The Amihan National Federation of Peasant Women and Rural Women Advocates joined the Filipino working class in marking the May 1 International Workers’ Day today, with its call “Kalusugan, Kabuhayan and Karapatan” amid facing the threat of Duterte’s imposed martial law-like lockdown that affected millions of workers and marginalized sectors in the country. Similarly, the women workers and peasant women including the fisherfolk and agricultural workers have suffered significantly amid losing livelihood and unable to provide food for their families. The groups hold Duterte accountable of criminal neglect and denial of the call of the women workers in the urban and rural areas for immediate socio-economic relief and medical assistance, instead of militarist measures in solving the pandemic.

“We are one with the Filipino workers in demanding the government to hear their cry and immediately act on their welfare including the health condition, livelihood and respect for human and workers’ rights during this lockdown,”exclaimed by Zenaida Soriano, Amihan National Chairperson.

“More than 40 days after the declaration of the lockdown but the government has no concrete plan in resolving the displaced and victims of ‘no work, no pay’ workers in the country. Worse, the stranded workers in Metro manila including the construction workers, who usually come from provinces, were thrown into hunger and solely relied on food relief from individuals and groups. This has caused anxiety for their peasant families left behind in the provinces,” added by Soriano.

The groups stated that the situation of the Filipino workers and the whole peasant sector are the result of the Duterte regime’s criminal neglect. The poor were transformed into beggars for their names to be included in the list of beneficiaries of financial assistance. This is amid local governments and national agencies imposed cumbersome requirements, all manifesting the anti-people bureaucratic weakness, that eventually disqualify the legitimate poor.

In marking the International Workers’ Day, we reiterate our call for “land, wages, livelihood and human rights and advance the Genuine Agrarian Reform and National Industrialization in the country.” Duterte’s militarist response in the pandemic was a reflection of its neoliberal policies that did not serve the marginalized workers and peasants in the country.

“Duterte must realize that the genuine agrarian reform and national industrialization will solve the centuries-old demand of the workers and peasants, which are characterized of free distribution of land to landless peasants, thus, eventually triggering mass employment, rural and national development” ended by Soriano. ###

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