Relief Operations of Progressive Partylists:

Anakpawis relief work in Montalban, Pateros, Caloocan and Malabon

 

Posted: October 14, 2009

 

Bayan Muna      Kabataan Partylist       Migrante International     Serve the People Brigade    Dita tree saved 36 lives

 

All UP Workers Union    Gabriela    AllUPWUAEU    Salinlahi     Anakpawis1     Anakpawis2   Bayan Muna in Brgy. Maybunga

 

 
   
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Photos courtesy of Anakpawis partylist
           
           

 

P100-M SSS typhoon aid leaves victims with nothing, Arroyo with plenty
Date: 13 October 2009
Reference Person:
Roger Soluta, KMU Sec. General
Contact information:
0928-721-5313

KMU, Anakpawis picket SSS office to demand direct assistance to victims

Workers led by Kilusang Mayo Uno and Anakpawis Partylist slammed the dubious donation of P100-million typhoon aid by the Social Security System to the Office of the President, saying the P30-million share of Gloria Arroyo may just spark another storm against her regime.

In a picket-protest in front of the SSS office today, workers and typhoon victims demanded SSS Pres. and CEO Romulo Neri to explain the trick that he made with SSS funds which speedily endowed Arroyo with millions of pesos even as members, majority of which are workers, scramble for slow-moving loans.

According to the SSS website, the government agency released P60 million to the Department of Social Welfare and Development, P30 million to the Office of the President and P5 million each to labor and employer groups.
 

“We wonder why the SSS administration, under the leadership of Sec. Neri – a close ally of Mrs. Arroyo – should allocate its members’ funds to the Office of the President instead of directly releasing cash assistance to SSS members,” said KMU Secretary General Roger Soluta.

“While the SSS administration provides its poor but hard-working members with mere loans and loan payment moratoriums, it doesn’t think twice about providing politicians with the opportunity to steal millions from workers – and in the aftermath of a national disaster at that,” added Soluta.
Rep. Joel Maglunsod of Anakpawis Partylist said the allocation of the typhoon aid “raises suspicions about its real intentions.”

“Does the SSS really want to be of service to members affected by the typhoon? Or is the pressure or enticements from corrupt politicians so immense that Mr. Neri can only ’moderate the greed’ of these politicians?,” he said.
Rep. Maglunsod said SSS should release P20,000 direct cash assistance to members who are affected by the typhoon if it really wants to help, rather than release funds to corrupt agencies.

KMU also questioned the disbursement of the P5 million to labor groups, saying “the amount has never been felt by workers.”

“We demand that the government infuse funds to the SSS so it can provide members with P20,000 direct calamity assistance. We demand that the disbursement of funds by the SSS to other government agencies be investigated. We say to Mrs. Arroyo: Hands off SSS! Direct cash assistance for workers now!” said Soluta. #

 

Anakpawis relief in Brgy. Sta. Ana, Pateros, October 11, 2009,

Anakpawis Rep. Ka Paeng Mariano with Taguig-Pateros Rep. Lani Cayetano.

           
     
     
           
           

 

‘Even calamity cannot moderate oil cartel’s greed’ – KMU
 

Date: 12 October 2009
Reference Person:
Reference: Elmer “Bong,” Labog, KMU Chairperson
Contact information:
0929-629-3234

Shell and Seaoil exempted Northern Luzon provinces from the 25-centavo-per-liter hike which they imposed on petroleum products today, Monday, to avoid being seen as insensitive towards the people’s plight after typhoons “Ondoy” and “Pepeng” ravaged the country.

But such an action is mere make-up in the face of a rotting carcass. It tries to hide that which cannot be hidden from view: Even calamities cannot moderate the oil cartel’s immoderate greed for profits.

Not content with keeping petroleum products overpriced, the oil cartel is using every slight price movement in the world market as excuse to “adjust” prices. The sight of an impoverished people further devastated by the combination of natural calamities and criminal government neglect does not hinder them from jacking up prices anew.

The oil companies’ actions amidst the immense suffering of the Filipino people merely highlight the fact that we cannot rely on them, and their non-existent sense of compassion, to provide us petroleum products with just prices.

We have to junk Oil Deregulation Law in the soonest possible time and nationalize the oil industry. The government will not do it alone; we, the Filipino people, should fight for these calls. We need to struggle to end the heartless profiteering being undertaken by the cruel oil cartel.

 

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PRESS STATEMENT
14 October 2009

Floods: profit over people

The data being released to the public regarding the culpability of the San Roque Multi-Purpose Project (SRMP) for the flooding in Pangasinan show that profit won over public safety in this case. SRMP was clearly holding back water in the dam even if water was reaching critical levels because SRMP gave sole priority to power generation over flood control considerations.

Socrates Paat of Pag-asa’s Hydrometereological Division gave a correct summary of the mindset of private entities in relation to dam administration: “Water is money.” What we are witnessing today, in Pangasinan and elsewhere, are the tragic consequences of this thinking. SRMP sees in the dam the image of an alkansya and acted accordingly.

Filing a class suit against SRMP is not only correct, it is imperative. And so is the decommissioning of the San Roque Dam. The privatization policy of the government should also be blamed for putting public safety in the hands of corporations who prioritize profit over people. Privatization caused the people to drown and die.

Profit was also given priority over people in other causes of flooding in Luzon. Aside from causing the recent floods, what does mining, quarrying, deforestation and unplanned urban “development” have in common? They were all driven by the single-minded pursuit for profit, and were encouraged by a criminally negligent government.

Reference: Elmer “Bong” Labog, KMU Chairperson, 0929-629-3234

 

     
     
     

Mayday Video: Tulong Anakpawis visits typhoon victims in Bagong Silang, Kalookan

 
     

 Oplan Sagip Kanayunan-Balsa, Oct. 10,

Sitio Wawa, Montalban, Rizal w/ Rotary Club of Pasay-EDSA

     
   
           
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KMU to GMA: Declaration of sympathy can’t save lives; ‘We want Gibo out of NDCC’
Date: 11 October 2010
Reference Person:
Elmer "Bong" Labog, KMU Chairperson
Contact information:
0929-629-3234

Mrs. Arroyo should prove, and not merely declare, her sympathy for the victims of typhoons “Ondoy” and “Pepeng.” Beyond helping our kababayans evacuate from dangerous areas, her government should create and implement policies that will provide concrete immediate and long-term support to typhoon victims.

Instead of imposing a moratorium on loan payments to the SSS and GSIS, the government should infuse funds to these agencies so they can provide members affected by the typhoon with P20,000 direct assistance. Workers need to have cash to acquire basic necessities which they lost during the typhoon and make household repairs. The government has more than enough funds to give out more than loans.

Instead of asking or pushing urban poor residents staying in evacuation centers to either go back to their provinces (which they left because of landlessness, joblessness and militarization) or move to “inaayawang” relocation sites (which are far from their sources of livelihood and often pose dangers to their lives), the government should provide affordable and safe homes to the urban poor within Metro Manila.

The Arroyo government must not try to halt public discussions on the typhoons, their aftermath and government response. Her government’s assessment should not be a “sorry-now-sin-later” kind, similar to her “I…am...sorry” speech regarding the “Hello Garci” controversy. The criminal neglect that we have seen among government agencies should cause heads to roll and cases to be filed against government officials.

Sec. Gilbert Teodoro, for one, should be sacked from his post, for carrying out a disaster response that is more disastrous than the calamity itself as head of the National Disaster Coordinating Council. What he has shown in the face of disaster is a callous and ineffective leadership that is the trademark of his master Gloria Arroyo. We do not need more of his publicity stunts and promises. We want him out of the NDCC now. #

           
     
     
     

 

Dam execs must face criminal charges - KMU

Date: 10 October 2009
Reference Person:
Elmer "Bong" Labog, KMU Chairperson
Contact information:
0929-629-3234

Dam authorities should face criminal charges over the timing of release of water from several dams in Luzon during the onslaught of typhoons “Ondoy” and “Pepeng,” according to labor center Kilusang Mayo Uno.

KMU said the release of dam water as heavy rain poured into cities and towns significantly contributed to the immense flooding in many parts of Luzon, which devastated lives and livelihoods in the past few days.

“Dam authorities have continuously justified the said action in their statements to the media, while refusing to explain and elaborate on whether proper precautionary measures were taken,” said Elmer “Bong” Labog, KMU chairperson.

In particular, the labor group called for an investigation into the liability of the administrators of San Roque and Pantabangan dams.

“We ask the dam authorities: were warnings issued to the public before water was released from the dams? Could there have been a better time for releasing water? People can’t help but think that they released water while the typhoons were raging, not earlier when it’s a lot safer for ordinary people”.

KMU said it understands the reasons being dished out by dam authorities, that it would be better to release water than allow the dam to break and release even more water. “But this should be done days before the onslaught of a typhoon,” said Labog.

“Modern technology already allows us to predict the path and intensity of typhoons. And warnings should be issued, so the people won’t be caught flat-footed when water levels rise.

“Dam authorities should find a better way of dealing with heavy rainfall, instead of just making ‘damned if you do, damned if you don’t’ statements. People living in areas surrounding dams cannot just accept death everytime there are typhoons,” added Labog.

The labor group reiterated its oppositon to big dam projects, saying these cause the destruction of the ecosystem, dislocate many communities and endanger the lives and properties of countless people.

“The creation of dams has displaced many people before. Now, the administrators of dams are drowning people and destroying many properties,” Labog said.

“Clearly, the disaster tells us that the government has been an accomplice of private corporations in causing wanton destruction of the environment and displacement of families by failing to regulate the construction and operation of dams,” he added. ###

 

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PRESS STATEMENT
14 October 2009

KMU urges EU: Stop funding the criminal

It is with great dismay that victims of trade union repression have learned of the decision of the European Union (EU) to give 3.9 million euros to the Arroyo regime, which is notorious for its gross human and labor rights violations. Coming in less than two weeks after the first International Labor Organization High-level Mission (ILO-HLM), which came close to indicting the present regime of trade union rights violations, such news appears as mockery of our struggle for justice and for an end to the persecution of critical voices in the country.

We strongly condemn this blind and foolish move by the EU to provide the number one criminal, Gloria Arroyo, with fresh funds to sustain her atrocity against activists and activist organizations. Rather than help curb extra-judicial killings, the fund will reload military and police guns with fresh ammunition. Rather than stop enforced disappearances, it will spawn more government-hired agents who will carry out the abductions of activists. It's like giving the Joker some bombs with the objective of saving Gotham City.

Previous investigations – the most famous of which is that of UN special rapporteur Philip Alston – have already proven the liability of the military for the extra-judicial killings in the country. Setting up and funding the so-called EU-Philippine Justice Support Program or EPJUST would just be pointless. At this point wherein evidence and public sentiment all point to Arroyo’s responsibility for gross human rights violations since 2001, what the present government needs is a host of political and economic sanctions – not funding.

If the EU really intends to use the fund to end attacks against activists, then it should not give it to the criminal. It must give it to the victims and their relatives and organizations – all of which who need financial support in pursuing court cases against the military and police forces. The funds should go to those deprived of justice, no to those with bloody hands. #

Reference: Elmer “Bong” Labog, KMU Chairperson, 0929-629-3234

     
           
     
   
     
     
     
     
     

Task Force Obrero volunteers at the Tulong Anakpawis relief drive in Malabon  OCT. 9 

     

PRESS STATEMENT
14 October 2009

‘Balik-probinsya’ program glosses over landlessness, lack of jobs in the provinces

In the wake of the displacement of families caused by typhoons, the Arroyo regime has yet again come up with a twisted program of sending poor people living in the metro back to the provinces. But are we supposed to think that their only problem is that they don’t have money to pay for the bus ride? Poor Filipinos have more serious reasons in living in precarious spaces in Metro Manila.

In the first place, our poor kababayans were driven away from their homes in the provinces by landlessness, joblessness and militarization. They also went to Metro Manila because of the myth – perpetuated in part by the government – that there are plenty of job opportunities here, that the poor can get by here by working hard and not being lazy.

Now, government officials like Eastern Samar Gov. Ben Evardone are saying that our poor kababayans can stay and get by in the provinces with a little initial help from the local government and by working hard. We find this claim hard to believe. The provinces are no better than Metro Manila in terms of providing job opportunities for our poor kababayans.

As the “balik-probinsya” program will gloss over the basic problems of our poor kababayans, it will ease some of the government's problems. It will remove the poor from the view of the government, the upper and middle classes who complain about them, and the media. It will effectively mute their calls for decent housing, livelihood and social services.

The government should confront the problem head-on. It should provide what it contemptuously calls “squatters” with decent and affordable housing, as well as with livelihood opportunities. Pushing the poor to areas where they cannot be seen nor heard will not solve the problem. Their problem, like the urban poor themselves, will not go away. #

Reference: Elmer “Bong” Labog, KMU Chairperson, 0929-629-3234

   
   
   
     
     
 
 

In the aftermath of typhoon Ondoy and Pepeng, Rico Blanco writes a song to boost the moral of the Filipinos and raise additional funds for the relief efforts. Former Rivermaya band member posted the announcement a while ago in Facebook including a link to free downloads of the song.

 
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