Thousands set to rally on PNoy's Sixth and Final SONA

MANILA, Philipines - As thousands are traditionally expected to rally on the final State of the Nation Address (SONA) of President Benigno 'PNoy' Aquino III on Monday, July 27, 2015, a labor group vowed “to make red the most dominant color of the day and defiance the buzzword of the day”.

Militants set to heckly PNoy's last SONA | Photo:
Unfazed by the barbed wire, CCTV cameras and the seven thousand security forces, the militant Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino (BMP) in a statement announced their plans to march on the last SONA of President Noynoy Aquino.

“Despite trooping yearly, we have much more enthusiasm than ever before. Living under the elitist policies of Aquino for five burdensome has armed us with the determination,” said Leody de Guzman, chair of the BMP.

He claims that the labor sector bore the heaviest brunt of Aquino’s continuance of the neo-liberal economic agenda of his predecessors and advanced it even further.

Five Year Anti-Worker Track Record

“The past five years has been exceptionally taxing on the Filipino workers. Aquino attacked us on two fronts. On one hand, he suppressed wages despite the cost of living for a family of six has breached the 1,200+ peso levels already and also at the same time, he withheld government subsidies on basic services. This in effect, De Guzman explained, made workers’ pay slips fend off the entirety of the cost of living despite the fact that laborers are the primary tax base of the state”.

Among the programs that contributed to their devaluated pay slips were the increase in worker contributions to Social Security System and PhilHealth, the privatization of the light rail system, public hospitals, the K-12 program, and the deregulation of the electric power and petroleum industries.

De Guzman also lamented that under Aquino, constitutionally guaranteed rights such as living or family wages, security of tenure, freedom to form labor unions, collective bargaining for wages and benefits and right to hold a strike were all systematically circumvented.

“Despite less than a year to go before his term ends, Aquino’s reign has already legalized contractual employment to the point of reaching up to more than 70% of our total workforce, openly-siding with tycoons such as Lucio Tan in intra company disputes, attained record-breaking underemployment levels, allowed the mushrooming of sweatshops, witnessed the most occupational deaths since the collapse of the Manila Film Center in 1981 at a hundred and forty lives lost so far,” he revealed.

The labor leader also cited the administration’s failure to curb child labor, illegal recruitment, human trafficking, and abuses on our OFWs despite the numerous national decrees and international conventions to which the Philippines is a signatory.

He added that, “Even our children have fallen victims Aquino’s policies, three students from working class backgrounds have committed suicide for failing to have financial capacity to pay for their tuition fees despite being enrolled in public schools and his labor export brainchild, the K-12 program”.

Grave Expectations

The labor leader foresees that he Aquino will make no advantageous pronouncements to the interests and welfare of the Filipino workers but more antagonistic policies and programs..

“Kung Mayo Uno nga, wala kaming napala, SONA pa kaya ng isang narcissistic na pangulo,” De Guzman said.

“Five years of presidential blunders and consistent elitist policies have taken a toll on his leadership. The lack of public admiration has forced Aquino to keep on parroting his so-called achievements of economic gains and inclusive growth in his yearly SONA, he explained.

The BMP also anticipates that Aquino will accelerate his corporate and foreign dominated economic agenda in preparation for the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation in November and the ASEAN economic integration next year.

“Aquino’s final SONA will be reeking with bias for the oligarchs, pledging another year of subservience to their interests, sacrificing our limbs, lives and livelihoods in the altar of capitalist profit, “he predicted.

Thousands of BMP members together with its allies Sanlakas, Partido ng Lakas ng Masa, Kongreso ng Pagkakaisa ng Maralitang Lungsod Aniban ng Manggagawa sa Agrikultura and others shall converge along Commonwealth Avenue below the C-5 road flyover before merging with Freedom from Debt Coalition and the Nagkaisa labor alliance.

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