APEC: greater joblessness, more poor-quality jobs

12115628_1635650960042495_625744902888911940_n_editedMore jobs and more decent jobs. That is what the government arrogantly promised when the APEC Summit was first held in the country in 1996. Now, almost 20 years after, the country is suffering from greater unemployment and the spread of poor-quality jobs.

APEC stunted the growth of two sectors of the economy that should have been the basis for job creation: agriculture and industry. Agriculture shrunk from an average of 21% of the GDP in 1991-2000 to 11% in 2011-2014. Manufacturing shrunk from an average of 25% of the GDP in 1995-2000 to 23% in 2010-2014 – the lowest in the past six decades. Even the number of Small and Medium Enterprises, which the APEC Summit this year claims to seek to help, has decreased.

Not surprisingly, the number of OFWs has further ballooned. The number of unemployed and underemployed has increased. According to Ibon Foundation, the country at present has the most number of unemployed Filipinos in history.

On the other hand, what grew as a sector of the economy was the service sector. It is a bailiwick of low wages, contractual employment, and violations of workers’ right to unionize. Not surprisingly, wages have become lower, contractual employment has spread, and fewer workers are unionized and enjoy a Collective Bargaining Agreement. This means that low-quality jobs have spread.

This is the condition which the APEC Summit this year will surely worsen. Its promise of supporting investments in human capital is a big lie. APEC has only brought about greater unemployment and the spread of low-quality jobs in the Philippines.

APEC deserves the widest protest from workers, the poor and all Filipinos. We are calling on everyone to join the protests against APEC 2015.

Gov’t statements condone Lumad killings – KMU

11206942_1635447053396219_3841767434364613056_n_editedWe condemn the Aquino government for issuing statements that condone the killings and other human rights violations being committed against the Lumad.

All statements coming from the Aquino government deny the role of the military, the government, and the government’s counter-insurgency program Oplan Bayanihan in the said killings and rights violations.

The Commission on Human Rights said that both the military and rebel group NPA are recruiting the Lumad to their respective ranks. Malacañang, through spokesperson Edwin Lacierda, claimed that the military does not recruit from the Lumad. The AFP said that it does recruit from the Lumad.

At worst, these statements seek to justify the militarization of Lumad communities as well as the extra-judicial killings and human rights violations being committed against the Lumad. They show nothing less than the resolve of the military and the government to carry on with their repressive measures against the Lumad.

The Aquino government refuses to recognize that the Lumad have been fighting for the life and survival of their community in defending their ancestral domain against big foreign mining, plantation and logging companies.

It refuses to recognize the root causes of the Lumad’s struggle, which are also the root causes of the continuing armed insurgency in the country. It persists in its simplistic analysis that the Lumad are dupes who are being used by the NPA.

It refuses to seek a peaceful resolution of the root causes of the armed conflict by resuming the peace talks with the NDFP. It persists in its militaristic counter-insurgency plan and continues to sabotage the peace talks by refusing to honor agreements that have been signed by previous governments.