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Thousands of workers and poor join broad anti-pork protests

Militants bring empty pots and pans to the streets, calls for freedom for corruption, poverty and trapo rule

By Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino
June 12, 2014

QUEZON CITY – Some 4,000 members of the militant Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino (BMP) – from trade unions and urban poor associations – took to the streets today to join the broad people's anti-pork movement. The protest is the biggest anti-corruption rally since the Million People March in Luneta last August 26.

The BMP converged at along Plaza Salamanca along Taft Avenue and Kalaw Avenue at around 1:00 p.m. before marching to the Bonifacio Shrine near the Manila City Hall for the 3:00 joint program.

Other groups had assembly points at Sta. Cruz Church, Liwasang Bonifacio and Welcome Rotonda.

Banging Empty Pots and Pans: Poverty for the Workers and the Poor, Luxury for Trapos and Political Dynasties

BMP President Leody de Guzman said, "Workers and the poor have brought empty pots and pans in today's Independence Day protests to highlight their worsening poverty amidst the affluence and luxury enjoyed by the trapos (traditional politicians) and political dynasties".

"Not only are starvation wages further slashed by withholding taxes, public funds are used to fill the pockets of corrupt politicians and their crafty cohorts like Janet Napoles and Godofredo Roque. Even the unemployed millions bear the tax burden when they pay the 12% VAT while buying their basic necessities. Worse, the national coffers are systematically plundered by both elected and appointed officials, whose sanitized SALNs (statement of assets, liabilities and net worth) blatantly reveal that the entire state bureaucracy is an elitist millionaires' club!," he clarified.

Freedom to Exploit the Toiling Masses, Freedom to Choose our Elitist Exploiters

He added, "As the Philippine government commemorates the country's so-called day of independence, the BMP finds no reason to celebrate under an elitist democracy that reeks with the stench of continuous corruption scandals. The kind of freedom that the Filipino people attained after the much-avowed restoration of democracy after the 1986 EDSA revolution is nothing but the freedom of the oligarchs to exploit the toiling masses and the freedom of the voting public to choose their exploiters".

Investigate, Prosecute and Jail All, Not Just Pogi, Sexy and Tanda!

Gie Relova, Secretary-General of the BMP National Capital Region-Rizal chapter, who led the group's contingent from Kalaw to the main assembly in Bonifacio Shrine, declared, "The workers and the poor are one with the Filipino people in its broadening protests against corruption. However, we emphatically emphasize that the present political controversies must lead to the investigation, prosecution and incarceration of all crooks and thieves in government, not just opposition senators Revilla, Estrada and Enrile. We challenge the Noynoy administration to "jail all" including its allies in government. If there is any truth to his electoral rhetoric "tuwid na daan", it must investigate all those implicated in the pork barrel scam, particularly Cabinet Secretaries Butch Abad and Prospero Alcala of the DBM and DA, respectively, TESDA chief Joel Villanueva and Senate President Franklin Drilon".

Privilege speeches by Revilla and Estrada did not gain support nor sympathy from the underprivileged masses Relova explained, "The BMP vows to educate the millions of unorganized Filipinos so that they will not used as cannon-fodders in the squabbling among rivaling elite factions. The recent privilege speeches by Revilla and Estrada did not gain an iota of support nor sympathy from the underprivileged masses. While their defense may expose the brand of selective justice by the Liberal Party to attack its rivals, it does not prove their innocence. The beleaguered senators have only justified the long-held public opinion that trapos, from whatever political party, are generally corrupt. Hence, the BMP is calling for total cleansing and meaningful reforms in government, particularly, in people's participation in governance and in the budgetary process".

"The Filipino people deserve to be part of the body-politic, not only as voters during elections and as taxpayers when we receive our salaries or buy our families' needs. We demand not just transparency in government records, through the Freedom of Information (FOI) bill but also democratic control in the drafting and implementation of the budget. After all, the people – especially the workers are the most tax-compliant sector of Filipino society," he concluded.