May 29, 2009
The militant labor group Partido ng Manggagawa (PM) slammed Pastor Alcover Jr. for filing a resolution seeking to ban rallies and pickets at the Batasang Pambansa. “Alcover should read the Constitution so he can be educated that the freedom of assembly, speech and the right to seek redress of grievances are guaranteed by the fundamental law of the land. The people can already imagine the kind of Frankenstein constitution that will be concocted by solons like Alcover if the proposed constituent assembly pushes through,” averred Judy Ann Miranda, PM secretary-general.
PM was one of the groups that participated in the latest protest action in the Batasang Pambansa last Monday that was marred by violence as House security used water cannons against rallyists. Bishop Broderick Pabillo of the CBCP National Secretariat for Social Action led that rally against charter change and for the passage of the agrarian reform bill.
The labor group called on Congress to scrap the proposed ban on rallies at Batasan. Miranda stated “Instead of curtailing the people’s civil liberties, Congress must act on the CARP extension with reform bill and the three pending resolutions at the Senate calling for a workers bailout.”
PM also gave an “unsolicited advice” to Alcover. “As a Cebuano, the first thing Alcover should have done was to file a bill at Congress to protect workers against the impact of the economic crisis as layoffs and rotations continue unabated in and out of the Mactan export zone. If they have the interests of the workers at heart, we challenge Alcover and other Cebu solons to file a counterpart bill at the lower house providing for a bailout of the workers,” Miranda insisted.
She added that Alcover’s claims that protests are a grave threat to solons and the public is dishonest. “Rallies remain peaceful and violence only ensues when authorities try to disperse protesters. It is the anti-people laws passed by Congress that pose a clear and present danger to the people and the poor. It is only through mass action that workers and farmers can influence Congress since they do not have the lobby money dished out by vested interests like big landlords and capitalists,” explained Miranda.
“If Alcover is opposed to the positions advanced by groups that rally in Congress then he and his anti-communist group has all the freedom to undertake counter-protests. We dare him to exercise rather than suppress this freedom,” Miranda ended.