Tag Archives: dignity

[From the web] Synthesis of Global guidance and recommendations on how to prevent and manage COVID-19 in prisons -DIGNITY

The following is a synthesis of recommendations issued by a variety of international organizations on the prevention and control of COVID-19 in prisons. The purpose of this document is to streamline the copious amount of information generated daily on this subject in order to assist DIGNITY partners to make sense of it all and take quick action to prevent and control COVID-19 in their prisons and in the communities to which they are connected. Useful information sources are listed at the end of the document so partners can delve deeper into individual points should they wish.

In order to prevent and control COVID-19 in prisons, authorities should:

1. Recall states’ obligations towards detainees and especially the concept of equivalence of care and access to health care.

2. Develop and publicly disclose of COVID-19 prevention and management plans in coordination with public health departments. Adopt comprehensive & transparent decision-making processes.

3. All action further limiting detainee freedoms (e.g. medical isolation, reduced visits, etc.) should:

A. Have a legal basis
B. Be limited in scope and duration
C. Be necessary and proportionate based on the best science available
D. Not be or seem punitive
Prevention & containment
Preventing the virus entering into the prisons:
A. Reduce detained populations (supervised/conditional/early release for low-risk detainees, e.g. those scheduled for release or on pre-trial for lesser offences). Also consider non-custodial alternatives for pre-trial detainees and postponement of imprisonment.
B. Screen and test for the COVID-19 virus (SARS-CoV-2) as per health authorities’ recommendations.Preventing the virus spreading among the prison staff and detainees:
Containing the virus within prisons & mitigating its effect:
A. Consider release of detainees vulnerable to COVID-19 such as those with underlying health conditions and the elderly taking into consideration the gravity of the committed crime.
B. Ready facilities and procedures for housing people exposed to and infected by the COVID-19 virus. Ensuring isolation should not result in de facto solitary confinement by abiding to the UN Mandela Rules (for example, by ensuring meaningful human contact through electronic communication).
C. Treat detainees infected with COVID-19 as per national guidance in respect of the principle of equivalence of care.
Consider alternative/compensation strategies for visitations (e.g. video conferencing, more telephone access, etc.).

Read complete article @dignity.dk

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[People] Human Dignity is the Right of All -By Fr. Shay Cullen

Human Dignity is the Right of All
Fr. Shay Cullen
4 November 2016

325-fr-shay-cullenWe are bombarded daily by the news and images of violence and mayhem. The bombing of Yemen and Aleppo, the horrific war in Iraq and Syria, conflicts in Sudan in Africa and with the deaths and suffering of migrants and refugees fleeing violence and war. It gives us urgent reason to feel the human suffering and to think and act about our humanity. What are we as a species that we do violence to each other?

As a species, are we more animal than human, more violent than peaceful? Has our intelligence brought greater, more efficient means of killing and exterminating others than building equality and peace, ending hunger and poverty of hundreds of millions of people? It seems we, humans with the big brains and intelligence, are damaging ourselves and our planet beyond repair and recovery.

Are we not like a shipload of humans fighting among ourselves and causing the ship to sink? The aggressors tend to demonize their opponents, to take away their self-worth and self-respect and deprive them of their dignity. They do so to exert superiority over them. Racial hatred is the result and it is on the rise in the world today.

The human has evolved as the most aggressive and destructive species on the planet to the extent of one more powerful group in a community or country striving hell-bent on dominating or even exterminating others they dislike and whom they consider to be inferior, different or dangerous to them. When two or more groups feel threatened by others, they arm themselves and are ready for aggression or self-defense, violence, war and retaliation.

Doing nothing is to forfeit our rights and dignity. We are in this planet together and we must work together to live in peace and harmony with equality and justice. Dialogue, discussion, talking over differences, getting to know and understand those who are different from us in race, religion and economic status can bridge the gap. It is when we engage and look each other face to face and listen to each other that there is a chance for peaceful negotiation and understanding can be reached.

Troops and weapons are being sent to Eastern European countries by North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) to counter the threat of Russia to wage war by proxy as it did in Crimea and Ukraine. The Russian leadership feels threatened by the increasing number of states joining the NATO and intends to assert itself. Diplomacy and persuasion is the road to peace.

Violence in a family, a community or between nations can begin when some members are considered to have less rights and dignity than another. One group will dominate another and deprive them of freedoms and rights. Motives differ, some want to exploit and grow rich on the backs of the poor; others want to take over the nation’s natural wealth.  It is the greed and will to have power over others that drive the violence in our world.

Peaceful community life and co-existence is possible when the universal human rights of all members of a group are recognized, cherished and protected from those who would deny them. That’s why awareness of these rights and dignity is essential to defend and promote them and that is to promote peaceful living together in cooperation and mutual respect. The most successful nations are built on the respect and adherence to the rule of law that establishes and defends human rights and dignity.

These rights declared by the United Nations in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and specified in various international conventions are the bedrock upon which people of the world are supposed to live lives of dignity and harmony with justice and equality.

They are also at the heart of Catholic Social Teaching, which traces as its source of wisdom and enlightenment  the faith and belief in a loving greater power that exists within and beyond the physical universe and imbues every creature with value and worth. It is a belief that every human being comes to life no matter their condition, status, race, religion, disability, rich or poor. They have equal value and rights that is established in the image and likeness of universal goodness and love.

This is inherent self-value and worth of every individual and the recognition that they have equal human dignity that cannot and should not be taken away from them. From this universal recognition of human dignity of each person by all nations derives all other rights. We ought to recognize and respect in all others that which we want to be recognized and respected in us, too. At the very least such universal rights, based on the dignity of each human person, is a shared strategy for survival and success. At its highest level it brings about a well-ordered peaceful and prosperous, united community where the dignity of each is respected and protected.

It has to be this recognition of the dignity, integrity and empowerment with equality of the human person that has to be highly valued above all else. It is not the strongest that ought to survive at the expense of the weaker but respect for human dignity of each person is what will bring  about just, peaceful communities and nations.


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[Press Release] DIGNIDAD Alliance joins Farmers March – Quezon Province to Quezon City

DIGNIDAD Alliance joins Farmers March – Quezon Province to Quezon City:
Walk for Land, Right to food, Livelihoods, the Full Recovery of Coco Levy Fund
and a Life of Dignity for All

DIGNIDAD para sa lahatHundreds of farmers will lead a “Walk for Land, Right to Food, Livelihoods, the Full Recovery of Coco Levy Fund and a Life of Dignity for All,” from Sariaya, Quezon to the Department of Agrarian Reform in Quezon City on April 12 to 20, 2016.  The eight-day march that shall pass through Laguna, Muntinlupa, Baclaran, and Manila will highlight the rural poor’s issues, namely: land rights, agrarian reform, right to food, and coco levy.

“This is an important and symbolic expression of grassroots people’s demand for a life of dignity.” Buhay na may Dignidad para sa Lahat or DIGNIDAD Alliance supports this farmers-led activity to demand for right to food as well as other social protection measures that will ensure a life of dignity for all, DIGNIDAD leaders announced in a press conference today.

Ric Reyes of Walden Bello-Dignidad Campaign explained the failure of agrarian reform, the so-called centerpiece program under the 1987 Constitution which promised to promote equity and social justice. “Land distribution barely moved under the current Administration despite a relatively stronger law, the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program Extension with Reforms (CARPER). Last year’s accomplishment of only 30,000 hectares out of the target of 205,000 hectares shows the depth of CARPER implementation paralysis.”

“Even the reformed lands are being reversed. One of the causes of which is the belated application for exemption filed by former landowners by invoking DOJ Opinion 44, series of 1990 that exempts from CAPR the lands reclassified into non-agricultural uses prior to 1988,” Reyes added.

Jojo Clavo from Katarungan lamented that in Sariaya, Quezon, such reversal will result in the cancellation of Certificate of Land Ownership Award affecting 2,000 families of farmer-beneficiaries. “Land reform reversals undermine the economic and political gains of agrarian communities whose lives have been vastly improved by the agrarian reform process. These also have dire consequences to the food security situation of the country in general.”

Clavo also raised that the 200 billion-peso Coco Levy Fund is another major issue that has a big impact on farmers like him. “The coco levy fund portion recovered so far, estimated at more than PhP 76 B, is still unutilized due to the failure of Congress to legislate the proposed Coconut Levy Trust Fund Bill.  Meanwhile, Executive Orders 179 and 180 on Coco Levy, issued by President Aquino in March 2015, which could have already benefited the farmers are still stuck at the Supreme Court after a group identified closely with Danding Cojuangco was granted a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO). The Supreme Court must immediately lift such TRO and re-open the case of the 20% SMC shares to an instrument of justice for small coconut farmers.”

“We join organizations and individuals belonging to Katarungan and Walden Bello-Dignidad Campaign that are among the leading networks of this initiative demanding from our incumbent and incoming officials, as well as in informing the public on the agrarian reform agenda: protection of small farmers and the agriculture sector amidst climate change, and coco levy recovery and utilization,” said DIGNIDAD spokesperson Ana Maria R. Nemenzo.

Dr. Rene Ofreneo, also a spokesperson of DIGNIDAD and chairperson of the Integrated Rural Development Foundation, expressed support to the farmers in Quezon in demanding the immediate return of coco levy funds to the farmers. “Many of the original contributors to the fund are now old, sick and dying. To this day, they have not received any of the benefits of their own money that has been promised to them,” he deplored.

The coco levy assets are now estimated to be about P83 billion according to the Presidential Commission on Good Government, P73 billion of these are in cash (liquidated shares from the food giant San Miguel Corp. and P10 billion are in shares of stock in the United Coconut Planters Bank and oil mills operated by the Coconut Industry Investment Fund. More than 20 million coconut farmers and their families are expected to benefit from the fund coming from around 21,000 coconut-producing villages across the country.

DIGNIDAD also expressed solidarity with the farmers who protested in Kidapawan and condemned police violence and brutality against them. “We warn the police and other state forces from enforcing similar force on our ranks. We are taking to the streets to exercise our valid rights, raise legitimate issues and highlight the suffering experienced by thousands of farmers in the wake of El Niño and climate change. We are compelled to bring the attention of our neglectful government to the dire situation in the provinces,”  said Ka Trining Domingo who is also a farmer herself and chairperson of Katipunan ng Bagong Pilipina (KaBaPa).

Nemenzo announced that the farmers-led action also coincides with the start of DIGNIDAD’s Lakbay para sa Buhay na may Dignidad para sa Lahat or Lakbay-Dignidad. She explained that Lakbay-Dignidad highlights the crucial need – not only of farmers and other marginalized sectors, but of the big majority of society – for adequate food and regular jobs, humane housing, reliable health care, free education up to tertiary level, living pension, and safe and efficient public transportation. “These are the basic demands we are pushing for as part of a universal and comprehensive social protection that the new administration must enforce.”

The Lakbay-Dignidad is a combination of caravan, march, and mobile public information activities in parts of northern, central and southern Luzon, as well as in Visayas and Mindanao this April to May 2016. This will be accompanied by a “selfie campaign” wherein people are encouraged to post on Facebook a photo of himself or herself carrying a poster, a placard or flashing a DIGNIDAD “d” sign expressing demand to have a life of dignity.

Nestor Yaranon of Kilos Maralita explained that aside from Laguna and Cavite in southern Luzon, Lakbay-Dignidad will also take place in the provinces of Pangasinan, Tarlac, Nueva Ecija, Pampanga and Bulacan  and in Visayas and Mindanao on April 22 to 30, with public assemblies in key areas.

Buhay na may Dignidad para sa Lahat (DIGNIDAD) is a newly-established broad alliance of grassroots networks from labor, urban poor, women, and peasant sectors, political blocs, party lists, human rights NGOs and issue-based coalitions advancing an urgent agenda that will ensure a life of dignity for all Filipinos. It advocates for a universal, comprehensive, and transformative social protection based on human rights, social justice, solidarity, ecological sustainability and participatory democracy.

APRIL 11, 2016
Contact:  DIGNIDAD Media Liaison Officer Don Pangan (mobile: 09233250192)

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[Press Release] DIGNIDAD movement launched in march rally 30 years after EDSA uprising, activists pledged to fight for life of dignity for all

DIGNIDAD movement launched in march rally 30 years after EDSA uprising, activists pledged to fight for life of dignity for all

Photo grabbed from DIGNIDAD para sa lahat FB page

Photo grabbed from DIGNIDAD para sa lahat FB page

An alliance of social movements advancing universal, comprehensive and transformative social protection was formally launched today through a march rally that culminated in Bantayog ng mga Bayani with each of the more than 1,000 advocates pledging to campaign vigorously to realize a life of dignity for all.

DIGNIDAD, a broad coalition engaging electoral candidates to adopt its social protection agenda, marched from EDSA-SM North to Bantayog ng mga Bayani where leaders spoke at various stops to highlight the current state of governance and how there remained unequal distribution of wealth and of opportunities after 30 years since the Marcos dictatorship was toppled through the EDSA uprising.

Ana Maria Nemenzo, DIGNIDAD co-convener and lead convener of Kampanya para sa Makataong Pamumuhay or KAMP, explained that to correct the prevailing unjust system, universal, comprehensive and transformative social protection policies are needed towards attaining social justice, equality and the elimination of discrimination. She stressed the important role of state as duty bearer “social protection programs need to be state-driven with public partnership and control, legislated and institutionalized nation-wide and universalized or for all Filipinos.”

“Especially in the era of climate change, social protection must also enable  our people to survive and prevail over disasters by having guaranteed income or cash support throughout their life-cycle, access to essential services, and building disaster-resilient communities with state leadership and  support,” she added.

“The problems of social exclusion, inequality, poverty, joblessness and weak or limited social protection for the many cannot be solved under the present system of neo-liberal economic governance,” she said. “There is a need to overhaul the system and place people’s rights at the center of the development agenda.”

Nemenzo explained that post-EDSA administrations failed to change the governance system as reflected in the kind of socio-economic policies that have been pursued in the last three decades.

“Marcos left a legacy of plunder that has bled the nation dry and further widened the gap between the  rich – including Marcos cronies – and the poor,” said Walden Bello, DIGNIDAD champion and a former member of House of Representatives. “Nearly three decades after EDSA, there remains terrible inequity due to the neo-liberal policies of previous administrations that put private sector profit first at the expense of protective measures that could have eased the lives of the poor majority.”

Through a symbolic signing of the DIGNIDAD card, where the demands and entitlements that guarantee a life of dignity are written, members of grassroots organizations and civil society groups, including members of the five party-list groups that are part of DIGNIDAD forged to fight for the following: 1) ?secure and decent work and livelihood; 2) decent and ?affordable housing, 3) ?free and quality health care; 4) adequate, safe and affordable food; 5) safe, reliable and affordable  public transport; 6) free education? up to the tertiary level; 7) ?living pension?s for all senior citizens, child subsidy ?and income support to persons with disabilities, unemployed, and calamity victims.

Another DIGNIDAD co-convener Dr. Ed Tadem of the Freedom from Debt Coalition (FDC) highlighted that the dire situation of the poor majority have been ignored by previous administrations despite the Constitutional order that the highest budgetary priorities should be given to the enhancement of the welfare and security of the people.  “The government violated the Constitution many times over by sticking to a Marcosian law guaranteeing foreign and domestic creditors automatic debt servicing at the expense of guaranteeing access to social services and social protection by the people.”

“In this scheme of governance — growth promotion via unilateral economic liberalization, debt servicing first before social expenditure and tax collection from all regardless of capacity — the basic social needs of the poor such as health and education, water and power, housing and transportation, staple food and so on are predictably neglected,” Dr. Tadem added.

DIGNIDAD members urged the public to seriously consider who to elect in the coming May 2016 national polls.” Only candidates who can fully commit to ensuring social protection measures deserve our votes,” Dr. Tadem concluded. “We challenge particularly the presidential candidates to address our specific demands in order ensure a dignified life for every Filipino citizen.”

DIGNIDAD members were joined by renowned musicians like Tres Marias composed of Cooky Chua, Bayang Barios and Lolita Carbon, a former member of band ASIN known for its protest songs during the Marcos years. The musicians crooned out their desires for genuine change.-end-

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[Press Release] Pacquiao’s, govt’s inaction to address inequality “pinakamasahol,” says DIGNIDAD

Pacquiao’s, govt’s inaction to address inequality “pinakamasahol,” says DIGNIDAD

DIGNIDAD para sa lahatGroups advancing social protection hit Senatorial candidate Manny Pacquiao’s derogatory remarks against LGBTs, calling him and the country’s leaders “pinakamasahol” for not lifting a finger against the disparate inequality in Philippine society  while they sit in Congress and Executive posts.

“Rep. Manny Pacquiao should know that this prevailing system of inequality, that has gotten worse over the years, is even more oppressive to LGBTs due to discrimination and homophobia,” said Ana Maria Nemenzo, DIGNIDAD co-convener and lead convener of Kampanya para sa Makataong Pamumuhay or KAMP.

“He insults the LGBTs for his uninformed remarks and insults the Filipino for daring to run as Senator having been an absentee House Representative with no significant bills filed,” she said.

Senatorial candidate Walden Bello, a champion of DIGNIDAD as well as Rep. Pacquiao’s colleague in Congress has earlier said that “Manny Pacquiao is a great boxer but his views on gender equality belong to the distant past. But aside from his views, can people really entertain voting for a person who holds the House of Representative’s highest record for non-attendance in the16th Congress? Manny is a nice guy, but I wish he had attended at least one session of the Committee on Overseas Workers’ Affairs of which he was Vice Chair and I was Chair. I really needed him to take on some of my heavy load but he was nowhere to be found.”

DIGNIDAD, a newly-established alliance of social movements calling for candidates to adopt transformative social protection measures, challenged the Senatorial aspirant to lay down his proposals and platform on how to correct the current inequality in the country where the top 10 of the Philippines’ richest have a net worth of nearly 50 billion US dollars while poverty incidence according to government statistics is 25% of the population.

“Government statistics show that one out of four Filipinos live in poverty and the situation has remained the same for the last two decades or so.   However, if the ridiculous official poverty threshold of roughly over P50 a day per capita is raised to at least P100 a day, half of the population shall automatically be classified as poor”, said Dr. Ed Tadem, DIGNIDAD co-convener and President of the Freedom from Debt Coalition

“As candidates offering themselves to the public, what do they plan to do about this?” he asked.

Particularly, DIGNIDAD wants Pacquiao as well as other Congressional, presidential and vice-presidential candidates to clarify his stand regarding the country’s outstanding debt and the Marcosian policy of automatic debt appropriations that have severely constrained government spending for vital social services and that is among the factors for widening inequality.

According to FDC figures, the country’s outstanding debt totals PhP 5.95 trillion. And 29.77% of the country’s total budget or PhP 776 billion goes to debt servicing (interest and amortization), which could have been spent to build roads, schools, classrooms and funded low-cost housing, health care including reproductive health measures and support to farmers, among others.

DIGNIDAD pointed to the Constitutional command to “give highest priority to the enactment of measures that protect and enhance the right of all the people to human dignity, reduce social, economic and political inequalities, and remove cultural inequities by equitably diffusing wealth and political power for the common good”

“The government violated the Constitution many times over by sticking to a Marcosian law guaranteeing foreign and domestic creditors automatic debt servicing (payment for interest and capital), which at certain years in the 1990s and 2000s ate up half of the national budgetary allocations. These debt payments and other government expenditures are taken from socially regressive taxes such as the VAT imposed on basic goods and services consumed by all, rich and poor alike,” Dr. Tadem said.

“As a lawmaker with the so-called heart for the poor, will Rep. Pacquiao and the other Presidential candidates support the call for repealing this unjust law?,” Dr. Tadem dared.

Dr. Tadem challenged Rep. Pacquiao and other candidates particularly the presidentiables to “commit to adopting social protection measures that would ensure a life with dignity for all, including the LGBTs, which he says he doesn’t condemn.”

Against a  background of worsening poverty and deepening inequality, DIGNIDAD calls on other electables for immediate social redistribution of wealth, resources, benefits, and privileges, to fulfil the social and economic rights of the people in order to live a life of dignity​. These people’s proposals must be legislated, with constitutional support,  institutionalised nationwide, and universalized to  guarantee  all Filipinos access to these necessities in life. These are: 1) ​Decent Work and Livelihood; 2) Decent and ​Affordable Housing, 3) ​Free and Quality Health Care; 4) Safe and Reliable Public Transport; 5) ​Free Education​ up to the Tertiary Level; 6) ​Living Pension​s for all Senior Citizens ​and income support to persons with disabilities, unemployed, and calamity victims.

DIGNIDAD members: AKBAYANlAlab KatipunanlArya Progresibo (ARYA)lAting GurolCoalition of Services of the Elderly (COSE) lFreedom from Debt Coalition (FDC) lHomeNet PhilippineslInstitute for Popular Democracy (IPD)lIntegrated Rural Development Foundation (IRDF)lKatipunang Bagong Pilipina (KABAPA)lKilos Maralita (KM) lKILUSANlKampanya para sa Makataong Pamumuhay (KAMP) lMetro Manila Vendors AlliancelPambansangTagapag-ugnay ng mga Manggagawa sa Bahay (PATAMABA) lPambansang Koalisyon ng Kababaihan saKananayunan (PKKK) lPartidoManggagawa (PM) l  Philippine Human Rights Information Center (PhilRights)lSANLAKASl Sarilayal SENTROl UmalabKal WomanHealth Philippinesland numerous  sectoral and community-based networks. DIGNIDAD is part of the regional Network for Transformative Social Protection (NTSP) in Asia that advances an Agenda for a Social ASEAN.

Buhay na may Dignidad para sa Lahat
c/o 85-B Masikap St. Extension, Barangay Central, Diliman, Quezon City | Tel.# 7097833/7097844
February 14, 2016
Contacts:  DIGNIDAD Media Liaison Officer Don Pangan (mobile: 09233250192)
Malu A. Mendoza (FDC) – 0932-8726168


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[Announcement] KAMP is currently in need of two (2) vibrant campaigners

KAMP is currently in need of two (2) vibrant campaigners

Dear Friends,

The Kampanya para sa Makataong Pamumuhay (KAMP) is a network of organizations that have come together to campaign for a life of dignity for all. For the past three years, it has built its constituency around the campaign for Transformative Social Protection agenda which include, among others, demands for secure and guaranteed employment, humane housing and universal healthcare. It is also developing its advocacies on living pension for the elderly, right to food and farmers’ insurance, as well as the de-privatization and de-commodification of essential services such as water and power.

KAMP is currently in need of two (2) vibrant campaigners to carry out its one year program:


General Responsibilities

As campaigners, each one is expected to assist the KAMP Secretariat and Agenda Groups in developing and executing their plans. In general, they will support KAMP in conceptualizing and strategizing its campaigns and advocacies, including lobby and network building, direct actions, and media work associated with the implementation of the KAMP’s programs.

Specific Tasks:

The Campaigner/s shall work closely with the Coordinator and the member of the Working Group who is in charge of a particular Agenda. In particular, He/She:

1. Helps in conceptualising ideas and plans for the effective implementation of KAMP’s campaigns and advocacies;
2. Works closely with the Agenda Groups and assists the groups in implementing their particular plans;
3. Writes position papers on specific issues related to KAMP works;
4. Drafts and circulates press/media releases, statements, media advisories and strengthens relations with the media;
5. Performs other tasks as designated and delegated by the Coordinator and the Lead Convenor.

Job Requirements:

1. With strong coordinative and networking skills
2. With technical skill in writing position papers, press releases and interest in media work, including social media;
3. Can perform multi-tasking under minimal supervision;
4. Has the ability to work under pressure and flexible schedule

If interested, please address your application to:

The Secretariat
Kampanya para sa Makataong Pamumuhay (KAMP)

Email: kamp.secretariat@gmail.com

or through

Institute of Popular Democracy
85-B Masikap Extension
Brgy. Central, Diliman, Quezon City

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[Press Release] Growth is inequitable under privatization and deregulation policy –KAMP

Growth is inequitable under privatization and deregulation policy –KAMP

President Aquino may have good numbers to show in his 3rd State of the Nation Address (SONA) but activists are putting up a major challenge on those figures: prove that the country’s economic growth is equitable.

The Kampanya para sa Makataong Pamumuhay (KAMP) which joined Nagkaisa!, Freedom from Debt Coalition (FDC) and the Philippine Human Rights Advocates (PAHRA) in the “Martsa para sa Alternatibong Ekonomiya”, said growth can only be meaningful if it gives people the chance to live a life of dignity.

The present reality, the group said, show otherwise. Despite more than a decade of growth, millions of Filipino remained poor while prices of goods and services are getting more inaccessible:

 there is a property boom, but urban poor families are being uprooted out of the cities
 despite the 6% growth half of the labor force are self-employed and unpaid workers while more than a third work as contractuals
 there is also a boom in private led medical tourism but poor Filipinos suffer deteriorating public health services
 private power and water utilities enjoy super profits while the people suffer one of the highest electricity and water rates in the world

“How can this growth become equitable when the most part of it went to the private sector, when the combined income of the top 40 Filipino billionaires is more than the combined income of the bottom 30% of the population?” lamented KAMP lead convenor Ana Maria Nemenzo.

Nemenzo said growth will always remain inequitable as long as privatization and deregulation remain the governing policy of the Aquino administration. She cited a study made by the PIDS which showed that 3 trillion of our Gross Domestic Product went to corporate
income while only 2.4 trillion went to family income.

Furthermore, the combined net worth of the top 40 billionaires (which receive numerous incentives from the government) amounted to PhP2 trillion, almost equivalent to the proposed 2013 national budget, while select poor families receive Php1,400 a month only from the palliative Pantawid Pamilya program of the government.

“Kung mayorya ng ating populasyon ay hirap na hirap na nabubuhay sa sariling sikap habang ang pribadong sektor ay kumakabig ng guaranteed profit sa kanilang negosyo na nagdudulot naman ng mataas na presyo ng mga bilihin at serbisyo, hindi talaga magiging patas ang kaunlaran na
ito,” added Nemenzo.

KAMP is calling for the de-privatization of essential services such as power and water. It is also demanding for decisive and immediate government intervention to ensure guaranteed employment and decent work for all, universal quality healthcare, and an on-site\in-city decent housing program for the poor. (30)

23 July 2012
Contact: Wilson Fortaleza

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[Press Release] Teachers hail DBM on P-noy bonus- TDC

PUBLIC SCHOOL TEACHERS express gratitude to DBM for granting them the traditional Christmas Bonus for this year. DBM secretary Butch Abad on Monday submitted the proposal which seeks to provide funds for the Productivity Enhancement Incentive (PEI) for all teachers and government employees to President Aquino for approval.

“We are thankful that the government heard our appeal for this traditional bonus which we enjoyed in the past,” said Benjo Basas, Caloocan City teacher and TDC’s national chairperson. “We further hope that said bonus will be given on time” he continued.

In previous years, PEI, formerly known as Performance Bonus (PerfB) is given not earlier than December 15.

According to Abad’s pronouncement, teachers and other government employees shall be entitled to a one-time bonus in the full amount of P10, 000 which shall be appropriated by the DBM. Since the year 2007, said incentive is coming from two sources- the DBM allocation amounting to P7, 000 and the remaining P3, 000.00 shall be from the savings of respective agencies.

“This is the first time that the government will release this allowance from single source which we also recognize so as to avoid disparity.” Basas furthered. According to him, “In the past, some agencies may not have enough savings to fund the P3, 000 agency share like in the case of DepEd in year 2007.”

According to the group, this traditional bonus is also “traditionally delayed.”

“We expect this PEI to be released in our respective schools on time, however, we anticipate the possible delay as in the past. We just hope that it will be given at least before Christmas vacation.

Most of the time, teachers receive their Christmas bonus after Christmas or even after New Year celebration which practically defeats the purpose of this incentive.” Basas explained.

This incentive is not a regular benefit but a presidential prerogative. In the year 2005 and 2006 the government, under PGMA gave its employees P5000 and P6000 PerfB, respectively, while for the year 2007 up to last year the employees received P10, 000 cash gift. It was in 2009 that the DBM called it PEI. But the teachers fondly name the Christmas incentive after the president, thus, during Ramos’ time it was “Amelioration” after the then first lady Amelita Ramos; during Estrada’s, they called it “Eraption” and “Glorification” during the time of PGMA. Since last year, it is called P-Noy Bonus.

Basas clarifies that more than monetary benefits, performance bonus and other incentives would be a manifestation of government’s recognition to the efforts of men and women who work for its daily operation.

“At any rate, we are thankful that the government continued this tradition.” Basas ended.

Reference: Benjo Basas, Chairperson, 0920-5740241/ 3853437
Teachers’ Dignity Coalition
“Unity of Teachers to Regain the Dignity of Teaching Profession”
SEC Registration Number: CN 2007-10645
117-C Matatag St., Bgy. Central, Quezon City
Hotline: (02)3853437 • Telefax (02)4350036 • Mobile: 0920-5740241/ 0920-4142614
Email: teachersdignity@yahoo.com.ph • Website: http://www.teachersdignity.com

December 2, 2011

[People] The Greatest Miracle by Fr. Shay Cullen

The Greatest Miracle
by Fr. Shay Cullen

Perhaps the most inspiring Gospel story for all of us who are trying to be true, practicing Christians is the one where Jesus of Nazareth instructs his disciples to feed the hungry. As the story is told, we see Him in the remote countryside teaching the people. His revolutionary message of peace, love, generosity and self sacrifice is shocking some and inspiring others.

He told them that life could be different, that change is possible, that we have free choice to shape our own destiny and find and unite with the power of “eternal love and goodness” .We can work and succeed in the spiritual and social transformation of society.

He taught them and us that all of us are made in the image and likeness of “Eternal Goodness” and that goodness can be found in each other. All people, he said, have a right to a life of equality, of rights and dignity.

In that tree-sheltered grassy olive grove, thousands had gathered; men and women, rich and poor, upper, middle, and lower class, the sick, the blind, the disabled. There too were the outcasts, the untouchables; they stood to the side ashamed and afraid to come close to the crowd being scorned, unwanted and abused, and diseased people. To these downtrodden people without a possession in the world reduced to begging for daily subsistence, Jesus of Nazareth came, and for them, he risked himself with words of welcome and inclusion that shook them to their core.

”Hey! You people over there behind the tree, come here, don’t be ashamed, there is nothing to be ashamed of. All that is said about you is not true. Know that God cares for you and sent me to change things around and to tell you the truth. Blessed are you poor, the Kingdom of God is for you….happy are you who are so hungry now, you will be filled and all of you who are crying, you will be happy, and will laugh. Even when people hate you, reject you and insult you because I am standing with you, then dance with joy – a great reward will be yours.”

The huddled beggars and outcasts turned to each other in their filthy rags and dirt, there being no one else to turn to, and asked, “how could it be true when we are so poor and miserable without happiness and enduring the world’s hatred and rejection and he is telling us that we are blessed and the Kingdom of God is for us. We know and can see it is for the rich and the privileged and the well-fed priests. We cannot believe this Jesus from Nazareth, we are truly nothing and will remain nothing, there will be no change for us.” But there was.

He waved and called to his disciples, ”bring them over here and the children also, don’t stop them, unless we are as innocent as them we can’t approach God.” Some of the rich ruling elites, those from the priestly hierarchy who had given themselves the position of privilege close to the teacher were shocked, disgusted and humiliated, they gathered up their robes and scuttled away from the approaching shuffling group of beggars and diseased people that took the front row beaming with pride. They had become number one.

Teacher, we have to send all away now”, the disciples said. “Thousands of people are hungry and we have no food”, but Jesus calmly told them, “You feed them!” They were shocked. “How can we feed so many when we only have two fish and five loaves and that’s our lunch and we¹re hungry also?”

“Never mind, give out what you have, that will be an example to others, they might share too.” And so they did, all that had selfishly hidden their lunch packs in their bags and robes saw what the disciples did and brought them out and shared with those that had none. There was enough food for all.

Sharing is what we need more of, especially for the starving children of Somalia.

(Fr. Shay’s columns are published in The Manila Times, in publications in Ireland, the UK, Hong Kong, and on-line.) http://www.preda.org/main/archives/2011/r11090701.html

[Event] Pursuing transformative programs for social change – KAMP


Pagbati! Isang paanyaya para sa isang pakikipagtalakayan natin dito sa bansa sa ilang lider ng social movements sa Europa, Arab at South countries.

May tanghaliang nakahanda mula 12 hanggang 12.45ng hapon. Magsisimula ang programa sa ganap na 1pm.
Para sa kumpirmasyon ng inyong pagdalo o mga katanungan tungkol sa talakayan, maari po ninyo akong kontakin sa 9280082 (landline), 09228832335 (cellphone), o sa email.
Maraming salamat!

– Maris
AEPF Secretariat for Asia
Institute for Popular Democracy
28 Mapagkawanggawa corner Magiting Sts, Teachers Vill., QC


“Reclaim People’s Dignity Campaign”- Kampanya para sa Makataong Pamumuhay (KAMP)
Akbayan*Alab Katipunan*Katarungan*Kilos Maralita*Kilusan para sa Pambansang Demokrasya*Institute for Popular Democracy*Partido ng Manggagawa*RCPD*Sanlakas*WomanHealth

Pursuing transformative programs for social change amidst the crisis
A Roundtable Discussion with Francois Houtart and Mamdouh Habashi
4 July 2011, Monday (12nn – 5pm)
Phaltra Building , 139 Matahimik Street , Teachers’ Village, Diliman, Quezon City

Capitalism has plunged the world into a multiple, interlocking web of crises – financial, economic, social, and ecological. Millions are driven out of their jobs and homes, further deepening poverty, precariousness, and erosion of living standards for the vast majority. But the situation has become more urgent as climactic crisis threatens the very survival of the planet and humanity.

Meanwhile, the US, EU and members of the G8 are addressing the crises with a new neo-liberal offensive through austerity measures that are detrimental to the interest of the majority of the people. Waves of resistance are mounting against the lowering of wages, drastic reduction of social and public budgets, and privatisation of essential services. In the Arab world, the explosive combination of political issues and the failure of neo-liberal economic policies e.g. liberalisation, deregulation, and privatisation to address worsening poverty and inequality have brought about upheavals that have overthrown authoritarian regimes.

In the Philippines, even before the crises, the prevailing elite-dominated, neo-liberal economy has already put the country at the edge of a social catastrophe, pushing about 70 per cent of the labour force to the insecure informal sector. Every day, unjust political and economic structures force half of the 92 million Filipinos to live in sub-human conditions.

Nonetheless, the crisis presents an opportunity for progressive forces to rally people around and push for transformative and doable projects that address their immediate and urgent needs, as well as offer the possibility of eliminating the structures of inequality and injustice.

For that reason, this roundtable discussion has invited key resource persons from Europe and the Arab world who have been involved in transformative projects that could widen further progressive spaces towards repudiating neo-liberalism and changing the structure of current power relations. The speakers offer something precious: people-centred alternative solutions to current problems with meaningful, transformative impact on the world.

DR. FRANCISCO NEMENZO, Professor Emeritus of the University of the Philippines and Chair of Laban ng Masa – an alliance of democratic left groups, will present introductory thoughts about the crisis and need for a thorough-going social change through transformative alternatives.

Afterwards, two resource persons will speak on the crisis and transformative programs they are pushing for – some already implemented, some being implemented. These speakers have long been active in the struggle for social justice:

FRANCOIS HOUTART, well-known theologian, philosopher, and one of the founders of liberation theology. He is a prime mover, with key international NGOs, for a new United Nations Charter entitled the “Declaration for the Common Good of Humanity” which shall seek to de-commodify and de-privatise common goods which are common heritage such as water, seeds, information, electricity, education, health services, etc. He pushes for worldwide provision of quality public services fundamental to life and a life of dignity. Such advocacy complements and pursues further the global advocacy of the UN and International Labour Organisation (ILO) for a global social protection floor that has proven affordable and feasible in developing countries. In 2009, he was awarded the Madanjeet Singh Prize by UNESCO for his “life-long commitment to world peace, intercultural dialogue, human rights and the promotion of tolerance, and in recognition of his outstanding eff orts to advance the cause of social justice in the world. He is ardent promoter of North-South cooperation and the founder of the Tri-Continental Centre (CETRI), a non-governmental organization renowned for its work on development issues and in the International Council of the World Social Forum.”

MAMDOUH HABASHI, vice-president of the Third World Network on Alternatives, co-founder of the Egyptian Socialist Party, and convenor of the South-South Peoples’ Solidarity Network. Most of what the Egyptian revolution has achieved in terms of democratic changes can only be attributed to massive popular pressure and courageous mobilisations. The present organising efforts by progressive groups provide the basis for much bigger rounds of struggle that will push for people-centred alternatives to replace the projects of the old regime and the Islamic fundamentalists. Mamdouh will talk about a people’s agenda expressed through a democratisation roadmap that plans for the gradual realisation of major political as well as economic, social, and cultural rights in Egypt.

[People] Human Rights: Networks and Defenders – by Renato Mabunga

By:  Renato G. Mabunga

Renato Mabunga. Photo from CMA-Phils.

Renato Mabunga. File photo from CMA-Phils.

Human rights from its very inception are a large and encompassing concept.  It talks about human dignity.  It is all about dignity… and it is for ALL regardless race, color, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.  Accordingly, it has evolved from  the idea that the world is governed by an invisible order which has endowed every person the concept of a perfect justice discernable by reason; making all humans equal in status of rights and dignity.  This concept of perfect justice has fortified both reason and conscience of each person to act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood/sisterhood without distinction, without discrimination.  This makes dignity a relational and a dynamic term and not just an empty concept or an ideal.  It becomes tangible in a relationship.  It finds meaning in relation with others and may be totally restored only with the help of others or of a network.

A network on the other hand, is a complex set of systems, which amplifies a message or a need or a call.  From the viewpoint of Organization Development (OD), network is the interconnection of various systems to take the form of a whole.  From individual HRD’s focal system to his or her organization as sub-systems, to his/her direct networks or the macro and related systems dealing with the protection of human rights defenders and victims down to other external organizations – the mega-system – dealing with human rights and upholding dignity of persons and communities in general.  It is a web of strings from which, one system provides and receives support to and from another system to ensure achievement of a larger goal.  An organization as a system in this regard maybe compartmentalized with various departments or programs doing specific jobs, yet in a larger view, each output serves the “reason for being” or the mandate of the organization.  Such implementation of mandate is the its contribution to a larger network of systems or to the larger whole working for the protection of human rights defenders and the promotion of human rights in general.  This defines the lines of engagement of each organization to a network in the overall platform of protection for HRDs.

This is the ideal role of a network: to facilitate and process information, come up with specific plans and arrive at concrete actions or activities within the bounds of each organizational mandate and philosophy to arrest and eliminate impending threats to organization or so as not to disrupt the dynamism of the “whole”.

Yet given the differences of each political beliefs and the degree of condition faced by each HRD, the ideal role of a network has become more of a challenge rather than a natural flow of relations.  At the onset, it is obstructed by external environment or external systems – the government, its security forces and other instrumentalities.   A case in point is the stigmatization of HRDs as “enemies of the state”.  Modern historical development of this terminology can be traced back when the Philippine government wantonly exerts all energies in winning the “war’ against insurgency.  From way back when freedom lovers were called “guerrillas” during the Spanish, Japanese and American occupation, to being tagged as “rebels, communists and insurgents” during the cold war campaigns and “terrorists and separatists” at the time of the post 9/11 era.  This idea has been galvanized into the psyche of ordinary Filipino people.  That, when an issue related to security of HRDs crops up, organizations have to battle up explaining first the legitimacy of human rights work before it can go into discussing the merits of the case itself.  It becomes mindset for most Filipinos when seeing people doing fact-finding missions, documenting cases, rallying and demonstrating in front of government offices and public places, to mark them as anti-government for reason that existing norm calls it to be so — a nuisance, opt to destabilize the government.

Within human rights organizations or within the network system itself, it is confronted with a much more dilemma.  A strong political and ideological divide impacts on and weakens the overall capacity of the human rights network.  It softens foundation for protection and decelerates resolution of cases of human rights violations.  “Turfing” is commonly the name of the game – those who do not toe the line of internal political directives, has no right to middle into the affairs of a case allegedly under the command of other’s.  Most often than not, the principle of non-cooperation is at work.  Worst, basic human rights principle of non-discrimination is breached.

Mistrust is plaguing internal relationship of the Philippine human rights movement – a reality unconsciously forcing the movement back to the era of sectarianism and highly sectoral perspectives.  It is losing the spirit of human rights for all.  And, by being so, losing the war against violators and thereby losing tract of the struggle for justice.

Thus, given the concrete condition of country’s human rights movement today, one practical role of a network is to help reorient human rights work to include “all” particularly the protection and promotion of the rights of human rights defenders.  Here, organizational vision, mission and programs must be revisited and aligned at resolving conflict in understanding and practical orientation on human rights and human rights work.  Between each network of organizations and defenders is a primary challenge to build bridges rather than continually burning ones.  To do this, is to start with small venues of cooperation – an issue-based cooperation that would slowly eradicate suspicions and initially rebuilds foundations of trust.

–    End     –

HRonlinePH featured blog of the week:DEKONZTRUKTSCHON

URL: http://rodrigo75.wordpress.com/
Author: Rod Rivera
Description: This blog attempts to contribute to human understanding of their life realities by examining things in their social world with a different lense – deconstruction for reconstruction of knowledge.