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REMEMBERING ALYCE CLAVER, REMEMBERING DR. RODOLFO PENERA~
Canada-Philippines Solidarity for Human Rights on 08/11/2009 at 2:09pm (UTC)
 REMEMBERING ALYCE CLAVER,
REMEMBERING DR. RODOLFO PENERA~
MOURNING AND ORGANIZING!


There is another grief that was overshadowed by the news of the death on August 1 of Corazon Aquino, former President of the Philippines.

It is the untimely death of Alyce Claver whose anniversary we remember. It is also that of the recent killing of Dr. Rodolfo Penera and the pain of the families that their brutal deaths have wrought.

Alyce Omengan Claver died in Tabuk, Kalinga, northern Philippines last July 31, 2006. Alyce died from gunshot wounds in her head, neck, and shoulders. She was in the family car with her husband, physician-surgeon Dr. Constancio “Chandu” Claver, and one of their three daughters, 11-year- old Cassandra, when armed men fired at them with M-16 type powered rifles that early morning. Alyce had instinctively thrown her body to cover her husband's. “As a result, she caught seven of the deadly projectiles intended for me. Her selfless sacrifice did not stop there. At the hospital Emergency Room where we were rushed to, she insisted that I be attended to first. Because of such unselfish acts, I am still alive today,” Dr. Claver said in a statement in 2007 marking the first death anniversary of Alyce. Dr. Claver sustained severe damages to his left arm and his liver, stomach and intestines. Cassandra, physically unscathed, bears the trauma of that day.

Alyce was a student activist during her college days, a strong and vocal supporter of the Cordillera People's Alliance and of the progressive partylist Bayan Muna, a dear comrade, friend, wife and mother.

As with the other victims of human rights violations in the Philippines, no one (or no group) has been prosecuted or punished for this crime against the Claver family. The chilling fear is that the killings continue with such impunity and with what seems to be the tacit consent by silence and without objection by the Arroyo government and her state forces and agencies.

“I was targeted for assassination because of my political beliefs,” Dr. Claver has said. He was the chairperson then of the Bayan Muna-Kalinga Chapter, the progressive and militant partylist that was a thorn in the side of the Arroyo regime. The ambush against Dr. Claver is part of the Arroyo's counter-insurgency program that has unarmed civilian activists lined up like sitting ducks on a shelf and made open targets by killers whose Mastermind is bent on eliminating the country's long-running counter-insurgency before the Mastermind's term ends in 2010.

Dr. Rodolfo “Bong” Penera was not as lucky as Dr. Claver.

Barely two months ago, on June 24, 2009, armed perpetrators on a motorcycle fired at and killed Dr. Penera and wounded his daughter Lianne when their car was ambushed in Davao City, southern Philippines. Dr. Penera and 15-year-old Lianne were on their way home when the attack happened in the early evening.

Dr. Penera, who was 45 years old, headed the Regional Epidemiology Surveillance Unit of the Department of Health (DOH)-Southern Mindanao and was the country's leading expert on the influenza A (H1N1). Aside from being a government doctor, Peñera actively opposed the privatization of government hospitals and of other government programs that limited people’s access to health care. Dr. Peñera was also one of the few doctors trained to handle and monitor possible outbreaks of the swine flu, dengue, malaria and other diseases known to afflict poor communities.

He was also a Board member of the Urban Integrated Health Foundation Incorporated, a council member of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan and a convenor and chair of the Katawhan Kontra Kartel, three organizations which are listed on the military Order of Battle that Bayan Muna Rep. Satur Ocampo exposed to the media in May of this year. While the military denies that such a list exists, certain people in that list have already been killed and the groups mentioned in that list are constantly vilified and demonized as “communist fronts.” There are six physicians named in the list and they included Dr. Ruben Robillo, Dr. Jose Lacuesta, Dr. Shalom Lorezana, Dr. Eugene Nalian, and Dr. Rey Lesaca.

More than 9,000 doctors have already left the country as nurses, more than tens of thousands of nurses continue to be exported, more than 200 hospitals have already closed and 800 more are partially closed because of the lack of doctors and nurses and seven out of 10 Filipinos die without access to health personnel. And yet, the Arroyo government has seen fit to target doctors who have chosen to minister to the country's poor and advocate for the people's healthcare. It is a logic that defies understanding.

There is a scourge more deadly than any virus and that is what is killing our unarmed civilians of doctors, journalists, lawyers, church people, peasants, workers, students and human rights activists. Arroyo calls it her counter-insurgency weapon Oplan Bantay Laya (Operation Plan Freedom Watch) and the Filipino people call it Evil and the modus operandi of a Fascist Regime.

The deaths that befell Alyce and Dr. Penera are terrifying because their deaths at the hands of death squads have become so ordinary and they happen all too often in the Philippines. While Alyce and Dr. Penera can not cry out for justice, it is the duty of all of us, of the living, to do so for them.

The mourning will continue. So will organizing and fighting for justice.

Justice for Alyce Claver and Dr. Rodolfo Penera!
Stop the Extra-Judicial Killings, Enforced Disappearances and Torture!

Canada-Philippines Solidarity for Human Rights

(Vancouver, BC)
8 August 2009
 
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Pinoy Migrants Say No to Cha-cha, Calls for Zero Remittance Day vs. Con-ass!
DAMAYAN MANITOBA STATEMENT on 07/30/2009 at 8:47pm (UTC)
 27 July 2009

Pinoy Migrants Say No to Cha-cha, Calls for Zero Remittance Day vs. Con-ass!

Damayan Manitoba, a progressive organization of Filipino migrant workers in Manitoba and a member-alliance of Migrante International and Bayan Canada, denounces President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’s Charter change (Cha-cha) and her desperate move to remain in power beyond 2010.

On 2 June 2009, Arroyo's cohorts in the Philippine House of Representatives swiftly passed House Resolution 1109 enabling themselves to convene the House as a "constituent assembly" (Con-Ass) with the power to amend the Constitution - even without the concurrence of the Senate. Chacha will pave the way to change the government set-up from presidential to parliamentary form, allowing Arroyo to run again as a member of Parliament without any term limits and become Prime Minister.

Aside from changing the form of government, Cha-cha also proposes several economic agenda. Cha-cha will push for the removal of certain nationalist and protective provisions in the Philippine Constitution, allowing 100% foreign ownership of land; allowing foreign capitalists to own public utilities, schools and mass media; allowing US military bases to return to the country; and subsequently removing certain provisions that protect our basic civil rights.

Intensifying political repression

With Oplan Bantay Laya II in effect, extrajudicial killing, enforced disappearances, torture, intense militarization in the countryside and other forms of human rights violations continue to be committed with utter impunity .

According to Karapatan (Alliance for the Advancement of Peoples Rights), extrajudicial killings have already claimed the lives of 1,013 victims, 202 persons have been involuntarily disappeared while 1.036 have been tortured since Arroyo came to power in 2001.

Among these HR violations was Melissa Roxas’ case, a Filipino-American and an active member of Bayan USA who was abducted and tortured by suspected elements of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).

The Arroyo government has still not taken any significant action to arrest this continued spate of killings. Its commitment to upholding the rights of its citizens is plain political rhetoric, not a genuine pursuit of justice.

Even UN Special Rapporteur Philip Alston strongly criticized Arroyo regime`s human rights record. In his most recent report on the UN Human Rights Council, he cited that the ongoing Arroyo’s counter-insurgency program and the AFP’s target to eliminate the revolutionary forces by 2010, are some of the factors that lead to the growing number of human rights violations.

A few weeks ago, several bombing incidents occurred in different government offices. A bomb exploded in the Office of the Ombudsman, while a bomb was found inside the Department of Agriculture. It is believed that the bomb threats in Metro Manila are just being used as a tactic to divert public`s attention from the current issues concerning the GMA administration and might be used as an excuse to declare “emergency rule” or “no elections” scenarios.

Anti-OFW Arroyo regime

Damayan Manitoba joins its compatriots from other overseas Filipino organizations across Canada and all over the world in condemning and calling for the ouster of this despotic, anti-people and anti-OFWs Arroyo regime who threatens to surrender our national independence and interests.

Due to massive unemployment and lack of decent-paying job opportunities in the Philippines, around 3,000 Filipinos, mostly women, leave the country everyday to work abroad as OFW.

Filipinos numbering 8 million, or approximately a tenth of the population, now live and work in 194 countries and territories around the world, with concentrations in North America, Middle East, Asia-Pacific and Europe.

According to Migrante International, this migration which started by waves in the course of Philippine history has become an almost daily phenomenon since the government initiated its labor export program (LEP) in the 1970s. What was initially meant as a temporary measure to address the country’s unemployment problem has become a regular fixture, massive and systematic in scope, and bruited about as a tool for national development.

This is mainly because OFW remittances have kept Philippine economy afloat. From $659 million in 1984, these remittances have grown to a staggering $16 billion dollars by the end of 2008, making labor export the top dollar earner in the country.

However, these remittances were earned at tremendous costs to Filipino migrants and their families who had to endure long years of separation and suffer from various forms of exploitation, abuse, discrimination, violence and terrorism.

Thirty-five (35) OFWs are currently languishing in death row: one (1) in Brunei, one (1) in the US, two (2) in China, four (4) in Kuwait, nine (9) in Saudi Arabia, and ten (10) in Malaysia. Four of these are women.

Migrante’s Middle East chapter estimates that some 10,000 OFWs are currently stranded in the Middle East, particularly in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates, Lebanon, Jordan, Libya and Syria. The numbers, though, are climbing everyday. Most of them are runaways, escaping from abusive employers or illegal recruiters or stuck because of retrenchment or unexpected change in visa rules. Three-hundred sixty (360) of them in 2007-2008 were repatriated home upon Migrante’s intervention and assistance but thousands more were awaiting government help especially those brought in detention or deportation cells, in camp-outs under bridges or in consular/embassy premises.

Migrante estimates that around six to eight dead OFW bodies are being brought home everyday. The causes of death were usually suspicious and unknown.

In Canada, live-in caregivers and temporary foreign workers are vulnerable to exploitation, discrimination, harassment, unfair labor practices, denial of access to health care, onerous contracts, unjust living condition, deportation and violence. Abuses ranged from exorbitant and anomalous placement fees to unjust wages.

Damayan Manitoba urges all Filipino migrants in Manitoba to join the “No Remittance” day once Con-ass convenes as a legitimate and fair protest action against Arroyo’s neglect of OFWs’ rights and welfare. The No Remittance Day action condemns Arroyo’s betrayal of our people’s trust, putting our future and our nation’s wealth and patrimony at risk.

Damayan Manitoba also calls on Pinoys and OFWs in Manitoba to encourage their families and relatives back home to join protest actions against Arroyo’s Con-ass.

OFWs and their families have enough reasons to say No to Cha-cha and end the anti-people, anti-OFWs and most corrupt Arroyo administration!


Enough is enough!
ZERO REMITTANCE if CON-ASS CONVENES!
JUNK CON-ASS!
NO TO CHARTER CHANGE!
No to an Arroyo dictatorship! No to emergency rule! Never again to Martial Law!



DAMAYAN MANITOBA
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
27 July 2009
 
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Statement on the Global Day of Action against Open-pit Mining
Reference: Jomay Amora-Mercado, cel: 204-509-2491, email: jomaygurl688@hotmail.com on 07/30/2009 at 8:33pm (UTC)
 Damayan Manitoba---Bayan Manitoba Organizing Committee

22 July 2009

Warm nationalist greetings from Damayan Manitoba and Bayan Manitoba Organizing Committee!

Since the enactment of the Republic Act 7942, or the Philippine Mining Act of
1995, large-scale operations by transnational mining corporations (mining TNCs) have proliferated all over the country. These mining TNCs slowly cover the whole archipelago with their mining projects and plunder the country’s mineral resources in order to rake in billions of dollars in profit.

The Philippines is considered to be “potentially the world's fifth-biggest mineral producer in the world”, with around 24 medium to large-scale metallic mines operations all over the country.

As of January 2008, there were 294 mining agreements in existence, consisting of 2 Financial and Technical Assistance Agreements (FTAAs), 262 Mineral Production Sharing Agreements (MPSA) and 30 Exploration Permits (EP).

Among the giant foreign mining companies in the Philippines who rake in millions of dollar of profit every year are Canadian-owned companies. One of these is the Canadian-owned mining firm TVI Pacific Inc., who reportedly gained 67.3% increase in income in the first quarter of 2007.

As we celebrate the “Global Day of Action against Open-pit Mining”, Damayan Manitoba and Bayan Manitoba Organizing Committee join all other progressive groups and individuals who are involved in anti-imperialist mining campaigns and human rights and environmental defense struggles throughout the world.

We urge the Philippine government to scrap the Philippine Mining Act of 1995, cancel the mining applications and revoke the mining permits of big capitalist corporations, both foreign and local.

We denounce the Supreme Court’s reversal of its own decision on the constitutionality of provisions in the Mining Act of 1995 regarding Financial or Technical Assistance Agreements (FTAA) between foreign mining corporations and the state.

We demand that these big foreign and local mining companies should be held liable for the severe environmental degradation and should indemnify all affected communities who are suffering from the long-term effects of pollution and contamination.

We strongly denounce the intensified mining operations, militarization and human rights violations targeting mining-affected communities and anti-mining activists in the Philippines and around the world.
We call for an end to all bombings and shelling, the firing of cannons within communities, illegal searches of houses, and the use by the military of schools, medical, religious and other public places, as well as private residences, and other human rights violations committed by government troops in the said areas.

We assert that the natural resources of the country should be used for the wellbeing of the people, not for the profit of foreign capitalists and their local partners within and outside the government.

We affirm our stand that capitalist mining will not solve the country’s financial crisis and will not result in improved human development among the people.

We enjoin everyone to remain vigilant in guarding and defending our lands, and that we will employ all possible means to prevent the destruction of our territories by large capitalist mining.


Scrap the Philippine Mining Act of 1995!

Stop the liberalization of the Philippine mining industry!

Defend the land and patrimony of the people against imperialist mining!

Assert the genuine recognition of the indigenous peoples collective rights over their land and resources, and to self determination!

Stop militarization and the violation of human rights!



 

BAYAN CANADA says NO TO CON-ASS!!
BAYAN on 06/10/2009 at 6:24pm (UTC)
 BAYAN Canada press statement

June 4, 2008

In the dead of the night of June 2, 2009, Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and her cohorts in the House of Representatives rammed through a resolution that could change the country’s Constitution and may enable the President, under fire for serious human rights violations and cheating, to stay in power well beyond 2010.

The swift passage of HR 1109 in the House of Representatives only reflects what the majority bloc, whose members belong to Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s party, plans for the upcoming elections in 2010. According to the supporters of the Resolution, the approval of HR 1109 paves the way for Congress to change the Constitution through a Constituent Assembly.

The passage of HR 1109 is but a show of force by the majority in the House of Representatives. The House cannot convene itself as a Constituent Assembly without the Senate’s approval of the same resolution. As noted by Fr. Joaquin Bernas, an expert on Constitutional matters, the House of Representatives “cannot exclude the Senate” in voting for such a measure to change the Constitution simply because “Congress is [composed of both] the House and the Senate.”

Indeed, the passage of HR 1109, done in haste and stealth, betrays the arrogance of power on the part of the House of Representatives. Past surveys, including the one recently conducted by IBON Foundation, revealed that the majority of the people did not favour Cha-cha (or charter change) at this time or before the 2010 elections.

“This is unbelievable. They hurriedly passed the resolution in the dead of the night with the intent to change the Constitution and to ensure that Gloria Macapagal Arroyo can stay in power beyond her second term, which is prohibited by the 1987 constitution that came out precisely to prevent another dictatorship after Marcos’s Martial Law,” says Diwa Marcelino, Bayan Canada spokesperson for Toronto.

Bayan Canada Secretary-General Joey Calugay adds that the Arroyo regime is becoming more desperate as the elections approach. “As Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, Arroyo is well aware that the military and state agents are widely known to have committed numerous crimes against the people; surely she must also know that her family’s involvement in one of the worst cases of graft and corruption since the Marcos dictatorship will land her in hot water when she steps down from office. Arroyo will do everything she can to stay in power, including bribing members of Congress to pass HR 1109 and making sure her cronies toe the line,” explains Calugay.

“This type of cronyism shows that a Constituent Assembly will not vote in favour of the people’s interest when making changes to the Philippine Constitution,” he further comments.
Through this Constituent Assembly, the current administration aims to strip the Constitution of its provisions that uphold national sovereignty and protect national patrimony, further laying bare the economy to continued exploitation and plunder by foreign corporate greed, thereby intensifying the present economic crisis. These will set the stage for the unbridled entry of US troops (now numbering some 40,000 US soldiers scattered in 25 provinces since the Visiting Forces Agreement took effect in 1999) into the country and the establishment of permanent US military bases on Philippine soil.

“This is the right time for people to march again in the streets and protest this kind of oppression of the Filipino people by GMA cronies in the House,” says Jonathan Canchela, Chairperson of Filipino Migrant Workers’ Movement, a member organization of Migrante-Ontario.

“Let the people’s voice be heard in the halls of Congress and in the parliament of the streets. We will not tolerate this arrogance of power and the political self-interest of the Arroyo regime.”

Bayan Canada calls on all its allied organizations to continue to monitor the developments on charter change and to organize protest actions in the coming days.

Reference:

Diwa Marcelino – BAYAN Canada National Organizing Committee

cell (416) 809-3492 or email diwa.marcelino@gmail.com

Member organizations:

BAYAN Organizing Committee Quebec, PINAY – Filipino Women’s Organization of Quebec, Filipino Workers Support Group – Montreal (FWSG)

BAYAN Organizing Committee Ontario, Migrante Ontario, Filipino Migrant Worker’s Movement (FMWM), Philippine Advocacy Through the Arts and Culture (PATAC), Pilipinong Migrante sa Barrie (PMB), Philippine Migrant Society of Canada – Ottawa (PMSC), Damayan Migrant Education and Resource Centre, Migrante Youth, AWARE, Migrant Family and Resource Centre

BAYAN Organizing Committe Manitoba, Damayan Manitoba

BAYAN Organizing Committee Alberta

BAYAN Organizing Committee British Columbia, Migrante British Columbia

Supporting organizations:

Centre d’appui aux Philippines – Centre for Philippine Concerns – Montreal (CAP-CPC), Ontario Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines – Ottawa (OCHRP), Philippine Network for Justice and Peace – Toronto (PNJP), Canada-Philippines Solidarity for Human Rights – Vancouver (CPSHR), Victoria Philippine Solidarity Group (VPSG)

June 5, 2009
 
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Abducted and Tortured Fil-Am Melissa Roxas`Sworn Affidavit
M.Roxas on 06/04/2009 at 5:53pm (UTC)
 REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES)
QUEZON CITY……………………) s.s.

AFFIDAVIT

I, Melissa C. Roxas, of legal age, a Citizen of the United States of America, and temporarily residing at Quezon City, Philippines, after having been sworn to in accordance with law, do hereby depose and state that:

1. I am a graduate of the University of California San Diego with a BS in Animal Physiology and Neuroscience and a BA in Third World Studies with a Minor in Health Care and Social Issues;

2. I applied for an exposure program in the Philippines being the home country of my parents with Bayan – USA of which I am a member for the purpose of gathering materials for my writing project being also a member of Habi Arts, a community based artist organization based in Los Angeles, California;

3. Bayan – USA endorsed me to Bayan –National and Bayan – National endorsed me to Bayan – Central Luzon which toured me around the provinces and towns of Central Luzon and on April 2009, Bayan – Central Luzon endorsed me to Bayan – Tarlac where I was to join with their members at La Paz, Tarlac to conduct an initial survey of the place for a future medical mission;

4. I brought along with me my camera with a memory card, an external hard disk, a laptop, an Ipod, a journal, a blood pressure sphygmomanometer, a stethoscope, thermometers, medicines, my watch, and a wallet with money in the amount of Ps. 15,000.00;

5. On May 19, 2009, while resting from a survey at a friendly house, the owner of which gladly accepted our request that we rest at his house and while watching a noon time Television program, at around 1:30 p.m., I and my two companions, John Edward Jandoc and Juanito Carabeo, heard a banging on the front door and a voice asking that the door be opened. I immediately went to see what was going on and found about 15 men in civilian clothes armed with high power rifles and wearing ski masks or bonnets surrounding the house and in a little while, the door was forcibly opened and armed men swarmed into the house coming from the front door and the back door and ordered us to drop face flat on the ground;

6. I did not obey them and I wanted to stand up to protest the intrusion but an armed man held my head and forced it down pushing me to a squatting position then pushed me on the ground. I asked them why they were doing this to us and I saw that everybody in the house was on the ground flat;

7. They attempted to tape my mouth but I was able to wrench it and they wanted to handcuff me but I resisted and about five of the armed men were ganging up on me, holding my hands and my legs but I continued resisting them and shouting to the owner of the house, “Kuya, help me.”

8. I then started to shout my name, repeating it again and again, I was punched repeatedly at my right rib cage while my two companions who were already blindfolded and taped at the mouth were herded to a blue van about 15 meters from the house door and I with all my strength tried to stop the armed men from putting me into the van and they instead started to drag me bruising and wounding my arms and my legs wounding severely my left knee cap while I continued shouting my name;

9. When they started to force me inside the van via the side door, I locked my feet on the door sidings and they needed more than 5 men to push me. But then, they finally were able to push me inside the van; I was made to sit between two of the armed men and was immediately blindfolded and handcuffed to the back. But they could not tape my mouth because I was already retching and vomiting;

10. When the van started moving, my head was put down so that I could not be seen from the outside;

11. After more than an hour, we stopped and we were told to step down and because I was still retching, they made me sit or half lie on a kind of lounging chair made of bamboo slats and at that point, I did not know where my two companions were;

12. After more than 5 minutes sitting down in that bamboo lounging chair, I was brought into a room with a screen metal door and the room sounded like it had a kitchen as there was running water and I could hear cleaning activities but I was still vomiting and I heard a command was made to a woman to clean my vomit and a man asked me whether I was pregnant but I did not answer him;

13. Another man who I felt was in command asked me if I knew why I was there and I answered him that I knew my rights and that I demanded for my lawyer and he laughed telling me that in the said place there was no availing of a lawyer (walang abogado-abogado dito) and told me that “malinis ka naming nakuha at alam mo naman bakit ka nahuli?” (we got you smoothly and you know why you were captured?)

14. Then he told me that I was a member of the CPP-NPA and I retorted that I was not and I demanded for my lawyer again and I felt that there were other men inside;

15. I was made to enter a room which I felt was a jail cell because as I entered the room, they had to open a door with iron bars and for my two days stay inside that cell, I sensed that my bed was a single wooden bed without mattress, with a length of 6 feet and I was always made to lie down with my head positioned on the wall where the iron barred door was located and at my foot was a low partitioned space where a toilet bowl was and after it was a wall where there were holes serving as windows. I discerned that in the room before entering the jail cell was a bunk but I do not know the whole contents of that room;

16. When I was made to enter the jail cell, I was still blindfolded and handcuffed to the back and I remained in such position until the dawn of the next day when they changed the position of my hands to be handcuffed to the front and because of which my wrists were severely cut and bruised;

17. It must be stated here that throughout my abduction, I was always blindfolded and handcuffed even in my sleep except for those few times when I was made to take a bath;

18. During my two days there, I heard construction activities – blowtorching, hammering and the construction bustle – and these stopped in the late afternoon and I also heard gunfiring as though in a firing range and planes taking off and landing and it was loud and I could also hear goats bleating;

19. Later in the evening, I was brought out of my cell and I was confronted by two burly men in ski mask or bonnet and they shone their flashlights on my face and after a short while, they put me back into my cell and said, “ punta tayo sa kabilang gate.” (let’s go to the other gate);

20. I slept light that first night, determined to always know the time, and when morning came, I was interrogated and no breakfast nor lunch was given to me and I was asked repeatedly if I knew why I was there and was told by them that I was abducted because I was a member of the CPP NPA and I also repeatedly told him that I have rights and that I demanded for my lawyer and then he told me that even a year will pass, no lawyer would be seeing me and told me repeatedly that it was because of people like me who are the costing the government so much money and people like me are the ones who are making it difficult for the government, so that they are resorting to what they are doing and asked me who my lawyer was and I told him that it was Atty. Romy Capulong and he seemed to be stymied by my answer;

20. He continued asking me questions which I was not listening to and I was not answering and after 30 minutes of that he stopped and left;

21. After a while, another person entered and interrogated me along the same lines of questions and I did not listen and did not answer but instead told them that I knew my rights and that I wanted my lawyer and about 15 minutes of that, he left and I was already feeling hungry but no food was forthcoming and in the afternoon, many people were going in and out of the room and in and out of my cell and in the evening, I was made to eat and I ate little and then one of the men asked me if he could bathe me and I of course refused but there was this woman who was kind of assisting the men in attending to me and who I came to know later as Rose and she directed me to take a bath and brought me to another building (passing through a sometimes grassy and sometimes graveled pathway) where I saw through my blindfold two double decked beds and I assumed that it was a female barracks and there was a bath room with a jalousie typed window and I took a bath with one hand free from its cuff but with a hanging cuff on the other and my eyes free from the blindfold;

22. I was brought back to my cell blindfolded again and handcuffed at the front and I was made to lie down and after a short while, the iron barred doors were banged making clanking sound and I was taken aback and two men entered my cell with one of the man calling the other, “Tatay”, and a man pulled my cuffed hands up raising me on a sitting position and then a fist struck me at my upper sternum and it hurt and then a thumb was pressed strongly to my throat (I heard somebody saying “huh!...huh…huh.”) choking me, making me suffocate for quite a time and when he released the pressure I gagged and I coughed and then he struck me with his fist on my left jaw ringing my ears and numbing my jaw and they were telling me, “Ang tigas ng ulo mo. Sasagot ka na sa mga tanong.” He kept repeating the questions and his pressure on my throat and fists to my jaw. An hour after, they left. But before they left, he said, “matigas ‘to. Barilin na lang natin” and I prepared for the worst;

23. It must have been very late night or early dawn, when he came back to me and he dragged me to the first room and I sensed that there was a kind of leader of the group who kept on whispering on that person who was manhandling me and two other men and the man who got me from my cell asked me, “handa ka bang mamatay?” and I answered, “Opo” and then he told me, “bago namin patayin ang isang tao, mapapaihi at mapapatae muna namin siya”;

24. The whispering man kept whispering questions to be asked and the manhandling man kept asking the questions and I told him that I have rights and that I was demanding for my lawyer but when he asked me about my name, I told them but when they asked other questions, I did not answer and he would hit me on the chest strongly and I would lose breath and gasped for air after and then he would press my throat with his thumb and say “Huh…huh…huh!” and I would gag and then he would hit me on my jaws, ringing my ears and numbing my jaws and he repeated this and added another one by holding my head with his two hands and banging the back of my head repeatedly and each time it hit the wall, I would see a flash of white bright light and ringing in my ears and again the pressure to my throat with the “Huh … huh…huh.” And saying to me, “ayaw mo pa din magsasalita” and then punched me in my rib cage and I crumpled but the other men forced me up. This torture continued and every time I crumpled the other men would force me up.

25. I was having a streaming thought that I was going to die there and then, they held my feet and my hands down and doubled up plastic bags were pulled down on my head and face and closed on my neck and I started to suffocate and I could not breath anymore and I was seeing white and thinking I was going to die and then he released the hold and I could breath but I was faint and weak (lantang lanta) and he patted me in the back and several men carried me to my cell;

26. Several hours later and when it was light, a person entered and although I was still very weak and lying down he started to interrogate me again and I said that I was tortured and I knew my rights and he told me that it was not his responsibility if there were other men who would torture me but I forced myself to sit up to face him and he was asking me what was my position in the organization and I was not answering and he told me, “akala mo ba may magagawa ang Canadian Government sa iyo?” and he called me, “Maita” and I told him that I was not Maita;

27. This was May 21, 2009 and the interrogation continued non-stop with one interrogator replaced by another after every hour and I was not given lunch although, there was a brief respite from the questions during lunch but it continued after lunch with that man who kept on his way of threatening me by saying, “Huh…huh…huh.” and this interrogation continued to the night and I remembered one interrogator who introduced himself as Dex and he talked about religion and asked me to return to the fold (“bagong buhay”) telling me that they were “kasangkapan ng Diyos para mag-bagong buhay ang mga rebelde” and I told him that I do not believe him and told him that the God I knew did not condone torture and violence and I was tortured and he gave me 24 hours to decide whether I would return to the fold;

28. After Dex, the religious interrogator, the next interrogator had a Visayan accent and talked about the evils of communism to me and kept on banging the glass on the table and after an hour of lecture, he told me, “maghintay ka na lang mamaya,” and I expected then for the worst to happen and I anticipated that I would be tortured physically again and I called for Rose with the plan that I would talk to her to delay the expected torture they would do to me and I talked to her long into the night and thinking that the only way to mitigate the torture was to play that I was returning to the fold, I told Rose that I would like to return to the fold but despite that after my talk with Rose another interrogator came in and it was this time I heard that there were other units who would like to borrow me and there was no dinner given to me;

29. I had again a light sleep and on May 22, 2009, at the break of day, the interrogation started and intensified and I was brought to another building to what I perceived to be opposite of the female barracks with the jail cell as the fulcrum and I was given some breakfast and a late lunch at the building, I felt I was in a room used as an office and I was facing a panel of interrogators and I sensed that Dex was one of them and that beside me was Rose and another man and aside from the questions and the lecture on anti-communism and religion, they were asking me to sign a document but which I refused but I asked for Dex and went along with the Religion talk;

30. Because of my refusal to sign, I was brought into another room (I heard the voice of Juanito Carabeo when I entered the room) where a bright and hot light was shone on my face and the interrogator started to ask me questions and while asking questions he gripped and pressed my right shoulder hard and it was very painful because there was a dislocation and he knew I had that dislocation and when he was telling me that I was hardheaded he pounded his pointer finger on my forehead and it hurt and then suddenly, he changed his tone and tune and told me he believed that I wanted to return to the fold and we started talking about literature and asked me about magical realism of Gabriel Garcia Marquez and he even gave me a Gabriel Garcia Marquez novel, Love in Times of Cholera, and the Bible of the King James Version and I told him that I was in the area because I was looking for and gathering materials for my novels and that was why I joined the Bayan – USA and applied for an exposure program with Bayan – Central Luzon and Bayan - Tarlac volunteered for that initial survey at La Paz, and that I believed in God and I have to insist on that to go along with the Religious talk of Dex and he told me that they were interested in knowing how I got involved;

31. I was made to drink an orange soda and after a while I started to become groggy and another interrogator came to replace the literary interrogator but Dex was coming in and out of the interrogation and I started to talk about my family, my parents and my address in the United States and I was told that my name was in the Order of Battle and that I told them that I wanted to cooperate in order to return to the fold and later, Dex was again the interrogator and talked to me about religion and it was there that I felt so sleepy and before I could fall asleep I was transferred to the female barracks and was made to sleep in the floor but I was now given a mattress, a blanket and a pillow and I slept heavily and woke up when the light was already bright;

32. This was May 23, 2009 and I got angry with myself for losing control of the time and by sleeping long and deep and the interrogation continued trying to pry from me information of people I visited when I was with Bayan Central Luzon and Bayan Tarlac but I refused saying that I don’t want to put other people in harm’s way and an interrogator who introduced himself to me as RC took over and he talked about religion like Dex and said that they were merely tools of God for making rebels return to the fold and I told him that my God do not torture people and he told me that those who tortured me came from the SOG, the special operations group, and they were responsible for the “pagdukot” and for what happened to me and he asked me, “let us start from zero, ha?...ha? …ha?” and I realized he was the one who was torturing me and he continued to ask me how I came to get involve with Bayan – USA and I told him about my interest in the third world and poverty therein and I started to search the internet and I came to the site of Bayan – USA and that got me started. Sometime in the afternoon, they forcibly took a photo of me and looked for the mole on the left side of my face;

33. On this day, the interrogators were Dex and RC and they rotated between themselves interrogating me and I was playing along the religion line and finally I was told that their boss would be making the final evaluation of whether I was really returning to the fold and I slept lightly on the night of the 23rd and in the morning of the 24th, I was interrogated by the a person whom they called Boss and addressed as “Sir” and the interrogation lasted for the day and I answered their questions about me but not about other people and the Boss told me that if I did not cooperate I would be borrowed by other units whose personnel wouldn’t be as nice as Dex and RC and this interrogation and conversations continued until the night; the Boss also said to me that if I saw him, I’d be surprised and that he knew a lot about me and who I was;

34. At night, RC approached me and told me that I would be going home the next day but I did not believe him and I slept lightly on the night of the 24th; at early dawn of the 25th, I was awakened by Rose who told me to bath and I was given a sim card for use in contacting them and I was given a slip of paper where a new email address RC created for me was written with the password __________and I was given a bag where biscuits were placed and the books that were given were also placed and also the handcuffs used on me and Rose gave me her blouse and shoes for me to use in going home and RC told me that, “hindi tayo magkaaway, gusto ko magkaibigan tayo, ha” and he told me to beware of Karapatan because it will tell you to go against us and will talk with your family and that I should not let Karapatan talk with their family, otherwise, something will happen and that they would like to talk with my uncle and after which, I boarded a different vehicle than that of the van that brought me there as it was more spacious and I was seated on the center with Rose on my left and RC on my right with the driver and a passenger on the passenger side of the front seat and I sensed that there were about more than two people at the back and that I could hear communications with another car which was in convoy with us ordering not to drop me in front of our house in Quezon City as there was an activity but the car I was riding passed by and stopped in front of our house and I was asked to lift my blindfold to take a look at the house and to affirm whether it was my house and I confirmed and my blindfold was placed back and the car turned around and finally I was dropped at the corner nearest the house and I was told to face where I was dropped and to count up to one hundred before walking to my house and RC told me that they will be monitoring all my actions and something bad will happen to me if I do not cooperate that made me more afraid and I did what they told me after they took off my blindfold and I was dropped on the sidewalk and I was facing a wall and I did not move around even just to turn my head as I was very afraid that they would get me again and I did not move even after a count of a hundred until my phone rang and it was RC who instructed me that I could already walk which I did and arrived home to my uncle’s warm and relieved welcome;

35. But my travails did not end there, RC continued to talk to me through the phone where the Sim card he gave was inserted and I was so afraid to go out believing that they were just around monitoring me that I just stayed inside the room not even going out of that room and because of that my cousin bore upon me to throw the bag and the sim card to the trash which I did but the books, the clothes of Rose, the handcuffs, the slip of paper containing the email address RC created for me and the password I retained thinking of filing a case against them;

36. I was traumatized and the fear is still in me and I execute this affidavit to state the truth of the foregoing facts and for purposes of filing a Petition for a Writ of Amparo and Habeas Data to protect me and my family and my uncle and his family now and in the future and for possible other legal cases.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I hereunto affix my signature this 2th day of May 2009 at Quezon City, Philippines.






MELISSA C. ROXAS

SUBSCRIBED AND SWORN TO BEFORE me this 29th day of May 2009 at Quezon City, Philippines by affiant who showed to me her U.S. Passport no. 443307364, with expiry date on June 1, 2018 and issued at the US Embassy Manila.
 

IBON: 0.4% GDP also shows OFW remittances' growing failure to sustain economy
By GMANews.TV , on 29-05-2009 16:06 on 06/04/2009 at 1:39am (UTC)
 IBON: 0.4% GDP also shows OFW remittances' growing failure to sustain economy


MANILA, Philippines — The anemic 0.4-percent growth in gross domestic product (GDP) for the first quarter of 2009 not only warns of a recession but also shows that remittances from overseas Filipino workers are no longer enough to prop up the economy, a militant think tank said.

IBON Foundation also noted the growth in private consumption at 0.8 percent is the slowest growth in 23 years since 1986, when it grew by only 0.7 percent.
"Growth in private consumption which accounts for 73% of GDP has drastically slowed to just 0.8% from the same period last year — this is the slowest growth in 23 years since 1986 when it grew just 0.7 percent. A major factor driving consumption growth down is the likewise drastic slowdown in remittances in the first quarter of 2009," it said on its website (info.ibon.org).

It added the global downturn has caused growth in remittances to slow to just 2.7% in the first quarter of 2009 from 13.2% growth in the same period last year and 24.0% in 2007.

The $1.47-billion remittances in March 2009 brings total first quarter 2009 remittances to $4.06 billion which is just a 2.7% increase over US$3.95 billion in the first quarter of 2008, it said.

Also, it said this 2.7% increase in the first quarter continues the trend of slowing growth in remittances in the last 5 years since 2005.

"This also suggests that domestic consumption and growth will be further adversely affected in the coming period by the global downturn," it said.

On the other hand, IBON said these are indications that the country’s cheap labor export policy may be reaching its limits in the face of global migration trends in the last years and the global turmoil since last year.

Many other countries have also been jumping on the migration bandwagon especially with the hype over the last decade of migration as a pathway to development, it said.

"This has presumably been increasing the supply of migrants seeking overseas work worldwide. The financial and economic crisis since 2008 is also slowing down growth and job generation, or leading to outright job losses, across the globe," IBON said.

Also, IBON said there are other factors driving consumption growth down including the recent collapse in the country's export sectors and falling foreign and domestic investment.

It said these have led to thousands of retrenchments on top of cuts in workers' earnings and benefits.

"The slow economic growth only underscores the urgency to put an end to government’s policies that overly rely on unsustainable sources of growth such as overseas workers' remittances and foreign investments.

It also highlights the need to reverse the policies of economic liberalization, which have further weakened the capacity of the economy to withstand the impact of the global crisis," it said. (05/29/2009)


 
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Damayan Manitoba  
  Damayan-Manitoba is a progressive organization for Filipino immigrants in Manitoba. Damayan works for social and economic justice for Filipino migrant workers.

Damayan initiates and promotes socio-political and economic campaigns and activities in support and in defense of the democratic rights of the Filipino people, particularly migrant workers and the oppressed sectors of our society.

Damayan is a member-organization of BAYAN CANADA and MIGRANTE INTERNATIONAL and works with other patriotic and progressive organizations and individuals here and abroad.

Damayan condemns the unabated political killings of over 1,000 workers, peasants, pastors, student leaders, journalists, lawyers, women, indigenous people and other social activists in the Philippines.

"Damayan" is a Filipino word that means "Caring for one another."
 
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