By Kilusang Mayo Uno — Cordillera
April 27, 2007
The worsening economic crisis in the country makes the lives of every poor Filipino unlivable everyday. Every year, the economic status of the people especially the impoverished workers hardly cope with the continuously rising prices of basic commodities and social services. It is now difficult to imagine how a poor worker survives such situation.
Unemployment rose because of massive job displacements and the scarcity of jobs . According to the data of the National Statistics Office as of January 2007, the unemployement rate is 7.8% while underemployment is 21.5% of the total labor force of the country. The number of employed people seldom goes high but always slides down because of the government-backed contractualization scheme creating temporary jobs. Employment benefits and incentives as well as compensations are no longer in the vocabulary of workers inside the workplaces.
In the Cordillera, unemployment rate slid to 7.7% from 7.8% last year (NSO Quickstat as of March 2007), but there is no felt improvement. In the region, contractualization mars the security of tenure of the workers. Baguio City hosts the biggest number of contractual workers in the region through the Baguio City Export Processing Zones (BCEPZ). The two mining giants namely the Philex Mining Corporation and the Lepanto Consolidated Mining Company in the province of Benguet retrench their regular workers and replace them with contractuals.
In all of these, the political as well as the democratic rights of the workers are also suppressed. Their legitimate efforts to organize and unite their ranks in addressing their problems and issues are being met with reppression by the big businessmen backed by the state itself. The right to form a union and to stage a legitimate strike are often met with brute force.
On May 1, Cordillera workers, together with their colleagues all throughout the country and the rest of the Filipino people, will join the world in commemorating the International Labor Day. This is an annual tradition where workers of the world come together in solidarity and renew their commitment in continuing and advancing the struggle for a better life. They will strengthen their vow to fight for freedom from labor exploitation and all kinds of oppression and establish a democratic society.
The workers under the leadership of the militant KMU-Cordillera invites not only fellow workers but also individuals as well in the May Day commemoration at the People’s Park. The essential parts of such activity is the continuing demand for the P125 legislated wage increase nationwide, job security, labor benefits, as well as democratic rights. We will also continue the shout for the release of our beloved Congressman Crispin “Ka Bel” Beltran who was imprisoned for more than a year because of his dedication to serve the toiling masses. As this May Day activity falls in a period where the abusive US-Gloria Macapagal-Arrroyo regime continues to reppress and persecute its people particularly those critical of its way of gevernace, it will further carry the demand of the ouster of Arroyo! As it is said in this year’s Labor Day theme, “Itakwil ang peke, korap, papet at pasistang rehimeng Arroyo!”.
Itaas ang Sahod, P125 Across The Board, Nationwide!
Palayain si Ka Bel!
Patalsikin ang peke, korap, papet at pasistang rehimeng Arroyo!
Makibaka para sa pambansang kalayaan at demokrasya na may sosyalistang perspektiba!
Workers of the world, unite! #