Youths join Manila-wide pedicab strike, decries planned pedicab ban ‘death to the poor’
Youth group Anakbayan took to the streets of Manila today in support of the one-day strike by the city’s pedicab and ‘kuliglig’ (motorized pedicab) drivers. The strike was launched by the Alyansa ng Nagkakaisang Kuliglig at Pedicab Driver-Manila (ALNAPEDKU-Manila) to protest plans by Manila City Hall to ban pedicabs and ‘kuligligs’ from the city’s streets.
“With a shortage of social services on one hand, and a lack of decent jobs available in another, the pedicab and kuliglig ban is nothing more than the Manila government stealing food from the tables of thousands of drivers’ families in Manila” said Anakbayan spokesperson Charisse Bañez.
“Their job as pedicab drivers, as low-earning as it may be, is the thin line between life and death by starvation. The Aquino regime has no right in depriving them of their meager livelihoods if they are unable to give them decent alternatives” said the youth leader.
She pointed out that more and more Filipinos resort to working the so-called ‘informal sector’ because of the lack of job opportunities in urban areas and in the industrial and agricultural sectors. She said that this was already the ‘last resort’ for unemployed Filipinos.
Meanwhile, the militant organization of students, young workers, farmers, professionals, and migrant and out-of-school youth dared the Aquino administration to prioritize developing the economy into a self-sustainable one as to provide employment.
“By undertaking a genuine land reform program, meaning one which gives away land for free to peasants and anyone else who wishes to till the soil, you immediately make the agricultural sector capable of absorbing millions of unemployed Filipinos” said Bañez.
“At the same time, the newly-transformed agricultural sector would be able to provide cheap food readily available, as well as raw materials for our local industries” she said.
The youth leader also advocated eliminating unfair trade agreements with other countries to protect local enterprises from the dumping of cheap imports.
“These are among the reforms which would greatly reduce poverty in our country. If Noynoy is sincere about helping the poor, unlike the image his administration has shown so far, then he will heed our advice” said the youth leader.