Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Lakbayan ng Manggagawa merges with farmers march, calls for “Social change not charter change”

Press Release
December 10, 2008

The Lakbayan ng Manggagawa merged today with the farmers march for a joint mobilization at the Batasang Pambansa with the call “Maralita Magkaisa, Baguhin ang Sistema (Poor Unite and Fight for Social Change).” The Lakbayan ng Manggagawa by a thousand factory workers and urban started yesterday from Zapote Bacoor, passed by Redemptorist Church in Baclaran, marched through Taft and Espana in Manila and then made an overnight vigil at the Claret School in QC.

“The merging of the Lakbayan ng Manggagawa and the farmers march is an expression of the basic alliance between the workers and farmers. A one-two punch by the workers and farmers will provide the knock-out blow against the rotten system and pave the way for social change,” stated Renato Magtubo, chairperson of the Partido ng Manggagawa (PM).

The Lakbayan ng Manggagawa made a final stop at the main office of the NHA for a noise barrage at 9 a.m. to air the poor’s grievances at the failed housing program of the government. Fr. Buddy Agualada, school head of Claret, and scores of Claret students and personnel joined the workers and poor in the NHA protest.

“The sanctuary provided by the church to the Lakbayan marchers and the support of ordinary Filipinos to our demands is in sharp contrast to Malacanang and Congress which are deaf and blind to the opposition of the people to charter change. Rather than focusing on chacha in order to remove the protectionist provisions of the constitution, the government must instead prioritize protection for the workers and the poor so they could deal with the global crisis,” explained Magtubo.

The Lakbayan ng Manggagawa then proceeded to Philcoa where it combined with the peasant marchers. By 10 a.m. the workers and farmers marched together to the St. Peter Cathedral along Commonwealth Ave. for a mass be officiated by Catholic bishops at noon. The big mobilization then proceeded to the Batasan Pambansa for a program at the gates to pressure Congress to pass the proposed bill for CARP extension.

The Lakbayan ng Manggagawa participants came from PM, Alyansa ng Maralitang Pilipino, Zone One Tondo Organization, Samahang Nagkakaisa ng Cavite, United Cavite Workers Association and unions of Valenzuela City. PM supports the peasants’ campaign for a continuation of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) and slams the inaction of Congress on the proposed bill for extension. The group is also demanding that Congress and Malacanang enact a bailout at stimulus package for workers and poor.

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