Regional labor center Pagkakaisa ng Manggagawa sa Timog Katagalugan – Kilusang Mayo Uno (PAMANTIK-KMU) condemns the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG)’s recently released guidelines for public demonstrations during the APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting as “an exhibition of paranoia” in attempts to hide the true situation of workers and Filipinos under APEC-advised policies.
Yesterday, the DILG upheld the “no permit, no rally” policy for public rallies during the APEC event, saying that “although our laws ensure the free exercise of the people’s right to peaceably assemble (…) we have to observe proper guidelines including seeking permits to conduct public rallies.”
The BS Aquino government is desperate to hide the true conditions of the people under APEC’s dogma of market-oriented policies and trade liberalization.
Like its prodding of street dwellers to rent housing for the duration of the summit and its threats to disperse the Manilakbayan ng Mindanao camp in Liwasang Bonifacio, it now applies the use of bureaucracy to hamper the droves of people that will take to the streets to slam the APEC-prompted neoliberal policies passed to its members.
The softening up of trade restrictions and protectionist economic policies of member governments have only meant the immersion of the Asia-Pacific peoples in the chasm of further poverty and unemployment – and for the workers of Southern Tagalog, this has meant the maintenance of cheap labor costs. At PHP 315, or almost USD 7, workers are forced in deplorable labor conditions to be able to live another day. More so, seven out of ten workers in the region have been victims of contractual work, depriving them an assurance of a stable livelihood and a good future for their families.
These, and many other APEC-sponsored policies, have been in effect for years – culminating through figures rendering the Philippines having the cheapest raw materials and production factors, and highest unemployment rate in history.
The figures, which have been pointed out by different research institutions, speak for itself, and cannot be concealed by any amount of lies, physical cover-ups, and application of government procedure.
We will assert for our democratic right to peaceably assemble and express grievance, even so the government brings up archaic and Martial Law-type decrees such as Batasang Pambansa 880, where the “no permit, no rally” scheme was brought up.
In delivering the perfect gift for imperialists, BS Aquino, as the main administrator of local government policy, is then no different from Marcos in its attempts to serve as the perfect puppet for these imperialists.
Nonetheless, we remain firm in our stand. The workers of Southern Tagalog, together with all the peoples of the world, will surge forth in disdain, as we will not warrant the entry and rule of foreign domination in the country, and these will be registered thoroughly in the following days. ###