlistment papers just days before they sailed for Cuba. The regimental association with Fagan was clearly a factor counting against him. From Manila, General Arthur MacArthur, Officer Commanding, said in his official recommendation :

“It is very apparent that he is disloyal and should he remain in these islands, he would undoubtably commit some act of open treason and perhaps join the insurrection out and out. One man of the 24th Infantry by the name of David Fagan has already done so and as a leader among the insurrectos is giving great trouble by directing guerrilla bands.”(Bulatlat.com)

Photos: BAYAN – Panay leads various groups in marking the Mendiola Massacre of 1987

January 28, 2009

BAYAN – Panay leads various groups

in marking the Mendiola Massacre of 1987

Plazoleta Gay, Iloilo City .

January 22, 2009

The multi-sectoral protest commemorated the 22nd anniversary of the Mendiola Massacre. Members of Paghugpong sang Mangunguma sa Panay kag Guimaras (PAMANGGAS) recalled the historic event which happened in 1987, vobisng to continue the struggle of the farmers for land.

The picket also strongly condemned the US-backed Israeli invasion of Gaza which has resulted in the loss of lives of hundreds of civilians. Despite the recently declared temporary ceasefire by the Israeli government, war of aggression will continue in the days to come because of the absence of unconditional declaration of ceasefire. BAYAN believes that the war on Gaza is instigated by the US policy of war on terror.

–  EDGAR PELAYO, Secretary-General, BAYAN – Palnay

(Photos Courtesy of Bayan=Panay)

Arkibong Bayan

Photos: 22 years after the bloody carnage: “All we want is piece of land”, say relatives of Mendiola Massacre victims

January 28, 2009

22 years after the bloody carnage:

“All we want is piece of land”,

say relatives of Mendiola Massacre victims

January 22, 2009

22 years after the bloody carnage:

“All we want is piece of land”, say relatives of Mendiola Massacre victims

Quezon City, Philippines- “All we want is a piece of land that we can till and call our own. But what we got from them the state was bullets.”

Twenty two years after the bloody carnage, relatives of the infamous Mendiola Massacre said they want to move on and continue with what their husbands and relatives pursued two decades ago, but the horrible event kept on visiting them like day-to-day nightmares.

After their 7-day camped out at the Ministry of Agrarian Reform (now Department of Agrarian Reform or DAR), from January 15-21, 1987 on January 22, leaders and members of the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP), numbering about 15,000 decided to march from the agrarian reform office to Liwasang Bonifacio and then to Mendiola.

In Mendiola, military and police elements open fired and peppered the farmers and their sympathizers with bullets. Thirteen marchers, mostly farmers from Central Luzon and Southern Tagalog regions were killed and identified as Danilo Arjona, Leopoldo Alonzo, Adelfa Aribe, Dionisio Bautista, Roberto Caylao, Vicente Campomanes, Ronilo Dumanico, Dante Evangelio, Angelito Gutierrez, Rodrigo Grampan, Bernabe Laquindanum, Sonny Boy Perez and Roberto Yumul.

Aside from the 13 farmers who were killed by state security forces, reports also said 39 marchers sustained gunshot wounds and 32 sustained minor injuries. “Let me set the record straight. What we want is a parcel of land but what the government gave to us were scores of bullets and in the aftermath of the massacre is a bankrupt, bogus, anti-farmer and pro-landlord agrarian reform program,” the Kilusang Enero 22 or KE 22 said in a press statement.

KE 22, an assembly of relatives of Mendiola Massacre added that the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) passed by Congress during the time of former President Corazon Aquino was a comprehensive failure and merely sustained the 22-year old wounds caused by the Mendiola Massacre.

“How can you have justice with CARP? It is not a social justice program but an instrument for further landgrabbing, further denial of peasant land rights and class exploitation by the landlord few. CARP is part of the long-running injustice committed to the victims of Mendiola Massacre,” KE 22 said. .

Relatives want GARB

KE 22 said it is actively supporting the passage of Genuine Agrarian Reform Bill (GARB) or House Bill 3059 principally authored by the late Anakpawis party list Rep. Crispin Beltran and co-authored by his successor Anakpawis party list Rep. Rafael Mariano, Bayan Muna party list Reps. Satur Ocampo and Teodoro Casiño and Gabriela party list lawmakers Liza Maza and Luzviminda Ilagan.

“We hope the leadership of House Speaker Prospero Nograles will move on and act with dispatch and resolution in favor of HB 3059. This social justice measure is necessary for the cause of land and justice across-the-country,” relatives of Mendiola Massacre victims added.

GARB which is still pending before the House Committee on Agrarian Reform will cover all agricultural lands and have these lands distributed for free to all landless, land lacking and willing to till farmers all over the country, according to KMP deputy secretary general Willy Marbella, a survivor of Mendiola Massacre.

KMP’s Marbella said lands operated by transnational corporations, including commercial farms ran by big agribusiness groups shall be nationalized in favor of farmworkers and agricultural workers who would be trained to manage and operate these large plantations and commercial agri-business farms.

In the case of sullied lands, or lands acquired through fraud, deception, intimidation, or the use of force and violence, these would be subjected to confiscation, while landlords who acquired their landholdings without any shades of blood debts or crimes against their tenants will receive just compensation and shall be paid by the state based on the average tax assessment on the land for the immediate last three years preceding the effectivity of the act.

The KMP leader said farmer beneficiaries are guaranteed with security of tenure and sustained support systems to make the awarded lands more productive and more responsive to the needs of the farmers and the Filipino public in general.

Success story

Meanwhile in Hacienda Luisita, farmworkers continue to cultivate more than 1,800 hectares of the hotly disputed sugar estate outside the framework of the 20-year old CARP.

“The key to this success story is the determination of Hacienda Luisita farmworkers to challenge and fight the Stock Distribution Option scheme legitimized by the bogus CARP. Now, the farmworkers and poor farmers of Hacienda Luisita are reaping the fruits of their labor,” the Unyon ng mga Manggagawa sa Agrikultura (UMA) said in a press statement.

UMA public information officer Rey Calaguing said the hacienda farmworkers and poor farmers are planting various crops in more than 1,800 hectares like rice and vegetables. “We are encouraging more farmers to join and form themselves into cooperation units to be able to cover other hectares for their livelihood. This is peasant class power in full swing,” he said.

UMA said the current “bungkalan” campaign has already benefited 838 families or roughly 1,676 individuals spread in the barangays of Malapacsiao (244.5 hectares), Asturias (209.93 hectares), Bantog (258 hectares), Cut-Cut (275.9 hectares), Balite (153.4 hectares), Mutrico (248 hectares), Pando (163 hectares), Texas (140 hectares), Pasajes (60 hectares) and Parang (51.5 hectares).

Camp-out in HOR, march to Mendiola

The KMP together with the fisherfolk group Pamalakaya, UMA, Amihan peasant federation and farmer groups Kalipunan ng Samahang Magbubukid sa Timog Katagalugan (Kasama-TK) and Alyansa ng Magbubukid sa Gitnang Luzon (AMGL) will stage a three-day camp-out at the House of Representatives beginning on Monday.

Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap said about 1,000 farmers will participate in the camp-out from Jan.19-21 in Batasan Complex. He said farmers and fisherfolk will conduct mass lobbying with congressmen starting Monday and update lawmakers on the current situation of farmers and explain to lawmakers the necessity of passing HB 3059.

“We will seek an audience with House Speaker Prospero Nograles. That is one of the objectives of the three-day peasant camp-out in Batasan. We will not entertain any kind of political snub, that’s for sure,” warned Hicap.

On Jan.22 farmers will march from DAR to Mendiola to officially end the four-day peasant march for land and justice. The Pamalakaya leader said the march to Mendiola will be joined by militant groups under the umbrella alliance of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan.

Hicap said some 1,500 placards bearing the face of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo will be slashed and burned in Mendiola to show the peasant’s collective outrage against the brutal and anti-rural regime of President Arroyo and the farmers’ resolve to fight for genuine land reform.#

FOR REFERENCE:
WILFREDO MARBELLA, KMP Deputy Secretary-General
ROY MORILLA, KMP Public Information Officer (+63-905-421-73-05)

For Immediate Release
January 22, 2008

REFERENCE:
ANTON DULCE
Vice Chairperson/Media Officer, 09095189340
KEN RAMOS
Chairperson, 09215129678

On the 22nd anniversary of Mendiola Massacre
No justice, No peace for the Filipino peasants, people

“No justice! No peace!” is the message of militant youth led by ANAKBAYAN as they joined the Peasant March to mark the 22nd anniversary of the Mendiola Massacre, where unarmed peasants demonstrating for land reform were gunned down by state security forces.

“The demands of the 13 peasants murdered in 1987 remain the same. Unless social justice is attained thru genuine land reform, the victims of the Mendiola Massacre will not find any peace,” according to ANAKBAYAN National Chairperson Ken Ramos.

Ramos lambasted the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program, or CARP, as a ‘cure worse than the disease’. “The amount of land monopolized by landlord families has increased, rather than decreased throughout the two decades of CARP implementation. It contains pro-landlord loopholes, such as retention limits, non-distributive options and land conversions that are being exploited by landlords up to this very day,” Ramos said.

Ramos also condemned ‘pseudo-progressive groups’ that are forcing CARP on the people. “Years of implementation have proven that CARP is already defective, so why are they insisting on its extension? It is simply because CARP funds and foreign financial aid for land reform have been their cash cow for a long time. These groups, together with big landlords and compradors, are the ones who benefited from the fake agrarian reform policy, not the peasants,” Ramos added.

“From Aquino to Arroyo, the demand for land by the peasants has been met with brute force. Thus, there is ‘no peace, no justice’ in the countryside.”

“Because of their unwavering resolve to expose the faulty CARP and push genuine agrarian reform, peasants have been victims of state fascism,” Ramos said.

Ramos pointed out that the peasant sector bore the largest number of casualties committed by AFP death squads under Gloria Arroyo’s Oplan Bantay Laya 1 & 2. He further berated the upcoming Balikatan exercises to be held in the Bicol Region this April as another measure to monitor and repress the peasant movement in the region.

“Giving farmers the piece of land they deserve is a starting point to achieve peace in the countryside,” Ramos said. “Genuine land reform is a start to ending the semi-feudal roots of poverty in the Philippines.” ###

Anakpawis Partylist
National Headquarters
Jan 22, 2009

End slavery: Obama promise remains an elusive dream for Filipino peasants

Exactly twenty two years after the bloody massacre of 13 peasant activists in Mendiola, the calls which were met with bullets by the Aquino administration has become even louder as the issue of landlessness worsen under the Arroyo regime.

Anakpawis members from Southern Tagalog, Central Luzon and Metro Manila converged once more in Mendiola to reiterate their call for justice to the victims of Mendiola Massacre and that the demands of peasant for genuine agrarian reform should be met.

According to Anakpawis Spokesperson Joel Maglunsod, “As we witness the coverage and attention that the inauguration of US Pres. Barack Obama, we can’t help but compare their celebration to the centuries-old struggle of the Filipino people against slavery. The peasants, who have long struggled to own the land they till since the Spanish colonial rule, are still at the mercy of mighty landlords. What’s worse is that peasants are being massacred all over the country and justice was never served.”

In 1987, the same year as the Mendiola massacre, the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) was implemented in response to the demands of farmers at the time. But, according to Maglunsod, the law was not meant to really address the root cause of landlessness which is land monopoly but rather to strengthen the control of big landlords over bigger parcels of land. After all, according to him, instead of distributing land, the implementors of CARP have now expanded the reach of their haciendas.

“It is high time for the enactment of a genuine agrarian reform law not the extension of the pro-landlord CARP.” Maglunsod said that the government cannot deny that peasants remain landless despite having spent P20billion of taxpayers’ money. “The need for justice in the form of equitable distribution of land remains,” he added..

This is the reason why the late Anakpawis Rep. Crispin “Ka Bel” Beltran, the poorest yet most revered congressman of our time, filed House Bill 3059 or Genuine Agrarian Reform Bill (GARB) in November 2007. This, Maglunsod explained, is a law drafted by the collective struggle of the peasantry against slavery and destitution brought about by landlessness.

Anakpawis however believes that the task of explaining genuine agrarian reform will be extremely difficult noting our kind of government and society. Their representative, Cong. Rafael Mariano, who himself is a landless peasant will have to get the signatures of the landlord-dominated congress. This is why they vow to continue fighting for the peasants’ right to own the land they till in the parliament of the streets and wherever necessary. “Freedom from slavery is never free but is earned through the collective struggle of a people who really wants it,” ended Maglunsod. # #

Peasants shake the lower house, call for the passage of GARB

The militant Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP, Peasant Movement of the Philippines) and the peasants from Katipunan ng mga Samahan ng Magbubukid sa Timog Katagalugan (Kasama-TK) coming from Laguna, Rizal, Cavite, Batangas and Quezon, held ground at the gates of the House of Representatives in Batasan, Quezon City. They are joined by Pamalaya-Pilipinas (fisherfolk), Amihan (peasant women), UMA (agri-workers) and support groups. Their mobilization at the lower house is part of their 4-day campaign to commemorate the 22nd anniversary of the Mendiola Massacre that took place during the Aquino regime on January 22, 1987.

“At Mendiola Massacre, 13 peasants were killed when police and military forces opened fire at my fellow peasant demonstrators who were calling for genuine land reform then. Until now, no justice whatsoever were given to them and their families, thus, we are fighting tirelessly for genuine land reform as our commitment and vow to their martyrdom. At the Hose of Representatives, we are fighting for the passage of House Bill 3059 Genuine Agrarian Reform Bill (GARB),” opened Antonio Flores, KMP National Auditor and KMP – Southern Mindanao Region Chair.

“We are going to shake this lawmaking institution, 200 peasants from Laguna, Rizal, Cavite, Batangas and Quezon are going to lobby their district lawmakers to enact GARB on Wednesday. We are also visiting Speaker Nograles’ office to discuss why we want GARB to be passed. We believe this is a first at HOR, hundreds of lobbyist at the same time calling for the passage of a same bill,” added Flores.

Moreover, agri-workers from Hacienda Luisita joined the street forum at the gate and discussed regarding their victories and why GARB would be helfpul to their plight. Anakpawis Rep. and KMP Chair Rafael “Ka Paeng” Mariano also talked about the role of GARB to the overall struggle for genuine land reform.

“We are vigilant about what’s happening inside the house, we are to block any efforts of landlord lawmakers to revive the dead CARP and invent legislative moves protecting their domination over the country’s vast agricultural lands,” noted Flores.

“As peasants from other provinces arrive, we are to hold an in-depth and point-per-point discussion about GARB. We are going to do a “Read Along GARB,” with audiences from the countrysides and other groups and sectors,” Flores added.

KMP, Kasama-TK, Pamalakaya, Amihan, UMA, Anakpawis leaders and members are to stay at the gates of the lower house until January 21 before they proceed to the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR). The next day they would march from DAR towards Mendiola to call for genuine land reform, justice for the Mendiola Massacre victims and the passage of GARB.#

FOR REFERENCE:
ANTONIO FLORES, KMP National Auditor / KMP – Southern Mindanao Region Chair
ROY MORILLA, KMP Public Information Officer (+63-905-421-73-05)

=================

PRESS RELEASE
January 20, 2009
REFERENCE:
ANTONIO FLORES, KMP National Auditor / KMP – Southern Mindanao Region Chair
ROY MORILLA, KMP Public Information Officer (63-905-421- 7305)

GARB 101
Farmers gave college students a lecture on new agrarian reform bill

Some 82 college students from different state colleges and universities on Monday night got a crash course on GARB (Genuine Agrarian Reform Bill) 101, according to one of the leaders of the militant peasant group Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP).

Those who finished the crash course on GARB 101 were freshmen, sophomore and graduating students who trooped to House of the Representatives in Batasan Complex, and were joined by members of militant youth groups Anakbayan, League of Filipino Students (LFS), Student Christian Movement (SCM), the College Editors Guild of the Philippines (CEGP) and National Union of Students of the Philippines .

KMP spokesperson Antonio Flores and activist poet and former political detainee Axel Pinpin of Tagaytay 5 served as instructors to students from University of the Philippines- Diliman campus (UP-Diliman) , Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP) and University of the East-Recto, who spent over one-hour listening to the inputs of resource persons and took down notes on the lecture about GARB.

“The GARB read along project promotes the reading and discussion of GARB otherwise known as House Bill 3059 to inform the Filipino peasantry and the general public that GARB is a social justice piece of legislation, ” the KMP leader said.

Flores read that the heart and soul of GARB or HB 3059 is free land distribution to all landless, land-lacking and willing-to-till farmers all over the country. He said just compensation will be given to landowners, except those involving sullied landholdings, or land holdings acquired to fraud, deception, intimidation, or the use of force or violence, and landholdings whose landowners employ oppressive and exploitative practices on their tenants, agricultural workers or other farmers tilling the land.

The KMP leader said men and women who are willing to till land and make it productive for the common good of the Filipino people are entitled to become beneficiaries under an agrarian reform program created under GARB or HB 3059.

One of the students asked: “Are gays and lesbians will become beneficiaries too under GARB?” Flores said gays and lesbians are also beneficiaries of a land reform program under GARB provided they will till and make the land awarded to them productive for the benefit of the Filipino people.

Flores added that enlightened landlords will be allowed to maintain five hectares under GARB provided that they will till the land and will not employ and exploit landless farmers or agricultural workers.

For his part, poet Pinpin of Tagaytay 5 said the students could further appreciate GARB by integrating themselves with and learning from farmers. He said the best way to understand HB 3059 is to understand the farmers’ plight, aspiration and struggle for land, food and justice.

“This crash course and read along activity on GARB would help although to many of you this remains an abstract. To fully understand GARB, we encourage you to live with the farmers and learn from the farmers,” Pinpin added.

Pinpin, a graduate of agriculture in UP-Los Baños briefly recalled how his integration with the farmers had help him understand the peasants struggle for land and the need to change society, and how the students integration with farmers would help them not only to understand GARB or HB 3059 but to accept the social reality that century old feudal bondage and long-running problem of landlessness in the country remains a fundamental issue that needs to be addressed and resolved.

GARB, which is backed by KMP, Kasama-TK and staunch allies like Pamalakaya fishers group, the Unyon ng mga Manggagawa sa Agrikultura (UMA) and Amihan peasant federation was authored by the late Anakpawis party list Rep. Crispin Beltran, and co-authored by Anakpawis party list Rep. Rafael Mariano, Bayan Muna party list Reps. Satur Ocampo and Teodoro Casiño and Gabriela party list lawmakers Liza Maza and Luzviminda Ilagan. #

At the KMP Website, GARB 101 Farmers gave college students a lecture on new agrarian reform bill .

(Photos Courtesy of Arkibong Bayan)

Photos: KMP-Cebu and BAYAN-Central Visays mark the 22nd anniversary of the Mendiola Massacre

January 28, 2009

KMP-Cebu and BAYAN-Central Visays

mark the 22nd anniversary of the Mendiola Massacre

Cebu City

January 22, 2009

The KMP – Cebu, BAYAN – Central Visayas and progressive partylists held a street protest in Cebu to commemorate 22nd year of Mendiola Massacre. The rallyists went to the Department of Energy – VII to condemn off-shore mining in Cebu Strait particularly, in Sibonga and Argao, Cebu. After which, the progressive groups went to the Department of Agrarian Reform – VII to demand genuine agrarian reform, to junk CARP extension and to immediately pass the House Bill 3059 or (Genuine Agrarian Reform Bill). The militants also demanded justice to the victims of Mendiola Massacre and to stop militarization and political persecution.

— Jaime Paglinawan
Vice President for the Visayas
ANAKPAWIS PARTYLIST,
Chairperson
BAYAN – Central Visayas


Why Rizal Did Not Deserve to Be the Philippines’s National Hero

January 6, 2009

Today, Dec. 30, is Rizal Day, the commemoration of the death anniversary of Jose Rizal, the national hero. As usual, Filipinos will be subjected to hagiographic stories about him. To be sure, Rizal was a great man. But, as Renato Constantino explains in his classic “Veneration Without Understanding,” he did not deserve to be the Philippines’s national hero.

“In the histories of many nations,” Constantino writes, “the national revolution represents a peak of achievement to which the minds of man return time and again in reverence and for a renewal of faith in freedom. For the national revolution is invariably the one period in a nation’s history when the people were most united, most involved, and most decisively active in the fight for freedom. It is not to be wondered at, therefore, that almost always the leader of that revolution becomes the principal hero of his people. There is Washington for the United States, Lenin for the Soviet Union, Bolivar for Latin America, Sun Yat Sen, then Mao Tse-Tung for China and Ho Chi Minh for Vietnam. The unity between the venerated mass action and the honored single individual enhances the influence of both.

“In our case, our national hero was not the leader of our Revolution. In fact, he repudiated that Revolution.”(PinoyPress)

A DEEPER LOOK AT THE BANGSAMORO PROBLEM AND THE ARMED CONFLICT IN MINDANAO AND ITS ISLANDS

December 4, 2008

This piece was originally posted by the author as a response to the ” STATEMENT: Moro Youth Leaders push for Peace” article.

Barangay RP reposted it here now as a major story.  Please read.

===========================================================

A DEEPER LOOK AT THE BANGSAMORO PROBLEM AND THE ARMED CONFLICT IN MINDANAO AND ITS ISLANDS:

Written by: DATUAN S. PANOLIMBA of
North Cotabato, Philippines

datuan.panolimba@yahoo.com

When the Spaniards set their foot in Manila in 1570, Islam had taken its roots in the bay area. In the southern portion of the archipelago, there were already established sultanates, attesting to the existence of advanced political system the Moros had had. It was during the Battle of Manila that year that the word “Moro” was first used by the Spaniards, reminded of their experience with the Moors in Morocco who fought them for territory and dominance in the Iberian peninsula.

Military campaigns were launched to subjugate the Moro Muslims in 1578. These expeditions came in six stages starting from the Spanish conquest of Borneo in 1578, ending in the attempts to consolidate Hispanic hold in some parts of Mindanao to prevent the other foreign powers at that time (e.g. the British and the Dutch) from penetrating the Muslim sultanates. Each of these aggressions was fiercely resisted by the Moro people. Despite some minor gains towards the end of the Spanish era, the Castelllans, who gained some advantage with the introduction of fast steamboats and the weakening of the Sultanates due to internecine wars on succession, never subjugated the Moros.

But the wounds remained and even grew deeper. The Moro wars as well as the cultural conditions imposed on the Indio’s, e.g. the Moro-Moro, zarzuela and the like, separated the Christianized Filipinos from the Muslims in the South of the Philippines. Stereotypes portraying the latter as “uncivilized and barbaric” persisted giving notion that the Muslims were being treated as second-class citizens.

American colonialism of Mindanao, Sulu and Palawan began with the Bates Treaty that was on August 20, 1899. The document was just a tactical ploy designed by the American occupational forces to thwart any alliance between the defenders of the young Philippine Republic and the Sultanates. When the Americans succeeded in crushing the revolutionary government in Luzon, they mounted military expeditions to pacify and subjugate the Moro people. These took several forms foremost of which was the no-nonsense unleashing of full military might capped by the opening of settelemnts for the Filipinos from Luzon and the Visayas here in Mindanao and its islands.

Through the pensionados-scions of Moro families who were sent to institutions of higher learning in Manila and the U.S. – the Americans were able to erect some pillars of their colonial government. In August 1916, the Jone Law (Public Act No. 240 of the Second Session of the 64th United States Congress) was signed into law by President Woodrow Wilson. This was followed by the abolition of the Department of Mindanao and Sulu. The administration of the Moro lands came largely under the Bureau of Non-Christian tribes under the Department of the Interior.

American and Christian Filipino officials were in general agreement on the overall policy on the Moros; their integration into the mainsteam of Filipino society. But this policy was seriously obstructed by at least three circumstances: 1) The atmosphere of mutual suspicion between American and Filipino officials; 2) Continued Moro resistance and struggle against the domination of the imperial government based in Manila; and 3) The priority given to national economic development and security consideration in the Bangamoro Homeland.

Throughout American Regime, the Filipino leaders (Quezon, Osmena, Laurel, Recto, etc) did not manifest interest of the Moros at heart, being motivated to ensure control and demonstrate their capacity to government and hasten the granting of (political) independence. Pockets of small uprisings dotted and shock American presence in Mindanao. Notable among these were: the Maranao revolt in Tugaya, Lanao Sur in 1923; the uprising led by Datu Santiago in Parang, Cotabato in 1923-1924; the one by Datu Tahil in 1927 against land taxation and cedula, among others, and the most notable of all, the one led by Hadji Kamlon of Sulu Province in the 1950’s.

The Americans never grasped what the Moro problem really was. They saw it as underdevelopment of “Non-Christian Tribes” – and the solution was education, economic development and judicious application of force whenever the Moros resisted. Worse, to some, the Moros were considered savages needing to be civilized and the homeland of the Moros as territory promising vast economic resources for an independent Philippines; hence, the term “Land of Promise”. Migration was greatly accelerated in 1936, further boosted with the creation of such bodies as LASADECO, NARRA, and EDCOR. This stage set the process of “denationalization” and “minoratization” of the Moros.

The Japanese occupation force little understood the actual situation of the Moros. They tried to use the “Brother Asians” appeal but the best that they could achieve was the guarded, enthusiastic obedience of some Moros living in occupied towns. The majority of the Moros, however, supported the anti-Japanese war effort, and not a few were pleased at the opportunity to legitimate by show their martial bravery. In many instances, the Moros and the Filipinos fought side by side to repulse the Japanese imperial army.

Under the contemporary period, political analysts and pundits are wont to point out to three underlying causes to the Moro problem and the Mindanao conflict: landlessness, socio-cultural differences, and power struggle. In the eyes of progressive minds, they are four: political autonomy or self – determination, leadership, oppression and exploitation, and mass liberation. The underlying circumstance is that the Bangsamoro Muslims are fighting against “forcible denationalization”, if not actual physical extermination.

Three events in the late 1960s and early 1970s precipitated Mindanao Crisis: The Corregidor incident (Jabidah Massacre) of March 1968 in Bataan Province; the Manili massacre, Carmen, North Cotabato in June 1971, the November 1971 elections, and President Marcos imposition of Martial Law in September 1972. The first event led to the formation of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF). To that however, five Muslim scholars from Mindanao and Sulu were known to have planted the seeds of “JIHAD” on the Bangsamoro ancestral, noble, and belove homeland. One of these scholars was Late Ustadz Salamat Hashim, first Chairman, Central Committee of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF). The auspicious birth of the Mindanao Independence Movement (MIM) espoused by the “Grand Old man of Cotabato” Governor Datu Udtog Matalam.

There was a shirt of political power from the traditional MUslim ruling class to the newly – elected Christian leaders as a result of November 1971 elections. Almost simultaneously, a Christian vigilante group called “ILAGA” (acronym fo ILONGO LAND GRABBING ASSOCIATION) came into being. The declaration of Martial Law put an exclamation point to the neo-colonial attempts at finally subjugating the Moros.It only expose the then unified MNLF, and soon it became the rallying force of the Moros in their quest for self – determination.

Finding it difficult to supppress the MNLF, which had gained an Observer Status in the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC), the Philippine government gave way to the signing of the Tripoli Agreement in December 1976. Apart from this, President Marcos of the Philippines unilaterally established autonomous regions in Regions IX and XII and created several offices to dramatize its policy of measured benevolence towards the Moros. These offices included the Offices of the Regional Commissioners for Regions IX and XII, Southern Philippines Development Authority (SPDA), Philippine Amanah Bank, Philippine Pilgrimage Authority , Office of Islamic Affairs in the Department of Foreign affairs, Agency for the Development and Welfare of Muslims in the Philippines, Commissioner for Islamic Affair (later Ministry of Muslim Affairs, OMACC, and now Office of Muslim Affairs), among others. This culminated by the enactment of R.A. 6734 that established the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) in 1990.

The GRP-MNLF Tripoli Agreement of 1976 did not end or solve the Bangsamoro problem and the Mindanao conflict neither did the GRP-MNLF Final Peace Agreement signed on September 2, 1996. While the MNLF opted to join the government and had a hand in the running of the ARMM and the Southern Philippines Council for Peace and Development (SPCPD), the Bangsamoro problem and Mindanao conflict remained. The continued exploitative and oppressive policies of the Philippine government, punctuated by unabated militarization, open human rights violations and myopic initiatives that serve more as palliatives and cosmetical approaches in containing, or denying the existence of the problem, further the strengthened the resolved of the Moros in the struggle for Right to Self – Determination (RSD).

The MORO ISLAMIC LIBERATION FRONT (MILF), borne by the disenchantment, disenfranchisement and the dejection of the Moro masses from the Philippine government’s refusal to recognize the inherent right of the Bangsamoro Muslims to regain their lost freedom and independence and reclaim their homeland that were subjected to laws promulgated without due representation from and consultations with the Bangsamoros.

From July 17, 1997, the MILF entered into a General Agreement on the Cessation of Hostilities with the GRP, the latter, through its Armed Forces continued to violate the agreement and the subsequent documents forced between the GRP and MILF Peace Panels to ensure continuously confidence building and fruitful negotiations. The GRP unveiled its “All – OUt War Policy” to bring down the Moro Mujahideens to their knees. Just like what the Americans did to the Bates Treaty, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) ignored the joint statements acknowledging certain MILF major and satellite camps – only for the duration of the peace process-on the pretext that these turned into bases from which “terroristic activities” of MILF were launched. They launched offensives notwithstanding the existence of civilians and holy structures in the communities within MILF camps.

The All-Out War policy bodes well with real intent of pursuing genocide or ethnic cleansing. This leaves no alternative for the Moro Muslims but carve their separate state. The unitary system with sprinkling of autonomy in areas dominated by Moros and tribal peoples did not sit well with the Moro people’s desire for real freedom to control their religion, political, cultural, educational, and economic affairs.

The experience of the Bangsamoro Muslims had its parallel in Algeria and other countries. Emotionally, the former of 2000 are now where the Algerians were in 1955. Mere socio – economic development progress side-by-side with military action by France did not succeed in making the Algerians of the time accept the offer of autonomy. Their suffering galvanized their resistance, until as then French President Charles de Gaulle belatedly realized, independence was the only acceptable solution to the Algerian problem. This is the reality that the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) must face, Insha ALLAH Subhanaho Wataalah.

As the MILF, however, firmly believes that the Bangsamoro problem and the Mindanao conflict can be solved through peaceful means, it has embarked on a negotiation to pave the way to a peaceful and democratic return of the Bangamoro homeland to the Moro people. This is in accordance with Qur’anic provisions contained in Chapter VIII, verse nos. 60-62. It is for this reason that the MILF entered into the AGCC and subsequently submitted a 9-point agenda for the peace talks with the GRP. These nine talking points have been clustered into six, namely: 1) Ancestral Domain and Agrarian Related Issues, 2) Destruction of Properties and War Victims, 3) Human Rights Issues, 4) Social and Cultural Discrimination, Corruption of the Mind and Moral Fiber, 5) Economic Inequities and Widespread Poverty, and 6) Exploitation of Natural Resources. As the negotiation went on, these six talking points were deduced again to only three, namely: 1) Security Aspect, 2) Relief, Rehabilation and Development Aspect, and 3) Ancestral Domain Aspect.

While the GRP Panel preferred to delve on positive and more forward looking aspects, the MILF maintains that the true nature, scope, magnitude, and depth of the Bangsamoro problem and the Mindanao conflict must be emphasized for the well – being and future of the Moro people. No amount of stonewalling or window – dressing will ever justify any effort to arrive at another sets of palliatives and /or short – sighted remedies “in the name of peace process” but to the detriment of the downtrodden, exploited, colonized and oppressed Bangsamoro.

The objective of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) is to regain the illegally and immorally usurped freedom and self – determination of the Bangsamoro people through peaceful means. The annexation of the Bangsamoro Homeland through the Treaty of Paris of December 10, 1898 constitutes an illegal and immoral act, which is a violation of human rights. The position of the MILF is very clear. There is no viable and lasting solution to the centuries-old conflict in Mindanao between the Bangsamoro people and their prosecutor except to give way to the aspirations of the native inhabitants of Mindanao and its islands – the Bangsamoro people and the Highlanders, and this is no other than the resoration of their usurped legitimate rights to freedom and self – determination.

THE BANGSAMORO MUSLIMS AND THEIR HOMELAND:

The ancestral homeland of the Bangsamoro is not just located in Mindanao, Sulu, Basilan, Tawi-Tawi and Palawan. In a map found on London Library and Museum, Muslim areas in the Philippines at the time of the arrival of the Spaniards in the Philippines were found throughout the archipelago. There were seven kingdoms and principalities, namely: a) the Sultanate of Maguindanao, b) Sultanate of Sulu, c)Muslim principality of Palawan, d) Muslim principality of Panay, e) Muslim principality Mindoro, f) the Muslim principality of Manilad (Manila), and g) the Muslim principality of Iloco.

Due to the partial success of the Spanish conquistadors’ attempt to proselytize the Indio’s, the Moros were decimated in Luzon and the Visayas. At the end of the Spanish regime, the Moros were found principally in the southern portion of the Philippines: on the island of Mindanao, in the Sulu archipelago, and on the island of Palawan, south of Puerto Princesa City. The dominant Islamized tribes consist of 13 major ethno – linguistic groups : the Maguindanaos (Cotabato and parts of Zamboanga del Sur), Maranaws (Lanao, and parts of the Misamis, Bukidnon and also in Caraga region), Tausogs (Sulu), Yakans (Basilan), Iranons (North of Maguindanao and Cotabato provinces and south of Lanao del Sur, Jama Mapun (Tawi-Tawi and Cagayan de Sulu), Palawani (Southern Palawan), Kalibugan (Zamboanga del Sur) Kalagan (Davao areas), Samal (Sulu), Sangil (Saranggani Island group), Molbog (Balabac Island Southern Palawan), and Badjao (South of Sulu) – (per Yambut et. al., 1975:16). Each of these groups occupies a more or less distict territory, though in some instance the smaller groups have their living spaces penetrated by families belonging to the larger groups.

Then there are highlanders or lumads, the tribal ethnic groups like the T’durays (Tirurays), Manobos, B’laans, Bagobos, Subanons, T’bolis, Bukidnons, and other indigenous cultural communities, who opted not to embrace Islam, but form part of the Bangsamoro nation. They have the same aspiration as the Muslims to reclaim their ancestral domain and be free of exploitation and oppression.

Notwithstanding the unifying bond of Islam and custom and traditions (in the case of the highlanders or lumads), the Moros differ in certain respects: 1) subsistence patterns, 2) historical development and in the intensity of their contracts with the rest of the archipelago and the world beyond, and 3) in the details of their social organization, degree of their Islamic acculturation, and in their dress, custom, arts and many other aspects of culture.

These accidental differences, including patterns of psychosocial behavior, were exploited by the regime of President Marcos to divide the Moros in its attempt to weakened the then unified MNLF. What it could not win in war, it somewhat accomplished, albeit with little success in politics of compromises, concessions, and deception. This strategy also somewhat worked in magnifying the mis – perception that the Moros by themselves could not govern, rendering the various mechanisms devised by the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) especially the Southern Philippines Development Authority (SPDA), the Bogus Autonomous Regions under P.D. 1618, and the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) as “mean to fail.”

The Bangsamoro homeland consists of the picturesque, crab-like island of Mindanao. The minnows are, the island of the Sulu archipelago (or the Basilan, Sulu, Tawitawi). Moroland is said to be a territory of 36,540 square miles. By way of comparison, it is larger in territory than either portugal or Austria. And the Bangsamoro Population outnumbers that of Albania, Costa Rica, and even of oil-rich desert country of Libya.

In terms of the history of the Bangsamoro, three regions have loomed more important than others: the Sulu archipelago, the Lake Lanao Region, and the Pulangi (River) Valley, that is Cotabato Empire of old.

Sulu is the gateway that connects to Borneo and Malay Peninsula, which explains the very close ties between the people of these areas. In 1994, seeing the tremendous potentials of reviving the thriving trade and commerce that made the region prosperous some 500 years ago, former Philippine president Fidel V. Ramos, under his much-maligned Philippine 2000 vision, orchestrated the establishment of the BIMP-EAGA (Brunie-Malaysian-Philippines East ASEAN Growth Area). The rapid gains of said multilateral borderless economic arrangement were vaporized when the currency crisis struck in the mid – 1997. But then the Bangsamoro people remained in abject socio – economic condition, despite the promised bonanza especially after the signing of the Final Peace agreement between the GRP and tHe MNLF on September 2, 1996.

Lake Lanao, all of its 135 – square-mile size, supplies the electric power generated through hydro plant to larger portion of the island of Mindanao. Paradoxically, a big part of the Province of Lanao del Sur, where it is located is not yet energized up to this writing. The more properous Lanao del Norte, now dominated by Christians, with some big industries located therein, especially in Iligan City, is one enjoying the benefits of cheap electricity, together with those in Northern Mindanao, Caraga region and the Zamboanga Peninsula, all now populated mostly by Christian settlers from the Luzon and Visayas.

The Rio Grande de Mindanao (Spanish name for Pulangi, which also means “river”) is like Mount Fuji to the Japanese or the Nile river to the Egyptians. It is not just a channel for transportation/navigation, source of irrigation, trade and commercial route, and agro – industrial key production area. More than other, it is a symbol, a source of pride amongst the Maguindanaons and the other Moros in the area. The regime of former President Marcos of the Philippines came up with the cotabato – Agusan river Basin Development Project (CARBDP) aimed at transforming the valley into a modern complex of agricultural production, marketing, and corporate growth. The Marcos era ended without seeing the fruits of such a grandiose scheme.

Three dispensations in succession concocted as set or a package of programs to gain attempt at developing the valley, including the 286,000 hectare-plus Liguasan (Ligawasan) Marsh. There is the Maridagao-Malitubog Irrigation Development Project, a multi – billion peso project, and the aborted Liguasan Marsh Development Project, whose feasibility study was spearheaded by the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) at a cost of P6 million but was flatly rejected by the native inhabitants of the Marsh area. The World Bank is set to bankroll a bigger project to encompass MalMar, Liguasan, and the Pulangi. Yet, the Bangsamoro natives have never participated in the drawing of the plans, never been consulted, or even are going to be dispalced once these projects are in place.

THE BANGSAMORO ANCESTRAL DOMAIN AND OTHER RELATED ISSUES:

The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) maintains that the issue on ancestral domain involves: a) intrusion into the domain (by vested interest, settlers, and multinationals), b) declaration of ancestral domain as public and disposal lands, and c) wanton destruction and irreverence towards ancestral domain.

Throughout contemporary history, the Bangsamoro were subjected to various forms of oppression, subjugation, and genocidal campaigns. The situation of the Bangsamoro people became worst when colonies and settlements projects in Mindanao and Sulu were established to decongest Luzon and Visayas. It was also a palliative to appease for Huk members. The systematic deprivation of the Bangamoro people of their ancestral domain is anchored in the Regalian Doctrine, which has been enshrined in the Philippine Constitution of 1935, 1973 and 1987 with the state declares itself the sole owner of what is called state dome in and reserves the right to classify it for purposes of proper disposition to its citizens. To this effect, the Philippine government enacted series of laws, detriment to the occupancy, use and rights of the Bangsamoro people of their homeland.

On November 6, 1902, the Philippine Commission passed Land Registration Act No. 496 which requires the registration of lands occupied by private persons or corporations, and the application for registration of title, says Sec. 21, it shall in writing, signed and sworn to by the applicant. This provision of law is totally discriminatory. First, the registration was not only totally alien to the Moro communities, most of them would have been unable to comply, illiterate that they were. Second, it failed to take cognizance that the Maguindanao and Sulu Sultanates were independent Muslim States, possession had been, and was a complete and absolute title to their land in accordance with Islamic Law.

To ensure unchallenge exercise of the state authority to dispose of state domain or public lands, the Philippine Commission enacted an Act No. 718 entitled “An Act makig void land grants from Moro Sultnas or Datus or from Chiefs of Non – Christian Tribes when made without governmental authority or consent. Section 82 of Public Land Act No. 926 which was amended by Act No.2874 by the Senate and House of Representatives on 29 November 1919 in accordance with the Jones Law and finally incorporated in Commonwealth Act 141 under Section 84, enacted and approved on November 7, 1936, continues to carry the almost exact wordings of said law, reiterating further the legitimacy of the transfer of sovereign authority from Spain to the United Staets of America, and the illegality of the Moros claim.

On October 7, 1903, the Philippine Commission passed Public Land Act No. 926 which allowed individuals to acquire homestead not exceeding 16 hectares each corporation, 1,204 hectares each of, unoccupied, unreserved, unappropriated agricultural public lands as stated by Section 1. Nothing was said about the unique custom of the Moro Communities.

Public Land Act No. 926, amended through Act No. 2874 by the Senate and House of Representatives on 29 November 1919 in accordance with Jones Law, provided that 16hectares allowed earlier to individuals was increased to 24 hectares, but the Non – Christian , including the Moros, was allowed an area which shall exceed ten (10) hectares with the very stringent conditions, that is, it shall be an essential condition that the applicant apply for permit to cultivate the land and if the applicant has not begun to cultivate and improve the land six months from and after the date on which the permit was granted, the permit shall ipso facto be concelled and land.

Commonwealth Act No. 141, amended on November 7 1936, withdrew the privilege earlier granted to the settlers of owning more than one homestead at 24 hectares each and reverted to one not exceeding 16 hectares. But the non – Christians (including the Moros) who were earlier allowed a maximum of ten (10) hectares were now permitted only four (4) hectares.

For the administration of agricultural colonies, Commonwealth Act No. 141 created the National Land Settlement Administration. This took charge of the settlement projects in Koronadal, Cotabato, and in Malig, Isabel, Cotabato. With the subsequent reorganization of the government in 1950, the office was merged with the Rice and Corn Production Administration, forming a new identity known as the Land Settlement and Development Corporation (LASADECO). Later, Republic Act No. 1160 abolished LASADECO and created the National Resettlement and Rehabilitation Administration (NARRA). With the efforts of the NARRA, it had resetled 20, 500 at the cost of p44.5 million in 1963. The government also created the Economic Development Corporation (EDCOR), which issued homestead land to, alleged former HUKS.

THe defunct Commission on National Integration (CNI), created under R.A. 1888, as amended by R.A. 3852 on 4 May 1964 did not succeed in its objectives, but merely perpetuated and made more start the discriminatory oppression and misleading thrust of the Philippine government by implementing more settlement projects, allowing more concession ot the political elite.

On March 11, 1974, former President Ferdinand E. Marcos, issued P.D. No. 410 “Declaring Ancestral Lands Occupied and Cultivated by National Cultural Communities as Alienable and Disposable, and for other Purposed”. This edict had a ten – year period of effectively but it lapsed without getting implemented. It was overtaken by events, one of which was the shaky bureaucratic realignments and reorganizations that plagued the dictatorial regime.

Subsequent laws passed by resurrected congress did not alleviate the suffering and dislocation of the Moro people. Bureaucratic red tape and unconscionable practice of certain irreverent parties taking advantage of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP), as extended, and other programs like the Integrated Social Forestry and the issuance, and other Certificates of Ancestral Domain Claim (CADC) made matters worse. Even wildlife sanctuaries and national parks, like Liguasan Marsh and Lake Lanao, were surreptitiously titled and mortgage with the Land bank of the Philippines (LBP).

DESTRUCTION OF PROPERTIES OF AND WAR VICTIM’S: DISPLACED AND LANDLESS BANGSAMORO MUSLIMS:

The destruction of properties, loss of hundreds of thousands on innocent lives, physical and psychological injuries to those who survived the bloody wars from the early 1970’s to the present, and displacement and or disposition of lot more came as result of genocidal.

As an instrument to fulfill the grand design of the Marcos government, then President Ferdinand E.Marcos declared Martial Law on September 21, 1972 to support the ILAGA movement backed up by the Philippine Constabulary (PC) and Philippine Army (PA), see the book of Dr. Muslim. Until the middle part of 1971, ILAGA operations were concentrated in various Muslim villages in the municipalities of the then two Cotabato Provinces (North and South) with mixed populations, but largely in municipalities where the Muslims were in minority. In the second half of the 1971, they reached the province of Lanao del Sur, particularly the municipality of Wao which was among the centers of the Christian Filino migration. Then, they spread to several towns of Lanao del Norte and in Bukidnon Province.In 1972, ILAGA operated in Zamboanga del Sur. For the period of two years, practically all – Muslim areas in Mindanao were under seige the ILAGA backed up by Philippine Constabulary (PC),. and the Philippine Army (PA).

June 19, 1971 is a very memorable moment for the Bangsamoro Muslims of Carmen, North Cotabato particularly in the village of Manili with more than 70 innocent Moro civilians were massacred by the agent of the Marcos regime particularly the ILAGAs and the Philippine Constabulary (PC). In six months period from January 1971, a total of 358 Moro Muslim were recorded killed by the ILAGA backed up by the PC and PA. In the town Alamada, North Cotabato alone, about 92 houses were recorded burned. In the nearby towns, 55 Moro Muslims houses in Carmen, North Cotabato; 18 in Pikit, North Cotabato; 25 in Kidapawan, North Cotabato and 22 in Buldon, Maguindanao were all burned by the ILAGA in just five days in August, 1971. A total of 411 Moro Muslim’s houses were burned in the town of Wao, Lanao del Sur and Buldon, Maguindanao, respectively.

Other towns with notable killing and burning of several hundreds or even thousands of Muslim houses, masjeeds, and Islamic schools were: Magsaysay, Lanao del Norte; Kisulon, Bukidnon Province; and Siay and Ipil in Zamboanga del Sur. A notable ILAGA Commander Toothpick reinforced by a PC Captain Manuel Tronco made Upi, Cotabato as his Kingdom. As pointed out by a Muslim leader, Senator mamintal Tamano when interviewing the Muslim evacuees of barrio Kulongkulong, Palembang, Cotabato, after the more than two thousand Muslim (men and women, young and old) massacred in their barrio (village) on January 2, 1972, I could not shake their belief that some of the ILAGA were soldiers of the marcos regime. The incident was popularly known as “Kulongkulong Massacre”. Jubair (1999) in his book, confirmed the findings of Dr. Muslim in his dissertation.

Apperaring simultaneously with the reported ILAGA atrocities, until the middle part of 1972 were series of massacres of Muslims reportedly by the units of the Philippine Constabulary and the Philippine Army.. It was noted thatthere were 73
Muslims massacred by PC in Alamada, Cotabato in January 19, 1971; 40 Muslims were massacred by the Philippine Army in Tacub and Kausuagan all in Lanao del Norte, according to Salah Jubair. In the same incident, some 162 were reported missing allegedly salvaged by the Philippine Army soldiers. In a neighboring town of Magsaysay, Lanao del Norte scores of Muslim civilians were on their way for voting and were gunned down by the Philippine Army soldiers.

These atrocities against the Bangsamoro Muslims by the ILAGA and the military machineries of the Philippine government had converted several Muslim areas as ‘Killing Fields”, where the rest are evacuation centers. Naturally, the Muslims in these areas and those of the neighboring towns were forced to leave behind their farms and homes, many of which were subsequently looted and occupied by the Christian settlers even up to this writing. Worst, those land occupied by the Christian settlers from the Luzon and Visayas were titled forcefully with manipulations and connivance with the corrupt, liar Philippine government officials of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) and the Register of Deeds.

Records or documents submitted to the Egyptian – Libyan team that visited the Philippines in 1972 could give us a sense of the extent of displacement suffered by the Bangsamoro Muslims. Not to include the recent war victims between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and the freedom fighters of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) in the provinces of North Cotabato, Lanao del Sur, Lanao del Norte, Saranggani, Maguindanao, Basilan and Sulu after the Philippine government did not sign the initialled Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain (MOA-AD) in August 2008 at Putrajaya, Malaysia.

The following are some of the vacated Moro Muslim areas presently occupied by the Christian settlers from Luzon and Visayas:

1. Bagumbayan, Sultan Kudarat Province – Moro Muslims in this town were totally displaced by the Christians. These Moro Muslims evecuated to Maganoy and Datu Piang towns in Maguindanao Province. Their houses and masjeeds were burned and effects looted.

2. Ampatuan, Maguindanao and Isulan, Sultan Kudarat – Moro Muslims in these areas have been driven either to Buluan, Maganoy and Datu Piang towns; their houses and masjeeds were burned and effects looted.

3. Alamada, North Cotabato – Moro Muslims were driven to the neighboring towns ofBuldon and Sultan Kudarat; their houses and masjeeds were burned and effects looted.

4. Colombio, Sultan Kudarat Province – Moro Muslims were driven to Alep (Datu Paglas) and Buluan; their houses and masjeeds burned and effects looted.

5. Upi, Maguindanao Province – Moro Muslims were driven to the poblacion, to Cotabato City and Dinaeg (now Datu Odin Sinsuat town); their house and masjeeds were burned; their effects looted.

6. Palimbang, Sultan Kudarat Province – Moro Muslims were driven to Lebak, Cotabato City, Sultan Kudarat and Parang; their houses and masjeeds were burned; their properties looted.

7. Lanao del Sur – Moro Muslm in Wao town were driven to the interiors of Lanao del Sur, their houses and masjeeds were burned; their effects looted.

8. Lanao del Norte – All Moro Muslims living along the National Highway from one end to the other, a distance of over 100 kilometers were driven to the interiors of Lanao del Norte and Lanao del Sur; their houses and masjeeds were burned; their properties looted.

9. Zamboanga del Sur – All Moro Muslimms in the several small villages along the seacoast of the peninsula were driven to Basilan and Sulu Provinces; their houses and masjeeds were burned; their effects looted.

10. Bukidnon Province – All Moro Muslims living in several towns in Bukidnon were driven to Lanao del Sur Province; their houses and masjeeds were burned; their effects looted.

To sumarize the extent and effect of the first two years of the ILAGA and Philippine government’s military atrocities, we could conclude that the Moro Muslims in the rural areas of the Bangsamoro Homeland were badly devastated which under INTERNATIONAL LAWS needs CONDEMNATION and INDEMNIFICATION. Hundreds of thousands of houses, madaris (Islamic schools) and Masjeeds (House of Worship)were burned and tens of thousands of innocent Bangsamoro were massacred and more than one Million of rural Bangsamoro residents were displaced even up to this writing. About five hundred thousands (500,000) are still living in the island state of Sabah, Malaysia as refugees and thousands upon thousands are refugees in other urban centers in Mindanao, Visayas and Luzon. It should also be worthwhile to take note the permanent and partial lost of properties and lives of the Bangsamoro Muslims living along the seacoasts of Zamboanga peninsula, Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi whose number reached to about one Million.

The problem of refugees has remained unsolved uo to this day. Displaced Moro Muslims could not return to their places of origin , especially in Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Lanao del Norte, and Zamboanga del Sur Provinces because either their lands have been stolen and titled by other parties or they fear continued persecution from the Philippine government occupational armed forces. Compounding is what is termed now as “STATISTICAL GENOCIDE” whereby the Bangsamoro people are subjected to minoritization in the national statistics records of the Philippine government. At present even the National Statistical Office could not provide an accurate figure regarding the nearest estimate of the Bangsamoro population. For several years now, the NSO’s census reports have shown a slow growth of the Bangsamoro population, which is quite improbable campaigns and military operations undertaken in the Bangsamoro Homeland today.

HUMAN RIGHTS ISSUES AND CONCERS:

The Bangsamoro Muslims are the native inhabitants of Mindanao, Sulu, Basilan Tawi-Tawi and Palawan, who are not Spanish subjects on the eleventh day of April, eighteen hundred and ninety-nine (11 April, 1899), and then resided in said Islands, who have neither been naturalized under either of Act No. 2927 and Commonwealth Act No. 473, nor have ever been elected to public office prior to the adoption of the 1935 Constitution.

The Bangsamoro Muslims have fought against Spaniard, American, Japanese, then Filipino aggressions of their ancestal domain, now invoke the human right protection and guarantees accorded them by international conventions and customary laws.

The subjection of peoples to alien subjugation, domination and exploitation constitute a denial of fundamental human rights, contrary to the Charter of the United Nations. The process of liberation is irresistible and irreversible and that, in order to avoid crises, an end must be put to colonialism.

The recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of the Bangsamoro People is the foundation of liberty, justice and lasting and comprehensive peace in Mindanao and its islands. It is essential, if the Bangsamoro Nation and People are not to be compelled to pursue rebellion against tyranny and oppression, that their human rights be protected by the rule of law. The ideal of free human beings enjoying freedom from fear and want can only be achieved if conditions are created whereby everyone in Mindanao and its Islands may enjoy his or her economic, social and cultural rights, as well as his civil and political rights.

The right to development is an inalienable human right by virtue of which every humman person and all peoples are entitled to participate in, contribute to and enjoy economic, social, cultural and political development, in which all human rights and fundamental freedoms can be fully realized. The human right to development also implies the full realization of the right of peoples to self – determination, including their inalienable right to full sovereignty over all of their natural wealth and resources.

The Government of the Republic of the Philippines has undertaken to ensure the equal right of men and women to the enjoyment of all civil and political rights set forth in the international covenants. The Government of the Republic of the Phlippines has also undertaken to take the necessary steps, in accordance with its constitutional processes and with the provisions of the international covenants, to adopt such laws or other measures as may be necesary to give effect to the rights recognized by international law and conventions. The Government of the Republic of the Philippines is under obligation under the Charter of the United Nations to promote universal respect for, and observance of, human rights and freedoms.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights is the common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations, with the Government of the Republic of the Philippines, keeping such Declaration constantly in mind, striving by teaching and education to promote respect for these rights and freedoms and by progressive measures, national and international, to secure their universal and effective recognition and observance, both among its peoples and among the peoples of Mindanao and its islands.

Shard find in Intramuros shows early form of writing

September 22, 2008

A NATIONAL Museum team has dug up a pot shard with an inscription around its shoulder, similar to the world-renowned Calatagan pot, at the San Ignacio archeological site in Intramuros.

The find, lying 140 centimeters below the surface at the ruins of the San Ignacio church, is seen as evidence of another ancient form of writing in the Philippines.

Most of the writing systems in the Southeast Asian region are derived from an ancient script used in India.

In contrast to other countries, the Philippines has very few artifacts that provide evidence of the earliest form of writing. These include the Laguna copper plate (900 AD), Butuan ivory seal (9th to 12th centuries), Butuan silver strip (14th to 15th centuries) and the Calatagan pot (15th century).

When Spanish conquistador Miguel Lopez de Legazpi came in 1567, he observed that inhabitants read and wrote in their own system of writing using an alphabet.

The Tagalogs had their own alphabet, the baybayin, which was similar to those used by people in the South. The baybayin was in wide use in the 16th century, but its users began to wane in the following century.

Among ethno-linguistics groups in the Philippines, only three have retained the use of their syllabic scripts: the Hanunoo and Bahid Mangyan of Mindoro, and the Tagbanwa of Palawan.

The archaeological excavation at San Ignacio is another project being implemented jointly by the Cultural Properties and Archaeology Divisions of the National Museum and the Intramuros Administration.

This project is undertaken in connection with the plan of the IA to develop the area where the church ruins stand into an ecclesiastical museum.

Digging was started in June by the National Museum team made up of curator Angel P. Bautista, researchers Alfredo Orogo and Carmencita Mariano, artist Ernesto Toribio Jr., and Jimmy Fingcale.

Excavation in five squares yielded 500 pieces of archaeological material, of which the pot shard with inscription is considered the most significant find. (Malaya)

Another violent Aug. 21 marked

August 22, 2008

Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 06:24:00 08/22/2008

MANILA, Philippines—While marking the assassination of one of its leaders on the same day, members of the Liberal Party (LP) also gathered Thursday to commemorate another bloody event—the Plaza Miranda bombing of 1971.

Led by former Senate President Jovito Salonga, who barely survived the blast that rocked their miting de avance, the LP members wore yellow shirts featuring the likeness of the late Sen. Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr. and the legend “Ituloy natin ang laban ni Ninoy” (Let us continue Ninoy’s fight).

“A hundred pieces of shrapnel still in my body, one eye out, one ear no longer hearing. But what we did at Plaza Miranda was historic. It is a symbol of what the people are prepared to do to defend their liberty and democracy,” said Salonga, now 88.

On Aug. 21, 1971, two fragmentation grenades hurled on stage by unidentified men gravely wounded then Senators Salonga, Gerardo Roxas and Sergio Osmeña Jr. and Manila Mayor Ramon Bagatsing.

Salonga was presented a plaque of recognition by Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim for his “extraordinary valorous participation in the democratic processes of the country.” A marker on the bombing was also inaugurated at the plaza in Quiapo where the affair was held.

“Aug. 21, 1971 is historic for our party and our country because since then, the writ of habeas corpus was suspended. A year and a month later, martial law was declared and the country fell under a dictatorship. That’s why we’re here, to mark this memorable day and renew our pledge to never let this happen again,” said LP president Sen. Manuel “Mar” Roxas II.

Asked if his attendance at the event meant he was joining the LP, Lim, who had resigned from the Partido ng Masang Pilipino (PMP) the day before, said it was too early to say.

“I am still in a daze. I was so confused and surprised… for now I will remain an opposition against the present administration. I will have to think hard about that [joining the LP],” he said.

Lim resigned as PMP president on Wednesday after former President Joseph Estrada announced on Tuesday that he had quit.

“If the Liberal Party is welcome in Manila, Mayor Lim is very, very much welcome in the Liberal Party,” said Roxas to cheers from the crowd. Allison W. Lopez, with Edson C. Tandoc Jr.

The Philippines as Yugoslavia Revisited

August 17, 2008

Edel E. Garcellano

AMBETH R. Ocampo offers the Cebuano word “kaagi,” which “literally means ‘the way or path we have passed’,” instead of the Spanish “historia” or the “orthographically… Filipino ‘historya’.” Then there is “Kasaysayan,” which Zeus Salazar of Pantayong Pananaw cultic discourse prefers over “historya” as the former is rooted in “story” (salaysay) and more importantly “saysay” (sense or meaning). “Historya” has only “story.”

For the layman who views history as simply a narrative of events past, have lapsed after some anthropological time, it would be – the lexical concern – hairsplitting. But for academics given to establishing parameters for interpreting artefacts of social import & production of corresponding ideas, it would be the necessary scholasticism.

Yet history does not come to us as a series of actual performance or live events, but a retelling of the lost, ambiguated past, whose textualization implicates the signification of language & the hermeneutics thereof. After all, in the words of Terry Eagleton, re the present of history: “Every epoch suffers from the disability of being contemporaneous with itself, and of having no idea where it might lead.” Or to paraphrase Slavoj Zizek: Do we know what’s going on?

Here language is the pivot on which history, or what quirk of history as rendered by the authorial self, turns & becomes that-which-seems to have really transpired. Some Pantayon historians have been quick to advocate that the writing of history could only be “essentialized” by transcribing the hypothesized into Filipino, inasmuch as the so-called authenticity of experience – determined by logic of extrapolation & nativist perspective – cannot be rendered truthful by a language (English, Spanish, German, whatever) foreign to a racial sensibility. Thus, Salazar has always been heard as saying, more or less, that that which is written in English, for instance, be it in fiction or formal essay, is contaminated with error because the medium opaques the reflection of the object of discourse or discovery.

He had, in fact, remarked to someone that his literary stuff written is English – no matter that it is deemed inflected Filipino – as substantially & linguistically inconsequential because writ large in a foreign medium. But his claim elides the supposition that Filipino texts could likewise be arguably vehicles of falsehood as well.

This notion of language being itself a representation of the so-called object is, for Eagleton, exemplum of incarnational fallacy too often claimed in poetry, even prose, for the argument “of form and content [become] entirely one because the poem’s language somehow ‘incarnates’ its meaning. Whereas language points to things, poetic language actually embodies them. There is a theology lurking behind this poetics: just as the Word of God is the Father made flesh, so the poem does not simply talk about things, but in some mysterious way ‘becomes’ them.” Furthermore, “only when words cease to be themselves and merge into their referents can they be truly expressive.”

This is the kernel of poetics in local literary workshops whenever the question of language & craft crop up.

At any rate, Ocampo & Salazar & their academic acolytes, in effect stress that Filipino & Cebuano are “naturally incarnational,” while foreign languages “palely reflect things than correctly enact them.” The rub, however, is the archival facts come to us in Spanish, & the subsequent translations already muddle the interpretation of the essence, so to speak.

This fetish among scholastics, of course, misses the point that language, in whatever form, is only a play of signifier & signifieds, whose relational interaction produces the Bakhtinian meaning so chosen, or sifted in the minds of the articulators. (Salazar managed to explore the Tasaday scam by showing the tribal language as contaminated by the outside world, thus affirming the untruth in the claim of being authentic “savages.”)

In this wise, an analytical mode of psychologizing history, for instance, would reveal the ideological disposition of a historian, whose metaphorization of history betrays his notion of it.

For instance, Neferti Tadiar would zero in on Teodoro Agoncillo’s preface to The Revolt of the Masses: The Story of Andres Bonifacio and the Katipunan, as symptomatic of a “distortion” in his personal construction of what purports to be an impersonal project.

It reads in part: “It is as if in the midst of a lively conversation between two friends, a maid suddenly appeared to tell the host that a salesman was at the door. In the second place, I refuse the positions I have taken in the main narrative, believing, likewise, that it is improper of me to dispute things with my visitor – in this case, the reader – in the sala. I have thought it best to argue in the backroom – in the Notes at the end of this book.”

Tadiar argues: “What appears, in a psychological explanation, as fictive threats from within the self turn out to have social and material form. The ilustrado ideal of domestic comfort and ease which Agoncillo tries to realize in and as scholarly write is potentially disrupted by rude concerns of commerce and petty enterprises represented by the intrusive salesman. The narrative which secures the ilustrado subjecthood is conceived as a civilized sala conversation between two friends which mundane economic concerns as well as politically-tendentious arguments must be excluded and relegated to the backroom, the Notes at the end of the book.” & so on.

The historical imaging is not confronted by history itself as objective, pure, empirical, but as unconscious invention from various determinations of class, gender, race, religion et cetera. At the end of the chapter, Tadiar pins down Agoncillo’s historiography: “…psychology is the logic of attachments and sympathetic action which serves as the very ‘methodology’ of Agoncillo’s history… It is not just that Agoncillo is ‘prejudiced’ by prior regional, gender and class identification. Rather it is that Agoncillo plays out the affective alignments which enable and secure the proper affiliation of the nation with an emergent, privileged class to which he belongs…”

We are therefore seduced into the creative process of Ocampo’s and Salazar’s historicizing: from what vantage or filiation are they speaking to configure their discourse? What fetishism – individuals submerged in what collective or paradigmatic shift – is allowed to determine their texts?

(To note, R. Kwan Laurel remarks on Mobo Gao’s The Battle for China’s Post, that though recuperating the real Mao vis-à-vis the misrepresentation by detractors, it seems to have fallen short of more radical exposition, but slanted toward some defensiveness in relation to post-Mao reforms: “The only explanation I have for this conclusion is that the author, being based in the University of Adelaide, had to make his bow in the direction of global capitalism, as he also benefits from it… The university… after all, is famous for its ties with corporations and the Australian defense industry.”

Consequently, is not history per se that is made to unfold before us, in the imaginative as well as syntagmatic level, simply possibilities of truth perceived by historians who are likewise bound to mistake the forest for the trees?

Rendering history as text undergoes the rigor of deconstruction. Belsey posits “the text as being a construct” and “should be analyzed of its process and conditions out of the available discourses. Ideology, masquerading as coherence and plenitude, is in reality inconsistent” [take note of Agoncillo’s ideological claim & the psychological counterclaim in his preface] “limited, contradictory, and the realist text as a crystallization of ideology participates in this incompleteness even while it diverts attention from the fact in the apparent plenitude of narrative closure… [It] is the mode of production, the materials and then the arrangement is the work.”

Briefly, the text “becomes plural, open to re-reading, no longer an object for passive consumption but an object of work by the reader to produce meaning.”

Historical texts, ergo, cannot afford a closure: Ocampo, Salazar et al, can only presume a historical & historicized position that is subject to contestation – the choice of the language of narration merely a scholastic posture.

Which brings us to what historical reading should be done on the trial of Radovan Karadzic at the Hague, where he was extradited to face the charges “for his actions in the 1992-95 Bosnia War.” The crime of genocide is ominously implicated here.

The media effect of their event, thousands of miles away from the Filipino consciousness & reading, is played out as employment of justice that warns dictators their power & time are not unlimited.

Milosevic, earlier, died while in detention; Karadzic faces the same prospect of a trial that is heavily laced with politically hidden agenda.

For Michael Collon, “Belgian writer and journalist [who] has written extensively on the geo-political aims of NATO’s war against Yugoslavia, [and] author of two books on the Balkans, Liar’s Poker and Monopoly, the question should be: “The Hague: Who judges what?”

He claims that the “International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY)” does not guarantee a fair trial inasmuch as “it is political and violates [international] law… It involves a dangerous precedent for all… that Bush and Company are preparing.”

Can, after all, justice be served by a “tribunal that has no legal basis, largely funded from not disinterested private finance (Soros, Rockefeller, Time-Warner)… that refuses to try the crimes committed in ex-Yugoslavia by Washington protégés, not to mention NATO’s own crimes…”

With respect to Milosevic, whose case confronts Karadzic as well, the “Supreme Court of Belgrade had declared the extradition of Milosevic illegal… but the Flemish government or that of Brussels carried out the extradition nonetheless… Everyone knows that the Djnidjic government carried out their transfer in exchange for a reward that the United States didn’t even pay him.”

“It’s the new style,” he continues “Bush violates the rights of prisoners of war” [referring to the Taliban prisoner at Guantanamo]; “he installs dictatorial military tribunals.”

For historical backdrop, he notes: “In 1980 the International Court of Justice condemned President Reagan for having mined the ports of Nicaragua with the goal of destabilizing the leftist Sandinista government there… The US stopped recognizing the Court…” [and threatens] “it is out of the question that any US citizen can be charged for crimes he may have committed and the US Marines would go and rescue him by force no matter where in the world the trial would be taking place.”

He adds that “the masters of the world claim that they are judging Milosevic, but refuse to judge [Chile’s General Augusto] Pinochet or [Israel’s Ariel] Sharon. The latter can illegally occupy Palestine, practice apartheid, ethnic cleansing by steps and terror, yet he continues to receive billions and billions of dollars and euros, and Europe doesn’t raise its little finger.”

(Obama, for all his agit-prop of change vis-a-avis Bush, is supportive of Israel, with his eyes on the powerful Jewish lobby. & Hillary Clinton’s remark that she would make use of nuclear deterrence if Israel is attacked, merely shows more of the same of the Republican policy that the Democrats would pursue, anyway, in a more sophisticated ploy, anyway – the “blackening” of America has never been so real, this time couched in the language of motherhood & capitalist revivalism.)

& this is the crux of Collons’s prosecutorial defense: “Milosevic has been attacked not for crimes he might have committed but because he resisted the IMF and the multinationals that wanted to control his country… The most important dimension of this trial [is] Bush is threatening more and more countries that are rebellious: [North] Korea, Iraq, even Iran, [guerillas] in Colombia, Philippines [underscoring mine], and tomorrow still others. The goal of this trial is to intimidate all the other Third World leaders who follow a course of resistance to multinationals… It is a trial of intimidation.”

It is ironic that the trouble for Milosevic started in “1989, when [he] tended to introduc[e] capitalism to Yugoslavia, all the while hoping to control it” [underscoring mine]. But the “IMF-style capitalism” [this is actually the route being followed by local economic planners] has brought about “the colossal price hikes, homes deprived of electricity, massive loss of jobs.” Which led President [Vojislav] Kosamica to demand “early elections” [to change the ordered path] but “NATO [stopped] it from happening.”

The rest is bloody history. “Militias from three opposing sides committed terrible crimes,” which Collons says “have to be tried.”

He then accuses the United States of “having utilized Islamic terrorists from Bin Laden’s movement to break up Yugoslavia and to divide the peoples: In Bosnia, in Kosovo, and in Macedonia even.”

[Prior to the MOA, US Ambassador Kristie Kenney was seen coming in & out of the ARMM camp, hosted no less by friendly MILF forces.]

In effect, Collons wants to put on the deck as well “Clinton, Blair, [German Chancellor] Helmut Kohl and the US and German secret services for their clandestine work in Yugoslavia.”

After all, according to the writer, “Clinton, also Bush & Company, “admitted that they were carrying out [the] war on behalf of Globalization, the Multinationals and the control of oil supply lines…”

“The trial in the Hague,” he concludes, “it is as if Sharon is judging [Palestinian Premier Yassir] Arafat.” [The interview was done on 2 Feb 2002, but only the personae in the violent theater have changed. The structures of deception & domination still stand like pillars of evil.”]

Could this brief historical annotation, a “cognitive mapping” of Pax Americana, be applied on the flashpoint in Mindanao, which could have found fruition in the Memorandum of Agreement that was aborted in Malaysia? Curiously, Kenny was also there in official attendance as probably a disinterested observer?

We are reminded, after all, that the former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright was “characterized as ‘Mother of the Tribunal’ at Hague,” whose legitimacy & insidious capacity for justice & restitution is questioned by Collons.

Brett Decker’s commentary on the aborted negotiation – temporarily – is revelatory: “To grant Muslim’s significant governing autonomy and the right to live under Shariah law in an expanded area of the archipelago’s southern island” would simply establish a separatist state that wouldn’t guarantee a peaceful enclave for anti-terrorism,” but inflame the division between Christians and Muslims, further “removing Muslims from the rest of Philippine society and enabling them to shape an entirely separatist mentality that dreams of carving out a Pan-Islamic state from other existing countries in the region, such as Malaysia, Indonesia, and Singapore.”

She goes to the heart of the stratagem: the MOA would trigger a rewriting of the Constitution, the foremost objective in the no-holds-barred process is the shift fo a parliamentary system that would ensure GMA’s transition to prime ministership.

At such cost also that will transform the “food basket” in the South as untrammeled zone for multinationals, even a negotiated base for foreign troops.

Is that why Kenney graced the occasion?

To witness the dismemberment of the country? & applaud “Gloria’s terror gambit”?

The state, by virtue of its offer to negotiate through the MOA with the MILF (still a ragtag army with a façade of the real, of fundamentalist discipline & prey to internal divisiveness: it’s a splinter group of MNLF which has a different ethnic composition & would surely fall short of rallying Muslims of various tribes behind its governance) has trapped itself into a political cul-de-sac: to rescind the deal is to expose itself as soft, but to enforce it is to declare itself as weak. The MILF, having been formally recognized as an army of a constituted state within the state, could only but arrogantly foray into territories conceded by the state because they have the right to these domains. The state in fact has virtually surrendered these areas, regardless of the provision of plebiscite & other legalese.

Is there a way out of it?

Not until the people en masse reconstruct the current state, or the legitimate, consensual representation of it – wiping the slate clean & driving the MILF back to its lair.

GMA & her cronies, after all, can no longer undo the steps toward capitulation.(PinoyWeekly)

Rebels keep forests alive – UK historian

August 12, 2008

By Vincent Cabreza
Northern Luzon Bureau
First Posted 00:23:00 08/12/2008

BAGUIO CITY – Wars have damaged the country’s forests and may have been the key to its current state of deforestation, according to archival records unearthed by a British historian.

But Dr. Greg Bankoff, a visiting professor from the University of Hull in the United Kingdom, said he was also surprised by information that suggests that years of insurgency and rebellion are keeping the rest of the country’s forests intact.

Bankoff last week spoke about the legacy of human conflicts on the country’s forests for the University of the Philippines Baguio’s centennial lecture series.

“Forest history… is actually [the] charting [of] the rise of complex societies,” he said.

The depletion of Philippine forest cover, he said, occurred side by side with the buildup of conflicts from the start of the Spanish colonial period until 1945.

His thesis involved the impact on Philippine forests of the Spanish drive to harness shipbuilding to thwart Dutch invaders in the 16th century, the fortification of the Cordillera in the 19th century, and World War II.

Bankoff said this was the reason Filipinos should find it fascinating that thickly forested lands today in Northern Luzon and in Mindanao also host rebels.

He said common sense dictates that rebels make sure their lairs are protected, which is why they also protect their forests.

“In contemporary times, the notion of [rebels as] custodians of the forests is a very interesting one…One could argue that one could encourage insurgency to preserve watersheds and forest cover. There is a direct relationship [evident between forests and rebels that would make us ask them to] do that but I don’t think we are going to do that,” he said.

“What it does suggest is that not all forests need to be touched. If we can leave the forest alone for whatever reason Ö we should be able to do that even when there is no intense insurgency,” he said.

He added: “It’s easy to forget how ubiquitous a material wood was in the past given an age of plastic, concrete and steel, especially our age of plastic bags.”

But Filipinos cut trees to build homes and to cook.

Wide-scale forest exploitation began when Spain set up huge shipbuilding areas in Mindanao to sustain its colonial hold over the islands.

Bankoff said some of the world’s largest warships of that period were built in the Philippines, using now gone species of timber for the sturdy Spanish ships.

In the 17th and 18th centuries, large volumes of timber were used to build and sustain Spanish forts, including the outskirts of the Cordillera communities.

Timber was again used to fuel the Spanish-American War, a prelude to American logging ventures that still operate today.

Between 1942 and 1945, Filipinos were put to work destroying forests to widen farmlands to feed the occupying Japanese forces.

Bankoff said historians note that the wars destroyed important wood species and started an imbalance in the ecosystem. To build weapons and warships, colonial governments favored sturdy wood species, leaving behind inferior trees.

As populations increase, forest areas receded, Bankoff said, and there is evidence that 30 percent of indigenous archipelagic woodlands disappeared before the start of commercial logging in the 20th century.

“One of the things that continually strike me is how old the arguments are [about forest depletion] … In documents of the mid-19th century, they were already complaining of erosion, siltation, drying of rivers – all the kinds of things we think of as contemporary issues,” he said.

“I find that depressing. This was over 150 years ago and apparently we haven’t made much progress since then.”

After 359 years, local hero gets his due

June 1, 2008

By Vicente Labro
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 01:15:00 06/01/2008

TACLOBAN CITY — EXACTLY 359 years after he started a rebellion in Samar that spread like wildfire to other parts of the country, local hero Agustin Sumoroy is finally getting well deserved recognition.

The National Historical Institute (NHI) led by its chair, Ambeth Ocampo, is to unveil this morning a marker at the foot of Sumoroy’s life-size statue in the town plaza of Palapag in the province of Northern Samar.

While Sumoroy’s name may be known in many places and has appeared in a number of books, this is the first time that the hero will be officially recognized for his role in Philippine history, Palapag Mayor Ricardo Daiz said.

A native of Palapag, Sumoroy was one of the early Filipinos who rose in rebellion against the Spanish colonizers.

Historians consider the Sumoroy uprising (or the Bisayan Revolt of 1649-1650) “the first major rebellion to burst wide open during the first 84 years” of Spanish colonial rule in the Philippines.

On June 1, 1649, Sumoroy plunged a spear into Fr. Miguel Ponce Barberan, the rector of Palapag, killing him and signaling the start of the rebellion in the town.

Historians say the forced drafting of men for labor in the shipyards in Cavite was the main cause of the uprising.

The rebellion in Palapag immediately caught fire in other towns of Ibabao, the ancient name of the northern and eastern parts of Samar, the country’s third largest island.

Historians say the rebellion gained momentum and quickly spread to other places such as Catubig, Pambujan, Bobon and Catarman towns in Northern Samar, then to the towns of Taft, Dolores and Can-avid in Eastern Samar, and Paranas and other towns in the west coast of Samar.

A revolt subsequently broke out in Leyte, followed by insurrections in Sorsogon, Albay and Camarines (in Bicol), in Cebu province (in the Visayas), and then in Caraga, Iligan, Camiguin, Zamboanga and some parts of Butuan, Basilan and Davao (all in Mindanao).

Spanish officers, together with hundreds of men from Zamboanga and Pampanga, moved to quell the rebellion in April 1650. But it took several months before they finally defeated Sumoroy and his troops, who had taken refuge in a fortified place called “Mesa de Palapag.”

The rebellion lasted for a year and three months. It ended tragically when one of Sumoroy’s men, who sided with the enemy, killed and beheaded him in August 1650.

10-foot pedestal

It was the national government that recognized Sumoroy, and the local government coordinated with the NHI only when it conducted studies on the hero, Mayor Daiz told Inquirer Visayas by phone on Friday.

He said the statue of Sumoroy—which stands on a 10-foot pedestal and depicts the hero with a spear in the right hand and a sundang (a long bladed weapon) tucked in the waistband—was put up in the town plaza years ago.

“I just had the statue painted,” he said.

According to Daiz, a similar statue of the hero stands in the capital town of Catarman, about 60 kilometers from Palapag, and the main camp of the Army in the province, also located in Catarman, is named after Sumoroy.

The ruins of the ancient church of Palapag, where the Sumoroy rebellion began, can still be seen in the coastal town.

Northern Samar Gov. Raul Daza and the NHI’s Ocampo are to lead today’s unveiling ceremony that will be witnessed by Palapag officials and residents.

“We have been preparing for this big event, and the guests have already confirmed their attendance,” Daiz said.

He said barangay officials, public school teachers, war veterans and soldier-engineers based in Palapag had been invited to the affair.

“We expect a crowd of 500 people,” he said.

2nd in the province

The Sumoroy statue is the second in Northern Samar to be recognized by the NHI, Daiz said.

The first is in Catubig town, where the NHI earlier installed a historical marker in recognition of local guerrillas who valiantly fought American troops on April 15, 1900.

The US War Department described the Catubig battle as the “heaviest bloody encounter yet for American troops” in the Philippine-American War.

Some 20 American soldiers died in that battle that lasted for four days.

(PDI)

Barter trading alive in Pontevedra

June 1, 2008

By Felipe V. Celino
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 03:51:00 05/31/2008

PONTEVEDRA, Capiz – Experiencing Pontevedra, a town in the first district of Capiz, during market days would make one think of stepping back in time. The people have retained the traditional way of bartering their produce for things they need.

Established in 1853 as an independent town from Panay, Pontevedra was first named Caguyuman (which meant anthill) because people went there like a swarm of ants during market time, according to its website. It was renamed by Spanish friar Gregorio Hermida after finding a striking resemblance of the place to his hometown in Pontevedra, Spain.

Just like the early inhabitants, residents from the upland areas and those living near the sea and fishponds bring their harvests to swap for other products.

Jose Abaredes of Sitio Baybay, Tacas, said his wife Nenita always brought his catch of fish to the public market early morning on Market Day. When she comes home, she has a kilo of rice, vegetables and root crops in her basket, he said.

To promote the unique practice, the municipal government, headed by Mayor Jose Esteban Contreras, included barter trading among the major activities of the Guyum-guyuman Festival held on May 10-15. He said he would also focus on efforts to improve efficiency in aquaculture, fishery and farming.

Contreras, the eldest son of former Capiz Gov. Esteban Espinosa Contreras and the late Rosela Bacero, saw barter trading as an opportunity to mount a festival that depicted the positive characteristics of the community. Pontevedra is a place where people celebrate the abundance of natural resources and the positive traditions of the Caguyumanons, he said.

The municipal government decided that the Guyum-guyuman should be a nondenomination event, and not merely a religious fiesta.(PDI)