End Endo, Not People’s Lives

End Endo, Not People's Lives

Nagkaisa Labor Coalition marching along Morayta to Mendiola – Photo by Eva Arcos

The Sentro ng mga Nagkakaisa at Progresibong Manggagawa (SENTRO) today marched from Welcome Rotonda to Mendiola, passing through Morayta to join other sectors who were in solidarity with the workers. In a statement, SENTRO said it marks the 153rd birth anniversary of Gat Andres Bonifacio, “founding predecessor of the Philippine mass movement and First President of the Philippine Republic by memorializing the heroic struggle of Bonifacio and the Katipunan in these trying times.” It added that SENTRO “looks back to our history of consistent action, and takes heart from it in continuing to carry the torch of seeking and advocating for economic and political justice for all.”

Josua Mata, Secretary-General of SENTRO, stated that six months into the presidency of Rodrigo Roa Duterte, the Philippines is now in a seething state of tension, division and political polarization. “For all his bluster, bravado and posturing in promising change since the May 2016 elections, he has only succeeded in worsening the social, economic and political gap between the privileged and the excluded in Philippine society,” added Mata.

The “war on drugs” Duterte has sanctioned continues to prove itself as a “war on the poor”—with 5,617 casualties. With a police hierarchy under PNP Chief Ronaldo “Bato” dela Rosa wholly subservient to the whims of the President, our police institutions, constitutionally-mandated to protect and serve the public from crime and violence, now glories in its role as the President’s praetorian guard of butchers and hatchet-men.

Mata stated that “the Duterte regime, proving its promise of standing up against the elites of Philippine society as full of hot air, has also visibly backtracked on its promise to dismantle the ‘endo’ system of contractualization in favor of the working peoples (both in the manufacturing and service sectors).” That the Labor Secretary, Silvestre Bello III, continues to vacillate between the just demands of the working peoples’ movements and the rapacious threats of the employers and capitalists, poses massive questions to whether this issue will actually be resolved in the name of social justice, the statement continued.

According to the 80,000-strong labor center, Duterte’s partisanship to the forces of oppression has finally surfaced by fully sanctioning the burial of the tyrant Ferdinand Marcos in the Libingan ng mga Bayani last November 18, 2016—immediately 10 days after the craven decision of the Supreme Court to declare the absence of legal impediment to the burial, and without giving time to filing motions of consideration against the decision. “That this burial was done clandestinely, away from the eyes of the public and without any transparency whatsoever simply affirms once over that the heirs of the dictator Marcos has no intention of standing accountable for their two-decade ransacking of the Philippine state and society. The state-apparatuses are scrambling to continue justifying the actions of their clearly-beholden president—to the extent of inflaming the ire and resentment of the new generations of our youth.”

“The Filipino people are already waking up to the monumental costs of their choice in the polls,” according to SENTRO. “That mobilizations and indignation protests continue to be mounted by the millennial generation of today against the burial of the tyrant Marcos show that the administration is beginning to wear its welcome.” It says that even the President’s supporters are now beginning to be split in their condoning of the “war on drugs” suggests that this platform is unravelling without a clear end-goal in mind. “That a growing number of our population are now finding the perorations and propagandizing of the Duterte camp’s online “trolls” and unofficial spokespersons (all of dubious character and non-existent integrity) is a heartening sign that reason and basic decency have not yet left Philippine public discourse,” added Mata.

“That people are now finally choosing to stand up against the excesses of the Duterte regime after months of silence and patience simply mean one thing: They now know that their President is neither a father, nor a leader, nor a saviour. They now know he is a tyrant and a bully who cements his throne in blood and skulls. And we know from history how tyrants end their stories.”

Finally, SENTRO called on the Filipino people to remain vigilant and insistent on their social, economic and political rights.

“We call on the Philippine government to stand accountable for the growing number of dead and injured in their war on the poor. We call to a halt on political prosecution of opposition actors who are simply doing their job of protecting the Filipino people’s basic human rights. We continuously call for the exhumation of Marcos from his undeserved burial in the Libingan ng mga Bayani. We also call on the Marcos family and their partisans to finally come clean, stop the propagandizing, and finally own up to and pay up for their countless crimes against the Filipino people. We continue to assert that the Duterte administration must abandon authoritarianism and finally think on behalf of all Filipino peoples—not just his intransigent, intolerant and oppressive patrons. Lest he reaps the wind.”

#StopTheKillingsPh
#EndENDO

Bonifacio Day
November 30, 2016

Painted Women Performed Warrior Dance against Violence

 

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To mark the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, women with painted faces and bodies performed a warrior dance at noon today in Quezon City. Filling the streets around the World Scout Jamboree roundabout in Timog, the women denounced the violenceof the current administration, and the institutional violence that “kills” 14 women each day they are deprived of reproductive health services by the state.

According to the women, the Duterte administration’s violence include the drug-war killings, the killing of democracy through patronage of the Marcos burial at the heroes’ cemetery and sponsorship of the Marcos’s return to power, promotion of death penalty, criminalization of child delinquents, non-implementation of the Reproductive Health Law, and sexist attacks on women’s dignity.

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“The spate of state-sanctioned killings exacerbated the trauma in women already reeling from impoverishment,” said Clarissa Militante, one of the leaders of World March of Women (WMW) and Focus on the Global South. Both groups are members of iDefend, a human rights network calling for a stop to the killings. According to iDefend, the number has reached over 5,000 and victimized are mostly poor families, leaving women widowed and children fatherless. Human rights groups are now overburdened with responding to psycho-social and legal needs of the families of survivors. “The encouragement of the killings by the President himself emboldened the police to directly take lives, as well as persecute women leaders who dare challenge this policy,” added Militante. She noted that the first human rights defender killed under the current administration is a woman environmental rights advocate, Gloria Capitan.

“The state’s facilitation of dictator Marcos’s burial similarly opened wounds in rape and torture victims among women, and those left behind by the disappeared during Martial Law,” according to Nilda Lagman-Sevilla, Co-Chair of the Familiies of Victims of Involuntary Disappearances (FIND). Ka Nilda’s brother, a human rights lawyer who vanished in 1977, is among the 882 desaparecidos under Martial Law. “President Duterte himself should account for this mistake, rectify it, and stop resuscitating a deposed authoritarian power,” she added.

Now, women are being abused online when identified to be protesting against the Marcos burial or critiquing the Duterte administration. It should be remembered that WMW leaders charged the current President with violation of the Magna Carta of Women and promotion of rape culture. Now, the same sexism is being perpetrated by legislators against Senator Leila De Lima, as well as by Marcos and Duterte followers against protesters, according to Jean Enriquez of the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women (CATW-AP), WMW and iDefend. “Sexual harassment, sexist cyberbullying and rape cases brought to our attention rose in number with the coming to power of Duterte, bringing along Marcos with him,” said Enriquez. However, the women refuse to be cowed.

“We draw strength from our women ancestors who have resisted our subjugation as a people,” stated Nice Coronacion, leader of the youth section of the labour center SENTRO. “We cannot allow the resurgence of a terror state, and we are rising in defiance,” Coronacion added.

“The women vowed to fight for their rights to reproductive freedom, a life of dignity, and a safe and violence-free world for women and their families,” said Ana Maria Nemenzo of WomanHealth.

The women leaders underscored that the recent days after the Marcos burial at the Libingan ng mga Bayani showed that silence and spread of lies which marked the entry to power of Pres. Duterte and re-emergence of the Marcoses, is now being countered by intelligent and truthful narratives, calls for justice and reason from human rights defenders and coming especially from young people in protest actions.

Also leading the symbolic dance as “Pintadas” were women from the Center for Migrant Advocacy, Foundation for Media Alternatives, Lilak (Purple Action for Indigenous Women’s Rights), Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates (PAHRA), Pambansang Koalisyon ng Kababaihan sa Kanayunan (PKKK), SARILAYA, WomanHealth, Women’s Legal and Human Rights Bureau (WLB), Idefend, Block Marcos, Coalition Against the Marcos Burial at LNMB (CAMB-LNMB), and individual women who heeded the call for the action online.

Those who were not able to come to the action painted their faces and posted selfies with hashtags #EndVAW, #WomenRising, #StopTheKillingsPh, #BlockMarcos and #Hukayin.

We Condemn the Burial of A Dictator, We Blame the Duterte Government for this Atrocious Act

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In choosing to bury the dictator Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani, the Philippine government has once again proven itself as an institution beholden to the corrupt and the elite sections of society who believe justice has a price.

In choosing to endorse the burial of Marcos since his presidential campaign, Rodrigo R. Duterte has explicitly affirmed his support for the monumental whitewashing and historical amnesia being peddled by the Marcoses for years.

This is another slap in the face for the thousands of Filipinos who suffered under the tenure of Marcos and puts into question the change that he promised – a change for the better or chump change that will lead us to regression, repression, injustice and the resurrection of the “garrison state” that Marcos built in 1972.

In choosing to insist on a “hero’s burial”, Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. and his family continues to flout their lack of regret and willful abstention of responsibility against the thousands of tortured, murdered, and disappeared under their late patriarch’s 20-year tenure. They remain a black mark and a disgrace to a people who continue to struggle for freedom and democracy after deposing and deporting them thirty years ago, and against a world who knows their crimes as clear as daylight.

In choosing to give the patina of legality to this burial, the Supreme Court justices has proven its inability to keep their institution independent-minded and above partisanship.

In choosing to carry out this burial in the utmost secrecy up to the last minute, burying the dictator like a thief in the night, the agents of the state and the Marcoses betray in themselves their cravenness, their cowardice and their lack of principle. They would polish a turd and call it gold. They would continue to glorify a man whose crimes against humanity have been proven by history, by a political revolution, and by global censure. They would drag us to hell along with them.

Thus SENTRO calls on all working people and all Filipinos, whatever class they may be, whatever their position in life may be, to stand up and condemn this covert and shameful burial of a dictator!

We call on everyone to continue fighting for liberty and democracy no matter how high the price of freedom is. We believe that fighting for this freedom is a duty that the working peoples’ movements cannot abandon. And we know we will never be alone!

A CALL TO ACTION: BLOCK MARCOS! #BlockMarcos #NotoMarcosBurialLNMB

#BlockMarcos #NotoMarcosBurialLNMB

President Rodrigo Duterte’s order to bury Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani—an order that has now been affirmed by the Supreme Court—is an attack on us all.

It is an attack on all of us who suffered from the dictatorship because it is a way of telling us: Your parents were murdered or you were tortured by a “hero,” now move on.

It is an attack on us all because it revises history, and denies the future generations of the truth, and of justice.

But it is also an attack on all of us because it is in effect a way of saying that dictatorship is “heroic” and, thus, a way of conditioning people into supporting dictatorship and Marcos’ return to power.

In the face of these attacks, we have a moral duty to fight back and refuse to “move on.”

This is why we, Filipinos from different walks of life, call for continuing protests to put pressure on the Supreme Court—and on President Duterte—to reverse their decision.

Should they refuse to heed our clamor, we call for a National Day of Protest on the day Marcos is to be buried.

In case Marcos is to be transported by land, we call for various kinds of direct actions to block his cortege every step of the way—from Batac to Taguig: for actions along the National Highway or NLEX; for anti-Marcos banners to be unfurled along EDSA; for ‘flash mobs’ at various intersections; and for other kinds of nonviolent disruptive actions

We call for large demonstrations by the gates of the Libingan ng mga Bayani.

Finally, we call for mass nonviolent civil disobedience actions before and on the day itself to block Marcos burial at the Libingan.