My photo
New York, Los Angeles, USA, Montreal, Vancouver, Calgary,Toronto, Ottawa, Canada, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Dubai, Kuwait, Libya, Qatar, Morocco, Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan, England, Europe
I am a WITNESS… to the SUFFERING of my PEOPLE… I am a CHRONICLER of TRUTH… and a CATALYST of CHANGE… TO SPEAK UP… requires not only gumption…but education... Our missions are to INFORM, EDUCATE, ADVOCATE, CONNECT, ACCOMPANY, EMPOWER all Filipinas… KNOWLEDGE is POWER - it's important you SEE FACTS --- KNOW YOUR RIGHTS... CLICK-READ-EACH CITY/COUNTRY – to EDUCATE and EMPOWER YOU....YOU must BE AWARE of abuses and sufferings BEFORE you leave the Philippines... If you are already overseas and being abused, contact the organizations where you are - to help you. These organizations are listed or featured in this blog… Jose Rizal said: The TYRANNY of some - is POSSIBLE ONLY - THROUGH the COWARDICE of others...meaning…Your BOSS is a TYRANT because...YOU ARE a COWARD!?? Do not be AFRAID! TELL TO THE FACE OF YOUR BOSS - Without me, you cannot go to work and you cannot make money…Without me… your house is dirty and no one cares for your children...I WORK EXTRA HOURS - PAY ME EXTRA MONEY... BE BRAVE to SPEAK UP and STOP your ABUSIVE BOSS… DO NOT WORK as SLAVES IN A RICH COUNTRY... CLAIM YOUR LAWFUL RIGHTS AND DIGNITY... We are one, after all, you and I… Together we suffer…Together we co-exist


American IMPERIALISM in Philippines:U.S.TROOPS OUT NOW!!! AQUINO IS PART OF THE PROBLEM. Independence Day history. Shocking Amount of Wealth and Power Held by 0.001% of the World Population

Our non-profit  blog was inspired by a Filipina domestic from the Middle East who left her newborn baby – with placenta still attached – at the Bahrain Gulf Air airplane toilet - upon landing in Manila, read her story here .  Her despair and desperation inspired this blog to gather all possible stories in order to help, to inform and to empower all Filipina nannies, caregivers and maids scattered all over the world -- to liberate themselves from abuses of all forms:  physical, rape, verbal, exploitation, overtime working without pay....  READ this analysis of the definition of a "caregiver" that leads us to a very clear understanding  why Filipina domestic maids end up being "modern-day slaves" -- in the very subtle, disingenuous, tricky, duplicitous, devious, artful and ingenuous name of a "professional caregiver" in Montreal, in Canada, and likewise in many countries all over the world

According to this website -- the MAIN CAUSE OF Philippine POVERTY IS  



Actually, the United States has played a big role in keeping the Philippines as an underdeveloped, client state with few prospects for employment.  

 The Philippines has the highest per capita rate of international migrant workers, with nurses, nannies, construction workers, sex workers, and seamen having to leave the country in order to hold things together back home.

 Excerpts from below article:

the United States continues to mock our aspiration and struggle to become a truly independent nation...

Te Independence Day that wasn’t. Rightly so because the American gift of independence in 1946 had numerous strings attached. The U.S. retained sovereignty over dozens of military bases in the islands, and the U.S. Congress made sure that granting independence to the Philippines would keep it a virtual economic ward of the United States. 

Furthermore, the Bell Trade Act prohibited the Philippines from manufacturing or selling any products that might “come into substantial competition” with U.S.-made goods and required that the Philippine constitution be revised to grant U.S. citizens and corporations equal access to Philippine minerals, forests and other natural resources.


U.S. troops,  leave the Philippines now!

Filipino protesters led by nuns demanding U.S. troops to leave the Philippines
now. Photo courtesy of slavishtubesocks.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

True independence

Celebrations of Philippine Independence Day every June 12 at home have been focused more on fanfare and parades, and here in Toronto, on festive galas and beauty pageants. Many Filipinos tend to gloss over that period of the revolution against Spain that began in 1896 and ignore the complete picture of the continuing struggle of Filipinos for nationhood and self-determination. 
President Benigno Aquino III reviews the honor guard in front of the Barasoain
 church in Malolos, Bulacan to celebrate Philippine Independence Day, June 12, 2012.
Photo by Reuters Pictures. Click  link to view "Aquino-Obama Meet to Affirm Neo-
Colonial Ties - Bayan,"

There has been very little mention, for instance, in official Independence Day celebrations of the Filipinos’ bloody struggle against the United States, which ruled the Philippines for some five decades. It is not surprising that Ambeth Ocampo, a Filipino historian and professor, would write that “many Filipinos and Americans are not aware that there was such a thing as the Filipino-American war.’’ The fact is, that war and the pacification campaign from 1899 to 1902 waged by the American government under a policy of ‘‘benevolent assimilation,’’ ‘‘civilising’’ and ‘‘Christianising’’ the Filipinos was marked by torture, cruelty and racism.
It therefore makes sense for every Filipino to fully understand the history of our struggle for nationhood so that it will open our eyes and minds to what actually transpired in history and what could be unfolding before us, instead of being simply caught up in the joy of many or despair of some over the celebration.
The war of Philippine independence against Spain started in April 1896 when members of the Katipunan gathered in Pugad Lawin to declare the country’s independence in what is now historically remembered as the Cry of Balintawak. It was the Philippines’ first public expression of the nation’s aspiration to be independent from colonial rule. 
On June 12, 1898, a month after General Emilio Aguinaldo returned from exile in Hongkong and resumed command of the Filipino revolutionary forces, he proclaimed the independence of the Philippines from the balcony of his house in Kawit, Cavite. This was the official date which President Diosdado Macapagal decided to choose in 1962 to celebrate Philippine independence to replace July 4, 1946, the original date the Philippines commemorated its independence from the United States. 
These are two contrasting dates of national independence, indicative of how the country was torn between two colonizers—Spain and America. Philippine independence on June 12, 1898, was short-lived when the Americans took possession of Manila on August 13, 1898, during the Battle of Manila Bay—the first hostile engagement of the Spanish-American War.  .

The Battle of Manila Bay was actually an arranged show of resistance since Spain had already agreed to surrender Manila and the mocked resistance would preserve the Spanish sense of honour, and worse, excluded General Aguinaldo’s revolutionary forces. Knowing that the United States did not intend to recognize Philippine independence, Aguinaldo moved his capital in September from Kawit, Cavite, to the more defensible Malolos in Bulacan. That same month, the United States and Spain began their peace negotiations in Paris.
The Treaty of Paris was signed on December 10, 1898, with Spain ceding the Philippines, Guam and Puerto Rico to the United States for the sum of US$20 million. The Philippines became the first colony of the United States, but the campaign for Philippine independence continued on. On January 23, 1899, Aguinaldo proclaimed the Malolos Constitution and the First Philippine Republic. A month later, the Philippine War of Independence against the U.S. began on February 4, 1899, which would last for two years.

Aguinaldo was captured by the Americans on March 23, 1901, and was persuaded to swear allegiance to the United States and called on his soldiers to lay down their arms. The United States declared an end to military rule on July 4, 1901, and America’s colonization of the Philippines would continue on until July 4, 1946, when the U.S. Congress passed the Tydings-McDuffie Law transferring sovereignty to the Filipino people.
Which of these two dates—June 12, 1898 or July 4, 1946—accurately reflects genuine Philippine Independence?
While most Filipinos are always beholden to the United States for its tutelage of Filipinos for self-government, the public education system it implemented during its colonial rule, and the colonial mentality it has embedded in every Filipino’s mindset, the July 4th celebration had always been considered as the Independence Day that wasn’t. Rightly so because the American gift of independence in 1946 had numerous strings attached. The U.S. retained sovereignty over dozens of military bases in the islands, and the U.S. Congress made sure that granting independence to the Philippines would keep it a virtual economic ward of the United States. Furthermore, the Bell Trade Act prohibited the Philippines from manufacturing or selling any products that might “come into substantial competition” with U.S.-made goods and required that the Philippine constitution be revised to grant U.S. citizens and corporations equal access to Philippine minerals, forests and other natural resources.

So in 1962, Filipino nation.lists prevailed upon President Diosdado Macapagal to change the date to celebrate Philippine Independence Day to a day which was closely linked with our “revolutionary identity, rather than our colonial identity,” according to Dr. Samuel Tan of the National Historical Institute. Thus, June 12 was chosen when Filipino revolutionaries in 1898 proclaimed their freedom from Spain. Except that this Filipino declaration did not lead to actual independence as the United States annexed the Philippines as its colony.
Why would it matter then if June 12 would be the official Independence Day?
Although it did not lead to independence from Spain, its significance is not necessarily diminished. The Philippine revolution was the first Asian uprising against a foreign imperial power, and the Filipino revolutionary forces would have eventually defeated Spain had it not been for the short-lived Spanish-American War which resulted in Spain ceding the Philippines to the U.S. for $20 million, thus paving the way for American colonization of the Philippines.
If Filipinos were asked today when their country achieved independence, many would vacillate between the historical significance of the Philippine revolution against Spain and their undying fascination with the United States. Filipinos who knew their history would emphasize the process that began with the 1896 uprising against Spain by Andres Bonifacio or the 1898 declaration by Aguinaldo. Some would pay lip service to the July 4, 1946 date, noting its limitations. 
Still others would insist that Philippine independence was finally achieved when the Philippine Senate on September 16, 1991, refused to extend the U.S. lease of the Subic Bay Naval Station. Alex Magno, a political scientist at the University of the Philippines, said that in a “psychological” sense, Filipinos were not free of the U.S. until then. He explained that the Senate’s refusal to extend the lease of Subic Bay to the Americans liberated the Filipinos from the idea that Washington was responsible for their fate and allowed them to think as a nation rather than an American appendage. “Until 1991, the ghost of the Philippine-American War still haunted us,” Magno said.
Professor of comparative literature at the University of the Philippines Vivencio R. Jose similarly expressed the same sentiment: “We declared independence in 1898, established a republic in 1899, but in 1991, a certain part of the cycle was completed.” According to Jose, the Senate vote demonstrated a sense of “self-determination” that was missing in the grant of U.S. independence, and it symbolized “the fulfillment of our national aspiration.”
But this sense of the Filipino aspiration to become fully independent from a foreign power would not last long and would be shattered in 1999, seven years after the Americans transferred control of their military bases to the Philippine government. In 1999, the Philippines and the United States entered into a Visiting Forces Agreement allowing American troops under the moribund Mutual Defence Treaty between the two countries to conduct military exercises in the Philippines, but only for short periods. These military exercises overlap one another, with an exercise being started before one even wound down, thus making the “temporary” visit of U.S. forces virtually permanent.
Filipino protesters led by nuns demanding U.S. troops to leave the Philippines
now. Photo courtesy of slavishtubesocks.
The visiting American soldiers are not only involved in military exercises with the Philippine military. The troops are also known to be engaged in the war against terrorism in Mindanao and other areas of the country where local communist rebels are operating. With the ongoing dispute in the South China Sea among six ASEAN countries including the Philippines over territorial sovereignty claims to the Spratly Islands and surrounding waters, the American forces are expected to stay for longer periods pursuant to the U.S. new foreign policy of engaging China in Asia and the Pacific region.
Part of the foreign policy pivot of the United States to Asia and the Pacific, the United States is already realigning its military strength in the region based on its naval facilities in Darwin, off the coast of Northern Australia. Americans would have access to their former Subic Bay Naval Station, either under permanent basing rights or on the basis of the rotating presence of U.S. troops and ships in the Philippines. This would be similar to the old Olongapo set up when the U.S. had full control of the Subic Naval Base and where U.S. naval vessels could go in and out for refueling, repair and redeployment, and as a port for rest and recreation of American troops. 

Again, the Philippines is being used as a vital cog in America’s shift in foreign policy and military strategy under the pretext of containing the threat of China’s hegemony in the region. The South China Sea dispute is already drawing the involvement of the United States into the fray, and the Philippines is actively courting (begging, perhaps is the better word) for U.S. military assistance to defend its territorial claims against China in case hostilities broke out. 
This brings us to the more relevant question of whether the Philippines has achieved true independence. A question more serious than simply picking a date to commemorate Independence Day. If the Americans were able to snatch the victory of the Philippine Revolution against Spain, it is beyond doubt that the U.S. is again repeating history, thanks to the RP-U.S. Visiting Forces Agreement and the obsequiousness of the present Aquino government who has cast hook, line and sinker to the new U.S. foreign policy of engaging China in Asia and the Pacific region.
Parades, festivals, galas and beauty pageants will not give meaning to our celebration of Philippine Independence Day when the United States continues to mock our aspiration and struggle to become a truly independent nation—the spirit of yearning for self-determination which was begun by our revolutionary forebears during the Philippine Revolution of 1896.

The term "crony capitalism" was first coined to describe Philippines dictator Ferdinand Marcos, who counted among his personal friends Ronald Reagan and George Bush Sr. In 1972, Marcos pronounced martial law; two years later he enacted the first government policies in support of overseas migrant work. Such policies have since evolved from a stop-gap measure to a permanent economic survival strategy.

A Global Nanny's Story

The Philippines exports caregivers, stripping its own families of mothers. Crisanta Sampang knows the cost.

By Deborah Campbell, 28 Mar 2006,

"It's a small world…but not if you have to clean it."

Artist Barbara Kruger appended this pithy caption to a photo of a 1950's housewife wielding a magnifying glass. Well, goodbye to all that. Yesterday's (truly) desperate housewife, suffocating under a mountain of laundry and suburban ennui, is today's manic working mother, striving to balance home and family obligations without falling off the corporate ladder. Yet, to turn the magnifying glass on millions of homes in prosperous nations is to discover something rather more unsettling than expanding colonies of dust bunnies or rings around the toilet bowl. The world has indeed become smaller, but the ones cleaning up after it are, increasingly, millions of poor women who have left behind their homes and families in far-off lands to care for ours.

What prompted me to look more closely at a phenomenon so vast and unprecedented that it now strikes me as shocking never to have seen it addressed in any editorial on globalization was a slim, new book by Vancouver-based writer Crisanta Sampang. Sampang was born in the Philippines and worked as a nanny/housekeeper in Singapore from 1984-88, before immigrating to Canada to take a similar job. In Maid in Singapore, she writes that hers "is a story not of one person, but of countless others like me, who had left both hearth and home in the hope of finding a better life abroad." Like a million Filipinos a year, 70 percent of them women, she saw migrant work as her ticket out of poverty. What she left behind remained a secret for more than twenty years.

'Love' for hire

On a recent sunny afternoon, I join Sampang at a Filipino restaurant on the west side of Vancouver. It's the weekend and the direct-to-the-Philippines courier service across the street is crammed with women sending home the remittances that sustain their families. With more than eight million citizens working abroad, some ten percent of the population, foreign remittances are the Philippines' largest source of income, bringing in upwards of US$8 billion a year. Through nannies, housekeepers, nurses and home support workers, the country's primary export is something rarely identified as a global commodity: care.

In Global Woman: Nannies, Maids and Sex Workers in the New Economy, co-editors Barbara Ehrenreich and Arlie Russell Hochschild sum up the "feminization of migration" in startling terms. 

"The lifestyles of the First World are made possible by a global transfer of the services associated with a wife's traditional role-child care, homemaking and sex-from poor countries to rich ones…Today, while still relying on Third World countries for agricultural and industrial labor, the wealthy countries also seek to extract something harder to measure and quantify, something that can look very much like love."

They offer a theory on the way modern life-workaholic, narcissistic, cut off from the obligations and supports of community-is affecting the emotional landscape. "It's as if the wealthy parts of the world are running short on precious emotional and sexual resources and have had to turn to poorer regions for fresh supplies."

The restaurant where I meet Sampang is full of nannies and former nannies, but she may be the first of their lot to publish a memoir. "It's a niche subject and no real domestic worker has written on it except The Nanny Diaries," says the very petite Sampang. She suspects the nanny diarists were fakes. They write in "this gossipy American way," she says, "looking down on their employers. I didn't look up to my employers, but I didn't think I was better, either."

On the rare occasion that magazines like Vogue write about the hidden world of domestic workers, it is inevitably from the employers' point of view: the secret jealousies of an ambitious Gucci-clad mother confronted by a nanny who bonds more closely to the children than either of the parents do (and, even more galling, may be younger and thinner than she). Or it's in the form of deliciously scandalous novels like the bestselling Diaries, wherein the caretaker (a graduate student on her way up and out, since no one would stay in such a job) exposes the comically dysfunctional lives of Manhattan's über-rich.

Sampang's memoir is about as far from that perspective as Vancouver is from her rural farming village. Her story begins with the suicide of Imelda, a desperate 23-year-old Filipina domestic who had lost her job. Imelda's parents had borrowed money to pay an agency to bring her to Singapore; if she was unsuccessful they could lose their farm. Imelda's suicide-later echoed by the suicide of a Filipina domestic working in Canada-is the most extreme response to a situation characterized, Sampang writes, by "isolation and lack of emotional support."

A long held secret

Though it begins on a tragic note, Sampang's account of the profession is largely positive, even light-hearted. She describes the employers who warmly welcomed her into their family and didn't object when she began writing about them in features for the Straits Times, her first foray into writing. She chronicles the way other domestics found love in the arms of migrant construction workers (or in one another's), touching briefly on the consequences for marriages back home.

Smart, attractive and confident, Sampang flourished in Singapore and Canada. She was not among the abused, the runaways, or the victims of sexual assault-fates that prey upon the particular vulnerabilities of workers in private homes. "I was living in a bubble with good employers, good people," she says. "And I didn't have much experience with abused nannies. But I heard things."

What she heard ran the gamut from those who didn't get time off to those that didn't get enough to eat. "I heard stories that their dogs were better fed than the domestic." In Canada, where many Filipinas who arrive under the federal Live-In Caregiver Program and have university degrees, there are reports of 16-hour works days, withheld pay, the subcontracting of their services, physical and sexual abuse, even forced captivity. Many keep silent for fear of losing their jobs.

At the table next to us, a Filipina toddler in a pink jumpsuit samples from her mother's plate.

Watching the little girl, I am reminded of Sampang's secret. By the time she left the Philippines in 1984, she had separated from her alcoholic husband and was struggling to support three daughters; aged seven, five, and two. Desperate to find work abroad, she did not declare her children. Later, when the opportunity arose to go to Canada-where the Live-In Caregiver Program allows domestic workers to apply for citizenship after two years-she did the same. After all, a domestic worker in Canada makes about the same per month that the average Filipino earns in a year-roughly $1000 US.

It was not until her book was published in Singapore last fall-hitting the Singapore Times bestseller list within two weeks-that her partner of ten years, writer Daniel Wood, read it and learned of the children. "He was blindsided," she says. But he understood her reasons. "It has made us closer. It was a great relief because now I can talk about my children."

This, then, is the hidden cost of the global trade in mothering-a cost that has become, in the words of Berkeley sociologist Arlie Russell Hochschild, a "dark child's burden." An estimated 30 percent of Filipino children, some 8 million, live in households where at least one parent works abroad. In three Asian countries-the Philippines, Indonesia and Sri Lanka-women are the majority of migrant workers and most are mothers.

'Working for everyone'

"My children 'understand,'" says Sampang, curling her fingers into quotation marks, "but it's still not good enough. I thought they would be better off growing up with my mother, but apparently not."

The middle daughter dropped out of college at eighteen to marry a merchant marine after becoming pregnant. "I asked her why she got married so young," says Sampang. "She cried and said there was a hole in her life that cannot be filled. Now she is married and has a family to fill the hole."

The effect of migration on families is a "two-edged sword," Sampang says. Working abroad enabled her to buy her mother a house and property and send one of each of her brothers' children to college with the understanding that they will help their siblings. "A Filipino nanny is not working for herself only, she's working for everyone, first and foremost her children, then other family members."

But children who grow up with absentee parents show higher delinquency rates and often experience "reunification issues" after years of living apart. A cultural upheaval has taken place as parents compensate for their absence with money and gifts. "In the Philippines, every teenager has a cell phone, an iPod," says Sampang. "Everyone wants the latest fashion. It's become a western culture of materialism, as if the local is not good enough."

She sees an ingrained "colonial mentality" extending back to the Spanish and American occupations of the Philippines; a mentality that says "white skin is better," in which "everyone wants to leave." It is as if centuries of dependence on wealthier nations have created a crisis of faith in their own culture and country. A survey of children of Filipino migrant workers found that 60 percent want to leave. "They leave because they think life is better outside-and life is better," says Sampang. "There is so much poverty."

Sampang has made a good life for herself, working in television and film, exploring options that would have been unthinkable back home. Like most female migrant workers, she has settled abroad, visiting the Philippines for several weeks a year. Her, and the millions like her, epitomize the adaptable workforce praised by free market economists. They have made tough decisions that may just be their best options in the global economy.

Migrant work, dictators' debt

But why are these women forced to make such wrenching decisions, essentially abandoning their families in order to save them? What creates the conditions that compel them to leave?

The disturbing answer is that entire countries have become dependent on the incomes of migrant workers in order to service the foreign debts owed to international lenders like the International Monetary Fund and World Bank. These loans have, to a remarkable degree, been handed to corrupt leaders with few or no controls. It would almost appear that the lenders crave the kind of power these massive debts afford them, from lucrative interest payments to the ability to dictate economic and social policy.

The term "crony capitalism" was first coined to describe Philippines dictator Ferdinand Marcos, who counted among his personal friends Ronald Reagan and George Bush Sr. In 1972, Marcos pronounced martial law; two years later he enacted the first government policies in support of overseas migrant work. Such policies have since evolved from a stop-gap measure to a permanent economic survival strategy.

Between 1980 and 1999, the Philippines received nine structural adjustment loans from the World Bank. By the time Marcos went into exile in Hawaii following a people's revolution in 1986, half of the government's annual budget was earmarked to service foreign debt. And what did these debts accomplish?

The largest single debt of the Philippines is the Bataan nuclear power station. Constructed for more than $2 billion (all amounts in US dollars) on a fault line at the foot of an active volcano, it was completed in the mid-'80s but never opened due to safety concerns. The plant was built by US multinational Westinghouse, which allegedly paid $80 million in kickbacks to the Marcos government (and which built a similar plant in South Korea for a third the cost). Though Westinghouse eventually paid the Philippines government $100 million to drop charges of fraud, Filipino taxpayers still pay $155,000 a day in interest on the plant. The debt will not be repaid until 2018.

"We are not asking for debt forgiveness; we are asking for justice. We are asking the creditors to repent and debt cancellation would be a symbol of that repentance," said Archbishop Alberto Ramento of the Philippine Independent Church, in an interview in 1998. The IMF and World Bank, he said, had given loans to the Marcos regime despite knowledge of its corruption. "We are paying for the shoes of Imelda Marcos," he said.

A 'war' for dignity 

Structural readjustment loans have required governments like the Philippines to cut funding to education, health and social services, exacerbating poverty and perpetuating the export of labour. Yet, the influx of foreign capital has not been used for development that might create the kind of society where women like Crisanta Sampang and her daughters can achieve their potential. Education has become focused on exportable skills, with doctors studying to be nurses in order to emigrate. Debt payments now account for nearly 70 percent of the Philippines' government expenditures. Spending on social services shrank from 35 percent of the budget in 2000 to 23 percent in 2004, sowing the seeds for greater social instability and extremism-and, of course, more migration.

The same factors lurk behind the growth of sex tourism-another form of "women's work," one with a long history linked to the American military presence in the Philippines. A friend who worked for an American high-tech company located at Clark Air Force Base in the Philippines described the peeler bars and brothels that have sprung up around it to service US troops. One of his colleagues, an overweight middle-manager in his fifties, had found several Filipina "girlfriends" there, some as young as fourteen.

"Developing countries are fighting a war," said Archbishop Ramento. "We are fighting to live with dignity and we cannot win this war because we do not have the power to win it on the streets of Manila alone. But it can be won in the streets of London and Washington by those who have the power."

The kitchens and cradles of suburbia can seem a long way from the slums and brothels of the Third World, but they are linked by economic policies with far-reaching consequences. Somebody's mother, so attentive to the needs of her employers, listens to the voices of her children through the crackle of a long-distance connection. She notes how they have grown and changed, how they have become, through years of separation, almost strangers. Then she hangs up the phone as another voice, someone else's child or parent, calls her name.

Vancouver writer Deborah Campbell is the author of This Heated Place.

Join Crisanta Sampang and hear her story at the Canadian launch of Maid in Singapore on Thursday, March 30, 2006, at Fireside Books, 2652 Arbutus Street in Vancouver, from 7 to 9 PM.


One nation, two worlds: The myth of 'inclusive growth'

IBON FEATURES | 21 July 2013 | The Aquino administration’s policies are no different from those that have been increasingly implemented over the last three decades and that have resulted in today's grossly distorted and unequal economy
By Sonny Africa
IBON executive director

IBON Features—The Aquino administration has been in power since mid-2010 and the last three years gives undeniable evidence as to whose interests it upholds primarily. There is growing wealth and prosperity for a few amid joblessness and poverty for the many – these are among the deep signs of a regression in the national condition that a recycled Aquino agenda for the last half of its term will not remedy.

The country's long-standing jobs and poverty crisis has continued and worsened under the Aquino administration. The government claims to acknowledge the country's economic problems and to be seeking "inclusive growth". Yet its policies are no different from those that have been increasingly implemented over the last three decades and that have resulted in today's grossly distorted and unequal economy.

The supposedly good economic news for the Philippines is familiar: supposedly the fastest economic growth among the major countries of East and Southeast Asia, consecutive record highs in the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE) index, record gross international reserves, investment grade ratings from two major international credit ratings agencies, and an incremental rise in world competitiveness ranking.

The counterpoint to the supposed good economic news is likewise familiar: the unchanged jobs and poverty crisis. Despite rapid economic growth the number of unemployed and underemployed Filipinos increased by over one million from 10.9 million in April 2010 to 11.9 million in April 2013 – consisting of 4.6 million unemployed (an increase of 52,000, using IBON estimates on National Statistics Office or NSO data) and 7.3 million underemployed (an increase of 955,000). This is the most number of unemployed and underemployed Filipinos in the country's history.

Despite rapid economic growth job creation has been falling drastically in these first three years of the Aquino administration. While 1.4 million jobs were reported created in April 2011 (from the year before) this fell to 1.0 million in April 2012 and then turned to a negative 21,000 in April 2013. These occurred while the corresponding first quarter GDP growth rates were becoming more rapid at 4.6% (2011), 6.5% (2012), and 7.8% (2013).

The poorest are clearly left behind by economic growth. Between April 2012 and April 2013, looking at employed persons by industry, the agriculture sector where the greatest concentration of poor is found lost 624,000 jobs. The situation is even starker in employment by occupation group: 822,000 farmers, fisherfolk, workers and unskilled laborers and 26,000 professionals, associate professionals and technicians lost their jobs.

The steady erosion of the two most important productive sectors in the economy is also evident. The share of agriculture in total employment has continued to fall from 32.5% in April 2010 to 31.3% in April 2013, and of manufacturing from 8.6% to 8.4% over the same period. The share of agriculture in gross domestic product (GDP) is already down to its smallest in the country's history and of manufacturing to as small as in the 1950s.

Poverty has remained unchanged. The National Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB) reported official poverty incidence as statistically unchanged at 27.9% in the first semester of 2012 compared to 28.8% and 28.6% in the same periods in 2006 and 2009, respectively. IBON estimates that the reported poverty incidence of 27.9% means around 26.8 million poor Filipinos – computed using a projected population of 96.2 million in 2012 – or an increase of some 3-4 million from 2009.

Official figures however grossly underestimate poverty with the implied official daily poverty threshold in the first semester of 2012 for instance being just some Php52. This is unreasonably low and insufficient for meeting all a person’s daily food and non-food needs for decent living. Various corrections for the low official poverty threshold would instead show anywhere between 38-68 million poor Filipinos which is the worst scale of poverty in the country's history.

The government has been reporting falling official poverty incidence following changes in methodology in 2003 and 2011 that, among others, lowered the poverty threshold. But if the real value of the poverty threshold is maintained then the trend of unchanging poverty incidence has actually been going on not just since 2006 but for some fifteen years now since 1997 – with correspondingly rising absolute numbers of poor Filipinos.

This socioeconomic crisis for tens of millions of Filipinos occurs amid growing prosperity for a very few. The net income of Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE)-listed firms rose from Php438.1 billion in 2010 to Php501.3 billion in 2012. The net income of the country's Top 1000 corporations has been growing at an increasing rate in the latest three years for which data is available – their cumulative net income has gone up from Php756.0 billion in 2009, to Php804.1 billion in 2010 and to Php868.1 billion in 2011.

It is the same with the net worth of the 40 richest Filipinos. Their collective worth has been steadily increasing from US$22.8 billion in 2010, to US$34.0 billion in 2011, and further to US$47.4 billion in 2012. This combined net worth in 2012 was equivalent to over one-fifth (21%) of GDP for the year. These oligarchs' business interests dominate the country's real estate, ports, construction, trade, power, water, telecommunication, transport, mining, banking and finance, and food and beverage industries.

In 1985 the top 20% of families cornered 52.1% of total family income leaving the bottom 80% to divide the remaining 47.9% between them. This has barely changed over the last decades of supposed democracy and in 2009 the top 20% of families still claimed 51.9% of total family income (with the bottom 80% dividing the remaining 48.1%).

Aquino policies: creating the conditions for an unequal economy

The first three years of the Aquino administration affirms how the government's economic policies systematically create the conditions for increasing the profits and wealth of a few. These are not accidental outcomes – much less due merely to corruption or rent-seeking – but are rather the inevitable result of economic policies aimed at creating favorable conditions for preferred foreign and domestic big business interests to profit and flourish.

The administration maintains neoliberal policies from previous governments and has even sought to deepen these against the interests of workers, peasants and the general public. For instance, the public-private partnership (PPP) program is most of all a scheme to mobilize public resources to directly and indirectly support corporate profits. The government is providing regulatory risk guarantees and amending legislation so that the broadest number of private foreign and big local firms can avail of public support for their private profits. Even the much-hyped multibillion conditional cash transfer (CCT) program is not so much a long-term sustainable anti-poverty program than a massive multi-billion peso effort to undercut criticism of the free market as well as to provide political legitimacy and to generate popular support for neoliberal "inclusive growth".

Instead of recognizing that the state of the economy and the people today is because of accumulating trade and investment liberalization, privatization and deregulation, it is made to appear that it is because these have not been implemented enough. Hence the Aquino administration's determined thrust to extend neoliberal policies even to those last few areas of the economy that remain protected, even if only barely, by the last legal barriers under the 1987 Constitution. If these neoliberal policies are not changed, the poverty and joblessness in the first three years of the Aquino government will continue in its remaining three years as well as compromise national development in the decades to come. IBON Features

IBON Foundation, Inc. is an independent development institution established in 1978 that provides research, education, publications, information work and advocacy support on socioeconomic issues.


Experts say President Noynoy Aquino is part of the Philippines’ problem

December 7, 2012
by Ilda
Foreign and local experts in their studies of government and economy have confirmed what some of us have been saying all along: that it looks like President Benigno Simeon ‘BS’ Aquino may be part of Philippine society’s problem. In the gathering of intellectuals held recently, participants have agreed that the country’s weak institutions combined with public servants who act like warlords are to blame for why the country remains one of the world’s basketcases:
In a forum, experts on Wednesday said the answer lay in the country’s weak institutions, which were put up in reaction to Martial Law.

So if it were to become an economic powerhouse like South Korea, which went through a civil war, then the Philippines should strengthen its institutions first so that development doesn’t depend on whoever is president, the experts said.

During the forum, James Robinson, a professor of government at Harvard University, said nations fail because of “extractive” institutions, which place power and resources or opportunities in the hands of the elite.

He said nations fail because leaders were unable to transition to “inclusive” institutions that are supposed to spread wealth and power to the greater society.

Robinson, who is in Manila for several days, said some of these nations have centralized power in the hands of weak states that “comfortably cohabit” with warlords, which can be seen in African countries and Columbia.

Yes, being part of the status quo and without initiating real reforms, President BS Aquino will likely not accomplish anything significant when he steps down from power in 2016. Experts have noted that the real social and economic decline started with the hastily crafted and ill-thought out 1987 Cory Aquino constitution, which some say was written out of spite in response to the Marcos regime.
Gerardo Sicat, another UP economics professor who served as economic minister during the Marcos regime, said the blame can be heaped on mistakes made during the transition from Marcos to Corazon Aquino, the late mother of President Benigno Aquino III.

Aggravating this, Sicat said, was the lack in continuity of reforms and limitations on foreign investments prescribed by the 1987 Constitution, which the first Aquino administration put in place of Marcos’ 1973 Constitution.
Even before he was voted into power in 2010, TIME magazine already noted BS Aquino’s awkward and un-statesman like figure and in particular, the fact that he is a member of the oligarchy or the “wealthy class” — those who more often than not come across as uncaring and out of touch with reality. Like what I said before in one of my previous articles:

It is crystal clear that Noynoy’s win does not guarantee a complete change unless he completely cuts off ties with his family just to implement the necessary changes in the system. We all know this is not going to happen. We all know that out of respect for his late mother and their family’s allies, the policies that were implemented by members of the inner circle, will remain untouched. It is going to be business as usual for the landowners in Hacienda Luisita and the rest of the oligarchies (and their personal empires — e.g. PLDT, Globe Telecom, ABS-CBN).

The irony of what Noynoy promises — to change the problem that he is part of — escapes him and his followers. From the same article, I quote Greg Rushford, a Washington-based expert on trade who has monitored the Philippines for over 30 years, “The basics for success are here, at least in terms of human capital. But there is a lack of seriousness in the political leadership — institutions are dominated by an uncaring wealthy class.” To which I add: Isn’t Noynoy Aquino part of that wealthy class? He might care but we have to ask, was he actually actively participating in advocating real change before he was asked to run for the presidency? I don’t think so. Why are we only hearing him now and how come he hasn’t been vocal about it before? Could it be because he remained in the shadow of his late mother until she passed away? Forced to come out now, I wonder how Noynoy is going to address this problem:
“There are ties of clan, family and region that are stronger than the nation,” says Ramon Casiple, a leading political commentator in Manila. “To this day, it’s all about patronage.”
From Day One, President BS Aquino already showed signs that he is into patronage politics. A lot of Filipinos have noticed that he is predisposed to assigning a lot of his friends to sensitive posts in his government. After successfully removing former Chief Justice Renato Corona from the Supreme Court, he filled up the vacated post with his college friend Lourdes Sereno who is also a member of a law firm hired by his family’s estate Hacienda Luisita. Having been a corporate lawyer for most of her career, Sereno doesn’t even have any experience handling a criminal case in the past. That fact didn’t stop the President from assigning her to the Supreme Court to handle criminal cases.

Unfortunately, all is not well in the Supreme Court under Sereno’s watch. While Corona brought unity in the SC during his stint, Sereno has brought in division among the members of the SC particularly with some associate judges alleging that she recently issued a fake resolution without their knowledge. What kind of “reform” did President BS Aquino expect to happen in the judiciary with an allegedly fraudulent Chief Justice like Sereno at its helm?

Yes, there hasn’t been much progress since democracy was “restored” in 1986. Some would argue that we are even worse off now. This last statement can be true in the sense that, today, Filipinos already have freedom but still don’t know what to do with it. As early as 1992, Singapore’s former leader Lee Kuan Yew said that “Filipinos have too much democracy but too little discipline” — a very astute observation that remains relevant today.

The Harvard professor, James Robinson could not help but compare the status of the Philippines to that of South Korea. After all, both South Korea and the Philippines were under dictatorship for decades but South Korea is now an “economic powerhouse”. Just to reiterate what I wrote before:

The Philippines’ political history has a lot in common with Korea’s. For one, both countries have a Presidential system; two, similar to Korea, the Philippines was under a dictatorship for decades. From 1972 the Philippines was under the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos’s regime until he was toppled and exiled in 1986 while Korea was under Military dictatorship since the 1950s until they switched to more democratic governance in the 1980s. Third, Korea’s political system even after switching to democracy always got bad international press as late as the 1990s because it was riddled with corruption and nepotism which is something that the Philippines is unfortunately still experiencing until now.

The situation with the Koreans in the 1990s was so similar to what is happening to Filipinos now. There were massive election frauds committed with public servants spending public funds and television was totally under the control of the State.

To be sure, Philippine elections in the past and even the recent one in May 2010 were mired by allegations of fraud in the form of vote buying and rigging of election results, the latter not prevented even by new electronic voting systems. Sadly, the powerful elite who exert a strong influence on the electorate controls the media.

However, despite the turmoil in the political scene in South Korea back in the 1990s, strong institutions backed by an ancient Confucian culture provided a check and balance that eventually resulted in a stable Korean economy. The sense of nationalism in Korea is unmatched even by the Japanese. Part of this strong sense of nationalism has a lot to do with the draconian laws and decrees introduced during the period when they were still under dictatorship. To quote an excerpt from an article written by the late Teddy Benigno:
In the 1950s former General Park Chung-hee set-up a dictatorship which first decreed land reform. He then got the leading capitalists, entrepreneurs, economists; policy planners together win to something like a ruling national council. He drove them to excel, meet or exceed targets. Or else. The story goes that a prominent businessman complained, said he couldn’t meet his target. Park Chung-hee simply replied he would be executed at dawn. The businessman relented and met his target.

That was iron discipline. But it was that discipline that forged the new South Korea and today it is the 12th biggest economy in the world.
What was Korea’s secret then? The average Korean is ambitious and works furiously hard and long hours. There is even a saying that “Korea is the one society in the world in which the Chinese go broke and the Japanese look lazy”. They instill this discipline to the younger generation. The average Korean child goes to a coaching school three times a week and it is standard for them to learn English because they recognize the importance of being proficient in the English language.

There is one thing that the experts in the recently held forum failed to mention. While weak institutions combined with weak leadership contribute to the failure of nations, the culture of the people is likewise to blame for allowing it to happen – each individual’s contribution to society whether good or bad affects everyone else and this includes voting for the wrong leader.


Para sa mga Ignoranteng 90s Kids

by snap2104

Kahit di ka 90s kid, kasama ka rin dito kung naniniwala kang mas maunlad, mas mapayapa at mas maayos ang Pilipinas kung si Ferdinand Marcos ang pangulo natin.

ignorant adjective \ˈig-n(ə-)rənt\ – lacking knowledge or comprehension of the things specified; also resulting from or showing lack of knowledge or intelligence; in Tagalog, kulang sa talino o kaalaman. Source: Merriam Webster.

Ngayon, magbasa kayong mga ignorante kayo para malaman n’yo kung ga’no kasama ang Marcos na iniidolo ninyong mga ignorante kayo. Ignorante. Hayaan n’yong bigyan ko kayo ng crash course sa pagiging trash nitong si Marcos.
Gago ka ba, Sankage Steno? Pinakamayaman kaya sa Asya ang Pilipinas noong panahon ni Marcos.

Gago nga siguro ako, pero hindi ako naniniwalang Marcos is the best thing that happened to the Philippines. Bakit?

Noong 1950s at early 1960s, bago naging presidente si Marcos, second ang Pilipinas sa Japan in terms of economy (Source). Ang utang lang ng bansa natin noon ay $1 billion. Pero nang maging presidente na ‘tong si Marcos, lumobo ang utang natin sa $28 billion at naging “sick man of Asia” ang Pilipinas (Source).

Ta’s sasabihin mo pinakamayaman ang Pilipinas sa Asya? Sinong gago sa ‘tin ngayon?

Pero aminin mo, maraming naipatayong infrastructure si Marcos noon.

Oo, marami nga s’yang napatayong tulay, kalsada at mga gusali (San Juanico Bridge, NLEX, CCP, Heart Center, Lung Center, etc.), pero lahat ‘yon ay galing sa utang. Nagbabayad pa rin tayo ngayon at magbabayad probably hanggang 2025 or longer. Bukod pa d’yan, corrupt ang lahat ng kontrata na “binuo” para sa mga proyekto n’ya (Source).

Dahil sa pangingielam ni Marcos at ng kanyang pamahalaan, yumaman ang iilang pamilya na mga kaibigan n’ya o crony. Nagkaroon ng monopoly sa ilang industriya. At nang matapos ang 1970s, karamihan sa mga negosyo sa bansa ay kontrolado lamang ng 81 pamilyang ka-close ni Marcos (Source).

E basta, nung panahon naman ni Marcos, tahimik at payapa ang Pilipinas.
Sigurado ka? Martial Law noon, so natural, pinasara ang media. Yung ilang natira e kontrolado ni Marcos. Syempre bawal magbalita ng kaguluhan at kahit anong bad news. Lalabas ngayon na payapa nga ang bansa, pero ang totoo, marami ang dinakip, hinuli, tinorture at pinapatay ng militar sa utos ni Marcos.

Lahat ng opposed sa kanya, lahat ng kaaway n’ya e pinadampot n’ya. Walang trial, guilty ka kaagad. E pa’no suspended ang writ of habeas corpus. Ang pulis at judge mo ay ang militar, ang mga sundalo, at lahat sila ay sunud-sunuran kay Marcos (Source).

Baka naman sa Metro Manila lang ‘yan. Sabi ng lolo at lola ko, peaceful daw sa probinsya. Di tulad ngayon, may NPA pa.

Sabihin mo sa lolo at lola mo, basahin din nila ‘to. Dahil nung naupo si Marcos, lalong tumaas ang mga bilihin, dumami ang mga walang trabaho at maraming taga-probinsya ang napilitang lumipat sa Maynila o mag-OCW (overseas conrtact workers na ngayon ay OFW na). In short, lalong dumami ang mahihirap na Pilipino.

Dahil sa kahirapan, lumaganap ang violence at krimen, pero hindi binabalita sa dyaryo, radyo o TV kasi bawal. At dahil din sa kahirapan, nabuo at namayagpag ang Communist Party of the Philippines sa mga probinsya para ipaglaban ang karapatan ng mga api at dukha, at para ibalik ang karapatan at kapangyarihan sa madla. Katulong nila ang military wing nila na New People’s Army. Kumalat sila sa buong Pilipinas (Source).

Ibig sabihin dahil kay Marcos kaya may NPA? ‘Wag mo sabihing pati MNLF at MILF dahil din kay Marcos?

Para sa isang ignorante, tama ka. In a way kasalanan din ni Marcos kung bakit nabuo ang Moro National/Islamic Liberation Front. At, take note, may kinalaman ‘to sa Sabah issue natin ngayon.
Noong 1968, ‘yung ilang Muslim, Tausug at Sama sa Tawi-Tawi at Sulu ay na-recruit para maging part ng special commando unit na tinawag na Jabidah. Ang misyon nila ay bawiin ang Sabah at tinawag itong Operation Merdeka (Operation Freedom). Ipinadala sila sa Corregidor Island para du’n mag-training (Source).
After a couple of weeks, napansin ng mga Moro recruits na iba ang treatment sa kanila, hindi pinapasweldo at nakakasuka ang pagkain at nakahiwalay sila sa ibang sundalo. Hanggang sa nalaman nila ang totoong misyon nila sa Sabah: ang patayin ang mga kapwa Pilipino roon o mga Muslim, pati sa Tawi-Tawi at Sulu, na ang iba ay kamag-anak o kaibigan nila.

Nang malaman nila ang totoong mission nila, nagtangka silang tumakas. Doon na sila tinambangan at na-massacre ng militar. Syempre, dahil under kay Marcos ang militar noon, lahat ng actions nito ay may go signal mula sa kanilang commander in chief. Mga 14 to 68 na Muslim ang pinatay ng militar. Ito ang tinatawag ngayon na Jabidah Massacre.

May ilang Moro ang nakaligtas, at isa rito si Jibin Arula. S’ya ang nabuhay para isalaysay ang nangyari sa Corregidor na pilit itinago ng militar at ng rehimeng Marcos. Dahil din sa pangyayaring ito, nanlaban ang mga Moro at nabuo ang MNLF, which, in turn, ay nagkaroon ng ibang paksyon called MILF (Source).

Grabe ka, Sankage Steno! Sinisiraan mo lang talaga si Marcos kasi maka-Aquino ka.
Anong sinisiraan? Walang kinalaman dito ang pagiging pro-Aquino ko. Maliwanag ang mga sources ko at malinaw ang history sa kung ano ang mga ginawa ni Marcos noon. Ang pinakamasaklap n’yan, hanggang ngayon e hindi pa rin nasosoli ang mga ninakaw nilang pera noon.

Well, masaya ako somehow dahil nabayaran na ang ilang human rights victims ni Marcos noong Martial Law (Source). Masaya rin ako kasi binasura ng US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ang apela ng mga Marcoses para sa pagbabahagi ng mga ari-arian nila na galing sa kaban ng bayan. Malaking halaga rin ‘yung babayaran ng mga Marcoses, $353.6 million (Source).

Sana lang talaga bayaran nila. At sana panagutan nila ang iba pa nilang krimen na nagawa noon. Pero ang pinaka-wish ko talaga ngayon, sana maintindihan ng mga taong hindi nakaranas ng Martial Law ang kasamaan ni Marcos at magsumikap silang huwag nang ulitin ito at huwag nang iboto ang mga Marcoses sa susunod na eleksyon.


The Shocking Amount of Wealth and Power Held by 0.001% of the World Population

by Pinay Quebec (Notes) on Monday, June 17, 2013 at 7:27am.June 12, 2013, AlteRNet| 

The level of inequality around the world is truly staggering

Many now know the rhetoric of the 1% very well: the imagery of a small elite owning most of the wealth while the 99% take the table scraps.

In 2006,  a UN report revealed that the world’s richest 1% own 40% of the world’s wealth, with those in the financial and internet sectors comprising the “super rich.” More than a third of the world’s super-rich live in the U.S., with roughly 27% in Japan, 6% in the U.K., and 5% in France. The world’s richest 10% accounted for roughly 85% of the planet's total assets, while the bottom half of the population – more than 3 billion people – owned less than 1% of the world’s wealth.

Looking specifically at the United States, the top 1% own more than 36% of the national wealth and more than the combined wealth of the bottom 95%. Almost all of the wealth gains over the previous decade went to the top 1%. In the mid-1970s, the top 1% earned 8% of all national income; this number rose to 21% by 2010. At the highest sliver at the top, the 400 wealthiest individuals in America have more wealth than the bottom 150 million.

A 2005 report from Citigroup coined the term “plutonomy” to describe countries “where economic growth is powered by and largely consumed by the wealthy few.” The report specifically identified the U.K., Canada, Australia and the United States as four plutonomies. Published three years before the onset of the financial crisis in 2008, the Citigroup report stated: “Asset booms, a rising profit share and favorable treatment by market-friendly governments have allowed the rich to prosper and become a greater share of the economy in the plutonomy countries.”

"The rich," said the report, "are in great shape, financially.”

In early 2013, Oxfam reported that the fortunes made by the world’s 100 richest people over the course of 2012 – roughly $240 billion – would be enough to lift the world’s poorest people out of poverty four times over. In  the Oxfam report, "The Cost of Inequality: How Wealth and Income Extremes Hurt Us All," the international charity noted that in the past 20 years, the richest 1% had increased their incomes by 60%. Barbara Stocking, an Oxfam executive, noted that this type of extreme wealth is “economically inefficient, politically corrosive, socially divisive and environmentally destructive...We can no longer pretend that the creation of wealth for a few will inevitably benefit the many – too often the reverse is true.”

The report added: “In the UK, inequality is rapidly returning to levels not seen since the time of Charles Dickens. In China the top 10% now take home nearly 60% of the income. Chinese inequality levels are now similar to those in South Africa, which is now the most unequal country on Earth and significantly more unequal than at the end of apartheid.” In the United States, the share of national income going to the top 1% has doubled from 10 to 20% since 1980, and for the top 0.01% in the United States, “the share of national income is above levels last seen in the 1920s.”

Previously, in July of 2012, James Henry, a former chief economist at McKinsey, a major global consultancy, published a major report on tax havens for the Tax Justice Network which compiled data from the Bank for International Settlements (BIS), the IMF and other private sector entities to reveal that the world’s super-rich have hidden between $21 and $32 trillion offshore to avoid taxation.

Henry stated: “This offshore economy is large enough to have a major impact on estimates of inequality of wealth and income; on estimates of national income and debt ratios; and – most importantly – to have very significant negative impacts on the domestic tax bases of ‘source’ countries.” John Christensen of the Tax Justice Network  further commented that “Inequality is much, much worse than official statistics show, but politicians are still relying on trickle-down to transfer wealth to poorer people... This new data shows the exact opposite has happened: for three decades extraordinary wealth has been cascading into the offshore accounts of a tiny number of super-rich.”#

Filipino women say no to U.S. war of aggression in the Philippines! Continue the over century-long revolutionary tradition of Filipino women!

8 March 2002 For immediate release
From the Philippines to Canada to countries all over the world where Filipino women are struggling, thousands will take to the streets on March 8, International Women's Day 2002.

We take to the streets to protest against our families' hunger, poverty, and destitution, to fight for equality, genuine development, and peace, and to militantly mount our resistance against imperialist globalization.

We raise our protests in the spirit and tradition of Filipino women's century-long revolutionary struggle for women's liberation, and the liberation of the Filipino people from foreign and feudal exploitation and oppression. 

For generations, Filipino women have been an integral and vital part of the Filipino people's struggle for national democracy.

The genuine history of the Filipino people is replete with examples of women who fought against unjust structures in Philippine society.

Gabriela Silang, the first women general led a heroic armed resistance movement in Northern Philippines against Spanish colonizers. Gregoria de Jesus continued to battle against Spanish colonialism and joined the Katipuneros, the revolutionary organization that united the democratic aspirations of the peasants and the emerging Fililpino working class. The Katipuneros won the independence of the Philippines in the Philippine Revolution of 1896 by overthrowing Spanish rulers.

However, the aspirations of the people for freedom and democracy were yet again trampled on with the coming of the United States. From 1899 to 1902, the U.S. unleashed a bloody war of conquest on the Philippines, massacring one million Filipinos, in what was called 'the bloodiest colonial war ever fought by a white power in Asia'. In the face of tyranny, the people once again demonstrated their resistance, and Filipino freedom fighters resisted the technological-superior U.S. military. Filipino women provided vital support to the armed guerilla resistance movement by acting as messengers for the Filipino freedom fighters. Despite, the valiant resistance of the people, the U.S. succeeded in its military campaign and claimed the Philippines as their colony.

Up to this day, U.S. imperialism continues to wreak havoc on the Filipino people. As this tyranny continues, so does the struggle for national freedom and democracy. And as they did one hundred years ago, Filipino women continue to struggle against the exploitative and oppressive structures of U.S. imperialism.

With the same terror as they did in 1899, over 600 U.S. combat troops marched back into the Philippines to open up the U.S.' second-front in its international war against terrorism earlier this year. Filipino women are fiercely resisting the return of the U.S. military.

On International Women's Day, GABRIELA, the largest and militant national alliance of Filipino women's organizations, will be handing in their verdict to the current Macapagal-Arroyo regime in the parliament of the streets. GABRIELA has militantly resisted the anti-national, anti-people, and anti-women policies of Philippine President Macapagal-Arroyo.

As overseas Filipino women in Canada, our daily experiences of racism, abuse, violence, exploitation and oppression are rooted in the unjust structures of the Philippines that forced us from our homeland. Therefore, we stand firm in our solidarity with the marginalized and majority of women in the Philippines who are against the U.S. war of intervention in the Philippines.

Our protests on March 8, will also be in the spirit of the hundreds of Filipino women before us who struggled for liberation and the democratic aspirations of the Filipino people. We call on all overseas Filipino women in Canada, especially our young women, to continue the over century-long revolutionary tradition of Filipino women.

On International Women's Day 2002, let us reclaim our genuine revolutionary heritage and continue Filipino women's struggle for social and national liberation!

For more information please contact Philippine Women Centre
c/o Kalayaan Centre
451 Powell Street
Vancouver, BC V6A 1G7 email:
ph/fax: 604-215-1103