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Ulat sa isinagawang national solidarity at fact-finding mission sa Negros

Nagsagawa ng National Solidarity and Fact Finding Mission ang mga progresibong grupo sa naganap na pagsalakay sa mga opisina ng mga organisasyon at pag-aresto sa 57 na aktibista sa Negros noong Oktubre 31.

Pinuntahan nila ang mga opisina ng Bayan Muna, National Federation of Sugar Workers, Gabriela, Anakpawis at Kilusang Mayo Uno sa Bacolod City. Binisita din nila ang bahay ni Makabayan Negros coordinator Romulo Bito-on Jr. na isa rin sa inaresto ng mga pulis at militar.

Nalaman nila na maraming iregularidad sa mga ginawang raid gayundin ang ilegal na pagtanim ng mg baril at granada para makulong ang mga nasabing aktibista. Nakalaya ang 21 na manggagawa ng Ceres Bus Line at 11 miyembro ng Teatro Obrero matapos i-utos ng Prosecutors Office na walang basehan ang kaso para sa kanila.

Sa ngayon ay 13 pa ang nakakulong kung saan 9 ang kinasuhan ng illegal possession of firearms and explosives. (Background Music For Videos TV and Radio – by AShamaluevMusic Bidyo ni: Joseph Cuevas/ Kodao)

Activists vow legal pushback vs state forces

By Visayas Today

BACOLOD CITY–Those responsible for the October 31 mass arrest in Bacolod City, from state security personnel to the judge who issued the search warrants, should expect a wave of countercharges to hold them accountable, activist groups have vowed.

“We will make sure there will be countercharges,” Bacolodnon Neri Colmenares, who chairs the Bayan Muna party-list and used to represent it in Congress, told a press conference Thursday, November 7.

In all, the joint police and Army units under the Regional Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict that carried out the raids on three offices and a private residence in Bacolod City arrested and detained 57 persons, among them a dozen minors.

They claimed to have recovered more than 30 firearms and some explosives from the offices of the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan, women’s organization Gabriela – both in Barangay Bata – and the National Federation of Sugar Workers in front of the Libertad market, and the home of Romulo and Mermalyn Bito-on in Barangay Taculing.

The security forces said the offices, particularly the compound that houses the office of Bayan and other groups, were being used to train “recruits,” including minors, of the New People’s Army.

However, on November 6, 32 of those arrested – 21 laid off workers of Vallacar Transit who were consulting the Kilusang Mayo Uno and 11 members of cultural group Teatro Obrero, all arrested at the Bayan office – were released after the city prosecutor dropped the charges against them.

Only 11 persons remain in detention, seven of them facing non-bailable charges of illegal possession of firearms and explosives.

Colmenares said the release of the 32 “proves the falsity of the charges” that those arrested were rebels and that the offices were training facilities.

He said those they intend to charge, both before trial courts and the Office of the Ombudsman, include the “generals, colonels,” and enlisted personnel of police and Army units that carried out the raids, prosecutors, judges who issue “fake” warrants, and the “false witnesses” on whose testimonies the warrants were based.’

The search warrants covering the Bacolod raids were all issued by Quezon City Regional Trial Court Executive Judge Cecilyn Burgos-Villavert. She also issued the warrants that led to the arrests of two other activists in Escalante City and at least five others in Manila around the same time as the Bacolod raids.

While there is a special rule issued by the Supreme Court allowing the RTC executive judges of Manila and Quezon City to issue warrants for areas outside their jurisdiction, activists accuse Villavert of abusing this privilege and issuing “wholesale” warrants that abet human rights violations.

Colmenares said among the charges the security forces can expect are those related to their alleged “planting” of evidence and violations of the anti-torture law. #

Pag-aresto sa maraming aktibista, kinondena

Mariing kinundena ng Bagong Alyansang Makabayan at iba pang aktibistang organisasyon ang pag-aresto sa mga kapwa nilang aktibista sa Lungsod ng Bacolod at Maynila kamakailan.

Nagprotesta sa harapan ng Camp Crame ang mga aktibista upang ipanawagan ang agarang pagpapalaya sa 57 indibidwal na anila’y iligal na inaresto. (Bidyo ni Jek Alcaraz/Kodao)

21 sacked Ceres workers among Bacolod raid detainees – Bayan

By Visayas Today

Twenty-one laid off workers of the Ceres Bus line who were consulting a labor leader were among the 55 persons (not 62 as earlier reported by authorities) arrested and detained in simultaneous raids last week on four locations in Bacolod City that state forces claimed harbored communist rebels in training.

This was bared by the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan, which held a press conference in Metro Manila on Sunday, November 3, to denounce what it called the “tanim baril, tanim ebidensya” (planting of guns and evidence) tactics alleged used by the Army and police to justify the raids and boost their claims that those arrested are members of the rebel movement.

Also nabbed and detained were 25 youth, among them 13 minors, of the grassroots cultural group Teatro Obrero who were rehearsing for a presentation of their play “Papa Isio,” on the legendary Negros hero of the revolution against Spain and the war against America.

The youth and Ceres workers were among those arrested at a compound in a residential area of Barangay Bata that serves as the office of leftist party-list Bayan Muna and other organizations. The Army and police claim the place, where 30 firearms and explosives were supposedly recovered, served as a “training area” for rebel recruits, including potential “child warriors.”

Also netted in the raids were several officers of progressive groups like the National Federation of Sugar Workers, Kilusang Mayo Uno and Karapatan, all of which the government and state forces openly tag as “legal fronts” of the rebels, and Anne Krueger of the alternative media outfit Paghimutad, all of whom were accused of being part of the rebels’ regional leadership in Negros.

Aside from those arrested in the October 31 Bacolod raids, two succeeding raids in Escalante City on November 1 also led to the apprehension of NFSW staff Imelda Sultan and Ma. Lindy Perucho. As with the Bacolod operations, the Escalante raiders also claimed to have recovered weapons and explosives from the two women.

Also on October 31, Cora Agovida, the Metro Manila chairperson of Gabriela, and her husband Michael Tan Bartolome of the urban poor group Kadamay, were arrested and weapons and explosive also supposedly seized.

Incidentally, all the search warrants used as the basis for the raids were issued on October 30 by Executive Judge Cecilyn Burgos-Villavert of Quezon City Regional Trial Court Branch 89.

Bayan, in a statement, said the raids signified “how low the Philippine National Police and Armed Forces of the Philippines have sunk in their effort to comply with Duterte’s orders to crack down on activists and political dissenters.”

It also noted the similarities in the operations:

1. Police gets a search warrant from a friendly, uninformed or intimidated judge, in this case from Quezon City which is outside the area of jurisdiction where the operation is made;
2. Occupants of the raided office or home are forced to go outside while police operatives, some in plain clothes, come in to search the area;
3. Occupants are then allowed back in only to discover illegal guns and explosives that police allege were found in their possession;
4. All persons are then arrested, detained and interrogated for prolonged periods while being denied their right to their lawyer or to be visited by relatives and friends. In the worst case like the Kanlaon, Manjuyod and Sta. Catalina incidents last March 30, 14 farmers were killed by police serving such search warrants;
5. To justify and muddle their illegal conduct, police and military officials go the rounds of the media vilifying the victims and claiming that these are members or supporters of the New People’s Army.

Bayan called the raids “a portent of worse things to come” and predicted “an escalation of the Duterte regime’s fascist crackdown on groups and individuals critical of the government, whose crime is to merely exercise their constitutional right to organize, express and seek redress for their grievances.” #

KODAO ASKS: Ano ang masasabi mo sa pangako ni Duterte para sa mga manggagawa? (Mayo Uno 2019)

KODAO ASKS: Tinanong ng Kodao ang mga manggagawang lumahok sa Pandaigdigang Araw ng Paggawa 2019 kung ano ang kanilang opinyon hinggil sa mga napakong pangako ni Duterte para sa kanilang sektor.

Workers press gov’t for national minimum wage

“As hardworking Filipinos who struggle to support our families through honorable means, we deserve no less than wages and salaries that would afford us humane living conditions. We say enough of the Duterte government’s neglect of our plight.”

By ANNE MARXZE D. UMIL
Bulatlat.com

MANILA – Workers from the public and private sectors joined forces as they once again push for national minimum wage on Friday, April 26.

Workers under the Alliance of Concerned Teachers-Philippines (ACT), Alliance of Health Workers (AHW), Confederation for Unity, Recognition and Advancement of Government Workers (COURAGE) and Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) joined forces to demand for P750 ($14) per day minimum wage or P16,000 ($307) a month.

“We, working Filipinos who depend on wages and salaries for our families’ sustenance, call on the Duterte administration to decisively effect substantial pay hike for all workers and employees in the public and private sectors, regularly-employed and under contracts alike,” the group said in a statement.

They added that salary hike is “the only meaningful way for the government to commemorate the International Labor Day on May 1—honor the men and women from whose labor, skills, and talent our economy rests upon by addressing their dire economic situation.”

Depressed wages

They lamented that workers have been enduring depressed wages for decades through wage regionalization. They slammed the gap of the minimum wage in the different regions compared with the National Capital Region (NCR).

Workers in the regions suffer the most with only P256 ($5) minimum wage in Region 1 while in NCR, minimum wage is pegged at P537 ($10).

Meanwhile, rank and file employees in the government sector receive P11,068 ($213) or P503 ($10) per day which is lower than the present minimum wage. They also decried the huge salary increase of uniformed personnel. In 2017, Duterte approved the salary increase of the military and the police, increasing the entry-level salary to P30,000 ($576) a month. This is higher than the entry-level salary of teachers and nurses in the public sector who receive less than P21,000. ($403).

“The move only served to distort further the already skewed salary scheme in government, leaving the great majority of civilian employees struggling with less than decent salary levels while top officials bask on scandalous pay levels, like the President himself who gets more than P400,000 ($7,684) per month,” the group said.

Read: Salary increases for soldiers, police, but not for teachers, government employees

The AHW national president also said that there are health workers who chose to stay in the country because they are committed to serve their countrymen. However, the government continues to be deaf to their long time call for substantial salary increase; what’s worse is that they are being red-tagged.

“Health workers serve wholeheartedly. We stay in our jobs despite low salaries. We only want to serve our countrymen who are in need. In return, this administration does not give what we need. What’s worse, they suppress our rights especially our freedom of expression and tag us as leftists, which is a baseless accusation,” Mendoza said.

‘Poverty, hunger incidence decreased?’

ACT national president Joselyn Martinez meanwhile slammed the recent survey of the Social Weather Stations showing a supposedly drop in the hunger incidence among Filipinos.

The SWS survey showed that the hunger incidence among Filipinos dropped in 2019, from 10.5 percent in the last quarter of 2018 to 9.5 percent in the first quarter of 2019.

“Hunger and poverty are real, as evidenced by the deafening grumbling of our families’ stomachs. And the government ought to listen to our plight, instead of priding itself to complacency with these data,” said Martinez.

She also hit National Economic Development Authority (NEDA)’s data showing a decrease in poverty incidence in 2018. Martinez pointed out that in that year; inflation rate is at record high at 6.7 percent, the highest in over nine years.
“For instance, NEDA cites that poverty incidence for the first half of 2018 decreased by 16.1 percent for Filipino families and 21 percent for individuals compared to three years prior. NEDA interestingly fails to mention that the latter part of 2018 saw a record high inflation rate,” she said.

She said, the Duterte government’s pronouncement that the country is on track in its campaign to end poverty is “at best far-fetched and at worst a gross and deliberate misrepresentation of the country’s economic situation.”

Martinez said Filipinos are living in worse condition under Duterte especially with the additional taxes caused by the implementation of Tax Reform Acceleration and Inclusion Law (Train Law) which eroded the value of workers’ salaries.

“As hardworking Filipinos who struggle to support our families through honorable means, we deserve no less than wages and salaries that would afford us humane living conditions. We say enough of the Duterte government’s neglect of our plight,” the group said who will be once again on the streets on May 1. #

JoMag: ‘I was surprised, shocked’

Department of Labor and Employment undersecretary Joel Maglunsod said he did not receive notice of his dismissal before President Rodrigo Duterte made the announcement in a speech Tuesday in Catarman, Northern Samar.

“I was surprised, shocked even,” Maglunsod told Kodao, adding he only learned of the President’s statement when he opened his mobile phone after conducting two meetings Wednesday morning.

“Many journalists have sent me messages about PRRDs statement and that was how I learned about it,” Maglunsod said.

Duterte said he fired Maglunsod because of his association with the militant Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) the President alleged was responsible for the upsurge in labor strikes throughout the country.

[Si] Joel Maglunsod, pinaalis ko. Pinagbigyan ko sila noong bago ako  kasi gusto ko nandoon sila sa opisina, Joel Maglunsod, sila lahat,” Duterte said.

(What went before: Labor movement hails, welcomes back ‘JoMag‘)

Maglunsod said he immediately went back to the DOLE offices in Intramuros Wednesday afternoon to consult with labor and employment secretary Silvestre Bello III and other department officials.

“They too were surprised,” Maglunsod revealed.

Maglunsod said Bello asked him to “stay put” until Monday. “He told me he (Bello) will be able to know more in Monday when he meets the President during their Cabinet meeting,” Maglunsod said.

The beleaguered official also told Kodao that he called up special presidential assistant Christopher “Bong” Go to request for a meeting with Duterte.

“He said he will ask the President (about my request),” Maglunsod said.

Maglunsod, who also hails from Davao City, said he considered Duterte his friend but felt it would have been better for him if the President told him directly about his decision before the public announcement.

“But it is his prerogative as the President and appointing power,” Maglunsod said.

He added he is ready to leave his post.

“But I hold my head high. I can categorically say I did my best in performing DOLE’s mandate. I have been fair, even to the employers. I always told them that we only need to follow the law,” he said.

The country’s major labor federations, including the KMU, the Association of Labor Unions-Trade Union Congress of the Philippines, Sentro ng Nagkakaisa at Progresibong Manggagawa, and Nagkaisa Labor Coalition unanimously defended Maglunsod as the official who consistently “bridged the ‘gap of trust’ between organized labor and the department by personally acting on complaints and facing mass actions of workers at the DOLE office in Intramuros.”

“I am grateful to the labor federations who expressed support. I have not had the chance to send them messages yet, but I thank them for validating my work as DOLE undersecretary,” Maglunsod said. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)

KMU blames Duterte for intensified attacks in Compostela

Labor group Kilusang Mayo Uno in Southern Mindanao (KMU-SMR) blamed President Rodrigo Duterte for “intensifying attacks on union workers” after two Sumifru Packing Plant union leaders survived separate assaults within a week.

KMU-SMR said in a statement Victor Ageas, Board of Director of Nagkahiusang Mamumuo sa Suyapa Farm (NAMASUFA-NAFLU-KMU), was ambushed by motorcycle-riding gunmen Tuesday, September 4, at about 6:30 am while he was bound for work at Sumifru Packing Plant 340 at Purok Uno, Barangay Osmeña in Compostela town.

The unidentified assailants fired at the labor leader six times but Aegas was able to escape, the group said.

The attack came a day after Sumifru workers staged a protest action against the company for refusing to recognize them as regular employees.

KMU said that, in July 26, two masked men also went to Aegas’ house and asked for his whereabouts but left when told their target was not around.

Another union leader, Melodina Gumanoy, Secretary of NAMASUFA-NAFLU-KMU, was also tailed by motorcycle-riding men last Thursday, August 30, KMU said.

Gumanoy was on on her way to work in Packing Plant 250 of Sumifru at Purok 8, Brgy. Osmeña, Compostela when she realized she was being tailed by her attackers.

She hid in a nearby house to evade her attackers.

The attacks on workers-unionists intensified in Compostela Valley after President Duterte declared the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) a “terrorist” organization and subsequently tagged KMU and other progressive organizations as legal fronts of the underground group, KMU said.

Farmers are also being attacked in Compostela, the labor center said.

Peasant couple Gilbert and Jean Labial, members of Compostela Farmers Association, were gunned down last August 19, 2018 in Bango, Compostela, after attending the wake of Rolly Panebio, a fellow CFA member and security personnel of the Salugpongan Learning Center in Bango.

“KMU holds the Armed Forces of the Philippines President Duterte accountable for these blatant violation of the workers’ economic and political rights. KMU believes that these attacks are the Duterte government’s move to protect the business interests of Sumifru and mining companies in the area,” KMU said. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)

Mga manggagawa, nagmartsa sa Araw ng mga Bayani

Nagsama-sama ang libu-libong manggagawa sa Araw ng mga Bayani sa tinaguriang nilang “Martsa ng Manggagawa” noong Agosto 27 mula Welcome Rotonda hanggang sa Mendiola sa Maynila.

Panawagan nila na itigil na ang kontraktwalisasyon sa paggawa, ipatupad ang pambansang minimum na sahod na P750, at wakasan ang iba pang porma ng pagsasamantala sa manggagawa.

Ayon sa Kilos na Manggagawa (KnM), sa nakalipas na dalawang taon, umabot na sa 40 milyon na manggagawa sa buong bansa ay kontraktwal.

Karamihan sa mga ito ay nasa sektor ng manupaktura at serbisyo na tumatanggap din nang napakababang sahod o mas mababa pa sa minimum na sahod.

Isang halimbawa dito ay sa Southern Tagalog na umabot sa mahigit 20,000 ang kontraktwal.

Dagdag pasakit din sa mga manggagawa ang mga patakaran na ipinataw nang gubyernong Rodrigo Duterte tulad ng Department Order 174 at Executive Order 51 na sa katunayan ay nagpapatindi lamang ng iskemang endo.

Dagdag pa nang KnM, malaking dagok din ang TRAIN law na siyang bumubutas sa bulsa at kita ng mga manggagawa.

Habang binabarat ang sahod, patuloy naman na pinahihirapan ang mamamayan sa mga dagdag bayarin at buwis.

Binigyang-pugay din nila ang mga manggagawa na siyang tunay na bayani at tagalikha ng yaman.

Malaking hamon naman sa mga manggagawa na labanan ang tumitinding atake sa mga manggagawa kagaya nang pambubuwag sa mga unyon, pagpaslang at pagsasampa ng mga gawa-gawang kaso sa mga lider unyonista. # (Ulat at bidyo ni Joseph Cuevas)

PLDT

ni Rene Boy Abiva

 

Hindi ko alam kung saan yari ang iyong kaluluwa

kung ‘to ba’y yari sa sala-salabat na old fiber

o sa ipinagmamayabang mong new wireless fiber.

‘Di ko lubos maisip kung tao ka pa nga ba

at kung bakit ni katiting na hibla ng awa

ay ‘di mo kayang maibigay sa higit pitong libong manggagawa.

 

Gaya na lamang ni Atong Alagwa

na sampung taon mong pinagbuhat at pinaghila

ng dambuhalang bakal, kawad at linya.

Na kung umuwi’y turing nang biyaya

kung mai-abot nang buo ang sweldo sa may sakit na asawa.

 

At mukhang nag-iinis ka pa

sa bawat imaheng ‘yong ipinapakita

sa telebisyon, tabloyd at billboard sa mga kalsada

gaya na lamang sa mukha

ni Pia Wurtzbach at Kris Aquino na ngangang-nganga

habang sa gilid ay naka-ukit sa lona

ang mga katagang DSL, hacker at ultera.

 

Gaya mo rin pala ang NutriAsia,

na kung toyoin ang manggagawa’y anong saya.

Punyeta’t sarap na sarap pa,

sarap na sarap na binuwag ang barikada!

gayong sing-alat na ng patis at asim ng suka

ang pawis at luha

ni Aling Leticia.

 

Suma total ay gaya mo si Digong

who cares about human lives

but not human rights.

At ngayon sinasabi mong ‘yong babaguhin ang mundo?

Sa pamamaraang may iiyak at magugutom

hanggang sa sukdulan ng pagdanak ng dugo

at pag-atungal ng libo-libong balo.

 

At ngayong pinaboran ng DOLE ang mga manggagawa

sa unang pagkakatao’y anong ligaya nila,

ngunit anong kapal mo’t umaangal ka pa?!

hanggang islogan ka lang pala!

 

 

Agosto 1, 2018

Lunsod ng Queson, Maynila