MESSAGE OF SOLIDARITY TO AMA-SUGBO-KMU
ON ITS TWENTY-FIFTH ANNIVERSARY
By Prof. Jose Maria Sison
Chairperson, International Coordinating Committee
International League of Peoples' Struggle
October 2, 2008
I have the honor to express warmest greetings of solidarity to
AMA-SUGBO-KMU on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of its founding. I
congratulate all of you for all the victories that you have accumulated
and I join you in celebrating these. I admire and commend the hard work,
sacrifices and intense struggles that have made these victories possible.
It is fitting and proper that you are undertaking a cultural
presentation to honor the martyrs and heroes of AMA-SUGBO and draw
further inspiration from them, especially Fr. Rudy Romano CsR who
selflessly dedicated his life to the just cause of the working class and
entire people. I am glad that you are carrying out the education
festival in order to consolidate the existing membership of AMA-SUGBO as
well to expand your ranks to other unions.
Since its establishment on October 2, 1983, AMA-SUGBO has played a
highly significant role in the history of the trade union movement in
Cebu. It has stood and fought for an honest and militant type of trade
unionism dedicated to the just cause and leadership of the working class
and pursuing the general line of people's struggle for national
liberation and democracy against US imperialism and the local exploiting
Let me recall with you the principled and courageous beginnings of
AMA-SUGBO. Sixty-five militants from seven workplaces under affiliates
of the Associated Labor Union (ALU) came together to form the Alliance
of Cebuano Workers or AMA-SUGBO as a province-wide labor alliance, with
the aim of reforming the ALU from within and supporting the workers'
struggles. They criticized, exposed and repudiated the yellow type of
labor dealership and company unionism under Democrito Mendoza,
subservience to the Marcos fascist regime through TUCP and unexplained
subsidies from the AAFLI and other imperialist sources.
AMA-SUGBO was like a David challenging ALU as Goliath. ALU had dominated
the labor movement in Cebu from 1955 to 1986. It had organized most of
the strategic industries and unions in over 100 different firms. But
AMA-SUGBO had the just cause to fight for and was confident of
prevailing. ALU was rotten to the core because of the connivance of its
leadership with capitalist employers. It became discredited by its
servility to Marcos, especially when the mass movement mounted against
the fascist dictatorship from 1983 onwards.
Taking advantage of its close collaboration with the Marcos fascist
dictatorship and the military and police, the yellow dealers of ALU
harassed, denounced as “communists” and threatened with death the
leaders and members of AMA-SUGBO. AMA-SUGBO was not cowed by the
Red-baiting attacks and fought back with intensified militancy. It stood
as an independent alliance for several months and then it affiliated
with KMU in 1984 in order to avail of additional support for fighting ALU.
We remember that by then AMA-SUGBO had 30 unions as members. Most of
these unions had joined at least one industrial or geographical alliance
covering the rattan, coal and transport industries, and geographical
alliances in Cebu City, Mandaue City and Lapu-lapu City. They affiliated
with KMU federations as their collective bargaining agreements (CBAs)
expired from 1984 to1986.
We recall with pride that the workers of Cebu became even more firm and
more militant as their trade unions conjoined and cooperated with the
labor federations and unions of KMU on a nationwide scale. The drivers’
alliance, NADSU, participated in nationwide strikes in September 1984,
and in the following month carried out a Cebu-wide transport strike.
In the first half of 1985, there were 18 strikes in Cebu City, as
compared to three in the same period the year before, not to mention the
four transportat strikes that hit certain areas of the city in 1985. On
September 21-22, 1985, the 13th anniversary of the declaration of
martial law and fascist dictatorship, AMA-SUGBO played a leading role in
the people’s strike that swept Cebu and paralyzed the political and
military minions of Marcos.
Let us cherish and relish from the memory of the first major struggle
between AMA-SUGBO and ALU. This broke out over the issue which
organization represented the workers at Atlas Consolidated Mining and
Development Corporation in Lutopan, Toledo City. ALU received a stunning
mortal blow when the mining workers selected SPFL-KMU to represent them
in 1985. It was terribly shocked because it had regarded its union in
the Atlas mines as its crown jewel for decades.
The withdrawal of AMA-SUGBO from ALU and affiliation with KMU had
national significance in the trade union movement as well as in the
anti-fascist struggle. ALU was the largest federation of TUCP and its
main base was Cebu. But it was losing its trade union dominance here.
KMU exerted all possible efforts to break completely ALU’s hold on trade
unions in Cebu. Another important national dimension of the advances of
AMA-SUGBO against ALU was that these encouraged and invigorated the
people's resistance against the Marcos fascist dictatorship to spread
and intensify in Cebu province until the downfall of Marcos.
By 1988 AMA-SUGBO had become unquestionably the strongest bulwark of the
working class in Cebu. Under its auspices, seven KMU federations
operated on the island. They were: ADLO, ANGLO, IBM, NAFLU, NFL, SPFL
and ULGWP. They were all members of AMA-SUGBO. Previously, the only KMU
federation on the island was NAFLU. AMA-SUGBO remained strong even as
the ULGWP disaffiliated from the KMU in 1988. Six KMU federations stayed
on with AMA-SUGBO. This had a great number of members under CBAs and a
still greater number of active members, including the supporting members
of the alliance.
Since then, AMA-SUGBO has laid a strong foundation among the workers of
Cebu and has accumulated victories. But you must always learn on a
periodic and timely basis what are the positive and negative lessons
from your accumulation of experience. There are always advantages and
disadvantages arising from the objective conditions and subjective
factors which are always developing due to the dynamics of the class
struggle. You must overcome errors and shortcomings and you must build
on and surpass your achievements. We can always do our work better and
wage more effective struggles. At every given period, we must clarify
the tasks and methods for making further advances.
At the moment, the objective conditions are favorable for advancing the
struggle of the working class and the broad masses of the people for
national liberation and democracy. The crisis of the world capitalist
system and the domestic ruling system is worsening rapidly. The
US-instigated policy of “neoliberal” globalization and the war of terror
continue to unravel. The Filipino people and the people of the world are
suffering from the crisis conditions. But they are driven to fight for
their own national and social liberation from imperialism and all reaction.
Under the present circumstances, all the forces and the people in the
national democratic movement must raise the level of their revolutionary
consciousness and militancy. AMA-SUGBO is an important force of the
movement. You must accelerate your growth and intensify the struggles to
uphold, defend and advance the rights and interests of the working class
and the rest of the people. The crisis challenges us all to resist the
oppressors and exploiters, strive to oust the Arroyo regime that
represents them and make great strides forward in the movement to
replace the rotten ruling system with the people's democratic system in
a new Philippines that is independent, free, prosperous, just,
progressive and peaceful.
I wish you the utmost success in the years to come. I am confident that
you will win ever greater victories from year to year for as long as you
rely on and trust the masses of workers and you constantly strive to
arouse, organize and mobilize them in line with a militant
anti-imperialist type of trade unionism and in accordance with the
general line of people's struggle for national liberation and democracy.
Mabuhay ang AMA-SUGBO-KMU!
Mabuhay ang uring manggagawa!
Mabuhay ang sambayanang Pilipino!###