With fists raised high, we salute all workers on International Labour Day!
On this glorious day, May the 1st, we join workers all over the world in celebrating this great day. We also join all workers in advancing their fight against the exploitation and oppression dealt upon them by the giant foreign monopoly capitalists and their cronies, the local bourgeois capitalists.
From the many corners of the Philippies, worekrs and citizens are already gathering together in the streets to make urgent calls: for a national minimum wage of 750 pesos an hour; for an end to contractualization; for justice due to the Kidapawan farmers who were killed and injured, and to condemn the criminal neglect of the Aquino government of the victims of the typhoon. They demand that the Aquino government own up to its long list of human rights violations that are connected to its Oplan Bayanihan program. They cry out against the government’s selling off of the national patrimony regarding the crisis in the West Philippine Sea. They condemen the Aquino regime’s agreement and signing of unfair and anti-worker treaties that increase the suffering of workers and Filipino citizens.
Ever since Marcos implemented neo-liberal policies dictated by the U.S. and the IMF World Bank, the Philippine economy started to deteriorate. Through the years of succeeding governments, we have seen only worsening joblessness, poverty, and escalating economic backwardness. We saw more wealth and economic power concentrated in a few corporations and a handful of wealthy businessmen. This is the result of over 35 years of neoliberal :free market” policies. More and more, we have seen the government giving its support to the profit-seeking of a few and the abandonment of its duty to provide socio-economic development for the majority.
And so many of us have had to find work in foreign countries, and here, in Canada, we begin to understand the importance of our unity with the workers and farmers in the Philippines who are tirelessly protesting against the oppression and exploitation of foreign monopoly capitalists and crony local capitalists.
Our challenge as migrant workers overseas is to protest the neoliberal policies implemented by the Aquino government, which are connected to the inhumane and oppressive Labour Export Policy, which now exports 6,000 Filipinos every day. In Canada, where there are 800.000 Filipinos, the oppressive whip of exploitation is suffered by workers, particularly those who work under the Temporary Workers’ Program, who, because of their temporary status, do not have benefits and their rights as workers are not secured. Already in a precarious situation, these workers are now being sent back to their countries after four years if they have not attained landed status, and have to wait another four years before they could reapply to work in Canada, without any certainty they could return.
This situation of the TFWs in Canada has come about as a result of globalization schemes to create and use cheap and flexible labour in order to increase the profit of monopoly capitalists.
The Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement recently signed by the wealthiest countries of the world is an even bigger scheme to make more profit, since through this agreement, they can pry open resource-rich countries from national laws protecting ancestral lands so that the capitalist could further plunder them. In foreign countries, temporary foreign work is expected to increase, without necessarily giving improved conditions for workers. In countries like the Philippines, this would intensify human rights violations and militarization to protect foreign interests in such areas, and the impact on the people is absolutely negative – damaging the livelihood and wellbeing of the people who reside int hem. We already see this happening in the Philippines, victimizing the Lumad communities in Mindanao, particularly. We can only expect that this would worsen should the Philippines change its foreign trade laws and become a member of the TPPA countries.
All these neo-liberal policies are being advanced and promoted by the ruling elite and the reactionary Philippine government, under the direction of the U.S. IMF-World Bank, during the current electoral campaigns, 2016. These policies, based on the people’s experience, can only mean the continued suffering and exploitation of the people and the land.
On this international day of workers, let us, the people, take the progressive path and commit ourselves to advance our fight against the puppet government that will be set in place by an imperialist master, a government that will never serve the people, whose real face is the face of imperialist plunder and whose only interest is to plunder the land for profit and more capital!
Long live the migrant worker!
Protection, not collection!
Services, not business!
Long live the Working Class!
Fight Contractualization and the Exploitation fo the Working Class!
Advance the fight for a National Minimum Wage!
Long live the people’s fight for true freedom and justice!
Unite and empower all the exploited sectors under the leadership of worker and peasants!
Tess Agustin – Migrante Canada
Chandu Claver – Bayan Canada