NYCHRP Demands Human Rights Protection for All Human Lives at 2018 People’s SONA rally in New York City

Reference: Louie Sawi, Mass Campaigns Chair, New York Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines (NYCHRP), nychrp@gmail.com

NYCHRP Demands Human Rights Protection for All Human Lives at 2018 People’s SONA rally in New York City

NYCHRP at SONA 2018

Human lives cannot survive without having concern for their human rights. Since Duterte took office, he has failed to ensure the safety and well-being of the Filipino people.

After he launched his  “war on drugs,” over 20,000, poor urban dwellers, including children, have been murdered by the hands of the Philippine National Police and its agents. According to an investigation by Human Rights Watch, police planted guns, used ammunition, and drug packets on victims’ bodies to incriminate them in drug activities. Masked gunmen participating in the killings appeared to be collaborating with with police, refuting government claims that most killings have been committed by vigilantes or rival drug gangs.

Opposition to Duterte’s War on Drugs in the Philippines has led to the imprisonment of 509 political dissidents, critics, and human rights defenders. Even faith based leaders, organizers, and international peacekeepers are not immune to Duterte’s atrocious policies. A month ago, Methodist Church Missionaries Tawanda Chandiwana, Miracle Osman, and Adam Shaw were detained and interrogated by the police while participating in an international peace mission. After 27 years of missionary work in the Philippines, Australian nun Sister Patricia Fox was ordered by the Bureau of Immigration for deportation. Fathers Rey Urmeneta, Mark Ventura, and Marcelito Paez were murdered for speaking out against Duterte’s extrajudicial killings.

Duterte’s amped up anti-people campaign has recently veered to the absurd. The government’s newest policy, Oplan Tambay, demonizes marginalized youth and criminalizes those hanging out in their neighborhood. It has led to more than 50,000 accosted, arrested and detained in city jails. For example, on June 29, urban poor activist Nicolas Minguito was arrested in Olango Island for eating halo-halo outside his house.

Martial Law in Mindanao continues to violate the human rights of its community members. Seven days ago, 1,607 Lumad members from the region of Surigao del Sur, Caraga were displaced from their ancestral lands after a series of abuses inflicted by the Armed Forces of the Philippines. After over a year of its implementation, Karapatan, a national human rights organization led directly by impacted people in the Philippines, documented that Martial Law has led to 49 extrajudicial killings; 9,738 threats, harassment, or intimidation; 336,124 indiscriminate firing and bombings, 404,654 forced evacuations; and 979 forced surrenders in the region.

People have the right to be free from these civil and political rights violations, but are also enshrined with the right to stand up against oppressive governments and systems. The people that President Duterte is repressing are folks that are fighting fundamentally to assert their basic social and economic rights. Basic labor rights are being violated as Philippine local companies Sumifru, Shin Shun, and Coca-Cola harass their workers through union-busting, terrorist tagging, and employing state security forces to violently break-up their peaceful protests for safer working conditions and access to affordable health care.

The government’s policy of contractualization offers no income stability for temporary work. It’s inhumane for companies like Jollibee, NutriAsia, and DOLE to terminate the service of the workers after only a year or a few months on the job. The scarcity of white and blue collar jobs in the city force some community members to seek work in these call centers and export processing zones for multinational corporations, where they labor overtime with little sleep and little pay. Approval of a recent fare hike by the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board won’t be enough to help workers afford to pay rent, feed their children, or send them to school, especially as the costs of basic goods and services – such as food, transportation, electricity, and water – increase due to rising inflation. Raising wages can improve workers’ lives; however, the government has failed to pass national minimum wage bills such as House Bill 7787 and other proposed legislation that increases the wages.

With the recent appointment of former President Gloria Arroyo into the Speaker of the House position, we know Duterte does not care for the interests of the people. That is why, we must fight. We must support our kababayans back home, in every way we can, to oust Duterte and his entire government out of office. We must replace that with National industrialization, genuine land reform, sovereignty and non-interference from oppressive/western powers like the US, and elect a government that supports scientific understanding of people’s conditions in order to uphold the rights of women, indigenous people, and national minorities.

More importantly, we must do our part, living in the belly of the beast, to stop the US from supporting the human rights abuses and fascism of the Duterte regime.

#StoptheKillingsPH

#EndContractualization

#NotoMartialLaw

#OustDuterte

#PeoplesSONA2018

NYCHRP Supports the Striking Workers of NutriAsia, Jollibee, and PLDT; Calls for the Regularization of Workers and an Increase to the National Minimum Wage

July 6, 2018

Reference: Rodrigo Bacus, Chairperson, New York Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines (NYCHRP), nychrp@gmail.com

NYCHRP Supports the Striking Workers of NutriAsia,  Jollibee, and PLDT; Calls for the Regularization of Workers and an Increase to the National Minimum Wage

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Infographic from Kilusang Mayo Uno

July 3, 2018, the workers of NutriAsia, allied under Nagkakaisang Manggagawa ng NutriAsia (United Workers of NutriAsia, NMN), called out an urgent alert as the Philippine National Police prepared to carry out a dispersal order from the Philippine government. The dispersal order comes in the wake of attacks on workers all over the Philippines, including an order from Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company (PLDT), one of the largest telecommunications companies in the Philippines, to end its subcontractors, placing many workers in a limbo status. NYCHRP supports the undeterred spirit of the workers to struggle for better conditions, and support their calls for the end to contractualization (the practice of laying off workers every 4 to 6 months), a raise in minimum wage, and a genuinely free Philippines.

According to a Department of Labor report in May of 2018, Jollibee Foods Corporation and PLDT are ranked #1 and #3 with 14,960 workers and 8,310 workers affected. These estimates may even be undercounting the overall number of contractual workers considering that it counts the numbers by legal entity, as opposed to looking at the network of corporations associated with a particular brand. The same report counts DOLE Philippines, Inc. as #2 with 10,521 workers affected while DOLE-Stanfilco, a clear subsidiary or affiliate of DOLE, is ranked 20th with 1,131 workers affected.

Attempting to take advantage of the loopholes left behind by the Department of Labor and President Duterte’s claim to end contractualization, PLDT severed ties with many of its subcontractors, laying off 7,000 workers. Just a few months ago, NutriAsia similarly laid off many of its workers as their short-term contracts ended. The same fate occurred to workers of Jollibee in this same span of time.

Article 6 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) recognizes the right of each individual to work. Article 7 protects their right just and favorable conditions of work, including a decent living for workers and their families. The contractualization of Filipino workers and the widespread wage rates of under $10 a day violate the spirit of these protections. In the Philippines, commodity prices are increasing while wages remain stagnant. As a result, many Filipino workers are forced to leave their communities and families behind. Moreover, about three-quarters of the country are farm workers or peasants, people obligated to big landlords to do labor and, in some cases, pay off debt. Contractualization, low wages, and the semi-feudal, semi-colonial economy of the Philippines are fundamental violations of the people’s rights.

NYCHRP supports the leadership of workers to form workers organizations and fight against these conditions and the continued neo-colonization of the Philippines. NMN, PLDT Organization of Workers and Employees for Rights (POWER), Defend Job Philippines, and Kilusang Mayo Uno (May First Movement, KMU) are among the many organizations of workers leading worker strikes, worker occupations, and demonstrations across the country. We condemn the government’s response to these strikes by calling dispersals. We affirm that the workers are well within their rights to organize and form trade unions.

NYCHRP also supports the call for a genuine democracy in the Philippines, where workers and all peoples determine and uphold the rights to quality of life, land, and opportunity. Until the conditions of imperialism, bureaucrat capitalism, and semi-feudalism in the Philippines are abolished, the Philippines will not truly be free.

 

End Contractualization!

P750 Minimum Wage!

National Industrialization and Agrarian Reform for All!