November 30, 2005
Statement on the Occasion of Bonifacio Day 2005
Despite the Arroyo regime’s efforts to undermine one of the labor movement’s sacred traditions, workers belonging to the Alliance of Progressive Labor (APL) would pour out into the streets of Manila, Cebu, Bacolod, Davao and Cagayan de Oro, to once again commemorate the birth of the great proletarian hero, Gat Andres Bonifacio.
The APL deplores the move of the Arroyo regime to transfer the legal holiday of Bonifacio Day from November 30 to another date, this year to 28 November 2005 on the pretext of encouraging local tourism though “holiday economics.” The APL sees the move as an affront to the worker’s tradition in commemorating the heroism of Gat Andres Bonifacio – working class hero and founder of Katipunan that led the Philippine revolution to its victory against the Spanish colonizers.
This year’s Bonifacio Day celebrations will be held amidst Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’s continued usurpation and abuse of presidential powers. In her efforts to hold on to power, Gloria has declared war against the working class and the labor movement. With renewed vigor, she continued to impose policies to undermine worker’s economic and political rights such as the EVAT.
While Gloria is gloating over the perceived improvement in the performance of the peso vis-à-vis the US dollar and the easing of oil prices (as if her government has done anything which resulted these situation), workers continue to pay the price of her neoliberal policies: jobless growth; declining real incomes; and, increased tax burdens. For the past 10 years, almost 200 workers are sacked everyday!
Global oil prices recently eased up on the account of a milder winter and the traditional strengthening of the peso due to the remittances of OFWs, the full effect of EVAT would be felt in the 1st quarter of next year.
Not content with the use of calibrated pre-emptive response (CPR) to stump out legitimate dissent, the Arroyo regime even escalated its vicious campaign to assassinate trade union leaders. Meantime, after more than a year, justice remains elusive for the Hacienda Luisita strikers gunned down by the military, the KAMAO leaders Myrna Navales and Uldarica Prado tortured and murdered by unknown assailants, and dozens of other slain trade union leaders!
Similarly, in Sulu, Gloria unleashed the military to wage a war against our Muslim sisters and brothers, reportedly with the help of American “trainers,” in the guise of fighting “terrorism.”
Gloria is probably setting us up to be sold to the Americans. We are deeply concerned by the government’s phlegmatic and irresponsible moves that tend to undermine the case of the 22-year old Filipina gang-raped in Subic. Left unchecked, her case, together with our sovereignty, might be bargained away by Gloria to earn brownie points to improve her standing with George Bush.
But that might not the only way that Gloria may sell off our sovereignty. This December, she might once again send our trade representatives to the 6th WTO Ministerial Conference in Hong Kong with the same marching order she gave during the 4th WTO Ministerial Conference in Doha: don’t do anything to block a new agreement!
The challenges for the working class are truly daunting, but not insurmountable. The key however is to oust the one who continues to usurp presidential powers!
It is for these reasons that the APL would use the occasion of Bonifacio Day celebrations to renew its demand for the ouster of the Arroyo regime and call for the establishment of a Transitional Revolutionary Government that would dismantle the elite’s stifling hold over the country’s economic and political life.
After all, workers have nothing to lose but their economic and political marginalization! And they have a country to win!