Biyernes, Oktubre 30, 2020
Mayorya ng mga pamilya ng manggagawa ay kumokonsumo ng mahigit 200 kwh kada buwan. Lalupa dahil ang "work from home" at "online schooling" ay pinatatakbo ng mga elektronikong mga kasangkapan.
Kaya kaunti lamang ang makikinabang sa advisory na ito ng ERC.
Ang panawagan ng manggagawa't mamamayan: (1) Moratorium sa bill shock, (2) Imbestigahan ang biglaang pagtaas sa singil ng Meralco sa panahon ng lockdown, (3) Huwag pahirapan ang hirap nang taumbayan dahil sa kawalan at kakapusan sa kabuhayan. (4) Parusahan ang mga negosyanteng sinasamantala ang pandemya at resesyon, (5) WALANG PUTULAN, TULOY ANG LABAN!
Miyerkules, Oktubre 28, 2020
28 October 2020
DOLE'S EXTENSION OF FLOATING STATUS ANTI-WORKER AND ILLEGAL
The Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino (BMP) vehemently condemned DOLE Secretary Bello's Department Order 215-20, which allows the extension of floating status for workers beyond the original 6 months stipulated in the Labor Code.
"This is yet another instance of the Duterte administration's utilization of the pandemic to prioritize the profits of capitalists over the rights and dignity of workers," BMP President Luke Espiritu said.
The labor lawyer added that, "D.O. 215 allows employers to minimize, if not totally circumvent, the payment of separation pay commensurate to the length of service employees have rendered. This measure blatantly eschews any recognition of the worsening conditions of Filipino workers under the pandemic."
BMP pointed out that D.O. 215 merely legitimizes an already rampant practice by employers since the pandemic began. According to the labor group, thousands of workers have been put under floating status since the first months of the pandemic.
They also averred that, like Sec. Bello's previous Labor Advisory 17 earlier this year, which enabled companies to reduce wages and benefits, D.O. 215 is prone to abuse by employers.
"There are no measures in place for the DOLE to verify if the extension of suspension is actually necessary for a company's survival. Employers merely have to notify DOLE of the extension 10 days prior to its effectivity. As such, D.O. 215 can be used as another tool for union-busting and other unfair labor practices," bared Espiritu.
BMP also underscored that D.O. 215 is blatantly illegal for it is only congress that has the power to amend the Labor Code, especially for an issue as damaging to the working class as this extension of floating status.
"We call on the Philippine working class and the organized labor movement to unite in struggle against this illegal anti-worker measure, as it did against the attempted delaying of 13th month pay," Espiritu concluded.
For reference, please contact: Luke Espiritu
Lunes, Oktubre 26, 2020
26 October 2020
LABOR GROUP SLAMS CAVITEX LAYOFFS, CALLS FOR JUST TRANSITION FOR TOLL-TELLERS
Socialist labor group Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino (BMP) railed against the Cavitex Infrastructure Corp.'s (CIC) plan to terminate more than 100 toll-tellers operating the toll plazas of the Manila-Cavite Expressway (Cavitex) due to DOTR Sec. Tugade's push for 100% electronic toll collection lanes.
CIC, which is a unit of Manny V. Pangilinan's Metro Pacific Investments Corporation (MPIC), is set to terminate all its toll-tellers by October 31. It was contracted by the GOCC Public Estates Authority Tollway Corporation (PEATC) to manage and operate the expressway.
"The dismissal of 100+ Cavitex workers is yet another episode in a series of mass-layoffs ignited by the Duterte government's callous and ill-conceived schemes to contain the Covid-19 pandemic," said BMP President Luke Espiritu.
DOTR Secretary Arthur Tugade signed Department Order No. 2020-012 last August 13, directing all its attached agencies to fast track the transition to cashless transactions in all toll expressways so as to minimize the risk of COVID-19 transmissions. Thereafter, the Toll Regulatory Board (TRB) required all concessionaires and operators to complete a full transition to automated cashless systems by November 2.
DOLE Compliance Order
The labor lawyer added: "Instead of prioritizing the safety and livelihood of workers in its pandemic response, Duterte and Tugade are unabashedly neglecting expressway workers, who are mostly contractuals under labor-only contractors that are owned by private operators like Pangilinan's MPIC and CIC."
BMP further bared that the Cavitex toll-tellers to be terminated are the same workers covered by a 2018 DOLE compliance order declaring all contractuals in Cavitex as regular employees of PEATC. BMP avers that CIC has refused to implement the compliance order.
"It is an outrage that these workers are to be abruptly terminated without even being recognized as and receiving the benefits of regular workers - a right which they had already struggled for and legally won!" Espiritu said.
Considering the DOTR's transition to cashless transactions, BMP pointed out that toll-tellers are not rendered obsolete by electronic toll collection lanes. The automated systems still suffer from recurring malfunctions requiring quick troubleshooting, evident in the long lines it still produces especially during rush hour.
Espiritu asserted that "these ETC, RFID, and AFCS systems still require consistent and ample technical assistance that can be provided by the same workers it replaced."
BMP also argued that toll-tellers could capacitate the reloading system for these cashless schemes, which are reportedly ill-equipped for the massive increase in users.
"These viable alternatives, as well as the existing and unimplemented compliance order, should be reason enough for both the government and CIC to plan and implement a just transition for Cavitex toll-tellers. We call on the state and all private expressway operators to ensure a just transition to prevent the unnecessary lay-offs of thousands of expressway workers," Espiritu concluded.
For reference, please contact: Luke Espiritu
Biyernes, Oktubre 23, 2020
KASUNDUAN SA CBA NA NILAGDAAN AT PINAGTIBAY IPATUPAD!
Pormal nang naidulog ng ST. LUKE’S MEDICAL CENTER (GC) EMPLOYEES UNION INDEPENDENT (SLMC(GC)EU-IND) sa National Conciliation and Mediation Board ng Department of Labor and Employment (NCMB-DOLE) ang kasong Unfair Labor Practice (ULP)dahil sa patuloy na pagtanggi ng pamunuan ng ospital na ipatupad ang mga kasunduang nasasaad sa Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA).
Pinagkasunduan, nilagdaan, pinagtibay pero ayaw ipatupad
Ang mga economic and non economic provisions ng CBA sa pagitan ng unyon at management ay mahalagang bahagi ng kasunduang nalagdaan at pinagtibay sa pamamagitan ng ratipikasyon ng malaking mayorya ng mga kasapi ng unyon. Mahalaga ang mga probisyong ito na dapat nang kilalanin at tamasahin ng lahat ng mga manggagawang saklaw ng CBA batay sa mga sumusunod na kadahilanan;
Una, ang mga isyu tungkol sa economic provisions na nasasaad sa CBA na inihapag ng unyon sa management gaya ng non-payment of retroactive overtime (actual and on-call) unpaid VL conversion, parent dependent benefits, PPMCC implementation and its’ corresponding retroactive payment, PM/Night differential at kawalan ng IRR tungkol sa salary loans ng mga kasapi ay mahalagang benepisyo na dapat mapakinabangan ng mga kasapi lalo ngayong panahon ng krisis dulot ng pandemya.
Hindi bagong kahilingang benepisyo ang mga nabanggit at ito ay dumaan na sa masinsinang pag-uusap noong naganap negosasyon sa CBA. Negosasyon na humantong sa paglagda ng unyon at management at pinagtibay ng mga membro na umasang maipatutupad ito.
Ikalawa, ang mga non-economic provisions tulad ng mga insidente ng non-approval of Union Leaves, pagbalewala o non-inclusion of union sa pagbubuo at pagpapatupad ng mga polisiya na nakaka-apekto sa trabaho at mga karapatan ng mga kasapi na nasasaad sa CBA at maging ang kabiguan sa obligasyon ng management na ipamahagi ang CBA booklet ay lubhang nakakabahala na mga hakbangin ng management.
Gross CBA Violations = Unfair Labor Practice
Sa dami ng mga paglabag sa CBA ay maliwanag nang may problema na tayo sa paraan ng pagtrato sa atin bilang unyon at bilang mga manggagawa. Sa tatlong beses na idinulog natin ang mga isyung nabanggit sa pamamagitan ng Labor Management Relation Committee (LMRC) meeting ay wala ni isang isyu na ating idinulog ang naresolba.
Matagal na ang mga usaping nabanggit at basa pa ang tinta sa paglagda ng bagong CBA nang hilingin natin sa management ang pagpapatupad ng kasunduang nalagdaan pero para tayong humihila ng bayawak sa lungga sa patuloy nilang pagtanggi. Matagal nang umasa ang mga manggagawa na maipatutupad ito pero sa hindi natin malamang kadahilanan ay bakit ito patuloy na ipinagkakait?
Ang mga pagtanggi ng management ay mga paglabag sa CBA at ito ay hindi simpleng paglabag kungdi maramihan o gross CBA violations at kung ganun ito ay isang kaso ng paglabag sa Labor Code o Unfair Labor Practice.
Ang interbensyon ng NCMB DOLE sa pamamagitan ng Preventive Mediation
Wala nang aasahan ang unyon na maresolba ang sigalot na ito sa loob ng ospital. Ang pasya ng unyon na idulog ito sa kaukulang ahensya ng pamahalaan ang tanging nakikitang paraan upang seryosohin ng management ang kanilang obligasyong ipatupad ang kasunduang nilagdaan at ating pinagtibay. Ang irehistro ang pagtutol natin sa mga pagbale-wala sa karapatan natin bilang manggagawa at bilang unyon na kumakatawan dito.
Ang preventive mediation ay sa layuning pakialaman na ng gobyerno ang sigalot na ito at huwag na itong tuluyang sumabog sa isang mas malalang problema. Ito rin ang ating hangarin, ito rin ang ating dalangin at dapat nating panghawakan ang mga kahilingang ito sa pagtupad ng management sa kung ano ang mga napagkasunduan.
Ang ating panawagan sa mga kasaping manggagawa
Wala tayong nilalabag na batas para tayo ay patuloy na pagkaitan. Hindi kapritso ang kahilingang ipatupad kung ano ang nasasaad sa kasunduan o CBA. Mga mahalagang probisyong ito para sa kakaramput nating kabuhayan at pagkilala sa pagiging kabahagi o magkatuwang lalo ngayong panahon ng matinding krisis dulot ng pandemya.
Hindi tayo naghahanap ng kaguluhan sa loob ng ating pinagtatrabahoan ngunit ang landas tungo sa kapayapaan ay kailangan nating sama-samang tuklasin. Ang pagkatok sa puso at isipan ng pamunuan ng ospital ay sa pamamagitan ng patuloy nating pagkakaisa at ang pagkakaisa natin ay sa batayan ng kawastuhan ng mga isyung ating isinusulong.
Maging mapagmatyag tayo sa mga kaganapang ito ngayong ang isyu o ang kasong ito ay nasa lamesa na ng NCMB DOLE. Maghanda tayo sa pagtugon sa mga posibleng pagkilos na ating isasagawa upang ipakita ang ating pagkakaisa at suporta sa ating mga kahilingan at umasang anumang banta laban sa ating mga karapatan ay ating magagapi kung tayo ay sama-sama at kikilos bilang unyon at bilang manggagawa.
No to Gross CBA Violations!
No to Unfair Labor Practice!
MABUHAY ANG SLMC(GC)EU INDEPENDENT!
MABUHAY ANG MGA MANGGAGAWA NG SLMC GLOBAL!
MABUHAY ANG URING MANGGAGAWA!
ST. LUKE’S MEDICAL CENTER (GC) EMPLOYEES UNION INDEPENDENT
October 23, 2020
Huwebes, Oktubre 15, 2020
IBIGAY ANG 13TH MONTH PAY NG MGA MANGGAGAWA
Kaming mga manggagawa sa ilalim ng alyansang Win For Win - Southern Tagalog ay nagkakaisa sa pagtutol sa iminumungkahi ni DOLE Sec. Silvestre Bello para sa deferment ng 13th month pay o hindi pagkakaloob nito sa mga manggagawa bago sumapit ang kapaskuhan.
Samut-saring hirap ang dinaranas ng mga manggagawa lalo na ng pumasok ang pandemya kung saan marami ang nawalan ng trabaho. Nariyan na tanggalin sa trabaho dahil hindi makapasok bunga ng kawalan ng transportasyon, dinapuan ng sakit na COVID-19 hindi na pinabalik sa trabaho, nabawasan ng araw ng pasok o forced leaves, walang ayudang natanggap mula sa gobyerno at kapitalista, walang bayad pag nakasama sa contact tracing o quarantine pay, kapos na budget sa araw araw na pagpasok sa trabaho, walang mass testing at maayos na quarantine facility pag nagka-Covid, walang maayos na health care system, walang hazard pay at iba pa.
Hindi makatwiran ang hindi pagbibigay ng 13th month pay o pagdedelay nito dahil inaasahan ito ng mga manggagawa mula sa sakripisyong ibinigay nito sa kumpanya para sa kanyang pamilya. Matagal na itong tinatamasa at napagtagumpayang benepisyo ng mga manggagawa. Bukod pa dito ay malinaw na sinasabi sa batas na dapat bigyan ng 13th month pay o bonus ang mga manggagawa bago sumapit ang kapaskuhan.
Hindi lang ang mga namumuhunan ang naapektuhan ng kinakaharap na krisis kundi mas ang mga manggagawa ang lubos na naapektuhan ng krisis ng pandemya dulot ng sakit na COVID-19.
Solidaridad sa Mamamayan ng Thailand na Nakikibaka Para sa Demokrasya
Mula Pebrero, umaagos ang mga protesta para sa demokrasya na pinangunahan ng mga estudyante sa buong Thailand. Pinagsanib nito ang bagong henerasyon ng mga aktibista mula sa dating "Red shirts" at sa mga diskontentong bahagi ng Yellow shirt movement.
Ang kanilang kahilingan: 1) ang pagbibitiw ng rehimeng Prayut, at ang paglulunsad ng bago, malaya, at patas na halalan; 2) mga demokratikong reporma sa konstitusyon; 3) mga reporma para ipasailalim sa batas ang monarkiya, alisin ang mga pribelehiyo nito, at wakasan ang paggamit sa mapanupil na "lese-majeste laws" na ginagamit para patahimikin ang lehitimong protesta.
Ang dating heneral at kasalukuyang prime minister na si Prayut Chan-O-Cha ay nagdeklara ng "malubhang" state of emergency noong Oktubre 15, na ipinagbabawal ang lahat ng pagtitipon ng mahigit lima (5) katao at ang "publikasyon ng mga balita, alternatibong midya, at iba pang elektronikong impormasyon na naglalaman ng mga mensaheng lumilikha ng takot o sadyang pagbabaluktot sa katotohanan at nagpapalubha sa di-pagkakasundo, na may epekto sa pambansang seguridad o sa kapayapaan at kaayusan".
Kasunod nito, ang pulis at militar ay inatasan para marahas na buwagin ang mga nagpoprotesta. Ang mga atake ng kapulisan sa nagaganap na mga pagkilos ay nagsimula noong Oktubre 13, kung kailan ang mga democracy activists ay dumating sa Bangkok, mula sa naghihirap na hilaga-silangang bahagi ng bansa, at nagtayo ng matitirhang tolda sa mga lansangan. Winasak ng mga pulis ang mga istrukturang ito at may dalawampung (20) tao na inaresto. Binuwag din ng mga pulis ang mga protesta sa Government Building noong madaling araw ng Oktubre 15.
May ilan nang mga tanyag na aktibista ang inaresto at may pag-aalalang lulubha pa ang panunupil.
Kami ay nakikiisa sa demokratikong kilusan sa Thailand at iginigiit ang sumusunod na kahilingan:
1) Ang kagyat na pagbawi sa "state of emergency" at ang pagkilala sa karapatang magprotesta;
2) Kagyat na pagpapalaya sa mga democracy movement activists at sa lahat ng bilanggong pulitikal;
3) Ang pagwawakas sa paghahari ng militar at sa paglulunsad ng malaya at patas na eleksyon para sa demokratikong pamahalaan;
4) Demokratikong pagbabago sa konstitusyon; at,
5) Abolisyon sa pyudal na kapangyarihan at sa mga mapanupil na batas kasama ang "lese-majeste laws" na nais patahimikin ang lehitimong protesta at pagpuna.
1. Partido Lakas ng Masa (PLM), Philippines
2. Socialist Party of Malaysia (PSM), Malaysia
3. North South Initiative, Malaysia
4. Sedane Labour Resource Centre (LIPS), Indonesia
5. Working People's Party (PRP), Indonesia
6. Socialist Alliance, Australia
7. Federation of Karya Utama Union (FSBKU), Indonesia
8. Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) Liberation, India
9. BMP (Solidarity of Filipino Workers), Philippines
10. Sanlakas, Philippines
11. Partai Rakyat Demokratik (PRD), Indonesia
12. SPERBUPAS GSBI PT. Panarub Industri, Indonesia
13. Indonesia for Global Justice (IGJ), Indonesia
Lunes, Oktubre 5, 2020
Wave of 1000 strikes ripples across the US as crisis bites
By Chris Zappone
September 30, 2020 — 11.55pm
A wave of more than 1000 primarily unsanctioned, spontaneous strikes has rippled across the United States since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic fuelled by worker safety fears.
The wildcat strikes have been further propelled by protests against racism following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis in May.
About 260 walkouts, sick call-ins and industrial actions were recorded between March 1 and May 31, according to the US-based PayDay Report, which tracks the events. The numbers accelerated by another 750 between June and the beginning of September.
Frustration with weak employee protections and low pay in the service industry has prompted staff to walk off the job in protest over safety amid the surge in coronavirus deaths. The death toll in the US has vaulted over 200,000 following a disjointed response overseen by US President Donald Trump.
“We often hear stories of outside organisers getting involved with a group of workers and prompting them to unionise or strike,” said Dean Baker, senior economist at the left-leaning Centre for Economic and Policy Research.
“With this strike wave, the momentum is coming from the grassroots. Workers have decided that they have had enough and are prepared to press for change.”
Racial inequality is linked to concerns about coronavirus worker safety, as COVID-19 has hit black and brown communities harder than white communities.
While black workers comprise 11.9 per cent of all workers in the US, they make up 17 per cent of front-line workers "forcing them to risk their own and their families’ health to earn a living," according to the Economic Policy Institute, another left-leaning research organisation.
The industrial action has ranged from non-union workers at a meat processing plant and fast-food restaurant workers to academics walking out of universities.
In August, schools in Appomattox, Virginia, had to delay reopening as teachers called in sick in an apparent protest against the handling of the coronavirus outbreak.
The same month, employees of the Selma (Alabama) Water Works and Sewer called in sick after being promised a raise in lieu of the hazard pay for coronavirus work that other city departments received. Elsewhere, abattoir workers walked off the job in Indiana. In September, fast-food workers went on strike in Tampa, Florida, and Los Angeles, California.
As protests over the treatment of black Americans flared in the wake of Floyd's death, the motive for the unofficial strikes widened to include racial fairness.
In June, unionised bus drivers refused to transport arrested BLM protesters in Boston. The same month New Mexico State University teachers stopped for a day in a STEM & Academic strike in sympathy with the BLM protests.
University of Oklahoma graduate students this month called a strike to fight systemic racism.
"We want a society that centres on freedom and justice instead of profit and punishment," the announcement from the organising committee said.
The crowd-funded PayDay Report, which covers labour news in the US, has also received a grant from the CEPR. The Strike Tracker is compiled from local media reports through the US.
Some have been organised strikes such as one by nurses at a COVID-stricken rehab centre near Pittsburgh but most are spontaneous, says Mike Elk, the editor of the report.
The figure is actually an underestimation of the total number of strikes, Elk says, “since so many areas of the country don’t have labour reporting”.
In a sign of the extreme situation in the US, the strikes have surged even as joblessness climbs because of the pandemic-triggered economic slowdown. Since the coronavirus hit, 11.5 million workers have been put out of work, while many in the US’s extensive service economy, work in frontline roles exposed to the dangers of coronavirus.
During the crisis, Americans have frequently faced the choice of doing work that exposes them and their family to coronavirus or losing their job.
Baker says the current wave of strikes follows an upswing in unofficial industrial action in 2018 led largely by non-unionised teachers in states controlled by Republicans in a “reaction to ever worsening pay and conditions”.
Statewide public education strikes two years ago saw teachers fed up with low pay and chronic underfunding walk off the job and, in some cases, converge on their state capitol buildings in a show of dissent.
These actions occurred in mainly Republican-held states such as Oklahoma, Arizona and West Virginia.
“Many of these strikes were not organised by unions, but were rather led by an entirely ad hoc leadership group,” said Baker.
The strikes, occurring against a backdrop of dissent in the Trump era, come more than a decade after the global financial crisis helped expose the extent of inequality in the US.
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania-based labour economist Mark Price said they laid bare the “poor pay and working conditions for a whole class of workers deemed essential in a pandemic from nursing home aids to meat packers to grocery workers”.
Despite the scale of the protests, Price says he has a hard time seeing them as an inflection point for industrial relations in the US.
“I have seen no events that would make me believe that worker power is on the rise,” he said.
“There is a lot of misery for sure and that’s the fuel for change. But the spark to light that misery into change hasn’t been lit.”
He says there remains a lack of worker solidarity. “We are a divided society and far too many workers are content to side with employers.”
Price says, however, that the broader trends of inequality and the spread of precarious work in the US are unsustainable.
“It’s hard to predict when those trends will break,” he says.
Sabado, Oktubre 3, 2020
WORKERS AND PEOPLES:
Unite for a World of Social Justice against Monopolies and Imperialism!
Statement of Solidarity from PAGGAWA (Philippines)
on the historic occasion of the 75th Anniversary of the WFTU (World Federation of Trade Unions)
(Pagkakaisa ng Uring Manggagawa / Unity of the Working Class)
Quezon City, Philippines
October 3, 2020
Today marks the 75th Anniversary of the World Federation of Trade Unions (WFTU), the oldest international trade union organization in the world. On this highly historic occasion, the WFTU significantly commemorates its enduring and consistent global leadership of the militant international working-class movement under radically changing conditions worldwide. Indeed, seventy-five years after October 3, 1945, the WFTU continues to struggle and dares to win! Yes, the WFTU does so to resolutely advance the line of the class-oriented trade union movement and its struggles against capitalist exploitation, imperialist oppression and fascist repression all across the globe.
Thus, on this very momentous date, the militant proletarian forces of the Philippine working class movement—led by the Pagkakaisa ng Uring Manggagawa (PAGGAWA/Unity of the Working Class)—extend their warmest revolutionary socialist greetings of internationalist solidarity to all of our fraternal trade union member-organizations and worker comrades in the WFTU!
The PAGGAWA is a Philippine-wide socialist alliance of national labor centers, labor federations, trade unions, and workers’ mass organizations. Presently, three (3) of PAGGAWA’s leading formations are Philippine-based affiliates of the WFTU: Pambansang Katipunan ng Manggagawa (KATIPUNAN/National Congress of Workers), Katipunan ng mga Samahang Manggagawa (KASAMA/Association of Workers’ Organizations) and Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino (BMP/Solidarity of Filipino Workers). As of now, PAGGAWA continues to be recognized within the broad Philippine labor movement as an independently distinct pole of attraction that wages a combined unity of economic-political mass struggles to both defend and advance the basic interests of the Filipino working masses in the revolutionary battle for socialism. Toward this end, PAGGAWA carries out its working-class struggles on the basis of a clear anti-capitalist/imperialist/neoliberal/fascist orientation.
THE PROLETARIAN STANDPOINT ON THE INTERNATIONAL SITUATION
Therefore, PAGGAWA is principally guided by the general line of the class-oriented proletarian internationalist movement. From this principled standpoint, we assert that the worldwide imperialist system continues to manifest four (4) fundamental contradictions arising from the historic conflict between the imperialist and socialist camps at the international level. These global contradictions are principally: a) between imperialism and socialism; b) the class struggle of the proletariat against the bourgeois classes in the capitalist countries; c) the working masses and oppressed nations and peoples versus the imperialist powers; and d) rivalry amongst the imperialist blocs themselves.
As the highest stage of capitalist development, imperialism is currently in a state of moribund decay as the working-class forces persistently intensify their revolutionary struggles on the eve of the world socialist revolution. Nonetheless, global capitalism’s generalized state of permanent crisis compels the system to aggressively defend its inherent need to permanently seek and accumulate massive super-profits on a worldwide scale. Capitalism pursues this by continually accelerating its imperialist-neoliberal-fascist offensives against the international working-class movement and the oppressed nations and peoples in order to perennially redivide the international division of labor in favor of imperialism’s core.
Imperialism is largely able to do so through its globally hegemonic position within the international system, particularly due to its dominant control over its spheres of influence and domination. The latter domains are based upon imperialism’s rule over the countries of the semi-periphery and periphery; as such, the Philippines remains in the latter ring. Thus, the world imperialist system can expect to last beyond a post-pandemic global regime due to its powerful hegemony over the vast regions and countries of the world and, by taking advantage of the nature of the international order’s uneven development and relations of unequal exchange.
As the international capitalist system rapidly deteriorates due to the exacerbating effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is the global economy that has already been clearly hit by a rapidly worsening downturn and which, has only gravely affected the daily plight of the workers of the world. This global capitalist crisis is now far worse in its outcome than that of the aftermath from the crash of Wall Street in September 2008. As such, the International Labor Organization (ILO) reported last June that an estimated 400 million workers throughout the world have already lost their jobs since mid-March this year. But because there is yet no global cure or treatment for the Coronavirus disease, we should expect to see a continuing universal rise in the victims of the pandemic.
INTER-IMPERIALIST RIVALRIES FOR WORLD HEGEMONY
Unsurprisingly, and from within this same global context, we are also witnessing an intensification of rivalries inside the imperialist camp itself. The two main imperialist blocs—US imperialism and Chinese social-imperialism—are escalating their direct competition with each other to widen their respective control and domination over key regions of the globe. In fact, the ‘Neo-US-Sino Cold War’ is now essentially an escalating international conflict aimed at securing regional markets to protect the profit-accumulation agenda of both Washington and Beijing, while seeking immense amounts of strategic mineral resources to ensure and maintain the power requirements of their respective capitalist economies. In the pursuit of this imperialist schema, both America and China are also exporting huge amounts of capital as direct investments while also, transferring abroad more modern production processes based on advanced technological designs by monopoly capital firms located in the imperialist core. It is these imperialist contradictions and dynamics which are forcing the international system into manifesting a global situation that now sharply reflects regional tensions and conflicts around the world—and thus, another potential inter-imperialist world war in the 21st Century.
Nevertheless, these thrusts are still fundamentally aimed at greatly exploiting the working classes based inside the contending imperialist spheres of influence and domination. By extracting huge amounts of super-profits from within the semi-peripheral and peripheral countries aligned to both imperialist blocs, the multi-national corporations (MNCs) and other private monopoly capital groups will continue to guarantee accumulated surplus for the great powers of the imperialist core. As a result of this heightened international capitalist offensive against the global economy, particularly the poor countries of the world, many reactionary national governments and rightwing regimes holding state power are now compelled to openly assault—economically and politically—their own working-class masses to coerce them into submission. This is all directed at assuring the continued survival of the capitalist regimes in collaboration with their own bourgeois-ruling class factions, while keeping their tight alliances with either imperialist bloc (or both at the same time).
Due to the changing international dynamics, the capitalist regimes are constrained to choose between which imperialist bloc to align their own national interests with. This pattern is remarkably true given the material conditions underpinning the structures and processes of the imperialist-imposed neoliberal globalization project. It is largely this external factor which is driving many bourgeois governments to pursue severely aggressive policies and measures to warrant their hold onto state power as a prerequisite for foreign support—and all in the name of national security.
As a consequence, it is first and foremost the exploited and oppressed working-class masses who always become the main country-wide targets of repression by the bourgeois states. Their governments employ all sorts of reactionary machinations under the guise of pursuing ‘stable governance’ in order to maintain coercive state-control over their rotten capitalist societies that are now being internally threatened by sharply rising class conflict and revolutionary mass struggles led by the working class. And so, it is within this general context that the Philippine working class movement presently faces its own stark challenges ahead.
FASCIST STATE-TERRORISM IN THE PHILIPPINES
At the Philippine-level, the Filipino masses are urgently confronted with a wide range of adversely intersecting issues and concerns affecting their overall wellbeing. First of all, the country is geographically trapped on the frontlines of a regional cold war battle zone of the spiraling US-China conflict. As American imperialism strongly forces its sway across the vast Asia-Indo-Pacific area to deny Chinese social-imperialism’s expanding power and influence over the many countries of this extensive zone, Manila is now caught in a geopolitical dilemma. While the Philippines has essentially remained a longtime puppet-state of US imperialist rule across the Asia-Pacific region since 1946, the current pro-imperialist and neoliberal-fascist regime of President Rodrigo Duterte has generally been accommodating towards Beijing since mid-2016 for obvious regional security reasons (particularly over the Southeast Asian Sea question).
And secondly, our country’s backward and underdeveloped capitalist society persists in perpetuating the failed neoliberal macroeconomic policy framework amid systemic mass poverty, structural inequality and pervasive social injustices, while upholding elite-based class rule. These totally destructive national conditions are further reinforced throughout Philippine society on the basis of a narrow capacity for national wealth and income distribution, highly stagnant and critically low incomes based on regressive wage-based mechanisms, widely prevalent State-based corruption led by traditional political elites and entrenched political dynasties, a very weak delivery system of essential services by the national and local governments due to the privatization of such amenities, and a continual rise of prices on basic commodities due to liberalization measures, together with a deregulated national oil industry susceptible to fluctuating global oil-price changes.
Likewise, millions of our ordinary workers remain absolutely vulnerable at their workplaces resulting from the widespread practice of labor contractualization (or flexibilization of labor) by the capitalist bosses for maximum profits. Incidentally, our national economic situation recently got aggravated by a pandemic-induced spike of very high unemployment rates that reached a record 17.7 percent (7.3 million jobless workers) last April. Between January and April 2020, workers in the Service Sector lost 5.7 million jobs, Industrial Sector workers lost 2.3 million jobs and workers in the Agricultural Sector lost over one million jobs. Deplorably, a significant number of them endured their harsh difficulties without any effective and sustained economic assistance from the Philippine State according to various reports.
As a matter of fact, the neoliberal-fascist Duterte Regime conducted a highly militarized approach in its national attempts at minimizing and managing the pandemic’s spread inside the country. In this manner, the Philippine Government generally failed in providing a more equitable share of national economic and financial support for the social majority—the poor working masses who lost their jobs earlier this year. The Philippine State also lacked the proper national and local-level health-systems infrastructure for an effective response to the COVID-19 disease. Likewise, the government had a very slow response in effecting a systematic mass-testing for the general public. And still, the Duterte Regime continues to show a weak understanding of the need to integrate evidence-informed data into an appropriate counter-pandemic policy framework in combination with other social-determinants of health. The resulting outcome of this botched approach has been the deaths of 5,448 people (data as of September 30, 2020) since before the start of the Philippine-lockdown in mid-March.
President Duterte and his family members come from a bourgeois-class background and this class bias is evidently reflected in both the class composition of his Cabinet and in his government’s policy thrusts. In fact, soon after coming to power, Duterte publicly announced that he will leave national economic policymaking in the hands of known neoliberal economists whom he trusts. On the other hand, his main policy focus is concentrated in political-security matters of the State. Therefore, it is not surprising at all that close to half of his Cabinet members are former military and police generals and colonels, while many government agencies are headed by ex-military and police officers. This snapshot alone exposes and reveals the true class character and direction of the Philippine State under the current regime in power.
Upon the installation of the Duterte Regime on June 30, 2016, his government fundamentally created a policy environment that can generally be characterized as: ‘Deepening the Philippine neoliberal economy via State terrorism’. Thus, the Philippine Government launched its grand infrastructure program of ‘Build, build, build’ through mainly foreign loan concessions; but, as of July this year only 2 of the flagship projects (out of 75) were completed and, due mainly to a lack of counterpart domestic funds. Thus, our people are now economically threatened with future foreign debts.
Moreover, the government merely allowed the anti-labor practice of contractualization to become more rampant across the workplace instead of ending this pernicious routine, while effectively legalizing ‘third-party’ work arrangements by modernizing new methods of contractualization through wealthy labor service contractors. Thus, the general workforce remains endangered and precarious in the long run as the workers are clearly denied any regularity of employment with the necessary non-wage packages due to them. At the same time, a set of pro-corporation tax laws plus an increase on excise taxes on fuel and other consumption items were passed, while basic wages (that remain absurdly too low) were increased just once by an additional half-a-dollar in late 2018. Thus, the ordinary workers and poor masses are now at the mercy of constantly rising prices of basic commodities which they can ill afford at current wage rates. Likewise, a ‘Rice trade liberalization’ (RTL) law was passed early last year to maintain low prices for commercial rice by importing foreign-produced rice, while severely harming the appalling economic conditions of our own country’s poor rice farmers. Thus, the latter sector is unjustly compelled to needlessly compete with the rich rice importers who colluded with senior government officials to impose the RTL in the first place.
However, the Duterte Regime’s gory reign is infamously known throughout the Philippines and around the world for its blood-soaked State terrorism. From Day-1 of his fascist rule, Duterte instantly plunged his government into executing his so-called ‘Kill, kill, kill’ policy through the use of uncompromising and violent means, including State-sanctioned assassinations. In his single-minded desire to achieve his own policy objectives, Duterte blatantly and publicly ordered the Philippine National Police (PNP), the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and other State-security forces to openly ignore and disregard the Philippine State’s obligations to uphold and protect all of our people’s human rights at all times. He has effectively commanded them to consistently violate constitutional laws and principles in order to kill as many drug lords, drug dealers and drug users as possible (his so-called ‘threats to society’) so as to, “dump corpses into Manila Bay for the fish to eat.” And so, more than four years later, Philippine human rights organizations now claim that more than 20,000 people (a great majority of them were poor) have already been killed in the name of Duterte’s unrelenting ‘War on Drugs’.
After introducing such forms of State terrorism, the Duterte Regime soon commenced its ‘War, war, war’ policy agenda in 2017. This time around, the Philippine Government’s primary targets were now publicly identified as ‘threats to national security’: namely, the Philippine communist movement and Islamist rebel groups operating in the southern Philippines. Nonetheless, the scope of this categorization was flexibly broadened to also include other Philippine Left organizations, the liberal democratic opposition and the broad democratic mass movement who have all been politically resisting Philippine State terrorism for over four years now. Since then, the government unleashed a wide-ranging arsenal of repressive measures targeting the so-called threats to national security. These include police harassment and violent dispersals of mass protest actions, warrantless arrests and detentions of political activists, libel cases against journalists, enforced disappearances, and State-sanctioned assassinations.
Furthermore, the Duterte Regime established in late 2018 a National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) under Executive Order No. 70. This national government agency essentially acts to develop, plan, coordinate, implement and evaluate nationwide efforts to target and destroy the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA), its allied mass organizations and other Left formations. One aspect of this ultimately repressive activity is the government’s stepped-up pattern of directly denying the working-class movement its democratic and constitutional right to initiate and conduct strike actions in defense against anti-labor practices of the capitalist bosses. For the past few years now, the Philippine State aggressively countered these legally recognized collective labor actions with violent dispersals and warrantless arrests, while putting certain union leaders and labor organizers under police, military and State-security surveillance operations.
Yet still, in a show of utter arrogance and insensitivity while hiding behind the pandemic justification, the Duterte Regime openly maneuvered to swiftly pass the Philippine Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020 in early July. By doing so, the real fascist character of the Philippine State was further exposed before the Filipino people and masses and, to the world at large. Instead of fully concentrating the Philippine Government’s resources and efforts at trying to urgently defeat the COVID-19 pandemic, the Duterte Regime focused its national energies on guaranteeing the passage of a totally draconian piece of legislation aimed at defeating our people’s democratic, constitutional and human rights.
OUR INTERNATIONALIST TASKS AHEAD
Lastly, and all around the world today, the imperialist camp is now fully relying upon its alliances with a broad range of authoritarian and fascist-type national leaderships to further enhance the former’s great power hegemonic designs over various parts and regions of the globe. In a practical sense, such transactional relationships between rightwing national regimes and the imperialist blocs are quickly being developed at this time in order for them to gain a more advantageous economic-political-security balance once the global pandemic is successfully overcome in the near future. Conversely, these imperialist-fascist plots and schemes can only mean a future intensification of the global offensive of capital against the international working-class movement and its proletarian interests.
In gearing up for their parallel worldwide offensives, both American imperialism and Chinese social-imperialism are desperately seeking out new national partners—while enhancing their existing partnerships—from among the ruling bourgeois factions throughout the world at this time. Truly, the world stage is overcrowded with many pro-imperialist and far-right/authoritarian and fascist leaders to choose from, such as: Duterte of the Philippines, Cambodia’s Hun Sen, India’s Narendra Modi, Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Saudi Arabia’s Mohammad bin Salman, Egypt’s Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, Chad’s Idriss Deby, Hungary’s Viktor Orban, Poland’s Jaroslaw Kaczynski, Brazil’s Jair Bolsonaro, Colombia’s Ivan Duque Marquez, and Russia’s Vladimir Putin, among many, many others.
In this shifting world order, fresh partnerships, modern relationships and newfound alliances are now being created. The composition of the imperialist spheres of influence and domination are once more being altered to accommodate the new capitalist maneuvers and realities. The international redivision of labor along these changing global lines of production may alter the so-called ‘global value chains’ but, they just basically reflect the altered spheres of influence that will still be ruled by monopoly capital and their principal imperialist blocs. Such manifestations merely show the perpetual contradictions and tensions intrinsic to the capitalist world system itself and, therefore, can only threaten to provide the material basis for any possible geopolitical conflict in the future. And so, unless there is a systemic rupture, then we should continue to see a revitalized form of capitalist-imperialist exploitation and oppression of the principal productive forces under newly reproducing capitalist conditions.
For this agonizing reason alone, all of the workers of the world—principally the class-conscious sections of the global working-class movement—and, led by the WFTU, must now be battle-ready and prepared to combat the expected and imminent anti-worker onslaught worldwide. We cannot and must not allow the ravenous capitalists and rapacious imperialists to further dominate and control the international order through their fascist minions at the nation-state level. In the near future, all proletarian partisans for democracy, all anti-imperialist fighters and all revolutionary combatants for socialism should greatly organize and prime themselves in a global united front for the proletarian internationalist war ahead. Hence, PAGGAWA now urgently calls upon the working-class forces of the world to directly unite to fight, resist and destroy imperialism and fascism in the historic period of struggles before us! There can be no other option but to victoriously march onward to achieve the historic mission of the proletariat—Socialism!
WORKERS OF THE WORLD UNITE!