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

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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

 

 

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. ###

JUSTICE FOR WILLEM GEERTMAN, WELL-LOVED DUTCH COMMUNITY WORKER, A DEAR FRIEND TO THE FILIPINO PEOPLE

Statement of BAYAN, MIGRANTE and PHILIPPINE SOLIDARITY NETWORK IN CANADA

BAYAN, MIGRANTE and the Philippine Solidarity Network in Canada vehemently condemn the cold-blooded murder of Dutch NGO worker and missionary Willem Geertman by two motorcycle-riding men believed to be military agents on July 3, 2012 in Angeles City, Central Luzon.

The assassination of Willem Geertman is the latest in the train of extrajudicial killings under the Aquino administration, numbering 76 in the report of KARAPATAN (Movement for the Advancement of Human Rights) at the Universal Periodic Review of Human Rights in Geneva in May this year.  Several countries urged the Philippines to end impunity in extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances and torture and bring those responsible to justice, including Major General Jovito Palparan Jr, former Governor Joel Reyes and the perpetrators of the Maguindanao massacre.

Geertman is the second foreign national killed under the Aquino government.  In October 11, Italian missionary Fr. Faustino “Pops” Tentorio, who devoted his life to the peasants and indigenous Lumad in Mindanao, was brutally killed.

Willem Geertman worked for Alay-Bayan Luzon, a non-government organization that addresses issues of poverty and landlessness, disaster risk reduction and environmental concerns in Central Luzon.  He was dearly-loved by the poor peasants, farm workers and the community that he served.  He was known for his courageous advocacy in defense especially of the farmers in Hacienda Luisita, and his compassion for disaster victims and victims of human rights abuses.

Indeed the Aquino government knows no bounds in disposing of those who get in the way of the foreign and local elite interests that it serves – so much so that it has taken to physically eliminating foreign nationals who serve the interests of the poor and the oppressed. Meanwhile it continues to promote and protect foreign mining and other corporate interests, and welcomes the entry of more US troops and warships into the Philippines.

We join the progressive community and all freedom and peace-loving groups and individuals in demanding a thorough and impartial investigation into the circumstances surrounding his death.  We call for justice for Willem Geertman and all victims of human rights violations and an end to impunity NOW.

7 July 2012

Dr Chandu’s message to the Montreal organizers of Cordillera day 2012

Video message

http://www.facebook.com/video/video.php?v=3576595328519

The Illusion of Aquino’s “Tuwid na Daan”

Street theater, Aquino's SONA

Photos of Montreal People’s SONA

Press Statement

BAYAN CANADA

June 24, 2011

After one year in office, President Benigno Aquino III has not improved the lives of the Filipino people. His promise of “Tuwid na Daan” (straight path) is nothing but the crooked and edgy path for the Filipino people to tread on. His campaign promises during his first State of the Nation Address (SONA) have become illusions for the majority of the people.

Misguided by the illusion of popularity, the Aquino administration refuses to address the chronic problems of the country. These are the rampant unemployment and poverty, inadequate social services, continuing human rights violations committed with impunity, landlessness, continuing rise in the prices of basic commodities, uncontrollable prices of gasoline and petroleum products, and destruction of the environment.

These problems, further encouraged by the government’s labour export policy, continue to drive many Filipinos to leave the country to work abroad. At least 4000 men and women leave the airports everyday to work overseas; there are 10 million Filipinos working in 196 countries and territories.

If President Aquino is sincere in keeping his promises, he needs to concretely act on these. In the socio-economic front, instead of taking the neoliberal economic path, he and his economic managers must take the path to national industrialization and genuine land reform. Instead of dole-outs and short-term socio-economic programs like “Pantawid Pasada” (gas subsidy to drivers) and conditional cash transfer (CCT), the Aquino administration must undertake long-term socio-economic measures that will bring lasting, not temporary, relief to the people’s suffering. The Aquino administration needs to look beyond economic rhetoric and failed policies of the past regimes.

Like his predecessor the Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo regime, President “Noynoy” Aquino has opened the country to foreign capital and investments. President Aquino has aggressively attracted foreign investors and has placed little or no restrictions to their operations.  In particular, we refer to Canadian mining companies that operate in the Philippines which have not complied with genuine, free, prior and informed consent from the indigenous peoples and which have put profits before environmental destruction and displacement of peasant and indigenous communities.

Fighting corruption is empty rhetoric when President Noynoy Aquino has shown no urgency in prosecuting Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and her cohorts for their graft and corruption, as well as the extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances of those who advocate for social change. Declaring that the Filipino People is the President’s “Boss” carries no weight when the same President also wages an all out war against the people with the US-inspired state counterinsurgency plan Oplan Bayanihan. President “Noynoy” Aquino cannot profess to be for peace until he orders the general, unconditional and omnibus amnesty of all political prisoners.

The first year of President Aquino has therefore been found wanting. The state of the nation, the state of the people has only gone from bad to worse.

-30-

END THE INJUSTICE! FREE THE MORONG 43 NOW!

Press Statement                                                                                                                                                                                               November 5, 2010

Reference:

Joey Calugay, 514-947-3662, jcalugay2@yahoo.ca                                                                                                                          Yasmeen Khan, 613-558-1625, yazmaryam@hotmail.com

The Bagong Alyansang Makabayan in Canada [BAYAN Canada] today joins Bayan in the Philippines, people’s organizations and advocates of the Morong 43 in different corners of the globe in calling on President Benigno Aquino III to order the immediate and unconditional release of these health workers who are now in their ninth month of detention.  The 43 – that include two doctors, two midwives and a nurse – were arrested on February 6, 2010, on the basis of a defective search warrant issued and on evidence planted by state forces. They were charged with illegal possession of firearms and explosives.

Early on in those nine months, some of them were subjected to grueling physical and psychological torture, and various forms of indignity. They were denied legal counsel and family visits in Camp Capinpin, a military prison camp in Tanay, Rizal.

Today, women detainees Judilyn Oliveros and Mercy Castro have already given birth while in detention. Both are under hospital arrest at the Philippine General Hospital. Both mothers have fought for their right to breastfeed their babies. The other health workers are still detained at Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig.

There is no reason why Aquino cannot direct the justice department to file a motion withdrawing the criminal charges against the 43 before the Morong Regional Trial Court and the Metropolitan Trial Court. Justice Secretary Leila de Lima has indicated that her recommendations to President Aquino should lead to the release of the detainees. The President himself has admitted that the search warrant was defective. The courts would then have no choice but to release the 43. And with this simple act, Aquino would have been able to end the injustice done to these community health workers.

Furthermore, the Aquino government granted amnesty to 300 rebel soldiers detained by the Arroyo regime for staging three coup attempts, even before a Makati Trial Court could even decide on the case of one of the rebel officers.  Why then can it not order the release of the innocent 43 health workers who want nothing more than bring medical services to the poor?

The Aquino government has always been saying they want to rectify the injustices committed by the Arroyo regime. It is time to right these wrongs. And President Aquino can start by freeing the Morong 43, releasing all political prisoners and addressing all cases of human rights violations committed by state forces.

Free the Morong 43!

Release all political prisoners!

Justice to all victims of state repression!