WE FOUGHT TO BE FREE. WE SAY NEVER AGAIN TO DICTATORSHIP

Unity Statement by February 25 Coalition

This month we celebrate the People Power Revolution of February 1986, the event that finally put an end to the Marcos dictatorship.

This extraordinary event capped our long years of suffering and struggle. For the regime of Ferdinand Marcos violated our people with torture and imprisonment, displacement and impoverishment, in numbers that have moved even international courts to pass judgment. It was a regime that crushed dissent, even as it plundered the economy, leaving the country with a debt so huge, the next generations will still be making its payments.

Three million people took to the streets in February 1986 to tell that regime they’ve had enough. Millions more gathered in other parts of the country demanding an end to the abusive rule. The people prevailed.

It was an extraordinary time of heroism and resolve, when Filipinos, united in heart and purpose, stopped tanks, converted hardened soldiers, ousted a dictator, and gave democracy a new breath of life.

This year, 2017, People Power has become even more relevant. The Marcos family, which to this day is propped up by stolen wealth, has resurrected itself in politics, setting its sights on nothing less than the biggest prize, Malacañang.

Its expensive and relentless campaign to overturn historical truth and erase the horror of martial law–of which the burial of its patriarch, the dictator Ferdinand, at a cemetery for heroes is an integral part— indicate a clear and present danger.
The institutions of modern democracy that we built in the years since 1986 are young, weak, and vulnerable to a resurgent and aggressive despotism.

Clearly, the tools of dictatorship are being resurrected–from the open threat to suspend the privilege of writ of habeas corpus to the constant danger of having martial law declared, to the subversion of civilian and democratic rule, to the gross violation of human rights.

Already, over 7,000 men, women, and children have lost their lives in killings patently without regard for their fundamental rights as citizens.

These events are akin to the brutalities under the Marcos dictatorship.

We now face the resurgence of nothing less than authoritarian rule.

The February 25 Coalition calls on all citizens to commemorate the 31st anniversary of People Power in the Philippines by remembering that we, the people, are the true sovereign in our Republic.

We challenge the nation to remember our dark history under the dictatorship and to commit to the cause of protecting our hard-won freedoms.

We call upon all citizens to assert our sovereign will and resist all efforts to subvert civilian democratic rule and to revive dictatorship in new forms.

We call on our government to respect the basic rights guaranteed by our Constitution, and to uphold the value of every individual life.

Stop the killings!

We call on People Power to rise again. Whatever our differences, all Filipinos are united in desiring respect for human rights, justice, peace, prosperity, and our prideful place in the world of nations. Let us fight for our rights, for historical truth, and justice. Let us defend democracy as the only road to peace and progress.

We cannot allow dictatorship to happen ever again in our country.

Celebrate and Remember Our People’s Power!
Defend Our Rights and History!
Resist the Re-Imposition of Dictatorship!
Respect and Uphold Life, Dignity and Human Rights! Stop the Killings!

Alab Katipunan
Alyansa Tigil Mina (ATM)
Akbayan Party
Akbayan! Youth
August Twenty One Movement (ATOM)
Bantayog ng mga Bayani Foundation
Bente Uno
Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino (BMP)
Center for Youth Advocacy and Networking (CYAN)
Claimants 1081
Coalition Against the Marcos Burial (CAMB)
Coalition Against Trafficking In Women – Asia Pacific (CATW-AP)
Gerry Roxas Leadership Awardees, Inc.
KASAPI
Kilos Maralita (KM)
Lingap Bilanggo
Manila SUCs Coalition
Millennials Against Dictators (MAD)
NeverAgain: No to Dictators, to Martial Law, to a Marcos Return to Power
Pambansang Kilusan ng mga Samahang Magsasaka (PAKISAMA)
Pandayan para sa Sosyalistang Pilipinas (PANDAYAN)
Partido Lakas ng Masa (PLM)
Partido Manggagawa (PM)
People Power Volunteers for Reform (PPVR)
People Power Volunteers for Reform-Youth (PPVR-Youth)
People’s Movement for Democratic Governance (PMDG)
Philippine Stagers Foundation
PILIPINA – Kilusan ng Kababaihang Pilipino
Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP)
Samahan Sa Tuwid Na Daan Laban Sa Katiwalian Inc.
Sandigan para sa Mag-aaral at Sambayanan Alumni (SAMASA Alumni)
Sanlakas
Sentro ng mga Nagkakaisa at Progresibong Manggagawa (SENTRO)
Simbahang Lingkod ng Bayan (SLB)
Social Democratic Caucus (SDC)
Student Council Alliance of the Philippines (SCAP)
Sustainability and Participation through Education and Lifelong Learning (SPELL)
The Nameless Heroes and Martyrs
The Silent Majority (TSM)
World March of Women (WMW)
YOUTHS -Pandayan para sa Sosyalistang Pilipinas (YOUTHS-PANDAYAN)
1MAR Movement

#BabalikAkoSaEDSA #PeoplePower2017

SENTRO Statement in Support of the CBCP Pastoral Letter

File photo / Bullit Marquez

The Sentro ng mga Nagkakaisa at Progresibong Manggagawa (SENTRO) welcomes the Pastoral Letter released by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) last January 30, 2017, entitled “For I find no pleasure in the death of anyone who dies (Ez. 18:32)”. In these times of confusion, fear, state-led intimidation, and a seven-month Reign of Terror, the statement of our respected Bishops is just about the right kind of disturbing voice in the wilderness our lost compatriots need right now.

We nod in agreement when the CBCP states: “The deep root of the drug problem and criminality is the poverty of the majority, the destruction of the family and corruption in society. The step we have to take is to overcome poverty, especially through the giving of permanent work and sufficient wages to workers (underscoring ours).”

We have to confront the socio-economic and cultural factors that create this malady – including the lack of sources of income, the job insecurity, the loneliness and predatorial culture that individualistic capitalism engenders, the unreformed, syndicated and corrupt police and law enforcement.

We, as militant workers from all sectors of our society, are ourselves men and women with families, who are as adamant in protecting our own children from the dangers of the drug trade. And yet we ourselves know, from our mutual experiences in our communities, that shunning, shaming and cutting off both drug victims and drug trade elements from a second chance at reform and turning around their lives save no one in the end. We ourselves know, from our long, bitter struggle for justice and reparation in our sectors, that no solution is garnered unless a mutual acknowledgment of the dignity of our counterparts in litigation and negotiation is achieved. At the same time, we as well are aware of protecting the quality of life of our members and our allies—and are very, very wary of anyone who would dare foist easy solutions to us in the face of complex problems, at the cost of our principles and dearly-held freedoms.

We in the workers’ movement, coming as we are from all social and religious slants, see the value of transformative justice, as well as rehabilitating even our criminal elements.

With this statement, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference Philippines stands with an awakening larger majority of our Filipino people. They are now aware of the dangers of the government’s Death Policies — Oplan Tokhang, the bills reimposing the death penalty and lowering the age of criminality – that threaten to or have destroyed our institutions, granting us a “reign of peace” that is more the peace of the grave, cramped as they are with the skulls and bones of thousands of innocent and untried victims.

We in SENTRO therefore reiterate: the Death Policies of the Duterte regime must be stopped.

As much as we workers do not always share the political views of many of our religious groups, we nevertheless loudly proclaim our conviction with them right now: a civilization built on peace, justice and love.

Philippines: union leaders victimized after participating in IUF Global Housekeepers Campaign

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Three union leaders at the 5-star Peninsula Manila hotel, owned by the luxury Peninsula Hotels group, are facing harsh retaliation by hotel management for their involvement in the IUF’s Global Housekeepers Campaign and for effectively representing their members at the hotel.

To undermine the IUF-affiliated NUWHRAIN and to reverse significant gains for workers they have won at the hotel, Peninsula Manila managers used workers’ participation in the 2016 Global Housekeepers Week of Action as a pretext to suspend on January 3rd, for 15 days each Cesar Pagaling (Manila Peninsula Supervisors Chapter President) and Francisco Aliansas (Peninsula Employees Union Board of Director’s member) and to fire Jenny Marcos (Peninsula Employees Union Board of Director’s member). The Peninsula Employees Union and Manila Pen Supervisors Chapter are both members of NUWHRAIN.

The unions have negotiated improvements in the CBA and the introduction of trolley bags for housekeepers’ equipment when the hotel management tried to impose a “no cart” policy. Union action to secure inspections by the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) for compliance with national labour and health and safety regulations resulted in an order to regularize 405 casual employees including 55 housekeepers at the hotel. In another attempt to undermine the union, management has set up a yellow union to challenge NUWHRAIN in the upcoming certification election.

 

NAGKAISA denounces misrepresentation of Ruben Torres and Usec Say on worker-DOLE consensus that contractualization cannot be prohibited

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NAGKAISA, including the legitimate TUCP President Raymond Mendoza, a co-convenor of NAGKAISA and the author of HB No.4444 which will prohibit and criminalize contractualization, denounce in clear, categorical terms the underhanded attempt of Mr. Ruben Torres and apparently, DOLE Undersecretary Say, to misrepresent to media after the dialogue with Secretary Bello last Thursday, that a consensus was reached with labor leaders that contractualization is inevitable.

That is the very opposite of what legitimate labor federations under NAGKAISA, who constituted 90% of the groups meeting Sec. Bello last Thursday manifested jointly to the Secretary: That we rely on the Presidential promise to end contractualization, and that we look towards an Executive Order to proscribe it in the meantime and towards passage of a Presidentially-certified bill (in the guise of HB No.4444) which will end contractualization).

NAGKAISA is shocked and dismayed that news reports of the Worker-DOLE dialogue on how to end and prohibit contractualization are now being presented as a trade union-government lovefest where both sides reached the same conclusion: that contractualization is here to stay.

Their action constitutes the highest form of betrayal to workers who only want a fair deal. Ruben Torres’ acceptance of the continuation of contractualization for janitors, security guards and salesgirls is craven opportunism of the worst kind, sacrificing the lives of the poorest workers while invoking the name of trade unions for personal advancement. He clearly does not represent the true majority interest of labor.

Our true collective position remains firm: that contractualization is oppression of workers’ rights which allows employers to avoid giving workers a living wage and to deny them a decent life. This is the very reason that we requested that Sec. Bello work out our request for an audience with the President.

Furthermore, the seemingly coordinated statements of former Labor Secretary Ruben Torres, now resurrected and posing as a labor leader of a rump-group TUCP ( the DOLE itself has ruled with finality that his purported federation is not even a part of TUCP, and by that very logic Mr. Torres IS NOT EVEN A MEMBER of TUCP) and apparent partnering of DOLE Undersecretary Say, show the moral depravity that the enemies of workers will stoop to.

We will not allow this underhanded misrepresentation of our position to remain uncorrected. Mr. Torres and his co-horts the Eric Gutierrez-backed Roland de la Cruz , last seen, after their gleeful endorsement of the Presidential bid of Mar Roxas, are now trying to make themselves relevant as apologists of the unbridled free-market, labor-flexibilization schemes which the employers prefer as their justification to abuse the Filipino working class.

Mr. Torres is no way a part of the legitimate TUCP, nor of the larger workers movement. Media coverage would have it appear through their interviews that the meeting last Thursday at the DOLE between workers and top DOLE officials led by Secretary Bello was a veritable lovefest. What happened was the DOLE announced that they would have to go to the drawing board to do a new Department Order on contractualization NAGKAISA only reminded the DOLE that what they will craft, and the bill which we should ask be certified, live up to President Duterte’s promise: END IT! STOP IT!