‘Enough of Lies, Just Bid Farewell’

Thousands of workers led by Kilusang Mayo Uno poured on the streets to dispel Gloria Arroyo’s myth on the state of the nation, and to insist on a categorical farewell from Arroyo amid attempts to convene a Constituent Assembly.

“Arroyo’s long-overdue farewell, which is wished for by both her allies and critics, would be the best soundbyte ever in her nine State of the Nation Addresses. All we want from her is to assure the millions of Filipinos who have suffered from her nine years of greed, cheating and tyranny that she will step down in 2010,” said KMU Chairperson Elmer “Bong” Labog.

Labog said Arroyo’s claim that there will be elections in 2010 is not enough. “How could that statement be credible if she’s keeping her Charter change bid alive?”

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Grand myth on job creation
KMU also slammed Arroyo’s rosy report on the state of the economy and of the Filipino working class, saying “such spiels of job generation runs counter to the objective reality of joblessness, unabated retrenchments and narrow job opportunities.”

“She is just adding insult to injury by reporting a healthy economy despite clear indications of a continuing downturn,”

“That there is no real development under Arroyo’s watch is an opinion shared by the majority, of our people. Even a well-known economist who is supportive of Mrs. Arroyo says that the economy is growing but its fruits are not equitably shared,” said Labog.

History will judge her harshly

Contrary to what Palace officials claimed that ‘history will be kinder,’ KMU said it will never happen, since “she has always been on the wrong side of history.”

“History will be a ruthless judge on Mrs. Arroyo: a rabidly pro-US, pro-elite president who plunged the workers and people deeper into poverty. History will judge her harshly, the way it judges Ferdinand Marcos now,” Labog said.

“Mrs. Arroyo tries to look good through her meeting with US President Obama. It seems, however, that even US publications like the Washington Times can read through Mrs. Arroyo’s motives. The Globama meeting will not deodorize her image, neither will her delusional economic reports,” added Labog. ###

SONA 2009

9 years of (dis)service to the Filipino worker

Job (de)generation
Increase in unemployed and underemployed, Jan 01-April 09: 2.5 million
Average unemployment rate, 01-08: 11.2%
Current no. of unemployed and underemployed: 10.8 million

New jobs created, 2008: 1.5 million
Part time, poorly earning, and contractual jobs out of new jobs created: 1.3 million
Jobs created under “self-employed” category: 803,000

Decrease in full-time workers, 2008: 925,000
Increase in part-time workers: 2.4 milliom
Current no. of part time workers: 14.3 million, 14.3% of labor force

Actual job generation, accdg to National Statistics Office, 04-05: 700 thousand
Actual job generation, 05-06: 648 thousand
Actual job generation, 06-07: 599 thousand
Arroyo’s boasted target for every year: 1.6 million

Pressing down on wages
No. of jobs created this year that earn below minimum wage: 146,000

NCR minimum wage, 2001: P252
NCR daily cost of living, 2001: P509
Disparity: P257
Current NCR minimum wage: P382
Current NCR daily cost of living: P922
Disparity: P540

Average price of diesel per liter, 2001: P13
Current average price of diesel, 2008: P44
Average price of regular milled rice per kilo, 2000: P17
Current average price of regular milled rice: P 30

Destroying unions and agreements
No. of unionized workers, 2001: 3.85 million, 26.7% of labor force
Current no. of unionized workers: 1.9 milyon, 10.5% of labor force

No. of workers covered by CBAs, 2001: 461,000
Current no. of workers covered by CBA: 219,000

Killing disorder
No. of killed leaders in the labor sector since 2001: 91
No. of victims of trade union human rights violations, cases documented by the Center for Trade Union and Human Rights: 68,289

Reference: Elmer “Bong” Labog, KMU Chairperson, 0929-629-3234

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