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Archive for February, 2009

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dsc00013Bicolanos in Metro Manila converge with national militant mass organizations to condemn the Visiting Forces Agreement and protest against the conduct of  Balikatan in Bicol

Bicolanos in Metro Manila converge with national militant mass organizations to condemn the Visiting Forces Agreement and protest against the conduct of Balikatan in Bicol

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Anti-VFA Caravan Update
February 25, 2009
Reference: Prof. Jocelyn Bisuña, spokesperson, BAN BALIKATAN

The Bikolano Alliance for Nationalism against Balikatan (BAN BALIKATAN) declared the region wide anti-Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) caravan a resounding success. This is in spite of the numerous harassments and delaying tactics by the military to sabotage the popular caravan.

According to Prof. Jocelyn Bisuña, spokesperson of BAN BALIKATAN, “almost a hundred vehicles joined the caravan and every province of the Bicol region is well represented. At least 13,000 people are joining the anti-VFA grand rally which serves as the culmination of the caravan,”

As culmination of the three-day Bicol Anti-VFA Caravan, protesters symbolically burn 25 US flags to signify defiance against US military intervention and aggression.

As culmination of the successful three-day Bicol Anti-VFA Caravan participants symbolically burn 25 US flags to signify defiance against US military intervention and aggression.

“As a highlight of the program we burned 25 US flags to symbolize the strong opposition of Bikolanos against US intervention in the Philipines. The VFA and the MDT should be scrapped and the Balikatan exercises should immediately be cancelled,” she ended.

Bayan Muna Rep. Satur Ocampo, ANAKPAWIS Rep. Rafael Mariano and Gabriela Women’s Rep. Lisa Maza along with BAYAN secretary general Renato Reyes and PISTON secretary general George San Mateo attended the anti-VFA rally to support Bicolanos’ campaign against Balikatan.  A representative of Senator Jamby Madrigal also came to express the senators support for the activity.

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Anti-VFA caravan update
8 am February 24, 2009
No. of vehicles: 56
Participants: 1120

References: Prof.  Jocelyn Bisuña, spokesperson, BAN BALIKATAN, 09086198971
Jariz Vida, secretary general, BAYAN Muna- Camarines Sur

Military harassment against anti-VFA caravan intensifies!
Local BM leader’s life threatened

The military harassment against the anti-Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) caravan has been intensifying since last night, with the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) even using dump trucks and fire trucks to block the caravan. Now, the blocking soldiers are in full battle gear and they even fielded operatives to specifically harass and threaten Jariz Vida, secretary general of BAYAN Muna-Camarines Sur.

According to Prof. Jocelyn Bisuña, spokesperson of BAN BALIKATAN, “the AFP is really getting desperate to sabotage our caravan, now they are resorting to sinister tactics to frighten the participants. In Brgy. Sioton, Magallanes,  Sorsogon, 20 elements of the 3rd and 7th Scout Ranger Company forcibly took our coal for cooking and threw it on the road. They also tried to confiscate our rice. They also threatened a driver not to join the caravan anymore and just to go home,”

“Last night around 6pm the military has deployed at least 50 police and soldiers in full battle gear and they even sabotaged the program by not allowing it to start until 9 pm and surrounded the south contingent in Rizal Park, Sorsogon City,” added Bisuña.

“They also fielded intelligence agents to infiltrate our ranks, but they were unsuccessful in Sorsogon. While in the north wing around 10 pm last night three operatives of the Military Intelligence Battalion (MIB) in separate motorcycles chased the jeepney Jariz Vida is occupying and they tried to get him. Fortunately he was able to get away,” said the professor.

Meanwhile Jariz Vida, secretary general of BAYAN Muna- Camarines Sur, “the MIB has been trying to abduct or kill me since April 2006 when they tried to shoot me in Naga City. They failed then and they thought that they can get me now. If anything happens to me then we have nobody to blame but them. Nothing will stop me though from continuing to fight for our rights and the betterment of Bicolanos.”

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Anti-VFA caravan update
11:30 pm February 23, 2009
Reference: Prof.  Jocelyn Bisuña, spokesperson, BAN BALIKATAN, 09086198971

Anti-VFA Caravan Went On to Full Swing Despite Numerous Checkpoints
US troops manning some checkpoints, using satellite to monitor caravan

The anti-Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) caravan is still on schedule even if there are numerous checkpoints set up the military and they held some of our vehicles. There are also US troops that have been manning checkpoints in at least two areas where the anti-VFA caravan has passed through.

According Prof. Jocelyn Bisuña, spokesperson of the Bikolano Alliance for Nationalism against Balikatan (BAN BALIKATAN), “Both the north and south contingents of our caravan have managed to keep their schedules. As of now there are more than 50 vehicles and other delegates are to follow suit. The north wing is now being blocked by the military in Tara, Sipocot, Camarines Sur and the south wing is in Juban, Sorsogon”

“But the military is doing all it can to delay and stop us, they even included some US troops in some of the checkpoints particularly that in Pili, Camarines Sur and Matnog, Sorsogon. They have also gone into a propaganda campaign to misinform and scare the Bikolano public from joining the caravan. We have also received reports that the US military is now monitoring the anti-VFA caravan using satellites” added the professor.

“There are no bounds to the temerity of the US troops in violating our Constitution and our sovereignty. We must stand against this and the government should immediately pull out both the US and Filipino troops in the checkpoints. If anything bad happens to us then we have nobody to blame but these soldiers,” ended Bisuña.

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The brave, the strong Bikolano faces a new adversary.

ORAGON (Organisadong Bikolano Para Sa Nasyunalismo) LABAN SA BALIKATAN, a formation of Metro Manila-based Bicolanos, has expressed its unity with fellow kababayans to battle against the RP-US Balikatan war exercises in Bicol. Thousands of Bicolanos have already commenced on February 22 a region-wide caravan that will conclude on February 25 with a massive display of protest against the RP-US Visiting Forces Agreement and the Balikatan war exercises in Bicol.

The provinces of Albay, Sorsogon, and Masbate have been identified by the government and the Armed Forces of the Philippines as sites for the war games, despite deceiving declarations by the military that only “humanitarian missions” shall be conducted.

ORAGON contends that the Balikatan war exercises, apart from being an explicit encroachment on Philippine sovereignty, likewise amounts to intensified militarization of the Bicol provinces. ORAGON believes that the people of Bicol, however resilient, do not need another disaster in the form of Balikatan, the region having been recently ravaged by supertyphoons, lahar flows and landslides, red tide, and crop infestations.

Past Balikatan experiences have only proven that the poor rural communities bear the brunt of military operations. In fact, a 1-year old baby girl from Barangay Balanac of Ligao, Albay has already been tragically killed when soldiers from the 901st Infantry brigade of the Philippine Army fired grenade launchers during a clearing operation. The operation has also left 9 members of the baby’s family and relatives wounded by shrapnels, and their homes burned. It was found out that Balanac’s neighboring barangay shall be a site for balikatan, hence the military clearing operations.

Balikatan war exercises are inclusions under the RP-US Visiting Forces Agreement, which ORAGON consequently opposes. For its part, ORAGON vows to contribute to the swelling protests back home against Balikatan. Being composed by students, professionals, and community residents in Metro Manila, the group plans to reach out to more Bicolanos to gather support and give battle to Balikatan in Bicol.

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Militarization in Bikol intensifies due to Balikatan exercises
Army checkpoints all over the region as anti-VFA caravan kicks off

As the anti-Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) caravan starts today the region has experienced increased militarization by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) particularly in the areas where the Balikatan exercises are to be conducted.

Military checkpoints have now sprouted all over the region to delay or stop the caravan. Numerous checkpoints were set up in Sipocot, Libmanan, Pamplona, Pili, and Nabua, Camarines Sur as well as Irosin and Cumadcad, Sorsogon. The military has gone into red alert for the caravan and there have been sightings of US troops in Pili, Camarines Sur.

According to Professor Jocelyn Bisuña, spokesperson of BAN BALIKATAN, “Military presence and activity has definitely increased in Bikol especially in Albay, as we start our caravan. The AFP has even killed a 1 year old girl and injured her family in their clearing operations for Balikatan and to discourage people in joining and supporting our caravan,”

“It is as we feared, the AFP and the PNP has now unleashed their operatives to sabotage the anti-VFA caravan.”

“In Albay alone they have militarized all the coastal communities facing the Pacific Ocean. The AFP has also called for barrio meetings for Balikatan and deployed soldiers in Barangays Bongabong, Baranghawon in Tabaco City and Brgys. Joroan, Bano and Nagas in Tiwi, as well as Brgys San Roque, Rawis, Manito, Homapon up to Taysan in Legazpi City. They will also place a military detachment in Brgy. Calayucay in Sto. Domingo,” said Bisuña.

“The military has even entered universities to garner support for Balikatan like in Aquinas and Bicol University. Fortunately, most of the students and faculty saw through their lies and are against Balikatan. The military has also implemented a curfew in some barangays in Legazpi City like San Roque, saying that because it is near the naval facility. In the town of Santo Domingo all the barangay captains were summoned by the Army to support the Balikatan exercises,” added the patriotic professor.

Meanwhile Joel Ascutia, chairman of CONDOR-PISTON-Bikol said, “A certain policeman named Batumbakal went to the jeepney terminals in Guinobatan and Jovellar, Albay and specifically asked for our members. He said that they were ordered by the military to do this,”

“This is a direct harassment on our ranks and a violation of our right to livelihood as well as our freedom of expression. But we have news to the military we will still participate in the caravan and we are already mulling to file charges against them,” said Ascutia.

Bisuña further says, “The worst the AFP has done so far is the killing of Rafaela Polborido, 1 year and 4 months old and the injury of her family by a grenade launched by elements of the 901st Infantry Brigade in Brgy Balanac, Ligao City, Albay.

“It is very ironic that Brgy. Balanac where the human rights violations are being done by the military is just adjacent to Brgy. Paulba were a so-called medical mission is to be done by the US troops. Are they ensuring that more people would come to the medical mission by injuring and terrorizing them first?”

“We will not allow these desperate moves of the AFP and the PNP to stop the anti-VFA caravan. By doing this they only emboldened us more and showed the righteousness of our call to junk the VFA, the MDT and the Balikatan exercises,” ended Bisuña.

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MGA BATA AT KABABAIHAN BIKTIMA NG CLEARING OPERATIONS NG 901ST BRIGADE NG AFP PARA SA BALIKATAN! ITIGIL ANG OPERASYONG MILITAR SA IKATLONG DISTRITO NG ALBAY LALO NA SA LUNGSOD NG LIGAO! PAPANAGUTIN ANG 901ST BRIGADE!

Kinokondena ng BICOLANA-GABRIELA sa pinakamataas na termino nito ang walang habas na pagbomba ng mga tropa ng 901st Brigade-PA sa dalawang bahay ng mga sibilyan sa Bgy. Balanac, Ligao City noong Pebrero 18 dakong alas-11:30 ng umaga, na nagresulta sa pagkamatay ng batang si Rafaela Polborido, 1 taon at 4 na buwan at malubhang pagkasugat ng 6 pang mga bata na nag-eedad mula 10 buwan hanggang 9 taong gulang at 3 pang kababaihang pawang mga ina ng mga bata at pagkasunog ng mga bahay kasabay ang mga gamit sa loob ng bahay.

Ang karanasang ito ng pamilyang Polborido at Dalima kasama ang buong komunidad ay nagdulot ng matinding takot at trauma lalo na sa mga bata. Nadisloka rin sila sa kanilang mga tahanan dahil sa pagkasunog dulot ng pambobomba. Maraming mga bata ang hindi na pumapasok sa eskwela at maging ang mga guro dahil sa matinding takot na mabiktima din ng karahasang militar.

Kinukundena din namin ang kalupitan, di-makatao at kabulukan ng kontra-insurhensyang gyera na inilulunsad ng rehimeng Arroyo laban sa mga mamamayan nito. Sinasalamin ng pangyayaring ito ang pagiging bayaran/swelduhan, utak pulbura at pasista ng kaisipang isinasaksak ng indoktrinisasyon at mga pagsasanay sa hanay ng ating mga kasundaluhan na tuwirang nakaayon sa disenyo ng pwersang militar ng Etados Unidos. Lalo pa itong napapasama sa pagkakaroon ng mga pinuno gaya ni Col. Ariel Bernardo na hindi marunong tumanggap ng pagkakasala sa mamamayan at ayaw umako ng buong responsabilidad sa mga nagawa ng kanyang mga tauhan sa 901st Brigade.

Ito ba ang pagsasakatuparan ng sinasabing “to serve and protect”? Dito ba napupunta ang malaking bahagi ng pera ng bayan na galing sa buwis na pinaghihirapang pagtrabahuhan ng mga mamamayan? Una sa lahat, dapat isaalang-alang at pangalagaan ng AFP ang buhay ng mga sibilyan lalo’t higit ang buhay ng mga bata at kababaihan na isinasaad sa Comprehensive Agreement on the Respect of Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law at maging sa International Convention on the Rights of the Child at International Declaration of Human Rights.

Ang pambobomba ay naganap habang nagsasagawa ang militar ng clearing operations para sa gaganaping BALIKATAN Exercise sa mga lugar ng Ligao City kasama ang mga bayan ng Libon, Pio Duran, Guinobatan at Camalig, Albay. Ngayon pa nga lamang na naghahanda para sa isasagawang joint military exercise ay nakakagawa na ang AFP ng mga paglabag sa karapatan ng mga sibilyan, lalo’t higit sa mga bata at kababaihan, paano pa kaya kapag nagsimula na ang BALIKATAN?

Sa ganitong mga karumal-dumal na pangyayayari, hinahamon namin ang pamunuan ng AFP sa rehiyon at sa buong bansa na papanagutin ang mga may sala sa 901st BRIGADE, Phil. Army kasama ang mga opisyal na nag-utos ng pambobomba at operasyong militar sa lugar. Kagyat ding itigil ang operasyong militar sa ikatlong distrito ng Albay lalo na sa lungsod ng Ligao at huwag ituloy ang gagawing joint military exercises sa mga probinsya ng Albay, Masbate at Sorsogon.

Nananawagan din kami sa mga mamamayan lalo sa Ligao City na maging matapang at mapagmatyag  para ilantad at labanan ang mga pandarahas at paglabag sa ating mga karapatang pantao lalo ng mga bata at kababaihan na kagagawan ng AFP.

PANGALAN NG MGA NAGING BIKTIMA NG PAMBOBOMBA NG 901ST BRIGADE:

Namatay    –    RAFAELA POLBORIDO, 1 taon at 4 na buwan (namatay sa BRTTH noong  February 19, 2009, 12 midnnight, dahil sa tama ng sharpnel sa may  bahagi ng batok.

Mga may tama ng sharpnel sa iba’t-ibang parte ng katawan:

* JOCELYN POLBORIDO, 30 yo

* INA POLBORIDO, 5 yo anak ni Jocelyn

* DAISY POLBORIDO, 4 yo anak ni Jocelyn

* EUFEMIA POLBORIDO, 28 yo

*  ANDREA, 4 yo, anak ng kapatid ng asawa ni Jocelyn

* ROSE DALIMA, 31 yo

* RODERICK DALIMA, 5 yo anak ni Rose

* MARY ROSE DALIMA, 10 mos, anak ni Rose

* EMERSON, 9 yo anak ni Rose

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