Sunday, March 14, 2010

Wage hike, reproductive health pushed in Calabarzon-wide motorcade

Press Release
March 14, 2010

The labor party-list Partido ng Manggagawa (PM) held today a massive motorcade of 97 motorcycles and 5 vehicles that traversed the Calabarzon region to push for wage hike and reproductive health among a host of working class demands. “We brought the message of a wage increase, reproductive health, affordable housing and regular jobs to the industrial heartland of the country where the concentration of the factory workers can now be found,” explained Ramil Cangayao, PM leader in Calabarzon.

The “Motorcade para sa Trabaho, Sahod, Pabahay at Kalusugan” started at the Cavite Economic Zone in Rosario at exactly 7:00 a.m. while at the same time a contingent left Malvar, Batangas. The combined motorcade then passed through the industrial towns of Cavite, Laguna and Batangas. Around 1:00 p.m. the motorcade made a stop at the covered court of Barangay 5, Tanauan, Batangas where an assembly of some 1,000 workers and urban poor discussed issues such as high prices, job contractualization, urban poor demolitions and free condoms. The motorcade ended in Carmona, Cavite.

At various stops such as in Pala-Pala, Dasmarinas in Cavite, Calamba Crossing in Laguna and Tanauan town proper in Batangas, PM women members distributed condoms in a symbolic gesture of support for the controversial reproductive health bill. “The candidates who say they are pro-poor and pro-women should make this motherhood slogan concrete by categorical support for reproductive health. The candidates especially the presidentiables should not fear the supposed clout and negative campaign of pro-life groups for they do not represent the sentiments and votes of the silent majority,” stated Nena Olvina, PM-Cavite leader.

Members of the Excellent Riders Club and the Cavite Professional Riders Club joined the motorcade as well as individual workers in their own motorcycles. The motorcycles and vehicles were festooned with flaglets, posters and paraphernalia in support of four basic working class demands. PM is running for the party-list elections on a platform of “Apat na Dapat” which means regular jobs, living wage, affordable housing and healthcare coverage for all.

Cangayao argued that “In a television interview early this week, the spokesperson of the Department of Labor pre-empted the wage boards by echoing the capitalist black propaganda that a wage increase will result in job losses. Our fearless forecast is that the wage boards will reject the wage petitions. That is why we are batting for the abolition of the wage boards and the establishment of a National Wage Commission instead.”

PM wants a National Wage Commission to be formed with the mandate to set a national minimum wage based solely on the cost of living. “Any wage petition will not prosper unless President Gloria Arroyo supports it. That unfortunately is the problem with the tripartite regional wage boards. If Malacanang does not give the go signal for a wage hike, the wage petition will be stymied at the wage boards,” Cangayao explained.

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