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Republic of the Philippines
Quezon City

First Regular Session




WHEREAS, the Social Amelioration Program (SAP) in the sugar industry was implemented by the government in 1974 for the benefit of agricultural sugar workers (ASWs) and sugar mill workers. The fund for SAP is divided into two (2) parts as provided in Republic Act No. 6982. Eighty percent (80%) of the fund is allotted for Cash Bonus Fund (CBF) and is to be given to agricultural sugar workers and sugar mill workers. The remaining twenty percent (20%) is for Socio-Economic Program Related Fund (SEPRF) which is allotted for socio-economic projects, death and maternity benefits and for management of this fund;

WHEREAS, based on Republic Act No. 6982 otherwise known as “An Act Strengthening the Social Amelioration Program in the Sugar Industry, Providing the Mechanics for its Implementation, and For Other Purposes”, the amount imposed on the gross production of sugar shall be primarily used to augment the income of sugar workers, and to finance social and economic programs to improve their livelihood and well-being;
WHEREAS, Unyon ng Manggagawa sa Agrikultura (UMA), national progressive center of unions, federations, and organizations of agricultural workers in the Philippines, alleged that since the implementation of Social Amelioration Program in the sugar industry, only few agricultural workers benefitted from the fund and the benefits received consist of small amounts. Further, the fund only became a milking cow for planters, millers and the government;

WHEREAS, the aforesaid group also stated that they received reports from different local agricultural workers’ organizations that some millers/planters do not distribute cash bonuses to agricultural workers. Benefits under the Socio-Economic Program Related Fund (SEPRF) like death and maternity benefits, among others, were not also given to concerned agricultural workers;

WHEREAS, in a dialogue with Pagkakaisa ng Manggagawang Bukid sa Tubuhan (PAMATU) in Nasugbu, Batangas, a BWSC official admitted that they cannot verify if the Cash Bonus Fund (CBF) were really given to agricultural workers because of their limited personnel;

WHEREAS, according to the Bureau of Workers with Special Concerns (BWSC,) as of 2nd quarter of 2016 or from 1991–2016, the unliquidated cash bonuses ballooned to P606 million;

WHEREAS, it is also alleged that maternity and death benefits under the program were not availed by agricultural sugar workers because of the difficulty in complying with the requirements. From 1992–2010, only fifty-five percent (55%) of the budget for death benefits and eighty percent (80%) for maternity benefits were distributed;

WHEREAS, it is also reported that socio-economic projects were being monopolized by millers and planters associations such as the Sugar Industry Foundation Inc. (SIFI), National Federation of Sugarcane Planters (NFSP), and United Sugar Producers Federation of the Philippines (UNIFED), among others;

WHEREAS, an investigation on the anomalies made by the Sugar Industry Foundation, Inc. (SIFI) should be made, and review its mandate in being the sole receiver of funds from the SEPRF;

WHEREAS, the BWSC should report the results of cases it filed against millers and planters for violation of RA6982;

WHEREAS, based on a report by the Commission on Audit (COA), as of December 31, 2015, P 285.53 of the Socio-Economic Program Related Fund (SEPRF) have been invested in treasury bills and other investment and marketable securities;

WHEREAS, the Commission on Audit (COA) also discovered, among others, that with regard to Cash Bonus Fund (CBF):

a. There is no proof of distribution of Cash Bonus Funds (CBFs) to the workers. Apart from this, the increase in the amount of unreleased/unclaimed CBF and undistributed CBF is an indication of the delay of its distribution; and

b. The collection and distribution of the Social Amelioration Program Fund under Republic Act No. 809 for 16 crop years starting from 1992-1993 up to 2007-2008 that totals to P1.26 billion is not recorded in the books of the BRW-SAP due to the failure of the management of BRW-SAP to issue Department Order on the General Guidelines for the Implementation of Section 9 of Republic Act No. 809.

WHEREAS, the Commission on Audit (COA) also discovered, among others, that with regard to Socio-Economic Project Related Fund (SEPRF):

a. The twenty percent (20%) tax allotted for the Socio-Economic Project Related Fund (SEPRF) was reported based on bank statement instead of the Report on Sugar Production, Withdrawals, Lien Collections and Remittances (RSPWLCR). Because of this, there is no certainty on the total amount of what was remitted and recorded in the book of accounts of the BWSC-SAP; and

b. In 2008, the construction of the Annex Building of the Sugar Workers Livelihood Center (SWLC) in Bacolod City, Negros Occidental and the Sugar Workers Livelihood Center (SWLC) in Malaybalay, Bukidnon were delayed by six (6) years.
WHEREAS, reports that many agricultural sugar workers failed to enjoy the benefits promised by the program is indeed alarming. It seems that a thorough scrutiny of the implementation of the program is necessary to determine the causes that led to the deprivation of benefits to the agricultural sugar workers and who really are benefiting from the program at the expense of the agricultural sugar workers.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED AS IT IS HEREBY RESOLVED, that the Committee on Agriculture and Food and Committee on Labor and Employment conduct a joint inquiry, in aid of legislation, on the implementation of the Social Amelioration Program in the sugar industry including an accounting of its fund and the extent of benefits that redounded to the agricultural sugar workers.


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Republic of the Philippines
Quezon City

First Regular Session




WHEREAS, since December 2016 up to present, more sakadas have escaped from the human trafficking, unfair labor practices and slave-like condition of the Greenhand Labor Service Cooperative, Agrikulto, Inc. and Central Azucarera de Tarlac (CAT) in Tarlac province;

WHEREAS, according to Unyon ng Manggagawa sa Agrikultura (UMA), a total of 1,000 sakadas were recruited to be cane cutters on sugar farms inside Hacienda Luisita from different parts of Mindanao on August to November, but upon working they faced exploitative and oppressive measures that drove them to running off;

WHEREAS, UMA have documented cases on the sakadas who had escaped from Hacienda Luisita, where 98 sakadas were facilitated by UMA together with Organisasyon sa Yanong Obrerong Nagkahiusa (OGYON) in Bukidnon, DSWD, DOLE and Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR), in various incidents:

• on December 25 to 31, 2016, 43 sakadas (24 Manobos, four minors and a female) from Valencia City, Don Carlos, Maramag and Pangantucan in Bukidnon province were rescued from Hacienda Luisita;
• on January 5, 2017, 9 sakadas have escaped and sought assistance from UMA;
• on January 15, 2017, 18 individuals fled and sought assistance from Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Central Office in National Capital Region (NCR) ; the sakadas including women and infants were from Davao del Norte, Davao del Sur, Compostela Valley and South Cotabato;
• last February 22, 2017, 9 sakadas from T’boli, South Cotabato escaped from the barracks in Hacienda Luisita and were sheltered by concerned citizens after sleeping a few nights in the street beside Camp Aguinaldo in Quezon City;
• last March 5, 2017, 4 sakadas who left and sought assistance from DSWD;
• on March 6, 2017, 15 T’boli sakadas left the area and still assisted by UMA and DSWD;
• unaccounted numbers of sakadas from Sultan Kudarat, Davao City, Tupi, Marbel in South Cotabato used various means just to escape the situation in Hacienda Luisita;

WHEREAS, subjected to exploitative relations, the sakadas claimed that aside from earning P9.50 a day, other sakadas received even lower wages such as P43.75 a week or P6.25 a day and for an 11- man team, received only P38.26 a week or P5.47 a day;

WHEREAS, on the Special Assessment and Visit Establishment (SAVE) of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) last February 16, 2017, they’ve presented some findings and recommendations:
• the sakadas only earned a weekly wage of P1,523 or P217.57 per day which way below the minimum wage of P334 a day for plantation workers in Region 3;
• they were not covered by SSS, PhilHealth and Pag-ibig and their contributions were not paid;
• starting December 2016, a total of 834 out of 861 sakadas escaped from Hacienda Luisita: 586 escaped the bunkhouse, 76 left after signing a waiver, and 72 T’bolis allegedly accompanied home by the Greenland;
• implementation of the cancellation of the Greenland’s License and issuance of cease and desist order forbidding to recruit for additional workers;
• require Greenhand and Agrikulto to restitute the amounts illegally deducted from the sakadas and institute appropriate action against Greenhand and Agrikulto for child labor, illegal recruitment and trafficking of persons;

WHEREAS, last January 16, 2017, this representation together with Makabayan coalition lawmakers filed House Resolution No. 678 pushing for an inquiry on the first cases on December last year to early January 2017, involving the 52 sakada victims;

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED AS IT IS HEREBY RESOLVED, that the Committee on Agrarian Reform and Committee on Labor and Employment to conduct a joint inquiry, in aid of legislation, on the continuing trafficking and exploitation of sakadas from Mindanao in Hacienda Luisita, Tarlac by Greenhand Labor Service Cooperative, Agrikulto, Inc. and Central Azucarera de Tarlac.


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Republic of the Philippines
Quezon City

First Regular Session




WHEREAS, as farmers, indigenous peoples and other rural-based sectors in Mindanao are active in asserting and defending their rights to land and ancestral domain, opposing systematic land grabbing and displacement by large-scale mining companies and expansion of agricultural plantations owned by local and foreign corporations as promoted by neo-liberal policies of the government, they fell usual victims of various human rights violations and militarization of their communities;

WHEREAS, militarization of their communities have disrupted their daily life or social and economic work, created an atmosphere of terror and fear, in some cases of mass evacuation and incidents of extra-judicial killings, harassment and other forms of rights abuses, usually perpetrated by the military and para-military forces;

WHEREAS, according to PASAKA or Confederation of Lumad Organizations in Southern Mindanao Region, there were sixty (60) military combat battalions in Mindanao, with 21 combat battalion in Davao Region; 14 in Caraga; 10 in Socskargen, 8 in Northern Mindanao Region and 7 in Zamboanga Peninsula while unaccounted number of troops in the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM);

WHEREAS, aside from the combat battalions, deployed are the Intelligence Battalions, Engineering Battalions, Mechanized Battalions, Civil – Military Operations (CMO) Battalions, Citizen Armed Force Geographical Units (CAFGU), Special Civilian Armed Auxilliary (SCAA) and paramilitary groups;

WHEREAS, the Karapatan human rights group, stated that various cases of human rights violations and militarization have been documented in the peasant and indigenous people communities under the government have continued implementation of the Aquino administration’s counter-insurgency program Oplan Bayanihan;

WHEREAS, particularly in the violation of civil and political rights, there were:
• 10 cases of extra-judicial killing;
• 2 in enforced disappearance;
• 14,659 of threat, harassment and intimidation;
• 397 in illegal arrest and detention;
• 41 in divestment of property;
• 4,170 in endangerment of threat against civilians due to indiscriminate firing, bombing, artillery fire etc;
• 7,841 in use of schools, medical, religious and other public places for military Purpose;

WHEREAS, particularly in Mindanao, endangerment of threat against civilians due to aerial bombing and resulted to forced evacuation of Lumad and peasant families such as in the cases initially documented by Karapatan from June 2016 up to present:
• on July 7 to 8, 2016, the 67th Infantry Battalion Philippine Army (IBPA) dropped 12 to 18 bombs in Brgy. Pichon, Caraga, Davao Oriental endangering the lives of 11,500 individuals;
• on August 7, the 69th and 71st IBPA launched 6 aerial bombing in Barangay Parasanon, Maragusan, Compostela Valley destroying farms, forced 80 farmer families to evacuate, with reports of food blockade, hamletting and harassments;
• on February 15, 2017, at least 6 aerial bombs were dropped by 73rd IBPA in Sitio Tangis and Sitio Salutan, Barangay Datal Anggas, Alabel, Saranggani province that caused at least 100 Lumad families to evacuate and arrested 8 civilians as as guides in their operation;
• on March 11, 2017, the 46th IBPA dropped at least 10 bombs and used machine guns in firing upon on communities of 200 families, who also complained of looting by elements of military in Barangays Cabuyoan, Mabini, Compostela Valley;

WHEREAS, Community Organizing for Peace and Development (COPD) under the framework of Oplan Bayanihan and Oplan Kapayapaan is being used continuing militarization in the countryside such as the cases of:
• the 14 barangays of Quezon, Valencia City, Malaybalay City, Cabangsalan, Impasug-ong, Sumilao, Talakag, San Fernando, Pangantucan of Bukidnon Province were deployed with COPD units composed of 8th IBPA, Special Force Company, Philippine National Police (PNP) and a para-military group ALAMARA;
• from October to December 2016, COPD units from 58th IBPA, 43rd IBPA and PNP were deployed in towns of Claveria, Lagonglong, Balingasag, Salay, Medina, Sugbongcogon, Magsaysay and Gingoog City of Misamis Oriental;
• in Caraga region, in 2016, COPD operations were conducted on at least 100 barangays and during the Duterte administration at least 25 barangays were encamped with by the military;
• according to Kasama Bukidnon, a provincial peasant organization and chapter of Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP), the COPD was through medical missions, military encampment in barangay halls, chapels, day-care centers, conduct of house-to-house and census of the people in the community, inquiry of the names of peasant organizations and those who joined rallies and other activities;

WHEREAS, attacks on Lumad schools continued, with the Save Our Schools (SOS) Network documenting cases of various human rights violations to students and teachers inflicted by elements of AFP from August 2016 to February 2017 such as the:
• Salugpongan Ta’Tanu Igkanogon Community Learning Center (STTICLC) and;
• Mindanao Interfaith Services Foundation, Inc. (MISFI) Academy in Compostela Valley and Davao del Norte in Southern Mindanao Region (SMR);

WHEREAS, forms of abuses against Lumad schools were perpetrated soldiers under 68th IBPA, 66th IBPA and 25th IBPA such as the cases:
• 14 cases of harassment, threat and intimidation;
• 8 cases of surveillance;
• 9 cases of use of public places for military purposes particularly the STTICLC schools perpetrated by
• 2 cases of AFP establishing the Lumad communities as military detachment in Mangayon and Pantukan, Compostela Valley and other human rights violations;

WHEREAS, as President Rodrigo Duterte recently pronounced about aerial bombings on communities suspected as supporters of the New People’s Army (NPA), it is of grave concern, but the documented cases show that it was being executed by the AFP since last year;

WHEREAS, the very military operations of aerial bombings or shellings of communities run counter to 1998 Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL) of the government and National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP), that stated on Part III, Respect for Human Rights, Article No. 2, No. 15, “The right not to be subjected to forced evacuations, food and other forms of economic blockades and indiscriminate bombings, shellings, strafing, gunfire and the use of landmines,” and also to the internationally-recognized the Hague Convention of 1907, particularly the Convention respecting the Laws and Customs of War on Land, Article No. 125, “The attack or bombardment, by whatever means, of towns, villages, dwellings, or buildings which are undefended is prohibited;”

WHEREAS, the KMP asserted that incidents of peasants killed under Duterte by the AFP escalated to 39 farmers or an average of one farmer killed every three days;

WHEREAS, during Duterte administration, an initial number of 27 victims of extra-judicial killings in Mindanao including the recent brutal killing of farmer couple Leonela and Ramon Pesadilla last March 03, 2017, both members of Compostela Farmers Association (CFA), who donated lands for a Lumad school and active in opposing the large-scale mining company Agusan Petroleum and Mineral Corporation (AgPet);

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, AS IT HEREBY RESOLVED, that the Committee on Human Rights to conduct an investigation, in aid of legislation, on the widespread and systematic human rights violations and militarization in peasant and indigenous communities in Mindanao from June 2016 to March 2017.


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Pahayag ng Pakikiisa at Suporta ng Anakpawis Party-list sa Kampanyang Occupy Bulacan - Thu, 03/23/2017 - 09:30

Pahayag ng Pakikiisa at Suporta ng Anakpawis Party-list
sa Kampanyang Occupy Bulacan

Ipinapahayag ng Anakpawis Party-list ang mahigpit na pakikiisa at suporta sa nagaganap na Kampanyang Occupy Bulacan sa pangunguna ng Kalipunan ng Damayang Mahihirap o KADAMAY! Sumasaludo kami sa pakikibaka ng halos 6,000 pamilyang maralita na naninindigan para sa kanilang karapatan at ngayon ay umookupa sa mga relocation housing units sa bayan ng Pandi, Bulacan.

Ang yugtong ito ay pagtatanggol ng nakamit na tagumpay. Ang pagkamit na ito ay hindi naging madali at dumaan sa napakahirap na pakikibaka ng maralita mula pa nakaraang taon, ngunit dahil sa epektibong paggampan ng Kadamay sa pag-oorganisa, pagmumulat at pagpapakilos, nakamit ang antas ng katatagan at kalawakan ng kilusang masa ng mga maralita na rekisito upang ilunsad ang Kampanyang Occupy.

Upang ipagtanggol ito, dapat matibay ang ating pagsusuri sa kalagayan, ang mga ugat ng krisis sa housing at kahirapan, mga kampong nakikinabang rito at ang pinakapusakal na kaaway na magpapakawala ng brutal na karahasan laban sa maralita.

Ibasura ang UDHA! Ugat ng kahirapan ng maralita at krisis sa pabahay ang neo-liberal na patakaran ng kasalukuyang administrasyong Duterte at mga nakaraang rehimen na sinasalamin ng Republic Act No. 7279 – Urban Development and Housing Act of 1992.

Huwag tayong magkamali na ang batas na ito ay para sa interes ng maralita, kundi malinaw nating makita na ito ay para sa interes ng dayuhang monopolyo, mga kumprador at malalaking negosyante. Ang UDHA ay para sa “Urban Development” at pamulaklak lang rito ang “Housing.” Ang UDHA ay bumabatay sa National Urban Development and Housing Framework o NUDHF, na walang ibang pinagbabatayan kundi ang Philippine Development Plan (PDP) na dikta ng imperyalismo.

Ang pangunahing layunin nito ay kung paano magkakamal ng gahiganteng tubo ang dayuhang monopolyo at mga kakutsaba nitong kumprador sa pamamagitan ng mga relocation projects, land banking, pag-develop ng commercial business districts o CBD at iba pa. Ang maralita o urban poor ay tinatrato lamang na sampid sa balangkas na ito, bilang balon ng murang lakas-paggawa o cheap labor ng mga malalaking negosyong interesado sa mga area, zones o district na ito.

Sa bahagi ng Bulacan, dapat na bantayan ang pag-usbong ng mga CBD sa Baliwag, Pulilan at Plaridel. Kapaligid nito ang bayan ng Pandi. Samakatuwid, abangan natin ang pagtaas ng presyo ng kalupaan sa mga lugar na ito, na siyang interes ng dayuhang monopolyo at mga kumprador, mga developer at speculator. Sa inaabangang balon ng tubong ito, huwag na tayong magtaka kung bakit gayun na lamang ang panghaharang ng NHA na okupahin ng maralita ang mga bakanteng housing unit at ang panawagang libreng pabahay.

Samakatuwid, hindi magtatapos ang pakikibaka sa yugto ng okupasyon ng pabahay dahil hindi titigil ang NHA na bawiin ang mga ito, bunsod ng pangunguyupapa sa neo-liberalismo, planong pribatisasyon at pagpabor sa interes ng pribadong sektor.

Ipagtanggol ang Tagumpay! Sa pagtatanggol, pangunahin ang konsolidadong lakas at pagkakaisa, sa pangunguna ng KADAMAY. Ang KADAMAY ay pinanday na ng pakikibaka laban sa mararahas na demolisyon at pagtatanggol sa mga komunidad. Matagal na rin nilang ikinakampanya ang mga kahilingan ng mga relocatees tulad ng paglaban sa pribatisasyon ng mga utilities na tubig at kuryente. Gayundin, panawagan para sa trabaho at pagkukunan ng kabuhayan, at pagpapataas ng sahod ng mga manggagawa.

Mahigpit silang kakapit-bisig ng masang magsasaka at isinusulong ang Tunay na Reporma sa Lupa, sa pagkilalang ang malawakang kawalang-lupa sa kanayunan ang isang malaking salik kung bakit dumarami ang maralitang tagalungsod.

Panawagan namin sa mga kasapi ng KADAMAY sa Bulacan, huwag bitawan ang tagumpay na naabot. Tibayan ang pagtunggali sa mga panlilinlang at panghahati ng NHA, at iba pang mga kakutsaba nito. Lumang istilo na ng NHA ang panghahati sa maralita, tulad ng pagbubuo nito sa mga opisyales ng mga homeowners association o HOA, na binibigyan nila ng mumong pribilehiyo, upang tuluyang linlangin ang mayoryang maralita. Layunin nito na pag-awayin ang mga maralita upang maipanatili ang pribadong katangian ng mga relocation sites, mapagkunan ito ng tubo at magpatuloy ang kanilang mga raket. Tanganan ang katwiran at katarungan ng pakikibakang Occupy at tuntungan ito para sa masiglang pakikibaka.

Itaas sa pampulitika ang pakikibaka ang Kampanyang Occupy! Huwag nating hayaan na manatiling ang kamulatan ng mga maralita ay makuntento sa paninirahan sa mga pabahay. Kung hindi ito maiaangat sa pulitika, panigurado ang pagbawi ng NHA at eviction sa maralita. Dapat hindi bitawan na ito ay batayang karapatang nakabatay sa Hustisyang Panlipunan, protektado man o hindi ito ng Saligang Batas.

Ayon mismo sa Saligang Batas, tungkulin ng estado na magbigay ng abot-kaya at disenteng pabahay para sa maralita, kaakibat ang trabaho o pagkukunan ng kabuhayan. Kung walang kabuhayan ang maralita, lumalabas ang katwiran at katarungan ng panawagang libreng pabahay, dahil ang paniningil para rito ay magsisilbing instrumento ng pagpapatalsik sa kanila, sa esensya ay paglabag sa kanilang batayang karapatan.

Pangunahing sumandig sa lakas ng kilusang masa upang labanan ang mga atakeng ligal ng NHA at estado. Nakagagalak ang ulat ng KADAMAY na ang Kampanyang Occupy ay bumatay pangunahin sa sariling lakas at kakayanan ng mga maralita. Abangan nating ibubuhos ng NHA, ng mga LGU at iba pang ahensya ng gubyerno ang kanilang mga hakbang para gamitin ang mga batas na di pabor sa maralita at mamamayan tulad ng UDHA. Sa ganitong pagkakataon, ibalik sa gubyerno ang paniningil sa mga pangakong pundamental na reporma, maging ang mga pahayag ng Pangulong Duterte na “No Relocation, No Demolition,” at “Change Is Coming.”

Ang halos 20,000-lakas ng maralita sa Bulacan ay malaki ang magagawa upang umani ng suporta at todong ilantad ang mga kontra-maralita at kontra-mamamayang mga programa at patakaran ng administrasyong Duterte. Hindi kakayanin ng NHA, PNP, maging AFP na mabilisang patalsikin ang mga maralita mula sa mga relocation site. Ang karahasan nito sa malawak na masa ng maralita ay siguradong magbo-boomerang sa gubyerno, at lilikha ng malawak na kondemnasyon sa iba’t ibang sektor sa bansa, o maging sa international community.

Isang malaking kamalian ng gubyernong Duterte kung itutuloy niya ang eviction, sa gitna ng kaliwa’t kanang kritisismo sa kanyang pamamahala tulad ng Extra-judicial Killing bunga ng kanyang War on Drugs at counter-insurgency program Oplan Kapayapaan, pagpapatuloy ng mga neo-liberal na patakaran, ang pagpasok ng Tsina sa teritoryo ng bansa at iba pa.

Malaki rin ang utang na pangako ni Duterte sa masang manggagawa dahil hindi pa nito naibabasura ang kontraktwalisasyon at ang pangako ay nagmimistulang parang bula. Wala ring pagbabago sa ekonomiya, dahil patuloy pagtaas ng presyo ng mga batayang bilihin, hindi tumataas ang mga sahod at kita sa kabuhayan, malawakang kawalang-trabaho at iba pa. Sa kanayunan, wala pa ring Tunay na Reporma sa Lupa at nanatili ang mga hasyenda at paglawak ng mga plantasyong pag-aaari ng mga dayuhan.

Isulong ang pambansa-demokratikong pakikibaka! Pinaka-epektibong pamamaraan ng pagpapaunlad ng Kampanyang Occupy Bulacan ang pagkakawing nito sa anti-imperyalista, anti-pasista at anti-pyudal na pakikibaka ng mamamayang Pilipino. Kasunod na laban ng mga maralita ang pagkakaroon ng trabaho at kabuhayan, pagtaas ng sahod, paglaban sa kontraktwalisasyon, panawagan para sa libreng edukasyon at iba pang serbisyong panlipunan, pagharap sa marahas na atake ng estado at pagsusulong ng Tunay na Reporma sa Lupa at Pambansang Industriyalisasyon.

Ang kahirapan ay bunga ng mala-pyudal at mala-kolonyal na kaayusan ng lipunan at ekonomiya, kung kaya, mananatiling biktima ang mga maralita, manatili man sila o hindi sa mga inokupang pabahay. Ang libu-libong maralita ay may kakayahang makipag-kapit-bisig sa sampu-sampung libo pang mamamayang nakikibaka para sa mga pundamental na reporma sa lipunan. Sa pagkamit nito, maseselyuhan at makokonsolida ang mga naabot na tagumpay at magbubunga pa ng mga pag-repaso sa mga programang kontra-maralita at kontra-mamamayan.

Sa muli, pagsaludo sa libu-libong maralitang nakikibaka para sa kanilang karapatan sa pabahay at Hustisyang Panlipunan!

Mabuhay ang Maralitang Tagalungsod! Mabuhay ang KADAMAY!

Mabuhay ang Nakikibakang Masang Anakpawis!



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Filipino youth will continue to resist Duterte’s repeated martial law threats - Thu, 03/23/2017 - 05:53

“We reiterate that fear and terror will not solve the root causes of poverty, crime and the drug conflict. Solving the root causes of poverty and promoting livelihoods and industries will. But what is Duterte doing? Limping the communities’ livelihoods and agriculture through ‘flattening the hills,’” Kabataan Partylist Rep. Sarah Elago said.

This is the response of Kabataan Partylist to Duterte’s repeated statements dangling the idea of imposing martial law. “If I declare martial law, I will finish all the problems, not just drugs,” Duterte said in a press briefing after coming from Thailand.

“Martial law and all-out war has only caused harm and discord among our communities, and even right now, Duterte’s fascist offensives have only increased the casualties,” Elago said.

“Illegal arrests and detention remain, just like during Marcos’ martial law days, and around 400 and counting political prisoners with trumped-up charges are still waiting to be released. And even up to now, justice is still wanting for the Martial Law victims and their families,” she added.

Elago recounts the 8,000 and counting victims under Oplan Tokhang and Double Barrel, as well as the 42 civilians killed due to the AFP’s ‘all-out war.’ Recently, massive bombings also pillaged communities in Abra and Agusan del Sur, and two Kabataan Partylist members were detained by the military.

“As long as Duterte keeps toying with the idea of martial law and increased fascist repression, the people is sure to mount its growing resistance. The Filipino youth, together with the workers, peasants and other sectors in their millions, will struggle to smash the oppressive system the administration wants to maintain, and build a better future,” Elago concluded.

Elago said that the Filipino youth and people vow to mount their resistance against state-sanctioned fascism through weekly Black Friday protests and a multi-sectoral mobilization on March 31. ###

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UPD’s GE reform yet another neoliberal attack on education – youth party - Wed, 03/22/2017 - 11:53

KABATAAN Partylist condemns yet another attack on the students through the worsening of the neoliberal framework which will further treat education as a business that is ripe for profit.

On March 20, the University of the Philippines (UP) Diliman University Council (UC) voted to approve the change in UP’s General Education (GE) program and the reduction of units in the GE program from 45 units to a minimum of 21 units.

“The GE program, since the Revitalized GE Program (RGEP) in 2002, has subject students to the illusion of free choice in taking subjects, which echoes the neoliberal paradigm of the ‘market of ideas’. This paradigm has only leaned UP education toward the dictates of of big businesses and profit,” Kabataan Partylist Rep. Sarah Elago explained.

Elago adds that the reform will only hasten the neoliberal restructuring of education. “Through the World Bank’s structural adjustment programs (SAPs), universities and colleges are swiftly geared towards ensuring the steady production of cheap, docile labor by diploma mills to the global market,” Elago said.

“This adherence to global demands is further built through the ideological impact of the GE reforms, which erode critical thinking, nationalism, and patriotism among the youth,” Elago added.

The youth party calls on all Filipino youth and students to stand against the attacks on education.

“We call on the iskolar ng bayan to revitalize the revolutionary tradition of UP. Militant activism is the heart and soul of UP education, and its commitment to serve the people and link with the basic masses,” Elago added.

“Duterte and CHED should be held accountable for continuing the rotten schemes which thrive on education for capital. We should reprimand Duterte for faking free tuition through the nationwide socialization of tuition, as well as for maintaining the hold of imperialist machineries through SAPs which resulted to curricular reforms such as K-12 and the GE reform. The GE reform is sure to influence how other schools handle their curricula to further comply to neoliberal demands,” Elago said.

The youth, students, and iskolar ng bayan vow to intensify their struggle by taking their classes outside of the classroom, and mounting growing protests and mobilizations calling for their just right to education.

“As Duterte keeps on neglecting their just demands, the youth and the people will persevere in their struggle for a free and nationalist, scientific and mass-oriented education,” Elago concluded. ###

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Duterte urged: Address ‘occupy’ through pro-people housing, not fascist force - Wed, 03/22/2017 - 06:02

Kabataan Partylist Rep. Sarah Elago, in a press conference today, urged President Duterte to immediately address the concerns of thousands urban poor led by KADAMAY who occupied thousands of housing units in at least six (6) settlement sites in Pandi and San Jose del Monte, Bulacan. This is after the National Housing Authority (NHA) issued an eviction notice to the occupants last Monday, saying they are given seven (7) days to leave the premises or they’ll be forcefully evicted.

“We find it ironic that these settlement areas remain unoccupied, for years even, while thousands of urban poor workers and peasants suffer in inhumane, vulnerable conditions. Meanwhile, contractual labor and lack of regular jobs press down workers’ wages and further makes decent housing, however ‘affordable’, inaccessible to many,” Elago said.

The president earlier said that what they did was “anarchy” and that he will not hesitate to use force if necessary to evict the occupants.

“The president should recognize that what KADAMAY and thousands of urban poor did was just—especially amidst worsening poverty, joblessness, and landlessness which forced them into this dire situation. This is not anarchy; this is the militant assertion of their right to free and adequate mass housing. Pagpapakita ito ng kapalpakan ng gobyernong magbigay ng pangmasang pabahay at serbisyong panlipunan sa mamamayan (This shows the government’s failure to give pro-people housing and basic services to the poor),” Elago added.

Large lack of housing

Elago pointed out that the government’s current mass housing paradigm is flawed and profit-driven. She added that these housing units have been unused not because of lack of demand, but because such framework really does not work for the poor.

The housing backlog as of December 2016 stands at 2.02 million housing units; which could then increase to 6.8 million by 2022. Meanwhile, there are more than 1.50 million informal settler families (ISFs) nationwide, of whom 39% are concentrated in Metro Manila, based on government’s latest data. This is rooted in the extant neoliberal policies on employment, education, land reform, and housing and urban development–all of which serve only the interests of local and foreign big business interests.

“In the cities, informal settlers are forced out of their homes in favor of condominium units and skyscrapers. In the countryside, farmers are deprived of land due to the monopolization of land by a few. This has been the practice during past administrations. Saan pa lulugar ang mahihirap? Ginigiba na nga ang kanilang bahay, inaagawan na nga sila ng lupa, pagbabayarin pa sila ng mga housing unit na napakaliit at substandard, at malayo sa kanilang pinagtatrabahuan (Where will the poor stand? Their houses are bulldozed, their lands are taken away, and now they are made to pay for very small and substandard housing units far from their work),” Elago added.

Resolve issues of urban poor

Elago urged President Duterte to address the legitimate issues of the urban poor.

“Duterte’s declaration of ‘no mercy’ to the occupants reflects the government’s inutility in providing mass housing and social services. What’s not merciful is his declaration of using force instead of addressing the matter. Hindi daw maganda ang ginawa nila dahil nakakahiya. Nahihiya sila dahil nalantad ang kanilang kainutilan sa hindi pag-aksyon sa karaingan ng mamamayan. Tapos ngayon gagamitan pa ng dahas. Ano na lang ang kahihinatnan ng mamamayan kung bawat daing nila ay pasismo ang sagot ng estado? (Duterte deemed their actions shameful. They are ashamed because their inutility in their inaction to the people’s pleas is exposed. And now they threathen to use force. What else will the people expect if every demand is met by the state with guns and fascism?),” Elago said.

“He should listen to the legitimate concerns of the people and move to resolve them, and not resort to a police-military solution in almost every issue. The people have made it clear, they want food, houses, and jobs. Isinusuka na ng mamamayan ang mga neoliberal na polisiya ng gobyerno na umaatake lamang sa karapatan at kagalingan ng mamamayan. Kung talagang maka-Kaliwa siya, hindi na siya dapat magdalawang-isip pang tugunan ang daing ng mamamayan (If he truly calls himself a Leftist, he shouldn’t think twice in responding to the people’s just demands),” Elago said.

“The government must recognize the urban poor occupants as residents and immediately award these housing units to them, solve the labor problem by ending contractualization and increase the minimum wage, freely distribute land to the farmers; and replace the anti-people and neoliberal Philippine Development Plan with one that reacts to the concrete needs of the people,” Elago explained.

“The youth is in solidarity with the urban poor, and is ready to join their ranks and defend them. As long as their demands stand, the masses will rally and hold Duterte accountable for his broken promises,” Elago ended. ###

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Solons deplore eviction notice, warn against use of force on occupiers - Wed, 03/22/2017 - 01:05
ACT Teachers Representatives Antonio Tinio and France Castro condemned the eviction notice of the National Housing Authority (NHA) against informal settler families (ISFs) who occupied idle government housing units in Pandi and other areas in Bulacan. “We strongly support the fight of the Kadamay occupants for their right to shelter,” said Tinio.  “They are only some of the 5 million ISFs nationwide who are victims of the dismal state of poverty, joblessness and homelessness in our country.  These factors, coupled with government’s failed privatization-led housing program and demolitions of urban poor ...
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Filipino youth condemns AFP, Duterte’s continuing spate of all-out offensives on the people - Tue, 03/21/2017 - 10:02

KABATAAN Partylist condemns the continuous spate of killings, arrests and widespread terror under the era of fascism the Duterte administration continues to stage.

“This is the height of madness! Duterte’s travesty of justice will only harm the people,” Kabataan Partylist Rep. Sarah Elago said.

Youth groups led by Kabataan Partylist coordinated actions at different schools today, which culminated in a march to Mendiola in the afternoon.

All-out offensives on the people

“Duterte’s orders to ‘flattening the hills’ and sow terror is bound to go nowhere. It is mostly the civilians who are the casualties here,” Elago said.

According to reports from the Philippine National Police (PNP), 34 civilians have been killed and 2,100 arrested in 11 days under the relaunched Oplan Double Barrel Reloaded. Earlier, at least 8,000 civilians have been killed during its predecessor Oplan Tokhang.

Meanwhile, 42 civilians have already been killed and thousands more displaced since the declaration of Duterte’s continuing ‘all-out war.’ Continuous operations of the Armef Forces of the Philippines (AFP) have displaced communities and forced them to evacuate.

In addition, bombing incidents continue to displace and scare civilians and communities. On March 14, more than 300 individuals from Brgy. Hinimbangan, Kitcharao, Agusan del Norte following a loud explosion in the area. Meanwhile, four AFP fighter jets AFP indiscriminately dropped bombs on Malibcong, Abra on March 16.

Following the March 16 operation, Abra-based Kabataan Partylist members Joshua Gumatay and Antonio Ambalneg Jr. were abducted by elements of the 24th IBPA on March 18.

Despite pronouncements of resuming the peace talks, including the release of some political prisoners, new ones continue to be arrested under the same trumped-up charges.

“Duterte seems so invested on the losses of his soldiers. Is he forgetting everyone else caught in the action as a result of their acts?,” Elago asked.

US-based Oplan Kapayapaan

“Despite empty promises of change, the administration continues to adopt the old counterinsurgency framework, which is based on the US military framework,” Elago said, referring to the AFP’s flagship program Oplan Kapayapaan, which she calls a mere rehash of the earlier Oplan Bayanihan.

According to KARAPATAN, from 2011 to 2016 the US provided the Philippine military and police with at least $242.65 million, including $9.2 million for International Military Education and Training, and excluding the additional $42 million from the new US Southeast Asia Maritime Initiative, which included implementation of counter-insurgency programs. In addition, the US State Department said that “it is committed to providing $180 million in assistance to the Philippines in fiscal year 2017, provided that security units who commit rights violations do not get aid.”

“All this has done is to evacuate communities, kill and arrest civilians. This as, despite empty pronouncements of an independent foreign policy, Duterte continues to attract the attention of US and Chinese forces on our lands and shores,” Elago said.

Setup for an era of terror

“Meanwhile, Duterte is stubbornly adamant in setting the stage for a fascist era,” Elago said.

Among the other priority all-out fascist measures being waged by the Duterte administration are the recently passed House bill to reimpose the death penalty, the lowering of the minimum age of criminal responsibility, the move to revive the ROTC program for senior high school students, and the proposed revival of the police-military Philippine Constabulary (PC).

The youth party also slammed Duterte for enabling the political deodorizing and rehabilitation of the Marcoses, starting with the surprise burial of late Ferdinand Marcos in the Libingan ng mga Bayani on November.

“Martial law has never solved society’s ills during Marcos’ era. What makes him think another dictatorship will change things?,” Elago exclaimed.

Expect people’s growing resistance to reprimand Duterte

The lawmaker calls on the youth and the people to reprimand Duterte and his cohorts in the AFP for the intensifying fascism under Oplan Kapayapaan and his administration’s fascist maneuvers against the people and the poor.

“Despite pronouncements to continue the peace talks, Duterte’s all-out offensives and terror will only prompt resistance to Duterte’s sham and anti-people ‘change.’ Expect the people to briskly fight back,” Elago said.

Kabataan Partylist and other groups vow to express their growing resistance against state fascism. Among the groups’ activities include weekly Black Friday protests, and a nationwide mobilization of various sectors on March 31. ###

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Youth party condemns Abra bombing: ‘Duterte’s All-Out War wantonly destroying people’s lives’ - Mon, 03/20/2017 - 05:19

Kabataan Partylist condemns the military’s “intensified pursuit operations” in Malibcong, Abra. “The only casualties here are the community and the people. This is madness! This is terror!”, Kabataan partylist Rep. Sarah Elago said.

On March 16, four (4) fighter jets of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) indiscriminately dropped bombs on Malibcong, Abra as part of the combat operations of the 24th Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army under the 7th Infantry Division otherwise known as the notorious “Palparan Division”.

According to reports from the Cordillera Human Rights Alliance (CHRA) and local organizations, the bombs razed the forested part of Barangay Lat-ey in Bangilo and affected the uma or swidden farms, grazelands and rice fields of the Tingguians belonging to the Mabaka, Banao and Gubang tribes.

At least 14 bombs were dropped in forests and farmlands affecting at least 56 families, including around 200 children. Classes were suspended in the area in the midst of the operation.

On March 18, two days later, Kabataan Partylist members in the local chapter, namely Antonio Ambalneg Jr. and Joshua Gumatay, KPL-Malibcong Chapter secretary-general, were also illegally arrested for their alleged ties with the New People’s Army (NPA), and detained for about 7 hours.

The youth party joins the community in condemning this attack on the people’s livelihood and welfare, under the continuing military operations under the AFP’s flagship counterinsurgency program Oplan Kapayapaan, further fanned by Duterte’s declaration of ‘all-out war’, pronouncements of ‘flattening the hills’ and disregarding ‘collateral damage’.

“All that Duterte is disregarding here is the people,” Elago said.

“Instead of tackling legitimate issues of agriculture, education, and the roots of armed conflict, Duterte and the AFP is quick in pillaging the mountains, killing the people and limping their livelihoods, especially for our national minorities,” Elago added.

The lawmaker calls on the youth and the people to reprimand Duterte and his cohorts in the AFP for the intensifying fascism under Oplan Kapayapaan and his administration’s fascist maneuvers against the people and the poor.

“Despite pronouncements to continue the peace talks, Duterte’s all-out offensives and terror will only prompt resistance to Duterte’s sham and anti-people ‘change.’ Expect the people to briskly fight back,” Elago said.

Elago calls on the youth and the people to march against the continued state fascism on March 21. ###

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Solons slam AFP’s brutal air strikes on civilian communities - Fri, 03/17/2017 - 03:59
PRESS RELEASE 17 March 2017 References: ACT Teachers Party-List Rep. Antonio Tinio and Rep. France Castro   ACT Teachers Party-List Representatives Antonio Tinio and France Castro condemned the indiscriminate bombing by the Armed Forces of the Philippines in Malibcong, Abra yesterday.   Solons decried the brutality of the means used and the clearly intentional unconscionable damage caused by the military. According to reports from human rights monitor Karapatan and the Mabaka Banao Gubang Tribal Organization (MaBaGu) in Malibcong, four fighter planes of the AFP dropped at least eight bombs in Barangay Lat-ey in Bangilo early yesterday, ...
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Duterte’s “broken vows” slammed as OFWs commemorate Flor Contemplacion’s 22nd death anniversary - Fri, 03/17/2017 - 00:31
On the 22nd death anniversary of overseas Filipino worker Flor Contemplacion, OFWs and families took to the streets alongside workers and other sectors to condemn the Duterte regime’s “broken vows”, among them the failure to end all forms of contractualization, the failure to provide free and decent housing for the poor and the implementation of […]
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Duterte-DOLE’s DO 174 to prey upon workers, graduates joining contractual labor force -youth party - Thu, 03/16/2017 - 10:00

Kabataan Partylist joins millions of workers, especially those from the youth, in denouncing DO 174, which desperately creates the illusion that the Duterte has abolished contractualization. In fact, this DO actualizes DOLE Secretary Bello’s previous pronouncements that certain forms of contractualization are legal, and that DOLE can only regulate and not end contractualization.

“DOLE as just admitted its inutility when it said that it has no power over ending contractualization,” Kabataan Partylist Rep. Sarah Elago said.

“DO 174 is no different from Noynoy Aquino’s DO 18-A which worked under exactly the same premise: merely differentiating ‘legitimate’ from ‘non-legitimate’ contractualization, instead of ending the system altogether. In fact, it is a copy-paste rehash of Aquino’s DO, repackaged under Bello’s deceptive and nonexistent ‘win-win solution’,” Elago added.

Since the implementation of DO 18-A, contractualization has gone more rampant and the number of contractual employees drastically increased. A Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) survey revealed that non-regular employees amounted to 1.336 million, or about 29 percent of 4.472 million workers employed in large establishments, an increase of 16.3 percent from 2012.

“This is clearly against the workers’ just demand, and is contrary to Duterte’s earlier promise of ending all forms of contractualization. It becomes clear that Duterte has no intention of pushing this through,” Elago exclaimed.

“Contractualization continues to subject workers to low wages, anti-worker policies and attacks on the right to unionize, all in the name of capitalist profit. Under the new DO, capitalists will only find new ways to exploit our workers,” Elago explained.

Elago further explained how contractualization is linked with the neoliberal economic framework.

“The global frame is race to the bottom– to attract more foreign investments in the country, the government creates policies that make the climate profitable for big businesses and foreign companies, by guaranteeing profit through cheap labor. Capitalists are more attracted to do business in countries with lower production costs like cheap labor and raw materials,” Elago explained.

The youth party holds Duterte accountable for passing this grossly anti-worker provision and prolonging the workers’ miseries. He would rather choose to side with big businesses and labor contractors, as well as his neoliberal advisers in the cabinet.

“With this DO, we fear that millions of youth, especially those who will graduate and enter the labor force, will fall victim to this injustice. Thus, it is just and necessary to launch actions and massive protests against DOLE, and hold Duterte accountable for his travesties against the people,” Elago concluded.

“We call on the Filipino youth – students, graduates, young professionals, and future workers – to strengthen our unities and intensify the struggle for our demands, especially the fight for a national minimum wage, and the criminalization of contractualization and other anti-worker policies,” Elago said.

The youth party marks the 22nd death anniversary of Flor Contemplacion tomorrow by marching in solidarity with workers calling for these just demands tomorrow, March 17, at Mendiola. ###

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Youth lawmaker slams removal of anti-death penalty solons from key House posts - Thu, 03/16/2017 - 03:14

“Kabataan Partylist expresses its indignation on the declaration of vacancies of committee chairmanships of anti-death penalty solons,” Kabataan Partylist representative Sarah Elago said in a statement.

Makabayan bloc solons were kicked out of chairmanship of the committees on Natural Resources, Public Information and Poverty Alleviation on Congress’ plenary session on Wednesday.

The youth solon condemns the political ‘bullying’ being done by the majority in Congress, especially on the wider context of greater all-out offensives on the people.

“However expected as a clincher for ‘yes’ votes, we condemn this carrot-and-stick method, among all other railroading and strong-arm tactics, of ensuring the passage of an anti-poor and fascist bill,” Elago said.

Elago reiterates that the reimposition of death penalty is part of the all-out fascist measures being waged by the Duterte administration, including the anti-poor ‘war on drugs’ which resumed under Oplan Double Barrel Alpha Reloaded, the moves to promote and reinstate military power through mandatory ROTC, and the continued ‘all-out war’ against the people.

The youth solon calls on the Filipino youth and people to hold Duterte accountable for his all-out fascist measures, and the political repression done in Congress in serious desperation to carry them out.

“Duterte should wield the power of the majority to instate genuine changes to address crime, criminality and armed conflict, instead of continuously waging war on the people,” Elago said.

“We stand by our collective stand to vehemently oppose the re-imposition of death penalty! The struggle to break away from traditional politics and bring in progressive politics of hope,
change and action continues!,” Elago ended.

(photo credit:

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Youth party slams CA bypass of progressive Cabinet secretaries, urges Duterte to support confirmation - Thu, 03/16/2017 - 00:30

KABATAAN Partylist stands behind our pro-people Cabinet members after failing to get the nod of the powerful Commission on Appointments. The youth party urges President Duterte to do the same and to urge Congress and Senate to support their confirmation.

The CA has recently bypassed the appointments of DSWD Secretary Judy Taguiwalo and DAR Secretary Rafael Mariano.

“The bypass of their appointments is alarming. Taguiwalo and Mariano, have long been fighting for the rights and interests of the people in the parliament of the streets, have been the most steadfast in promoting pro-people policies and directly serving the people. The failure to confirm them shows the rottenness of a system that merely advances the interests of the landlord classes and big business elites, especially those in government,” Kabataan Partylist Rep. Sarah Elago said.

Taguiwalo and Mariano’s appointments have been deemed controversial in the face of opposition from several lawmakers. Mariano has been questioned for his pro-farmer stances on agrarian reform and his 2-year moratorium on land conversion for residential, commercial and other uses. Taguiwalo, meanwhile, has been slammed over her stance against ‘pork’ and patronage politics through her decision against channeling DSWD financial assistance funds through congressmen.

Meanwhile, DENR Secretary Gina Lopez has also been bypassed by the CA. Lopez has taken flak from mining companies and academics, and even mining stakeholders in Cabinet, over the closure and suspension orders of mining operations across the country.

“This shows how the ruling class, thru the government, is bent on retaining the status quo, notwithstanding its effects on the environment and the livelihood of the people,” Elago said.

“It is no surprise that the landlord-dominated congress is bent on turning down Mariano and his pro-farmer sentiments, and retaining the backward agriculture of the country. The confirmation of Taguiwalo will be problematic especially for those who wish to retain pork barrel and corruption, which only translates to the prolonged use of positions and policies for profit. And alas, nobody else but imperialist plunderers and big multinational mining companies could benefit with opposing Lopez’ confirmation,” Elago explained.

The youth party calls on the Duterte administration to stand with these progressive Cabinet members and support their confirmation. “We call on Duterte to issue a marching order to his allies in both Houses to support the confirmation of Taguiwalo, Mariano and Lopez,” Elago said.

“If he is sincere in proclaiming himself a ‘leftist,’ he must support these leaders and their pro-people policies. If the ‘change’ he espouses is truly progressive and pro-people, then he must stand behind them, especially the secretaries from the Left. Otherwise, he will prove to be no different in maintaining the rotten, corrupt, and oppressive system,” Elago added.

“The youth and Filipino people, on the other hand, vows to intensify its struggle for free education, national industrialization, genuine agrarian reform, and the the many other national democratic ideals which the people have long fought for,” Elago concluded. ###

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Solons condemn militarization in Nasugbu, Batangas - Tue, 03/14/2017 - 09:15
ACT Teachers Representatives Antonio Tinio and France Castro condemned the continuing harassment and forcible reconcentration of the Armed Forces in the Philippines (AFP) of 200 residents in four sitios in Nasugbu, Batangas.   According to reports, troops herded farmers off their lands and communities to Balagbag Elementary School last March 8. A clash occured between the New People’s Army (NPA) and the 730th Combat Group of the Philippine Air Force, the 59th Infantry Battalion and the 202nd Infantry Division of the Philippine Army after two days. The residents were then told to ...
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On Kristel Tejada’s 4th year death anniversary, quest for free education continues - Tue, 03/14/2017 - 03:50

Senate’s “Affordable Higher Education for All” contrary to youth and students’ interests – youth party

KABATAAN Partylist joins the UP community and the Filipino youth in calling for free quality education and the junking of neoliberal policies on education that intensifies deregulation and commercialization of education in the country.

Youth groups blame these policies for the demise of UP Manila student Kristel Tejada four years ago. Coincidentally, on Monday, the Senate passed on third and final reading Senate Bill 1304 or the Affordable Higher Education for All Act, perhaps with Kristel, and many other students who took their life, in mind.

But four years since her death, the struggle for free public education continues, as students and youth groups from UP and other schools stormed the steps of Palma Hall at UP Diliman and the gates of CHED today.

Senate bill retains high costs of education

The youth party expresses grave concern on the premise of the bill. “While we recognize the Senate’s good intent in passing the bill, we fear that the Senate version risks of restricting access to higher education, rather than making it available to all,” said Elago.

“The State policy to which the bill is grounded is pretext for socialized tuition, in toto–

“Section 2. Declaration of Policy.– It is hereby declared that universal access to quality education is an inalienable right of the Filipino. Therefore, it shall be the policy of the State to make higher education accessible to all, especially to the financially disadvantaged but deserving students by recognizing the complementary roles of public and private higher education institutions (HEIs) and technical-vocational institutions (TVIs) in delivering quality education. Towards this end, the State shall renew its constitutionally mandated duty to make education its top budgetary priority by providing tuition subsidy and financial assistance to students in State Universities and Colleges (SUCs), private HEIs and TVIs.”

Section 8 (a), meanwhile, mandates SUCs to establish a “meritocratic and equitable” mechanism to implement the tuition subsidy.

“Instead of providing free education to the poor, we are wary that such a mechanism might even hinder access to education. Such words have been the rationale behind the socialized tuition system (STS) of the UP system, as well as CHED pronouncements pointing toward a nationwide STS scheme for all SUCs,” Elago explained.

Elago cited data from the Philippine Collegian saying that 1 out of 10 students under STS apply for loans, and 3 out of 4 appeal for a lower bracketing.

Elago added that the STS, and its predecessor Socialized Tuition and Financial Assistance Program (STFAP), has legitimized massive profiteering in UP, through increases in tuition and other school fees. Income generated from students was used to fund the Acacia and Centennial Dormitories. In 2015 alone, UP amassed a total savings of P11.4 billion, a big bulk of which is sourced from tuition and other school fees collections from students.

Section 12, meanwhile, seeks to strengthen CHED’s Student Financial Assistance Programs (StuFAP) system. “The bill actually admits that public higher education will not be free. This provision further gives leeway for schools to still impose and even hike OSFs, under the excuse that these could be waived through financial assistance which students have to apply and prove their worth for,” Elago said.

“It does not address the deregulated nature of the determination of cost of OSFs, which can be used to legitimize collection of redundant, exorbitant and dubious fees and further profiteering,” Elago added. SB 1304 prohibits the collection of “any fees other than miscellaneous and other school fees.”

The Senate bill also provides for tuition subsidy for students who wish to enroll in private higher educational institutions (HEIs).

“We see it as greatly favoring the private sector. It’s guaranteed profit for these private schools. These schools, consequently, will increase their cost of attendance in order to wring out more profit from students,” Elago said.

Neoliberal attacks on education slowly killing us all

“Neoliberal attacks on education only intensified with the change of administration. Deregulation policies on tuition and other school fees in SUCs and private schools remain and are in fact heavily used and abused to justify annual tuition and other school fee increases,” Elago said.

Under the previous administration, a total of six documented cases of education-related suicides have been recorded. Aside from Tejada, among the documented cases are those of:

  • Jayson Masancay, Biology student from the University of the East
  • Rosanna Sanfuego of Cagayan State University
  • Jhoemary Azaula of Eulogio Amang Rodriguez Institute of Science and Technology
  • Nilna Habibun, student from Zamboanga Sibugay
  • Jessiven Lagatic, graduating student of Central Bicol State University of Agriculture

Call to youth: continue the struggle for free education

“This move by the Senate reaffirms our belief that only through our collective action can we achieve and uphold our democratic rights. We now call on the Filipino youth and students to organize ourselves and intensify our struggle for the inalienable right to education,” Elago said.

“Duterte should veer away from moribund policies that enslave the Filipino people to poverty, hunger and social injustice. He has yet to prove that he has the political will to deviate from his predecessors, otherwise, the youth will not think twice to hold his administration accountable for his historical disservice to the Filipino people,” Elago added.

“The youth will be relentless in fighting for our rights. Bigger protests are slated nationwide to denounce neoliberal policies,” Elago ended. ###

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Anakpawis urges Duterte to call off bombing runs, militarizing farmer communities - Mon, 03/13/2017 - 04:51

On the resumption of GRP-NDFP peace talks
Anakpawis urges Duterte to call off bombing runs, militarizing farmer communities

Manila, Philippines – Anakpawis Party-list today expressed optimism over the resumption of the peace negotiations between the government (GRP) and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) set on the first week of April. In this light, Anakpawis Representative Ariel “Ka Ayik” Casilao urged the president to call off his pronouncement of bombing communities or even to “flatten hills” in pursuit of New People’s Army (NPA) guerrilla fighters, as well as military occupation of farmer commnunities.

“It is apparent that the president continue to heed the call for the resumption of the talks. Hence, we take advantage of this opportunity to demand respect of human rights, especially of non-combatants, against violations such as aerial bombings and military occupation of their communities,” Casilao said in a statement.

Casilao said that aerial bombings or shellings of communities run counter to the GRP-NDFP 1998 Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL), that stated on Part III, Respect for Human Rights, Article No. 2, No. 15, “The right not to be subjected to forced evacuations, food and other forms of economic blockades and indiscriminate bombings, shellings, strafing, gunfire and the use of landmines,” and also to the internationally-recognized the Hague Convention of 1907, particularly the Convention respecting the Laws and Customs of War on Land, Article No. 125, “The attack or bombardment, by whatever means, of towns, villages, dwellings, or buildings which are undefended is prohibited.”

“To offset this, we strongly urge to fully commit on the agreements of both panels such as the full implementation of the JASIG, releases of the NDFP consultants, sickly, elderly and women political prisoners, as well as all, and ultimately implement CARHRIHL,” he said.

The Utrecht Joint Statement issued by both panels, included (1) reaffirmation of past agreements such as the JASIG, CARHRIHL and The Hague Joint Declaration; (2) ceasefires before the fourth round of formal talks in April; (3) release of a re-arrested NDFP consultant and ensure immunity of the consultants; (4) releases of NDFP consultants and political prisoners on humanitarian grounds; (5) safekeeping of the list under JASIG; (5) the forth round of talks will be on the first week of April and the fifth in June.

“The perspective for a sustained peace negotiations is standing and the only stumbling block and complication is the all-out war being waged by the AFP and DND, we urge the president against warmongering of the military, and stay firm on the road to peace,” Casilao said.

He cited the cases of the continuing military operation in Nasugbu, Batangas where 200 farmers were forcedly evacuated as soldiers conduct military operations; in Quirino province, peasants evacuated their communities to avoid clashes between the operating AFP and the NPA; in Mabini, Compostela Valley, the AFP indiscriminately dropped bombs in the villages of Del Pilar, Cabuyuan, Panggibiran, Libudon and Cadunanang. This is aside from the increasing number of farmer-victims to extra-judicial killings.

“I urge members of the House to keep watch of the development of the talks, as obviously, this would affect their respective constituents, also to stand firm in calling for the resumption of the talks and heed their constituents’ call for fundamental reforms,” Casilao urged. ###

Anakpawis Party-list Representative Ariel Casilao, 0998-985-2143
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As peace talks resume: youth party calls for investigation of state fascism, ceasefire violations - Sun, 03/12/2017 - 09:17

KABATAAN Partylist welcomes the joint resolution to resume the GRP-NDFP peace talks and call on the Filipino youth and the people to make this an opportunity to intensify their just struggles and demands.

This should start with the immediate investigation of armed hostilities and atrocities committed during the ceasefire declarations as well as after the suspension of the peace talks, including the killings, illegal arrests and harassment of legal activists and civilians and the displacement of communities, and other atrocities ongoing under the AFP’s Oplan Kapayapaan.

Among such cases are the illegal arrest of BAYAN Metro Manila officer Ferdinand Castillo, the bomb attacks on Lumad communities in Sarangani, and the recent forced confinement of residents in a school in Nasugbu, Batangas.

As of March 2, twenty civilians were already killed after the GRP and NDFP terminated its unilateral ceasefire and Duterte declared all-out war. This month, among the victims are Ramon and Leonela Pesadilla, anti-mining advocates and Lumad sympathizers from Compostela Valley.

Another motive of the GRP in resuming the peace talks exposes itself as statements from Duterte and spokespersons Bello and Dureza point to the talks being exploited for capitulation and pacification. In December, Duterte even treated the political prisoners as “trump cards” by demanding a bilateral ceasefire even before, and in exchange for their release.

The GRP’s initiative is also unstable in the midst of the fascist atmosphere being set up by the administration’s all-out offensives on the people. Just this week, the death penalty bill is passed in Congress, and the war on drugs is relaunched as “Oplan Double Barrel Reloaded.” Duterte also floated on Thursday the proposal of imposing martial law on Mindanao.

The Duterte administration should stop fostering an atmosphere of peace based on silence and capitulation, and pursue the peace talks with utmost sincerity by upholding the previous signed agreements of the CARHRIHL and JASIG, immediately stopping the all-out war on the people, and upholding the pledge to release the 400 and counting political prisoners.

The AFP and its commander-in-chief Duterte should also be held accountable for previous violations of the GRP’s unilateral ceasefire and for their heightened all-out offensives. The immediate investigation of the aforementioned violations should be included as part of the next round of talks. Their continued terror against the people remains the largest stumbling block to genuine and just peace.

The concerns of the youth, including free education at all levels, should also be included in the agenda of the peace talks, especially as part of the Comprehensive Agreement on Socio-Economic Reforms (CASER).

If the administration is sincere in promoting peace and change, then it should be based on addressing the root causes of poverty, criminality and armed conflict, and not on imposing fear and fascism against the people. ###

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Ipagbunyi ang makabuluhang buhay ni Kasamang Paul Aringo (1992-2017), huwarang lider-kabataan at rebolusyonaryo! - Sun, 03/12/2017 - 06:17
“Ang lahat ng tao ay tiyak na mamamatay, ngunit ang kamatayan ay maaaring mag-iba ng kabuluhan.  Ang mamatay alang-alang sa sambayanan ay higit na mabigat kaysa Bundok Sierra Madre, subalit ang maglingkod sa mga pasista at ang mamatay para sa mga mapagsamantala at mapang-api ay higit na magaan kaysa balahibo.” – Kasamang Mao Zedong Taos-pusong […]
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