Uring Manggagawa, Hukbong Mapagpalaya!

Sosyalismo ang Lunas! Ibagsak ang mapang-api't masibang kapitalistang sistema! Manggagawa sa Lahat ng Bansa, Magkaisa!

Sabado, Oktubre 22, 2016

Duterte’s defense of cop who rammed protesters itself an act of violence against the people

Duterte’s defense of cop who rammed protesters itself an act of violence against the people

This week, we watched with horror as a police officer repeatedly and brazenly rammed scores of protesters in broad daylight in front of hundreds of people. We gasped at the sight of men lying under a police van, about to be run over. We witnessed how heavily-armed cops truncheoned water-cannoned, and beat up protesters It was the most violent dispersals we have seen in years.

The least that the President could have said was:

“I extend my solidarity to all those who were hurt. I strongly denounce the violence committed by the police. What they did was will not be tolerated under this government. I reprimand and I will move to file charges against the police officers who—as numerous video reports clearly showed—used disproportionate force against the protesters and violated their right to protest.”

Instead, after two days of silence while the rest of us boiled with anger and demanded justice, the President has instead chosen to act as a lawyer for the police.

Instead of saying the only thing that must be said in the face of what happened—-i.e. that the violence was unacceptable—he instead echoed the line of those who have chosen to justify the cop’s unjustifiable actions. More than that, he even invited the cop to Malacanang “for coffee.”

We at the Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino are not entirely surprised by this response: This, after all, is the same President who has repeatedly said that he will protect and pardon any cop accused of committing human rights violations, who has said that he is “happy to slaughter” more than 3,000 criminals, and who wants to bury Marcos—the dictator who ran over the lives of thousands—as a “hero.”

But, while not surprising, his response is still shocking and unacceptable. By choosing to lawyer for the cops and refusing to condemn their blatant abuse of power, Duterte is in effect telling cops: “It’s OK to ram protesters. You will just be ‘investigated’ and invited to have coffee with the President. And he is in effect telling us: “Don’t count on the police not to run you over in case you decide to fight for your rights.”

As commander-in-chief, the President bears command-responsibility for the shocking violence that happened this week. He certainly did not create the climate of impunity that now reigns in our country. But by repeatedly shielding abusive cops and now refusing to condemn the shocking violence they had just committed, he has certainly further reinforced it—encouraging many other cops to think they really can get away with attempted murder.


We reiterate our demand for justice and we call for accountability—not just from the cops, but also from the President himself.

Labor warns Duterte of Rasputins in his cabinet

Labor warns Duterte of Rasputins in his cabinet

Socialist group Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino (BMP) expressed grave concern that several members of the cabinet are actively working against the fulfillment of the economic reforms vowed by President Rodrigo Duterte himself.

Days ago, the government’s so-called economic managers ganged-up and rejected the P125 national wage increase proposal, that according to them would push inflation rates to 9.7 percent and spike unemployment by 1.2 percent

The group identified Secretaries Ramon Lopez, Ernesto Pernia, Benjamin Diokno and Silvestre Bello of the trade, socioeconomic planning, budget, and labor departments respectively as ‘obstacles’ to the realization of the president’s wishes that the BMP said “could have made positive impacts in the lives of millions of ordinary folks”.

“The alter egos of the president in the economic cluster are clearly on the opposite side of their superior and the heavily taxed ordinary folks who pay for their salaries. The secretaries have been consistently active in countering measures that the president has explicitly declared. More importantly, they are not only defying the president’s orders but betraying the trust between him and the nation,” the group’s spokesperson, Attorney Luke Espiritu said.

Among the economic reforms that the secretaries have opposed despite the president’s open support, according to Espiritu is the abolition of all forms of contractual employment, the establishment of a national wage board, a substantial wage increase for the public and private sector as well as the ban on land conversion.

He also accused the cabinet officials of “poisoning the mind” of the president into withdrawing his promises and to fear mongering.

“If they are not fulfilling the wishes of the president or that of the taxpayers, then whose interests are they working for, Espiritu inquired.

BMP fears that other measures that will substantially raise the quality of life of millions living below the poverty line will receive the similar fate as the wage increase proposal.

He likewise reminded the officials that, “It is the overwhelming support of working class that catapulted Duterte to power for they believed that he can affect change they seek. This government must serve the interests of the many and not of the elite”.

“With the way things are going and not unless they are removed from their posts immediately”, Espiritu warned that the recently issued Executive Order No. 5, adopting the “Ambisyon 2040”, a long-term development plan aimed at tripling Filipinos’ per capita income to $11,000 in 24 years’ time “will remain to be a bureaucratic pipedream”.

“If the President really sides with the overburdened workers then he must on guard at all times from his subordinates and terminate them at the smallest infraction they commit,” Espiritu asserted.


The group, last week demanded the president to fire trade Secretary Lopez for his efforts to block the abolition of all forms of contractualization.#

Miyerkules, Oktubre 19, 2016

President Duterte must condemn and punish cops who attacked protesters

President Duterte must condemn and punish cops who attacked protesters

We at the Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino condemn the violent dispersal of the nonviolent protests of indigenous peoples belonging to the newly formed Sandugo alliance at the US embassy today and at Camp Aguinaldo yesterday.

Over fifty of our brothers and sisters were hurt when the police and the military used disproportionate force to break up their protest. Many were injured when a police vehicle repeatedly rammed the crowd of unarmed protesters.



This is shocking and unacceptable under any circumstances. But it is even more intolerable under a government that has promised to champion the rights of indigenous peoples and other oppressed classes, under a President who claims to be the first ‘leftist’ or ‘socialist’ President of the country.

As commander-in-chief of the country’s police and military, President Rodrigo Duterte has command responsibility over the state’s repressive forces. As such, he too is ultimately responsible for these forces’ actions.

To prove that he is committed to upholding our freedom to assemble and protest and to demonstrate that he supports our indigenous sisters’ and brothers’ struggle for their rights, he must immediately and publicly castigate the military and police officials responsible for this crackdown.

At the very least, he must immediately order disciplinary actions against—and if need be fire—Franklin Kho, the driver of the police vehicle that rammed the group of protesters and Marcelino Pedrozo, the officer who ordered the violent dispersal.

Any hesitation or refusal on his part to strongly denounce this shocking use of force will only further intensify the reigning climate of impunity that he has further fanned with his repeated pronouncements that he will protect and pardon all police officers accused of human rights violations.



It is this climate of impunity that is already leading officers of the law to think they can get away with anything—even attempted murder in front of cameras.


The struggle of the indigenous peoples is inseparable from our struggle as workers. An attack on them is an attack on us all.

Linggo, Oktubre 16, 2016

All Senators’ bills fail to challenge contractualization

All Senators’ bills fail to challenge contractualization

Below is the position paper on the Senate bills on contractualization and security of tenure of workers issued by the Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino National Executive Committe on October 13, 2016:

The Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino (BMP) welcomes various initiatives by lawmakers to address contractualization and other controversies regarding job security, in the form of legislative proposals to address a problem, which has long been branded by the organized labor movement as a scourge on labor rights and welfare.

But all the proposals, particularly Senate Bills 217 (Hontiveros), 174 (Aquino), 117 (Pimentel), 302 (Zubiri), 329 (Ejercito), 1061 (Poe), and 1116 (Villanueva), fail to address the legal basis for contractualization; no other than Articles 106 to 109 of the Labor Code, which pertains to contracting and subcontracting agreements.

As a workers’ organization, we are not composed of lawyers but of trade unionists who are day-to-day practitioners of laws on labor relations. But we all still know that provisions on job contracting undermine Article 280 of the said code, which states that regular employees are those who perform “usually necessary or desirable” in the normal operations of a business.

Articles 106 to 109 provides the loophole for the so-called “principals” in these trilateral agreements to use contractors and subcontractors that provide cheaper and more docile workers to carry out work that should be performed by their regular employees.

These provisions not only obfuscate employee-employer relationships. In the processes of union building, workers become victims of finger-pointing between principals and the labor agencies on who should negotiate with the newly-formed union regarding wages, benefits, and work conditions.

More so, these provisions reinforce the capitalist blackmail of “work or starve”, as the threat of unemployment constantly hovers, like Damocles’ sword, on contractual workers who could be fired anytime by simply terminating their employment contracts.

Contractualization, legalized by Articles 106 to 109 of the Labor Code, is tantamount to cheap and docile labor. It is a problem that affects millions, especially if we include the families who rely on casual workers for their daily sustenance and upkeep.

According to the May 2016 Labstat Updates of the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), based on the 2013/2014 Integrated Survey on Labor and Employment, out of a total of 4.472 million workers in firms with twenty (20) or more employees, 1.336 million (29.87%) are non-regular workers. This data does not include those employed in small and micro establishments, which comprise more than 90% of employers in the country.

If the 1.336 million contractuals in large firms provide for the needs of a family of five, we have 6.68 million Filipinos who are affected by low wages and the lack of job security due to contractualization!

Hence, the BMP believes that only a bill that would  repeal Articles 106 to 109 and the prohibit  contracting of “usually necessary or desirable” work, pursuant to Article 280 of the Labor Code would actually begin to bring an end to contractualization. Employment of contractual labor, in order to depress wages and deny regular status to workers should be regarded as a criminal offense.

Such harsh penalties, as proposed, are guided by state policies enshrined in the Constitution. Labor, states Article 2, Section 18, is the “primary social economic force”. Because labor should enjoy primacy over non-human inputs in production and commerce, the charter orders the state to provide “FULL PROTECTION to labor” (Article 13, Section 3, emphasis ours).

The State should guarantee workers their immutable rights in the work place – a fitting tribute to their undervalued contribution to economic development. It is hence but appropriate to treat the deprivation of the workers’ due, their basic entitlements and social protection as criminal transgressions which must not be countenanced by the State.

Indeed, the State owes a ballooning social debt to workers who should, as a matter of Constitutional mandate, be entitled to living wage, participation in decision-making processes affecting their rights and benefits, unhampered self-organization, among others.

Hence, the BMP challenges Congress to tread the right direction, consistent with this mandate, by plugging the legal loopholes that permit contractualization and the further detriment of labor rights and welfare.

Ending contractualization, which has been declared as a policy by no less than President Rodrigo Roa Duterte himself, is a step in this rightful course.

End contractualization now!


Uphold the right of workers to security of tenure!

Biyernes, Oktubre 14, 2016

BMP to Duterte: Fire Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez now



Duterte: Fire Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez now



During the election campaign, President Rodrigo Duterte won the hearts of many workers when he promised to immediately end “contractualization,” or the practice of not giving workers the wages and benefits they should receive under the law by hiring them as “contractual” rather than regular workers.



Then, during his inaugural speech, President Duterte said that his government will be guided in part by former US President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s statement that, “The test of government is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide for those who have little.”
Today, one person in the President’s Cabinet has gone out of his way to prevent the President from fulfilling his campaign promise and from passing the test that Roosevelt set.

Since he assumed office, Department of Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon Lopez has consistently opposed measures to end contractualization that we at the Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino, along with other labor groups in the country, have been demanding.



Recently, Lopez even championed the so-called “win-win” but in fact win-lose solution that purportedly seeks a middle-ground between capitalists and workers but in fact again ultimately harms the interests of workers since it will continue to force them to live a life of precarity and near-destitution while allowing the rich to earn more profits and live a life of luxury on the back of contractual workers.



Yesterday, he again spoke out to defend contractualization by saying that ending it would make the country less attractive to foreign investors by removing their “flexibility”—as if “flexibility” for investors has not come and will not come at the expense of the well-being of Filipino workers.

At every step of the way, then, Lopez and his department has represented not the interests of Filipino workers but of capitalists—Filipino and foreign. He fails the test that Roosevelt set because he wants to “add more to the abundance of those who have much” rather than “provide for those who have little.”

In so doing, he is challenging and defying President Duterte himself since the President has said that he wants to “provide for those who have little” and he has promised to end contractualization.

This, then, is an important moment for the President—another early test forcing him to choose whose side he will take and whose interests he will protect.



If the President really cares about Filipino workers, if he really wants to to “provide for those who have little,” then he should match his rhetoric with action and do what needs to be done: he should immediately fire those in his Cabinet who favor contractualization.

More than this, he should immediately take steps needed to end labor flexibilization once and for all by: 1) certifying as urgent – and mobilizing all his party mates to pass – a bill to amend Articles 106 to 109 of the Labor Code in order to prohibit the contracting and subcontracting of “usually necessary or desirable” work in the normal operations of a business, which should be performed by regular employees, in line with Article 280 of said law; 2) revising the BMBE law so as to remove the exemptions to labor standards compliance of small and micro establishments, which comprise more than 90% of the employers’ sector; 3) repealing DOLE’s DO 18-A and issuing a new order which reviews all existing subcontracting arrangements and cancels those that encroach upon the duties and functions, which should done by regular employees; 4) actually prosecuting employers that practice contractualization, starting with the Sys, the Ayalas, the Gokongweis and others.

Otherwise, if he allows the pro-contractualization Lopez to stay in his Cabinet and if he does not carry out all these steps immediately, it will become harder and harder for us not to confirm what many of us have long suspected but wanted the President to refute:


That he did not really mean what he said when he said he would end contractualization, that he does not really care for all Filipinos but just for his fellow elites, and that he will not really bring about real change—just like all his predecessors.

Workers group challenges Duterte to fire pro-contractualization Trade Secretary

Workers group challenges Duterte to fire pro-contractualization Trade Secretary

Socialist workers’ group Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino (BMP) today called on President Rodrigo Duterte to fire his Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon Lopez.

Lopez has been defying and contradicting the President’s own campaign promise to end the practice of contractualization so the President must remove him from office if he is still serious about fulfilling his promise, BMP said.

The group was reacting to Lopez’s most recent statement saying contractualization will only scare away foreign investors.

“Since he assumed office, trade Secretary Ramon Lopez has consistently opposed measures to end contractualization,” the group noted in its statement.

“At every step of the way, Lopez has represented and defended not the interests of Filipino workers but of capitalists—Filipino and foreign. He fails the test that the President set because he wants to “add more to the abundance of those who have much” rather than “provide for those who have little,” the group added, quoting the President’s inaugural speech.

Expressing frustration at the lack of progress in eliminating contractualization, the group said the President needs to do more to demonstrate his commitment to workers by firing Lopez.

“This is an important moment for the President—another early test by forcing him to choose whose side he will take and whose interests he will protect.

If the President really cares about Filipino workers, if he really wants to “provide for those who have little,” as he said in his inaugural speech, then he should match his rhetoric with action and do what needs to be done: he should immediate fire those in his Cabinet who favor contractualization.”

In addition, the group called on the President to take concrete steps needed to end labor flexibilization. This include: 1) certifying as urgent – and mobilizing all his party mates to pass – a bill to amend Articles 106 to 109 of the Labor Code in order to prohibit the contracting and subcontracting of “usually necessary or desirable” work in the normal operations of a business, which should be performed by regular employees, in line with Article 280 of said law; 2) revising the BMBE law so as to remove the exemptions to labor standards compliance of small and micro establishments, which comprise more than 90% of the employers’ sector; 3) repealing DOLE’s DO 18-A and issuing a new order which reviews all existing subcontracting arrangements and cancels those that encroach upon the duties and functions which should done by regular employees.


Finally, the group challenged the President to actually prosecute employers that practice contractualization, starting with the country’s richest families such as Sys, the Ayalas, the Gokongweis and others.

Huwebes, Oktubre 13, 2016

Duterte’s foreign policy remains subservient, not independent

Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino
PRESS RELEASE

Duterte’s foreign policy remains subservient, not independent

President Duterte's recent pronouncements regarding the country's relationship with the United States, China, and Russia does not signal an "independent foreign policy."

While the President’s criticism of our unequal relationship with the US is, of course welcome, the President himself has made it clear that he has threatened to break our subservient and mendicant relationship with the US only because the US officials have criticized the President's brutal "war on drugs."

This in itself does not constitute "independence."

Independence does not mean having the freedom to, in the President’s words, "happily slaughter" thousands of drug pushers or dependents. Independence does not mean renouncing our duties and obligations to humanity as responsible members of the international community.

Secondly, despite his repeated threats and bluster, the President has not actually abrogated the Mutual Defense Treaty, the Visiting Forces Agreement, the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement, and other onerous deals that constitute the basis of our unequal and mendicant relationship with the US.

Despite his provocative words, he and his alter egos have repeatedly backtracked on his announcements that the Philippines will no longer conduct military exercises or cut our ties with the US altogether.

Clearly, if the President were serious about breaking with the US, he would have set the ball rolling for the repeal of the treaties mentioned earlier and stuck to his word regarding the military exercises.

But the fact that the President has not done so only lends credence to our fears that, first, he is only instrumentalizing legitimate concerns about our unequal relationship with the US in order to obscure and delegitimize criticisms of his violent, anti-poor, and ineffective “war on drugs”; and that, second, he is merely trying to extract even more concessions from the US while appearing to be critical of the US--just like what the former dictator Marcos did in the past.

Finally, we do not believe that the President favors an independent foreign policy because he only seeks to replace the “alliance” with the US with an alliance with other rising powers, namely China and Russia. Indeed, in line with this, he has even announced that the government would not press the Philippines' claim to the disputed Scarborough Shoal.

Instead of signaling an 'independent foreign policy,' this actually signals the beginning of yet another era of subservience--only this time, to a different or to a more varied set of masters.

For not only is China's commitment to human rights and international law questionable at best, China has also adamantly opposed just and peaceful solutions to the disputes in the region.

In this context, Duterte's refusal to even discuss the country's claim to the Scarborough Shoal is tantamount to sending China the message that it can just use its might and throw its weight around to bully everyone else into submission.

This will not only undermine efforts to arrive at a just and peaceful settlement to the dispute, such as proposals for equitably sharing the resources of the disputed area among the region's peoples, it could also effectively lock in the Philippines to a subordinate position vis-a-vis China.

Instead of breaking with the past and inaugurating a new era in our relations with other countries, then, Duterte seems to be paving the way for more of the same: Rather than independence, we see subservience; rather than sovereignty, we discern surrender.

In order to achieve real independence, we demand, among others, the immediate abrogation of the MDT, the VFA and he EDCA. We demand peaceful but just solutions to the disputes in the region. And we demand equal relations with all countries based on the spirit of genuine international brotherhood, economic cooperation, and mutual benefit.

Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino
Contact persons:
Leody de Guzman, BMP President @ 0920-5200672
Atty. Luke Espiritu, BMP Spokesperson @ 0933-0417125

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Slam Evil, Slam Apec

Slam Evil, Slam Apec
November 1996