To Garry Martinez, chairman of the Migrante International, good news would have been putting a stop to the labor export program and implementing a more substantial jobs generation program in the country.
To the students and youth, the real good news would have been a “society that would not treat workers and the youth like slaves.”
“Where in the world will you see the supposed ‘boss’ earning slave wages? The working people is not really President Noynoy Aquino’s boss,” said Bayan Muna Representative Teddy Casiño, referring to the presidents’ inaugural address where he said that the people would be his boss. Casiño warned that under Aquino, the people stand to suffer even more as high prices of services await them due to Aquino’s penchant for Private-Public Partnerships (PPP). Casiño warned that Aquino’s PPPs would result in higher toll fees, train fares, tuition fees, medical fees, etc.
The so-called Labor Day “good news” is nothing but fiction, said Renato Reyes, secretary-general of Bayan, in a speech before the Labor Day crowd at the Liwasang Bonifacio.
The Aquino government as “instrument of imperialism”
Not only did the May 1 protesters shred to pieces President Aquino’s touted “good news,” they also shredded Aquino’s touted campaign slogans of bringing in “change”, as well as Aquino’s claims to the legacy of people power.
“Aquino’s campaign slogan of solving poverty via putting a stop to corruption is based on a wrong premise,” said Ferdie Gaite, national president of Confederation for Unity, Recognition and Advancement of Government Employees (Courage). The wrong premise, Gaite explained, is thinking that “poverty is caused by corruption.” Gaite said poverty is really rooted at the age-old problem of imperialism, bureaucrat capitalism and feudalism. Besides, Gaite added, Noynoy has utterly failed to stop corruption.
The Aquino government is “expertly serving as instrument of imperialism,” charged Charice Bañez of Anakbayan, who said that the youth has no hope from this kind of government and the system it perpetuates. Bañez called on the youth to continue rebelling against such a system.
Even the Aquino government’s consistent refusal to increase workers’ wages and its continuous drive to implement contractualization and other measures to make labor more “flexible,” are cited by the protesters as clear examples that this government is “siding with capitalists and the imperialist.”
“The Aquino government implements neo-liberal policies to increase the super-profits of the capitalist class. In so doing, they are also taking back the hard-won gains of the working class,” said Carol Araullo, president of Bayan and vice-chairman of International League of Peoples’ Struggle (ILPS).
Given their dim view of the current Philippine government, the protesters called on the people to join in “changing” this government and “this rotten system.” In a solemn conclusion of the day-long “Day of Outrage”, the protesters sang the “Internationale” with raised, clenched fists, after the KMU chair Bong Labog vowed to press ahead with the struggle for a substantial wage hike and eventually, “genuine social change.”