All-out war approach a perilous measure for the people

We express our condemnation to the recent pronouncements by President Duterte to pursue an “all-out war” approach in addressing the conflict between the CPP-NPA-NDF.

Just like before, such actions will only mean an intensification of attacks against the workers and the people; and such methods shall never work. With his recent statements, Duterte has made a 180-degree turn from his initial position in pursuing peace and in intentions of addressing the roots of the armed conflict.

With the “all-out war”, Duterte is turning his back on the mere reasons to resume the peace talks – the general development of the people’s welfare – submitting to US-directed fascist interests, as Duterte has recently approved the presence of US facilities in Philippine camps.

A warmonger approach will only be more of the same for majority of peace-loving Filipinos. We call for the GPH – as the Party that initially reneged on resuming the talks – to go back to the negotiating table and address the people’s issues present in the slated comprehensive agreements on socio-economic reforms and political and constitutional reforms. To do such is a step in the right direction in the pursuit of genuine peace.

Meanwhile, the gunpowder-heads in the AFP are the ones jubilant upon the junking of the peace negotiations. They will certainly unleash yet again their reign of terror in the communities, similar to what they did in the administrations since.

We call on all workers to continue in their advocacy for peace, and to support the resumption of the peace talks between the GPH and the NDF, as one of the main avenues to discuss an end to contractualization – now in the advent of Bello’s capitulation to business interests through his DoLE Department Order No. 168.

We join all peace-loving citizens in calling for a respect of accords, upholding of human rights and recognizance of the people’s basic rights. # # #


Justice must be given to HTI fire victims; check factories’ OHS status

The militant regional labor center PAMANTIK-KMU calls for aid and justice for the workers of House Technology Industries (HTI) still trapped in a fire since yesterday night.

The latest reports show that about 104 workers have been brought to various hospitals nearby. According to an HTI factory employee, some workers are still trapped inside, mostly due to the stampede that reportedly ensued as workers tried to file out of the factory.

According to reports on the ground, the fire has been declared out and teams are attempting to enter the building. Also, the fire is said to have been from an explosion in the first floor, which houses chemicals the factory uses.

A fact-finding team is now being organized by PAMANTIK-KMU to look into the situation of HTI workers.

HTI is located at the Export Processing Zone (EPZ) in Rosario, Cavite. It produces pre-fabricated houses for export.

We hope that the workers be given appropriate medical aid and hopefully acquire minimal damage from the fire.

Meanwhile, these incidents remain an imprint of capitalists’ neglect of occupational health and safety (OHS) standards which endanger the workers – an event that emerges like the incident in HTI.

We remember the Kentex factory fire last 2015, which rendered 72 dead as the owners were more concerned about workers taking away finished footwear than workers’ welfare.

With this, we call on local government units, OHS watchdog institutions and the Department of Labor and Employment to conduct investigations on the occupational health and safety standards of factories, whether they be in economic zones or not.

We are also angered by DoLE and the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA)’s silence on the matter and on the general status of occupational health and safety in various factories nationwide. It further endangers the workers in their workplaces, not knowing that these edifices are their future coffins.

If such, we may see such tragedies again, or worse. We workers cannot allow that to happen again. # # #


Photo from / Joy Esguerra Cabacungan