We mourn the death today of our fellow Filipino who was sentenced to death in China for being a drug mule. We mourn with his family and the Filipino workers and people. We are saddened by his loss and we are angered by the implications of his loss on the situation of our country today.
It is the intensifying hunger, poverty and unemployment in the country which cause Filipinos to leave their families, work abroad, and even work as drug mules for criminal syndicates. It is the threat of death by hunger and poverty in the country which forces them to risk their lives abroad.
It is the government’s fault that many Filipinos are forced to work as drug mules. Pres. Aquino and his predecessors all promised change, an end to poverty and decent employment for Filipinos – but they all ensured continuity, perpetrated poverty and promoted low-quality work.
The Aquino regime has refused to heed workers’ calls for an immediate relief from hunger and poverty. It has refused to significantly hike workers’ wages, junk contractualization, control the prices of basic services and goods especially oil, and stop the demolition of poor communities.
It has also used force against protestors calling for an immediate relief from worsening hunger and poverty. The government attacked the Filipino people’s response to the Occupy protests in the US using truncheons, water cannons and trumped-up charges against progressive leaders.
Given the severe global economic crisis, the country needs to generate decent employment that is not reliant on factors external to the country and that addresses the needs of the Filipino people. Such employment can only be provided by genuine land reform and national industrialization.
We are therefore calling on the Filipino workers and people to struggle for genuine social change, for national freedom and democracy. Only through radical social change can we prevent fellow Filipinos from becoming drug mules and build a future that we and our children really deserve. Elmer "Bong" Labog, KMU Chairperson