February 25, 2011
The Partido ng Manggagawa (PM) criticized the shortcomings of EDSA 1 as the government commemorates the 25th anniversary of the first people power uprising. “The people power uprising of 1986 turns silver today but it shines no more. That is because the social deficit outweighs the political benefits of simple political turnover between factions of the elite, which is the main achievement of the post-EDSA dispensation,” declared Renato Magtubo, PM chair.
PM also commemorated the event with mass meetings of workers under the theme “Kapos ang EDSA at peke ang demokrasya hangga’t kapos ang sahod, kontraktwal ang trabaho at api ang kalagayan ng mga manggagawa.” The group is at the forefront of the current campaigns against labor contractualization and high prices.
Magtubo added that “The events in Tunisia, Egypt and that region are again showing that through unity in action people can assert their rights and win their freedoms. Is this not the spirit of EDSA? Unfortunately in the past 25 years it has been squandered because of the betrayal by the elite which hijacked the victory of people power.”
He furthered that “The post-EDSA regimes fell short of the people’s demands for social change. Since 1986 the poverty and destitution of the masses have continued and unemployment and desperation haunts the workers. The epidemic of contractualization and its ravages on the livelihood of workers is an indictment of EDSA 1.”
PM decried the situation workers under the post-EDSA push for economic liberalization and globalization. “The Marcos dictatorship is hardly any different from the post-EDSA regimes as far as sacrificing workers rights in the altar of foreign investor-led growth and the policy of cheap and docile labor,” Magtubo explained.
PM asserted that the most common grievances of workers are violations of security of tenure, such as illegal dismissal and illegal suspension; non-remittance of social security premiums, withholding taxes and employees’ compensation; and the non-payment/underpayment/late payment of 13th month pay, 5 days service incentive leave and overtime pay; lack of transparency in employment contracts; and restriction of the freedom to organize.
Magtubo called on the workers to lead the people’s struggle for system change. “Instead of the elite, the workers should take leadership and via labor power make sure that social demands are in the forefront of the next uprising in our country,” he asserted.