“Where are the hard policies that would generate regular and quality jobs?”
This is the question posed by workers belonging to the Alliance of Progressive Labor (APL) who trooped to Mendiola today on the occasion of the celebration of the 147th birthday of the great proletarian hero Gat Andres Bonifacio.
“We are getting concerned that the evolving economic policy of the Aquino government is no different from that of the previous government”, Josua Mata, APL Secretary General said. “Rather than alter a flawed economic policy that created years of jobless growth and declining real wages for the workers, it seems that the same market-oriented policies, a new guise, are being pursued,” the labor leader added.
The APL chided the Aquino government’s flagship program, the Public-Private Partnership Program or PPPP, and its much-vaunted Conditional Cash Transfer program as severely inadequate in addressing the jobs crisis.
Essentially, the PPPP is nothing but “BOT on steroids,” according to Mata. Build-operate-transfer schemes were implemented in the 1990’s to deepen and broaden privatization. After more than 2 decades of privatization, it is clear that these programs have failed to live up to its promises of improved and cost effective services. Instead, it has delivered large swatches of the economy to the hands of private oligopoly. At the same time, privatization, together with liberalization and deregulation, ushered years of jobless growth, precarious work and declining real wages.
The APL finds the Conditional Cash Transfer, or CCT, necessary to contain poverty. “But CCT would only be successful if coupled with a robust jobs generation program,” Mata said.
APL reiterated its call for the development of the local economy through agrarian and urban land reform, implementation of living wage and social protection, and the promotion of sustainable agriculture and industrialization. “We believe that all policies – monetary, fiscal, trade, investment, industrial, etc. – should be measured based on their efficiency in promoting secure and quality jobs for all,” Mata said.
“While government has yet to show us the right path towards full employment, its ability to defend regular jobs still remains to be seen,” Mata added. APL is part of KONTRA, the broad coalition against contractualization, in pushing for the reversal of the DOLE’s decision on outsourcing in PAL.
APL members also poured out into the streets of Naga, Cebu, Davao, General Santos, Cotabato and Cagayan de Oro to celebrate Bonifacio Day urging workers to struggle against neoliberal policies, end contractualization and fight for regular jobs.