Workers to hold coordinated, localized protest actions across Metro Manila vs Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s cover-up and lies
From the pier to Tutuban in Manila, Novaliches, Marikina, Pasig and Makati up to Las Pinas, Cavite and Laguna at the south of Metro Manila, a new workers’ alliance dubbed as Workers Action declared they would conduct coordinated localized protests against the burdensome Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo government on March 27.
“This is just for starters,” said Elmer “Bong” Labog, chair of Kilusang Mayo Uno, one of the convenors of Workers Action, or Workers for Accountability, Truth and Arroyo’s Resignation.
In a press conference, Labog disclosed that their affiliate unions would join the coordinated localized protests. A local alliance of workers and urban poor organizations will hold a picket at the pier and rally to Tutuban for a program on March 27. Workers in different factories in Novaliches will picket at 2pm and merge for a noise barrage at the Novaliches Mall before evening.
In Laguna, members of Ilaw Buklod Manggagawa (IBM) and employees’ union in NXP Electronics will conduct a mobile picket in workers’ enclaves in Canlubang. They also plan to ask people to sign petitions pressing Arroyo to stop its cover-up operation and lies regarding its corrupt transactions.
In M. Alvares Avenue at Las Pinas workers will launch their local alliance that would be a member of Workers Action. After the launch, they will have a program at the Las Pinas market. In the clusters of factories in Marikina, Pasig and Makati, there will also be picket-protests and noise-barrages.
In Cavite, workers from plants and communities in Monterey at Langkaan will converge and march against the Arroyo government’s cover-up of the truth. 4K or Kilusan para sa Katotohanan at Katarungan Laban sa Katiwalian, composed of urban poor groups, and WARM or Workers for Arroyo’s Resignation Movement and SMB-Sigaw ng Manggagawa at Bayan-Patalsikin si Gloria, will work together to conduct this protest action.
”We expect these protest actions to be followed by others, and that more local alliances of unions and urban poor will be formed to oppose Arroyo’s flagrant moves to hold on to power despite the continuous exposés of its scams, abuse and wholesale neglect of the people’s welfare,” said Bong Labog. Explained KMU’s leader, while the Arroyos and their ilk are getting fat on billions of pesos and dollars from anomalous government transaction, the government is driving workers to worse deprivation because of the Arroyo’s shelving of the P125 wage hike demand. “The workers received the smallest wage increases ever under the Arroyo regime,” said Labog.
Labog stressed that the workers have long been bearing the crunch of the “highly doubtful economic growth under Arroyo.” Not only were their incomes falling, they are also losing jobs and long-struggled for benefits due to Arroyo’s policies for liberalization. Said Labog, the so-called 7.3% economic growth of 2007 is “as fake as Arroyo’s presidency, nothing but a blend of numerous dagdag-bawas (tinkering) with statistics to give Arroyo something to crow about.”
But worse than that, Labog added, Arroyo’s much-vaunted economic fundamentals are killing off jobs and livelihood. Labog enumerated the garments firms that had been forced to close down or retrench workers last year, even as others that remained still fear they’ll have to close or retrench this year. There is also massive retrenchment going on even in big and strategic firms because of its management’s drive to replace workers with more exploited contractual employees. According to Labog, the worsening contractualization is brought about by Arroyo’s implementation of policies on liberalization.
”Without let-up, the Arroyo government is making the Filipino people suffer for their policies and excesses, so it’s only right for workers to come together and hold protest-actions,” said Labog. He called on everyone to support the local protests of Workers’ Action.
Arroyo’s accountability in the looming rice crisis
According to Labog, the looming rice shortage is just one of the latest burdens brought about by Arroyo’s corruption and neglect of people’s welfare. ”From the reports that are coming out now, it is clear that the impending rice crisis is a result of years of neglect of the country’s rice production and agriculture as a whole, as well as implementation of liberalization. Arroyo should be made accountable to this,” said Labog.
He adds that it is highly unlikely we will get out unscathed from the impending rice crisis based on Arroyo’s standard responses of dishing out inconsistent denials, belittling the true extent of the crisis and offering band-aid solutions. ”Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has become so used in weaving lies to stay on in Malacanang— from fake presidency to fake economic growth and stability. We hope Filipinos will come together in bigger numbers to oust this fake president,” said Labog.##