[statement] Labor group slams Baldoz, calls free MRT rides insulting and inciting workers to sedition -BMP

Labor group slams Baldoz, calls free MRT rides insulting and inciting workers to sedition

“SIMPLY revolting,” this was how a labor leader of a militant labor group reacted to an announcement released by the Secretary of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) yesterday.

On Wednesday, DOLE Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz made the announcement that all public and private sector employees shall be granted free MRT rides on Labor Day. This, only after Department of Transportation and Communication Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya ordered MRT 3 General Manager Al Vitangcol to ensure this year’s Labor Day success.

She also stated that the DOLE is still waiting for a response of the LRTA management for free LRT rides. The DOLE has also organized 150 job fairs nationwide which will run through April to June.

“For the Baldoz who chose honor the Filipino workers with “special privileges” such as free MRT rides on the only day of the year where the true economic engineers and producers of all social wealth is extolled for his back-breaking labor is clearly an insult,” said Gie Relova, Secretary-General of Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino in Metro Manila and Rizal (BMP-NCRR).

The BMP leader likened the free MRT rides of Baldoz as against the workers’ demands to the Christians’ Seven Last Words when Christ, thirsty and crucified on the cross uttered, “I thirst” and a Roman soldiers gave him vinegar instead of water to ease his suffering.

The labor leader explained that the privileges are meager, not a new idea and very limited. “It did not even come from the DOLE but from the DOTC and was not a brand new idea, but was introduced under the term of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and most probably less than a hundred thousand workers based in Metro Manila only can avail of it, out of the 40 million-strong national labor force”.

“Not only is Baldoz insulting our collective work but is also unconsciously inciting the Filipino workers to sedition. She is feeding us with the most excellent justifications for us to rise up against this enslaving system, that she will regret sooner than she thinks, he boldly predicted.

Relova added that, “Free MRT rides for the worker should not even be considered privileges but mere pittance. It is nothing but crumbs from the bountiful feast of shrewd capitalists and the elitist government. This Aquino-led government has done nothing to uplift the lives of the real reasons behind his much-propagated 7.2% gross domestic product growth in 2013”.

There has been no word yet from the Presidential spokespersons if the Palace will announce non-wage benefits besides that already proclaimed by the DOLE Secretary.

Traditionally, President Aquino holds a breakfast dialogue with labor leaders on or a day before Labor Day, where he unveils non-wage benefits for the labor sector and administrative reforms. The President also reports on the development of the work of the agencies attached to the DOLE.

Since past, the BMP together with other labor groups have univocally and consistently demanded government to end contractual employment, provide living wages, the removal of all unnecessary requirements in establishing labor unions and the criminalization of labor violations.

Asked what plans the BMP is hatching for Labor Day, “Come May First, thousands of fuming workers in Metro Manila and other urban centers shall literally paint the town red, Relova responded.

Press Statement
17 April 2014
Contact person: Gie Relova 0915-2862555
Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino- National Capital Region and Rizal

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