ILPS Salutes and Congratulates People of Egypt

Below is the statement of the International League of People’s Struggle on the ongoing uprising in Egypt:

Photo by Luis Craik,


Chairperson, International League of Peoples’ Struggle
January 30, 2011

The mass uprisings sweeping several Arab countries have shifted their focus from Tunisia to Egypt, a country much bigger in terms of land size, population (more than 80 million) and strategic value in the conflict between the US-Zionist combine on the one hand and the Palestinian and Arab peoples on the other hand and in the US global war of terror unleashing state terrorism, wars of aggression, occupation and the rendition of US foes to the torture chambers of Egypt.

Since January 25 tens of thousands of people have poured out into the streets of major cities of Egypt in order to demand the ouster of President Mohammed Hosni Mubarak and his ruling clique. They have defied the police and military forces even as more than 150 of the protesters have been killed and hundreds have been injured by US-made weapons. In a vain attempt to appease the people, Mubarak has reshuffled his cabinet and is maneuvering to stay in power or glide into a less disgraceful exit by a promise to allow new elections according to the US formula of transition to sham democracy.

At any rate, Mubarak is apparently on the verge of losing power. His ruling party headquarters has been burnt down. He has sent out of Egypt his closest relatives and a major part of their bureaucratic loot. The police have begun to abandon their posts in several cities. And various military units are showing either a friendly or hostile face to the people in the streets. There are indications that behind the scenes the US and the generals are trying to engineer a new arrangement.

We, the International League of Peoples’ Struggle, salute and congratulate the people of Egypt for rising up and striving to overthrow the US-supported Mubarak regime which has long oppressed and exploited them. The people have courageously acted to repudiate the regime for its oppressiveness, its servility to US imperialism and its conformity to the US-dictated “neoliberal” economic policy which has brought about the high rate of unemployment, decline of the economy and breakdown of social services.

While the mass uprisings have been successful at isolating and debilitating the long hated oppressive regime, the US-controlled military machinery is intact and is poised to play a key role in rearranging the political setup in the interest of the US and local exploiting classes. The Egyptian state is dependent on a wide range of economic, financial and political relations with the US and other imperialist countries. Since 1975 the US alone has poured more than USD 50 billion into Egypt in order to coopt its rulers and use them as tools of US hegemonism,

The Egyptian military is dependent on a huge amount of US military assistance amounting to more than USD 1.38 billion, which is next in size only to that given to Israel. The US also gives economic assistance amounting to more than USD 800 million. The US is highly interested in the restabilization of the situation in Egypt in order to forestall the rise of anti-imperialist forces and thus maintain a balance of forces in favor of the US-Zionist combine in the region.

At any rate, through the mass uprisings, the people are asserting and exercising their sovereign power. They are opening the way to further advances and further possibilities in the struggle for national liberation, democracy, development and social justice. The revolutionary forces have the chance to expand and consolidate their strength.

To any extent that their struggle is frustrated, derailed or hijacked by their enemies, the people of Egypt can raise the level of their fighting consciousness and capabilities and go through various forms of revolutionary struggle until they muster the strength to smash the bureaucratic and military machinery of the ruling classes.

The conditions for advancing the revolutionary struggle are more fertile than ever before on the scale of Eqypt, North Africa and the Middle East and the entire world because of the grave crisis of the world capitalist system and depredations of the US-instigated policies of neoliberal globalization, state terrorism and aggression.

It has been repeatedly demonstrated in recent history that particular despotic regimes can be overthrown, such as those of Duvalier, Marcos, Somoza, Pinochet, Mobutu and Suharto. But the subsequent false facade of democracy can only be fleeting for as long as the US and the local exploiting classes can rule through a bureaucratic and military machinery beholden to them.

We, the International League of Peoples’ Struggle, are in solidarity with and support the people of Egypt in their great cause to build their revolutionary strength and wage various forms of mass struggle against imperialism and reaction. They need to defeat the armed counterrevolution and accomplish the people’s democratic revolution. Thus they can move forward on the path of national liberation and social revolution. #


Makati bus blast and the terror fallout

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At this point when the terror tone in the metro is raised several decibels up, contemplating on the angles and motives behind theJanuary 25 Makati bus blastbecomes a pointless exercise. Terror is the immediate and obvious consequence, whether the bus bombers intended it or not.

Even last year’s travel advisories by at least five countries on possible terror attacks in Metro Manila have been somehow legitimized due to the bus bombing. Right now, the President is receiving some flak for insisting that the travel advisories warned of potential mall attack and not bus blast, and thus have no basis.

Even a mere can of candies left at a waiting shed along Ayala Avenue sparked a bomb scare.

Recently, President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III has ordered the creation of a special unit from the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to catch prank callers of bomb scares.

In light of the bus blast’s social and political implications, dwelling on potential motives other than terrorism becomes futile. Come to think of it: if it was indeed a diversionary tactic or a destabilization plot, would the government’s response be different? Would the implications on the public be also different? Certainly not. Labeling the crime as a plot to destabilize the Aquino administration would not make a bus ride today less worrisome. Indeed, implications matter more than intentions at this point. Besides, the government should rather focus on the arrest of perpetrators rather than engross itself in a semantics game. Continue reading

Price hikes barrage

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From toll fees to taxi fares, from cooking gas to bread, the cost of essential goods and services seem to go up at this early start of the year. As wages remain stagnant, more and more Filipinos are being pushed further to the thresholds of survival.

High prices on the road

Full-speed price increases welcomed the new year with the almost 300 percent toll hike at the South Luzon Expressway (SLEX). Those who use the entire length of SLEX from Alabang in Muntinlupa to Sto. Tomas in Batangas now have to pay P76 from the previous P22 for class 1 vehicles such as cars, P152 from P43 for class 2 vehicles such as buses and trucks, and P228 from P65 for class 3 vehicles such as trailers and large trucks.

South Luzon Tollways Corp. brags that such rates are discounted, as they considered to gradually implement the approved fare hikes until April. Toll rates for the entire SLEX will go up to P86 for class 1 vehicles, P172 for class 2, and P258 for class 3 by April.

Toll at the other tail of Metro Manila simultaneously went up. Those who use the North Luzon Expressway from Balintawak to Bocaue in Bulacan now pays P41 from P36 for class 1 vehicles, P102 from P91 for class 2, and P122 from P109 for class 3.

Taxi rate increases, though authorized to be effective only last  January 24, have been implemented earlier by some taxi operators. Flag down rate increased to P40 from the previous P30. The succeeding 300 meters is now charged P3.50 from P2.50.

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“Ibong Adarna” soars to new heights as the Philippines’ first interactive e-book

Below is an advisory from Vibal Foundation:

Experience anew and share with our children the Filipino classic Ibong Adarna, released as the country’s first interactive e-book. Relive the enchanting adventure of the brothers Don Juan, Don Pedro and Don Diego as they search for the mystical bird whose song alone can heal their ailing father Haring Fernando.

Crafted using cutting-edge technology, this historical e-book produced by Vibal Foundation’s Vee Press boasts a “read-to-me” feature that makes it play like an audiobook, and full-color illustrations and animations especially created with Filipino motifs.

The book is also an auspicious start for Vibal Foundation’s bigger project of publishing a line of children’s books for all ages in print and digital media.

Vee Press books are available in multiple electronic formats and can be read on popular e-reading devices like the Amazon Kindle, Sony E-Reader, Nook, BlackBerry, iPhones, Macs, PCs and all tablet computers including the Apple iPad.

Vee Press’ interactive Filipino edition of Ibong Adarna, which will be available on January 25, 2011 at Apple iBookstore, is a veritable cultural treat for children four to eight years old and for all lovers of Philippine art and literature.


A test for new Comelec chief Sixto Brillantes

Published at Blogwatch

Now that veteran election lawyer Sixto Brillantesassumes his position as new Commission on Elections (Comelec) chairman, the time becomes ripe for a major housecleaning. Such task is necessary if the tainted commission really wants to have a new shine.

Some may say that there’s need to do so, for last year’s automated elections had already restored the people’s trust in the poll body. Foreign embassies, multilateral agencies and the elite were in chorus in praising the previous polls as successful. But was that really the case? Poll automation was no housecleaning. The dirt actually stays with the Comelec up to this day.

Talk about the counting machines supplied by Mega Pacific Consortium which cost the government P1.3 billion but which were not put into use. The automation deal between the Comelec and the consortium was declaredvoid by the high court for violating the poll body’s own bidding rules. The planned automation of the 2004 elections did not push through. But up to this day, no one in the Comelec’s Bids and Awards Committee was held accountable in court.

Election lawyer Romulo Macalintal, who retreated from his initial bid for Comelec chairmanship, even suggestedthe poll body to use the cobweb-stricken counting machines for the next elections. I don’t know if those machines would still work properly, but I am pretty sure that such idea would only revive the ghost of the past.

“Hello Garci?” appears to have mellowed, thanks to the euphoria brought by the 2010 automated elections. But is there justice in former Comelec commissioner Virgilio Garcillano (a.ka. Garci) wandering with impunity? Sometime in July last year, Garci surfaced to deny again that he rigged of the 2004 elections in favor of former president Gloria Arroyo. But the people and the media were perhaps so high with Noynoy Aquino’s victory that no one cared about him. The former commissioner successfully retreated into the shadows again.

The men who worked closely with Garci, collectively called “Hello Garci boys,” enjoyed their freedoms better. In fact, they were well-entrenched during the May 10 polls “either as regional election directors or provincial election supervisors in Mindanao,” a report said.

As it appears, the 2010 automated elections was not as clean and transparent as most of us thought. On the contrary, it further added anomalies to the Comelec’s stock while it glossed over the controversies of the past. For one, the Special Bids and Awards Committee approved the P7.2 billion bid of Smartmatic-TIM consortiumdespite the still unresolved anomalies in the bidding process. This is aside from the fact that the consortium worked contrary to the 60-40 constitutional provision, as multinational firm Smartmatic eventually took control of the entire poll automation project.

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Oplan Bayanihan: ‘Winning the peace’?

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Kris Aquino

Will the President's sister Kris Aquino be an ambassador of civil-military operations under Oplan Bayanihan?

At the start of the year, the Aquino administration enforced a new counterinsurgency plan codenamed “Oplan Bayanihan,” which will allegedly focus on “winning the peace, rather than simply defeating the enemy.”

The catchphrase may sound promising, but will the new security plan do away with the horrors of previous battle strategies?

Armed Forces of the Philippines spokesperson Brig. Gen. Jose Mabanta Jr. said in an report that the new plan shifts the focus to quash the 41-year-old communist insurgency and Muslim secessionist rebellion away from traditional combat operations to “developmental activities.”

“Winning the peace, meaning to say getting people on our side, getting those who advocate armed struggle realize the futility of their efforts in as much as what they are fighting for are all being addressed,” Mabanta said in a separate report.

Oplan Bayanihan, which was launched during AFP’s celebration of its 75th anniversary last Dec. 21, replaced the four-year Oplan Bantay Laya II of the Arroyo administration. It will take effect from January 1, 2011 up to the end of President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III’s term in 2016, coming into force amid a looming peace talks between the government and communist rebels.

In July, the Aquino administration extended OBL II even as the counterinsurgency policy is linked to extra-judicial killings and abduction of hundreds of government critics suspected as members or supporters of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP). Since OBL II’s extension in July, more than 16 activists have been killed, including 78-year-old peasant leader Pascual Guevarra in Nueva Ecija.

‘Number of friends won’

But this time, the military stressed that Oplan Bayanihan will involve a “paradigm shift.”

Armed Forces chief Lt. Gen. Ricardo David said in a report that the soldiers who will enforce Bayanihan will be guided by the “respect for human rights and international humanitarian law… and the rule of law.”

In its yearend release, the AFP said that under the new battle plan, “there will be equal emphasis on the combat and non-combat dimension of the campaign such that efforts are not only focused on combat operations but will likewise give importance on the peaceful settlement of conflicts.”

“Parameters of success shall also put importance on the number of friends won as contrasted to enemies killed,” the release added, though it did not elaborate.

In an earlier report, General Mabanta explained that the counterinsurgency plan hinges on “two very important approaches”: 1) “whole of nation” approach 2) “people-centered” approach.

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2011 beat

For more than three years, Audacity, a digital editor/recorder application, has remained unused in our Jurrasic desktop computer. I initially installed it for the editing of a recording which I made two years ago. But I didn’t get a hand on the software, until this New Year eve, when I thought of welcoming 2011 with a personalized beat.

Fascinated by Black Eyed Peas, I tried splicing some of their songs (mostly from their newest album “The Beginning) using Audacity. I laced the resulting beat with a few familiar sounds from today’s hip-hop/RnB hits. Here are the “ingredients”:

-The Time (Dirty Bit) by BEP
-Don’t Stop the Party by BEP
-Let’s Get Restarted (a remake of Let’s Get it Started, from the deluxe edition) by BEP
-Firework by Katy Perry
-2012 by Jay Sean ft. Nicki Minaj
-Who’s that Chick by Rihanna
-We No Speak Americano by Yolanda be Cool
(plus the opening snare of Callalily’s “Dream”)

Okay, without further ado, here’s a sample of my very amateur remix:

If the media player fails to appear, click here


Initially, I was not inclined to listening to these kind of songs (which are best appreciated by party animals). But through the blaring-speakers-treatment every time I stay at my siblings apartment, I learned how to get into the groove.