Migrante Canada and Bayan Canada Statement on the Proclamation of Duterte as President

Changing the Lives of Migrant Workers and OFWs: The Great Task of Serving the People

With an overwhelming voice, millions of Filipino voters -including 407,000 overseas Filipinos – have dramatically brought the Filipino nation to still another turning point in our history.  The people have chosen lawyer and politician Rodrigo Duterte to lead them away from the crimes, ills, deceit, feebleness and decrepit morality of the passt Benigno Aquino regime.  The desired change they cry for is certainly obvious: a solution to the basic problems of the country that have plagued the basic masses – widespread unemployment, chronically low wages, contractualization, landlessness, the lack of basic social services, corruption, the rampant violations of human rights and of national sovereignty.  The resulty poverty in the Philippines today marks even the capital region of Manila and its districts, where an average family lives on a measly P22. to P37. a day ($0.60  to $1.01 in Canadian currency).  Such extreme poverty is staggering and ironic in a resource-rich country, where the world’s wealthiest corporations have been allowed to establish huge agribusiness projets and to extract gas, gold and other minerals with little concern for the rights and welfare of local communities.  The plunder that goes on has clear links to poverty, which past governments have shamelessly maintained and supported.

Of course the people want to spit out and trash these problems quickly, and clear the ground for change.  However, the problems have become fixed in a system that has been developed over the decades, and has increasingly worked against the people’s interests.  Like cancer, the system has also invaded foreign shores, to follow and beseige those Filipino migrant workers who have gone out of the country to seek personal solutions, and have been made pawns in a state-enforced labour export policy.  Migrants arrive with great hope, only to find that the cancerous situation for the Filipino nation, wherever it exists, is unrelenting, and they must always struggle to survive.  The old cancerous system from the past century, against which people rose in revolution, has worsened through corruption and the greed of landlords and the business elite, and flourished through the neoliberal policies adapted by successive governments, and moreover, today it has been integrated with a global system set by the self-serving corporate agenda of world trade and business.  This present system of advanced cancer continually abuses the whole Philippine economy, its sovereignty, and its people – wherever they are.

There are now 12-15 million Filipino migrant workers abroad, and their numbers are increased by more workers leaving the country at the rate of 6,000 a day – which is clear proof that joblessness and unemployment levels remain high despite  state declarations to the contrary.  As evidence of the Aquino government’s dependence on migrant workers, by the end of 2015, Bangko Sentral recorded that workers had sent a total remittance of $39 Billion US.  And yet, according to Migrante International’s documentation, many persons in this labour force, an estimated 1/4 of the total labour force of the country, have had to suffer, and still suffer, from injustices such as:  imprisonment (92 on death row); being stranded in war-torn areas; illegal recruitment and human trafficking; increased state exacti0n; a dismal safety and service program; misused OWWA funds.  Over and above all that, they have to bear the tremendous social cost of their lengthy separation from their families, as they bow to the demands of immigration laws.

The solution will not be easy to accomplish, but the people’s organizations can offer their recommendations and proposals to the new  government, and many have already done so.  Migrante Canada and Bayan Canada, trusting that the Duterte government will hold steadfast to its announced political will to serve the people, backs the pro-people agenda already present by Migrante International to government.  We also welcome the government’s idea of setting up as Department for OFWs, provided that it is integrated to an over-all program which moves towards making migrant work an option rather than a forced necessity.

To realize and actualize change in the lives of migrant workers, webelieve that the Duterte governemnt can, within its six years of office, work towards creating the foundations for a decent life for all Filipino workers by bringing about the following, which Migrante International has pinpointed in its proposal:

  • 10 million sustainable jobs in the Philippines within 6 years

  • A stop to contractualization of labour in the country

  • A genuine agrarian reform program

  • Free basic social services such as education, health care and housing

  • A genuine reintegration program for retiring ofws and a universal pension system

  • A planned economy to ensure the trickle-down of OFW remittances to national industrialization and land reform

  • An efficient mass transport system, better internet and IT utilities that OFWs can come home to

  • Fast, efficient and more accessible venues for OFWs in distress, both in the Philippines and abroad

  • Competent and OFW-friendly embassy and department officials

  •  Rights-based bilateral labour and immigration agreements with labour-receiving countries

  • Justice and indemnification for all victims of illegal recruitment and trafficking

  • An end to all schemes and government policies that treat OFWs as mere milking cows

We are at a historic turning point, and the future of the nation is in the balance.  As we, in the organizations of Migrante and Bayan Canada look forward to the changes that the new Philippine government will make in a direction that serves the interests and welfare of migrant workers, we firmly believe that the opening of coordination between the people’s organizations and government authorities will facilitate much-needed change.

If we are to serve the people, we must heed the people.

Hear the people’s cry! Let the people’s voice be heard!

 

 

Reference:

Chandu Claver, Bayan Canada

Tess Agustin, Migrante Canada

 

 

Bayan and Migrante Canada Statement on the Kidapawan Massacre April 1, 2016

To The Aquino Government and Its Cohorts:

 

Bayan Canada and Migrante Canada denounce the brazen and brutal dispersal of the farmers of North Cotabato. The recent massacre of protesting farmers, killing 3 and injuring some 116 people, is once again proof of the cowardly way of this government in dealing with the grave economic and social problems which are, in fact, this government’s own creations!

 

On April 1, military and police forces of the Philippine government opened fire at protesting farmers in Kidapawan, North Cotabato in Mindanao. More than 6,000 peasants had barricaded the provincial road since March 30 to call for the release of the 15,000 sacks of rice promised as assistance for El Nino-stricken farmers, and for the immediate pull-out of military troops from peasant communities. The farmers’ main demand for disaster relief due to the long drought remained overdue for seven months, while their related demands for changes in local agrarian policies, and demilitarization of their communities, are both urgent and essential changes in their severely oppressed lives. The Philippine National Police (PNP) and the local government through its governor replied with violence.

 

The government troops are now harassing and encircling the encamped peasants in Kidapawan, along with the harassment of the church people of the Spottswood United Methodist Church that have been assisting the farmers from the beginning. Why is it so difficult for a government to give the people what they urgently need? What is so dangerous in granting them rice when they are hungry, free rice seedlings for their farms, or authorizing an increase in the farm gateprices of agricultural crops so that farmers can have a little profit for their survival?

 

It is abundantly clear that the government arrogantly moved to “resolve” the criminal neglect of its citizens by shamelessly launching a criminal fascist attack upon its victims! It is abundantly clear that, like the first Aquino administration, which also massacred farmers in 1987, this government’s policy is one of “total war” against its people.

 

We therefore in the strongest possible terms state the same position as other people’s organization have regarding the the Kidapawan crisis and massacre. We hold President Benigno Aquino III principally responsible for these heinous crimes, and with him, the following are also accountable: The Department of Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala, Liberal Party member and North Cotabato Governor Emmylou “Lala” Taliño-Mendoza and PNP Col. Alex Tagum. We also condemn the Liberal Party standard bearer Mar Roxas for, according to reports, triggering the dispersal because he thought the farmers would cause disturbance in his presidential campaign.

 

We join our compatriots in demanding that the calamity fund be immediately released and the perpetrators of these crimes be brought to justice!

 

Justice for the victims of the Kidapawan massacre! Rice, not bullets!

 

References:

Chandu Claver, Bayan Canada – chanduclaver@gmail.com

Tess Agustin, Migrante Canada – migrantecanada@gmail.com

Bayan and Migrante Canada Statement on Philippine Independence Day 2015

The Aquino government’s yearly celebration of a fake Independence Day is a stage act done to deceive people into believing the nation is free from the clutches of slavery and the grip of a foreign colonizing power.  The dark reality is that the American government’s power continues to reign supreme in the Philippines, propped up by a subservient local ruling elite.  Philippine independence is an absolute lie that has been bandied about as a gift from the American government, and raised wine glasses to by knee-scraping Philippine governments all throughout the decades.  In brutal fact, this century-long lie has thrown millions of lives into misery – a lie that has brought unmitigated suffering to majority of our people.  The same lie is the tool by which the elite continually feeds and fattens itself.

If we look closely at world history, we see the glaring truth that independence is never easily declared or given by a colonizer to a colonized country and its people.  True independence is fought for by citizens who desire it and who fervently want to end a prevailing unjust situation.  Only when gained through such means and under such conditions are a nation’s freedom and independence authentic.

The undeniable fact is that Philippine independence from Spain was declared by Filipinos on June 12, 1898, wrenched from Spain’s colonial government by means of their victorious revolution.  However, this clear victory of the people – the first such victory in Asia – was stolen and snuffed out by another colonizer, the US government, which maneuvered into the role of “savior”  by making an under-the-table deal with Spain and by paying for the assistance of the puppet government of twice-turncoat revolutionary Emilio Aguinaldo, previously paid by Spain to exile himself in Hong Kong. The collusion of these two pretenders, American politicians and Filipino ex-revolutionaries, sealed the fate of the nation for the incoming century, as they threw into the pot as well the decimation of the remaining revolutionaries who, with persistent valour, had sought, against all odds, to advance the struggle for true freedom.  With these true patriots, hundreds of thousands of Samar residents were also decimated by American troops.

This dark history continues today.  The persistence of US imperialism in the Philppines, which can count on the support of the feudal machinations by the local business and political elite, is the main cause of the nation’s continuing plunge into poverty, oppression and abuse under foreign companies.  Most of these, clearly the American companies, are in mining, agribusiness and manufacturing.

US intervention in the Philippines is simultaneously economic and political.  Recent proof of this is the very secrecy of the signing of the Enhanced Defense Agreement (EDCA) by which the Aquino government sold over Philippine sovereignty and patrimony to the US government.  By it, the whole Philippine archipelago has essentially become a military base of the US, and every port and open port of entry for US troops.  By it, all kinds of American military weapons, including nuclear arms, freely enter.  Clearly, as shown in the Mamasapano incident, EDCA puts Filipino civilian, particularly those in the countryside, under continuous threat of militarization and the scourge of repeated violations of their human rights.

The current military aggression of the Chines government against the Philippines clearly puts focus on American intervention, as the EDCA is used as basis for American military protection fo the Philippines against China.  Beneath this mask of protection, it is clear that America is using the Philippines as a launching pad for military action against China, and moreover, in view of the ongoing American economic crisis since 2010, it sees the Philippines as a much-needed marked for its military weapons productions.  By the same token, China also stands to benefit from any conflict situation involving the Philippines since it can use as wedge its loans to the US for any trade negotiations regarding Philippine natural and human resources.

The collusion of US political and economic interests and the selfish interests of the local ruling elite led by Aquino maintain a fascistic military force to protect those interests against the justified desires of the Filipino nation to be freed from injustice, exploitation and oppression.  EDCA was forged precisely to ain weaponry and military technology to crush the nationalistic forces which find that their desires for change are best advanced by a national democratic revolution.

While empty celebratory bouquets for a fake Philippine Independence are being strewn everywhere, it is the best time for the Filipino people to look at their sacrifices, their suffering and the various injustices in their lives and realize that this fake independence does not contribute anything to their welfare and well-being.  That fake independence only serves the interests of the local Filipino elite and most of all, it serves the interests fo their imperialist master :  the American government and its business corporations.

It is the best tiem for us to see that we can only attain true freedom and independence by throwing off and destroying the instrument so oppression that this imperialist power has created in our country.  Untied in our fight to end exploitation and oppression, we will overthrow feudalism so that the farmers will have lands to till; we will build national industrialization so that our liberated workers can lead us towards economic progress and economic justice.  Finally, when we reach the time that the many who have been suffering injustices can truly take lead and wield political power as active members of a truly democratic nation – only then can we say that freedom is ours, truly ours.

 

 

Bayan-Migrante Canada Solidarity Statement: On International Labour Day 2016

With fists raised high, we salute all workers on International Labour Day!

 

On this glorious day, May the 1st, we join workers all over the world in celebrating this great day.  We also join all workers in advancing their fight against the exploitation and oppression dealt upon them by the giant foreign monopoly capitalists and their cronies, the local bourgeois capitalists.

 

From the many corners of the Philippies, worekrs and citizens are already gathering together in the streets to make urgent calls: for a national minimum wage of 750 pesos an hour; for an end to contractualization; for justice due to the Kidapawan farmers who were killed and injured, and to condemn the criminal neglect of the Aquino government of the victims of the typhoon.  They demand that the Aquino government own up to its long list of human rights violations that are connected to its Oplan Bayanihan program.  They cry out against the government’s selling off of the national patrimony regarding the crisis in the West Philippine Sea.  They condemen the Aquino regime’s agreement and signing of unfair and anti-worker treaties that increase the suffering of workers and Filipino citizens.

 

Ever since Marcos implemented neo-liberal policies dictated by the U.S. and the IMF World Bank, the Philippine economy started to deteriorate.  Through the years of succeeding governments, we have seen only worsening joblessness, poverty, and escalating economic backwardness.  We saw more wealth and economic power concentrated in a few corporations and a handful of wealthy businessmen.  This is the result of over 35 years of neoliberal :free market” policies.  More and more, we have seen the government giving its support to the profit-seeking of a few and the abandonment of its duty to provide socio-economic development for the majority.

 

And so many of us have had to find work in foreign countries, and here, in Canada, we begin to understand the importance of our unity with the workers and farmers in the Philippines who are tirelessly protesting against the oppression and exploitation of foreign monopoly capitalists and crony local capitalists.

 

Our challenge as migrant workers overseas is to protest the neoliberal policies implemented by the Aquino government, which are connected to the inhumane and oppressive Labour Export Policy, which now exports 6,000 Filipinos every day.  In Canada, where there are 800.000 Filipinos, the oppressive whip of exploitation is suffered  by workers, particularly those who work under the Temporary Workers’ Program, who, because of their temporary status, do not have benefits and their rights as workers are not secured.  Already in a precarious situation, these workers are now being sent back to their countries after four years if they have not attained landed status, and have to wait another four years before they could reapply to work in Canada, without any certainty they could return.

 

This situation of the TFWs in Canada has come about as a result of globalization schemes to create and use cheap and flexible labour in order to increase the profit of monopoly capitalists.

 

The Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement recently signed by the wealthiest countries of the world is an even bigger scheme to make more profit, since through this agreement, they can pry open resource-rich countries from national laws protecting ancestral lands so that the capitalist could further plunder them. In foreign countries, temporary foreign work is expected to increase, without necessarily giving improved conditions for workers.  In countries like the Philippines, this would intensify human rights violations and militarization to protect foreign interests in such areas, and the impact on the people is absolutely negative – damaging the livelihood and wellbeing of the people who reside int hem.  We already see this happening in the Philippines, victimizing the Lumad communities in Mindanao, particularly.  We can only expect that this would worsen should the Philippines change its foreign trade laws and become a member of the TPPA countries.

 

All these neo-liberal policies are being advanced and promoted by the ruling elite and the reactionary Philippine government, under the direction of the U.S. IMF-World Bank, during the current electoral campaigns, 2016.  These policies, based on the people’s experience, can only mean the continued suffering and exploitation of the people and the land.

 

On this international day of workers, let us, the people, take the progressive path and commit ourselves to advance our fight against the puppet government that will be set in place by an imperialist master, a government that will never serve the people, whose real face is the face of imperialist plunder and whose only interest is to plunder the land for profit and more capital!

 

Long live the migrant worker!

Protection, not collection!

Services, not business!

Long live the Working Class!

Fight Contractualization and the Exploitation fo the Working Class!

Advance the fight for a National Minimum Wage!

Long live the people’s fight for true freedom and justice!

Unite and empower all the exploited sectors under the leadership of worker and peasants!

Reference:

Tess Agustin – Migrante Canada

Chandu Claver – Bayan Canada

 

 

 

 

 

BAYAN Canada soon to celebrate 8th year!

bayan cake

Our BAYAN Canada cake during  the launch over seven years ago.

Dear Friends,

After a long break, we are currently updating and upgrading the Bayan Canada site.  Please enjoy new posts and others to come!

Bayan Canada site admin

 

Genuine democracy and freedom, not fake independence!

Statement of Bayan Canada on June 12, 2014

The true commemoration of June 12 is the continuation by the Filipino people of the  struggle for true independence from the corrupt political system and from foreign intervention.

Bureaucratic corruption, feudal exploitation and forced migration

The political system in the Philippines is absolutely rotten to the core.  The Napoles P10 billion pork barrel scam is just one example of this.  These past months have exposed President Aquino’s role in defending the pork barrel system and in covering up corruption scandals. Having prior knowledge of a list of those involved in the scam, such as his allies and key Liberal Party leaders, he has filed charges only against his political opponents in order to divert public outrage against his government and to cover up his own role as the pork barrel king.

Aquino’s posturing cannot fool the Filipino people.  While the corrupt elites play politics and accumulate wealth and power, the people struggle to make ends meet, provide a livelihood for their families and a future for their children.

Landlessness as a result of the scourge of land monopoly still exists.  President Aquino and his haciendero family avoid genuine land reform and prevent poor peasant farmers from owning, tilling and making productive the lands of the Cojuangco-Aquino’s Hacienda Luisita. But with the general rule of land monopoly and avoidance of any real agrarian reform in the Philippines, the Filipino people are left to face hunger and abject poverty. They are displaced by land conversion and development aggression and the degradation of the environment due to large scale mining and deforestation.  Millions migrate to the cities and become part of the urban poor; desperate and debt-ridden, many take their chances for recruitment to work abroad.

Nowhere is this situation more apparent than in the lives of migrants who are forced to leave in search of meaningful jobs that do not exist in their country.  While working abroad, migrants are left on their own, practically abandoned by the reactionary Philippine state. They are left without any protection or support while experiencing the difficulties and discrimination in defending their rights as foreign workers in affluent nations where policies become more and more xenophobic and anti-migrant as the world capitalist crisis hits home.

Here in Canada, migrant workers are pitted against working people who are accused of stealing local jobs.  Policies are even made stricter preventing migrants from ever setting roots in the country they work in, despite the fact that they contribute to the economy and generate profit for the capitalists through their labour.

EDCA – a deterrent to peace and magnet for war

The Enhanced Defence Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) between the US and Philippines is hyped as the solution to the ongoing aggression of capitalist China in the South China Sea, including in the disputed areas of the Philippine territorial waters. EDCA turns the entire Philippines into one gigantic American military base; it easily becomes a target for the enemies of the US and escalates the tensions between the Philippines and China. US imperialism, not wanting to risk an all-out war with China makes grand postures but will not defend the Philippines in the long run.  EDCA will bring back the US bases on Philippine soil but on a larger scale. Along with this are the usual effects of US military presence which include the displacement for locals, unhampered movement of US military personnel, subcontractors and equipment, rape of Filipino women and increased violations of human rights. Meanwhile it would mean restricted access for Filipinos within US military facilities while the Filipino tax payers pay for the bills. It would mean for Filipinos the displacement of their families, the constant threat of war and possible injuries or even deaths at the hands of foreign soldiers during “joint” military exercises and campaigns. As in the past, the people will be pushed to oppose the presence of foreign military on their homeland.  Peace will be more elusive with the implementation of EDCA. The benefits of EDCA to the people are nil while the cost to Philippine sovereignty is great.

All signs do not point to a truly independent and sovereign nation but to one with “huwad na kalayaan” or fake independence.  The only hope for an independent and sovereign nation is for the Filipino people to continue the struggle for National Democracy against imperialism, feudalism and bureaucrat capitalism. ###

BAYAN STANDS WITH THE PEOPLE OF GAZA

Press Statement

November 16, 2012

We in the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan, our member organizations and formations in the Philippines and other parts of the world, stand in solidarity with the people of Gaza against the brutal airstrikes being undertaken by Israel. The attacks, no doubt, have the support of the United States and other imperialist powers. Israel, the US and UK put the onus on Hamas and the Palestinians, despite the deadly bombings on civilians being conducted by Israel.

We call for a stop to the Israeli airstrikes. We strongly oppose any escalation of the Israeli offensives which include the possibility of a ground invasion. The Palestinian people have been living under the brutal Israeli occupation of their lands for more than  six decades now. The occupation is supported primarily by the US,  which provides  Israel with weapons and other forms of aid. The US also remains Israel’s most reliable ally and enforcer in the UN Security Council. Israel remains a vital cog in the plans of the US to impose its will on the Middle East.

Israel goes on to justify its military action dubbed “Pillar of Defense” with the allegation that Gaza is a forward base of Iran and that Hamas weapons pose a threat. However, it should also be noted that the attacks come just before the Israeli elections on January 22 where current prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu is seeking re-election. It should also be noted that Israel has long-prepared for such an invasion, raising the possibility of another ground assault  as early as February this year, because of the supposed “great success” of a similar offensive started in late 2008. Operation Cast Lead in 2008 resulted in the death of 1,400 Palestinians.

Israel also taken its war vs. Palestinians to the internet and social media, posting arrogant tweets and videos that celebrate the assassination of Hamas leader Ahmed Jahbari and live-tweeting the airstrikes conducted against the Palestinians. On the other hand, Israel  has threatened to cut internet and other communications in Gaza to prevent the world from the knowing Israeli atrocities.

Bayan stands with Gaza, the Palestinian people and the peoples of the world who are condemning the Israeli airstrikes. The path to genuine peace in the Middle East must include a free Palestine.  The road genuine peace will require the defeat of US imperialism, in the Middle East and the world.

Free Palestine!

Stop the US-backed Israeli airstrikes!

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