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Consolidating Consensus, Advancing People’s Struggles and Building Alternatives
The Freedom from Debt Coalition (FDC) together with nearly 1,000 participants from its members and partner-organizations such as Katarungan, Umalab Ka/Alab Katipunan, PALAG-Na Campaign Networks, FDC Women Committee, Migrants groups , a cultural group, KULAY--- massed up and held a program along Morayta Street in Manila during the May 1, 2015, Labor Day protest actions and later joined the 20,000 -march to Mendiola led by the broad coalition, NAGKAISA comprised of FDC's kay labor group members, such as Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino (BMP), Partido ng Mangagagawa (PM) and SENTRO-APL.
In the Mendiola rally that lasted until the mid-day speakers from various trade union groups and other multisectoral coalition , including FDC-took turns in lambasting the Aquino government for failing to uphold and protect workers' rights and render justice to the workers' long-standing demands--such as living wage and trade union rights, no to contractualization and job security, jobs and not lay-offs and precarious work, a stop to export labor policy and tax and fiscal justice for the workers. The rally ended with the workers' throwing tomatoes at the picture of Aquino, as an act of rejection of the government's repeated betrayal of the workers' and the people's rights and interests.
The Freedom from Debt Coaltion (FDC) issued a May 1 statement calling for tax and fiscal justice for the workers, the women and the people and called on the working masses and the aggrieved citizens and people to fight for the following concrete demands starting May 1 and beyond:
During the April 24 Roundtable on Tax and Fiscal Justice and the Working Class , FDC and its members and partners from labor, women and urban poor sectors fleshed out an initial package of tax and fiscal justice demands to include:
1. No to Value Added Tax (VAT) on foodstuffs and on essential services (water, power/energy) and other basic goods and needs (ie., food, health , shelter, education products and services).
2. Tax exemption for wage and fixed earners (ie., equivalent to minimum legislated wage)
3. Tax the rich and big corporations (ie., TNCs, investors in extractives and dirty and fossil fuels and industry players in power, energy,water,etc.)
4. Punish and prosecute officials involved in plunder, graft and other cases of misuse of public funds (ie., PDAF, DAP,etc.)
5. Abolish the Automatic Appropriations Law (AAL). Carry out debt audits. No payments for illegitimate debts.
6. Stop fiscal dictatorship! Abolish all forms of pork and stop using government funds fr patronage politics.
7. Guarantee living and social wage and universal protection for the poor and the jobless.
8. Fiscal and tax reforms towards economic and social justice and to end inequality and poverty.
9. Gender justice in tax and fiscal justice.
10. Tax and fiscal justice for climate justice--ie., climate finance for building disaster and climate-resilient communities and for compensation for losses and damages in people's livelihoods and properties.
The FDC May 1 statement called on the people to reject the anti-worker and anti-people Aquino regime and to end elite rule. FDC underscored that only the people's unity and concerted actions are the ultimate guarantee of their own liberation from their situation of suffering, poverty and injustice.
May 1--Labor Day mass actions were also held by FDC Chapters in Cebu and Tacloban , together with FDC partners like Philippine Movement for Climate Justice (PMCJ) and Bulig-Visayas and the multisectoral alliance for Justice for Yolanda campaigns.