June 19, 2009
Different labor groups under the umbrella of the newly formed Manggagawa Kontra Cha-Cha held a labor forum this afternoon and then organized a noise barrage in the early evening. Renato Magtubo, chairperson of Partido ng Manggagawa and a convenor of the Manggagawa Kontra Cha-Cha said that “The people must show indignation to stop GMA’s titillation of the nation. FVR should join the protests against con-ass if she wants GMA to reveal her plans. Yet the indignation versus cha-cha should aim not just to oblige GMA to express her political intentions but force a retreat from her term extension plan.”
The Manggagawa Kontra Cha-Cha met at the UP School of Labor and Industrial Relations (SOLAIR) from 1 to 5 p.m. to consolidate organized labor’s position on con-ass. The labor groups explained that they oppose con-ass not simply because they resist GMA’s term extension but also because they fight the neoliberal agenda behind cha-cha.
Magtubo explained that “There are those in the broad movement against con-ass who approve of cha-cha for the purpose of abolishing the protectionist provisions and oppose merely GMA’s term extension. The workers however resist both perpetuating GMA in power forever and removing the protectionist provisions of the Constitution. The working class oppose cha-cha not to defend the elite democracy enshrined in the 1987 Constitution but to protect the progressive provisions on national patrimony and labor rights.”
At the end of the forum, the 200 participants marched from SOLAIR to Philcoa for the noise barrage. Members of PM made noise using tools of production used by workers such as hammers, pliers and metal sheets to symbolize labor’s resistance to charter change. The noise barrage is part of labor-led protests calling for government action on the economic recession instead of charter revision.
“Government must act on the demand for social protection for the workers instead of term extension for GMA. Today union members in the giant Keppel shipyard in Cebu went on strike while workers in the big Mactan Export Processing Zone have been holding daily protests. The challenge that government must solve is the recession not the Constitution,” insisted Magtubo.
In their manifesto, it is stated that “The workers march side by side with the multisectoral movement against con-ass but build a parallel movement with independent demands for labor protection and economic protectionism. The workers add their voice to the people’s indignation over con-ass even as we air our own slogans for system change instead of charter change.”