FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Reference: Nicole Sudiacal, Anakbayan Canada Interim Chairperson (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Anakbayan Canada salutes the working class around the world today on International Workers’ Day as it continues to lead the toiling masses against exploitation under the world system of imperialism.
During COVID-19, imperialism continues to operate and take advantage of the worldwide pandemic and economic recession by profiting from and exploiting its workers and the people. Many of our compatriots serve on the front lines and in essential services as nurses, cleaners, meat processing workers, farmworkers, truck drivers, warehouse workers, and many more. These workers continue to labour in jobs that are deemed essential, yet they remain undervalued by capitalist society.
In Canada’s health sector, it is our nurses and caregivers who find work in long-term care facilities and in personal support work. These nurses and caregivers represent the largest group of workers sent by the Philippine government overseas.
We share the safety concerns of meat processing workers and others in Canadian industrial sectors where there have been COVID outbreaks in their worksites. A huge number of these workers are Filipino – in particular at the Cargill meat processing plant in High River, Alberta and at the JBS meat plant in Brooks, Alberta. These workers are an essential part of Canada’s food supply, yet they are victimized and blamed for the company’s poor physical-distancing protocols.
In precarious conditions across multiple sectors, essential workers, including many Filipinos, do not earn a living wage, have no healthcare plan or insurance, have inadequate safety and improper equipment, are mainly non-unionized, and their workers’ rights are not respected. All workers should be provided adequate protection, like access to Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), better working conditions, proper sick leaves, higher pay and other benefits to safeguard their own health and safety and that of their communities.
We see similar economic and social conditions in the Philippines. Precarious workers and many other sectors face drastic mistreatment. The Duterte regime extended the Enhanced Community Quarantine through the month of May and essentially called a de-facto Martial Law lockdown order on Metro Manila. More than 700 companies have closed during this pandemic leaving millions of workers jobless. The Filipino people fear starvation and homelessness in addition to the threat of COVID-19. These are the most immediate concerns of the workers, peasants, and farmers.
The government’s hasty and inadequate measures to contain the spread of the virus worsened the situation of the people and mobilized the masses to rise up in protest. It is no surprise that Duterte’s answer to the pandemic is to allow its military to point guns at the masses, stop peaceful protests and throw people in jail instead of pushing for medical and socio-economic measures to help them.
The Duterte regime has proven itself to be backwards, anti-people, anti-poor, and violent in nature. Today alone, the fascist administration arrested 92 citizens and workers across the National Capital Region, Iloilo, and Southern Tagalog. Those arrested include COVID-19 volunteers distributing relief packs, Coca-Cola workers presented as “NPA surrenderees”, and labour leaders protesting from home.
It is clear that the Duterte regime, fueled by US imperialism, is the exacerbating factor to the pandemic of COVID-19. The Duterte regime’s fascist and tyrannical response to the masses during this global health crisis exposes the true nature of Philippine society as semi-colonial and semi-feudal.
As militant Filipino youth in Canada, it is our duty to know our history and to support the ongoing workers’ struggles both in Canada and back home in the Philippines. In the Philippines, labour day celebrations have their roots on May 1st, 1903, under the American colonial period, when the first labour federation in the Philippines, the Union Obrera Democratica Filipina (Democratic Workers Union of the Philippines), marched in their thousands from Tondo to Malacañang and demanded independence from the United States. The Filipino people at home and abroad continue to resist US imperialism and its neoliberal policies against the poor, the peasants, and the workers and other oppressed sectors to this day.
Anakbayan Canada condemns the attacks on all activists – workers, students, women, Indigenous Peoples, journalists, health care workers and all people fighting for the liberation and welfare of the Filipino people. We call on the Philippine government to resume Peace Talks with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines in order to prioritize the fight against the pandemic and ensure the safety, health and well-being of workers and all people.
This May Day, we call on the Filipino masses of workers, peasants, youth and students to Oust the US-Duterte regime and rise against imperialism, feudalism and bureaucrat capitalism. We call on all youth and students to get involved in a progresive people’s organization and support workers’ struggles. Join the national-democratic movement abroad to help build the largest base of unity against economic and social injustice both in Canada and the Philippines.
Long Live the Workers of the World!
Long Live International Workers Day!
Oust the US-Duterte Regime!