Militant May Day Manifestation in Manila
More than ten thousand workers affiliated with different labor federations converged towards noon on May 1, 2015, at the Mendiola area near the Malacañan presidential palace to demand an end to the government policies of privatization, deregulation for big business, and import liberalization, which are wreaking havoc on the people’s daily living. The recent increases in water, electricity and tollway charges, as well as increases in transportation costs, are results of the privatization and corporate deregulation policies of the present and previous neocolonial regimes.
The rallyists denounced the recent increase in the daily minimum wage by only fifteen Philippine pesos (equivalent to only 33 US cents), as an affront to the dignity of labor. They also bewailed the present situation where one out of every ten Filipino worker is unemployed, another one is under-employed, and still another has to leave the country to be employed in foreign domestic, construction or other types of work with precarious conditions.
Earlier in the morning, around three thousand workers affiliated with the Pambansang Katipunan ng Manggagawa (KATIPUNAN, the National Congress of Workers) and other federations affiliated with the World Federation of Trade Unions (WFTU), held a rally at Plaza Miranda in front of Quiapo church before marching on to the Mendiola area. At the Plaza Miranda rally, speakers blasted the prevalent system of labor contractualization, and called for the strict criminalization of labor-only contracting. They also condemned the widespread corruption at all levels of government, the increase in the consumption tax, the absence of any assistance for the unemployed, and the lack of support for overseas Filipino workers.
In a message, the KATIPUNAN (National Congress of Workers) reiterated its call for the unity of the labor movement in the Philippines --- for the forging of a patriotic and class-conscious united front of all organizations of workers, peasant, fisherfolks, informal workers, self-employed and other impoverished sectors of Philippine society. KATIPUNAN also condemned the military exercises being conducted by US military forces in the country.
Comrade Antonio Paris, general secretary of the Partido Komunista ng Pilipinas (PKP-1930, the Philippine Communist Party) also spoke at the Plaza Miranda rally to call for national unity against the presence of US military forces in the Philippines, against US interference in the internal affairs of the country (particularly in Moslem Mindanao), and against WB-IMF-WTO dictation on the country’s economy. He called for the renunciation of all onerous foreign debt, for the renationalization of all utilities vital to the people (water, electricity, telecommunications, railway and tollway networks, etc.), for the rebuilding of the state sector of the economy, and for a policy of national industrialization to increase production for internal needs and to boost employment opportunities.
Comrade Paris also called for social change towards socialism thru the national democratic path, in order to end the exploitation and poverty of the people which only enriches the few foreign and local members of the business oligarchy ruling the Philippines. He stressed that only socialism can end the debilitating crisis wrought on the people by capitalism, particularly the imperialist-imposed neocolonial capitalist system in the country. He also mentioned the socialist path being laid by the Bolivarian revolution in Venezuela, and called for solidarity with the Bolivarian government led by President Nicolas Maduro which is facing continued US imperialist destabilization attempts.