APEC deserves Filipinos’ protests, condemnation – KMU

Workers led by national labor center Kilusang Mayo Uno, together with other progressive organizations, held a lightning rally in the corner of Taft and Buendia avenues in Pasay City this morning to condemn the APEC Summit which started today at the Philippine International Convention Center.

The labor group said APEC deserves Filipinos’ condemnation and protests because of its thrust of increasing the profits of big foreign capitalists and advancing the interests of powerful countries at the expense of the workers, peasants and other poor people of the Philippines and other underdeveloped countries.

KMU also said that the immediate difficulties caused by the government’s hosting of the summit to ordinary Filipinos reflect APEC’s bias in favor of big capitalists and governments of powerful countries.

“APEC is making the lives of Filipinos more difficult, and that’s just a preview of the greater difficulties that it will bring in the coming years. Filipinos’s current status as second-class citizens to APEC delegates is a concrete warning that we are increasingly being transformed into cheap and repressed laborers,” said Roger Soluta, KMU vice-chairperson.

The labor leader cited the “no work, no pay” scheme imposed on workers, the eviction of vendors and beggars from areas near the PICC, the huge traffic jams caused by the full and partial closure of major roads, the imposition of rules violating workers’ and Filipinos’ right to freedom of expression, among others as evidence of Filipinos’ second-class status in relation to APEC delegates.

“There’s no ‘inclusive growth’ or ‘better future’ with APEC. Its thrust, its composition, and the manner by which it is being hosted in the Philippines show just how it excludes workers and ordinary Filipinos. We are being given a foretaste of the mess it will plunge the country into,” Soluta added.

KMU also said that contrary to the claims of APEC organizers, it’s not the protests that’s causing embarrassment to the country, but the patently anti-poor measures implemented by the Aquino government in hosting the summit and its suppression of legitimate protests.

“What a shame that the Aquino government is causing great inconvenience and suffering to Filipinos and suppressing legitimate protests in order to appear presentable before an international audience. These measures emphasize what they want to hide: that things aren’t doing well and looking up for most Filipinos,” Soluta stated.