Category Archives: statement

Labor group expects “good” SONA

Nagkaisa Labor Coalition, the largest coalition of worker’s organization in the country expects a “good” SONA from President Duterte.

“It should be a SONA that would squarely address economic woes and political issues besetting the country today”, said Nagkaisa spokesperson Ka Rene Magtubo.

Nagkaisa expects the President’s SONA should contain the following:

– Addressing the proliferation of illegal and abusive contracting arrangements that DO 174 and EO 51 failed to do, by way of certifying as urgent the Security of Tenure Bill pending in the Senate

– Addressing the “gap” in workers wages and the cost of living brought about by the TRAIN law, rising inflation, peso devaluation, profiteering and the spike in global prices of petroleum products by way of certifying as urgent wage bills pending in the House of Representatives;

– Providing more assistance to women workers by enacting into law the Expanded Maternity Leave Bill pending in the House of Representatives;

– Addressing the prevalence of poverty despite positive economic growth in terms of programs and services that would directly benefit the poor people by way of increasing budget in affordable housing, universal healthcare and pension for the elderly among others;

– Addressing the continuing problem of unemployment and underemployment by way of policies and programs that would provide more local employment opportunities to the labor force by way of a clear industrialization policy, continuing land reform, and development of agriculture; and

– Clear government policy of defending the country’s sovereignty and patrimony on its rightful claims in the West Philippine Sea.

“These are the real issues that matter most to the working people that government should prioritize and not charter change. Absent these issues, the speech will be “business as usual” as in the previous SONAs”, Magtubo added.

Majority of the members of the coalition will be joining the United Peoples’ SONA to voice out workers issues and concerns.

Nagkaisa Labor Coalition
Press Release

United Labor SONA : The Real State of Labor under Duterte Exposed

A few days before President Rodrigo Duterte’s third State of the Nation Address (SONA), the labor sector once again showcased working class unity. The country’s major labor centers under the Nagkaisa! Labor Coalition and Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) presented the real state of Filipino workers to media under the two years of President Duterte.

“No end to ENDO. Run over by TRAIN. Waiting in vain for a significant wage increase. Labor rights violated.” This in a nutshell is how Nagkaisa! and KMU described the sorry state of workers for the past two years.


“Government put one over workers,” KMU and Nagkaisa! said. “Failing to address the issue of contractualization, government tries to cover up the failure to deliver the promise of ending contractualization by citing empty statistics,” KMU and Nagkaisa! said.

DOLE Secretary Silvestre Bello claims that the government has helped regularize 180,000+ workers, and that DOLE will regularize 300,000 more within the year. “This is false if not empty. The truth, is that the number of contractual workers is rising, even based on the government’s own data,” labor groups Nagkaisa! and KMU said.

“This has led to the massive termination of contractual workers as seen in the cases of PAL and PLDT where ‘endolords’ refused to implement the DOLE regularization order and instead laid-off over 12,000 of its workers.

This is also the case in Jollibee Foods Corporation, NutriAsia, and other companies that have been found practicing Labor Only Contracting,” KMU and Nagkaisa said. “Without the President’s decisive action, contractualization will persist,” the groups added.

Despite DOLE’s DO 174 — and Duterte’s EO 51, which bars companies from firing contractual employees covered by DOLE regularization orders — PLDT and other violators have faced no penalty for their non-compliance.

“Almost three months after Labor Day, when he said a law is needed to end contractualization, the President has not certified as urgent the Security of Tenure Bill. The Expanded Maternity Leave Bill is also in limbo,” Nagkaisa! and KMU said.


“The wage system remains the same with no concrete plans to institute reforms,” Nagkaisa! and KMU said.

“The President himself promised to remove provincial wage rates in favor of calls of workers for a national minimum wage (NMW), yet the government has openly opposed the passage of National Minimum Wage (NMW) bills such as House Bill 7787 and other proposed legislation increasing wages,” Nagkaisa! and KMU said.

The record high inflation rate of over 5% over the past five months resulting from “the rampaging TRAIN law has run over the poor.” Additional excise taxes and coverage of VAT have further devaluated the meager wage rates across the country,” KMU and Nagkaisa! said.

Instead of wage hike, Duterte gave us unabated price hikes. Thanks to the anti-people TRAIN law, Filipino workers are feeling the brunt of rising costs of basic goods and services, including food, transport, electricity, and water. To distract from the reality of how the TRAIN law further pressed down the value of wages in the country, the government implemented meager wage hikes through nine regional wage boards.

These increases would not even bring our wages any closer to the P40,000 monthly cost of living begrudgingly proposed by NEDA as the budget for the average Filipino family. Even by the government’s own calculations, wages are insufficient for decent living.


“Basic labor rights violations are rampant. At EPZA, workers have been treated as wanted criminals for union organizing activities, while investors enjoy all the privileges and protection,” Nagkaisa ang KMU said.

The same continues to happen in Mindanao.

“Workers from companies such as Sumifru, Shin Sun, and Freshmax have been harassed through union-busting, terrorist tagging and even paraded as fake rebel surenderees,” KMU and Nagkaisa said.

“In many similar cases, such as that of Coke, NutriAsia, Core Asia, and Middleby, it’s the workers themselves who end up being harassed, treated as criminals, and violently dispersed by state security forces,” KMU and Nagkaisa! said.

“The Center for Trade Union and Human Rights (CTUHR) has reported the death of 30 labor leaders in the past two years, with a number getting illegally arrested, filed with trumped-up charges and are branded as common criminals,” KMU and Nagkaisa said.

Urban poor communities, where many workers live, continue to be anxious about the threat to their rights and liberty.

“In the near future, things might get worse should the proposed charter change that missed out on workers’ rights in the original draft and shift to federalism as it is proposed, come into fruition,” the labor groups said, whose combined membership make up the bulk of organized labor in the Philippines.

The cycle of unfulfilled promises–old and new–continue to hound workers.

It is in the hands of workers, as to where to take the continuing struggle for workers’ rights. Trade unions, organizations and institutions have banded together in a scale not seen since the 80’s. The unity we have forged highlighted by the joint actions since before Labor Day and continue to nurture, will all the more inspire us to work towards a common agenda.

Charter Change: Changing the rules to allow dictatorship

NO TO CHA-CHA Militants call for a stop to Charter change, which they fear will lead to a “revolutionary government” and dictatorship as they march toward the Edsa People Power Monument. —ALEXIS CORPUZ

Opening the 1987 Constitution to amendments via a Constituent Assembly (ConAss) will only enable the few to forward their own interests, allow the President and other incumbents to stay in power beyond their terms, or establish a transitional or permanent dictator along the way.

On July 9, 2018, a draft federal constitution was submitted by the Consultative Committee to the President. The ConCom’s Bayanihan Federalism draft is in addition to earlier drafts, including that from the PDP-Laban and the congressmen’s own House Concurrent Resolution (HCR) 9. All these set the stage for the opening of the 1987 Constitution to amendments – all via a Constituent Assembly as it is the fastest and least costly mode preferred by the President.

These proposals contain transitory provisions that allow the sitting President to exercise dictatorial powers during the transition. We have no doubt the current members of the Lower House who will comprise the absolute majority ConAss will grant the wish of President Duterte as the same agenda also feeds their interest of extending their terms during the transition.

On July 23, 2018, the President will deliver his annual State of the Nation Address to Congress—both the House of Representatives and Senate—where we expect Duterte’s Charter Change and Federalism to take center stage.

We, from the Kalipunan ng mga Kilusang Masa or Kalipunan, a coalition of movements from farmers, fisherfolk, indigenous peoples, labor, women, urban poor, environmental activists, youth, and students join the broader movement against dictatorship in the United People’s SONA where ordinary citizens take center stage and speak about issues that Duterte has set aside.

We stand in solidarity with social movements of different leanings, and the religious to condemn Duterte’s Charter Change as a grave danger to democracy and doubt the proposed revisions will actually result to a truly humane and just society. Charter Change will only cement Duterte’s Dictatorship, to the detriment of basic sectors of society.

KALIPUNAN looks no further from Duterte’s failed promises and dismal track record in the past two years for proof:

1. On Contractualization: Despite strong statements that the President will completely end contractualization, this labor practice continues to be the rule rather than the exception in many workplaces.

2. On TRAIN and Inflation: Further aggravated by the effects of TRAIN Law, the inflation rate has ballooned to 5.2% causing prices of basic goods and services to increase. In addition, the effects of the trillion-peso loan from China to our economy have yet to be seen.

3. On the West Philippine Sea: His failure to enforce the Hague ruling has allowed Chinese military bases to be installed in the West Philippine Sea, and for Chinese fishers to trample on the rights of local fishers from Zambales and Pangasinan.

4. On Rural Economies: There continues to be a lack of a National Land Use Policy that enables local government units and private real estate developers to convert prime irrigable and irrigated lands to commercial lands that affect farmers’ livelihoods. The lifting of the Quantitative Restrictions (QR) on rice, and in its place the government’s proposal to fully liberalize the rice industry also threatens food sovereignty and the livelihoods of smallholder rice farmers.

5. On Mining and the Environment: Mining companies continue to operate in protected areas and ancestral lands; coupled with an outdated Philippine Mining Act, most mining operations in the country not only disregard getting the free and prior informed consent of indigenous peoples but also worsen environmental degradation.

6. On the War on Drugs: He has waged a bloody “war on drugs” that has resulted in the proliferation of killings in the country. From July 1, 2016, to June 11, 2018; the police has recorded 4,279 suspects killed in anti-illegal drug operations and 23, 518 homicide cases under investigation.

7. On Violence against Women: Duterte’s misogyny and vilification of women have created a culture that promulgates violence against women.

Clearly, Duterte has failed to deliver on his promises. Will this chacha change the state of things where he failed during the past two years?

These proposals to revise the constitution are not the answers to the people’s concerns. Charter Change will only serve to legitimize the rule of the few and divert the government’s attention from addressing pressing issues basic sectors face.

For this reason, the Kalipunan will join the historic gathering of different groups and organizations on the day of SONA. We call on all to join this historic United People’s SONA to hold our government leaders accountable, especially Duterte, in failing to address the concerns of our people and uphold freedom, social justice, and democracy.

Statement of Kalipunan ng mga Kilusang Masa
14 July 2018

Alyansa Tigil Mina (ATM)
Kilos Maralita (KM)
Pambansang Kilusan ng mga Samahang Magsasaka (PAKISAMA)
Partido Manggagawa (PM)
Sentro ng mga Nagkakaisa at Progresibong Manggagawa (SENTRO)
Union of Students for the Advancement of Democracy (USAD-Ateneo de Manila)
Urban Poor Alliance (UP All)
World March of Women – Pilipinas

Response From Migrant Worker Communities  and Migrant Rights’ Civil Society Organizations With Regards To Ongoing Raids on Undocumented Migrants in Malaysia

In response to the ongoing enforcement operations on undocumented migrant workers by the Immigration Department of Malaysia and as per press release (31 May 2018) by the Home Affairs Minister of Malaysia, YB Tan Sri Muhyiddin Haji Mohd Yassin, of the new Pakatan Harapan government, we the migrant community and CSOs concerned about migrants’ rights in Malaysia are very concerned about the future of migrants in the country. The directives in the press statement fails again to address the root causes of the issues and do not provide enough time for proper discussions and analysis for just remedies which need to be holistic, comprehensive and be based on ILO Conventions and fundamental Human Rights principles. These concerns also cover refugees, asylum seekers and stateless communities, who are also at risks of being detained during this new enforcement operations.

How Migrants Become Undocumented

Many of the migrants the Malaysian Government has labelled “Illegal” (or in more humane terms “undocumented”) attain that status due to no fault of their own. Some of these reasons include:

a. Trafficking: Malaysia’s history as a human trafficking hub is well documented by civil society and even reflected in Government data. Recent revelations regarding a large and politically well-connected trafficking syndicate, as well as Malaysia’s downgrade to Tier 2 Watch List of the US State Department’s Trafficking in Persons (TIP) report further reinforces our fears of the prevalent and possibly even systemic existence of trafficking networks within Malaysia. We must never punish migrants who became victims of trafficking to Malaysia, as their circumstances are beyond their control. Criminalizing victims and survivors is not the way to go; we should instead be going after the syndicates and those responsible.

b. Deception: Agents have a history of giving false advice and promises regarding the process of getting permits and jobs in Malaysia. Some migrants have low literacy levels, making them susceptible to fraud and deception, and even literate migrant workers become possible victims of fraud and unjust treatment by both recruiters and employers. Recruiters promise work permits and good employment contracts with decent wages and conditions. Upon arrival, however, these workers often find that not only have their contracts, employment sites, and terms and conditions been changed, but that they may have also violated Malaysian immigration laws. For most workers there is little access to justice or right to redress mechanisms in proving the fraud and deception.

c. Rehiring: The rehiring process is lengthy and non-transparent, and the subcontractors and sub-agents of rehiring face little accountability. It is a privatized process driven by profiteering motifs, fraud and deception. For example, workers are not given receipts of rehiring payments and many agents cheat workers, taking their money but not providing e-cards. There is no adequate redress mechanism that can investigate and track these agents. While we welcome the cancellation of problematic rehiring contractors, we are afraid that workers in the midst of registration may be again victimized by this move.

d. Renewal: The migrant working visa renewal process is equally riddled with cheating, a lack of transparency and little accountability by agents and employers. Most migrants have little idea of how this opaque process works. Passports are often illegally held by employers and whether their visas are renewed or not is out of the beyond the worker’s control.

e. Employer bondage and exploitation: The past Malaysian Government’s hiring policy , which now needs to be reviewed by the new government, requires an employer’s consent to for workers to change employers. This inflexibility is particularly problematic in cases of exploitation, intimidation and physical violence where workers have no choice but to abscond and become undocumented. This is exacerbated where workers’ passports have been illegally retained. This system, which resembles the widely-criticised kafala system practiced in Gulf countries, provides little option to seek redress for workers in this situation, particularly with the overhanging threat of deportation.

f. Amnesty blacklisting: The 3 + 1 amnesty program, which blacklists workers for five (5) years, further discourages them from using the amnesty system and thus forces them to become undocumented.

g. Accountability: The complex commercial chains of private outsourcing companies and agents that govern migrant workers’ affairs activities render them largely unaccountable. Companies and agents often deny or neglect their responsibility for their workers, and many migrant workers become undocumented because of the irresponsibility of these companies and agents.

h. Border enforcement: Documented corruption and inefficiency within border enforcement agencies add to the problems faced by migrant workers, benefitting from the activities of the accountable recruitment industry and providing little relief or assistance when things go wrong.

i. Recruitment debt: Many migrant workers believe the promises made to them in countries of origin by agents and employers, borrowing huge sums from syndicates and moneylenders to finance the initial migration costs. This debt bondage is exacerbated by the illegitimate substitution of contract terms, arbitrarily driving down wages and conditions and imposing unaccountable wage deductions, making repayment increasingly difficult. Sending people home in such circumstances is putting many workers at risk, and this needs to be clearly addressed.


To ensure that all labour migration matters are handled in a way that gives dignity and respect to migrant workers, we demand an holistic solution based on the following recommendations:

  1. An immediate moratorium on raids/enforcement operation “Ops Mega 3.0” to ensure no workers are punished for crimes which are not of their fault. These raids and operations should be suspended while a holistic assessment of all the issues and potential comprehensive solutions are undertaken with all stakeholders with regard to labour migration.


  1. That the Government makes available its Standard Operating Procedure for conducting raids and detaining undocumented migrant workers, so that human rights and civil society organisations can ensure fundamental rights are protected and due process guaranteed.


  1. To decriminalize the “undocumented” status of workers (which is an administrative offence), and recognize that becoming undocumented is primarily an outcome of labour exploitation. This is especially relevant for vulnerable groups like women and child migrant workers, who face additional layers of exploitation which leads to them being undocumented and victims of forced labour and trafficking.


  1. That the Committee for Institutional Reforms facilitates safe dialogue spaces between the Government of Malaysia and migrant communities and other relevant stakeholders and social actors to propose evidence-based solutions. Such solutions must be based on clear verified labour market data (for example from the Institute of Labour Market Information and Analysis, employer organizations and other sound economic analysis) and base its solutions on fundamental Human Rights and Decent Work principles. The involvement of the International Labour Organisation would be advisable in this respect.


  1. To facilitate the overhaul and expansion of Government-to-Government hiring mechanisms as the primary means by which workers are recruited in Malaysia in a manner that is transparent and accountable as well as evidence- and rights-based.


  1. More time must be given to migrant workers to process and secure their working visa status and make decisions on their working status in Malaysia. Unrealistic deadlines force workers to risk going underground, collaborating with exploitative actors within the labour supply chain, driving criminality and other high-risk activities.


  1. The Government should stop blacklisting migrant workers who use the 3 + 1 Amnesty Program, an action which only discourages its use. The program should be conducted exclusively by the Immigration Department to avoid levying excessive charges on already-struggling workers and discourage profiteering.


  1. The Government must ensure all migrants have access to justice and the right to redress, including when they are caught and detained. This due diligence must be practiced by enforcement agencies and the judiciary to ensure accused migrants have a fair trial and a chance to defend themselves. Migrants must have guaranteed access to legal aid from the National Legal Aid Foundation to achieve these goals.


Migrant workers play a huge part in securing economic growth for Malaysia and will still be needed in years to come by various industries. The Government must play a more active role in educating the Malaysian people that migrant workers are not their enemies or the cause of their own financial or employment problems.

Migrants are here because the Malaysian government, employers in formal and informal sectors and agents opened spaces for their work. So how can migrants be ‘illegal’? No person is illegal. We have always been keen to discuss these matters with all appropriate authorities to find the best solutions. This is a good time for the new Government to take stock of what the real situation is and what determine what possible solutions might be, before taking any actions.

Accordingly, migrant communities and CSOs concerned about migrants’ rights request an urgent meeting with the Minister of Home Affairs and Minister of Human Resource to discuss and propose  comprehensive, rights-based solutions on these and related issues.


Endorsed by

  1. Asosasyon ng mga Makabayang Manggagawang Pilipino Overseas(AMMPO),Philippines/Malaysia
  2. Sentro ng mga Nagkakaisa at Progresibong Manggagawa (SENTRO),Philippines
  3. SERANTAU,Indonesia/Malaysia
  4. Building and Wood Workers’ International Asia-Pacific
  5. GEFONT Support Group,Nepal/Malaysia
  6. Pravasi Nepali Coordination Committee (PNCC, Nepal/Malaysia
  7. Myanmar Migrants Rights Centre (MMRC),Myanmar/Malaysia
  8. Muglan-Migants Advisor, Nepal/Malaysia
  9. Serikat Buruh Migran Indonesia(SBMI) , Indonesia
  10. Nepalese People Progresive Forum, Nepal/Malaysia
  11. Tenaganita,Malaysia
  12. Migrant 88
  13. Penang Stop Human Trafficking Campaign,Malaysia
  14. Persatuan Sahabat Wanita Selangor(PSWS), Malaysia
  15. Committee of Asian Women (CAW)
  16. North South Initiative (NSI), Malaysia
  17. Suara Rakyat Malaysia, Malaysia ,Malaysia
  18. Pusat Komas
  19. Bangladesh Institute of Labour Studies, Bangladesh
  20. Workers Hub For Change(WH4C),Malaysia
  21. People Forum for Human Rights(People Forum),Kathmandu, Nepal
  22. Center for Migrant Advocacy, Philippines (CMA-Phils),Philippines
  23. The People’s Coalition for Fisheries Justice (KIARA),Indonesia
  24. SEAFish for Justice ,Indonesia
  25. Health Equity Initiatives (HEI)
  26. Asian Network for Social & Agricultural Development (SANSAD)
  27. Coalition of Cambodian Farmers Community Association (CCFC),Cambodia
  28. Community Development Services (CDS), Colombo, Sri Lanka
  29. Adaleh Center for Human Rights Studies, Jordan
  30. Association for Community Development (ACD), Bangladesh
  31. Think Centre, Singapore
  32. Dibashram (Migrant Workers Cultural Centre), Singapore
  33. Burmese Worker Circle, Fort Wayne, Indiana, USA
  34. Tahanang Filipino Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
  35. Institute of Education Development, Social, Religious and Cultural Studies (infest) Yogyakarta, Indonesia
  36. Migrant CARE Indonesia
  37. Migrant CARE Malaysia
  38. New Thessalonian Apostolate (NTA), Malaysia
  39. PieceWorks International
  40. Projek Dialog, Malaysia
  41. Persatuan Kesedaran Komuniti Selangor (EMPOWER) ,Malaysia
  42. Pertubuhan Pembangunan Kebajikan Dan Persekitaran Positif Malaysia (SEED),Malaysia
  43. Radanar Ayar Association,Myanmar
  44. Asia Transnational Corporation Monitoring Network(ATNC)
  45. Workers Initiative Kolkata, India
  46. Asia Monitor Resources Centre (AMRC)
  47. Konfederasi Serikat Nasional(KSN), Indonesia
  48. Federation of Indonesian Trade Union(GSBI),Indonesia
  49. Sedane Labour Resource Centre, Indonesia
  50. Center for Alliance of Labour and Human Rights (CENTRAL),Cambodia
  51. Parti Sosialis Malaysia(PSM), Malaysia
  52. International Domestic Workers Federation(IDWF)
  53. Textile Garments Workers Federation, Bangladesh
  54. Australia Asia Workers Links, Australia
  55. Asia Floor Wage Alliance (AFWA)
  56. Serikat Buruh Kerakyatan (SERBUK),Indonesia
  57. Angkatan Peduli Insan, Malaysia
  58. Jaringan Rakyat Tertindas (JERIT), Malaysia
  59. Seksualiti Merdeka, Malaysia
  60. Arts For Grabs, Malaysia
  61. Archdiocesan Office of Human Development, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
  62. Geutanyoe Foundation
  63. Bhalobashi Bangladesh, Bangladesh
  64. Myanmar Ethnic Rohingya Human Rights Organization Malaysia (MERHROM), Malaysia
  65. SAVE Rivers, Malaysia
  66. Harmonyworks, Malaysia
  67. The Society for the Promotion of Human Rights (Proham), Malaysia
  68. Justice For Sisters, Malaysia
  69. Women’s Aid Organization (WAO), Malaysia
  70. Parti Murba, Malaysia
  71. Kuliah Buku (KUBU), Malaysia
  72. Smile Education and Development Foundation, Myanmar
  73. Aliran Kesedaran Negara(ALIRAN), Malaysia
  74. Community Transformation Initiative (CTI), Malaysia
  75. Monitoring Sustainability of Globalisation (MSN), Malaysia
  76. Hope Organization, Malaysia
  77. Advocates for Non-Discrimination and Access to Knowledge (ANAK), Malaysia
  78. Gusdurian Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
  79. International Planned Parenthood Federation
  80. International Movement of Catholic Students (IMCS) Asia Pacific
  81. Civil Rights Committee of the Kuala Lumpur and Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall, Malaysia
  82. Malaysia Muda, Malaysia
  83. Malaysian Progressives in Australia
  84. VajraLink, Malaysia
  85. Electronics Industry Employees Union Southern Region, Malaysia
  86. Coordination of Action Research on AIDS and Mobility (CARAM)
  87. GreenWatch, Dhaka, Malaysian
  88. Human Traficking Watch, Indonesia
  89. Gabungan Serikat Buruh Indonesia(GSBI), Indonesia
  90. Front Perjuangan Rakyat (FPR)
  91. International League of Peoples’ Struggle(ILPS) Indonesia,
  92. Keluarga Buruh Migran Indonesia( KABAR BUMI), Indonesia
  93. Institute for National and Democracy Studies(INDIES), Indonesia
  94. People Idea Culture, Malaysia
  95. The Human Lens
  96. Indonesian Migrant Muslim Alliance( GAMMI-HK), Hong Kong
  97. Al Jami’ayyatus Sholeha, Hong Kong
  98. United Indonesian Migrant Workers Against Overcharging, Hong Kong
  99. Asosiasi BMI Progresif (ABP), Hong Kong
  100. Warkop Aremania, Hong Kong
  101. Association of Indonesian Migrant Workers(ATKI-HK),Hong Kong
  102. Jamaah Silahturohimi Blitar,(JSB-HK) , Hong Kong
  103. Nurul Hidayah,Hong Kong
  104. Lentera Wong Tai Sin, Hong Kong
  105. Al Islami, Hong Kong
  106. Indonesian Migrant Workers Union( IMWU-HK),Hong Kong
  107. Asosisi Pekerja Indonesia Timur Tengah(ASPITT),Hong Kong
  108. Al Istiqomah International Muslim Society, Hong Kong
  109. Indonesian Migrant Workers Union Macau(IMWUM), Macau
  110. Beringin Tetap Maidenlike and Benevolent (BTM & B), Hong Kong
  111. Orang Indonesia Merah Putih (OI-MP), Hong Kong
  112. Migrant Resource Centre(MRC) Penang, Malaysia
  113. Arakan Refugee Relief Committee (ARRC),Malaysia
  114. Alliance of Chin Refugees, Malaysia
  115. Kachin Refugee Committee, Malaysia
  116. The Patani, Patani/Thailand
  117. Tamil Nadu Land Rights Federation (TNLRF),India
  118. IMA Research Foundation, Bangladesh
  119. Future Watch Movement, Bangladesh
  120. ASEAN Services Employees Trade Union Council (ASETUC)
  121. Union Network International Asia Pacific Regional Office (UNI APRO)
  122. Peoples Forum, Nepal
  123. POURAKHI, Nepal
  124. Transient Workers Count Too, Singapore


  1. Rev Ng Kok Kee, Pastor of Harvest Community Church Petaling Jaya, Malaysia
  2. Mahi Ramakrishnan, Filmmaker/Journalist
  3. Dr Chan Chee Khun, Academician
  4. Anselmo Lee, Activist
  5. Laurence Kwark, Activist
  6. Abu Hayat, Consultant on Bangladeshi Migration Corridor











Photo by: Joshua Noguit/Sentro

Hindi na dapat ipagdiwang ng rehimeng Duterte ang Araw ng Kalayaan. Wala itong karapatang mag-alay ng bulaklak sa paanan ng estatuwa ni Rizal na siyang laging seremonya ng mga pamahalaan tuwing ika-12 ng Hunyo. Higit pang naging hungkag ang selebrasyong ito sa ilalim ni Duterte, na sa katotohanan ay matagal nang ritwal na lamang na nagtatakip sa hindi magagandang pangyayari sa ating kasaysayan—mga pangyayaring dapat magbunsod sa atin na magtanong kung totoo nga bang may kalayaan at soberenya simula pa sa sinasabing pagtaas ni Aguinaldo ng bandila sa Kawit.

Hindi katanggap-tanggap sa mga kababaihang Filipino na magpugay si Duterte sa Inang Bayan. Hindi ang pangulong ito na nambabastos, nang-iinsulto, nagpapababa sa katayuan ng mga kababaihan dahil ginagawa niyang biro ang panggagahasa, ang pandarahas sa mga babae, ang pagbaril sa aming mga puki, sa pagpapatindi ng tingin sa mga babae bilang mga sexual objects na tagabigay ng aliw sa kanya at sa mga kalalakihan.

Hindi! Hindi ang pangulong ito at ang mga miyembro ng kanyang pamahalaan na nagtataguyod ng kultura ng pagkamuhi, pandarahas, pang-aapi sa kababaihan; isang kulturang patriyarkal na matingkad kahit mismo sa hanay ng mga babae at matagal nang binabaka ng mga tagapagtanggol ng karapatan ng kababaihan.

Hindi! Hindi ang pangulong ito na nagdulot ng matinding kahirapan sa mga kababaihan sa Mindanao dahil sa kanyang batas militar; na naging dahilan ng pagkabalo ng mga kababaihan at pagkaulila ng maraming mga bata sa mahihirap na pamayanan dahil sa kanyang giyera laban sa droga samantalang inililigtas ang mga sindikato na nagpapakalat mismo ng droga; na tumalikod sa kanyang pangako sa mga manggagawa na ititigil ang kontraktwalisasyon; na nagpatupad ng isang batas sa buwis na higit pang nagsasadlak sa babae sa matinding kahirapan; na patuloy na hinahayaan ang walang habas na land use conversion sa kabila ng pangakong moratorium; na planong tanggalin ang buong probisyon ng katarungang panlipunan at karapatang pantao sa Konstitusyon at ang restriksyon sa pag-aari sa lupa at mahahalagang sektor ng ekonomiya para sa malayang pamumuhunan ng mga dayuhang negosyante.

Hindi ang rehimeng ito na tinatalikuran ang maliliit na mangingisdang Filipino; na nagtraydor sa bayan kapalit ng mga ganansiya mula sa Tsina at Estados Unidos.

Hungkag ang kalayaan at soberenya hanggang ang kababaihan at mayorya ng mga anak ng Inang Bayan ay dumaranas ng pang-ekonomiyang kahirapan, pinapatay nang walang pakundangan, pinagtataksilan upang itaguyod ang interes ng makakapangyarihan.

Babae kami. Nasa hanay ng mga manggagawa, maralita, magsasaka, katutubo, mga progresibong propesyunal, mga mulat na kabataan, mga tagapagtanggol ng karapatang pantao at kalikasan. Ang laban ng mga batayang sektor ay laban ng kababaihan. Ang laban ng kababaihan ay laban ng mamamayan. Ang labang ito ay para kay Inang Bayan!

Filipino workers among the most at risk anywhere in the world – SENTRO

Despite assurances of protection from local and national laws, including international agreements, Filipino workers are living the most perilous time in their own country and in almost all other countries they are working as overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), labor group Sentro ng mga Nagkakaisa at Progresibong Manggagawa (Sentro) said over the weekend.

In its annual global report released last week, the International Trade Union Confederation has placed the Philippines and the majority of countries where OFWs are eking their living, under category five, which is a rating for the worst countries in the world to work in.

The report said that, “while the legislation may spell out certain rights, workers have effectively no access to these rights and are therefore exposed to autocratic regimes and unfair labour practices.”

“What is notable in this report is that the Philippines is included in a long list of countries whose current regimes do not actively respect workers’ rights. Hence, despite the existence of national law and being signatories to international laws on labor, the workers’ safety and protection of their rights are not guaranteed,” said Josua Mata, Secretary General of Sentro.

According to Mata, these include Bahrain, Hong Kong, Iran, South Korea, Kuwait, Nigeria, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and United Arab Emirates which are all major destinations for OFWs, “which means Filipino workers are really screwed up in and outside of their country.”

“The problem is, our own government do have the moral ascendancy to demand rights for our workers abroad when the Philippine government itself can’t protect its own citizens,” Mata explained. “It can’t even guarantee the fundamental rights of its own workers in its home country,” Mata added.

Another notable aspect of the report is that it included the Philippines as one of the top 10 worst countries in the world for the workers, saying “in a context of extreme state violence and suppression of civil liberties, workers and trade unionists in the Philippines faced threats and intimidation.”

SENTRO suffered the first trade union killing under the administration of Mr. Duterte when Lando Abangan, a trade union and community organizer, was gunned down in Naga, Cebu, last 17 September 2016. Several other trade union and peasant leaders have been killed since then.

The greatest challenge Filipino workers are facing explained Mata, “is the destruction of the collective bargaining capacities of unions through violent reprisals against workers union-building capacities and the weakening of the labor movement in general by not regularizing the workers thus preventing the workers from joining labor movement.”

So long as trade union killings remain unresolved, so long as employers can abuse contractualization, the violent repression of workers’ rights in the country will continue with impunity.

“Mr. Duterte should now realize the folly of listening to the Employers Confederation of the Philippines (ECOP) when he issued EO 51. Rather than realize his campaign promise to end contractualization, the issuance only further legitimized the problem,” Mata said. “This will ensure that the Philippines will maintain next year its notorious distinction as one of the top ten worst countries for workers to work in,” Mata also added.

Southern Luzon network of civil society groups launch Manlaban Ka

File photo

A Southern Luzon-wide network of civil society organizations working for the promotion and protection of human rights was launched in Cavite.

Some 300 representatives of basic sectors from labor, urban poor, farmers, fisher folks, women, youth, transport workers, church and anti mining advocates, gathered Wednesday at the historic Casa Hacienda popularly known as the Tejeros Convention Center in Rosario Cavite, to launch the Mamamayang Nagkakaisa sa Laban ng Bayan para sa Karapatan or Manlaban Ka.

Made part of the launching program is a forum on charter change and human rights with constitutionalist Christian Monsod and former Representative Erin Tañada as guest speakers. Representatives of the CHR also graced the occasion.

The formal launching of Manlaban Ka ended up with the ratification of the group’s Unity Statement and a brief discussion on the network’s ways forward such as conducting grassroots education, database building on cases of HRVs, operational structures and ways forward. (see attached unity statement)

The formal launching was followed by a march of the participants to the Cavite economic zone in support of the strikebound workers of Dong Seung, a garments factory. During the past several months, a series of labor disputes around the freedom of association and working conditions have rocked the Cavite ecozone, the country’s biggest publicly-managed zone.

Ecozones particularly in the provinces of Cavite, Laguna and Batangas employ tens of thousands of workers. Regrettably it is also in these economic havens of foreign investors in the country where rampant violations of human and labor rights go unchecked and the violators go unpunished.

The launching of Manlaban Ka is the final outcome of a five-month process of consultations and focus group discussions among the basic sectors and civil society organizations working for the promotion and defence of human rights in the Southen Luzon region. This partnership building initiatives among the CSOs is in cooperation with the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) under its Governance in Justice or Go Just program.

The Southern Luzon process was facilitated by Kalipunan ng Kilusang Masa, with Partido Manggagawa (PM) and Sentro ng Nagkakaisa at Progresibong Manggagawa (Sentro) as lead organizations.

Prior to this launching, consultation meetings were held in Calamba City last April 7-9, 2018 where participants discussed the state of human rights in their respective areas and sectors. Resource speakers were invited in this process to give inputs on the many aspects and forms of human rights issues, including the many cases of extrajudicial killings in the southern Luzon region due to the ongoing war on drugs as well as violations of the economic, social and cultural rights of our workers, farmers, urban poor, women; and the destruction of many communities due to mining and land-grabbing activities.

Representatives from Bicol, Mimaropa, and the Calabarzon areas have actively participated in the previous process leading to their decision to form this loose but highly coordinative network of organizations willing to work together for the promotion and protection of human rights.

Part of Manlaban Ka Unity Statement declared:

“NANININDIGAN ang MANLABAN KA na ang mga karapatang pantao at demokrasya kung saan maraming aspeto nito ay hindi pa namin ganap na natatamasa, ay nararapat lamang na ipagtanggol at ipaglaban sa halip na isuko sa harap ng sinumang kapangyarihan na may hayagan at tagong layunin na ito’y pahinain o kaya ay ganap na patayin.

KUNG GAYUN, at mula sa mga batayang nabanggit, kami’y nangangahas at ngayon ay ipinapaalam sa lahat, na kaming mga sektor at indibidwal na nabibilang sa koalisyong ito, ay nakahanda nang MANLABAN sa ibat-ibang paraan katulad ng pagmumulat, pag-oorganisa, pagpapalawak at mga direktang pagkilos para ipagtanggol ang karapatan at demokrasya ng buong sambayanan.”

Manlaban Ka

SENTRO Solidarity Statement for the Release of Han Sang-gyun

The Sentro ng mga Nagkakaisa at Progresibong Manggagawa (SENTRO) send its heartfelt congratulations to Brother Han Sang-gyun, former President of the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions (KCTU), for his release from prison last May 21. Together with KCTU we stand proud and happy regarding this positive development—a clear moral and political victory for the solidarity of the working classes.

Brother Han’s imprisonment is just one of the many violations and intimidations employed against the working peoples of the world when they stand up for their rights. Accused of leading “violent action”, Brother Han’s only action was to lead the organizing for the mass mobilization of 130,000 people against the now-deposed government of Park Geun-hye in November 2015. The release of Brother Han is a vindication—one not written by the courts and government of South Korea, but by history, one that will look favorably on him for sparking the light of freedom in South Korea since 2016.

That said, we acknowledge that the fight is not yet over. Brother Han’s fellow KCTU officer, Secretary General Lee Young-Joo, remains in prison. Many other political prisoners of the Park years remain languishing in their holding rooms. Despite the ascension of left-leaning President Moon Jae-In under the mandate of representing the Candlelight Revolution, the continued imprisonment of Sister Lee and other like her would continue to put the lie on the promise of change.

We in the Philippines share South Korea’s joy in their current exercise of reforming society through democratic revolution and representation. At the same time, our country’s history of reversals, witness how our own EDSA Revolutions eventually ended up with the fascist regime of Rodrigo Duterte, may serve as a warning. Indeed, popular democracy will always be a work in progress. And the working peoples of the world can only continuously rely on themselves and those willing to dream an equal and equitable world. Only by vigilance, dignified dissent and an educated people may the fruits of liberation be protected.

So we in SENTRO and the working peoples of the Philippines, while celebrating Brother Han’s release, also join in your on-going calls:

Free Lee Young-Joo!
Free all trade unionists and prisoners of conscience!
Organize! Fight! Win!

Workers demand investigation of abusive practices in Burger Machine

workers’ group is asking the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) to investigate a fast food company allegedly forcing its employees to work in a shift continuously which sometimes extend up to several days.

“The DOLE should immediately inspect Burger Machine for forcing their employees to work non-stop for several days until a replacement is available,” Katherine Culaba, an organizer for Respect Fast Food Workers’ Alliance said in a statement.

According to Culaba, the conditions of workers in the fastfood industry is among the worst in the country. “We have long known the conditions of the workers in the fastfood sector hence our efforts to organize their ranks but if this is true, then Burger Machine would have managed unfortunately to raise the bar of exploitation higher than most of its peers,” Culaba said.

On Thursday, a facebook account owner posted about what transpired between two employees both working for fastfood companies where she learned of the exploitative working conditions the workers have to go through for daily wages that are way below the prescribed rate for the National Capital Region.

The post is now making rounds in the social media as FB account owners keep reposting it. The group is urging DOLE to probe the case and penalize immediately the company should the investigation proved the allegation true.

“We have actually reports from different fastfood establishments of employees working beyond the prescribed eight hours with no overtime payment but so far, this is the worst if it’s true,” Culaba said.

The group has actually interviewed several workers of Burger Machine, with experiences identical to what the FB account user has posted. The said workers however are working in a franchise, revealing a far common practice in the said fastfood company.

According to Culaba, she was able to talk to two of these employees, with one actually worked for more than four days of continuous shift, when his supposed substitute failed to report.

“What is more, these workers are regularly made to pay for discrepancies in the company’s inventory, deducting the equivalent amount of the ‘lost items’ from their pittance of wages,” she added.

Culaba also said that cases like this is the reason why her group and other labor and workers’ groups are asking the government to prohibit constractualization to protect the workers against similar conditions in the future.


Matapos tanggalin ng Korte Suprema si Maria Lourdes Sereno bilang Chief Justice sa botong 8-6, naging malinaw na hindi Saligang Batas ang sinusunod ng Kataas-taasang Hukuman kundi kagustuhan ng iilang nasa kapangyarihan. Nakikita namin sa Kalipunan ng Kilusang Masa, isang koalisyon ng mga kilusang manggagawa, magsasaka, kababaihan, maralitang lungsod, kabataan-estudyante, maka-kalikasang aktibista, na ngayon higit kailanman, kinakailangang ipaglaban ng higit na malawak na hanay ng mga mamamayan ang isang hudikaturang tunay na malaya at hindi sunud-sunuran sa iilan.

Nasa interes ng mga batayang sektor na maging malaya mula sa impluwensiya ng iilang may kapangyarihan ang Supreme Court bilang pinal na tagahatol sa sangay ng hudikatura. Kilala ng mga mamamayan ang mukha ng isang hudikaturang nakompromiso—pinahihintulutang ilibing ang isang diktador sa libingan ng mga bayani, pinapalaya ang mga nahatulan ng katiwalian, sinasang-ayunan ang pagkakatalaga ng Batas Militar, pinagkakaloob ang bahagi ng nakaw na coco levy kay Danding Cojuangco, binabaliktad ang mga desisyon pabor sa manggagawa sa kaso ng PAL-FASAP at iba pang mga ‘di makamamamayang desisyon.

Samakatuwid, ang pakikibaka para sa demokrasya ay higit pa kaysa kay Sereno; marapat nangingibabaw sa ating pakikibaka na ang mga atake sa kalayaan ng hudikatura ay atake rin sa mga mamamayan. Kahingian ng kasalukuyang kalagayan ng lipunan na labanan at biguin ang lahat ng atake ni Pangulong Duterte sa mga demokratikong institusyong palayo nang palayo mula sa mga isyung malapit sa taumbayan. Kailangang ipagtanggol ang sustansya ng Saligang Batas, at tanggihan ang umuusbong na awtoritarianismo.

Nakikiisa ang KALIPUNAN sa lahat ng mga demokratikong pwersang patuloy na naninindigan, at kinukundena ang pagkakatanggal kay Sereno bilang Chief Justice upang ilantad sa harap ng kalakhan ng mga mamamayan na ang kasalukuyang Hukuman, lalo’t higit sa desisyon nitong tanggalin si Sereno, ay huwad at sunud-sunuran. Nananawagan din kami na baliktarin ang desisyon ng Supreme Court na nilalapastangan ang diwa ng Saligang Batas at mamagitan ang Senado upang itama ang pagkakamaling ito.

Adyenda ng masa: Hindi diktadura!
Karapatan ng mamamayan, ipaglaban!

Alyansa Tigil Mina (ATM)
Coalition Against Trafficking In Women – Asia Pacific (CATW-AP)
Kilos Maralita (KM)
Pakisama (Pambansang Kilusan ng mga Samahang Magsasaka)
Partido Manggagawa (PM)
Sentro ng Nagkakaisa at Progresibong Manggagawa (SENTRO)
Union of Students for the Advancement of Democracy (USAD Ateneo de Manila)
Urban Poor Alliance (UP-All)
World March of Women – Pilipinas