Terrorist tag vs. CPP-NPA should not hinder detainees’ release – KMU

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Today, we hold a protest in front of Camp Crame in time for a hearing on the trumped-up charges against Benito and Wilma Tiamzon, peace consultants of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines and alleged senior cadres of the Communist Party of the Philippines and New People’s Army.

The US government’s recent tagging of the CPP and NPA as terrorist organizations should not hinder the release of Benito and Wilma Tiamzon and other detained labor rights defenders and political detainees as promised by President-elect Rodrigo Duterte.

The US government again labelled the CPP-NPA as terrorist organizations in order to block the resumption of the peace talks between the government and the NDFP, which was promised by Duterte. It also made the declaration in order to prevent the release of detained labor rights defenders and political detainees like the Tiamzons.

In the first place, it is the US government, not the CPP-NPA, which is the terrorist organization. It has been responsible for the death of millions of workers and people in the Philippines and the world because of its wars of aggression. It tags as “terrorist” organizations like the CPP-NPA which struggle against its wars of aggression and plunder of economies of underdeveloped countries like the Philippines.

The Tiamzons and other labor rights defenders and political detainees should not have been arrested in the first place. The Tiamzons should have been immune from arrest, because they are covered by the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees or JASIG between the government and the NDFP. They are consultants in the peace talks between the government and the NDFP and were unarmed at the time of their arrest.

The cases filed against the Tiamzons and other detained labor rights defenders and political detainees are fake and were created with the aim of justifying their illegal detention by the government. These were filed by the now-defunct Inter-Agency Legal Action Group or IALAG, which was created precisely to file fake charges against NDFP consultants and leaders of revolutionary and progressive organizations.

The bones that were presented before the court as evidence against the Tiamzons and other detained labor rights defenders and political detainees were questioned at the most recent court hearing. It appears that these do not belong to humans, but to animals, and that prosecutors were not able to establish whose bones these are.

OJT irregularities at PSU should be probed – KMU

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We are calling for an investigation into an anomaly in the On-the-Job training program of the Pangasinan State University. We are also calling for support for Dharel dela Cruz, a business administration student of the university, who is a victim and the whistleblower in the anomaly.

Dela Cruz, a business administration student of the university, has been hospitalized because his lungs collapsed due to a respiratory ailment resulting from his OJT program at a pharmaceutical factory in Laguna.

Dela Cruz was not treated as a trainee, but as a contractual employee. His OJT program was facilitated by JIF Manpower and Referral Services. PSU administrators are washing their hands over the issue.

The incident exposes the following:
(1) Unsafe workplace conditions in the pharmaceutical factory that are unfit even for workers,
(2) The common practice of capitalists of assigning student trainees and contractuals to the most unsafe jobs,
(3) The use of labor contractors for shady transactions aimed at shielding capitalists, and now school administrators, from responsibility,
(4) The task of school administrators of guaranteeing their students’ safety in their OJT programs and ensuring that OJT programs should be about education, not capitalist exploitation, and
(5) The prevailing thrust of OJT programs to exploit students as workers.

The general objective of OJT programs should be clarified. They should aim at enabling students to learn jobs, not at enabling capitalists to exploit students. While only a thin line exists between the two in a society dominated by big foreign and local capitalists, the emphasis should be clear. This has implications for the intensity of the trainings and the setup for their implementation.

Labor agencies should be abolished in line with President-elect Rodrigo Duterte’s promise of ending contractualization. Their continued existence in the modus operandi for carrying out contractualization is a bane to Filipino workers. The distinction between legitimate and fly-by-night contractors should be abandoned, together with the distinction between labor-only contracting and job contracting.

Duterte urged to stop Fabella privatization

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File Photo.

Joining protests in time for the scheduled eviction of the Dr. Jose Fabella Memorial Hospital in Sta. Cruz, Manila, workers led by national labor center Kilusang Mayo Uno appealed to President-elect Rodrigo Duterte to speak out against the hospital’s eviction and impending privatization.

The labor group said Health Secretary Janette Garin and Pres. Noynoy Aquino leave defenders of the country’s biggest maternity hospital with no other option but to seek help from the president-elect.

“Unlike Aquino and Garin, Duterte has shown willingness to listen to the clamor of workers and the poor. We are calling on the president-elect to do everything he can to stop the closure and privatization of Fabella, which is very important for workers and the poor,” said Nitz Gonzaga, KMU vice-chair for women’s affairs.

While a news item stating that Duterte has already spoken out against the hospital’s eviction has been circulating in social media, the Save Fabella Hospital Movement claims that it has yet to receive a formal response to its letter addressed to the president-elect.

“Those who are saying that Fabella’s buildings are unsound are the same people who allowed the hospital’s structure to rot for years. They are the advocates of the hospital’s privatization and the denial of affordable maternal and prenatal care from workers and the poor,” added Gonzaga.

The labor leader said only four out of Fabella’s eight buildings were found to be unsafe, but all eight buildings are scheduled to be demolished, and that the hospital will be transferred to a piece of land also not owned by it.

“What the government should do is stop the eviction, stop the demolition, give the land to the hospital, and fund the hospital’s improvement. What we have been seeing is the government committing crime after crime against the hospital and its patients, the climax of which is the hospital’s eviction,” Gonzaga stated.

CPP-NPA no terrorist, US govt No. 1 terrorist – KMU

We condemn the US government for again labeling the Communist Party of the Philippines and the New People’s Army as terrorist organizations.

It is the US government that is the No. 1 terrorist in the Philippines and in the world. It is responsible for the death of 1.5 million Filipinos in its drive to colonize the Philippines. By continuously waging wars of aggression in various global regions after World War 2, it is responsible for the death of more than 35 million workers and peoples of the world.

The CPP and the NPA are not terrorist organizations. They are revolutionary movements that fight for the country’s liberation from US imperialism and its allied ruling classes of big compradors and landlords. They are widely recognized as heroes in the struggle against the US-backed Marcos dictatorship. The definition of terrorists as people who attack civilian populations in order to achieve political ends does not apply to the CPP and the NPA.

It is clear that the US government made the statement in an effort to sabotage the peace talks between the CPP-NPA via the National Democratic Front of the Philippines on the one hand and the government of President-elect Rodrigo Duterte on the other. It is also trying to boost its propaganda seeking to justify its scheme of intensifying its military intervention into the country.

The terrorist label on the CPP-NPA has been used to try to justify extra-judicial killings and other human-rights violations targeting members and leaders of progressive organizations, including the KMU, who are tagged as fronts of the CPP and recruiters of the NPA. The US government’s mis-labeling of the CPP-NPA as terrorist is not good news for human rights in the country.

We are calling on President-elect Duterte, the Royal Norwegian Government, and all Filipinos who uphold human rights and seek a just and lasting peace to shun the lies of US imperialism against the CPP-NPA. Let us rely on what we know about the CPP-NPA, not on the lies of US imperialism.

Clenched-fist salute to Muhammad Ali

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“I am the greatest,” so Muhammad Ali declared.

And he was, not just in evading punches and delivering them, but in using the platforms available to him to speak out for African-Americans and against the US government’s imperialist wars of aggression.

To African-Americans of his generation, Ali’s refusal to serve in the US army to fight in Vietnam articulated what most of them were feeling: How dare the US government order them to burn, kill, and pillage small villages half a world away when in their own country they were treated as subhumans?

How can the US government bring about freedom and democracy in other countries when it is inflicting iron-fist rule of monopoly-capitalists on African-Americans and the majority in its very country?

Ali shunned his given name Cassius Marcellus Clay, saying it was his slave name and changed it to Muhammad Ali after joining the militant Nation of Islam. Because of his political leanings, he endured harrasments by the government. His boxing license was revoked during the prime of his career and was jailed. He was also targeted for surveillance by the National Security Agency. Yet he remained steadfast in his progressive views.

We hope that athletes and sports heroes in the Philippines and the world over will follow the shining example set by Muhammad Ali. It takes more, much more than brilliance in one’s field of sports to be a champion for the workers and peoples of the world. It takes the courage to stand up for what is right, to stand up against the wealthy and the powerful who rule unjustly over the world.

The workers of the Philippines raise our clenched fists in honoring Muhammad Ali, The Greatest.

SSS pension hike rejection by 16th Congress hit

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We condemn House Speaker Sonny Belmonte and the entire leadership of the House of Representatives for rejecting the move to override Pres. Noynoy Aquino’s veto of the P2,000 hike in Social Security System pensions.

Belmonte and the House leadership acted like Aquino’s stooge until the very end. They remained true to Aquino’s thrust of refusing or thwarting any form of immediate relief for ordinary Filipinos. They refused to heed workers’ and Filipinos’ clamor for change until the very end. Their rejection of the override, while predictable, is still revolting for SSS pensioners, workers, and all Filipinos.

We reiterate our praise for President-elect Rodrigo Duterte’s promise to implement the P2,000 SSS pension hike. We urge him to take the fastest route towards granting the pension hike. If he grants the pension hike immediately, he will further emphasize his difference from the heartless Aquino, the end of whose anti-worker and anti-poor reign most Filipinos are eagerly waiting for.

Vice-mayor Duterte hit for insulting workers

National labor center Kilusang Mayo Uno condemned today Davao City Vice-Mayor Paolo “Pulong” Duterte for insulting its leader for southern Mindanao over a contractuals’ strike at a Japanese-owned food manufacturing company.

The labor group said Vice-Mayor Duterte’s hurling of expletives and insults at Romualdo “Ka Dodong” Basilio, former chair of KMU-Southern Mindanao Region, in front of the striking workers of Nakashin Davao International, Inc. last Monday is revolting for the workers of Nakashin and all Filipino workers.

“It is utterly revolting that an elected government official could say such insults and expletives to a long-standing labor leader. Vice-mayor Duterte’s statements run counter to the positive moves being made by his father at the national level,” said Jerome Adonis, KMU secretary-general.

The labor leader said the vice-mayor’s statements go against President-elect Rodrigo Duterte’s vow of eradicating contractualization, freeing detained labor rights defenders and all political prisoners, and appointment of progressives in his Cabinet.

Adonis also said that KMU and Basilio are not responsible for continuing the strike at Nakashin, because the striking workers promised to end the strike the moment they receive a copy of the settlement agreement between them and the management, which never materialized.

“Workers don’t end strikes on the basis of a verbal promise that an agreement is underway. Capitalists can easily take back what they say in negotiations, so we want written agreements. We hope to clarify this for Vice-mayor Duterte and other politicians trying to help settle labor disputes,” Adonis added.

KMU said that if a verbal agreement has already been reached last May 28, then the workers, the management, and Vice-mayor Duterte should hold a meeting and resolve the labor dispute in favor of the workers once and for all.

“The demands of the striking contractuals of Nakashin are all just and should be heeded immediately by the Nakashin management. The workers’ union is most reasonable and is the party that’s most willing to negotiate. The Nakashin workers should not be blamed for continuing their strike, they should be supported,” Adonis stated.

Fabella Hospital privatization: wickedness to workers, poor

We condemn the move to privitize the Dr. Jose Fabella Hospital in the guise of transferring its location. We know for a fact that the government of Pres. Noynoy Aquino has embarked on the privatization of 23 government hospitals, including Fabella, under its Public-Private Partnership program. We know that the Aquino government has used various pretexts to try to close down Fabella.

The privatization of Fabella would put affordable pre- and post-natal care out of the reach of workers and other poor Filipinos. A private entity with profit as primary motivation and with no accountability to the workers and the poor would only make things worse for indigent patients who look at government hospitals as their only recourse for their health issues. The privatization of a hospital that helps many worker and poor mothers give birth to their babies can only be described as wicked.

Many babies have died because parents cannot afford the high cost of health services in private institution. Cases like these should move the government to provide adequate subsidy and support to hospitals and other government-run institutions, and not turn them over to corporations whose prime considerations is how to make money.

On Red Kapunan’s acquittal in Olalia-Alay-ay murder

We condemn the acquittal by the Antipolo Regional Trial Court Branch 97, specifically by Judge Marie Claire Mabutas-Sordan, of ex-Colonel Eduardo “Red” Kapunan from the double murder case which resulted from the abduction, torture and killing of former Kilusang Mayo Uno chairperson Rolando Olalia and his aide and labor activist Leonor Alay-ay in November 1986.

We feel as if our comrades have been murdered again. This decision is the latest addition to the long list of injustices committed against our comrades, their families and friends, and the Filipino workers and people. It further exposes the anti-worker and anti-poor nature of the country’s so-called justice system, which takes too long to process cases where the complainants are poor and the suspects are rich and which almost always decides in favor of the latter.

It is revolting that Kapunan was set free while the soldiers whom he ordered to commit the crime – Desiderio Perez, Dennis Jabatan and Fernando Cassanova – will remain behind bars. This further exposes the impunity granted to top military officials by the Philippine government. We have every reason to believe that Kapunan was acquitted to prevent him from implicating the masterminds of the case, who are known to the public – Juan Ponce Enrile and Gringo Honasan.

We have every reason to believe that Pres. Noynoy Aquino only used the case to persecute his political opponents Enrile and Honasan, and not really seek justice for Ka Lando and Ka Leonor. We recall that the case against Kapunan was revived after a fake KMU press release was circulated in the media in January 2012 calling for the reopening of the case on the basis that “the wind of justice is finally blowing in the country.” Aquino only used the case to make it appear that he was indeed taking the pursuing Daang Matuwid under his regime.

We are calling on President-elect Rodrigo Duterte, who promises to rid the military of bad elements and to uphold the law, to help us seek justice on the Olalia-Alay-ay double murder case. The Olalia-Alay-ay murder case is a landmark case of injustice that serves as a yardstick in measuring presidents’ commitment to justice, or lack thereof as has been the case so far.

On Red Kapunan’s acquittal in Olalia-Alay-ay murder

We condemn the acquittal by the Antipolo Regional Trial Court Branch 97, specifically by Judge Marie Claire Mabutas-Sordan, of ex-Colonel Eduardo “Red” Kapunan from the double murder case which resulted from the abduction, torture and killing of former Kilusang Mayo Uno chairperson Rolando Olalia and his aide and labor activist Leonor Alay-ayin November 1986.

We feel as if our comrades have been murdered again. This decision is the latest addition to the long list of injustices committed against our comrades, their families and friends, and the Filipino workers and people. It further exposes the anti-worker and anti-poor nature of the country’s so-called justice system, which takes too long to process cases where the complainants are poor and the suspects are rich and which almost always decides in favor of the latter.

It is revolting that Kapunan was set free while the soldiers whom he ordered to commit the crime – Desiderio Perez, Dennis Jabatan and Fernando Cassanova – will remain behind bars. This further exposes the impunity granted to top military officials by the Philippine government. We have every reason to believe that Kapunan was acquitted to prevent him from implicating the masterminds of the case, who are known to the public – Juan Ponce Enrile and Gringo Honasan.

We have every reason to believe that Pres. Noynoy Aquino only used the case to persecute his political opponents Enrile and Honasan, and not really seek justice for Ka Lando and Ka Leonor. We recall that the case against Kapunan was revived after a fake KMU press release was circulated in the media in January 2012 calling for the reopening of the case on the basis that “the wind of justice is finally blowing in the country.” Aquino only used the case to make it appear that he was indeed taking the pursuing Daang Matuwid under his regime.

We are calling on President-elect Rodrigo Duterte, who promises to rid the military of bad elements and to uphold the law, to help us seek justice on the Olalia-Alay-ay double murder case. The Olalia-Alay-ay murder case is a landmark case of injustice that serves as a yardstick in measuring presidents’ commitment to justice, or lack thereof as has been the case so far.