KASAMA Vol. 26 No. 2 / April-May-June 2012 / Solidarity Philippines Australia Network

Manila: Labor Day 2012

Labor Day 2012
MANILA, Philippines: 1st May 2012 - About 20,000 people joined various protests around Metro Manila calling for higher wages and better working conditions. Labor Day rallies began early, gathering at various parts of Metro Manila before marching to Mendiola near Malacañang, where President Aquino was scheduled to meet with representatives from various labor groups under the banner of Nagkaisa!, a newly-formed umbrella organization.

Police from the National Capital Region, Central Luzon and Calabarzon were deployed at critical points in Metro Manila to ensure security. Maximum tolerance was observed in dealing with the protesters, they said, most of whom were calling for significant wage increase and the abolition of the practice of massive contractualisation of employees.

The protesters were met by Budget Secretary Butch Abad, Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda, and Presidential Political Adviser Ronaldo Llamas to accept their demand letter on behalf of the president.

In Quezon City, thousands trooped to Welcome Rotonda. Many coming from an overnight vigil at the Trinity University of Asia.

The group called for better housing and jobs. España Boulevard and nearby roads were closed to accommodate rallyists gathered at the Ramon Magsaysay High School. Youth groups and graduates also joined today’s protests to call for a solution to underemploy­ment and tuition hikes.

The urban poor group Kadamay brought a coffin to Aquino’s residence at 25 Times Street in Quezon City, to represent the fatality in the latest incident of demolition violence in Parañaque. The group called for a stop to the series of demolitions in Metro Manila, most of which ended in violence.

Meanwhile, President Aquino dismissed calls for a P125 increase in wages for workers in private companies, saying this will bring down the struggling economy. In his Labor Day speech, the President said he is laying down real solutions to the labor market’s woes, instead of promises that can only be described later as politicking.