Tag Archives: WPrightnow

[Statement] Save Lives, Redistribute Food, Stop the Economic and Environment Plunder! Climate Justice Now! -PLM

PLM Statement on the Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda Crisis

Let Our People Live!
Save Lives, Redistribute Food, Stop the Economic and Environment Plunder!
Climate Justice Now!

The people are still reeling from the impact of possibly the biggest typhoon to strike the country. Death toll numbers are rising rapidly. There is massive devastation. Many are still trying to contact their relatives, friends and comrades, but communication systems are down, in the hardest hit areas. How should we, as activists and socialists, respond to the crisis?

plm-flag

Firstly, we have to support and take whatever measures are necessary to protect the people. This means all measures that bring the people immediate relief. In the hardest hit city of Tacloban, in south eastern Visayas, the people are already taking what food and relief supplies that they need from the malls. The media reports this as looting and the break-down of law and order.

But we say: let our people live. This is not “looting”. People are taking food, where they can get it, in order to survive. If there is no timely and organized support system from government, people just have to do it themselves and they should organize themselves to do it more effectively. Even some grocery owners understand the need for this. According to one report of a man who broke into a grocery store, “The owner said we can take the food, but not the dried goods. Our situation is so dismal. We have deaths in our family. We need to save our lives. Even money has no use here now”. Where possible, PLM will assist them to organize to take over food supplies and necessary relief goods.

Then there’s the issue of the government response. Our experience has been that it has always been too slow and inadequate. Any efforts are undermined by corruption. The exposure of the organized plunder by the political elite and sections of government, of development funds or “pork barrel” funds meant for the people, is a testimony to this. This outraged the country and brought almost half-a-million people out in to the streets in a massive show of protest on August 26 this year. While one plunderer has been arrested, the President has not responded decisively to clean up the system.

The public funds plundered by the elite should have been used for preventative measures to support the people weather these disasters: for infrastructure, including better sea walls and communication infrastructure; for early warning systems; for well-constructed and therefore safe public housing, to replace huts and shacks built out of dried leaves and cardboard; for health and education; for equipment and personnel for rapid emergency response, and the list is endless. But no, this was not the case, it was eaten up by the greed of the elite classes.

Unfortunately, we have no reason to believe that the government and the system will deliver and meet the needs of the people, this time round either. The self-interest of the elite, and their control of the government and the system that is designed to perpetuate their interests, through the plunder of the people’s assets and resources, renders the entire set-up inutile in the face of a disaster on this scale.

Then there are our international ‘allies’, such as the United States government, who have sent us their best wishes. But these so-called ‘allies’ are also responsible for the situation faced by our people. These typhoons are part of the climate crisis phenomenon faced by the world today. Super Typhoon Haiyan (referred to as Yolanda in the Philippines) was one of the most intense tropical cyclones at landfall on record when it struck the Philippines on Nov. 7. Its maximum sustained winds at landfall were pegged at 195 mph with gusts above 220 mph. Some meteorologists even proclaimed it to be the strongest tropical cyclone at landfall in recorded history. Haiyan’s strength and the duration of its Category 5 intensity — the storm remained at peak Category 5 intensity for an incredible 48 straight hours.

The still-increasing greenhouse gas emissions responsible for the climate crisis are disproportionately emitted by the rich and developed countries, from the US, Europe to Australia. For centuries, these rich, developed countries have polluted and plundered our societies, emitting too much greenhouse gases to satisfy their greed for profit. They have built countless destructive projects all over the world like polluting factories, coal-fired power plants, nuclear power plants and mega dams. They have also pushed for policies allowing extractive industries to practice wasteful and irresponsible extraction of the Earth’s minerals. They continue to wage environmentally destructive wars and equip war industries, for corporate profits. All of this has fast-tracked the devastation of the Earth’s ecological system and brought about unprecedented changes in the planet’s climate.

But these are the same rich countries whose political elite are ignoring climate change and the climate crisis. Australia has recently elected a government that denies the very existence of climate change and has refused to send even a junior Minister to the climate conference in Warsaw, Poland. The question of climate justice – for the rich countries to bear the burden of taking the necessary measures for stopping it and to pay reparations and compensate those in poorer countries who are suffering the consequences of it – is not entertained even in a token way.

The way the rich countries demand debt payments from us, we now demand the payment of their “climate debts”, for climate justice and for them to take every necessary measure to cut back their greenhouse gas emission in the shortest time possible.

These rich ‘friends’ and so-called ‘allies’ have preached to us about our courage and resilience. But as many here have pointed out, resilience is not just taking all the blows with a smiling face. Resilience is fighting back. To be truly resilient we need to organize, to fight back and to take matters in to our own hands, from the relief efforts on the ground to national government and to challenging and putting an end to the capitalist system. This is the only way to ensure that we are truly resilient.

Makibaka, huwag matakot! Fight for our lives, don’t be afraid!

November 10, 2013.

Human Rights Online Philippines does not hold copyright over these materials. Author/s and original source/s of information are retained including the URL contained within the tagline and byline of the articles, news information, photos etc.

[Statement] TDC hails ARMM colleagues for refusal to serve polls

TDC hails ARMM colleagues for refusal to serve polls

The Teachers’ Dignity Coalition (TDC) hails the Comelec approval of the request from some 1000 teachers from Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) not to require them to sit as members of the Board of Election Tellers (BET) and facilitate the elections in their respective localities for Barangay polls on Monday, October 28. The teachers cited security reasons for their refusal to serve. The Comelec instead deployed personnel from Philippine National Police to man the elections in lieu of the teachers.

TDC

We are happy with this decision and we consider this a breakthrough because we are not talking here of 1 or 10 or even 100 teachers, they are more than 900, almost a thousand. The Comelec just confirmed that they cannot ensure the safety of our teachers. We salute our colleagues from Mindanao for their courageous refusal and we view this as a precedent for future elections, should the optional election duty for public school teachers proposal will not make it again in the 16th Congress.

This is a good sign that the teachers may soon not be compelled to work in elections and the task be assigned to somebody else. The government which cannot protect their teachers who are doing duties apart from teaching does not have the right to compel them for such work.

Once again, we would like to reiterate our three major demands for the October 28, elections:
1. Ensure the protection of teachers from harassment, intimidation and physical attack;
2. Provide legal assistance for teachers who will be facing election-charges; and
3. Raise the honorarium from P2, 000 to P4, 000

If the state can easily grant extremely large amount of money for discretionary funds of public officials and the bonuses and honoraria of SSS, GSIS and other state-run companies, it is but proper to give the public school teachers the compensation and protection we just deserve. The treatment of public school teachers during elections is a manifestation of how this government values its teachers and the teaching profession- the noblest of all.

Reference: Benjo Basas, National Chairperson 0920-5740241/ 3853437

PRESS STATEMENT
October 26, 2013

All submissions are republished and redistributed in the same way that it was originally published online and sent to us. We may edit submission in a way that does not alter or change the original material.

Human Rights Online Philippines does not hold copyright over these materials. Author/s and original source/s of information are retained including the URL contained within the tagline and byline of the articles, news information, photos etc.

[Press Release] ASEAN SOGIE Caucus launches regional campaign criticizing declarations on women and children By ASEAN SOGIE Caucus

ASEAN SOGIE Caucus launches regional campaign criticizing declarations on women and children
By ASEAN SOGIE Caucus

We Are ASEAN too

On October 14, a regional network of LGBT rights organizations launched a video in response to the exclusion of Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity/Expression (SOGIE) from the language of two recently adopted declarations protecting women and children from violence.

The video is part of a bigger campaign called “We are #ASEANtoo!” which was launched a week before the 23rd Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit on October 9 to 10, in Brunei. The Declarations on the Elimination of Violence Against Women and Elimination of Violence Against Children (DEVAW and DEVAC respectively) were set to be adopted at the said summit.

The campaign also included an ASEAN-wide virtual conversation using the micro-blogging site Twitter. Dubbed “#ASEANtoo! Queer Tweets,” the virtual conversation coincided with the ASEAN summit. It drew Twitter users from all over the region and aimed to raise their awareness of issues related to SOGIE. The virtual conversations also aimed to expose the lack of transparency of ASEAN processes.

“The ASEAN Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity/Expression Caucus (ASC) started this campaign because of the many challenges we faced in ensuring that the two declarations explicitly mentioned SOGIE. Even with the help of our allies, we felt there was a high possibility that SOGIE would be dropped,” said Ron de Vera, ASC spokesperson. “When we saw that the officially adopted declarations didn’t mention SOGIE, we were very disappointed. We are also deeply concerned that there is an emerging pattern of SOGIE exclusion from human rights declarations in the ASEAN,” added de Vera. This is the second time SOGIE was not mentioned in the language of an ASEAN declaration. The first was in the ASEAN Human Rights Declaration adopted by the ASEAN on November 18, 2012.

The process of drafting the two declarations required national consultations by each country’s women’s caucus. This was meant to ensure participation of civil society organizations (CSOs). However, the drafts were not widely circulated, prompting CSOs to call out the ASEAN for its lack of transparency.

Discrimination, harassment, and violence against individuals of diverse SOGIE continue to be a heightened human rights issue in the region where laws related to SOGIE vary from one state to another. According to Social Action For Equality (SAFE), a Manila-based organization that monitors hate crimes against Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) people, there have been more than 164 LGBT killings in the Philippines since they started monitoring media reports in 2009. Figures on violence against LGBT people remain underreported due to poor protection mechanisms and legislation in the region.

“Lesbians, bisexual women, and trans women (LBTs) in all ASEAN countries face violence too. Their experience is further aggravated by the hate and stigma that come with their gender and sexuality, and that is why we need SOGIE to be explicitly mentioned in ASEAN declarations. Why exclude them? They are productive members of the ASEAN community too!” said de Vera.

The (ASC) is a network of activists and organizations in ASEAN member states who work to ensure people of diverse SOGIE are not marginalized from ASEAN-level mechanisms and processes.
The video may be viewed by clicking this link: http://bit.ly/aseantoo-video

For further information please contact ASC spokesperson Ron de Vera at rondevera@gmail.com

Follow ASEAN SOGIE Caucus @https://www.facebook.com/aseansogie

All submissions are republished and redistributed in the same way that it was originally published online and sent to us. We may edit submission in a way that does not alter or change the original material.

Human Rights Online Philippines does not hold copyright over these materials. Author/s and original source/s of information are retained including the URL contained within the tagline and byline of the articles, news information, photos etc.