Real Reels | Mayo Uno 2013 in Southern Tagalog
by Thrianne Gellido
May 1, 2013, Wednesday — More than 3,000 people from different sectors converged at Calamba to commemorate the 110th International Workers’ Day.
Labor and transport groups, together with other militant organizations from different parts of Southern Tagalog staged a protest action led by Pagkakaisa ng mga Manggagawa sa Timog Katagalugan-Kilusang Mayo Uno (PAMANTIK-KMU) at Crossing , Calamba with the theme “Manggagawa Magkaisa! Pamunuan ang Pakikibaka ng Mamamayan para sa Pambansang Kalayaan at Demokrasya!” (Workers Unite! Lead the People’s Struggle for Democracy and National sovereignty!)
The program started at around 3 p.m.. Protesters from four assembly areas marched their way to Crossing, Calamba while being led by a marching band. Banners bearing the images of great proletarian leaders Karl Marx, Mao Zedong, Vladimir Lenin, Friedrich Engels, and Joseph Stalin were paraded and displayed on the stage.
In his opening speech, PAMANTIK-KMU spokesperson, Herminiano Marasigan relayed the history and importance of May Day stressing that the struggle back then is still relevant to the plight of workers today.
“Kaya kailangan ang sama-samang lakas ng manggagawa para mapagtagumpayan ang laban para sa kanilang karapatan na patuloy na binubusabos ni Noynoy Aquino,” (Collective labor force is essential to win the fight for workers’ rights that Noynoy Aquino continues to exploit) Marasigan concluded.
Marasigan also said in an interview that one of the of the workers’ major concerns is the Two-tiered Wage Scheme that President Aquino signed a few days before May Day last year. “Pinababa nito ang minimum na sahod, mula sa Php315 ay ginawang floor wage na Php255,” (This lowered the minimum wage from Php315 to a floor wage of Php255) he added.
Ronald Hipolito, Secretary General of OLALIA mentioned in his speech that they are also calling for the immediate dismissal of DOLE secretary Rosalinda Baldoz who is allegedly involved in the ballot switching during the certification election of the Philippine Auto Components union last March 22, 2013. “Wala tayong maaasahan sa ahensyang (DoLE) ‘yan. Dahil ang ahensyang ‘yan at ang gobyernong ito ay itinayo ng mga naghaharing uri upang makapagsilbi sa interes ng iilan,” (We cannot expect from this agency because this agency and the government are brought up by the ruling class to serve their own interests,) he said.
Other concerns of the labor force include their legitimate right to unionize, better working conditions and the continuous call for the Php125 across the board wage increase.
Speakers from different sectors also voiced out their calls and support for the workers’ fight.
Participating organizations were Anakpawis, OLALIA-KMU, Garments and Textiles Labor Alliance (GATELA), Kalipunan ng mga Damayang Mahihirap (KADAMAY), Migrante, and Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN) among many others.
Kulturang Ugnayan ng Makabayang Sining Anakpawis (KUMASA) together with Band 2012 performed “Do you Hear the People Sing” from the musical “Les Miserables”. Other cultural performances kept the crowd entertained and in high spirits until the end of the program.
A total of 9355 people from workers and allied organizations also held simultaneous demonstrations in Cavite, Rizal, Quezon and Palawan.