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Call for unity and respect

Letters . 

WITH fears, suspicion, polarization and threats seizing the citizens of Cotabato City, I reiterate the threefold call of the Institute for Autonomy and Governance (IAG).

1. Call for sobriety and calmness in Cotabato city and avoid, at all times, finger-pointing on persons/groups with no evidences;

2. Call for the security forces to conduct a thorough investigation on the bombing and not simply resort to blaming the usual bogey people – the “terrorists”; and

3. Call for all Cotabatenos not to allow few evil men, by words and deeds, destroy the trust and friendship built through the years.

I also commend the vigilance of our city government under Cotabato Mayor Cynthia Guiani and the SB and the Barangay Chairs with the Security Sectors (AFP and PNP) under MGen. Sobejana of 6th ID in keeping watch over the City and environs.

We need the citizenry’s vigilance and full cooperation to thwart evil designs that would destroy the friendship, trust and respect between and among ourselves built through the years.

“That the nearest in affection to them are those who say: ‘We are Christians’. That is because there are priests and monks among them; and because they are free from pride.” (Sura V: 85) – Fr. Eliseo Mercado Jr., OMI, former president, Notre Dame University, and consultant at the IAG, Cotabato City

Slandering Schools

PROGRESSIVE nationalist youth group Anakbayan slams the pathetic attempt of the PNP to revive its failed Red October plot and intensify its fascist crackdown against schools by attempting to paint UP and PUP students as “suppliers of the NPA”.

This is nothing but a pathetic attempt to justify Duterte’s intensifying crackdown against progressive individuals and organizations using fake surrenderees. Their so-called “surrenderees” are tainted, unreliable sources. They have no credibility in this matter as they threaten the peaceful massess at gunpoint to pretend to be “NPA surrenderees” and parrot their lies.

For Anakbayan, the PNP’s press conference is nothing but propaganda intended to cover up for the fascist regime’s massive failures in 2018.

This comes on the heels of their failed crackdown attempts to harass, intimidate, and silence progressive student organizations in the Red October plot and the attempted crackdown against teachers union  Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT).

Our group also points to the AFP and PNP’s failure to decisively defeat the revolutionary movement by the end of 2018 as an excuse to intensify crackdowns and blame their failures on the anti-dictatorship and anti-fascist movement, focusing on schools and universities.

Duterte and his thugs have no one else to blame for the Filipino people’s intensified resistance—armed or otherwise—but themselves.

It is the regime’s flawed neoliberal policies like continuing contractualization and the Train Law that have resulted in worsening poverty and hunger; and Duterte’s futile attempts to resolve these systemic problems with heavy-handed crackdowns, killings, and other human rights violations that is driving the people’s discontent with his fascist regime. –Alex Danday, spokesperson, Anakbayan

Government hand

WHEN a number of tabloids came out on Jan. 7 with totally false banner stories on the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines’ supposed links to the Communist Party of the Philippines, we held back from voicing our suspicions of who was behind what was clearly an orchestrated campaign to vilify us and intimidate us into silence.

Now we can say for certain that government is involved in this nefarious effort.

Thanks to the Philippine News Agency, which under this administration has been transformed into a paragon of incompetence and fakery masquerading as “journalism,” for providing proof positive with the January 8 article, “Red link tag on NUJP not ‘orchestrated’: ex-rebels.”

The PNA article follows the style of the canard foisted by the tabloids, which liberally quoted the fantastical and totally fictional account of a supposed ex-rebel and “NUJP founder” who went by the alias “Ka Ernesto” without even bothering to get our side.

It quotes the purported statement of a purported group of “ex-rebels” called “Kilusan at Alyansa ng mga Dating Rebelde” or Kadre who purportedly “denied that their ‘revelations’ against the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) being linked with the Left is part of an orchestrated or ‘well-planned’ operation to intimidate the latter into silence.”

Strangely, if not surprisingly since this is, after all, a clear work of badly concocted fiction, it claims that Ka Ernesto is a Kadre member yet also says the purported members of this purported group “just want to know the clear answer if the NUJP is a legal front.”

It then makes the ludicrous claim that “‘hardcore elements’ in the NUJP made sure to block the release of their stories and their ‘freedom to expose the truth.’”

We truly wonder how could we have blocked the release of any stories when our officers were, in fact, surprised the morning of Jan. 7 when community outfits across the country called them seeking reactions to the Ka Ernesto story, which whoever was pulling the strings made sure was distributed far and wide.

The PNA fabrication even has Kadre urging NUJP members to “examine the group’s objectives or if there is some king of political agenda to bring down the government and establish a chaotic society,” actually “violent” since the original Tagalog text uses the word “marahas.”

As we pointed out earlier, the Red-tagging will never hold water because the NUJP’s members reflect a broad spectrum of creeds and beliefs united in one common cause – to defend and expand the bounds of freedom of the press and of free expression.

That the state news agency, which is under the supervision of the Presidential Communications Operations Office, saw fit to run this utterly malicious and false story clearly proves that this is, indeed, an orchestrated campaign to vilify and silence not just the NUJP but the independent and critical press, involving no less than the Government of the Republic of the Philippines.

Pathetic as this effort is, we are taking it very seriously as a direct threat by government against the NUJP and independent media and will take what steps necessary to protect our members and our rights.

Again, we say, you will fail. History has proven, tyrants can never silence the truth and suppress freedom of thought and expression. Instead, it is they who will be called to account. –National directorate, National Union of Journalists of the Philippines

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