Hailing the statements of Cagayan de Oro Archbishop Antonio Ledesma and former Comelec chair Christian Monsod detailing the intensifying poverty in the country, labor center Kilusang Mayo Uno called on workers and the people today to join protests to condemn poverty and push for pro-poor reforms.
Ledesma and Monsod described the growing poverty and hunger, bankrupt elite leadership and anti-people policies in the country in a recent summit on “poverty, inequality and social reform.”
“As the statements of Archbishop Ledesma and Mr. Monsod show, the growing hunger and poverty in the country cannot be covered up anymore by the pa-pogi rhetorics of the Aquino government,” said Elmer “Bong” Labog, KMU chairperson.
“We are calling on workers and people to affirm the growing poverty and hunger by joining street protests, because mere facts won’t do. Let us push for pro-poor measures as an immediate relief from the rapidly worsening economic condition in the country,” he added.
“The Conditional Cash Transfer program of this government is big on promises and rhetorics but fails to solve poverty and hunger. It is a mere band-aid solution to the cancer that is the chronic poverty in the country,” he said.
Kampuhan in Mendiola
The labor center called on workers and the poor to join the “Kampuhan Kontra Kaltas, Krisis at Kahirapan” which will be held from Dec. 6 at Mendiola. It said workers and poor people will pour in on the campout at Dec. 7.
“The Mendiola camp-out will be a venue for everyone who are fed up with the growing poverty and hunger in the country to make their voices heard. The poor and hungry should not suffer in silence but break out in protests,” Labog said.
“It will also be a platform for the poor and pro-poor to clarify their demands on the government and their demand for radical social change. We should back up our just demands with bigger protests,” he added.
KMU said that the campout will air the following demands: a significant wage hike, the junking of contractualization, an end to cutbacks on social security, government control over the prices of basic goods and services especially oil, an end to demolitions of urban poor communities, and the immediate, unconditional and free distribution of Hacienda Luisita lands and other hacienda lands to farmers.
It said it will also call for the repudiation of the country’s odious foreign debts, debts which did not benefit the people and were pocketed by officials in the government.
“We will condemn the huge and increasing section of the national budget that is going to payments for the country’s foreign debt. We are being denied of social services in order to pay for these debts which we did not benefit from in the first place,” Labog said.
“Worse, these debts have been instrumental in pushing for anti-poor policies in the country,” he added. Elmer “Bong” Labog, KMU Chairperson