Labanan ang Imperyalistang Opensibang Pangkultura! Ipaglaban ang Pagtuturo ng Filipino at Panitikan sa Kolehiyo! Pahayag ng Congress of Teachers/Educators for Nationalism and Democracy (CONTEND) Unibersidad ng Pilipinas Diliman at ng UP Iloilo CONTEND Organizing Committee ika-2 ng Hunyo, 2019
Nitong nakaraang linggo lumabas ang desisyon ng Korte Suprema na pinagtitibay ang Commission on Higher Education (CHED) Memorandum Order Nos. 12, Series of 2013 na nagtatanggal sa mandatoryong pagtuturo ng wikang Filipino at panitikan sa kolehiyo.
Noong Mayo 30, ilang araw matapos lumabas ang desisyon, kinaladkad at tinangkang hulihin ng kapulisan ang mga kabataang nagprotesta sa harap ng tanggapan ng CHED laban sa nabanggit na memorandum.
Bakit tinatanggal ng estado sa tersyaryong edukasyon ang pagtuturo ng pambansang wika at panitikan na mahalagang sangkap sa pakikipag-usap, pakikipag-ugnayan, pagkakaunawaan, at pagbubuo ng pambansang pagkakaisa?
Hindi natin mauunawaan ang usaping ito ng labas sa konteksto ng imperyalistang opensibang pangkultura na sumasagka sa pag-unlad ng mga salik na kinakailangan ng isang bansang umuunlad. Malinaw na ang namamayaning estado na pinamumunuan ng pangkating Duterte-Arroyo-Marcos ay hindi naglilingkod sa ating sariling bayan kundi isang utusan lamang para sa interes ng parasitikong dayuhang monopolyo kapital.
Ang pagtanggal sa wikang Filipino at panitikan sa tersyaryong edukasyon ay magdudulot ng kawalan ng trabaho ng libo-libong mga guro sa kolehiyo. Ito rin ay isang anyo ng pagpapatahimik ng mamamayan na walang pagkakaiba sa pagtotokhang, pandurukot, pagsensura, at iba pang anyo ng panunupil na layong gawing katanggap-tanggap ang ating patuloy na pagkatali sa dayuhang imperyalismo, domestikong pyudalismo, at burukrata kapitalismo. Pinalalalim nito ang malakolonyal o indirektang dayuhang paghahari ng mga imperyalistang bayan tulad ng Estados Unidos at Tsina sa ating bayan.
Ibinunga ng malakas na pagsulong ng anti-imperyalista at demokratikong daluyong noong mga dekada ‘60 at ‘70 ang pagsulong ng intelektwalisasyon at institusyonalisasyon sa akademya ng pag-aaral ng Filipino, panitikan, at araling Pilipino sa kabila ng panunupil ng diktadurang US-Marcos sa mga progresibo, makabayan, at kritikal na kaisipan. Ang pagtanggal ng Filipino at panitikan sa tersyaryong edukasyon ay bahagi ng pagtatangka na bawiin ang mga tagumpay na ito. Nais baligtarin ang mga nakamit na pagsulong laban sa kolonyal na edukasyon sa Pilipinas.
Karugtong ito ng mga neoliberal na patakaran tulad ng internasyunalisasyon ng tersyaryong edukasyon at programang K-12. Naging tampok nitong huling apat na dekada ang neoliberal na atake ng mga imperyalistang naghaharing-uri na naglalayong muling pasiglahin ang akumulasyon ng tubo at pabagsakin ang sahod ng mga uring anakpawis sa harap ng lumalalim at lumalawak na kapitalistang krisis.
Nangangahulugan na pinatitindi nito ang kolonyal, komersyalisado, at represibong sistema ng edukasyon na layon lamang lumikha ng mura at siil na lakas-paggawa para sa pandaigdigang pamilihan. Pinanatili nito ang paghahari ng dayuhang monopolyo-kapital sa pamamagitan ng pagpapalaganap ng kultura ng pagpapakatuta at pagiging sunud-sunuran. Sa huli, ito ay pagtatangka na pahinain ang kolektibong pakikibaka ng mamamayan sa pamamagitan ng pagbura ng kanyang pagkilala sa sariling wika, kultura at kasaysayan ng paglaban.
Kaya hindi hiwalay ang laban para sa pagpapalakas ng pag-aaral ng wika, panitikan at araling Pilipino sa pagpapasigla sa kilusang makabayan at demokratiko ng masang anakpawis na manggagawa at magsasaka kasama ang mga progresibong kabataan, intelektwal, at petiburgesya. Malinaw na ang pagsusulong ng mga pakikibakang anti-imperyalista, anti-pyudal, at anti-pasista ang papanday ng espasyo para sa higit na pagsulong ng intelektwalisasyon ng ating wika, panitikan, at araling Pilipino.
Mariing kinokondena ng Congress of Teachers and Educators for Nationalism and Democracy (CONTEND) ang CHED Memo 20 at ang pagpapatibay nito ng Korte Suprema. Naninindigan kami sa CONTEND kasama ang ibang progresibo at militanteng guro, iskolar, mananaliksik, akademikong kawani, at iba pang sektor na ipaglaban ang pagtuturo ng Filipino at panitikan sa mga kolehiyo at unibersidad.
Labanan ang imperyalistang opensibang pangkultura!
Labanan ang neoliberal na atake sa edukasyon!
Isulong ang pambansa, siyentipiko, at makamasang edukasyon at kultura!
Wika at panitikan ipaglaban!
NO TO RESERVE OFFICERS TRAINING CORPS! DEFEND OUR YOUTH AGAINST FASCIST MILITARIZATION OF SCHOOLING AND CURRICULUM! Statement of Congress of Teachers/Educators for Nationalism and Democracy University of the Philippines Diliman on the Re-institution of Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC) Subject in K+12
The members of CONTEND join our youth, all patriotic sectors of our society, and progressive parents who protest the return of Reserve Officers Training Corps under the proposed House Bill (HB) 8961 (ROTC Act). As educators, we do not see any value or pedagogical worth in the re-institution ROTC for K+11 and 12 students. While we recognize the Constitutional right of the state to call upon its citizens to defend its sovereignty, that the youth have a vital role to play in nation-building, we strongly disagree that ROTC is the only way, if not, the most efficient way to achieve these patriotic goals of the state.
We vehemently disagree that by having recourse to militaristic conduct and method of inculcating discipline, our nation can achieve these lofty ideals for which our heroes and people died for in the past. We question the single-handed military takeover of our schools and monopoly in disciplining our children’s mind, bodies, and heart. Like ROTC in tertiary level, we strongly believe that ROTC should not be compulsory and mandatory. It should only be an option for those who think and like to think as a military.
Militaristic definition of patriotism, citizenship, and civic engagement, not to mention, critical citizenship, should never be elevated as the only definition of what it means to be a good and active citizen. The inherent hyper-masculine authoritarian tendencies in militaristic culture, its chain-of-command totalitarian regulation of bodies of citizens are prone to manufacture citizens who are bereft of any critical thinking as militaristic regimen substitutes military authority for logical and enlightened reasoning. Hence ROTC is prone to corruption. The killing of University of Santo Tomas (UST) ROTC cadet Mark Welson Chua in 2001, who filed a complaint against rampant corruption in ROTC to the Department of National Defense, is a tragic proof of this.
The militarization of schooling and education had always been used by the ruling cliques and their armed forces to check the political agitation of the youth. Today, when the military has practically extended its tentacles to all the branches and agencies of the government, thanks to the backing of the President, the ROTC is the final nail in the coffin for creating a frightened, yet passive and subservient citizenry.
The ideologues of ROTC claim that it will instill discipline. But as critical educators, we ask: discipline for what? For whom? For whose interests? Militaristic discipline simply means blind obedience to those in power based on the chain of command. Ironically, this obedience is shown recently in the harassment and surveillance of activist students and their teachers. We suspect that the ROTC is the Trojan Horse that will be employed by the state to monitor the dissent among its young citizens and teachers in schools. And they call this discipline. Discipline is not about fear and suppression of “rebellious” thinking.
It is not also true that we need ROTC right now to defend our country against foreign aggressors. Our own President already admitted we cannot win a war against superpowers. ROTC therefore is not a panacea for this defeatism. What we can do as a nation is to build a strong alliance with other nations and continue to use and exhaust all legal instruments and treatises, in the local, regional and international levels to protect our sovereignty. Many countries do not have standing armies. Many countries too do not have compulsory military training.
Therefore, we urge all parents of those students, who will take ROTC, to resist this fascist intrusion into our schools and curriculum. Parents should realize that ROTC will require another class day from their children and will cost them to spend for the burdensome requirements of ROTC. Moreover the waste of resources by the government for instituting compulsory military training could be channeled to more scholarships, greater subsidies to students, and addressing the perennial problems of basic education.
As educators, we want our students to be active citizens, equipped with critical thinking, and are able to exercise their intelligence in discussing social issues. But ROTC is not the only means toward this goal as the fascist propagandists claim. As educators we strongly recommend strengthening the teaching of nationalist education in all senior high school subjects to instill students the knowledge how colonizers and imperialists indoctrinated our people to think in their own terms. We have to teach students how colonial education had created generations of un-Filipino Filipinos who even rely on foreign powers for our own national defense and survival. We also recommend the teaching of Filipino language so we can better grasp, understand, and communicate with the masses who had been mis-educated to believe English is the language of civilized nations. It is only by redirecting our educational system along nationalist, scientific, and mass-oriented direction will our students be always ready to defend our nation and help our fellow Filipinos, and even other races, in time of disasters and crisis, and not through the bogus nationalism that is supposed to be birthed by militaristic discipline.
NO TO RESERVE OFFICERS TRAINING CORPS!
NO TO MILITARIZATION OF SCHOOLING AND EDUCATION!
DOWN WITH REPRESSIVE EDUCATION!
BRING BACK HISTORY SUBJECTS IN K+12!
FIGHT FOR NATIONALIST, SCIENTIFIC, AND MASS-ORIENTED EDUCATION!
DOWN WITH FASCIST EDUCATION!
MILITARY, HANDS OFF OUR SCHOOLS!
A CARING AND NURTURING UNIVERSITY DOES NOT EVICT ITS OWN FACULTY AND EMPLOYEES FROM RESIDENCE HALLS Statement of Support of Congress of Teachers/Educators for Nationalism and Democracy University of the Philippines Diliman for Faculty and Employees Displaced at Kamagong Residence Hall 24 May 2019
The members of CONTEND UP express their solidarity with the current struggle of faculty and UP employees who are displaced in the Kamagong Residence Hall. Some of our members had also been residents of UP dorms. We deem that having a room in one of University’s dorm is a tremendous support for our faculty and employees who are studying while teaching and working in the University. Providing housing to our faculty and employees is one way for the University to show its concern and nurturing attitude to the members of our academic community.
We cannot emphasize enough the fact that traffic and security issues outside the University are daunting challenges to our faculty, students, and employees. Financially, accommodating our faculty in our residence halls is a modest assistance to help them cope with mounting economic difficulties.
We recognize that our University has limited spaces to accommodate all deserving applicants. That is why CONTEND has always lobbied and struggled for greater budget for our University. We also aspire for more residence halls within our campus. We envision a day when all applicants will be accommodated in our residence halls. For now, however, we believe that the least the University can do for our faculty and employees is to assist them in the most humane way to have a decent space in our residence halls. If this is impractical, we believe that the dorm administrators should provide them with future alternative plans and sufficient time to transfer to another residence hall and vacate their rooms. As faculty and employees of the University, we feel it is cumbersome and challenging for our faculty and employees to transfer and vacate their rooms at the end of the semester. Some of our faculty will be teaching this mid-year semester. And transferring to another place, within or outside the campus, is an unwanted disruption of their work.
We therefore appeal to all concerned University administrators to immediately resolve the current crisis of our faculty who are affected by dorm renovations. Our faculty do not demand special treatment. They simply want a modest space in our University so they can dispense and perform their functions as faculty, employees, and researchers of our beloved University.
DEFEND AND STAND WITH OUR ACTIVIST EDUCATORS! OPPOSE AND DENOUNCE THE SOCIETY-WIDE FASCIST ATTACKS TO SILENCE PUBLIC INTELLECTUALS IN OUR SCHOOLS AND UNIVERSITIES! Statement of Congress of Teachers/Educators for Nationalism and Democracy University of the Philippines Diliman and CONTEND Iloilo Organizing Committe on the campaign to vilify and red-tag Prof. Arnold Alamon and other academics 7 May 2019
The members of CONTEND strongly condemn in the highest possible way the current political harassment of our member and comrade in the academe, Prof. Arnold Alamon, assistant professor at the Department of Sociology at the Mindanao State University-Iligan Institute of Technology (MSU-IIT), handling both undergraduate and graduate classes since 2012. He is also currently the research director of the Institute for Peace and Democracy in Mindanao (IPDM) of MSU-IIT. He is also the chair of the board of alternative media news group, Davao Today.
Prof. Arnold Alamon was our member and our comrade at the University of the Philippines Diliman, who taught at the Department of Sociology for six years from 1998-2004. As a promising young sociology teacher, Prof. Alamon did not only practice professional sociology isolated from the local politics of the University and national issues. He practiced “engaged sociology,” a passionate sociology that brings sociological vocabularies to bear on current burning social issues and political conflicts. When he moved to MSU-IIT to teach sociology, Prof. Alamon continued his role as a public sociologist. He became intensely involved in different “publics” especially in the struggle of the Lumad and national minorities in Mindanao and focused his research on social conflicts.
The fruit of his research is the groundbreaking book, Wars of Extinction, that exposes the historic and continuing abuses and oppression of the Lumad in Mindanao by colonial/imperial powers, and later on, big private enterprise and the state, through the corrupt military. Because he speaks truth to power, and uses his expertise to help the oppressed, Prof. Alamon has been made the target of those who work to conceal their crimes against the people.
As educators, we are outraged that our esteemed comrade is now being vilified and labeled as a “terrorist.” A flyer distributed on April 10, 2019, in Valencia City, Bukidnon, identified him and other professionals and civilians as terrorists. On April 26, 2019, Sunstar Davao Columnist Tyrone Velez received a comment online that red-tagged and threatened fellow SunStar Cagayan de Oro columnist Arnold Alamon. The online comment states: “It is sad that despite his intelligence and being the son of a soldier, he chose to side with the immoral terrorist ideology of the CPP and the New People’s Army or NPA” (translated from the original Visayan language). It further claims that Prof. Alamon’s ultimate aim “is the overthrow of democracy, and the ultimately the replacement of our government with socialism/communism.”
The thoughtless person who made this comment must be schooled in the liberal academic culture that allows academics and students to consider as valid even the most obnoxious and ridiculous ideas, under the mantle of academic freedom. But it is one thing to discuss different ideas in the classrooms, and quite a different thing to translate them into actions outside the boundaries of academic space. Only a person with strong fascist orientation and bereft of intelligence can make the gigantic leap in concluding that because Prof. Alamon shows partiality towards certain ideas and ideologies in his writings and lectures, therefore, “[h]e is one of the best propagandists of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP).” Obviously, this bad logical reasoning intends to vilify Prof. Alamon and all other academics with the same orientation as supporters of supposed “terrorist” groups. These attacks have already been systematically launched on members of the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT), especially their union leaders and organizers.
As educators and educational workers, we are terrified by this wanton vilification and red-tagging of our comrade and similarly situated academics and public intellectuals. Prof. Alamon has always been very vocal about his critical viewpoints regarding social and political issues. Unlike other sociologists, he does not hide his ideological commitment in the name of objectivity and political neutrality. Embracing and practicing public sociology is in itself is a legitimate and tolerable praxis within the purview of academic sociology.
Hence, the public distortion of Prof. Alamon’s advocacy by a group or individuals is a sign of the intensifying fascist attacks against public figures, journalists, social media personalities, educators, human rights defenders, and mass leaders. Never before has this kind of massive and well-orchestrated red-tagging been implemented, except under the authoritarian rule of President Duterte. Clearly, this well-funded and highly organized campaign to malign the outspoken critics of the current administration is intended to deter, terrorize, and intimidate the mounting opposition against the government, notwithstanding the fact that it may also be a prelude to extrajudicial killings, abductions, mass arrests, and silencing of public intellectuals.
The ultimate goal of this red-tagging campaign is to propagate fear among the identified leftist critics and even among their supporters and allies, so they will back away—paralyzing, if not weakening, the movement seeking genuine social change.
In this climate of heightened witch-hunting of our educators and academic scholars, we enjoin all our fellow teachers and educational workers to stand fearlessly for our freedom to responsibly teach without the unjustifiable restrictions and interference from fascist impositions.
We deeply deplore this climate of fear and repression as it creates frightening effects among our fellow educators, researchers, and educational workers. It essentially interferes in our work as academics, scholars, and researchers by restricting our rights as teachers, limiting our freedom to pursue relevant social issues for research, and hampering our desire to engage different publics of our society to raise our people’s political consciousness.
We call on our fellow educators to engage those who vilify our colleagues in sober academic debates even outside the university. But more than this, we must voice our vehement opposition to such attacks against academics and intellectuals. If we will not speak and stand with our targeted fellow educators and researchers, the fascist barbarians outside the gates of our universities will soon encroach and occupy our hallowed grounds. That will be the twilight of academic freedom and the fall of the university as an autonomous institution. Beholden to the state and ruling class, we will become the mouthpiece of authoritarian potentates. In the climate of repression and the red scare, government-defined ideas will be treated as sacred edicts. In this impending darkness, educators have the duty of being the beacon of discomforting truths and critical ideas.
HANDS OFF OUR TEACHERS!
HANDS OF PROF. ARNOLD ALAMON!
DEFEND ACADEMIC FREEDOM AGAINST RED-TAGGING AND WITCH-HUNTING!
DEFEND THE RIGHTS OF EDUCATIONAL WORKERS!
STRUGGLE FOR A FREE AND FASCIST-FREE UNIVERSITY!
DOWN WITH FASCISM!
DOWN WITH STATE-SPONSORED TERRORISM!
[Photo from https://www.bulatlat.com/2015/11/10/institute-for-lumad-studies-initiated/, retrieved May 8, 2019]
TEACHERS AND EDUCATIONAL WORKERS UNITE WITH THE WORKERS TO FIGHT THE TYRANNY OF DUTERTE AND ADVANCE WORKERS’ RIGHTS Statement of Congress of Teachers/Educators for Nationalism and Democracy University of the Philippines Diliman on International Workers’ Day 1 May 2019
The members of CONTEND UP Diliman join the workers of the world today, especially the Filipino workers, as we celebrate the International Workers’ Day! As an expression of our solidarity, we, teachers, educators and educational workers, will march with our fellow workers on the streets to fight for better working conditions, to demand the end of contractual labor, to struggle for humane and just wages, and to call on the government to stop busting workers’ unions and to stop harassing legitimate workers’ organizations.
Our workers today are embroiled in the worst economic crisis due to runaway inflation resulting mainly from the iniquitous consequences of the tax reform under the US-Duterte regime (TRAIN). While the government economic managers claim that the Duterte administration has created 825,000 jobs, most of these jobs are temporary and mostly in the informal sector. According to IBON Foundation, our country is deploying 5,757 workers daily to work abroad while our economy is only producing 2,260 employment per day. Worse, as a result of our mendicant foreign policy towards China, thousands of Chinese workers are now working illegally in our country, depriving Filipinos of much-needed employment while encroaching unapologetically on our national sovereignty.
As our workers resist the intensifying war of Duterte against labor, Duterte continues to bulldoze the way for the smooth march of neoliberal policies in our country. Since 2018, eight union leaders and organizers have been arrested based on trumped-up charges, and 13 unions with 4,470 members have been smashed. Earlier, in 2017, 32 unions with 10,107 members were also illegally disrupted, the most notorious and violent case being Nutri-Asia, which resulted in the imprisonment of 43 individuals during two violent dispersals.
Under the fascist rule of Duterte, the military has been mobilized against union leaders and labor rights defenders, who are being tagged by the state armed agents as “communists” and “terrorists”. This red-tagging enables the owners of large business enterprises and industries to command their private security to collaborate with state agents to covertly surveil workers’ leaders, arrest union organizers, and create trumped-up charges against union members and their leaders.
As educational workers, we condemn the harassment and crackdown against our fellow teachers and organizers based on the infamous Philippine National police Memorandum that directed the police to put the members of Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) under surveillance and collect an inventory of their activities. This kind of cowardly undercover strategy is an affront to the rights of teachers to organize and form unions. The government could not even raise the salary of public school teachers, yet they could spend enormous funds to hound members of teachers’ unions.
In this climate of total war against workers and unions that does not spare even educational workers, we, as educators, teachers and workers in the educational sector, enjoin all to stand with our workers to bring down an oppressive system that treats workers as mere disposable commodities. Let us bring our students to the picket lines so they can study the lives of workers. We can conduct our classes in factories where strikes are happening so our students and fellow teachers will learn the real conditions of our workers. As teachers, our class interests lie with the emancipation of the workers. Teachers cannot win what they are fighting for if they do not unite with fellow workers and struggle in solidarity toward the same emancipatory goals.
WORKERS OF ALL NATIONS UNITE!
INCREASE TEACHERS SALARY NOW!
DOWN WITH STATE FASCISM!
STOP HARASSING MEMBERS AND LEADERS OF TEACHERS’ UNIONS!
HANDS-OFF OUR TEACHERS!
TEACHERS NEED HIGHER SALARY, NOT SURVEILLANCE!
ELECT MILITANT ACTIVIST STUDENT LEADERS WHO WILL DEFEND THE STUDENTS, THE UNIVERSITY AND OUR PEOPLE AGAINST THE FASCIST ATTACKS ON HUMAN RIGHTS AND PRESS FREEDOM, AND WHO WILL UPHOLD OUR SOVEREIGNTY AGAINST IMPERIALIST PLUNDER! Statement of Congress of Teachers/Educators for Nationalism and Democracy, University of the Philippines Diliman on University Student Council Election April 10, 2019
The members of CONTEND and all its allied groups and individuals encourage all UP students to go out on April 11 to elect their “true” representatives, student leaders who will stand for students’ rights and welfare, leaders who will defend and advance scientific, nationalist, mass-oriented education and fight for genuine democratic reforms inside and outside our University.
As teachers and educators and educational workers in the University of the Philippines, we urge our students to select only those student leaders who have a long track record in fighting for students’ rights and welfare. We strongly believe that those student leaders who have stood with the marginalized sectors of our society, who have devoted part of their time in the picket lines of workers, who have volunteered in Lumad schools, who have joined the barricades of urban poor threatened by demolition, who have danced with women to end all forms of sex-related violence, and who remained steadfast and undeterred against the threats of state fascism, are the true leaders of our students. The solidarity shown by these students towards the marginalized sectors of our society provides them with the proper political vision and ideological orientation that will safeguard and defend the rights of our students. Only those who have profound solidarity and love for our marginalized fellow Filipinos can have genuine love for our students.
In this trying times when state fascism has intensified its assaults against all oppositions, when all forms of resistance are meted with red-tagged tagging, when defending human rights is seen as a crime, when press freedom is only freedom for pro-administration spin doctors to create fake news, when students who integrate with the farmers are considered as supporters and sympathizers of “terrorists”, we must support student leaders who are unwavering in their commitment to emancipate, not only their fellow students from the shackles of conservatism and post-modern cynicism, but the rest of our fellow poor Filipinos.
We urge all our students to look beyond the parochial issues of our University. We must enlarge our political imagination to see the necessary links between the problems of our University with the burning issues of our semicolonial society. Fighting for a nationalist education in our University means joining our people’s resistance against the encroachment of our sovereignty and plunder of our resources by imperialist forces and businesses. Fighting for “free education” means joining our workers and landless farmers who are also fighting for better and humane wages and genuine land reform. To fight for a mass-oriented education means to struggle for accessible education for all especially the sons and daughters of landless farmers and workers. To fight for scientific education means sending our students to rural poor communities, to factories, to striking workers for them to share their knowledge and skills with our national minorities, fisher-folks, farmers, and poor rural mothers.
We urge strongly our students to look back at the long and glorious history of student activism in our University. Only those who keep the light burning in the darkest hour of fascist terror and dictatorship can lead our students to be the beacons of non-reformist social reforms in unison with the struggle of our oppressed people to build a future society where justice, equality, prosperity and peace reign.
Fight for nationalist, scientific, and mass-oriented education!
Down with commercialized, market-driven education!
Down with fascist and repressive education!
TEACHERS AND EDUCATORS, LET’S TEACH TOWARDS THE EMANCIPATION OF WOMEN WHO “HOLD UP HALF THE SKY!” LET’S FIGHT ALONGSIDE WOMEN TO END ALL FORMS OF OPPRESSION! Statement of the Congress of Teachers/Educators for Nationalism and Democracy on the celebration of International Working Women’s Day 8 March 2019
The members of CONTEND UP Diliman join today all Filipino women and all the working women of the world in celebrating International Women’s Day. We salute all women who “hold up half the sky,” as they struggle to advance their emancipation, and in so doing, contribute to the historic liberation of humanity from all forms of oppression and exploitation.
As we celebrate International Women’s Day, initiated by the Russian women in 1917 as a prelude to the Russian Revolution, we join today the clamor of Filipino working women, as well as unemployed mothers and daughters, for higher wages in the midst of unrelenting inflation due to TRAIN (Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion). Filipino women demand the end of labor contractualization, and demand justice for their family members who were murdered by the armed agents of the state in Duterte’s drug war and counter-insurgency war. They demand that the state stop militarization and harassment on Lumad land, and let the Lumad refugees safely return to their homes and resume normal lives.
As educators and workers in the educational sector, we recognize the many women in our ranks who teach and nurture young minds—even as the state threatens teachers who join unions. We also acknowledge the dismal conditions suffered by our teachers and educational workers, as they are subjected to surplus exploitation, forced to do duties beyond their work, and plunged into debt. We therefore support women teachers who demand better working conditions, higher salaries, and better benefits for women.
Despite newly enacted laws such as the Extended Maternity Leave, and the Safe Streets and Public Spaces Act of 2017 that seeks to penalize catcalling, wolf-whistling, cursing, leering, and groping, among others, women are still struggling to defend themselves and exercise their rights amidst conditions that promote and preserve oppression and violence. In the countryside, women agricultural workers and their families are going hungry; their poverty is rooted in landlessness and exacerbated by oppressive neoliberal economic policies such as the new rice tariffication law. Women form a large percent of contract workers in factories and the service industry, and work under unsafe and unhealthy conditions, with inadequate pay and uncertainty of tenure. The country’s domestic workers or kasambahay are overwhelmingly women, driven to endure measly pay and meager benefits because of a lack of employment opportunities. To earn more, many of them become overseas workers: vulnerable to abuse, cut off from their children and families, fed by a capitalist state to an insatiable global market. Working mothers, single mothers, and unemployed mothers have to contend with the rising costs of basic goods and the lack of quality, affordable health care for their children. Dehumanizing poverty is borne by Filipino women, who labor in and outside the home.
As we enter the national midterm election period, we support the “women’s vote” that will foster solidarity with all the victims of human rights abuse and state neglect. We support party lists and candidates that advocate pro-women policies that Filipino mothers and women badly need. We support partylists that genuinely represent women’s interests and who advocate better health services, creation of gender-friendly environments and working places, and the protection of reproductive health rights.
As educators, who foster egalitarianism in our classrooms, and who oppose misogyny and discrimination, we join women in resisting the continuing assault against them in our social institutions and cultural practices. We will continue to fight against misogynistic practices and sexist beliefs in our campuses and outside our schools.
We strongly condemn a President who blatantly and unremorsefully attacks women, especially those who strongly and publicly oppose his policies. We express our solidarity with militant missionary Sister Patricia Fox, who was deported upon the instigation of Malacañang, for criticizing the US-Duterte regime. We express our strong condemnation of Duterte’s verbal/political harassment of women “red fighters,” as well as harassment of outspoken women such as former Supreme Court Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, former Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales, COA women auditors, Senator Leila De Lima, UN Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples Victoria Tauli-Corpuz and UN Special Rapporteur on internally displaced persons Cecilia Jimenez-Damary, and journalists such as Maria Ressa.
As educators, we stand today with heroic and courageous women as they fight to end all social and economic oppression. We salute the militant women’s movement that relentlessly advances women’s welfare, as exemplified in the successful signing of the Expanded Maternity Leave law. As educators, we will continue to enlighten the minds of our students and our people against the sinister power of the patriarchy-feudalism complex. As educators, we strongly believe that we can not completely emancipate our people from their current economic and social miseries if we do not address issues integral to women. But we also believe that the woman question cannot be isolated from the issues of foreign domination of our economy and the imperialist plunder of our resources. The emancipation of our working class people and the liberation of our landless farmers from the shackles of feudalism will be victories for all women.
Long live all working women!
Advance the struggle to emancipate women!
Fight for better working conditions for working women!
Fight alongside women against misogynist-patriarchal violence!
End political harassment of women union leaders and organizers!
Stop the abuse and killings of peasant and indigenous women!
Down with imperialism!
Down with feudalism!
Down with state fascism!