PHILIPPINES: Workers denounce globalisation and war


20,000 militant workers, together with the urban poor and student youth,
celebrated National Heroes Day on November 30 with a vow to “continue Gat
Andres Bonifacio's struggle by resisting imperialist globalisation and
war”. Bonifacio was a left-wing leader of the 1898 Philippine revolution
against Spanish colonial domination.

The big worker-led mobilisation slammed the government of President
Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo (known as GMA) for selling out the country “to
imperial America”.

Renato Magtubo, chairperson of the Partido ng Manggagawa (Workers Party),
claimed that the impending implementation of the zero tariff regime — as
demanded by the World Trade Organisation — will be the “straw that breaks
the back of Filipino industry and agriculture”. Tariffs on a majority of
imported goods will be slashed to between zero and 5% by 2004.

Magtubo stated that “with zero tariffs and unfair competition staring
them in the face, even Filipino capitalists are now calling for a delay,
if not a stop, to unbridled liberalisation. But the worse hit will be the
workers who will bear the burden of factory closures, retrenchments, contract
work, casualisation and wage freezes”.

The Partido ng Manggagawa is calling on the government to enact legislation
to protect the working class. “Instead of zero tariffs, workers want zero
layoffs and zero casualisation”, Magtubo explained.

The socialist labour group Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino (Philippines
Workers Solidarity — BMP) chairperson Victor Briz declared that “workers
and the poor are wallowing in destitution and dying of hunger, yet GMA
spends plenty of time to look after US interests. Poverty not terrorism
is the number one problem and should be the primary priority of the government”.

The BMP leader noted that the threats of terrorist attacks that recently
forced the closure of foreign embassies and have created prejudice against
Filipinos seeking work abroad is a “blowback from Macapagal-Arroyo's all-out
support for America's imperial war of aggression. The republic of GMA is
nothing but a puppet republic of the USA”.

The socialist workers of the BMP pledge to complete the unfinished revolution
of Bonifacio for national sovereignty and social justice, Briz declared.
“In 1898, it was a battle against Spanish and American colonialism. Now
it is a struggle against imperialist globalisation and war. This time the
people's struggle will not be betrayed because it will be led by the revolutionary
workers and will target the rabid promoters of globalisation and the diligent
lackeys of war”, Briz promised.

From Green Left Weekly, December 11, 2002.

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