President Rodrigo Duterte said Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) founding chairman Jose Maria Sison is sick.
Turning the tables on Duterte, Sison said the President is also sick—- mentally.
Sison has hit back at Duterte, advising the chief executive to look after his mental health and consult a psychiatrist.
“I pity him and I am tempted just to let him go because what he says against me is patently baseless and comes obviously from a sick mind. But I still have to answer him to prevent him from misleading the public and rousing them the wrong way,” Sison said in a Facebook post.
Duterte earlier, also advised Sison to commit suicide.
“At any rate, he has to look after his mental health and consult with a professional psychiatrist. Is Duterte the kind of president and commander in chief the [Philippine government] can rely on for the factual basis of martial law which puts at risk the liberties, lives and limbs of millions of people?” he added.
Duterte and Sison have been exchanging heated words after the back channel talks between the government and communist rebels were cancelled.
Sison’s statement came a day after Duterte told the CPP founding chair to kill himself, saying that it would do the Royal Norwegian Government (RNG) a favor.
“Sison, tumanda ka na lang diyan, ayaw mo pa aminin na may sakit ka. Maawa ka naman sa Norwegian government, pakamatay ka na lang,” Duterte said during the ceremonial turnover of financial assistance to the families of fallen soldiers and policemen killed in Marawi City.
During his second State of the Nation Address, Duterte claimed that Sison was suffering from colon cancer, which Sison — who is also the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) political consultant — denied, calling the President’s claim a “blatant lie.”
Sison said that he was “amused” by the President’s advice for him to commit suicide, but said he would never give Duterte the same advice. GMANews
Farmers seek govt intervention vs. New People’s Army
RENEWED VIOLENT ATTACKS by communist rebels on banana plantations in Mindanao in Southern Philippines is crippling the banana export industry, a major dollar-earner for the country.
The specter of unemployment lurks as the industry fears that foreign partners of companies in banana production would pull away investment to relocate to safer countries in wake of the violence by the New People’s Army (NPA).
The NPA, which has a heavy presence in many areas of Mindanao, is the armed wing of the National Democratic Front (NDF), the political umbrella of leftist organizations under the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP).
Banana farm workers and farmers, most affected by the crisis, have called on the NPA to stop the violence and urged the government to intervene.
Banana farmers who are Agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARBs) of the government’s land reform program, are appealing to the NPA to stop harassing the big plantations. For lack of capital, ARBs partner with the big companies in banana production.
“If the NPA is truly for the people, why deprive the masses of their livelihood?”
The ARBs also appealed to the administration of President Benigno Aquino to stop the rebels from attacking plantations because they might shut down their operations, laying off hundreds of thousands of farm workers.
Last year, the NPA attacked Mindanao plantations almost on a monthly basis beginning in January until November. The NPA burned heavy equipment, container vans and cargo trucks loaded with bananas in T’boli and Surallah in South Cotabato; Barobo and Lianga in Surigao del Sur; Quezon, Bukidnon; Maco, Compostela Valley; and Maasim, Sarangani Province.
The attacks stopped in December, in time with the annual Yuletide Suspension Of Military Operations (SOMO) declared by both the NDF and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).
The NPA resumed their violent activities in January 2016.
The number of attacks in less than a one-month period, covering January 22 to February 19, 2016, already equaled the number of attacks for the whole of 2015.
The NPA, in less than a month this year, burned four Martignani spray trucks, a warehouse inside a packinghouse compound and other heavy equipment from eight different plantations in Bukidnon, Agusan del Norte and south Cotabato.
The attacks, at the least, could stop expansion of the plantations.
At its worse, the violence could drive away multinational corporations with investments in banana production to relocate in other friendly countries.
If the harassment and violence by the NPA continues, the biggest loser would be Mindanao, whose major dollar earner is the lucrative fruits export market in Asia and the Middle East.
The attacks have not yet resulted in any physical casualty to plantation workers but a much greater injury awaits, not only the farm laborers but also the economy in general, Eduardo Maningo, a spokesman for the ARBs said.
Banana plantations alone account for 83,000 hectares in Mindanao and at an average of four direct and indirect workers, the banana industry employs 332,000 workers. Together with their families, a potential of two million people will lose their livelihood.
The government will also lose the taxes collected through property taxes, business permits, VAT and income taxes, among others, derived from investments of the multinationals.
The NPA has gone hi-tech in pushing the industry to the wall by sending out warnings through text messaging.
After the series of burning incidents in Bukidnon,the communist rebels circulated the following message:
“Mainitong pagbati gikan sa mga pulang manggugubat. Nabati na sa mga mapahimuslanon nga mga dagkong kumpanya dri sa Bukidnon ang silot nga gipahamtang sa hukbo nga maoy tinuod nga sandiganan sa mga naalaot nga masa. Dili pa kini igo tungod padayon ang pagkaguba sa kinaiyahan, mga katungod giyatakan sa militarisasyon ug ang nagharing hut-ong mao pa gihapon ang nabolahan. Karong tuiga makab-ot na nato ang kadaugan. Daghan pa nga mga opensiba ang ipahigayon hangtod ang mga kapitalista mo yukbo. Kung kamo nga mga trabahanti mawad-an ug trabaho sa mubo nga panahon, giawhag namo kamo nga mag sakripisyo alang sa tinuod nga pakigbisog. Kinahanglan ipahunong ug ipasiraang mga dagkong kumpanya nga nag tamastamas kanato sa dugay na nga panahon.Mobarog kita alang sa kaangayan, hustisya ug tinuod nga reporma. Mabuhi ang BHB! Mabuhi ang PKP!”
(“Warm greetings from the freedom fighters. The opportunistic big corporations here in Bukidnon have already felt the presence of the army of the masses. This is not yet enough because the destruction of the environment still continues. We will achieve victory this year. We will continue our attacks until we topple down these capitalists. If you workers will lose your jobs for a short period, we call on you to sacrifice for true unity. We need to shut down these big corporations who have been oppressing us for the longest time. Let us stand for conformity, justice and true reform. Long live BHB! Long live PKP!”)
Last week, the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDF) in Mindanao warned large banana plantations to stop the use of aerial spray planes or rebels will be forced to shoot down the aircrafts.
Ka Malaya, a spokesperson of the NDF cited the damage of the fungicides to workers, residents, and the environment.
Big banana plantations use low-flying airplanes to spray fungicides at the banana leaves to prevent the sigatoka disease, the deadly leaf disease that years ago nearly crippled the banana industry in the South American countries. The Sigatoka blight remains a major threat to Mindanao bananas.
Ka Malaya said that the banana plantations had been warned in December last year, “but they continued to use this, not considering the damage it causes to the surrounding people, plants and animals,” she said.
However, all these allegations have been refuted by farm workers and other residents around the plantations, claiming their environment have remained still conducive for farming and raising animals. They said they’ve been living healthy lives for more than three decades, even with the plantations employing aerial spray.
Banana companies as part of their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) projects maintain health assistance programs in communities where they operate.
The banana companies said nobody has proven that aerial spray caused sickness among residents and workers.
Ka Malaya called on “pilots of the aerial-spray aircrafts to stop and look for other jobs.”
“Even if they are not the targets of the shooting, they are at risk to be hit by the bullets,” she said.
An armed conflict is far from what the ARBs want, said Maningo.
“The government should step in and do something about it. If the government doesn’t do anything, then we will all be losers,” he said.
The country’s employment problem is seen to worsen if the government is not able to solve the Mindanao crisis.
Thousands of the country’s Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) have been laid off in the Middle East as the region suffers a crisis due to the declining oil prices.
With the potential plantation workers losing their jobs and the OFWs returning from overseas, the country faces a terrible problem.
Banana plantation workers sum up their bleak future with this sentiment against the communist rebels:
“Maybe this is what the NDF wants. Where will we end up?”
Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte has abandoned his threat to force members of the laglag-bala (bullet-planting) syndicate to swallow live bullets.
This time, Duterte wants communist rebel hitmen and death squads to finish off the syndicate.
He also called on President Benigno Aquino to take “drastic action and not lip service” against the syndicate.
The syndicate, allegedly involving aviation, police and civilian personnel at the aiports, victimizes airplane passengers going abroad, nostly Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs), through extortion after secretly planting bullets in their luggage. The victims are fleeced of large sums and allowed to board their flight. Bringing bullets into aiports is a violation of the country’s firearms and ammunition law.
The bad press over the shakedown of passengers at Philippine airports has gone international that even the United Nationas (UN) warned its personnel travelling to the Philippines against the racket.
The government has ordered an investigation following public outcry over slow action against the syndicate by President Benigno Aquino. The laglag-bala racket is said to have been operating for years without airport authorities moving to stop it.
With the 2016 national election coming in May, the brouhaha over the laglag-bala has become a hot political issue against the administration.
Lately, Mar Roxas, the presidential bet of Aquino’s ruling Liberal party, reaped a flood of criticism after saying that government should not be faulted if passengers bring bullets into the airport. Roxas is Aquino’s former Interior Secretary.
Migrante, the militant group espousing and defending rights of the OFWs, said the millions-strong Filipino overseas workers would not vote for Roxas.
In his latest pronouncement, Duterte gave the syndicate members caught at the Davao International Airport the choice of getting a bullet shot to the head from the “Sparrow or the DDS.”
The Sparrows, coined after Special Partisan Unit (Sparu), is the liquidation squad of the New People’s Army (NPA), the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP). The deadly hitmen were blamed for the killing of hundreds of police and military personnel and civilians during the height of rebel occupancy in the 80s of Davao City then widely known as the Philippines’ “Killing Field.” The urban guerillas moved up to the city’s farflung mountain districts after Duterte, known for his close ties with rebel ground commanders, won his first mayoral term in 1988. Peace has since reigned in Davao City, considered today as one of Asia’s most peaceful cities. Duterte is on his way to three decades as mayor of the premier city of Mindanao.
Even as Davao City has shed off its image of the 70s and 80s as the NPA “laboratory of urban guerilla warfare,” the Sparrow unit is said to be behind some of today’s liquidation of targets in downtown Davao.
The DDS is the motorcycle-riding 45.cal.-armed Davao Death Squad tagged as behind more than a thousand summary executions of suspected criminals, nostly involved in the drug trade. The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) has investigated Duterte for human rights violations for his alleged links to the death squad, which surfaced as an anti-crime vigilante group during the first mayoral term of Duterte in 1988.
You choose, the Sparrow or the DDS, said Duterte as an alleged victim of the laglag-bala racket carried luggage snapped by X-Ray at the Davao airport with two 9mm bullets.
The victim, a 62-year old male hydrologist was on his flight out for Manila after attending a business meeting in Davao City. The victim, the first recorded at the Davao airport after the laglag-bala controversy exploded in Manila, has been charged with illegal possession of ammunition but fred on bail. He denied owning the bullets and told police he could not know why the bullets were in his luggage.
Duterte earlier said that he would force to swallow live bullets syndicate members caught at the Davao airport.
He also said he would himself finish them off at the hospital if they go for operation to have the bullets removed.
Duterte said the syndicate has “jeopardized” the Filipino people and called on President Aquino to take “not lip service but drastic action” against the syndicate.
Duterte has emerged as a strong contender to the presidency but is not running despite his high ranking in pre-poll surveys and strong public clamor for him to join the 2016 race to Malacanang.
BUSINESS, POLITICS, TOURISM, NEWS, DAVAO CITY, MINDANAO, PHILIPPINES