“The people need jobs and decent wages not Charter Change. The workers need million jobs not million signatures for Charter change.”
These were the statements of Danny Edralin, Chairperson of the Alliance of Progressive Labor (APL) as the labor group begun preparations for the first nationally-coordinated workers’ protest action against Charter change on May 1.
“Charter change has always been a project of the elite to realign our Constitution and open up our economy to global market. We are alarmed that liberalizing our economy would further jeopardize the jobs and rights of the working class,” Edralin said.
The labor leader said that while this move is resurrected to “solve” the political crisis, the real intention of the neo-liberal economists in our government headed by Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is to purge the nationalist provisions of our Constitution that are the only remaining protection we have against massive demolition of the labor market, our natural resources and economic sovereignty.
“We have already implemented a one-sided and unilateral liberalization and this has never improved the state of employment and poverty gripping the lives of millions of our people,” said Edralin.
Figures from the National Statistics Office revealed close to 11 million workers or 30% of the 32 million strong labor force were looking for work in 2005. This number included over four million jobless Filipinos (up from three million in 1998, a recession year) and seven million underemployed workers.
The labor group is participating in today’s launch of STOP CHA-CHA that is formed to oppose the Charter change initiative of the administration.
“This government is desperately pushing for Charter change while labor continues to struggle from one economic crisis to another,” said Edralin.
Edralin said APL members will hold their Labor Day rally in Plaza Miranda before marching to Liwasang Bonifacio where other members of SULONG, the broadest labor coalition that called for the ouster of the Arroyo Regime and the establishment of a transitional revolutionary government.
APL along with other labor groups under SULONG will march to Mendiola from Liwasang Bonifacio.