Makabayan Bloc seeks probe on alleged Chinese influence in Marawi rehab works

Marje Pelayo   •   June 27, 2018   •   3462

QUEZON CITY, Philippines – Opposition congressmen want to probe ongoing rehabilitation works in Marawi City.

On Wednesday, representatives from the Makabayan bloc filed a resolution seeking for an investigation into an alleged report that some Chinese corporations are getting the favor of the government to manage the rehabilitation works in the war-torn city.

Bayan Muna Partylist Representative Carlos Zarate accused the administration of taking advantage of the martial law to serve the interest of said Chinese firms.

“Bilyon-bilyon ang gugugulin ng gobyerno pero sa ngayon kahit nga residente ng Marawi ay at a lost (kung) ano ba talaga ang tunay na plano sa Marawi,”Zarate said

(The government will spend billions but until now the residents are at a loss as to what really is the government’s plan for Marawi.)

Civic groups, meanwhile, expressed concern over the proposed construction of a military base in “ground zero” or in the main battle area in Marawi.

“Pag nilagyan kame ng malaking military garisson sa loob ng main affected areas baka sa mga susunod na panahon atakihin nanaman nila uli ang Marawi,” said Drieza Liningding, Head of a civil society group in Marawi City.

(If they construct a military garrison inside the main affected area, time might come that they (terrorists) would attack Marawi again.)

Meanwhile, the group also calls on the House Committee on Human Rights to probe on reports of abuse of human rights of the residents in the war-torn city. – Grace Casin / Marje Pelayo

Makabayan Congressmen deny linkages to CPP-NPA as claimed by Duterte

Marje Pelayo   •   December 1, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Makabayan congressmen vehemently deny linkages to the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) after President Rodrigo Duterte himself identified the group as such.

Hindi ako miyembro ng Communist Party of the Philippines, maging ng NPA or ng NDF (I am not a member of the Communist Party of the Philippines, or the NPA, or the NDF),” said Bayan Muna Partylist Rep. Carlos Zarate in a press conference on Tuesday (December 1).

Zarate admits being an activist and a human rights lawyer but not a member of any group that targets destabilization of the current administration.

ACT Teachers Partylist Rep. France Castro, meanwhile, accused the Duterte Administration of using the issue to divert the public’s attention from the government’s poor response to the current problems of the country.

“Patuloy na nililink ang mga progresibong organisasyon na talagang nagbubunyag ng kainutilan nitong Duterte administration,” Castro said adding that such a claim is the administration’s scheme to disqualify their group in the 2022 Elections.

The lawmakers claim it is a way to silence them for being critical of the government.

“With the statement of the President they will be further emboldened to intensify their attacks against us including even their objective to remove us from Congress, ipa-disqualify kami (to have us disqualified),” Zarate said.

The opposition group dares their critics who are claiming of having evidence linking them to the communist group to face them in court.

They are also hoping that the House leadership will support them given that House Speaker Allan Velasco once said in October that he will protect any member of the Lower House who is being tagged by Lt Gen Antonio Parlade Jr of the National task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict as members of the communist organization. 

Meanwhile, Malacañang questioned leaf-leaning organizations or militant groups why they cannot renounce the use of arms.

According to Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque, it’s questionable that while they consistently deny claims linking them to the communist organization, they do not condemn the NPA’s armed activities.

Roque said it is not criminal to be a member of an organization but to become an advocate of armed struggle against the government is against the law.

“Kung ikaw ay member ng CPP, pwede kang maging legal but you have to renounce the use of arms. Magagaling naman sila sa parliamentary politics. Na-e-elect naman sila. Pinakamarami sila sa party list groups. Bakit hindi pa nila i-renounce ang use of arms,” Roque said.

[If you are a member of the CPP, you can be legal but you have to renounce the use of arms. They are good in parliamentary politics. They are being elected. They have the majority in party list groups. Why couldn’t they renounce the use of arms?]

“Pero habang hindi nila nire-renounce at habang sila po ay nakikibahagi pa sa paggamit ng dahas at sandata laban sa republika, criminal po iyan,” he concluded.

[But while not renouncing and while still supporting the use of arms or armed struggle against the Republic (of the Philippines), that’s criminal.] MNP (with reports from Rey Pelayo / Rosalie Coz)

Duterte identifies Makabayan Bloc as communist legal front

Marje Pelayo   •   December 1, 2020

President Rodrigo Duterte

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte straightforwardly called the Makabayan Bloc a legal front of the communist group on Monday (November 30) following the death of Bayan Muna Rep. Eufemia Campos Cullamat’s daughter in an encounter with the military.

The President said they are not red-tagging left-leaning groups but identifying them as one.

Itong mga legal fronts ng komunista, lahat iyan (These communist legal fronts, all of them) – Makabayan, Bayan – they are all legal fronts. Gabriela,” he said.

“We are not red tagging you. We are identifying you as members in a grand conspiracy comprising all the legal fronts that you have organized headed by NDF (National Democratic Front) tapos ang (also the) New People’s Army at (and the) Community Party of the Philippines,” he added.

The President said the incident now supports the claim of the Armed Forces of the Philippines against the members of the Makabayan Bloc.

READ: Lorenzana sees strong link between Makabayan Bloc and CPP-NPA with Jevilyn Cullamat’s death

He questioned the group’s real intention which no longer represents an ideology.

“(This is) communal war ito. There is no longer any ideology. Gusto lang nila umagaw ng gobyerno (All they want is to take over the government,)” President Duterte noted.

Members of the Makabayan Bloc have long been denying any links to the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP). 

The entire network has a number of member groups including Bayan Muna, ACT Teachers, Anakpawis, Gabriela, Kabataan, Katribu, Migrante, Akap-bata, Courage, Piston, Kalikasan and Aking Bikolnon. MNP (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

Lorenzana sees strong link between Makabayan Bloc and CPP-NPA with Jevilyn Cullamat’s death

Marje Pelayo   •   November 30, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana now sees strong evidence that links the Makabayan Bloc with the Communist Party of the Philippines – New People’s Army (CPP-NPA).

“Actually dahil sa nangyari ngayon, anak pa ng congresswoman na Makabayan iyong namatay. Iyong red-tagging namin ay may basis,” said Lorenzana.

“May basis na sila ay sumusuporta, iyong Makabayan, sinusuportahan nila itong CPP-NPA at saka iyong tinatawag na armed struggle ng NPA.” he added.

His statement comes after the death of 22-year-old Jevilyn Cullamat in an encounter with the military.

Cullamat is the daughter of Bayan Muna Representative Eufemia Campos Cullamat. 

Lorenzana, meanwhile, asked the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to look into appropriate ways of presenting the remains of rebels killed in an encounter.

Normal naman iyon na ginagawa ng military. Ever since, ipinapakita natin iyong mga namamatay. I have directed the AFP to look into how we can treat this, iyong mga namamatay sa encounter better,” Lorenzana noted after Rep. Cullamat slammed the military for releasing photos of her daughter’s remains lying alongside seized firearms and paraphernalia.

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