Women members of the partylist Partido Manggagawa (PM) and PUP students under the group SPEAK will hold a candlelight protest tonight as a buildup for the Labor Day commemoration tomorrow. Some 100 women workers and students will gather around 7:00 p.m. tonight at Mendiola to call for regular jobs and a living wage. The demands echo the main issues of the planned Labor Day mobilization of thousands of workers tomorrow.
“We support all initiatives to augment the income of workers such as the recent petition for a P710 across-the-board wage hike or a legislated salary increase for all workers. But we believe the best solution is to abolish the present system of regional wage setting that is the fulcrum of the policy of cheap labor. It is high time to institute a wage commission with the mandate to set national wages at the level of cost of living,” explained Judy Ann Miranda, PM secretary-general.
The highlight of the protest tonight is the lighting of candles by women workers. The group plans to hold a noisy but peaceful mass action at Mendiola to drumbeat the main calls of the Labor Day rally. Among the chants and placards to be delivered by the protesters are: End endo! End provincial wage! Stop TRAIN! Presyo ibaba! Sahod itaas! 105 days Expanded Maternity Leave, Ipatupad!
Tomorrow PM and allied organizations NFL, Agila, Umalab Ka, Pwersa and Kilos Maralita will assemble at the Petron gas station along the eastbound side of Blumentritt in Espana at 7 a.m. The group will march to Welcome Rotonda at 8 a.m. to link up with other groups for a short program. And then the Labor Day march led by the Nagkaisa labor coalition will start at 9 a.m. and end at Mendiola. Some 10,000 workers are expected to participate in the march to Mendiola.
PM will also hold Labor Day mobilizations at Cebu, Bacolod, Davao and Iligan. The rally in Cebu will be a joint Nagkaisa-KMU rally at downtown Colon in the morning of May 1. The Bacolod mass action will be a march by sugar workers and factory laborers through the Fountain of Justice in the afternoon.
“On the eve of international May Day, we challenge the candidates of the opposition to make a stand on the demands of workers for regular jobs and a living wage. After three long years, the administration has not delivered on its promise to end endo and end provincial wages. But ordinary voters will not be inspired by the Otso Deretso if they cannot make a straight forward commitment to workers’ demands for regular jobs and a living wage,” Miranda averred.
She stated that “Women workers are still waiting for the release of the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) of the Expanded Maternity Leave law. While pregnant workers, both in the formal and informal sector, can avail of its benefits 15 days after expanded maternity benefit became law last February 20, its implementation is still dependent on the IRR.”
April 30, 2019