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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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Video of Sorsogon Bishop Arturo Bastes as he speaks out against Balikatan and explains why he is not affirmative with the invasion / intervention of US military troops in Sorsogon.

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Pahayag ng SUMABA KA ( SPEAK OUT ) hinggil sa Balikatan
Rev. Lemuel S. Igdanes, Provincial Spokesperson

Ang SUMABA KA (SPEAK -OUT) ay isang malawak at nagkakaisang patriotikong  organisasyon sa lalawigan ng Sorsogon, mga nagmamahal sa kapayapaan at soberenya ng bansang Pilipinas ay  mariing tinututulan ang pagsasagawa ng BALIKATAN 2009 dito sa BIKOL nayong darating na Abril 2009.

Kagyat naming pinagkakaisa ang aming mga tinig at nananawagan sa lahat ng mamamayan ng Sorsogon na maging mapagbantay sa gagawing BALIKATAN Exercises ng AFP at tropang militar ng Kano. Pinaninindigan namin sa muli na ang SORSOGON ay handang muling ipaaabot ang kanyang tinig gaya ng mga naunang pagtutol sa anumang ikasisira ng  buhay at pagyurak sa sangnilikha.

Mariin naming tinututulan ang pagpasok ng nasabing “pagsasanay militar” at makataong pag tulong sa pamamagitan ng “humanitarian missions” na isasagawa at gagawin sa loob ng anim na buwan simula Abril 2009.

Sa katotohanan sila ay nagsimula na noon pang Enero 7, 2009 na hindi man lamang dumaan sa tamang proseso at protocol. Hindi sila ngbigay ng kaukulang respeto sa opisina ni Governor Sally Lee. Repleksyon mismo ito ng kanilang kawalan ng respeto sa soberanya at karapatan ng lokal na pamahalaan at mga lokal na mga mamamayan.

Sa halip na magbigay respeto sa opisina ng Gobernador, sila ay agad na dumiretso sa munisipalidad ng Juban. Si Mayor Fragata nakausap at nakadaupang palad ni Capt. Kelly Schmader, Commandeer ng 13th NavalConstruction Regiment ng US Pacific Fleet.

Kung magtutuloy tuloy ang ganitong kawalang respeto sa lokal na pamahalaan ano pa kaya sa mga ordinaryong mamamayan ng Sorsogon at iba pang karatig  probinsya?

Tinututulan namin ang BALIKATAN 2009 at ipinaaabot ang mga maaaring maging epekto nito sa buhay, ariarian ng mamamayang Pilipino na nasa Sorsogon kung saan apat na munisipalidad ang sasaklawin:

1. Juban

2. Irosin

3. Matnog at

4. Bulan

Una,ito ay labag sa ating Saligang Batas at panteritoryong integridad. Ayon sa Section1 @ 25 of Article 11 ng Konstitusyon ng Plipinas na nagbabawal ng pagkakaroon ng dayuhang base militar at tropang militar sa ating bansa.

Ikalawa, ito ay para sa tinatawag na “global hegemony at expansion of territory” ng US upang ang kanilang eonomikong interes ay lumago. lalot higit na humaharap ngayon ang US sa isang global financial crisis, potensial ang Pilipinas na pagkukunan ng hilaw na materyales gaya ng ginto, bakal oro at iba pang yamang mineral sa pamamagitan ng pagtatayo ng transnational na korporasyon na magmimina sa ating mga bundok, sa pahintulot ng GMA pamahalaan.

Ikatlo,mas lulubha ang di-mapipigilan ang sagupaan sa pagitan ng AFP at NPA at mas lalong dadami ang madadamay na mga sibilyan. Kung susuriin, ang insurhensya ay internal na problema sa pagitan ng nag-aaway na panig ( GRP at CPP NPA NDF) a hindi kailanman dapat makialam ang US  sa ganitong sitwasyon.

Ikaapat, dadami ang kaso ng paglabag sa karapatang pangtao, walang habas na pamamaril gayan ng ginawa nila sa  Basilan at Sulu, sapilitang pagpapalikas,paninira ng aria-arian at pamamaslang, pananakit at pananakot sa ordinaryong mamamayan.

Ikalima, dadami at kakalat   ang prostitusyon, at ang mga nakakahawang sakit gaya ng AIDS, herpes, syphilis, gonorhea at paglala ng kriminalidad at pagkakalat ng droga na makakasira sa moral na aspeto ng mga tao at buong kumunidad.

At ikaanim, dinadagdagan nito ang suliranin na pinapasan ng mamamayan  ng Sorsogon. Di na nga tayo magkandaugaga sa pagpasan sa ekonomikong kalalagayan gaya ng napakataas na presyo ng prime commodities  gaya ng bigas asukal atbp  at sa  napakababang pasahod, hirap na nga tayong maiangat at maiayos mga buhay natin  anupat tayo ay  paglalaruan, at aalisan ng karapatan sa sarili nating bayan.

Saan na tayo nito papunta? Hahayaan  ba  nating  sa sarili nating bayan harap harapan tayong magdusa at maglingkod sa mga dayuhang walang ibang hatid satin kundi hirap at pasakit?

Ito na ang tamang panahon upang ang panghihimasok ng US sa ating bansa ay ating tutulan. Kung naniniwala tayong ang Pilipinas ay para sa mga Filipino, manindigan tayo at patunayang ang karapatang mabuhay ay hindi lamang para sa iilan at makapangyarihan. Ito ay regalo ng Dios sa pamamagitan ng pinagmumulan ng lahat ,kay Hesu Kristo na Panginoon at Diyos ng buhay at kasaysayan. Siya ay pumunta upang magbigay buhay at palaguin ito (Juan 10:10).

Kung mahalaga sa atin ang buhay, manindigan tayo upang protektahan ito.  Hindi lamang para sa sariling kapakanan, kundi para sa buong sambayanan at mga susunod na henerasyon ng Sorsoganon na nagmamahal sa kapayapaan, katarungan , hustisya at pagmamahal at kalayaan.

Makialam ka Sorsoganon! SUMABA Ka! (SPEAK OUT) para sa Buhay at Kalayaan!

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Statement
Tindog Atenista
Reference: Gerard Edgar O. Surtida, Spokesperson

STOP BALIKATAN 2009! NO MORE TO FOREIGN INTERVENTION!

Tindog Atenista, an alliance of individuals and organizations in Ateneo de Naga University, condemns the implementation of the Balikatan 2009 and its suspicious objectives through “humanitarian missions”.

The news has erupted and was confirmed by the released statements from the advance party movements of the RP-US Balikatan that since October last year, they have ensured that several areas in the Bicol region will be the primary locations for the implementation of the 25th Balikatan Exercies 2009.

The Chairman of the RP-US Visiting Forces Agreement Commission Edilberto Adan, other high-ranking officials, and the military spokesperson of the Solcom, 9th ID and 901st 1B also confirmed that there are 3-4 possible provinces in Bicol Region that will be affected.

JUNK THE MDT and VFA! The implementation of the Balikatan Exercises throughout the country came forth from the Mutual Defense Treaty (MDT) of 1951, which states that the Republic of the Philippines has entered into a “mutual understanding and agreement” with the United States of America in terms of military activities.

This continues to reflect the characteristics of the country being a dependent, neo-colonial outpost of the United States of America. Such characteristics were observed in US’s wars of aggression against Korea and Vietnam. From the MDT, Visiting Forces Agreement came to be. This This lengthened the direct and indirect interference and stay of US in Philippine soil, making the country open for foreign military activities.

Provisions in the VFA sets that US military forces need not to be inspected in entering and leaving the country, making us more prone to illegal activities such as illegal drugs, smuggled goods, exploitation of natural resources, nuclear weapons, etc. only US military forces are given the authority to check and inspect their own cargo and transport vehicle as stipulated in the provision.

Furthermore, a provision of tax exemption is given to these foreign elements, which is a big disadvantage to our economy’s part. Both MDT and VFA aimed to have a more developed and improved military tactics and technology but for more than 50 years of foreign intervention, no development was seen and our AFP still remains backward.

This is a grave offense against our sovereignty and a severe threat to our national security.

WE WANT GENUINE SOVEREIGNTY AND INTEGRITY! Balikatan 2009 with the objective of giving humanitarian actions to the Bikolanos is a farce. It is a farce that was proven in the past Balikatan exercises. Its unwanted effects were further supported by the 17 congressmen of Mindanao for its suspension.

What the people need is not more foreign activities and intervention happening in our country but a change and progress in economy, politics, and culture. What the people need is change and progress that is not tainted by the filth coming from foreign influences.

What we need is a government that is efficient and sufficient by itself and free from overseas interference. Provisions of MDT and VFA directly contradict our right to sovereignty and integrity. Such provisions disrespects and puts into utter disregard our laws of the land.

It is a big conspiracy of lies and deceptions Balikatan will bring more human rights violations as seen in the “Nicole Case”, more environmental degradation, more exploitation of our natural and human resources, and more chaos within the region. This is unacceptable.

WE NEED WHAT IS NECESSARY! The very fact that this is a humanitarian mission is also as true as the thought that Balikatan 2009 is a free helping hand. The Philippines being the host country for this program will the source of finance for this activity. What we need right now is not the “helping hands” of foreign elements.

Needless to say, we do not need them at all in these times of crisis and hardships. We need proper and fair subsidies in education, agriculture, development and improvement of facilities and services, and health.

We do not need hypocrites to walk among the oppressed and suppressed. We do not need more funding for the military activities for this will not save us from our churning stomachs and burnt down lungs.

What we need is change and progression without this aliens interfering in everything that we do. Drive them out now!

We therefore call upon the youth sector and the other sectors of Bicol region to stand up and drive out the Balikatan 2009.

Also, we call upon the people and other public officials to junk the MDT and VFA for it is the basis why such foreign intervention continues to exist in our country.

YOUTH STOP BALIKATAN!
DEFEND OUR SOVEREIGNTY & INTEGRITY!
DRIVE THEM OUT NOW!

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