30 April 2009
Labor Day actions begin rolling today with the “Lakbayan para sa Proteksyon at Pagbabago” spearheaded by the Partido ng Manggagawa (PM) started a daybreak march from Bacoor Cavite.
PM chair Renato Magtubo said his group’s Lakbayan brings the call for labor protection and social justice and is part of their direct actions in countering the GMA administration’s move to change the constitution.
“What we demand is a complete reversal of liberalization, deregulation and privatization policies, NOT a run for Charter-Change to perpetuate Gloria Arroyo in power and create a system of power unlimited,” said Magtubo in a statement sent to media.
He added that it is not Jun Lozada but Gloria and those who let this country down by promoting these policies, the politicians and scammers who robbed the nation’s coffer and the capitalists who use the crisis to further abuse workers, who deserve a jail term.
PM is also coordinating with other labor groups in preparing for a joint march to Mendiola tomorrow. The labor leader said several labor, urban poor and peasant groups have agreed to have a common action on Labor Day for the defense of workers’ jobs and the poor’s right to decent living. He added that a Church Labor Conference was also formed early this week that paved the way for a closer cooperation between organized labor and the church on the campaign for labor protection.
Spearheading the Lakbayan (south contingent) are at least 1,000 displaced workers and urban poor from Cavite, Las Pinas and Paranaque. The north contingent from Rizal, Bulacan and Caloocan is marching from Edsa-Crossing down to Makati. The Lakbayan will first proceed to the Housing and Urban Development and Coordinating Council (HUDCC) to bring the call for moratorium on demolitions and evictions to housing officials. After a dialogue with HUDCC, the Lakbayan will pass by the MPD headquarters to show support to whistle –blower Jun Lozada, before proceeding to the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).
Mass for workers
From DOLE, the Lakbayan participants will stay overnight at the Malate Church. Together with the Roman Catholic Church Archdiocesan Ministry for Labor Concerns (AMLC), a “Misa para sa Manggagawa” will be held in the morning of May 1st, to be officiated by Bishop Teodoro Bacani.
After the mass, the Lakbayan will proceed to Liwasang Bonifacio to merge with other groups under a loose alliance called Alyansa ng Manggagawa, Magsasaka at Maralita para sa Proteksyon at Pagbabago, or AM3 in short More than 10,000 workers, urban poor and peasants are expected to participate in this unified action.
Simultaneous actions will also be held in other regions. In Cebu, displaced employees and MEPZ workers to join 1,000 union members in the PM and the Solidarity of Cebu Workers-sponsored rally to be held at Plaza Independencia. They will also hold rally in front of DOLE-Cebu where they will burn a copy of the Labor Code in protest of the inability of Labor officials to protect workers in the region. After the rally at DOLE, the protesters will march to downtown Colon to merge with the Cebu Labor Coalition for Labor Unity for a rally against the economic crisis.
In Negros, some 1,000 industrial and farm workers from Bacolod City and the 3rd, 4th and 5th districts of Negros Occidental will hold a march-rally at the Fountain of Justice. Meanwhile, a caravan of a hundred vehicles will tour around Iloilo City before joining a mobilization by hundreds of workers and poor at the Plaza Letagay
In Davao City, some 200 PM members will hold a forum then march by 5 p.m. along Reyes, San Pedro and Magallanes Sts. Another forum on economic crisis will be held in General Santos and Dipolog City.
In Iligan, PM and Sanlakas will join the Federation of Democratic Labor Organizations (FDLO) in a march from the St. Michael's Cathedral to the Iligan City Freedom Park. This will be joined by other multisectoral groups as well under the May Day 2009 Committee of the Civil Society Organizations Forum for Peace (CSO-FP).