Go not gently into the night, rage against the dying of the light!

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Ano ang itinutulak na “rebolusyonaryong gubyerno” ni Duterte?

Ang deklarasyon ng rebolusyonaryong gubyerno ng nakaupong presidente ay isang extra-constitutional na hakbang. Lampas at tuwirang labag ito sa itinatadhana ng Konstitusyon at sa gayun ay nagpapawalang- bisa o nagbabasura ng Konstitusyong1987.

Ang Konstitusyon ay pinagtibay ng mga mamamayan sa reperendum-plebesito noong 1987. Sa gayon, ang Konstitusyong 1987 ay kumakatawan at ekspresyon ng soberanong kapasyahan at kapangyarihan ng sambayanang Pilipino. Sa ilalim ng Konstitusyong 1987 nahalal at binigyan ng mandato si Duterte para gampanan ang mga tungkulin ng pangungulo sa estado at gubyerno alinsunod sa mga kapangyarihang iginagawad  sa kanya ng Konstitusyong 1987.

Ang pagdedeklara ng rebolusyonaryong gubyerno  ni Duterte ay tuwirang salungat sa  Konstitusyon at sa gayun, ay malinaw na pang-agaw at pagmonopolyo ng kapangyarihan upang solong maghari. Lampas-lampas ito sa ipinagkaloob ng mamamayan na mandato.  Ito’y kudeta mula sa Malacanang o kudeta mula se sentro.

Pagbasura ito ng Konstitusyon at lahat ng garantiya – ekonomiko, pulitikal at kultural na karapatan – na ipinagkakaloob nito sa mga mamamayan. Kung mangyayari,wala nang mapag-uusapang konstitusyunal na mga karapatan at kalayaang sibil na maigigiit ng mamamayan.

Ito’y paghaharing di hinahangganan ng batas – isang absoluto, diktaduryal na paghahari na walang pinananagutan kundi ang sarili. Isasara ang Konggreso at Korte Suprema at si Duterte ang batas – siya ang gagawa at magpapatupad ng batas. Kung mangyayari, maaari pang gawin ni Duterte ang sumusunod:

•     Ideklarang bakante ang lahat ng pusisyon sa gubyerno – inihalal man o hinirang nang may proteksyon  mga batas sa serbisyong sibil – at tanggalin ang mga di niya gusto upang palitan ng mga nagpapakayupapa sa kanya;
·         Ipaaresto at ipakulong nang walang taning ang sinumang kalaban niya o sinumang layon niyang supilin (ginawa ito ni Marcos sa pamamagitan ng Preventive Detention Act at Presidential Commitment Order);
·         Maaaring kumpiskahin niya ang pribadong ari-arian ng mga katunggali (ginawa ni Marcos laban mga Lopez, Rufino at Jacinto) upang magkamal ng higit na yaman;
·         Maaring magpataw siya ng parusang kamatayan (ginawa rin ito ni Marcos);
·         Pasaklawin pa ang kasalukuyang walang -pakundangang pamamaslang sa mga suspek na drug user, pusher at criminal;
·         Ipakandado ang lahat ng imprenta, at lahat ng istasyon ng TV at radio, pahayagan o diaryo, at pahintulutan lang ang magbabandila ng mga gusto niyang makaabot sa publiko;
·         Bigyan ng ganap na akses ang mga dayuhan sa mga likas na yaman ng bansa at supilin ang anumang pagtutol ng mga komunidad ng mamamayan na naggigiit ng karapatan dito;
·         Buksan sa mga dayuhang kapitalista ang mga pampublikong serbisyo (edukasyon, pangkalusugan, pang-isports), gayundin ang mga pampublikong utilidad (tubig at patubig, transportasyon at kaakibat nitong pier, airport, haywey, komunikasyon, media) sa dayuhang control, at ipailalam ang mamamyang Pilipino sa walang-pakundangang pagkakamal nila ng tubo;
·         Pahintulutan ang pagbabase at operasyon ng mga dayuhang tropa sa bansa, at kaladkarin ang bayan sa tunggalian ng mga higanteng pandaigdigang kapangyarihan;
·         Hati-hatiin ang bayan sa mga teritoryong paghaharian ng kanyang mga kakutsabang pampulitikang panginoon, tulad ng nais nilang mangyayari sa panukalang pederalismo; at
·         Iba pang mga hakbang na susupil sa mga demokratiko at soberanong karapatan ng mamamayan.

Sa ilaalim ng diktadurang paghahari na siyang katunayan ng “rebolusyonaryong gubyerno” ni Duterte, makapagbabalangkas ang mga taong tapat at sunud-sunuran sa kanya ng Konstitusyong kanyang inaasam, na siyang magtatakda ng “bagong normal” na kaayusang nais ni Duterte.

Sa ilalim ng diktaduryal na paghahari ng rbolusyonaryong gubyerno ni Dutere, walang makakatutol nang di makatitikim ng kanyang marahas na kamay na bakal. Tanging pwersang militar ang makahahadlang kay Duterte sa naturang kaayusan. 

Nais mo bang mamuhay sa ganitong kaayusan?

Kung ikaw ay nagpapahalag sa demokrasya, nagmamahal sa kalayaan at nagmamalasakit para sa bayan nang higit sa sarili, kumilos na ngayon pa lang bago maging huli ang lahat.

Huwag palinlang at pagamit sa pekeng People Power Revolution ni Duterte.
Lumahok sa mga protesta laban sa pakanang “rebolusyonaryong gubyerno” ni Duterte at iba pa niyang mga tiraniko at kontra-demokratikong hakbang.
Labanan ang tiraniya! Isulong at itaguyod ang demokrasyang bayan.

Nobyembre 2017
Suppression of Freedom of the Press through the Conspiracy Law
What Comes Next?

Four months after it took effect, the new Act on Punishment for Preparation of Acts of Terrorism and Other Organized Crimes or Conspiracy Law is proving right the fears expressed by a number of people earlier in the year that once passed, this law will be very open to abuse people’s civil and political rights.

We, members of Kilusan, an anti-imperialist democratic movement in the Philippines and the People’s Campaign Against Tyranny express our deepest concern over the terrifying effect of this supposedly anti-terrorism law that allows preemptive arrest, detention and punishment of persons planning or preparing any of the 227 crimes in a list.

Last November 21, Japanese security forces clamped down on the Jinmin People’s News in Osaka. Without any warrant from proper authorities, they entered the house of its editor in Amagasaki, Hyogo Prefecture, 7:00 am, ransacked the entire house, confiscated his personal belongings, including computers and cell phones arrested the editor and took him to the Ikuta police station of the Hyogo prefectural police.

The raid of the People’s News press office followed at 9:00 am.  Over 20 police officers surrounded the office and as soon as a staff member showed up for work, the police started the search inside the office.  They neither allowed the newspaper staff to use their phones nor use to take photos.  As the office was located in a residential building, they frisked and interrogated all the residents and inspected their units.  The police confiscated their personal computers and the list of their subscribers. They held the editor incommunicado for several days.

This clampdown on a legitimate community newspaper that provides Japanese working people a venue for critical views that otherwise would not see print in the millionaire-controlled mainstream media in Japan is therefore a clearly means gagging the Japanese common man.

This attack and the similar instances in Tokyo must be sending shivers down Japanese people’s spines.  With the Conspiracy law that the Diet classifies as preemptive, ordinary people can easily be targeted and be accused of planning a crime.  Social critics can easily become victims of tyranny of a state that is increasingly becoming autocratic and militaristic again.

We call on all human rights advocates and democrats all over of the world to speak out and campaign against the rising militarism in Japan and call on the Japanese government to reverse this track, uphold democracy and freedom. The Japanese ruling elite cannot, and should not be allowed to revisit its fascist past that caused widespread suffering to the people of Asia, including their own people, and for decades left its stigma on the Japanese people.

Stop the rising militarism in Japan and in the world!


We call for the release and indemnification of all those unjustly victimized. 
November 30, 2017

Foil Duterte’s Scheme to Declare “Revolutionary Government”
Oppose Tyranny! Assert People’s Democracy!

Duterte’s “revolutionary government” track is in high gear. Local government officials and DSWD personnel are frantically working to haul a horde of millions for the coming November 30 government-sponsored rally. The rally is being projected as a “people power revolution”; an “expression of the people’s will and clamor for a ‘revolutionary government’ to be established by Duterte”.  

They first attempted it last February 25, just barely eighth month of Duterte’s presidency. Using every trick to coerce and deceive, especially the 4Ps beneficiaries, to join and pro-Duterte organizations such as MRRD, FORD, Kilusang Pagbabago mustered all their forces. They failed however to mobilize a million horde.

They are working doubly hard now for the second try.

The road-show has its front-liners. ‘Organizers’ and ‘key movers’ of the so-called rebolusyong Duterte – a curious  motley of hangers-on: frustrated and failed ‘rebel’ leaders (former military rebels, ex-CPP ‘revolutionaries’),  and political aspirants from among  ex-movie stars and celebrities – who cannot even articulate what their so-called “revolutionary objectives’’ are, except as being “anti-oligarchy”. This was along the claim that such ‘objective’ can only be entrusted to Duterte.

They fail or refuse to see that Duterte himself comes and benefits from an oligarchic, political dynasty that lorded over Davao for nearly three decades. He claimed to be a multi-millionaire even before he started to work; flaunted his iron-fist rule in Davao City for decades; and makes no bones about the dynastic rule of his family. He is the ultimate oligarch now, supported by other oligarch cohorts – the Florendos, the Alvarezes, the Arroyos, the Gordons, the Villars, the Remullas, the Cayetanos, the  Farinases , and others, but not the least, the hated and dethroned Marcoses, whose patriarch Ferdinand,  he shamelessly idolizes.  

In reality, Duterte, the star of the show, does not need those front-liners or “extras” for apologists. Even before assuming office and early on his presidency, he has expressed his disdain for any limit to his power. “Do not do any investigation on me” he demanded other co-equal branches of government (Congress, Supreme Court). He is undermining Constitutional bodies (Ombudsman, CHR, COA) threatening he will “declare martial law”, or a “revolutionary government” and “abolish” them if they dare exercise their regulatory powers over the presidency. He offered no “revolutionary” excuses.  Later, he also eyed “charter change” as a mechanism to increase his power and minimize regulation. 

For Duterte, it was all about power – unfettered exercise of power.

Duterte is playing all three cards now, probing which card or combination of cards would serve him well. His objective let him rule as he wishes, unfettered by established laws and regulations, by accountability and transparency. Absolutely anti-democratic.

What does declaration of ‘revolutionary government’, his most preferred move, mean?  It is an extra-constitutional act – an act beyond, and thus, in total defiance of the present Constitution, which was ratified by the people in a plebiscite in 1987.  The 1987 Constitution is supposedly the embodiment of the people’s will and expression of people’s sovereignty. He was elected under this Constitution and supposed to rule subject to what is stipulated in the Constitution. Declaring a ‘revolutionary government’, against the expressed will of the people is, therefore, a clear power grab beyond what is mandated by the Constitution.  

If he succeeds, his revolutionary government will trash the 1987 Constitution and all the guarantees – economic, political, cultural rights – it provides every Filipino. There will be no constitutional rights and freedoms to talk about and assert.

It means a rule unbounded by fundamental law – an absolute, dictatorial rule unaccountable to anybody except himself. He will be the law-maker and law-enforcer. He will rule by decree.

He can declare all positions in government – elective and those protected by civil service laws - vacant, and replace those who displease him with people who please him.     

He can have anybody arrested and incarcerated anytime (Marcos did it with his Preventive Detention Act and Presidential Commitment Orders). He can have private property expropriated (Marcos did it against the Lopezes and Rufinos) and public properties privatized and amass wealth for himself and his minions.  He can even impose the death penalty as he pleases (Marcos did it too).

He can allow full foreign access to our natural resources and suppress communities that assert their own rights to such resources.

He can open all public services (education, health, sports facilities) and utilities (transportation, ports, roads and highways, airports, communication and media) to foreign capitalist control, and subject the country and the Filipino people to unbridled plunder and profit-making by foreign capital.

He can allow foreign military bases into the country, allow their troops to operate here, and drag the nation into big power contention.

He can have the country divided into fiefdoms (euphemistically called “local states”), to be ruled by his cohorts that include local political lords. 

He claims that he will “declare martial law or a revolutionary government”, only if there is “destabilization”.  But for Duterte, any criticism of his rule, any dissenting view to his view, is “destabilizing” and is a “personal insult”. Thus his abhorrence for democracy and democratic processes. Still, he even dares claim that his contemplated power grab will be in the service of the people! How can denial of freedom and rights, of their sovereignty, serve the people?  Duterte is added insult to the people’s injury.  

He promises that such state will be transitory for he will work immediately to restore the country to normalcy by having a new Constitution crafted and ratified by the people through a plebiscite.  But what normalcy, if not the normalcy HE WANTS. Who will draft the Constitution if not the people he likes and trusts? What Constitution can come out of it if not the type of Constitution HE DESIRES? And how can the people decide in a condition that is without freedom and rights?

What in Duterte’s record can the people hang on to believe him?  He has openly admitted to “planting pieces of evidence against suspects”. He has unabashedly admitted to “making up stories” to suit his ends. He has publicly admitted to extra-judicially killing at least two suspected criminals in Davao and yet denies there is EJK in the country.  He has made declarations on serious matters only to pass them off later as jokes. Duterte’s gang is notorious for ‘fake news’ and malicious lies, they thrive on deceit.

His rule is pursuing, with even more zeal, the same neoliberal economic policies that have exacerbated inequality in society; that saw the demolition of whole communities to give way to big capital; the perpetuation of contractualization of labor; the increasing tax burden on the poor that pushes the nation deeper in the debt quagmire. And now, making the people bear the increasing burden of high prices of essential commodities.

The budget of the Office of the President increased several times and so as expenditures for the military and the police. This meant drastic cuts in funding for social services, especially health and education.

Despite all of his anti-US bluster, the regime has retained all the unequal treaties and ‘special relations’ with the US that makes the Philippines the most convenient and reliable base of US imperialist geo-political designs in this part of the world. Worse, the regime has further compromised Philippine sovereignty to Chinese and Japanese interests, in exchange for investments and loans.

The Duterte regime has further mangled the already ineffective judicial system, increasingly denying the poor any access at all to judicial processes. It is so notorious for its contempt for human rights, especially the right to life and to due process of every human being. Its record on extra-judicial killings of mostly poor civilians (no less than 10,000 in just one year!) has surpassed that under 8 years of Marcos’ Martial law, and ranks third in notoriety in Southeast Asia to the Indonesian coup (against Sukarno) and the Khmer Rouge massacres under Pol Pot. It has promoted misogyny in Malacanan and the halls of Congress.

If there is anything true about Duterte is his disdain for democracy, his lust for absolute power and his propensity to terrorize, that is, creating a climate of terror and fear to numb and make the people passive. His fast- unfolding tyrannical rule is the scourge the Filipinos are suffering now.

Handing Duterte dictatorial powers will drive us deeper into the darkest depths of our social life. Filipinos need not suffer at his mercy as a dictator. We have to assert our sovereign and democratic rights. We uphold our collective will and employ our collective strength.

Frustrate Duterte government’s ploy to create a fake “people power revolution”!
Campaign against the forcible mobilization of people to participate in government-sponsored rallies, especially the rally on November 30 that will bestow dictatorial powers to Duterte.

Protest against the ‘revolutionary government’ on and before November 30, in various forms of actions possible.


Oppose Tyranny!   Assert People’s Democracy!

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Stop Duterte’s attempt to grab absolute power! Fight for democracy! Defy tyranny! Stop impunity!


There is one thing Duterte is consistent about, his obsession for absolute rule and his aversion to checks and balances, the Constitution and rule of law. “Until the police and the armed forces say the Philippines is safe, this martial law will continue. I will not listen to others. The Supreme Court, Congress, they are not here,” Duterte told soldiers in Jolo, last Saturday, May 27.

Before this latest revelation of his autocratic passion, Duterte, last May 26, spoke before Philippine Army soldiers in Iligan City and exhorted them to support his martial law.    He impressed on the soldiers that under his martial law, with the privilege of writ of habeas corpus suspended, soldiers are vested with the power to arrest without warrant and the privilege of not having to account before the law.

To stress his muddled view of the power of soldiers to make “warrantless arrest”, which directly contradicts an earlier statement from the government’s information agency explaining martial law, Duterte assured soldiers that he would be responsible for abuses committed by them. To drive his point, Duterte came out with one of the marks of his notoriety by telling the soldiers that if anyone of them “raped three women”, he would claim responsibility for it.

Though how much his spokesperson tried to make a “post-speech editing”, the rape “joke” reveals Duterte’s utter disrespect and contempt for women. It was also an insult to soldiers, particularly women soldiers, who are in their right senses.

In the pursuit of his passion for dictatorial rule, Duterte most recently boasted before soldiers that he would ignore the Supreme Court and Congress if they exercise their constitutional powers to revoke or rule against the declaration of martial law.  He was trying to cajole soldiers by saying he’d rather listen to them at same time contemptuously describing justices of the SC and all those critical of him, as people who do not know the “real conditions” of the troops on the ground. This was a not so subtle attempt to drive a wedge between the military, the courts and the legislature.

In both instances, with soldiers and their officers who were obliged to stand before their commander-in-chief, Duterte was insinuating power grab -  of solely exercising power in a regime  where he will be the law. He had hinted at it before.  Even before his inaugural as President, he warned Congress not to question nor hinder his plans, lest he would close it by declaring martial law. He also threatened Chief Justice Sereno with martial law when the CJ asserted the court’s supervision over judges in Duterte’s drug list.   In his “war on drugs” he likewise called on the police forces to kill, kill, kill and gave assurances that he will protect them from prosecution.  He is more direct now, after he has declared martial law in Mindanao, and seems to be getting away with it.     

That he delivered those messages to the men and women in uniform is deliberate. Duterte knows that the power grab he is contemplating requires the unequivocal support of the military.  In the face of Constitutional restrictions on the martial law powers of the presidency, the power grab can only be through a “coup from the center.”  He thus seeks to cajole the soldiers and officers with the power of being above the law; agitate them to disregard the laws and the Constitution; instil in them the culture of obeisance and blind loyalty only to him, their commander-in-chief and lord, who given the power, would protect them against reprisals for whatever  criminal acts they may perpetrate against the people in their compliance with his orders.        
  
The  martial law Duterte is promoting is contrary to the Constitution, the provisions on restrictions on presidential powers on declaring martial law,  which he openly criticizes and seeks to be removed. It is contrary to the assurances his apologists have been dishing out since he declared martial law in the whole of Mindanao on May 23. 

Duterte minced no words in saying his martial law will be ruthless, brutal, and merciless. It will know no bounds, other than the bond between him and the security forces that he is trying to build as his own.  Duterte himself spares no effort to express it.  He said military rule under him will be no different from Marcos’ martial law. It will be harsh.  It will be atrocious, as Marcos dictatorial rule was.

Duterte is calibrating martial law, to cover only Mindanao for now and for only 60 days, as allowed by the Constitution.  It is obviously designed to avoid widespread opposition, pending the success of what he has embarked on since he took office and especially in the last one week since he declared martial law in the whole of Mindanao.  He seeks to seal the bond between him and the state security forces on an obsession for the exercise of sheer power by those who wield the gun and to rule with impunity.

While his objective is clear, Duterte’s acts are tempered by real-politik. He moves in measured steps towards his goal as allowed by exigencies, real or not --- emergency powers solve the “traffic crisis”, state of lawlessness in Mindanao and state of national emergency and martial law in the whole of Mindanao, in less than a year of his 6- year term. While saying that he will be “happy” if the terrorist threat is solved in less than 60 days, he has said that his martial law should be in one year at least but should even “sign of terrorist threat appears in other parts of the country”, he would declare martial law in the whole country in no time.  

Duterte has so far succeeded in letting loose the Philippine National Police (PNP) and his Department of (in)Justice in a rampage against judicial processes and due process. He yet has to win over and utilize the whole of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) for his power grab. The AFP, a vital institution, for Duterte’s desired martial law, until recently, has been adamant in its assessment that there is no basis for declaring martial law.        

Just yesterday afternoon (May 30), it was revealed by opposition senators that Defence Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, in a closed-door briefing, on May 29, admitted, “the Maute group can be contained even without martial law”; the military and DND “did not recommend martial law”; and, that they just learned that Duterte has declared martial law and thus, “were obliged to implement it”.

There is no disclaimer from DND Sec. Lorenzana as of this writing.   It can be recalled, just before the announcement of martial law declaration, Lorenzana and National Security Adviser, Hermogenes Esperon, Jr. told media in Moscow, the military was in “full control” of the situation in Marawi City.  Also, just two hours after the proclamation of martial law in Mindanao, the AFP announced, the situation in Marawi is “under control”.
To deny these facts and to grant Duterte has good intention in his martial law and suspension of the writ of habeas corpus in the whole of Mindanao is to reject his dubious and record. To be blind to the reality that he has grabbed on every opportunity, from the time before his inauguration president, to assume more power than allowed by the Constitution  – the drug problem, “lawlessness”, terrorism and recently, the events in Marawi City . To grant that his good intention at making a “hill out of a mole” outweighs his pronouncements and actions that have caused violations of human rights as in thousands of victims of extra-judicial killing in the name of fighting criminality and the drug menace.     

“The road to hell is paved good intentions”. Marcos justified his dictatorial rule with the promise and intent of making this nation great again.   The outcome was exactly the opposite. It plunged the country into the darkest years in its history. Hitler justified Nazism to the German people with a promise and declared intent to make Germany great again.   It is now recorded as among the most gruesome crimes against humanity in human history and left a legacy of national guilt among the German people. History indeed is replete with tyrants’ promises of heaven only to lead whole nations to hell.

Similarly, Duterte justifies his iron-fist rule with promises of and intent for  peace and order and security for the people.  As in all tyrannical regimes, Duterte’s rule can only lead to the people’s doom.

The truth about Duterte’s rule is now fast unravelling,  and foreboding of what awaits the nation if Duterte succeeds in his quest for dictatorial rule.    Injustice is widespread, as thousands of mostly poor suspects and bystanders are summarily killed and dissenters are threatened, while the biggest plunderers and crime lords are scot-free.   Peace will not be achieved without justice.    “Order” enforced by suppression is order that serves  tyrant’s whims. There can be no sense of security in an environment where security forces can arbitrarily search one’s person, domicile and work place, effect one’s arrest, or worse, put an end to one’s life, without having to establish, through duly established processes, the just basis for such. Worse, when members of armed state security forces can flagrantly violate one’s person, as in cases of rape, and rights to life, as in summary killings, are guaranteed immunity from suit and reprisal.  

NO WAY!  Democracy, the people’s fundamental rights and freedom - cannot be traded for promises of peace, order and security. No one must be allowed to toy with our freedoms under pretext of whatever problems the country is facing. Indeed, the country has multifarious problems – terrorism, criminality, drug addiction, prostitution, graft and corruption, insurgency – rooted on existing social conditions and relations, and thus requiring more comprehensive and systematic solutions, rather than taking away or curtailing the rights of people.

Duterte’s obsession for absolute power is further reason to be alarmed.  Duterte’s record, both as mayor of Davao City and in nearly one year as the country’s president, most especially in recent days, speaks eloquently and leaves a clear mark on the type of ruler he is and can be.

The argument of giving him the benefit of the doubt in his declaration of martial law does not hold water. Duterte is clearly working for a power grab - extra powers beyond what was accruing him in his election, as a plurality President, and diminution of the regulatory powers of co-equal branches of government and disregard for the rule of law.

Duterte’s lust for extra powers must be stopped before he successfully infects and corrupts the armed men and women in uniform.  And he must be decisively stopped now.  If allowed by their dereliction of Constitutional duties, the “leaders” of both houses of Congress are giving Duterte free hand to do away with the constitution and with Congress itself as what Fe4rdinand Marcos, Sr. did 45 years ago.  

More than ever, the reasonable section of the men and women in uniform who are aware of their duties to respect and protect the people’s rights and lives must see through Duterte’s ploy and enticements of unfettered power for them. They must stop his mad drive to make them tools against the people, against the laws, against freedom and democracy.

Officials in the legislature and judiciary, who have not been blinded by the glimmer of momentary personal or party gain, must likewise act decisively to stop Duterte’s attempt to grab power before it is too late for them to assert and defend the power of the legislature and the judiciary.

More importantly, the Filipino people who will be denied of rights and security well- being, and whatever has been gained in their assertion of sovereignty,  must muster the strength that can only emanate from the concerted exercise of collective will to defend democracy. They can call on their children, siblings, and friends,   in the military and police, and in the legislature and the judiciary to put the interest of the people  above all else.

Every voice, every warm body, counts in this struggle to assert democracy and resist tyranny. Let’s use every available form, and every available forum to register our resistance to martial law NOW.
Never again to martial law!


People’s Campaign Against Tyranny

May 31, 2017

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

War and Militarism and the Scourge of Rape and Trading of Women

The wars that the US and its allies carried out after WWII until now in the early 21st century have brought untold sufferings to millions of people and swathes of destruction in different countries.  Despite this, the Trump government is further boosting its war industry, is urging NATO countries and his allies in Asia to raise their military budgets and to join him in more wars against what they consider as primary threats to global security.

KAISA KA, a women’s organization working for women’s liberation and social change, heeds the call of the World March of Women for solidarity against these wars and war threats that further engender the scourge of sexual assault, trafficking and prostitution of women.

The continuing wars and destruction

The purportedly “humanitarian” US-led wars that aimed to get rid of Iraq’s “weapons of mass destruction,” stop Libya’s autocratic rule that “authorized military mass orgies,” and get rid of President Assad who “ran a death machine” and “used chemical weapons” against Syrian citizens, are still raging.  Investigations have unraveled the imperialist designs of the US and its allies.   They aimed for oil, gas, minerals, billons in gold and cash, Libya’s great source of fresh, precious water that could be lucrative business for foreign companies.  Led by the US, imperialist powers wanted these countries and several others as new markets.

These are ruthless wars.  The US, Britain and other allies have used weapons that were among the most lethal and destructive.  They exploit racial, religious, ethnic, economic and other differences to help build, arm and train terrorist groups and sway them to create mayhem in countries where governments are not subservient to the dictates of the US and EU, thereby justifying their armed intervention while saving US and the EU from getting blamed for the atrocities. 

As these wars turn large areas into barren land, hostile to all living things, they demolish livelihoods, destroy communities, deprive people of clean drinking water, maim, kill and displace millions of people.  These wars ever increase the number of refugees in modern history, bigger than during WWII.

In Syria, death toll until 2016 has reached 470,000.  This is the biggest in the so-called Middle East-North Africa (MENA) area.  Its displaced population is also the biggest.  More than 4.2 million have become refugees outside the Syrian border while 8 million more were internally displaced. 

Rape, trafficking and prostitution worsen under war conditions

The wars that came out of the “Arab Spring” are causing menace to women and girls.  Women, when still in the areas of conflict, aside from suffering what the men endure, are often victims of rape, kidnapping and forced marriages especially to members of terrorist groups.  Those who are kidnapped are often sold as slaves or to be wives even at very young age of eight or nine years. Thousands of young girls get married and divorced and remarried, with marriage becoming mere “legal” cover for prostitution.

A big number of those who escape to other countries, even to Europe become victims of trafficking. While men also get raped or traded, women and girls are more prone to sexual assault, trafficking, prostitution and enslavement especially now when governments have made the process of accepting and integrating refugees extra difficult.  

Threat of More Wars

It is revolting that while the US, Britain and leading EU states that pushed and manipulated information in order to justify intervention in these 21st century wars and are, therefore, answerable for the creation of the refugee crisis, are the ones that taking a strong position against accepting and integrating more refugees.

It is horrible that despite the catastrophic level of the problems their wars created, they, especially the US are prolonging their involvement in Iraq, Syria, Libya and Yemen while doing actual preparations to open new war fronts to rein in North Korea and Iran and prevent the growth of Russia and China.  Peoples in the region should take the danger of war seriously as the US did not withdraw the Asia-Pacific pivot that primarily aims at China.  Trump has revealed, two nuclear submarines are in Korea.  Two naval fleets patrol the China Sea closest to China and within the contested area of South China Sea.  US forces in Japan are in their strongest level.   

War at home and open threats to women

The Filipino people, particularly those in Mindanao, including the island provinces of Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi are in war situation presently, particularly for the residents of Marawi City and adjoining towns in Lanao Sur. 

Without factual basis and despite the assessment by both the police and armed forces that the terrorist threat is under check and that it can be contained without declaring martial law, Rodrigo Duterte imposed martial law and suspended the privilege of writ of habeas corpus in the whole of Mindanao starting May 23. This is a de facto declaration of war on over 22 million Filipinos living there. Moreover, Duterte threatens to place under martial law the entire Philippines even just on mere report of terrorist presence in the islands of Luzon and Visayas.

As thousands have left Marawi City to seek refuge elsewhere, the president and commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines is exhorting and cajoling soldiers to exercise their martial law powers, assuring them that he would answer for those who may be accused of committing abuses and other crimes, including rape.  

He enjoined the soldiers to his lust for power and his contempt for women, unmindful of the fact that those before him were men and women in uniform.  He was in his natural shameless, misogynistic self when he said, “If anyone among you rape three women, I will own responsibility for it.” This is how Duterte, the commander-in-chief revs up “his soldiers” for war against women and men who oppose his drive towards dictatorial rule and everyone who would fall prey to Duterte’s lust for absolute power.

Now, more than ever, as we join the global fight against US war and militarism, we raise our vigilance and resist the open attempt to establish one-man tyrannical rule, threatening to make terrorism real in the Philippines.   

No to war and militarism!
No to martial law!
Let us affirm our global solidarity against war and militarism on June 3, 2017. 

Pagkakaisa ng Kababaihan para sa Kalayaan (Kaisa Ka)

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Martial Law in Mindanao, Overkill

May 24, 2017
Like the State of National Emergency,
Martial Law in Mindanao, Overkill

Following clashes between government troops and alleged members of the Maute Group in Marawi City, President Rodrigo Duterte has made good his earlier threats to declare Martial Rule over the region. 

The 60 day declaration came as the Maute group was said to have “set ablaze establishments” and the firefight with government troops which started 3:20 pm, Tuesday, May 23. 

A closer perusal of the news brings up critical questions.

Four minutes (9:56PM) before the ten pm declaration by President Duterte, Marawi City Mayor Majul Gandamra was reported to have been pleading with authorities, especially the AFP to send reinforcements despite assurances that “help was on their way”.

Another report featuring Mayor Gandamra said that by 7:32 PM, the local government still has all control of the government establishments and the streets are quiet.

Mayor Gandamra’s statement is consistent with that released by AFP Public Affairs Office Chief Marine Colonel Edgard A. Arevalo in social media, declaring that “the situation (in Marawi) has stabilized” and there is “no truth to the earlier reports that Amai Pakpak Hospital has been occupied and that the people there were held hostage”, the “City Hall was not occupied” and that the “sporadic firefight heard was harassment actions by terrorist sympathizers”.

In the same statement, the AFP pointed out that reports linking ISIS to Maute are “spurious” and characterized them as a “ small, local terror group”, which is opposite of the statement made in the impromptu Press Conference in Moscow by government officials announcing the 60 day Martial Law of Mindanao branding Maute as part of or affiliated with ISIS.

Like the unjustified declaration of a State of National Emergency following the bombing in Davao Market last year which have yet to be lifted, the declaration of Martial Law for an entire region is another overkill move as the clash cannot be imagined to be either invasion or rebellion, the necessary Constitutional Basis for declaring Martial Law.  

In more than a dozen instances, the President himself has articulated his preference to impose Martial Law for varying reasons, the latest of which was in the event that the conflict in Mindanao will spiral out of control. The situation has already stabilized says the AFP, logically the declaration is superfluous.  

In fact, no armed group is posing as a threat against government and one cannot help but think that the Maute threat is being blown up way out of proportion.  

We view this declaration as a confirmation of Duterte's obsession with strong hand rule which he has always threatened to do every time his plans and decisions, his exercise of presidential authority, are questioned. He has said before that if he is pushed he would do. Now finding even a flimsy reason he declares martial law.   


The declaration is arbitrary having not considered the report and assessment by the AFP and the local government that the situation is under control.

Furthermore, just as the open-ended "state of emergency", this martial law declaration was announced by the presidential spokesperson not by Duterte himself. The declaration was made while the president was in Russia underscoring the fact that there was no serious and objective study of the situation. Such arbitrariness betrays Duterte's tendency to abuse authority.

Though the declaration cited the constitutional provision stating the basis for imposing martial law, such situation however does not exist, even in Marawi city.

The declaration is too vague and therefore open to abuses. It dangerously threatens the people's democratic and legal rights, the functions of the civilian government and the courts. In fact, it will surely further the culture of fear and impunity already besetting the nation and not to mention open doors to rights abuses that would befall the citizens of Mindanao.

We demand that this declaration be recalled immediately and make the president answer for his action.

####


Saturday, April 29, 2017

D.O. 174: Isa pa sa mga Pakana sa Nagpapatuloy na Tiranikong Atake sa Paggawa

Muling bigo ang mga manggagawa sa inaasam na paglaya sa salot na kontraktwalisasyon. Minsan pa, napatunayang walang maasahan sa nakaluklok sa kapangyarihan.  Tulad ng mga naunang rehimen,  tagapagtaguyod din ang administrasyong Duterte ng neo-liberalismo at ng interes ng mga kapitalista. Sa pamamagitan ng Department Order # 174, ginawang lehitimo ang kalakaran ng kontraktuwal na pag-empleyo ng manggagawa para sa kailangan (necessary) at esensyal (essential) na trabaho.

Ang kontraktuwalisasyon ng paggawa ay isa sa mga mayor na salik sa paglaya ng kapital o pag-aalis ng mga sagabal sa malayang paggalaw at paglago ng kapital na siyang kahulugan ng neoliberalismo. Ang paglaya ng capital, sa gayon, ay nangangahulugan ng pagsupil sa paggawa.
Pangako ni Duterte nuong kumampanya na kanyang wawakasan ang bulok na sistema ng kontraktwalisasyon sa bansa. Matatandaan na buong yabang na isinumpa niya ito na “anti-people”.  Marami sa ating kamanggagawa ang nanalig sa pangakong ito.  Hanggang mabulgar mismo ang kahungkagan ng pangakong ito ni Duterte nang ianunsyo, Abril 15, ang paglabas ng D.O. 174, pamalit sa D.O. 18-A.
Hindi na ikinagulat ng mulat na sekyon ng mga manggagawa ang kinalabasan ng bagong DO.  Sa serye pa lamang ng mga kumperensyang ipinatawag upang dinggin diumano ang tinig ng manggagawa, malinaw na ang posisyon ng Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), wala ito sa panig ng mga manggagawa.
Paglinlang at pagsupil sa manggagawa
ANG D.O. 174 ay halos pag-uulit ng D.O. 18-A. Niligalisa at pinagtibay lamang nito ang kontraktwalisasyon na pumapawi sa mga karapatan ng manggagawa sa permanente at regular na trabaho at mga benepisyo.
Itinaas ng D.O. 174 ang minimum na kapital ng labor agencies mula sa tatlong milyong piso (P 3M) tungong limang milyon (P 5M). Ito diumano ang pinakamababang sukatan para sabihing may kapasidad ang labor agency na mag-opereyt. Ngunit alam naman nating nandiyan lagi ang kutsabahan ng prinsipal at agency at kadalasan, ang prinsipal din ang nasa likod o siyang may-ari ng mga labor agency.
Itinakda rin ng bagong D.O. ang qualifiers na “specific”, “work for a definite and pre-determined period” at “identifiable jobs” para umano maging malinaw at tiyak ang mga trabahong ipapakontrata.
Ngunit ang mga terminong ito ay dati nang gamit ng mga kapitalista para ipatungkol sa “job orders”, “project” at iba pang iskema upang ikutan ang batas at maipakontrata ang mga trabahong “essential and/or desirable to the principal business operation.”  Sa gayon, lalong pinagtibay ng bagong D.O. ang kinasusuklaman nating sistemang kontraktuwal.
Sa bagong D.O. ay malinaw na ire-regular ang manggagawa sa agency, hindi sa principal. Isa itong katayuan na napaka-bulnerable dahil sa oras na habulin nating manggagawa ang karapatan sa pag-u-unyon at iba pang karapatan sa trabaho, tulad ng dagdag na sahod,  ay napakadali tayong tanggalin sa trabaho.
Magkukutsabahan lamang ang principal at agency at kunwang hindi na bibigyan ng bagong kontrata ng una ang huli.  Wala na tayong trabaho.   Nakatali ang ating pamamasukan sa kontratang namamagitan sa prinsipal at ahensya.  Separation pay lamang ang katapat ng ating panunungkulan.
Sa pagsusuma, ang D.O. 174 sa panahon ni Duterte ay pagpipino at pagkikinis lamang ng iskema ng kontraktwalisasyon na institusyunalisado na sa ilalim ng mga naunang rehimeng naluklok sa Malakanyang. Kumpletong pakete ang D.O. 174 ng tiranikong atake ng rehimeng Duterte sa paggawa. Papawiin nito ang natitirang pag-asa para sa regular/permanenteng trabaho, at sapagkat hindi regular o permanente ang pag-empleyo ng manggagawa, wala silang karapatang mag-organisa, mag-unyon at sama-samang makipagtawaran.
Muli mabibigo tayong manggagawa kung iaasa lamang sa iba ang ating paglaya sa pagsasamantala at pang-aapi ng uring kapitalista at sa sistema ng paghaharing nagtataguyod ng kanilang interes. Tuwirang salungat ang interes nating manggagawa sa interes ng uring kapitalista. Ipinakikita sa nakaraang kasaysayan at sa kasalukuyang sitwasyon ang katunayan ng tunggaliang ito.
Hungkag ang pagpapanggap ng Panguluhang Duterte na ito’y maka-manggagawa at maka-kaliwa. Katunayan, bukod sa D.O. 174 ay pinagbabantaan nito ng ibayong karahasan ang mga organisado o unyonisadong manggagawa, laluna sa mga economic zones. Sapagkat wala ngang pangimi sa karahasan at tahasang paglabag sa mga karapatang pantao, ang rehimeng Duterte ay banta ng ibayong pagsupil sa mga manggagawa at mamamayan, sa pangkalahatan.
Pandaigdigang paglaban sa pagsasamantala at pang-aapi   
Pandaigdigan ang pag-iral ng neoliberalismo at sa gayon ng kontraktuwalisasyon. Pinasiyaan ito sa United States of America (USA o US) at sa United Kingdom (UK) o Britain umpisa ng dekada 80 sa sistematikong pag-atake sa karapatan ng manggagawang mag-unyon at magwelga at pag-uumpisa ng patakaran at sistema ng pleksibleng paggawa (flexible labor)—pleksible o hindi pirmi/di-istable ang katayuan sa empleyo at panahon/oras ng trabaho.  Pagsalakay at pagpawi sa mga dating karapatan ng paggawa ang susi sa liberalisasyon o pagpapalaya ng kapital.

Itinulak ang neoliberalismo at kaakibat nitong pleksibleng paggawa upang maiwasan ng pandaigdigang
kapitalismo ang krisis. Kararaos lang ng kapitalismo sa krisis ng makatambal na resesyon at labis na tantos ng implasyon na humambalos, laluna sa US at Britain, nuong ikalawang hati ng dekada 70.

Ngunit ang ibayong pagpapalaya ng kapital ay humantong sa lalong krisis. Muli’t muling pumutok ang krisis ng kapitalismo. Mula nang huling pagsiklab ng pinansyal na krisis nuong 2008 ay hindi pa nakakaalpas ang pandaigdigang kapitalismo sa krisis nito na kinatatampukan ngayon ng malaganap na resesyon; pagkalubog sa utang ng mga gubyerno, pribadong korporasyon at mga pamilya; malaganap na kawalang trabaho; at, mababang sahod at hindi istableng empleyo para sa mga may trabaho.

Isinabatas na ang pagpapahaba ng oras-paggawa, nang walang dagdag sa sahod, sa hindi iilang bayan, kabilang ang mga abantenng kapitalistang bayan tulad ng France. Sa US, pinakamarami sa mga bagong nagkakatrabaho ay pansamantala o temporary (temps). Ang pansamantalang trabaho ay maaaring tatlong buwan o ilang linggo lamang. Ipinapatupad sa buong mundo ang ibayong pagpapababa ng sahod katambal ang pagpapahaba ng oras-paggawa.

Isulong at patalasin ang paglaban ng masang manggagawa, sa unahan ng mamamayan

Malinaw na hindi kontraktuwal na paggawa lamang ang problema. Katunayan, isa lamang ito sa mga anyo ng pagsasasmantala at pang-aapi sa manggagawa. Isa lamang ito sa mga pamamaraan sa tangkang ibayong pagpiga ng tubo o pagpapalago ng kapital sa kabila ng krisis ng kapitalismo. Isa lamang ito sa mga patakaran ng neoliberal na disenyo para sagipin ang kapitalismo sa angkin o likas na krisis nito.

Kailangang kung gayon na lampasan ng mga manggagawa sa bawat bayan ang paglaban lamang sa mga particular na anyo at paraan ng pagsasamantala at pang-aapi. Kailangang itaas at isulong ang paglaban sa kapitalismo, laluna ang pinakasukdulang inabot nito na monopolyo at tiranikong kapitalismo na pangunahing kinakatawan ng imperyalismong US. Ito rin ang principal na manggigera at ngayon ay pinapasaklaw ang pananalakay nito sa iba’t-ibang panig ng daigdig.

Manggagawa ng bawat bayan magkaisa, pangunahan ang mamamayan sa paglaban sa imperyalismong US!



WORKERS FOR PEOPLE’S LIBERATION

1 Mayo 2017