Striking workers vow to continue Bonifacio legacy

Photo by Janess Ann Ellao/ Bulatlat

Workers and progressives held a series of protest actions today to commemorate the birth anniversary of Bonifacio, known in Philippine history as the “Great Plebian” for his humble beginnings from the working class and later led the armed revolution when he founded Katipunan.

By JANESS ANN J. ELLAO
Bulatlat.com

MANILA — On the 156th birth anniversary of Andres Bonifacio, Filipino workers and activists took the parliament of the streets to decry the “selling out of national resources to foreign countries and violating the freedom of the Filipino people” as they vow to continue the legacy of the Great Plebian.

“By joining protest actions, these foreign powers now know that exploitations cannot continue anymore. We have learned to expose their excesses and we will continue to do so,” 25-year-old Geraldine Gomez, one of the striking workers of Peerless Product Manufacturing Corporation (Pepmaco), told Bulatlat.

Workers and progressives held a series of protest actions today to commemorate the birth anniversary of Bonifacio, known in Philippine history as the “Great Plebian” for his humble beginnings from the working class and later led the armed revolution when he founded Katipunan.

In the morning of Nov. 30, a simultaneous protest action was held in front of the Chinese consulate in Makati and US embassy in Manila, where they assailed the continuing plunder of the country’s resources, unequal economic deals and exploitation of Filipino workers.

Photo by Janess Ann Ellao/ Bulatlat

They later convened at the Liwasang Bonifacio and together marched to the foot of Mendiola bridge, chanting, “down with imperialism.”

“For Filipino workers to be truly free, they should be free from exploitation. That is why we continue to fight against contractualozation, unfair wages, and worsening joblessness under the Duterte regime,” Kilusang Mayo Uno chairperson Elmer Labog said.

‘Biggest victims of exploitations’

Gomez said the exploitation of Pepmaco workers continue – as their fight for regularization still far from over and with newly-hired workers who endure poor working conditions in their factory.

Working for Pepmaco for the past three years as a contractual worker, Gomez complained of declining eyesight because of the haze from the detergent powders and other cleaning agents they are handling.

“It’s as if you are in Baguio,” she said, referring to the fog in the city dubbed as the country’s summer capital.

One colleague, she recalled, developed thyroid cancer. But instead of helping her, their agency fired her for her absence without leave.

As such, their fight has evolved way past their own comforts, she said, as they now too are fighting for the newly-hired workers of Pepmaco.

“We have also received support from all walks of life. Pepmaco owner has been convincing us to stop the boycott campaign,” she said, “it is hurting their business.”

In a statement, Labog said the labor sector is “among the biggest victims of Duterte’s subservience to foreign corporations.”

Both US and China, he added, have “recklessly destroyed our environment, stolen our resources, and exploited Filipino workers.”

Photo by Janess Ann Ellao/ Bulatlat

Living up Bonifacio’s memory

For progressives, their biggest task to live up to Bonifacio’s memory and legacy is working for genuine change even in the face of “intensified crackdown” under the present administration.

Labog said the “fascism and fearmongering only strengthened the ranks of the labor sector.”

“We are living Bonifacio’s spirit by continuing his patriotic revolution for national independence. Duterte’s subservience to the United States and China is worse than spitting on the Supremo’s grave,” said Alex Danday of Anakbayan.

Gomez, for her part, said the life of Bonifacio taught her that workers can rise to end this exploitation.

She said, “just like Bonifacio, we will continue this fight.” (https://www.bulatlat.com)

Share This Post

Post Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.