Satur appeals for calm on May 1, but directs call to Palace

Apr. 29, 2006

MANILA — House Deputy Minority Leader and Bayan Muna Rep. Satur Ocampo today
urged the Arroyo government to “calm down and not drag the people into
the pit of its paranoia” as the nation prepares to mark Labor Day with
nationally-coordinated mass actions, including demonstrations across
Metro Manila.

“Government officials should be calm and sober. Malacañang, the
Department of Justice and the Philippine National Police should not
push the panic button, warn of possible violence and consequent state
crackdown. Instead, they should show respect for the right of the
Filipino workingclass to demonstrate on Labor Day and ventilate their
legitimate grievances which are numerous,” said Ocampo, who is
expected to address the KMU’s demonstration in Metro Manila via live

“There is no basis to say that workers are out to sow chaos on May 1.
They have marked Labor Day always in a militant and orderly manner,
provided the police let them be. What makes the government paranoid is
the thought that the workers will once more demand President Arroyo’s
ouster,” said Ocampo.

Ocampo said Filipino workers have every right to call for her ouster.
“Besides her refusal to resolve the crisis of legitimacy besetting her
government, she has rejected any considerable wage hike, declined to
institute price controls on basic goods and services to ease their
burden of economic survival. Under Arroyo’s watch, the killings and
abductions of political activists, including 21 labor leaders and
trade unionists, have continued unabated. Her government has arrested
veteran labor leader and Anakpawis Rep. Crispin Beltran and has filed
against him, along with the Batasan 5, the spurious charge of
rebellion,” said Ocampo.

The bill for a P125 legislated, across-the-board and nationwide wage
hike remains pending in the House of Representatives. President Arroyo
refuses to certify the bill as an urgent measure, while her allies in
the House majority decline to calendar the bill for plenary debates
and voting. The Batasan 6 are the principal authors of the said bill,
as well as a counterpart bill granting a P3,000 salary hike for state

According to Ocampo, Bayan Muna members will come out in full force on
Monday to participate in demonstrations to be led by the Kilusang Mayo
Uno and the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan.

“We are not scared by the continuing political assassination of our
members, including the recent killing of two Bayan Muna members in the
Bicolandia. We vow to carry on their fight for good governance and
fundamental reforms so their martyrdom will not be in vain,” said
Ocampo. ###

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