Magkaisa para sa pagbabago at kaunlaran! Isulong ang adyenda ng manggagawa’t mamamayan!

Sa ilang mga araw ay matatapos na ang rehimeng US-BS Aquino. Ito ang rehimeng siyang nagpahirap sa kalakhan ng manggagawa at mamamayan sa kabuuan ng kanyang administrasyon.

Kontraktwalisasyon, pagpapapabaya sa kalagayan ng manggagawa, at pagkiling sa mga makasariling kahilingan ng mga kapitalista ang hatid ni Aquino sa kanyang buong panahong panunungkulan! Hindi na nakagugulat na ang masidhing kondisyon sa paggawa ang siyang nagtulak sa napakaraming manggagawa upang magprotesta at magwelga.

Hindi matatawaran ang makasaysayang pagkakaisa at pagkilos ng manggagawang kontraktwal sa rehiyon upang ipagtanggol ang kanilang karapatan para sa nakabubuhay na sahod at wastong kondisyon sa paggawa. Kabilang na rito ang nagpapatuloy na welga ng mga manggagawa sa Tanduay Distillers, Inc., Karzai, Manila Cordage at Manco Synthetic.

Umaalab ang mga laban ng mga manggagawa sa Sagara Metro Plastic, Soro-Soro Ibaba Development Cooperative, at Asia Brewery, na sa kahit anumang oras ay maaring tumaas ang antas ng protesta dahil sa nagpapatuloy na karahasan at kawalang-aksyon mula sa inutil na rehimen at mga ahensya nito.

Hindi rin nakaligtas ang mga manggagawang regular sa matinding hagupit ng mga neoliberal na polisiyang hatid ng rehimeng BS Aquino. Hindi natin malilimutan ang pagsupil sa pagtataguyod ng unyon ng mga manggagawa sa sahod, trabaho, at karapatan!

Nagpapatuloy ang laban ng mga manggagawa ng Hoya, na tinanggal sa trabaho bago pa man maipanalo ang pagtatag ng tunay na unyon ng manggagawa. Nananatiling bulag at bingi ang mga kapitalista at rehimen sa mga pangangailangan ng manggagawa – barya-baryang umento sa sahod ang ihinahatid! Nariyan pa ang paghaharang sa mga benepisyo at makatarungang kalagayan sa paggawa.

Ang mga regular na manggagawa ng Daiwa, Honda Cars, Coca-cola, Ebara Pumps, at MMET ang isa sa mga napakaraming manggagawang nanininidigan para sa mahusay na kalagayan para sa lahat ng manggagawa.

Ngunit, hindi natin malilimutan ang makasaysayang paglaban ng manggagawa sa Nestlé at PhilSteel. Patunay sila ng nagpapatuloy na krisis sa isang malakolonyal at malapyudal na lipunan, na tali sa pamalagiang krisis at kahirapan.

Darating ang panahon ng pagbaba ng isang papet, inutil at korap na rehimen. Sa pag-upo ng bagong administrasyong Duterte, binigyan tayo ng oportunidad upang ihapag ang Adyenda ng Manggagawa sa rehiyon, kasama ng adyenda ng buong Timog Katagalugan.

Ano nga ba ang nilalaman ng adyenda na ito? Kalakip nito ang mga tunay at ispesipikong kahilingan ng mga manggagawa at mamamayan. Kasama na rito ang nararanasang kalagayan: na siyang pulos paghihirap at kontra-mamamayan.

Nilalaman ng Adyenda ng Manggagawa sa Timog Katagalugan ang mga kahilingang ito, na nasa pangkalahatang Adyenda ng Mamamayan ng Timog Katagalugan:

Polyeto GFX

Kabilang pa nito ang iba pang mga kahilingan ng mamamayan sa usapin ng serbisyong panlipunan, edukasyon, karapatang pantao, at iba pa.

Halimbawa nito ang kagyat na pagsasabatas ng Genuine Agrarian Reform Bill o GARB, na matagal nang kahilingan ng mga magsasaka.

Sa ating pagsasagawa ng caravan para sa kapayapaan sa mga darating na araw, patuloy nating ipapanawagan ang karaingan at kahilingan ng mamamayan. Hindi tayo buo-buong sumusuporta sa bagong administrasyon, kundi ay patuloy nating ipapaalala ang paninindigan para sa makabayang polisiya at programa. Sinusuportahan natin ang anumang layong polisiyang makakapagbigay-benepisyo sa mamamayan.

Bagkus, ang bigkisang ito ay mula sa nagpapatuloy na Bigkisan ng Manggagawa; at pagpapaalala na sa kahit anumang panahon, patuloy nating ipagpapatuloy ang ating pagkilos at pagkakaisa para sa kalayaan at demokrasya.

Sumama sa Bigkisan para sa Pagbabago, Kaunlaran at Kapayapaan!
Sahod, Trabaho, at Karapatan, patuloy na ipaglaban!

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Doris Cuario, labor leader, human rights defender, 50

The militant workers of the Southern Tagalog region, under the banner of the regional labor center PAMANTIK-KMU, mourn the death of Doris Cuario, a most esteemed labor leader and human rights defender in the region. She died from complications stemming from her long and arduous fight against leukemia last June 23.

We remember her for being a staunch advocate of genuine, militant and anti-imperialist unionism. Being at the forefront of workers’ struggles in the 1980s, she was one of the leaders of the workers’ union in Asia Textiles, a textile factory at San Cristobal in Laguna.

Through her efforts in the advancement of the workers’ struggle inside and outside of the factory, she then became a staff for the Alyansa ng Manggagawa sa Pook Industriyal ng Laguna (ALMAPILA, or the Alliance of Workers in the Industrial Parks of Laguna). Here, she held up further the workers’ calls for favorable working conditions, freedom and democracy. She led one of the upsurges in workers’ protests in the province and the region.

It was also in this time that she chose to uphold human rights, not only for the thousands of workers but for all the oppressed and exploited. As Secretary-General of KARAPATAN Southern Tagalog, she became a staunch defender of people’s rights. She offered aid and assistance to those hurt and illegally detained on dispersals. She has stood guard for many political prisoners, and has vigorously stood for their release from the prisoners’ unjust conditions.

However, she was victimized by both physical and political terrors. She endured, and survived, an attack of leukemia, while hiding from the fascist clutches of the government as she was branded a terrorist and a criminal due to trumped-up charges against her and 71 other leaders of people’s organizations and formations in the Southern Tagalog region. Her long history of struggle and constant perseverance has let her prevail from both bouts.

It is through these that comrade Doris Cuario has offered his life: for the advancement and protection of people’s rights. She will be remembered and exemplified as one of the most sterling rights defenders and labor leaders in the region.  She is a worthy example for many workers who have decided to change their dire situation and lead and deliver themselves and others into the path of liberation; as the spectre of contractual employment and ever-constant crisis victimizes the workers.

From Ka Doris’ trodden path, the broad masses of workers shall follow and live a life of servitude for the workers and the people; a life as heavy as the mountains of Sierra Madre. # # #

On the porters’ picket at Soro-Soro Ibaba, Batangas

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We support the picket of more than 70 longshoremen of the Soro-Soro Ibaba Development Cooperative (SIDC) in Batangas for regular employment, favorable labor standards and assertion of their just rights as laborers.

The workers’ struggle saw a challenge yesterday from an order by SIDC owner and Agricultural Sector Alliance of the Philippines (AGAP) Partylist representative Rico Geron to block the laborers at the gate. This was a complete reversal of the earlier agreement between the workers and the company management – that the workers will return to work scot-free.

We condemn the anti-worker nature of AGAP Partylist and its 1st nominee Rico Geron in its persistence in contractual arrangements for the workers of SIDC. While it prates about bringing food to people’s tables, it cannot bring regular employment and living conditions to its own employed laborers.

In the past days, the workers have learned that the struggle for regular employment will be a difficult one. It is an arrangement aloof to the employers, from the manufactured fear of massive profit loss. However, regular employment will be for the benefit of thousands of workers; a promise they expect and fight for.

Therefore, the fight continues, and the picketline stands today until the workers’ demands will be met.

In the entire region, contractual workers have set the line against such unliveable standards, and has set pickets, protests and strikes in efforts to change their conditions.

As the Duterte administration takes its oath of office by July 1, we are calling for him to stand fast to his promise to end contractualization, among his other pro-people pronouncements.

However, albeit this promise, the workers of the Southern Tagalog region will remain to uphold the genuine, militant and anti-imperialist brand of unionism it has stood for years. # # #

Batangas porters protest vs. contractualization

After a string of pickets and protests against contractual employment in the economic zones in Laguna, more than 70 laborers followed suit and barricaded the gates of their company’s establishment in Batangas province yesterday night.

The barricade stemmed from the removal of the local labor leader Ismael Dimaano. Dimaano was the president of the Samahan ng mga Kargador sa Soro-Soro Ibaba Development Cooperative (SK-SIDC-LIGA), an association of contractual workers in the locality that is also affiliated with regional contractual workers’ center Liga ng Manggagawa para sa Regular na Hanapbuhay (LIGA).

SIDC is the leading maker of pig and poultry feeds in the province, and the second largest in the country, with net sales of PHP 95 million last year.

They suspect that the sacking is caused by intensified efforts in establishing and strengthening the aforementioned association. According to them, Dimaano was informed of his dismissal by agency president Macario Macalalad, through telling him to not come to work the day after as he was fired.

Marked as a case of harassment as no other reasons were given, the workers called for the reinstatement of Dimaano; garnering the ire of Macalalad, which forced them back to work.

The porters, in protest, carried on with the picket.

The workers were also protesting against the prevalence of unlawful labor practices in the cooperative.

According to their published statement, they were first employed as direct-hired contractuals of SIDC, but were sent to DCMM Agency by 2009. The agency served as a supply base for SIDC’s workers, which was disputed, as the laborers did “necessary and desirable” activities in the SIDC’s premises. With no actual ownership of the means of production that the workers use, the workers considered the agency as a labor-only contractor.

The porters carried thousands of sacks in animal feeds per day. They also slammed the poor working conditions they faced, mentioning a co-contractual worker that is now paralyzed after 26 years carrying sacks of feeds. Aside from the payment for safety shoes and uniforms, the porters are also deprived of leave benefits. They also mentioned working more than the prescribed labor hours, with no overtime pay.

LIGA spokesperson Antonette Amorado said that this practice is very unjust, and would only justify their actions today, saying that the workers “have took up arms against the very abusive practice of contractualization in the region and in the country”.

Amorado also hit the opposition of the World Bank in ending contractualization.

“The very abuse the World Bank seeks to avoid in contractual arrangements are inevitably irrevocable; contractualization enables employers and businessmen to have their way in constantly exploiting workers,” she said.

As of press time, the workers have ceased to return to work until their demands have been met, which were: regularization of the contractual workers, recognition of their association, payment of unpaid wages and benefits, availment of the benefits through the SSS, Pag-ibig, and Philhealth, and return of those dismissed. # # #

On the most recent updates on the GPH-NDFP peace negotiations

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We, workers of the Southern Tagalog region under the banner of the regional labor center PAMANTIK-KMU, welcome the newest addition to the advancement of the peace talks between the Philippine government and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines.

The Oslo Joint Statement released earlier today has given another hope for the advancement of peace based on justice. We welcome and fully support the incoming Duterte administration’s sincerity in calling for the resumption of the peace talks, even before his inauguration.

We fully support the efforts in the resumption of the peace talks in July 2016. We expect more of such breakthroughs in the peace process in the following months.

We hope that the release of political prisoners, which were arrested because of their political beliefs – will immediately be released; and past agreements be respected and followed. We support the reconstitution of the list of consultants protected by the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG) in presentation of true sincerity in forwarding the talks.

In the Southern Tagalog region, we have constantly demanded the release of NDFP consultant on labor issues Rev. Ernesto Lorenzo, who was arrested in Gilmore last year. Rev. Lorenzo has constantly lent his aid in forwarding the workers’ interests, and with the aforementioned agreements, we expect the immediate release or Rev. Lorenzo.

It is to note that this is a stark contrast to the five-year stalling of the peace negotiations under the BS Aquino regime; which has also featured the incarceration of NDFP consultants, disrespecting past agreements and furthering warmongering and terror.

With these breakthroughs, we expect a genuine approach in solving the roots of the armed conflict in the country – which is the constant crisis of poverty and tribulations for the people. # # #

Itakwil ang huwad na kasarinlan sa ‘di-malayang lipunan! Makibaka para sa tunay na demokrasya at kalayaan!

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Mahigit isandaang taon na ang nakalilipas nang idineklara sa Kawit, Cavite ang kalayaan ng bansa mula sa mga kolonyalistang Espanyol.

Bagama’t pinanggalingan ng pagdiriwang, lingid sa kaalaman ng napakarami ang tunay na kwento sa pagkamit ng “paglaya” na ito: ang pagsuko ng ilang mga ilustrado kapalit ng ilang salapi.

Sa ganitong kaagang panahon, nasaksihan na natin ang maaring idulot ng pagtataksil kahit mismo mula sa ating mga kababayan, sa pagsisilbi nila sa interes ng kanilang uri.

Ngunit, ilang taon pa ang nagdaan nang matanaw natin na hindi tayo tunay na malaya. Sa pagpasok ng imperyalismong US sa Pilipinas, dinambong nito ang pinakamalalaking kulumpon ng mga hilaw na materyales; na ang kapalit ay walang-katapusang pagpapakasakit sa mga mamamayan.

Sa halos kalahating siglong naghari ang US sa ekonomiya, pulitika at kultura ng Pilipinas, naranasan ng mamamayang Pilipino ang pinakamararahas na pagsupil sa diwang makabayan nito. Ipinagbawal ang pagpapakita ng bandila ng Pilipinas. Nilupig ng US ang buo-buong lahi ng ating mga kababayan; ang kanilang higit na mauunlad na mga kagamitang pandigma ang pumatay sa libu-libong Pilipino. Milyon pang mga sibilyan at mga inosente ang pinaslang ng mga Amerikano, tulad sa Balangiga sa Samar at sa mga probinsya ng Mindanao!

Hindi pa sila natapos dito. Sa pagwawakas ng Ikalawang Digmaang Pandaigdig, tinali tayo ng imperyalistang US sa pamamagitan ng mga ‘di-pantay na polisiya; mula sa kalakalan, palitan ng pananalapi, at mga buo-buong polisiya. Tuta at amo na ang naging relasyon ng mga rehimen sa PIlipinas at sa US — na nagpatunay ng kawalang-kaunlaran sa kawalang-kasarinlan.

Sa larangang militar, binigyang katuparan ng ilang mga ‘di-pantay ring mga kasunduan, tulad ng Visiting Forces Agreement at ng Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement ang nagmimistulang walang-hanggang pagbabase ng US sa bansa, na siya ring nagbigay-daan sa malawakang prostitusyon at ‘di-produktibong mga trabaho sa mga lugar malapit sa mga baseng ito.

Aniya, ito ay sanggalang sa patuloy na pananakot ng Tsina at sa parehong kawalang-respeto nito sa ating pambansang soberanya. Ngunit, ang patuloy na ugnayan sa kalakalan ng Tsina at ng US, ang pagpapatindi ng militar na lakas ng US sa Timog-Silangang Asya, at kawalan ng komitment ng US sa pagtatanggol sa Pilipinas sa pagtindi ng tunggalian sa pagitan ng Pilipinas at Tsina, ang magpapatunay na hindi tunay na magliligtas ang mga pinirmahang kasunduan ng Pilipinas at ng US.

Ano ang kapalit ng lahat ng ito? Pinaglumaang armas at kagamitan ng US, nagpapatuloy na bantang dala ng mga armas nukleyar, kababaihang pinagsasamantalahan, mamamayang pinapatay! Hindi natin malilimutan ang mga kaso ni Nicole, na ginahasa ni Lance Cpl. Daniel Smith noong 2005, ang pamamaslang kay Gregan Cardeno sa Mindanao, at ang pagpatay kay Jennifer Laude ni Lance Cpl. Joseph Scott Pemberton noong 2014.

Lahat ito ay sa ngalan ng panunupil ng imperyalismong US sa lahat ng mamamayan sa daigdig. Sa ating manggagawa, ito ay nangangahulugan ng papatinding paghihirap at pagpapakasakit. Dala ng imperyalismo ang pagkabansot ng ating pambansang industriya – isang sagka sa pagkamit natin ng isang sistemang panlipunang nakabubuhay sa lahat.

Dala ng imperyalismo ang paparaming polisiyang pahirap sa manggagawa at mamamayan. Naging tuntungan, halimbawa, ang US Counter-Insurgency Guide sa pagsasakatuparan ng Oplan Bayanihan ng rehimeng BS Aquino. Bukod pa, dala nito ang pandaigdigang pahirap: ang neoliberal na polisiyang nagsasapribado at nagprepresyo sa mga pampublikong serbisyo.

Sa loob ng anim na taon ng tutang rehimeng US-BS Aquino, tumindi ang kahirapan at kawalang-trabaho, na siyang dulot ng pagpapatuloy ng panghihimasok at hindi-pantay na ugnayan sa pagitan ng imperyalistang US at ng Pilipinas.

Kinukondena rin natin ang walang-humpay na pagyurak ng Tsina sa ating kasarinlan. Naninindigan tayo na dapat ay tumahak ng isang nagsasariling polisiya hinggil sa ugnayang panlabas. Sa kahit anumang bansa, hindi tayo papayag na maging dehado sa usapan – dahil tayo, ang mamamayan, ang tiyak na masasangkalan. Patuloy nating tinututulan ang anumang Charter Change sa ngalan ng dayuhang pangangapital. Walang-humpay nating kokondenahin ang anumang kasunduang alam nating hindi tayo makikinabang.

Sa loob ng panibagong administrasyon, hindi tayo mananahimik. Patuloy nating igigiit ang ating pambansang kasarinlan at ipaglalaban ang tunay na kalayaan ng bansa.

Ito ay sa pananatili sa ating tunay, militante at anti-imperyalistang katangian – na siyang nagdadala rin ng pinakakongkretong panawagan laban sa imperyalismo at lahat ng reaksyon.

Sa araw ng Huwad na Kalayaan, patuloy pa rin ang ating panawagan: ibagsak ang imperyalismo! Makibaka para sa pambansang demokrasya!

ATIN ANG PILIPINAS! IPAGTANGGOL ANG PAMBANSANG SOBERANYA!
IMPERYALISMO, IBAGSAK!
MAKIBAKA PARA SA PAMBANSANG DEMOKRASYA!

Workers cry for PH independence on Aquino’s last hurrahs

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As the Aquino administration comes to a close by June 30, militant workers led by the regional labor center PAMANTIK-KMU held protests today calling for genuine independence from “imperialist warmongering” from the United States.

From the Southern Tagalog region, the workers trooped to the Redemptorist Church in Baclaran, holding a vigil through the night. Various events were held, such as exhibits and cultural performances in dissent against the various attacks of the US on the Filipino people’s democratic rights and nationalist aspirations.

For the workers, the continuing encroachment of US imperialism has resulted in a “wide-scale worsening of their conditions” in their aspirations for better labor standards, said Allan Bagas, secretary-general of PAMANTIK-KMU.

“The laborers’ gripes against the rise of cheap labor arrangements, precarious work and disrespect to their basic democratic rights are essentially caused by the tightening grip for US supremacy in the Asia-Pacific region,” said Bagas.

“Contractualization and low wages are ultimately from the endless pestering of the US for cheap production costs, which are only part and parcel of the unceasing interventions of the US in our economy, politics and culture,” he added.

Bagas also mentioned other incidents of the US’ meddling in the country’s internal affairs, like its “manipulation” in the conflict between China and the Philippines, various “unequal” trade pacts between the two countries, and its “major role” in the recently-concluded national elections – where he said that the US “ultimately tried to tip the polls for their favor”.

The workers also condemned the passive subservience of the Aquino regime to the US, as they called Aquino “one of the most subservient US running dog in the country’s history” – consistently serving US interests in his six years in office.

With these calls, PAMANTIK-KMU, along with other mass organizations in the Southern Tagalog region, will be holding a program at the US Embassy in the morning. This will be followed by a protest at Aquino’s residence at Times Street by noon. # # #

Contractuals in three factories mark first month of struggle

In an apparent show of solidarity among casual workers in the Southern Tagalog region, contractual workers from two different factories both celebrated the first month since “taking the struggle to a higher level”; albeit in different degrees.

By 1 in the afternoon, laborers from Manco Synthetic, Inc., (MSI) and Manila Cordage Company (MCC) held a program inside the factory premises, as their strike continues after a month. At three in the afternoon, workers – both regular and contractual – from Ebara Pumps Philippines held a protest at their picket situated outside the steel pump factory.

The three labor unions have had its share of gripes against low wages and lack or absence of benefits. However, both are bound by the spectre of contractual employment, which is widely-known as a temporary and precarious work conditions.

“The strike persists even with insinuations of violence against us,” said Brando Ebas, union president of MSI Employees’ Union-OLALIA-KMU (MSIEU-OLALIA-KMU).

He pertained to the recent threats of dispersal by the company, when 40 men from a security agency went near the factory grounds in attempts to harass the workers.

While the threat subsided, Ebas said that they will be waiting for more provocations such as the incident, as negotiations between the unions and company management have stalled.

Meanwhile, workers in Ebara Pumps (formerly known Ebara Benguet) marked the first month since they held a referendum for a strike – which resulted to an affirmative majority decision.

Besides massive contractual employment in the factory, they also hit the company for its “insincerity” in offering higher wages for the new Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) negotiations, which has also stalled after 17 negotiations and 9 more under the facilitation of the National Conciliation and Mediation Board (NCMB).

Moreover, they complained about harsh treatment from managers, including a case which involved a worker being booted out the factory for smoking.

“The current situation of our region’s workers, as we have experienced in our factories, have got to stop. Company owners must uphold the rule of law and the demands of its workers – the prime source of their wealth,” said Remigio Poblete, union president of Ebara Benguet Inc. Employees Union-OLALIA-KMU (EBIEU-OLALIA-KMU).

“The current workers’ protests in the Southern Tagalog region is only part of more protests, as we will no more fall silent on our demands for living wages and favorable working conditions,” he ended. # # #