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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.

27 Years After Bases Rejection, Filipino-Americans March in NYC to End US-Backed Duterte Fascism

September 16, 2018

NEW YORK– Over 300 Filipinos from across the US gathered in New York City for the 6th Congress of the US Chapter of BAYAN, or BAYAN USA, which took place September 15-16. The Congress concluded with a march from Pershing Square- named after General John J. Pershing, a US general during the Philippine-American War known for the massacre of Moros at the turn of the 20th century- to the Philippine Consulate on Fifth Avenue to demand an end to US-supported fascism in the Philippines under the administration of Rodrigo Duterte.

Since his election in 2016, President Duterte has boasted over his notorious drug war that has claimed over 20,000 lives, including extrajudicial killings of indigenous activists opposing foreign plunder of their ancestral lands, church advocates for the rural poor, and human rights activists documenting the actions of the Philippine military in the militarized communities.

BAYAN USA, an alliance of over 25 Filipino organizations in the US, has been part of the international clamor denouncing the drug war and the human rights crisis generated by the US-backed Duterte regime, particularly demanding an end to the Trump administration’s financial support to the Philippine military and Philippine National Police, as well as continuing US military presence in the country.

BAYAN USA and its supporters have also been vocally opposed to the Duterte administration’s economic policies, especially the Tax Reform Acceleration and Inclusion or TRAIN Law. The tax reform bill lowers personal income tax while raising excise levies on fuel and other products. The law hits the poor hard, as the Philippine peso continues to depreciate, and prices of goods rise rapidly, with an inflation rate currently reaching 7%.

“The killings, militarization, and backbreaking poverty and hardship in the Philippines demonstrate that Rodrigo Duterte is the worst disaster to hit the country, more disastrous than any typhoon or calamity,” states Rhonda Ramiro, newly-elected chairperson of BAYAN USA. “We in BAYAN USA are committed to growing the US-based movement for genuine peace, sovereignty, and democracy in the Philippines, especially because it is the US government and its interests in the Philippines that play a historic role in shaping the Philippine economic and political ruling system.”

The final day of the BAYAN USA 6th Congress, which welcomed 11 new grassroots organizations, a majority of which are comprised of Filipino migrant workers, and concluding march and rally takes place 27 years after the historic decision of the Philippine Senate in 1991 to reject the renewal of the US military bases treaty, which led to the closing of the former permanent US military bases in Subic Bay and Clark Air Field. The landmark decision was a call for patriotism and to uphold Philippine sovereignty.

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PNP to Set up Outposts in the US:  Duterte’s Attempt to Silence Opposition!

PNP to Set up Outposts in the US:  Duterte’s Attempt to Silence Opposition!

A recent development in the US-Duterte regime’s attempts to silence opposition has reached beyond the boundaries of the Philippines through allowing the Philippine National Police (PNP) to set up their “Global Police Community Relations” in San Francisco and somewhere along the east coast as stated in the recent press showcase.

BAYAN USA recognizes this as a direct threat by the administration against activists and organizers that have raised vocal opposition to the US-Duterte regime’s violent fascist attacks on the people. Most notorious is the “drug war” against the poor in which there have been more than 20,000 killings mostly at the hands of the PNP and their goons. What other true purpose would the PNP serve to be stationed in the US? Why would the US government allow another country to send their police to the US to set up shop? Their duty would be to surveil, intimidate, and harass the growing movement against Duterte in the United States in the attempt to silence any dissenters while at the same time trying to wash away their “sins” of human rights violations through PR strategies.

According to their PR the PNP say that this is an opportunity for Filipinos to report crimes from abroad in the US and perhaps “maybe in our own little way be able to address their problems especially the emotional problems they will encounter if their loved ones left in the Philippines will encounter also some emotional problems?” This is truly a false notion that the PNP would be able to resolve any issues kababayan raise. We already know that the solutions presented by the PNP have only resulted in violence and death. It is a slap in the face to say that they will resolve emotional problems of people, when the over 20,000 victims killed by the drug war and their families have yet to find justice? 

Duterte’s decision to deploy PNP officials to the US is likely a response the the growing international criticisms on his administration as demonstrated by the International People’s Tribunal (IPT) and other international human rights advocates finding the US-Duterte administration GUILTY of crimes against humanity over the alleged “gross and systematic violations of human rights” in the Philippines as publicly announced on September 20th in Brussels, Belgium. Duterte has already made open threats in response to the IPT verdict saying he will add “foreigners as human targets for Filipino soldiers,” he is simply following through with his threats by ordering his attack dogs in the PNP to stand guard in the US as part of his ever rising fascism. 

We must block the PNP from setting up outposts in the US and call on all Filipinos and allies to join us in standing against this new fascist move by the Duterte regime. We must demand justice for all the victims of the “drug war” and cut all US aid that has supported Duterte’s bloody campaign! The US government has already allocated more than $186.7 million US tax dollars to the Philippine military and police which has only resulted in increased human rights violations. Join the ICHRP US day of action to urge US congress to cut aid to the Philippine military and national police!

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Please join the International Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines (ICHRP US)in a day of action urging Congress to

Cut Aid to the Philippine Military & National Police!

 

According to Philippine human rights watchdog Karapatan, since President Duterte came to power there have been over 23,000 killings of the poor, the Moro, and of progressive people critical of President Duterte’s dictatorship. The killings are linked to the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), the Philippine National Police (PNP), and their operatives.

The Philippines continues to receive the largest amount of U.S. aid in the Asia-Pacific, with so far at least $184.5 million in U.S. tax dollars going towards the Philippine military and police this year. We do not want our tax dollars going towards the killings and human rights violations in the Philippines.

Please take 10 minutes today to:

 

  • Call your Congressional Representative

 

Find your Representative HERE.

Click on their names to get the phone numbers to their offices and make your calls!

Tell them your name, your city, and your organization (if applicable) and say:

    • I’m concerned about human rights in the Philippines and the U.S. tax dollars going to the Philippine military and police.  
    • They have been linked with over 20,000 deaths under President Duterte who last week was found guilty of crimes against humanity by the International People’s Tribunal in Brussels, Belgium.  

 

  • When the Fiscal Year 2019 Appropriations Bill comes to the floor for a vote, will [Senator/Congressperson _(name)_] ensure that the human rights restrictions on aid to the Philippines are maintained?

 

If your Representative is on one of these committees, please make an additional ask….

  • IF your Representative is on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee– please ask them: “Will (Senator______) hold a hearing on the Philippines?”
  • IF your Representative is on the Senate Human Rights Caucus– please ask them: “Will (Senator______) hold a briefing on the Philippines?”

 

San Francisco & San Mateo County Residents! If your representative is Congresswoman Jackie Speier, please also make this special ask: “Will Congresswoman Speier take responsibility for a House version of S. 1055, on Philippines Human Rights? We need her to to take lead on it and not pass it off to another Representative.”

 

Let us know how it went for you! Please email any comments or questions that you received from the congressional office to ichrpus@gmail.com.

 

 

  • Post on social media: “I called Senator ___________ today to ask Congress to oppose US AID to the AFP/PNP @ (phone number). Will you join me?”
  • Follow ICHRP US for campaign updates and to get involved in advocating for human rights in the Philippines.

 

If you’re able to schedule a meeting with your representatives during congressional recess, let us know! Sign-up to help organize legislative visits or take up other work for the campaign to cut aid to the Philippine military and national police HERE.  

 

Thank you for your solidarity with the people in the Philippines!