“We march today to denounce the litany of crimes committed by the Arroyo regime against the working class,” Daniel L. Edralin, APL Chairperson said, on the occasion of the 105th celebration of International Labor Day in the country as tens of thousands of workers poured out into the streets of Manila, Cebu, Davao, General Santos, Cagayan de Oro and Cotabato to renew the labor movement’s call for the ouster of the Arroyo regime.
He enumerated these crimes as: joblessness amidst economic growth; falling real wages amidst rising prices; denial of social services amidst increasing tax burdens and heavy debt servicing; the string of corruption scandals; the continuing political killings and trade union repression; its continued usurpation of power; and, its treasonous sellout of the country’s national patrimony through JPEPA.
“Through the years, the Arroyo regime has demonstrated its uncanny ability to deceive the working people,” Edralin said. A classic example would be its spin on the jobs crisis. Consistently failing to meet its target of 1.5 million jobs a year, it redefined what unemployment means, thereby immediately lowering unemployment figures by more than a million.
In typical Arroyo fashion, government has launched several palliative measures to address the rice crisis. While these may be helpful for the poor in the short run, none of these would actually solve the problem.
“Enough public relations campaigns! We need structural solutions for structural problems,” Edralin said.
Various labor organizations – APL, CIU, BMP, MAKABAYAN and other members organizations of SULONG and LABOR – issued a joint declaration of unity calling for policy reforms to ensure full employment and food security. The unity statement declared that, “for failing to put primacy on policies and programs that will genuinely benefit our people and for entering into unequal agreements and for stifling legitimate demands and protests – the Arroyo government must go.”