Ngayong araw, tayong mga kamag-anak, kaibigan, mahal sa buhay at mga nakaligtas sa pananalanta ng Yolanda – ay muling nagtitipon-tipon sa Araw ng Undas, halos dalawang taon mula ng hagupit ng Yolanda. Ngayong araw ng Undas, hindi lamang tayo nagtitipon upang gunitain at ipagdasal ang mga nasawi noong Yolanda. Nilulunsad natin ngayon ang pagluluksa at panawagan ng hustisya – ang Luksang Bayan upang patuloy na isigaw , hindi lamang hustisya para sa mga Biktima ng Yolanda, kundi para na rin sa Bayan!

Ang trahedya ng Yolanda, ay repleksyon ng historikal at panlipunang trahedya ng ating bayan – ang laganap na kahirapan, inekwalidad at katiwalian na pinamumunuan ng gobyernong manhid at walang pakialam sa kapakanan ng mamamayan, ng gobyernong trapo at elitista –- ng gobyerno ng iilan. Ang gobyernong Aquino na niluklok sa pwesto sa islogan ng “Tuwid na Daan” at nagsasabing ang mamayan ang tunay na “Boss” nito -- ay siyang gobyernong inutil, makupad at walang malasakit sa kapakanan ng taumbayan.

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We come from the ranks of the workers, the farmers, the street vendors. We are joined by teachers, nurses, the youth, the marginalized women and men of our country who are fed up with the way our country is being run. We come as people who dream of a future unlike what we have at present, a future vastly different from that conjured up by the hodge-podge of political parties and the parade of politicians that make up the national electoral circus.

We are here today to demand genuine change in the way our country is being run. We call for an end to the old elite-dominated politics which has consigned our people to poverty and subservience to foreign governments and private corporations. We have come to lend our support not to any one party or candidate, but to the unifying alternative vision for Philippine politics and governance which refuses to concede the future of the country to yet another set of trapos.

We have seen what continued dominance of the elite and the trapos in our political and economic life which is in stark display under the Aquino administration, does to our country. Despite persistent attempts to convince the nation that it has benefitted from his time in office, we know that Aquino’s term has not pushed the country forward, it has in more ways than one, set us back.

The never-ending hype about rapid economic growth under Aquino’s term camouflages the widening inequality and festering poverty that are the true hallmarks of his elite-dominated, neo-liberal presidency.

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Alab Katipunan, which is a member of Freedom from Debt Coalition (FDC) and People’s Forum on APEC (PFA) 2015 and of which the Bukluran ng Progresibong Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (BPMP) is an affiliate member, strongly denounce the general condition of state repression in the name of corporations and agri-business which attended the hosting of several preparatory meetings of the Asia-Economic Cooperation (APEC) in Iloilo City on September 23-October 6, 2015.

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Such condition of state repression takes the form of virtual police and military control of Iloilo City which prevents concerned groups from exercising their fundamental freedom of expression and of assembly by denying the issuance of rally permits, putting up police checkpoints and barricades around the suburbs and downtown Iloilo City, and provoking violent dispersals of peaceful rallies. In denying the issuance of rally permit, the fundamental freedom of expression and of assembly are in effect banned, as “no permit, no rally” has been officially declared by the Local Government.

The violent dispersal that provoked the clash between members of BPMP, Alab-Katipunan, FDC and PFA2015 on October 4, 2015 from Sambag, Jaro and at the vicinity of Jaro Plaza on the occasion of the holding of the High Level Policy Dialogue on Food Security and Blue Economy is but an outcome of this policy.

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