Jan 27, 2006


Abolish the VFACom and then terminate the VFA

Now that the Arroyo government has abolished the VFACom led by the arrogant prick Zosimo Paredes, it should take the next logical step: terminate the onerous Visiting Forces Agreement.

The events following the rape of a Filipina in Subic has shown the untenability of having such an unfair agreement tying our hands and preventing the prosecution of rapists who happen to be US military personnel. The VFA, which prevents the Philippines from obtaining custody over the rapists, has become a license for these alien troops to rape our women and get away with it.

On another note, the VFA has miserably failed to even make a dent in upgrading the capability of the Armed Forces of the Philippines to combat and crush the Abu Sayyaf, the CIA-instigated foil to the Moro separatist movement that has turned to banditry. There have been a good number of "military exercises" and "war games" between the US Armed Forces and the AFP but nothing good has come out of it. What Mrs. Arroyo had repeatedly described as "few" remains beyond the reach of the law, even with US direction and help.

This myth of US assistance being positive to the Philippine anti-terrorist fight should be looked into and probed as to its actual efficacy. This key argument has no basis in fact, as everyone sees. Well, excluding the blind and rabid pro-imperialists in the government and the military.

The US is getting more than they bargained for, (no) thanks to the VFA. It has a permit to reenter our shores, engage in training that their forces more than Filipino soldiers, undertake intelligence on US enemy organizations, and then fend off prosecution when US troops commit crimes such as rape.

Paredes and similar treasonous characters like Raul Gonzalez and other "closet" lawyers for the rapist US troops and the US Embassy should be fired from their jobs and sent off to the US on the next available flight. We do not need them here. There are other more competent, patriotic Filipinos who could be called "pulic servants" and occupy sensitive posts with the view of defending and not surrendering the national interest.

The termination of the VFA is not only morally right. It is a political imperative so as to make our people secure within our own territory from any attempt by aliens and alien military forces to violate our laws and our sovereignty as a nation.

Now if Mrs. Arroyo would not do this, it is yet another reason why she should immediately vacate the presidency.

(Photo courtesy of Arkibong Bayan and UNIFIL-HK)

Jan 20, 2006


GMA fears coming People Power

Contrary to consistently murky propaganda flying out of Malacañang, many people wish a huge storm would finally sweep Gloria Macapagal Arroyo from the office she has usurped since the 2004 elections. Consequently, the public hopes the storm would bring a rebirth and an opportunity for forces of progress to bring the most urgent aspirations of Filipinos to reality.

Yes, I and many others want another People Power uprising and one that is not easily stolen by trapos like GMA.

Unlike the first two editions, the next People Power uprising should be more powerful, should unite even more Filipinos and should result in actual tangibles for each and every participant and supporter.

GMA wannabees need not apply. The people will not countenance a reprise of how she stole the victory of Edsa 2, despoiled its cause against corruption by committing one corrupt act ater another, and shamed the entire nation through "lying, cheating, stealing and killing."

This time around, People Power should unleash an alternative mode of leadership most capable of uniting the people behind a program of reforms. True, the trapos may not be completely excised like a tumor in any People Power uprising, but we could all help ensure that the reform-oriented workers, farmers, youth, women and other sectors be represented adequately in the next government.

Sorry to all unintelligent and nonsensical anti-communists but the time has come for an end to the complete trapo domination of governance. Bayan Muna, Anakpawis and Gabriela have shown how New Politics looks and sounds like. It is not communism but a plain new way of looking and appreciating the role of the government and the people. (By the way, these progressives in Congress were actually elected by the people, garnering a bug number of votes more than enough for the seats the partylist representatives now occupy. And in case these anti-communists suffer from bouts of selective and opportunist amnesia, Bayan Muna topped the last two partylist elections fair and square, and without any charge of electoral fraud marring its victories.)

These progressive sectors and their parties are the complete opposite of trapos. They have no record of corruption. Instead, they are known as die-hard advocates of wage hikes, increases in state budgets for education and basic social services, tax breaks for working people, and controls on prices of basic goods. They aspire for a new brand of democracy -- one that is not just formal or cosmetic but substantial. They proselytize the need for national industrialization and agrarian reform as the long-term solution to chronic poverty. They are not puppets of US imperialism, but instead maintain and expand people-to-people solidarity with Americans and other nationalities.

If, and this is a big if, the trapos would voluntarily cede power to them, these progressive forces are ready to take hold of the reins of power as they have long been forged in almost four decades of furnace-like struggles and sacrifice. There is no better way to train for national leadership but in actually leading the people in great mass struggles and political battles in both the Parliament of the Streets and the halls of Congress.

No, these sectors would not be the majority in a Transition Council, but their presence and equitable share in seats in such a council would make reforms truly possible. For without them, the people have nothing to hope for in terms of tangibles immediately after the ouster of Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.

People Power is so feared by shady characters like GMA because it is a direct manifestation of sovereign will, higher even than the Constitution. For when the people take it upon themselves to correct a hideous wrong, all laws stop and should do so because that is an act of the sovereign people. This concept sends shivers down the spine of GMA as well as every political cannibal who supports her. They know fully well that they are not really untouchable.

What could speed up the process is GMA herself. She is bound to create more enemies even within her own party, Lakas CMD. That she cannot unite and rally her own party under one single call is yet another proof of her inability to be a uniting factor. In fact, that she is the most divisive factor in the Philippines today is rendered more obvious by the infighting inside Lakas CMD.

The Chacha project of GMA is bound to become a magnet for criticisms from all sectors of society. The process is dubious, at the least, with her allies in Congress brazenly violating House rules just to insert amendments Lakas CMD and GMA desperately need to perpetuate themselves in power. Even Big Business have kept an arm's length from the Chacha proponents because of the shameless maneuvers that violate law and disrespect the intelligence of the Filipino people.

The proposed amendments are another thing altogether. The lawyers group Counsels for the Defense of Liberties say the draft Charter emanating from the bowels of the Lakas CMD majority in the House would make "bribery the highest law". For along with the poisonous provisions extending terms of office, prolonging GMA's stay in office and ensuring the complete sellout of the national economy to alien interests, the Lakas CMD has seen it fit to foist on judges an extension of the retiring age from the current 70 to 75 and host of other bribes that would make moralists squirm 1,000 times an hour in pure disgust.

Meanwhile, the pompous trio of (Eduardo) Ermita, (Raul) Gonzalez and and (Norberto) Gonzales who we may call EGG (itlog, egg, zero, zilch, nadah... in terms of patriotism and native intelligence) and screaming "the communists are coming!" all over town. They conveniently forget that the real terrorists they have invited to visit. Four of them even committed rape, supposedly a heinous offense in this country. But trust EGG to be as stupid as they seem to be and pin the blame on the communists ad nauseam. Truth to tell, the communists are not yet -- not yet -- in power and it is the rotten ruling system that they worship that has brought terrorism and misery in this country.

If the EGG persists in their anti-communism while keeping the four US Marines -- sexual terrorists, all of them -- beyond the reach of Philippine law, they would be doing a great service to the nation by becoming living examples of what we ought not have as Cabinet members and what government we do not deserve. They bungle the case or allow the rapist GIs to go scot-free and they agitate the public to move against their principal.

The Subic rape case has shoved imperialism at the center of the crisis of leadership. GMA's obeisance to US interests would be tested by the forthcoming joint resolution of Congress demanding the termination of the Visiting Forces Agreement. If GMA refuses to heed Congress, there could be a constitutional crisis and she would create more enemies on yet another issue: national dignity and sovereignty.

These two issues could truly propel mass demonstrations on a nationwide in the next few weeks and at the center is GMA and her illegitimate, corrupt and opportunist regime.

These demonstrations could be the preview of the next People Power.

Jan 15, 2006


My computer: Free at last

Over the past few days, I've successfully migrated from the conventional proprietary operating system to the refreshing Ubuntu Linux OS. I took the plunge soon after receiving the latest batch of Ubuntu Linux CDs I requested and which got for free.

Ubuntu Linux is refreshing as it gives a complete break from the monotony of Microsoft Windows XP and its predecessors. It provides a complete set of usable software starting with OpenOffice and a treasure trove of free and open source stuff.

Right now, I am doing the usual computer stuff I am wont to do and I'm doing them sans Microsoft Windows XP and its accompanying Microsoft softwares. Needless to say, I am satisfied and happy with the choice I made.

One good thing going for Ubuntu Linux users like me is that my computer has been transformed into a fortress no virus can ever enter. Microsoft programs are so virus-friendly, users who depend on them cannot brag about 24/7 protection against viruses.

On another plane, my computer has become the latest to be freed from imperialist dominance. Yes, my computer is free at last from the scourge of Microsoft and proprietary software. If Bill Gates would have his way, I would pay thousands of precious pesos yearly just to be able to use his Windows XP and the Microsoft Office. The other software proprietors also expect me to do the same for patronizing their products.

The Philippine government and the business community (especially the SMEs) should realize the huge savings that could come from chucking Windows XP and the other proprietary software. Dollars are siphoned off by Microsoft for each and every software license that need to be renewed. Meanwhile, we are all left to fend for ourselves in cases of virus attacks or breakdowns in software security and reliability.

But more than the savings, migrating to Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) provides government, businesses and individual users the power to render these operating systems, software and technology products based on our specific needs and end-goals. It is thus no surprise that more businesses have reportedly been using Linux and FOSS in their enterprises especially in their servers.

True, it would take a process of relearning, reacquaintance and review in order to master any new craft or, in this case, a new way of running our computers. For a world with only a tiny minority who have actually seen or used computers, that should not be viewed as a tall order. The new and next generations of students could not focus learning how to master FOSS, shake off the stranglehold of imperialist software companies, and help forge a technology that serves the people and helps them attain the most profound social, political, cultural and economic objectives.

One more computer has been freed. Whose desktop or laptop is next?

Jan 7, 2006


American GIs on a rampage: Rape in the Philippines, murder in Japan

Somewhere in Japan last Tuesday, a US sailor mauled a Japanese woman leaving her bloodied and bleeding. The injuries were so severe, she died following the gruesome attack.

Almost immediately, the Japanese government requested custody of the attacker from US military authorities and commenced routine police investigation.

By Friday, the US sailor already admitted to the police to attacking and causing the death of the Japanese woman.

US military authorities immediately expressed apologies and regret over the incident. A Japanese court has issued a warrant of arrest on the mauler-murderer.

Many now expect another snowballing of Japanese people’s protests against pervading US military presence in their country, a considerable number of whom have been involved in various violations of Japanese laws, including the rape of a little girl at Okinawa.

The mauling and murder by the US sailor in Japan is only the latest in a long list of atrocities committed by US servicemen deployed by imperial America across the world by virtue of access arrangements, basing agreements and concoctions like Visiting Forces Agreements (VFA).

The Japan incident follows late last year’s rape of a Filipino woman by four US Marines right inside the former Subic Naval Base.

But while Japanese authorities were determined to assert their sovereignty ad jurisprudence in the mauling and murder case, the treacherous Philippine officials in the justice and foreign affairs departments have acted more like abogados de campanilla for the rapists.

Up to now, Secretary Raul Gonzales and Undersecretary Zosimo Paredes continue to arrogantly and falsely defend US custody and jurisdiction over the four rapists inspite of: 1) provisions in the VFA that allow the Philippines to request jurisdiction and custody over erring US soldiers in cases of primary importance to the country; 2) rape being a heinous crime and a capital offense in the Philippines as per laws and the Constitution; and 3) the requirement in our courts regarding custody and jurisdiction as an essential ingredient in any criminal proceeding such as rape.

Gonzales and Paredes should resign now, give up their Filipino citizenship and move over to the States where they ideologically belong. Officials like them give the Philippines bad reps, including the home of willing rape victims and US puppets and pooches.

There are two imperatives now. One is to ensure the prosecution of the erring US soldiers in Japan and the Philippines. Two is a review of the policy of allowing these abusive US GIs in non-American territories.

In the case of the Philippines, we should revisit the promises of peace and security made in the name of the VFA, as well as the repercussions of each anti-Filipino provision in this agreement. Have these “visits” of US troops in the country been beneficial to our national interests or have these armed forces of US imperialist terror getting more than they bargained for?

The only sure way now to stop the rampaging abuses is to cut the formal onerous arrangements that allow these troops to enter and reenter our territory. The same is true with other countries that now host these beastly forces, either by invitation of US puppet government or by force (as in Japan, Afghanistan, and Iraq).

Now more than ever, US GIs go home!

(Photo from IRIB website: A US soldier holds a leash tied to one of the mnu abused and humiliated Iraqi detainees inside Abu Ghraib prison. The prison now stands as a lasting reminder of how George W. Bush’s “forces of peace and democracy” mocked and abused Iraqi soldiers.)

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