Showing posts with label people power. Show all posts
Showing posts with label people power. Show all posts

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Workers remember Edsa in one word: ‘Sayang’

PRESS RELEASE
25 February 2014

The 1986 People Power uprising created great opportunities for the country to move forward and to fulfil the great Filipino dream of enjoying a better quality of life.  Yet for the labor group, Partido ng Manggagawa (PM), the past 28 years can truthfully be described as ‘sayang’ or wasted opportunities bungled by post Edsa rulers. 

In a statement PM enumerated some of the major achievements of Edsa, which, if haven’t been wasted, could have transformed the life of the working people adequately better. 

These include the dismantling of the Marcos dictatorship and replacing it with a relatively more liberal order; the institutionalization of anti-corruption measures; the ratification of a new Constitution that embodied a strong national patrimony and social justice provisions; and; the regular holding of national and local elections thereafter.

“But behind Edsa’s democratic façade were undisputable facts about its failed outcomes,” said PM Chair Renato Magtubo.

The group stated further that while every Filipino especially those who braved the streets against the dictatorship must be recognized for making Edsa 1 and also Edsa 2 possible, it is worth evoking as well that there really is a visible failure in making life better for the masses under the rule of post-Edsa regimes. 

Notwithstanding the unaddressed problem of corruption, PM cites as a more biting example the failure of the two Aquinos (Cory and PNoy) to capitalize on their immense mandate and popularity to move the country away from the ‘business-as-usual’ development path imposed by foreign and local capital.

“So when PNoy asked his cabinet men and women on why the unemployment rate remained high despite the remarkable growth in GDP over the past several years, it only showed how pathetic the second Aquino can be to remain puzzled over the issue of jobless growth which is a problem that has been there since the time of his mother,” said Magtubo.

The average unemployment rate in 1986 was 6.7 percent. In December 2013 it stood at 7.3 percent based on government’s official survey to as high as 27.5 percent based on the survey by Social Weather Station (SWS).

The group also drew some pessimistic parallelism on the two Aquinos, particularly on the power issue.  PM explained that Cory Aquino left the Presidency with a crippling power crisis.  PNoy might finish his term in 2016 leaving the same problems of high power rates and thinning power supply.

And with the elite class apparently exercising full control of government and businesses, the group considers the PNoy government very far from being inclusive. 

In conclusion, PM pointed out that the major failures of Edsa led to the perpetuation of elite rule, inequality, and chronic poverty in the country. They include:

§  The intensification rather than the weakening of political dynasties due to lack of political reforms and the pervasiveness of corruption;
§  The dogged subservience to neoliberal policies such as privatization, deregulation and liberalization which prevented the country’s march towards industrialization and inclusive growth;
§  The corporate capture of almost all branches of government.

The group, however, won’t declare people power as “sayang”.  It maintained that all is not lost of Edsa, specifically on the necessity and wisdom of resistance and collective action taking this form.


“Workers will never give up the union spirit of collective action.  With the whole system faithfully serving the interest of the 1%, we have no choice but to keep the people power option our ultimate recourse to effect change that is truly meaningful,” concluded Magtubo.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Salute to the victorious people power uprising in Egypt

Press Statement
February 12, 2011
Renato Magtubo
Chair, Partido ng Manggagawa

We salute the victorious people power uprising in Egypt against the Mubarak dictatorship. It is high time that the last pharaoh is buried in the desert. But the Egyptian people must not repeat the original sin of people power in the Philippines. They must not stop at simply changing the facesof the person in power but must continue on to uprooting the system that breeds poverty and unemployment.

The resignation of Murabak is only the first act of the drama that will play out in Egypt. It is game over for the dictator but with the military taking power, nobody knows how the game of the generals will play out. A civilian government ruling over a democratic and secular Egypt is still uncertain. The struggle of the courageous people and workers of Egypt for “tahrir” is unfinished.

Nonetheless we welcome the rebirth of an independent workers movement in Egypt. While evidently it was the youth of Egypt that sparked and led the uprising, the workers and their strikes later sustained and strengthened the uprising. The role of social media tools like Facebook and Twitter have been highlighted but in the background the strike movement of Egyptian workers since 2008 prepared the way and propelled the uprising to its victory.

While the popular uprisings in the Arab countries are directed at corrupt dictatorships, the underlying causes are the pervasive dissatisfaction at the lack of jobs and opportunities primarily among the youth but also among workers and even the middle class. Globalization has ravaged the Arab region as much as the Philippines. Unemployment, contractualization, retrenchment, rising prices and stagnant wages are also the norm in Egypt, Tunisia, Algeria, Jordan and Yemen. Everywhere the masses have become poorer while only the elite have become richer under globalization.

In fact, unrest may break out in the Philippines similar to Arab uprisings due to the rising prices of food and oil combined with worsening unemployment and poverty. Nobody was able to predict the explosion in the Arab region and nobody can discount unrest in the Philippines due to similar conditions of widespread desperation especially among the youth.

The prices of rice, bread, sugar, oil and gas together with transport fares and even toll fees are increasing thus squeezing the stagnant wages and incomes of workers and the poor. Today the unrest is expressed in the resistance of Philippine Airlines (PAL) workers against layoff and outsourcing. Tomorrow who knows if the struggle becomes generalized with high prices and food crisis making the lack of jobs and stagnant incomes unbearable?

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Workers group warn of unrest ala Tunisia and Egypt due to rising prices

Press Release
January 30, 2011

The labor party Partido ng Manggagawa (PM) today warned of unrest in the country similar to the uprisings in the Arab countries due to the rising prices of food and oil combined with worsening unemployment and poverty. “PNoy must act boldly to address the food crisis, escalating inflation and deepening hardship of Filipinos. Nobody was able to predict the explosion in the Arab region and nobody can discount unrest in the Philippines due to similar conditions of widespread desperation especially among the youth,” claimed Gerry Rivera, PM vice chair.

“The prices of rice, sugar, oil, gas and fare among others are rising thus squeezing the stagnant wages and incomes of workers and the poor. If the government will not institute price control then it must subsidize the costs of basic goods and services together with increasing wages and providing jobs,” insisted Rivera.

PM also expressed its solidarity with the unraveling uprisings in the Arab. “Filipino workers welcome the Arab world’s own version of people power. Filipino migrant workers in Egypt and other Arab countries should not fear but be inspired by these expressions of people power. If anything they must learn the lessons of these rousing risings so that the fierce winds of change blowing in the Arab world can reach the shores of the Philippines,” Rivera stated.

PM warned that while the popular uprisings in the Arab countries are directed at the corrupt dictatorships, the underlying causes are the pervasive dissatisfaction at the lack of jobs and opportunities primarily among the youth but also among workers and even the middle class. “Globalization has ravaged the Arab region as much as the Philippines. Unemployment, contractualization, retrenchment, rising prices and stagnant wages are also the norm in Tunisia, Egypt, Algeria, Jordan and Yemen. Everywhere the mass of the people have become poorer while only the elite have become richer under globalization,” Rivera explained.

He added “Today the unrest is expressed in the resistance of PAL workers against layoff and outsourcing. Tomorrow who knows if the struggle becomes generalized with high prices and food crisis making the lack of jobs and stagnant incomes unbearable?”

Rivera is also president of the Philippine Airlines Employees’ Association (PALEA) which is embroiled in a protracted fight with management over the planned termination of some 2,600 employees. “Like the PALEA dispute, PNoy should assume jurisdiction of the problem of prices, wages and jobs. And then his government must provide tactical solutions such as price control, government subsidies, public employment and regulation of contractualization together with strategic shifts in industrial, agricultural, economic and social policies,” Rivera insisted.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Sa harap ng mga problema sa automated elections: PM nanawagan sa mga botante na magbantay, naninindigan para sa people power

Press Release
May 4, 2010

Bilang reaksyon sa pagbawi ng 7,000 palyadong memory cards at 3,000 PCOS machines sa NCR, nanawagan ang grupong party-list na Partido ng Manggagawa (PM) na magbantay ang mga botante sa harap ng posibleng failure of elections. “Ang pagbawi ng memory cards at PCOS machines ay pinakahuli lang sa serye ng mga kababalaghang maaring mauwi sa failure of elections,” pahayag ni Renato Magtubo, tagapangulo ng PM.

Sumang-ayon din ang PM sa kontrobersyal na panawagang maglunsad ng people power sakaling maganap ang failure of elections. Nagpahayag ang grupo ng kahandaang magmobilisa ng mga manggagawa at maralita para sa isang people power laban sa itatayong gobyernong junta na kahahantungan ng failure of elections.

“Ang failure of elections ay katumbas ng failure of the system. Sa ganitong sitwasyon, ang people power ay karapatan ng sambayanan para magbigay daan sa pagbabago sa halip na nakawin ng nakaupong rehimen ang kapangyarihan,” paninindigan ni Magtubo.

Aniya, “May sarili kaming ulat mula sa Romblon na pumalpak din ang testing ng PCOS machines. Dagdag pa ito sa media reports ng palyadong makina sa NCR, Mindoro at Batangas.”

Ibinunyag ni Magtubo na ikinakasa na nila ang mga lider at miyembro ng PM para maging pollwatchers sa polling centers ng matataong depressed communities kung saan mayroon silang chapters. “Ang Workers Ballot Brigades ay pupwesto sa mga presinto ng Metro Manila at paligid nitong Calabarzon at Bulacan, at ibang sentrong syudad gaya ng Metro Cebu, Metro Bacolod at Metro Davao.” ###

Amidst concerns of election failure: PM calls on voters to be vigilant, say people power a must option

Press Release
May 4, 2010
In reaction to the recall of some 7,000 faulty memory cards and another 3,000 PCOS machines in the NCR, the labor party-list Partido ng Manggagawa (PM) called on voters to be vigilant amidst concerns of an election failure. “The recall of memory cards and PCOS machines days before May 10 is just the latest in a series of twists that may lead to a failure of elections,” declared PM chair Renato Magtubo.

PM added its voice to the growing call for people power in the event of a failed election and in the context of a power vacuum. “A failed election would be tantamount to a failure of the whole system and under such a scenario, a people power is a must option to be able to reboot the system rather than let it hang in favor of the sitting elite faction of the ruling class,” Magtubo insisted.

He added that “We have first hand reports of PCOS machines failing tests in Romblon. This is in addition to media reports of such failures in the NCR, Mindoro and Batangas.”

Magtubo revealed that the PM is mobilizing its leaders and members to be pollwatchers in populous depressed communities in which the group has chapters. “These workers’ Ballot Brigades will be present in the precincts of Metro Manila and its vicinities Calabarzon and Bulacan, and in other cities such as Metro Cebu, Metro Bacolod and Metro Davao,” he clarified.

Magtubo said the organized and even the unorganized sections of the working class will take the streets for a gallant stand against a junta type hold over government which is the most likely outcome of failed elections.

“That is because failed institutions under the Arroyo regime cannot redeem the system from such a failure, thus, a people power is the only option that can unmake or dispose of the current rotten system, or create new institutions to save this dying nation,” concludes Magtubo.

Friday, August 7, 2009

GMA must heed the people’s pulse and drop con-ass, term extension

Press Statement
August 7, 2009
Renato Magtubo
Chairperson


The massive crowd that joined former President Cory Aquino’s funeral was not simply expressing grief but conveying support for her fight against dictatorship as shown by the sea of people flashing the laban sign. The laban sign was formerly a symbol of the struggle against the fascist Marcos, it has now assumed a meaning as a fight against the threat of a new tyranny. Gloria Arroyo’s spokespersons are denying that the Palace is threatened but for the first time since Edsa Tres, the regime has reason to be afraid of the spontaneous masses.

Gloria Arroyo should read the sign of the times and heed the pulse of the people. It is time for her to order a stop to con-ass and declare that she will not extend her term. She still has two weeks to do so until the anniversary of Ninoy’s assassination on August 21 that may be the next spontaneous expression of the people’s outrage.

It will not be too late for Gloria Arroyo to pay true respects to Cory Aquino by announcing that she is not seeking to remain in power, what could have been the most important part of her SONA speech that she did not say and merely glossed over by stating the fact that her term ends in 2010.

The Philippines has had only two women presidents. History has been truly kind to the first, Cory Aquino, who is now considered, rightly or wrongly, as an icon of democracy. The people have been awfully forgiving of the second, Gloria Arroyo, for they apparently will allow her to finish her term. But if Gloria Arroyo pushes her luck and maneuvers to remain in power, she faces resistance from a people mobilized by the laban sign.