Tag Archives: Andres Bonifacio

Sentro echoes call for ‘zero carbon, zero poverty’ ahead of COP21

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ANDRES Bonifacio would have been a staunch environmentalist also if he were alive today, and would surely support the international labor movement’s twin and inseparable goals of “zero carbon, zero poverty” as well as the view that corporate “climate criminals” are the main culprits in the disastrous global warming.

This was aired by the members of the national labor center Sentro ng mga Nagkakaisa at Progresibong Manggagawa (Sentro) as they marched to Mendiola and held a rally near the Malacañang Palace today to celebrate the 152nd birth anniversary of Bonifacio and to air the people’s demands in the ongoing global climate summit in Paris, France.

Dubbed COP21 or the 21st annual meeting of the Conference of the Parties, also known as the 2015 Paris Climate Conference, it will be conducted from Nov. 30 to Dec. 11 and thousands of delegates from the governments, intergovernmental organizations, United Nations (UN) agencies, civil society and nongovernment organizations (NGOs), and the private sector – read: corporations, including the world’s leading polluters of air, water and land – will attend in the many sessions of this very crucial gathering. President Aquino has already left for Paris yesterday.

Aside from about 25,000 official delegates, thousands more are expected to troop to Paris, especially from the civil society, including environmentalist groups and trade unions from different countries, to press for “climate justice,” which, Sentro said, seeks to really heal and protect the Earth and to effectively stop the unabated environmental abuse primarily perpetrated by global corporations and industrialized nations.

Reputable scientific studies show that while an increase in the natural discharge of carbon dioxide (CO2) – the main gas that causes the greenhouse effect, which traps the gases in the atmosphere and results to devastating climate warming – normally takes thousands of years, its manmade counterpart has caused unprecedented and tremendous increases in just 120 years.

In fact, “about half of human-caused CO2 emissions between 1750 and 2011 happened in the last 40 years” that was largely triggered both by the use of fossil fuel and by industrial processes, which, in turn, “made up of about 78 percent of the total increase in greenhouse gas emissions from 1970 to 2010,” a report revealed.

It added that this climate change has given rise to “the warmest 30-year period (in 1983 to 2012) in at least 1,400 years,” which is no longer surprising since humans – mostly due to their factories, mines, deforestation, cars, and other related activities and equipment – add about 4.3 billion tons or gigatons (GT) of CO2 into the atmosphere every year.

Thus, a Sentro paper stated that the COP21 will again fail, like the past climate summits – amid the intense lobbying and muscling in of corporate interests and the backing of the rich countries’ governments – if a business as usual scenario prevails, which will further surge CO2 emissions “from 30 GT in 2010 to 43.3 GT in 2035, which is consistent with a catastrophic increase in average global temperature of six degrees Celsius, at least.”

This is very alarming since the generally accepted threshold for global warming is 2 degrees Celsius, but has skyrocketed since the 1950s only, the report added.

Global warming, for instance, is causing typhoons that are stronger, more frequent and with longer duration; weather extremes from long dry periods or droughts (El Niño) to seasons of unusual heavy rains (La Niña); dramatic melting of ice glaciers; severe upsurge of sea levels; immense flooding; monstrous hurricanes, and other never before seen natural calamities, which could easily surpass the ferocity and extent of supertyphoon “Yolanda” (Haiyan) that battered central Philippines in 2013.

Sentro, however, stressed that addressing climate change requires nothing less than radically changing the prevailing socioeconomic system, which enriches and empowers only the few and which disregards the environment amid their greed to wantonly exploit the riches of the planet.

Social activists, including environmentalists and trade unionists, said that aside from getting rid of the capitalist and neoliberal system, the world needs to institute “energy democracy” and “climate jobs” that would substantially lessen the carbon footprint and effectively tackle the worsening climate change.

Energy democracy, Sentro explains, means “an emergency transition to renewable energy by reclaiming public control over energy systems,” while climate jobs pertain to millions of employment opportunities that are both readily available and feasible and “that can be generated by shifting to a low carbon economy,” including using and developing electric public utility vehicles (PUVs), renewable energy generation and distribution (solar, hydro, wind, etc.), reforestation, coastal and riverine area rehabilitation, construction of climate resilient housing, and many others.

The urgency and life and death relevance of truly addressing the climate problem is even acknowledged by Pope Francis himself in his recent “Laudato si” encyclical, Sentro added, and it echoed a statement by a global trade union leader that there are “no jobs on a dead planet.”

Social activists have emphasized that the Paris summit “can be an important moment to say ‘No’ to the corporate agenda and the false solutions it entails,” adding that “setting a global carbon price and leaving it to the ‘market’” is not the answer – as history and experience have proven that the so-called market economy “is not up to the challenge and that what’s needed is less market and more democracy.”

Workers deplore lack of “Bonifacio-type” leaders

With the 2016 elections occupying the air and time of most of the country’s politicians, the labor coalition Nagkaisa! today hit both the current administration and political wannabes, “for putting their personal political ambitions above the pressing demands of the working class.”
 
Nagkaisa!, the biggest labor coalition in the country today, led a march by thousands of workers from the Mabuhay Welcome Rotonda to the historic Mendiola Bridge, in commemoration of the 151st day of working class hero, Andres Bonifacio.
 
“Despite its open channels for communication with labor, we remain disappointed with this administration because the weight of anti-labor policies remain in full force.  And this early we feel the same degree of apprehension seeing the possible 2016 line up, practically the same parties and personas,” said Nagkaisa! in a statement.
 
Marching under the theme, “Hanap ng manggagawa: Makamanggagawang lider ng bansa”,  workers from different unions and labor organizations voiced out their indignation over the anti-labor policies that remain intact under the Aquino administration which include:
 
–  the intensifying degree of contractualization, 
–  cheap labor, 
–  high cost of power and other goods and services, and
–  the deepening inequality under the regime of jobless growth. 
 
The group said the same problem will hound the 2016 candidates, adding that the more the working class are getting frustrated with the presumed failure of “tuwid na daan” the more they will be looking for better ones.  
 
“Unfortunately we still don’t see ‘Bonifacio-type’ leaders from the present crop of politicians,” conceded Nagkaisa!
 
The group cited as example the way the foreign-backed economic cha-cha is winning the vote of the members of Congress (possibly before Christmas as announced by Speaker Belmonte) compared to the workers’ wage hike and security of tenure bills. 
 
The group said when they say ‘Bonfacio-type’, they refer to men and women leaders who will commit themselves to the immediate and long-term agenda of the working class. 
 
“They who can provide full protection to labor; say NO to the dictates of IMF-WB and foreign powers; dismantle political dynasty; stop corporate fraud; and provide quality public service to all our people,” stressed the group.
 
The group is preparing for direct actions next year.  At the same time it will craft political strategies for effective electoral intervention come 2016.

SENTRO statement on the 150th birth anniversary of Andres Bonifacio

TODAY we celebrate the sesquicentennial birth anniversary of Andres Bonifacio, the founder of the Kataastaasang Kagalanggalangang Katipunan ng mga Anak ng Bayan (Katipunan or KKK), which spearheaded the 1896 Revolution, the first anti-colonial uprising in entire Asia and spawned as well the first republican government in this region.

Katipunan evokes not only national pride but strikes a chord with today’s trade unionists and other social activists. It indeed triggered a “people’s rebellion” as it was widely supported and its vast majority of members and many key leaders, particularly at its early stage, came from the ordinary people. It had also close links with the then early forms of workers’ organizations, the various craft and area guilds or gremios – the proto-unions or precursors of contemporary trade unions. And it has proven that the masses, through their revolutionary movement, had actually governed the country at one point in our history – an inspiring reminder for today’s working class that we have the capability and responsibility to do so again as the elites have repeatedly shown that they are incapable of freeing and unwilling to free the majority from hunger, oppression and ignorance.

Remembering Bonifacio, therefore, conjures up bittersweet emotions as it reminds us both of his heroism and the treasonous tragedy that befall him and the Katipunan: How the emerging native elites hijacked the revolutionary leadership and redirected the course of the revolution against Spanish rule, including their subsequent surrender to and cooptation by the next colonizer, the US imperialism; how they murdered Bonifacio and his brothers in 1897; and how they eventually imposed a revisionist if not distorted version of history to favor the ruling class – which includes denying Bonifacio the right, the legacy and the honor to be designated as the first President of the first Philippine Republic.

More than a century since the 1892 founding of the Katipunan and the 1896 Revolution, the messages of Bonifacio and the Katipunan have continued to be relevant, especially their call for “kapatiran” (brotherhood/sisterhood) or for the people to unite, organize and mobilize to attain “kalayaan” (freedom), “katarungan” (justice) and “pagkakapantay-pantay” (equality). Likewise, “kabutihang-loob” (kindness/concern for others) and “kaginhawahan” (comfort/not living in destitution) were inculcated. In fact, they are not only timeless virtues but persistent demands and aspirations of the citizenry up to this day.

Hence, while formally independent, the Philippines, like all so-called developing nations, is still under the clutches of a “new” economic bondage that benefits merely a few, and perpetrated now through predatory global corporations and exploitative neoliberal programs – unfettered economic and financial liberalization, deregulation and privatization – enforced throughout the world primarily by neoliberal bodies (WTO, IMF-World Bank, regional economic blocs) and governments. Accordingly, despite the much ballyhooed successive “growth” in its gross domestic product (GDP), the Philippine poverty incidence has barely changed if not really worsened, whereas the country’s handful of super-rich has even become richer and more powerful. The neoliberal tentacles extend to the labor front as they institutionalize precarious or contractual jobs notorious for low or unstable wages and benefits, no security of tenure, and excluded from “traditional” unions and CBAs/CNAs – thus, a potent tactic of destroying trade unionism and the overall labor movement.

The call for “kapatiran” is an appeal for us to continue the struggle against neoliberalism (a rehashed type of capitalism), elitism, patriarchy and all forms of injustice. The elites, instead of fostering “pagkakapantay-pantay,” have repeatedly amassed untold wealth for themselves by “legal” and illegal means and trickery – the multibillion-peso pork barrel scam included. “Kaginhawahan” remains elusive amid impoverishment, meager income, skyrocketing costs of basic goods and services (food, education, etc.), joblessness, contractualization, inability to own a decent house, poor government social services, and thus an uncertain future. Providing solidarity to the oppressed demonstrates not only our “kabutihang-loob” but our resolve to secure for all of us a future where genuine “kalayaan” – freedom from poverty and repression – and “katarungan” reign.

Let this momentous event this year further arouse us to heighten our efforts and deepen our commitment in unmasking and fighting the multiple layers of crises currently or routinely exploding across the world – economic, financial, food, energy, and even climate change – that are mainly instigated by the greed for wealth and power, or in particular for bigger corporate profits as personified by neoliberal or capitalist-led globalization, a wicked design that intends to make obsolete even the moderate welfare state and to repeal the historic gains of the socialist and labor movements.

Incidentally, Supertyphoon “Yolanda” (international name: “Haiyan”) will not be the last of its kind because of man’s unrestrained practices – led by the industrial countries’ pollution- or carbon-spewing factories – that poison the water, land and air. This in turn damages the ozone layer that protects the Earth and causes climate change or global warming resulting to volatile and dangerous weather, a phenomenon now accepted by most of the world’s top scientists. Failure to substantially and promptly reduce this carbon footprint – which the industrialized nations stubbornly reject, as shown during the UN Climate Change Conference in Warsaw, Poland last Nov. 11-23 or only a few days after Yolanda battered central Philippines – will mean storms that are stronger, wider in scope and probably longer in duration.

Let us make all the culprits in the said multiple crises accountable as we renew our vows to fight for kalayaan, katarungan and pagkakapantay-pantay.

Ipagbunyi ang ika-150 kaarawan ni Gat. Andres Bonifacio!
Tanghaling Unang Pangulo ng Pilipinas si Bonifacio!
Ipagpatuloy at paigtingin pa ang mga aral at simulain ng Katipunan!
Mabuhay ang mga manggagawa!
Mabuhay ang kilusang paggawa!