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ASEAN protests in Cebu will also underscore massive opposition to Charter Change

2006/12/07 - 3:22pm
Cebu City – "First and foremost, foreign interests are prioritized in Arroyo's Charter Change. That is why the government is desperate to railroad ConAss in time for the 12th ASEAN Summit. ChaCha through any form will give legitimacy and legal blanket to foreign dictated policies in the economy, politics, military and other aspects of our national life," said Elmer Labog, Chairperson of the militant labor center Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU).

Labog is leading the KMU contingent for the local protests against the United States' economic and political dictates to the ASEAN Summit here in Cebu.

"We have legitimate issues against the imperialist agenda of the ASEAN Summit. If the Cebu government will impose intimidating policies like Malacanang's bullying over the Constituent Assembly (ConAss) proceedings, then PGMA can expect more protests against her administration.

KMU scored the Arroyo - government's iron-first policy in relation tothe holding of protests against the 12th Asean Summit in Cebu. The Cebu local government is observing the no permit, no rally and maximum tolerance policies for the Summit activities.

"We denounce the government's blacklisting of foreign delegates who are scheduled to attend the Jobs and Justice Conference and other solidarity activities with Filipino workers here in Cebu. This only shows Malacanang's paranoia over legitimate issues raised by workers and other basic sectors. Arroyo's repressive measures will further isolate her from the international community."

Market integration: more profit for business, further exploitation for workers

Labog said the Jobs and Justice Conference will substantiate assertion of workers groups that the global trends in labor restructuring embodied in the ASEAN's objective for market integration will only result to further exploitation of workers, translating to depressed wages, rigid union policies and various forms of flexible labor.

He also said that the Business Investment Summit opening today at the Cebu Waterfront Hotel will only ensure more profits for employers and businessmen who are expected to impose more abusive and anti-worker policies in the name of 'regional market integration' promoted by the ASEAN Business Advisory Council.

The ASEAN BAC advocates the integration of 11 core industries common in Asian countries. These industries include manufacturing, agro-based, wood-based, textile based, transport and tourism, health care, information communication technology and E-Asean. "Based on our experience, integration in manufacturing caused massive retrenchments and job losses. In San Miguel Corporation Cebu, majority of the workers are contractual workers. Regular workers are laid off in almost all SMC companies including the Magnolia Poultry Packaging Plant and San Miguel Brewery in Mandaue. Danding Cojuangco, implemented vertical integration and laid off more than 20,000 jobs in the span of five years," Labog concluded.

KMU will lead a noise barrage at the Fuente Osmena tonight against the ChaCha and ConAss. Tomorrow morning, the labor group will hold a jogging activity towards the Waterfront Hotel to show their resistance to the ASEAN BAC Business and Investment Summit.

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