By Joey Natividad
NAGA CITY (BicolToday.com/01-May-2012) – From sugar plantations, they arrived by jeeploads. The urban poor of Naga came by tricyles, others in jeep, while others by foot. Peasants from rural areas in Camarines Sur arrived by groups in jeeps. They gathered at the Naga city plaza on Labor Day to march in indignation over the worsening poverty they are now suffering.
Militant leaders took turns bewailing the down-spin of labor into levels of worsening economic conditions as they are faced with endless problems of low labor rates, sub-human living conditions, lack of food, high electricity costs, skyrocketing consumer goods, high transportation fares due to oil price hikes, and government neglect of addressing the problems confronting the working Filipino masses.
In a joint Labor Day statement by militant groups Kilusang Mayo Uno, Bayan, and Anak Pawis, in Naga City, labor and affiliated groups here launched Labor Day activities and rallies , in synchronized move with their counterparts nationwide.
Jariz Vida, of Bayan in Camarines Sur, bawailed government neglect of Philippine labor, “who toiled the lands and worked on establishments with little money left to feed their families. Kayod-kalabaw – laborers now work like beasts of burden.”
About 1,400 workers, joined by agricultural workers, marched on Naga’s main streets in indignation over the sad plight of labor, and lambasting the PNoy administration for neglecting the workers’ demands for high wages, job tenure, and benefits.
In Daet, Camarines Norte, about one thousand members and affiliates of KMU, Bayan, and other progressive groups also marched on the main streets of Daet, similarly airing the pressing issues confronting Philippine Labor.
The Naga- base KMU and Bayan , backed up by other cause-oriented groups, shouted over microphones, the gross injustices done on ill-paid workers, ejected residents living in the Silverio Compound, the Hacienda Luisita land dispute, the row on the China Sea which the government cannot address diplomatically without seeking American blessing, and other serious issues.
On eve of Labor Day, BICOLANA-GABRIELA, umbrella group of progressive women’s organizations in the Bicol region, said in a statement, the rise of exploitation among women workers in the work places, and increasing incidents of sexual- harassment are conditions of worsening disregard of respect and dignity of labor. (BicolToday.com)
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