Students, teachers, migrants, health sector and court employees unite; vow to hold ‘historic’ protests
Fight against Aquino 2012 budget to intensify
A “Unity Forum” was held by different organizations at the Court of Appeals auditorium in Manila to condemn cuts in social spending and employee benefits in the 2012 Aquino government’s budget proposal recently passed in the lower house.
The groups also held a noise barrage along Padre Faura Street in Manila and tied black ribbons along the gates of government offices and schools.
The event was spearheaded by “Kilos Na!”, the network which led the campus strikes and nationwide protests against cuts in SUCs and social services budget during the past months.
For the first time, the groups linked up with government employees led by Judiciary Employees Association of the Philippines (JUDEA) which previously led their own “Black Monday” protests against the plan to centralize savings of agencies under the Miscellaneaous Personnel Benefits Fund (MBPF). The cooperation of various sectors involved in the budget fight is expected to unleash a bigger wave of people’s protests.
Leaders from University of the Philippines (UP) – Diliman, UP – Manila, Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP) were present. Also in the forum were representatives of Alliance of Concerned Teachers, Migrante, Health Alliance for Democracy, COURAGE, Gabriela and Kadamay.
In a “show of unity and outrage” the groups vowed to intensify protests against “Aquino’s anti-people budget” as Senate begins hearings for the 2012 GAA next week.
Speakers from the groups say they are “extremely dismayed” that Congress passed the budget without significant change despite the protests and lobbying efforts done by the different groups.
They stressed the need to link up the protests to send a strong message to Senate and the Aquino government that the people will not allow the government to railroad a budget that “puts priority over a few foreign banks, corporations, and corruption funds while assaulting the people’s rights and welfare.”
Students and youths, teachers, hospital workers, gov’t employees, and OFWs vowed to hold massive protests and nationwide strikes as Senate starts hearings on the 2012 budget. The “Black Monday Protest” of the judiciary employees will also be adopted by different sectors starting Monday, November 14. A motorcade
Protests are set to be bigger and bolder as Senate is expected to pass the budget later this month. Nationwide strikes, campus “shutdowns” and mass protests were set to stop the Senate and the bicameral conference to pass the “twisted” budget proposal.
“If we have to barricade the proceedings by holding massive actions, we will do so,” warned one of the speakers.
Seemingly taking off from the worldwide movement against “corporate greed,” the groups said they are also preparing for “mass camp-outs” throughout the country to send a message that they reject the “system of favoring the foreign powers and the elite few.”
The campaign against Aquino’s budget cuts is set to grow as the people become more and more frustrated and outraged by his “pro-elite and pro-foreign” bias. The coming protests should be a warning to the Aquino government and his government managers — the youth and people are poised to take action and send a strong, historic show of dissent.