Leftists declare PGMA no.1 enemy of working class
A left-leaning fisherfolk alliance allied with the militant labor group Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) and Anakpawis party list on Labor Day declared President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo as the no.1 enemy of Filipino workers and dismissed the 200,000 job fairs set up by the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) as cheap publicity stunt.
“The roughly 56 million populace in the countryside including rural workers across the nation indict the Macapagal-Arroyo government as the no.1 class enemy of the proletariat in this part of the globe and at this given epoch of Philippine history,” the Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) said in a statement.
Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap said President Arroyo’s refusal to grant the P 125 across-the-board daily pay hike demand of Filipino workers since she assumed the presidency in 2001 is a clear indication that her government is not after the rights and welfare of the workers, and that her administration exists for the class interest of the foreign and domestic capitalists.
“Mrs. Arroyo, the no.1 bureaucratic capitalist is the biggest anti-labor, anti-worker and anti-national political entity in this country. It is only just and moral and politically correct to turn Labor Day’s commemoration this year into an across-the-country Arroyo bashing,” the fisherfolk leader said.
Pamalakaya’s Hicap further ridiculed the 200,000 job fairs set up by DOLE all over the country. He said the job fairs were only meant to convince the public that Malacañang and its labor officials are aware of the worsening labor situation, and it is doing everything it can do to address the huge problem of unemployment and underemployment.
“This carnival like escapade of President Arroyo will not create jobs. These job fairs are nothing but job booths selling empty promises to job seeking people,” he added.
Citing the recent study made by the militant think tank Ibon Foundation, Pamalakaya said even if President Arroyo succeeds in creating 800,000 jobs this year, the labor department is inutile in addressing the job demands of more than 900,000 new job seekers this year.
Pamalakaya said the Ibon study revealed that the Arroyo government failed to address the problems of the 11,600 workers who were permanently retrenched and 38,800 temporarily laid off workers, excluding the 12,000 displaced overseas Filipino workers since October 2008 when the global crisis imploded,” it said on its Web site.
The militant group agreed with Ibon that the Macapagal-Arroyo government and big businesses were exerting all their efforts to pass the burden of adjusting to the crisis on workers through wage and benefit cuts and layoffs.
“This government is leading the campaign for flexible work schemes like rotated force leaves and shortened work shifts supposedly as a response to the global crisis. The Filipino workers are being crushed to death by Mrs. Arroyo and her transnational clients,” said Pamalakaya.
Citing the same study of militant think tank group, Pamalakaya said the average real employment rate of over 11 percent from 2001 up to the first quarter of 2009 is the worst in local history and is seen to even worsen due to the crisis.
Pamalakaya stressed that job losses seemed most severe in the manufacturing sector, which reduced 122,000 jobs from 2008 on top of the 137,000 manufacturing jobs already from the year before.
Earlier, Pamalakaya challenged Malacañang and the Department of Agriculture to implement a
P 32-billion production subsidy program for small fisherfolk in the country.
Under the group’s proposal, small fisherfolk operating a small fishing boat will get a monthly subsidy of P 4,500 each, which will be used for expenses for oil and repair of fishing gears, while fishermen using non-motorized bancas will get P 2,000 monthly production subsidy for kerosene and other production expenses.
The production subsidy proposal, according to Pamalakaya will benefit about 900,000 small fishermen in the country. #