[Press Release] Workers hold pre-SONA protest vs. PEZA – Partido ng Manggagawa

Some 200 members of the Partido ng Manggagawa (PM) held a pre-SONA protest at the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) today as the labor group slammed the suppression of the right to unionize in the ecozones even under the present administration. Some of the protesters, many of whom are workers in Cavite factories, had their hands and mouths bound to symbolize the suppression of the freedom to organize in the ecozones.

“After one year of PNoy, there is no new program to generate jobs, no new guideline to increase workers wages and no change in the no-union policy in the ecozones. PNoy has given the go signal for contractualization at Philippine Airlines. He has praised Hanjin’s investments but has been silent on the deaths and injuries of workers at the shipyard-cum-graveyard. PNoy has continued with sacrificing labor rights at the ecozones to attract foreign capital,” declared Judy Ann Miranda, PM secretary general.

To highlight its case, PM pointed out to PEZA’s collusion in stifling workers efforts to unionize at the Mactan Economic Zone (MEZ) in Lapu-Lapu City. A Japanese-owned company in MEZ, Blaze Manufacuring Corp., shutdown its operations on the day that a certification election was held. The union won the elections for the first time in the history of that ecozone.

Miranda insisted that “We demand that the PEZA national office revokes the letter of authority it granted to reopen recently.” PM is slamming Blaze for union busting and PEZA for its collusion. The PM chapter in Cebu had already picketed the PEZA office in Lapu-Lapu City last Monday.

“Ipinapaabot ng mga manggagawa kay PNoy, ang gusto ng kanyang mga boss ay bagong landas di lang tuwid na daan. In his SONA, PNoy will highlight his administration’s accomplishments in stamping corruption but poverty will not be solved by good governance alone. Poverty can only be eradicated by reforms in the economic and social arena that attacks the iniquitous distribution of wealth in the country,” Miranda explained.

PM is participating in protests before and during the SONA to underscore its critique of the Aquino administrations programs. On Monday, PM will join other labor groups in a Mendiola rally to criticize the administration’s anti-labor policies including its tolerance of contractual employment. In the afternoon, PM will participate in a broad mobilization of militant organizations at the Batasan to challenge President Aquino on the pro-globalization framework of the Philippine Development Plan and the public-private partnership.

Press Release
July 22, 2011
Partido ng Manggagawa

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