main   ANGUMAmast   multimedia   arch

UMA 2016 card2

Unyon ng mga Manggagawa sa Agrikultura (UMA Pilipinas) is the national progressive center of unions, federations, associations and organizations of agricultural workers in the Philippines.

UMA works closely with other progressive people’s organizations in the Philippines such as the militant Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP, Peasant Movement of the Philippines), Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU, May First Movement), and other organizations affiliated with the umbrella group Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN, New Patriotic Alliance).

UMA is a member of the Asian Peasant Coalition (APC), Coalition of Agricultural Workers International (CAWI) and the International League of Peoples’ Struggle (ILPS)

Advertisements

Unyon ng mga Manggagawa sa Agrikultura

Regularize all Agricultural Workers and Implement a P750 Daily National Minimum Wage

The Unyon ng mga Manggagawa sa Agrikultura (UMA) calls on Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Secretary Silvestre Bello III to regularize all agricultural workers in and outside DOLE’s list of those engaged in labor-only contracting and implement a P750 national daily minimum wage for all workers.

UMA also supports the call of the Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) and the Makabayan Bloc in the House of Representatives to abolish the National Wages and Productivity Commission (NWPC) and its 17 Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Boards (RTWPBs), which has been mandated to fix and regulate the minimum wage in the provinces.

Among those in DOLE’s top 20 list engaged in labor-only contracting are transnational companies, Dole Philippines Inc. (Dolefil), Dole Stanfilco, and Sumifru Philippines, Corp.

Even the local government of Polomolok, South Cotabato where the cannery of Dole Philippines is located in its Municipal Comprehensive Development Plan from 2017-2022 stated that the company engaged in massive lay-off and contractual hiring from 1995-2000.

The LGU also observed that multi-national companies exploited human resource because of sub-contracting scheme of employment like the manpower agencies and cooperatives tolerated by the government. It also stated that this will lead to poverty if it is unresolved.

Sumifru, on the other hand, besides engaging in labor only contracting, historically has had several labor violations. These include unfair labor practice; illegal dismissal, suspension and harassment of union officers/members; and violation/non-implementation of Collective Bargaining Agreement, among others.

The list compiled by the Labor Department does not include growers under Dolefil and Sumifru who cannot pay their workers even the minimum wage because both transnational corporations buy their produce at very low prices.

Sumifru buys Class A bananas from its growers in Compostela Valley for only $4.25/box. The company though sells its so-called “Banappuru” from the Philippines at 3 packs of 350 grams each or 1.05 kg for JPY 1,360 yen or PHP 659.62. With one box of bananas containing an average of 13.5 kg of bananas, this is equivalent to PHP 8,480.83 or USD 160.97 per box.

Dolefil, on the other hand buys pineapples from its growers at P3.50 per kilo for regular size and P1.50 for smaller ones. Meanwhile, independent growers can sell them to the local market at up to P20 per kilo.

Fresh pineapples are sold in the US at 63 cents (P33.19) per pound or US$1.386 (73.01) per kilo.

These corporations and all other agribusiness companies could very well regularize their workers and pay them at P750 per day without even significantly reducing their multi-billion profits.750

Agricultural Workers Condemn Sereno Ouster, Call Support for Sr. Pat

The Unyon ng mga Manggagawa sa Agrikultura (UMA) joins the Filipino people in condemning the ouster of Maria Lourdes Sereno as Chief Justice (CJ). This is another signal by the Duterte regime that no dissent would be tolerated against his regime even if that person, under the Constitution is supposedly his co-equal in government.

According to John Milton “Butch” Lozande, secretary general of the Unyon ng mga Manggagawa sa Agrikultura (UMA), President Duterte always gets what he wants especially against critics of his policies, even if this is done by hook or by crook. Instead of being impeached, CJ Sereno was ousted by minions of the President in the Supreme Court (SC) through a quo warranto case.

Next on Duterte’s target is Sr. Patrcia (Pat) Fox, whose rights were already violated by the Bureau of Immigration (BI) by handing out a decision to downgrade her missionary visa to a tourist one even if she had the right to appeal this before the BI’s decision.

The BI even used a 2015 BI Order against Sr. Pat as legal basis for their action on her even if the Philippine Immigration law stipulates that foreigners have the same civil and political rights of locals. What is only prohibited under the law is if that foreigner calls for the ouster, assassination, etc. of the country’s leader.

Given this situation, the hope of the Filipino people against tyranny and even in Sr. Pat’s case is to strengthen the mass movement in supporting her and the growing dissent that the Duterte regime is itself creating.

This includes growing human rights violations especially against the Filipino peasantry especially in Mindanao where martial law is still in place. This also includes policies that aggravate their already dire situation like landlessness and the TRAIN law among others, which increased the financial burden of the Filipino people.

There is already a broad formation against tyranny in which UMA is a part of. This has expanded even before Sereno was ousted and the moves by the Duterte government against Sr. Pat.

A mobilization against the one year declaration of martial law will be held on May 23 and a big protest action will be also held on May 25 or the last day that the BI declared her right to stay in the country.

We call on the Filipino people to support these activities, to struggle for Sr. Pat’s right to stay and do her missionary work among the poor and the oppressed, and against the growing tyranny in the country.

Agricultural Workers Pay Tribute to Karl Marx’s 200th and Affirm Marx’s Legacy as an Integral Part of Their Struggle

The Unyon ng Manggagawa sa Agrikultura (UMA) confers the highest tribute to comrade Karl Marx, as the greatest icon and teacher of the working class worldwide for social transformation on the occasion of the 200th Year of his Birth Anniversary on May 5, 2018.

Marx was born on the 5th of May 1818 in Trier, Germany by Jewish parents. Lawyer by profession, he is a philosopher, economist, historian, political theorist, sociologist, journalist and revolutionary socialist. He molded his ideas in mid 1800s where the industrial revolution is at its height in Europe and where its dire effects to the workers and the people of Europe enabled Marx to conceptualize his revolutionary theories which eventually served as the universal Bible of the working class to free themselves from the clutches of Capitalism and Imperialism worldwide.

Marx together with Frederick Engels initiated revolutionary theories that were eventually applied and developed by revolutionary teachers after him. Marxism achieved its first great triumph in the Russian Revolution in 1917 led by Lenin and Stalin, the first working class state. Great improvements were being followed by Mao when he applied Marxism-Leninism to defeat the US Imperialist-dictated government of Chang Kai-shek in 1949 in feudal China.

Marx’s universal appeal lies in his critical approach to solve the socio-economic problems of the working class in a capitalist society and the crisis weighed down on the peasants in a feudal and semi-feudal social order like the Philippines. He dedicated his whole life and family to create ideas expounding the history of social development; the nature of a state and the enslavery of the working class by the bourgeoisie ruling class; the means and methods of struggle by the exploited and oppressed people to establish a world free of exploitation of man by man.

With Marx’s revolutionary ideas, the peasants and workers were able to recognize their class identity, differentiate their class enemy and friends, consciously assert their role in history as a potent force for social transformation and discern methods on how to scientifically change the world into a truly democratic and just society where people live in genuine peace and complete harmony.

Without Marx’s revolutionary ideas, the workers and peasants worldwide will not enjoy the social welfare benefits they strongly fought like genuine land reform, 8-hour working shifts, better working conditions, social pension, maternity and death benefits, child and women welfare programs, the right to unionize and organize, among many others.

In the Philippine context, under the helm of the landlord-oligarchic rule of the Duterte regime, the semi-feudal economic order and semi-colonial political structure are still ruthlessly imposed by imperialist nations led by the United States of America. This makes Marx’s ground-breaking ideas most relevant and sought after in guiding all forms of struggle—workers, peasants, agricultural workers, fisherfolks, church people and all other sectors who dream for a better world.

Under the Philippine economic and political situation where the US-Duterte faithfully upholds and advances the interests of Monopoly Capitalist nations and domestic Bureaucrat-Capitalist-Landlords, the toiling masses of workers and peasants confidently persevere in their continuing struggle for national industrialization and genuine land reform knowing that they have Karl Marx’s universal ideas as their most powerful weapon towards certain victory.

This victory could be summed-up in Marx’s inspiring thought for the working class, “The Proletarians have nothing to lose but their chains. They have a world to win. Working men of the world unite!”

 

Agricultural Workers Condemn Officer’s Inclusion in Poster of Armed Rebels in Negros

 The Unyon ng mga Manggagawa sa Agrikultura (UMA) condemns the inclusion of its Secretary General, John “Butch” Milton Lozande, National Federation of Sugar Workers (NFSW-Negros) Secretary General, Christian Tuayon and other members of progressive organizations in a poster posted by the Philippine National Police (PNP) of armed rebels in Moises Padilla and other parts of Negros Occidental on April 17. NFSW is a member of UMA.

According to UMA Sec. Gen. Butch Lozande, this comes at a time when Sr. Patricia Fox, who is a volunteer of the agricultural workers organization, was recently detained by the Bureau of Immigration (BI) and still under investigation for her work and solidarity with the poor in the country.

This includes assisting the sugar workers in Negros, Hacienda Luisita, and the sacadas from Mindanao who were trafficked in said sugar plantation.

Earlier, Mr. Lozande added, a number of members of KAISAHAN-Batangas, which is also a member organization of UMA were included in the list of alleged terrorists by the Duterte-regime.

Other than that, two National Council members of UMA from Cagayan Valley, namely Reynaldo Gameng and Cita Managuelod were also vilified on April 2, when flyers were purportedly distributed by the military and its agents in Isabela and tagged them and 8 others as “minions of godless communists” and “terrorists.”

It is very clear that there is a growing trend towards cracking down on all critics of President Duterte’s regime including agricultural workers who are advocating for genuine land reform, decent wages and benefits, and for their human rights.

Most of those killed other than the war on drugs are peasants, including agricultural workers and indigenous peoples related to land issues.

It is not far-fetched to say that this would lead to the declaration of martial law in the whole country.

This could still be avoided, if President Duterte is really sincere in his proposal to resume the peace talks with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP), adhering to instead of violating the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect on Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHIHL), and signing the proposed Comprehensive Agreement on Social and Economic Reforms or CASER.

In the meantime, UMA and its member organizations together with other allied organizations will continue to strengthen itself to fend off fascist attacks by the Duterte regime, while at the same time implementing genuine agrarian reform through its land cultivation areas and “bungkalan” and campaigning for better wages and benefits. And in the long run struggling for the nationalist and democratic aspirations of the Filipino people.

30714201_1808456999457240_8378398703823618048_n

Poster posted by the Philippine National Police (PNP)

UMA Condemns Military for Tagging Negros Agricultural Workers as Rebels

The Unyon ng mga Manggagawa sa Agrikultura (UMA) condemns Brigadier General Eliezer Losañes, 303rd commanding officer of the Philippine Army for stating that agricultural workers and farmers who are asserting their rights to their lands through Land Cultivation Areas (LCA) in Negros Occidental as rebels.

According to John “Butch” Milton Lozande, secretary general of UMA, the general’s statement is like that of despotic hacienderos who have for centuries lorded it over the sugar industry in Negros at the expense of the sweat and blood of sugar workers. That is the reason why Negros has been described as a social volcano waiting to explode.

Even the Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA) reports that of the 424,130 hectares of sugar lands in Negros Island, 33.99% of these are lands with 50 hectares or more owned by only 1,860 big landlords (hacienderos), 30% with 10 to 50 hectares are owned by just 6,820 big and small landlords, and the majority of 53,320 farmers and agricultural workers only own 36% of the sugar lands.

At the same time, in 2007 the Negros Occidental Provincial Government conducted a survey, in which it was found that 41% of Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries (ARBs) in the province are no longer in possession of the lands awarded to them (25,336 out of 61,375 ARBs surveyed) due mainly to lack of support services and non-land support facilities that forced ARBs to lease their land.

The National Federation of Sugar Workers (NFSW) which is a member of UMA estimates that this figure has reached 70% this year. While CARP implementation was only at 40%.

Sugar workers in haciendas (plantations), on the average, receive a measly P500 to P750 weekly wages all year round.  Minimum wage is pegged at only P245 per day for the farm workers but in many haciendas, P80-P120 a day is still prevalent.

Not less than 93% of workers in haciendas engage in “pakyaw system” that provides meager income resulting to ARBs not being able to have adequate food on their table and send their children to school. Many also have no SSS and other government-mandated benefits.

This is the reason why the NFSW and Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP)-Negros launched the Land Cultivation Area (LCA) or “bungkalan” campaign, especially among sugar workers who have to endure the tiempo muerto (dead season) which lasts for up to five months.

As NFSW has stated quite clearly, the goal of setting up land cultivation areas is to ward off the inevitable hunger brought by the Tiempo Muerto on properties covered by agrarian reform but which remain undistributed and idle, planting these with vegetables, banana, corn and root crops to feed their families.

So if the military under Brigadier General Eliezer Losañes or whoever from this fascist institution wants to unleash the wrath of the social volcano in Negros, let them.

NFSW has never cowed, even when martial law was declared in 1972. It even grew stronger despite numerous human rights violations inflicted on their members, including the Escalante massacre. It is not cowed with the military’s dangerous remarks on its LCA’s and it will always prevail together with the rest of the Filipino peasantry and its allied masses against oppression and exploitation.

Screen Shot 2018-04-04 at 9.46.11 AM

Slave Like Wages Push Sugar Workers Out of the Industry

Slave like wages of sugar field workers push them out of the industry to seek higher paying jobs. This is what Department of Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol and especially Negros Governor Alfredo Marañon Jr., who is also a haciendero (landlord) failed to mention why there is a shortage of sugar field workers.

This is best exemplified by the viral post of the National Federation of Sugar Workers (NFSW) on social media which shows the pay slip of a dumaan or hacienda sugar worker in Silay City, Negros Occidental, who had only a net pay of P200 per 15 days or P13.33 (US$0.26) daily wage.

Another is the net income of 11 sacadas or internal migrant sugar workers from Mindanao who were hired by the Cojuangco-Aquino-Lorenzo sugar barons to work in Hacienda Luisita and other parts of Central Luzon whose payroll shows during Nov. 21-27, 2016 that they only had a net pay of P38.26 or P5.47 (US$0.11) a day.

It must be also remembered that the sugar field workers of Hacienda Luisita joined the strike of the mill workers of Central Azucarera de Tarlac (CAT) in November 2004, because they were only paid back then at P9.50 (US$0.18) a day.

The National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC) in Region 3 has not yet issued a ruling on the case filed by the sacadas since December last year even after the hearings on this case had already been concluded.

According to John Milton (Butch) Lozande, secretary general of NFSW, slave like wages of sugar field workers is common, because majority of them are paid the pakyaw (task/piece) rate which has been institutionalized by the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE). In Region VI alone, where majority of Philippine sugar is produced, 95% of the sugar workers are paid the pakyaw rate. Essentially this is contractualization.

That is why the National Federation of Sugar Workers (NFSW) according to Mr. Lozande is campaigning for a P50 increase in the daily wage and 50% increase in the pakyaw rate in Negros Island and similar wage hike campaigns in the whole country to get rid of their slave like wages and against contractualization.

Ka Butch also stated that NFSW is also campaigning for a genuine agrarian reform program as majority of the sugar lands distributed to agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARBs) in Negros Occidental is under lease (aryendo) to financiers and hacienderos.

The Department of Agrarian Reform’s (DAR) evaluation of land reform in Hacienda Luisita estimated that 83% of the lands there are under lease.

NFSW is thus embarking on land cultivation areas (LCA) or “bungkalan” in Negros, Hacienda Luisita and other areas to ensure that the ARBs have control of their lands and if they choose so, to cultivate other crops like rice and vegetables.

The government must also provide assistance to all ARBs and small farmers in the country through subsidies for farm inputs and the like and not only through mechanization as what Sec, Piñol and Gov. Marañon are proposing.

Mechanization will not solve the sugar industry. Higher wages, ending labor contractualization, genuine agrarian reform, and government subsidy will.

8EF93750-F443-4E1E-9657-CE1CA3D71DB5

Agricultural Workers Condemn Terrorist Listing of its Officer and Members

The Unyon ng mga Manggagawa sa Agrikultura (UMA) and National Federation of Sugar Workers (NFSW) condemn the terrorist listing by the Duterte regime on 600 persons including five members of Kaisahan-Batangas, among which is an officer of the NFSW. Kaisahan is a member of UMA.

Their inclusion in the list is reprehensible, considering that the local prosecutor had earlier dropped the case filed against them for lack of evidence.

These 5 are part of the so-called Nasugbu 10, a quick reaction team (QRT) to investigate human rights violations in Utod village, Nasugbu, Batangas as a result of an earlier encounter between the military and the New Peoples’ Army (NPA).

They never made it to Utod, as nine of them were arrested on Nov. 20, by the Philippine National Police and soldiers of the 730th Combat Group of the Philippine Air Force (PAF) who branded them as NPA members.

The members of Kaisahan ng mga Manggagawang-bukid sa Batangas (Kaisahan) are Marilyn Hernandez, Carlos Sanosa, Joey Castillano, Roberto Hernandez, and Leonardo delos Reyes Jr. Four others are members of HABAGAT, and one their driver. Marilyn is also the treasurer of NFSW.

This terrorist listing is a desperate attempt by the Duterte regime to crack down on its critics, including that of Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, the latter through impeachment.

According to John “Butch” Milton Lozande, secretary general both of UMA and NFSW they are not intimidated by this terror listing of the Duterte government.

He added “NFSW was not cowed when martial law was declared a year after its formation in 1971. We only had members in Negros Island then. Today we are once again national in nature with the rest of the Filipino people who are resolute in resisting further oppression and state repression.”

activism

Duterte’s TRAIN to Exacerbate Crisis in Philippine Sugar Industry

24958868_1563799490369467_1202782860853644171_o

President Duterte’s Tax Reform Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Law is expected to exacerbate the crisis in the Philippine Sugar Industry.

This will surely lead to further impovershipment of sugar field and mill workers. A genuine agrarian reform program and national industrialization are the only remedies for the ailing industry and for ensuring the growth of the Philippine economy that will benefit the Filipino people.

In the first place, the more than 780,000 field and 25,000 mill workers in the sugar industry are already exempted from paying income tax and would not benefit from TRAIN. This is especially true for the former, who only earn an average of P50,000 annually or around P4,000/month.

Instead, the effect of TRAIN will be an added burden to them because its provisions will increase the Value Added Tax (VAT) on low cost housing, gasoline products including LPG and sugary drinks.

This will lower the consumption of sugar, which will further decrease sugarworkers’ already low wages. This may even lead to dismissal from their jobs especially in the next cropping season starting October this year.

The TRAIN is just one of the many neoliberal policies followed by Duterte and previous governments that favor the interests of big foreign businesses over those of the Filipino working people.

TRAIN was recommended by the Partnership for Growth (PFG) of the US with the Joint Foreign Chambers of Commerce (JFCC) to the US-Duterte regime. This to make a comprehensive tax reform in order to lower the corporate income tax and individual taxable income, while increasing the  VAT, ACT (alcohol, cigarretes and tobacco), and fuel excise tax. It would lower or take away small taxes and other fees that increase the costs of businesses.

TRAIN also compounded the ill effects of neoliberal policies implemented during the Aquino administration, which reduced the tariff for imported sugarcane from 38% in 2011 to just 5% in December 2015.

 This has increased the importation of cheaper cane sugar and sugar substitutes like HFCS and bioethanol.

 Last year, even hacienderos planting sugarcanes experienced losses due to the entry of  High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) into the country. These were used primarily by softdrink giants, Coke and Pepsi, causing the price of sugarcane to go down.

At the start of the present Crop Year (CY) 2017-18, the mill gate price of sugar on September 2017 was only P1,370/Lkg. or for every 50 kilos. This was much lower than last year’s CY 2016-2017 which was P1,800/Lkg.

This even further diminished to just P1,175/Lkg at the end of December 2017, even when the Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA) issued out Sugar Order No. 3 on February 2017 in order to discourage the importation of HFCS.

From January to July 2017, the Philippines also imported 132 million liters of bioethanol from the US, an increase of 25% during the same period in 2016. Majority of the latter up to now is still imported from the US even if it can be produced locally from sugar and mollasses.

The failure of past administrations to truly uplift the socio-economic situation of sugarworkers all over the country has given the National Federation of Sugar Workers (NFSW) reason to believe that it is only through genuine agrarian reform and national industrialization can the sugar industry be salvaged from crisis. It also through such pro-people programs can we ensure economic development for all.

It is clear that sugarworkers cannot rely on the US-Duterte regime to attain any kind of progress. Thus, the NFSW will continue to expand its land cultivation areas (LCAs) in all of the haciendas nationwide. NFSW is steadfast in improving the economic well-being of sugar workers through raising their political consciousness, strenghtening their ranks, and continuing their struggles based on their collective efforts in order to dismantle the semi-feudal reign of big hacienderos, millers, and traders.

AGRICULTURAL WORKERS: NO TO DUTERTE’S CHA-CHA

The Unyon ng mga Manggagawa sa Agrikultura (UMA) vehemently opposes the US-Duterte regime’s devious ploys to amend the Constitution either through a Conventional Assembly (Con-ass) or Constitutional Convention (Con-con).

Eager and desperate to fast-track Charter Change (Cha-cha), Duterte’s lapdogs rabidly push for a Con-ass to ensure the complete opening up of the country’s economy to foreign capitalist monopoly and wholesale auctioning of its people’s socio-political rights to the highest imperialist bidder, to say the least.

This basically sums up the harrowing provisions in the Resolution of Both Houses No. 8 (RBH 8), already on its 2nd reading in the Lower House, and its main reference document, the PDP-LABAN Proposed Federal Constitution that was given to the House but not filed in Congress.

Under the guise of redistributing wealth and giving autonomy to other regions, the proposed constitution grants Duterte unrestrained powers, acting both the executive and legislative arm until the First Federal Congress convenes. It also limits people’s political rights to suffrage instead of direct participation–which has overthrown tyrannical and corrupt regimes before.

Both proposals are a frontal attack to farmers and agricultural workers’ rights. They either completely scrap any mention of a genuine agrarian reform program or provide a loophole for transnational corporations’ plunder with the nifty insertion of “unless otherwise provided by law” placed after provisions that supposedly aim to serve national sovereignty and interest.

With a President hungry for power and members of Congress wanting to secure their political positions and economic interests, Cha-cha is being rammed through the legislative process and right through the people’s throats, just as it was with TRAIN and the extension of Martial Law in Mindanao.

If this is allowed to pass, the constitution will legitimize massive landgrabbing through onerous and exploitative contracts such as agribusiness venture agreements (AVAs) and unabated use and control of our natural resources. This will undoubtedly worsen the socio-economic situation of agricultural workers, farmers and indigenous people and lock them into further impoverishment.

With the possibility of a no-election scenario looming in 2019 were the new constitution ratified, Duterte’s dictatorship will come into its fullest manifestation.

After more than a year, Duterte has unabashedly exposed himself as the exemplary lapdog-fascist-dictator that imperialist countries, TNCs, and bureaucrat capitalists have long desired and waited for.

Thus, it is imperative that UMA together with its members, allies and broad masses rise up and fight the intensifying onslaught on our national democracy, sovereignty and socio-political rights until we completely isolate and overthrow the fascist US-Duterte regime.

NO TO CHARTER-CHANGE!

RESIST THE US-DUTERTE DICTATORSHIP!

OVERTHROW DUTERTE!

26730592_907299469447413_7962975033371768218_n

 

Presidential Term Extension Unacceptable to Agricultural Workers

The Unyon ng mga Manggagawa sa Agrikultura (UMA) today stated that it is against a presidential and even House extension of terms in the guise of a transitory period in the shift to a federal system of government.

According to UMA Secretary General John Milton “Butch” Lozande, it seems that the shift to another system of government is nothing more than an excuse for President Duterte and his allies to stay in power longer than that is allowed by law.

Essentially this is to form a tyrannical government which the President is craving for together with his rubber stamp allies in Congress.  As this will retain their political and economic interests, which includes expansion of plantations to 1.6 million hectares more, most of which would be in Mindanao.

A proposed referendum in May for a federal system of government together with the barangay elections will not have a hard time pushing through. As this would be supported by most of the Congressmen who have political clout in their respective districts all over the country and by the prevailing martial law in Mindanao and threat of a crackdown on dissent nationwide which would ensure that this would not be tolerated.

UMA Sec. Gen. Butch Lozande said, on the other hand, that the proposed referendum in May would also be an opportunity for all progressive forces in the country, including UMA to raise national issues to the general public.

This includes the effect of the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) on the increase in prices of transportation and basic necessities; expansion of plantations through land grabbing of multinational corporations and landlords on peasant lands and national minorities ancestral lands; continued killings of suspected drug addicts, pushers and those advocating for land, labor, and human rights; and among others continuing suppression of national democratic rights of the people including the continuation of martial law in Mindanao and threat of crackdown on all critics nationwide.

UMA can rely on its members nationwide and with other allied organizations under the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN) to carry this out and strengthen itself against the evil designs to form a tyrannical government in whatever guise that the powers that be would like to foster.

duterte-effigy-bonifacioday-640px

(Photo Courtesy of Rappler.com)