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Filipino Workers criticize shortcomings of EDSA 1

by PM, PLM, FDC, APL, KONTRA Sunday, Mar. 06, 2011 at 2:06 AM

The Partido ng Manggagawa (PM) and the anti-contractualization coalition KONTRA slammed the shortcomings of EDSA 1 in a symbolic mass action this afternoon. Scores of workers from PM and KONTRA assembled at the Ninoy Aquino monument at the corner of Timog and Quezon Avenues at around 5:30 pm.

Filipino Workers cri...
1986-edsa-1-people-power-revolution-philippines-vs-marcos.jpgmfsyo2.jpg, image/jpeg, 406x408

The Partido ng Manggagawa (PM - Labor Party - Philippines) criticized the shortcomings of EDSA 1 as the government commemorates the 25th anniversary of the first people power uprising. “The people power uprising of 1986 turns silver today but it shines no more. That is because the social deficit outweighs the political benefits of simple political turnover between factions of the elite, which is the main achievement of the post-EDSA dispensation,” declared Renato Magtubo, PM chair.

PM also commemorated the event with mass meetings of workers under the theme “Kapos ang EDSA at peke ang demokrasya hangga’t kapos ang sahod, kontraktwal ang trabaho at api ang kalagayan ng mga manggagawa.” The group is at the forefront of the current campaigns against labor contractualization and high prices.

Magtubo added that “The events in Tunisia, Egypt and that region are again showing that through unity in action people can assert their rights and win their freedoms. Is this not the spirit of EDSA? Unfortunately in the past 25 years it has been squandered because of the betrayal by the elite which hijacked the victory of people power.”

He furthered that “The post-EDSA regimes fell short of the people’s demands for social change. Since 1986 the poverty and destitution of the masses have continued and unemployment and desperation haunts the workers. The epidemic of contractualization and its ravages on the livelihood of workers is an indictment of EDSA 1.”

PM decried the situation workers under the post-EDSA push for economic liberalization and globalization. “The Marcos dictatorship is hardly any different from the post-EDSA regimes as far as sacrificing workers rights in the altar of foreign investor-led growth and the policy of cheap and docile labor,” Magtubo explained.

PM asserted that the most common grievances of workers are violations of security of tenure, such as illegal dismissal and illegal suspension; non-remittance of social security premiums, withholding taxes and employees’ compensation; and the non-payment/underpayment/late payment of 13th month pay, 5 days service incentive leave and overtime pay; lack of transparency in employment contracts; and restriction of the freedom to organize.

Magtubo called on the workers to lead the people’s struggle for system change. “Instead of the elite, the workers should take leadership and via labor power make sure that social demands are in the forefront of the next uprising in our country,” he asserted.

________________________________________



The Partido ng Manggagawa (PM) and the anti-contractualization coalition KONTRA slammed the shortcomings of EDSA 1 in a symbolic mass action this afternoon. Scores of workers from PM and KONTRA assembled at the Ninoy Aquino monument at the corner of Timog and Quezon Avenues at around 5:30 pm.

“The people power uprising of 1986 turns silver tomorrow but it shines no more. That is because the social deficit outweighs the political benefits of simple political turnover between factions of the elite, which is the main achievement of the post-EDSA dispensation,” declared Renato Magtubo, PM chair.

PM and KONTRA members chanted their main call “Walang demokrasya at tunay na diwa ng EDSA hangga’t kontraktwal ang mga manggagawa.” KONTRA was formed to campaign against the proliferation of contractualization and the advocate for regular decent jobs.

Magtubo added that “The events in Tunisia, Egypt and that region are again showing that through unity in action people can assert their rights and win their freedoms. Is this not the spirit of EDSA? Unfortunately in the past 25 years it has been squandered because of the betrayal by the elite which hijacked the victory of people power.”

He furthered that “The post-EDSA regimes fell short of the people’s demands for social change. Since 1986 the poverty and destitution of the masses have continued and unemployment and desperation haunts the workers. The epidemic of contractualization and its ravages on the livelihood of workers is an indictment of EDSA 1.”

Magtubo called on the workers to lead the people’s struggle for system change. “Instead of the elite, the workers should take leadership and via labor power make sure that social demands are in the forefront of the next uprising in our country,” he asserted.

http://partidongmanggagawa2001.blogspot.com/

________________________________________



PLM Statement on the 25th Anniversary of EDSA

By Partido Lakas ng Masa (Party of the Laboring Masses)

25 Years of Continuing Plunder and Oppression of the Masses

WHAT “EDSA REVOLUTION”? There was no revolution on February 25, 1986. What happened was a people’s uprising that ousted the Marcos dictatorship, but was hijacked by a leadership composed of the elite – the capitalists, landlords, traditional politicians and clans which were also persecuted by the dictatorship. A revolution that could have resulted in a genuine change in society was derailed by these forces, which also got support from the United States government and other imperialist forces.

For 25 years, the nation was dominated by representatives of the ruling elite under four successive post-Edsa governments, which took turns in continuing the plunder and oppression of the masses. The failure of the Edsa uprising in 1986 also intensified the crisis of the ruling system:

1. We are witnessed now to the gross plunder of state resources by the Armed Forces of the Philippines. This takes the form of multimillion pesos of funds lining the pockets of top brasses of the AFP and their backers in Malacanang. This is plunder allowed by the Cory Aquino government in order to appease and pacify the military; plunder which reached its peak under the previous Arroyo administration, and plunder which continues to this day.

2. The corruption and injustices pervading the Supreme Court and the judiciaries. Latest witness to this was Lauro Vizconde, whose eldest daughter was raped and killed together with his wife and another younger daughter. Vizconde recounted how the Supreme Court justices were bought with P50-million peso bribe in order to acquit the main suspect who belonged to a powerful and influential family.

3. The failure of the government to mediate in the wanton escalation of prices of basic goods. While the incidence of hunger and poverty continues to spread all over the country, the government of Noynoy Aquino has ordered the implementation of new rounds of fare increases, toll fees, gasoline prices and other basic food items.

4. The failure to implement even the basic land reform legislation certified 25 years ago by the Cory Aquino administration. The 6,500-hectare Hacienda Luisita, owned by the Aquino-Cojuangco clan, was able to circumvent the land reform law. Until now, no justice has been given to the 14 peasants massacred by the military and hacienda goons during a strike in 2004 calling for the implementation of land reform in the hacienda.

The only thing different from the administration of Noynoy Aquino today and the previous regimes from Marcos to Arroyo is the opportunity for people to witness the various atrocities committed by state institutions in the last few years. Various cases of plunder and corruption in institutions such as the AFP, the Ombudsman and Sandiganbayan, the Land Transportation Office, and others, are now investigated on live television, as more and more “whistleblowers” and witnesses come out to expose the crimes.

However, the main concern of the people has always been the lack of concrete outcome of these proceedings. In the main, these investigations, which were mainly undertaken by Congress, was not aimed at punishing the guilty but merely as an “aid” to legislation.

Let the lesson of people’s power in Egypt and in many countries of the Middle East today be a guide to all of us. The people should guard their actions from elite forces which are out to hijack the uprisings in order to perpetrate the ruling class – under new representatives – in power. The unfinished revolution should be brought to the full conclusion by the people taking power in their own hands. #

http://www.masa.ph/

http://bukluranngmanggagawangpilipino.blogspot.com/

________________________________________

Going Beyond EDSA: A Call for New Economics and New Politics

Ricardo B. Reyes

Presented at the Forum on People Power and Poverty Reduction: Celebrating the Silver Anniversary of EDSA I, Institute of Social Order (ISO), Ateneo De Manila University, Quezon City

TWENTY FIVE YEARS — a generation — have passed since the EDSA uprising cum military coup ended the Marcos dictatorship and installed a new government which promised democracy, peace, and a better life for our people.

These promises are embodied in the present Constitution – the 1987 Constitution. We cite the economic side first. In Article XII, National Economy and Patrimony, Section 1, the fundamental objectives of our economic development are laid down, namely:

1) A more equitable distribution of opportunities, income, and wealth;

2) A sustained increase in the amount of goods and services produced by the nation for the benefit of the people; and,

3) An expanding productivity as the key to raising the quality of life for all, especially the under-privileged.

How to achieve these objectives? The same article and section states: “The State shall promote industrialization and full employment based on sound agricultural development and agrarian reform, through industries that make full and efficient use of human and natural resources, and which are competitive in both domestic and foreign markets. However, the State shall protect Filipino enterprises against unfair foreign competition and trade practices.”

A period long enough has passed and yet, we are no nearer these goals. Worse, the opposite has transpired.

Instead of an equitable distribution of opportunities, income and wealth, the Philippines is ranked as the most unequal country in Southeast Asia, based on our Gini coefficient measure (no data for Myanmar; ADB, 2007), and one among countries with a high level of social inequality (Human Development Report, 2009). The limited agrarian reform under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program and now, under an extended CARP, remains unfinished with the many flaws which allow many big landholdings to escape the loop. A regime of cheap labor and contractual and informal labor has allowed profit maximization and the rate of exploitation of the workers to rise, and their rights to organize and collective action severely restricted.

Rather than achieve a sustained increase in the amount of goods and services produced by the nation for the benefit of the people, our country has suffered since 1986 a vast erosion of our productive resources and capability in industry and agriculture. The growth rate of industry has been low and irregular; that of agriculture, still lower, even dipping to zero in 2009 (NSCB, 2009). Agriculture is down to an all time low of 14.9 percent of GDP and industry, 29.9 percent of GDP. Services account for 55 percent of GDP (NSCB, 2009), a big bulk of which are oriented towards external markets and the sale of imported products.

Whatever happened to the development model of industrialization and the sound agricultural development and agrarian reform that is mandated by the 1987 Constitution for the government to implement?

The hope for a better quality of life has dimmed significantly. Twenty-one percent of families are below poverty line, with eight percent considered food poor or in daily subsistence (NSCB, 2009). Self-rated poverty ratings by SWS have placed 51 percent of families as poor and 40 percent as food poor. Hunger has appeared: 18.4 percent of families suffer hunger a few times; 2.8 percent, often. In Mindanao, moderate and severe hunger is 24 percent of families (SWS, 2010). Women suffer most in poor families.

The most damning indictment of this economics is the Filipino diaspora which has brought a staggering nine million Filipinos abroad to work or immigrate for lack of opportunities at home. They comprise a significant portion of the nation’s skilled, educated and enterprising labor force.

And yet, massive external and domestic debts have continued to be incurred by successive EDSA administrations from that of Cory Aquino to Ramos to Estrada to Macapagal-Arroyo and now, to Noynoy Aquino – all in the name of development and poverty alleviation. At the end of 2009, the country’s consolidated public sector debt amounted to P5.696 trillion (Department of Finance).

The government under Ramos started to argue that we no longer have a debt problem. Under Arroyo, this increasingly became a stock argument as if it is solid truth. The decreasing debt to GDP ratio, the rise of floated bonds and other financial instruments as new sources of debts, and the ability to renegotiate are the arguments marshaled against the ever-rising nominal foreign and domestic debt of the nation. Again, we have to ask what kind of GDP, what kind of economy has the debt-driven strategy spawned?

This reasoning obscures the role of the huge overseas remittances of Filipino workers and migrants abroad (expected to hit billion by end 2010) in propping up both GNP and GDP, and that of the legislated automatic allocation for debt servicing as guarantees for renegotiating debts and incurring new ones. The latter has caused the national government to allot 40 percent or more of the annual spending to debt service, thus limiting the urgently needed allotments for education, health and housing.

The loan conditionalities of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank have forced on us the Structural Adjustment Program of the early 1980s and which the EDSA regimes continued to accept and deepen. Deregulation of oil and the liberalization of agriculture have caused the steady rise of food and other commodity prices and transport fares. The privatization of the power sector through the Electric Power Industry Reform Act (EPIRA) has made power rates less and less affordable for the average consumer and has given fatter and fatter profits to the power monopolies – Lopez, Aboitiz, San Miguel which has only grown against the leveled playing field promised by EPIRA. Water has followed suit in privatization.

On top of all this, we confront a much degraded environment and human settlements which can ill adapt to climate change resulting to big annual loss of lives and resources. Typhoons Ondoy and Pepeng alone cost us P207 billion or 2.7 percent of GDP in damages to crops, property and infrastructure. (WB, 2009)

By all these fundamental measures, our economy is a colossal failure and the official economics of the EDSA regimes is a failed economics. This is the tragic outcome of three major reasons. First is the stubborn insistence on the neo-liberal paradigm of dismantling the central role of the State in economic development in favor of global private enterprise and liberalized markets. Second is the failure to end the gridlock in agriculture. Agribusiness claims investments have not been bullish in agriculture because of CARP while the agrarian movements assert the government has not been decisive enough to carry out a thoroughgoing agrarian reform. The gridlock should have been long resolved in favor of agrarian reform. And third, of course, is our long colonial legacy – the absence of the concept of a national economy among the elites and the imperial clout of the United States and its G-7 partners in our economy, politics and culture.

This colossal failure is paralleled by another failure – that of the political system EDSA I put into place. The much anticipated democratic spaces – hard-won gains of the struggles during martial law – have been largely reoccupied by oligarchic families from the national down to the local level. What remained at this point are narrow and unstable ones and the legalized rights that can be asserted but with much effort and resources. Sharing of State power has taken place only among the oligarchy of super-rich and very powerful families. The Philippine State has become inclusive of all oligarchy. Now, there are more political spaces and real shared power for the Marcoses and Danding Cojuangco than all the progressive forces taken together.

Let us open up a new era for our people, especially our young who deserve a much better world. We must dismantle the neo-liberal paradigm and bring the State to its central place in economic development, and enlarge the role of the cooperative and other social sectors in the economy without denying the progressive role of the private sector. We must break the gridlock in agricultural development in favor of agrarian reform and modernized agriculture which serves the food security, the industry and the ecological health of the nation. We must break free from the twin colonial legacies of the past – the absence of the concept of a national economy and the economic, political and military clout of external capitalist powers, especially the United States.

We need new economics and politics for our people to become truly empowered, prosperous and happy. Twenty five years ago, many of our people thought these were coming. But they were to be frustrated. We must make history again – this time, all by ourselves as a people, minus the oligarchs and their global collaborators and masters.

http://www.fdc.ph/

________________________________________

APL chides Aquino for his ‘myopic’ view on Edsa; Bongbong Marcos for his bizarre denial

By Alliance of Progressive Labor (APL)

PRESIDENT Noynoy Aquino (P-Noy) must be reminded that it would take more than good governance, judicious government spending and anti-corruption drive – three themes that he kept harping on in today’s 25th anniversary of the Edsa Revolt – to “free the nation from poverty” and to build “a more fair and equitable society.”

This narrow-minded if not simplistic outlook on how to solve the deep-seated inequality of wealth and power while still enthusiastically implementing anti-poor economic policies and quietly maintaining traditional politics is indicative of his equally myopic view on the 1986 uprising, including its major players, the Alliance of Progressive Labor stated.

“For instance,” the APL said, “the role here of the security forces and opposition bigwigs had always been magnified, while there was a tendency to minimize the more crucial and more heroic feats of the anonymous multitude of people that packed Edsa, as well as the pioneering efforts of the anti-dictatorship movement decades before 1986.”

It is no surprise that in his first EDSA celebration as a president, Aquino extolled more the military and the police, and even the political turncoats or those former martial law loyalists who switched sides only when the tide was turning against the 20-year regime of Ferdinand Marcos, observed the APL.

It is no surprise, the APL added, that while Aquino proudly announced the construction of an initial 20,000 housing units for the soldiers and police – which they will rent-to-own for only P200 a month – he was mum on the same shelter problem of the more numerous informal settlers and even lowly paid workers whose sectors actively participated also in 1986.

Likewise, the APL again said, that while he took a swipe at Imelda Marcos’ “penchant for shoes” and the “betrayal of duty” of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, Aquino continues to adhere to many socioeconomic programs of the past regimes that worsen the very poverty that he ostensibly wants to eradicate.

Included here is the Marcos-era automatic foreign debt payment – which is ironic amid Aquino’s “responsible spending” stand and the lack of funds for social services – as well as the flawed “market-oriented” policies in the MTPDP (Medium-Term Philippine Development Plan) for 2011-2016 and a long list of neoliberal economic programs that have already been proven throughout the world for primarily benefiting only a few corporate elites and their cronies.

“It’s time now for P-Noy to walk the talk and prove that his ‘right path’ promises are not mere rhetoric or empty slogans,” Josua Mata, APL secretary general, challenged Aquino.

At the same time, the APL blasted Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., son of the dictator, for “hallucinating” that the Philippines could have been “a Singapore now” if the Edsa 1 did not happen. “It’s either he is also an incorrigible liar like her parents or he is in a bizarre denial stage where he honestly believes that the charges against the regime of his father – the gross violations of human rights and large-scale robbery – are nothing but mere figments of imagination of the people,” the APL retorted.

http://www.apl.org.ph/



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EDSA

by PM, PLM, FDC, APL, KONTRA Sunday, Mar. 06, 2011 at 2:06 AM

EDSA...
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by PM, PLM, FDC, APL, KONTRA Sunday, Mar. 06, 2011 at 2:06 AM

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EDSA

by PM, PLM, FDC, APL, KONTRA Sunday, Mar. 06, 2011 at 2:06 AM

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