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Monthly Archives: May 2009

Ermita-Led Human-Rights Body Says Abduction of Fil-Am, 2 Others a ‘Fabrication’

Bayan countered by saying that “the PHRC, by prejudging the incident as a mere propaganda tool by Bayan and Karapatan, shows that it has really no intention of uncovering the truth behind the abduction of Roxas and company. The Philippine government is more interested in saving face. From their statements, it is clear that the Arroyo government is gearing for another cover up, first by trying to downplay the incident and next, by blaming it on the NPA.”

MANILA – The abduction of Filipino-American activist Melissa Roxas and her two other companions is a fabrication done “at the expense of the Philippine government,” the Presidential Human Rights Committee (PHRC) has said.
In a statement released on Wednesday, the PHRC, which is chaired by Executive Secretary and former general Eduardo Ermita, said there were no reports to the local authorities about the abduction of Roxas, John Edward Handoc and Juanito Carabeo in a La Paz, Tarlac, contradicting a report released by Bayan and Karapatan this week that the three were kidnapped on May 19 at gunpoint by eight heavily armed and hooded men and shoved into a van without license plates.
“Simply put, there is high probability that the alleged abduction of these persons has been fabricated,” the PHRC said in its statement. It added that because “Karapatan and Bayan have been very silent lately,” there is “apprehension… that both are busy fabricating another story to explain the sudden surfacing of Roxas and the continued ‘disappearance’ of the other two, all at the expense of the Philippine government.”
The PHRC said that “there is strong possibility that Roxas and company were on an
‘immersion’ in NPA-infested areas,” referring to the communist New People’s Army.
Roxas surfaced on Monday, while Carabeo and Handoc were reunited with their families on Tuesday, according to Renato Reyes Jr., secretary-general of Bayan. He refused to provide other details of the condition of the three and the circumstances of their abduction but promised that more details are forthcoming.
Reyes denounced the PHRC for showing “utter incompetence… when it says that there are no police reports regarding the abduction of the three. This is a lie.”
The PHRC said that, based on initial information from the Families of Involuntary Disappearances (FIND) and the Asian Federation Against Disappearances (AFAD), Tthere are no reports of this case in the local government office or with local police authorities of the Municipality of La Paz, Tarlac, where the abduction allegedly took place, filed by anyone, let alone Bayan and Karapatan. This is surprising considering that both organizations would know that the standard operating procedure is for such cases to be immediately filed by the interested party/ies.”
Bayan’s Reyes, in his statement on Thursday, refuted this, saying “that as of May 20, 2009, the La Paz police through its police chief, Police Chief Inspector Ronald R. Fernandez signed and filed a special report addressed to Tarlac Provincial Director Police S/Supt Rudy Lacadin based in Camp Makabulos. The initial police investigation was spurred by the May 19 report of the homeowner where Roxas and company were abducted and by the report of the baranggay captain of the area where the three were taken.
“We received a copy of Police C/Insp. Fernandez’ report last May 24, from a Karapatan Central Luzon official who personally talked to the La Paz police and was given the report,” Reyes said.
“Tarlac provincial director S/Supt. Lacadin, eventually confirmed the incident to the Police Anti-Crime and Emergency Response (PACER) headed by Police S/Supt. Leonardo Arias Espina. Further proof is that the PACER has contacted Karapatan to formally inquire about the abduction,” Reyes said.
“It is ridiculous that the PHRC claims that no such report of an abduction was ever filed. It’s obvious that the PHRC did not conduct its own investigation. It seems that it merely relied on word of non-governmental organizations like FIND and AFAD. That the PHRC did not conduct its own probe shows the very little regard it has for the plight of the abducted activists.
“What is even more outrageous is that despite not conducting its own thorough investigation, despite existing police reports, the PHRC is now forwarding the theory that the three abducted activists were held by the New People’s Army. What is the PHRC’s basis for saying this? What shred of evidence do they have?” the Bayan leader asked.
Bayan believes that, as in previous cases of disappearances, the Arroyo government is quick to absolve the military from any involvement and shifts the blame to other entities like the NPA. This theory lacks any credibility even with the international community,” the group said.
“There are credible indications that the three were abducted by elements of the military and were taken possibly to a military camp before their eventual release. There is an ongoing investigation as to the circumstances of the abduction. Right now, the organizations and the families of the victims are focused on looking after the recovery and well-being of the three,” Reyes said.
In its statement, the PHRC also asserted that, “as a policy, we consider with serious doubts all allegations of human rights violations from groups like Karapatan, Bayan and their allied organizations, given their penchant for and track record in coming up with unfounded allegations, and for bringing such cases before the media and international organizations with nary an intent to officially refer such cases to government for proper action.”
Reyes countered that “the PHRC, by prejudging the incident as a mere propaganda tool by Bayan and Karapatan, shows that it has really no intention of uncovering the truth behind the abduction of Roxas and company. The Philippine government is more interested in saving face. From their statements, it is clear that the Arroyo government is gearing for another cover up, first by trying to downplay the incident and next, by blaming it on the NPA.” (Bulatlat.com) [1]

Ermita-Led Human-Rights Body Says Abduction of Fil-Am, 2 Others a ‘Fabrication’

Bayan countered by saying that “the PHRC, by prejudging the incident as a mere propaganda tool by Bayan and Karapatan, shows that it has really no intention of uncovering the truth behind the abduction of Roxas and company. The Philippine government is more interested in saving face. From their statements, it is clear that the Arroyo government is gearing for another cover up, first by trying to downplay the incident and next, by blaming it on the NPA.”

MANILA – The abduction of Filipino-American activist Melissa Roxas and her two other companions is a fabrication done “at the expense of the Philippine government,” the Presidential Human Rights Committee (PHRC) has said.

In a statement released on Wednesday, the PHRC, which is chaired by Executive Secretary and former general Eduardo Ermita, said there were no reports to the local authorities about the abduction of Roxas, John Edward Handoc and Juanito Carabeo in a La Paz, Tarlac, contradicting a report released by Bayan and Karapatan this week that the three were kidnapped on May 19 at gunpoint by eight heavily armed and hooded men and shoved into a van without license plates.

“Simply put, there is high probability that the alleged abduction of these persons has been fabricated,” the PHRC said in its statement. It added that because “Karapatan and Bayan have been very silent lately,” there is “apprehension… that both are busy fabricating another story to explain the sudden surfacing of Roxas and the continued ‘disappearance’ of the other two, all at the expense of the Philippine government.”

The PHRC said that “there is strong possibility that Roxas and company were on an

‘immersion’ in NPA-infested areas,” referring to the communist New People’s Army.

Roxas surfaced on Monday, while Carabeo and Handoc were reunited with their families on Tuesday, according to Renato Reyes Jr., secretary-general of Bayan. He refused to provide other details of the condition of the three and the circumstances of their abduction but promised that more details are forthcoming.

Reyes denounced the PHRC for showing “utter incompetence… when it says that there are no police reports regarding the abduction of the three. This is a lie.”

The PHRC said that, based on initial information from the Families of Involuntary Disappearances (FIND) and the Asian Federation Against Disappearances (AFAD), Tthere are no reports of this case in the local government office or with local police authorities of the Municipality of La Paz, Tarlac, where the abduction allegedly took place, filed by anyone, let alone Bayan and Karapatan. This is surprising considering that both organizations would know that the standard operating procedure is for such cases to be immediately filed by the interested party/ies.”

Bayan’s Reyes, in his statement on Thursday, refuted this, saying “that as of May 20, 2009, the La Paz police through its police chief, Police Chief Inspector Ronald R. Fernandez signed and filed a special report addressed to Tarlac Provincial Director Police S/Supt Rudy Lacadin based in Camp Makabulos. The initial police investigation was spurred by the May 19 report of the homeowner where Roxas and company were abducted and by the report of the baranggay captain of the area where the three were taken.

“We received a copy of Police C/Insp. Fernandez’ report last May 24, from a Karapatan Central Luzon official who personally talked to the La Paz police and was given the report,” Reyes said.

“Tarlac provincial director S/Supt. Lacadin, eventually confirmed the incident to the Police Anti-Crime and Emergency Response (PACER) headed by Police S/Supt. Leonardo Arias Espina. Further proof is that the PACER has contacted Karapatan to formally inquire about the abduction,” Reyes said.

“It is ridiculous that the PHRC claims that no such report of an abduction was ever filed. It’s obvious that the PHRC did not conduct its own investigation. It seems that it merely relied on word of non-governmental organizations like FIND and AFAD. That the PHRC did not conduct its own probe shows the very little regard it has for the plight of the abducted activists.

“What is even more outrageous is that despite not conducting its own thorough investigation, despite existing police reports, the PHRC is now forwarding the theory that the three abducted activists were held by the New People’s Army. What is the PHRC’s basis for saying this? What shred of evidence do they have?” the Bayan leader asked.

Bayan believes that, as in previous cases of disappearances, the Arroyo government is quick to absolve the military from any involvement and shifts the blame to other entities like the NPA. This theory lacks any credibility even with the international community,” the group said.

“There are credible indications that the three were abducted by elements of the military and were taken possibly to a military camp before their eventual release. There is an ongoing investigation as to the circumstances of the abduction. Right now, the organizations and the families of the victims are focused on looking after the recovery and well-being of the three,” Reyes said.

In its statement, the PHRC also asserted that, “as a policy, we consider with serious doubts all allegations of human rights violations from groups like Karapatan, Bayan and their allied organizations, given their penchant for and track record in coming up with unfounded allegations, and for bringing such cases before the media and international organizations with nary an intent to officially refer such cases to government for proper action.”

Reyes countered that “the PHRC, by prejudging the incident as a mere propaganda tool by Bayan and Karapatan, shows that it has really no intention of uncovering the truth behind the abduction of Roxas and company. The Philippine government is more interested in saving face. From their statements, it is clear that the Arroyo government is gearing for another cover up, first by trying to downplay the incident and next, by blaming it on the NPA.” (Bulatlat.com) [1]

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UPDATE ON THE RECENT ALLEGED ABDUCTION OF MELISSA ROXAS, JUANITO CARABEO, AND EDWARD HANDOC AS REPORTED BY KARAPATAN AND BAYAN
27 May 2009. The Philippine Government is committed to the protection and promotion of human rights and takes very seriously any report or allegation of abuse of human rights. With regard to reports on the abduction of Filipino American activist Melissa Roxas and her two companions, Juanito Carabeo and Edward Handoc, police authorities are currently investigating this. We encourage all those who may have information to cooperate with the police.
As allegations of abuse of human rights has been made, the Presidential Human Rights Committee (PHRC) has looked into this and its Secretariat released today the following update:
    “As a policy, we consider with serious doubts all allegations of human rights violations from groups like Karapatan, Bayan and their allied organizations, given their penchant for and track record in coming up with unfounded allegations, and for bringing such cases before the media and international organizations with nary an intent to officially refer such cases to government for proper action. 
    We recall the 836 alleged cases of unsolved killings (aka extra-judicial killings) Karapatan released to media in 2006 but which was eventually debunked to be an exaggeration, and the recent 1,016 alleged cases of torture it raised before the UN Committee Against Torture and which to this date remain unsubstantiated.
    Hence, on this recent allegation of abduction and enforced disappearances, the PHRC Secretariat immediately referred the matter to the Coalition Against Involuntary Disappearances (CAID), a more credible alliance of NGOs involved in cases of disappeared persons, to verify if indeed such a case did exist.
    Initial information from the Families of Involuntary Disappearances (FIND) and the Asian Federation Against Disappearances (AFAD), both active member-organizations of the CAID, based on their on-going investigations, revealed the following:
    •  There are no reports of this case in the local government office or with local police authorities of the Municipality of La Paz, Tarlac, where the abduction allegedly took place, filed by anyone, let alone Bayan and Karapatan.  This is surprising considering that both organizations would know that the standard operating procedure is for such cases to be immediately filed by the interested party/ies.
    •  Roxas has already surfaced, while Carabeo and Handoc are allegedly still missing.  On the other hand, Roxas, and for that matter Bayan and Karapatan, have yet to come out with a statement as to the actual circumstances of the alleged abduction.
    •  There is strong possibility that Roxas and company were on an “immersion” in NPA-infested areas.  And that the NPAs could have hidden them for safety purposes, perhaps after receiving reports of a possible encounter or attack by government forces.  At some point, organizations like Bayan and Karapatan wanted to take advantage of the situation by letting loose a press statement that an abduction took place, in anticipation of the possibility that Roxas and company would be killed in the crossfire.  Fortunately, no such incident occurred. 
    •  Another scenario being contemplated on is that Roxas was released by the NPAs precisely because her “immersion” was over, and that her two companions, being actually active members of the movement, have opted to stay on with their colleagues.
    •  Despite due diligence by FIND and AFAD, there are no leads that direct to an incident of abduction.
    Simply put, there is high probability that the alleged abduction of these persons has been fabricated.
    Karapatan and Bayan have been very silent lately.  There is apprehension, even among other NGOs and CSOs, that both are busy fabricating another story to explain the sudden surfacing of Roxas and the continued “disappearance” of the other two, all at the expense of the Philippine government.
    As of this writing, law enforcement authorities contacted by the PHRC Secretariat have denied ever receiving reports or having been informed of any abduUPDATE ON THE RECENT ALLEGED ABDUCTION OF MELISSA ROXAS, JUANITO CARABEO, AND EDWARD HANDOC AS REPORTED BY KARAPATAN AND BAYAN
27 May 2009. The Philippine Government is committed to the protection and promotion of human rights and takes very seriously any report or allegation of abuse of human rights. With regard to reports on the abduction of Filipino American activist Melissa Roxas and her two companions, Juanito Carabeo and Edward Handoc, police authorities are currently investigating this. We encourage all those who may have information to cooperate with the police.
As allegations of abuse of human rights has been made, the Presidential Human Rights Committee (PHRC) has looked into this and its Secretariat released today the following update:
    “As a policy, we consider with serious doubts all allegations of human rights violations from groups like Karapatan, Bayan and their allied organizations, given their penchant for and track record in coming up with unfounded allegations, and for bringing such cases before the media and international organizations with nary an intent to officially refer such cases to government for proper action. 
    We recall the 836 alleged cases of unsolved killings (aka extra-judicial killings) Karapatan released to media in 2006 but which was eventually debunked to be an exaggeration, and the recent 1,016 alleged cases of torture it raised before the UN Committee Against Torture and which to this date remain unsubstantiated.
    Hence, on this recent allegation of abduction and enforced disappearances, the PHRC Secretariat immediately referred the matter to the Coalition Against Involuntary Disappearances (CAID), a more credible alliance of NGOs involved in cases of disappeared persons, to verify if indeed such a case did exist.
    Initial information from the Families of Involuntary Disappearances (FIND) and the Asian Federation Against Disappearances (AFAD), both active member-organizations of the CAID, based on their on-going investigations, revealed the following:
    •  There are no reports of this case in the local government office or with local police authorities of the Municipality of La Paz, Tarlac, where the abduction allegedly took place, filed by anyone, let alone Bayan and Karapatan.  This is surprising considering that both organizations would know that the standard operating procedure is for such cases to be immediately filed by the interested party/ies.
    •  Roxas has already surfaced, while Carabeo and Handoc are allegedly still missing.  On the other hand, Roxas, and for that matter Bayan and Karapatan, have yet to come out with a statement as to the actual circumstances of the alleged abduction.
    •  There is strong possibility that Roxas and company were on an “immersion” in NPA-infested areas.  And that the NPAs could have hidden them for safety purposes, perhaps after receiving reports of a possible encounter or attack by government forces.  At some point, organizations like Bayan and Karapatan wanted to take advantage of the situation by letting loose a press statement that an abduction took place, in anticipation of the possibility that Roxas and company would be killed in the crossfire.  Fortunately, no such incident occurred. 
    •  Another scenario being contemplated on is that Roxas was released by the NPAs precisely because her “immersion” was over, and that her two companions, being actually active members of the movement, have opted to stay on with their colleagues.
    •  Despite due diligence by FIND and AFAD, there are no leads that direct to an incident of abduction.
    Simply put, there is high probability that the alleged abduction of these persons has been fabricated.
    Karapatan and Bayan have been very silent lately.  There is apprehension, even among other NGOs and CSOs, that both are busy fabricating another story to explain the sudden surfacing of Roxas and the continued “disappearance” of the other two, all at the expense of the Philippine government.
    As of this writing, law enforcement authorities contacted by the PHRC Secretariat have denied ever receiving reports or having been informed of any abduction.
    The PHRC Secretariat shall be posting developments on this case.” ▪
27 May 2009. The Philippine Government is committed to the protection and promotion of human rights and takes very seriously any report or allegation of abuse of human rights. With regard to reports on the abduction of Filipino American activist Melissa Roxas and her two companions, Juanito Carabeo and Edward Handoc, police authorities are currently investigating this. We encourage all those who may have information to cooperate with the police.
As allegations of abuse of human rights has been made, the Presidential Human Rights Committee (PHRC) has looked into this and its Secretariat released today the following update:
    “As a policy, we consider with serious doubts all allegations of human rights violations from groups like Karapatan, Bayan and their allied organizations, given their penchant for and track record in coming up with unfounded allegations, and for bringing such cases before the media and international organizations with nary an intent to officially refer such cases to government for proper action. 
    We recall the 836 alleged cases of unsolved killings (aka extra-judicial killings) Karapatan released to media in 2006 but which was eventually debunked to be an exaggeration, and the recent 1,016 alleged cases of torture it raised before the UN Committee Against Torture and which to this date remain unsubstantiated.
    Hence, on this recent allegation of abduction and enforced disappearances, the PHRC Secretariat immediately referred the matter to the Coalition Against Involuntary Disappearances (CAID), a more credible alliance of NGOs involved in cases of disappeared persons, to verify if indeed such a case did exist.
    Initial information from the Families of Involuntary Disappearances (FIND) and the Asian Federation Against Disappearances (AFAD), both active member-organizations of the CAID, based on their on-going investigations, revealed the following:
    •  There are no reports of this case in the local government office or with local police authorities of the Municipality of La Paz, Tarlac, where the abduction allegedly took place, filed by anyone, let alone Bayan and Karapatan.  This is surprising considering that both organizations would know that the standard operating procedure is for such cases to be immediately filed by the interested party/ies.
    •  Roxas has already surfaced, while Carabeo and Handoc are allegedly still missing.  On the other hand, Roxas, and for that matter Bayan and Karapatan, have yet to come out with a statement as to the actual circumstances of the alleged abduction.
    •  There is strong possibility that Roxas and company were on an “immersion” in NPA-infested areas.  And that the NPAs could have hidden them for safety purposes, perhaps after receiving reports of a possible encounter or attack by government forces.  At some point, organizations like Bayan and Karapatan wanted to take advantage of the situation by letting loose a press statement that an abduction took place, in anticipation of the possibility that Roxas and company would be killed in the crossfire.  Fortunately, no such incident occurred. 
    •  Another scenario being contemplated on is that Roxas was released by the NPAs precisely because her “immersion” was over, and that her two companions, being actually active members of the movement, have opted to stay on with their colleagues.
    •  Despite due diligence by FIND and AFAD, there are no leads that direct to an incident of abduction.
    Simply put, there is high probability that the alleged abduction of these persons has been fabricated.
    Karapatan and Bayan have been very silent lately.  There is apprehension, even among other NGOs and CSOs, that both are busy fabricating another story to explain the sudden surfacing of Roxas and the continued “disappearance” of the other two, all at the expense of the Philippine government.
    As of this writing, law enforcement authorities contacted by the PHRC Secretariat have denied ever receiving reports or having been informed of any abduction.
    The PHRC Secretariat shall be posting developments on this case.” ▪
UPDATE ON THE RECENT ALLEGED ABDUCTION OF MELISSA ROXAS, JUANITO CARABEO, AND EDWARD HANDOC AS REPORTED BY KARAPATAN AND BAYAN
27 May 2009. The Philippine Government is committed to the protection and promotion of human rights and takes very seriously any report or allegation of abuse of human rights. With regard to reports on the abduction of Filipino American activist Melissa Roxas and her two companions, Juanito Carabeo and Edward Handoc, police authorities are currently investigating this. We encourage all those who may have information to cooperate with the police.
As allegations of abuse of human rights has been made, the Presidential Human Rights Committee (PHRC) has looked into this and its Secretariat released today the following update:
    “As a policy, we consider with serious doubts all allegations of human rights violations from groups like Karapatan, Bayan and their allied organizations, given their penchant for and track record in coming up with unfounded allegations, and for bringing such cases before the media and international organizations with nary an intent to officially refer such cases to government for proper action. 
    We recall the 836 alleged cases of unsolved killings (aka extra-judicial killings) Karapatan released to media in 2006 but which was eventually debunked to be an exaggeration, and the recent 1,016 alleged cases of torture it raised before the UN Committee Against Torture and which to this date remain unsubstantiated.
    Hence, on this recent allegation of abduction and enforced disappearances, the PHRC Secretariat immediately referred the matter to the Coalition Against Involuntary Disappearances (CAID), a more credible alliance of NGOs involved in cases of disappeared persons, to verify if indeed such a case did exist.
    Initial information from the Families of Involuntary Disappearances (FIND) and the Asian Federation Against Disappearances (AFAD), both active member-organizations of the CAID, based on their on-going investigations, revealed the following:
    •  There are no reports of this case in the local government office or with local police authorities of the Municipality of La Paz, Tarlac, where the abduction allegedly took place, filed by anyone, let alone Bayan and Karapatan.  This is surprising considering that both organizations would know that the standard operating procedure is for such cases to be immediately filed by the interested party/ies.
    •  Roxas has already surfaced, while Carabeo and Handoc are allegedly still missing.  On the other hand, Roxas, and for that matter Bayan and Karapatan, have yet to come out with a statement as to the actual circumstances of the alleged abduction.
    •  There is strong possibility that Roxas and company were on an “immersion” in NPA-infested areas.  And that the NPAs could have hidden them for safety purposes, perhaps after receiving reports of a possible encounter or attack by government forces.  At some point, organizations like Bayan and Karapatan wanted to take advantage of the situation by letting loose a press statement that an abduction took place, in anticipation of the possibility that Roxas and company would be killed in the crossfire.  Fortunately, no such incident occurred. 
    •  Another scenario being contemplated on is that Roxas was released by the NPAs precisely because her “immersion” was over, and that her two companions, being actually active members of the movement, have opted to stay on with their colleagues.
    •  Despite due diligence by FIND and AFAD, there are no leads that direct to an incident of abduction.
    Simply put, there is high probability that the alleged abduction of these persons has been fabricated.
    Karapatan and Bayan have been very silent lately.  There is apprehension, even among other NGOs and CSOs, that both are busy fabricating another story to explain the sudden surfacing of Roxas and the continued “disappearance” of the other two, all at the expense of the Philippine government.
    As of this writing, law enforcement authorities contacted by the PHRC Secretariat have denied ever receiving reports or having been informed of any abduction.
    The PHRC Secretariat shall be posting developments on this case.” ▪
4542_85604039310_641384310_1685908_3118327_n
Here is the actual police report that they did not bother to check because they relied on other NGO’s to do their work for them. What this shows is that the Arroyo government doesn’t plan to do anything about the case.
Here is the link to the Philippine embassy in Washington and their statement on the abduction. Their email is info@philippineembassy-usa.org and their fax is at 202-4679417.

05/26/2009 | 03:25 PM
MANILA, Philippines – One of two companions of abducted Filipino-American activist Melissa Roxas has been freed and is reunited with his family, militant umbrella group Bagong Alyansang Makabayan said Tuesday.

Bayan cited initial reports from relatives and Karapatan Central Luzon that Juanito Carabeo had surfaced and is now with his family.

“We’re still checking on the status of John Edward Handoc,” it said on its Web site (www.bayan.ph), adding there are no details of Carabeo’s release.

At least eight armed men abducted Carabeo, Handoc and Roxas last May 19 in La Paz town in Tarlac province. Roxas surfaced Monday, six days after the abduction but the circumstances regarding her release are still unknown, Bayan said.

Meanwhile, Bayan’s chapter in the US has undertaken a campaign to release Handoc. – GMANews.TV

http://www.gmanews.tv/story/162911/Abducted-Fil-Am-activists-companion-freed#

Basic CMYK

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

May 27, 2009

Reference: Rhonda Ramiro, 415-377-2599,

secgen@bayanusa.org, www.bayanusa.org

10 Years Too Long, 200 People Too Many: Filipinos Across the U.S. Call for the Termination of the Visiting Forces Agreement and Justice for the Disappeared

In the wake of the abduction of Filipino American human rights advocate and health worker Melissa Roxas and her companions Juanito Carabeo and John Edward Handoc one week ago in the Philippines, BAYAN-USA launches actions against the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) today, the 10th anniversary of the VFA’s ratification. BAYAN-USA demands the termination of the VFA and justice for victims of abduction and all human rights violations, which have climbed to record levels in the Philippines since the VFA was ratified on May 27, 1999.

“Human rights violations have escalated to unprecedented heights since 2001, when Gloria Macapagal Arroyo became president and the U.S. launched its ‘war on terror.’ It is no coincidence that the Visiting Forces Agreement was ratified just two years earlier in 1999,” stated BAYAN-USA Secretary General Rhonda Ramiro. “The VFA paved the way for U.S. military advisers, troops and equipment to flood the Philippines and to train and equip the Philippine military which has been implicated in 1,017 extra-judicial killings and 1,010 cases of torture. Melissa’s abduction adds an American citizen to the list of over 200 victims of enforced disappearance under Arroyo.”

Roxas, Carabeo, and Handoc, all members of a volunteer health worker team preparing for a medical mission in La Paz, Tarlac, Philippines, were reportedly abducted at gunpoint on May 19 by at least eight heavily-armed masked men riding motorcycles and in a van without license plates. The circumstances of their abduction typify the pattern of dozens of politically-motivated abductions of activists critical of the Arroyo administration, and evidence points to the military as responsible for these acts. Roxas and Carabeo were officially surfaced on May 24 and 25, respectively; unconfirmed reports of Handoc’s surfacing were received as of the writing of this statement. Because the vast majority of abductions and enforced disappearances remain unresolved, BAYAN-USA believes their surfacing was a direct result of rapid community response and an international campaign by BAYAN Philippines, BAYAN-USA, and the human rights organization Karapatan.

“While we are elated that Melissa and Juanito have surfaced and that John Edward might also have been found, we are outraged that they were even abducted in the first place,” said Ramiro. “We call for justice for all three, including a full investigation and prosecution of the abductors.”

“The abduction of Melissa, Juanito and John Edward is directly linked to the VFA and U.S. military aid to the Philippines,” continued Ramiro. “The U.S. government cannot claim ignorance or wash its hands of responsibility, when it is U.S. advisors who are training the Philippine military, U.S. aid that is funding the military training, and U.S. guns and bullets that are being used to threaten and kill innocent civilians.”

BAYAN-USA claims that despite its rhetoric of “change,” the administration of President Barack Obama has clung to Bush’s foreign policy when it comes to the Philippines.  Earlier this year, President Obama phoned Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to express support for the VFA and continuing the annual joint military exercises known as “Balikatan” (“Shoulder-to-Shoulder”).   The estimated total expense borne by U.S. taxpayers for U.S. militarization in the Philippines since the VFA was enacted in 1999 is a lofty $1 billion.  An additional $660 million—up from a reported $400 million just one month ago—is reportedly set to be granted to the Philippines in the coming year.

The VFA also provides justification for the basing of U.S. troops throughout the country, in what is widely perceived as an affront to national sovereignty. Moreover, witnesses have observed U.S. troops participating in combat operations, which is in violation of the VFA itself. In the months of February-May this year alone, the “Balikatan” exercises also led directly to the killing of a young girl and wounding of four more children, the rape of 22 year old Filipina “Vanessa,” and the forced displacement of tens of thousands of residents in Bicol where the exercises were held. No one was held responsible for the killing of the child, and although there was clear evidence that “Vanessa” was raped by a U.S. marine, she refrained from pressing charges because she did not believe she could obtain justice. “Vanessa’s” rape was committed just weeks after the acquittal of U.S. Marine Daniel Smith, who was the only American ever convicted of raping a Filipina despite reports of thousands of rapes committed by U.S. military personnel.

“The VFA fosters a culture of militarization and violence, and both the U.S. and Philippine military are guilty of committing human rights violations with impunity,” stated Ramiro. “Melissa’s abduction should give Congress and the Obama administration even more impetus to terminate the VFA and stop pouring billions of dollars into a regime that abducts and kills innocent people. In the face of a budget deficit in the trillions, it is unconscionable to continue providing aid to the Arroyo government and to perpetuate the costly VFA.  Congress should cut both during the budget appropriations process this spring and summer.”

BAYAN-USA is an alliance of progressive Filipino groups in the U.S. representing organizations of students, scholars, women, workers, and youth. As an international chapter of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN-Philippines), BAYAN-USA serves as an information bureau for the national democratic movement of the Philippines and as a campaign center for anti-imperialist Filipinos in the U.S.  BAYAN-USA’s online petition against the VFA can be found at http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/JunkVFAnow/. The online petition to demand justice for Roxas, Carabeo, and Handoc can be found at http://www.gopetition.com/online/28021.html.

#  #  #

Actions being held in the U.S.

Los Angeles

Vigil in front of the PhilippineConsulate

Wednesday, May 27, 2009, 7:30pm
3600 Wilshire Blvd (between S Harvard Blvd and S Kingsley Dr)
Los Angeles, CA 90010

New York

Rally at the Philippine Consulate and March to Military Recruitment Center

Wednesday, May 27, 2009, 5:30 PM

556 Fifth Ave., New York

San Francisco

Action and Meeting with the Philippine Consulate

Wednesday, May 27, 2009, 4:00 PM

447 Sutter Street, San Francisco

Teach-In on the VFA

Wednesday, May 27, 2009, 6:00-8:00 PM

At South of Market Community Action Center

1070 Howard Street, San Francisco

Seattle

Visiting Forces Agreement Teach-In

Thursday, March 28, 6:30-8:30 PM

Filipino Community Center, 5740 Martin Luther King Jr. Way

San Diego

“As If They Never Left” Teach-In on the VFA

Thursday, May 28, 7:00-9:00 PM

At Filipino American Veterans Association Hall

2926 Market Street, San Diego

We are the eyes that see,
the ears that listen,
the voice that tell their stories.
We are Melissa Roxas.

We fight for the people,
give medical care for the
sick and poor,
protect those in danger,
seek those who are missing,
feed the hungry.
We are Melissa Roxas.

We are silenced,
abducted,
beatened.
surfacemelissa

We are Melissa Roxas.
498256224_633135b1e7_m
We are Jonas Burgos,
sherlyn-cadapan
Sherlyn Cadapan,
karen-empeno
Karen Empeno,
missing20person1
and many others.

The things that we have in common with Melissa are the same fire and passion to help those who are in need. We strive to provide the basic human rights like health care and fare wages/jobs  that our governments have vowed to provide but cannot.

Does the government view helping people as a threat that they have to use the military to intimidate and abduct people?

Witnesses have testified that hooded men on motorcycles with heavily armed weapons patrol around the areas and making their way to where their targets are. A van usually follows the caravan  of motorcycles. They grab their targets, force them into the van and drive off.

Melissa is one of few who have surfaced from their abductors, however,  many of the desaparecidos (abducted) still remain missing. Many of those who escaped say they were tortured, sexually abused, beatened and more.

For more information and updates on the human rights issue in the Philippines click: Karapatan: Alliance for the Advancement of People’s Rights

News Statement
May 24, 2009

Reference: Rhonda Ramiro, Secretary-General, BAYAN USA, email: secgen@bayanusa.org

MELISSA ROXAS’ SURFACING A VICTORY OF THE PEOPLE’S STRUGGLE, BUT THE SEARCH CONTINUES FOR CARABEO & HANDOC– BAYAN USA

The US Chapter of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan, or BAYAN USA, an alliance of 14 Filipino social justice organizations across the United States, is elated to confirm that Filipina-American activist Melissa Roxas, 32, surfaced hours ago in Manila as of Sunday, May 24th. BAYAN USA confirmed this report with the human rights group Karapatan. A detailed account about the circumstances of her surfacing is still forthcoming.
“We are happy to hear about Melissa’s surfacing, but we are still concerned about the whereabouts of her two companions, Juanito Carabeo and John Edward Handoc, who were abducted along with Melissa on May 19th and are still missing to this day,” states BAYAN USA Chair Bernadette Ellorin. “We fully intend to pursue the demand for the surfacing of Carabeo and Handoc, as well as justice for Melissa. This abduction should never have taken place.”
Roxas, Carabeo, and Handoc, all members of a medical mission team in La Paz, Tarlac, were reportedly abducted at gunpoint by at least eight masked men in the middle of the night last week. Upon learning of Roxas, Carabeo, and Handoc’s enforced disappearance, BAYAN USA, along with BAYAN Philippines and Karapatan, exerted strong efforts calling for their immediate surfacing, including releasing an online petition addressed to US elected officials that gathered hundreds of signatures in a matter of hours.
“Because more than five days had passed since their abduction, we believe Melissa’s surfacing is a direct result of rapid community response and international pressure exerted from the Philippines and the United States first and foremost,” Ellorin continued. BAYAN USA in Southern California has also been working closely with Roxas’ family in Los Angeles in their campaign efforts to surface Roxas and her companions in the Philippines.
Roxas, a founding member of the cultural organization Habi-Arts in Los Angeles and founding Southern California Representative for BAYAN USA, went to the Philippines in 2007 to pursue human rights advocacy full-time. Her move was set amidst an acute human rights crisis in the Philippines that includes reports of rampant extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances, illegal arrest, torture, and summary executions. In 2005, Roxas participated in an international fact-finding mission investigating human rights violations throughout the Philippines under the Arroyo administration.
On Wednesday, May 27th, BAYAN USA member organizations across the United States will be launching actions denouncing the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA), a military pact that allows for the basing of US military troops in over 20 ports throughout the Philippines. Included in these actions will be the call for justice for Melissa Roxas and for the immediate surfacing of Juanito Carabeo and John Edward Handoc. BAYAN USA firmly believes the continuing, unabated human rights violations committed by the Philippine military and death squads are generously funded by US military aid to the Arroyo government. BAYAN USA also ultimately holds the Arroyo government accountable for the pattern of killings and abductions against civilians critical of the regime since 2001.

“As we continue to campaign for justice for Melissa, Juanito, and John Edward, we are consciously raising awareness of the role of US tax dollars in funding these abductions and other human rights violations. There are hundreds more victims of politically-motivated abductions in the Philippines that are still missing to this day,” Ellorin ended. ###

surfacemelissa

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

May 24, 2009

Reference: Kuusela Hilo, BAYAN-USA Vice Chair, 818-395-9207, vicechair@bayanusa.org

Rhonda Ramiro, BAYAN-USA Secretary General, 415-377-2599, secgen@bayanusa.org

SURFACE FILIPINO-AMERICAN ACTIVIST MELISSA ROXAS NOW

BAYAN-USA, an alliance of 14 Filipino American organizations and chapter of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan Philippines), is calling on President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, the Department of National Defense, and the Armed Forces of the Philippines to immediately surface Melissa Roxas, an American citizen of Filipino descent who was abducted in the Philippines on May 19. BAYAN-USA also urgently calls on our representatives in the U.S. Congress to act quickly to ensure the safe return of Roxas.

Roxas is a well-known Filipino American activist, who served as the first Regional Coordinator of BAYAN-USA in Los Angeles and co-founded the cultural organization Habi Arts. Roxas is an active human rights advocate and was instrumental in organizing a BAYAN-USA contingent that participated in the International Solidarity Mission in 2005, an international fact finding mission that called attention to the escalating human rights violations in the Philippines. Roxas went to the Philippines in 2007 to pursue human rights work, where she became a full time volunteer health worker. She was abducted on May 19, 2009 at approximately 1:30 PM in Sitio Bagong Sikat, Barangay kapanikian, La Paz, Tarlac. She was with two other volunteers, Juanito Carabeo and John Edward Handoc.

Based on reports filed by the human rights group KARAPATAN and the La Paz police, Roxas and her companions were taken by at least 8 armed, hooded men riding two motorcycles and a Besta van without any license plate numbers. There has been no word on the whereabouts and condition of Roxas and her companions since the abduction. The circumstances of Roxas’ abduction typify the abductions and enforced disappearances of over 200 innocent civilians, allegedly last seen in the hands of suspected state security forces.

“We are deeply concerned about the abduction of Melissa Roxas, Juanito Carabeo and John Edward Handoc. We call for Melissa and her companions to be immediately surfaced unharmed,” said BAYAN-USA Secretary General Rhonda Ramiro. “We condemn the ongoing abductions and human rights violations that have been rampant under the Arroyo administration and victimized thousands of innocent people.”

The search for Roxas and her companions will be spearheaded by the human rights organization KARAPATAN, while BAYAN-USA, its member organizations, and allies will undertake an international campaign to exert pressure on the Arroyo government to surface Roxas. “We appeal to our elected officials, members of the Filipino American community, and all people in the U.S. who believe in human rights to take action to surface Melissa and her companions. Since we were founded in 2005, BAYAN-USA has campaigned ceaselessly for an end to the human rights violations in the Philippines, and we will not stop until we obtain justice for Melissa and all victims of human rights violations under Arroyo.”

# # #

Please visit and sign the petition demanding for the surfacing of Melissa Roxas, Carabeo and Handoc at

http://www.gopetition.com/online/28021.html

Melissa, age 32, was a founding member of Habi Ng Kalinangan, or Habi-Arts, a Filipino cultural organization based in Los Angeles. She is also the founding Southern California Representative of BAYAN USA, an alliance of 14 Filipino social justice organizations across the United States. In addition to her social justice activism and human rights advocacy, Melissa was an accomplished writer-poet. She was a recipient of the 2004 PEN USA Emerging Voices Rosenthal Fellowship, and was a 2005 & 2006 Kundiman Fellow.

We believe Melissa, Juanito, and John Edward were abducted for politically-motivated reasons. While conducting community service as health workers, they are also critics of the policies of the Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo government in the Philippines. The Arroyo government is internationally-notorious for going after its known critics with political repression. In fact, even in Los Angeles, Melissa devoted much of her time to human rights advocacy work to oppose the alarming state of extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances, and summary executions in the Philippines as early as 2005, when she participated in an international fact-finding mission to investigate human rights violations in the Philippines.

The human rights crisis in the Philippines under the Arroyo administration and the culpability of the Philippine military in perpetrating the killings and abductions would later be pointed out by United Nations Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial Killings Philip Alston in his 2007 report on the Philippines. 2007 was also the year Melissa decided to move to the Philippines to serve the cause of human rights for the Filipino people.

We in BAYAN USA are working closely with BAYAN Philippines and Karapatan: Alliance for the Advancement of People Rights in the campaign to surface Melissa Roxas. Because she is a US citizen, we are appealing to US elected officials and the US Embassy in Manila to take immediate action to ensure Melissa’s surfacing and safety.

BAYAN USA will be forwarding the said online petition to the members of US Congress, the US State Department, as well as US Ambassador to the Philippines Kristie A. Kenney. A detailed fact sheet on the abduction compiled by human rights group Karapatan is attached for public reference.

Please help us pursue justice for our beloved friend and kasama.

SURFACE MELISSA ROXAS, JUANITO CARABEO, & JOHN EDWARD HANDOC NOW!

For the BAYAN USA Executive Committee,

Bernadette Ellorin
Chairperson
BAYAN USA
www.bayanusa.org

For Immediate Release
May 19, 2009
Reference: Raquel Redondiez, Chairperson, GABRIELA USA, gabrielawomen@gmail.com, 415-244-9734
GABRIELA-USA condemns Alec Baldwin’s Mail-Order Bride Comment and Demands a Public Apology
Hyper-sexualization of Filipina Women Rooted in the History of U.S. Bases in the Philippines and Current Neo-colonial relationship between the U.S. and the Philippines as codified in the Visiting Forces Agreement
Ten days before the 10-year anniversary of the Visiting Forces Agreement and the recent news of another young Filipina “Vanessa” alleging rape by a US Marine in the Philippines, Alec Baldwin’s comment about perhaps getting a “Filipina mail order bride” to “have more kids” is a cutting reminder of how Filipina women are normalized as sexual objects in U.S. society.  
These images and stereotypes, pervasive among former U.S. military personnel who have been stationed in the Philippines, have seeped into American mainstream media and discourse. They speak to legacies of U.S. colonial occupation of the Philippines, the history of U.S. bases and the Arroyo administration colluding with U.S. military abuse of Filipino women.   
With the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) dictating US-Philippine relations, the reversal of the rape conviction of U.S. Marine Lance Corporal Smith, and now the Vanessa rape case, this seemingly harmless “joke” on The Late Show with David Letterman points to the ongoing perception of Filipino women as objects for sexual disposal. Indeed, these are symptoms of the larger political and economic sketch. The precedent for Filipinas and the Philippine nation to be dehumanized, sexualized and given second-rate status can be found in US imperialist policies and the Philippine government’s acceptance of this treatment.
Baldwin’s comments about acquiring a wife in his desired flavor, “Filipino” or “Russian” demonstrates how deeply seeded the problem of sex trafficking is in the US. This comment is not only a joke about Filipino women, but  an insult to all women, especially those who are economic refugees of colonized and under-developed countries. We must remember Susanna Blackwell, a Filipina mail-order bride who was killed along with her two Filipina friends in a Seattle court house where she was seeking divorce from her abusive husband in 1995. To this day, GABRIELA USA receives calls from mail order and pen-pal brides under distress, and seeking to escape from mental, physical, and emotional abuse by their American husbands.
After insults about Filipino doctors on Desperate Housewives and domestic helpers on European TV and, and now this recent racist and sexist comment, GABRIELA USA calls on all Filipinos and friends to publicly denounce these derogatory remarks and work towards addressing their root cause—the U.S. military occupation of the Philippines, U.S.impunity against sex crimes and human rights abuses, and the underlying neo-colonial relationship between the U.S. and the Philippines. 
We also re-commit to educating our community and the larger public about the true contributions of Filipina women in U.S. society and the plight of many mail–order-brides who often become victims of physical, emotional, and sexual abuse. Too often Filipina women who come to the U.S. through marriage suffer from uneven power relationships and become dependent on their American husbands, sadly mirroring the subjugation of the the Philippines under the U.S.   
GABRIELA USA calls for a public apology from Alec Baldwin. Filipina women from across the country renew their demands for the end of US Troops in the Philippines, an end to the Visiting Forces Agreement and justice for all victims of military rape. 
GABRIELA USA are comprised of members organizations:  Babae in San Francisco, Filipinas for Rights and Empowerment (FiRE) in New York City, Pinay Sa Seattle in Seattle, and Sisters of Gabriela, Awaken! (SiGAw) in Los Angeles.
###

For Immediate Release

May 19, 2009

Reference: Raquel Redondiez, Chairperson, GABRIELA USA, gabrielawomen@gmail.com, 415-244-9734

GABRIELA-USA condemns Alec Baldwin’s Mail-Order Bride Comment and Demands a Public Apology

Hyper-sexualization of Filipina Women Rooted in the History of U.S. Bases in the Philippines and Current Neo-colonial relationship between the U.S. and the Philippines as codified in the Visiting Forces Agreement

Ten days before the 10-year anniversary of the Visiting Forces Agreement and the recent news of another young Filipina “Vanessa” alleging rape by a US Marine in the Philippines, Alec Baldwin’s comment about perhaps getting a “Filipina mail order bride” to “have more kids” is a cutting reminder of how Filipina women are normalized as sexual objects in U.S. society.  

These images and stereotypes, pervasive among former U.S. military personnel who have been stationed in the Philippines, have seeped into American mainstream media and discourse. They speak to legacies of U.S. colonial occupation of the Philippines, the history of U.S. bases and the Arroyo administration colluding with U.S. military abuse of Filipino women.   

With the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) dictating US-Philippine relations, the reversal of the rape conviction of U.S. Marine Lance Corporal Smith, and now the Vanessa rape case, this seemingly harmless “joke” on The Late Show with David Letterman points to the ongoing perception of Filipino women as objects for sexual disposal. Indeed, these are symptoms of the larger political and economic sketch. The precedent for Filipinas and the Philippine nation to be dehumanized, sexualized and given second-rate status can be found in US imperialist policies and the Philippine government’s acceptance of this treatment.

Baldwin’s comments about acquiring a wife in his desired flavor, “Filipino” or “Russian” demonstrates how deeply seeded the problem of sex trafficking is in the US. This comment is not only a joke about Filipino women, but  an insult to all women, especially those who are economic refugees of colonized and under-developed countries. We must remember Susanna Blackwell, a Filipina mail-order bride who was killed along with her two Filipina friends in a Seattle court house where she was seeking divorce from her abusive husband in 1995. To this day, GABRIELA USA receives calls from mail order and pen-pal brides under distress, and seeking to escape from mental, physical, and emotional abuse by their American husbands.

After insults about Filipino doctors on Desperate Housewives and domestic helpers on European TV and, and now this recent racist and sexist comment, GABRIELA USA calls on all Filipinos and friends to publicly denounce these derogatory remarks and work towards addressing their root cause—the U.S. military occupation of the Philippines, U.S.impunity against sex crimes and human rights abuses, and the underlying neo-colonial relationship between the U.S. and the Philippines. 

We also re-commit to educating our community and the larger public about the true contributions of Filipina women in U.S. society and the plight of many mail–order-brides who often become victims of physical, emotional, and sexual abuse. Too often Filipina women who come to the U.S. through marriage suffer from uneven power relationships and become dependent on their American husbands, sadly mirroring the subjugation of the the Philippines under the U.S.   

GABRIELA USA calls for a public apology from Alec Baldwin. Filipina women from across the country renew their demands for the end of US Troops in the Philippines, an end to the Visiting Forces Agreement and justice for all victims of military rape. 

GABRIELA USA are comprised of members organizations:  Babae in San Francisco, Filipinas for Rights and Empowerment (FiRE) in New York City, Pinay Sa Seattle in Seattle, and Sisters of Gabriela, Awaken! (SiGAw) in Los Angeles.

###

What is art?

Art is anything that anybody perceives as expressive and is made by the labor of human production. Where it is created through human expression and thought, to portray the events of human life.

These expressions are through literature: poetry, short stories; music: composing, singing, , movement: dance, theater, guerrilla theater and visually: painting, drawing, illustration, sculptures, fashion, craving, etc.

Even the way we present ourselves or dress is art because it is our expression.

Besides being an expression, art is also seen as a commodity.

What is needed to make art?

People, materials, time, labor, aesthetics, and functionality are all needed create art.

Aesthetics or form is a set of principles underlying and guiding the work of a particular artist or artistic movement.

Functionality or what is the purpose of it?

Where do ideas come from?

Ideas come from our personal and social experiences but also from our social and cultural practices. How we relate to the world and other people come from our ideas, experiences and practices.

Our ideas are influenced by our social and personal experiences. People in all societies go through different experiences. The way of thinking make be different in the urban poor communtiy than of those in the country side.

Social and cultural practices also have an influence on how we think. For example in the Philippines we see skin lightening products because in the media people with lighter skin are seen as beautiful. The viewer may see their dark skin is not beautiful, urging them to use skin lightening .

A lot of the art that is seen in U.S. is centered on the social “hip” or even to show status. examples are photos of people that have traveled to other countries where it show the beautify of the scenery or of the culture, however, there are struggling people that are loosing their land, resources, etc.

Therefore, our ideas define our class backgrounds due to personal and social experiences and/ or our social and cultural practices.

MANILA, Philippines — The government’s list of most wanted suspects for media killings is “absurd.”

Communist Party of the Philippines founder Jose Maria Sison blasted Friday night the police and the Arroyo administration for releasing the list that showed he is the No. 1 wanted suspect for media killings.

In an interview with GMANews.TV, Sison said the wanted list was a “squid tactic” to “conceal the criminal responsibilities” of the administration.

“This is absurd. The Arroyo regime wants to deflect the public’s attention from the rampant human rights violations committed by the military like torturing and abduction (of leftists workers),” Sison said in Filipino.

The communist leader said if he could make his own list of suspects responsible for the rampant killing of journalists, he would include Mrs. Arroyo and those working for her to “cover-up the government’s gross human rights violations.”

The Philippine National Police (PNP) on Friday afternoon released a list of the most wanted suspects for media killings. It was composed of mostly leftist personalities. Sison topped the chart with a P10-million bounty placed on his head.

He was followed by Gregorio “Ka Roger” Rosal, the current spokesman of the CPP’s armed wing, the New People’s Army (NPA), with P5-million reward for his arrest.

Sison and Rosal were tagged for the killing of Nelson Nadura in December 2003. The CPP founder denied having a hand in the hard-hitting journalist’s slay.

Sison, who is currently exiled in The Netherlands, also laughed off the bounty and suggested in jest that the government pay the country’s ambassador to The Netherlands for his arrest.

Asked if the police’s wanted list would affect the peace talks between the government and the CPP, Sison said it might as he questioned the government’s sincerity to push for the accord.

Sison said while they are very much interested in pushing for a genuine peace accord, achieving peace under the Arroyo administration would be difficult as it continues to “deceive” them. – Aie Balagtas See, GMANews.TV