NEVER FORGET MENDIOLA MASSACRE! DEFEND OUR FARMERS AND VIGOROUSLY STRUGGLE AGAINST THE US-DUETRTE REGIME’S ATTACK AGAINST LANDLESS FARMERS! Statement of the Congress of Teachers/Educators for Nationalism and Democracy on the 32nd Anniversary of the Brutal Mendiola Massacre 22 January 2019
The members of CONTEND-UP Diliman today join all progressive organizations and patriotic Filipino people, especially the landless farmers and farm workers, in remembering the 32nd year of the brutal massacre of farmers at Mendiola, Manila. As we remember and struggle for justice for the twelve killed at the gruesome massacre on January 22, 1987, we also face today the continuing state terror that led to recent Sagay City Massacre killing nine Negrense farmers last October 20, 2018.
Our oppressed farmers had been enslaved to brutal feudal exploitation since the Spanish colonialism. For centuries, they had been subjected to dehumanizing slavery. Decades of attempts at land reform have apparently failed. According to IBON Foundations, land remains concentrated in the hands of a few. Official census could only claim at most 62% of farms under full ownership. The rest are under various forms of tenure, including tenancy at 15 percent. According to the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR), 93% of the remaining balance for land redistribution are private agricultural landholdings. There are more than 97,000 hectares of agricultural land converted to other uses while more than 120,000 hectares have been approved for conversion between 1998 until January 2016. The continuing struggle of farmers to assert their claim over the sprawling 6,453-hectare Hacienda Luisita in Tarlac attests to the failure of decades of pro-landlord land reform program under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) and its extension, CARPER. The Aquino-Cojuangco clan continues to employ all means including harassment and intimidation to maintain control over the hacienda.
Shackled under this feudal bondage, our farmers, through cooperative land occupation or bungkalan in various provinces across the country, had begun asserting their right to make land productive. With bungkalan, peasant communities are able to directly address food insecurity and hunger. Among numerous land cultivation activities in the Negros island, there have been more than 200 bungkalans which began since 2009 spanning 3,000 hectares and benefiting 2,000 farm workers in Negros Occidental. Farm workers or dumaans here are known to receive only a meager Php170 in daily wages. Sakadas, or farm laborers not from the area, receive much lower wages (Php110 for males and Php100 for females). The massacre of the nine Sagay farmers, who were victims of private armies of hacienderos (by the Revolutionary Proletarian Army (RPA), breakaway group from New People’s Army, under the Armed Forces of the Philippines), was made possible by the inability of the US-Duterte regime to dismantle big haciendas and implement genuine agrarian reform. The NSFW said that since 2017, there have been 47 farmers and sugar workers killed in Negros due to land conflict.
The harassment of farmers is rooted in landlessness. According to government data, 1,727 medium and large landlords control 52 percent of the more than 222,600 hectares of sugar cane areas of Negros Island. The farmers are collectively putting up resistance against the continuing landlessness aggravated by financialization of agriculture. Around 1.2 million hectares of land are under various forms of contract growing schemes under agribusiness venture arrangements (AVAs) that are profit-oriented. Many of the largest haciendas remain intact because land reform programs and laws such as the Presidential Decree No. 27, Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP), National Tourism Act of 2009 and Special Economic Zones (SEZ) Act, have allowed landowners to skirt land distribution, expand their land ownership and even convert lands to non-agricultural use. Philippine oligarchs led by the country’s billionaires such as the late Henry Sy, the Zobel-Ayalas, the Roxases, the Lopezes, the Yulos, Cojuangco of Negros Islands, the Cojuangco-Aquinos of Central Luzon, the Floirendos, and the Consunjis, among others, have taken advantage of various land laws to gain or regain control over vast tracts of land.
Our country remains agricultural saddled by semifuedal social relations. The current crisis in our rice reflects the underdevelopment of our agriculture and the suffering of our farmers. Recently President Duterte issued Administrative Order (AO) No. 13 to remove non-tariff barriers on agricultural products that would further impoverish our farmers. When our farmers organize to collectively asset their right to land, they are either killed or met with brutal state violence like the Kidapawan tragedy in 2016.
As educators and educational workers, we have to stand with our farmers. We cannot remain serenely imprisoned to our classrooms while our food security is undermined. Our teachers are also suffering from low salary and high inflation rate. The crisis in agriculture aggravates their economic spending and undercut their food security compounded by run-away inflation rate. Like our fellow Filipino farmers, teachers, too, are victims of state repression, surveillance and military profiling.
We therefore call on our fellow teachers to support the struggle of our landless farmers for genuine land reform. We urge them to go to the rural areas and learn from the lives and struggles of the farmers. Let us bring our students and encourage them to write their research and papers to expose the intensifying assault of the foreign agribusiness against our farmers, the land grabbing practices of our local big comprador bourgeoisie, and the fascist attacks of the US-Duterte regime against bungkalan and farmers’ organizations.
JUSTICE TO THE VICTIMS OF MENDIOLA MASSACRE!
JUSTICE TO SAGAY 9!
JUSTICE TO ALL FARMERS WHO ARE VICTIMS OF HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS!
IMPLEMENT GENUINE AGRARIAN REFORM!
DOWN WITH STATE FASCISM AND TERRORISM AGAINST FARMERS!
DOWN WITH FEUDALISM!
DOWN WITH IMPERIALISM!
EXPOSE AND DENOUNCE THE RED-TAGGING OF STATE COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES AS PRETEXT OF THE PNP/AFP TO TERRORIZE AND CLAMPDOWN ON STUDENTS, EDUCATIONAL WORKERS, AND PROGRESSIVE STUDENTS’ ORGANIZATIONS Statement of Congress of Teachers/Educators for Nationalism and Democracy Denouncing the Order of Philippine National Police to Monitor University of the Philippines and Polytechnic University of the Philippines for Recruitment of Students to New People’s Army 16 January 2019
The members of CONTEND UP DILIMAN express our strongest condemnation of the recent propagandistic allegations of the Philippine National Police that some state colleges and universities, notably the University of the Philippines and Polytechnic University of the Philippines, are hubs for recruitment of students to the New People’s Army (NPA). Such unsubstantiated claim, supposed to come from former rebels, put in peril students and their teachers, and progressive students’ organizations in these campuses. Because of this pronouncement of the Philippine National Police (PNP), their covert and overt agents and assets are now mobilized to monitor, surveille, and observe the movements and whereabouts of these suspected students, teachers and their respective organizations beyond the gates of schools.
This policing of state colleges and universities will surely fail as the PNP failed to confirm the earlier allegation of “red October plot” to oust President Duterte (uncovered September 2018). Undeterred by this fiasco, linking several schools to the plot, the PNP has concocted another hoax to justify its clampdown on the growing number of discounted students, educational workers and teachers against the US-Duterte administration.
We are also disgusted by the recent foiled attempt of the PNP to profile and monitor members of the Alliance of Concerned Teachers Partylist. These failed attempts of the PNP to harass, contain, and terrorize educational workers and their organizations are part of the bigger counter-insurgency plan embodied in Executive Order No. 70, using the “whole-of-nation” approach, to weaponize all state resources, agencies, and bureaucracies to combat and wipe out all progressive critics of the government, not sparing the legal and legitimate people’s organizations.
As educators we express our shock against the claim that state colleges and universities are hubs for recruiting students to join the NPAs. Such outrageous allegation of the PNP simply provides the state armed agents the pretext to terrorize and harass our teachers and students and their organizations. This pronouncement of the PNP threatens to put legitimate field works, out-of-school research, basic mass integration, even outreach/relief programs under the snooping eyes of state armed agents for intelligence gathering.
We therefore exhort our fellow teachers to continue bringing our students to rural communities to live with our landless farmers and fisherfolks, to volunteer as teachers in Lumad schools, to help organize our workers and striking contractual workers, to become volunteers for human rights organization, and join our women in their fight to end misogyny. Let us defy the threats of state armed agents. These activities are integral part of our pedagogical duty to make our teachings have impact on the lives of our marginalized fellow citizens. Let us not allow ourselves to be immobilized by fear resulting from these threats. Let us defend our academic freedom against fascist intrusion.
Let us encourage our students to do their research and theses based on the struggles of the marginalized sectors of our society. Let us not be frightened and dissuaded from doing our solemn duty to use our classes to better and improve the lives of our people. We should not be deterred from carrying out our teaching duties to raise the consciousness of our students to question all institutions and beliefs that reinforce the “culture of silence”. Education is not simple transmission of dead and unusable knowledge to the young generation. Education is a weapon to bring down institutions that perpetuate fascism, tyranny, and to debunk myths that justify exploitation, discrimination, reduce education to producing “happy robots”.
STOP RED TAGGING OF SCHOOLS!
ACTIVISM IS NOT A CRIME!
STOP HARASSING MEMBERS OF ALLIANCE OF CONCERNED TEACHERS!
DOWN WITH STATE TERRORISM!
DOWN WITH FASCISM!
DEFEND ACADEMIC FREEDOM AGAINST FASCIST ATTACKS!
UPHOLD AND DEFEND HUMAN RIGHTS AGAINST STATE-SPONSORED TERRORISM OF THE US-DUTERTE REGIME! FIGHT FOR HUMAN RIGHTS TO END STATE DESPOTISM AND WANTON IMPUNITY Statement of Congress of Teachers/Educators for Nationalism and Democracy University of the Philippines, Diliman on the Celebration of International Human Rights Day 10 December 2018
The members of CONTEND today join all our patriotic people and progressive people’s organization in marching to the streets to protest and to resist the intensifying violations of human rights perpetrated against human rights defenders, Lumad students and their teachers, the Lumad communities, members of urban poor communities, peace consultants and advocates, church workers who pursue just and lasting peace under the current US-China Duterte Administration.
As teachers, who are bound to teach human rights, who have the duty to defend human rights against state terrorism, we are dismayed by the recent United Nations report which names the Philippines as one of the countries whose governments subject human rights defenders and activists to “an alarming and shameful level of harsh reprisals and intimidation”.
Today we express our disquiet against the irresponsible statements of our misogynist fascist President that some of our fellow Filipinos deserve to die especially the poor suspected drug users and pushers because they do not have rights. The poor get the bullets while the accused plunderers like Imelda Marcos and Bong Revilla get to roam freely. We are disgusted by President Duterte’s threats and tongue-lashings against human rights advocates whom he labeled as “terrorists” and communist sympathizers.
The reign of terror under the tyrannical rule of Duterte has enabled and emboldened the repressive state agents to harass legitimate people’s organizations, to propagate red-tagging of universities, to close Lumad schools, and to arrest peace consultants by charging them with fabricated cases.
As educators, we express strong condemnation against the arrest of our fellow public-school teacher, Rep. France Castro of Alliance of Concerned Teachers Partylist (ACT) in Davao del Norte, in her effort to provide relief to the Lumad students who were harassed by military and para-military groups. This attack against Rep. Castro and her companions is a flagrant scheme of state forces to silence the critics of government. Our government has already denied the right of Lumad to free education. Now it intends even to close the schools.
The state-sponsored terrorism is made more monstrous by President Rodrigo Duterte’s Memorandum Order No. 32 ordering the deployment of more troops to parts of the Visayas and the Bicol region. From May 23, 2017 to November 30, 2018, with the imposition of martial in Mindanao, Karapatan has documented 88 individuals killed by soldiers, police and paramilitary groups, and 128 victims of frustrated killings. At least 1,450 have been illegally arrested; while a least 148 individuals are being harassed with trumped-up criminal charges. Memorandum Order No. 32, which extends martial law geographically beyond Mindanao, will no doubt translate to more human rights violations. And now the military are dashing to extend martial law in Mindanao for another year. These military maneuvers are sinister tactics to suppress people’s growing restiveness in Mindanao, especially among the Lumad and landless peasants, to pave the way for the smooth and unbroken entry of transnational corporations to the resource-rich region.
In the face of this ghastly state fascism, we, members of CONTEND, will not be intimated. We will not recoil from teaching “rebellious ideas” about human rights to our students. Historically, the Declaration of the Rights of Man and The Citizen in 1878, as the aftermath of the glorious bourgeois French Revolution, led to the fall of monarchy and feudalism. So today, as teachers, we urge all our fellow educators to stand our ground in defending human rights against Duterte’s tyranny. If we will not defend and uphold human rights now, our nation will be at the mercy of those who wield power and who rule with uncontested impunity.
Uphold human rights!
Defend human rights against state fascism!
Justice to all victims of human rights violations!
End martial law in Mindanao now!
Stop harassing human rights defenders and advocates!
Free all political prisoners!
Free Rey Claro Casambre and Patricia Cora Casambre!
No to Duterte’s Memorandum Order No. 32!
Stop militarization of Lumad communities!
FREE REP. FRANCE CASTRO OF ALLIANCE OF CONCERNED TEACHERS PARTYLIST AND ALL THOSE DETAINED IN TALAINGOD, DAVAO DEL NORTE BASED ON TRUMPED UP CHARGES: JOINT STATEMENT OF THE CONGRESS OF TEACHERS/EDUCATORS FOR NATIONALISM AND DEMOCRACY AND THE INTERNATIONAL LEAGUE OF PEOPLE STRUGGLES COMMISSION 11
We join the resonant clamor of our patriotic people and all progressive sectors of Philippine society in demanding for the immediate release ACT Teachers Partylist Representative France Castro, former Bayan Muna Partylist Congressman Satur Ocampo and companions. They were illegally arrested on November 28, 2018 and are now detained in Talaingod, Davao del Norte. They are facing trumped-up charges of child trafficking and kidnapping in relation to Republic Act 7610 or the anti-child abuse law.
We are enraged by this act of barbarism perpetrated by the Army’s 10th Infantry Division, the Philippine National Police, and their paramilitary groups operating in the area. The preposterous lies and false charges concocted by these fascist forces against the members of the humanitarian mission to help Lumad schools are brazen acts enacted with no other goal but to suppress and terrorize concerned groups and individuals who desire to protect the welfare of the students and teachers in Lumad schools.
The arrest of the members of the humanitarian mission is a tactic of the military to isolate the Lumad schools and forcibly close them down. The military terrorizes Lumad communities in the name of flushing out alleged communists. Condoned and encouraged by the thoughtless pronouncements of President Duterte from bombing Lumad schools to hunting down and killing all communists and their supporters, military atrocities in Martial Law-stricken Mindanao are committed every day, with no end in view.
We urge all our fellow educators and workers in the educational sector to mobilize and organize to support the immediate release of Rep. France Castro and Satur Ocampo. Both have worked tirelessly for the welfare of public and private school teachers, lobbied for the advancement of the well-being of teachers and students, and have consistently supported the struggle of the Lumad for the right to self-determination.
We likewise ask of our fellow teachers and our students to dispel lies and disinformation disseminated by the military about Lumad communities. We need to maximize the use of our classes, lectures, and social media accounts to expose the intensifying attacks and harassment of the military establishment against progressive educators and schools supportive of the national minority’s struggle for self-determination.
The puppet Philippine State has historically been indifferent to the educational welfare of the Lumad in Mindanao. And now that Lumad communities have collectively constructed and been running their own schools with assistance from people’s organizations, NGOs and religious institutions, the same entity that treated the Lumad with criminal neglect aims to close than their schools? The Duterte government should not expect any of us to accommodate even an iota its contemptible and morally reprehensible actions toward the Lumad in Mindanao. As members of the education sector, let us stand with the Lumad and defend them from the fascist attacks of the military and paramilitary groups.
Free Talaingod 17 now!
Free Rep. France Castro of ACT Partylist now!
Save our Schools! Stop Lumad killings!
Defend the right to self-determination of the Lumad and other national minorities!
Down with state fascism!
Stop the militarization of Lumad communities!
LEARN FROM THE REVOLUTIONARY HEROISM OF BONIFACIO! ADVANCE THE NATIONAL DEMOCRATIC STRUGGLE OF OUR PEOPLE AMIDST THE INTENSIFYING FASCISM OF THE US-CHINA DUTERTE REGIME Statement of Congress of Teachers/Educators for Nationalism and Democracy University of the Philippines, Diliman on the 155th Birth Anniversary of the Great Revolutionary Andres Bonifacio 30 November 2018
As we commemorate the 155th birth anniversary of the “great plebeian” revolutionary, Andres Bonifacio, the members of CONTEND UP Diliman join our people, especially the workers, in advancing Bonifacio’s struggle in its new form, our people’s national democratic struggle. Faced with intensifying assault of the US-China Duterte regime against the economic rights of our people, the brutal disregard for basic human rights of the poor, the crackdown on Leftist organizations and their mass leaders, the wanton misogynistic denigration of women, and the escalating harassment of Lumad communities and schools, CONTEND stands with our restive people and all patriotic sectors of our society in opposing these fascist and anti-people policies.
As educators we are dismayed, but not disheartened and frightened, by the threats perpetrated by the repressive state agents of our fascist state. We will not cower amidst the intimidation of the Philippine National Police (PNP) against educators and schools. We will continue to teach “rebellious ideas”. We will stand our ground in the face of the PNP-concocted “Red October plot” that “red-tagged” schools and universities as seedbeds of terrorism. To teach is to create rebels. The essence of education is to create minds who will torn asunder the yoke of oppression based on false beliefs and oppressive practices. The critical education of Bonifacio coupled with his personal engagement with fellow colonized Filipinos molded his mind to become a “rebel”. He used his knowledge and education to repudiate the travesty of our sovereignty by the colonizers. So we say with Bonifacio, “And so, my brethren, prepare yourselves for the fight and rest assured that victory will be ours, for righteousness and the sanctity of duty are on our side.”
As educators we do not simply teach to create rebels without a cause. We do not teach disobedience for the sake of anarchistic nonconformity. Rather we teach our students to question ruthlessly all existing social realities, not only to deprogram their minds from false and repressive beliefs and practices, but to use these radical ideas to transform our society.
We urge our fellow educators to emulate Bonifacio’s revolutionary practice and aspirations. Like Bonifacio, we should bring and encourage our students to live with the oppressed sectors of our society. In these immersions, our students can apply and sharpen their analysis of our society. They can learn from the values of our militant workers and peasants and to begin remolding themselves against their petty bourgeois habits and values. These pedagogical engagements should guide our students to denounce the continuing dehumanization of our workers and peasants! Our classroom lectures and discussion should enable our students to understand why the tax reform law should be vigorously opposed as anti-poor. Like Bonifacio, we should teach our students to side with oppressed and exploited against their oppressors.
In the age when scholars and policy makers are skeptical about nationalism, we should teach our students the value of anti-imperialist nationalism that will challenge the sinister economic and cultural imperialism of US and China. We will join our fellow educators who defend Filipino language as medium to advance our national culture. For our national language is a weapon to resist cultural genocide. So today with Bonifacio we shout in clinched fist: “Mabuhay! Long live the sovereign people of the Philippines!”
LONG LIVE THE REVOLUTIONARY LEGACY OF BONIFACIO!
DOWN WITH STATE FASCISM!
DOWN WITH IMPERIALISM!
DOWN WITH BUREAUCRAT CAPITALISM