On the violent dispersal of a peaceful protest of NutriAsia workers and their supporters by State police forces

AUGUST 2, 2018 · PUBLIC

Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN) Canada vehemently condemns the brutal dispersal of a peaceful mass action of NutriAsia workers and their supporters by the Philippine National Police (PNP) under the command of Bulacan Provincial Police Chief Chito Bersaluna and the company’s security personnel. The striking workers and their advocates were just concluding an ecumenical mass on the afternoon of July 30, 2018 at the company’s Marilao, Bulacan plant when the police and NutriAsia security forces started to violently disperse and forcibly arrest them. Scores were injured and 19 were arrested.

Workers, organized under the Nagkakaisang Manggagawa ng NutriAsia (NMN)-Marilao, had been on strike since June 2, 2018 demanding regularization of the workforce that the Department of Labour and Employment (DOLE) had already ordered in a memorandum earlier in February this year. They were also protesting the underpayment of basic wages, illegal dismissal of 50 workers and demanding an end to contractualization.

Peoples’ organizations and various groups from the media, church and the youth among others have been in solidarity with the workers since the strike began. Among the 19 arrested and incarcerated were Kadamay (urban poor organization) members Imelda Ray and Aileen Raganit, Anakbayan Secretary-General Einstein Recedes, journalists Hiyasmin Saturay and Eric Tandoc of Altermidya. The violent dispersal is an affront to the workers’ right to strike, to the right to peacefully assemble and to freedom of the press. It clearly marks the trend towards the intensified violation of people’s democratic rights by the US-backed Duterte regime in its drive to impose fascist dictatorial rule.

NutriAsia management claims a gunshot was fired from the workers’ ranks to cause panic. The PNP Bulacan filed trumped up charges such as violation of Batas Pambansa 880 (The Public Assembly Act of 1985), physical injuries, and alarm and scandal against the NutriAsia 19. All these, even as a jail inmate admitted at a hearing that he had been beaten up by police and forced to pretend to join the rally having in his possession a firearm and sachets of shabu. While all 19 have been released recently, and the charge of physical injuries has been dismissed, the charges of alarm and scandal, and illegal assembly against them remain.

BAYAN Canada is one with the NutriAsia workers and their advocates and reiterates their demand that the PNP and NutriAsia face accountability for their wanton violation of human rights — from the violent dispersal of the mass action by the PNP and NutriAsia, to NutriAsia’s flagrant refusal to recognize the legitimate rights of the workers to regular employment, decent wages and other benefits that they justly deserve.

 

Reference:
Rhea A. Gamana
BAYAN Canada National Organizing Committee
bayancanada2008@gmail.com

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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

 

 

JUSTICE FOR ATTY. BEN RAMOS! END IMPUNITY NOW! Statement of BAYAN-Canada on the assassination of people’s lawyer Ben Ramos

BAYAN-Canada is shocked and outraged at the extrajudicial killing of Attorney Ben Ramos in Kabankalan City, Negros Occidental on November 7, 2018. Ramos was a founding member of the National Union of People’s Lawyers, who for over 23 years defended those persecuted by the fundamentally corrupted Philippine legal and security systems. Ramos bravely defended those who dared to struggle for their economic, social, and human rights amidst widening economic inequities, the gross failure of land reform programs, and widespread hunger and destitution on Negros Island.

Duterte would like to spin the state-sanctioned violence and bloodshed he has unleashed against the open democratic mass movement in the Philippines as a legitimate counterinsurgency program. In February of this year, the Department of Justice submitted a 55-page list of supposed ‘terrorists’, including the names of prominent human rights defenders, in what critics quickly and correctly identified as a virtual hit list of opponents of Duterte’s increasingly fascist regime in the Philippines.

After the DOJ move to label human rights defenders as legitimate targets of state-sanctioned violence, a spate of local hit lists was circulated across the Philippines, including on Negros Island where at least two lists have been recorded. One of those lists was circulated in Guihulngan, Negros Oriental, where two of those named on the list have since been killed in brutal state-sanctioned attacked led by suspected elements of the Armed Forces of the Philippines. Another list was circulated in Bacolod City and included the photograph of Atty Ben Ramos and other prominent human rights defenders.

The reality is that those named on said lists, those like Ramos, who dare to continue the struggle for fundamental change in the Philippines, are on the side of justice. This year alone Ramos worked with several high-profile cases including the Mabinay 6. When a group of youth activists dubbed the Mabinay 6 were arrested in Negros Oriental, Ramos rapidly responded, escorting the families to the jail and tirelessly defending the youth from trumped-up charges filed by the DOJ in the interests of the big landlords. When a pro-bono people’s lawyer serving the exploited and the downtrodden is then shot dead in the street by masked men, it is simply connecting the dots to question how the state is complicit in such a crime against the people.

Duterte would say to those who dare to till the idle lands of the big landlords, “just wait, I will give it to you”. But history belies this claim as the numbers of landless farmers and homeless urban poor continue to swell amidst a rising tide of poverty. Duterte has given licence to big landlords and their private paramilitary squads to shoot to kill. Duterte has publicly stated, “My orders to the police and the soldiers, shoot them. If they resist violently, shoot them. If they die, I do not care”, speaking directly to the brutal extrajudicial killing of the Sagay 9, a group of destitute farmers who attempted to till the idle lands of a sugar plantation outside of Sagay City on Negros Island. And yet the promise of land reform does not feed families who are hungry now. In the words of Sister Patricia Fox, “land to the farmers is life to humanity”, yet while farmers struggle for their basic needs, the Armed Forces of the Philippines responds by sending thousands of troops to Negros Island to quash the people’s legitimate response to an increasingly dire situation.

Continuing his legacy of violence, President Duterte has called for open season on progressive lawyers, stating, “Just because you’re a journalist you are not exempted from assassination, if you’re a son of a bitch.” The National Union of People’s Lawyers has documented 34 extra-judicial killings of lawyers since Duterte took power. “Killing lawyers is not just a brazen violation of their rights as people and as defenders, it shows that no justice can be expected under a regime that kills advocates of peace and justice, the farmers who feed the country, and lawyers who defend victims of abuses in the name of justice”, says a spokesperson from Hustisya, an organization of families of those killed by counter-insurgency forces and big landlords.

Who will defend the defenders when the Philippine State wreaks havoc on the poor to serve the economic interests of the few? The reality is, it is us who must step forward to defend the defenders. As international supporters of a just peace and of genuine agrarian reform in the Philippines, we must redouble our efforts to bring Duterte and his fascist cronies to justice.

We once again echo the call for the Canadian Government and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to immediately halt funding and collaboration with the Armed Forces of the Philippines, the Philippine National Police, and other institutions of the Philippines State that are implicated in gross violations of human rights including extrajudicial killings and attacks on the open democratic movement in the Philippines.

We stand in solidarity with the movement to oust Duterte from power and bring about people’s democracy in the Philippines.

Long live international solidarity!

Justice for Atty Ben Ramos!

9 November 2018

REFERENCE:
RHEA GAMANA
Country Organizing Committee
bayancanada2008@gmail.com

 

Statement on the Sagay 9 Massacre 1 November 2018

Bayan Canada vehemently condemns the ruthless massacre of the nine farmers — three of them women and two minors — in Sagay City, Hacienda Nene, Negros Occidental last October 20.  As if this were not enough, the killers set fire to the site, inflicting burns on the bodies of the three women. These heinous acts lay bare the Duterte regime’s real stance toward fundamental social change, in this case, genuine agrarian reform that addresses the centuries-old struggle of the peasants and farmworkers for land that is rightfully theirs.  The vain attempts of its armed forces to pin the blame on the sugarworkers and their union, linking them to the New People’s Army, smacks of redbaiting while promoting the culture of impunity by filing charges against the union members and letting the real perpetrators go scot free.

A recent National Fact-Finding Mission composed of representatives of Salinlahi, Children’s Rehabilitation Centre, Karapatan National Alliance for the Advancement of People’s Rights, Gabriela Women’s Partylist and the National Union of People’s Lawyers (NUPL) stated in its detailed report that this recent massacre comes on the heels of a string of extrajudicial killings of members of the National Federation of Sugar Workers (NFSW).

  • On December 21 last year, NFSW-Sagay chairperson Flora Gemola in Sagay’s Hacienda Susan was killed and her body burned by elements suspected to be members of the Special Civilian Auxiliary Army (SCAA) “commonly known” to act as security forces for haciendas and are under the control of the local government of Sagay City.
  • In February 22 this year, NFSW member Ronald Manlanat was shot in the head in Hacienda Joefred, also in Sagay.
  • The gunmen likewise shot some Hacienda Nene massacre victims in the head and burned three of them after being killed.

These nine bring to a total 157 farmers killed under the Duterte regime, 45 of whom are from Negros alone.  And these killings were also preceded by redbaiting tactics of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) in the same fashion as that now being done in Mindanao against the Iglesia Filipina Independiente (IFI), and government critics and human rights defenders elsewhere. The AFP brands the NFSW as a legal front of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and New People’s Army (NPA).

The NFSW had just started a land cultivation activity to plant vegetables to tide them over in between sugarcane cropping activities when the nine farmworkers were gunned down. The island of Negros, the Philippines’ sugar capital, has some of the poorest farming communities in the country and “land cultivation area or bungkalan” is the farmworkers’ response to amplify their campaign for genuine agrarian reform and free land distribution. Farmers militantly occupy idle lands and collectively cultivate these lands to make it productive. “Bungkalan reflects the failure of the government’s land reform program and the landlords’ refusal to distribute land to the tillers,” the NFSW said.

Between 2000 to 2004, under former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s government, 15 agrarian reform beneficiaries were killed and 57 wounded due to land conflicts in Negros Occidental.  And while large areas are covered by the government’s comprehensive agrarian reform program (CARP), the union says implementation is only at 40%.  Further, sugar workers in haciendas (plantations), on the average, receive a P500 to P750 weekly wage all year round. “Minimum wage is pegged at only P245 per day for the farm workers but in many haciendas, P80-P120 a day is still prevalent,” an NFSW leader said.  In Hacienda Nene, workers were paid on a piecemeal basis, according to how fast they could harvest and load sugarcane. “They get paid between P300 to P500 a week.”

Thus, when these workers raise their voices in protest, they are met with the goons of the big landlords backed up by the State’s might. The US-backed Duterte regime continues to violently break up workers’ unions and strikes, and to murder trade unionists and social activists supporting them. It also continues to kill peasants and indigenous people and force their mass evacuation, making way for corporate mining, logging, plantation and tourist enterprises nationwide.

Duterte’s promises of land to the tiller, ending contractualization, raising incomes of the workers and peasants and respect for the indigenous peoples’ right to self-determination and ancestral domain are then exposed for what they really are – a hoax.  His refusal to continue the peace negotiations with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) betrays his hostility to the people’s social and economic demands put forward in the latter’s draft of the Comprehensive Agreement on Social and Economic Reforms (CASER).

Bayan Canada is therefore one with all democratic and freedom-loving organizations, groups and individuals in calling for justice for the nine (9) Sagay farmers and all victims of human rights violations.  We call for a stop to the killings and demand an end to impunity now!

Implement genuine agrarian reform and national industrialization!
Onward with the struggle for a just and liberating peace! ###
……………………………………………….

Reference:
Rhea Gamana
Country Organizing Committee
bayancanada2008@gmail.com

Resist fascist dictatorial rule, never again to martial law!

The death of an overseas Filipino worker mistaken for being a drug addict in the hands of the Philippine police deserves the highest condemnation from Filipinos abroad. What makes the act beyond reproach is that Allan Rafael, 35 years old, was a cancer patient receiving treatment for his lymphoma at the time when he was murdered.

Rafael has become part of now some 20,000 victims slaughtered by Pres. Rodrigo Duterte’s dirty war on drugs. Yet the Philippine National Police are coaxed for the continued killing and bulldozing of human rights with protection and promotion – like Senior Superintendent Chito Bersaluna whose Caloocan cops shot teenagers Kian delos Santos and Carl Arnaiz.

Bersaluna was awarded to become a provincial chief for the province of Bulacan. Hence, it was under Bersaluna’s command that the striking workers at NutriAsia in this province, including supporters and members of the media, were attacked and arrested by his men.

Yet Duterte’s bloody hands have not only trampled the rights of the poor in urban areas, but also continue to ignore the call for peace and socio-economic reforms in the countryside.

As the Filipino people commemorate the 46th anniversary of the declaration of martial law by the dictator Ferdinand Marcos in 1972, the horrors that it brought then endure to this day.

Blinded by his thirst for power, Duterte and his forces are all but willing to ignore the rights of the many communities the Armed Forces of the Philippines have militarized. In the communities where the forces have encamped, martial-law- like rules are being imposed. Fleeing Lumad community members continually face harassment, including food blockade by the AFP. Fisherfolks’ homes in Laiya Aplaya, Batangas were violently demolished to make way for a private eco-tourism zone.

On August 21, three farmers who are members of peasant group Compostela Farmers Association were killed by unidentified gunmen in Compostela Valley. Two other farmers were killed and one wounded in a separate incident in Agusan del Sur, by members of the CAFGU and 23rd IB.  The Unyon ng Manggagawa sa Agrikultura (UMA) reports that 34 political activists mainly from NFSW and KMP-Negros that have been killed so far during the Duterte regime, mostly through land disputes. Over a hundred peasant activists have actually been killed under Duterte’s rule.

Rights alliance Karapatan cited at least 49 victims of extrajudicial killings in Mindanao, where martial law is being imposed. The number pegs one victim killed every week. In addition, there were 22 documented cases of torture, 89 victims of illegal arrest and detention, and 336,124 victims of indiscriminate gunfire and aerial bombings.  More recently, there was the massacre of 7 Tausug youth in Patikul, Sulu.

Moreover, the respect for rights of combatants from insurgency groups is next to none. Seven members of the Communist Party of the Philippines were massacred in Panay in the middle of the night on August 21, unarmed. Combined forces from the army and Philippine police swooped down and attacked without provocation. As in the past, planted evidence and the lies about a “firefight” littered the statements from government troops.

Earlier in March this year, the Philippine government tagged some 600 activists, including a U.N. special rapporteur, environmentalists, indigenous people’s advocates, former priests and a lawmaker, as members of the Communist Party of the Philippines and its armed wing New People’s Army, and also sought to declare them as “terrorists” in petition filed in court.  And then again, our members of the Makabayan bloc were harassed following issued arrest warrants over a malicious and baseless 4-year old case. Former party-list representatives Liza Maza, Rafael Mariano, Satur Ocampo and Teddy Casino were later cleared of the murder charges.

Despite the unrelenting large-scale abuses to human rights, combined with soaring inflation because of the TRAIN law, discontent is spreading fast even from the millions of impoverished Filipinos who voted Duterte in power. His alliance with the Marcos and Arroyo cliques contributes to his further isolation.  And his bloody Oplan Tokhang against drug addiction, his US-sponsored Oplan Kapayapaan, and his war against the Moro people are effectively fueling the growing broad opposition to his regime.

Already the International Peoples’ Tribunal in Brussels, Belgium, handed down on September 20, a guilty verdict on Duterte for crimes against humanity over the alleged “gross and systematic violations of human rights” in the Philippines.  The verdict also covered “ongoing harassment, extrajudicial killings of indigenous peoples and their displacements from their ancestral homes” brought about by the imposition of martial law in Mindanao.

Today, the outrage of the masses continues to spill out into ever-increasing and various forms of protests.

Stop the killings! Stop the attacks!
Stop political persecution!
End impunity now!
Unite to oust the US-Duterte fascist regime!

September 21, 2018

References:
Rhea Gamana
Country Organizing Committee
bayancanada2008@gmail.com

Jobs and justice, land and freedom! No to dictatorship!

BAYAN Canada
Statement on the occasion of Duterte’s
State of the Nation Address
Jobs and justice, land and freedom! No to dictatorship!
21 July 2018

Two years of Duterte rule more than ever reaffirm the dictum that the people and the people alone, with their collective strength, will carve out their own history and achieve the fundamental change towards a truly free and democratic, just and peaceful society.
The US-Duterte regime is not serious about talking, much less making, peace. It is hellbent on effecting the surrender, if not destruction of the revolutionary forces led by the Communist Party of the Philippines. This is why Duterte upon the advise of his generals has once more cancelled the peace talks even as the peace panels of the Philippine government and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines had signed a coordinated unilateral ceasefire agreement for the duration of the coming peace talks.
US imperialism is the criminal mastermind after all behind the cancellation of the peace talks between the Philippine government and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines. The scheduled talks have been “postponed” so that the “people can be consulted” first before signing the agreements. But so-called consultations are meant to confuse the people and lead them into localized peace talks in line with the scheme to not hold the talks in a foreign neutral venue, eliminate the third-party facilitator (the Norwegian government) and do the negotiations in the Philippines under the complete control of the regime and its armed minions.
Within the framework of Oplan Pacific Eagle, the regime carries out its counterinsurgency Oplan Kapayapaan, bolstering the Human Security Act, giving more powers to the police and the armed forces, targetting whole communities in countryside and city, eliminating pro-people mass leaders and activists. This is why Philippine army contingents continue to set up camp in villages, occupy schoolhouses and community health centres while conducting air strikes and ground attacks in an “all-out” military suppression and encirclement campaign especially in hinterland areas all over Mindanao. Martial law remains in Mindanao even as the stage is being set for martial law nationwide.
The Duterte regime has no intention of addressing the roots of the civil war that has been raging for close to five decades now. It caters to every whim and accedes to every imposition of its US master even as it opens its doors wide and sells out the nation’s sovereignty to China. While facilitating super profit extraction for the transnational corporations, and reaping huge benefits for its big landlord, big business and bureaucrat capitalist cohorts, it keeps the greater mass of the population mired in poverty and destitution. Inflation is at a 4.6 percent high with the real value of the peso dropping to a low of 86 centavos. As of April 2018, 4.13 million Filipinos are unemployed and 6.9 million underemployed.
Whether in the form of the Tax Reform Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) law that has only led to the skyrocketing of prices of food and other basic necessities, or the deregulation of the oil industry, or trade liberalization and privatization of essential services, or foreign corporate mining practices, the end result has been suffering and misery for the toiling people, plunder of the nation’s resources and destruction of the environment.
Duterte’s campaign promise to end labour export, migration and the separation of families will forever remain empty. In 2017 alone, it was estimated that 5,460 Filipinos were leaving the country daily. Despite the impact of the crises in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait on the welfare of overseas Filipino workers, there was no deployment ban set by the government. It even set talks with China and Russia as alternative destinations of OFWs. Also due to the anti-poor and anti-people TRAIN LAW, OFWS are directly affected especially by the increase of fees collected for basic documents required for their work abroad.
The proposed shift in the draft constitution towards federalism is designed to give dictatorial powers to the president, extend the terms of elected officials, weaken the rights of the people, remove prohibitions to foreign military bases, and sell out the Philippines’ national economy and patrimony to foreigners. It is the worst attempt to change the 1987 Constitution in favor of fascist dictatorial and imperialist rule in the country.
Bayan Canada therefore calls on all democratic, freedom and peace-loving Filipinos and Filipino-Canadians to come together in a broad coalition and unite with our kababayans in the Philippines and overseas in opposing the move to another dictatorship. The Filipino people demand a just and lasting peace by resolving the root problems of foreign domination and control over all spheres of Philippine life, landlessness and landgrabbing in the countryside, as well as chronic unemployment, low wages, lack of job security and the many problems besetting the workers, peasants and other basic sectors.

No to charter change and dictatorship.
End the oppressive and exploitative rule of the US-Duterte regime!
Onward with the struggle for genuine freedom and democracy!
Fight for a just and liberating peace!

Reference:

Rhea Gamana
National Organizing Committee
BAYAN Canada

bayancanada2008@gmail.com

ON THE TRUMP-TRUDEAU-LED IMPERIALIST SHOW OF FORCE IN THE PHILIPPINES

Statement on Trump-Trudeau Visit to the Philippines
November 12, 2017

In the ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) Trade and Security Summit in Manila, US President Trump and Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau represented two leading imperialist states with their own economic and political agenda and concerns. The United States and Canada are not members of the ASEAN but were invited by the Philippines who is the host and the chair of ASEAN 2017.

Trump is still dealing with his scandal-besmirched election campaign officials and the opposition to his racist, homophobic pronouncements and his threats of fascist measures. There is Trudeau’s own economic crisis and his government’s need to ensure the continuous flow of temporary workers into Canada for permanent jobs in caregiving for children and seniors, in agriculture, and in the service and hospitality sectors. Within US and Canada, both Trump and Trudeau continue to face resistance and strong opposition from their own people.  In the Philippines, militant anti-imperialist protests and marches have erupted to oppose and denounce Trump and the US meddling in the country, with huge banners saying “Ban Trump”. Philippine protestors have been met by anti-riot police with water cannons, truncheons and a sonic device that obstructs one’s sense of hearing. In Canada, concerned Canadians and overseas Filipinos have asked Trudeau to bring up the human rights issue of tens of thousands of extrajudicial killings in Duterte’s so-called war on drugs, the killings of human rights defenders, and the human rights violations in mining areas that include Canadian mining corporations.

The Philippines is the last stop of Trump’s Asia trip and presents a good opportunity for the US to reconstitute and reaffirm US leadership and control in the politics and economics of the Asia-Pacific region. The mutual admiration between Duterte and Trump was played out in the media and will certainly impact trade, foreign policy, military aid and presence, etc. This “great relationship” in the words of Trump once more confirmed what everybody knew, including the Left, that Duterte’s earlier speeches against anti-US meddling in the Philippines were purely rhetoric and that Duterte remains to be a willing and subservient partner to US dictates and policies. We will see increased militarization, high threat of being dragged into the US-North Korean conflict, the increase in US military troops in US facilities in the guise of US war exercises and civic engagement, and involvement in the US “war on terror.”

For Trudeau, the acceptance of Canada as observer in the ASEAN, is likewise a chance to raise Canada’s profile in the Pacific region for trade, investment, and labour needs. The Philippines remains to be one of the top sources of low-skilled temporary foreign workers and caregivers in Canada. Canadian mining corporations remain to be among the biggest in mining applications and in mining operations. Just on these two issues alone, human rights violations remain to be on-going concerns.

Although the ASEAN, APEC and other talks are presumably about coordination with Asian states and non-Asian states about the trading system, it is the leadership of the US which is the main point of contention in these meetings.  The US can certainly dictate the “opening” of countries to foreign trade by “creating” constitutional changes, further sharpening the oppressive neoliberal policies such as deregulation, privatization and liberalization that will make wage levels remain meager, industrialization impossible, and the basic masses more impoverished. The US continues to raise threats against North Korea in its effort to build up and strengthen US military presence in the area. US- instigated anti-people policies and fascistic protection of foreign businesses only mean that profits will increase for foreign companies; it will mean even higher numbers of workers going overseas for jobs; it will mean war and profits for companies in the war industry.

The participation of Trump and Trudeau at the ASEAN serves to raise their visibility and military presence; it also serves to give the other imperialist and capitalist countries like Japan and China the opportunities to collude among each other to further break down trade and investment barriers.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte seeks to benefit from these alliances with the US and Canada as he wages his so-called wars against drugs, insurgency and so-called terror – wars that are essentially wars of his government and military against his own people.

More than ever, as overseas Filipinos, we should be vigilant on these collusions, on the machinations of US imperialism and the subsequent actions of the Duterte government. We should continue to organize and strengthen ourselves as overseas Filipinos and launch our political actions and campaigns against the US-Duterte’s war against the people and we should not stop in pushing forward the people’s demand for social and political liberation.

Fight Trump, fascism and imperialism!
Fight Trudeau’s repressive immigration system!  Down with Canadian imperialism!
Uphold Philippine sovereignty!
Struggle for national democracy!

Reference:
Dr. Constancio Claver
Chairperson
Bayan-Canada

 

Bayan Canada and Migrante Canada Joint Statement on the Peace Talks – Feb. 14, 2017

Migrante Canada and Bayan Canada condemn, all over again, the continued blatant and rampant violation of human rights of innocent civilians and of people from progressive organizations who have dedicated their lives to advocating for justice in the Philippines. We condemn, more than ever, the relentless war that has been carried out through the reckless militarization of rural areas by troops and paramilitary, through the decades, under the aegis of the Philippine government.

We specially condemn the fact that this reckless militarization has plagued the country, despite the 5-month old unilateral ceasefire declared by President Duterte, as a sign of his intention to pursue talks about peace. However, as we now know from reports, contradicting such offered signs of goodwill, as of January 2017, 51 battalions have been deployed to Mindanao alone, and the state’s troops were deployed to about 500 villages across the country.

The people have always asked for justice, knowing this is the way to lasting peace.

Just as we, alongside many, praised President Duterte’sresumption of peace talks with the CPP-NDF-NPA, we now condemn the recent results of his withdrawal of the government panel from the talks, and his latest declaration of an “all-out war”. We condemn the new counterinsurgency program, which started early this year and has escalated rapidly.

Highlights:
• January 20, the killing of Alexander Ceballos, regional council member for the National Federation of Sugar Workers, and threats dealt to other agrarian-reform activists in Negros;
• February 3, the killing of Lumad leader Renato Anglao, Secretary General of Tribal Indigenous Opressed Group Association or TINDOGA;
• February 6, Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines re-arrested NDFP consultant Ariel Arbitrario and threatened to re-arrest thirteen (13) other NDFP peace consultants.

These events took place quickly, in glaring contrast to the long-drawn out silence of government regarding the request voiced out by human rights advocates to bring justice to around 40,000 victims of human rights violations and the voices asking the government to carry out the president’s previous promise to free the close to 400 political
prisoners languishing in jails.

With such a start, Oplan Kapayapaan, obviously can only be as merciless to non-combatants as other programs in the past, and already tells the nation that it will produce the opposite of its name, bringing more suffering to more numbers of people.

We join other organizations hoping for peace in the Philippines as we urge the Duterte government to continue the peace talks and to complete the positive discussions that have begun and forge agreements regarding the social and economic reforms much needed by the people. We all are at a crucial point in our history which can decide the direction of our nation.

The heightened suffering of the vast numbers of Filipinos through the recent decades has proven a dark nightmare of a false democracy. Ironically, of course, it has increasingly become a pleasure dome for the elite and their lapdogs. We utterly condemn this result of successive Philippine governments submitting to an enforced tutorial under its colonizer, the American government.

We, alongside the people, call for the the Philippine government to respect previously signed agreements, and continue on with the peace talks!

We call for an end to trumped-up cases that have victimized many members of progressive groups!

We call for a stop to all forms of political persecution of members of progressive people’s organizations and development workers!

SGD.

Chandu Claver
Chairperson, BAYAN-Canada

Tess Agustin
Chairperson, Migrante Canada