Monday, February 8, 2010

10 years of failed labor justice under the Arroyo regime

5 February 2010

Labor justice is a failed agenda under the 10-year rule of the Arroyo administration, a militant labor partylist group, Partido ng Manggagawa (PM), said in a statement sent to media as the party commemorates the 10th year death anniversary of its founder, the late Filemon “Ka Popoy” Lagman, tomorrow.

Lagman was gunned down at the Bahay ng Alumni in UP Diliman on February 6, 2001, barely two months after Mrs. Arroyo assumed power through a popular uprising and thus considered the first case of extra-judicial killing under the Arroyo government that remains unsolved.

PM chair Renato Magtubo even recalled that Mrs. Arroyo in her 2001 Labor Day speech vowed to solve the Lagman case in her first 100 days in office and instructed all concerned law enforcement agencies to coordinate and go after the killers.

“Now it’s not just 100 days but an agonizing 10 years of failed justice for Ka Popoy and for many other victims who suffered the same fate under this corrupt and repressive regime,” said Magtubo.

The Partido ng Manggagawa was Lagman’s last project before his death. PM is a sectoral group running for the partylist elections.

He was also behind the formation of other militant groups such as the Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino (BMP) and the multisectoral group Sanlakas. It was also Lagman who then pursued the “Resigh All” line calling not only for the resignation of President Estrada but also of Mrs. Arroyo, believing that a mere change in the face of the next rulers will never solve the country’s chronic problems.

“In few more months, GMA will leave the presidency with the Lagman murder still unsolved and the conditions of the working class in the country gone from bad to worse. Our challenge to the next administration is to make labor justice an urgent agenda and policies aligned towards this platform,” declared

Labor justice, according to PM, is not only about justice for the unsolved killings under the Arroyo regime but most importantly, is a change in policies that for the longest time have undermined the rights and welfare of the working class.

The current minimum wage of Filipino workers is way below the needed family wage as mandated by the Constitution. Filipinos have also the least social security protections compared with their counterparts abroad. As a result, some 3,000 workers leave the country everyday to find their fortunes in almost every corner of the world.

The labor party in particular is opposing the policies of contractualization which keeps the level of wages low, threatens job security and a bane to exercising the workers’ rights to self-organization.

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