Akbayan on the Observance of the International Human Rights Day
By Akbayan (Citizens Action Party)
As the nation observes International Human Rights Day, we call on the Aquino government to reaffirm its commitment to defend and uphold human rights for all by putting an end to a corrupt past’s unbroken legacy of impunity. We believe the previous regime’s stain of impunity, which stubbornly clings to this day, impedes the Filipino people from sustaining the momentum of change and in broadening and deepening the process of reform.
Proof of this, the Ampatuan massacre trial, dubbed as the ‘trial of the century’ is nowhere near its conclusion. Former army general Jovito Palparan, the chief implementer of Arroyo’s extrajudicial killings is still a fugitive of the law. Worse, the killing of journalists and political advocates of different color and shade remain unabated. The Aquino government must see the urgency of this problem. Unless the Aquino government resolutely puts an end to this inherited malady, whatever reforms the people have succeeded in realizing in the last two years will be for naught, while the horrible legacy of impunity will be passed on to the next generation.
As such, we laud President Aquino’s decision to create a nine-member “Inter-agency committee on Extra-Legal Killings, Enforced Disappearances, Torture and Other Grave Violations of the Right to Life, Liberty and Security of Persons.” We hope the creation of this body will address the different forms of political violence and abuses of power perpetrated whether by elements of the state or non-state forces.
Appropriately, this initiative must go hand in hand with the speedy and judicious resolution of the Ampatuan trial. The Ampatuan massacre is the most horrible symbol of the Arroyo regime’s impunity. Hence, the Aquino government must ensure that such an atrocity will never happen again by making certain that nothing less than the swift conviction of all those responsible will be the just conclusion of this trial.
In the policy arena, we join the human rights community in calling on President Aquino to sign into law the Anti- Enforced Disappearance bill to end enforced disappearances. We believe enforced disappearances, which was the hallmark of the Marcos dictatorship, taken to new heights by the Arroyo regime and which managed to persist to this day have no place in a society in the process of deepening its democracy and strengthening its political institutions. The Aquino government must see to it that this brutal practice ends under his term by providing the necessary institutional tools for accountability and redress.
Likewise, we call on Congress to pass the Marcos Compensation Bill to provide justice and reparation to all those victimized by the brutal Marcos dictatorship. President Aquino must ensure that this bill will pass during his term to provide closure to one of the darkest chapters in Philippine history. President Aquino is compelled both by blood and history to finish this historical task laid before his hands.
Consequently, we call on the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) to help in this task of taking to account the gross violations committed during Martial Law years. It must lead the numerous efforts designed to provide an institutional retelling of the atrocities of the Martial Law period to the young generation. The CHR must also strengthen its relationship and partnership with different human rights groups and social movements to promote a socio-economic and political climate conducive for the advancement of human rights.
Furthermore, we join the broad progressive movement in using this occasion for somber reflection as we renew our commitment in advancing human rights for all. May this event serve as a renewal of our commitment to the struggle and as an opportunity to further improve and strengthen our democratic processes and relations with one another.
Of late, we have seen how political groups have displayed sectarian practices by maligning fellow progressives. We believe sectarian politics, arrogance and abhorrent claims of political supremacy are a prelude to human rights abuses. We have been witnesses to how groups which trace their origins to the progressive movement have succumbed to such practices resulting in human rights violations, some of which are still being perpetrated under the guise of “revolutionary politics.” As agents of change, we are not above the standards of human rights. It is incumbent upon all of us who fight for the advancement of human rights to see and oppose transgressions wherever it may be—whether it is from the left or right of the political spectrum.
Lastly, we call on the people to remain vigilant and steadfast as we uphold, defend and broaden our cherished rights. The struggle for optimum human rights is the task of defending the rights of all, regardless of their race, ethnicity, faith, sexual orientation, gender and social class. Therefore, this is a responsibility not only of political parties, social movements and governments but also an endeavor that must be shared by everyone. http://akbayan.org.ph
Workers hold Jericho March at San Miguel in celebration of human rights day
By Labor Party - Philippines
Invoking the principle “Workers’ rights are human rights!”, members of the broad labor coalition Nagkaisa! celebrated today’s International Human Rights Day looking for justice for the long-suffering members of the Philippine Airlines Employees Association (PALEA).
But instead of a traditional march to Mendiola, Nagkaisa! members held a ‘Jericho March’ at the headquarters of San Miguel Corporation (SMC) in Pasig City to reiterate its demands for the reinstatement of locked out workers of PAL and the dropping of criminal charges against several leaders and members of PALEA.
Aside from labor, the human rights community lead by the Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates (PAHRA) also joined the protest. Both argued that PAL’s outsourcing/contractualization of regular jobs was in gross violation of the workers’ constitutional right to security of tenure.
PALEA members had been fighting a desperate battle for reinstatement after the old management of the flag carrier locked them out in September last year after 2,400 regular workers refused to be outsourced in another service company.
SMC President Ramon Ang took control of the Philippine Airlines (PAL) in April this year after the beer giant infused at least US$500 million of fresh equity to the ailing flag carrier. Upon his takeover of the captain’s seat, he declared that one of his top priorities was to resolve the lingering labor dispute in PAL.
“One year was too long a wait for justice that PALEA members rightfully deserved. Their rights have been violated and we in the labor movement wanted to see if the new management under Ramon Ang will keep true his pronouncements to find a just resolution to the dispute,” said Eva Arcos of the Association of Labor Unions (ALU)-TUCP, a convenor of Nagkaisa!
Nagkaisa! is bothered lately when instead of having marathon negotiations to end the dispute, warrant of arrests came out against the 39 members of PALEA, creating signals that the dispute is actually far from getting resolved.
On his part, PALEA president and Partido ng Manggagawa vice chair Gerry Rivera, reiterated his appeal for the new management to fast track the negotiations so that both parties, including the riding public, can again fly PAL with pride.
He added that PALEA after more than one year of struggle continues to enjoy wide support from the local and international trade union movement. In fact beginning December 12, international unions will also be holding solidarity actions for PALEA at several airports where PAL has regular flights.
Rivera said labor and human rights groups’ support to PALEA will never end until the ‘walls of Jericho’ that is preventing their reinstatement crumble.
He added that the policy of contractualization demonstrated in PAL’s outsourcing plan is the latest form of modern-day slavery that the labor movement wants eradicated.
Partido ng Manggagawa (PM) http://www.partidongmanggagawa2001.blogspot.com
Pahayag sa Pandaigdigang Araw ng Karapatang Pantao
By Anak Mindanao (AMIN) Party-list
Sa pandaigdigang araw ng Karapatang Pantao, ang Anak Mindanao (AMIN) Partylist ay nagpupugay at nakikiisa sa padaigdigang paggunita ng ika-64 anibersaryo ng Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
64 taon ang nakaraan, matapos ang kagimbal-gimbal na pasakit at kalupitang dulot ng Pangalawang Digmaang Pandaigdigan, nagpunyagi ang buong mundo upang bigyang wakas ang pagyurak sa karapatang pantao. Noong Disyembre 10, 1948, ang kauna-unahang Pandaigdigang Tratado hinggil sa karapatang pantao ay nilagdaan sa United Nations – ito ang tinatawag na Universal Declaration on Human Rights o UDHR. Kasama ang bansang Pilipinas sa bumoto at lumagda sa UDHR.
Ang AMIN Partylist ay naniniwala sa adhikain at alituntunin ng UDHR. Naniniwala ang AMIN na dapat ang UDHR ay nagsilbing panuntunan at pamantayan ng lahat ng bansang lumagda rito para sa kanilang obligasyong itaguyod at protektahan ang karapatang pantao ng kanilang mamamayan. Mahigpit ang paninindigan ng AMIN sa usapaing Human Rights, ito ang isa sa mga prinsipal na prinsipyo ng organisasy
on nito. Dahil dito lalabanan ng AMIN Partylist ang lahat ng porma ng pagyurak sa karapatang pantao, lalong lalo na sa karapatang ng mamamayan para sa sariling pagpapasya. Kaya ang paglaban sa diskriminasyon ay isa sa pinamatinkad na adbokasiya na isinusulong ng AMIN Partylist.
Tangan ang UDHR bilang gabay, malugod na isinusulong ng Anak MIndanao (AMIN) Partylist ang karapatang pantao para sa lahat, lalong lalao na sa tatlong mamamayan ng Mindanao.
Karapatang Pantao isulong, protektahan at ipaglaban!
Mabuhay ang ika-64 anibersaryo ng UDHR!
Anak Mindanao (AMIN) Partylist http://www.anakmindanao.org
Another World is Possible! Reject the Policies of Neoliberalism! Protect the Economy, Protect the Working Class!
By Alliance of Progressive Labor (APL)
Together with 800 delegates of the World Social Forum on Migrant Labor, the Nagkaisa broad labor coalition would march on November 30 to call on the Aquino administration to reject neoliberal policies and to pursue the policy of labor and economic protectionism.
In two decades, Philippine governments have swallowed hook, line and sinker the policies endorsed by foreign institutions such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank and the Asian Development Bank (ADB). Now, it must be said again, the Filipino people are not better off with the policies of liberalization, deregulation, privatization, and flexibilization of labor. Workers are fed up and we demand immediate action.
The proof of the pudding is in the eating. The Filipino workers took the bitter pills of neoliberal policies. But instead of recuperating from crippling poverty, they suffer even more from the following conditions:
Low Wages and Cheap Labor Policy. The minimum wage is not even half the “cost of living” – the necessary costs for a decent life for a working class family. Workers are forced to go on overtime because of starvation wages. Even with the Philippine putting up a “baratilyo” or “bargain sale” of its workers, foreign direct investments have not picked up as fast as it did in our neighbors in the Southeast Asian region.
Outsourcing and Contractualization. To promote cheap and docile workers, employers have restricted the regularization of its workers even for those who perform usually necessary and desirable work for six months. The scourge of contractualization ravaged not only our security of tenure but also our rights to self-organization and bargain collectively.
Lack of regular employment and cheap labor policy force our kababayans to migrate and seek greener pastures overseas; hence, its by-product, the tacit policy of labor migration, which have made our economy dependent on dollar remittances from overseas Filipino workers.
High Power Rates and Privatization of the Power Industry. With the passage of the Electric Power Industry Reform Act or EPIRA on June 2001, power rates in the country have gone up. The cost of doing business in the Philippines is among the highest in Asia due to the high cost of electricity.
Spiraling oil prices. Government insists on the oil deregulation law despite the indisputable fact of unabated oil price hikes and incessant protests from civil society groups including workers’ organizations. The Noynoy Aquino regime put up a review committee on this issue. But instead of drafting proposal to reverse deregulation, it became a mere mouthpiece of the oil oligarchs.
Neoliberal economics is pro-foreign capital and anti-labor. It not only serves the interest of foreign monopoly capital, in the persona of transnational companies. It is a recolonization of the Philippines by foreign powers.
On November 30, the Nagkaisa broad coalition is in unity with regional and global movements against corporate greed. People before profit! Another World is Possible. We call on Noynoy Aquino to adhere to the Constitutional provisions on “full protection to labor” and the “national economy”.
Economic struggle at the factory and shopfloor level must extend to the political arena. The labor movement must transcend traditional localized unionism to lead the discourse on policies and laws that affect the Filipino masses. We challenge the contending parties in the 2013 elections – especially the Liberal Party Coalition (LPC) and United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) to present concrete proposals on how to alleviate poverty and resolve the everyday problems of the masses. http://www.apl.org.ph
We strongly urge President Benigno Simeon Aquino III to sign into law the Anti- Enforced Disappearance bill on Monday, December 10, 2012, as we commemorate the International Human Rights Day, to show his administration’s clear resolve to uphold human rights and end impunity.
There is no better day for the President to reaffirm his commitment to human rights and vow to end enforced disappearances than on this day as the world observes the 64th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights – the first universal recognition of our fundamental rights and freedoms as human persons.
Enforced disappearance is considered as one of the cruelest forms of human rights violations. It violates practically all basic human rights of the disappeared including some of the civil, political and socio-economic rights of their families. The practice of enforced disappearance persists with impunity in the country even after the fall of the Marcos dictatorship, and in recent years has elicited urgent concern and condemnation from international human rights advocates and entities including United Nations bodies. The Families of Victims of Involuntary Disappearance (FIND) has documented more than 2,000 reported enforced disappearance victims since the Marcos regime, 18 of whom under the present political dispensation.
The proposed legal measure aims to put an end to this odious practice by instituting effective mechanisms for accountability and redress.
We are extremely pleased that after languishing in six Congresses, it is now awaiting the President’s signature. Should the President fail to act on it – which omission undermines his avowed commitment to human rights – it will automatically lapse into law after 30 days.
Under the proposed law, enforced or involuntary disappearance is defined as “the arrest, detention, abduction or any other form of deprivation of liberty committed by agents of the State or by persons or groups of persons acting with authorization, support or acquiescence of the State, followed by a refusal to acknowledge the deprivation of liberty or by concealment of the fate or whereabouts of the disappeared person, which places such person outside the protection of the law.”
The creation under Administrative Order No. 35 of the Inter-Agency Committee on Extra-Legal Killings, Enforced Disappearances, Torture and other Grave Violations of the Right to Life, Liberty and Security of Persons will not suffice to effectively prevent, suppress and penalize enforced disappearance.
It is not enough for the Inter-Agency Committee to investigate acts of enforced disappearance and other human rights violations. It must be able to bring the perpetrators to justice and pursue the final resolution of each case filed in court.
The anti-enforced or involuntary disappearance law will be a vital tool of the Committee in prosecuting violators of the absolute right not to be disappeared. The special law will enable the Committee not only to investigate but also cause the filing of the appropriate complaint of enforced disappearance, once the crime’s constitutive elements (deprivation of liberty, involvement of the State, and concealment of information) have been established.
The Anti-Enforced Disappearance Law will help the Committee succeed in addressing enforced disappearances where the previous similar investigative bodies failed.
The proposed “Anti-Enforced or Involuntary Disappearance Act of 2012” does not only impose criminal sanctions but also guarantees the right of all persons not to be subjected to enforced disappearance and provides for reparation to surfaced victims and families. Its signing by the President on International Human Rights Day is one significant manifestation that his “matuwid na daan” is built on human rights protection and promotion even as he himself upholds human dignity, justice, and the rule of law.
The enactment into law of the proposed "Anti-Enforced or Involuntary Disappearance Act of 2012" will be the first in Asia - an exemplary act for Asian governments to follow which we hope will facilitate the Philippine government’s signing and ratification of the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance.
Justice to All Victims of Human Rights Violations! Justice to All Desaparecidos!
Asian Federation Against Involuntary Disappearances (AFAD)
Families of Victims of Involuntary Disappearance (FIND)
Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates (PAHRA) http://www.philippinehumanrights.org