Thousands march for Labor Day celeb

AN estimated 3,000 people from representing the workers, farmers, women and children, church people, professionals, lumad, students, lawyers and local politicians will gather today at the Cagayan de Oro City Kiosk to commemorate the 124th International Labor Day.

On this day, the Makabayan Coalition will hold a Meeting de Avance with the theme “Mayo Uno: Continuing the Struggle for Worker’s Rights and Advancing the People’s Agenda in the May 2010 Elections”. It will hold pockets of rallies in three choke points namely: Mindanao University of Science and Technology (MUST), Capitol grounds and Gaston Park at 9 o’clock in the morning.

Also dubbed as “People’s March for the 2010 Election: A Labor Day celebration”, the Makabayan chapter in the whole of Northern Mindanao region will simultaneously hold similar activities and miting de avance in the cities of Iligan, Gingoog, Valencia and Malaybalay.

Makabayan’s Kristin Lim said this year’s Labor Day traces its historical beginning on the workers’ struggle for unjust labor practices and wages which until present are what the workers in the country and even around the world are still clamoring.

In the Philippines, workers continue to face job insecurity, low wages and violation from expressing the rights due them like the right to unionize and to strike.

Where Makabayan carries the platform in advancing worker’s rights through the passage of the P125 wage hike for private workers and P3,000 across-the-board increase for public employees, thousands of laborers in the region still continue to face the bleak future of termination and inavailability of jobs caused by the present inutility of the government to address its concerns, she said.

“That is why we are pushing for laws that aim to protect the workers and the way to do it is to ensure seats in the House of Representatives and the Senate,” Lim said.

“This year’s theme is timely in light of the upcoming election where Makabayan candidates’ Satur Ocampo and Liza Maza and partylist groups Bayan Muna, Gabriela Women’s Party, Anakpawis, Kabataan, ACT TEACHERS and Katribu are faced with the challenge of surmounting traditional politics over politics of change through our 10-point People’s Agenda which includes the demand for just wages and protection on worker’s rights, genuine land reform, women and children’s protection from violence and discrimination, upholding human rights, right to self-determination for indigenous peoples and the Moro people, among other people issues.

Makabayan, which also endorses local candidates, also pushes its agenda in the local level to bring legislation to the grassroots and the localities.

Ms. Lim said this is also a time for recognizing the victories earned by the Filipino workers who carried the banner of vigilance and militance in the interest of promoting and protecting its ranks. A number of union leaders allied with the Kilusang Mayo Uno, the leading labor group in the country pushing for the P125 legislated wage increase, were already killed and honored as martyrs for their contribution in advancing workers rights.

”We would also like to give our highest salute to militant labor leader Ka Crispin Beltran of Anakpawis for his selfless contribution to the worker’s struggle until his last breath,” Wildon Barros, Anakpawis vice president for Mindanao said today.

“Today’s ‘walk for the 2010 election’ is our historical contribution in the quest of laborer’s for job security, just and humane wage rate, and Constitutional right to organize and strike. We intend to continue our victories in Congress and push the worker’s agenda, in the Senate as well,” Barros said.