May 1, 2009
The militant Partido ng Manggagawa (PM) led more than 1,000 workers and poor, many of them displaced employees, in a Labor Day mobilization that called for policy and social change instead of charter change. “Workers want a reversal in the policies that have aggravated the crisis and change in the rotten system that keeps the people in poverty. We oppose the proposed charter change which has the not-so-hidden agenda of perpetuating the regime in power,” explained Renato Magtubo, chairperson of PM.
The May Day activities started yesterday with a Lakbayan launched by PM that held a dialogue first with HUDCC officials on the demand for moratorium on demolitions and later with Labor Secretary Roque on the call for a workers bailout. The Lakbayan participants spent the night at the Malate Church.
Together with the Roman Catholic Church Archdiocesan Ministry for Labor Concerns (AMLC), a “Misa para sa Manggagawa” was held this morning that was officiated by Bishop Teodoro Bacani. The Lakbayan ended by merging with the Labor Unity rally at Liwasang Bonifacio at 11 a.m that later proceeded to Mendiola. “Labor unity and Church support marks this year’s celebration of May Day in recognition of the fact that we need a strong movement to respond to the attempt of capitalists to make the workers pay for the crisis,” Magtubo asserted.
PM called the job fairs organized by government as a “bandaid solution.” Judy Ann Miranda, PM secretary-general, argued that “Job mismatch is not the problem and job fairs are not the solution. The real cause of unemployment is economy mismatch, meaning the government implemented the failed model of globalization on the economy which has resulted in the collapse of local industry and agriculture.” She added that “The solution to economy mismatch is reorientation away from export promotion and overseas employment towards strengthening the domestic economy by building up local industry and agriculture that will provide decent work to millions of Filipinos.”
The group also declared that wage increases cannot be set aside even as workers prioritize the problem of employment. Miranda stated that “This proposal is another illustration of the vicious attempt by capitalists to exploit the crisis. At the root of the global recession is the problem of global underconsumption. There is a lack of demand for the commodities produced worldwide due to two decades of a global race to the bottom in wages and working conditions. Thus shortchanging the workers in the midst of the crisis will aggravate instead of mitigate the effects of the global recession.”
The Lakbayan is just part of the nationwide commemoration sponsored by PM. Marches, caravans and fora marked the Labor Day activities of PM in Cebu City, Bacolod City, Iloilo city, Davao City, General Santos City, Iligan City and Dipolog City.