Today, members of the Alliance of Progressive Labor (APL) will fan out in the streets of major cities around the country in full force to assert the demands of the working people – Enough of GMA! No to ConAss! No to Charter Change!
In her SONA, Gloria Arroyo will once again peddle a string of lies about the state of the nation. She would extol the imaginary gains of her administration while completely glossing over the grim realities of the working class.
“This has to be her last SONA! After 9 years of economic mismanagement, plunder and repression, the Arroyo regime has succeeded in achieving the exact opposite of what it promised,” Edwin Bustollos, APL spokeperson, said.
Instead of generating 1.5 million jobs every year, workers experienced a deep jobs crisis. The regime consistently missed its target. And the meager jobs that were generated were mostly of low quality, contractual and with very low wages, if any. Rather than employ our workers to build the domestic economy, the Arroyo regime was contented in exporting our workers.
Instead of providing food on the table, workers experienced increased hunger. In place of providing shelter, slums continued to grow even as our urban poor dwellers suffered from violent demolitions.
Contrary to its promise of providing quality education for our children, the ranks of the drop-outs and out-of-school youth swelled as investment in education continued to decline from 11.8 percent to 12.2 percent in 2008 (in terms of national budget share).
This dismal outcome should not come as a surprise as the Arroyo regime has consistently demonstrated its flawed priorities: debt payments over social services; foreign over national interests; and, enrichment of the First Family and its cronies over the needs of the people.
Worst, the people’s resistance to its failed policies was met with repression. Once again, our country became one of the most dangerous places for trade unionists, journalists and activists!
“So long as Arroyo is in power, full employment, living wages, decent housing and education for all would remain elusive. And the rule of law would continue to be nonexistent,” Bustillos said. “Enough is enough!,” he added.
Charter Change was never meant to be the solution to the issues plaguing the nation. Instead, by giving in to the demands of foreign interests to remove the Charter’s nationalist provisions, it can even worsen the lot of the working people. Clearly, Charter Change is nothing but a pretext to extend the term of the most unpopular president we ever had.
“Arroyo is the biggest threat to whatever remains of our fragile democracy. The working class is ready to resist her every step of the way,” Bustillos stressed.
The APL vows to exact accountability from Mrs. Arroyo as soon as her presidential immunity is lifted. “We must hold her responsible for all her crimes against the people,” Bustillos declared. “At the same time, we need to completely reverse all her flawed policies as soon as possible,” he added.
APL and its allied organizations, together with Manggagawa Kontra Chacha and TindigNation, will mobilize in the NCR, Lipa, Cebu, Davao, Cotabato, Cagayan de Oro and General Santos.