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Lunes, Agosto 31, 2020

Workers pay tribute to fallen frontliners; call for mass testing, work safety, jobs

NEWS RELEASE | 31 August 2020

On National Heroes Day, workers under the banner of United Workers paid tribute to the hardwork and heroism of frontline workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a symbolic protest action at the Bantayog ng mga Bayani in Quezon City, the workers from Kilusang Mayo Uno, Nagkaisa! Labor Coalition and Paggawa paid tribute to the 38 fallen medical workers by offering flowers. They also paid tribute to heroes of the working class, some are included in the Wall of Remembrance of the Bantayog ng mga Bayani.

“Today, we pay tribute to our medical workers who battle the COVID-19 pandemic at the frontlines, in service of the people. They are our modern heroes. We also remember heroes of the working class from the past, from Gat Andres Bonifacio and Amado V. Hernandez, to Ka Lando and Ka Bert Olalia, and Crispin ‘Ka Bel’ Beltran, who led the Filipino people in the most trying times of our nation’s history, who fought for our freedoms and the greatness of our country. We give them a high salute!” said Elmer Labog, Chairperson of Kilusang Mayo Uno.

Labog added that leadership emulated by Filipino heroes is very much needed in this time of pandemic and crisis, something the Duterte Administration and the IATF utterly failed to do, to the detriment of people’s health, rights and livelihood.

As they remember those who sacrificed their lives in the line of duty, the workers reiterated their call for free mass testing, to secure the safety of workplaces and to provide hazard pay to all the frontliners in different fronts of activity during the pandemic.

“We know there are people dying including many of our frontliners.  But we see  our frontliners still bravely fighting. Despite low pay and lack of PPEs, they care enough to make life worth living in this time of pandemic. Despite the threat to their own lives, our health care workers are courageously healing those who are sick. They are risking their own lives in order to make a better life for us.  They are our living heroes fighting on the frontlines and worthy to be recognized with our concrete attention on National Heroes Day,” said Atty. Sonny Matula, President of Federation of Free Workers, and Chairperson of Nagkaisa Labor Coalition.

Trade unions press for regular free testing, quarantine leave, hazard pay for health workers in the private sector, and much needed rest for frontline workers. They also demand that those who are under job orders or contract of service schemes need to be regularized under the civil service law as mandated by the Universal Health Care Law.

As millions of workers lose their job due to the pandemic, the worker’s coalition challenged the Duterte government to institute meaningful reforms and economic policies that promote and build local industries, mobilize local resources, and generate jobs for Filipinos.

"We owe our very lives to the heroism of the toiling masses. Though unwell, the Filipino people are still alive to endure the twin scourges of a pandemic and a global economic slowdown. On this year's National Heroes Day, we say thank you to those who produce and distribute our needs, to those who toil in farms, to those who are deemed essential but are paid with starvation wages, to those who transport both people and commodities, to those at the medical frontlines, to people of science who are in frantic search for a vaccine, to those who create art to shield us from depression and hopelessness. In the same manner, we are reserving our most scathing cuss words against a bungling and incompetent regime that is more concerned with plunder and its ratings with vulturous credit and finance institutions,"  Paggawa spokesperson Leody De Guzman.

United Workers urged fellow workers to persist in unity, organizing and building unions,  to advance the urgent demands for people’s health, jobs and rights in the face of the COVID pandemic and the worst economic crisis in the country.


Elmer Labog, Kilusang Mayo Uno Chairperson
Atty. Sonny Matula, Nagkaisa Chairperson
Leody de Guzman, Paggawa Spokesperson

Huwebes, Agosto 20, 2020

BMP to Rep. Quimbo: Don't turn back the clock; Labor demands transition to single payer healthcare

Press Release
20 August 2020


The Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino (BMP) registered its opposition today to Rep. Stella Quimbo's HB 7429 which proposes to privatize the embattled Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PHIC). The group instead asked the Marikina lawmaker to file a bill to facilitate the transition towards single payer healthcare. 

"We would like to remind Teacher Stella that the world is already transitioning towards fully-state funded healthcare systems. The privatization of Philhealth is an anachronistic move that will only further relegate us to developmental backwaters. Hospital care and outpatient services would be inaccessible to those who could not pay medical bills to private hospitals and could not afford costly insurance premiums to private health maintenance organizations or HMOs. Proof of this is the healthcare system in the United States," BMP president Ka Leody de Guzman said. 

"Kaunti lang ang may medical insurance sa anyo ng HMO sa ating mga kababayan para mayroong pampaospital kapag naaksidente o nagkasakit. Mahal kasi ang premium at mababa ang sweldo ng mga manggagawa. Kaya inuuna ang pang-araw-araw na pangangailangan bago ang balang araw at posibleng gastusin sa pagpapaospital," he added. 

The labor group added that some sectors, such as the BPO industry, have included medical insurance as part of its employee benefits.  However, they argued that such coverage is terminated once you are out of work, and it should be noted that regularization is not a practice of the business process outsourcing industry.

According to BMP the lack of medical insurance for workers is experienced by more industries such as manufacturing, wholesale and retail, and other services, who are more reliant on Philhealth than on private HMOs. Most products of private HMOs do not cater to senior citizens. 

"We are one with Rep. Stella Quimbo in seeking ways to reform the corruption-riddled state institution for health insurance. But the solution to the healthcare malaise caused by the abuse of the case rate system is to rollback the profit-oriented private healthcare sector. The proposal for Philhealth privatization would only worsen its present defects. People before profit! This could be done by increasing government ownership of hospitals or through its outright nationalization, and by instituting and implementing open and transparent regulatory measures for Philhealth transactions," de Guzman explained.

De Guzman noted that private sector may still be "engaged in a limited manner" in healthcare via service and management contracts, but the national government "must actively seek to own all tertiary hospitals" while local governments "should fully be capable of providing complete primary healthcare for free."

The BMP leader also asked Congress to take a look at the current move by the Spanish government to nationalize its hospitals, in a bid to coordinate better its response to the CoViD-19 pandemic.

"If Quimbo's proposal is approved, we can say goodbye to our commitments to the UN Declaration on Primary Health Care. Worse, we would give a free rein to private capital to profit from the misery of the ailing and unwell," de Guzman concluded. #

For reference, please contact: Leody De Guzman

Martes, Agosto 18, 2020

Pakikiisa ng BMP sa manggagawa ng PhilHealth

Agosto 18, 2020


Ang Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino (BMP) ay nakikiisa sa mga kawani ng Philhealth, na kinakatawan ng PhilHealth Workers for Hope, Integrity, Transparency and Empowerment (PhilHealth-WHITE), sa kanilang panawagan para sa imbestigasyon sa nabulgar na anomalya sa pondo ng pampublikong institusyon ng health insurance.  

Sumusuporta din kami sa tama at napapanahong panawagan ng PhilHealth-WHITE para sa pagtatalaga ng caretaker sa naturang institusyon kasabay ng pagbibitiw at leave of absence ng mga opisyal nito.  

Sa pagtatalaga ng caretaker, dapat sundin ni Duterte ang PhilHealth Law (Republic Act 11223 o Universal Healthcare Law) ukol sa kwalipikasyon ng itatalagang pinuno ng Philhealth. Nakasaad sa batas na dapat mayroon siyang sapat at kinakailangang pagsasanay at minimum na pitong (7) taon na karanasan sa larangan ng public health, management, finance, at health economics o kombinasyon ng naturang mga kasanayan. 

Subalit, dahil matagal nang isyu ang korapsyon sa PhilHealth, kailangang lumagpas pa sa minimum na rekisito na itatakda ng batas. Hindi tulad ng pagkakatalaga kay Ricardo Morales na maaring pumasa sa batas dahil sa kanyang track record bilang CEO ng AFP Mutual Benefit Association Inc, at vice president at general manager ng AFP General Insurance Corporation. Subalit kapos na kapos ang kanyang karanasan para maging timon ng Philhealth. 

Hindi lamang dahil may ito ay milyon-milyong myembro na lumawak pa nang ginawang unibersal ang coverage nito noong Pebrero 2019. Mas pa, kumpara sa sundalo't kapulisan na regular ang kinikita (at taon-taong pang nagkakaroon ng pagtataas sa badyet ang AFP-PNP), ang myembro ng Philhealth ay karamihang mga nagmula sa mga manggagawang kapos na kapos ang kinikita at mga nagmula sa informal sector na hindi konsistent ang mga hanapbuhay. Napakalaking insulto sa amin na mabalitaan ang mga nabulgar na korapsyon sa Philhealth (pati ang diumano'y sakit ng mga opisyal nito para makaiwas sa imbestigasyon ng senado). Iyan ay pera namin. Mula sa sama-samang pawis at dugo ng libo-libong manggagawa't mahihirap, na wala nang aasahan pa kundi ang Philhealth kung kami ay magkakasakit o maoospital. Alam naman nating lahat na wala nang mabubunot pa ang masang Pilipino para sa mga gastusin sa pagpapaospital at pagkakasakit sapagkat ang kanilang sweldo't kita ay kulang pa nga sa kanilang pinakabatayang pangangailangan sa araw-araw.  

Dahil dito, iginigiit ng BMP (sa ngalan ng aming kasapian na pawang mga myembro at nagbibigay ng kontribusyon sa Philhealth) na ilagay ang isang caretaker na hindi lamang eksperto sa larangan ng health insurance. Nananawagan kami na ihirang dito ang isang pinuno na may napatunayang integridad, walang bahid ng korapsyon, at makakapagbigay ng buong atensyon sa paglilinis ng ahensya at sa pagtitiyak ang patuloy nitong pagseserbisyo sa mga myembro (hindi sa mga pribadong ospital, na dati nang nasangkot sa mga anomalya ukol sa medical reimbursement). 

Sumusuporta kami sa panawagan ng Philhealth-WHITE na maging ang chairperson ng Philhealth Board na si DOH Secretary Francisco Duque ay lumiban din sa mga imbestigasyon. Hindi lang ito dahil sa kanyang lumulubog na tiwala sa kanya ng publiko dahil sa palpak na tugon ng administrasyong Duterte sa pandemyang COVID19. Higit dito, ang kanyang klase ng pamumulitika (gaya ng kanyang pagtutol sa travel ban dahil sa pangambang sumama ang loob ng gobyerno ng Tsina) ay malamang na pumaypay sa lahat ng pagdududa sa cover-up at whitewashing sa magaganap na imbestigasyon.    

Sa magaganap na imbestigasyon, hinihikayat namin ang mga kawani ng Philhealth na ibulgar ang nasasagap at nakikita ninyong mga anomalya sa inyong ahensya. Ito na ang oportunidad para sa tuwirang paglilinis sa Philhealth.  

Sa huli, nananawagan kami sa senado't kongreso na balangkasin ang de-corporatization ng Philhealth tungo sa isang single-payer na pampublikong healthcare system, laluna sa usapin ng pagpinansya sa emergency care, outpatient services at hospitalization ng mamamayang Pilipino. Isa ito sa mga paraan upang unahin ang kalusugan ng taumbayan bago ang tubo ng iilang may-kapital. #

Lunes, Agosto 17, 2020

BMP kay Duterte spokesperson Harry Roque

17 August 2020


Tinuligsa ng grupong Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino (BMP) si Harry Roque, ang tagapagsalita ng pangulo, dahil sa mga komento nito hinggil sa nakaraang SWS survey na nagpapakitang ang 45.5% ng may gulang o adultong Pilipino – o 27.3 milyong katao – ang walang trabaho.

Nakita sa survey – na isinagawa noong Hulyo 3-6 – na 21% ng adulto ay nawalan ng trabaho/ikinabubuhay noong panahon ng krisis ng COVID-19. May 21% pang nawalan ng trabaho/ikinabubuhay bago pa ang pandemya. 

"Habang masaya niyang ipinapahayag ang datos na ang mga nawalan ng trabaho ay hindi umabot sa 100% at sa paggigiit pang ito'y dahil sa ating pagiging may kakayahang umakma sa panahon, grabeng ininsulto ni G. Roque ang 27.3 milyong Pilipinong nawalan ng trabaho na di na malaman ang gagawin kung paano pa mabubuhay sa mga susunod na araw. Ang kanyang toksikong pagka-positibo ay kahangalan at nakakagalit," sabi ni Pangulong Luke Espiritu ng BMP.

Pagkahumaling sa resiliyensa

"Ang nakakasukang pahayag ni G. Roque ay isa na namang pagtatangka ng rehimeng Duterte na balewalain lang ang tindi ng sitwasyong kinakaharap ng milyun-milyong manggagawa habang walang kawawaang tinatapik ang sarili nilang balikat kahit na sila'y walang kakayahang tumugon sa pandemya!" dagdag pa ng abugado ng paggawa.

"Ang datos mula sa SWS ay hindi ebidensya ng kakayahang umakma ng mamamayang Pilipino sa pagtangan sa krisis dulot ng pandemya. Sa halip, patunay ito ng kawalang kakayahan o harapang pagtanggi ng rehimeng Duterte na epektibong matugunan ang kalagayan ng masang manggagawa," sabi pa ni G. Espiritu.

Dati nang kinalampag ng BMP ang mahigpit na programang stimulus ng administrasyong Duterte na layuning tulungan umano ang mga manggagawa at MSME lamang ng P162 Bilyong nakalaan sa Bayanihan to Recover As One 2 (HB 6953) kumpara sa nasa 1 trilyong inirerekomenda ng ilang mga ekonomista, think tanks, at mga unyon sa paggawa.

Malawakang programa ng pampublikong pag-eempleyo

Sinabi pa ni Espiritu na "hindi lang numero ang 45%. Sinasagisag nito ang 27.3 milyong naghihirap na Pilipino. Ang nakakainis pa sa sinabi G. Roque ay hindi lang ang pagwawalang bahala niya sa kahirapan at pagdurusa ng halos kalahati ng bilang ng pwersa ng paggawa, wala rin siyang ipinakitang anumang plano kung paano nila matatakasan ang kanilang paghihirap. Hinggil naman sa plano ng rehimeng Duterte para sa sapat na kapasidad ng ating sistemang pangkalusugan laban sa pandemya, wala silang masabi hinggil sa isang komprehensibong plano upang magkaroon ng ikabubuhay ang mga nawalan ng trabaho."

Isinusulong ng BMP ang isang pampublikong programa sa pag-empleyo na nakaangkla sa pagbuo ng mga trabaho sa mga sektor ng  kalusugan at paggawa ng pagkain ay kinakailangan upang mabawasan ang datos ng nawalan ng trabaho. Binigyang diin din nila na maaari ring bigyang pansin ng programa ang pagbuo ng mga trabahong pangklima, na ang trabaho’y mula sa makatarungang paglipat mula sa maruming fossil fuels tungo sa malinis at nagbabagong enerhiya, mula sa ekolohikal na nakakapinsala't pumipigang industriya ng pag-eksport hanggang sa mga pang-ekonomiyang aktibidad na tumutugon sa pangangailangan ng mamamayan.

"Ang patuloy na ayudang panlipunan para sa mga nagtatrabaho, walang trabaho at maralitang Pilipino ay kinakailangan, kasama ang pampublikong pamumuhunan sa mga estratehikong sektor ng ekonomiya upang lumikha ng trabaho. Upang baligtarin ang tumitinding resesyon, dapat nating baligtarin ang kasalukuyang ekonomyang nakadepende sa pag-import at nakatutok sa pag-eksport tungo sa pagprayoridad ng produksyon at distribusyon ng batayang pangangailangan ng ating mamamayan. Ayuda at trabaho! Unahin ang pangangailangan ng mamamayan!", pagtatapos ni Espiritu. #

Upang makipag-ugnayan, mangyaring kontakin si Luke Espiritu

Labor Group to Roque: Your Toxic Positivity is Toxic and Revolting

Press Release
17 August 2020


Labor group Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino (BMP) lambasted Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque for his comments on the recent SWS survey that showed that 45.5% Filipino adults  - or 27.3 million people - were jobless.

The survey - conducted last July 3-6 - found that 21% of adults lost their job/livelihood during the COVID-19 crisis. Another 21% lost their job/livelihood before the pandemic. 

"By expressing his delight that the unemployment rate did not reach 100% and by further asserting that this was due to our supposed resilience, Mr. Roque deeply insulted the 27.3 million unemployed Filipinos who are currently at a loss on how they are going to survive the foreseeable future. His toxic positivity is stupid and revolting," BMP President Luke Espiritu said.

Resiliency fetish

"Mr. Roque's disgusting remarks is yet another attempt by the Duterte regime to downplay the severity of the situation that millions of workers are facing while also giving themselves an unwarranted pat on the back for their incompetent pandemic response!" the labor lawyer added.

"The data provided by the SWS isn't evidence of the FIlipino people's resiliency in handling the pandemic-induced crisis. Rather, it is evidence of the Duterte regime's inability or blatant refusal to sufficiently address the plight of the working masses," Espiritu said.

The BMP had previously slammed the Duterte administration's stingy stimulus program that aims to aid workers and MSME's only with a mere P162 Billion allocated to the Bayanihan to Recover As One 2 (HB 6953) as opposed to the at least 1 trillion recommended by several economists, think tanks, and trade unions.

Massive public employment program

Espiritu bared that "45% is not just a number. It represents 27. 3 million suffering Filipinos. What makes Mr. Roque's callous indifference more infuriating is not only his disregard to the poverty and misery of the nearly half of the labor force, he also did not present any plan on how to alleviate their suffering. As with the Duterte regime's plans for our health system's sufficient capacitation against the pandemic, they are silent on a comprehensive plan to generate jobs for the unemployed."

The BMP advanced that a public employment program anchored on generating jobs in the healthcare and food-manufacturing sectors would be required to reduce the unemployment rate. They also emphasized that the program could also focus on generating climate jobs, enabling just transition from dirty fossil fuels to clean renewable energy, from ecologically harmful extractive export industries to economic activities that cater to our people's needs.

"Continuous social amelioration for the toiling, unemployed and indigent Filipinos is needed, along with public investment in strategic sectors of the economy to create employment. To reverse the worsening recession, we must reverse the current import-dependent export-oriented economy towards one that prioritizes the production and distribution of the basic needs of our people. Ayuda at trabaho! Unahin ang pangangailangan ng mamamayan!", Espiritu concluded. #

For reference, please contact: Luke Espiritu

Sabado, Agosto 15, 2020

BMP: Failure to rescue MSMEs, workers to "empower Oligarchy"

Press Release
15 August 2020

"Stingy stimulus" anti-competitive, labor group 
BMP: Failure to rescue MSMEs, workers to "empower Oligarchy"

Workers group Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino (BMP) hits the P162 billion standby fund allocated to House Bill No. 6953, or the Bayanihan to Recover As One 2, as "too stingy for a stimulus", says that "allowing small business to fail will destroy competition to big business."

"Is that what (Finance Secretary Carlos) Dominguez and Congress wants? To concentrate the remaining market share to the fewer and fewer giant firms controlled by oligarchs?," asked BMP President Luke Espiritu.

Austerity will worsen unemployment crisis

The labor lawyer also said that "austerity will worsen the unemployment crisis", which has climbed to record-breaking 17.7% with 7.3 million unemployed according to the recent data from Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA).

"What is the primary effect of joblessness? More bargaining power for the remaining big firms. They can always say: Stop complaining, I can fire you are and ten jobless workers will compete for your position," Espiritu said.

Espiritu added that "not only capital is concentrated to oligarch corporations as small business fail, the power of these corporations to repress wages is also intensified."

"We are now in an ongoing retrenchment wave. The labor department itself released data that at least 157,705 workers were already displaced from January to August," Espiritu said.

Government can stop recession

Espiritu appeals to the bicameral committee to review the amount and consider other stimulus proposals from worker's groups and other think tanks.

"I do not understand how (Speaker Alan Peter) Cayetano's Congress can go from discussing the P1.3 trillion Accelerated Recovery and Investments Stimulus for the Economy (ARISE) bill to this pittance," Espiritu said.

Espiritu added that even the National Economic and Development (NEDA) authority itself projects a 5.5% drop in end-year growth rates, "which translates to P960 billion loss in output".

"Shouldn't we at least spend a trillion? The government can practically ensure that there is no recession for this year. And yet it will allow all of us to suffer," Espiritu concluded.##

For reference, please contact: Luke Espiritu

Lunes, Agosto 10, 2020

Lorenzana slammed on NCR's 'readiness' for return to GCQ

Press Release
10 August 2020

Lorenzana slammed on NCR's 'readiness' for return to GCQ

Militant labor group Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino (BMP) rebuked National Task Force Against Covid-19 Chairman Delfin Lorenzana's assertion that Metro Manila is ready to revert to GCQ status once the modified enhanced community quarantine lapses on August 18.

Lorenzana cited yesterday's decline in reported cases to around 3,000 from the 6,263 peak last August 4. He also justified Metro Manila's readiness for GCQ by stating that the economy can no longer suffer.

BMP Chairperson Ka Leody De Guzman queried: "How can Mr. Lorenzana say that we are 'ready' just because of a single-day drop in reported cases? Even to the casual eye the recent Covid-19 data shows that there is no such evidence to say that we are 'ready.' A mere single-day drop in reported new cases (from 4,131 on August 8 to 3,028 yesterday) is not at all encouraging considering that the highest single-day record of new cases (6,263 last August 4) occurred after a much steeper drop (4,953 last August 2 to 3,145 on August 3). Mr. Lorenzana also omitted that the number of daily reported deaths increased from 41 to 61 deaths yesterday." 

"Once again, another former general presuming himself to be a medical expert is endangering Filipinos further with his pompous statements. Simply put, the fluctuating numbers cannot prove that we are in the clear. Furthermore, the Duterte Regime's continuing lack of a comprehensive and coherent plan to combat the pandemic, led by real medical experts and professionals, shows that it is the government that is still unprepared for countering the greatest health and economic crisis our country has ever experienced!" the veteran labor activist contended.

The BMP further argued that Lorenzana's premature judgments reveal his, and by extension, the Duterte Regime's real preoccupation of restarting the economy as opposed to prioritizing the capacitation of our health system against the Covid-19 pandemic.

De Guzman further expounded "who is Lorenzana consulting in making these inane remarks? Capitalists and oligarchs losing profits due to quarantine restrictions, or medical experts and professionals? In their appeals to reopen and prioritize the economy, the Duterte Regime has been consistent with imposing this false dichotomy on the FIlipino working masses: either die by hunger or by Covid-19."

"This false choice they have been peddling is malicious and further demonstrates the gross incompetence of President Duterte and his lackeys - like Lorenzana - in handling this crisis. They continue to ignore the growing number of health experts, economists, trade unions, and civil society organizations asserting that prioritizing the country's health system is a necessary condition for economic recovery. The negative effects caused by quarantine restrictions can be countervailed by utilizing public funds (including the trillions procured from debt) for capacitating the health system and social amelioration for the working poor and unemployed," the labor leader concluded.

The BMP previously asserted in a statement that community quarantine could only work when the following measures are taken:

1. Mandating of paid quarantine leaves to workers for the entire duration of the ECQ;

2. Sufficient and unconditional social amelioration programs for all those affected by the ECQ;

3. Free mass testing, efficient contact tracing, and more isolation centers;

4. Rechanneling of public funds into capacitating health system;

5. Active hiring and regularization of public health workers;

6. Tapping trade unions and community organizations in implementing community quarantine.## 

For reference, please contact: Leody De Guzman

May 1, 2013 rali

Das Kapital published on 14 Sept 1867

Das Kapital published on 14 Sept 1867

Itigil ang Tanggalan!

Itigil ang Tanggalan!
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Slam Evil, Slam Apec

Slam Evil, Slam Apec
November 1996