WHILE most Filipinos are preparing for the holiday break, militant labor groups used the occasion to continuously slam the government’s alleged failure to curb rising gas prices and outsourcing of jobs.
Dubbed “Kalbaryo ng Manggagawa at Maralita”, some 200 members of Partido ng Manggagawa (PM), Philippine Airlines Employees Association (Palea) and Alyansa ng Maralitang Pilipino (AMP) held Wednesday a protest in Makati City to highlight the plight and demands of workers and the poor.
“The Kalbaryo is an annual tradition to remind government of the unmet demands and the heavy crosses borne by the working people. Contractual jobs, low wages, high prices and demolitions of depressed communities are the problems underscored by today’s protest,” PM chair Renato Magtubo said.
Simulating Jesus Christ’s passion, the Kalbaryo passed through key government agencies and private institutions in Makati, the country’s financial center, in a mock stations of the cross.
Magtubo said one protester carried a symbolic cross on his back as the cross and shrouds were marked with the issues highlighted by the participating groups.
Militants marched to billionaire Lucio Tan’s office in Allied Bank building to assail the supposed contractualization at national carrier Philippine Airlines (PAL). They then proceeded to the Employers’ Confederation of the Philippines (ECOP) office in Buendia to criticize the business group for its resistance to a wage hike.
The next stop was the nearby office of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) to draw attention to the high prices of basic commodities even as inflation fell to a low of 2.7 percent last month.
To focus on the problem of oil price hikes, the protesters then marched to the Shell office in Valero. The groups also called on the government for a moratorium on demolitions and increased budget for housing.
In response, Malacañang maintained that the government is doing its best to look into the concerns of the public.
“Just as they are aggressive in holding such protests, we are also more than willing to explain to them the steps done by the administration to respond to these problems,” deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said in a text message. (Virgil Lopez/Sunnex)