Bagong Alyansang Makabayan

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Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Filipino: New Patriotic Alliance) or BAYAN is a leftist political coalition in the Philippines, started in May 1985 during the Ferdinand Marcos dictatorship. It brought together more than a thousand grassroots and progressive organizations, representing over a million people.

The nickname BAYAN was picked since it stands for nation or community in Filipino.

Contents

History

BAYAN was a participant in the mainly non-violent revolution against the Marcos dictatorship, contributing to one of the first of the non-violent, popular revolutions of the 1980s. Since 1998, Bayan Muna, the political party of the organization, has been the leading party-list member in the House of Representatives of the Philippines.

BAYAN is associated with political parties Anakpawis, Bayan Muna, and GABRIELA. They currently have a combined total of six in the representatives 13th Congress of the Philippines: Crispin Beltran, Rafael V. Mariano, Satur Ocampo, Teodoro Casiño, Joel Virador, and Liza Maza.

Political structure

Different opinions exist as to whether the structure of BAYAN is progressive, communist, democratic or feudal, hierarchical or non-hierarchical, and whether it is nationalist or not. Some people claim that BAYAN is Maoist. Its own documentation [1] suggests that it is a centralized organization, including:

  • chapters as the smallest units
  • a general assembly as the theoretically highest policy-making body, but which meets only once every three years
  • a national council which meets twice a year or more often if needed
  • a national executive committee to implement the policies of the general assembly and national council
  • five specialized commissions
  • a general secretariat that runs day-to-day operations
  • a national office in Quezon City in Metro Manila.

Member Organizations

BAYAN is a coalition of many different organizations such as:

In a resolution past during the BAYAN 7th Congress in August 2004, the coalition would expand to include overseas Filipino organizations as official members of BAYAN. In January 2005, the first BAYAN USA assembly was held in San Francisco. As the first overseas BAYAN chapter, BAYAN USA directly coordinated the implementation of BAYAN campaigns to BAYAN member organizations in the United States. These organizations include the NY Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines, League of Filipino Students in San Francisco State University, Anakbayan, the Critical Filipino/Filipina Studies Collective, Habi Ng Kalinangan, and Babae (women).

Current Issues

On August 7, 2002, the secretary-general of BAYAN, Teodoro A. Casiño, claimed that under the Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo presidency, soldiers murdered at least 13 BAYAN and BAYAN Muna members.

Claims such as these are consistent with reports from Amnesty International. For example, on April 22 2003, Amnesty International claimed that as part of the government's anti-insurgency campaign against the New Peoples' Army (NPA), there were systematic human rights violations such as disappearances, torture, extrajudicial executions and arbitrary arrests carried out by national security forces and paramilitary groups known as[militias. According to the reports, both civilians and members of legally recognised organizations considered to be related to the NPA are at risk, especially in provinces such as Oriental Mindoro.

Criticisms

A criticism of the group is that they often take stances against companies, both foreign and local.[2] They are also criticized for demanding benefits for their members without due regard to worker productivity.[3] [4] Some hold that this could lead to inflation and make workers no better off at best (see price/wage spiral) or worse off because of sticky prices. Also, the group demands dismissals protection, which in some cases could make it difficult and expensive to fire workers despite just cause [5], thus promoting rent-seeking behavior (i.e. workers could be inefficient up to a point without threat of being fired).


As a counter-example, China has seen its rural real wages increase 5.5 times since 1978 when it adopted capitalism. [6]. Nominal wages in the manufacturing sector grew substantially, especially foreign for owned companies. While real wages grew 45-65% from 1993-2003 (ie even when the price increases of goods are taken into account, people still could “buy” 45-65% more goods)

In contrast, many companies they have targeted often closed shop within a decade of agreeing to their demands or are often pressed with more demands. This has led to either job losses or lower investments. It is often cited that Filipino workers are more productive and reliable when they work overseas or in export processing zones in the absence of the highly regulated labor market BAYAN takes advantage of [7]. BAYAN often counters that export processing zones exploit workers with below minimum wages and only provide temporary employment for 6 months. However it is often argued that it is simply better than nothing and BAYAN offers no sustainable alternatives. The issue of temporary employment is often debated. While groups like BAYAN denounce it as opppressive those on the other political spectrum will say militant tactics employed by those like BAYAN have made it necessary. They point out it is not in a firm's interest to have temporary employment of 6 months due to the cost of training employees and effects of the learning curve on productivity. It has become necessary to employ workers for only 6 months to maintain labor flexibility since they face a highly competitive global environment [8]. This is due to the fact that Philippine employees who have worked for longer than 6 months cannot be dismissed without due process (often long and tedious sometimes lasting 10 years) [9]. This can effectively hold a firm hostage because it still has to face the realities of a fiercely competitive market while its operations are suspended due to labor disputes.

Contact Details

  • Address: #1 Maaralin cor. Matatag Sts. Brgy Central, Diliman, Quezon City
  • Tel No.: 632-435-9151
  • Fax #: 632-435-6930

References

External links