Tag Archives: PLM

[Statement] Emergency powers for COVID19: The same politics of plunder and patronage but dressed in surgical masks and protective equipment -BMP/SANLAKAS/PLM

(Today, March 23, we are expecting Congress to hold a special session and grant emergency powers to Duterte as requested by Malacañang.)

The supermajority in both Houses will ensure that the president will have his way, not out of deep concern for a people who face uncertainty due to the COVID19 pandemic but from a deeply-ingrained SOP (standard operating procedure) of opportunism and political patronage.

The crux of the request is for the Executive to juggle funds and cancel appropriations made by Congress in the FY 2020 budget, in an attempt to immediately channel finance into decisive steps to address COVID19, which includes the take-over of health services and facilities.

We would leave the determination of this usurpation of the legislative power of the purse to the lawmakers, or to the Supreme Court, if the request, once accorded, is taken to the judiciary for interpretation for violations to the Constitution.

For the toilers and the propertyless, the question is “ Would the granting of emergency powers, as requested, lead to expedient and effective measures to address the health crisis”? Not really.

The president does not need more power to address this issue. Much power and privilege is already concentrated in his hands as chief executive.

Even without changing the budgetary appropriations, Duterte could easily initiate the massive mobilization of logistics, finances, and personnel to diligently follow the procedures by global health experts on how to combat the COVID19 scourge. He had the power to impose a travel ban from Wuhan/Hubei from as early as January. He had the discretion to declare a health emergency as suggested by the Health Department in latter February.

He could have done all this but he did not; downplaying the virus as a little fire to be put out by his urinary excretions.

Then, in early March, he hurriedly imposed a quarantine/lockdown for NCR then and Luzon, without preparing the prerequisites for the successful implementation of his drastic presidential order (transportation and protective equipment for frontliners, income replacement and subsidies for temporarily displaced workers from the formal and informal sectors, steady flow of basic needs, etc).

Too much power yet too lacking not just in political will and decisiveness but more so in genuine concern to the safety and welfare of the Filipino people.

The regime may counter that this request for “emergency powers” represents a sudden turnaround from its past blunders (though they are too egotistical and arrogant to admit to mistakes).

However, the Marawi case is a starker revelation to the devastating effects of granting “emergency powers” to Duterte. The so-called restoration of the war-torn city did not materialize. The billions of rechanneled funds and foreign aid now untraceable. Emergency powers ultimately lead to brazen and unashamed plunder since the normal procedures of transparency, audit, and accountability are deemed inapplicable in ‘emergency situations’.

The legislators, mostly in the House supermajority, would not oppose the reallocation of the budget for the COVID crisis, through the emergency powers of the chief executive. They know too well that it would be coursed to local government units “through the intercession of their good offices to their almighty Tatay”.

This is the same politics of plunder and patronage. Though this time with Duterte in front, handing out relief goods, wearing a surgical mask to hide his blush of shame for past misdeeds and blunders.

Yet, for the sake of the people, we propose the following adjustments to two major measures in the fight against COVID19: (a) social distancing and proper hygiene: not by draconian measures that regard the masses as the problem but by encouraging mass participation and initiative to dispel the view that Filipinos are inherently undisciplined, (b) mass testing in critical areas and eventual isolation, recovery and treatment of patients (which necessitates a rejection of VIP testing for its wasteful use of scarce and much-needed test kits, testing should prioritize frontline workers due to their proximity to the deadly virus) and (c) requisition of private facilities such as hotels and hospitals to serve as quarantine or isolation centers for those who have tested positive for the COVID-19 where proper medication and care can be afforded to them.

However, we call on our kauri and kamanggagawa to stretch ourselves, go beyond narrow struggles for economic gain, and tackle the questions of politics and governance to the millions of Filipino workers, as they face the ineptitude of the ruling clique (which will literally kill us all), the weak rival elitist faction, the looming economic slowdown locally and globally, and a pandemic that highlights all the contradictions of the prevailing capitalist global order.

March 23, 2020

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[Statement] Resist the attacks on press freedom. Uphold workers’ rights -Sanlakas, BMP and PLM

Photo from SANLAKAS FB Page

Joint Statement of Sanlakas, Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino and Partido Lakas ng Masa

The Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino, Partido lakas ng Masa and Sanlakas condemn the Duterte Government’s heavy-handed attempt to silence and shut down ABS-CBN.

This is the latest in a series of aggressive frontal attacks on media institutions to intimidate them into at the very least tamed reportage and at most, submission, eroding the people’s right to a free press. To date, 112 cases of attacks and threats have been documented under the Duterte Administration including at least 13 killings of journalists. The Philippines holds the record of among the world’s deadliest countries for media. That the attacks on media workers and institutions are increasing can only be attributed to the undeterred hostility of the Government towards media as highlighted by the moves to shut down ABS-CBN.

In plain view, the Duterte Government is cementing the path towards authoritarianism the hallmarks of which include media censorship. Shutting down ABS-CBN sends a chilling effect to all media institutions signaling an imminent scenario where socio-political realities of the day are defined by Malacanang’s propaganda gurus and spin doctors. Unlike Marcos who needed martial law to achieve this, Duterte is unleashing the entire might of the government – his supermajority in the House of Representatives, the Solicitor-General and his Supreme Court – towards this end.

In the process, 11,000 workers will be displaced. This could spell poverty and hunger to tens of thousands of Filipinos who rely on their breadwinner to ensure food on the table. In Duterte’s fascist arm-twisting of ABS-CBN fueled by his personal vendetta against the company, the workers and their families have been reduced to mere sacrificial lambs – the unavoidable collateral damage to the Government’s malevolent designs against media.

We lend our unconditional support to the struggle of ABS-CBN workers for continued and secure employment. This struggle for job security is intertwined with the defense of democratic rights as the threat of displacement comes from a regime that seeks to quell civil rights and political freedoms, not only in retaliation for the non-airing of Duterte’s campaign ads in 2016 but also to prepare for its electoral plans in 2022.

It is in situations like these when the horrors of contractualization are brought to the fore. Thousands of contractual workers, in the event of ABS-CBN’s shutdown, will be booted out of work without the benefits enjoyed by their regular counterparts. We, thus, reiterate our call to regularize all workers, provide increase in wages and salaries, implement safe and humane conditions of work, and ensure the rights of workers to unionize and bargain collectively with the ABS-CBN employers.

It is worth noting that the Duterte cronies are salivating over the purchase of ABS-CBN and the equities of Lopez holdings, and with the House approval of total foreign ownership to “public service”, including wire and wireless broadcast comminication, the stage is set for the total, unfettered, and open subjugation of mainstream media by foreign monopolies.

It is highly ironic that 34 years after the 1986 People Power that ousted a dictator, we are again up against an aspiring tyrant, who is in desperate attempt to have formal absolute power over the entire state apparatus. The little that was gained by a people’s uprising that was hijacked by the anti-Marcos elite, is now being taken back by the Duterte regime. The sacrifice of the martyrs of the anti-dictatorship struggle will not be in vain. Onward with the struggle for democracy. Resist the attacks on press freedom. Uphold workers’ rights.

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[Urgent Appeal] Immediate release of human rights defenders under custody by Malaysian authorities – HRD Pilipinas

July 1, 2011

Dato Sri Mohd Najib bin Tun Abdul Razak
Prime Minister of Malaysia
Main Block, Perdama Putra Building
Federal Government Administrative Center
62502 Putrajaya, MALAYSIA

Dear Prime Minister Razak,

Greetings of peace and solidarity!

It has come to our attention that one of our Filipino human rights defenders (HRDs), Mr. Romy Castillo together with other 30 Malaysian activists, has been arrested for joining a pro-democracy caravan in Kuala Lumpur.  Article 28 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) provides that “everyone is entitled to social and international order” in which rights and fundamental freedoms are guaranteed.  It is in this premise that we, in the Human Rights Defenders-Pilipinas (HRD-Pilipinas), even as citizens of other country, take with great concern of peoples’ situations and conditions of our neighboring nations; and, in the spirit of internationalism offer our solidarity to the Malaysian people for the defense, protection and promotion of human rights and fundamental freedom.

Mr. Castillo is the Deputy Secretary of Partido Lakas ng Masa (PLM), a grassroots political party in the Philippine.  He is in Kuala Lumpur as a representative of the organization to show and convey solidarity to the cause of democracy in Malaysia thru legal and peaceful expression and assembly.  His arrest and detention together with his Malaysian counterparts put in question the avowed commitment of the Malaysian Government and authorities to Art. 19, UDHR:  “Everyone has the right to freedom of opinions and expression… regardless of frontier” in which the country is a signatory.

We therefore call on your good office to facilitate his immediate and safe deportation back to the Philippines.  Likewise, we call for the immediate release of other human rights defenders under custody by Malaysian authorities.  And, that the Malaysia government guarantees their safety and no further arrest shall occur in the context of the current crackdown related to peoples’ peaceful electoral reforms.

Renato Mabunga
Chairperson, HRD-Pilipinas

–    Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (SUHAKAM)
–    Malaysian Ambassador in the Philippines
–    Partido Lakas ng Masa
–    Forum-Asia

[In Facebook] Save Children’s Lives! Palawan Children Dying of Diarrhea is a form of Child Abuse!- PLM

Increase the Health Budget! Pass the RH Bill Now!
by Partido Lakas ng Masa

Universal Health Care Now! Immediate Increase in the Health Budget! Pass the RH Bill Now!

According to latest reports the death toll in the diarrhea outbreak in Palawan has risen to 23 with the epidemic spreading from Barangay Bataraza to Barangay Panalingaan. Many of those dying are children. That people, mainly children, are dying due to preventable ailments such as diarrhea is an outrage: a surreal back-to-the future scenario, except that it’s very, very, real in 21st century Philippines. The fact is that this is not an isolated incident. According to UNICEF Philippines, the UN organization mandated to work for  children’s rights, diarrhea is a leading cause of under-five deaths in the country, responsible for almost 10,000 deaths per year.

“What is even more outrageous is that this situation is allowed to continue”, said Emma Garcia from the Partido Lakas ng Masa Women’s group – PLM-Women. “Children dying like this, from easily preventable causes, is also a form of child abuse. This is also a direct result of the appalling health system in this country, where basic health services are starved of funding, lack adequate government subsidies and are therefore not accessible to the poor. We have one of the most unequal health systems in the region. If countries such as Thailand, Vietnam and Malaysia can provide subsidized universal health care, why can’t the Philippine‘s government do the same”.

“We call on the government of President Aquino for action, not mere words and sweet talk. Increase the health care budget now, establish a system of universal health care, and push for the immediate passage of the RH Bill which will save mothers and childrens lives”.

Partido Lakas ng Masa – Women

7 April 2011

[in Facebook] PLM Supports PALEA’s Planned Strike – Partido Lakas ng Masa

Stop Contractualization!

After assuming jurisdiction over the high profile labor case of PALEA against PAL last December 2010, Malacañang last March 26 finaly gave its ruling supporting PAL’s outsourcing plan.  This ruling of Malacañang only echoed Labor Secretary Baldoz’s decision last year of approving the compensation package being offered by PAL to affected workers.  This decision will result in the retrenchment of 2,600 employees of PAL.

How can the Philippine Government let its self be dupped by a self proclaimed unsuccessful business man in the Country? Who will believe that Lucia Tan who is ranked last 2010 by Forbes.com as the 2nd wealthiest man in the Philippines, with a net worth of 2.1 Billion Dollars, is accumulating big losses?  It is absurb and outrageous!

It is not a surprise that PALEA is frustrated with Pnoy.  After four months of waiting, instead of siding with the workers, Malacañang sided with Lucio Tan, the number 1 labor union buster in the Country. It is a clear betrayal of trust! This only shows that Pnoy’s labor policies are anti-workers.  His “kayo ang boss ko” antic is now exposed, it is all lies and nothing but bogus propaganda! His true bosses are the capitalist who raked in profit by using the contractualization law and outsourcing scheme to feed their greed!  This is an alarming situation for the labor front; we have a president who will use all his power to protect not the working class but the greed of capitalism!

The Partido Lakas ng Masa fully supports PALEA’s planned mobilizations.  We support their planned strike to paralyze PAL’s operation.  PALEA’s fight for their rights and security of tenure is the fight of the whole labor movement, and we will not stop until Pnoy is unmasked and his true color revealed to all.

Stop the mass layoff! Stop contractualization!

Partido Lakas ng Masa
6 April 2011

Source: PLM Facebook