AT LEAST 3,000 members of various labor and militant groups in Negros Occidental are expected to join the massive Labor Day protest in Bacolod City on May 1 to reiterate workers’ demands for wage increases.
Michael dela Concepcion, secretary-general of Bayan-Negros, said Monday, April 29, the protest rally will be led by Bayan-Negros, Kilusang Mayu-Uno (KMU), Bagong Alyansa Makabayan, and National Federation of Sugar Workers-Food and General Trade from Capitol Park and Lagoon towards Araneta Street at 12 noon.
“It’s Labor Day and the government should address the needs of our workers, their job security, increasing the minimum wage to P750 nationwide, and to end the contractualization,” he said.
Noly Rosales, secretary-general of KMU, also said the Filipino workers and people will be expecting more price increase, longer working hours with stagnant wages and benefits, rights violations, end of contract and more extra-judicial killings under the President Rodrigo Duterte regime and it’s U.S. and Chinese masters.
He said Duterte has hastened the implementation of the imperialist dictated neoliberal policies of liberation, privatization and deregulation that has wreak havoc on the Philippine economy.
He added that Duterte has maintained and worsened Philippine labor as an adjunct to an international system of cheap, docile and perpetually-contractualized industry to ensure super profits for big locals and foreign business.
Rosales noted the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) has been instrumental in implementing and reinventing these neoliberal policies on labor to ensure the expansion of economic paradise for the capitalists.
For his part, John Lozande, secretary-general of National Federation of Sugar Workers, said that they will air their grievances and demands of the sugar workers and farmers for a genuine social change that will seriously solve their problems.
He said genuine land reform is one of the main demands of the group to the present administration.
“Out of 600,000 hectares of lands that are still to be covered by government’s land reform program, more than 20 percent are in Negros Island which accounted for 125,000 hectares,” he added.