Sunday, November 30, 2014

Belmonte cha-cha, killing and jailing of unionists mark Bonifacio Day demands

Press Release
November 30, 2014
As thousands of workers commemorate the 151st birth anniversary of Andres Bonifacio, the militant group Partido Manggagawa (PM) highlighted labor’s demand for a rejection of the charter change initiative of House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte and the continuing repression of unions by capitalists and the government.
“On the very eve of Bonifacio Day, Rolando Pango, a labor organizer in Negros Occidental was abducted and then assassinated as he was on the way to meet sugar workers who will join today’s mass actions. Meanwhile in Toledo City in Cebu province, mine union president Tony Cuizon is in jail on trumped up charges. The arrest of Cuizon and murder of Pango are symptomatic of the repression suffered by workers fighting for their rights.” stated Wilson Fortaleza, PM spokesperson.
Marches are also being held today in the cities of Cebu, Bacolod and Davao in coordination with the main demonstration in Manila. In Manila, PM members are joining workers from other the labor groups comprising the labor coalition Nagkaisa in marching this morning from Welcome Rotunda to Mendiola for a program until noon.
Workers oppose Belmonte’s economic cha-cha as it carries the same old agenda of giving foreign capital more flexibility and freedom in doing business in the country. While Congress makes an x’mas rush to vote on the cha-cha as demanded by imperialist Santas, it turns a deaf ear to workers demands for enabling laws to the living wage, security of tenure and full employment provisions of the Constitution,” stated Fortaleza.
Nagkaisa is also criticizing the anti-labor policies pursued or tolerated by the Aquino administration such as contractualization, cheap labor, high cost of power, and the deepening inequality created under the general condition of jobless growth.
Pango’s assassination happened after he assisted some 40 workers of Hacienda Salud in the town of Isabela in filing illegal dismissal and labor standards violations against landlord Manolette Lamatan, who heads the Negros planters association. Cuizon has been incarcerated for more than a month now after he was arrested because a warrant for illegal possession of firearms and explosives which his union claims was planted.
PM vowed to mobilize workers in a campaign to fight the economic cha-cha. “The Bonifacio Day rally is the opening fire of the campaign to oppose Belmonte’s cha-cha and the Christmas holidays will not dampen workers resolve to resist this new attempt to tear up the token nationalist provisions of the Constitution,” Fortaleza insisted.

He added that “Belmonte and company is concocting an untested formula in constitutional amendments thru a joint resolution loaded with the sinister insertion ‘unless otherwise provided by law’ which can be utilized anytime the need for actual amendment arises. Belmonte’s cha-cha is surely waiting for an intense legal and extra-legal battle.”

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