Members of Kilusan para sa Pambansang Demokrasya (Kilusan), Workers for People’s Liberation (WPL-Makabayan), Pagkakaisa ng Kababaihan para sa Kalayaan (Kaisa Ka) and Samahan ng mga Tsuper at Operator Laban sa Phase Out (STOP) converged in the capital city of San Fernando and motored to this freeport for a protest rally, before moving to Angeles City’s Plaza Miranda to continue with their protest action.
In a statement, Kilusan said that “with the impending relaxation of restrictions in the Foreign Investment Negative List (FINL), new investment areas are made available for foreigners like direct hiring of workers, entry of foreigners in certain professions like education, securing construction and repair contracts for local infrastructure projects, businesses in public service, culture, production and milling of agricultural products except rice and corn and retail trade.”
“We are faced with new threats to sovereignty as Duterte pushes for further opening the economy to foreign investments, defaulting on the government’s role to ensure the most basic of services,” said Kilusan secretary general Virgie Suarez.
On the other hand, WPL-Makabayan said that “while the government may have signed the ASEAN Consensus on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights of migrant workers in the recent ASEAN meeting, it has yet to address the dismal state of wages and workers’ welfare in the country.”
“Now with the passage of the Tax Reform and Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Bill in Senate, push for PUV phase out and other neoliberal policies, we anticipate that the tax hikes will burden the workers, especially the poor,” WPL-Makabayan chairperson Pete Pinlac said.
For its part, STOP warned that “the plan to ‘modernize’ public utility vehicles will only result in massive economic repercussion of millions as those relying on transportation sector are compelled to junk their old units in place of new ones.”
“Anticipating opposition to his neoliberal agenda, Duterte will be quick to quell any sign of dissent or criticism to his bid for unfettered exercise of power, beyond that which is accorded to him by the Constitution—whether through so-called ‘rebolusyong Duterte’ or through bastardizing the charter, “ Suarez said.
“Let us not let Duterte do a Marcos on us Filipinos, this change will only benefi t him and his cohorts and imperil the welfare of the rest of us,” Suarez also said.