December 8, 2008
A noise barrage held today in different parts of Metro Manila called for “social change not charter change.” The coordinated activity was a build up for the Lakbayan ng Manggagawa that will start tomorrow and then merge with the peasant marchers on Wednesday for a big joint mobilization.
The coordinated noise barrage was launched in the following five points in Metro Manila: NHA, Elliptical Road, QC; Sto. Nino Church, Tondo, Manila; Bicutan Interchange, Paranaque; Sangandaan, Caloocan; and Royal Mall, Malinta Exit, Valenzuela. The noise barrage commenced at 5 p.m. except the NHA activity which was held earlier at 1 p.m. A hundred workers and poor in every one of the five areas banged pots and pans to dramatize their protest.
“Instead of railroading chacha, Malacanang and Congress should push for a bailout of the workers and the poor in the face of the global economic crisis,” stated Renato Magtubo, chairperson of Partido ng Manggagawa (PM), one of the organizations involved in the noise barrage. He also welcomed the TUCP’s opposition to chacha but added that “We only ask that they match their words with deeds. They should join the urban and rural poor joint rally on Wednesday.”
PM will lead the Lakbayan ng Manggagawa on Tuesday that will involve more than a thousand members of Alyansa ng Maralitang Pilipino, Zone One Tondo Organization, Samahang Nagkakaisa ng Cavite at United Cavite Workers Association. The Lakbayan marchers will pass through various points of Metro Manila and hold an overnight vigil at an undisclosed church compound. On Wednesday the Lakbayan ng Manggagawa will resume and combine with the farmer mobilization that will troop to the Batasan Pambansa.
“The merging of forces of the workers and the peasants, of the urban and rural poor, is a response to the call of the Catholic bishops for social change. An alliance between the workers and the peasants is the necessary condition for changing Philippine society. Nothing is impossible if the workers and farmers unite and fight,” asserted Magtubo.
PM declared its support for the farmers demand for an extension of Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) and condemnation of the landlord resistance. Meanwhile the group is campaigning for a bailout at stimulus package for workers and poor. Magtubo explained that “SSS, GSIS and the OWWA must release funds sufficient to subsidize all private sector workers, government employees and OFW’s who will be laid off due to the crisis that should last until they find a new job up to a maximum of 6 months. Government must also declare a tax rebate for all workers equivalent to 2 months wage, in effect giving them a 14th and 15th month salary. And a public employment program must be established for the four million unemployed even before the onset of the present crisis.”