Workers, vendors troop to presidential palace

By Defend Jobs Philippines (Tanggol Kabuhayan Pilipinas)

Illegally dismissed workers from Advan Shoes and Luneta vendors stormed the Malacañang Palace today as they jointly demand to the Aquino government, especially to the newly elected senators, congressmen and city officials to protect the people from massive unemployment, to generate adequate and decent jobs for all Filipinos and to recognize and not to criminalize the livelihood which the vendors and other informal workers created.

“We challenge the newly elected public officials to bare your clear and concrete programs, legislative agenda and projects that shall fully protect jobs and livelihood, to junk contractualization policy, give decent wage and ensure our rights to organize, form unions and associations,” said Gloria Bongon, President of Bleustar Workers Labor Union and Defend Job Philippines at a protest camp in Mendiola Bridge.

Since 24 January 2013, two hundred and ten (210) Advan shoes and rainboots workers lost their jobs due to the sudden closure of the factory owned by Jimmy Ong of Bleustar Manufacturing and Marketing Corporation. They seek for meetings and dialogues with their management but did not receive any response.

They went and asked the help of the Department of Labor and Employment yet the Department is inutile and said that they cannot resolve the problems of the workers.

They also filed a case at the National Labor Relations Commission but they still need to wait for months or years for their case to be resolved. They even called the attention and submitted a letter to President Aquino and still the same, no response.

“We challenge the newly elected public officials to stop the “Zero Vending Policy” and criminalization to the livelihood of vendors and other informal workers. We have been victimized by the neglect of the government. Aquino did not create jobs and give basic services to us and yet this government keeps on smashing and criminalizing our livelihood. We demand for recognition, respect from the government and and to stop the gross violations to our rights,” stressed Joel Meralpes, Secretary General of People’s Democratic Hawkers and Vendors Alliance-KADAMAY.

Luneta Park Vendors have been displaced from their livelihood for one year and seven months already. This is due to the continued evictions, demolitions, confiscation and criminalization to their livelihood by the National Parks Development Committee, Department of Tourism, Metro Manila Development Authority, and the Philippine National Police.

The two groups had a solidarity lunch to show their unified calls to the newly elected officials for their immediate action. School tuition fees, and the price of oil and other basic commodities are rising very fast and the living condition of the people are worsening.

Bongon and Meralpes also slammed the plan of the Aquino government and his allies in Congress in pushing for Charter Change which aims to attract more foreign investors. They said that CHA-CHA only leads to allowing liberalization in the Philippine economy which means 100% control of foreign corporations to our lands, industries and public utilities, and also means aggravation of contractualization and cheap labor policy.

(Visit Tanggol  Kabuhayan Pilipinas on facebook for more photos)

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