April 29 2020
Nationally-coordinated, decentralized, community-wide noise barrage on Labor Day:
“Kaldero at sikmurang walang laman”
from poor communities to cyberspace
Various groups, initiated by the Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino (BMP), held an online press conference today to announce its plans for a nationwide coordinated community-wide noise barrage on Labor Day.
The online press conference was participated in by leaders of BMP, Teachers Dignity Coalition (TDC), Kongreso ng Pagkakaisa ng Maralitang Lungsod (KPML), Aniban ng Magsasaka at Manggagawang sa Agrikultura (AMMA), the women’s group Oriang, Sanlakas, Center for Environment, Ecology and Development (CEED), Partido Lakas ng Masa (PLM), Sanlakas. Local trade union leaders from APT – Las Pinas and St. Luke’s Hospital BGC also participated in the briefing.
Labor leader Ka Leody de Guzman said, “On Labor Day, the collective grievance of a hungry and quarantined population should be heard regardless of the restrictions brought by government response to the COVID19 pandemic. We will not be silenced nor cowed by the growing threat to civil rights, political liberties and legitimate dissent”.
“We are calling on Filipino workers, especially the trade union movement, who has first-hand experience of the merit and potency of collective actions, to lead the unorganized millions. Make noise and let yourselves be heard, not just in cyberspace but in communities where the poor seek for their tribune,” de Guzman added.
“The medium is the message. We have a starving and desolate people who are not only threatened to passivity by threats of state violence but are also limited by the COVID19 pandemic to refrain from large gatherings. What better symbolism is there to reflect this growing desperation than through a nationwide, decentralized but synchronized banging of empty pots and pans?” asked BMP president Atty Luke Espiritu explained.
Sanlakas lawyer Aaron Pedrosa furthered, “It is important to have clear slogans that address the immediate and long-term needs of the Filipino poor, whose poverty has worsened by the wholesale economic dislocation of the quarantine. However, it is likewise necessary for the vehicle of said demands to reach out to the aggrieved sectors that not only represents but also aims to inspire and push to action. Unless we want the practice of the right to legitimate dissent to be a mere exercise in futility. Hence, the protests should not limit itself to the sheltered realms of cyberspace. It should involve the poor, who have limited or no access to digital gadgets and to a reliable internet connection, but should use social media to widen its reach”.
Kokoy Gan, chair of the urban poor group KPML stated, “Mag-ingay para sa kalderong walang laman at sikmurang kumakalam! Our pots and pans are empty. Our wallets are empty. Our stomachs are empty. The Duterte government itself is full of empty promises! Billions were centralized to Malacanang for relief and aid. Billions were loaned for the poor. Billions of aid was given by foreign institutions. Bakit wala pang natatanggap na pagkain at ayuda ang mga mahihirap? Nasaan ang mass testing at pasilidad sa kwarantina para matukoy, mabukod, at mapalakas ang resistensya ng tatamaan ng COVID19? Pero pag hingiin ito ng mahihirap ang sagot nila ay dahas at pananakot. They should use the force of law on lawbreakers such as Koko Pimentel and the armed POGO workers. Sinisindak kasi ang mahihirap. Halatang itinatago ang mga kapalpakan at kahinaan. Paano niya makakuha ang tulong, suporta, at inisyatiba ng taumbayan”.
The BMP plans to mobilize communities, following the rules of social distancing, to bang empty pots and pans in front of their houses on Labor Day. The noise barrage, dubbed as “Mag-ingay para sa kalderong walang laman at sikmurang kumakalam” will be nationally-coordinated, decentralized community-wide protests, which the groups would publish on the internet, through their social media pages.##