Thursday, November 7, 2013

Workers dare Napoles: Be “Mother of all whistleblowers”

Press Release
November 7, 2013

The Partido ng Manggagawa (PM) asked the alleged mastermind of the pork barrel scam, Janet Lim-Napoles, to “name names” and “tell all” as hundreds of workers picketed the Senate grounds in time for the Senate blue ribbon committee hearing today.

“Workers call on Napoles to turn a new page in her life. Instead of invoking her right to remain silent or repeating evasive answers, she should name names and tell all about the pork barrel scam. Napoles can still turn from being the “pork barrel queen’ to being the ‘mother of all whistleblowers,’” averred Wilson Fortaleza, PM spokesperson.

Several hundred members of workers groups under the labor unity coalition Nagkaisa assembled at the Film Center and then trooped to the Senate grounds to air their demands on the pork barrel issue. Nagkaisa, which includes PM and the Philippine Airlines Employees Association (PALEA), are pushing for the abolition of the pork barrel and its reallocation to universal social protection such as health care, unemployment insurance and public employment.

“We are also calling for people’s participation in the budget process not just as watchdog but also as stakeholder. Workers in particular demand a ‘full employment budget,’ meaning government policies, programs and projects be focused on generating jobs for all Filipinos,” declared Fortaleza.

The workers picket at the Senate today is just the start of a series of activities to highlight Nagkaisa’s demands for the abolition of the pork barrel and the creation of a full employment budget. On November 23, hundreds of labor leaders from some 40 workers groups and institutions will assemble to affirm labor’s position on the pork barrel, job security, wage increase and power rates. The culmination is a big mobilization on November 30 in which call for the reallocation of the pork barrel to social services will be among the central demands.

Fortaleza announced that “Workers will celebrate in the streets the 150th birth anniversary of Andres Bonifacio on November 30 in continuation of his historic struggle for national liberation and social emancipation.”

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