8 / Eight Points under BAYAN’s “Declaration of Unity”

BAYAN hereby adopts the following eight-point program based on its Declaration of Unity.

1. Assert national sovereignty and realize national independence from foreign domination.

The basic right of the Filipino people to national sovereignty and independence has long been suppressed. For centuries, we have been controlled and dominated; first, by colonialism, and then by imperialism, The Philippines remains a nominal republic under the hegemony of US imperialism and the world capitalist system.

Without national freedom, the basic precondition for the exercise of our collective and individual rights is absent. We do not decide our own destiny as a nation. This has been determined for us by our colonial and imperialists masters. Our social, economic and political development has been dependent on the needs and requirements of foreigners. This has kept us from providing for our basic needs as a people. Under such conditions, our people have never had the opportunity to exercise fully their individual freedoms.

This foreign domination has been facilitated by various laws, treaties and agreements that violate the national sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of the Philippines, and allow other countries to interfere in our internal affairs. These were imposed on the nation with the connivance of the local ruling classes who have benefited from the arrangements.

BAYAN has always stood for Philippine national sovereignty and independence. It was in the forefront of the victorious struggle against the US bases in the country. It sustained a nationwide information campaign against the continued presence of the bases, and held daily demonstrations before the Senate for the non-renewal of the treaty.

BAYAN opposes the presence of foreign troops, facilities and bases in Philippine territory. It is against the entry, transit and deployment and/or stockpiling of nuclear weapons in the country. It opposed to foreign military aggression or intervention in our internal affairs and the use of Philippine territory for the aggressive expansionist policies of other countries.

BAYAN calls for the immediate termination of all unequal agreements entered into by the Philippine government, such as the US Military Assistance Agreement, the US-RP Mutual Defense Agreement, the Quirino-Foster Agreement and the RP-Japan Treaty of Amity, Commerce and Navigation.

BAYAN believes that the best guarantee for national independence is an independent national economy. It upholds the right of the nation to control its natural resources and define its own economic policies and program, free from foreign and local exploiters in order to respond to the basic needs and welfare of the people. Only by carrying out a policy of national industrialization, based on the implementation of a genuine land reform program, can the Philippines hope to establish and self-reliant economy.

BAYAN opposes the continuing control of the economy by foreign monopoly capitalists through the IMF-WB. It rejects the conditionalities imposed by the IMF-WB for the extension of foreign loans. It calls for the non-payment of onerous loans and the reduction of the debt service payment. It works for the repeal of the subservient foreign investment laws that only strengthen the neocolonial character of the economy.

2. Empower the people, especially the workers and peasants, promote civil and political rights and develop people’s democracy.

BAYAN believes in the empowerment of the people especially the working people to assert, exercise, protect and promote their basic rights. It believes that empowerment of the people means their liberation from foreign and domestic oppressors and exploiters and involves being able to be aware and critical of their conditions, acquire knowledge, skills and material means to define, articulate, decide and act on their interests.

BAYAN believes that empowerment begins through people’s organizations that harness the collective strength of the workers and peasants and draw upon this strength to protect and uphold their interests, and to mobilize them into action to realize these interests.

BAYAN believes that empowerment of the people is fully realized through the establishment of a social order based on:

a. strength and will of the working people under the leadership of the working class:

b. an electoral system that guarantees the genuine representation of the workers and peasants in all decision-making bodies of government from the local to the national level;
c. structures which guarantee that the rights of the people are upheld and the bourgeois and feudal oppressors and exploiters can no longer oppress and exploit the people.

BAYAN works for the people’s enjoyment of the following civil and political rights:

  • the right to freedom of speech. self-organization and assembly; freedom of religious belief and practice; and to universal suffrage;
  • the right to equality before the law, without prejudice against women, the poor, the uneducated, the children and the aged, the sick or the disabled; regardless of race, religion or political belief;
  • the right to own the means of production for the common good; the right to full employment and job security: and the right of workers to form unions and participate in the running of enterprises;
  • the right to a clean, safe and ecologically sound environment;
  • the right of women to participate equally in all fields of endeavor;
  • the right of children to social and cultural well-being; and
  • the right of the people to rise and fight against those seeking to violate and subvert these rights.

BAYAN opposes the total war policy of US-Ramos regime. It also opposes the continuing displacement of communities from the regime’s total war policy. It calls on the government to abide by its commitment to international laws and covenants on the respect- for the civil and political rights of the people.

3. Promote a self-reliant and sustainable soeio-economic development through national industrialization, genuine land reform and protection of the environment.

BAYAN believes in the collective advancement of the people’s economic interests and welfare: in the development of both industry and agriculture under the principles of self-reliance, and the optimum productivity, with industrialization as the leading factor and agriculture as the base of the economy; the social ownership of enterprises providing vital and basic goods and services and lines of industry essential to the national economy; the cooperativization of agriculture after genuine and thoroughgoing land reform; the use of planning to muster and direct economic activity towards balanced development and the satisfaction of social needs; the promotion of mechanisms for harnessing collective efforts of the people to increase productivity of the national economy; support for the local and private sector contributing positively to the nation’s productive capacity and capital resources: and. The development of science and technology directed towards improving the capacity of the nation to provide

for the basic needs of the people.

BAYAN supports and continuously works for the full implementation of a genuine and truly liberating land reform program. in the belief that the progressive solution of the centuries-old agrarian problem is an essential premise for any full scale national development.

BAYAN calls for the setting up of basic industries especially those whose raw material requirements are most abundant in the country. It also demands the nationalization of vital and strategic industries owned and controlled by foreign monopoly capitalists. and the big comprador and bureaucrat capitalists. BA Y A N believes in the promotion and protection of Filipino capital to the extent that this will contribute to the progress and advancement of the nation.

Foreign investments shall only be allowed and• encouraged to the extent and under conditions that arc beneficial to our national economic growth. Foreign loans shall be contracted only to finance productive undertakings in line with the national economic policy, and under terms of payment that is affordable and not inimical to the goal of developing a self-reliant economy. Trade with other countries should be promoted on the basis of equality and mutual benefit,

BAYAN believes in the decisive role and the integrity of labor and productive forces: in providing work opportunities for all, work that is dignified, fulfilling and productive; the just recognition and compensation for work, and protection from abuse and exploitation of labor; the rights of workers to participate in determining conditions of work; and, in developing cooperation among those who till the land and make it productive.

BAYAN believes in the equitable distribution or national economic wealth. There should be primary concern for the needs and interests of all the working people, especially those marginalized in previous circumstances. Social services should be made available and distributed to all. The development of the public ownership of the means of production as well as the promotion of various other means of property ownership should not constitute or result in private monopoly control.

BAYAN believes in national economic development that makes responsible and optimal use of natural resources and one that protects the ecology and the environment from abuse and destruction. BAYAN opposes the continuing exploitation of our land and marine resources by foreign monopoly capitalists, as well as the transfer of pollutant industries and the dumping if nuclear and toxic wastes in the country. Our people have already suffered so much from the consequences of these imperialist depredations.

4. Improve the people’s working conditions and standard of living and attain full employment.

The Filipino people, especially the toiling masses of workers and peasants, arc the hardest hit by the continuing crisis of [he semicolonial and semifeudal system. With widespread unemployment, the great majority of the people live in absolute poverty. Those lucky enough to be employed are not allowed to enjoy the fruits of their labor as the Philippine government continues to be at the side of the employers who do all they can to keep wages as low as possible. While wage-earners are victimized by the repressive tax system, they are denied access to efficient and adequate delivery of basic services, such as health, housing and education. Instead, the Philippine government chooses to .spend tilt’ large chunk of the annual budget to debt servicing and to the military.

BAYAN believes in providing for the social and economic welfare of the toiling masses of workers and peasants. It works for the formulation of policies that will create full employment of the labor force, ensure job security and humane working conditions, and guarantee decent wages and compensation.

BAYAN believes in the responsibility of the state to ensure efficient and adequate delivery of appropriate health and medical care for the working people, as well as setting up a system that will provide special care and support for’ those in need: pregnant and nursing mothers, young children, the handicapped and disabled, and the aged. It calls for a national drug policy that focuses on the nationalization of all foreign-owned or –controlled drug companies and the banning of hazardous technologies and products.

BAYAN supports the demand of urban poor dwellers for low-cost housing and urban renewal projects. It opposes the arbitrary and inhuman demolition of urban poor dwellings. Any on-site development or relocation project should not result in dislocation of families and communities and the displacement of jobs and work opportunities, and should provide for adequate health and social services.

BAYAN believes in free, relevant, scientific, patriotic and quality education. Education should not only impart skills and knowledge, but promote critical thinking, appreciation of national culture and identity and pro-people and non-sexist values and concern. Special education must be ensured for the disabled and handicapped. There must also be a program for developing gifted children and youth to enhance their talents for national development.

5. Raise the people’s cultural standards and promote a national culture that is progressive, patriotic, scientific and popular.

BAYAN has always stood on the side of positions and trends in Philippine society that are positive forces in building a national culture that is progressive and scientific, genuinely popular and Filipinistic in the best sense of the term. It believes that such a culture should be elaborated by Filipinos to replace the decadent foreign and feudal culture that has been imposed on us by old and new colonizers.

BAYAN believes that a people’s culture should be progressive i.e. for national liberation and social emancipation. The Filipino people’s struggle for national liberation and democracy embodies the highest goals and aspirations of our people at this point in time. So it is only fitting that this should be depicted in the literature and the arts of our time. It is of great import to free the Filipino people from backward thinking and to inculcate in them a pro-people culture that would impel them to struggle for the overthrow of their oppressors.

BAYAN aims to instill among the people a sense of nationhood and purpose and imbue them with the spirit of fighting for their rights and against oppression and exploitation. For years, the people’s organizations allied in BAYAN have succeeded in popularizing progressive ideas, exposing the roots of the people’s sufferings and offering them the vision of an independent, democratic and just society.

BAYAN calls for the promotion of literature, visual arts, theater, music and dances that reflect the problems and aspirations of the masses of workers and peasants who are also their main audience. The utilization of these various art forms is complemented by massive literacy programs to liberate the people from ignorance? superstitions and to counter the rotten ideas propagated by the imperialists and their local cohorts.

BAYAN fights for a patriotic, scientific and mass culture. Patriotic because it upholds and defends the sovereignty and independence of the country, combats colonial mentality and subservience. It is a culture that raises high the distinct Filipino character and the richness of the cultures of the indigenous peoples found in the various regions and areas of the country.

BAYAN believes in the promotion of a scientific culture that opposes feudal and superstitious way of thinking which make the people resistant to the ideas of radical change. Consistent with this is the promotion of science and technology in the schools’ curricula.

This culture must be popular in the sense of being by and for the people and that is reflective of their conditions and aspirations and rejects the prevailing decadent, bourgeois and feudal, anti-people and anti-won1en culture. The inculcation among the people of the power of their collective action and unity should be propagated. History books that contain distortions made by the imperialists and the ruling classes should be rewritten in a way that highlights the people’s revolutionary tradition and struggle against oppression and exploitation.

BAYAN believes that the education system and the mass media should be used to promote this new people’s culture. It is therefore imperative that ownership of these be freed from foreign control and private monopoly. The full flowering of Filipino as the national language must be encouraged, while other local languages and dialects will continue to be used and developed.

6. Respect the right of ethnic minorities to self-determination and autonomy.

The country’s indigenous peoples and the Bangsa Moro people have for years lived in utter despair and destitution because of government’s neglect and exploitation. Their right to their ancestral lands continues to be violated by the indiscriminate intrusion of local and foreign corporations that want to exploit the rich natural resources in the areas they inhabit. Their call for autonomy and self-determination has been ignored by the Philippine government.

The history of the country’s indigenous peoples and the Bangsa Moro people in resisting aggression and colonialism is fraught with heroism. The country’s indigenous and the Mora peoples valiantly fought against both the Spanish and US colonizations. To this day, they continue to stand against government policies geared towards the further exploitation of the remaining stands of forests for “development” projects and oppression of their peoples.

BAYAN upholds the right of the indigenous people, and the Moro people, to self-determination and the running of their own affairs, to free themselves from national oppression and exploitation, chauvinism and discrimination. This is consistent with the building of new Philippines where there is unity und equality of all peoples and nationalities and where every citizen is free from imperialism.

While allowing them to determine their political, economic and cultural development, indigenous people, and the Bangsa Moro people should also be accorded rightful representation and participation in the central government.

The granting of genuine autonomy, to which past and present governments have paid lip-service, shall be finally accorded the indigenous peoples. Autonomy means full guarantees for self-governance within the framework of a truly people’s democratic republic.

7. Eliminate discrimination against women.

BAYAN opposes in principle and in practice all forms of discrimination against women. It stands for and continuously works to realize the complete equality of the sexes in all spheres.

BAYAN believes that Filipino women suffer under triple oppression: as part of a nation under semicolonial and semifeudal rule; as part of the oppressed classes; and as women living in n patriarchal society.

Women belonging to the exploited and oppressed classes and sectors share a litany of sufferings und hardships. Women workers suffer discrimination in that they are the last to be hired and the first to be fired.

Aside from this. they suffer sexual harassment at the workplace. They do not enjoy additional benefits such as day-care services, and at times denied maternity benefits.

The condition of peasant women is worse. The work they contribute in tilling the land is in the main unpaid. Often they are also made to render unpaid house work for the parasitic landlord. They are also victims of usurers and land grabbers. The poor people in the countryside, being the principal target of the government’s total war policy, have also suffered immense hardship and destruction to life and properties. Many have been displaced and become internal refugees. To this day, though, landlessness is still the most serious problem experienced by the peasant class.

Women professionals are not spared from severe economic crisis. They continue to face the specter of unemployment, low wages and repression. It is indeed revolting that thousands upon thousands of women are forced to go abroad to become domestic helpers and suffer further exploitation or, worse, to become prostitutes.

BAYAN fights for the right of women to be protected from all forms of social discrimination and degradation. It emphasizes that the struggle for national liberation is intertwined with the struggle to liberate the women and vice versa.

As women they have the right to divorce, over their bodies and reproductive functions. Single women parents deserve state support. Other women issues that should be attended to putting up structures and mechanism to break the bonds of their social confinement and isolation; support programs for abused and abandoned women, maternal health care, safe means of contraception and skills development.

8. Promote an independent, peaceful and just policy of international relations.

BAYAN calls for the abrogation of all unequal treaties and agreements and rejects the government’s entering into relations that allow the subservience of our national interests and violate our integrity as a nation, and denounces all forms of foreign intervention and interference in the country’s internal affairs from all other states.

BAYAN envisions a foreign policy that is independent, peace-oriented, and non-aligned. This should be a policy that renounces war as an instrument of national policy; condemns expansionist policies of other countries and recognizes the sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence of all nations: and supports the movement of non-aligned nations, international anti-nuclear and anti-bases movements and the ASEAN declaration of Zone of Peace, Freedom and Neutrality.

The Philippines should establish diplomatic and mutually beneficial economic relations with all countries irrespective of ideology or social system.

BAYAN has always stood for the protection of the rights of migrant Filipinos and for them to be accorded equal treatment with the workers in the receiving countries. It views the problems of out migration as integral to the problems of the Filipino people at home .and to the global problem of imperialism. It is exerting great effort to organize migrant Filipinos to fight for their right and welfare in the receiving countries and to be. accorded proper recognition at home.

BAYAN supports the progressive aspirations and liberation struggles of other peoples. In this context, it supports the efforts of people’s organizations to take active part in all moves towards establishing a just international economic order. It consistently support, the positive, pro-people decisions of the United Nations (UN), but it also opposes efforts of imperialist powers to use the UN to oppress certain nations or ethnic communities.

BAYAN supports all efforts that uphold the sovereignty, independence and equality of nations, and promote world peace and progress.

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