APL-SENTRO Critiques PNOY’S SONA:
PNoy, in his 4th SONA said, “talagang napakasarap maging Pilipino sa panahong ito.” Leaders of the labor movement say:
NOT if you are a minimum wage earner who hardly make ends meet while his bosses are raking in windfall profits!
NOT if you are a migrant worker who was forced to search for a better life abroad, only to find untold hardships while being away from her family!
NOT if you are a rural woman, who, through poverty and violence against her, is bought by a sex tourist!
NOT if you are Dodong Petalcorin, who was gunned down last 2 July 2013 right in front of his house, for fighting corruption in LTFRB in Davao City!
Labor leaders are taking PNoy’s SONA speech with a grain of salt, even criticizing it as a “blueprint to disappointment”. Josua Mata, Secretary General of the Alliance of Progressive Labor (APL-SENTRO), urged the people not to be dazzled by the sugar-coated propagandistic speech of PNoy, saying that “positive anti-corruption programs without a strategy for national development leads to a straight and narrow path to disappointment”.
“We can easily be dazzled by everything that has been said but we have to remain critical of the things that were not mentioned,” says Mata. PNoy’s silence on the key issues of security of tenure for all workers, protection of migrant workers,extrajudicial killings and the freedom of information (FOI) are glaring proofs that the SONA was no more than a performance meant to bedazzle.
There was no coherent strategy for national industrial development, just a narration of anti-corruption programs,government savings and bits of real-life drama and individual heroism.
“And what of the workers?” Mata asks. “What of the 60% of the population, those who were forced to join a dangerous diaspora around the world just to bring in dollars, those clustered in industrial and strike-free zones, those without any protection in terms of security of tenure and living wages?”, he added.
“With no quality and secure jobs, how can growth be ever inclusive?”, Mata said.
“What about those who were killed with impunity while fighting for our rights?,” Mata asked. Of the 59 cases of extra-judicial killings in the last 5 years, only 3 have been formally brought to court.Despite repeated commitments of government to give justice to all the victims, not one single case has been resolved.
“Meanwhile, 6 transport leaders have been killed since PNoy sat into power, 3 of them were murdered this year alone,” Mata bemoaned. “They may become just another statistic to the long and bloody list of victims of extrajudicial murders, especially among trade unionists and social activists,” Mata added.
Unless impunity is stopped, PNoy’s “Matuwid na Daan” will surely be paved with the blood of more workers whose only crimes are to fight for their rights!