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Philippines

Philippines: Political crisis and the impasse of the Philippine left

Philippine police commandos unload body bags containing the remains of their comrades killed as a result of the "Mamasapano debacle".

For more coverage of the Philippine left, click HERE.

An important discussion is taking place in the Philippine left about its intervention in the 2016 elections, the revival of the mass movement and the coalition of a section of the progressive movement, the Akbayan party, with the governing Liberal Party.

Several leaders of Akbayan have called for an end to this alliance, including Walden Bello, who recently resigned as Akbayan's leader in parliament, former chairperson of Akbayan Ric Reyes, who has now resigned from the party after its congress in April voted to continue as a coalition partner of the government, and SENTRO, the labour organisation aligned with Akbayan.

The following paper is a contribution to the discussion. Other papers and statements can be found at www.lakasngmasa.wordpress.com.

* * *

By Reihana Mohideen

Philippines: Successful Asian Socialism Conference; Bonifacio Day in Manila (video)

By Reihana Mohideen, Partido Lakas ng Masa (PLM) international desk

December 2, 2014 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- A very successful Asian Socialism Conference was held in the Philippines, November 28-29, followed by a rally on November 30. Around 350 delegates participated in the conference, well exceeding our target of 250 leaders who had registered prior to the conference. A contingent of around 3000 rallied and marched on November 30 to mark Bonficacio National Hero's Day.The conference was organised by the Partido Lakas ng Masa (Party of the Labouring Masses, PLM).

A strong feature of the conference was the participation of women leaders of the Philippine Socialist Feminist movement.The conference brought together the socialist feminists, revolutionary LGBT activists, with a strong contingent of socialist workers, intellectuals from the University of the Philippines, urban poor leaders and out-of-school youth, and students from high schools and campus.

Philippines socialists: 'We are squarely behind NUMSA and the principles it is fighting for'

November 12, 2014 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal

To the comrades of the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA),

The Partido Lakas ng Masa (PLM, Party of the Labouring Masses), a socialist political party in the Philippines, sends its strongest solidarity to the comrades and leaders of NUMSA who are now fighting for the renewal of militant trade unionism and socialism in South Africa.

NUMSA was recently expelled in the Congress of South African Trade Unions federation through the maneouverings of its central executive committee. The central executive committee of COSATU supports the neoliberal program of the African National Congress government, while NUMSA does not. NUMSA has consistently opposed the neoliberal policies of the ANC government and stood for an independent trade union federation.

From the NUMSA press statement itself, we gathered that the real reason for NUMSA’s expulsion has been its consistent rejection of the ANC governmental policies which harm the interests of the workers and the South African masses.

Climate crisis: 'There is no sustainable capitalism'

Typhoon Yolanda, November 2013.

Partido Lakas ng Masa (Party of the Labouring Masses, PLM) statement on the climate crisis

Climate action, not words!

Capitalism has no solutions!

For a socialist alternative!

September 24, 2014 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- President Benigno Aquino concluded his United Nations speech in New York on September 23 by posing the question: What more can we do? The question is rhetorical, even hypocritical, as the president very well knows what needs to be done: to address the demands of the mass movements, which he has heard, but not heeded. We have been campaigning for an end to coal-based power generation, for example. How has the president responded? By dramatically increasing coal-power generation. His actions are completely contrary to his statements.

Asia: ASEAN integration and its impact on labour

September 14, 2014 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Presented by Sonny Melencio, chairperson of the Party of the Labouring Masses (PLM), to the assembly of the Union Presidents Against Contractualization, Century Park Hotel, Manila, September 10, 2014.

* * *

1. There are many regional agreements in Asia-Pacific that impact on regional economic integration and trade policies. One of these agreements centered on the integration of ASEAN economies in Southeast Asia composed of the ten countries of Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, Philippines, Brunei, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar (Burma), and Vietnam.

El "siglo de Asia" y la integración de la ASEAN: contradicciones y desafíos

Sonny Melencio.

[In English at http://links.org.au/node/3910.]

Por Sonny Melencio

22-06-2014 -- Sinpermiso -- Cuando viaje desde Manila hasta Australia, me compré en el aeropuerto un libro de bolsillo para leer en el avión. Fue la novela de Dan Brown titulada Infierno. Cuando la edición de tapa dura de este libro llegó a las librerías, en las Filipinas la gente se volvió loca con una pequeña parte de la novela que se refería a Manila como la "puerta del infierno".

Después de leer el libro, pensé que lo que la novela dice sobre Manila es verdad. Es la ciudad más densamente poblada de la tierra, con enormes atascos de tráfico, una contaminación sofocante, casas hechas de metal corrugado y cartones, comunidades que apestan y un horrible comercio sexual y tráfico de mujeres, jóvenes y niños.

Me acordé de la novela de Dan Brown hoy porque, a pesar del infierno que es actualmente Manila, nuestro gobierno habla de un paraíso que se construirá en las Filipinas durante este "siglo de Asia".

El siglo de Asia

The ‘Asian Century’ and ASEAN integration: contradictions and challenges (now with video)

Video from Green Left TV.

[The following talk was presented by Sonny Melencio, chairperson of Partido Lakas ng Masa-Philippines (Party of the Labouring Masses), during the Socialist Alliance 10th national conference in Sydney, Australia on June 7, 2014.]

Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- When I was travelling from Manila, coming here to Australia, I bought a copy of a pocketbook that I could read in the plane. It was Dan Brown’s novel entitled Inferno. Actually, when the hardbound copy of this book first hit the bookshops, the Philippines went crazy about a small part of the novel which referred to Manila as the “gate of hell”.

After reading the book, it occurred to me that what the novel said about Manila was true. It was the most densely populated city on Earth, with huge traffic jams, suffocating pollution, houses made of corrugated metal and cardboards, communities reeking of stench, and horrifying sex trade and trafficking of women, girls and children.

I was reminded of Dan Brown’s novel today because, despite the inferno that is Manila now, our government is talking about a paradise that will be built in the Philippines during this "Asian Century".

The 'Asian Century"

Sonny Melencio: Asia needs ALBA-style regionalism not US 'pivot' and 'ASEAN integration'

Peter Boyle interviews Sonny Melencio

May 22, 2014 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal/Green Left Weekly -- Sonny Melencio is chairperson of the Partido Lakas ng Masa (PLM, Party of the Labouring Masses). At its recent national convention, the PLM launched a discussion about Bayanihan Socialism, which drawing on lessons from the Latin American experience links the egalitarian principles of socialism with national and Indigenous historical experiences and traditions, as a means to popularise the ideas of socialism to a mass audience in the Philippines. Melencio is also involved in a new coalition against the established "political dynasties" in the Philippines, called Alliance for Truth, Integrity and Nationalism (ATIN).

Melencio will be one of several international guest speakers at the Socialist Alliance 10th national conference in Sydney, June 7-9, where he will be part of the one-day public seminar on People's Power In the “Asian Century” . You can find out more about the conference, and how to register, HERE.

Philippines: 'Forward, bayanihang sosyalismo!' Popularising a socialism 'with local colour'

The above video presents a summary of the activities of the Partido lakas ng Masa in 2012-2013.

Introduction by Reihana Mohideen

January 24, 2014 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The following is the English-language translation of a document on bayanihan socialism that was presented at the convention of the Philippines socialist party Partido lakas ng Masa (Party of the Labouring Masses, PLM) in December.2013.

It is an attempt to project more strongly the socialist character of PLM and at the same time to popularise the ideas of socialism to a mass audience in the Philippines. Lessons were drawn from the Latin American experience, of linking the egalitarian principles of socialism with national and Indigenous historical experiences and traditions. It also flows from the understanding that it's no longer enough to struggle around specific issues, but that there is an urgent need to put forward an alternative vision or possibility, that is socialism, in a way that the masses can understand.

Another important question raised in the paper is the restructuring of the working class, towards contractualisation and the growth of the informal economy and the urban poor, which is an important area for ongoing discussion and assessment. 

Poland: UN climate talks go nowhere -- yet again

By Chris Williams

November 22, 2013 -- Climate & Capitalism -- “The smell of inaction” is how Dipti Bhatnagar, Friends of the Earth Mozambique’s international program director for climate justice and energy, summed up the atmosphere inside the giant Narodowy Stadium after the first week of the latest round of international climate negotiations, Conference of the Parties, otherwise known as COP 19, taking place November 11-22, 2013, in Warsaw.

Given that this is the 19th consecutive year of annual negotiations and with a meaningful global treaty more distant now than it was almost two decades ago, Bhatnagar’s olfactory deduction seems likely to be highly accurate.

As the pervasive smell of inaction seeped like a suffocating gas throughout the inside of the conference, outside, the choking effects of coal smoke waft from all corners of a country that obtains 90 per cent of its electricity from coal and whose government has pledged to keep it that way until 2060.

¡Justicia Climática Ya! ¡Salvar vidas, redistribuir alimentos, detener el saqueo económico y la destrucción del medio ambiente!

Por Partido Lakas ng Masas (Partido de las Masas Trabajadoras, PLM)

[English at http://links.org.au/node/3587]

11/11/2013 -- Partido Lakas ng Masa -- Los filipinos han sufrido el efecto devastador del que haya sido posiblemente el mayor tifón que haya azotado el país. El número de muertos aumenta rápidamente. Hay una enorme devastación.

Muchos están tratando de ponerse en contacto con sus familiares, amigos y compañeros , pero los sistemas de comunicación no funcionan en las zonas más afectadas. ¿Cómo debemos , como activistas y socialistas, hacer frente a la crisis?

(Updated Nov. 11) Philippines' Typhoon Haiyan crisis: For climate justice now! Fight, don’t be afraid! Makibaka! Huwag Matakot!

Typhoon Haiyan bears down on the Philippines.

Statement by the Partido Lakas ng Masa (Party of the Labouring Masses, PLM)

[We're turning the PLM office into a relief goods' collection office for the victims of Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda, especially for Leyte and Samar victims, where we have some families, comrades and friends to assist for possible distribution. We'll also link up to appropriate relief organisations to send what we can collect. Transport lines have been opened. Please bring relief goods (water, medicines, rice, canned goods and other items) to PLM Office: 13 Rigor St., Bgy. Masagana, Project 4, Quezon City. Tel. 439-5811. Look for Ka Nelia, Van, Lara.

Philippines: The killing of workers' leaders is a blow to combating corruption! The government must be held accountable!

Assassinated transport workers’ leader Antonio “Dodong” Petalcorin.

By Partido Lakas ng Masa (Party of the Labouring Masses), Philippines

August 12, 2013 -- The Partido Lakas ng Masa (PLM) joins the campaign to protest against the recent spate of killings of labour leaders, the most recent case being the assassination of transport workers’ leader Antonio “Dodong” Petalcorin on July 2. Petalcorin joins the ranks of assassinated workers’ leaders this year, such as Emilio Rivera and Carlos Cirilo, who were also members of national labour centre, the Alliance of Progressive Labor in the Philippines.

While the PLM demands that the Benigno Aquino government put a stop to the assassinations and speedily bring the murderers to justice, we are also outraged at the seeming lack of determination of this administration to do so.

Furthermore, we are extremely concerned that this lack of determination emanates from a government which includes Akbayan as a coalition partner. While Akbayan congress representatives have called on the president to act on the cases of the assassinated labour leaders, some of whom are also members of Akbayan, what of the Akbayan leaders and their supposed allies in government and in cabinet? They all seem unable to bring the murderers to justice!

Revolución Bolivariana inspira a militantes en Filipinas

[In English at http://links.org.au/node/3306.]

Por Sonny Melencio

15/04/13 -- America XXI -- El legado del fallecido presidente Hugo Chávez ha sido poderoso para las organizaciones socialistas revolucionarias de todo el mundo. En Filipinas, la Revolución Bolivariana liderada por el comandante Chávez inspiró la construcción de un nuevo partido político, que forma parte de las lecciones y experiencias que renuevan y revitalizan el socialismo en el siglo XXI.

El Partido Lakas ng Masa (PLM o Partido de las Masas Trabajadoras) fue construido (o, más precisamente, reconstruido por diversos partidos políticos y grupos de activistas en Filipinas) en 2009. El documento que describe la formación del Partido examinó la experiencia venezolana, la Revolución Bolivariana y las ideas del socialismo del siglo XXI y las hizo guía para la lucha revolucionaria.

Bolivarian Revolution inspires Philippines revolutionaries

PLM members.

By Sonny Melencio

April 15, 2013 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The legacy of Venezuela’s late president Hugo Chavez has been overwhelming for revolutionary socialist organisations all over the world. In the Philippines, the Bolivarian Revolution led by Commandante Chavez inspired us in building a new political party that partakes of lessons and experiences that renews and revitalises socialism in the 21st century.

The Partido Lakas ng Masa (PLM or Party of the Labouring Masses) was built (or, precisely, rebuilt by various political parties and activist groups in the Philippines) in 2009. The concept paper that outlined the formation of the party examined the Venezuelan experience, the Bolivarian Revolution and the ideas of Socialism in the 21st century and made them the guiding light in our conduct of revolutionary struggle.

Philippines socialists on the Korean crisis: 'Halt all war preparations! Stop US provocations and intervention!

US sailors aboard the aircraft carrier George Washington prepare to leave for joint military exercises at the port in Busan, South Korea, in 2010.

By Partido Lakas ng Masa (Party of the Labouring Masses), Philippines

Direct political negotiations to defuse Korean crisis! Halt all war preparations!

Stop US provocations and intervention!

Philippines government act responsibly! Halt joint US military exercises! Protect overseas Filipino workers!

For a unified Korea without US and big power interference!

Philippines: Socialist party supports Australian workers' blockade

February 12, 2013 -- Radio Australia -- A Philippine socialist party has thrown its support behind the Australian workers blockading the Werribee Water Treatment plant south-west of Melbourne.

Unemployed local tradespeople have been blockading the Werribee Water Treatment plant for the past week to protest against the employment of Filipino workers on special 457 visas [for guest workers].

Earlier this week, the Federal Court reserved decision on the Fair Work Building and Construction Inspectorate's bid to end the eight-day blockade.

On Monday, a group of 12 men, including Filipino workers, were helicoptered into the water treatment plant to avoid the blockade.

The chairperson of the Party of the Laboring Masses (PLM), Sonny Melencio, has told Radio Australia's Asia Pacific program he's concerned Filipino workers are being used to break picket lines.

Philippines left: In wake of Typhoon Pablo, global South demands 'reparations and climate justice'

Typhoon hits the Philippines, December 4, 2012.

By Partido Lakas ng Masa (Party of the Labouring Masses), Philippines

A total ban on all logging and mining activities!

Implement massive reforestation and a sustainable development plan!

Climate justice now!

We demand full reparation from rich countries and their corporations!

December 11, 2012 -- The Partido Lakas ng Masa (PLM) extends full sympathy to the victims of Typhoon Pablo: to the families of those killed and missing, and to the millions suffering from the destruction of their homes and crops and those still waiting for relief. The PLM demands answers to serious questions raised by the government’s response to the catastrophe.

These include: why, despite the authorities warning of the impending disaster in advance, no concrete evacuation plans were in place; evasiveness about the death toll; delays in getting food and other supplies to survivors and diversion of resources to prevent small-scale looting by desperate survivors rather than providing food.

Philippines: PLM welcomes roadmap for peace in Mindanao

Philippines government peace negotiator Marvic Leonen (bottom right) and Moro Islamic Liberation Front chief negotiator Mohagher Iqbal (bottom left) sign the framework agreement for peace at the Malacanang Palace in Manila on October 15, 2012.

By the Partido Lakas ng Masa (Party of the Labouring Masses)

October 15, 2012 -- Partido Lakas ng Masa (PLM, Party of the Labouring Masses), a national political party of the marginalised sectors in The Philippines, welcomes the Bangsamoro Framework Agreement as a roadmap for peace in Mindanao. [The agreement was signed by the Philippines government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front on October 15, 2012.] The agreement is also the first step to end the centuries-old oppression of the Moro people in Mindanao.

Sonny Melencio, chairperson of the PLM, said, “The signing of the agreement is just the first step towards peace. But to ensure that the fighting in Mindanao will really come to an end, the government has to ensure that the agreement is implemented at every step, and that democracy, based on people’s participation, is enhanced in the Bangsamoro government that will replace the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).

Philippines: PLM officially recognised as political party of the marginalised sectors

Statement by Sonny Melencio, chairperson, Partido Lakas ng Masa (Party of the Labouring Masses)

September 23, 2012 -- Partido Lakas ng Masa -- The petition for certification of Partido Lakas ng Masa (PLM) as a national political party was approved by the Commission on Elections on September 19, 2012.  With this approval, the fight for a national political party representing the marginalised sectors has escalated to new heights.

This is a confirmation of the PLM’s three and half years of existence and its expansion as a political party with a mass constituency and grassroots chapter-formations.  PLM members belong to the basic sectors of the Filipino masses, which include workers, farmers, public transport drivers, vendors and the urban poor in the 12 administrative regions in the country. A majority of our members are women.

The PLM's growth and expansion is a validation of PLM’s unceasing struggle to dismantle the elite system of political and economic rule in the country, and replace it with full democracy under a government of the masa [masses].

This is an affirmation of the correctness of PLM’s advocacy for a socialist society to supplant the moribund and profit-oriented capitalist system today. PLM’s Plataporma ng Masa is also gaining support from the masses as a concrete and urgent platform for national survival and social justice.

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