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Inclusion of the Philippines in the UNHRC Does Not Reflect the Views of the Filipino People

BAYAN USA denounces the Philippines being awarded a seat in the United Nations Human Rights Council (HRC) on October 13, 2018 in Geneva. How can the Philippines, with an internationally notorious track record of human rights violations, especially now with President Duterte’s deadly “drug war” reaching beyond 20,000 killings, be part of the UN body “responsible for the promotion and protection of all human rights around the globe”?  

The Philippine government’s response to this decision is a sure-tell sign that they will use this position in the UN HRC as a shield against further criticisms raised not only by human rights advocates but even other UN officials. In the statement, they also claim that this UN recognition is affirming the “Philippine government’s campaign against illegal drugs, corruption and criminality” as its “brand of human rights advocacy.” We reject this statement because it would be affirming that extrajudicial killings is the correct solution to solving the drug problem in the Philippines and that allowing the Philippine National Police (PNP) to murder civilians who have yet to be proven guilty of any crime is ok. By allowing such statements to go unchallenged and granting the Philippines the seat to the UN HRC, the UN seems to be invalidating itself as an international body that upholds humanitarian law and human rights conventions.

President Duterte has fueled the case against him by recently admitting that “his only sin is the extrajudicial killing” despite his administration vigorously denying said EJKs when criticized by human rights advocates. When UN officials visited the Philippines, Duterte openly threatened UN Special Rapporteur for Extrajudicial Killings Agnes Callamard and former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Prince Zeid bin Ra’ad Zeid al-Hussein, saying they should be fed to the crocodiles. Duterte also threatened to add “foreigners as human targets for Filipino soldiers,” as a response to the International People’s Tribunal (IPT) verdict finding the US-Duterte administration guilty of crimes against humanity over the “gross and systematic violations of human rights” in the Philippines. The mere fact that President Duterte withdrew the Philippines from the International Criminal Court (ICC) after a preliminary examination was to be done following the “accusation that the president and top officials had committed crimes against humanity during the deadly war on drugs,” proves that Duterte and his administration will not cooperate in any investigation into human rights violations in the Philippines–the very task the HRC is responsible for doing.  

Though these can be merely seen as “threats” and written off by his spokespersons who say “to not take him seriously,” the rising number of extrajudicial killings in the Philippines should be all the proof needed for the UN and any international body to see that President Duterte as a representative of the Philippines is not only unfit to sit on the UN Human Rights Council, but instead should be further investigated for crimes against humanity.  

Nonetheless, it is the Filipino people, not the UNHRC, that is decisive in where Rodrigo Duterte stands as far as human rights, and will hold him accountable.

Activists in New York Protest at the Philippine Consulate

 

 

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CALL to ACTION: NO to PNP Posts in US! END All U.S. Aid to PNP & Human Rights Violations!

MALAYA Movement & BAYAN USA

CALL TO ACTION

NO to PNP Posts in U.S.

END ALL U.S. Aid to PNP & Human Rights Violations

TAKE ACTION

MALAYA Movement and BAYAN USA call on our members, allies and all people who stand for human rights to take action against the Philippine National Police’s Global Community Relations Program (GPCR) and call to END U.S. funding for the PNP and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).

 

  • HOLD PROTEST ACTIONS at Philippine Consulates/Embassy and condemn the fascist tactics of Duterte and his violent PNP and AFP! Express outrage at the violence enacted upon peaceful protesters in the NYC Philippine Consulate
  • CALL U.S. Representatives to voice your outrage over the PNP being allowed to have posts in the U.S. when they have been internationally condemned for committing brutal extrajudicial killings in carrying out Duterte’s “War on Drugs.” Also demand that the U.S. cut all aid (currently $186.7 Million) to the PNP and AFP due to massive human rights violations
  • EXPOSE the Trump-backed Duterte administration’s attacks on the Filipino people by hosting EDUCATIONAL WORKSHOPS on Duterte’s 3 Dirty Wars, Neoliberalism and Contractualization, and Philippine Situationers, among others.
        1. Fil-Ams Protest PNP in NYC
        2. Hear what LA Filipino community organizers have to say to the PNP and Duterte supporters’ ridiculous & reactionary comments.
        3. Balitang America coverage
  • FOLLOW @BAYANUSA_Page & @MALAYAMOVEMENT on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. VISIT BayanUSA.org & MalayaMovement.com for more Updates and actions.

 

 

BACKGROUND

On Friday, October 5th, 2018, the Philippine National Police (PNP) held a townhall at the Philippine Consulate in New York to promote its Global Police Community Relations (GPCR) program and to fundraise.  The GPCR program aims to deploy PNP to outposts in the United States allegedly in San Francisco and somewhere on the east coast. The Global PCR is a desperate attempt by the PNP and the US-Duterte regime to salvage its reputation and distort the fact that over 23,000 lives have been killed in Duterte’s anti-poor policies like Oplan Tokhang and Oplan Tambay. At the same time, it provides the PNP an opportunity to continue to harass, intimidate and surveil peace and human rights organizations, activists, and other community members based in the United States who voice criticism over Duterte’s violent and anti-people policies.  We condemn the violent reaction by supporters of the PNP and Duterte who went as far as shoving, tackling, kicking, bruising, and harassing our members and comrades and resulted in the injury of two of them.  This incident only further exposes the PNP’s role in dividing the community and repressing the voices of dissent.

 

Under the Trump-backed Duterte administration, the PNP has been given carte blanche to do whatever they want with impunity, with a growing bloody track record of gross human rights violations including the the case of cold-blooded murder of 17 year old Kian De Los Santos by three PNP officers, as well as the 35 year old overseas Filipino worker (OFW) and cancer patient Alan Rafael who was unjustly detained, robbed, and beaten by PNP officers before dying due his injuries and lack of treatment.  

 

We salute the MALAYA Movement and BAYAN USA in the Northeast for engaging in a multi-faceted protest action that included holding a picket-line protest outside the Philippine Consulate, disruption of Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief Supt. (PCSUPT) Rhodel Sermonia’s presentation, as well as members participating in the question and answer portion of the townhall.

 

Block the PNP Global Police and Community Relations Outposts!

Cut all forms of US aid to the AFP and PNP!

Stop Duterte’s Oplan Tokhang and Oplan Tambay!

End State Fascism!  Activism is Not a Crime!

North East Filipinos, supporters say Duterte-PNP out of NYC!

New York – More than 30 activists confronted the Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief Supt. (PCSUPT) Rhodel Sermonia, director of the Global Police Community Relations (GPCR) program, at its East Coast launch and Town Hall at the Philippine Consulate General of New York on the evening of Friday, October 5, 2018.  The Malaya Movement, along with allied organizations Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN) USA North East, Migrante USA, Anakbayan New York and New Jersey, GABRIELA New York and New Jersey, and the New York Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines (NYCHRP) collectively expressed opposition to the establishment of the Global PCR program.  Together, groups condemned the international exchange and training program between the PNP and the New York Police Department (NYPD) and the whitewashing campaign of the Duterte administration in denying the tens of thousands killed in the president’s “drug war” at the hands of the PNP.

The emergency action was comprised of picketing and protests outside the consulate; disruption of PCSUPT Sermonia’s presentation filled with disinformation and empty attempts to mend the PNP’s international image and public relations; and grilling the chief on facts about Duterte’s bloody anti-drug and anti-loitering campaigns, which disproportionally target the urban poor, one-sidedly vilify suspected drug users and those who participate in the drug trade as inherently deserving of death, and deny Filipino citizens due process.

Inside the town hall, members of BAYAN-USA and allies disrupted PCSUPT Sermonia in a series of protests on PNP’s human rights record and its role in the repression of activists. “We are here to expose this most recent maneuver of the Duterte regime and its private armed goons and hired killers, the Philippine National Police. This PNP Global Police Community Relations is nothing but a propaganda machine aimed to deodorize the stinking human rights record and bloody image of the Duterte regime and the PNP. They aim to hide the thousands of dead bodies that they murdered in cold blood with a cheap publicity gimmick,” said Bernadette Ellorin, spokesperson of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN-USA). Duterte supporters aggressively and violently attacked members of BAYAN-USA as they tried to silence anti-Duterte statements and facts about Duterte’s anti-drug and anti-loitering campaigns by yelling, shoving, punching, and kicking the protesters. Two activists were injured as a result and had to seek medical care.

Throughout his presentation, PCSUPT Sermonia insisted that the program’s purpose was to “win hearts and minds” of Filipino communities abroad by urging Filipinos to utilize the Global PCR’s web portals and social media pages to report crimes happening back home, promote tourism and business investment in the Philippines as “virtual ambassadors,” and encourage people to provide financial contributions and assistance, whether individual or organizational, directly to the PNP.  “Mr. Sermonia said that the PNP is here to address the problems of our kababayans, especially the emotional problems, if their loved ones are left in the Philippines. If the PNP really want to ease our worries, then they should stop the war on the poor and arrest the main drug lord, Rodrigo Duterte,” according to a statement released by Malaya Movement in response.

Even while Duterte recently admitted that he considers the plethora of extra-judicial killings in the country during his presidency as his “only sin,” the PNP is trying to wash its blood-stained hands clean and distance itself from its role in the president’s “drug war.”  PCSUPT Sermonia painted the PNP as peacekeepers and compassionate protectors of the poor under the Duterte administration, and in the same breath, refused to say how many Filipinos the PNP has executed in drug operations, even as noted in PNP statistics. Amidst his insistence that the Philippines is safer than it has ever been, he denied reports that cited PNP’s cash reward system based on number of kills and their coordination with vigilante groups.  He asserted that he “could count with his fingers” the number of innocent civilian deaths in the anti-drug campaign, brushing them off as anomalies.

From the beginning of the Town Hall event until all consulate staff and PCSUPT Sermonia himself exited the building, the groups picketed and protested outside, calling for the PNP to leave New York City and demanded that the United States government stop sending U.S. taxpayer money to the Philippines, slamming Duterte and the PNP as terrorists, and calling on them to stop the killings in the Philippines.  Bernadette Patino of the Malaya Movement, also a member of activist youth organization, Anakbayan New York, provided a summary report what went on during the Town Hall while Bernadette Ellorin of BAYAN-USA gave the closing statement.

The Malaya Movement in the North East reiterates our position that the Philippine National Police and its Global Police Community Relations is not welcome in New York City, the United States, or anywhere else in the world.  The Malaya Movement condemns the continuous slaughter of Filipinos by the PNP under Duterte’s orders; the normalization and rationalization of unrestricted state violence; PNP’s denial that it has committed gross human rights violations and contributed to the tens of thousands have been killed under the banner of the president’s “war on drugs”; and the silencing of the international movement against Duterte’s fascism and looming dictatorship.  It stands in solidarity with all survivors and communities affected by the anti-drug and anti-loitering campaigns led by the PNP, advocating for an end to state-sanctioned violence and true democracy and freedom in the Philippines.

TODAY: Global Day of Action Against Union-Buster Alorica-West Contact Services

TAKE ACTION to support the members of Unified Employees of Alorica, fighting for safe and secure jobs and against the dirty tactics of Alorica-West–one of the largest call center contractors in the Philippines and the world, serving corporate giants Comcast, AT&T, Citi, Caesars and Barclays

Sign and share the workers’ change.org petition now!

BACKGROUND:

Over 1.3 million people–predominantly women–in the Philippines are employed in the Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) industry. This includes the calls centers that are contracted by multinational corporations like Comcast, AT&T and Citi to provide customer service, for everything from mobile phone set-up to household appliance troubleshooting to credit card activation. Without Filipino workers in these call centers, millions of people around the world would find their lives disrupted by their inability to get help with the basic services they rely on.

But the BPO industry is notorious for its irregular employment practices and rampant contractualization of jobs, rock bottom wages and diminishing benefits, and systematic trade union repression.

Alorica-West is the worst of the worst. Since the American corporation Alorica acquired Philippine-based West Contact Services in 2015, Alorica-West has subjected its 4,500 workers to attacks on their right to security of tenure due to new company policies implemented without consent. These include an arbitrary 8 point attendance system and a so-called employee development program that imposes unrealistic performance standards on workers. When the workers established the Unified Employees of Alorica (UEA) union to fight back and demand fair working conditions, Alorica repeatedly tried to crush the union’s organizing efforts, including unsuccessful attempts using unfounded accusations to nullify UEA’s union certification. Alorica has terminated 200 workers since February this year, including 135 union members and 11 union officers. In September, UEA issued a Notice Of Strike, and three days later Alorica terminated the union secretary general, Jean Azana.

But UEA continues to fight back! They plan to pursue their strike to demand an end to the massive dismissals of workers, the arbitrary 8-point performance system, union-busting, the diminution of wages when employees are transferred, and Alorica’s other egregious practices. Because Alorica operates 18 contact centers which employ over 30,000 people throughout the Philippines in addition to those operated by Alorica-West, the result of this battle can have a huge ripple effect among tens of thousands of Alorica workers, as well as for the 1.3 million-strong workforce throughout the industry.

Alorica has no right to treat its workers like dirt. Please support the Unified Employees of Alorica now!

ACTIONS YOU CAN TAKE:

1. SEND A SOLIDARITY MESSAGE in the form of a written statement or video in support of UEA’s campaign. Send solidarity messages to BienPhilippines@gmail.com and it will be published by BPO Industry Employees’ Network (BIEN), an organization of employees in the Information Technology-Business Process Outsourcing (IT-BPO) industry in the Philippines, promoting employees’ rights and welfare.

2.    SIGN and circulate the workers’ change.org petition

3.    POST A SELFIE holding placards with the calls: “Alorica: Stop union busting!” “Alorica: Stop illegal dismissals” and using the hashtag #StandwithUEA #RealAloricaStory #BPOWorkersOnStrike. Download Placards HERE!

4.   SEND LETTERS of concern to the Alorica management:

For more information, please visit the change.org petition.