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[Press Release] CTUHR reports rampant violations of union rights under Aquino

CTUHR reports rampant violations of union rights under Aquino

CTUHR logo

The Center for Trade Union and Human Rights reported of rampant union rights violations within the first half of Aquino’s presidency. The group cited 132 documented cases of violations to workers right to freely organize that victimized over 20,000 workers and other forms of human rights violations.

Violations of workers’ freedom to organize (also referred to as freedom of association or FOA) documented by CTUHR include non-recognition of unions, union busting, harassment of unionists inside the workplace, intervention on trade union affairs, anti-union discrimination and prohibition of the right to strike.

Forty-two (42) other cases of violations of collective bargaining agreements (CBA) and other CBA issues affecting over 11,000 workers were documented within the last three years since Aquino took office.

“The government boasts of achieving industrial peace and almost zero-strike incidence but this is not at all indicative of better conditions for unions and workers. The numerous cases of union rights violations and CBA issues is clear proof that conditions for union organizing has not improved at all,” Arman Hernando, CTUHR coordinator for documentation said.

Aside from these, CTUHR also documented over 84 cases of civil and political rights violations against workers and unionists which include cases of extrajudicial killings, arbitrary arrests, harassment, physical assault and filing of false criminal charges.

Alarmingly low union rate

The group described the number of unionized workers as “alarmingly low” covering less than 10% of wage and salary workers. Recent data on CBAs from the Bureau of Labor and Employment Statistics (BLES) also revealed that in 2011, only 326 CBAs are registered nationwide covering only 66,485 workers.

“This miniscule percentage of unionized and CBA-covered workers in addition to the persistence of union rights violations shows how terrible labor rights situation in the country is today. While the Aquino government is hell-bent in selling out the country to investors on one hand, it miserably fails to protect the rights of the majority who create the nation’s wealth on the other hand.”

“The right to form unions and collectively bargain is the very important to workers for it is the only means by which workers can empower themselves and claim their rights even at the factory level,” Hernando averred.

The group added that continued attacks by capitalists and state agents on workers who struggle to form organizations and unions contribute to this ever decreasing rate of unionized workers. Government policies that allow contractual labor also undermine workers right to organize.

“The Aquino government must be reminded that a truly developed society can only be achieved if its people are enjoying their rights. Economic growth or so-called ‘inclusive growth’ is meaningless and hollow if majority of the people are not empowered to claim their rights and do not feel the fruits of development,” Hernando added.

For Reference: Arman Hernando, CTUHR Coordinator for Documentation. 4110256; 0916.2484876

RELEASE
30 July 2013

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[Press Release] Thousands of cyclists and advocates to ride and rock for freedom -DAKILA

Freedom Ride and Freedom Concert mark Independence Day
Thousands of cyclists and advocates to ride and rock for freedom

Freedom Ride Dakila

dakila

All roads lead to the Eastwood Central Plaza on June 12, 7:00 am as thousands of cyclists and advocates raise the flag of freedom on Independence Day for the Freedom Ride and Freedom Concert to stop human trafficking and end modern day slavery. Coordinated Freedom Rides shall also be held in Iloilo (June 12, 7am Jaro Belfry), Dumaguete (June 11, 4pm Silliman University Church) and Zamboanga (June 12, 7am, Plaza del Pilar).

“We believe that while it is important to celebrate our freedom from colonial rule, it is also important for us to realize that many Filipinos are still enslaved. We want to celebrate our 115th year of independence by continuing the fight for the freedom of others,” Noel Cabangon, Dakila Vice President, said.

The Freedom Ride is part of the Stop Look Listen campaign of Dakila against human trafficking. The Stop Look Listen campaign kicked off last March 9 with a Freedom Ride held in McKinley Hill, Taguig City participated by around 1,000 cyclists. The bike ride was aimed to popularize the 1343 Anti Trafficking Hotline. The Freedom Ride was also held in different provinces known as trafficking hotspots of the country: Iloilo City (April 20), Zamboanga City (April 27), and Dumaguete City (May 5). This paved way to the biggest bike rides ever organized in Panay Island (500), Dumaguete City (400) and Zamboanga (250).

“Human trafficking is a serious problem especially in our country because we offer cheap labor. A lot of times we only see women being trafficked for sexual exploitation but in fact, human trafficking can happen to both men and women and for different reasons other than sexual exploitation, such as forced labor. There are even cases of professionals such as doctors who experienced being trafficked,” Cabangon added.

Every year around 300,000 to 400,000 Filipinos fall prey to human trafficking in their own country and abroad.

“The cycling community has become involved in this campaign against human trafficking. And we see more and more people who are now becoming interested to become an advocate and a Freedom Warrior. People from different sectors—government, non-government, youth—have been challenged to heed the call to continuously fight for freedom,” Nityalila Saulo, cyclist, musician and advocate, said.

“Anyone can be a Freedom Warrior. By educating ourselves and sharing what we have learned to others, we can help save at least one person from enslavement,” Saulo added.

The Freedom Ride is part of the Project Freedom Campaign of Dakila in partnership with the Manila Fixed Gear, the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, the Department of Justice Inter Agency Council Against Trafficking (DOJ-IACAT) and the Presidential Anti Organized Crime Commission. It aims to raise public awareness on Human Trafficking and empower advocates and citizens to become watchdogs in their own communities by driving them into action through grassroots involvement and amplified action through mainstream and digital media.

A Freedom Concert will be held after the Freedom Ride, at 9:30 am. Performers include Noel Cabangon, Radioactive Sago Project, Up Dharma Down, and many more.

The Freedom Ride and Freedom Concert is free and open to the public. For more information about the Freedom Rides and the campaign, visit http://dakila.org.ph/projectfreedom.
Press Contact:
Jeffrey Reyes 09151780240
Ayeen Karunungan 09175057055
E-mail: mabuhay@dakila.org.ph

PRESS RELEASE
Dakila
10 June 2013

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sign petiton2 smallPhoto by TFDPcat alert icon copy

[Statement] Aquino Admin, Solve the Ph-Taiwan Dispute & Protect the Rights and Welfare of Fil Migrant Workers -KAAGAPAY OFW

Demanding and Calling for Urgent Action of the Aquino Administration in Solving the PhilippineTaiwan Dispute and Protecting the Rights and Welfare of Filipino Migrant Workers in Taiwan

KAAGAPAY OFW

This is in relation to the current face-off of the Philippine and Taiwanese Government which have put the welfare of the overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in Taiwan at risk. The alleged intentional shooting of the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) to a Taiwanese fishing boat which was an act of ‘self-defense and were only performing their duty of stopping illegal fishing and poaching inside the Philippine territory’ after claiming that the said boat ‘had tried to ram its vessel near Batanes’ actually killed a 65-year old Taiwanese fisherman. This then flared up the outrage of the Taiwanese not only towards the Philippine government but to the Filipino people. As a way of its dissatisfaction to the response from the Philippine government on the matter, it banned the recruitment of Filipino workers, banned its citizens in travelling to the country, and even its own citizens refused selling goods to Filipinos in Taiwan. If this is not resolved, 95,000 documented OFWs in Taiwan will be affected.

Thus, we are calling for both parties to immediately resolve this dispute in any peaceful and diplomatic means.

We call for the Philippine Government to immediately craft solutions addressing the dispute while executing measures that would protect and uphold the welfare of OFWs in Taiwan.
We call for the Taiwanese government to be open for diplomatic negotiations and discussions with the Philippine government on how to resolve this issue.

We call for all the workers in Taiwan to remove divisions created by culture and nationality and to be united instead for the workers’ welfare and rights.

As we always demand and call, Philippine government should strengthen self-sustaining local economy that would provide decent employment for Filipinos.

KAAGAPAY OFW Resource and Service Center, Inc
Cotabato City, Mindanao, Philippines
kaagapaycotabato98@gmail.com

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[Press Release] Workers belittle non-wage benefits as “scraps,” job fairs as “farce” -PM

Workers belittle non-wage benefits as “scraps,” job fairs as “farce”

pmLogo1As President Benigno Aquino III announced non-wage benefits for workers today, the militant Partido ng Manggagawa (PM) belittled it as “scraps meant for slaves.” “Workers are not children that can be pacified with candy. The Constitution mandated a living wage for workers but the State keeps minimum wages at starvation levels,” declared Renato Magtubo.

The group also criticized the job fairs scheduled on Labor Day as a “farce.” “Job fairs are simply job facilitation yet the real issue is employment generation. So-called economic growth has not translated to job creation. Unemployment remains at 7% and even college graduates constitute almost one fifth of the unemployed. The 400,000 jobs available at the job fairs cannot even provide for the 530,000 recent graduates,” Magtubo added.

In a vigil this afternoon at Mendiola, several hundred PM members highlighted the call “Manggagawa Naman” as they demanded that workers’ concerns be a priority in the national agenda. They also brought dozens of boiled eggs to symbolize their critique that President Aquino has not done anything for workers. “Sa ikatlong Mayo Uno niya sa Malacanang, bokya pa din ang mga manggagawa kay PNoy,” asserted Judy Miranda, PM secretary general.

Tomorrow the PM contingent will merge with the labor coalition Nagkaisa in a big Labor Day march from Espana to Mendiola. PM will underscore its “Apat na Dapat” demands which are regular jobs with living wages; housing, education and health care services for all; cheap prices of food and utilities; and equal rights and opportunity for women.

Members of the Philippine Airlines Employees’ Association (PALEA) also attended the vigil as they laid wreaths at the foot of Mendiola for Bienvenido Ruiz, an outsourced Philippine Airlines worker who died of a stroke last Sunday. “The martyrdom of Bien Ruiz, Antonio Enero, Danny Hernandez, Alfredo Limana and Arturo Estrada—who all died during the pendency our struggle against outsourcing—embolden us to fight until victory so that their deaths will not be in vain,” insisted Gerry Rivera, PALEA president and PM vice chair.

PM is leading nationwide protests tomorrow on Labor Day. In Cebu, thousands of PM members will unite with the Nagkaisa contingent for a 7,000-strong rally from downtown Colon to Fuente Osmena. In Bacolod, PM will merge with the labor coalition GAWA for a rally at the downtown area. In Iloilo, PM will have an assembly of construction workers and then initiate a rally march to Plaza Letogay. In Davao, PM and Nagkaisa will have a joint protest at Orcullo Park. In Iligan, PM will link up with a labor unity rally at the public park in front of City Hall.

Press Release
April 30, 2013
Partido ng Manggagawa
Contact Renato Magtubo @ 09178532905

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[Press Release] Gina Lopez, Ms Earth runners-up join Sibuyan, Romblon Officials’ launching of Tao Muna, Hindi Mina! Campaign

Gina Lopez, Ms Earth runners-up join Sibuyan, Romblon Officials’ launching of Tao Muna, Hindi Mina! Campaign

2012 Miss Earth Philippines runner-up Princess Manzon, ABS-CBN Foundation Managing Director Dr. Gina Lopez, 2012 Miss Earth Air Stephanie Stefanowitz and Romblon Office of the Governor Chief of Staff Ms. Trina Firmalo - all for TAO MUNA, HINDI MINA campaign. Photo ATM.

2012 Miss Earth Philippines runner-up Princess Manzon, ABS-CBN Foundation Managing Director Dr. Gina Lopez, 2012 Miss Earth Air Stephanie Stefanowitz and Romblon Office of the Governor Chief of Staff Ms. Trina Firmalo – all for TAO MUNA, HINDI MINA campaign. Photo ATM.

2012 Miss Earth Philippines runner-up Princess Manzon, ABS-CBN Foundation Managing Director Dr. Gina Lopez, 2012 Miss Earth Air Stephanie Stefanowitz and Romblon Office of the Governor Chief of Staff Ms. Trina Firmalo - all for TAO MUNA, HINDI MINA campaign. Photo ATM.

2012 Miss Earth Philippines runner-up Princess Manzon, ABS-CBN Foundation Managing Director Dr. Gina Lopez, 2012 Miss Earth Air Stephanie Stefanowitz and Romblon Office of the Governor Chief of Staff Ms. Trina Firmalo – all for TAO MUNA, HINDI MINA campaign. Photo ATM.

More than a thousand residents of Sibuyan Island in the province of Romblon marked Earth Day (April 22) with the rejection of mining approval and applications through a simultaneous caravan and prayers through the intercession of St. Francis of Assisi, patron saint of ecological protection.

Ten thousand prayer cards with the image of the saint were embedded along the seven-kilometer stretch national highway in San Fernando town. They were joined by Bantay Kalikasan Managing Director Gina Lopez, 2012 Miss Earth Philippines runner-up Princess Manzon, 2012 Miss Earth Air Stephanie Stefanowitz and Romblon Office of the Governor Chief of Staff Ms. Trina Firmalo.
Gina Lopez, champion of eco-tourism said: “Let us eradicate poverty through eco-tourism and the protection of the environment with integrity and compassion. Mining will destroy the beauty of Sibuyan Island, choose candidates who will defend the environment – for God, country and people!”

Considered as one of the world’s biodiversity hotspot, Sibuyan Island has been dubbed by conservationists as Galapagos of Asia: home to the world’s densest forest and the country’s cleanest inland body of water, river category, the Cantingas River. The whole island is protected as it has been proclaimed as a mangrove swamp forest reserve and its core zone is the Mt. Guiting-guiting Natural Park.

“Protected as it is, a large-scale mining permit has been granted by former environment Secretary Lito Atienza through a midnight deal three days before he resigned in 2009 opening almost 1,500 hectares of land for mineral production sharing agreement,” said Mayor Dindo C. Rios of San Fernando, Romblon.

“The national government’s Mining Industry Coordinating Council or MICC mandated by President Aquino’s Executive Order No. 79 must review the approved agreement as soon as possible, thus, we are strongly calling the members of the council to visit our island and see for themselves how delicate our island is,” stressed Mayor Rios.

Different churches and religions through an ecumenical forum have gathered petitions and more than 120 thousand signatures to halt mining in the province of Romblon especially in Sibuyan Island. They are calling to uphold the integrity of creation.

Fr. Noel Sixon, parish priest of Our Lady of Remedies Parish said: “We must protect creation, the earth is abused and dying. We must save Sibuyan Island, God-given gift to us. I will not endorse names in the coming elections but choose candidates who are pro-God, pro-People, pro-Family and pro-Environment.”

Joining Sibuyan Island Earth Day Celebrations, and endorsing Tao Muna Hindi Mina 2012 Miss Earth Air Stephanie Stefanowitz said: “We should protect, preserve and conserve our environment for us and the future generations to come; let us make everyday Earth Day.”

For more information, please email taomunahindimina@gmail.com, or contact 0921-9645017 (Egay) or 0923-5122374 (Farah).

Follow us on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/TaoMunaHindiMina, Twitter https://twitter.com/TaoMunaDiMina, and WordPress <taomunadimina.wordpress.com>.

[Press Release] Low wage policy, job fairs won’t bring Pilar and Pepe out of chronic poverty -PM

Low wage policy, job fairs won’t bring Pilar and Pepe out of chronic poverty

pmLogo1The labor group Partido ng Manggagawa (PM) deplores the “no wage hike” on Labor Day announcement made by the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) the other day, saying it is the country’s unemployment problem and low-wage policy that keeps Pilar and Pepe suffer a life of misery under chronic poverty.

The group declared that the call for a wage adjustment will be one of the highlights of the big May Day rally planned by the labor coalition Nagkaisa. Today the coalition is holding a motorcade that will pass by different government agencies including DOLE. On the eve of Labor Day, PM is holding an overnight vigil of several hundred workers and poor at Mendiola to press for its demands against contractualization and high prices.

The no wage hike announcement coincided with the release by the National Statistical Coordinating Board (NSCB) of a report indicating the country’s failure to cut poverty incidence during the last six years (2006-2012).

The same report also revealed that those who produce the country’s food requirements—the agricultural workers and fisherfolks—were the lowest paid among employed workers.

PM chair, Renato Magtubo, said he found Malacanang’s wage freeze announcement as a deliberate attempt to distance itself from the wage issue in anticipation of this poverty report by the NSCB.

“Everybody is aware of the fact that poverty is deeply associated with income and the latter being the product of flawed employment and wage policy. Yet the government is trying to skirt the wage issue as if this chronic problem of poverty is not enough to warrant immediate action even prior to the Labor Day celebration,” lamented Magtubo.

The National Wages and Productivity Commission (NWPC) in its last estimate (2008) placed the family living wage (FLW) in NCR at PhP 917 per day. FLW is significantly higher in the poorest region of ARMM where it was estimated to reach PhP 1,322.

PM is advocating for the implementation of the living wage concept provided under the 1987 Constitution as against the minimum wage concept under Republic Act 6727 or the Wage Rationalization Law. The minimum wage in Metro Manila stands at only PhP446 a day or less than half of the desired FLW.

“To live a decent life, a Filipino family needs at least two minimum wage earners to survive a gruelling daily life in Metro Manila. Sadly 27.9% of the population based on NSCB report cannot even get out of the poverty line as they have no source of income to meet the basic food and non-food requirements now estimated to be at PhP 7,821 a month or PhP 260 a day,” said Magtubo.

The labor leader likewise stressed that low wage and unemployment problems are twin issues that the government should address frontally and not through mega showcase such as job fairs done during Labor Day. PM is advocating a paradigm shift in the economic policy of the government as a step towards resolving the job and income crisis.

PRESS RELEASE
Partido ng Manggagawa
25 April 2013
Contact: Renato Magtubo
09178532905

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[Statement] In-City relocation, hindi demolisyon! Tunay na serbisyo mula sa Gubyerno, hindi harassment at kawalan ng pagkilala sa aming karapatan! -PINAGSAMA

“IN-CITY RELOCATION, HINDI DEMOLISYON! TUNAY NA SERBISYO MULA SA GUBYERNO, HINDI HARASSMENT AT KAWALAN NG PAGKILALA SA AMING KARAPATAN!”

pinagsamaIto ang hiling ng mga maralitang mamamayan ng Las Pinas na nagrali sa harap ng Las Pinas City Hall, alas-9 ng umaga (ng April 15). Ang may tatlong-daang (300) miembro ng PINAGSAMA ay nagsimulang magmartsa mula sa kanilang mga tirahan bandang alas-7 ng umaga upang tumungo sa City Hall para magrehistro ng kanilang pagtutol sa ‘off-city’ relocation plan para sa kanila ng pamahalaang lokal.

“Kabi-kabila na ulit ang pamamahagi ng mga pabatid mula sa Urban Poor Affairs Office (UPAO) na nag-uutos sa aming mga informal settlers na mag-self demolish.” “Hinaharass ang mga komunidad ng maralita para tanggapin ang relokasyon sa malayong lugar kung hindi ay harapin namin ang sapilitang demolisyon sa aming mga tirahan”, ayon sa mga nakatira sa danger zone areas at mga lugar na dadaanan ng proyektong C-5 extension sa may Brgy. Pulang Lupa.

Ayon naman sa pangulo ng PINAGSAMA na si Romy Penafuerte, “Bakit kami pinipilit na itapon sa malayo at minamadaling i-demolish? Sana kilalanin ang aming karapatan na kami ang pumili kung saan namin gustong tumira. Hindi kami tutol sa pag-relocate sa aming mga nasa dangerzone. Handa kaming makipagtulungan sa gubyerno para malinis ang mga tubigan. Pero dapat igalang ang aming mga karapatan at hindi yung basta nalang alisin kami. Nandito sa loob ng syudad ang aming kabuhayan. Dito nag-aaral ang mga anak namin. Lalo kaming maghihirap kapag itinapon sa malayo. Sana dinggin ng mga tunay na naglilingkod sa bayan ang aming mga kahilingan.”

Ayon pa sa PINAGSAMA, alam nila na may programa ang gubyerno para sa ‘in-city relocation’ ng mga informal settlers sa NCR laluna ang mga naninirahan sa dangerzone. Wika nila, “Buhay pa si Sec. Robredo ay nakikipag-ugnayan at nakikipagtulungan na kami sa DILG para maging benipisaryo ng P50B shelter fund.”

Ang PINAGSAMA ay may nakahaing “People’s Proposal” na tinanggap na ng DILG at ngayon ay isinasaproseso para ang ilang informal settler families sa Las Pinas dangerzone areas ay mapabilang sa programang ‘In-City Relocation’. Sa kabila nito, tuluy-tuloy ang pag-uutos ng lokal na pamahalaan, sa pamamagitan ng UPAO sa demolisyon.

Hiling ng PINAGSAMA na magkaruon ng ‘moratorium sa demolisyon’ habang isinasaproseso ang People’s Proposal at habang hindi nagkakaruon ng tiyak na napagkasunduang mapaglilipatan sa loob ng o malapit sa syudad para sa mga mamamayang maralita ng Las Pinas.

 

**Ang PINAGSAMA ay pansyudad na pederasyon ng mga lokal na samahan ng mga maralitang lungsod sa Las Piñas na nagkaisa upang sama-samang itaguyod ang karapatan ng mga maralita laluna sa usapin sa paninirahan, trabaho at serbisyong panlipunan.Ang PINAGSAMA ay kasaping organisasyon ng League of Urban Poor for Action (LUPA), isang pambansang pederasyon ng mga maralitang lungsod.

PRESS STATEMENT
April 15, 2013
Contact Person: ROMY PEÑAFUERTE
PINAGSAMA Chairperson
(0909-4592816)

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[Events] A thousand cyclists rode for freedom -Dakila

Dakila – Philippine Collective for Modern Heroism

A thousand cyclists rode for freedom

Freedom Ride photo by Dakila

Freedom Ride photo by Dakila

dakilaAround 1,000 cyclists participated in the Freedom Ride for a Human Trafficking Free Philippines last Saturday March 9, 2013.

Ambassadors H.E. Ton Boon von Ochssee of the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, H.E. Josef Rychtar of the Czech Embassy, and H.E. Guy Ledoux of the European Union joined the bike ride as well as members of the diplomatic community representing the Embassies of France, Spain, Belgium, Canada, United States, New Zealand, European Union and Czech Republic; and top officials of Dutch Corporations like Philips Electronics, Seatrade, Control Union Philippines and Pilipinas Shell Petroleum.

Among those who participated in the bike tour are officials of the Department of Justice Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (DOJ-IACAT) to be led by Chief Senior State Prosecutor Jonathan Lledo, Bureau of Immigrations Commissioner Ricardo David, Director Patricia Luna of DSWD and Assistant Secretary Jed Eva III of the Office of the Executive Secretary, Office of the President, Actor Albert Martinez, sports and lifestyle host Reema Chanco, restaurateur Erik Waldie, Kiko Machine comics artist Manix Abrera, Miss Earth Air 2012 Stephany Stefanowitz and Miss Philippines Fire 2012 Thoreen Halvorsen.

Organized by the artist collective, Dakila – Philippine Collective for Modern Heroism, in partnership with Manila Fixed Gear and We FXD and with the support of the Department of Justice Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (DOJ-IACAT) and the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, the Freedom Ride served as the launch of the Stop, Look, and Listen campaign to intensify efforts to stop human trafficking in the Philippines.

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[Events] Hundreds gather to protest mining all over the country -ATM

Hundreds gather to protest mining all over the country
Local groups stage candle lighting and prayers against mining projects

atm-logoQuezon City—Hundreds of protesters from mining-affected communities throughout the country gathered over the weekend to condemn the negative impacts of large-scale mining and the decision of national agencies allowing for the aggressive promotion of mining in the Philippines.

Community members and support groups held the gatherings in Cagayan Province, Nueva Vizcaya, Palawan, Leyte, Agusan del Norte, and Surigao del Sur, and organized separate site actions to say “No to mining!”

Commemoration of Mining Act’s 13 years of oppression

The intensified local actions challenged the Philippine Mining Act of 1995, or RA 7942. The law is being blamed for its negative impacts on people and the environment, and for causing social unrest. Many organizations view the Mining Act, enacted on March 4, 1995, as a policy submission to the demands of international financial institutions such as the World Bank, to liberalize the mining industry of the country.

Jaybee Garganera, ATM national coordinator said: “This law has resulted to the destruction of the environment — our food and water sources, [and has] led to social disorder and tribal wars. Worse, it cost the lives of many environmentalists and anti-mining advocates.”

“Black sand mining here in Cagayan remains to be illegal and destructive. We are concerned that our coastal areas are being eroded and this poses threats to our lives and our livelihood”, said Evelyn Lacambra, President of CLAIM (Concerned Lal-okenos Against Illegal Mining), based in the town of Lalo, in Cagayan Province.

Meanwhile, Fidel Opay, Secretary General of SALAKNIB from Nueva Vizcaya, stated that “the mining operations here in Nueva Vizcaya are not accepted by the community. The resistance against mining are present in villages from Didipio and Malabing Valley in the town of Kasibu and barricades have been set-up in Paquet and Pao villages in the same town.” He added that these operations conflict with their agricultural livelihood.

“We demand from the local government and the DENR to stop these operations,” he concluded. SALAKNIB is a multi-sectorial organization throughout Nueva Vizcaya, campaigning against mining and proposed large-scale dam projects in the province.

The Cagayan activity was held in a parish church in Aparri, with more than 30 participants coming from the towns of Lal-o, Buguey, and Aparri. The gathering in Neuva Vizcaya was held in front of the provincial capitol with more than 20 farmers from Kasibu and Dupax del Norte municipalities. Both were held last Sunday, March 10.

Last Saturday, Mar. 9, 2013, more than 200 participants gathered in a solidarity action in Puerto Princesa City, Palawan. Led by “Save Palawan” Movement, Palawan NGO Network, Inc. (PNNI), and the Justice for Doc Gerry Movement, the ecumenical prayer gathering was led by no less than Bishop Pedro Arigo. It also included youth groups, local media, and supporters of senatorial candidate Teddy Casino.

Today, March 11, about 100 people from the towns of Cantilan and Carascal from Surigao del Sur, gathered in Butuan City, to protest against the DENR-MGB for failing to implement a Temporary Environmental Protection Order (TEPO) against Marcventures Mining Corporation, a nickel-mining company. The protesters were joined by at least 15 indigenous peoples (from the Mamanwa tribe) from Agusan del Norte for the protest.

Scrap RA 7942; enact the Alternative Minerals Management Bill (AMMB)

As an alternative to the current mining law, AlyansaTigil Mina, part of SoS-Yamang Bayan Network, is pushing for the passage of a Minerals Management bill that will not only look into the exploitation of the country’s mineral resources, but will also return the power to mining-affected communities to decide if they want to allow miners to explore their land.

Erwin Quinones, coordinator of the SoS-YB network said, “The Mining Act of 1995 fails to respond to issues of social acceptability, environmental concerns, and the reality of climate change and disasters. That is why SoS-YB is pushing for the enactment of a new mining law, embodied by the proposed Philippines Mineral Resources Act (PMRA), or the Alternative Minerals Management Bill (AMMB).” SoS-YB is a multi-sectorial group composed of more than a hundred local and national organizations supporting the AMMB.

ATM also challenged the Aquino administration to distinguish itself from the previous regime. Garganera said, “PNoy must support the passage of AMMB or PMRA. That is the only genuine way to be true to his social contract and to resolve the conflicts brought by large-scale mining.”

Alyansa Tigil Mina is an alliance of mining-affected communities and their support groups of NGOs/POs and other civil society organizations who oppose the aggressive promotion of large-scale mining in the Philippines. The alliance is currently pushing for a moratorium on mining, revocation of EO 270-A, repeal of the Mining Act of 1995, and passage of the AMMB. (30)

For more information:

Jaybee Garganera, ATM National Coordinator, nc@alyansatigilmina.net, 09277617602
Farah Sevilla, Policy Research and Ad

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[Blog] THE SABAH ISSUE: The Betrayal to the Republic of the Philippines of Mr. Aquino by Jose Mario De Vega

THE SABAH ISSUE: The Betrayal to the Republic of the Philippines of Mr. Aquino

Mario De VegaI concur with the statement of the Anonymous Philippines (February 28th) that President Aquino‘s February 26, 2013 statement on Sabah issue is problematic.

In fact, I will even argue that the pronouncement of Mr. Aquino is unpatriotic and treasonous. Whatever little respect I have in him is completely gone the very moment I heard him uttered those traitorous words!

Shame!

Where can you find a president whose allegiance is not with his people but with another state?

I also agree with candidate Dick Gordon that Mr. Aquino is courting an impeachment case against him for not “executing faithfully the laws of the land”. In failing to do so, he is betraying the “public trust and the public and patrimonial interest of the nation.

It is beyond dispute that “the context of this action by the Sultan of Sulu and his followers is beyond question. It is not a power-grab. Neither is it a land-grab. It is a reassertion of their historic, legal and moral right to be in Sabah, the vast track of land in Northern Borneo controlled by the Federation of Malaysia. It was for them the pursuit of a noble cause.”

Anyone can check all the available sources that they can find, whether it is an encyclopedia, atlas, almanac, Wikipedia, history books, etc. In all of them, Sabah can never ever be separated with the Philippines, specifically the Sultanate of Sulu.

Consider the words of Mr. Aquino:

“You are a leader of your clan, and every leader seeks the well-being of his constituents. These times require you to use your influence to prevail on our countrymen to desist from this hopeless cause.”

I wonder who the hell is his adviser on Sabah? Whoever the hell is that creature, he/she should be immediately shot on the spot. I also wonder why it is that this so-called President appears to be ignorant and blur on the whole issue?

Are those words quoted above, the words you want to hear from your so-called Chief Executive?

Hell no! I DO NOT THINK SO!

Following the line of his ‘reasoning’, if one can imagine or construe, what kind of ‘argument’ is that: why is he egging our people to stand up and fight and not be intimidated by giant and bullish China? Yet, when it comes to the Malaysians, he seems to be soft and apathetic?

This is a clear contradiction!

If the question of the ownership of Sabah is a hopeless cause then, how about our cause against China? Is that not a hopeless case, too? Again, that is following Mr. Aquino’s ‘mental mechanism’.

If our cause against China is not hopeless, then how come our cause against Malaysia is dormant?

The aberrant position of Mr. Aquino defies logic and mock reason!

Further, I would like to ask: what is the distinction in our Sabah dispute with regard to our conflict with China? Why in the latter, he is so eager to stand up with the giant (to the point that a newspaper in China and even here went to the point of tagging and calling him/us as a “trouble maker”) yet he is so cautious and soft with regard to the former?

I see no distinction by virtue of the fact that Sabah and
Scarborough Shoal, etc are both our properties and territories.
Why he is not afraid to irritate China, yet he appears to be uneasy to offend Malaysia?

Indeed, there is no shadow of doubt that “it must have been a totally disappointing and devastating feeling for Sultan Kiram and his followers to hear that their noble cause is, for the President of the Philippines, “a hopeless cause.””

Sad but true!

It is my considered view that Mr. Aquino’s call to the followers of Sultan Kiram: “To desist from this hopeless cause” is not merely an impeachable offense but undeniably treasonous and the heights of unpatriotism!

I am ashamed that he is the president of this country.

The duty of a true and valiant president is to be the first one to recognize the claim of the Sultanate of Sulu that “Malaysia has no ownership rights over Sabah and that such ownership rights belong to the Sultanate of Sulu over Sabah which is rightfully within Philippine territory. The position of the Sultanate of Sulu is, in fact and in law, exactly the international claim of the Philippines on Sabah against Malaysia.”

This argument is in conformity with Ambassador Lauro L. Baja, Jr. (A veteran Philippine diplomat. He was the Philippine Permament Representative to the United Nations (May 2003- Feb.2007). Prior to that, he was Foreign Affairs Undersecretary for Policy) in his article ‘Don’t play into Malaysia’s hand’, VERA Files, February 27th, when we categorically state that:

Mr. Aquino’s “statements and actions give the unintended consequence of leaning on our own nationals over a foreign power. We may be playing into Malaysia’s hands who have been adopting a studied but cavalier attitude over the standoff. They are exercising acts of “effectivités” over Sabah during this standoff by their actions and even by their silence over our naive pronouncements.”

The “wisdom of doing it in public” (the President’s act of appearing on TV appealing and at the same time chastising and criticizing the Sultan of Sulu over the stand-off in Sabah) has clearly shows that he has no concern with our Sabah claim and that instead of taking the cudgel of our Filipino Muslim brothers, he let them down, worst he even appears to be the Malaysian spokesperson.

The whole thing exploded to his very face!

I strongly doubt if he could still recover the trust and confidence of the people and the public as a whole!

The reaction of the people is swift. Check the Yahoo online survey.

The latest is that Mr. Aquino is viewed by a greater number of our countrymen as pro-Malaysia. What a shame!

The so-called ‘president’ of daang matuwid became the pang-gulo ng kalsadang baluktot!

As Ambassador Baja said:

“The Sabah standoff should rouse the Philippine Rip van Winkle attitude towards our claim to the area. It provides the country with a unique but sensitive opportunity to revisit our claim. If the Philippines can deal with the situation with some diplomatic imagination and finesse it can correct some missteps of the past which led to the current state of helplessness insofar as the issue is concerned…

“The solid legal foundation of our claim still exists.

“In the transfer of sovereignty document which the Sultan of Sulu signed with the Philippine government, it was expressly provided that the transfer shall be deemed voided if the Philippines shall fail to pursue the claim. The sultan understandably feels he is now free to pursue the claim himself.”

Why? Because this President does not give a damn about them, hence I concur that the Sultan had no choice but to pursue their historic claim by themselves.

Indeed, “it is a sad commentary on the Philippines if our own nationals should run to the UN because their government cannot protect their rights. This is not the spectacle our country wants to portray to the international community.”

Professor Randy David is in point where he stated in his article, “The Real Sovereign”, Philippine Daily Inquirer, March 7th that:

The Sultan can very well file his private claims before a Malaysian or international court; he does not need the Philippine government’s consent to do this. Since the Philippine government has not actively pursued its sovereign claim over Sabah, the Sultan is free to seek help elsewhere.

One thing he cannot do is force the Philippine state to go to war for him.

Proposal

My suggestion is for the United Nations to intervene on this issue and assume jurisdiction.

I welcome their call this Thursday (finally, after weeks of silence) for the parties to stop from killing and wiping out each other.

I also call upon the Organization of Islamic State (OIC) to mediate between the followers of the Sultan of Sulu and Malaysia to engage in a dialogue.

Further, I certainly believe that the intervention of the Sultan of Brunei, as the original historical owner carries some moral and persuasive effect to the contending parties.

The Sabah “invasion”

How could be the act of the followers of the Sultan of Sulu be considered as an “intrusion” or invasion” when said land subject of the dispute is their land?

If Malaysia owned the land, as they are claiming then why the hell up to now they are paying rent, no matter how nominal and small the amount to the Sultan of Sulu?

The use of excessive force

I concur overwhelmingly with Professor Harry L. Roque, Director, Institute of International Legal Studies of the University of the Philippines Law Center that:

“The use of modern fighter jets and air strikes against the followers of the Sultanate of Sulu is illegal. Under human rights law, the use of force in police operations should be absolutely necessary and strictly proportional to the threat posed by the Filipinos in Sabah. Moreover, Respect for the right to life of a police suspect requires that the nature and degree of force used be proportionate to the threat posed by the suspect to the safety and security of the police officers, other individuals and society as a whole. Malaysian Law enforcement officials should, as far as possible, apply non-violent means before resorting to force, and in particular, the resort to airstrikes.

“Since the use of force against the Filipinos involved in the standoff is illegal, Malaysia has committed an internationally wrongful act. Accordingly, the Philippine government, in addition to espousing the rights of its nationals, should also demand that the international community should ask Malaysia to cease and desist from further breaching human rights law. It should later be asked to pay compensation to the victims of its use of disproportionate use of force.”

According to the Malaysian authorities, they have already defeated the ‘militants’, yet even their senior police officer is doubting that that is the case. Further, the so-called “mopping operations” have yet to produce the dead bodies of the “intruders”. Hence, what ‘victory’ is this?

The barbarity of war

I condemn Malaysia for using excessive force, in the same vein that I also condemn to the highest degree the acts of the followers of the Sultan of Sulu (if the reports are true) that they engaged in torturing and beheading the police and/or soldiers that they caught!

This is a shame!

Both sides are wrong on this score!

Yes, there is an on-going conflict, but as the American philosopher William James said, there should be a certain degree of morality, even in war.

Why? Because if both sides will engaged in acts of barbarism, then there would be no distinction between the two and the two of them would be no different from animals and scoundrels.

The Cyberwar

It saddens me that the on-going stand-off in Sabah has already spilled to the cyber world!

According to the reports, Malaysian hackers hacked the site of Globe; thereupon in an immediate retaliation, the Anonymous Philippines Cyber Army also hit back and hacked numerous Malaysian sites!

This pierces my heart profusely!

On this juncture, I would like to thank and commend the Anonymous International in their intervention and call for both the Filipino and Malaysian hackers to stop this unnecessary cyberwar.

As they said in an official statement:

“Let us help both The Philippines and Malaysia unite, not find a reason to fight…”

We all have to find a way to stop this fiasco before, a more bigger and much sinister development happen!

According further to the reports, the ‘war-front’ that begun as a single area has now spread to other areas. Now, the front-lines of battle are on three different locations.

So, now how will the Malaysian authorities conduct the so-called mopping operation, if the delineation of the battle-fields is not clear?

I do not know whether the Malaysian authorities are aware of the consequences of its actions!

They claimed that the so-called ‘militants’ and/or ‘intruders’ are numbering from 100 to 300; then why not send 1, 000 to 2, 000 marines or soldiers to subdue them? Why bring in the tanks and the fighter jets?

Are they afraid to fight in a mortal combat those so-called ‘invaders’?

It was also reported that one Malaysian fighter jet instead of hitting the position of the ‘militants’ rather wrongly bomb their own soldiers. Is this a case of a ‘friendly-fire’ or due to some human error or can we attribute this to the stupidity of the pilot?

Yes, they can wipe out and kill all of those ‘intruders’, yet I doubt if that would be the end of the problem!

Do they not know that the sons and daughters and the heirs of those ‘militants’, ‘invaders’, ‘intruders’ will not cease from continuing what their ancestors have struggled for!

The heirs of those ‘martyrs’ will not stop from fighting what they believe righteously belongs to them…

The ‘war’ will not end and this is because of the fault both of the governments of Malaysia and the Philippines…

WE ARE ALL LOSERS HERE! SAD BUT TRUE!

Jose Mario Dolor De Vega
March 8, 2013

Lecturer
College of Arts and Letters
Department of Humanities and Philosophy
Polytechnic University of the Philippines

Institute of Arts and Sciences
Department of Humanities, Literature and Philosophy
Far Eastern University

The writer has a Master’s degree in Philosophy, a law degree and a degree in AB Political Science. He was previously teaching Philosophy, Ethics and Anthropology at an institution of higher education in Nilai University College at Nilai, Negeri Sembilan, Malaysia

As of the moment, he is preparing to publish his first book entitled “Dissidente”. It is a collection of his articles, commentaries and op-ed published by various newspapers in Southeast Asia, including the Philippine Daily Inquirer

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[Featured video] March 8, 2013 International Women’s Day by ClydieCandy

March 8, 2013 International Women’s Day
by clydiecandy

A feminist flashmob organized by World March of Women-Philippines, participated by Women Human Rights Defenders from different NGOs in the Philippines.

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[Statement] Women say YES to Development! Women say NO to Corporate Mining!

Women say YES to Development! Women say NO to Corporate Mining!

March 8 2013 Women say No to mining from HRD FB

International Women’s Day. 08 March 2013. Today, we celebrate our hopes, our rights, our voices, our movements as we continue to work towards the elimination of violence and discrimination, our right to self-determination, our right to decide on our bodies, communities and natural resources. We voice out the development we want. We move towards equality and justice. We dance until we are all free.

As we celebrate this day we stand firm against those who dare to violate our hopes, our rights, our voices, and our movements. We stand firm against those who dare to destroy the lives we choose to live and the future we dream for our children. WE STAND FIRM AGAINST CORPORATE MINING, for mining companies dared to poison us, kill us, displace us, prostitute us, exploit us.

MINING POISONS our food and waters – mine tailings seeping through the water system, backhoes excavating our rice fields, coastal areas and mountains. Women toil more than twelve hours a day to produce and secure food for their families, to bring water to their homes, to gather medicines from their forests. Women regard the land and water as source of life; but yes, mining corporations easily disregard the value of life.

MINING DISPLACES rural women – away from their homes, their farms, their municipal waters, their forests. With diminishing sources of income due to degradation of their natural resources, rural women have to find work in the cities or abroad, with the risk of falling prey to trafficking and prostitution. Women are driven away from their families and communities; but yes, mining corporations easily disregard the value of family and community.

MINING WORSENS prostitution – peddling entertainment to investors and their male workers, peddling women next to the produce of the mines. Young women get attracted to jobs near the mining areas, many fall victims to empty promises of better incomes at the cost of their bodies and dignity; but yes, mining corporations easily disregard a person’s dignity.

MINING EXPLOITS workers – subjecting them to inhuman conditions and various risks to health and danger without any occupational safety hazards, without security of tenure, without decent pay. The government promotes mining for job creation but it has not delivered any impact on employment; but yes, mining corporations easily disregard the dignity of work.

MINING KILLS indigenous women – Juvy Capion’s and Cheryl Ananayo’s children sleep at night grieving the loss of their mothers, whose last cries were for their ancestral domains. Indigenous women laid their lives for their ancestral lands not because they wanted to merely benefit or profit from it, but because they wanted to protect the ties that bind them as a people, their cultural identity and integrity. This is the reason why there is the free prior informed consent (FPIC) that would protect indigenous communities from threats of encroachment; but yes, mining corporations easily disregard the right to self-determination, and bastardize the very spirit of FPIC.

With all its dominance and violence, corporate mining perpetuates patriarchy. It has deprived women’s voice to be heard in the communities. It has justified militarization in the country side. With all its capitalist greed, multinational mining corporations perpetuate wanton exploitation of the environment, and undermines national sovereignty. It has worsened impacts of climate change. It has threatened food sovereignty and national patrimony. But mining corporations cannot do it by themselves; but yes, government has long been by their side.

Today, in one voice, women from different communities, and languages, say –

Mining poisons our food and water.

Mining kills indigenous women.

Mining exploits workers.

Mining displaces rural women.

Mining worsens prostitution.

Protect women human rights defenders in mining areas.

STOP corporate mining!

Pursue a development path that uplifts the dignity and lives of the Filipino communities, nurtures the natural resources and environment, and eliminates all forms of violence against women.

Akbayan–Youth • Alliance of Progressive Labor • Amnesty International • Alyansa Tigil Mina (ATM) • Asian Federation Against Involuntary Disappearances (AFAD) • Asian Circle 1325 • Bagong Kamalayan • BATIS • Batis-AWARE • Buklod • Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino – Kababaihan • CATW-AP • Center for Migrant Advocacy (CMA) • Children’s Legal Rights and Development Center, Inc • DAKILA Palawan Collective • Development Action for Women Network • Filipino Deaf Women Health and Crisis Center (FDWHCC) • Focus on the Global South • Free Burma Coalition • Freedom from Debt Coalition • Initiatives for International Dialogue • Kababaihan-Pilipinas • KAISA-KA • KAMP • Kasibulan • Legal Rights and Natural Resources Center (LRC-KsK/Friends of the Earth-Phils) • LILAK (Purple Action for Women’s Rights) • Medical Action Group • MFA • Partido Lakas ng Masa • Partido ng Manggagawa • PAHRA • PEACE • Philrights • Piglas Kababaihan • PKKK • PREDA • RENEW • Rice Watch and Action Network (R1) • SARILAYA • Transform Asia • Unlad Kabayan • WEDPRO • WomanHealth Phils. • Women’s Legal and Human Rights Bureau • Welga ng Kababaihan • Women’s Crisis Center • Youth and Students Advancing Gender Equality (YSAGE) • World March of Women – Pilipinas • numerous courageous individuals who joined through the event’s facebook page

Jean Enriquez
Executive Director, CATW-AP
Tel: 63-2-4342149
http://www.catw-ap.org

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[In the news] UN’s Ban meets Malaysian envoy on Sabah; HRW urges acccess to humanitarian aid, respect for rights -InterAksyon.com

UN’s Ban meets Malaysian envoy on Sabah; HRW urges acccess to humanitarian aid, respect for rights
By Abigail Kwok, InterAksyon.com
March 9, 2013

InterAksyon logo2MANILA, Philippines — (UPDATE – 10:41 a.m.) United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon met with Malaysia’s representative to the world body as he continued his bid to resolve the ongoing crisis in Sabah.

This developed as Human Rights Watch urged Malaysia to “provide clear and accurate information” on the situation in Sabah and to “ensure the protection of all civilians in the area and allow humanitarian access for the provision of emergency assistance to those affected by the violence.”

A statement on Ban’s UN page said he told Hussein Haniff, Malaysia’s permanent representative, that “efforts should be made to ensure that human rights will be respected and loss of life will be prevented” as Malaysian forces continue operations to flush out followers of the sultanate of Sulu who landed in Sabah early last month to press their claim to the territory.

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[In the news] Women hold flash mob vs mining company -ABS-CBNnews.com

Women hold flash mob vs mining company
ABS-CBNnews.com
March 8, 2013

ABS-CBN_News_&_Current_Affairs.pngMANILA – Around 200 female activists conducted a flash mob in front of the Sagittarius Mines, Inc. (SMI) office in Makati City on International Women’s Day to protest corporate mining.

Among the women who danced to the tune of “I Am Woman” (originally performed by Helen Reddy) were members of activist groups, students, and other concerned individuals.

In a statement, the group condemned SMI’s operation of the Tampakan Copper-Gold Project in Mindanao, which it claimed has been causing tension among the B’laan women in southern Philippines due to their displacement from their homes.

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[Statement] Hunger among women is a gross violation of their rights -FIAN

Hunger among women is a gross violation of their rights.
On Women’s Day, FIAN Philippines calls for the realization of
women’s right to adequate food

Quezon City, March 8, 2013 – Women struggle daily to feed their families. Yet they are the most hungry. Realizing their human right to adequate food is not only a matter of gender equality and empowerment, it paves the way out of poverty

logo-fianHunger and poverty are the most important challenges that the Philippine government must address. If it wants to solve the problem in a sustainable way, two factors have to be taken into account: Hunger, worldwide as well as in the Philippines, is mainly rural. 80% of the worldwide hungry live in rural areas. Hunger is also female. Women contribute most of their income and time on ensuring the survival of their families. Yet, they are most vulnerable to hunger.

International Women’s Day reminds us of the severity of hunger among Filipino women. As a human rights organization advocating for the right to adequate food, FoodFirst Information & Action Network (FIAN) Philippines, has been actively supporting marginalized women from the rural, indigenous and urban poor sectors in claiming their right to adequate food.

Hunger among women is not only a question of the lack of food. It is also a question of power relations, of access to resources, of social and economic status, of discrimination, bias in society, and of human rights.

The following are only a few reasons why hunger among women in the Philippines persists:

The gender-dimension of hunger is mostly ignored
Hunger among women persists because they are invisible in the national statistics. According to the Social Weather Stations, 3.3 million families, or 16.5 million individuals, have experienced hunger in the fourth quarter of 2012. The figures do not show that half of the number of family members is women and girls.

Women’s reproductive roles are not recognized
Reproductive roles, household and community tasks are not recognized and understood in the same way as productive, “hard” work done by men. While reproductive roles are unpaid and undervalued, women’s effort and time invested in the care of their families are completely ignored. Women spend an average of 11 hours per day in productive and reproductive work, in coastal areas even up to 16 hours.

Invisibility of women’s productive work
Women’s role in food production is “invisible”. In developing countries women contribute significantly to food production. They are responsible for 55% of food growth and comprise 67% of agricultural labor. Investing in rural women therefore means investing in food security and rural development, as is acknowledged by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

In national statistics, however, only 25% of the agricultural workers are women. Food production and economic productivity in general is commonly measured in terms of economic benefits, farm output, fish catch and contribution to the GDP. Other work that ensures food production, such as fetching water, providing fuel, looking for capital, supplying food for workers, preparation of fisher nets or sorting fish catch, is not considered within the value chain. Unfortunately these are tasks mainly performed by women.

Discrimination
Gender-related income gaps still persist. Women receive lower pay than men, even for equal work. Women also experience discrimination in access to work.

Women’s sacrifices for their families
More mothers than children experience food insecurity. According to the 6th National Nutrition Survey of the Food and Nutrition Research Institute in 2003, 33.7% of mothers experience food insecurity. In times of food scarcity or lack of money, they skip meals or do not eat for the whole day. Women often sacrifice for the other members of the family, especially their children, when there is not enough food. The children and the husbands eat first, women eat what is left or do not eat at all.

Lack of access to rights
Women have rights and the Philippine state is obliged to protect, respect and fulfil them. The Philippines is signatory to the Convention on the Elimination of All forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW). Discrimination against women, including discrimination in access to food and resources, violates the principles of equality of rights. It is also an obstacle to the participation of women, on equal terms with men, in the political, social, economic and cultural life. Discrimination hampers the growth of the prosperity of society and the family. It not only results in lost opportunities for women themselves, but also for the development of countries.

The Philippines recognizes the right to adequate food of women in the Magna Carta of Women (MCW or RA9710). In Section 20, Food Security and Productive Resources, the State recognizes the contribution of women to food production. According to the MCW, the State shall guarantee, at all times, the availability of safe and health-giving food especially to satisfy the dietary needs of marginalized women and girls.

Implementing the women’s right to food
The State is urgently called to comply with its obligations and to fulfil the right to adequate food of Filipino women, especially in the marginalized sectors. There is still a lack of awareness on gender equality and gender equity within legislation and society. FIAN Philippines urges the State not only to recognize women’s rights during International Women’s Day, but to guarantee women’s rights at all times. There is an
urgent need to:
 Implement the Magna Carta of Women
 Strengthen the legal framework to the right to adequate food and gender equality
 Guarantee equal access to rights and resources
 Increase women’s participation in policy and decision making bodies
 Mainstream gender equality and gender equity as a matter of human rights, especially the right to adequate food.
###
Contact: fian.philippines@gmail.com

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[Press Release] Workers face more malicious charges under Aquino-CTUHR

Workers face more malicious charges under Aquino-CTUHR

CTUHR logoMalicious filing of criminal cases (criminalization) against workers and unionists intensified under Aquino according to labor NGO, Center for Trade Union and Human Rights from an average of 7 cases per year between 2004-2009 to an average of 12 cases per year between 2010 to 2011.

CTUHR documentation also showed that the number of individuals victimized by these malicious or trumped up criminal charges more than doubled in the same period—from an average of 42 individuals charged per year between 2004-2009 to an average of 90 individuals every year between 2010-2012.

The group noted two forms of criminalization against workers and unionists: one is when workers are charged by capitalists with criminal offenses whenever the worker/s filed complaints against the former’s non-compliance with legal standards or when the union is in conflict with the management; the other type of criminalization is perpetrated by state agents reportedly by the military wherein union leaders of militant labor centers are maliciously linked to operations of armed groups particularly the New People’s Army.

Arman Hernando, CTUHR coordinator for documentation expressed alarm over this heightening spate of criminalization and said that it undermines workers right to unionize and jeopardizes the very few mechanisms where workers can seek redress when in conflict with their employers.

The group also pointed to the state’s counter insurgency program, Oplan Bayanihan, as culprit to most of these “legal offensives” and violations of workers’ freedom to unionize. “Like the previous administration, the Aquino administration and the military continue to malign legitimate people’s organizations and unions by linking them with the NPAs. And same with, if not worse than, past counterinsurgency programs, Oplan Bayanihan has resulted to volumes of human rights violations including these harassments through filing of trumped up cases, extrajudicial killings and others,” Hernando added.

Late last year, leaders of militant unions, Roy Velez and Amelita Gamara of Kilusang Mayo Uno and Randy Vegas and Raul Camposano of Confederation for Unity, Recognition and Advancement of Government Employees (COURAGE) were charged with murder linked to two separate NPA operations in Ifugao and Daet, Camarines Norte. Vegas and Camposano were first abducted reportedly by military agents on December 3, 2012 and this was followed by malicious filing of criminal charges.

The group challenged the Aquino government to comply with the ILO recommendations to uphold workers’ freedom of association and drop criminal charges against workers exercising their right to unionize and strike. In 2010, the International Labor Organization (ILO) released its recommendations to the Philippine Government following the ILO High Level Mission that investigated the spate of human rights violations against unions and workers.

For reference: Arman Hernando, CTUHR Coordinator for Documentation. +632.411.0256, +63923.819.3737

ctuhr.org

RELEASE
27 February 2012

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[Press Release] Call center workers demand reforms in BPO industry -PM

Call center workers demand reforms in BPO industry

pmLogo1On the occasion of the anniversary of the February 1986 EDSA uprising, a newly formed association of call center workers today demanded reforms in the business process outsourcing (BPO) industry to protect labor rights. In a press conference in Cebu City, the Inter-Call Center Association of Workers (ICCAW) declared that “We are for a stable BPO industry so that we can have regular jobs that provide decent salaries and benefits but this cannot happen if the requirements and criteria for opening a call center company are so relaxed.”

The first public activity of ICCAW was occasioned by its open support for employees of Cordia Philippines, a call center based in Cebu City’s Asiatown I.T. Park. Some 76 Cordia workers have already filed cases against their former employer at the National Labor Relations Commission for illegal closure, non-payment of salaries and non-remittance of their mandated benefits.

Many of ICCAW’s pioneers were workers of Direct Access, another call center which closed down and left its employees with unpaid wages and benefits. But after months of protests, lobbying and the support of the militant Partido ng Manggagawa, the Direct Access workers were able to secure their monetary claims.

Ruben Josol, ICCAW spokesperson, averred “ICCAW is coming out in solidarity with our brothers and sisters in Cordia. We are enraged that a call center company closes down, runs away from its obligations but then easily opens up a new company of the same nature and with its former clients. Some employers have been held accountable but majority are running scot-free and with impunity. We attribute this problem due to lack of strong state regulation in BPO industry.”

“We want a BPO company to be a better place to work with but if the occupational health of employees are compromised this industry will instead be a time bomb just waiting to explode. We are also asking candidates running in the elections to make workers demands part of their platform. If our so-called democracy is not just all form but has some substance, then the demands of the majority of the people must be met by those seeking the mandate of the voters,” Josol added.

A priority agenda of ICCAW is stricter government regulation of the BPO industry. It is proposing guidelines on requirements to set up call centers must be put in place and strictly implemented. This will reduce fly by night centers that are not financially equipped to run the business and does not respect labor rights, according to the group.

“We aim to be a voice and advocate for call center and BPO workers so that the 600,000 employees in the industry who are entirely unorganized can enjoy protection,” Josol insisted.

ICCAW is also calling for industry-wide standards for wages, benefits and entitlements that must be well above the minimum mandated by law and commensurate to the profitable dollar-earning nature of the call center industry.

Press Release
Partido ng Manggagawa
February 25, 2013
Contact Ruben Josol @ 09327518353

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[Press Release] Freedom Ride raises awareness on Human Trafficking -Dakila

Freedom Ride raises awareness on Human Trafficking

Freedom Ride for a Traffic Free Philippines by Dakila

DAKILAAdvocates take on the fight against human trafficking to another level as they hold the first ever Freedom Ride on March 9, 2013 at the Venice Piazza, McKinley Hill, Taguig. Cyclists wearing shirts printed with 1343 Anti-Trafficking hotline shall bike around the cities of Taguig, Manila, Pasay and Makati to spread awareness on human trafficking.

His Excellency Ambassador Ton Boon von Ochssee and Mrs. Martine Boon von Ochssee of the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands shall lead the Dutch contingent in the bike ride as combatting human trafficking is an important pillar of the Dutch foreign policy. Artists and celebrity advocates of the campaign will also join them in the ride.

According to musician and cycling enthusiast Nityalila Saulo, “The involvement of the cycling community in the fight against human trafficking is crucial to make people aware of the importance of knowing the red flags of human trafficking like how cyclists are aware of road signs so they can get to where they want to go safely.” She further added, “The participation of cyclists in this campaign will help deliver a strong message that there are always options available for people to avoid being trafficked and get to their destinations.”

The bike tour is organized by Dakila, a group of artists advocating social consciousness formation through creative platforms, in partnership with the Manila Fixed Gear, a group of urban cyclists who has incorporated cycling in their lifestyle, with the support of the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands and the Department of Justice Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (DOJ-IACAT).

Ayeen Karunungan, spokesperson of the artist collective Dakila, said “Through this campaign, we want the public to always remember to Stop, Look, and Listen. In order to stop human trafficking, we must always look for the signs to avoid being trafficked and listen to the stories of those who were trafficked and most vulnerable to trafficking so that we may learn from it and contribute on ways to help combat trafficking. “

Every year around 300,000 to 400,000 Filipinos fall prey to human trafficking in their own country and abroad. The Freedom Ride is part of the Project Freedom Campaign of Dakila, which aims to raise public awareness on Human Trafficking and empower advocates and citizens to become watchdogs in their own communities by driving them into action through grassroots involvement and amplified action through mainstream and digital media.

The Freedom Ride is open to the public and will start at the Venice Piazza, McKinley Hill, Taguig. Assembly is at 7:00 am and ride out is at 7:30 am. For more information, visit http://dakila.org.ph/freedomproject/ .

Press Release
25 March 2013
Dakila – Philippine Collective for Modern Heroism

Unit 3A VS1 Building, 34 Kalayaan Avenue, Quezon City 1101 Philippines
Tel/Fax +632 4354309 | Mobile +639151780240
E-mail: mabuhay@dakila.org.ph
Website: http://www.dakila.org.ph
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Follow us on twitter: http://www.twitter.com/dakila_ph

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[In the news] Long wait ends for HR victims -PhilStar.com

Long wait ends for HR victims
By Mike Frialde, The Philippine Star
February 25, 2013

philstar-logo-white1MANILA, PhilippinesLabor leader Romy Castillo will never forget the events of July 23, 1984, the day he was introduced to wet submarine, dry submarine and electrocution.

Following his arrest by agents of the Marcos regime, Castillo was subjected to nine days of torture and abuse meant to break his will and make him admit his affiliation with the communists.

His ordeal finally ended on Feb. 26, 1986, the day after the people power revolt booted Marcos out of Malacañang.

President Aquino is set to sign into law today an act recognizing the atrocities of the Marcos government and granting reparation to human rights victims like Castillo.

Castillo, now 61, recalled that around 2 a.m. of July 23, 1984, agents of the Metrocom Intelligence and Security Group (MISG) raided the staff house of the labor group Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) in Barrio Tubigan, Antipolo, and arrested him and four of his fellow labor leaders. He was beaten until he lost consciousness.

Castillo, also known as Ka Romy, said they were planning to stage a big rally of workers against Marcos.

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[In the news] Aquino tells Norway, CPP-NDF: Time for peace talks to move forward -GMA News

Aquino tells Norway, CPP-NDF: Time for peace talks to move forward
GMA News
February 24, 2013

gmanewsonlinePresident Benigno Aquino III has relayed to the Norwegian government, the mediator in peace talks with the National Democratic Front, that it is time to have peace efforts with communist rebels move forward.

Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said Saturday Aquino stressed this during a courtesy call by representatives of the Norwegian government, who included peace process facilitators, last Friday.

“The president talked about his resolve to move the peace process forward,” Valte said on government-run dzRB radio Saturday.

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