Category Archives: Human Rights

MANLABAN PARA SA KARAPATAN!

Photo by: Clydie Pasia

We are one with the nation in remembering the 45th anniversary of Dictator Ferdinand Marcos’ declaration of the Martial Law in the country.

Words must not be minced: The Marcos Dictatorship is the darkest period of our nation’s collective history. He syphoned our national coffers and built a wealth empire for his family, brought our economy down and close to bankruptcy – his debts still paid for by the current generation, disregarded democracy and the rule of law, weakened and corrupted institutions to perpetuate the dictatorship, and persecuted anyone who dared to stand up against his tyranny.

Tens of thousands of Filipinos suffered under his military rule; they were imprisoned, murdered, and up to this very day – missing. They were political activists, student and community leaders, members of the opposition, and ordinary Filipinos who saw the ire of power-hungry state forces.

To remember the dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos is of great importance this year, as the Philippines is sliding back to how it was during the Martial Law: An economy in shambles, democratic institutions eroded, dissenters silenced, police abuses normalized massive human rights violations, and accountability from the government absent.


The brutal “war on drugs” is a war against the poor. Oplan Tokhang has already claimed the lives of more than 12, 000 Filipinos, most of whom are only alleged small time offenders, belonging to various impoverished communities, and unable to defend themselves in a court of law, while big-time smugglers of shabu remain free. To date, more than 50 children and teenagers have been tagged as “collateral damage” to the war, with overwhelming evidence of abuse from the police.

Photo by: Clydie Pasia

While the whole country is still under a state of national emergency for a year now, Congress has allowed the declaration of Martial Law in the entirety of Mindanao until the end of the year. It has regularly undermined democratic institutions like the Office of the Ombudsman, the Commission on Human Rights, and the Supreme Court, among others.

Free speech is stifled by the administration, enabling the rise of fake journalists and propagandists in the country which routinely attack and erode the media, human rights defenders and the church.

Worst, favors were given to the Marcos family by giving the Dictator a hero’s burial and declaring his birth anniversary a holiday.

With the Philippines’ imminent return to autocracy, it is not only necessary, but a moral obligation for all Filipinos to stand up, unite, and shout for transparency and accountability. The fight for human rights should be a universal pursuit, and all roads taken by different movements lead to the same goals: to call for justice, defend our freedoms and liberties, and safeguard every Filipino from abuses perpetrated by the government.

Together, we must show our national leaders and the entire world that we have not forgotten the pursuit of justice for the victims of Martial Law.

Together, we must demand to put an end to the culture of tyranny and impunity, and to resist and reject any move to return to military and one-man-rule.

Together, we will protect our hard-won freedoms, rights, and liberties.

Tinatawag na tayo ng bansa upang sama-samang manindigan. Kailangan na nating manlaban para sa ating mga karapatan!

 

Statement on the Murder of Children

The period of August 28 to September 7, spanning close to two weeks, will be marked in infamy for the ghastly corpses of young boys:

1. Carl Angelo Arnaiz, 19, from Cainta, Rizal, former student of the University of the Philippines, found dead last August 28, Monday: with bruises, marks of torture and five gunshot wounds; and,
2. Reynaldo de Guzman, 14, also from Cainta, Rizal, Grade 5 student of Maybunga Elementary School, found dead last September 6, Wednesday: head covered in packaging tape, lacerated with 31 stab wounds all over the body.

The Sentro ng mga Nagkakaisa at Progresibong Manggagawa (SENTRO), together with their grieving families and the now-perpetually outraged Filipino people, express purest condemnation for yet more innocent blood shed in sacrifice for the diabolical War on Drugs, waged by the equally anti-poor regime of Rodrigo Duterte. In the same way we have raged against the murder of 17-year old Kian delos Santos last August 16, we continue to repeat and intone our condemnation. This is a policy and regime that has begun to show its true colors: not to protect us from the imagined phantom of the drug trade, but to keep the Filipino cowering, head bowed and catatonic from all the slaughter, lies and propaganda.

Like a cult of blood, this regime, its supporters and apologists have continued to condone the racking-up casualty now amounting close to 13,000 and above. It is but no exaggeration to argue that at this point, the Duterte regime has sunk to new lows in pursuing its bull-headed, futile and inhumane program—and not even the crocodile tears of Duterte (nor his hatchet-man Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa) will ever cleanse it against popular indignation.

Our current nightmarish circumstances are heart-rending and blood-boiling. Yet it is also a source of hope and determination that the Filipino youth, now standing with clearer eyes and voices than many of their peers and elders, speak up without mincing words about what is happening. Children are being butchered. Homes are being wrecked and torn apart. Their futures have been burnt into ash—and many more shall be cast into the gaping maw of a blood-thirsty state in the make.

Nothing now guarantees our safety—not our homes, not our communities, not our local leaders, and not even toeing the political line of this regime. Nothing is guaranteed under a regime which spits at the face of reason and the rule of law!.

We of the working peoples invite you, our countrymen: whoever, wherever and whatever their thoughts and beliefs may be, to join hands in prayer, reflection and mourning. We invite each other to ask the hardest of questions—of what truly needs to be done to bend and break this regiment of death unleashed by Malacañang and the Philippine National Police. We invite all to join each and any form of protest and action, and wear black ribbons to express our anger, despair and grim desire to end this once and for all.

The line shall be drawn here and now. This far, no further. Soon, the joy, impunity and false glories of the guilty will turn to ashes. Their debt in blood shall be paid in justice, for us, our children, and those who will come after.

We assert: Justice for Carl and Reynaldo!
We insist: Stop the Killings! End this now!

Statement on the Extrajudicial Murder of Kian delos Santos

The APL Youth, together with the Sentro ng mga Nagkakaisa at Progresibong Manggagawa (SENTRO), condemns, in the strongest and most outraged terms, the intensification of the war on the poor. We join the nation in mourning with rage the murder of 17-year old Kian delos Santos and all those considered as “collateral damage” Duterte’s calloused regime of death.

Kian was murdered in cold blood by the elements of the Philippine National Police in Caloocan City. The young delos Santos was allegedly claimed by PNP Caloocan to have engaged in a shootout with their forces–and yet CCTV footage, testimonies of the victim’s father and neighbors, as well as many other witnesses, have proven the brazen lie. His death is just one of the record-breaking 60 extrajudicial killings inflicted this week by police forces.

The PNP claims yet another innocent child in the gaping maw of its ravenous war on the poor. With his violent and unjust death, Kian delos Santos joins the ranks of Danica May Garcia (also shot to death last August 27, 2016, also in Caloocan), Althea Barbon (killed last September 1, 2016 in Guihilngan City, Negros Oriental, together with her father), and many other undocumented cases of children and families slaughtered by the PNP’s reign of terror.

The casualty count of this war on the poor is likely to go beyond five digits. While official tallies and media reports continue to assert a range of 5,000-8,000 deaths, unofficial and unreported cases point to figures nearing or exceeding 12,000. We have long surpassed the record figure of 3,257 deaths sponsored by the dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos for the period of 1972-1986—and these for multiple crimes against humanity, human rights violations and politically-motivated violence.

We urge all those victimized by the war of the poor to speak truth to power like the family and friends of the young delos Santos. With them, we shall continue to shake and disturb the conscience of our people.

We call for an impartial and thoroughgoing investigation in the death of Kian delos Santos and others like him who were mudered by our security forces and their vigilante cohorts.

Once again, we call for the end to this senseless war on the poor and demand full accountability for all these crimes against humanity.

Together with the Filipino people,
The working people say: Justice for Kian delos Santos!
The working people insist: Stop the Killings!

 

Alisin ang lambong ng terorismo. Mamamayan, itulak ang kilusan para sa tunay na kapayapaan.

Takot ang pangunahing nililikha ng terorismo, ng gyera. Kapag takot ang nangibabaw, nakagawiang gustong kapitan ay iyong dagling makakatanggal ng takot. Lakas laban sa lakas. Pwersa laban sa pwersa. Karahasan pantapat sa karahasan ng terorismo. Kung ano ang mas mabilis na makapupuksa ng pinanggagalingan ng takot at kaguluhan, yun ang nakikitang tanging opsyon, tulad ng militarisasyon. Tulad ng pagpataw ng Batas Militar sa Mindanao dahil sa labanan sa pagitan ng pamahalaan ng Pilipinas at grupo ng Maute, itinuturing na Islamic extremists, sa Marawi.

Subali’t kailangang tumingin tayo lagpas sa Batas Militar. Ano pa ang maaaring gawin? Isang mahalagang hakbang ang pag-intindi sa nagaganap sa Marawi; sa pagtuklas ng ugat ng mga kaganapan hindi lang sa Marawi kundi sa likod ng pagkakaroon ng mga grupong tulad ng Maute. Totoong dapat labanan ang terorismo. Subali’t kahit mabuwal ang libong itinuturing na terorista, may iba pang susulpot or marerekrut kapalit nila kung hindi ang ugat ng terorismo ang mapupuksa. Para sa pamahalaan, ang tanging solusyon ay militarisasyon, gyera, batas militar.

Bakit? Dahil mas mahirap para sa pamahalaan na ayusin ang problema ng kahirapan; ang harapin ang kawalan ng trabaho at katiyakan nito, ang makatarungan at mabilis na pamamahagi ng lupa at suportang serbisyo, ang pagsasauli ng coco levy at paggamit nito para sa kapakinabangan ng maliliit na magniniyog, ang moratoryum sa land use conversion, ang sertipikasyon ng Alternative Minerals Management Bill, moratorium sa mga bagong aplikasyon sa pagmimina, pag-aalis ng interes sa mga resettlement ng mga maralita at pagsasaayos ng sistema ng pabahay.

Hindi lamang ang pamahalaan ang may tangan ng opsyon. Tayong mga mamamayan ay may obligasyon sa pagkakaroon ng kapayapaan; may responsibilidad sa kapwa natin Pilipino na dumaranas ng hirap dahil sa kaguluhan sa Marawi, dahil sa mas matinding militarisasyon o abuso sa ilalim ng Batas Militar sa Mindanao. Ang unang pinakamahalagang hakbang ay alamin, unawain, suriin ang mga pwersa at mga kadahilanan sa likod ng matagal nang sigwa sa Mindanao; itulak ang pamahalaan na hindi batas militar ang sagot. Di sagot ang machismo o pagtutulak sa panggagahasa at lahat ng porma ng abuso, sa ngalan ng gyera o pagpatay.

Ang aming sama-samang panawagan:
1. Ihinto ang Batas Militar, huwag pahabain, huwag palawigin.
2. Ihinto ang pambobomba at pagsira sa Marawi at mga karatig-bayan.
3. Isama ang mga lokal na pinuno, pati kababaihan, sa lahat ng usapang pang-kapayapaan.
4. Panagutin ang mga responsable sa paglabag sa karapatang pantao.
5. Tugunan ang mga batayang panawagan sa tiyak na trabaho, makatarungan at mabilis na pamamahagi ng lupa at suportang serbisyo, edukasyon at serbisyong pangkalusugan para sa lahat, kasama ang kalusugang pang-reproduktibo, makatarungang sistemang pabahay, at pagtitiyak ng katuparan ng mga batas para sa karapatan ng kababaihan.

KALIPUNAN NG MGA KILUSANG MASA
Alyansa Tigil Mina (ATM)
Kilos Maralita (KM)
Pambansang Kilusan ng mga Samahang Magsasaka (PAKISAMA)
Partido Manggagawa (PM)
Sentro ng Nagkakaisa at Progresibong Manggagawa (SENTRO)
Union of Students for the Advancement of Democracy – Ateneo de Manila
World March of Women (WMW)

Workers group sees danger in unqualified declaration of martial law for entire Mindanao

 

Nagkaisa Labor Coalition on Labor Day 2017

The Philippine Constitution under Article 7 Section 18 granted the President the power to declare a state of martial law. But such a declaration should meet certain requirements to justify suppression of lawless violence, invasion or rebellion and the suspension of the writ of habeas corpus.

We condemn and will continue to oppose any act of terrorism perpetrated by any group in any part of the country. And while we recognize the power of the President to address security emergencies like this one, we also will not disregard the danger posed by unqualified use of military power to deal with security threats at the expense of democracy and basic human rights. Filipinos will never forget the dark days under fourteen years of martial law.

In line with this, we find the Moscow declaration of President Duterte placing the entire Mindanao under the state of martial law as worrisome as it came with yet to be qualified basis except for the pockets of violence that erupted yesterday in Marawi City between the military and the combined forces of Maute and Abu Sayaff groups. Why place the entire Mindanao under a state of martial law when the military itself claimed it is in full control of the situation?

Even the fire and storm of Misuari in Zamboanga nor the firefights in Ipil were not sufficient cause for a declaration of Martial Law. Indeed, if there is any lesson, Mindanaoans have demonstrated in the last 40 years, is that they best cooperate, cohabit and interact with each other WITHOUT Martial Law. The historical memory of the Filipino race has been so foreshadowed by the totalitarian menace that even now, we feel more threatened than secured by the State under Martial Law. Workers will never forget, especially when workers’ rights to organize, to bargain and to strike occupy such a low level of political esteem from the powers that be. We ask all to step back from the totalitarian temptation.

Furthermore, the Filipino people deserve the right to be properly informed on matters of national security especially when their rights and welfare are affected by executive decrees, including military actions that reign supreme over civilian authority during a state of martial law.

Lastly, we call on the Congress and the Supreme Court to exercise their oversight powers over the President on the issue of martial law, and for the Filipino people to remain vigilant during these difficult and challenging times.

NAGKAISA Labor Coalition
PRESS STATEMENT