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National Situationer

On May 2, 2020, the Philipino Association of Workers and Immigrants(PAWIS), in collaboration with Migrante USA, Bayan USA, and Malaya movement successfully hosted the Philippine National Situationer in the Time of Covid-19 and Duterte. The situationer featured guest speakers Teddy

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Workers' Blog

Undocumented Workers Advocacy Letter

Dear Governor Newsom,

While all Californians are struggling with the economic and practical realities of living under a statewide Shelter in Place Order and the corona virus pandemic, one group of California residents will be the hardest hit: undocumented immigrants. More than two million undocumented immigrants make California their home. Nearly one in ten California workers is an undocumented worker. Over seventy percent (70%) of undocumented Californians have resided in the U.S. for more than ten years.
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PAWIS Joins the Fair Workplace Collaborative (FWC) of Santa Clara County’s Office of Labor Standard and Enforcement (OLSE)

The OLSE of Santa Clara County launched its Labor Standards Outreach and Education Initiative in September 2019. The initiative is a robust public engagement campaign throughout Santa Clara County with the mission to inform workers and business of their rights and responsibilities as well as deliver support and individualized services to those seeing assistance to resolve potential claims or existing judgements. Continue reading

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HUWAG MATAKOT!

Report Wage Theft and Human Trafficking!

Santa Clara County OLSE Advice Line (Free)

For those seeking free advice, information, or assistance with labor standards compliance or workplace issues, call the OLSE advice line. To talk to the lawyer who speaks Tagalog and Visaya, press line 4.

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Filipinos & Allies Demand Immediate Junking of Terror Bill; Community Groups Hold Action in Milpitas

Filipinos and Allies Demand Immediate Junking of Terror Bill; Community Groups Hold Action in Milpitas

Milpitas, CA: On Philippine Independence Day June 12, 2020, community groups from the South Bay and Tri-City areas held an action to amplify community concerns around the Anti-Terrorism Bill, to demand an immediate junking of the bill, and to continue to advocate for human rights in the Philippines amidst Duterte’s de facto martial law.

 

Last week, the House of Representatives in the Philippines fast-tracked the approval of HB 6875, also known as the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020. We see this bill as a cause for grave concern and an imminent threat to civil and democratic rights in the Philippines. Our main worries for the threat the bill poses lie in the overly broad definitions of “terrorism”, the specter of a police state, and the implications for Filipinos abroad.

 

“As Fil-Am college students, we try our best to stay connected with the Philippines. And we’ve seen how many people have spoken out against Duterte’s presidency. Philippine college students have been vocal in demanding changes from their government. And during this time of high social unrest, we see just how important it is for communities to organize and speak out against injustices. But the Anti-Terrorism Bill infringes on constitutional rights like the freedom of speech and the right to organize. This bill, which broadens the definition of terror, effectively silences the community,” stated Trizha Aquino, spokesperson of Barkada at Santa Clara University.  

 

“Yes it is Philippine Independence Day but we suffered centuries of oppression, systemic racism, and injustices in the Philippines. Even here in America, the Black community is fighting for their rights. So we stand here today, liberated as a community, fighting against the injustices and inequalities that we face as a people,” stated Kyle Decallos, President of National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) Youth San Jose Chapter.

 

Justher Gutierrez, Regional Coordinator of MALAYA Movement Northern California stated that “in the midst of this pandemic, the Duterte administration has deemed the Anti-Terror Bill as a piece of urgent legislation. We know that this legislation will not protect the people. In fact, it will wreak the havoc it claims it will prevent.” Gutierrez calls on all Filipinos and allies to continue to voice their dissent and take organized action to have legislators and community groups to support the passage of the Philippine Human Rights Act.    

 

While the Anti-Terrorism Bill awaits Duterte’s signature to be passed, Filipinos and allies in South Bay and Tri-City areas remain vigilant and will continue to advocate for human rights in the Philippines.  

 

Link: Livestream footage of the action 

 

This action was co-organized by MALAYA Movement South Bay, MALAYA Movement Tri-City, BAYAN South Bay, Kabataan Alliance at San Jose State University, and Diwang Kabataan

 

This action was co-sponsored by Maiz San Jose, Gabriela at Stanford University, Pilipino American Student Union at Stanford University, Barkada Santa Clara University, Filipino American Law Society at Santa Clara University, Anakbayan De Anza, and Anakbayan Silicon Valley  

 

MALAYA Movement is an international organization that opposes killings and dictatorship and stands for democracy in the Philippines.  

National Situationer

On May 2, 2020, the Philipino Association of Workers and Immigrants(PAWIS), in collaboration with Migrante USA, Bayan USA, and Malaya movement successfully hosted the Philippine National Situationer in the Time of Covid-19 and Duterte. The situationer featured guest speakers Teddy Casino and Carlos Isagani T. Zarate.  Casino is a former Bayan Muna house representative while Zarate is the current Bayan Muna house representative. The situationer shed light into the current national situation of the Philippines and the lackluster response of the Duterte Administration in response to the Covid 19 crisis as well as the escalation of facism of the Philippine government.

Virtual Know Your Rights Training 06/27/20

On June 27, 2020, the Pilipino Association of Workers and Immigrants(PAWIS), in partnership with the Asian Law Alliance and the Santa Clara County Wage Theft Coalition successfully hosted its first virtual Know Your Rights Webinar over zoom. The webinar generated 35 participants, 20 of whom are workers. Kiriko Takahashi and Donnalynn Rubiano presented on immigration rights while Prof. Ruth Silver Taube presented on employment rights.

PAWIS PPE DRIVE

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PAWIS delivered PPEs to care facilities in San Jose affected by COVID19 (Mt. Pleasant and Canyon Springs) as well as to other care facilities/care homes (Elwyn California, El Sereno, At Home Senior Care) and allied organizations (Day Worker Center of Mountain View and Fight for 15). We also gave PPEs to some nurses at Kaiser, caregivers and postal workers. Shout-out to the makers of the faceshields- Bonifacio “Bon” Capuyan, Erin and Danny and to Jamie, the medical students of Stanford University and the awesome Ethan Chua for facilitating and bridging the PPE sources to PAWIS. To our big hearted donors, PAWIS made sure that the PPEs also went to ordinary essential workers struggling in the frontlines.
PAWIS also delivered Ube Halaya and cloth masks to its members and contacts.
Thank you to our delivery persons: Tess, Jude, Pura and hubby, Donnalynn and daughter.
Salamat din Pastor Ruth Casipit Paguio and Fr. David Starr for the use of the parking lot of the Holy Family Episcopal Church as our rendezvous point.

[OPINION] It’s our dissent that will save us

Source: Rappler
Author: Teddy Casiño

Stay home. Be quiet. We’re on it. Just wait. Help will come. Trust us. Do as you’re told or else.

These, in a nutshell, were the key messages pounded on the public by President Rodrigo Duterte and his officials in the 3 weeks that the entire Luzon and other parts of the country have been on lockdown due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

But each message seems to have fallen on deaf ears. Many people have been going out, speaking out, challenging government’s response to the crisis and overcoming the limits set by the lockdown. This is certainly not a bad thing.

The outrage over the government’s late and tepid response to the COVID-19 threat started in late January, following Duterte’s initial refusal to impose a travel ban from China despite mounting evidence that travelers were spreading the virus outside Wuhan. Health Secretary Francisco Duque III told senators that the travel ban was a “very tricky and difficult issue” due to diplomatic and political repercussions. As late as January 24, tourists from Wuhan were still arriving in droves in Boracay.

Duterte’s stubborn deference to China was roundly criticized in mainstream and social media. The public outrage gave rise to the hashtag #OustDuterte which trended on Twitter on Janurary 31, the same day government finally imposed the travel ban.


Later on, again kowtowing to China, Duterte imposed a travel ban on Taiwan despite its low incidence of infection and absence of local transmission. The public uproar initiated by Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) and Taiwan’s threat to retaliate forced Duterte to rescind his illogical order.

Downplaying the threat

After the travel ban fiasco, Duterte and his officials spent the next 3 weeks giving assurances that government was on top of the situation and that the country’s health system was well prepared for the pandemic. On February 4, Duque announced that Duterte had “approved in principle” P2.25 billion for personal protective equipment (PPEs) for 5,000 health workers. He also claimed on February 29 that the country had enough testing facilities to accommodate the expected surge in Covid-19 cases.

“We are prepared to handle this public health emergency in case the worst scenario happens,” Duterte told media on February 10, threatening to slap the virus and calling it “gago.”

It was obvious that the threat of a local outbreak was being belittled by no less than the President. At one point, he even ridiculed the safety protocols issued by the Department of Health (DOH), insisting on shaking hands and holding public meetings.

Cabinet sings same tune

The President’s attitude rubbed off on his officials.

On February 18, more than two weeks after the first reported Covid-19 case in the country, tourism secretary Berna Romulo-Puyat announced the government’s plan to promote tourism despite public concern over the disease. “It’s safe to come to our country. No local transmission (of Covid-19) and the hotels and restaurants are ready,” she declared in a vain hope to spur local tourism and bring in guests from South Korea, the US, Australia, Japan and Europe.

Two days later, she also announced the holding of a nationwide mall sale from March 1-31 – dubbed the 2020 Philippine Shopping Festival – to promote the country as a “fun, unique and affordable shopping destination.”

As late as March 9, despite the DOH’s declaration of a Code Red Sub-Level 1 alert and Duterte’s declaration of a public health emergency due to confirmed cases of local transmission, the President was still in a state of denial, announcing plans to visit Boracay with Romulo to encourage local tourism.

In contrast to Duterte’s nonchalance and in spite of Duque’s assurances that the DOH was ready and equipped to handle the threat, many health experts and professionals, policy makers, health workers organizations and concerned citizens persistently aired their doubts about the health system’s readiness to address the pandemic.

Of particular concern was the minimal testing and contact tracing being done, the shortage of face masks and other PPEs for health workers, the lack of quarantine and treatment facilities, including trained personnel. Critics noted the P147.4 million reduction in the DOH’s budget for disease surveillance as well as the P6 billion cut in its Health Systems Strengthening Program. Many demanded an immediate rechanneling of funds and resources to upgrade public hospitals and even baranggay health facilties for the expected local outbreak. The many issues and concerns raised by government critics forced the public to take a hard look at government’s response to the health crisis. It forced a healthy debate that extended into the corridors of power. But all we got were more assurances that everything was being addressed.

Lockdown, emergency powers

The March 12 announcement of a lockdown confirmed our worst fears about government’s unpreparedness and lack of a comprehensive plan to address COVID-19.

The first meeting of the Inter Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) chaired by Duque was held on January 28, more than 20 days after China confirmed the corona virus outbreak. But for the next 4 weeks, the body overseeing the government’s comprehensive response to Covid-19 focused its attention on travel restrictions and quarantine protocols for foreign travelers and returning Filipinos, leaving all health matters to the DOH.

Unfortunately, just like Duterte, the DOH itself appeared to have underestimated the threat. On Febrary 28, Duque even announced that the number of persons under investigation (PUIs) in the country was decreasing, with those found negative of COVID-19 on the rise.

The DOH reported having no new cases for two consecutive weeks, earning a citation from the World Health Organization (WHO). Duque later admitted to Congress that he should have declared a public health emergency much earlier than the President’s March 8 declaration.

By this time, the number of confirmed and suspected COVID-19 cases was rising steeply by the day. Hospitals were reaching full capacity. Apparently the low number of confirmed cases in the country was due to the low number of tests being done and the negligible effort at tracing possible COVID-19 carriers. As a result, the DOH could not determine the actual extent of community infection. And even if it did, there were no quarantine centers to accommodate suspected carriers of the virus.

In a desperate move to contain the virus’ spread, Duterte adopted the IATF’s recommendation to subject the entire Metro Manila area to a lockdown by March 15. This caused widespread panic buying, a mass exodus from Metro Manila, massive traffic jams and throngs of stranded commuters trying to get in the next day, defeating the quarantine’s objective.

Finally, on March 16, Duterte expanded the lockdown to the entire Luzon Island, creating new and bigger problems on top of existing ones.

The lockdown measures aimed to impose strict social distancing protocols and limits on the movement of persons. But it was utterly lacking in health measures and steps to mitigate the lockdown’s impact on the economy and people’s livelihoods.

For two weeks, no one could give a straight answer on how many PPEs would be acquired by government, when, and how they would be distributed. No one could explain why VIPs were being tested yet ordinary PUIs were not. Nobody knew the protocols and mechanisms for putting up quarantine centers. And it seemed local government units (LGUs) were being left on their own to address the people’s health needs as well as the economic needs of those dislocated by the lockdown.

Worse, Duterte was asking for a draconian emergency powers law that was unnecessary and did not categorically address the many gaps in his government’s response to the crisis. With the lockdown in place, people took to social media to air their objections and suggestions.

The hashtags #NoToEmergencyPowers and #DuterteResign trended highly on Twitter in the run-up to Congress’ Mar. 24 special session to act on the measure.

Fortunately, Congress was listening. It struck down the unconstitutional provisions of the draft bill and tempered some draconian features. The Senate in particular put in clear and definite measures regarding the budget and the various health and socio-economic measures to address the crisis.

From dissent to concrete action

By the time Duterte imposed the lockdown on Luzon, groups and individuals critical of the government’s response took to social media not only to pressure the government to act on their demands but to organize networks to meet those needs without government help. Criticism and protest had turned into concrete action, whether by the critics or the objects of their criticism.

Powerful hashtags like #MassTestingNowPH, #NoToVIPTesting and #ProtectFrontliners captured the demands of a disgruntled public, resulting in changes in the way government has responded to Covid-19.

Likewise, hashtags like #TanongNgTaongBayan and #NasaanAngAyuda captured the demands for urgency and transparency with regards to government’s response to the people’s health and socio-economic needs, providing much needed pressure for government to act. The sense of protest and outrage over government inaction and incompetence has spurred ordinary citizens to use social media to creatively fill the gaps in providing food, transportation and PPEs to health workers; giving relief packs to poor families and vulnerable communities; and even raising bail for those arrested during the lockdown.

As always, social media’s backlash to Duterte’s fascist moves was immediate and fierce. A few minutes after Duterte’s April 2 rant where he ordered the police and baranggay tanods to shoot quarantine violators if they felt threatened, the hashtag #OustDuterteNow trended, gathering almost half a million tweets until the wee hours of the morning.

The next day, the President was compelled to clarify his pronouncements.

What all this indicates is that in the time of Covid-19, dissent is not only healthy. Given government’s bungling, militarist response to the crisis, it is our dissent that will save us. – Rappler.com




Demand Just Treatment for Grand Princess Workers Stranded on Coronavirus-Stricken Cruise Ship

We hold Princess Cruises responsible for the death of a Filipino crew member of the Grand Princess ship who died from COVID-19 on April 1 in a hospital in San Francisco, CA. Like other crew members and passengers, this worker was denied adequate access to full testing, humane treatment, and safe quarantine, all which might have prevented this catastrophe.

Hundreds of mostly foreign-born workers remain stranded on the coronavirus-stricken Grand Princess ship since it journeyed back to the San Francisco Bay Area and docked in Oakland, CA on March 9, 2020, after an outbreak of COVID-19 infections was confirmed. Although passengers and crew members were evacuated when the ship docked, over 600 workers remained on board when it pushed back out from port and remained in the SF Bay. This was despite the fact that, by March 21, seventeen percent of all the passengers who were tested for coronavirus returned positive results.

Princess Cruises’ management of the coronavirus outbreak has been a clear and egregious violation of its responsibility as an employer to protect its workers, and it acted counter to public health best practices and scientific guidelines. Read more about the failure of Princess Cruises’ failure to protect workers.

Help amplify the voices of these workers who are demanding COVID-19 testing & treatment, repatriation to their home countries, compensation for lost wages, and transparency from Princess Cruises by signing this petition and sharing it with your networks.

Our demands:

Princess Cruises has thus far resisted all calls for transparency regarding any measures it has supposedly taken to guarantee crew members’ safety, and, because of this lack of transparency, we cannot be sure that workers are safe from harm amidst the current pandemic. Workers continue to face a high risk of exposure and infection until they are disembarked and provided testing, medical care, and safe quarantine. We demand that Princess Cruises take the necessary immediate action to preserve the health, safety, and well-being of its workers on all of its ships, including:

  1. Disembarking, testing, and humanely treating all workers. All workers must be tested, and not just screened for symptoms; and that testing must be paid for by Princess Cruises. Those who test positive must be given proper treatment and documentation of the treatment, and those who test negative must be provided the documentation proving negative test status.
  2. Providing all workers with comprehensive medical and mental health services Workers should be provided access to a social worker and full psychiatric and medical evaluations and treatment to address their mental and physical health concerns upon disembarking, especially after being quarantined on a contaminated ship with limited to no contact with their families, their union representation, and the outside world throughout this traumatic experience.
  3. Providing safe housing accommodations. Disturbingly, the San Francisco Port Commission has indicated that workers may continue to be housed on the ship. We believe that all workers (non-essential and essential) should be removed from the ship, per WHO guidelines, and provided temporary housing in a local hotel, paid for by Princess Cruises, throughout the duration of their quarantine and their process of returning to their home countries, until they reach their own homes safely and completely healthy.  
  4. Compensating workers for lost wages for their full contracted term, ensuring financial and job security. According to their Collective Bargaining Agreement, seafarers are entitled to additional compensation specified in the event of an unexpected termination of their voyage or contract. Princess Cruises needs to honor all its commitments to its workers whose contracted work will be terminated prematurely by this public health crisis. Beyond that, Princess Cruises should provide hazard pay for work conducted while on board infected ships, and any and all additional compensation needed to restore the workers’ being “fit to work.” Princess Cruises should not discriminate in the rehiring and recontracting of these workers when the industry restores its cruise operations.
  5. Covering all costs attendant to repatriating workers to their countries of origin. After providing testing and humane treatment, Princess Cruises must work with the workers’ home countries to repatriate the workers, and cover the cost, as expeditiously as possible.
  6. Decommissioning the ship and having it disinfected by professionals with proper protection and equipment in accordance with World Health Organization guidelines.
  7. Transparency on its management of the COVID-19 outbreak. Princess Cruises must divulge its process of testing workers, answer to why workers were kept on the ship despite official recommendations to disembark all people on cruise ships, and, share its supposed outbreak management plan, with confirmation from workers that outbreak management training was provided, and a sanitation certificate.

In solidarity,

Migrante NorCal

ASATA (Alliance of South Asians Taking Action)

NAFCON (National Alliance for Filipino Concerns)

PAWIS (People’s Association for Workers and Immigrants)

FCC (Filipino Community Center)

ABSF (Anakbayan SF)

Filipinx Health Initiative SF

League of Filipino Students – SFSU

Equality Labs

PAWIS and MIGRANTE USA Host Successful Workers Town Hall

PAWIS and MIGRANTE USA Hosts Successful Workers Town Hall

The Workers Town Hall hosted by PAWIS and Migrante USA last April 5, 2020 was attended by 56 individuals and workers coming from different industries. A caregiver, two nurses, a seafarer, a postal worker and representatives from the Day Worker Center of Mountain View and Fight for Fifteen gave powerful testimonies of how COVID19 adversely impacted the workers.

The common issue identified by the workers that they are commonly facing is the lack of personal protective equipment (PPE), whether the worker is a nurse, a caregiver, a postal worker or a McDonalds worker. Also, particular for the low wage earners, they decry the neglect of the federal and state governments to provide supplemental benefits for the undocumented workers who cannot apply for Unemployment Insurance.

Nap Pempena, Chairperson of Migrante USA also gave a presentation of the conditions of the overseas Filipino workers in the time of COVID19. He highlighted the disappointing response of the Philippine government in helping and assisting the crew members of the Grand Princess cruise ship and the Filipino workers with J1 visas who suddenly found themselves out of work because of the pandemic.

RCFE Caregivers of Sunnyvale Statement

In the midst of this pandemic, we, the RCFE caregivers of Sunnyvale, CA, join the whole world in its advocacy for a safe and healthy environment through quarantine and social distancing.  Our ageing clients – your parents, grandparents and other elderly family members – though in their twilight years, deserve as much chance to survive this pandemic as all of us.  However, their vulnerability puts them at high risk.  Help us, their caregivers, to raise the stakes for them. 

STAY HOME.          STOP THE SPREAD.      SAVE LIVES.

Police arrest hungry protesters in Quezon City

Source: Kodao Productions

Twenty-one protesting and hungry Quezon City residents were arrested Tuesday morning, April 1, the incident earning swift condemnation from the urban poor group Kalipunan ng Damayang Mahihirap (Kadamay).

Residents of Sitio San Roque, Barangay Bagong Pag-Asa, reportedly members of the group Sandigan ng Maralitang Nagkakaisa (SaMaNa) held a protest action along Epifanio delos Santos Avenue and were violently dispersed by the Quezon City Police Department.

Although not affliated with their group, Kadamay said the SaMaNa protesters were calling for food and social services amid the corona virus disease (Covid-19) lockdown imposed on the whole Luzon island by the Rodrigo Duterte government.

Kadamay said the protesters have yet to be given food and other aid promised by the government in imposing the lockdown since March 15.

In a DZRH report, the arresting officers were heard to have repeatedly accused the protesters of being “hard-headed” for refusing to stay indoors.

Kadamay however clarified the residents’ protest action was a spontaneous demonstration “rooted in the growing discontent, hunger and frustration at the lack of aid from government.”

The urban poor group urged that instead of responding with violence and arrests, the government should solve grave deficiencies in handling the crisis it says affect the poor as the most vulnerable sector in the country.

“Instead of listening to pleas about the lack of services, the poor are being subjected to violence and arrest. We should instead ask, why is there no help being given to the poor?” Kadamay chairperson Gloria Arellano said.

Arellano said such protest actions are bound to happen if the government insists on a militarist response to the pandemic instead of focusing on social services.

She stressed that it is the primary task of the national government to address the urgent need for food, sanitation, medical services and other basic needs during the pandemic, adding that the Duterte administration continues to pass on the burden to many ill equipped local government units while avoiding outlining a concrete plan apart from the lockdown.

Kadamay said it will do everything it can to help in the negotiations for the release of the arrested.

The group also revealed it is operating community kitchens and relief operations in several poor communities in and outside Metro Manila, adding however that these activities are limited in scope.

Kadamay said it remains the responsibility of the government to address the needs of the people during the emergency. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)

Quarantined crew from California ship demands for more tests, health workers

 

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, March 27) — The Filipino crew members who were rescued from a coronavirus-hit cruise in California raised several concerns as their 14-day quarantine in Tarlac nears its end. This includes a need to conduct more COVID-19 tests and to deploy more health workers to their facilities.

The crew sent a letter to the government on Friday, urging that all of its members be tested for COVID-19 before their scheduled return to their families on March 29.

“If the politicians and their families are able to avail of testing, then we, who were exposed continuously to COVID-19 for a long time, need and deserve the testing even more,” the letter stated.

The letter was addressed to President Rodrigo Duterte, Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF), Department of Health and Magsaysay Maritime Corporation at Princess Cruises.

“While in quarantine, only our temperature is being checked, and testing remains random and unsystematic,” the crew complained.

Over 400 Filipinos, most of whom are crew members, arrived in the country on March 16 from the MV Grand Princess, which was docked off the coast of California after a passenger onboard a previous trip died due to COVID-19.

The evacuees have since been on quarantine in the Athlete’s Village in New Clark City.

“It’s also essential to send more of our hardworking frontline health workers to care for us here,” the letter also said.

The crew also expressed concern how they will return to their respective provinces given the Luzon-wide quarantine.

“At this time we do not know where we will go after the quarantine,” they wrote. “There should be a clear plan so that we can go back home to our families.”

The evacuees also appealed for financial and livelihood assistance as well as help for those who were left behind in the ship.

COVID-19 News and Updates (Santa Clara County)

COVID-19 Tracking

Santa Clara County has posted a dashboard so that we can get current information about the number of cases and so we can see if our efforts are successful to flatten the curve:

Santa Clara County COVID-19 Workers Resources

PAWIS Hosts First Virtual Know Your Rights Training

On March 26, 2020, PAWIS held its first Know Your Rights Webinar on the topics of Unemployment Insurance (UI), State Disability Insurance (SDI), Paid Family Leave (PFL) and Paid Sick Leave. The webinar was presented by Ruth Silver Taube, a professor of Santa Clara University and the supervising attorney of the worker’s rights clinic of the Katherine and George Alexander Community Law Center. Thirty One (31) individuals from different organizations and alliances attended the webinar.

“Kailangan nating ipalaganap and ganitong webinar para sa mga manggagawa at migrante. Importante na malaman natin ang ating mga karapatan at ano ang dapat gagawin sa panahon ngayon ng COVID-19” (We need to propogate this kind of webinar for the workers and immigrants. It is important for us to know your rights and the steps to take in this time of COVID-19) — Tess Brillante, PAWIS Vice Chair

PAWIS Joins the Fair Workplace Collaborative (FWC) of Santa Clara County’s Office of Labor Standard and Enforcement (OLSE)

The OLSE of Santa Clara County launched its Labor Standards Outreach and Education Initiative in September 2019. The initiative is a robust public engagement campaign throughout Santa Clara County with the mission to inform workers and business of their rights and responsibilities as well as deliver support and individualized services to those seeing assistance to resolve potential claims or existing judgements. OLSE contracts with the member organizations of the Fiar Workplace Collaborative to provide this outreach and education. The services include (10 OLSE Attorney Staffed Advice Line; (2) Workers’ Rights Trainings and Clinics; (3) Business Outreach and Education; and (4) individualized services for workers and businesses.

The formation of the FWC is to assist the OLSE in its mission to extend workers protections across the County, increase the effectiveness of existing County and local protections, and help Santa Clara County be a national leader in addressing labor abuses is of critical importance to advancing the economic and social well-being of the County as a whole. According to national studies the average low-wage worker lose approximately $2,643–or 15% of their earnings — each year because of wage theft because of wage theft. The majority of these wages were stolen by failing to pay minimum wage or overtime, failing to provide breaks, and requiring unpaid, off-the-clock work.

The FWC is comprised of Working Partnerships-USA, Step Forward Foundation, PAWIS, Day Worker Center of Mountain View, Vietnamese American Round table, Enterprise Foundation/Silicon Valley Small Business Development Center and the Latino Business Council of Silicon Valley

“Kalusugan! Hindi Diktadura!” Participate in the Days of Action [April 1-3]

The Malaya National Secretariat, recognizes that these are extremely unprecedented times, and that the solution through this global health crisis is in the collective efforts. However, when governments seek to profit and neglect the health of the public, it is imperative for the public to defend its health from neglect. It is in this spirit that Malaya Movement calls for three days of action to begin on April 1st. “Kalusugan, Hindi Diktadura” (Health, Not Dictatorship) launches this week on the first of April to directly address the neglect of the Duterte administration in addressing the Covid-19 health crisis and to battle the continued repression and curtailment of human rights in the Philippines.

There will be three opportunities to participate and engage in the days of action:


April 1st

——————–

5-6pm PST / 7-8pm CST / 8-9pm EST

Webinar


Malaya Movement to host webinar alongside other national alliances and organizations to discuss Duterte’s neglect of the Covid-19 crisis, and to discover how we can harness our collective strength to respond. We will also be launching our Kalusugan! Hindi Diktadura! Petition campaign.

Register here: bit.ly/malayaforum2020

April 2nd

——————–

5-6pm PST / 7-8pm CST / 8-9pm EST

Social Media Rally


Invigorate mass publicity and raise awareness through Facebook and Twitter social media platforms. We are asking people to use the hashtags:

#DuterteVirus

#DuterteResign

April 3rd

——————–

(Schedule to follow)

Mass Phone-in Action


Express our concerns about Duterte’s neglect in the face of Covid-19 and the urgent needs of overseas Filipinos that need to be addressed by the Philippine government. Further schedule and script to follow soon!


Please join us in spreading the word of “Kalusugan, Hindi Diktadura”, by joining and sharing the Facebook page at the following link: Kalusugan, Hindi Diktadura


As we all continue to observe the public health protocols in our home, let’s keep energized to continue the fight against neglect, fascism, and dictatorship by harnessing the collective power of the people even during these challenging times! See you at the launch on April 1st!


Mabuhay!

Malaya National Secretariat

Duterte’s Dictatorship Aggravates Public Health Crisis – Malaya Movement’s Statement on Duterte regime’s response of COVID 19

OFFICIAL STATEMENT

Reference: Yves Nibungco, National Coordinator, malayamovement@gmail.com

Malaya Movement joins the Filipino people and the global community in battling the deadly virus COVID-19, also known as the Novel Coronavirus. We call on our members, allies and supporters to extend their utmost solidarity and assistance to all peoples affected by this public health crisis, and to keep a keen eye on the Philippines, most especially poor and working class Filipinos. 

With the rise of positive cases of COVID-19, it is both heartbreaking and enraging to watch the hellish conditions imposed upon the Filipino people, especially the urban poor, workers, and the frontliners. The Filipino people are facing a double tragedy: the ravages of the coronavirus coupled with the tyranny and incompetence of the Duterte regime. 

Duterte’s disastrous handling of the Coronavirus pandemic

Time and again, Duterte puts his puppetry to foreign powers above the welfare and interest of the Filipino people. Duterte deliberately chose to appease the interests of foreign powers, particularly China, and ignored clamors for an immediate travel ban increasing the risk and spread of COVID-19 to the general population. 

Capitalizing on the genuine fear and panic from the population, Duterte resorted to a militaristic approach in handling the pandemic. With the lockdown of Metro Manila and the whole of Luzon, he has imposed policies that only exacerbate the public health crisis without any coherent and comprehensive plan. For example, military checkpoints created enormous crowds of people travelling by foot or motorcycle, and the shutdown of public transportation stranded essential workers, including healthcare frontliners who were unable to get to hospitals. Cases of abuse at checkpoints by police and soldiers are emerging. In recent reports, checkpoint police had threatened to shoot those found not to comply with local lockdown orders, locking some in dog cages and left out in the harsh sun. These punitive and cruel examples have characterized the Duterte administration’s response to public health challenges as seen in the past years of his administration’s notorious Drug War.

Uncontented with just the lockdown, Duterte and his rubber stamp senate and congress took advantage of the COVID crisis to give him “special powers” through Republic Act 11469 or the “Bayanihan We Heal as One Act.” It gives Duterte powers to direct operations of private hospitals and public transportation, regulate the distribution of power, fuel, energy, and water, and realign funding. These powers also include penalizing individuals and groups who will be spreading “fake news,” as well as a broad mandate to undertake “other measures as may be necessary” to respond to the pandemic. Such policies are prone to abuse, deepen unequal distribution of resources tipped toward the wealthy and powerful, and are designed to silence the growing protests and vocalized criticisms and discontent among the people as a result of Duterte’s sheer incompetence. The Malaya Movement condemns this shameless maneuver towards a full blown dictatorship and failure to address the true needs of the people. 

We denounce Duterte’s continuing reign of terror. As the people are struggling against COVID-19, the Duterte government and its armed minions continue to commit human rights violations with the arrest of human rights activist Teresita Naul, 60, Lanao del Norte last March 15 and the assassination of peasant activist Marlon Maldos, 25, from Bohol last March 17. These violent attacks on youth and the elderly human rights defenders reveal the sustained bloodlust of the Duterte regime even amidst a global pandemic plaguing the nation.

People’s Demands to Duterte 

It is clear that the Filipino people have nothing more to expect from the Duterte regime other than more suffering amidst this pandemic. Like in previous crises, the Filipino people have to rely on our own collective effort to save ourselves. In light of that, The Malaya Movement encourages our members, allies and supporters to support our front line workers and other community efforts. The Malaya Movement supports the 7 point demand of the Citizens Urgent Response to end COVID-19 (Cure COVID) as well as other cause oriented groups:

  1. Enact medical solutions instead of military actions in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.
  2. Assign more doctors, nurses, health workers and volunteers to communities instead of deploying police and military.
  3. Immediately allocate a significant portion of the government’s budget to the COVID-19 crisis for prevention, monitoring, testing and treatment, and to hire additional frontline health workers, instead of allocating more funds for tourism or support for large businesses.
  4. Perform community-level steps including: free and mass COVID-19 testing and urgent treatment of those who contract the virus,information drives related to COVID-19; distribution of free face masks, alcohol, sanitizers and vitamins C and B12; mass disinfection of schools, markets, neighborhoods and common people; 
  5. Ensure safe and healthy workplaces. Ensure job security and benefits for those who cannot go to work. Ensure accessible transportation services from home to work and back.
  6. For Maynilad and Manila Water to resolve their failed and unreliable water services. 24/7 water supply in the homes must be ensured for hand washing. 
  7. Support local scientists and health workers. Fund and fast track the production of test kits created by the University of the Philippines. 

Lastly, if the past three years is not yet enough, the past three months alone further validates our position that the Filipino people’s suffering will only increase so long as Duterte remains in power. With the longstanding, real needs of the Filipino people for better economic opportunities, and land for the vast masses of peasant farmers to till, and this most recent public health crisis of Covid-19, Duterte’s leadership has proven not fit for purpose. Instead of continuing to power grab and employ a dictatorial and totalitarian style of leadership, he might better serve the Philippines by stepping down and resigning. 

Tens of thousands of people have already been murdered by the Duterte regime, and his militaristic and anti-people response to COVID-19 will no doubt add more deaths to his legacy. The Malaya Movement calls on Duterte to resign so that more lives can be spared. His deadly reign cannot continue. Join the Malaya Movement in calling for Duterte’s resignation. Heed the people’s demands for medical response to the COVID-19 crisis, and arm the health professionals with medical equipment, not the military! 

Labor Unions, Port Workers, Filipino Advocates Rally Together In Support of 500+ Filipino Grand Princess Cruise Ship Workers Amidst Covid-19 Scare

Contact: Terry Valen, terrencevalen@yahoo.com, National Alliance for Filipino Concerns

                Nap Pempeña, info@migranteusa.org, Migrante USA

On Saturday, March 14, 2020, Migrante Northern California and National Alliance for Filipino Concerns (NAFCON) joined several Bay Area based labor unions and workers advocates for a press conference raising concern about the treatment and well-being of the more than 500 Filipino seafarers aboard the Grand Princess Cruise Ship, as well as the thousands of passengers who were at risk of exposure to a Covid-19 outbreak on the ship. The Grand Princess Cruise Ship, which was anchored 10 miles off the coast of SF was finally allowed to dock at the Port of Oakland on March 9 and remained there until Sunday, March 15. 

Health experts already decried the example of the Diamond Princess cruise ship in Japan, where so many more passengers and workers were infected than needed to be, by quarantining them on a contaminated ship kept off the Japanese coast. 700 people tested positive for Covid-19 on the Diamond Princess, 80 of whom were Filipino crew members, and 6 people died from their exposure. 

While measures to disembark passengers were immediately attended to, the foreign workers of the cruise were kept aboard the ship. “Workers were being treated with less concern and dignity than the passengers who were disembarked first. There’s a need for transparency, cooperation, and government action for humanitarian relief and the health and safety of everyone – the passengers, the foreign workers, the port workers, and the surrounding community,”  said Terry Valen, President of NAFCON and Executive Director of the Filipino Community Center in San Francisco. 

Shortly after the press conference on Saturday afternoon, the Filipino workers were disembarked, screened, and repatriated back to the Philippines. “We’re relieved that the workers were able to finally leave the ship and go home,” said Nap Pempeña of Migrante-USA. “ The workers should receive appropriate and comprehensive medical and mental health services upon their return to the Philippines, and they should receive fair compensation and appropriate protection from lost wages based on their contract and their collective bargaining agreement (CBA) if applicable. With more ships expected to be infected and to dock all over the world, the Philippine government must be ready to receive and support repatriating Filipino seafarers.” 

There are close to half a million Filipino seafarers on cargo ships, cruise ships, fishing and other vessels on the seas at any given time, making up to a third of all crew members on maritime vessels. Forced to work abroad due to unemployment, dismal wages and crushing poverty in the Philippines, Filipino workers experience exploitation, harassment, discrimination and hazardous working conditions aboard. The contractual and seasonal nature of their work exacerbates their hardship as shipping companies, recruitment agencies and government agencies sometimes evade liability when seafarers’ rights are violated. 

The case of the Grand Princess Cruise Ship highlights the challenges faced by Filipinos and other seafarers in general and exacerbated by inadequate response to the Covid-19 health crisis. With the service workers on land and offshore crucial to the healthcare system and to the upkeep of commercial establishments, travel and tourism industry as well as other workplaces, their vulnerability to contracting the disease increases due to their nature of work requiring physical presence and constant contact with other people. 

As the crisis worsens and deals negative impacts on various industries, workers will need not just access to healthcare, but also economic support to sustain themselves and their families.

A Message to Filipino Workers in the U.S. from Migrante USA

Covid-19 is spreading across the US. California and New York, which have large concentrations of Filipino works, are seeing an increase in Covid-19 cases. According to DOLE, there are now 6 overseas Filipino workers in the U.S. that have tested positive. There were 538 crew members and passengers from the virus-hit Grand Princess cruise ship who recently disembarked in Oakland, CA. 

Migrante USA calls on Filipino workers in the U.S. to stay vigilant not just with respect to health and well-being but also their rights as workers, unionized or not, documented or undocumented. 

1. Know the correct information and relevant information about Covid-19.

As the disease caused by Covid-19 rapidly spreads, it is important to know official warnings and advice from authorities especially from doctors and health professionals. Ensure that you consume verified information and don’t be deceived by “fake news”.

Pay attention to advisories and directions from the government (local, city or state) on proper washing of hands, social distancing, and other information and directions for precautions to safeguard health.  

2. Join collective efforts to safeguard the health of yourself, your family and the community. 

Migrante USA amplifies the call to safeguard health. Know the proper measures to avoid Covid-19 such as proper hand-washing, self-quarantine when symptoms occur, social distancing and other safety measures as prescribed by professionals and medical experts. Urgently see consultation with a doctor when symptoms arise (especially fever, cough and difficulty in breathing).

Take note that the most vulnerable are those 50 years old and above and those with pre-existing conditions such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, compromised immune systems and hypertension.

Know the terms and conditions of your medical insurance. If you don’t have any, learn how you can get free or affordable Covid-19 testing in your city. Do not ignore perceived symptoms.

Feel free to contact a Migrante USA member organization nearest you to get information on how to get medical attention or for referrals to non-profit organizations who may be able to help with medical insurance matters. 

3. Know and fight for workers’ rights!

Majority of Filipinos in the US are workers and comprise a large workforce in the service industry. Although there are professionals that are able to “work from home” a vast majority of workers do not have this option. Many Filipinos’ livelihood are affected by cases of “lock down” or the call to “quarantine” where they may not leave their house to go to work. 

Make sure that you know the terms and conditions of your sick leave and other matters regarding taking leave from work in case you are unable to work due to Covid-19.

If you have any questions regarding workers’ rights, feel free to contact a Migrante USA member organization nearest you for referrals to labor attorneys. 

4. Stand for the rights of Filipino People!

Migrante USA unites with the call of  progressive organizations in the Philippines to implement the following: Free and widespread testing for COVID-19, proactive and free health services, additional deployment of health workers, protection for workers and the poor, and provision of supplies or resources. Fight against anti-people lockdown and fight the budget cut in public services!!

Migrante USA also unites with the call of Migrante International for embassies and consulates to be active in offering health services for migrants (acquiring testing kits and distributing supplies) and to ensure compensation and support for affected migrants. 

5. Stand up against discrimination and racism.

Because COVID-19 originated in China, this does not mean we should blame Chinese people. Many Filipinos in different countries are vicitims of harassment blaming provinces and discrimination against Asians including Filipinos. 

6. Unite with workers across the world 

In the midst of this crisis caused by COVID-19, poverty and other social problems become more prominent and it is workers who are the most impacted. Many workers are unable to engage in social distancing or working from home because of their work conditions in manufacturing and service industry jobs that require them to interact with people. They also have no way to move through the city without using often crowded mass transportation. Most of all, because of depressed wages, lack of job security, and rollback in benefits, workers have nothing to eat and feed their families if they do not go to work. Because of the intense privatization of healthcare, it is hard for workers to access health services. 

Capitalists have been laying off workers left and right and cutting hours without compensation to avoid hurting their profits. This can be seen in mass lay-offs such as in Philippine Airlines (300 workers laid off). Many contracted Migrant Filipinos have had their contracts cancelled without compensation for themselves or their families. 

Many overseas Filipino workers are gravely affected by COVID-19 (China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan, South Korea, Australia, Italy, etc.). We need to unite, cooperate, and exchange accurate information on how to ensure the rights and well-being of migrant workers or OFWs. There is no one to help Filipino workers but Filipino workers themselves. 

At a time of intensifying economic crisis,  now exacerbated by the grave human health threat posed by COVID-19, working class unity is essential to ensure stability to fight and struggle for the right to live, work with security and the right to health services.

Dare to struggle! Don’t be afraid!

Filipino Workers unite!

Long live the working class! 

*Philippine Department of Labor and Employment 

References:

Panawagan ng Migrante USA sa mga Pilipinong Manggagawa sa U.S.

Lumalaganap ngayon ang Covid-19 sa Estados Unidos. Ang California at New York na may malaking konsentrasyon ng mga manggagawang Pilipino ay may tumataas na bilang ng mga biktima ng Covid-19. Ayon sa DOLE*, may 6 na OFW na sa U.S. ang may sakit. May 538 tripulante at pasahero ng tinamaang barko na Grand Princess cruise ship ang kamakailang nag-disembark sa Oakland, CA. 

Ang Migrante USA ay nananawagan sa lahat ng manggagawang Pilipino sa Estados Unidos na manatiling mapagbantay (vigilant) hindi lamang sa kalusugan kundi pati sa ating mga karapatan bilang manggagawa, kasapi man sa unyon o hindi, dokumentado man o hindi.

1. Alamin ang tama at mahalagang impormasyon hinggil sa COVID-19.

Sa panahon na lumalaganap ang nakahahawang sakit na dulot ng Covid-19, mahalaga na alamin ang mga opisyal na babala at payo mula sa kinauukulan lalu na mula sa mga ekspertong doktor at propesyunal pangkalusugan. Tiyakin na tama ang mga impormasyon at huwag magpalinlang sa mga “fake news”. 

Dinggin ang panawagan at babala mula sa kinauukulang ahensya ng gobyerno (local, city or state) tulad ng tamang paghuhugas ng kamay, pag-iwas sa paglabas o pakikisalamuha sa maraming tao bilang paraan ng pag-iwas sa sakit, at iba pang impormasyon at mga direksyon ukol sa pag-iingat pangkalusugan.

2. Makilahok sa sama-samang pangangalaga ng kalusugan ng sarili, pamilya at komunidad.

Kaisa ang Migrante USA sa malawak na panawagan hinggil sa pangangalaga sa kalusugan.  Alamin ang mga matuwid na hakbang upang maka-iwas sa Covid-19 tulad ng tamang paraan ng paghuhugas ng kamay, pag- “self-quarantine” pag may sintomas, pag-iwas sa mataong lugar at iba pang hakbang sa pag-iingat ayon sa direksyon ng mga propesyunal at ekspertong medikal. Maagap na magpa-konsulta sa doktor kung may nararamdamang sakit (lalu na ang lagnat, ubo at karamdaman sa paghinga). 

Tandaan na pinaka-bulnerable ang sinumang edad 50 pataas at may mga “pre-existing conditions” tulad ng diabetes, sakit sa puso (cardio-vascular), sakit sa baga (respiratory), kanser, “compromised immune system”, at alta-presyon (hypertension/high blood). 

Alamin ang mga patakaran at itinakda ng inyong medical insurance. At kung wala kayong medical insurance ay alamin kung paano ito magagawan ng paraan. Alamin kung saan at paano makakakuha ng libre o murang testing sa Covid-19 sa inyong mga lunsod. Huwag isa-walang bahala kung mayroong nararamdamang sakit.

Maaaring lumapit sa pinaka malapit na organisasyon ng Migrante USA upang makakuha ng impormasyon hinggil sa pagkuha ng atensyong medikal o di kaya ay mai-refer kayo sa mga non-profit organizations na maaaring makatulong hinggil sa usapin ng medical insurance. 

3. Alamin at ipaglaban ang mga karapatan bilang manggagawa. 

Mayorya ng Pilipino sa Estados Unidos ay mga manggagawa na kalakhan ay nagtatrabaho sa service industry. Bagama’t may mga propesyunal na maaaring makapag-“work from home”, kalakhan ng mga manggagawa ay walang ganitong option. Maraming bilang ng mga Pilipino ang maaapektuhan ang kabuhayan kung sakaling magkaroon ng “lockdown” o sapilitang “quarantine” kung saan ay hindi na pwedeng umalis ng bahay upang pumasok sa trabaho. 

Tiyakin na alam ninyo ang mga patakaran at kundisyon hinggil sa inyong “sick leave” at iba pang bagay hinggil sa pagliban sa trabaho kung sakaling hindi kayo makakapasok dulot ng COVID-19.

Kung may iba kayong katanungan hinggil sa inyong mga karapatan bilang manggagawa, lumapit sa pinaka-malapit na kasaping organisasyon ng Migrante USA para sa katanungan at/o referral sa labor attorney. 

4. Manindigan para sa karapatan ng mamamayang Pilipino! Nakikiisa ang Migrante USA sa panawagan ng mga progresibong organisasyon sa Pilipinas na ipatupad ang mga sumusunod: Libre at malawakang testing sa Covid-19, maagap at libreng serbisyong pangkalusugan, dagdag na deployment ng health workers, proteksyon sa mga manggagawa at mahihirap, at dagdag na supply o rekurso. Labanan ang kontra mamamayang lockdown at kaltas sa badyet para serbisyong pampubliko!

Nakikiisa din ang Migrante USA sa panawagan ng Migrante International para sa mga embahada at konsulado na maging aktibo sa pag-alalay sa pagbibigay ng serbisyong pangkalusugan sa mga migrante (pag-acquire ng testing kits at pamamahagi ng supply) at pagtiyak ng maagap na compensation at suporta sa mga apektadong migrante.

5. Manindigan laban sa diskriminasyon at racism.

Dahil ang Covid-19 ay unang kumalat sa China, hindi nangangahulugan na dapat sisihin ang mga Chinese. Maraming Pilipino sa ibang bansa ang biktima ng karahasan dulot ng paninisi at diskriminasyon laban sa mga Asian kasama na ang mga Pilipino. 

6. Makiisa sa mga manggagawa sa buong daigdig. Sa gitna ng krisis na dulot ng COVID-19, lumilitaw lalo ang kahirapan at iba pang suliraning panlipunan at ang mga manggagawa ang tinatamaan nang husto. Maraming manggagawa ang hindi kakayaning makipag-“social distancing” at mag-“work from home” dahil sa kondisyon ng kanilang trabaho sa manupaktura at serbisyo kung saan kailangan nila makisalamuha sa mga tao. Gayundin, wala silang ibang paraan upang gumalaw sa syudad kung hindi gagamit ng madalas masikip na mass transportation. Higit sa lahat, dahil sa pagbaba ng sahod, kawalan ng job security at pagbawi sa mga benepisyo, ang mga manggagawa ay walang kakainin at ipapakain sa pamilya kung hindi sila makakapagtrabaho. Dahil sa matinding pribatisasyon ng serbisyong pangkalusugan, hirap ang mga manggagawa na abutin ang mga serbisyong pangkalusugan.

Walang pag-aalinlangan ang mga kapitalistang sisantehin ang mga manggagawa o bawasan ang oras nang walang compensation upang iwasan ang pagbulusok ng kanilang tubo. Makikita ito sa mass lay-offs tulad ng sa Philippine Airlines (300 workers). Maraming kontrata ng mga migranteng Pilipino ang nakansela na nang walang compensation para sa kanila at mga pamilya nila.

Maraming manggagawang Pilipino sa ibang bansa ang higit na apektado ng Covid-19 (China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan, South Korea, Australia, Italy, atbp.). Kailangan tayong magkaisa, magtulungan at mag palitan ng tamang impormasyon kung paano matitiyak ang kagalingan at karapatan bilang mga migranteng manggagawa o OFWs. Walang ibang magtutulungan kundi tayong mga Pilipinong manggagawa din. 

Sa panahon na umiigting din ang krisis pang-ekonomiya at ngayo’y nadagdagan pa ng matinding banta sa kalusugan ng tao na dulot ng COVID-19, mahalaga ang pagkakaisa ng uring manggagawa upang matiyak ang paninindigan, pakikipaglaban at pakikibaka para sa karapatang mabuhay, magtrabaho nang may seguridad at karapatan sa serbisyong pangkalusugan.

Makibaka! Huwag Matakot!

Manggagawang Pilipino Magkaisa!

Mabuhay ang uring manggagawa!

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