Labor Day Protests in Philippines: Enough of grinding poverty and repression

Apr. 30, 2007

MANILA — The umbrella group Bagong Alyansang Makabayan will join thousands of workers in the annual May 1 Labor Day rally tomorrow at the Liwasang Bonifacio, as it called on the police and military not to sabotage the peaceful protests.

Bayan forces will march from the Plaza Miranda in Quiapo going to the Liwasang Bonifacio at around 12 noon. They will converge with other groups from various assembly areas.

The May 1 rally is peaceful expression of our outrage over grinding poverty and escalating political repression. It is within our rights to go out and protest. The military in Metro Manila communities better not prevent people from joining the protests. That would be another violation of the peoples rights, said Bayan secretary general Renato M. Reyes, Jr.

Tomorrows rally will be a ‘shout out’ against the Arroyo regime and its rabid minions, Reyes added.

Reyes said that the alert levels issued by the AFP and PNP may be used to prevent people from massing up in Metro Manila communities or may be used to block marches going to Liwasang Bonifacio.

May 1 may be a dry run operation for the troops deployed around Metro Manila communities. These soldiers may attempt to prevent residents from leaving their communities and stop them from joining rallies. This has been an objective long ago articulated by the AFP NCR Command, Reyes said.

Gen. Benjamin Dolorfino previously said that the presence of the troops in Metro Manila communities was meant to arrest the culture of street protests that destabilize the country.

Pressing issues cannot be denied

Bayan said that the current state of poverty and repression in the Philippines can no longer be denied or concealed by Palace statistics.

There is resistance to the Arroyo administration because people are growing hungry. This resistance is being met with extrajudicial killings, abductions and militarization of communities. It is no wonder that Arroyo allies have yet to make any breakthrough in the current elections. People simply do not want the perpetuation of this kind of government, Reyes said.

Bayan also challenged the Opposition to advance more pro-worker and pro-people programs. The opposition must also consider and advocate the passage of the P125 wage increase. This is an important issue and electoral yardstick for workers. Is the Opposition up to the challenge of championing a just wage increase for the workers? Reyes asked.

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