14.Nov.03    Análisis y Noticias

Workers condemn government’s brutal way of dealing with critics
and discontented citizens

Militant labor center Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) today expressed sympathy to the bereaved families of Col. Panfilo Villaruel Jr. and Navy Lt. Roberto Cachillar who both died brutally in the hands of police and SWAT elements last Saturday during the NAIA control tower crisis.

KMU Chairman Elmer Labog condemned the inhumane and vicious manner of killing of Villaruel and Cachillar. “News reports evidently showed that they were ready to surrender to authorities, but they were gunned down like animals. We condemn this brutal and ruthless way the government deals with its critics and discontented citizens.”

Labog further stressed that leadership crisis was evident during the supposed NAIA take over. “Mrs. Arroyo yet again displayed her weakness as a President. Reports showed that she monitored the events at the NAIA control tower all night, but instead of resolving the issue calmly, she let the police gun down Villaruel and Cachillar. Instead of hearing out their issues, she let loose trigger-happy policemen to deal with the difficulty without even initiating a negotiation,” the labor leader said.

“Malacanang may even regard Villaruel and Cachillar as ‘terrorists’ and ‘destabilizers’ with their manner of conveying their disgruntlement, but their sentiments are valid. Their complaints over the rampant corruption and injustice in the government are shared by millions of poor Filipinos, especially low-paid workers and wage earners. With the growing poverty and joblessness among the population and shameless lavishness among elite public officials on the other hand, more will be roused to act against the Arroyo administration.”

The KMU leader further pointed out that the Arroyo government always maintained a forceful stance against government critics. “The all-out militarization campaign enforced by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) in the countryside is aimed at the growing resistance of poor peasants against landlessness, poverty and social injustice. In urban centers, workers’ strikes and peoples’ protests are vehemently crushed by police and military forces. The government’s repressive, corrupt and anti-people policies are in reality driving more and more people to support the armed struggle launched by the revolutionary movement led by the CPP and NPA.”
Worse economic conditions, rising unemployment to come under GMA

Labor center Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) stressed that the worse is yet to come with President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s presidential bid for 2004. “It’s barely seven months away from May 2004 elections and the domestic political and economic crisis continue to aggravate due to unabashed bickering among rival political camps and presidential aspirants. Business and employers groups are expecting higher unemployment next year. With this dim economic projection, workers are facing darker chances of better livelihood. Economic survival will become a harder challenge for workers and poor Filipinos,” said KMU Vice Chairperson Lito Ustarez.

KMU also lambasted the Employers Confederation of the Philippines (ECOP) for once again blaming the country’s increasing joblessness to the wage hike demand of workers. “The government’s economic policies patterned to globalization as well as the problematic job generation schemes promoted by DOLE must be blamed for the rising unemployment.”

“ECOP’s Donald Dee is lying to his teeth when he said that wage hikes bring about growing unemployment. Workers are demanding substantial wages to survive economic hardships. Under Mrs. Arroyo’s leadership, the government absolutely refused to implement substantial wage adjustments. Daily minimum wages are still pegged at P250, with only P30 Emergency Cost of Living Allowances (ECOLA) provided last year. Employers even reject wage hike demands during Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) negotiations. Even employees in various government agencies are complaining about their inadequate salaries and benefits. Now, how does ECOP expect ordinary wage earners to endure severe conditions of economic distress?”

Ustarez said that as the current economic and political crisis continue to worsen, whoever wins the presidential seat in next year’s elections will have a hard time uplifting the economy. “For the past three years, Mrs. Arroyo failed to enforce a noteworthy solution to the intensifying economic crisis. Her re- election bid will not reverse this condition, she could even worsen things with her staunch promotion of foreign dictated policies.

KMU is preparing for a broad sectoral protest at the Department of Labor and Employment on November 18 to oppose the rampant corruption in various labor agencies.

Even with the termination of Davide impeachment,
Fight vs. Danding-Gloria collusion not yet over

The militant labor center Kilusang Mayo Uno today said that President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has no reason to celebrate Congress’ failure to submit to the Senate the articles of impeachment against Supreme Court Chief Justice Hilario Davide Jr.

“Even though the impeachment case against Davide may be considered politically dead, the conspiracy between Gloria and Danding is still alive and could possibly continue until 2004 and beyond. This latest occurrence in Congress does not automatically pardon President Arroyo from her dreadful and dangerous political relationship with crony Danding Cojuangco,” said KMU Secretary General Joel Maglunsod.

“This is a victory won by the people against the sinister plot of Danding-NPC and Arroyo to mangle justice and manipulate the judiciary. However, we encourage all legislators to pursue the investigation on the Judicial Development Fund (JDF) so as to show their sincerity in helping the distressed ranks of court employees. Court workers only want transparency on the JDF and of course, they want their rightful share of the fund to go to their benefits and Cost of Living Allowances. The Congress must work double time to address vital economic issues raised by court workers and all public and private sector employees.”
Arroyo resurrecting Marcos’ Martial Law

The militant labor center Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) today expressed alarm over the formation of a 6,000 strong anti-coup military special command in the National Capital Region led by Major Gen. Alberto Braganza.

“De-facto Martial Law is now spreading throughout the countryside and urban centers. Threats of a military coup will not die down as long as the stinking corruption in the military and bureaucracy is not curbed from within.”

“With the formation of this special military force, we expect the intensification of urban terror and human rights violations under the Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo government and the reactionary Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP),” said KMU Chairman Elmer Labog.

“President Arroyo is very insecure over her weakening political leadership. She’s very afraid of losing grip on the presidency because of the very intense factional struggle between her camp, the opposition and other political forces.”

The labor leader said that trade union and human rights violations are expected to go up as the elite military command could direct attacks against striking workers and protests launched by cause-oriented groups expressing discontent over Arroyo’s leadership and opposition to her 2004 presidential bid.

Labog noted that during the anti-Bush rallies in Metro Manila, the government already utilized military elements in the civil disturbance and anti-riot units together with police elements.
“The targets of this military command are not just suspected Jemaah Islamiyah terrorist cells and supposed coup plotters. They could also target legitimate political mass organizations expressing well-founded demands and issues against the government.”

Labog encouraged more protests from civil libertarians, human rights advocates and other concerned sectors in opposition to Arroyo’s abusive leadership.
More protests calling for Arroyo’s ouster expected
The masses cannot bear with the Arroyo regime until 2004 — KMU

The militant labor center Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) said that the broad ranks of Filipino workers stands to strongly reject President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s call for ‘total reconciliation.’

“This demand is unjust, deceptive and a clear betrayal of the Filipino people. President Arroyo is so insecure with her hold on political power and at the same time desperate for her electoral bid that she would ‘reconcile’ with her own kind of criminals, plunderers and the most evil section of the ruling elite. The masses greatly despise these corrupt clique and their union would definitely draw out insurmountable outrage from all social sectors.”

KMU Chairman Elmer Labog asserted that “workers cannot condone President Arroyo’s call for reconciliation with Estrada, Danding and the Marcoses. This call for peace and unity is just her last ditch effort to gain political advantage for the 2004 elections amid the growing instability and public unrest under her distressed and shaky leadership.”

Labog stressed that it is impossible for poor workers and oppressed sectors to unite with the class enemies.

“Only Arroyo will benefit from this union of despotic crooks and tyrants. We cannot allow her to strike another ruthless settlement with Estrada, Danding and the Marcoses so as to exonerate them and herself from their crimes against the Filipino people. The people will in no way forget about Marcos’ abusive leadership during Martial Law, Estrada’s series of corrupt and immoral activities, Danding’s crimes against thousands of small coconut farmers and San Miguel Corporation workers and Arroyo’s extensive corrupt activities.”

Labog said that there’s no way Arroyo can survive this political and economic crisis overwhelming her presidency. “She is left with no other option but to heed the people’s demand for her immediate resignation. She failed to enact significant economic reforms, maintained loyalty to US dictates and tolerates massive corruption in the bureaucracy. The masses cannot bear with her regime until 2004.”

On November 20, KMU, ANAKPAWIS, militant groups together with broad section of the masses will hold a major rally against corruption to call for Arroyo’s urgent resignation as President.