Duterte, Robredo recall Bonifacio’s heroism; workers call for better protection

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Duterte, Robredo recall Bonifacio’s heroism; workers call for better protection

(Philstar.com) – November 30, 2020 – 12:56pm

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte and Vice President Leni Robredo separately urged Filipinos to channel the bravery of Andres Bonifacio, father of the Philippine revolution, as the country continues to fight the coronavirus pandemic and recover from recent calamities.

In a taped message, Duterte recalled that Bonifacio’s love of country, which roused our ancestors to fight for our freedom, is very vital as the Philippines fight the COVID-19 pandemic.

“As we remember his life and deeds, may the values he fought for inspire us all to become worthy heirs of a just, progressive, and inclusive society that he envisioned more than a century ago,” the president said.

Duterte added: “Fueled by Bonifacio’s extraordinary courage and determination, let us surmount the many challenges ahead and secure a much better and brighter future for every Filipino.”

Duterte did not attend Bonifacio Day commemoration activities but his message was played at the flag-raising and wreath-laying ceremony held at Bonificaio monument in Caloocan City. Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana instead led the ceremonies there.

Vice President Robredo, in her message, said that Bonifacio’s bravery is “rooted from love for fellow Filipino; in the stand that no one should be oppressed or neglected in society; in a belief that all of us, have the right to dream and the capacity to create a better life for a nation that is fairer, freer and more humane.”

“What Bonifacio exemplifies is not the cosmetic courage of bluster, or power, or brute strength; it is the courage of compassion,” she added.

The vice president said all are called emulate Bonifacio in our every way — in helping those affected by calamity, in following protocols to keep our countrymen safe amid the pandemic or in standing against oppression and neglect.

“In facing the challenge of our times and in progressing to the future, may the life and bravery of Andres Bonifacio continue to be our guide and example,” Robredo added.

The coronavirus has infected 429,864 Filipinos and killed 8,373, while typhoon Ulysses, the third powerful storm that battered the country in recent months, affected more than four million Filipinos and claimed at least 73 lives.

Labor coalition calls for protection of workers’ rights

As commemoration activities were held simultaneously in different sites on Monday morning, labor groups marched to Mendiola to bring workers’ issues to the attention of the Palace.

Labor coalition Pagkakaisa ng Uring Manggagawa (Paggawa) spokesperson Leody De Guzman in a statement called for a “comprehensive overhaul of state policies and laws” as he stressed that workers are facing threats to their health, jobs, livelihood, rights, liberties and the lives of their families.

“On the day of the great worker Gat. Andres, we call on our fellow laborers and countrymen to unite and fight for their health, livelihood and safety!  … We must fight as one and compel the Duterte regime to protect the Filipino people, especially the workers and the poor, from the intertwining crises on our health, jobs and lives,” he said.

KASAMA Federation’s Larry de Guzman also called for an end to trade union repression and red-tagging, defunding of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict and repeal of the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020, which is facing 37 legal challenges at the Supreme Court

He claimed the law “gives blanket protection to abusive capitalists, who are now more brazen in their attempts to bust unions and depress labor costs, using the recession and pandemic as pretext.”

Bukluran ng Mangagagawang Pilipino president Luke Espiritu for his part called on the Department of Labor and Employment to declare an immediate moratorium on mass lay-offs. “Employers have been taking advantage of the current crises by terminating their regular workers and unionists and replacing them with contractual workers,” he said.

Nathanial Clores of the Kilusan ng Mangagagawang Makabayan meanwhile said that the needs of workers and the poor amid recent typhoons must be prioritized over “the clamor of propertied elite for bailouts from actual and projected loss.”

Association of Genuine Labor Organizations Vice President Eduado Laurencio said that while drivers and conductors are not opposed to modernization of public transport, they stressed that no one should be left behind in the process.

Socialista president Eding Villasin for his part stressed that “unregulated markets would not only lead to profiterring by opportunistic capitalists but the denial of basic needs to desperate population.”  — Kristine Joy Patag

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