Militant Groups Chide Aquino’s Early Politicking as Last SONA Nears
Less than a week before his State of the Nation Address (SONA), Noynoy Aquino is nowhere near addressing the needs of the people as he chosed to prioritize politics and political survival over addressing the lingering problems of his so-called bosses.
This was the statement of BAYAN-Southern Tagalog (BAYAN-ST) days after the reported meeting of Aquino and Sen. Grace Poe in lieu of the 2016 Presidential elections. Poe, along with Sen. Chiz Escudero and Interior Secretary Mar Roxas, is being eyed to be the standard-bearer of Aquino’s Liberal Party.
“We are outraged at Aquino’s early politicking and apparent use of his post to ensure that his favored successor in power. Five years into his presidency, the living conditions of the common folk, especially the poor, only worsened with extreme poverty, escalating human rights violations, contractualization and corruption in government,” said Iya Franca of BAYAN-ST.
She added, “If he is really concerned with the welfare of the people, Aquino should have given primacy to addressing their needs, such as the decades-long demand of farmers for genuine land reform, the abolition of contractualization, the release of all political prisoners and the resumption of Peace Talks, among others.”
BAYAN-ST, along with other sectoral organizations and rights advocates, will lead the Southern Tagalog contingent in the SONA protest on July 27. As a show of force, the groups are now holding a weeklong caravan dubbed as “Bigkisan ng Mamamayan para Patalsikin ang Rehimeng US-Aquino Tungo sa Tunay na Pagbabago” which started last July 20 in Quezon province.
Joining the BIGKISAN are farmers from Quezon and Laguna, indigenous peoples from Mindoro, fisher folks around Laguna Lake, contractual workers in Tanduay Distillers Inc. and Sagara Metro Plastics Industrial Corp., among others, who hope to be heard and expose the real picture of Aquino’s ‘monstrous’ rule.
Among the biggest delegation in BIGKISAN are coconut farmers who demand the just and rightful release and use of the Coco Levy fund for the benefit of coconut farmers.
“Coconut farmers from Quezon province continue to decry the corruption of P72 billion or the Coco Levy funds – a centerpiece program during the Marcos dictatorship. It is clear that land monopoly only worsened under Noynoy Aquino’s ‘“democracy”’, stressed Arvin Boromeo of Coco Levy Funds Ibalik sa Amin (CLAIM)- Quezon.
Meanwhile, workers under the Pagkakaisa ng mga Manggagawa sa Timog Katagalugan (PAMANTIK-KMU) condemns Aquino’s continuous adherence to neoliberal policies which, according to PAMANTIK Chairperson Roque Pollido, “have worsened widespread contractualization and union-busting in the country.”
Polido cited the ongoing strike of contractual workers in Tanduay Distillers Inc., the arbitrary cancellation of the union elections of Sagara Metro Plastics Industrial Corp. through a Malacañang directive, and the deadlock of the Collective Bargaining Agreement for higher wages in Fuji Electric Philippines as cases of trade union repression and labor rights violation in the region.
Around 4,000 marchers will join the BIGKISAN. A 10-foot effigy dubbed as “Halimaw sa Palasyo” that depict Aquino as a monster will be paraded during the protest rally.
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