Progressive groups: Resolve hunger, poverty

Progressive groups call for wage that ‘adequately provide for needs of worker’s family’ during their Labor Day protest
Progressive groups lead by Kilusang Mayo Uno marched from T.M. Kalaw to U.S. Embassy in Manila on May 1, 2024 for the Labor Day rally.
Progressive groups lead by Kilusang Mayo Uno marched from T.M. Kalaw to U.S. Embassy in Manila on May 1, 2024 for the Labor Day rally.Ramcez Villegas/contributed photos

SEVERAL progressive groups staged a Labor Day protest at Freedom Park, Roxas Avenue, on Wednesday morning, May 1, 2024, demanding higher wages to resolve hunger and mass poverty in the Davao Region.

Kilusang Mayo Uno-Southern Mindanao Region together with transmission group Piston, Gabriela Southern Mindanao Region, Anakbayan Southern Mindanao Region, and Alliance of Concerned Teachers, among others, brought with them their placards bearing the message "Sahod Itaas, Presyo Itaas!" and chanting "Sahod, Trabaho, at Karapatan. Ipagalaban!"

The groups said that the current minimum wage in the Davao Region, which is P462 for the private sector, is not enough to meet the needs of families. They added that it is a far cry from the region’s estimated family living wage which is P1,175 as per the study by IBON Foundation.

“It is clear that Dabawenyo minimum wage earners sorely lack the capacity to adequately provide for the needs of their families,” the group said in their statement.

“Thus, we join the broader labor movement demanding Marcos Jr. administration to certify pending wage increase legislation as urgent instead of railroading Charter Change that the Filipinos did not ask for,” they continued. 

Workers who joined in the protest called out the safety and security sector over the missing KMU organizer William Lariosa, who was allegedly taken by the Philippine Army's 48th Battalion soldiers on April 10, 2024, in Quezon, Bukidnon. 

“KMU-SMR strongly demands the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Marcos Jr.s administration to surface Lariosa immediately and must be held accountable for Lariosa’s disappearance,” KMU-SMR said.

The group slammed the Philippine government’s continuous red-tagging, human rights violations, and harassment over labor union activists. Former KMU-Secretary General Carlo Olalo and Compostela-based women worker leader Melodina Gumamoy were allegedly some of the trade union leaders who were visited by authorities. 

The protest started with a march along Roxas Avenue then a message was given by all the representatives of the progressive groups, and a cultural presentation highlighting the struggles of Filipino minimum wage earners and their cry for higher wages.

Earlier, Sentro- Davao, SamaCoke, and Pewu marched along Roxas Avenue in Davao City as part of their Labor Day protest. Similar to the demand of KMU and other groups, they are lobbying for the welfare of Filipino workers. 

To recall, the Department of Labor and Employment-Davao Region (Dole-Davao) through Wage Order No. RBXI-DW-03, has increased the wage of the domestic workers in chartered cities and first-class municipalities effective March 6, 2024. They are now receiving a new minimum wage, which is divided into two tranches. The first tranche is a P19 increase which became effective on March 6, while the remaining P19 for the second tranche will take effect on September 1, 2024. RGP

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