devalues daily pay & pushes workers into deeper poverty
March 11, 2018
QUEZON CITY –
Minimum wage earners and informal sector workers fell further in
deeper poverty three months into the increases in the prices of
goods and services due to the implementation of the Tax Reform
Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) excise tax on fuel and sweetened
beverages and the increase in prices of government documents.
In a monitoring of
prevailing prices by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) and the
National Wages and Productivity Commission (NWPC) released on
February 9, 2018 , the real value or the buying power of the
country’s 17 regions total average daily nominal minimum wage of
P329.35 is now only P210 a day.
In Metro Manila, the
country’s highest minimum wage, the buying power of P512 daily
minimum pay fell to P357.29. On the other hand, the real value or
purchasing power of the country’s lowest minimum pay of P265 a day
in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) is P152.12 a day.
As of March 1, 2018, the
total purchasing power of workers for a month fell to P8,575.
However, according to the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), the
published standard amount needed by a family of five to survive
within poverty line in 2015 is P9,064.
“We noticed the erosion of
wage’s purchasing power move quickly downwards by 6% in just a
matter of two months from January to February upon the affectivity
of TRAIN. This extraordinary devaluation of monthly salary is
significant to the informal sector workers earning less than P12,000
a month and the minimum wage earners receiving less than the same
amount,” said Alan Tanjusay, spokesperson of labor group Associated
Labor Unions-Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (ALU-TUCP).
“We urge government’s
immediate and quality response to save and prevent these workers,
who help build our economy and who are producers of goods and
services to make our economy competitive, from falling through the
cracks,” Tanjusay said.
With the inflation rate
hitting 3.9 % by the end of February 2018, the ALU-TUCP expect it to
rise by the end of the month in the light of impending increases in
the cost of electricity, rice, fish, sardines, vegetables,
condiments and prices of gasoline.
The March 15 meeting
between ALU-TUCP and President Duterte on the group’s proposed P500
government monthly subsidy was moved to March 22.
The ALU-TUCP proposed to
Duterte an amelioration program called Labor Empowerment and
Assistance Program (LEAP). Under the program, minimum wage earners
will received monthly a P500 worth of grocery items to help the
workers cope with the rising cost of living caused by TRAIN.
proscription petition targets critics, rights defenders
March 9, 2018
QUEZON CITY –
Karapatan condemns the listing of more than 600 persons, human
rights defenders and critics of the Duterte government in the
proscription petition filed by the Department of Justice (DOJ),
through Senior Assistant State Prosecutor Peter Ong, at a regional
court in Manila on February 21, 2018. The petition not only seeks to
declare the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA)
as terrorist organizations but also named individuals as their
supposed leaders or members, including those who are dead, missing
and members of paramilitary units accused of killing Lumads in
“There is no doubt that
the filing of the petition is an effort to sow fear and panic among
Duterte's supposed detractors, subjectively prepare the public for
more intense political repression, and be the front act of a
crackdown against the dictator wannabe's critics. The list of
leaders and members is a take-off from the Order of Battle (OB)
lists of the Gloria Arroyo and Noynoy Aquino regimes," said
Karapatan Secretary General Cristina E. Palabay.
She recalled that persons
listed in the OB often ended up arrested based on false charges,
incarcerated and even tortured, missing or killed. “Not only do such
lists incite human rights violations, they also legitimize and make
"normal" to the public the government's abuse of power in
suppressing dissent and decimating the supposed ‘enemies of the
state’,” she stated.
Victoria Tauli Corpuz, UN
Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples and former
Chair of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, is among the
named individuals in the petition. “This is a clear case of reprisal
from Malacanang for Corpuz’s expressed concern over possible cases
of human rights violations due to the imposition of martial law in
Mindanao. She and another UN SR released a statement in response to
a letter of allegation submitted by Karapatan to her office,”
In the list also are human
rights defenders who have been in the forefront of defending and
protecting human and people’s rights like Elisa Tita Lubi, Karapatan
National Executive Committee member and former interim Regional
Coordinator of the Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law and Development
Also named in the petition
are Joan Carling, past Secretary General of the Asian Indigenous
Peoples’ Pact (AIPP) and former member of the UN Permanent Forum on
Indigenous Issues; Atty. Jose Molintas, former member of the UN
Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (EMRIP);
Beverly Longid, Global Coordinator of the International Indigenous
Peoples Movement for Self-Determination and Liberation (IPMSDL);
Sandugo Co-Chairperson Joanna Cariño; Cordillera People’s Alliance
(CPA) Chairperson Windel Bolinget; and at least 10 Lumad datu/leaders
in Northern and Southern Mindanao. Even more unbelievable is the
inclusion in the list of the names of the nine-member Karapatan
quick reaction team arrested in November 2017 and HR defenders in
While National Democratic
Front of the Philippines (NDFP) as an organization was omitted in
the proscription, those involved in the peace talks between the GRP
and NDFP were listed like Peace Panel members Coni Ledesma, Juliet
de Lima and Benito Tiamzon; Chief Political Consultant Jose Maria
Sison; Senior Adviser Luis Jalandoni; Wilma Austria-Tiamzon and at
least 20 other peace consultants; and former Bayan Muna Rep. Satur
Ocampo, independent cooperator.
The Karapatan leader also
said that the list is “severely defective as it contains scores of
aliases (aka), John and Jane Does so any person can be added later."
"The list also contains
seven names of paramilitary group members including four from the
New Indigenous Peoples' Army (NIPAR), led by Alde "Butchoy" Salusad,
who have standing warrants for the killing of Lumad leader Datu
Jimmy Liguyon. They also have been presented and paid as
surrenderees, consistent to their being all-purpose pawns in the
military's repressive schemes,” Palabay said.
“On the whole, DOJ’s
proscription petition is dubious and a maneuver meant to harass,
target and criminalize persons in progressive organizations. We
should oppose this and other tyrannical acts that brand legitimate
dissent and activism as ‘terrorism.’ What should be addressed
instead is Duterte’s brand of state terrorism, which has victimized
thousands. Indeed, shouldn't Duterte be branded instead as the
number 1 terrorist?” Palabay concluded.
B. Tabacon, DPWH-8 Regional Director (wearing blue polo)
visits Biliran Province on March 2 and conducts inspection
of CarayCaray Bridge with Engr. David P. Adongay Jr.,
(wearing checkered polo) District Engineer of Biliran
District Engineering Office (BDEO) and Engr. Alfredo L.
Bollido, (wearing red polo shirt) Assistant District
Engineer to assess the status of the restored CarayCaray
Bridge after being damaged by TS Urduja in December, 2017.
DPWH RD Tabacon
inspects status of Caraycaray bridge
March 9, 2018
NAVAL, Biliran –
Engr. Edgar B. Tabacon, Regional Director of the Department of
Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Region VIII conducts inspection of
CarayCaray Bridge with Engr. David P. Adongay Jr., District Engineer
and Engr. Alfredo L. Bollido, Assistant District Engineer of Biliran
District Engineering Office (BDEO) on March 2 to assess the status
of the said bridge.
After Tropical Storm
Urduja, BDEO is exerting efforts to restore the CarayCaray Bridge
within the 30-days timeline set by DPWH Secretary Mark Villar.
Both approaches of the
Caraycaray bridge undergone backfilling and embankment to serve as a
temporary passage for the public. It was opened to traffic for
motorcycles and tricycles on January 9, 2018 and to light vehicles
on January 11, 2018.
During the inspection of
RD Tabacon, the approaches of Caraycaray Bridge is undergoing
riprapping works to ensure that the remaining structures can still
sustain another flooding while waiting for the construction of the
Construction for the new
CarayCaray Bridge is already under Preliminary and Detailed
Engineering (PDE) stage undertaken by the Regional Office thru
The approaches of the said
bridge was severely damaged during the onslaught of TS Urduja last
BDEO has still deployed
maintenance personnel under Engr. Glenda G. Dagalea, Acting Chief in
the Maintenance Section to man the traffic in Caraycaray Bridge as
it is limited only to 4-wheels and light vehicles.
Heavy vehicles are advised
to take the alternate long route Naval-Almeria-Kawayan-Culaba-Caibiran-Cabucgayan
road and vice versa.
gallant members of 93rd Infantry (Bantay Kapayapaan)
Battalion led by LtCol. Hilarion G. Palma.
troopers: Ready to perform its mission
DPAO, 8ID PA
March 8, 2018
CAMP LUKBAN, Catbalogan
City – The 8th Infantry (Stormtroopers) Division, Philippine
Army formally closed the Battalion Organizational Training of 93rd
Infantry (Bantay Kapayapaan) Battalion with Maj. Gen. Robert M.
Arevalo, Acting Commanding General, Philippine Army as the Guest of
Honor and Speaker at the 8ID Battalion Retraining Facilities (BRF),
Camp Eugenio Daza, Barangay Fatima, Hinabangan, Samar on March 8,
2018 at 11 o’ clock in the morning.
Bantay Kapayapaan is a
newly organized battalion and composed of seasoned Officers and
Enlisted Personnel who underwent a four-week organizational
training. The newly organized unit is part of the 10 Battalions that
will be activated to fast tract the AFP’s peace and development
efforts all over the country.
Maj. Gen. Raul M Farnacio,
Commander, 8ID in his remarks, congratulated all the gallant members
of Bantay Kapayapan headed by Lt. Col. Hilarion G. Palma for
successfully completing the battalion organizational training. He
further urged them to live up to the unit’s creed.
“As we welcome you to the
battlefield, I remind all of you to perform only your duty as a
disciplined soldier, establish rapport with the people, build
bridges to communities and especially those that long have been
under the shadow of the terrorists. We have already won significant
amount of the people support especially during our effort in
Mindanao and Marawi. It is our time or golden opportunity to produce
decisive accomplishments against our enemies and be the best example
of our profession to the Filipino people,” Maj. Gen. Farnacio
Maj. Gen. Robert M.
Arevalo AFP, in his message said that, “Sa inyong presensiya bilang
Bantay Kapayapaan troopers dito sa lalawigan ng Eastern Visayas
Region, ay naniniwala kami na malaki ang maiaambag niyo sa
pagpapanatili ng kapayapaan upang lalong maging maunlad ang lugar at
maiangat ang kalidad ng pamumuhay ng ating mga kababayan.”
but this agrarian reform beneficiaries are still happy as
they savor their first harvest in the sugarland awarded to
them 21 years ago.
beneficiaries savor first harvest
JOSE ALSMITH L. SORIA
March 8, 2018
ORMOC CITY – Tired
but obviously happy was how the agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARBs)
in Barangay Sumanga looked on Tuesday as they savor their first
harvest of sugarcane within the 17.5-hectare land awarded to them
under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) 21 years ago.
“Masaya kami dahil may
income na kami. May pambayad na sa lupa, at matutupad na ang
pangarap ng anak ko na makapagtapos ng pag-aaral.” (We are happy
because we now have income. We can now pay land amortization, and my
child’s dream to get a college degree will already be realized.)
These were the words of Pablo Silva, 55, one of the 24 ARBs and
president of the Sumanga United Farmers Association (SUFA) during
Municipal Agrarian Reform
Program Officer (MARPO) Perpetua Sabaldan who takes charge of
installation activities in Leyte, explained that the 17.5 hectares
are just part of the 35-hectare property previously owned by the
Potenciano and Anecita Larrazabal Enterprises Corporation (PALEC)
that was awarded to SUFA.
According to her, 12
hectares of which were planted to root crops by the ARBs.
Their journey as ARBs was
not smooth. They were blocked from entering the property by the
previous landowner who resisted coverage of the lot under CARP.
Pablo and the 23 other
ARBs waited for 19 years to be installed in their awarded land, and
two more years before they were able to harvest in the land that was
already theirs 21 years ago.
He narrated that after
several attempts, they were successfully installed on June 20, 2016
with the combined efforts of officials from the Department of
Agrarian Reform (DAR); KAISAHAN, a non-government organization
assisting them; and the Philippine National Police.
But the previous landowner
bargained during the dialogue to allow them to harvest first the
existing crop for they were the ones who planted them. After the
harvest, the previous landowner surrendered the land to the ARBs as
promised during the said dialogue.
Pablo shared that during
Tuesday’s harvest they are expecting about 15 truckloads of freshly
harvested sugarcane with an estimated net income of P14,000 for
As it takes about 12
months for this crop before it could be harvested, the ARBs had to
wait until the current year to experience the complete success of
However, Wowie Silva, 21,
who helps his father, Pablo, in farming said it could have been
better if the trucks that would transport the harvested sugarcane to
the sugar central can enter the area for fast and easy hauling.
Wowie disclosed that
trucks can no longer enter their area because the road leading here
is privately owned by the previous landowner and the latter dug a
big hole along the way preventing trucks from passing by.
Because of this according
to him, the men have to carry on their shoulders the harvested
sugarcane for a distance of about a kilometer where trucks can wait.
Though this is no longer a
big deal to Pablo, still he appeals to concerned sectors to help
them have an access road.
Hundreds of women
march to decry VAW, poverty, contractualization, federalism
March 8, 2018
MANILA – Hundreds
of women marched to Mendiola on International Women’s Day to decry
the present administration’s inaction and contribution to the
inequality that continues to be experienced by Filipino women today.
Members of women’s
movement Oriang denounced President Duterte’s frequent anti-women
statements and failed policy promises as major threats to the state
of Filipino women’s rights, particularly to their rights to work,
livelihood, health, and security.
“Duterte stepped into the
presidency bearing the promise of real change, but he has delivered
nothing but the same dismal conditions to Filipinos – if not worse,”
said Flora Asiddao Santos, National President of Oriang.
“His failure to end labor
contractualization along with his betrayal of the poor through the
deadly War on Drugs and the burdensome TRAIN Law have exacerbated
the marginalization of the most vulnerable groups in society –
primarily, women,” said Santos.
“On this International Day
of Women, it is important that we surface the very distinct and dire
manner by which women experience social inequalities,” said Oriang
Secretary General Oyette Zacate.
According to Oyette Zacate,
apart from the usual impacts of issues like labor contractualization,
unemployment, violence, and environmental degradation, women
experience additional pressures and burdens due alone to their
position as women.
“Women are hit harder by
this administration’s unequal policies. We see this in the
discriminatory retrenching of pregnant women in labor contracting
firms, in the greater rate of violence against female OFWs, in
greater rates of land grabbing and unpaid agricultural work
committed against rural and indigenous women, in the harsher impacts
of TRAIN-caused high prices on poor women and women vendors, and in
many other issues of social inequality,” said Zacate.
Kimberly Arriola, Oriang
Vice Chairperson, then condemned Duterte’s proposed federalism as
another so-called ‘change’ by the administration that threatens to
breed a host of inequality impacts for women.
“As long as patriarchal
and elite governance is the norm in the country, federalism will
only serve to bolster the marginalization of vulnerable groups like
women – especially poor women – while fattening the pockets of
existing political dynasties and corporations,” said Arriola.
Arriola also condemned the
Duterte administration’s unapologetic misogyny, as manifested in
lascivious and violent remarks thrown frequently by various
officials, led by the President himself.
“The Philippine society’s
perception of the rights and dignity of women as human beings is at
a danger of being in decline due to a trend of misogyny within our
government,” added Arriola.
“Although done under the
guise of humor, this behavior of our leaders is no laughing matter
for women at actual risk of greater discrimination and harassment,”
According to Flora Santos,
the administration’s gross neglect and trampling of women’s rights
and women’s issues serve as a wake-up call for women all over the
country to collectively push back.
“Duterte and the rest of
his administration have revealed themselves as false agents of
change in this country, especially in the lives of women who have
had to suffer through age-old sexism through countless
administrations,” said Santos.
“We thus call on Filipinas
to rise up and actively resist an administration that has
unapologetically shown contempt for women and other vulnerable
sectors,” she said.
“The International Day of
Women has taught us that it is not through select leaders, but
through the organization and collective action that true equality is
achieved and preserved,” she concluded.
L to R: Department of Trade and Industry (DTI)
Undersecretary Ceferino S. Rodolfo, DTI Secretary Ramon M.
Lopez, Senator Loren B. Legarda, Department of Foreign
Affairs (DFA) Undersecretary Manuel Antonio J. Teehankee,
and DFA Assistant Secretary Leo M. Herrera-Lim.
Sec. Lopez lauds
Senate approval PH-EFTA Free Trade Agreement
March 7, 2018
PASAY CITY – Trade
Secretary Ramon Lopez hailed the ratification of the Senate of the
Philippines-European Free Trade Association Free Trade Agreement
(PH-EFTA FTA) during its third reading last 05 March 2018.
“The PH-EFTA FTA is in
line with President Rodrigo Duterte’s strategy of pursuing trade
relations with non-traditional as well as high potential trade
partners. With this ratification, the Philippines will benefit from
expanded trade engagements with non-EU members even as it gives us
greater access to the European market,” said Sec. Lopez.
The agreement will allow
duty-free market access between the Philippines and the EFTA member
states (Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland) to trade
products and services and facilitate investments.
Sec. Lopez said: “While
there’s a large potential to expand our trade and investment
relations with EFTA, the FTA also capitalizes on it since trade
goods between the Philippines and EFTA are non-competing.”
The FTA benefits the PH
especially in exporting agricultural, industrial, and fishery
products. Once the FTA is in place, EFTA will grant duty-free market
access to all industrial and fishery products from PH.
PH will also gain tax
incentives on agricultural products, particularly those (1) that are
currently being exported to the EFTA Member States such as
desiccated coconut, prepared or preserved pineapples, and raw cane
sugar; (2) with high potential export interest, including those
exported to neighboring European countries, which can be
alternatively exported to EFTA countries.
“This will improve the
country’s market share vis-à-vis the other ASEAN countries in the
EFTA market. The Philippines can take the opportunity to position
itself as EFTA’s primary import source of these products,” said
Senator Loren B. Legarda, Chair of the Senate Committee on Foreign
Relations during her speech at the Senate last February 26.
In return, PH will also
grant EFTA countries duty-free market access on most industrial and
fishery products as well as market access on goods such as temperate
fruits, mineral and aerated waters, food preparations, chocolate,
cheese and wine.
The agreement will also
welcome foreign investments on renewable energy, computer and
related services (IT-BPM), construction, environmental services,
maritime transport, and finance.
workers will also have easier entry in the 4 countries. The
agreement allows temporary stay of the following service suppliers,
without the need for an economic needs test: (1) executives,
managers and specialists (who are intra-corporate transfers), (2)
business visitors, (3) contractual service suppliers, and (4)
installers of service industrial machinery.
The PH-EFTA FTA will be
effective three months after its ratification in PH and at least one
EFTA member state. Once implemented, this is the Philippines’ second
bilateral FTA after the Japan-Philippine Economic Partnership
Agreement (JPEPA) in 2008.
for road safety heads to DLSU
March 5, 2018
TAGUIG – After
officially launching its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)
initiative, global online car platform Carmudi has renewed efforts,
starting off its road safety campaign for this year in one of
premier universities in the country.
The Carmudi Academy for
Road Safety (CARS) program kicked off for 2018 at the De La Salle
University (DLSU) in Manila.
The CARS program is
designed to create awareness and help students – particularly in
Universities and Colleges – raise their basic understanding of road
During the event, Kris
Lim, Head of Public Relations and Marketing of Carmudi Philippines,
reiterated the road safety program focuses on three fundamentals
that would lead to better and safer driving: right knowledge; right
skills; and right attitude.
He shared to the
participants some facts and figures pertaining to road safety,
specifically road accidents that occurred in the Philippines.
According to Lim, a
surprisingly huge number of the motoring public (composed of
drivers, pedestrians and commuters) lack the basic knowledge of road
signs, markings, traffic rules and regulations, does not have the
sufficient defensive driving skills and as does not practice proper
attitude while on the road.
He also said that the
program held at De La Salle University (DLSU) is just the start of
series of campus workshops that they will be doing as the year
“Instilling in their minds
the key factors to better and safer driving is not a one-time event
but a continuous program for Carmudi," Lim said.
"Our aim is to create a
harmonious and safer driving environment for motoring public," he
Further, the Automobile
Association Philippines (AAP) – a constant partner of Carmudi
Philippines in its road safety efforts – took part in the
inauguration of the CARS program.
Through AAP Advocacies
Manager Cynthia Reyes, the national auto club discussed the overview
of Republic Act 4136 – also known as the Land Transportation and
Traffic Code – and showed scenarios which resulted in road crashes.
Carmudi forged its
partnership with AAP, which also led to assisting the club in the
reproduction of copies of the RA 4136, which was also given to the
Aside from AAP, Carmudi
also invited road safety advocate Arnel Doria that further discussed
the advantage of defensive driving on the road and driving behavior
Meanwhile, Lim said that
they will moving around the country, as they are now in talks with
various colleges and universities that shares the vision of creating
a sustainable road safety effort in the motoring facet of the