Monday, April 30, 2012

Lakbayan against demolition and contractualization today

Press Release
April 30, 2012

One week after the bloody demolition at Silverio compound and threats of demolitions in several depressed areas in Metro Manila, including the Tucuma community in Barangay Merville in Parañaque, a Lakbayan was launched today to push for a long-term moratorium on demolitions, and the provision of housing and jobs for the homeless and unemployed. Some 500 workers, youth and poor from Metro Manila and Calabarzon led the “Lakbayan para sa Pabahay at Trabaho” which started this afternoon at Baclaran Church and ended tonight at the Holy Trinity Church in Balic-Balic.

Renato Magtubo, Partido ng Manggagawa chairperson, declared that “The government needs to address the root cause of lack of housing for the poor. The housing program is tied up with the jobs and wages policy. The low wages in the country, as attested by a recent report of the ILO, means that the poor have barely enough income for food much less rent or amortization on housing,” he said.

The Tucuma Federation, Alyansa ng Maralitang Pilipino, Partido ng Manggagawa-Kabataan (PMK), Philippine Airlines Employees Association and PM joined in the Lakbayan. The Lakbayan held a short program at the DOLE office in Intramuros and the staged a noise barrage at the Welcome Rotonda early tonight. The marchers will stay overnight at the Holy Trinity Church then merge tomorrow with the huge 20,000-strong “historic” rally by the newly-formed Nagkaisa, which unites the country’s major labor center for the first time since the 1980’s. Among the eight major demands of Nagkaisa’s Labor Day rally will be reform of the socialized housing program of the government and a moratorium on demolitions.

Magtubo welcomed Robredo’s suspension of demolitions but also pushed for an extension. “Suspending demolitions until new rules are drafted merely scratches the surface of the problem. The moratorium should stay until the socialized housing of the government is reviewed and reformed. The government’s housing policy for the poor is profit not service-oriented.”

Menchie Amaro of PMK asserted that “The youth face a bleak future with the prevalence of contractual employment in the ecozones of Calabarzon and the threat to our homes and livelihood because of demolitions. The suspension of demolitions applies only to Metro Manila not Region IV.”

The Labor Day commemoration by groups comprising Nagkaisa will be nationwide. In Cebu, some 4,000 members of PM, ALU-TUCP, APL-SENTRO and Makabayan will march from the Pier 1 to downtown Colon and then a rally at the office of the Department of Labor. Some 1,000 sugar workers and factory laborers led by PM will have a rally at the Bacolod public plaza. Hundreds of leaders of labor unions, jeepney drivers associations, trisikad federation, truck drivers association, farm workers and urban poor in Iloilo City will have an indoor assembly in the morning and then a march downtown in the afternoon. In Davao, some 400 members of Nagkaisa including PM will assemble by 1:00 p.m. at Orcullo Park and then march around the city.

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