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September 26, 2014

 

Reference:    Cristina “Tinay” Palabay, Secretary General, 0917-3162831

                        Angge Santos, Media Liaison, 0918-9790580

BS Aquino, AFP treating Palparan and Purisima like sacred cows – Karapatan

http://www.karapatan.org/BS+Aquino%2C+AFP+treating+Palparan+and+Purisima+like+sacred+cows

“Human rights violators and plunderers in the military and police are being treated like sacred cows by the Aquino administration,” Cristina Palabay, secretary general of Karapatan said as their group supports the motion filed by private prosecutors on the criminal charges against retired M/Gen. Jovito S. Palparan.

Filed by National Union of Peoples Lawyers (NUPL), representing complainants Mrs. Concepcion Empeno and Mrs. Linda Cadapan, the motion to transfer custody requests the Malolos Regional Trial Court Branch 14 to transfer Gen. Palparan from Philippine Army Custodial Center (PACC) to a civilian detention in Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig, City.

“An army general accountable for heinous crimes and jailed in a military camp is no less than a special treatment,” Palabay said. “BS Aquino’s defense of PNP chief Alan Purisima on questions regarding his lifestyle is the same special treatment. These uniformed men are being treated like sacred cows, shielding them from justice,” Palabay added.

Currently facing two counts of kidnapping and serious illegal detention for the disappearance of Sherlyn Cadapan and Karen Empeno, Ret. M/Gen. Palparan’s motion to transfer detention from Bulacan Provincial Jail was granted by the court under the sala of Judge Teodora Gozales. The court invoked Palparan’s “existing threat to life and security”, “expenses” and “safety of other inmates” in its decision to transfer him to Philippine Army Custodial Center – a place where Palparan is most comfortable, second to his home, according to Karapatan.

Karapatan asserts that Palparan should be in a civilian jail for the PACC has no jurisdiction over the Palparan.

“This case has not even commenced substantially since Palparan was arrested, but already are showing signs of injustice, what more can we expect in the duration of the trial?” Palabay said.

“BS Aquino’s defense of criminals is disgusting. First is the treatment for pork scammers Janet Lim Napoles and three senators. Now, the protection and defense for uniformed criminals, Palparan and Purisima. This is clearly impunity,” Palabay concluded. ###

———————————————————————
PUBLIC INFORMATION DESK
publicinfo@karapatan.org

———————————————————————

Alliance for the Advancement of People’s Rights

2nd Flr. Erythrina Bldg., #1 Maaralin corner Matatag Sts., Central District

Diliman, Quezon City, PHILIPPINES 1101

Telefax: (+63 2) 4354146

Web: http://www.karapatan.org
KARAPATAN is an alliance of human rights organizations and programs, human rights desks and committees of people’s organizations, and individual advocates committed to the defense and promotion of people’s rights and civil liberties.  It monitors and documents cases of human rights violations, assists and defends victims and conducts education, training and campaign. 

In history it has been the youth that have changed the world because they have stood up for what was right.

President Noynoy Aquino has made arrangements to visit the U.S. this week.

In New York he was welcomed to make a speech at Columbia University. He was met by Filipino and Filipino American youth activist whom expressed the true conditions of the struggling Filipinos in the Philippines. They questioned Aquino on the increase of human right’s violations , the genuine land reform (Hacienda Luisita-land owned by the president’s family), the pork barrel scandal that took away aide that was meant for those affect by Typhoon Yolanda/Haiyan and the rights OFWs and trafficked victims.

These youth are prime examples of how youth have changed this world that we live in. They have questioned and held President Noynoy Aquino accountable to the people of the Philippines, whom he calls his bosses. They challenged P-noy to stop painting an illusion of beauty but instead to zoom into the horrifying details to address problems of the Philippines.

Currently there has been backlash on those who have challenged the Aquino calling them enemy of the Philippines, hooligans, unpatriotic and more. My question to these writers and bloggers is this: Why are they seen as all of the mentioned above when they are only expressing the first handed facts that they see  and learn while going on exposure programs that show the real state of the Philippines?

Imagine if youth didn’t stand up for what was right….what kind of world would this have been?

Political Activism is Not a Crime. Activism is Patriotism.

Press Release
3 November 2013
 
Undocumented domestic workers hold first ever rally in the Netherlands
to demand recognition of domestic work as work.
 
Amsterdam, The Netherlands – Hundreds of domestic workers from various nationalities rallied and marched yesterday, Nov. 2 at the Museum district, one of this city’s main tourist attractions, to demand that the Dutch government recognize domestic work as work and ratify the ILO Convention C189 concerning decent work for domestic workers.
 
The domestic workers from Latin American countries, Africa,the Middle East, Indonesia and the Philippines, were joined by their advocates and supporters from the FNV (Dutch Federation of Unions), churches, Dutch political parties, and migrant rights advocates. Majority of the domestic workers, who are undocumented, are demanding legalization because of the valuable work they do for many Dutch families, their overall contribution to the Dutch economy and society, and for legal and humanitarian reasons.
 
Leaders of domestic workers’ groups say recognition and legalization would enable hundreds of thousands of domestic workers in the Netherlands to enjoy the same labor rights as those of Dutch workers.
 
With their the central call to “Legalize Our Work”, the domestic workers also stated in their placards: “We are not criminals, we are workers”, “100.000 Dutch families rely on us”, “I want to pay taxes”, “I dream of a BSN (social security) number”, “The union recognizes me as a worker”, “Your children are growing up with us”.
 
Domestic workers themselves and their advocates who joined the rally agree that the mobilization yesterday was a historic and a breakthrough. “From invicibility to visibility”, described one Dutch advocate about the mass action.
 
Among the organizations and groups represented were the FNV Bongenoten, Alliance for the Human Rights of the Undocumented (AHRU) – an alliance of several migrant organizations in the Netherlands, Migrante Europe, Pinay sa Holland, Indonesian Migrant Workers Union, Latin American and African Domestic Workers, the World House, Migrant Domestic Workers, and the International League of Peoples Struggle.#

Press Statement

July 29, 2013

Reference: Marie Hilao-Enriquez, Chairperson, 0917-5616800

Angge Santos, Media Liaison, 0918-9790580

CHR Chair acting like PNP-AFP spokesperson should resign –Karapatan

http://www.karapatan.org/CHR+Chair+acting+like+PNP-AFP+spokesperson+should+resign

“Ms. Etta Rosales should immediately resign from her post as chairperson of the Commission on Human Rights as she is acting more like the spokesperson of the Philippine National Police and the Armed Forces of the Philippines, instead of fulfilling the mandate of her office. Etta Rosales has been repeatedly remiss in her responsibilities, and in the process, justified the violation of the rights of the Filipino people to freedom of speech, of expression and the right to peaceably assemble and petition the government for redress of grievances as enshrined in the Bill of Rights in the Philippine Constitution.”

Karapatan issued the statement today through its chairperson Marie Hilao-Enriquez. The rights group cited the previous actions and statements by Rosales which in effect promote impunity in the country.
Hilao-Enriquez said “instead of conducting CHR’s own investigations on the many incidents of police brutality in rallies and barricades during demolitions, Ms. Rosales, in many occasion, only resorted to victim-blaming.”
Karapatan noted Rosales’s recent statements blaming members of various people’s organizations for the brutal dispersal of the rally during Pres. Aquino’s State of the Nation Address. The human rights organization also took exception of Rosales’ statement condemning the participation of Dutch activist Thomas von Beersum in the said rally.
“The permit of the organizers of the rally was denied, concertina wires and blockades were mounted along the highway where we marched. Despite our efforts to negotiate with the PNP, they treacherously started to push and beat our colleagues. The brutal police action prompted many of us, including foreign activists like Beersum, to express indignation. Rosales was quick to blame us, acting as the PNP spokesperson, instead of doing her job to investigate what actually transpired,” Enriquez said.
Also, Enriquez said, “Rosales was more concerned with condemning how the urban poor residents at North Triangle, Quezon City who “threw feces” at the police and demolition teams that supposedly violated the rights of the men in uniform. She completely ignored the forcible eviction and the consequent economic displacement of the urban poor.”
“When poor people are left with no other choice but to defend their survival, it is just to exercise their legitimate right to protest. Ironically, Rosales chose to dispense with the role of the Aquino government, the local government, the Ayalas and the PNP in driving away the urban poor in North Triangle from their homes and livelihood to make way for big business interests,” added Enriquez.
Karapatan also scored the CHR for the issuance of clearances for the promotion of human rights violators and Arroyo generals such as Brig. Gen. Eduardo Año and Brig. Gen. Aurelio Baladad. Karapatan opposed the appointments of Año, who is among the accused in the disappearance of Jonas Burgos; and Baladad who is among those responsible for the illegal arrest, torture and detention of the 43 health workers known as Morong 43.
“We have strong reason to believe that the CHR and Ms. Rosales granted the said generals with clearances without considering the standing cases in court against them. The CHR denied our request for access to the clearance documents which they issued, a clear violation of the right of the people to information and access to public documents,” Enriquez asserted.
“By acting as the defender of the PNP and the AFP, Rosales is clearly among the implementers of Aquino’s Oplan Bayanihan, which has already resulted to, and engenders more, human rights violations,” she concluded. ###

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Statement of SELDA on the passage of the Human Rights Violation Victims Reparation and Recognition Act of 2013

 

Twenty seven long years after the fall of the Marcos dictatorship, a law confirming the atrocities and human rights violations under martial law is finally signed into law.  The Samahan ng Ex-Detainees Laban sa Detensyon at Aresto or SELDA, which led the filing of the historic class suit by the martial law victims against Ferdinand E. Marcos in a Hawaii court, welcomes the passage of the Human Rights Violation Victims Reparation and Recognition Act of 2013.

This is another victory of the Martial Law victims in their continuing struggle for justice. Through their relentless efforts, finally and officially recognized are the heroism and sacrifices of all Filipinos who fought the dictatorship and were victims of human rights violations – summary execution, torture, enforced disappearances and all other gross forms of violations. They faced adversity, but took the courage to stand up and defend, not only theirs, but the people’s rights.

The struggle was protracted.  The process was agonizing and tedious. Scores of members of the Philippine Congress, in cahoots with the Marcoses and the military who vehemently opposed the passage of the law, tried to block its passing.  In some instances, they deliberately delayed the process or watered down the crafted bill.

Now, with a regime posturing as a “champion of human rights” and trying to score credits for its passage, the law was passed but mainly due to the persistent efforts of the martial law victims themselves.  Tirelessly working hand-in-hand with progressive party-lists and likeminded legislators, the bill was finalized and ratified.  Generally, the law is acceptable to the victims and survivors of martial law.

We take this opportunity to commend and express our gratitude to Bayan Muna Reps. Neri Colmenares and Teddy Casiño, who stood with us since the filing of the bill, pursuing the most pro-victim provisions, and consistently pushing, on behalf of the victims, the legislature to finally approve the bill. We also appreciate the support of Senators Chiz Escudero and TG Guingona, and Reps. Edcel Lagman and Erin Tañada.

Here and abroad, we were supported by various peace, justice and human rights advocates in the campaign for the bill’s passage. We extend our solidarity and gratefulness to solidarity groups in the United States, Hong Kong and Switzerland who warmly supported and mobilized in the campaign for the passage of the law, as well as in helping the victims every step of the way. We also thank the members of Parliament of Switzerland as well as its mission in Geneva for lending an ear to the victims’ pleas every time we lobby for their support. Most of all, we commend and deeply thank the members of the peace panel and consultants of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) who tirelessly asserted, in the process of all peace negotiations with the Philippine government, that the victims of Martial Law should attain justice.

It is with pain and regret for us to witness the passage of this law at a time when many of our fellow victims and colleagues, who took part in the struggle against martial rule, have gone ahead of us. Also, there are still attempts to distort, sometimes even completely erase in the memory of our people, the dark days of the dictatorship. There are those among the architects of martial law who remain scot-free and unpunished. The most notorious culprits have been allowed to regain their political power and influence.

Under the law, the Philippine government is obliged to recognize and give reparation to the victims of human rights violations during martial law. While all the sacrifices and heroism of the Filipino people during martial law is priceless, we see these both as an affirmation to the people who struggle for justice, and as a warning to those who will continue to impose fascism and terror upon the Filipino people.

We dedicate this small victory to all martial law martyrs and heroes who have gone before us. We will continue to honor them, as we ensure that this law shall be implemented to the best interest of the victims and the Filipino people who survived martial law.

We may be jubilant, but we continue to watch with vigilance. To fully ensure that the law will serve the rightful victims and claimants, we will try to make sure that the HRV Victims Claims Board shall be composed of individuals who, in one way or another, know and can feel with the victims and have been involved in the struggle against the Marcos dictatorial regime.

We take cognizance that SELDA is part of the recommending entities to the Claims Board. We challenge the administration to appoint nominees of SELDA despite some government officials’ bias given SELDA’s political stands.

Also, it should be ensured that those who are included in the master list of the 9,539 victims and those who will consequently file their claims are those who were genuinely part of the struggle against martial law. We should guard against unnecessary bureaucratic processes and scams which will deprive the victims of just indemnification.

We should also take the opportunity to make the younger generation learn, understand and take on the challenge of having the same daring, vigilance, militancy and commitment to justice and human rights.

It has been 40 years after martial law but human rights violations continue to be committed, and with impunity. There has not been much change except for the worse under the dispensations that succeeded the U.S.-Marcos regime. The Marcos laws and executive orders were retained by the succeeding administrations.  The militarist mindset and fascist machinery remain intact especially with the continuous implementation of the US-backed counter-insurgency programs

As long as human rights violations continue, with or without martial law, we stand with the people for justice, democracy and human rights. NEVER AGAIN will we allow the enemies of the people to perpetuate the same injustices, oppression and exploitation against the majority of the Filipino people.  ###

References:

Marie Hilao-Enriquez, SELDA chairperson, 0917-561-6800

 

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The Samahan ng Ex-Detainees Laban sa Detensyon at Aresto (SELDA) is an organization of former political prisoners in the Philippines. Founded on December 4, 1984, SELDA was initiated by newly-released political prisoners of the martial law period.  SELDA’s primary task is to work for the release of all political prisoners and to see to it that humane treatment of those who are still in detention are complied with by the Philippine authorities.  SELDA advocates justice for current and former political prisoners.  It calls for the mobilisation of resources in support of political prisoners, former detainees and their families.  It carries out legislative advocacy for the indemnification and rehabilitation of political prisoners. SELDA goes into partnership and builds solidarity with concerned individuals and groups for the freedom and welfare of political prisoners and all victims of tyranny. 
 
SELDA National Office: 2/F, Erythrina Bldg., #1 Maaralin corner Matatag Streets, 
Brgy. Central District, Diliman, Quezon City 1101, Philippines
Tel: 632-4342837 Fax: 632-4354146 

 

 

For Immediate Release
February 24, 2013
Contact: Katrina Abarcar
Email: j4gisfilipinoworkers@gmail.com
Phone Number:   202-656-0739

In the 50th Anniversary of Civil Rights Actions,

New Orleans Supports the Grand Isle Shipyard Filipino Workers

New Orleans, Louisiana – Fifty years since civil rights actions began in Birmingham, Alabama, activists from all over the U.S. convened in New Orleans to support Filipino workers continuing to struggle against modern day slavery. The first day of the Fact-Finding and Solidarity Mission organized by the Justice for Grand Isle Shipyard Filipino Workers campaign resulted in the formation of a new Filipino workers organization and solidifying of support from key organizations and communities within the New Orleans area.  

Saturday, February 23, 2013 began with a sharing between members of the National Guestworker Alliance (NGA) and STAND with Dignity, organizations that protect and fight for the issues of migrant workers and low income workers and residents of New Orleans, and former workers from Grand Isle Shipyard. The same day, a new workers organization called FAST, Filipinos Against Slavery and Trafficking was formed.

Community organizations across New Orleans poured into Loyola University’s Danna Hall for a public forum later in the afternoon to express their solidarity, and denounce the pattern of exploitation of workers, across industries and across ethnicities.  Harold Butanas of Migrante Northern California related his own experience of being trafficked. Mr. Butanas arrived in Mobile, Alabama in 2007 with 68 other Filipinos to work as welders, pipefitters and scaffolders.  Mr. Butanas describes in Tagalog, “When we got here, we were already being cooked in our own oil.  We were required to pay $16,000 to sign up to work overseas.  After arriving in Alabama after a month—just after a month!—the company  told us that they no longer had jobs for us, just like that. In 2009, I couldn’t take it anymore, I moved to San Francisco.  I worked as a caregiver working almost 24 hours a day, 6 days a week, but was only being paid 8 hours a week. For 5 years, I worked, without papers, without approaching anyone for help.  Then, I met Terry (Valen), and through FCC (Filipino Community Center), that’s when I gained strength to fight against these injustices.  I’m proud to say that now, out of 68 Filipinos, I am the only one fighting.”  

Daniel Castellanos of the National Guestworker Alliance (NGA) also remarked on how this case “was not an anomaly.”  He shared that other workers of other ethnicities often take the same type of dirty and dangerous jobs, working for too many hours and paid too little.  “As a former guest worker, I feel that this is a very important step for the campaign. Because we know that they are now united, and they want to get justice, and as NGA, we are going to support them, in any way we can.  This is not only important for the Filipino workers, but for all workers.  It’s important to expose these kind of employers, because there are many GIS’s around the country.  This is part of the mission of the alliance, and so we will support them.”

Representatives from organizations such as the Ecumenical Forum for Filipino Concerns (EFFCON), Migrante International, and International Migrants Alliance (IMA) read solidarity statements in support of the struggle of the Grand isle Shipyard Filipino workers.

Jackie Mariano, of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN-USA), discussed the roots of the outmigration of Filipinos as stemming from the Labor Export Policy (LEP) of the Philippine government. She explained how the LEP is an unsustainable solution to the widespread poverty and joblessness in the Philippines.  Ms. Mariano also discussed how the corrupt landed elite has kept the Philippines an export-oriented and import-dependent economy, and how the U.S. exerts tremendous control and influence over the economy of the Philippines.

The evening ended with cultural presentations from delegates, and community organizations, such as the Vietnamese American Young Leaders Association of New Orleans (VAYLA-NO).  Ang Grupong Pendong, made up of former members of the popular progressive Filipino band Asin, headlined the intimate event. Workers were invited to join the group on stage to sing songs about the strength and courage of workers in their fight against exploitation.

For more information about the Justice for Grand Isle Shipyard Filipino Workers campaign, go to j4gisfilipinoworkers.wordpress.com.

San Francisco Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines (SFCHRP) is proud to present the shadow puppet piece, Karapatang Pantao (Human Rights). It is dedicated to all victims of human rights violations (HRVs).

Please anticipate a second version of this shadow puppet piece coming in the near future. In the meantime, we hope you all enjoy this first version.

For more information, please visit sanfranchrp.com

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I AM ND: Michael “Artivista” Luat at the Office Gallery

 

On exhibit March 24 – May 11, 2013

Opening reception March 24, 3-5PM

 

Kearny Street Workshop

1246 Folsom Street, Suite 100

San Francisco, CA 94103

ARTIST STATEMENT

“Art is not a skill. This is an irrevocable fact . It is beyond form. It is the consciousness juxtaposed with feelings, thus become structured and created into form… Action, which is the process of painting, is an interplay of sorrow, pain, fear, and the liberation from it which is joy, beauty, and freedom. It has an infinite doors in which these opposing forces interact. To me, my painting is a door to open. It is for the viewer to open and discover not the artist’s space but their own dimension…”

– Papo De Asis, Los Angeles, Ca. Feb. 26, 1997


I AM ND is an exhibit inspired by the National Democratic movement of the Philippines, a movement led by the Pilipino masses uniting to fight for basic human rights against an anti-people, neo-colonial government and system. It celebrates the legacy of 150 years of struggling for sovereign nationhood beginning with the revolutionary leader Andrés Bonifacio and continuing to this day.

The Philippines is an archipelago blessed with abundant natural resources enough to feed its entire population, including the eleven million Pilipinos living and working abroad. However, due to increasing privatization and globalization stemming from neoliberal policies propped up by the U.S.-controlled puppet state, resources are sucked dry and then dumped back into the country as finished products. Jobs are a joke as the rights of workers are whittled down to almost nothing, and wages are unable to cover the rising costs of living. These oppressive factors create a domino effect for families – from education, healthcare, housing, and more until people are forced to leave to seek “better opportunities” abroad.

I am an organizer with BAYAN-USA, an umbrella organization with 17 groups across the country aligned with the principles of the ND movement, due to the conditions that I have experienced from integrating with people in the Philippines who are struggling everyday to survive. In the US, I have heard countless stories of overseas workers who fall victim to the exploitation at the hands of their employers.

A current example of this is the plight of the Pilipino workers at Grand Isle Shipyard in Louisiana. Welders there toil under dirty, dangerous, and demeaning conditions on oil rig platforms. While working on the Black Elk platform, three workers were killed in an explosion. A report was sent to the Philippine government, but nothing so far has been done to protect the welfare of and bring justice to these workers.

As a Pilipino American, I feel it is important to let others know about what is happening in my homeland and in my community. In creating art, I am able to illustrate the stories of the Pilipino masses to my audience, inviting them to dialogue and moving them to take action to make a difference internationally.

Michael Peña Luat, aka ‘Artivista’, is a native Californian, San Francisco-based artist/activist  whose works are inspired by the social and political views of the National Democratic movement of the Philippines, as well as protest/revolutionary art from individual artists and collectives from around the world. He is trained by a handful of college classes, but socially acquired techniques through his peers and experimentation. He produces work in various mediums, including pen, acrylic, linocut, and digital media.

###

CONTACT INFORMATION:

TJ Basa, Program Manager
Kearny Street Workshop
(415) 503-0520
tj@kearnystreet.org

Bayan Muna Partylist provincial chairperson & elected Municipal Official shot to death in Aklan, Panay, Philippines

UA No: 2010-07-01

UA Date                     :           6 July 2010

UA Case                     :           Assassination, Violation against Children’s Rights to Protection or

Safety by the State or its Agents, Threat/Harassment/Intimidation

Victim/s                      :           Assassination

Fernando Baldomero

  • 61 years old, male, married with children
  • A resident of Brgy. Sta. Cruz, Biga-a, Lezo, Aklan, Philippines
  • 2nd Termer Municipal Councilor of Lezo, Aklan
  • Provincial Chairperson, Bayan Muna Partylist
  • Provincial Coordinator, Makabayan Coalition-Aklan
  • Member, Society of Ex-detainees for Liberation, against Detention and for Amnesty (SELDA)

Threat/Harassment/Intimidation, Violation against Children’s Rights to Protection or Safety by the State or its Agents

Karl Philip Baldomero

  • 12 years old, male
  • Son of Fernando

Place of Incident        :           Brgy. Estancia, Kalibo, Aklan

Date of Incident         :           July 5, 2010 at around 6:30 AM

Alleged Perpetrator(s):         two unidentified armed men believed to be military elements

Account of the Incident:

At around 6:30 AM, Fernando Baldomero was in front of his rented house in Brgy. Estancia, Kalibo boarding his motorcycle with his 12-year old son on their way to school when two medium built men in

a black motorcycle stopped in front of them.  The backrider who was wearing a black jacket, a helmet and a pair of sunglasses that completely covered his face disembarked, and using a handgun, started shooting the victim at close range in front of his terrified son.  The driver was wearing a white shirt and a pair of denim pants and had no covering over his face.  Witnesses noticed that there was a long firearm at the back of the driver.

Baldomero suffered two gunshot wounds to the head which pierced through his helmet and one to the neck.  The assailants left soon after.  Witnesses even tried to run after them but they drove very fast.  The victim was immediately brought to the Kalibo Provincial Hospital but he was pronounced dead-on-arrival.

Baldomero’s son, Karl Philip, was also immediately brought to the doctor because he was severely traumatized by the incident.

It can be recalled that during the 2010 election campaign period, two men on board a motorcycle with no license plate lobbed grenades at the Baldomero ancestral house in Brgy. Sta. Cruz Biga-a, Lezo, Aklan on 19 March 2010.  One of the grenades landed and exploded in the kitchen located at the rear part of the house, while the other one landed inside the main part of the house where Fernando’s 92-year old father Ramon was preparing feeds for his chicken.  Fortunately, the second grenade did not explode.

In 2005, while Fernando Baldomero served as a barangay (village) councilor in Lezo, he was arrested and detained because the military and the police linked him with a unit of the New People’s Army (NPA) and charged him with the alleged crime committed by the rebel group in Guimbal, Iloilo and San Remigio, Antique.  He was cleared from both charges and was later released.

He was again slapped with two trumped up charges by the military in connection with NPA activities in Tubungan, Iloilo but they two were dismissed at the Provincial Prosecutor level.

Fernando Baldomero was a political detainee in the 80s tagged by the military as a high-ranking official of the NPA.  After his release, he settled in his hometown in Lezo.

Recommended Action:

Send letters, emails or fax messages calling for:

  1. The immediate formation of an independent fact-finding and investigation team composed of representatives

from human rights groups, the Church, local government, and the Commission on Human Rights that

will look into the assassination of Fernando Baldomero, the Violation against Children’s Rights to

Protection or Safety by the State or its Agents and the Threat/Harassment/Intimidation of Karl Philip Baldomero;

  1. The arrest and prosecution of the perpetrators of the above mentioned crime/s;
  1. The military to stop the labeling and targeting of human rights defenders as “members of front organizations of the communists” and “enemies of the state.”
  2. The Philippine Government to withdraw its counterinsurgency program Oplan Bantay Laya (Operation Freedom Watch).

You may send your communications to:

H.E. Benigno C. Aquino III

President of the Republic of the Philippines

Malacañang Palace,

JP Laurel St., San Miguel

Manila, Philippines

Voice: (+632) 564 1451 to 80

Fax: (+632) 742-1641 / 929-3968

E-mail:

Sec. Teresita Quintos-Deles

Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process

Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP)

7th Floor Agustin Building I

Emerald Avenue

Pasig City 1605

Voice:+63 (2) 636 0701 to 066

Fax:+63 (2) 638 2216

E-Mail Address: osec@opapp.gov.ph

Ret. Lt. Gen. Voltaire T. Gazmin

Secretary, Department of National Defense

Room 301 DND Building, Camp Emilio Aguinaldo,

E. de los Santos Avenue, Quezon City

Voice:+63(2) 911-9281 / 911-0488

Fax:+63(2) 911 6213

Email: osnd@philonline.com

Atty. Leila De Lima

Secretary, Department of Justice

Padre Faura St., Manila

Direct Line 521-8344; 5213721

Trunkline  523-84-81 loc.214

Fax: (+632) 521-1614

Email:  soj@doj.gov.ph

Acting Chairperson Cecilia Rachel V. Quisumbing

Commission on Human Rights

SAAC Bldg., UP Complex

Commonwealth Avenue

Diliman, Quezon City, Philippines

Voice: (+632) 928-5655, 926-6188

Fax: (+632) 929 0102

Email:  coco.chrp@gmail.com,

Please send us a copy of your email/mail/fax to the above-named government officials, to our address below.

URGENT ACTION Prepared by:

KARAPATAN (Alliance for the Advancement of People’s Rights)

National Office

2/F Erythrina Bldg., #1 Maaralin cor Matatag Sts., Brgy. Central, Diliman, Quezon City 1100 PHILIPPINES

Voice/Fax: (+632) 435 4146

Email: urgentaction@karapatan.org

Website: http://www.karapatan.org

FROM CORPORATE BAILOUTS TO AUSTERITY MEASURES:

SHIFTING FURTHER THE BURDEN OF CRISIS TO THE PEOPLE

By Prof. Jose Maria Sison

Chairperson, International League of Peoples’ Struggle

July 7, 2010

Since 2008 the major capitalist powers have wantonly used public money to bail out the big banks and corporations, thus allowing these to show profits on their balance sheets and to conjure the false illusion of recovery in financial markets but in fact aggravating the economic crisis through the contraction of production and the loss of jobs and homes among the working people. The use of public money to provide relief to the so-called troubled assets of the big banks and corporations has resulted in huge fiscal deficits, a public debt bubble that has begun to burst and an undeniable depression that can no longer be euphemistically termed as a mere recession.


The recent Group of Twenty (G-20) summit in Toronto, Canada sought to find common ground in securing global capitalism from the worsening economic and financial crisis. Led by the United States, the European Union and Japan, the big powers misrepresented the rapidly growing fiscal deficits and public debt as the result of excessive stimulus to production and social spending that need to to be restrained through austerity measures. In fact, the steep rise of fiscal deficits and public debt in the imperialist countries has been accompanied by decline of production, unemployment and erosion of social benefits.

The austerity measures are meant to counter the inflationary effect of public spending for corporate welfare in order to further shift the burden of crisis to the people. They include further reduction of wages and social benefits and increases of taxes on consumption of the working class and the rest of the people. Such measures are bound to aggravate the economic crisis by causing further decline in production, more layoffs, loss of welfare benefits and accelerated deterioration of social services. The Toronto summit showed signs of divisions among the major capitalist powers on how to protect themselves from the crisis, on the kind and extent of stimulus programs and austerity measures to undertake and on what financial regulation and reforms to carry out.
At the previous G-20 summit in Pittsburgh, USA in September 2009, a year after the eruption of the crisis in the US, the big powers congratulated themselves for having supposedly fended off a depression and putting global capitalism on the path of recovery. Developments since then have clearly shown the optimistic forecasts to be wrong and more than ever confirm the fact that neither have the root causes of the crisis been addressed nor have effective counter-crisis measures been adopted from the lore of the New Deal or Keynesianism tto stimulate consumer demand and production.
The imperialist powers have clung to their neoliberal dogma and to further financialization of their economies by providing huge amounts of public money to the big banks and corporations for profit-making on their books of accounts while cutting labor costs and evading the need to expand production and employment. Consequently, a protracted kind of depression has further taken hold of the imperialist countries and the rest of the world.
False recovery
The capitalist global economy, measured in world real gross domestic product (GDP), contracted by more than 2% last year despite claims of a return to positive growth since the last months of 2009. Such spurious claims have been conjured through some US$11.0 trillion of public money doled out by states as bailouts to their giant monopoly banks, investment firms and manufacturing firms in quick reaction to the financial collapse in late 2008.
The supposed recovery has only been in terms of momentary statistical growth and corporate profits on books of accounts and in the stock market rather than in terms of production, employment and improvement of the people’s living conditions. According to ILO figures in 2009, global unemployment increased from 178 million in 2007 to 239 million in 2009, which is the highest level ever recorded. Of course, these official figures grossly underestimate the true extent of the jobs crisis by excluding the unemployed workers who have stopped to apply for jobs or who are on so-called retraining programs and by not taking into account the fall in the quality of jobs and the decreases in working hours and pay (casualization and part-timing).
The US illustrates well how corporate profits and upper class wealth, not jobs, are at the center of government claims to economic recovery. US real GDP began to contract from the start of 2008 to the first quarter of 2009 by as much as 6.5%. The government began a massive rescue effort to try to stem this decline and to date has spent, loaned or at least committed to spend or lend if necessary over US$13 trillion, an amount almost equivalent to the value of US GDP for an entire year. US GDP growth turned positive in the third quarter of 2009, peaked at 5.6% in the fourth quarter, but quickly started slowing down again to 2.7% in the first quarter of 2010.
US corporate profits correspondingly increased by 7.7% in 2009 and then by a massive 56.5% in the first quarter of 2010 to US$1.6 trillion (from US$1.2 trillion in the first quarter of 2009). Yet the US working class is suffering its deepest and most prolonged jobs crisis since the Great Depression. Fifteen million workers were officially reported as jobless in May 2010, at a 9.7% unemployment rate, apart from 1.1 million discouraged workers and 8.8 million involuntary part-time workers. Their prospects remain dire and dismal with house prices falling again, looming cutbacks in state and local budgets, and European troubles cutting further into exports. These will mean less jobs, more people losing their unemployment benefits, health insurance and homes, and greater poverty and misery.


The jobs crisis is likewise severe in the other imperialist countries. Growth resumed in the 27 countries of the European Union in the third quarter of 2009 but by May 2010 some 23.1 million were still unemployed, a 1.8 million increase from the year before and reaching a record 9.6% jobless rate. The Japanese economy has contracted by more than 5% in 2009 and is being dragged back down to deep recession by deflation and weak domestic demand. As officially reported, unemployment reached 3.5 million in May 2010, at a rate of 5.2 %.

The raging global jobs crisis worsens even as profits have risen and the rich keep getting richer. The richest one percent of the world’s households have even increased their wealth from US$36 trillion in 2008 to US$44 trillion in 2009, with the super-rich top 0.1 % increasing their wealth from US$19 trillion to US$23 trillion. Taxpayer-funded bailouts and so-called stimulus programs for the banks, financial institutions and firms, which have been speciously justified as good for the economy and the people, have in the main preserved and enlarged the wealth of the monopoly bourgeoisie, especially the finance oligarchy.
In the backward and dependent countries, incomes from trade, remittances, investments and development remain stagnant and are likely to decrease as the global depression deepens. Decreasing demand from the imperialist countries for primary commodities, migrant labor and low value-added semi-manufactures has led to shut downs and job losses. Trade and budgetary deficits and unpayable debt burdens afflict all the underdeveloped countries. These countries are being pushed further down to ever deepening levels of chronic depression as the imperialist countries adopt austerity measures in their homeground and push other countries to do the same, with the notable exception of China which the imperialists have been pushing to upvalue its currency, import and consume more and draw down its export surpluses and foreign exchange reserves.


Sovereign debt crisis

The hyped global recovery is not just false by not being productively beneficial to the people but also artificial by being unsustainable. The enormous state-funded bailouts have grossly inflated public deficits and debt and generated the sovereign debt bubble in the imperialist countries and client states. The public debt bubble has in fact begun to burst in certain countries, threatening to precipitate another financial and economic collapse even deeper and more far-reaching than the meltdown triggered in 2008.
The US government deficit increased four-fold from being equivalent to 2.5% of GDP in 2007 to 10.9% in 2009, reaching US$1.6 trillion. This caused US gross federal debt to rise to US$12.9 trillion in 2009, or equivalent to 90.4% of GDP. In turn the general government deficit of the EU-27 countries increased nine-fold from 0.8% of GDP in 2007 to 6.8% in 2009, reaching 801.9 billion euros. Over that period Germany’s fiscal situation deteriorated from a 0.2% of GDP surplus to a deficit of 3.3%, the United Kingdom’s deficit increased from 2.8% to 11.5%, and France’s deficit from 2.7% to 7.5 %.  EU-27 debt correspondingly rose to 8.7 trillion euros, equivalent to 73.6% of GDP.
These levels are unprecedented and clearly unsustainable. In the advanced economies, gross general government debt averaged around 60% in the years before the crisis, reached 75% in 2007, and are certain to breach 110% by 2014 at the latest even if the temporary so-called stimulus measures are withdrawn. Group of Seven (G-7) debt-to-GDP ratios are already near 100% which approaches levels immediately after the Second World War yet without the prospect of a post-war reconstruction boom to drive recovery.


The recent 110 billion euro bailout of Greece by the EU and IMF marks the entry into the next phase of the global crisis into sovereign debt difficulties. In 2009, Greece among the weaker European countries had the worst combination of a deficit equivalent to 13.6% of GDP (second worst) and of debt equivalent to 115.1% of GDP (second worst). The bailout requires harsh austerity measures: freezing public sector pay until 2014, increasing the VAT from 19% to 23%, a 10% increase in taxes on fuel, alcohol and tobacco, and increasing the retirement age from 61 to 63. As it is the EU has also already agreed on a 750 billion euro rescue package for other possible bankruptcies in the Eurozone. The number of those in the PIIGS category (Portugal, Ireland, Italy, Greece and Spain) is bound to increase.
The imperialist countries and other big powers face the dilemma between, on the one hand, continued deficit spending supposedly to boost collapsing economies and, on the other hand, building up unpayable public debt. Without fundamental reforms to benefit the working classes and the middle strata, cutbacks on government deficit spending ( which has been touted as stimulating demand but in fact boosting the book profits of monopoly banks and corporations without any expansion of production and employment) will further deepen the state of depression in the world capitalist system. However, continuing with the fiscal deficits without generating production will rapidly inflate a sovereign debt bubble that will likewise cause enormous unprecedented financial and economic turmoil worldwide when it fully bursts and runs completely out of control.
Either situation means that billions of working people around the world will be driven into deeper acute misery and backwardness. Widespread defaults and financial meltdowns are looming and, as it is, the early concerns about sovereign debt sustainability are already causing havoc on currency markets as well as spilling over into financial and commodity markets.
The bursting of the private debt bubble and collapse in demand in 2008 was momentarily mitigated by an inflating public debt bubble and stimulus programs. But when the public debt bubble fully bursts and with no other source of new demand, the reality of global depression will become more undeniable than ever before. The people will suffer further unemployment and drastic cuts in social services (education, health, housing, welfare and pensions) increased poverty levels, mortality rates and hunger, with; all these compounded by governments raising the people’s tax burden to maintain operations and pay off the public debt from year to year.


Austerity measures

The imperialist powers have used the crisis as the reason for developing the G-20 into a mechanism for greater global financial and economic governance. US president Barack Obama at the Pittsburgh summit declared the G-20 the premier forum for global economic coordination, in conjunction with the IMF and World Bank (WB) which remain firmly in US control. The group includes such other big economies as China, India, Brazil and Russia to reflect a supposedly multi-polar world order and collectively represents two-thirds of the world’s population, four-fifths of world trade, and over 85% global output. The policy directions the G-20 sets are therefore significant.
The G-20 summit in Toronto concluded with the apparent consensus that government deficits and debts would be reduced in the long-term but would be a problem to be approached differently in the short-term by different countries. There appeared to be some disagreements among the major G-20 members (especially the US, EU, Japan and China) on the pace of reducing budget deficits but the communique set general albeit non-binding directions and called for a halving of budget deficits by 2013 and stabilizing debt-to-GDP ratios by 2016.


The imperialist countries seek to impose austerity measures on themselves as well as on the underdeveloped and dependent countries. A recent report released by the UNICEF examined the fiscal outlook of 86 underdeveloped countries and found that nearly 40% of the governments are planning to cut spending in 2010-2011 by an average of 2.6% of GDP (by as much as 13% in some countries). These cuts are being instigated by the IMF which has advised the removal of fuel or food subsidies, public sector downsizing, wage cuts and pension reforms at a time when the populations in these countries are still confronting widespread chronic unemployment, rising prices of food and fuel, and the adverse impacts of climate change.


Public outrage at the use of taxpayer money for the multi-billion dollar bailouts compelled governments to commit sweeping financial regulation and reforms supposedly to rein in the excesses and reckless practices of bankers and financial speculators. However nearly two years into the crisis progress in the G-20 towards these supposed reforms is extremely little and slow, with gaping loopholes on the steps being taken and little consensus on the measures to come. Finance capital is voracious and always acts to shift the burden of crisis to the people. There are no real measures that can significantly curb the rapacity of the monopoly finance capitalists and the irrational and destructive character and course of the financial system.

It is not surprising that no consensus was reached on the specific banking and finance proposals. Decisions on these were put off to the next G-20 summit in Seoul, South Korea in November. The proposals included that of Europe for a bank levy to fund future bailouts, as well as global bank and financial transactions taxes and that of the US for more stringent rules on bank capital requirements and liquidity.
The most visible disagreement was between the US and such European countries as Germany and the UK on fiscal consolidation. The US expressed preference for a slow exit from so-called stimulus measures as opposed to Europe which, already facing a public debt crisis, preferred more rapid implementation of spending cutbacks and tax increases to cut government deficits and reduce pressures on public debt.
These differences in position reflect differences in their respective economies (such as reliance on speculative finance and on exports) and in how the crisis has specifically affected each of them so far (such as the real or perceived strengths of country banking systems). In part they also reflect confidence in the US that even as it is somewhat diminished in economic and financial clout it remains the world’s lone superpower and that amidst deepening crisis it is still perceived as the relatively safest haven for capital. At any rate, the big powers tend to adopt and implement policies as they individually see fit according to their national or ultra-national interest.
The G-20 notably backpedaled on making any firm time-bound commitments to complete the Doha round of World Trade Organization (WTO) talks on multilateral liberalization after targeting the end of 2010 for this in the Pittsburgh Communique. Conspicuously mentioned for the first time is the openness to bilateral and regional deals. This manifests the intent of the big powers to consolidate and expand their respective trade and investment blocs. The advanced capitalist powers alwaysl seek to preserve their profits and positions at the expense of their rival powers. Inter-imperialist contradictions characterize the world capitalist system.
It is also important to highlight the fact that none of the so-called reforms pushed by the G-20 address the underlying core issues inherent to monopoly capitalism and that are at the heart of its exploitativeness, instability, grossly uneven distribution of the social wealth, and the poverty and restricted consumption of the masses. Financial sector deregulation was a key part of the previous decades of neoliberal globalization that started in the 1980s, accelerated in the 1990s and exploded in the 2000s with financial values bloating far beyond what the real economy could sustain or justify.
The worst features of the world capitalist system are being laid bare as the banks, the corporations and the imperialist states fail to solve the crisis and all the problems that they have generated and try ceaselessly to shift the burden of crisis to the dominated countries and the working people. First, public money has been used to bail out the big banks and corporations. Then the public deficits and public debts lead to the further exploitation of the people through austerity measures. There is a pressing need for the people to comprehend how the world capitalist system exploits and oppresses them and to strengthen their resolve and struggle to replace the system with one that is truly free, democratic, just and progressive.
People’s struggle
The International League of Peoples’ Struggle (ILPS) congratulates all the people and organized forces involved in the massive mobilizations in Toronto, reaching some 30,000 demonstrators at the peak. The protest mass actions were organized despite repressive security measures and effectively exposed the true anti-people and anti-democratic nature of what has been touted as the largest, most expensive and most heavily secured meeting of global leaders in history, costing at least US$1.2 billion.
There was a security crackdown in the run-up to the summit with harassment and pre-emptive arrests of activists, forcible displacement of homeless people, and expanded police powers for violating civil liberties and political rights. The summit itself was held in the middle of a security zone ringed by six (6) kilometres of barbed wire and concrete barriers, and secured by over 10,000 soldiers, police and paramilitary personnel on foot, horseback, armoured cars, patrol boats and helicopters. Marchers were eventually dispersed violently with tear gas, truncheons, plastic bullets, pepper spray and sonic cannons, and over 600 people were arrested.
The huge mass protests against the G-20 in Toronto were driven by the deep inequities of the global order with bailouts for the rich and a vast and rapidly widening gap between the imperialist countries and the underdeveloped countries as well as between the ruling classes and the great mass of working people. The mass protests reflected and echoed the widespread strikes, protest rallies and other forms of popular resistance in the the G-20 countries and elsewhere in the world.
A broad range of issues were raised against the G-20, including the bailouts for the banks and corporations, high rates of unemployment and homelessness, the brutal attacks on the rights of the working people, the decline of incomes and the erosion of hard-won social benefits for the working people, the austerity measures to further exploit and impoverish the people, the imperialist aggression in Iraq and Afghanistan, the US-Israel Zionist oppression of the Palestinian people, climate change and corporate environmental destruction.
The broad masses of the people condemned the G-20, the IMF, World Bank and the WTO as instruments of exploitation and called for a world economy that promotes the well-being of humanity. They demanded a new and better world, free from imperialism, exploiting classes and all forms of discrimination, truly democratic, socially just, all-roundedly progressive, peaceful and characterized by people’s solidarity and harmony with the environment. They asserted that the people by their own mass struggles can effectively resist imperialism and all reaction, liberate themselves and bring about fundamental social change. ###

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