Educators’ Forum for Development

newlumadschoolsattacked_0314

In the aftermath of the Fourth Mindanao-Wide Conference of the Save our Schools (SOS) Network, transformative education group Educators Forum for Development (EfD) said that the Duterte administration should stop continuing attacks against indigenous people (IP)’s alternative schools. The EfD echoed calls by the SOS Network for military troops to halt operations in and pull out of indigenous peoples and farmers’ communities as these result in human rights violations including the right to education.

According to a report released by the SOS Campaign of the Lumad in Southern Mindanao, Caraga, Northern Mindanao and Soccsksargen, there have been 168 incidents of military attacks on 47 Lumad schools under the Aquino government’s Oplan Bayanihan and the Duterte administration’s Oplan Kapayapaan. More than 1,000 families and 5,000 students have been victims of forced evacuation, threat, harassment, intimidation, red-tagging, and surveillance. There have also been cases of extrajudicial killings, filing of trumped-up charges, and schools closure.

These have been perpetrated by 16 battalions and 2 brigades of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) with paramilitary troops and even some government agencies. More than half of total AFP troops are deployed in Mindanao, the report noted. State and paramilitary forces are known to secure big business and landlords interests over the resource-rich island.

To date, SOS has recorded 15 cases of military encampment affecting five Lumad schools since the president’s cancellation of the peace talks between government (GRP) and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP). The EfD lamented that AFP attacks against farmers and indigenous communities have only intensified and involved aerial bombings, shelling and strafing, as in Compostela Valley, Sarangani and even Abra. It was also during this period that Ramon and Leonela Pesadilla, a couple who had donated land for a Lumad school, were murdered in their home.

The EfD said that this rabid miliarization continues to put schools and their supporters in the line of fire and subverts the gains built by the Lumad in establishing educational facilities where government has provided none. The continued attacks against schools also tend to offset Duterte’s pro-Lumad pronouncements especially when he was Davao mayor. The administration should end these attacks and execute its duty to uphold the Lumad and every other Filipino’s right to education, said EfD. The group meanwhile vowed to amplify the call to help and advance indigenous people’s alternative schools and to gather wider support for this advocacy.

newlumadschoolsattacked_0314

newlumadschoolsattacked_0314

These Lumad schools, most of which are recognized by the Department of Education, have been under attack by State military and paramilitary troops known to secure big mining, logging, coal energy operations and corporate plantations. Thousands of teachers, students, and entire communities are victims of harassment, land grabbing, ransacking, encampment of public facilities, strafing, villification, arson, demolition, torture, forced evacuation and extra-judicial killings. (IBON Infographic in cooperation with Save Our Schools Network Mindanao)

 

FreeDayCareCASER

Pres. Rodrigo Duterte recalled the government’s peace negotiators from negotiations with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) until being given “compelling reason” to resume talks. Research group IBON, however, points out that the most compelling reason for having peace talks are the economic and political reforms on the agenda that can address the roots of armed conflict. Ending the peace talks with the NDFP also ends talks on important social and economic reforms which makes the prospects for their implementation and achieving benefits for the people dimmer.

IBON noted that ceasefires are at most only momentary respites from fighting. The government and the NDFP reaching agreements on genuine reforms, on the other hand, are among the clearest steps towards peace based on social justice. The government and NDFP each prepared their proposed draft for a comprehensive agreement on social and economic reforms (CASER) and exchanged these in mid-January 2017. IBON reviewed these and compared their respective proposals for key reforms.

FreeEducCASER

Pres. Rodrigo Duterte recalled the government’s peace negotiators from negotiations with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) until being given “compelling reason” to resume talks. Research group IBON, however, points out that the most compelling reason for having peace talks are the economic and political reforms on the agenda that can address the roots of armed conflict. Ending the peace talks with the NDFP also ends talks on important social and economic reforms which makes the prospects for their implementation and achieving benefits for the people dimmer.

IBON noted that ceasefires are at most only momentary respites from fighting. The government and the NDFP reaching agreements on genuine reforms, on the other hand, are among the clearest steps towards peace based on social justice. The government and NDFP each prepared their proposed draft for a comprehensive agreement on social and economic reforms (CASER) and exchanged these in mid-January 2017. IBON reviewed these and compared their respective proposals for key reforms.

birdtalksavethedate_c

 

The overwhelming win of an unorthodox Presidential candidate in the May 2016 elections promised several windows for reforms. For a country stricken with poverty and a worsening jobs crisis, beyond a coarse-mannered figurehead, prospects that this new leadership could jumpstart measures to improve the lives of the poor majority of Filipinos were introduced.

In the span the new administration’s first half-year, the nation bore witness to an unprecedented presidential stance on foreign policy and an openness to work and negotiate with non-traditional political forces. Meanwhile, the political circus threatens, including the Marcoses’ attempt to return and the saga of  Senate hearings on controversial issues and personalities. This, amid continuing State-sanctioned anti-drugs executions. Have concrete steps been taken to initialize the substantial change that the people await? Is change indeed underway?

The IBON 2016 Yearend Birdtalk will be held on 13 January 2017 at 1:00 o’clock to 5 o’clock in the afternoon (venue to be announced) for a briefing on the above issues, questions and more. Birdtalk is IBON’s semi-annual assessment of economic and political trends.

Everyone is enjoined to participate in this very timely discussion. The registration fee of Php175 will cover the Briefing Paper and modest snacks. Call 9276986 and 9277060-61 for details.

ibon-2016-1125-marcosglobalization

ibon-2016-1125-marcosglobalization

 

“In 1980, the Marcos regime actually made the Philippines the first country in Asia and the second country in the world, after Turkey, to be at the receiving end of a World Bank structural adjustment loan (SAL). The conditionalities of the US$200 million loan included among others tariff cuts, removal of import licenses and quantitative restrictions, lowering protections, and export-promotion – all in line with the market-oriented restructuring of the economy. This first SAL and another US$302 million one in 1984 were the historic spearheads of subsequent decades of trade and investment liberalization in the country.” — from Anyare? Economic Decline Since Marcos

ibon-2016-1125-marcosimfwb

 

ibon-2016-1125-marcosimfwb

 

“The rule of Nacionalista Party’s Ferdinand E. Marcos which began in 1965 was strong on nationalist and patriotic rhetoric. Yet Pres. Marcos was by no means a nationalist if ‘nation’ is understood as the majority of Filipinos and ‘nationalism’ as upholding their interests and asserting Filipino sovereignty over foreign powers.

“Most anti-nationalist president. The “nationalist” Marcos was the most anti-nationalist president the country had ever seen. Martial Law was declared not just for personal political survival but to use the coercive powers of the state to open up and restructure the Philippine economy according to the needs of foreign monopoly capital, especially the US whose post-colonial treaties were coming to an end. No less was needed to confront certain resistance from the resurgent nationalist and armed revolutionary movements – resulting in monumental human rights violations.

“Leftist activists gave justified attention to US-directed International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank (WB) intervention in Philippine economic policymaking and their collusion with the Marcos regime. Eighteen of the 24 IMF programs the country has ever had were during the Marcos regime, six of which were during his first term before declaring Martial Law in 1972. It also accounted for nearly a hundred World Bank projects, with loans worth some US$5.2 billion, out of 250 such projects to date.

“The economy in the final years of the Marcos regime was in neoliberal-induced ruin. Unemployment and poverty were at historic highs.” – From Anyare? Economic Decline Since Marcos

ibon-2016-1125-marcosjoblessness

ibon-2016-1125-marcosjoblessness

 

“The decade 1975-1986 was actually a time of intense social crisis and economic difficulty for most Filipinos. The unemployment rate was falling in the early years of the Marcos regime – from 7.1% in 1966 to 3.9% in 1975. But this reversed in the mid-1970s to rapidly rise back to 7.9% in 1980. The prices of goods and services also soared with the 7.1% inflation rate in 1975 more than doubling to 17.4% in 1980.

“The situation was worst in the 1981-1985 period: unemployment averaged nearly 11% including a high of 12.6% in 1985; inflation averaged over 20% including, in 1984, a high of over 47 percent. By 1985, anywhere from two-thirds to three-fourths of some 54 million Filipinos were poor; at least 27 million Filipinos or up to half (49%) of the population were in extreme poverty (i.e. those deemed “poor” according to the low official poverty line). These conditions fuelled the storm of protest and opposition to the dictatorship and precipitated its overthrow through a people’s uprising in February 1986.

Neoliberal disaster

“Blaming all these on the Marcos regime’s corruption and cronyism is convenient especially with the Marcos family and their cronies visibly behaving so villainously. Yet there were other Asian countries in the 1970s and 1980s that also suffered corruption and cronyism – some even dictatorial rule – but that did not experience as severe crisis. Korea and China come to mind and, closer to home, of course Indonesia, Thailand and Malaysia.

The biggest difference is that the Philippines under Marcos started implementing neoliberal “free market” policies. More than anything else this is what prevented the Philippines from becoming any sort of East Asian success story.” – from Anyare? Economic Decline Since Marcos

ibon-2016-1124-marcosplunder

ibon-2016-1124-marcosplunder

“This narrative highlights the evils of dictatorship and abuse of power. But it falters in explaining why, over three decades after the end of the Marcos regime, the economy still remains so backward in the things that matter – job creation, poverty reduction, agricultural and industrial development, and policy sovereignty.

“Bureaucrat capitalism under Marcos was undoubtedly world class and certainly added to the country’s economic problems. But the real cause of economic failure lies somewhere else – in the neoliberal “free market” policies forced on the Filipino people using the vast powers of the dictatorship.” — Anyare? Economic Decline Since Marcos

Marcos debt 4x 1986 PH budget

Marcos dictatorship debt totaling Php470 billion is equivalent to 4x the national government budget of Php121 billion in 1986.

Marcos debt 4x 1986 PH budget
Marcos debt 4x 1986 PH budget

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