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Archive for January, 2009

SYNOPSIS:
Title:  Bikolanong Makabayan, Habo sa Balikatan!
Produced by: BikolXPress, The Region’s Alternative Media Group and Bikolano Alliance for Nationalism against Balikatan (BAN Balikatan)
Duration: 18 mins

In the advent of the Anti-Balikatan Campaign in Bikol, some Bikolano video enthusiasts, writers and members of people’s organization decided to bring together different sentiments of people who will be affected if Balikatan exercises pushes through. This production is the opening salvo of the Anti-Balikatan series to be released this year.

Hosted by Jocelyn Bisuña, convenor of the regional alliance, BAN BALIKATAN, the video highlights the broad alliance of Bikolanos regarding the US military presence in Bikol.  It covers the sentiments of Bikolanos from two of the most vocal bishops in the Bikol region, Bishop Lucilo Quiambao DD of Legaspi and Bishop Arturo Bastes SVD DD of Sorsogon..

It also discussed the fears of local fisherfolks in Albay gulf of being prevented from fishing if BFAR implements the 15-kilometer policy. It also exposed how the farmers from Albay are infested by the continuous clearing operations of Special Operations Team of the Armed forces of the Philippines in their area in preparation for the joint exercise.

Environmentalist and Aquinas University Secretary General, Engr. Virgilio Perdigon pointed out the hidden intentions of US troops in the country, such as spying on the internal conflicts and natural resources. He blamed the Philippine government for corrupting the taxpayers’ money that should have been allotted to basic services while asking US for foreign aid to provide dole outs in exchange for military intervention.

Sr. Ailyn Binco of the Religious of Good Shepherd expressed her alarm on the spread of prostitution and child trafficking. She said that the areas where US troops are going to land are coastal areas where they might prostitute urban poor women.

The interviewees also exposed the hypocrisy of the Humanitarian Services as a cover for the military exercise they are planning in the region, thus questioning why should US  military personnel do humanitarian aid and why Bikol region.

Balikatan 2009 is the 25th military exercise in the country. Although the military claims that it is purely for humanitarian mission, intensified military operations, such as SOTs, has already plagued the areas where Balikatan will be staged.

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The Bikolano Alliance for Nationalism against Balikatan (BAN BALIKATAN) together with the BikolXPress, the region’s alternative media group produced a nationalist video titled “Bikolanong Makabayan, Habo sa Balikatan! (Nationalist Bicolanos Against Balikatan” to jump start a massive education campaign against the Balikatan exercises.

According to Prof. Jocelyn Bisuña, spokesperson of BAN BALIKATAN, “ we know that the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) along with the US Armed Forces are going all out in deceiving Bicolanos of the real purpose of the Balikatan,”

“This 18 minute production will serve as a compact tool to expose the ill effects of the military exercises. This can be used in video presentations in schools, universities and communities to start off discussions on the many constitutional, social, political, economic, moral and environmental problems that will be caused by the Balikatan,” added the patriotic professor.

“The video will also show that many sectors are against the exercises and that the evils that it will be bring far out weighs it’s so called benefits. We hope that this help in educating more Bicolanos and that our friends in media will extensively use it,” ended Bisuña.

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News Release
January 29, 2009
Reference: Prof. Jocelyn Bisuña, spokesperson, BAN BALIKATAN

As the Anti-Balikatan Campaign in Bikol escalates, some Bikolano video enthusiasts, writers and members of people’s organization decided to bring together a video production that expresses the different sentiments of people who will be affected if ever the Balikatan exercises pushes through.

On January 29, 2009 at Quick and Hearty Café, Old albay, Legaspi City, alternative media group BikolXPress and regional alliance Ban-BAlikatan will launch the anti-Balikatan video production “Bikolanong Makabayan, Habo sa Balikatan (Nationalist Bicolano Against Balikatan).” This production is the opening salvo of series against Balikatan to be released this year.

The 18 minute video covers the strong sentiments of Bikolanos against Balikatan. Fisher folks of the Albay Gulf, peasants from the third district of Albay, intellectuals and the religious leaders from Sorsogon and Albay, all share their apprehension and annoyance over the coming of the US troops in the region.

The interviewees also expose the hypocrisy of the Humanitarian Services as a cover for the military exercise they are planning in the region, thus questioning why should US  military personnel do humanitarian aid and why Bikol region.

Balikatan 2009 is the 25th military exercise in the country. Although the AFP and US troops claim that it is purely for humanitarian mission, intensified military operations, such as SOTs, have already plagued the areas where Balikatan will be staged.

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News Release
January 27, 2009
Reference: Prof. Jocelyn Bisuña, spokesperson, BAN BALIKATAN

On Punishing Rights Abusers: BAN BALIKATAN to US Envoy: “Look who’s talking!”

The BAN BALIKATAN alliance reacted strongly on US Ambassador Kristie Kenney’s statement that rights abusers should be punished. The group said that it is like adding insult to injury because the US is the No.1 rights violator in the world and continuously abuse the rights of Filipinos.

Under George W. Bush, the US also supported the policy of the Macapagal-Arroyo regime in silencing and killing activists and journalists. BAN BALIKATAN enumerated some of the recent violations of the US soldiers, they even sited the closing of a hospital by American soldiers and the rape of Nicole in Subic.

According to Prof. Jocelyn Bisuña, spokesperson of BAN BALIKATAN, “When saying these types of statements one should have high moral ascendancy but it is very hypocritical coming from the US government. From our stand point it very difficult to believe her, when further proof of their military intervention came to light in Jolo,”

“We condemn the abduction of the three workers of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in Jolo, but this is no excuse for US intervention in our country’s internal affairs. Kidnapping should be dealt with by the Philippine National Police (PNP) and at the maximum by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), but it seems that the police and the military go to the US military any chance they get. The US drones sighting in Jolo is not the first time, the same drones were sighted in 2007 in Indanan, Sulu,”

“This is the latest proof that US troops have never left the country and that they are actively involved in combat operations like in August 2007 when US troops were photographed and the Agence France Press photographer even testified that US troops were indeed in combat operations with Philippine soldiers in Mindanao.,” said Bisuña.

“In December 2007, American soldiers forced the shutdown of Panamao District Hospital once again in Sulu province. These are all very damning evidence of US military intervention in our country and a concrete manifestation of the US government’s contempt for our national sovereignty,” added the patriotic professor.

“These incidents are clear violations of the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) and a slap on the face of the Filipino people. We in BAN BALIKATAN will not like the same to happen here in Bicol, in the guise of humanitarian missions. At the very least a probe is in order and the immediate pull out of US troops in the area, as well as the cancellation of the Balikatan. The junking of the Visiting Forces Agreement is also not far off, because of this. We will only believe Ambassador Kenney when these have been done” ended Bisuña.

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News Release
January 24, 2009
Reference: Prof. Jocelyn Bisuña, spokesperson, BAN BALIKATAN

“Congress and Senate should probe US intervention in Jolo!”-BAN BALIKATAN
US troops even shut down hospital in Sulu, group fears it will happen in Bicol.

The region wide alliance BAN BALIKATAN called on Congress and the Senate to immediately launch a thorough probe on the real role of US troops in Mindanao, when further proof of their military intervention came to light. The group also enumerated some of the recent violations of the US soldiers, they even sited the closing of a hospital by American soldiers.

According to Prof. Jocelyn Bisuña, spokesperson of BAN BALIKATAN, “Firstly we would like to register our condemnation of the abduction of the three workers of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in Jolo, but this is no excuse for US intervention in our country’s internal affairs. Kidnapping should be dealt with by the Philippine National Police (PNP) and at the maximum by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), but it seems that the police and the military go to the US military any chance they get. The US drones sighting in Jolo is not the first time, the same drones were sighted in 2007 in Indanan, Sulu,”

“This is the latest proof that US troops have never left the country and that they are actively involved in combat operations like in August 2007 when US troops were photographed and the Agence France Press photographer even testified that US troops were indeed in combat operations with Philippine soldiers in Mindanao.,” said Bisuña.

“In December 2007, American soldiers forced the shutdown of Panamao District Hospital once again in Sulu province. These are all very damning evidence of US military intervention in our country and a concrete manifestation of the US government’s contempt for our national sovereignty,” added the patriotic professor.

“These incidents are clear violations of the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) and a slap on the face of the Filipino people. We in BAN BALIKATAN will not like the same to happen here in Bicol, in the guise of humanitarian missions. At the very least a probe is in order and the immediate pull out of US troops in the area, as well as the cancellation of the Balikatan. The junking of the Visiting Forces Agreement is also not far off, because of this” ended Bisuña.

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In Albay, 5,000 people expressed their resounding opposition of the conduct of Balikatan 2009 in Bicol and thundered the streets to shout: STOP BALIKATAN! They also told the US Troops to stay out of Albay Province.

Basic sectors protest Balikatan in Albay

Basic sectors protest Balikatan in Albay

In Sorsogon, 7,000 people stormed into the streets shouting NO TO BALIKATAN and encouraging more Sorsoganon folks to speak out against Balikatan and defend our sovereignty.

Sorsoganons by the thousands rally against Balikatan

Sorsoganons by the thousands rally against Balikatan

In Masbate, 8,000 people congested the narrow streets in order to indicate their strong opposition of Balikatan 2009 and no to indignity, intervention, human rights violations, US terrorism and poverty.

In Camarines Sur, 2,000 people flooded the streets shouting out protests and pouring out their indignation of foreign intervention and violations to the Constitution.

Thousands of people went out and marched against Balikatan in Naga City, Camarines Sur

Thousands of people went out and marched against Balikatan in Naga City, Camarines Sur

In Camarines Norte, a substantial number of people also participated in an Outdoor Activity to protest against Balikatan.

All over Bicol today, January 22, 2009, more than 22,000 Bicolano nationalists headed by BAN Balikatan expressed their opposition to US Intervention and terrorism. Bicolanos showed that they will never rest until the US troops have totally been driven out of our country, VFA/MLSA have totally been scrapped, genuine peace has been achieved  and our country has undergone significant and lasting political and economic change.

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Video of Rev. Bishop Lucilo Quiambao as he speaks out No to Balikatan in Bicol.

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