is this it?

Big religious groups such as the Jesus is Lord Movement, the Association of Major Religious Superiors of the Philippines, the Catholic Educators Association of the Philippines, a group called the United Muslims for Truth and Solidarity Philippines among others has pledged to attend the interfaith rally tomorrow in Makati.

Former Presidents Cory Aquino and Erap and whistle-blower Jun Lozada is also expected to grace the event.

The military is now starting to harp their overused communist and terrorist bogey in an apparent bid to scare people from attending.

Junior Officers has released a manifesto asking Arroyo and Esperon to ‘stop’ their corrupt practices while text messages circulate among the military asking them to join the people and withdraw support to the regime once 1M warm bodies fill the streets.

Is this it?

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Kasaysayan ng gahasa, abuso ng tropang Kano sa Pilipinas

Habang inilulunsad ngayon sa isla ng Mindanao ang Balikatan US-RP Military Exercises na nilalahukan ng mahigit 6,000 sundalong Amerikano, isang malaking sampal sa pambansang dignidad ang balitang isang Pilipina ang kasama sa dalawang babaeng ginahasa ng mga sundalong Amerikano sa Okinawa, Japan kamakailan. Ngunit kung ang bansang Hapon sampu ng ilan sa kanilang liderato ay nagkakaisang nagpupuyos sa presensya ng mga tropang Kano sa kanilang bansa, tila tahimik naman sa isyu ang palasyo ng Malakanyang. 

Ang panibagong paglapastangan na ito ay nagbunsod sa Migrante International,  pandaigdigang samahan ng mga Pilipino sa ibayong dagat, na kundenahin ang nasabing insidente at batikusin ang pananahimik ni Pangulong Arroyo at ng Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA). 

Ani Connie Bragas Regalado, taga-pangulo ng Migrante, sadyang mahirap sikmurain ang balitang mayroon tayong kababayan na dumanas ng abusong sekswal mula sa kamay ng sundalong Amerikano sa Japan habang libo-libong tropang Amerikano ang buong layang gumagala ngayon sa ating bansa sa tabing ng ehersisyong militar. Idinagdag pa niya, para daw tayong ginahasa ng dalawang ulit bilang isang bansa. 

Kaya naman nanawagan sila para sa hustisya sa ating kababayang biktima sa Japan, sa agarang pagpapalayas sa mga sundalong Amerikano na narito ngayon sa Pilipinas at sa pagbabasura sa makaisang panig na Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) na siyang tuntungang legal ng walang katapusang Balikatan exercises sa Pilipinas. 

Sa napabalitang panggagahasa sa Pinay sa Japan kamakailan, sinariwa nito ang kaso ni ‘Nicole,’ ang 22-anyos na Pilipinang pinagtulungang pagsamantalahan ng anim na US Marines noong Nubyembre 1, 2005.  Binalik din nito ang pait ng kawalan ng hustisya sa ating bansa, ang arogansya ng Estados Unidos at ang pagpapaka-tuta dito ng ating pamahalaan. Matatandaang, 25 araw matapos hatulang nagkasala si Lance Corporal Daniel Smith sa panggagahasa kay Nicole noong Disyembre 4, 2006, hinatid mismo ang rapist na si Smith ng mga operatiba ng Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) sa embahada ng Estados Unidos. 

Ang hakbang daw nila na ito ay sa bisa umano ng kasunduang nilagdaan nina DFA Sec. Alberto Romulo at US Ambassador Kristie Kenney na alinsunod rin sa mga itinatadhana ng VFA. Mula noon, naglaho na ang tsansang mabibigyan pa ng katarungan ang ginawang kahayupan kay ‘Nicole.’ 

‘Inmates of the den’

Lingid sa kaalaman ng marami, nakaugat na sa kasaysayan ng Pilipinas ang paglapastangan ng mga tropang Amerikano sa ating mga kababaihan at mamayan. Bakas na ang kanilang kahayupan magmula pa noong unang tumapak sila sa ating kapuluan para tayo ay kolonyahin. 

Nakatala sa artikulong “The Crowning Infamy of Imperialism” ng  American League of Philadelphia noong 1900 na mayroong 200 casa (bahay) ng prostitusyon ang direktang kontrolado ng US Military Government sa lungsod ng Maynila pa lamang. At para makatiyak na walang nakakahawang sakit ang mga babaeng tinatawag nilang “inmates of the den,” regular na nag-iinspeksyon ang Department of Municipal Inspection, isang ahensya ng gubyernong militar, sa mga casa na ito. Napaulat ring nagpatayo ng tatlong casa ang US Military Government sa isla ng Jolo, isa para sa mga upisyal militar at ang dalawa naman para sa mga tropa.  Kumuha pa nga sila ng mga babae mula sa bansang Hapon para dito. 

Mula noon, naging kalakaran na ang pagkakaroon ng mga bahay aliwan malapit sa kung saan naroroon ang mga tropang Amerikano. Nang napaalis ng mamamayan ang base militar ng US sa Pilipinas noong 1991, mayroon nang 2,182 na mga bahay aliwan o mga ‘rest and recreation sites’  at tinatayang 50,000 hanggang 55,000 mga kababaihang nabitag sa prostitusyon sa mga syudad ng Angeles at Olongapo pa lamang. 

Hindi lamang mga Amerikanong sundalo ang namumugad sa mga bahay aliwan na ito, pati mga sexually transmitted diseases (STD), kriminalidad at karahasan sa mga kababaihan ay talamak rin. 

Ayon sa IMA Foundation, tinatayang 30% sa 10,000 kababaihang nasa prostitusyon sa Angeles, Pampanga ang nagkaroon ng sakit na gonorrhea at syphilis. Noong 1983, 18 menor-de-edad ang nahawaan ng AIDS matapos ibenta ang kanilang laman sa mga tropang Amerikano sa Subic. Mas masahol pa, isang 18 buwang gulang na sanggol ang nadiskubreng mayroong gonorrhea (sakit na nakukuha lamang sa pakikipagtalik) noong Enero 1990. Tatlo sa mga pangunahing suspek sa karumaldumal na krimen na ito ay mga sundalong Amerikano na noon ay kasama ng sanggol at ng kaniyang ina sa kanilang tinutuluyang apartment. 

Mula taong 1981 hanggang 1988, 3,274 na kaso ng karahasan at pang-aabuso ang isinampa laban sa mga tropang Kano na naka-istasyon sa Subic at sa Clark. Nakatala rin sa records ng Olongapo City Prosecutors Office na 15 sa mga kasong isinampa laban sa mga Amerikano noong 1981 hanggang 1988 ay kinasangkutan ng mga kabataang edad 11 hanggang 16. Pawang walang kinahinatnan ang mga kaso. 

Balikatan?

Bukod sa prostitusyong militar at pagsasamantala sa ating mga kababaihan, hindi rin nakalagpas ang mamamayang Pilipino sa samu’t-saring mga atraso at pang-aabuso ng mga tropang Amerikano. 

Idinetalye ni Sittie Rajabia Sundang, Secretary-General ng Kawagib Moro Human Rights, ang mga patong-patong na mga kasalanan ng mga Amerikano simula ng tumapak sila sa Katimugang bahagi ng bansa noong 2002 para sa sunod-sunod na mga Balikatan.

Kabilang aniya sa mga ito ay ang pamamaril sa magsasakang si Buyung-Buyung Isnijal ni Sgt. Reggie Lane noong Hulyo 27, 2002 sa Tuburan, Basilan at ang pagkakasugat dahil rin sa pamamaril kay Arsid Bajarun habang nagsasanay ang mga Amerikano sa Zamboanga City noong 2004. 

Ang pagkamatay dahil sa atake sa puso dala ng matinding takot ni Sardiya Abu Calderon nang lumapag ang isang helicopter na may lulang dalawang sundalong Amerikano sa kaniyang lupain noong Agosto 2004. At nito lamang Pebrero 2008, sinalaysay ni Sandrawina Wahid na kabilang ang mga sundalong Amerikano sa mga tropang nangmasaker ng walong sibilyan sa Maimbung, Sulu. 

Ikinagalit rin ng direktor ng isang ospital sa Panamao, Sulu ang pangingi-alam sa kanilang operasyon at pananakot ng mga tropang Amerikano. Ayon kay Dr. Silak Lakkian ng Panamao District Hospital, noong Nubyembre 30, 2007 isang Master Sgt. Ronburg umano ang nagbanta sa kaniyang mga staff na papuputukan sila ng baril kung hindi sila magsasara ng alas-sais ng hapon. 

Paglabag sa soberanya

Para kay Bayan Muna Rep. Satur Ocampo, na kasama sa libo-libong nagprotesta sa pormal na pagbubukas ng Balikatan 2008 sa Mindanao kamakailan, ang nagpapatuloy na presensya ng mga tropang Amerikano sa ating bansa ay malinaw na paglabag sa natitira pang soberanya ng Pilipinas. Ayon sa kaniya, pambabastos din ito sa ating Konstitusyon na ipinagbabawal ang pagtapak ng mga dayong tropa sa bansa.

“The US is circumventing the country’s Constitutional ban on foreign troops,” ayon kay Ocampo. “This trampling upon our sovereignty by the US has been made possible with the subservient consent of the Arroyo administration.”

Dagdag pa niya, sa loob lamang ng pitong taon, nagkaroon ng 24 na ehersisyong militar sa bansa at ang karamihan dito ay inilunsad sa mga aktuwal na ‘combat areas’ sa Mindanao. Ang lahat ng ito aniya ay nakakalusot dahil na rin sa mga maka-Amerikanong Mutual Defense Treaty at VFA. 

Kaya naman, nanawagan ang militanteng Congressman ng agarang pagpapalayas sa mga tropang Amerikano sa bansa at sa pagbabasura sa VFA at iba pang mga maka-isang panig na kasunduang militar sa pagitan ng US at Pilipinas. ###

 

Sources: The Social Cost of US Military Presence, Emmi A. De Jesus – 09 Dec 2006; Gabriela; Migrante International; Philippine Daily Inquirer; Bulatlat.com; Kawagib Moro Human Rights organization .

Transcript of Arroyo’s interview with dzRH’s Joe Taruc on the ZTE deal last February 23

TARUC: Isa sa mga nasa isipan pa ng ating mga kababayan at ang pinag-uusapan ngayon tungkol doon sa broadband contract. Ano po ba talaga ang malinaw na nangyari dito? Ito po ba ay kinansela, sinuspinde o ano po ba ang talagang estado nito, Madam President?

PGMA: Alam mo Joe, talagang para sa akin, una sa lahat, hindi ko gusto ang katiwalian. Ang taumbayan galit sa katiwalian, ganoon din ako. Galit din ako sa katiwalian. Kaya itong proyektong ito, oras na may pag-uusap na may anomaliya ay agad-agad kong kinansel na, ah ano, agad-agad gumawa ako ng hakbang para kanselahin. Ang isa sa mga hakbang na ito ay kailangang kakausapin muna ang gobyerno ng China dahil sila naman ang ating pinakamalaking ah, pinakamalaking market ngayon sa export. So, at hindi lamang iyon, dinagdagan natin ang pondo ng Ombudsman para lalong mapalakas ang kanyang bantay kontra sa kurakot at direkto tayong kumilos diyan sa sinabi ko sa iyo na, yung tinanong mo sa akin pala na tiyakin na masusing subaybayan ang lahat ng ganoong proyekto ng mga mamamayang tumatanod para makasiguro na walang katiwaliang mangyayari.

TARUC: Ibig sabihin kanselado na iyong broadband project?

PGMA: Kanselado na yun matagal na. Oras nga na may sumbong sa akin, tinignan ko na yung paraan kung paano kanselahin. Nasumbong sa akin the night before the signing of the supply contract, pero hindi pa naman kasi but that was only one of many signings. So, e papano mo naman maka-kansel the night before meron kang ibang bansang kausap? Isang gabi. So tinuloy ang signing pero sa unang pagkakataon kinausap ko na agad yung pangulo ng China para sabihin sa kanya na kailangan kanselahin yung proyekto.

TARUC: Naunawaan naman nila?

PGMA: Sa umpisa hindi masyado, nagulat, pero sa pangalawang pag-uusap ko sinabi na naiintindihan niya at magkaibigan pa rin tayo kahit na kakanselahin yung proyekto.

Bagong Bayani Ayaw kay Gloria (BABAY GLORIA)

OFWs please read and sign the BABAY GLORIA online petition. Kindly circulate.

Thanks

_______________________________________________________________

To: President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo


We, the undersigned overseas Filipinos, their relatives and supporters, call on Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to step down.

We have had enough of seven years of your administration’s high-level corruption, gross human rights violations, political killings, abductions, electoral fraud, artificial economic development and subservience to foreign interests.

We have had enough of your policy to export and commodify our labor, your extortion and criminal neglect of migrant workers and their families.

We have had enough of your cover-ups and gangsterism.

The recent revelation by Jun Lozada about the anomalous NBN-ZTE deal is but the latest in a long line of corruption cases hounding your administration. Recent surveys show that 8 out 10 Filipinos want you to step down (IBON, January 2008) and that most Filipinos believe you are the “most corrupt President in the history of the Philippines” (Pulse Asia, October 2007).

Through your billion peso kickbacks, you essentially steal food away from our families’ plates, rob our children’s access to quality education, deprive our sick adequate public health care and withhold from migrants the urgent welfare services we need.

Given our recent victories to save the life of Marilou Ranario and for the temporary suspension of the POEA MC 04 Guidelines on Direct Hiring, we are confident that when overseas Filipinos and their families unite, much can be achieved.

As such, in line with CBCP President Angel Lagdameo’s call for “communal action” and recalling the spirit of EDSA I and EDSA II, we commit to again rise up to the challenge of booting yet another corrupt and dictatorial President out of office.

As the country’s “bagong bayani” or modern-day heroes, we deplore how your administration intensifies its reliance on our remittances to prop up your bankrupt economy.

Enough of your affronts to our dignity. Enough of your violations against our rights and welfare. Enough of your lies to the people.

Tama na! Sobrang-sobra na! Tapusin na! Babay Gloria!

http://www.petitiononline.com/babay/petition.html

100K warm bodies in Manila or EDSA will spur military to withdraw support for Gloria – Sison

National Democratic Front of the Philippines Chief Political Consultant Jose Maria Sison said in a statement released from exile in the Netherlands, that he has “reliable information” that police and military officials and the majority of enlisted personnel are ready to manifest their withdrawal of support to the Gloria Macapagal Arroyo Administration as soon as “100,000 people converge in any of the protest rallies either in Manila or Edsa in the coming days, weeks and months.”

He said such mass participation is expected to ignite the peaceful uprising of the people in their millions nationwide.

“The patriotic military and police officers uphold the principle of civilian supremacy and are not interested in taking power for any military clique. They want a triumvirate of officials of the Supreme Court, Senate and the executive to be the caretaker leadership for running the government until a new president is elected in a snap election within four months from the removal of Arroyo from power” he said.

Sison’s statement came two days ahead of the protest rallies in and out of the country to commemorate the 22nd Anniversary of the first People Power uprising in EDSA on February 25.

Teka-teka ceremony

While rallies and gatherings calling for Arroyo’s resignation abound the metro and key cities nationwide, some 20 military and police top brass staged a ‘unity walk’ to dramatize their allegiance to the chain of command and the constitution. From the Camp Aguinaldo, the officers led by AFP Chief Hermogenes Esperon and PNP Director General Avelino Razon walked to the People Power Monument in EDSA to join the crowd of thousands of uniformed personnel, a handful of palace officials and local government leaders in the government sponsored commemoration rites.

Aside from a series of bloopers in the government EDSA rites, like the flag that got stuck on half-mast, the ‘teka-teka’ microphone and the rain of heavy confetti; observers also noted the noticeable absence of the Filipino masa in the historic landmark. Nationwide broadsheet The Daily Tribune even claimed in its editorial that all service commanders and all unified command generals of the AFP were “ordered” to be present in Camp Aguinaldo for the Unity Walk.

On the other hand, the February 25 protest drew more than 5,000 people in Mendiola. It was only part of the build-up activities slated for the February 29, 2008 Church-led ‘interfaith rally’ in Makati , says BAYAN Secretary General Renato Reyes.

Removal of Arroyo possible

Sison, who is also the founding Chairman of the Communist Party of the Philippines , expressed elation in the surging mass movement who are demanding the truth in the highly controversial ZTE-NBN deal and for Arroyo to step down from the presidency.

He said he is ‘happy’ to observe that the ‘broad united front of patriotic forces’ are determined to mobilize the Filipino masses not only in the National Capital Region but also in the provinces to further isolate the Arroyo regime and cause the resignation, ouster or impeachment of Gloria M. Arroyo, whom he calls a ‘fake president.’

He noted that the removal of Arroyo from power is possible, and this could be achieved “mainly through the people’s exercise of their democratic right to speak and assemble, as in 1986 and 2001.”

“The issuance of statements, indoor meetings and localized rallies against the regime can generate the gigantic mass actions. The peaceful uprising of the people in great numbers can encourage the bureaucracy and military to withdraw support and can thus cause the Arroyo regime to implode” said Sison as he reiterated the task of the broad united front “to bring to the surface and to the streets the people’s outrage and thus overcome the regime’s campaign of mass deception and intimidation.”

“The people are deeply outraged by the Arroyo regime’s servility to foreign interests, its corruption and plundering mania and its wanton violations of human rights” he said. ###

 

MY CHEMICAL ROMANCE WITH PANCIT CANTON

Pam Pangilinan

I grew up eating rice for breakfast, lunch and dinner. We always had lakatan, mangoes or whatever fruit it is in season for merienda. During the rainy season, my mother would boil camote that we would all generously dip in muscovado. Even toasting cashew nuts has become a family affair that I always look forward to. Food for us is whatever a small inherited land offers.

Family matters are discussed over sumang balinghoy, failing grades and misbehavior would mean grinding corn that would later be pulvoron. I never got to grind corn because of failing grades, but boy, see how my biceps grew.

This is how the romance between food and the misbehaving probinsyana blossomed. I took interest on how mother would patiently boil, squash and strain sampalok for sinigang. At an early age I took pride of my knifing skills. I could easily grate 10 ears of corn without injuring any of my ten fingers. The most important lessons in life, I have learned in the kitchen. Patience, hard work, perseverance, frugality. Where my mother’s rod failed in teaching me, the kitchen succeeded.

My nanay told me that food always should be prepared and served with love. You could serve tuyo and boiled camote tops and your loved ones will enjoy the meal. But morcon and menudo will taste like paper if prepared by a wounded heart.

Now who can blame me for being shocked when this charming man whom I have chosen to spend my life with turns out to be a hotdog fed, “what’s-the-point-in-eating fruit”, and “will-eat-because-I’m-hungry” kind of guy.

Not to be discouraged, I slaved my self cooking my best recipes so that he will realize that sunny side up egg is not the most complicated, most challenging dish to prepare.

Refusing to take any shortcuts, I hunted for sampalok so I could cook sinigang for him the way my mother prepared it for us. The gata of my ginataang manok did not come from a tetrapak. Expecting rave reviews for my meticulously prepared meals he just ate them and said it was “okay”.

Demanding a reaction, I purposely did not put vinegar to the adobo. I asked him how it was and he said that it was “okay”. I surrender. Why this man who can write a news head line out of smelly socks but cannot make a decent comment on what is served to him is beyond me.

So one day I asked him, “What is your favorite food”. Silently pledging that whatever it may be, I, to the best of my culinary abilities will cook for him. Guess what his answer was. “Wala. Pare-pareho lang ang mga pag-kain.” And that was the last ditch. I may need to find another way to his heart because his stomach is impassable. I would have to take the road less traveled by.

Sensing that I was growing tired of his indifference to my personal crusade, he told me, ‘kahit pancit canton na lang”. I could have jumped with glee. Finally. But the pancit canton he was referring to is instant pancit canton. Oh no, I won’t let him eat food that has anything on it that I can’t spell. And I refuse to take part of him injecting himself with carcinogens.

But hey, he wants it. That is what he is going to get. I cooked instant pancit canton and he ate it with gusto. So much for home cooked meals.

Reflecting on this, I’ve realized that I’ve got a man who is not hard to please. Will eat anything that I serve him. Because it is instant, it is easy to cook (if you may want to call boiling water, cooking), easy to prepare. I am not too tired to enjoy dinner with him. And most importantly I have realized that he needs me not in the kitchen.

It is honestly quite hard to admit but one of the things that I enjoy doing is eating pancit canton with him. I am still dreaming for the day to come that he will tell me that it is my old-fashioned sinigang that he craves for. But for the time being, I might as well enjoy my chemical romance with instant pancit canton. And savor the feeling of how this doe-eyed man found his way to my heart with monosodium glutamate.

Send those GIs packing!

Another Filipina raped by a US serviceman. Why the Philippine Government is still on an as-if-nothing-has-happened mode (the Balikatan exercises is still on-going and not at least suspended or halted altogether) escapes me.

I dare Malacanang or the DFA to at least summon the US Ambassador or the highest US Military official who is currently here in the Philippines and have them, at the very least, explain and give them a brief on the US military’s investigation on the alleged rape.

Having a  military exercises participated by more than 6,000 US troops in the Southern Philippines while at the same time knowing that a Filipina was raped and stripped off her dignities by a US soldier in Japan, is like being raped twice over.

I say send those GIs packing immediately! Let’s see how will Gloria handle this ‘US-RP relationship smashing’ situation.