On the occasion of the 108th celebration of the International Labor Day in the country, tens of thousands of workers would converge in the main thoroughfares of key cities to reiterate workers’ demand for a better deal. This was the announcement made by leaders of APL and its allied organizations in a press conference today.
“Almost one year after the euphoric victory of President Aquino, workers have yet to see tangible gains for the working class. Instead, what we have is a disastrous decision for the workers of PAL, violent demolitions of informal settlers and skyrocketing prices of oil, food and other prime commodities,” Edwin Bustillos, APL Deputy Secretary General, said.
To top it all, workers are being presented an unimaginative Philippine Development Plan (PDP) for 2011-2016 that merely provides a slightly updated version of the same old neoliberal prescriptions.
“We are alarmed that the PDP is still primarily hinged on exporting our way out of poverty even if the prospects for full recovery of our major trading partners are still uncertain,” Josua Mata, APL Secretary-General, explained.
He pointed out that the PDP’s target of generating 1 million jobs per year is woefully inadequate.
“With new entrants to the labor force outstripping the number of employment generated, we would end up having more unemployed by the end of President Aquino’s term,” Mata added.
Unfortunately, this same target inevitably found its way into DOLE’s Labor and Employment Plan for 2011-2016.
“We certainly deserve a better deal!” Mata declared.
It is on this note that he announced that workers, under the banner of APL and its allied organizations, would march to Mendiola to demand from President Aquino to certify as urgent the Security of Tenure Bill and the immediate issuance of an executive order on moratorium on demolitions.
The APL is also demanding for price controls as well as the suspension of EVAT on oil products.
Together with KONTRA, APL would call on President Aquino to reconsider his decision on the outsourcing of the Philippine Airlines (PAL) as this would open the floodgates for abuse.
Finally, APL believes that a wage adjustment is direly needed. “But what is needed is a nationwide, across the board, wage increase and not the measly crumbs that the regional wage boards would most likely decide on in the next few weeks or months,” Bustillos said.
The APL will mobilize in Manila, Lipa, Cebu, Davao, General Santos, Cotabato and Cagayan de Oro.
In Manila, APL will march from Blumentritt España to link up with Kowalisyon Kontra Kontraktwalisasyon (KONTRA) and the Church-Labor Conference (CLC) in Mendiola, where a mass against contractualization will be led by Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillio.
Joining APL in this year’s Labor Day march are the Philippine Metalworkers’ Alliance (PMA), League of Independent Bank Organizations (LIBO), National Alliance of Broadcast Unions (NABU), Postal Employees’ Union of the Philippine (PEUP), Confederation of Independent Unions in the Public Sector (CIU) and others.