Celebrating  the 125th year of Labor Day!

 

Workers' and People's Day of Outrage

 

Liwasang Bonifacio and Mendiola

 

Manila

 

 

May 1,  2011

 

 

■    Davao      ■    Cotabato

 

 

 

■   Video clips

 

■   A Mural by UGATLahi Artistcollective

 

■   Labor and the Philippine Revolution  by Jose Maria Sison

 

■   Filipino workers must unite to expose and oppose the anti-worker US-Aquino regime

 

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Photos courtesy of Arkibong Bayan, Judy Taguiwalo, Victor Villanueva,

Zarah Dayao and Karl Ramirez as indicated by the filenames

           
     
     
     

 

Press Statement
Labor Day 2011

May 1 is igniting a flame that could burn Aquino

This year’s Labor Day bears witness to the display of outrage by the Filipino workers and people over the Aquino regime’s refusal to grant a significant wage hike amidst rising prices of basic goods and services, and petroleum products especially.

It is an outrage directed at the hunger, poverty and oppression that have intensified over the reign of regimes which have all served big foreign capitalists and governments and the local ruling elite at the expense of the Filipino workers and people.

It is an outrage over the extreme exploitation and oppression of Filipino workers. The pressing down of wages, the rolling back of job security, the lack of jobs and livelihood, and attacks on trade-union rights have intensified through the years.

It is an outrage that seeks an immediate and genuine economic relief in the coming days, weeks and months. Band-aid solutions being offered by the Aquino regime will not dissipate this outrage but will only ignite it even further.

We vow that today’s big nationwide protests will lead to even bigger protests in the coming days, weeks and months throughout the country. We vow to translate our anger at the Aquino regime’s policies to collective action and struggle.

The targets of our continuing outrage are the unabated oil price hikes and overpricing of oil, the Aquino regime’s efforts to deny a significant wage hike through the regional wage boards, and cuts in subsidies to education and social services.

The Aquino regime should heed Labor Day’s warning signal. If it fails to act now to uphold the interests of the Filipino workers and people, it will face ever-growing protests and the possibility of being the target of an ouster movement.

On the occasion of the 125th international celebration of Labor Day, we express our solidarity with the workers and peoples of the world who are fighting the plunder and wars of aggression being carried out by US imperialism.

By calling our protest a “Day of Outrage,” we highlight our solidarity with the workers and peoples of the Middle East and North Africa who have defied repression and deceit to topple anti-people regimes and seek radical change for their societies.

With the workers and peoples of the world, we are seeking an end to neoliberal and pro-imperialist policies that have kept our country underdeveloped. We want an end to a system that has only enriched the few at the expense of the majority.

Even as we express our outrage, we are filled with hope as we witness the workers and people of the Philippines and the world stand up to their exploiters and oppressors to collectively and militantly say “Enough!” and to fight for change.

Reference: Elmer “Bong” Labog, KMU chairperson, 0908-1636597

     
           
     
     
     

 

Press Statement
Kilusang Mayo Uno
29 April 2011

Fight for health and safety in the workplace!
Down with imperialism! Fight for socialism!

We of the Philippines’ genuine, militant and anti-imperialist labor center Kilusang Mayo Uno unite with the workers and peoples of the world in commemorating Workers’ Memorial Day.

We remember the more than 300 workers in the Philippines who die yearly due to work-related causes, as well as the thousands more who are disabled, injured and made unwell by work. We also remember the more than two million workers in the world who die yearly due to work-related causes, as well as the hundreds of millions more who are disabled, injured and made unwell by work. These staggering numbers remind us that there is more to these tragedies than accidents, that they are systemic in nature.

We are glad to report that in the recently-concluded 10th National Congress of the KMU, we passed a resolution for the yearly commemoration of the Workers’ Memorial Day.

The monopoly-capitalist system is responsible for the tragedies that we remember when we commemorate Workers’ Memorial Day. A system that is committed to delivering superprofits to the capitalist few through the exploitation of the working majority cannot help but cause these tragedies. In fact, the monopoly-capitalist system subsists in dealing death to workers and in taking life from them.

We therefore unite with the workers and peoples of the world in fighting for health and safety in the capitalist workplace. We also unite with the workers and peoples of the world in fighting for a workplace that will truly and consistently uphold workers’ health and safety. This workplace, we believe, is free from the exploitation and control of imperialists, big capitalists and other reactionaries. This workplace, we believe, can only be achieved in a society that is socialist.

The current grave financial and economic crisis that is besetting the global capitalist system is making the already extreme poverty, hunger and oppression being experienced by the workers and peoples of the world even worse. It is also making more visible the death-dealing and life-taking character of the global capitalist system in terms of more deaths, more disabilities and more injuries caused by work.

The current grave financial and economic crisis therefore provides a good opportunity for progressive trade-union activists and leaders worldwide to step up and intensify campaigns for health and safety in the workplace. It is also providing a good opportunity to raise the consciousness of workers and peoples on the death-dealing and life-taking character of the global capitalist system, on the need to change it and on the need to replace it with a socialist society free from various forms of exploitation and oppression.

Reference: Elmer “Bong” Labog, KMU chairperson, 0908-16365

 

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Workers storm, slam regional wage boards
Post date: 2011/04/28 - 4:00pm


Workers stormed the country’s regional wage boards (RWBs) today as labor center Kilusang Mayo Uno staged its “National Day of Action Against Regional Wage Boards,” saying the boards are not the government agencies which would give workers a significant wage hike.

The protest was held three days before this year’s Labor Day and four days before the National Capital Region wage board is set to start deliberations on wage hike petitions. In Metro Manila, the protest was held in front of the office of the National Wages and Productivity Commission, the mother agency of the country’s RWBs, in Malate.

Workers threw paint bombs into a tarpaulin streamer with the face of Pres. Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III and the logo of the NWPC on it.

“We are angry over the efforts of the Aquino government to confine deliberations on workers’ demands for a wage hike into the country’s RWBs. For the more than 20 years of their existence the RWBs gave only pitiful amounts as wage increase for workers,” said Roger Soluta, KMU secretary-general.

“The government agency tasked to ‘adjust’ or ‘increase’ workers’ is nothing but a mechanism not only for freezing workers’ wages but for pressing these down. We have every reason to believe that our calls for a significant wage hike will come to naught if left in the hands of the RWBs,” he added.

KMU said that the highest wage increase approved by the country’s RWBs was a mere P26.00.

“Now that more and more workers are demanding a significant wage hike, more and more workers are also supporting calls for the abolition of the regional wage boards. More and more workers are demanding a return to at least the implementation of a national minimum wage,” Soluta said.

“Just like capitalists, the regional wage boards refuse to implement a significant wage hike, that is why we turn our sights on the national government. It is only through the House of Representatives and the Senate, with the prodding of the president, that workers have the chance of attaining a significant wage hike,” he added.

“We are therefore putting pressure on President Aquino to certify as urgent House Bill 375 which seeks to legislate a P125 across-the-board wage hike nationwide. This bill, filed by Anakpawis Partylist Rep. Rafael Mariano, embodies the kind of wage hike that we demand and need right now,” Soluta said.

Reference Person: Roger Soluta, KMU secretary-general
Campaign: PhP 125 Legislated Wage Hike
Contact information: 0928-7215313

 

March to Liwasan Bonifacio, then to Mendiola
     
     
           
     
     
     

 

KMU condemns pro-Noynoy groups’ pro-contractualization bill
Post date: 2011/04/28 - 7:59am

Labor center Kilusang Mayo Uno condemned Akbayan Partylist and Alliance of Progressive Labor for helping legitimize the widespread contractualization schemes in the country with their security of tenure bill and for promoting illusions that the Aquino government can still be pro-labor.

The groups’ security of tenure bill claims that it recognizes subscontracting as a “valid business practice but also protects workers from unscrupulous and unnecessary subcontracting.”

“Akbayan and APL are upholding subcontracting while paying lip service to protecting workers and claiming that this effort will end subcontracting altogether. Their bill is music to the ears of the anti-worker Aquino government and big foreign and local capitalists, despite the feigned opposition of the latter,” said Roger Soluta, KMU secretary-general.

“The real problem here, the real bane to the Filipino workers and people, is subcontracting itself and not the lack of protection from subcontracting. It may be a ‘valid business practice’ for capitalists but is far from valid for the Filipino workers and people,” he added.

“How can subcontracting and other flexible work arrangements be anywhere near valid for the Filipino workers and people when these press down workers’ wages, attack job security, and violate workers’ rights whole-scale?” he asked.

KMU also criticized APL secretary-general Joshua Mata’s statement that President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III’s support for the said bill “will be a good signal” that the president “is pro-labor.”

“President Aquino has already been tried and found wanting by the Filipino workers and people. We have had enough signals from President Aquino that he is anti-worker and a stooge of big foreign and local capitalists. We are not groping for pro-labor signals from him anymore,” Soluta said.

“With this statement, Joshua Mata is spreading the illusion that President Aquino can still be pro-labor. A genuine labor leader should be condemning the president now, for the latter has failed to do anything that will at least give immediate economic relief to the Filipino workers and people who are suffering from hunger and poverty,” he added.

“On the other hand, President Aquino has continuously guaranteed that capitalists’ huge profits from investing in the country will continue to grow – even if that also means allowing the continued implementation of subcontracting schemes,” he said.

Reference Person: Roger Soluta, KMU secretary-general
Campaign: Kabuhayan at Katarungang Panlipunan, Ipaglaban!
Contact information: 0928-7215313

 

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The good news we want: significant wage hike, junking of oil E-VAT
Post date: 2011/04/26 - 4:55pm

“This is the good news that the Filipino workers and people want: a significant wage hike and the junking of the 12% Expanded Value-Added Tax on petroleum products. Anything less won’t quell our protests.”

This is labor center Kilusang Mayo Uno’s reaction to presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda’s statement that Pres. Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III will himself announce “a good news” on this year’s Labor Day.

“It is clear that President Aquino is rattled by the growing clamor and intensifying protests for an immediate economic relief from increases in the prices of basic goods and services, especially of petroleum products. He has shifted his position on the people’s demands on wage and oil products from hard-core opposition to a more conciliatory approach,” said Elmer “Bong” Labog.

“But we are warning the President: anything less than a significant wage hike and the junking of the E-VAT on oil won’t provide immediate economic relief to the Filipino workers and people and as such won’t stop our protests,” he added.

Labog enumerated two concrete measures which will provide immediate economic relief to the Filipino workers and people.

“One, he should certify as urgent the passage of House Bill 375 filed by Anakpawis Partylist Rep. Rafael Mariano which seeks the legislation of a P125 across-the-board wage hike nationwide. We want a legislated wage hike because that is the only way we can get a substantial increase, and we want it across-the-board nationwide so that even non-unionized and contractual workers can benefit from the increase,” Labog said.

“Two, he should junk the 12% E-VAT on petroleum products. That will reduce oil prices by as much as P7.00 per liter. He should also conduct a genuine and open investigation on the overpricing being implemented by the oil cartel. He should stop issuing empty pa-pogi threats to the oil cartel and do something concrete to punish the overpricing of oil products,” he added.

“If President Aquino fails to announce these much-needed reforms, he should brace himself for bigger protests in the coming months. Anything less than a significant wage hike and the junking of the E-VAT on oil products is just a cheap attempt to douse with cold water the people’s burning outrage and protests,” Labog said.

Reference Person: Elmer “Bong” Labog, KMU chairperson
Campaign: PhP 125 Legislated Wage Hike
Contact information: 0908-1636597

 

 

     
     
     
           
     
     
     

 

Mining Worker in Compostela Valley, 4th labor leader killed under Aquino
Post date: 2011/04/26 - 3:19pm

Labor center Kilusang Mayo Uno condemned the murder of Santos "Ricky" Manrique, 49, president of the Federation of Miners' Association in Pantukan (FEDMAP) in Compostela Valley. Manrique is the fourth labor leader killed under Aquino’s Oplan Bayanihan.

Manrique was shot dead last April 12 at around 6:30 pm while having dinner at his residence in Napnapan village.

“Manrique’s death shows how brutal Oplan Bayanihan is. The government lets foreign mining corporations devastate our natural resources under the banner of development and murder whoever gets in their way,” said Roger Soluta, KMU secretary-general.

Manrique is a known leader of an alliance against large scale mining group in Compostela Valley. He is known for opposing the mining operations of Nationwide Development Corporation (NADECOR) and the US-owned Russell Mining and Mineral Inc. He has led the campaign against the entry of Napnapan Mineral Resources Inc., which was allowed by the government to operate on a 4,912-hectare land, driving away small-scale miners.

“Aquino did not simply allow these giant mining corporations to operate in our lands but also gave them license to have private armies and conduct killing sprees against those who threaten their operations, whether armed rebels or civilians,” Soluta said.

“For all of Aquino’s boasts regarding Oplan Bayanihan’s so-called ‘pro-people approach,’ it is very obvious that this oplan is as brutal as Arroyo’s Oplan Bantay-Laya. Like its predecessor, it was designed to protect the interests of US investments in the country against the Filipino workers and people,” Soluta added.

KMU demanded justice for the killing of Manrique and condemned Pres. Aquino for allowing foreign mining corporations to rape our natural resources and killing our countrymen.

Reference Person: Roger Soluta, KMU secretary-general
Contact information: 0928-7215313

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5 Reasons Workers Hate Regional Wage Boards
Post date: 2011/04/24 - 3:22pm

Pres. Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III’s regime is trying to direct the widespread and still-mounting calls for a significant wage hike to the country’s regional wage boards (RWBs).

We do not want the RWBs to discuss workers’ calls for a significant wage hike! We know in advance the outcome of the RWBs’ deliberations on the matter: a wage hike that is meager and a far cry from a substantial wage hike. We are calling on Congress to take up the matter as contained in House Bill 375 which was filed by Anakpawis Partylist Rep. Rafael Mariano and seeks to legislate a P125 across-the-board wage increase nationwide.

The Filipino workers and people have at least five reasons for hating the RWBs. We in the Kilusang Mayo Uno have been consistent in rejecting the RWBs as mechanisms for “increasing” workers’ wages. We have been calling for nothing less than the abolition of the RWBs, which are nothing but mechanisms for pressing down workers’ wages.

(1) Premise. The RWBs were created based on the premise that the there are different cost of living in various regions, and that the cost of living in the country’s regions are generally lower than that in Metro Manila. This premise is highly erroneous, and only finds justification in capitalists’ efforts to reduce labor cost at all costs. The Filipino workers and people share the same amount of poverty and of suffering from high prices.

(2) Composition. The RWBs are “tripartite” bodies composed of representatives from the government, the business sector and the labor sector. In truth, the RWBs are entirely controlled by capitalists because the government is their stooge and labor is represented by pro-business labor center Trade-Union Congress of the Philippines.

(3) Track record. A mere P26.00 is the highest increase in wages that was approved by the RWBs in their more than two decades of existence. Aside from this, wage increases approved by RWBs were not necessarily enjoyed by all workers, for RWBs are notorious for granting numerous exemptions to capitalists in implementing wage hikes.

(4) General character. It is clear from the above that RWBs were created not really to increase workers’ wages but to press wages down. The RWBs bear a huge responsibility for the fact that the real value of workers’s wages has been thoroughly eroded by the increasing prices of basic goods and services. According to a research made by independent think-tank Ibon Foundation, the NCR minimum wage of Php404 is only worth Php235 in real terms (deflated with inflation rates up to March 2009).

(5) Under Noynoy. Pres. Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III has clearly shown his preferential option for the rich. While he has kept his silence for so long over calls for a wage hike, he has been very vocal in promising huge profits to capitalists. The RWBs are sure to decide on nominal wage hikes with the Aquino regime’s policy framework – of upholding capitalists’ interests over those of the Filipino workers and people – in mind.

Reference Person: Roger Soluta, KMU secretary-genera
Campaign: PhP 125 Legislated Wage Hike
Contact information: 0928-7215313

 

     
     
     
           
     
     
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Filipino workers must unite to expose and oppose the anti-worker US-Aquino regime

Jorge "Ka Oris" Madlos
Spokesperson
National Democratic Front of the Philippines-Mindanao
May 1, 2011
On the 125th year commemoration of the International Day of Labor, the NDFP-Mindanao salutes all Filipino workers. We honor the heroes and martyrs of the militant and revolutionary labor movement in the country and around the world who have set a great example of dedication and revolutionary fervor for the emancipation of the proletariat and other toiling classes from the throes of exploitation and oppression.

Under a semi-colonial and semi-feudal Philippines, the Filipino proletariat, who comprise 15% of the populace, are placed at the very altar of exploitation and oppression to satiate the hunger for super profit of foreign monopoly capitalists and their counterpart local comprador bourgeoisie. Blood, sweat, and toil have been expended by millions of workers to grind the very machines that drain them of their blood, yet alienate them from the fruits of their labor.

Filipino workers within the country and abroad suffer deeply as they continue to receive slave wages, while big capitalists extract large profits from surplus labor. To serve this purpose, imperialist firms and their local counterparts have imposed such "flexible' labor schemes as contractualization, casualization and outsourcing. Unionization has virtually been barred ever since these schemes came into play, depriving them of a weapon against intense exploitation, oppression and deprivation. Their right to organize has been stifled using state-imposed anti-labor policies and outright fascism.

In Mindanao, workers suffer from extremely low wages and risky working conditions. They receive an average of about P240/daily for plantation and non-plantation workers, a mere pittance that can barely sustain a family of 6 given the daily cost of living for 2010 at P957.

The continuing policy exporting Filipino workers overseas for the much-needed "remittances" has reached a terrible backlash as hundreds of OFWs suffer from the violent strife in other countries, such as in the Middle East and North Africa. Worse, no sustainable work awaits them upon their return to replace the one they lost abroad.

Not since the Marcos regime were the workers in the country given a significant wage increase. And such cannot be hoped for at present because the US-backed Aquino regime has no concrete plans of alleviating Filipino workers both here and abroad from their terrible plight. The best that it could do for Labour Day is to offer workers a lame non-wage package.

Given Noynoy Aquino's familial ties, his government has become an apologist and protector for foreign monopoly capitalists and big bourgeois compradors, like Danding Cojuanco and Lucio Tan, and others who own agri-business plantations, mining firms, logging concessions and other big businesses. Much like his predecessor, Mr. Aquino will also tear down the ever-building demand for just wages and benefits, security of tenure, and a truly nationalized industry.

Certainly, with the reactionary state's continued implementation of anti-labor measures and policies, Noynoy's populist visage -- one of pretense and deceit - is fast being unmasked, revealing, quite contrary to his namesake, a fetid anti-Filipino whose allegiance is solely to his imperialist master and not to workers. Mr. Aquino must be exposed, and vigorously opposed, for the anti-worker that he is!

In the past, Filipino workers have defended their interests against intense exploitation and repression through its ultimate weapon -- the labor strike. However, recently, US imperialist, in collusion with the local ruling classes through the reactionary state have invented and imposed such laws the assumption of jurisdiction (AJ), which ironically takes the strike to their advantage to justify labor suppression and the retrenchment of struggling workers, leaving hundreds, even millions, hapless without work.

Given this, the exploiting classes desperately bear down on the Filipino proletariat to leave them defenseless and reduce them to docility. However, sprung from the long history of proletarian struggle, a vibrant and fighting option is available for the Filipino worker: Join the New People's Army in waging a national-democratic revolution and lead the whole exploited classes toward complete liberation!

Long live the Filipino proletariat!

     
     
           
     
     
     

 

BAYAN statement on May 1 - Aquino government has miserably failed the Filipino workers
Press Statement
May 1, 2011

Aquino government has miserably failed the Filipino workers

Bayan joins the Filipino working class and the working peoples of the world in commemorating Labor Day. Amid continued global turmoil and crisis, we affirm that resistance is the only way out of the crisis.

Today the Aquino regime promises “good news” for the Filipino workers. Yet in the same breath it says it cannot address the demands for a meaningful wage increase. Hence, the so-called “good news” can only result in disappointment. There is great resistance from the administration on other just demands such as price controls, the removal of the Value Added Tax on oil and other forms of economic relief.

The economic crisis is made even more scandalous in light of the unpunished corruption that is prevalent in all branches of government. The people are still crying out for justice for the gross corruption and human rights violations committed by the Arroyo regime.

Despite its posturing of being sensitive to the plight of the poor, the Aquino administration has pleaded helplessness in the wake of rising prices, escalating hunger and worsening poverty. Its response to public clamor has been limited to ad hoc solutions. Dole-out economics and “pantawid” programs have failed to truly address the burdens faced by the people. Workers are given more of the same policies from the previous Arroyo administration.

The Filipino workers cannot expect fundamental economic reforms from the current administration, not when its economic policies adhere closely to neo-liberal globalization. The Aquino government, in adherence to this policy, has supported the depression of wages while supporting private profits. It would go to great lengths in securing the profits of big business, even giving them regulatory risk guarantees, but it won’t do the same to secure the livelihood of the people.

The government finds nothing wrong with generating revenues from the misery of the people, as in the case with the VAT on oil. It seeks to justify the continued collection of this unjust burden so that it could pay foreign debts and please foreign banks and investors.

Unless the Aquino government embarks on national industrialization and genuine land reform towards building a self-reliant economy, there will be no end to the sufferings of the workers and people. The foreign-imposed “economic model” that is reliant on foreign investments, foreign debt and foreign remittances has proven to be a huge failure. The current global crisis also underscores the need to junk this discredited “economic model” along with thepolices of imperialist globalization.

The workers and oppressed people are ever more justified in seeking fundamental changes. Let the mass protests on this day lead to more actions in advancing national sovereignty and genuine democracy. More mass actions are expected to arise as we move closer to the first year of the Aquino administration. ###

 

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Teachers’ representative calls for salary increase, end to teacher contractualization on Labor Day
Sunday, 01 May 2011 08:54 jak
NEWS RELEASE
May 1, 2011


Hundreds of public school teachers will storm the streets today together
with other sectors of society to call for substantial salary increases
for government employees and job security amid onerous price hikes and
massive contractualization, in commemoration of International
Workers’ Day.

ACT Teachers Party-List Representative Antonio L. Tinio
expressed his solidarity with the fight of the working class and
criticized the Aquino administration's insensitivity to the economic
hardships of citizens, including teachers.

“The meager salary of an entry level teacher amounting to Php 15,649
per month falls short of the monthly cost of living for a family of
six. Based on government figures, this currently stands at Php 21,736
in the National Capital Region. The gap is even wider for entry-level
government employees, who earn a mere Php 7,575 monthly. Meanwhile,
during the first nine months of Aquino’s term, there have been rampant
price hikes in oil, transportation, and basic commodities such as food
which add to the already burdensome situation of public sector
workers,” Tinio said.

Tinio called on Pres. Aquino to include bills proposing salary
increases for workers in the public and private sector in his
administration’s list of priority legislation. These include House
Bills 2142 and 4523, upgrading the salaries of teachers in public
schools and state universities and colleges, respectively, which were
both filed by ACT Teachers, and House Bill 3746, enacting a Php 6,000
increase in the minimum pay of government employees.

Tinio also expressed support for a legislated Php 125 increase in the
daily minimum wage of workers in the private sector.

The ACT Teachers representative also raised the issue of the ongoing
massive contractualization of kindergarten teachers as the Department
of Education prepares to implement a Universal Kindergarten program by
June. The DepEd is set to employ up to 30,000 kindergarten teachers on
a contractual basis, to be payed a maximum of Php 6,000 monthly. “This
is an all-out assault on the teaching profession, particularly on the
rights of teachers to decent compensation and security of tenure,”
said Tinio.

He noted that contractual kindergarten teachers already in service for
the current school year have not been paid by the DepEd since January.
“This is an unconscionable and inhuman violation of their basic
rights. What further proof do we need to show that teachers will be
grievously exploited through contractualization?”

Tinio called for the immediate payment of their back salaries and for
the regularization of all contractual kindergarten teachers.

“This is clear manifestation of Aquino’s indifference to the needs of
his people. Teachers are enraged, as well as the thousands of workers
whose legitimate calls for just compensation and substantial wage
increase remains unheard by the government for decades,” Tinio said.
The party-list representative said that he would march with teachers
and other workers in the protests scheduled for May 1. “Teachers will
remind the Aquino administration that the rights of working people to
jobs and decent pay must come first.” #


References: ACT Teachers Rep. Antonio L. Tinio (0920-922-0817)
Julie Anne D. Tapit, Media Officer (0915-762-6522)
Last Updated on Sunday, 01 May 2011 09:25

     
     
     
     
     
           
     
     
     

 

NEWS RELEASE
02 May 2011

For Reference: REP. LUZVIMINDA C. ILAGAN 0920-9213221
Jang Monte (Public Information Officer) 0917-4049119

WAGE HIKE ANNOUCEMENT FOR GOV’T EMPLOYEES IS SELF-SERVING, NEITHER EARLY NOR ENOUGH -ILAGAN

“Tama na ang pagpapa-pogi at huwag naman tayong mag-lokohan. Ang dagdag sahod sa mga manggagawa sa pampublikong sector ay batas na noon pang 2009 at sa katunayan ay utang pa nga ng gubyerno sa kanyang manggagawa. Higit sa lahat, mas malaki ang pakinabang dito ng pangulo kaysa sa magwawalis o clerk sa tanggapan ng gubyerno.”

This was the statement issued today by Gabriela Women’s Party Representative Luz Ilagan as President Aquino made the announcement of a supposed early pay hike for government employees.

“President Aquino should not be too smug or self-righteous over the announcement. He is in fact duty bound by law to give government workers a pay hike under the Salary Standardization Law. Moreover, giving the mandated pay hike in June is not actually giving it one month early especially since government workers have been demanding for a P3,000 across the board wage increase for ten years now and teachers are asking for a P9,000 wage hike. The wage increases neither early nor enough,” said Ilagan.

Ilagan further said that the President stands to benefit from his announcement as this will in fact give him an early increase in his salary as well. Under the SSL, the President received the highest pay hike.

“Under the Salary Standardization Law, government workers under Salary Grade 1 will receive a meager 30% increase in their wages. To illustrate this, a government employee who received P6,149 in 2008 will get an additional P1,851 – an increase in wages that will be given in four tranches, or a meager P462 per month. Under the same law, the President’s monthly salary is increased from P70,000 to P120,000. President Aquino in fact gave himself an early pay hike.”

The Gabriela solon also said a legislated wage increase for workers in both the private an public sectors would be more beneficial in the midst of uncontrollable increases in the prices of oil and basic commodities.

"President Aquino is undermining the people's outrage and insulting workers by dangling piecemeal and sporadic wage hikes. Filipino workers need a substantial wage increase that will help workers' families coper with non-stop increases in the prices of oil and basic commodities. Workers need a substantial wage increase that will lessen the gap between real wages and what it actually costs to live a decent life." #

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PRESS RELEASE
for May 1, 2011
References: Ferdinand Gaite, National President, cp 09208515163
: Jen Mendoza, Media Liaison, cp 09089534948, tel. (02) 929-5342

On Labor Day 2011
Govt. Employees Join Nationwide Protests

MANILA—Thousands of government employees nationwide affiliated with the Confederation for Unity, Recognition and Advancement of Government Employees (COURAGE) today joined the May Day Protests to reiterate their demand for a substantial wage increase.

“Elected on a campaign premised on change and good governance, Noynoy has proven to be a monumental failure. His administration has done nothing to ease the plight of impoverished employees and workers who are increasingly alienated, displaced and deprived of their right to live decently. Workers and employees from both the public and private sectors are still subsisting on starvation wages, threats to job security and tenure continue unabated and numerous human rights violations committed against labor leaders remain unresolved,” COURAGE National President Ferdinand Gaite said.

“From Day One onwards, Noynoy and his economic advisers have prioritized the interests of big capitalists and foreign investors. Privatization, liberalization, deregulation and state abandonment of social services remain as pillars of this administration’s economic policies, all at the expense of the workers and the people. In so doing, the Aquino administration has revealed itself to be no different from its’ anti-people predecessors. Walang pagbabago sa ilalim ni Aquino!” Gaite asserted.

“Our call for a P 6,000 increase to the minimum pay of all government employees and a P 125 across-the-board wage hike for workers in the private sector has been proven legitimate and necessary. We consider it a great insult that the government instead attempts to pacify us with a circus composed of non-wage benefits, job fairs and farcical consultations with yellow union representatives from PGEA, on the very same day that is supposed to commemorate the historic struggle of the working class around the world,”

“Noynoy’s Labor Day announcement regarding the salary hike for government employees on June is empty rhetoric: it is merely the advanced implementation of the third tranche of Salary Standardization Law 3, originally set to be implemented on July. It will not amount to any substantial increase for rank-and-file employees. We have said it before and we have said it again: SSL 3 is insufficient to cover the basic needs of government workers. Ultimately, Noynoy’s declaration is nothing but a meaningless pronouncement aimed at boosting Aquino’s declining ratings. Niloloko at iniinsulto lang ng administrasyong ito ang mga kawani na nananawagan para sa makabuluhang dagdag-sahod!” Gaite added.

“Faced with such a situation, workers and employees have no recourse but to strengthen our ranks and persist in our struggle for security of tenure, humane working conditions and decent living wages. If Aquino continues to disregard the needs of the people, the public’s discontent over his dismal performance could very well translate to widespread protests in the next few days,” Gaite concluded.

COURAGE leaders and affiliate unions vowed to continue in reiterating their demand for a substantial wage increase and to condemn the government’s complicity regarding the escalating costs of basic commodities. #

 

     
     
     
     
           
     
     
     

 

NEWS RELEASE
1 MAY 2011


Eton workers’ kin join Labor Day actions
 

Families of Eton Residences workers who died in a construction tragedy last January joined the outpouring of outrage into the streets this Labor Day as workers across the country calls for substantial wage hike and the removal of Value Added Tax on oil.
 

“We understand the sentiments of other workers seeking for wage hike. Our sons received only PhP 280 as their minimum wage when they were still working, they did not receive any benefits and no social security. Oftentimes, they would only receive PhP 1,000 for a week of work and with prices of basic commodities continuing to rise, it is almost impossible to make ends meet,” said Marissa Cristobal, mother of Benbon Cristobal, one of the victims of the Eton Tragedy.
 

According to Cristobal, Benbon worked for more than 4 years as a construction worker. He started with PhP 180/day and eventually worked his way to Php 280/day. He died a few weeks after getting his wage increase. “We know the non-payment of minimum wage is a violation of labor standards that is why we filed cases against Eton Properties and its sub-contractors,” continued Cristobal.
 

Victim’s families have lodged before the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC) a case against Tan and his contractors and subcontractors, who were charged with non-payment of minimum wage, employment of minor, violation of health and safety rules, among others.
 

Cristobal was joined by the family of Michael Tatlonghari, Kevin Mabunga, and other victim’s families during the Labor Day protests, gathering signatures from trade unionists and various sectors to muster broader support for the campaign for justice.
 

Photo Exhibit
 

The Justice for Eton 11 Network will set up a booth later today at Liwasang Bonifacio during Labor Day activities to remind the public of the harrowing tragedy through rare photos of the accident site and petitions.
 

“We want people to remember the tragedy that transpired last January 27, 2011 which took the life of Joel Avecilla, William Bañez, Benbon Cristobal, Jeffrey Diocado, Jaykie Legada, Kevin Mabunga, Celso Mabuting, Tisoy Perez, Edward Piñion and Michael Tatlonghari. The Eton workers’ case starkly highlight the failure of existing mechanisms to ensure decent wages and decent work,” said Anna Leah Escresa, Executive Director of Ecumenical Institute for Labor Education and Research (EILER) co-convenor of Justice for Eton 11 Network. “We work to live and not to die.”
 

PNoy “gifts” for victims
 

Last April 28, the Presidential Management Staff (PMS) announced that five out of ten victim’s families will receive P3,000 each child as a form of educational assistance. Ironically, those children of the victims who were orphaned by the tragedy were excluded since they were not yet at school age. Only young siblings of victims will receive the measly assistance.
 

“We do not need crumbs from President Aquino. We need justice. And that means pursuing those who are responsible for the death of the victims including Eton and its contractors and subcontractors,” ended Escresa.
 

Ten workers instantly died while another one was seriously injured last Jan. 27 when the gondola they were riding plunged from the 32nd floor of Eton Residences, a luxury condominium in Makati City owned by Lucio Tan. #

Reference: Anna Leah Escresa, Justice for Eton 11 Network co-convenor, 0908-864-2151

 

     
     
           
     
     
     

 

APRIL 28, 2011
 

MayDay distress call
 

No one – not even employers or the government – will dispute the sad state of Philippine labor today. The figures do not lie or dissemble. And yet year and year out, government and employers, merely raise their hands and feign helplessness over the situation.

They repeat the same old line: wage increases would result in inflation causing greater woes for workers including the threat of losing their jobs since higher wages could result in their employers going bankrupt.

What are hidden from view are the huge profits raked in by foreign and local corporations in stark contrast to workers’ starvation wages.

Preliminary results of the 2008 Annual Survey of Philippine Business and Industry (ASPBI) of the National Statistics Office (NSO) as cited by IBON Foundation, show that establishments in the country with total employment of 20 and over had combined profits of Php895.2 billion and 2.74 million employees.

Even more revealing, the Top 1,000 corporations in the country reaped a cumulative annual net income of Php3,788.9 billion over the period 2001-2009.

According to IBON, an across-the-board wage hike of Php125 means workers will receive an additional PhP3,802 per month. Employers will spend an additional Php49,427 per employee per year (assuming 13 months of pay). The total cost of the proposed wage hike will only be Php135.6 billion which, subtracted from total profits, will still leave establishments with Php759.6 billion in profits.

The Php125 across-the-board increase called for by the Kilusang Mayo Uno will only cut employers’ profit margins by 15%. Assuming employers will not pass on to consumers any legislated minimum wage increase, there will be no significant inflationary effect. Because their enterprises continue to be profitable, there is no reason for them to close shop.

Consider that the average daily basic pay that wage and salary workers in the country actually received – as opposed to merely mandated minimum wages that are not necessarily actually paid – increased from Php222 in 2001 to a measly Php301 in 2010 (NSO Labor Force Survey, April 2010). The minimum daily wage of Php404 in the National Capital Region is not even half of the estimated average family living wage (FLW) of Php988 as of March 2011.

A large wage hike will be beneficial not just for workers and their families but also the economy, IBON added. The transfer of money from rich to poor households will increase aggregate demand and stimulate the economy.

Mr. Aquino washes his hands and points to regional wage boards and collective bargaining agreements as the proper means to effect any wage adjustment; the former (dominated by business interests) are notoriously niggardly in providing wage increases while labor repression and the policy of labor flexibilization have decimated the ranks of organized labor and consequently their bargaining leverage.

The other demands raised by militant labor are not unreasonable and quite “doable” by a government that presents itself as committed to serving the people as its “boss”. The more pressing ones include control of runaway prices of oil, electricity, water and food; a stop to privatization and greater public subsidies for public transport, education, health and housing; and a halt to contractual and other forms of flexible work in the country that undercut labor rights and welfare.

Government should not be earning windfall taxes from the unconscionably high fuel prices. Because of the 12% VAT on oil products, the higher the prices, the more taxes collected. Why can’t government immediately suspend VAT on oil as a reprieve for everyone, especially the poor, who bear a disproportionate burden of this indirect tax.

Why doesn’t the government go hammer and thong against profiteering by the local oil cartel of Shell, Caltex, Petron? As pointed out by militant transport and consumer groups, oil companies either jack up prices or fail to roll them back even when warranted by taking undue advantage of the volatility of oil prices in the world market. It is estimated that as much as 7.50 pesos per liter is added on as sheer profiteering.

Note that we are not even talking about the mind-boggling profits of the global oil cartel and finance capitalists derived from monopoly pricing and speculation in the oil futures market.

The subsidies for public mass transport such as the LRT/MRT and the toll fees charged on vital roadways such as the SLEX could have been maintained given the critical situation of the majority of families who are at their wit’s end trying to make both ends meet.

Instead, Mr. Aquino says that government can do nothing to shield commuters but must instead protect the profits of the foreign investors who upgraded the SLEX or make the operations of LRT/MRT profitable so that government can make them attractive to private investors, in a word, reprivatize this public transport system.

Bringing home such a pittance of a wage would be somewhat bearable if government could be relied upon to give meaningful help when it comes to education, health and housing but that is like asking for the moon.

On the other hand, government has justified labor contractualization as a legitimate tool of capitalists to cut labor costs. According to the Ecumenical Institute for Labor Education and Research, the Philippines has one of the highest levels of contractualization in Southeast Asia with 7 out of 10 firms implementing combinations of flexible work arrangements.

KMU underscores that while contractual and regular workers both suffer from unjust labor policies and work agreements, the former are laboring under worse conditions-- lower incomes, lack of job and social security, no right to union organizing and extremely hazardous work conditions.

Over and above pro-labor policies and cognizant that the workers' wellbeing is inseparably linked to the wellbeing of their fellow toilers, KMU has from the beginning called for genuine land reform alongside national industrialization as the twin pillars of a sound, self-reliant, progressive and just socio-economic order.

Unfortunately under the present dispensation, economic policies are set by government officials who are beholden to multinational and domestic corporate interests as well as the landed elite. They are former CEOs of business conglomerates, bankers and fund managers, if not former IMF-WB highly-paid employees hewing to the neoliberal policy framework that has caused mayhem for the last three decades.

The country’s economic managers are appointed by politicians like President Noynoy Aquino who, despite populist rhetoric, also comes from the very same elite ruling circles.

It appears then that the interests of the entrenched local elite and their foreign backers are uppermost in Mr. Aquino’s priorities as he turns a deaf ear to the demand for a just wage, champions the privatization of government projects and programs and justifies more cutbacks in government social spending.

On the other hand, the severity and persistence of the global economic and political crisis is shaking ruling systems everywhere with mass protests, uprisings and revolutions spreading like wildfire, bringing to heel or even ousting ruling regimes and pushing more fundamental and radical reforms.

Mr. Aquino, for his own 'political health, should consider granting some reprieve to an agonizing people by positively responding to militant labor’s demands to be highlighted at the planned May 1st Labor Day demonstration. #

Published in Business World
29-30 April 2011

     
     
     
At the Recto underpass
           
     
     
     

 

Labor and the Philippine Revolution
Speech delivered in Pilipino before the 64th Anniversary Conference of the Union de Impresores de Filipinas on February 6, 1966; published in English in Progressive Review No. 9.


A review of Philippine history will show that the Filipino proletariat emerged before a determined national liberation movement could be formed. The Katipunan was initially based among the city workers and it was steered by a leadership epitomized by Andres Bonifacio.

The revolutionary movement included the shipyard workers and warehousemen whose considerable number signified the great impact of the opening of the Suez Canal and the opening of the ports of Manila to foreign trade since 1815. Commerce and liberal ideas came to the country more easily and stirred a trend towards bourgeois democracy and jarred the old colonial and feudal order. Andres Bonifacio who embodied this new development in Philippine society was both a bodeguero and a student of the French revolution.

The revolutionary movement also included the clandestine printers’ union inside the UST press which secretly printed some materials for the Katipunan and brought out some types for the printing machine of Kalayaan. The immediate involvement of the printers in the revolutionary movement was again indicative of the progressive character of the struggle.
The first elements of the Filipino proletariat—the shipyard workers, warehousemen and printers—were immediately in the forefront at the very outset of the national liberation movement, only to be pushed aside by the more articulate advocates of liberalism, the ilustrados. The Tejeros Convention clarified the class leadership of the old type of national-democratic revolution.

One might say, however, that earlier, through more than three centuries, forced labor in encomiendas, in timber-cutting, in shipbuilding, in church and government house constructions, in mining and in building roads and bridges spurred the continuous occurrence of localized revolts which were the objective preparation for the Philippine Revolution.

One can be more pointed and definite about the role of the Filipino worker in the preparation of the Philippine Revolution by citing the fact that the Cavite Mutiny of 1872, besides being the occasion for the Gomburza martyrdom, was in the first place a strike of the shipyard workers who demanded better living and working conditions and who were violently suppressed by the colonial authorities.

Significantly these workers had organized themselves into a mutual aid and benefit association as early as 1861. But, even as we recognize the decisive role of the Filipino proletariat in the preparation and initiation of the Philippine Revolution and in making the clear call for national liberation, let us also recognize the fact that the Filipino proletariat was still in its germinal stage in 1896 and that at that time it was more influenced by the liberal ideas of Europe and of the ilustrados than imbued with the proletarian ideology of Marx which was already quite a specter frightening the ruling bourgeoisie of Europe. In other words, the workers were more patriotic in a spontaneous way than class conscious. The Katipunan, though steered by men from the proletariat, was basically a patriotic movement embracing the masses in the most general sense. Andres Bonifacio could only realize that the Filipino ilustrados were reformistic and the masses were revolutionary and that the Filipino rich tended to associate themselves with the colonial authorities against whom the masses were already in revolt.

The importance of an ideology which is truly that of the proletariat and which guides all the toiling people according to their own national-democratic interests is starkly demonstrated by the ease with which the ilustrados and landlords derailed the Katipunan from its original course and weakened the entire revolutionary movement as soon as they combined to form the leadership of the Aguinaldo government and command the peasant masses. The liberal frame of mind which prevailed in the higher councils of the movement led eventually to a series of compromises like the Pact of Biak-na-Bato, and the naive agreement with the clever representatives of U.S. imperialism in Hong Kong and Singapore, the proclamation of a republic under the “noble protection” of the United States and capitulation to the U.S. “pacification” campaign in which the masses fighting for national freedom suffered and died in their hundreds of thousands.

Guided by their self-seeking liberalism and their genteel tradition, the representatives of the ilustrados—such as the Buencaminos, Legardas, Paternos, Pardo de Taveras and others—sat back in their comfortable chairs as the plundering hordes of MacArthur stamped their bloody feet on the face of our nation. The most traitorous section of the ilustrados had clapped their hands when the price of $2O million was settled in the U.S.-Spanish Treaty of Paris in payment for the Philippines. With their creole mentality, the renegades embraced the imperialists as fast as they had first refused to heed the Cry of Pugad Lawin.

U.S. imperialism marched in to cheat our people of their freedom and to massacre them for refusing to submit. But the proper blood money was available, the proper spoils were in government offices and in commerce, and the proper liberal language was employed to veil the brutal reality of imperialist conquest. U.S. imperialism made use of deceitful slogans like “democracy,” “Christianity,” “benevolent assimilation” and “tutelage for self-rule” as they dealt brutally with non-compromisers who refused to take the oath of allegiance to the U.S. flag and who continued to fight for Philippine independence.

Though we are highly critical of the inadequacy of the liberal frame of mind and method of struggle which in the long run weakened the Philippine Revolution, we recognize the revolutionary government of Aguinaldo at the height of its strength as objectively a bourgeois-democratic formation. The spontaneous masses, including the proletariat, found their rights formally respected in the Malolos Constitution and in practice. The government needed their strength to fight Spanish colonialism and U.S. imperialism.

At the height of the Filipino-American War, the printers working in the press of the revolutionary government and led by Hermenegildo Cruz, Felipe Mendoza and Arturo Soriano struck to protest the supercilious behavior of the foreman and to demand better working conditions. The revolutionary leaders could have invoked the critical war situation as an excuse for quelling the just demands of the workers but, because of the national and democratic character of the revolution, the strikers found ready and warm sympathy among them, particularly from General Antonio Luna, editor of La Independencia, who declared: “We are actually for the honor, independence and prosperity of the Filipino people. I see no reason why we should not give the demand of the strikers if we really are for the improvement of the Filipino workers. The first concern of the Filipino government is to give protection and prosperity to the Filipinos.”

We relate this incident not only to belabor the fact that workers continued to be an organic part of the revolution but also to show that they were beginning to be conscious of their class interests even as they had entered into a bourgeois-democratic alliance. From that time on, even through the harshest years of the U.S. imperialist regime, the Filipino working class continuously developed in ideology, in politics and in organization.

Union Obrera Democratica

The return of Isabelo de los Reyes in 1901 from the prisons and barricades of Barcelona invigorated to some extent the Filipino workers as a distinct class. Isabelo de los Reyes smuggled in a broad range of socialist reading materials to be read by workers and immediately made contact with Hermenegildo Cruz and other leading organizers from the ranks of the working class.

The workers recognized De los Reyes as a fearless Filipino patriot who defied the Spanish colonial authorities and suffered incarceration several times. They also saw in him a man who understood the international brotherhood and experience of the proletariat and who was prepared to provide leadership to the Filipino proletariat. In a way, at that time, De los Reyes comprehended the popular advance in the storming of the Bastille and the proletarian advance in the Paris Commune.

On December 30, 1901, when for the first time Rizal’s martyrdom was commemorated, the leaders of various printers’ unions and gremios met and decided to integrate themselves under the name of Union de Impresores de Filipinas (UIF). Participants in the meeting were Isabelo de los Reyes, Hermenegildo Cruz, Arturo Soriano, Melanio de Jesus, Luis Santos, Juan Geronimo, Timoteo Anzures, Nazario Pasicolan, Leopoldo Soriano and Margarita Pasamola—all leading pioneers in the Philippine trade union movement. In this meeting, the Marxist slogan of the First International, “the emancipation of the working class must be the task of the workers themselves,” was adopted by the men who formed the Union de Impresores de Filipinas, the undisputed premier trade union which served as the base for the first labor federation, the Union Obrera Democratica (UOD).

The Union Obrera Democratica was established on January 2, 1902, in the first labor congress ever to be held in Philippine history. The Congress also approved the UOD Constitution which embodied the principles adopted from the books Vida e Obras de Carlos Marx by Friedrich Engels and Los Dos Campesinos by the Italian radical socialist, Malatesta. Isabelo de los Reyes was elected president and Hermenegildo Cruz, vice president.

All the speakers in the Congress attacked U.S. imperialism and the Catholic Church while secret agents listened and took notes. While advancing the economic demands of the labor movement, the UOD expressed its purpose to encourage the people’s movement for independence. Alleging that the trade unionists were “subversives” and “anarchists,” Governor General Taft himself directly ordered their blacklisting and surveillance. Thus, U.S. imperialism proved alert to the patriotism and class-consciousness of Filipino workers and prepared its instruments of coercion and suppression.

On August 2, 1902, when the UOD waged the first general strike of the Filipino labor movement to protest the rejection of their demand for a general wage increase as an adjustment to the inflationary crisis, the U.S. colonial government moved to charge Isabelo de los Reyes with sedition and rebellion and convicted him upon the false witness of a striker who turned out to be a secret service man. The charges and conviction were based on a Spanish conspiracy law. Soon after, Isabelo de los Reyes who had withstood various vicissitudes in the Spanish era succumbed to the antilabor tactics of imperialism and resigned from the UOD to concentrate on his religious activity in the Philippine Independent Church.

UIF president and UOD vice president Hermenegildo Cruz acted to have Dr. Dominador Gomez replace De los Reyes in the leadership of the labor movement. The UOD was renamed Union Obrera Democratica de Filipinas (UODF). In his proclamation speech as UODF president, Gomez said:

“Do not be like some of our countrymen who are wise and able but have no courage to fight our masters and oppressors. They are timid and would like always to retreat. The banner of Union Democratica de Filipinas is dynamic nationalism against any form of imperialism, against oppression.”

In spite of U.S. imperialist repression, the labor federation under Gomez grew by leaps and bounds from 33 to 150 unions. Fearing the growth of organized labor, the U.S. imperialists instructed the ever-useful colonial errand boys, Pedro Paterno and Dr. Trinidad Pardo de Tavera, to persuade Gomez to resign as UODF president and accept a high government post. Gomez was only enraged to hear the two promoters of compromise and told them that he had already committed himself to the labor movement and to militant nationalism.

On May 1, 1903, despite the refusal of the U.S. colonial government to give UODF a permit to demonstrate, the federation staged a demonstration of 100,000 workers to celebrate labor day for the first time in the Philippines. The demonstration was held in front of Malacanang and the workers shouted: “Down with U.S. imperialism!”

As recorded by Hermenegildo Cruz, Dr. Gomez spoke before the demonstrators:

“We were told that America is the mother of democracy, but the American government in Malacanang is afraid to talk with the people who want democracy. The Americans said that they are for freedom, but why is it that they want to curtail our freedom by displaying fixed bayonets? The workers will not accept from the capitalists even a single centavo without an exchange of its equivalent in honest labor. What we are against is the practice of the capitalists of robbing the workers of the product of their sweat by not giving them what is due them. The workers should always bear in mind that they must achieve their emancipation themselves. We will not win without a struggle. We need strength in our struggle. We must always be united. In our struggle for better working and living conditions, we must at the same time struggle for the liberation of the motherland.”

Within the same month of May, 1903, the home of Dr. Gomez and the printing press where the UODF organ was printed were simultaneously raided by American and Filipino policemen in violation of the right to home and the right of free press and free assembly. The UODF president, like his immediate predecessor Isabelo de los Reyes, was charged with “sedition” and “illegal association.”

What U.S. imperialism resented in the leadership of these two men was the conjunction of the labor movement and a militant anti-imperialist movement which, it was afraid, would pursue the Philippine Revolution. The UODF was accused of giving assistance to the persistent armed struggle of Macario Sakay against the U.S. imperialists. Afterwards, the U.S. colonial regime stirred the rumor that Dr. Gomez had betrayed Macario Sakay. Immediately after the crackdown on the UODF which was intended to silence anti-imperialist workers, the agents of the American Federation of Labor tried to take over the Philippine trade union movement and to propagate the bourgeois-liberal concept that labor be separated from political activity and that it be always in unity with capital. To pursue its imperialist and anti-labor aims, the American Federation of Labor encouraged Lope K. Santos to organize the Union del Trabajo de Filipinas (UTF) and to stress the separation of labor and politics and the unity of the working class and the capitalist class. The UTF, in contrast with the UODF, enjoyed the full backing of Governor General Taft.

However, despite U.S. imperialist sponsorship, the UTF failed to deceive the workers. The stalwarts of the premier labor organization, the Union de Impresores de Filipinas, like Hermenegildo Cruz, Felipe Mendoza and Arturo Soriano, exposed the attempt to mislead the Filipino workers. Their experience in the struggle for national liberation and for workers’ rights and their exposure to Marxist ideas, chief of which is that the proletariat must win political power, had taught them how to withstand brutal repression and deception even if done in the style of U.S. imperialism.

With the disappearance of De los Reyes and Gomez from the trade union movement by force of imperialist power, Hermenegildo Cruz found himself at the helm, and he concentrated on transforming the craft unions (gremios) into full-fledged industrial unions so that these would be the stronger basis for a new labor federation. On May 1, 1913, he organized the Congreso Obrero de Filipinas and was elected its president.

Congreso Obrero de Filipinas

The Congreso de Obrero de Filipinas (COF) continued to expose and condemn the American Federation of labor, its racial policies and its attempts to subvert the Philippine trade union movement and subordinate it to the U.S. colonial government. The COF vigorously advocated the independence of the Philippines from U.S. imperialism.

In the era of imperialism, the COF was not free from splitters. In order to pursue their pro-imperialist tendencies and their U.S. style of political muckraking, Vicente Sotto, Ramon Diokno and Lope K. Santos formed a faction and split away to form the Asemblea Obrera in 1917. In order to pursue his program of company unionism, Joaquin Balmori also split away in the same year and formed the Federacion del Trabajo de Filipinas. Balmori advocated that labor unions should charge no membership dues and should receive financial support from management. His federation even made a resolution against strikes and so-called subversive ideas.

In the meantime, in the strongest single labor organization of the period, the UIF, a reorganization was made on March 1, 1918, in which Crisanto Evangelista was elected president. The period was marked by an atmosphere of militancy in the trade union movement as the October Revolution ushered in the first proletarian state.

In the entire trade union movement, the emergence of the young Crisanto Evangelista as a leader marked a new era. Upon his assumption as UIF president, he created a committee, composed of Hermenegildo Cruz, Pablo Lucas and himself, to make a labor survey in the various printing establishments and to draft a general petition to be presented simultaneously to all managements. A campaign for a strike fund was immediately launched in preparation for a general walkout if the petition was rejected. The press capitalists were so impressed with the determination and unity of their workers that they submitted to the demands which included wage hikes ranging from 100 to 500 percent. As a result of this successful campaign, the prestige and leadership of Crisanto Evangelista rose.

President Quezon, in an attempt to undermine the proven strength of the UIF, appointed Evangelista as a member of the Philippine Independence Mission to the United States in 1919. The mission though gave Evangelista the chance to meet and evaluate the various American labor leaders and organizations. He noted the reactionary and racial policies of the American Federation of Labor led by Samuel Gompers. He also came across more materials on scientific socialism and he was positively influenced by the widespread enthusiasm of the workers to launch a Third International.

Maintaining a high political consciousness over its daily economic struggle, the UIF, under the energetic leadership of Crisanto Evangelista, struck for the cause of national freedom and integrity in 1920 against all the American-owned and American-controlled newspapers which had suddenly waged a press campaign to forestall the movement for national independence and denigrate the Filipino people as incompetent for self-government and, therefore, deserving of further U.S. imperialist “tutelage.”

In 1922, Evangelista established the Partido Obrero (Workers’ Party), the precursor of the Communist Party of the Philippines. On May 1, 1927, the COF elected Francisco Varona president and Crisanto Evangelista secretary. On this day, it decided to affiliate with the Red International of Labor Unions. This was the culmination of Filipino labor participation in the Canton Conference of 1925, and in the conferences where the Filipino representatives discussed with the representatives of other national labor organizations (especially those from the East), shared their experiences in economic and political struggle and arrived at the conclusion that since they all faced Western imperialism they needed to band together in equality and in coordination against the common enemy.

In 1928, a more extensive contact of Filipino labor leaders with the international labor movement occurred. The leaders of COF, headed by Crisanto Evangelista, attended conferences in Shanghai, Moscow and Berlin. This development frightened the U.S. colonial government and it instructed its agents to make trouble in the COF. U.S. imperialism was afraid that the Filipino proletariat would derive greater strength by coordinating its efforts with the international labor movement.

On May 1, 1929, the COF split into the yellow faction led by Ruperto Cristobal and the red faction led by Crisanto Evangelista. The former packed the meeting hall with his own men and the latter had no alternative but to bolt. In this manner, the COF became inutile and a more militant and more progressive labor federation, Katipunan ng mga Anak Pawis, arose in June 1929. At the close of the third decade, Crisanto Evangelista emerged as the most outstanding leader in the trade union movement, extending his influence to Visayas and Mindanao by maintaining fraternal relations with the Federacion Obrero de Filipinas of Jose Maria Nava.

The Communist Party of the Philippines

Pursuing the objective of creating a solid political instrument of the working class, which he had earlier attempted in the Partido Obrero, Crisanto Evangelista established the Communist Party of the Philippines which would be imbued with Marxism-Leninism. Supported by the Katipunan ng mga Anak Pawis and the Katipunang Pambansang Mambubukid sa Pilipinas, the chief organizations of the trade union movement and the peasant movement respectively, the Communist Party of the Philippines was founded on August 26, 1930, and formally launched on November 7, 1930, thus bringing into an alliance the working class and the peasantry.

The Communist Party of the Philippines immediately became the object of concerted vilification and provocations by the ruling class and the U.S. colonial government. It faced immediately the same reactionary forces of imperialism and feudalism which thwarted the Philippine Revolution at the turn of the century and the first labor federation, the Union Obrera Democratica, in 1902 and 1903.

On May 1, 1931, workers marching under the two o’clock sun were bombarded with jets of water at Maypajo, Caloocan, upon the orders of the U.S. colonial regime. Subsequently, the meeting of the workers to celebrate the day was raided by American secret policemen and constabulary soldiers. The jails of Manila were filled with industrial workers and peasants. Twenty-eight communist leaders headed by Crisanto Evangelista, Juan Feleo, Guillermo Capadocia and Mariano Balgos were singled out from hundreds of arrested workers and were accused of sedition and illegal assembly. The leaders were given considerably long prison terms, others were banished. The Communist Party was outlawed, only a few months after its establishment. Provincial governors and town presidents were instructed by the U.S. colonial regime not to give any permit to the KAP and KPMP for any gathering.

It was only when the demand for the Popular Front grew stronger, as a result of the depression and worsened condition of the masses, that President Quezon pardoned the imprisoned and banished labor leaders in 1936. The Roosevelt government, in an antifascist act of expediency, acceded to the clamor for the release of the Communist Party leaders; communist parties in all parts of the world had become the most reliable antifascist fighters.

At the same time, Quezon tried to establish labor “unity” under his leadership and he tried establishing the National Federation of Labor with government subsidy. His attempt failed and Evangelista succeeded in upholding as a matter of principle and in practice the independence of the working-class movement from the Commonwealth government.

Come 1938, the Communist Party of the Philippines became numerically stronger as it merged with the Socialist Party led by Pedro Abad Santos. Through this merger, it made up for the years when it was outlawed and its leaders were either in prison or banished. The Socialist Party, which had become strong in the countryside, brought the peasantry in greater number to the Communist Party of the Philippines. The latter party had continued to enjoy the support of the proletariat even in its underground years, as proven when it again emerged.

In 1939, Crisanto Evangelista made another consolidation in the trade union movement and organized the Collective Labor Movement. This later became an organic part of the anti- Japanese resistance movement.

At this point, we give recognition to the profound development of the ideology, politics and organization of the working class under the leadership of Crisanto Evangelista. With respect to ideology, the working class started to grasp the universal theory of Marxism-Leninism. With respect to politics, the Communist Party started to make the working class a significant force in the struggle for national democracy. With respect to organization, the Communist Party of the Philippines was established as a definite working-class party.

A serious shortcoming of the leadership of the Communist Party of the Philippines, before the contradiction between the Filipino people and Japanese fascism became the principal contradiction, was the failure to place the principal stress on the national and agrarian struggle against U.S. imperialism and feudalism. The leadership was well-versed in the contradiction between the proletariat and the capitalist class in general, but it failed all the time to stress the fact that the main contradiction within the Philippine society then was between U.S. imperialism and feudalism on the one hand and the Filipino people, mainly the workers and peasants, on the other hand. While all the workers, Marxist or not, demanded Philippine independence from U.S. imperialism, the matter of national liberation was obscured by the slogans of class struggle between the capitalist class and the working class.

The Communist Party of the Philippines was so immersed in legal and urban struggles that it was unprepared to wage armed struggle against Japanese fascism immediately. Crisanto Evangelista and other leaders of the Party were apprehended in the city by the Japanese a month after enemy occupation of Manila. Evangelista died a patriotic death in the hands of the Japanese fascists.

During the war, the CPP failed to make use of the Popular Front and the antifascist struggle as an occasion for building up anti-imperialism that would last the duration of the war and be capable of meeting the return of U.S. imperialism. Had the people been prepared to fight the return of U.S. imperialism, the slogan of “democratic peace” would not have been raised to allow the U.S. imperialists to crush the forces of national democracy, which broadly included not only the Communist Party of the Philippines and the HUKBALAHAP but even such a party as the Democratic Alliance.

The Japanese Occupation put the trade union movement into disarray as industrial and commercial activity became irregular and fell under the control of the aggressor.

Congress of Labor Organizations

In 1945, therefore, the Committee of Labor Organizations practically started from scratch after the ruin of war. It emerged from the ranks of the newly installed workers and came under the leadership of Mariano Balgos, Amado V. Hernandez and Manuel Joven, Felixberto Olalia, Pedro Castro and Cipriano Cid—to mention only a few. The committee within a short time became the Congress of Labor Organizations, embracing all genuine labor organizations.

As the leading and most comprehensive organization of the workers, the Congress of Labor Organizations became a massive force for national democracy. It became an effective instrument of the working class in seeking economic welfare and also in fighting for the true independence of the Filipino people.

Led by ardent patriots, the CLO found itself in the city fighting vigorously against the measures the U.S. government and the monopoly-capitalist class behind it wanted to impose upon the Filipino people in order to perpetuate colonial control and influence over our national life.

Against the basic principle of self-determination, the U.S. government arrogated into itself the power to “grant” sovereignty and independence to the Filipino people in an act of the U.S. Congress. In the U.S.-RP Treaty of General Relations of July 4, 1946, which made the “grant” of independence, it is stated that the U.S. government would retain control over military bases strategically placed all over the archipelago.

Against this background of imperialist chicanery and a treaty which retained the basic coercive instruments of U.S. imperialism in the Philippines, the Congress of Labor Organizations girded itself for other measures that were still to be rammed down our throats. It opposed the Bell Trade Act, which would extend the conditions of “free trade” and grant to U.S. citizens the right to exploit our natural resources and operate public utilities, necessitating the Parity Amendment of the Philippine Constitution.

U.S. imperialism prostituted democratic processes by expelling through its puppets the duly-elected members of Congress belonging to the Democratic Alliance and to the anti-imperialist wing of the Nacionalista Party, who were determined to block the passage of the Bell Trade Act and the ratification of the Parity Amendment in 1948. Despite the broad character of the Democratic Alliance, the reactionaries tried to pin it down as a subversive organization.

Not satisfied with expelling the duly-elected members of Congress who opposed its anti-Filipino designs, U.S. imperialism also engaged in sinister actions which did physical harm to members of the Democratic Alliance and the mass organizations supporting it. The Congress of Labor Organizations became the object of imperialist-guided attacks in all forms, in propaganda and actual murder. Its Secretary General, Manuel Joven, became a victim of kidnapping and assassination.

In 1951, in the course of the white terror campaign against persons and groups suspected of having association with the Communist Party of the Philippines, the national headquarters of the Congress of Labor Organizations was raided and its leaders and members were arrested en masse. The Congress of Labor Organizations was forced out of legal existence at the prompting of U.S. imperialism. This abuse of democracy was made in the name of democracy by the CIA-directed Ramon Magsaysay.

As borne out thirteen years later by a Supreme Court decision on Amado Hernandez et al, on May 30, 1964, acquitting Hernandez and other leaders of the CLO and “upholding” the right of expression and free assembly, the action of Magsaysay was indeed an attack against democracy, particularly those rights piously invoked by the Supreme Court, and also a dastardly attack against the national-democratic movement in which the CLO had excelled by fighting for our most basic national interests.

After every major imperialist crackdown on the Filipino labor movement, attempts are made by reactionary agents to take over the field. Since 1951, various attempts have been made to take over where the CLO left off. The American Jesuits put up their Institute of Social Order and the Federation of Free Workers. The U.S. imperialists—through their labor attaches and the AFL-CLO representatives—have directly extended subsidies to all sorts of puppet organizations and organizers. The International Labor Organization has also been used to subvert and redirect the labor movement in the Philippines, ideologically, politically and organizationally. The Philippine Trade Union Council was put up under the direction of U.S. agents in the International Labor Organization. The Asian Labor Education Center was also put up and assured by American foundations of continuous subsidy in order to subvert the thinking of the Filipino working class. The line of the counterrevolutionaries, as before, is to make the working class bend backwards to suit U.S. imperialism and to prevent it from developing a revolutionary consciousness.

Together with the agents of imperialism and clericalism, labor racketeers have flourished on the seeming carcass of a labor movement. But a class-conscious and anti-imperialist proletariat, with a clear socialist perspective, will surely rise up.

The CLO was busted to stop it from rallying the workers under the banner of national democracy and to leave the field wide open for all sorts of misleaders. U.S. imperialism was the leading enemy force behind the suppression of the CLO as it was previously in the case of the Philippine Revolution of 1896, the UOD, the COF and the CPP.

But the Filipino workers will prevail in the long run as they have always risen from the most trying crises imposed by their class enemy, U.S. monopoly capitalism. They know well now that their class enemy is U.S. monopoly capitalism, which squeezes the surplus value created by Filipino labor in the most exploitative way by bringing out of our country superprofits from its investments and in this way depresses internal economic growth. They also know well now that it is U.S. imperialism, through its military instruments, agents and bases right here within our national territory, which provides the puppet state with its coercive power. They now see through the subtlety of U.S. power and influence in all organs of the ruling class, whether bureaucratic, political, cultural, economic or police and military.

The progressive labor leaders of today are again developing the labor movement as an instrument of national democracy. As they realize that other patriotic classes, groups and elements are involved in the anti-imperialist struggle, they are learning in practice how to move with them and how to mass themselves against the chief enemy, U.S. monopoly capitalism or imperialism.

That the labor movement has consistently advanced despite the difficulties already described is best proven by the establishment of the Lapiang Manggagawa (Workers’ Party) in 1963. It was established with the biggest number of labor following at that time. However, at the present moment, it is seriously faced with the danger of disintegration from which it has evidently suffered through four years of existence, apparently, because of the deleterious impact of bourgeois politics which wracks the leadership every election time and because of the right-wing opportunism of certain elements and also because of narrow interfederation amor propio. But in the most objective manner of criticism, let me state that a party like the Lapiang Manggagawa, which tries to assume the role of leadership, will be strong only if it fulfills certain conditions in the fields of ideology, politics and organization.

In the ideological field, a working class party must have a truly proletarian world outlook, must be able to comprehend strategic principles and must maintain a socialist perspective and orientation. It must set up an educational program which promotes among the workers a proletarian outlook, a scientific viewpoint of history, an analysis of capitalist economy and imperialism, and socialism and a new democratic line. It must maintain workers’ schools at all levels. It must hold conferences on problems affecting the working class. It must set up a newspaper to serve as an ideological vehicle. Above all, it must, through actual mass struggle, raise the revolutionary consciousness of the people.

In the field of political activity, a workers’ party must be able to daily carry out concrete militant struggle for national democracy. It must build itself up not only among the workers but also among the peasants. It must arouse and mobilize the peasant masses for agrarian revolution, the key to the victory of the national-democratic revolution. It must respond promptly to the daily shifting demands of the anti-imperialist and the anti-feudal struggle, independently and in cooperation with all other anti-imperialist and anti-feudal forces and organizations. It should be alert to valuable alliances and keep on the alert after such alliances have been formed. It must have the firm and single objective of developing and acquiring political power for the masses.

In the field of organization, a workers’ party must be guided by the principle of democratic centralism. It must require individual membership from masses of all patriotic classes willing to assume the proletarian viewpoint. It must draw the greatest number of members and put up the greatest number of branches among the workers and peasants. It must build up itself on a nationwide scale to achieve the capability of withstanding the well-oiled bourgeois parties of the ruling class. It must arrive at organizational plans and must be able to fulfill them within the given period of time with all given party assets and resources clear beforehand. Organizations at all levels, from the branch upward, must be maintained on a daily basis and not on a seasonal basis during election years as it is in the NP and LP.

In our review of the trade union movement and its connection with the national-democratic movement, we have concluded with the tasks of building up a proletarian party. Without a proletarian party to provide leadership, the struggle for national democracy cannot be won. #
 

▲   At Liwasang Bonifacio   ▼
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
 
 
 
 
 
Speakers at Liwasang Bonifacio and Mendiola
KMU Chair Elmer Labog
BAYAN Chair Carol Araullo
KMP Chair Rafael Mariano

KMP Secretary General Danilo Ramos

 

           
     
     
     

 

2011 May Day Statement

We at MIGRANTE Austria honor and march with the working people of the world as we denounce a whole year of betrayal by President Benigno Aquino III.
 

Armed with a most welcome promise of change, Aquino was mandated by the people to drag the country out of the quagmire left behind by the 10-year rule of his predecessor Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. He made sweet promises on his 10-point agenda declaring that we, the people, are his „boss“. But instead of delivering on his promises, he has outrightly neglected the Filipino people’s issues and legitimate demands in his first year of his term.
 

As a candidate for President, Aquino talked big about prosecuting and holding Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo accountable for plunder and gross human rights violations. Now in office, Aquino continues many of the policies of Arroyo’s and other previous governments as the socio-economic and human rights situation in the country further deteriorates.
 

Facts and figures are available to prove this. But when a third of the country's 94 million people remain in deep poverty and their numbers continue to grow by the day, statistics are hardly necessary. We know and experience it in our daily lives.
 

The costs of basic commodities and services in the country continue to rise and 4.1 million families have gone hungry at least once in the past three months (SocialWeatherStation poll, March 2011).
According to the National Statistics Office (NSO) there are about 2.86 million unemployed and 6.76 million Filipinos underemployed as of 2010. The daily minimum wage of Php404 is just 2/5 of the estimated average family living wage (FLW) of Php988 in the National Capital Region (NCR) as of March 2011. Despite this, Aquino refused to legislate a P125 (USD 2.71) daily wage increase across the board and is instead leaving up the matter to the Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board – a cheap way to shirk responsibility.
 

Owing to the Labor Export Policy implemented by previous governments in the last four decades, more than 20% of the 36-million Philippine work force is deployed abroad at a high social cost (including family separations, various forms of maltreatment in host countries). The so-called Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) who remit the dollars that fuel the Philippines' economy are hailed as the country’s present-day heroes but the government hardly pays more than lip service to their rights and welfare. The government does not have a system for the repatriation of OFWs in crisis-struck countries and has neither the will nor the capacity to reabsorb them into the local work force.
Rep. Rafael Mariano of Party-list, Anakpawis stressed " If only the government will protect the local industries from smuggling, global competition and trade liberalization policy, then unemployment and underemployment will not be a cause of concern."
 

Indeed, Aquino has chosen to pursue a policy of subservience to foreign dictates. In fact, thousands of urban poor families have been displaced through violent demolition of their homes, public transportation fares have been hiked, and value added tax has been imposed on expressways -- all in the name of the public-private partnership program pushed by the World Bank. Large scale foreign mining projects that give foreign companies a high return on their investments cause environmental destruction and damage to human lives and human rights violations. It is also to meet the conditionality of the World Bank that Aquino stopped rice subsidies via the National Food Authority and created the Conditional Cash Transfer, a dole-out program prone to corruption by government officials at all levels.
 

Not surprisingly, the dictates of imperial power go beyond socio-economic policy. The Visiting Forces Agreement with the USA continues to be in force. Aquino has reneged on its promise to review said Agreement containing provisions that compromise the country’ s sovereignty. Only several days ago, on the occasion of the visit of 2 US senators to the country, he started sounding off to the nation the possibility of the return of US forces in the country’s "former" US bases.
 

Furthermore, in accordance with the US Counter-Insurgency Strategy for the Philippines, Aquino implements measures that violate the human rights of our already-suffering people. He extended Arroyo’s military campaign upon taking office in June 2010 and launched at the beginning of 2011 his own Oplan Bayanihan which likewise seeks to silence voices of dissent specially in the countryside where peasants and farmers fighting for their basic rights to the soil they till. Harassment, abductions, illegal arrests, trumped-up charges torture and other forms of human rights violations continue unabated throughout the country and the human rights watchdog KARAPATAN documented more than 40 cases of extrajudicial killings during Aquino’s first year in power.
 

We can fill a book, we can fill a lot of books, to show that Aquino, in his first year, was not eager to make the government work on behalf of the laborer, the farmer and the urban poor, the small businessman and has waisted a good part of his time mismanaging the crises that came his way. He has not proven that he can be trusted to look out for the interests of the Filipino people. And there is no indication that the situation will change for the better within his term. He is not into the peace talks with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines to achieve peace based on social justice. He is not for the implementation of genuine land reform, as one can see from his handling of the dispute over his family’s Hacienda Luisita. He must have the willingness to assert national independence and adopt an economic development program based on national industrialization and enlightened social policies.
 

We believe that only the united action of all working people will bring the much-needed change in the key areas of our lives. Your solidarity and support give us enormous strength to press on in our struggle

For more information, please contact:
migrante.austria@gmail.com

--
Website: http://migranteinternational.org

Office Address: #45 Cambridge St, Cubao, Quezon City
Telefax: 9114910

 

BAYAN Secretary General Renato Reyes, Jr.
LFS Chair Terry Riddon
Anakbayan Chair Vencer Crisostomo
KMU Secregtary General Roger Soluta

BAYAN MUNA Rep. Teddy Casiño

 

           
     
BAYAN NCR Chair Roy Velez PISTON Chair George San Mateo COURAGE National President Ferdinand Gaite
     

 

PRESS STATEMENT

April 28, 2011

Reference: Vencer Crisostomo, 09224290258, vencercrisostomo@gmail.com

Anakbayan on Noynoy's Labor Day 'treats': Missing the point entirely

“Unlike Noynoy, hindi kumakain ng mga salita ang mga manggagawa at ang kanilang mga pamilya (workers and their families don’t eat words)”

This was the response of Vencer Crisostomo, national chairperson of the youth group Anakbayan, to non-wage benefits announced by the government in lieu of a P125 across-the-board nationwide wage hike clamored for by Anakbayan and labor groups.

He explained that the P125 demand stems from the huge and ever-growing gap between wages and daily costs of living, which in Metro Manila is P404 and P917, respectively. Previously-announced government measures such as the P1.16/liter fuel subsidy for jeep and tricycle drivers have virtually no effect in lessening the said gap.

“All of Aquino’s announcements are literally ‘spare change’ to appease workers” said Crisostomo.

He also took a potshot at the much-touted Labor Day job fairs by the government which will supposedly offer 670,000 jobs, saying these do not change the problem of workers, especially new graduates, of a lack of decent employment within the country.

“For the past several years, the government has always made a show of holding Labor Day job fairs. But why do many Filipinos still go overseas to look for greener pastures, even at their own risk? It’s because these job fairs do not solve the problem of low wages in locally-based jobs” said the youth leader.

According to the independent think-tank IBON Foundation, in the first quarter of 2010 alone, 4,400 Filipinos left the country on a daily basis.

But what has really caught the ire of the group’s members is Aquino’s announcement of a ‘dialogue’ on Labor Day itself with a select few groups.

“Dapat ba kaming matuwa na pakikinggan niya kami kuno at pagkatapos ay uuwing walang laman ang mga bulsa at tiyan naming? Literal niya kaming gustong pakainin ng salita (Should we be glad that he is supposedly listening and then we go home afterwards with empty pockets and stomachs? He literally wants us to feed on words)” said Crisostomo. ###

--
Anakbayan Public Information Committee
Contact us at: anakbayan.media@gmail.com / +639175197758
Visit the Online Campaign center @ anakbayan.org
"Only through militant struggle can the best in the youth emerge"

 

 

 

GABRIELA Secretary General Lana Linaban
ANAKBAYAN Secretary General Charise Bañez
           
           
           
           
A May Day Mural by the UGATLahi Artistcollective
 
     
     

 

PRESS STATEMENT

May 1, 2011

Reference: Vencer Crisostomo, 09224290258, vencercrisostomo@gmail.com

Anakbayan, the militant organization of the Filipino youth, joins the workers and other sectors in commemorating International Labor Day, which has also been dubbed all across the Philippines as a ‘Workers’ and Peoples’ Day of Outrage’.

There is truly reason to be outraged: President Noynoy Aquino and the Employers’ Confederation of the Philippines (ECOP) is threatening lay-offs and more price hikes should the much-clamored-for P125 across-the-board nationwide wage hike is given. The facts are clear: such an increase will only make a 15% cut in the profits of big and foreign capitalists in the country, or P150 billion out of P790 billion. Should there be lay-offs and price hikes, it is caused by the capitalist refusal to accept the loss of even a mere peso in profits.

Instead, we are being treated to another round of the ‘Noynoy Aquino Show’, in which band-aid and virtually insignificant measures are mouthed left and right to dazzle us into forgetting the fact that many of us (12.4 million of us, according to latest government statistics) are hungry because we have nothing to buy food with. Previous measures such as the measly P1.16-per-liter ‘Pantawid Pasada’ fuel discount, or the government’s Labor Day job fair which offers 600,000+ mostly-contractual and low-paying jobs, is a preview of whatever miserable ‘leftovers’ the Aquino administration will throw at workers this 1st of May.

In light of the stranglehold that the government and Big Business has put around the Filipino worker’s neck, Anakbayan recognizes as ‘timely’ and ‘relevant’ the National Democratic Front of the Philippines’ (NDFP) proposals to address the twin issues of low wages and high prices.

Under the proposed program of ‘national industrialization’ and its accompanying program of ‘genuine land reform’, landed estates such as Hacienda Luisita will be carved up and distributed for free to landless and poor farmers. Ending the monopoly of 9,000 individuals over a fifth of the country’s total agricultural land will enable a decent livelihood for the millions of unemployed and underemployed, especially those in the countryside.

Meanwhile, by putting emphasis on the development of basic industries (such as steel, chemicals, mining, and energy), our country’s wealth of natural resources will generate ‘capital goods’, or those required by other industries to operate, will be made readily available to local businesses. This will address the current problem of having to depend on expensive imported equipment and raw materials, leading to the development of our local industries which will create more jobs.

This is in sharp contrast to today’s situation where seven out of every ten farmers remain landless, the generation of jobs is dependent on foreign corporations, and our raw materials are exported instead of being utilized for the development of our country.

With Aquino’s first year in office almost finished, it is clear that he will not undertake such a pro-worker and pro-people program as it affects the interests of landlords and foreign capitalists. With this in mind, Anakbayan calls on the Filipino workers and youths to seriously study the NDFP’s proposals in the coming weeks and months, and how to achieve it in the face of the anti-worker and anti-poor U.S-Aquino Regime.

We must consider that should the people suffering under Noynoy’s rule unite, we will comprise a vast majority in the country, or a sea of protest and revolution. Workers, with their key role in the economy, can literally strike a blow against the current repressive system. Hence, we must realize that meaningful change and a decent existence is not something we beg for at the feet of the Aquino Regime, but something we must actively work and struggle for. ###

--
Anakbayan Public Information Committee
Contact us at: anakbayan.media@gmail.com / +639175197758
Visit the Online Campaign center @ anakbayan.org
"Only through militant struggle can the best in the youth emerge"

 

     
     
           
     
     
     

 

NEWS RELEASE
1 May 2011

REFERENCE: Lana Linaban, GABRIELA Secretary General (0908-8653582)
GABRIELA Public Information Department (09174661522)

Thousands of Filipino Women Join Day of Outrage

“A substantive wage increase and price control is necessary to give the much needed economic relief to Filipinos who are reeling from incessant hikes in prices of oil and commodities, especially for women who continue to suffer from dismal labor situation.”

This was the statement of women’s group GABRIELA as they joined in the nationwide protest action in this year’s observance of Labor Day dubbed as the National People and Workers’ Day of Outrage over stagnant low wages and unabated price hikes. The Aquino government has already thumbed down the call for a P125 nationwide across-the-board wage increase, saying it will only worsen inflation, and is considering instead a minimal wage hike to be decided by the regional wage boards.

“Within the 10 months of the Aquino government, prices of petroleum products and commodities have increased alarmingly. Due to rising prices of flour and cooking oil, even the low-end “Pinoy Tasty” will increase again by P1 this week. A measly wage increase will be easily wiped out as the private sector already announced an upcoming 7% hike in prices of goods. Making ends meet will be next to impossible for women, especially that they traditionally manage the family’s income,” stated Lana Linaban, GABRIELA secretary general.

Apart from a substantive wage hike, Linaban added that women’s labor situation highlights the need for substantive and structural changes. Unfortunately, Linaban added, “Aquino is known to resort to ‘pantawid’ schemes instead of pro-people economic planning.”

A recent study by the International Labor Organization and the Asian Development Bank shows that women in Asian countries were the hardest hit by the global economic crisis. Accordingly, women are more vulnerable to job losses, unemployment and labor contractualization.

“Faced with limited job options, women are usually siphoned in low-paying jobs mostly in the Wholesale and Retail Industry, or in Manufacturing where they experience sweatshop-like work conditions and with almost no job security. Still others have no other option but to work as piece-rate, home-based workers or tend to a small sari-sari store or carinderia just to eke out a living, while others choose to risk working as overseas contract workers,” said Linaban.

“Instead of job creation and putting an end to labor contractualization, Aquino’s policy blueprint Philippine Labor and Employment Plan 2011-2016 wants to pursue a population control policy to supposedly ease unemployment and poverty. Urging women to limit their number of children in order to have a job, to increase their productivity, or to receive incentive bonuses at work is discriminatory and deceptive. It promotes the myth of population as a major cause of poverty, and thus burdens women to control her pregnancy,” said Linaban.

“Aquino’s myopic and skewed vision his policy wants only it veers away from the real culprit which is government’s failure to provide jobs and ensure decent wages that meet the everyday needs of the family. The road to secure and productive employment for women and the people is only through a national industrialization, which, unfortunately, is in the other direction from where Aquino’s “matuwid na daan” is heading to,” said Linaban. ###

Public Information Department
GABRIELA National Alliance of Women in the Philippines
(+632) 3712302

 

     
     
           
     
     
     

 

NEWS RELEASE
1 May 2011

REFERENCE: Lana Linaban, GABRIELA Secretary General (0908-8653582)
GABRIELA Public Information Department (09174661522)

Thousands of Filipino Women Join Day of Outrage

“A substantive wage increase and price control is necessary to give the much needed economic relief to Filipinos who are reeling from incessant hikes in prices of oil and commodities, especially for women who continue to suffer from dismal labor situation.”

This was the statement of women’s group GABRIELA as they joined in the nationwide protest action in this year’s observance of Labor Day dubbed as the National People and Workers’ Day of Outrage over stagnant low wages and unabated price hikes. The Aquino government has already thumbed down the call for a P125 nationwide across-the-board wage increase, saying it will only worsen inflation, and is considering instead a minimal wage hike to be decided by the regional wage boards.

“Within the 10 months of the Aquino government, prices of petroleum products and commodities have increased alarmingly. Due to rising prices of flour and cooking oil, even the low-end “Pinoy Tasty” will increase again by P1 this week. A measly wage increase will be easily wiped out as the private sector already announced an upcoming 7% hike in prices of goods. Making ends meet will be next to impossible for women, especially that they traditionally manage the family’s income,” stated Lana Linaban, GABRIELA secretary general.

Apart from a substantive wage hike, Linaban added that women’s labor situation highlights the need for substantive and structural changes. Unfortunately, Linaban added, “Aquino is known to resort to ‘pantawid’ schemes instead of pro-people economic planning.”

A recent study by the International Labor Organization and the Asian Development Bank shows that women in Asian countries were the hardest hit by the global economic crisis. Accordingly, women are more vulnerable to job losses, unemployment and labor contractualization.

“Faced with limited job options, women are usually siphoned in low-paying jobs mostly in the Wholesale and Retail Industry, or in Manufacturing where they experience sweatshop-like work conditions and with almost no job security. Still others have no other option but to work as piece-rate, home-based workers or tend to a small sari-sari store or carinderia just to eke out a living, while others choose to risk working as overseas contract workers,” said Linaban.

“Instead of job creation and putting an end to labor contractualization, Aquino’s policy blueprint Philippine Labor and Employment Plan 2011-2016 wants to pursue a population control policy to supposedly ease unemployment and poverty. Urging women to limit their number of children in order to have a job, to increase their productivity, or to receive incentive bonuses at work is discriminatory and deceptive. It promotes the myth of population as a major cause of poverty, and thus burdens women to control her pregnancy,” said Linaban.

“Aquino’s myopic and skewed vision his policy wants only it veers away from the real culprit which is government’s failure to provide jobs and ensure decent wages that meet the everyday needs of the family. The road to secure and productive employment for women and the people is only through a national industrialization, which, unfortunately, is in the other direction from where Aquino’s “matuwid na daan” is heading to,” said Linaban. ###

Public Information Department
GABRIELA National Alliance of Women in the Philippines
(+632) 3712302

     
     
           
     
     
           
VIDEO  CLIPS
 

 

Noynoy Effigy 1

Noynoy effigy 2

Awit ng KMU

     

 

Tula ni Ka Daning Ramos, May Day 2011

Internasyunal May Day 2011 Manila

May Day speech of Charise Bañez of Anakbayan
     
           
BONUS TRACKS
 

It was a hot day, even in the late afternoon of May Day. But it was also a good time for holding hands as this couple found out.

 
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