By Kilusang Mayo Uno
One week before President Rodrigo Duterte’s second State of the Nation Address (SONA), workers from all over the country staged a camp-out protest to demand the lifting of martial law and for an endo to contractualization.
“The state of Filipino workers remain ever worsening amidst Duterte’ failure to deliver his promises and to heed our demands for regular jobs and for a national minimum wage. Worse, his continuation of previous administrations’ policy of cheap, contractual and repressed labor only served to worsen the hunger and poverty among Filipino workers,” Elmer “Bong” Labog, KMU chairperson said.
KMU claimed that instead of heeding workers’ demands, Duterte has imposed martial law that is being used to suppress workers’ legitimate struggles for regularization and for a national minimum wage.
“Instead of heeding our demands, Duterte imposed martial law to suppress workers’ resistance against his failed promises and continued implementation of anti-worker policies,” said Labog.
Among those who joined the camp-out protests are banana plantation workers from Compostela Valley who were displaced by the martial law, mine workers from CARAGA whose rights to unionize are attacked by contractualization, southern tagalog who were retrenched due to contractualization and various Metro Manila contractual workers demanding regularization.
“Our camp-out protest is a warning to President Duterte. We will not allow him to extend and expand his anti-worker and anti-democratic martial law. And if he continues to reject our demands for regular jobs and for a national minimum wage, and insist on implementing cheap, contractual and repressed labor policies, he may face the growing discontent and rage of Filipino workers,” said Labog.
KMU meanwhile challenged Duterte to lift his martial law and sign the long-stalled executive order prohibiting all forms of contractualization before his second SONA.
“Duterte’s response towards heeding our demands to lift martial law and sign the EO against all forms contractualization before his second SONA would determine the direction of his administration. However he respond, workers are ever geared to assert our democratic rights and legitimate demands and struggles,” said Labog.
The workers’ camp-out protest will culminate in a huge protest march with other social sectors on Duterte’s second SONA this July 24.