Labor groups hold massive rally

Workers from various labor groups participated in a massive May Day rally across the country, with some estimates reporting over 12,000 participants in Mendiola.

The All Philippine Trade Unions (APTUs) organized the rally to bring attention to issues such as low wages, job security, and workers’ rights.

Approximately 100 members of the United Workers of Duty Free Philippines – Federation of Free Workers (UWDFP-FFW) joined the rally, which took place from Blumentritt to Mendiola.

Their aim was to raise awareness about the plight of workers at the Duty Free Philippines Corporation and to call on management to halt the reorganization and downsizing plans that jeopardize the livelihoods of thousands of workers.

In addition, around 100 seafarers from the Association of Marine Officers and Ratings (AMOR) participated in the Mendiola event to protest the discriminatory escrow provision in the proposed Magna Carta of Seafarers.

“The involvement of AMOR members in the rally underscores the pressing need
to address the discriminatory provisions in the proposed Magna Carta of Seafarers,” said Cresenciano Elaba, spokesperson for AMOR. “We stand in solidarity with seafarers and other workers, urging the government to address their concerns and ensure the protection of their rights as workers.”

The rally was peaceful and orderly, partly due to the cooperative efforts of the police. The APTUs would like to extend their gratitude to the Manila Police District for their cooperation in ensuring that the rally was conducted safely and without incident.

“We would like to thank the MPD for their cooperation and for ensuring that our rally proceeded smoothly,” said FFW Vice Pres. Jun Ramirez.

“We appreciate their efforts in maintaining peace and guaranteeing the safety of our participants.”

The rally commenced at Welcome Rotonda and proceeded along Espana, Morayta, and Recto before culminating in a program at Mendiola.

Labor groups such as BMP, FFW, PM, SENTRO, and other members of the Nagkaisa Labor Coalition and TUCP were present.

The APTUs used the rally as an opportunity to call on the government to address workers’ concerns and engage in meaningful dialogue with labor groups.
They also expressed disappointment at not being invited to the government-sponsored pre-Labor Day celebration with President Marcos and being excluded from the newly created Inter-Agency Committee on Freedom of Association. “We hope that the government will hear our voices and work with us to address the issues that our workers are facing,” added Mendoza, who is also the union president of the Vishay Philippines Employees Union-FFW. “We will continue to advocate for the welfare and rights of the labor sector and push for meaningful engagement with the government to address our concerns.”

The APTUs appreciate the police’s cooperation and commitment to ensuring a peaceful rally and look forward to continued positive engagement in the future. Labor rallies were also held in Cebu, Iloilo, Davao, and General Santos.