Toiling masses launch Kalbaryo ng Masang Anakpawis in Metro Manila

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Organizations of the toiling masses launched the annual Kalbaryo ng Masang Anakpawis (The Cross the Toiling Masses Bear) today, March 26, at Isetann, Recto Avenue in the city of Manila. Among the issues presented by the participants in the Kalbaryo are the intensifying economic crisis, reclamation in Manila Bay and demolition in Navotas, and the red-tagging of activist leaders and their communities. Kadamay, Defend CAMANAVA, Defend Jobs NCR, Gabriela, Anakbayan and many others attended the program. Drivers and operators affected by the jeepney phaseout, and leaders of various urban poor communities in Manila, were also present.

“In the National Capital Region (NCR), the minimum wage for workers is only ₱610 per day and it is still not enough to support their families,” said Kalipunan ng Damayang Mahihirap (Kadamay)-NCR. Their additional problems are contractualization, union busting, and intimidation of workers. Amid all this is widespread unemployment in the national capital.

In addition to these are the serious effects of massive infrastructure and reclamation projects that adversely affect poor communities, leading to violent evictions and demolitions.

“The government does not have a clear plan regarding housing for the urban poor and they are dumped to remote relocation sites outside of Metro Manila which are far from their jobs and livelihoods and without access to proper electricity and water services,” according to Kadamay. In the midst of a severe crisis and public discontent, the state responded by militarizing communities in the NCR. It unleashed the Joint Task Force-NCR that led the redtagging, pressure and intimidation of activists and organizations in urban poor communities. This task force is led by the 11th and 12th CMOs of the AFP.

Gabriela-NCR condemned the Marcos government for oppressing the people. They say Marcos’ minions “use power for their own interests, further fattening their pockets and maintaining their hold on power.”

Also today, the Kalbaryo Masang Anakpawis delegation from Southern Tagalog marched to the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) office. After that, they went to the office of the Committee on Higher Education to drumbeat and oppose the colonial, commercialized, and fascist education system in the Philippines which is a burden of the youth. Before this, they also went to the office of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.

The Kalbaryo of Timog Katagalugan was launched yesterday, March 24, in the region. The protest carry the theme “End the Kalbaryo ng Masang Anakpawis of Southern Tagalog! Oppose the US-Marcos Regime’s Charter Change! Promote Real Agrarian Reform, Living Wage, National Sovereignty, and Just Peace!”

AB: Toiling masses launch Kalbaryo ng Masang Anakpawis in Metro Manila