December 19, 2022 - No. 61
With profound sorrow the Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist) learned that the founder of the Communist Party of the Philippines and historic communist revolutionary Jose Maria (Joma) Sison passed away on December 16 in Utrecht, Netherlands where he lived in exile from his beloved homeland.
Comrade Sison dedicated his life to ending the U.S. imperialist domination of the Philippines. He fought relentlessly, first against the dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos Sr's regime which committed so many crimes against the Filipino people with the full backing of the United States and their military force stationed in the country and then against subsequent regimes either installed by the U.S imperialists or forced to submit to the U.S. striving to dominate the Asia-Pacific.
A great champion of the independence and right to self-determination of the Filipino people, Comrade Sison also defended the cause of all nations and peoples and forged relations between the people of the Philippines and the peoples of the world in their common cause for peace, freedom and democracy.
The leadership of CPC(M-L) had the honour of exchanging views with Comrade Sison and greatly appreciated his courage and contributions.
On this occasion, CPC(M-L) sends its deepest condolences to his long-time comrade-in-arms and life partner, Comrade Julie de Lima, members of his family, and close comrades-in-arms and all members of the Communist Party of the Philippines, his many friends and associates in the Philippines and around the world, and especially here in Canada.
CPC(M-L) knows that the life and historic legacy of Comrade Jose Maria Sison lives on because we see that it imbues the actions of the Filipino communists and people for independence and peace at home, and the organizations he founded to defend the rights and interests of those in the worldwide diaspora. We are proud to work side by side with our Filipino comrades across Canada, where they always stand fearlessly in the vanguard of the fight for the rights of all and to make sure justice prevails. Through them, the deeds and contribution of Comrade Sison remain with us.
We salute the life and deeds of Comrade Jose Maria Sison!
Long live the fraternal unity between our two parties and between the people of Canada and the people of the Philippines!
With deepest sympathies,
Anna Di Carlo
Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist)
Jose Maria Sison was a communist youth activist in the 1960s and a youth organizer for the old Communist Party of the Philippines. In that role he became the national chairman of the Kabataang Makabayan (Patriotic Youth) from its founding in 1964 until 1968. He reorganized the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) as the revolutionary communist vanguard and decisive force of the Philippine revolution, founded on December 26, 1968 and, three months later, founded the New People's Army as the armed wing of the CPP.
Jose Maria Sison was also instrumental in the founding of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) in 1970 and acted as its Chief Political Consultant in its peace talks with the Philippine government over many years.
During the U.S.-backed Marcos dictatorship (1972-1986) and its martial law, Comrade Sison was captured in 1977, illegally detained and tortured for more than eight years until the mass movement of the Filipino people overthrew Marcos, and set him free.
In 1988, while on an international speaking tour to inform people of the political situation in the Philippines, the U.S.-sponsored Corazon Aquino government withdrew his passport, forcing Comrade Sison to seek political asylum in the Netherlands.
In 2002, the Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo government cooperated with the U.S. to frame him as a terrorist in a vain attempt to sabotage the ongoing peace talks between the government and the NDFP. In 2007, this included feeding the Dutch government phony evidence to fabricate multiple murder charges against him. Comrade Sison proved that all the charges against him were fabricated and won all the cases before the courts of the Netherlands and at the European Court of Justice. More recently, the government of Rodrigo Duterte also made several failed attempts to fabricate charges against him.
Despite being forced to live in exile, Comrade Sison continued to fight for the people of the Philippines and their struggle for national and social liberation, as well as supporting the anti-imperialist and national liberation struggles of the peoples of the world. To that end he helped found the International League of the Peoples' Struggle, among many other initiatives to further the cause of peace and justice for all peoples.
Thousands of people protested the three-day official visit of U.S. Vice-President Kamala Harris to the Philippines, November 21-22. Bagong Alyansang Makabayab (BAYAN) or New Patriotic Alliance, which organized the protest along with progressive allies, denounced the visit as a provocation and threat to the well-being and security of the people of the Philippines and said that Harris was not welcome in the Philippines.
Prior to Harris' visit BAYAN noted, "The U.S. Indo-Pacific Command (INDOPACOM) has begun dispersing U.S. marine and army units along the first island chain running from Japan through Southeast Asia in order to contain China and counter its naval and missile advantages in its near waters." BAYAN added that Harris' visit was also to enhance the multiple military agreements that the U.S. has forced upon the people of the Philippines including the Philippines-U.S. Mutual Defense Treaty (MDT), Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA), Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA), and Mutual Logistics Support Agreement (MLSA).
BAYAN also denounced the increasing number of joint military exercises involving the Philippines and the U.S. and its allies aimed at containing China and pointed out that these war exercises and increased militarization pose a grave danger to the well-being and security of the people of the Philippines and the region. BAYAN noted that the U.S. "Pivot to Asia" a decade ago has not only further militarized the islands and other countries in the Asia-Pacific, but has been an instrument of the "opening up of Asian economies for imperialist plunder of resources including land, sea and skilled labour."
BAYAN called on all progressive and democratic forces in the Philippines to step up resistance to the U.S. presence on the islands and the U.S.-sponsored rule of Ferdinand Marcos Jr. In a space of six months, the Marcos government has intensified state violence and terror against the people in order to suppress the people's resistance which is led by the Communist Party of the Philippines and its armed wing, the New People's Army.
During her visit Harris pledged more than U.S.$100 million to boost the Philippine military. Even though she represents a U.S. government which commits crimes at home and abroad with impunity, speaking at the Philippine Coast Guard headquarters on Palawan Island near the disputed Spratly Islands, Harris declared, "We will continue to rally our allies and partners against unlawful and irresponsible behaviour. When the international rules-based order is threatened somewhere, it is threatened everywhere."
Riot police in Manila prevented protesters from reaching Malacañan Palace where Harris was given the red carpet treatment by recently-elected Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. The stand taken by the democratic and patriotic workers, women and youth to oppose the visit of Kamala Harris is a clear signal that they will continue to oppose plans by the U.S. and the servile regime of Ferdinand Marcos Jr. to use their country as a launching pad for wars of aggression and occupation carried out in the name of the U.S. Indo-Pacific Strategy in which Canada is a full participant.
(Bagong Alyansang Makabayab. Photos: Altermidya)
Manila, Philippines, December 10, 2022
Since coming to power on June 30 through a rigged election, the U.S.-supported government of Philippine President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. has carried out an intensified and violent anti-social offensive against the people of the Philippines. The new president is carrying on from where the previous despised and discredited government of Rodrigo Duterte left off.
This includes stepped-up U.S. military-inspired "counter-intelligence" campaigns against suspected communists, human rights workers, peasant leaders, student activists and others, using the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020 and its Anti-Terrorism Council made up of military and security forces to target anyone opposed to the regime. In June, Luis Jalandoni, a well-respected human rights activist and former member of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) was deemed a "terrorist" under the anti-terror law. The NDFP has been engaged intermittently over several years in peace talks with the Philippine government,
More recently, in Himamaylan City in Negros, where the people's resistance is fierce, 15,000 people were displaced in a military siege which included bombing and strafing of the civilian population and the arrest, imprisonment and torture of seven farmer leaders. Human rights activists continue to be hounded and threatened for speaking out against the Marcos Jr. government.
Cristina Palabay of the Philippine human rights group Karapatan states that under the Marcos Jr. counterinsurgency campaign her organization has documented at least 17 cases of extrajudicial killings in addition to four other incidents of violence where victims survived. She also reported that the number of political prisoners detained in the Philippines continues to rise, with 828 detained as of November 30. Of these, at least 25 have been detained since Marcos Jr. took office at the end of June.
President Marcos Jr. has stated that the Philippines will not re-join the International Criminal Court (ICC). Former President Rodrigo Duterte withdrew his country from the ICC in response to the Court initiating an investigation into the more than 6,000 extrajudicial killings in Duterte's infamous "war against drugs." The UN Human Rights Council has urged the Marcos administration to address the extrajudicial killings and violations of rights, but the Philippine government has denied there is a culture of impunity.
On International Human Rights Day, December 10, actions were held in
Manila to protest the human rights violations escalating under the new
Marcos Jr. administration. Karapatan stated, "The Filipino people will
resolutely fight to hold the government accountable for the trampling
of their civil
and political rights and will uphold human rights and democratic
aspirations, even as multiple challenges and threats continue."
1. During the Philippines elections in May this year, the international consulting firm Cambridge Analytica was engaged by the Marcos campaign to help whitewash the brutal history of the regime of Ferdinand Marcos Sr. who declared martial law and ran the Philippines with an iron fist from 1972 to 1986. The company helped to delete the unfavourable records of the Marcos dictatorship on social media in order to gain the votes of younger voters. The Investigate Philippines observer group of 60 international human rights activists, including some from Canada, reported that "vote buying, failure of the electronic voting-counting system, misinformation, red-tagging and threats, and even killings" took place during the elections, calling into question the legitimacy of the election results.
(Bulatlat.com, Karapatan, Rappler. Photos: ILPS )
More than 200 people from the Filipino national minority in Toronto, along with their friends and allies, commemorated International Human Rights Day on December 10 by marking the 50th anniversary of the declaration of martial law in 1972 by U.S.-sponsored President Ferdinand Marcos. They also remembered and paid tribute to all those who were killed, imprisoned, tortured and disappeared between the years 1972 and 1986, when mass uprisings, the "People Power" movement, forced the dictator and his family to flee to the U.S.
The event at Innis College at the University of Toronto was organized by a number of progressive and patriotic organizations from the Filipino community. The overarching theme of the event was to affirm the fight for human rights in the Philippines today. Under the presidency of Ferdinand Marcos Jr., corruption, state violence against the Indigenous Peoples and progressive forces and widespread human rights violations are taking place. Of note is that demonstrations against President Marcos Jr. also took place on International Human Rights Day in Manila.
The main event of the program at Innis College was the showing of the award-winning film Katips. The film, by Filipino writer, actor and director Vincent Tañada, is about a group of student activists from the Katipunan area of Quezon City, part of Metro Manila, as they organized and fought alongside workers against the imposition of martial law nationwide in 1972. The showing of this film was also to raise funds for the humanitarian crisis caused in Himamaylan City by the state where more than 15,000 people have been displaced by indiscriminate attacks by the Philippine military on civilians under the pretext of going after the New People's Army. The bombings, cannon fire and shooting have resulted in tens of thousands having lost their homes, their farms and livestock in this terror campaign.
Following the film, Ed Muyot, Rick Esguerra and Agnes Manasan, three survivors of the Marcos dictatorship now living in Canada, two of whom were tortured and jailed, spoke about their experiences as youth in the time of martial law. Mr. Muyot pointed out that there is a monument to the victims of the Marcos Sr. dictatorship near the University of the Philippines and each time he sees it he is overcome by the memories of his peers who died defying the regime. It was pointed out that during the Marcos dictatorship there were 3,257 known extrajudicial killings, 35,000 documented cases of torture, 77 people were 'disappeared' and there were 70,000 incarcerations.
The speakers noted that the fight for justice, for peace and for human rights in the Philippines is far from over and that today a new generation of youth has taken up the fight. They spoke also about the need to inform Canadians of the unfolding events in the Philippines as well as to fight the racism and abuse of the Canadian state against Filipino migrant workers and others.
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