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Duterte an ‘arrogant fake’–CPP

The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) called President Rodrigo Duterte an “arrogant fake” for cussing the drivers and small operators who recently held a two-day nationwide transport strike against the government’s planned phase out of the iconic jeepney.

Nagpupuputok ang butse mo sa ibinubugang usok ng mga jeep, pero tameme ka naman sa napakakapal na usok ng mga coal-fired power plant na lumalason sa kapaligiran sa buong bansa,” the CPP said in a statement. [You are angry at the smoke belched by the jeepney but you are silent about the thick smoke from coal-fired power plants that poison the entire country’s environment.]

“The truth is, you just want drivers and small operators to die in hardship and poverty in order to serve your true masters,” the group added.

In his speech at the Federalism Summit in Naga City Tuesday, Duterte unleashed another cuss-filled tirade against the protesters,

Mahirap kayo? P*******a, magtiis kayo sa hirap at gutom. Wala akong pakialam!” Duterte told the protesters. [You say you are poor? You sons of bitches, put up with hardship and hunger. I don’t have a care!]

The CPP said Duterte again showed his true color.

[G]alit sa mga gutom at mahirap, laluna ang mga marunong manindigan at lumaban para sa kanilang interes,” the CPP said. [He is against the hungry and the poor, especially those who know how to stand up and struggle for their interests.]

In his speech, Duterte also branded transport group Pinagkaisang Samahan ng mga Tsuper at Opereytor Nationwide, human rights group Karapatan and Kilusang Mayo Uno as CPP fronts.

Dictator’s mindset

Other groups also condemned Duterte’s statements against the protesters.

“We say to Mr. Duterte: please stick to the issue! His self-indulged blabbing over the national television, refuses to address the real threat to the livelihood of the country’s jeepney drivers being posed by the Jeepney Phaseout Scheme,” KMU said.

KMU said Duterte refuses to listen to the jeepney drivers and operators’ legitimate demand and logical reasoning to junk the jeepney phaseout scheme.

“Duterte is proving he himself is a front of the oligarchs, such as the Ayalas, Pangilinan, and Cojuangco, who will be raking super profits from this scheme. The same oligarchs whom he handed control over MRT/LRT, express ways, telecommunication, power, and water,” KMU said.

“Duterte has the mindset of a dictator! When the poor exercise their right to speak up against threats to their livelihood, he brands their actions as ‘conspiracy’ and ‘rebellion’,” the group added.

Anakbayan Metro Manila burns an image of Duterte following the President’s cuss-filled tirade against striking jeepney drivers. (Photo by Kathy Yamzon)

Meanwhile, youth group Anakbayan-Metro Manila slipped through heavily-guarded Mendiola Street to hold a lightning rally at Malacañan Palace Thursday and condemn “Duterte’s inhumane and anti-poor statement” on the recently concluded transport strike.

The group burned Duterte’s image depicting him as “anti-poor, anti-people, and subservient to foreign masters” at the Palace’s Gate 7.

Anakbayan said it also holds Duterte accountable for the extrajudicial killings as well as the violent demolition and harassment of residents in Floodway, Pasig. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)

Ruta ni Ka Roda

On the eighth death anniversary of Medardo Roda of the Pinagkaisang Samahan ng mga Tsuper at Opereytor Nationwide (PISTON), we are re-posting this Kodao-produced video documentary of the legendary transport leader.

Ruta ni Ka Roda (Roda’s Route) is a 14-minute documentary about the life of Filipino transport leader Medardo Roda, popularly known as Ka Roda.

He was the longtime chair of the transport group Piston. He gave face to transport workers and fought alongside them for the longest time.

(Kodao Productions/2006 * Script/Direction/Editing: Risa Jopson * Cinematography: Ariel Saturay/Ron Papag/Risa Jopson/Asia Visions * Artistic Directors: Nes Jacinto+/Raymund Villanueva)

Workers call for immediate end to contractualization on Bonifacio Day

Thousands of militant laborers commemorate Andres Bonifacio’s 153rd birth anniversary with a rally to demand from the Rodrigo Duterte government the immediate end to contractualization.

The workers reminded Duterte of his campaign promise to end the practice.

Five months into the Duterte presidency, contractual workers have yet to be regularized through executive action.

They also condemned the burial of the late dictator at the Libingan ng mga Bayani who they said, unlike Bonifacio, was not a real hero. Read more

No change under Duterte–workers

MILITANT workers celebrated “true Filipino heroes who follow in the footsteps of Andres Bonifacio” with a protest rally on the occasion of the national hero’s 153rd birth anniversary yesterday.

Thousands of Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) unionists and their supporters marched from Welcome Rotunda in Quezon City to Mendiola Bridge in Manila to demand that President Rodrigo Duterte implement changes he promised workers during the election period earlier this year. Read more

Workers successfully hold rally at US Consulate on Labor Day

Thousands of workers and their supporters overpowered phalanxes of Philippine National Police personnel to reach Roxas Boulevard in front of the United States Consulate on May 1.

Wanting to close their Labor Day activities by holding a rally in front of the consulate to denounce increased US military presence in the Philippines, the protesters used their superior number in overpowering hastily organized police lines.

Kilusang Mayo Uno, organizer of the biggest Labor Day event in the capital, said that neo-liberal policies dictated by the US on the Benigno Aquino government is to be blamed for the low wages and labor-only contracting policies they suffer.

COMMENTARY: Duterteconomics doesn’t share labor’s ideology

by Raymund B. Villanueva

DAVAO CITY MAYOR Rodrigo Duterte launched his bid for the presidency last Tuesday in Tondo with a threat against militant labor. Singling Kilusang Mayo Uno out, he said he will kill all those who would organize labor unions in economic enclaves he plans on putting up. There should be no labor unions in these enclaves for 10 years or there would be a decade of carnage, he said.

He was obviously referring to something similar to Davao City’s bloodbath against perceived criminals, mostly petty offenders. Laughter could be heard in the videos when Duterte uttered his threat. There was nothing funny in it at all. It was beyond outrageous; it was ominous.

What gall the mayor has to think he shares militant labor’s ideology when he asks them to stop defending workers’ rights. Labor unions protect workers from low wages, unpaid benefits, unjust working conditions and other forms of exploitation. Only an unthinking and unfeeling person could dismiss unionism’s contributions to humanity by threatening them with bloody death, even jestingly (which the video proves was not).

Capitalism, proletarian ideology’s antithesis, is, above all else, exploitation of workers. Special economic zones were invented to worsen this exploitation.

According to the Ecumenical Institute for Labor Education and Research, the Philippines has 326 special economic zones as of May 2015, 68 of which are manufacturing enclaves. While these numbers look impressive Duterte should know that these only employed 735,000 in 2010, or a mere two percent of the country’s employed labor. Current SEZ employment figures remain essentially unchanged.

At the Subic SEZ, Korean giant Hanjin has more than 20,000 workers building giant ships. All of them are contractual employees engaged through a number of contractors. EILER reports that Filipino workers are verbally and physically abused by their Korean bosses on a daily basis and are often served with stale meals. Many accidents occur in this enclave, often deadly, without making the news. Media and even local government officials are barred from entering the shipyard. Shouldn’t Duterte promise to look into such reports first before foisting the specter of more special economic zones at Filipino laborers?

Duterte may be charming to some, but I seriously doubt his brand of charm would be able to reverse the general decline of direct foreign investments into Philippine manufacturing. There is no need for more SEZs when the government is still desperate to fill up those already existing. What few foreign investments that trickle into the local economy go to the stock market and real estate industry, which are part of the speculative market. The doddering global capitalism rolls this way nowadays. It is absolutely unnecessary to threaten militant labor with mayhem when his SEZs are still figments of his bloody imagination.

Moreover, Duterte is being redundant when he threatens militant labor with bloodshed. Economic zones have an unwritten “no union, no strike” policy. SEZ security forces are especially trained to quell any union activity. There is very little government oversight in these special zones, except when there is labor unrest. In such cases, the government always sides with the capitalists anyway. All too often, labor leaders and union members end up killed. Is this what Duterteconomics wants continued?

KMU was quick to criticize Duterte’s statement, as it should. KMU asked if Duterte was joking. The labor center said Duterte made a big joke of himself and should take back his words. It also asked the candidate to stand with labor unions and not with greedy capitalists. I share KMU’s wonder what kind of “respectful” labor unions Duterte wants.

Duterte must think that KMU will not dare criticize his statement because he helped in some labor disputes in Davao City in the past. He clearly showed his capacity to violate labor and other human rights when he could utter threats just like that. Such statements and his kind must never be tolerated, alliances notwithstanding.

Lastly, Duterte’s supporters should know it was the dictator Marcos who first put up SEZs in this country via the Bataan Special Economic Zone in 1969. Ominous, isn’t it? #

Ka Bel’s 83rd remembered; 2016 bets dared

Workers and government officials commemorated late labor movement icon and progressive legislator Crispin “Ka Bel” Beltran’s 83rd birth anniversary at Plaza Miranda in Manila on January 7, 2016. ILPS Philippines Chair Elmer Labog led the ceremonies supported by the City of Manila represented by Ms. Flordeliza Villaseñor. In his speech, Labog challenged 2016 national and local elections candidates to emulate genuine and pro-people leadership that Beltran exemplified all his life.

Ka Bel served as chairperson of the Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) and of the International League of Peoples’ Struggle (ILPS). He was KMU’s longest-serving leader and was cited as one of the country’s best legislators several times.

(Overlapping audio is from the Quiapo Church service across the plaza.)