May Day Statement and Conduct, 2012 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Partido Lakas ng Masa   
Monday, 30 April 2012 11:55

“Government’s Neoliberal Policies the Number One Enemy of the Working Class!”

“For Labor Unity to Fight Neoliberal Policies!”

 

PLM’s affiliated labor organizations BMP (Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino) and PMT (Pagkakaisa ng Manggagawa sa Transportasyon) will be conducting an overnight vigil on April 30, 6:00pm, at the Welcome Rotunda, Espana. On May 1, around 2,500 PLM members and affiliates will assemble at the Rotunda at 7:30am. Program will be held until 9:30am. The PLM contingent will then march to Mendiola to join the NAGKAISA! broad labor coalition at around 10:00am.

 

“Neoliberalism – contractualization, privatization, economic liberalization, and workforce restructuring in the name of ‘felixibility’ – have weakened and even decimated sections of the industrial working class in this country. Neoliberalism is not dead, it’s alive and kicking. In fact what we are seeing today is a monstrous version of neoliberalism being implemented in response to the capitalist economic crisis in Europe,” according to Sonny Melencio, Chairperson of the Partido Lakas ng Masa.

 

Partido Lakas ng Masa (PLM) is a newly formed national electoral party which is planning to contest seats for the first time at the national, congressional and local level in the 2013 elections.

 

 

“The Aquino government continues to be wedded to this economic dogma of neoliberalism. Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima is a neoliberal technocrat par excellence. Under neoliberal policies implemented by technocrats such as Purisima we witnessed the collapse of the manufacturing sector starting in the 1990s. Since then tens of thousands of industrial workers, such as those in garment and textiles, lost their jobs as  neoliberal policies of successive governments left them completely vulnerable, exposed and unprotected to the whims  of the international markets. Large sections of the industrial working class were converted to under-employed, informal and overseas workers,” Melencio added.

 

“We believe that the decimation of sections of the industrial working class is a serious impediment to the development of the national economy. It has an impact which can only be described as de-industrialization. All the data indicates that these trends have continued and even increased in the last year.”

 

According to the ADB’s 2012 economic outlook for the Philippines, there was a sharp decline in manufacturing exports in 2011. Export of electronic products, which make up 50% of all exports, plunged by some 23.4%. Growth was driven by private consumption supported by remittances from Overseas Filipino Workers, up by 7.2% to around $20.8 billion. As a result, according to the ILO’s April 2012  labor market updates, job growth in the Philippines has declined markedly, from 5.6% in October 2011 to only 3% in January 2012.

 

“We are a consumption driven economy, not a producing economy. So while SM malls flourish, our industries decline and factories close,” Melencio explained. “This burden of unemployment, driven by a lack of industrialization, is now being passed on to new generations, which are suffering mass unemployment today. “

 

According to the ILO one in six young Filipinos is unemployed. Unemployment levels are higher amongst young women, with the gender gap in youth unemployment being 2.8 percentage points higher for young women than for young men.

 

“Neoliberalism policy of contractualization of labor has been the single most deadly weapon used to undermine and decimate the industrial working class in this country. A turning point in this was the contractualization of the skilled workforce of the Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company. From 16,000 regular employees in 1995, PLDT now has only about 3,000. At the Philippine Airlines too we have seen contractualization introduced over several years under the neoliberal policies of successive governments, continued under the President Noynoy Aquino.  The remaining 2,600 regular employees of Philippine Airlines were fired in December 2011. Some of them were rehired as contractual workers by agencies owned by PAL president Lucio Tan and made to work in various departments within PAL.

 

“But they can’t implement these neoliberal policies without coercion. Capitalists need anti-strike weapons such as the Herrera law, introduced in 1989 during Cory’s presidency. Using the coercive powers given to them under this law, capitalists expanded the system of contractualization and thereby intensified the exploitation of workers. Today more than 90% of all available jobs in the Philippines are contractual labor.

 

“The creation of a skilled industrial workforce with a decent living wage is essential to develop a national economy. Neoliberalism prevents us from being able to do this. It continues to impoverish and even pauperise us, driving us towards an ever-increasing cycle of debt. Even economies much stronger than ours, such as Greece, Spain, Portugal, cannot survive these neoliberal practices. How can we?

 

“This May Day we stand in solidarity with workers around the world who are struggling against neoliberalism – from the streets of Athens, to Wall Street and Tahrir Square.

 

“We demand that instead of neoliberal policies, the Aquino government should work towards the expansion of social and welfare services that the people badly needs today.  Instead of privatization, the government should expand publicly-owned institutions, such as hospitals, schools, public transport, communications industry, and other industries which are now being opened up for private corporations through the so-called public-private partnerships. Instead of economic liberalization, the government should protect Philippine industries. Instead of deregulation, there should be more regulatory mechanisms to protect consumers; instead of regressive taxation, the government should tax the rich and not the poor people; and instead of contractualization of labor, the workers should be assured of regular jobs and security of tenure, “ Melencio added.

 

While rejecting the neoliberal paradigm of the government, Melencio said that the PLM will campaign for a Welfare State system that expands social services for the population and provides for universal health care, affordable mass housing, food subsidies, free education, and other urgent welfare benefits for the poor.  “The welfare state system should also be deepened and strengthened by ensuring people's control and participation in the state system. It’s about time that the government puts people’s interests first on its agenda, rather than the interests of a few greedy corporations,” Melencio stressed.

 

“We cannot emphasize enough the need for labor unity to fight against the government’s neoliberal policies. Therefore we welcome the formation of NAGKAISA!, the recently formed broad labor-based coalition. We stand in solidarity with them in their expression of labor unity and will join with them in struggle this May 1.”

 

For further information please contact Jhuly Panday on 0933 5448350.


Last Updated on Thursday, 03 May 2012 09:15
 

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