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ACT calls for release of nationwide reading inventory report





Inflation rate in EV increases to 2.5% in April 2020

By PSA-8
May 12, 2020

TACLOBAN CITY – Inflation Rate (IR) in Eastern Visayas increased to 2.5 percent in April 2020. This IR is 0.3 percentage point higher compared with the 2.2 percent IR in March 2020. This is also 0.5 percentage point higher than the recorded 2.0 percent IR in the same period last year.

April 2020 inflation rateThe regional IR is 0.3 percentage point higher than the 2.2 percent national average inflation rate in April 2020.

Leyte, Eastern Samar, and Samar registered lower inflation rates in April 2020 compared with their figures in March 2020. Leyte recorded the highest decline of 0.8 percentage point. It dropped to 0.8 percent IR in April 2020 from 1.6 percent IR in March 2020. This is the lowest IR among the provinces during the month in review. On the other hand, IR in Northern Samar soared to 9.2 percent in April 2020 from 3.5 percent in March 2020. It accelerated by 5.7 percentage points recording the highest IR among the provinces during the reference month. Southern Leyte’s IR rose to 1.6 percent in April 2020 from 1.4 percent in March 2020. Biliran, meanwhile, retained its previous month’s IR at 1.7 percent.

Of the 11 commodity groups in the region, five (5) exhibited lower IRs in April 2020 compared with their rates in March 2020. These were, however, offset by the higher IRs recorded in other commodity groups; thus, resulting to 0.3 percentage point increase in the overall IR of the region in April 2020.

Transport commodity group registered the biggest decline of 5.2 percentage points. It dropped to 4.3 percent deflation in April 2020 from 0.9 percent IR in March 2020. This can be attributed to the deflations recorded in both operation of personal transport equipment (17.8 percent) and transport services (2.1 percent).

Communication commodity group went down by 2.4 percentage points, from 1.3 percent IR in March 2020 to 1.1 percent deflation in April 2020. This can be traced to the 25.2 percent deflation recorded in the index for telephone and telefax equipment.

The commodity group of furnishings, household equipment and routine maintenance of the house eased down by 1.1 percentage points. It dropped to 3.2 percent in April 2020 from 4.3 percent in March 2020.

Compared with the March 2020 level, the IRs for the commodity groups of alcoholic beverages and tobacco (8.8 percent); restaurant and miscellaneous goods and services (4.9 percent); and health (1.1 percent) were lower by 0.3 percentage point and 0.5 percentage point, respectively.

On the other hand, IR of clothing and footwear commodity group registered the biggest increase of 2.0 percentage points. Its IR rose to 4.9 percent in April 2020 from 2.9 percent in March 2020. This increase can be attributed to the higher inflations recorded in both clothing (4.0 percent) and footwear (6.8 percent) indices in April 2020.

The IR of heavily weighted food and non-alcoholic beverages commodity group increased by 1.3 percentage points. Its IR went up to 3.1 percent in April 2020 from 1.8 percent IR in March 2020. Higher IRs were noted in majority of the items under this commodity group. Non-alcoholic beverages index registered the highest increase of 12.0 percentage points, posting a double-digit IR of 14.0 percent in April 2020 from 2.0 percent IR in March 2020. Vegetables index likewise accelerated to 8.3 percent in April 2020 from 1.5 percent in March 2020. Rice and bread and cereals indices, meanwhile, continued to register deflations but at a slower rate of 4.0 percent and 2.5 percent, respectively.

The IR of recreation and culture commodity group rose to 1.4 percent, higher by 0.5 percentage point compared with its previous month’s IR. While IR for housing, water, electricity gas and other fuels commodity group was posted at 1.4 percent, higher by 1.3 percentage points compared with its March 2020 IR.

Meanwhile, education commodity group retained its previous month’s IR at 5.3 percent.

The Purchasing Power of Peso (PPP) of the region was recorded at P0.78 in April 2020. This is weaker compared with the P0.79 PPP registered in the previous month. This PPP implies that the goods and services worth P78.00 in 2012 is worth P100.00 in April 2020.

Biliran, Eastern Samar and Samar posted a P0.01 increase in their PPP compared with their figures in March 2020. Northern Samar’s PPP, on the other hand, weakened by P0.04. The rest of the provinces sustained their PPP last month. Biliran recorded the strongest PPP at P0.82. Leyte and Southern Leyte ranked second at P0.81, followed by Eastern Samar at P0.77 and Samar at P0.75. Northern Samar posted the weakest PPP at P0.69.





Crackdown amid lockdown: Duterte fast-tracks Marcosian delusions of fascist dictatorship with more attacks on press freedom

May 6, 2020

QUEZON CITY – Ordering the shutdown of ABS-CBN in the middle of a pandemic is a blatant attack on press freedom that dangerously infringes on the people’s right to information, human rights watchdog Karapatan warned, as the group assailed the National Telecommunications Commission’s cease-and-desist order against the broadcasting network.

Karapatan Secretary General Cristina Palabay condemned ABS-CBN’s closure, stating that “in the middle of a public heath crisis where the free press plays a crucial role in keeping the public informed on relevant, verified, and life-saving information about the COVID-19 pandemic, Duterte and his minions like Jose Calida are instead fast-tracking his Marcosian delusions of a fascist dictatorship and brazenly exploiting the pandemic to impose de facto martial law. They are also ruthlessly putting thousands of media workers at the risk of losing their jobs in the face of mass hunger and a looming socioeconomic crisis.”

“Duterte has shown time and time again his disdain for press freedom and critical voices in the media and civil society. He and his cabal of sycophants have repeatedly attacked Rappler, and he even threatened the Philippine Daily Inquirer that they were forced to sell the broadsheet to one of Duterte’s cronies. Alternative media outfits and community journalists also face red-tagging, harassment, death threats, and even assassinations from the military and other State forces,” Palabay continued.

She further said that “since the lockdown began, Duterte has used his emergency powers to suppress free speech and dissent,” citing the National Bureau of Investigation Cybercrime Division’s issuance of subpoenas against individuals allegedly spreading “false information,” the inciting to sedition charges against public school teacher Juliet Espinosa in General Santos City, the arrest of writer Maria Victoria Beltran in Cebu City, and the threats of deportation lodged against Taiwan-based migrant worker Linn Ordidor – “all for critical social media posts drawing attention to the government’s incompetence and inadequate response to the pandemic.”

“ABS-CBN is now the latest casualty in Duterte’s crackdown on press freedom and freedom of expression after facing relentless threats from the president himself. Amid the government’s militarist response to the pandemic, repeated threats of declaring martial law, the rapid shrinking of civic spaces in the country, and an intensified crackdown on dissent, the grave repercussions of the shutdown of the biggest broadcasting network in the company cannot be ignored or sidelined: it sends a chilling effect and a stern warning from the State that expressing dissent will mete out reprisals such as trumped-up charges, arrests, closure orders, and even death,” she averred.

The Karapatan official called on the United Nations (UN) Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and other UN independent human rights experts to look into “this recent attack on press freedom and other abuses of authority in their report to enable a full-blown independent investigation on the human rights situation in the Philippines.”

“Karapatan stands in solidarity with journalists and freedom of expression advocates against this blatant attack on press freedom. We call on all freedom-loving Filipinos to stand against the State's attacks on press freedom and human rights, and to strongly resist and frustrate the Duterte administration’s nefarious tyrannical schemes to consolidate power for his fascist rule,” Palabay ended.





Liloan Farmers Agriculture Cooperative
The Liloan Farmers Agriculture Cooperative in coordination with the local government unit holds mobile market to sell their products all over the town. (Photo by Febe Marie Bersabal)

Agrarian reform beneficiary organizations generate P22.9M in sales during quarantine

May 5, 2020

TACLOBAN CITY – Despite the implementation of community quarantine throughout the country for several weeks now, 104 agrarian reform beneficiaries organizations (ARBOs) in Eastern Visayas generated a combined gross sales of P22,928,460.00.

This period covers from the last week of March, where most of the local government units started enforcing their respective community quarantines, up to the third week of April this year.

Regional Director Stephen Leonidas of the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) was impressed with the determination of these farmers to survive amid this global crisis caused by the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.

Members of the said DAR-assisted farmer organizations continue with their farm activities and marketing of their harvests despite the current situation.

As assistance to them during this hard and trying times, Leonidas disclosed that DAR has provided 119 ARBOs throughout the region with quarantine accreditation pass to have access in checkpoints, which was authorized by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Disease (IATF-EID), for the continuous supply of agricultural products.

Leonidas said, these farmers did not only earn income during the quarantine period but contributed to the sustainability of food supply in the region.

Based on the DAR monitoring report, of the 104 ARBOs who continued with their marketing activities to supply food, 33 are in the province of Leyte; 21 in Eastern Samar; 20 in Samar; 15 in Northern Samar; eight in Southern Leyte; and seven in Biliran.

Among these ARBOs are the MAALSADA FISCO based in Alangalang town, and the Paglaum Farmers Association based in this city.

The MAALSADA FISCO continued to supply over 6,000 kilos of milled rice to the Eastern Visayas Medical Center (EVRMC); while the Paglaum Farmers Association delivered some 3,000 kilos of assorted vegetables to the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP).

Both ARBOs are recipients of marketing tie-up arrangements facilitated by DAR under the Enhanced Partnership Against Hunger and Poverty (EPAHP) program.

In Samar, the local government unit (LGU) of Calbiga purchases all the harvests of the Calbiga Vegetable Growers Association, Panayuran Upland Farmers Association, Brgy. Bulao Farmers Association, Canbagtic Farmers Association, and the Borong Active Farmers Association to give variation to the canned goods commonly given during distribution of relief assistance for the town’s residents.

In Southern Leyte, the Liloan Farmers Agriculture Cooperative conducts a mobile market around the municipality of Liloan in coordination with the LGU to sell their products composed of milled-rice and various types of vegetables harvested under the Linking Smallholder Farmers to the Market with Microfinance (LinkSFarMM) program. This is to lessen the movement of people and avoid mass gathering in the market.

Meanwhile, in the province of Biliran, the BSF Farm Workers and Beneficiaries Agrarian Reform Cooperative based in Biliran town and the Anislagan Ceramic Agrarian Reform Cooperative based in the municipality of Naval continue to supply fresh eggs, from the egg layering livelihood they availed under the Convergence of Livelihood Assistance for ARBs Project (CLAAP), to their clients.

In his Facebook comment, Agrarian Reform Secretary John Castriciones described the farmers as “silent frontliners” against COVID-19.





DTI assists PPE producer UNISOL to reinvent its business


May 5, 2020

MAKATI CITY – As demand dries up and non-essential establishments temporarily close amidst the COVID pandemic, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), through its financing arm the Small Business Corporation (SB Corp.), opens a loan facility for micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) that decide to repurpose their production lines to cope up.

One business that availed of this DTI facility is Uniform Solutions (UNISOL), a start-up company for on demand uniforms based in Cebu.

With an initial loan of P3.0 million approved under DTI's Small and Medium Enterprise - Personal Protective Equipment (SME-PPE) loan facility, UNISOL was able to retrofit its production operations to make washable face masks and reusable protective suits.

CEO Jonas Quilantang narrated how it took him five years to set-up operations and get ready for mass production, adopt technological innovations to improve existing products; have the machines, suppliers as well as the market ready.

"We wanted to make sure we can deliver the bulk orders expected of us and sustain our niche market," Quilantang explained.

UNISOL was about ready to hold a grand company launch in early 2020 when a dire health situation developed in China.

Quilantang closely followed the news on the outbreak, had a hunch that the situation could worsen and knew a surge in demand for facemasks would follow.

He immediately made a strategic decision that changed the direction of his company.

"Before Luzon implemented its enhanced community quarantine (ECQ), I got the commitment from one of our suppliers for them to provide the needed fabric for the washable facemasks," he said.

"We started making washable facemasks mid-March and reusable protective suits in early April this year," Quilantang added.

Currently, UNISOL manufactures around 50,000 pieces of washable facemasks per day and 60,000 pieces of reusable protective suits a month.

UNISOL has reached the 1 million mark for facemasks as of April 29 this year.

After a month of production, Quilantang said that the company now has a stable supply of the products and is looking to widen its market by forging partnerships.

UNISOL is one good example of a company that effectively turned a negative situation into a good business opportunity, DTI-Regional Operations Group Assistant Secretary Asteria Caberte said.

Despite the challenges, the company found a way to repurpose its production operation which was originally designed to manufacture T-shirts, polo shirts and jackets to produce personal protective equipment (PPE), and keep its workers employed, ASec. Caberte explained.

Like UNISOL, SMEs can also avail of the DTI loan facility by getting in touch with any of the DTI-Central Visayas provincial offices to signify their interest and to get an endorsement to the SB Corporation.

Micro enterprises with an asset size of not more than P3-million can borrow P10,000 to P200,000 while small enterprises with an asset size of not more than P10 million can borrow a higher loan amount but not exceeding P500,000, she said.





DAR-assisted farmers
Some local buyers buy fresh eggs right at the farm of members of BSF Farm Workers and Beneficiaries Agrarian Reform Cooperative in Biliran, Biliran who are into egg-layering business. (Photo courtesy of Maryvic Cempron)

DAR-assisted farmer organizations continue to earn amidst quarantine

May 2, 2020

NAVAL, Biliran – A famous Filipino saying, “Kapag may itinanim, may aanihin,” may perfectly apply to some members of agrarian reform beneficiaries organizations (ARBOs) who nurtured the various assistance extended to them by the government during the sunny days.

Regional Director Stephen Leonidas of the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) was elated to know that despite the implementation of the community quarantine as a precautionary measure to control the spread of the dreaded coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), several members of the seven DAR-assisted farmer organizations in this province continue to earn income from the various livelihood assistance extended to them in the past by DAR and other government agencies.

Moreover, they contribute to food sustainability during this hard and trying times.

In a report submitted to him, disclosed that 31 members of the Anislagan Ceramic Agrarian Reform Cooperative (ACARCO) from this capital town, as well as 31 members of the BSF Farm Worker’s and Beneficiaries Agrarian Reform Cooperative from the adjacent Biliran town, continue to supply fresh eggs in their respective communities.

These 62 ARBO members are into egg-layering business which they started when they became recipients of the Convergence of Livelihood Assistance for ARBs Project (CLAAP) late last year. CLAAP is a joint project of DAR and the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) which provides livelihood assistance to both ARB members of ARBOs and 4Ps beneficiaries.

In Kawayan town, 44 members of the Ungale Fish Vendors Association continue to earn income from dried fish processing. These 44 ARBO members were able to avail of financial assistance from the Land Bank of the Philippines thru the Agrarian Production Credit Program (APCP) in 2018, which they used as additional capital in sustaining their business.

In the municipality of Cabucgayan, the Balaquid Agrarian Reform Cooperative which is into rice production and trading, continues to supply milled-rice, contributing to the province’s sufficient supply of staple food. This cooperative is a recipient of the foreign-assisted Agrarian Reform Infrastructure Support Project (ARISP).

In Caibiran town, the Nagkakaisang Magsasaka ng Caibiran (NaMaCa) Multi-Purpose Cooperative, sell pork from the swine production of the said ARBO.

Meanwhile, 34 ARB members of the Almeria Seafarers Multi-Purpose Cooperative, and nine ARB members of the Villa Rice Farmers Producers Association, both from Almeria town, continue supplying fruits, vegetables and poultry products to local buyers. The two farmer organizations are recipients of Linking Smallholder Farmers to the Markets with Microfinance (LinkSFarMM) program.

From the last week of March to mid-April this year, the above-mentioned ARBs/ARBOs earned a combined gross sale of P83,987.

According to Leonidas, some activities of these farmers can be sustained even amid the current situation for these are done only in their respective homes, in their front or backyards.

Further, as assistance for these farmers to have access in checkpoints while community quarantine is enforced, Leonidas disclosed that DAR had provided them with the agency-issued quarantine accreditation pass, which was authorized by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Disease (IATF-EID), for the continuous supply of farm products in town markets, food lanes, and other designated trading centers.





Fishery production in Eastern Visayas posts 14.69% increase in the fourth quarter of 2019

By PSA-8
May 2, 2020

TACLOBAN CITY – Eastern Visayas fishery production increased substantially by 14.69 percent in the fourth quarter of 2019. Its production went up to 34,936 metric tons (MT), from 30,461 MT in the same quarter in 2018.

Eastern Visayas ranked eleventh among regions with high fishery production in the country in the fourth quarter of 2019. The region contributed 2.73 percent only to the country’s total fishery production.

Municipal fishery production (21,834 MT) contributed almost two-thirds or 62.50 percent of the region’s total fishery production. Aquaculture shared 27.78 percent (9,705 MT), while Commercial fishery accounted for 9.72 percent (3,397 MT).

Among provinces, Leyte recorded the highest volume of fishery production at 12,993 MT in the fourth quarter of 2019. It supplied 37.19 percent of the total fishery production in the region. Samar ranked second at 8,037 MT which accounted for 23.01 percent of the region’s total fish production. Southern Leyte, meanwhile, had the lowest volume of production at 1,459 MT. It provided 4.18 percent only of the total fishery production.

Commercial fishery production posted the highest increase of 19.44 percent from among the subsectors of the fishery sector. Its production increased to 3,397 MT in the fourth quarter of 2019 from 2,844 MT in the same quarter of 2018. Among provinces, Samar registered the highest volume of production at 1,540 MT. It comprised 45.34 percent of the total commercial fishery production in Eastern Visayas. Southern Leyte, meanwhile, registered the lowest volume of production in the fourth quarter of 2019 at 91 MT. It shared 2.68 percent only of the total commercial fishery production in the region.

Samar Island (Samar, Eastern Samar and Northern Samar) topped the municipal fishery sector in Eastern Visayas in the fourth quarter of 2019. It posted a 67.31 percent combined share to the total municipal fishery (both marine and inland fishing) production of the region in the said quarter. Biliran, meanwhile, registered the lowest contribution of 1,321 MT or 6.05 percent share to the regional total.

The region’s total volume of municipal fishery production (both marine and inland fishing) registered an increase of 13.84 percent. It rose to 21,834 MT in the fourth quarter of 2019from 19,179 MT in the same quarter of 2018. This growth was attributed to the hundredfold increase (112.54 percent) in Leyte Province’s production in the fourth quarter of 2019. This went up to 4,476 MT from 2,106 MT production in the same quarter of 2018. Biliran, Eastern Samar and Southern Leyte also posted increases at 43.49 percent, 28.54 percent and 7.22 percent, respectively. Whereas, Northern Samar went down by 14.60 percent, while Samar declined by 7.66 percent.

Volume of aquaculture production recorded a hefty increase of 15.02 percent. It rose to 9,705 MT in the fourth quarter of 2019from 8,437 MTin the same quarter of 2018. The expansion in aquaculture production in Southern Leyte (33.98 percent), Samar (30.55 percent) and Leyte (14.22 percent) resulted to the substantial increase in the regional production. Only Eastern Samar and Northern Samar recorded declines at 16.87 percent and 6.23 percent, respectively.

Among provinces, Leyte dominated in aquaculture production. It produced 8,331MT in the fourth quarter of 2019, comprising 85.84 percent of the total aquaculture production in the region. Samar ranked second at 1,016 MT, accounting for 10.47 percent share to the region’s total aquaculture production. Biliran, meanwhile, registered the lowest contribution with 0.23 percent share or 22 MT during the fourth quarter of 2019.





Citizen’s involvement against CNT’s planned ambush saved lives

improvised explosive device (IED)

May 2, 2020

CAMP LUKBAN, Catbalogan City – Combined troops of 46th Infantry (Peacemakers) Battalion, Philippine Army and Explosive Ordnance Division (EOD) of PNP Pinabacdao, aided by the vigilant populace of Pinabacdao, Samar, outrightly responded on the attempt of the CPP-NPA Terrorists (CNTs) improvised explosive device (IED) attack. The plan was reported by a concerned citizen to the authorities that led to the retrieval of four IEDs on April 30, 2020 at about 1:00 a.m.

According to the informant, the IEDs (PVC-type and sealed with electrical tape) were placed along Maharlika National Highway at the boundary of barangays Pahug and Madalunot, all in Pinabacdao, Samar.

The said IEDs were brought to 46IB Headquarters for proper documentation and disposition.

It can be recalled that the same army unit retrieved four IEDs in the neighboring barangay of Hubasan, Municipality of Calbiga, Samar last April 6, 2020.

In October 29 last year, at around 12:30 a.m., two civilian representatives of Toyota company survived in a CTG’s IED ambush when their driven white Toyota Hi-Lux was mistaken by the CTG as police patrol car as they were passing along Maharlika Highway at the boundary of barangays Lale and Pahug of Pinabacdao Samar.

Moreover, it can be recalled that on December 19, 2015, government troops and two DSWD female staff onboard two trucks coming from humanitarian assistance in Northern Samar during the onslaught of typhoon “Nona” (Melor) were ambushed by the CPP-NPA in the same boundary of barangays Pahug and Madalunot, Pinabacdao, Samar.

The 801st Brigade Commander, Colonel Camilo Z. Ligayo commended the feat of the security forces and the help provided by the informant. He also underscored, “Our security forces are always ready to run after the rebels who take advantage of the vulnerability of the community in this challenging time brought by COVID-19 pandemic in the region.”

“The continuous support of the people prevented the IEDs to inflict harm and averted the loss of lives unlike what happened last December 13, 2019 in Borongan, Eastern Samar wherein one PNP personnel and three innocent civilians were killed and 14 were wounded including 2 minors and an infant caused by CPP-NPA”, Ligayo added.





Instead of addressing mass poverty and hunger on Labor Day, Duterte unleashes mass arrests and fascism

May 1, 2020

QUEZON CITY – Human rights group Karapatan assailed the “brutality and sheer lack of compassion” of the Duterte administration as it enforced a “policy of mass arrests and fascism instead of addressing mass hunger and the grossly inadequate government response on International Workers’ Day.”

Karapatan Secretary General Cristina Palabay said at least 76 individuals – a daughter of a slain aid worker, relief workers, a priest, a lawyer, human rights workers and women’s rights advocates, student leaders among them – were illegally arrested today all over the country. “These arrests unveil in full the anti-worker and anti-poor character of this regime that serves not the people but only its militarist and anti-people interests and agenda,” she stated.

“Workers and the poor are bearing the brunt of the government’s militarized lockdown due to the loss of their livelihoods and lack of adequate socioeconomic aid. Instead of heeding the urgent demands of the marginalized, the Duterte government and its minions in the military and the police are instead exploiting quarantine measures to harass, vilify, and rabidly arrest – even kill – activists, especially those conducting relief operations in communities hard-hit by the crisis,” Palabay continued.

Before noon, about 42 activists were arrested in Jaro, Iloilo City hours after negotiating with policemen to allow them to light candles hold an indignation caravan to condemn and demand justice for the murder of Bayan Muna – Iloilo City Coordinator Jose Reynaldo “Jory” Porquia, who was harassed by the police for conducting relief operations in urban poor communities. Among the 42 arrested include Jory Porquia’s daughter, Krisma Niña, Iglesia Filipina Independiente priest Marco Sulayao, human rights lawyer Angelo Karlo Guillen, human rights workers Jose Ely Garachico and Alma Sumague.

Meanwhile, police also arrested 10 women’s rights advocates, teachers, and relief volunteers from Cure COVID and Bayanihang Marikenyo’t Marikenya who were organizing their community kitchen in Olandes, Brgy. Industrial Valley Complex in Marikina City. Despite the orders of Marikina City Mayor Marcelino Teodoro to release the relief volunteers, the police led by PNP-NCR Chief Debold Sinas are refusing to release them. Around 14 residents of Brgy. Central, Quezon City and 4 volunteers from youth relief initiative Tulong Kabataan were also arrested after organizing a community kitchen for poor residents in the area. Two transport workers were also arrested in Brgy. San Isidro, Rodriguez, Rizal for merely holding placards. Four urban poor residents of Brgy. Paso de Blas, Valenzuela City were brought to the police station; the police said photos of their protests were seen on Facebook.

Meanwhile, teachers from the ACT for People’s Health experienced harassment this morning, just as they were scheduled to distribute food packs and face masks to workers in establishments along Visayas Avenue in Quezon City. Yesterday afternoon, April 30, 16 workers from Coca-Cola in Sta. Rosa, Laguna were also taken by elements of the Police Regional Office - 4A and the Philippine Army's 202nd Brigade; today, they were paraded to the media as “rebel surrenderees.”

The Karapatan official averred that “contrary to the president’s faux pledge to ‘reaffirm the government’s commitment to uphold the dignity of labor,’ these mass arrests, fake surrenders, and harassment of relief volunteers on Labor Day show the lengths this regime is willing to go to harass and threaten activists. It simply wants the poor to rot away in hunger; they cannot claim to uphold the dignity of labor when this fascist regime has been so eager to please the interests of big businesses and its bloodthirsty militarist lapdogs at the expense of people’s rights and welfare.”

“Instead of responding to the socioeconomic needs of the people, these mass arrests will only worsen the plight of the poor. Yung tumutulong, ikinukulong. Yung mga opisyal na lumalabag sa batas, binibigyan ng special treatment. In the face of State violence and repression and Duterte’s blatantly anti-poor and anti-worker regime, these arrests should make everyone realize that it is but just and it is but right to speak out and act for our people’s rights and wellbeing,” she ended.



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