By Prof. JOSE MARIA SISON
Chairperson, International League of Peoples’ Struggle
We, the International Coordinating Committee of the International League of Peoples’ Struggle, applaud the resounding success of the 19-21 July International Conference for Human Rights and Peace in the Philippines and all the related activities. We congratulate the organizers and all the participants. We are proud to have co-sponsored the conference and given our view on the relationship of the imperialist policy of neoliberalism and the worsening human rights situation in the Philippines.
We are deeply pleased with the reaffirmation of human rights and the ventilation of human rights violations in the civil, political, economic, social and cultural spheres. We are moved by the new resolve to work for justice and the end of the reign of impunity and to promote and strengthen international solidarity for the purpose. The conference organizers and so many human rights and peace organizations are already disseminating the information about the proceedings and the decisions taken.
We condemn the US-Aquino regime for having undertaken a series of hostile and repressive actions against the conference and its participants. The conference organizers uncovered and apprehended two intelligence agents of the US-Aquino regime trying to penetrate and surveil the conference. They apprehended one more undercover agent from the 24th Infantry Battalion, 7th Infantry Division of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, who was surreptitiously taking pictures of conference participants during the mass rally on 22 July. Worse, the security forces of the regime assaulted the mass rally which local and foreign conference participants joined in order to protest human rights violations and demand justice.
One of the rally participants, Thomas van Beersum of the Netherlands, was truncheoned and injured. He approached a stationary policeman to demand why his armed mates were beating up the peaceful rallyists. Subsequently, he became the target of a jingoistic campaign of vilification by the regime through the yellow mass media, military psywar units and letter writing brigades. He was depicted as an aggressive foreign interloper and was publicly threatened with physical harm and deportation on the pages of major newspapers, blogs and social network.
The chauvinist campaign against Thomas van Beersum was used to draw attention away from the violent attack on the rallyists and the scores of bloodied victims and to ridicule the patriotic and progressive forces for engaging in mass actions under supposed foreign influence. To underscore the jingoistic line, the regime repeatedly threatened to arrest, investigate and deport ten foreign delegates to the conference on human rights and peace.
The regime persisted in hounding and harassing van Beersum. When he was about to board his plane for Amsterdam on 6 August, he was arrested by Philippine immigration authorities and prevented from departing with his Filipina fiancee. He was detained and made to miss his flight just to allow the Aquino regime to have the malicious pleasure of deporting him and placing him on a blacklist to prevent him from returning to the Philippines, the country of his fiancee and whose people he loves.
Meanwhile, leading Filipino participants in the conference like Satur Ocampo, Liza Maza, Teddy Casiño, Rafael Mariano, Edre Olalia and others were being charged with the criminal offense of disrupting their own rally against the blatant lies and omissions in the so-called state of the nation address (SONA) of Benigno S. Aquino III. Under the persistent class dictatorship of the big compradors and landlords in the Philippines, there is really no fundamental difference between the blatantly autocratic rule of Marcos and the pseudo-democratic rule of his successors, including the redundant Aquinos. They are exploitative and oppressive and engage in gross and systematic violations of human rights.
It is completely preposterous that the big comprador-landlord Aquino regime, which is a notorious puppet of US imperialism, tries to make itself look patriotic by carrying out a jingoistic and chauvinist campaign of vilification against visiting foreigners who are in solidarity with the Filipino people in their struggle for national and social liberation against US imperialism and the local reactionary classes chiefly represented by Aquino.