Philippines: End the rule of elites and capitalists! Power to the People!
On the occasion of Gat Andres Bonifacio’s 148th birthday, tens of thousands of workers belonging to the Alliance of Progressive Labor (APL) and its allied organizations marched in key cities around the country to protest against elite rule and their failed neoliberal policies.
“Today we join hands with millions of working people around the world who are rising against elite rule and neoliberal policies – from the Arab uprisings to the occupation movements in the US, Europe and other countries,” Josua Mata, APL Secretary General.
“The marches aim to expose the elitist nature of President Aquino's (PNoy) government and its anti-worker policies, which it had effectively concealed behind its slogan ‘Tuwid na Landas’,” Mata explained. “Clearly, PNoy’s tuwid na landas is leading the working class nowhere,” Mata added.
During the marches, the APL highlighted the need for hard reforms to address the historic inequality in the country. As of 2009, the richest 1% of the population controls 30% of the national income, while the bottom 50% has to do with 20% of the income.
Notwithstanding his campaign promises contained in his ‘Social Contract with the Filipino People’, PNoy’s has been stonewalling the much-needed reforms that would address inequality.
“Rather than providing ‘jobs that empower the people’ to ensure that migration would just be one of the choices of workers, PNoy opted to side with Lucio Tan in engineering the destruction of 2,600 regular jobs in PAL,” Mata said. “Instead of providing socialized housing, informal settlers were violently demolished. In place of taking active role in ensuring the completion of agrarian reform as he promised, PNoy announced a ‘hands off policy’. In lieu of ‘just peace’, he launched an ‘all out justice’ – a cruel euphemism for ‘all out war’,” Mata enumerated.
Even his anti-corruption policy would eventually stall if PNoy continues to block the passage of the Freedom of Information bill.
“PNoy is clearly incapable of rising above the interests of his class – the ruling class,” Mata asserted. “Sadly, this tells us that his reform agenda, narrow and shallow as it is, is doomed to fail,” Mata said.
The APL and its allies in KONTRA – Kowalisyon Kontra Kontraktwalisasyon –declared that the real path to a better life for the working people would not be realized through PNoy’s “tuwid na landas” but in a “New Philippines”, an alternative Philippines where there is real political and economic democracy.
“We all deserve better than what the capitalists, caciques and the elites are dishing out to us,” Mata declared. “We therefore need to renew our vows to commit ourselves to the historic struggle for Kalayaan – the freedom from oppression, want and ignorance – that Gat Andres Bonifacio started for us,” Mata said.
APL and its allies held rallies in Manila, Naga, Cebu, Davao, Cagayan de Oro, General Santos and Cotabato.