President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo announced earlier the transfer of the non-working holiday commemorating the birth of Gat Andres Bonifacio from November 30, which falls on a Tuesday this year, to November 29, Monday through her concept of ‘holiday economics,’ which actually aims to save employers from paying special holiday pay on working days caught between a weekend and a holiday and usually declared a special holiday in the past.
The Alliance of Progressive Labor deplores this move of the Arroyo government in applying the concept even to dates that are historical landmarks in the struggle of the working people. It is unfortunate that the government would belittle the importance of this date on the excuse that moving the holiday commemoration will give the workers more time with their families.
The APL views such insult, an affront to the worker’s tradition in commemorating the heroism of Gat Andres Bonifacio – the working class hero and founder of Katipunan that led the Philippine revolution to its victory to free the country from its Spanish colonizers. PGMA wants to dampen the significant role played by the working class in the history and rich tradition of the Filipino people in fighting against the unjust social structures of our society by diverting public attention from the likewise significant role played by Andres Bonifacio with whom workers can relate and identify.
The Arroyo government is unmindful of this because at its core are the capitalists whose interests are completely inimical and detrimental to the working class. Just recently, the government gave mere alms to workers through a minimal cost of living allowance adjustment in the NCR, and lower versions on areas outside it, amidst the onslaught of the economic crisis though the capitalists could have given more. Now, it wants to add insult to injury by emasculating the true essence and importance of November 30 to the working class. PGMA will be sowing confusion as to when to venerate Bonifacio’s, and the working class’, ideals and dreams, not only for the complete recognition of our trade union rights, but to gain freedom from extreme poverty and foreign subjugation, as well.
The government clearly wants to go beyond its ploy of a No Permit, No Rally policy, and now intends to prevent the workers from exercising their right to go out on the streets and dramatize their resentment to a social system that continuously fails to provide them with decent jobs, adequate food, health, education, and other social rights and benefits despite their great contribution to the economy.
With the continuous adherence of the Arroyo government to the neo-liberal programs of the World Trade Organization, the worsening conditions that set aflame to the resistance during the time of Andres Bonifacio are very much present today. It is therefore important, and necessary, for workers to remember and continue their historic role to defend and advance the interests of the workers and their families who constitute the majority of the people by asserting the right to commemorate the birth anniversary of our working class hero on his actual day of birth.
Thus, the APL demands that the President restore the regular holiday status of November 30.