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News :: Human Rights : International : Labor
Philippines: Lifting of PP 1017 - The beginning of Arroyo’s downfall
10 Mar 2006
The lifting of Presidential Proclamation 1017 is a victory for the Filipino people! It was not the will of GMA, but the will of a determined people, who had continuously fought and challenged the proclamation and held protest actions to oust her from office, that made such lifting possible.
March 3, 2006

PP 1017’s lifting will not solve the question of the legitimacy of GMA’s presidency, nor will it hide the truth of her continuing crimes of lying, cheating and plunder! Certainly, it won’t lessen GMA’s betrayal of the Filipino people. What she has done in these past years were completely opposite to the promises she had made in EDSA. In fact, she has far surpassed her predecessors in failing the hopes of the people in EDSA.

GMA’s Proclamation 1017 only unmasked her true intentions, since the reasons she cited in justifying the issuance of the proclamation were only figments of her imagination. What she really wanted to do was to bring back the rule of Martial Law so she could perpetuate herself in power. Suppression of the people’s civil and democratic rights and rendering democratic institutions like Congress and the media inutile became rampant, rabid and ruthless because of this!

However, the people are already hard up, and we cannot allow further sufferings and oppression with the creeping imposition of Martial Law. We cannot allow Gloria Arroyo to continue to trample on our fundamental rights to assemble, hold mass actions, and petition the government for redress of grievances. We cannot allow this government to continue its dictatorial rule and willful implementation of the economic programs of WTO and the IMF-WB that have worsened the economic crisis and entrenched us deeper into extreme poverty.

The lifting is not simply a ploy of the Arroyo government to appease the restiveness of the people seeking for her ouster. It is also a confirmation of the weakness of GMA’s claims and justification to perpetuate herself in power through unpopular means. Most of the people by now, realize too well her greedy desires. That unless she goes now, the majority poor will just continue to fight for social justice and struggle for her ouster from Malacañang. And they include those in the military, who have additional grievances that have not been resolved over the years.

The recall of PP 1017 only indicates that she can not destroy democratic institutions, rule completely over the divided military, and resolve the severe crisis of her political rule due to questions of legitimacy that continue to haunt her. With these indicators, the Filipino people will soon become more victorious and celebrate her downfall!


Philippines: Media crackdown and lawmakers' arrests are unmistakable signs of Martial Law

February 25, 2006

The Alliance of Progressive Labor (APL) denounces the reported raid on the offices of the Daily Tribune and Malaya as a brazen attack on press freedom as in the days of Martial law.

"Not only is GMA staging a direct assault on the freedom of the press," said APL Secretary-General Josua Mata, "she is endangering the jobs of hundreds of workers in the mass media in her maniacal desire to muzzle the critical press."

"The arrest of labor leader Rep. Crispin Beltran on the basis of a rehashed Marcosian warrant and the subsequent attempt on Rep. Satur Ocampo also indicates that unionists and progressives are at the top of Malacañang's hitlist," added Mata.

He said APL had feared and predicted that Proclamation 1017 declaring a state of national emergency would only be used to crackdown on voices critical of the beleaguered President.

"We reiterate our position that the President is operating on an illegal doctrine," explained Mata. "A State of Emergency is a legal fiction and what we have is an undeclared Martial law circumventing the Constitutional safeguards such as Congressional concurrence."

"We expect more arrests and harassments to follow," added Mata, "because against this pathetic show of might is a deeply insecure President who knows her time is up."

To make matters worse, Gloria Arroyo issued today General Order No. 5. While it simply looks like a rehashed version of Proclamation 1017, it is now being invoked by Director General Arturo Lumibao to ban all rallies especially those that are not only criticizing the Gloria Arroyo but calling for her ouster from Malacañang.

Ironically, during the dark years of Martial Law, the Marcos dictatorship used General Order No. 5 to suppress workers’ rights to peaceful assembly and the right to strike.

“This only confirms what we have said before that what we have not a state of emergency but an undeclared Martial Law,” Mata said. "It gives us even greater impetus to push for her ouster."

"It is sad that after ousting a dictator 20 years ago, today we have to once again deal with a shameless President employing draconian measures to stay in power," said Mata.


APL denounces state of emergency and brutal dispersal of rally

February 24, 2006

The Alliance of Progressive Labor (APL) today condemns the brutal dispersal by the police of the rally held by the APL, Akbayan, and Laban ng Masa to denounce the State of Emergency ordered by government.

"We do not even know for sure if a coup attempt had indeed taken place," said Josua Mata, APL Secretary-General, "The declaration of a state of emergency as a result of an alleged coup attempt is nothing more than an exaggerated response to secure a very insecure GMA."

Mata said the crackdown on legitimate dissent was now "imminent “ and maybe used to sow terror and frighten the people who wish to exercise their rights and power.

"The prospect of warrantless arrests and a blanket ban and dispersal of any and all rallies are wholesale violations of the Constitution," explained Mata, "but the declaration of a state of emergency will only worsen political dissent!"

Mata asserted that "GMA might take advantage of the situation to further sweep the crisis hounding her under the rug, when what the whole situation demands is for her to avoid violence and bloodshed by stepping down now!"

"The fact that GMA had to resort to a vaguely defined declaration of State of Emergency twice in five years show how tenuous her hold on power is," added Mata. "And unless she takes the high road and relinquishes authority, she will continually face an unwavering and escalating opposition."

"And while we do not support a military junta, much less a violent resolution to the political crisis, this only goes to show that no stability will obtain for us for as long as GMA is at the helm of government," added Mata.
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