May 1 Mobilization Marks 129th International Labor Day
Photograph by June Escudero
This year’s May Day, marking the 129th annual International Labor Day, was commemorated in Cebu with a Labor Day mobilization march from San Miguel Corporation to JCentre in Mandaue, where President Benigno S. “Ninoy” Aquino III was said to be meeting cabinet officials.
Composing the rally of labor groups were the Cenapro Chemicals Employees Association (CCEA), Alyansa sa mga Mamumuo sa Sugbo-Kilusang Mayo Uno (AMA-Sugbo-KMU), Bayan Central Visayas, the Piston-Cebu transport group, the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) Teachers Party-List, and the Gabriela coalition of middle class women, along with the Anakpawis party list for the urban poor and the peasants who suffered abuse in 2011.
They were joined by Anakbayan Cebu and the National Union of Students of the Philippines (NUSP) with the University of San Carlos’ STAND, UP Cebu’s Tug-ani, and the College Editors Guild of the Philippines (CEGP), representing the youth and student sector.
The rally’s demands illustrated their reasoning as to why President Aquino—whom they tag as anti-laborer and anti-poor—must resign. They opposed the contractualization of employment and called for the end of the Labor Export Policy under the US-Aquino regime. They also called for for the passing of the Regular Employment Bill and to push for a national minimum wage of PHP16,000.
The student sector demanded provision of higher subsidies for educational institutions to allow “education for all” and to “junk” the extra fees that came with the recent tuition fee increase.
A PNP riot police squad stopped and surrounded the rally at the entrance to the JMall compound, where the demonstration stayed in the street till noon. The Mandaue police continued to detain the group for a few minutes before it could be considered an illegal detainment, and then the rally broke through the police barrier and marched back up the street before dispersing.