Militant groups honor Andres Bonifacio’s 148th b’day in Mendiola
Wage hike, Luisita, contractual employment tackledBy Matikas Santos
MANILA, Philippines—”If Andres Bonifacio were still alive today, he would most likely be with us today to fight for national freedom and democracy,” Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) Chairperson Elmer Labog said in his speech during a protest rally in Don Chino Roces bridge (formerly Mendiola Bridge) Wednesday afternoon.
Protesters from various militant groups wore Andres Bonifacio masks and Katipunero costumes complete with bolos to commemorate the 148th birthday of the National Hero and revolutionary in a mass protest action.
A number of groups joined KMU in the protest action, among them were Anakpawis Partylist, Kalipunan ng Damayang Mahihirap (Kadamay), Alyansa Kontra Demolisyon (AKD) among others.
The groups called for the “immediate, unconditional and free distribution of Hacienda Luisita lands to farmers”, a significant wage hike, and an end to contractual employment.
Joel Maglunsod, Anakpawis executive vice president, said in a statement “President Aquino is making a mockery out of the word land reform by asking for compensation for his family.”
“Only when farmers freely reclaim the lands they toiled for decades can it be called a just and rightful land reform,” he added.
Labog said in a statement “despite the Supreme Court’s ruling, the country’s workers, farmers and poor people still have to fight for a pro-farmer resolution to the land dispute in Hacienda Luisita.”
“Despite the intensifying hunger and poverty, we still have to fight for a significant wage hike and the junking of contractualization,” Labog added.
KMU and Anakpawis had also called for a P125 across the board wage hike. “It is not impossible for capitalists to give a P125 across-the-board wage hike. In fact it is just a small portion of their superprofits. P125 could not even be enough to be called a just wage, still our workers need this to at least ease the effects of soaring prices,” Maglunsod said.
“The government should stop depriving our workers of their demand for a substantial wage increase,” Maglunsod said.
They also called for an end to contractualization which Maglunsod said “destroyed our labor force by dismantling decent and regular jobs in the country.”
“Our government’s anti-worker policies such as provisions in the Labor Code and the Department of Labor and Employment Department Order 18-02 have taken every right our workers [have] especially their right to security of tenure by legalizing these contractualization schemes,” Maglunsod said.
KMU called for their fellow workers and poor people to learn what is the real state of the country and the root cause of poverty. “Let us form unions and organizations that will advance our rights,” Labog said.
“The government of President Aquino promised ‘change’ but the country at present won’t please Bonifacio. The working-class hero stood for genuine change—for genuine freedom for the country and the upliftment of the poor,” Labog said.
Maglunsod said that they are reliving Bonifacio’s “Revolutionary spirit [that stood against] oppresion and exploitation. Until now, basic problems and demands of the masses like genuine land reform, substantial wage increase, regular jobs and basic human and social rights are still not realized.”
“Had he been alive today, Bonifacio would still be launching a revolution for genuine change,” Labog added.