MANILA — Labor Day rallies across the Philippines gathered some 8,000 people Wednesday and went on without any untoward incident, the Philippine National Police (PNP) said.
More than half of the protesters- some 5,700- converged at the Mendiola Bridge, Liwasang Bonifacio, España Boulevard, and Recto Avenue in Manila to demand a wage hike and the protection of workers' rights.
Some laborers gathered at the Mendiola Bridge as early as 6 a.m. then marched across the capital’s streets despite the scorching mid-afternoon heat. The programs ended by 5 p.m.
There were also street gatherings in the provinces of Pampanga, Cavite, Laguna, Camarines Sur, and Cebu, and the cities of General Santos and Butuan.
“Peace and order situation nationwide remains generally peaceful and orderly, with no untoward incidents reported,” said PNP Spokesperson Police Col. Bernard Banac.
“We laud the workers nationwide for commemorating labor day in an orderly and peaceful manner,” the official added.
Laborers primarily demanded for a P750 national minimum wage, an end to contractualization, and protection of workers’ rights.
“High cost of living combined with low wages and flexible labor equal slave-like conditions, poverty and hunger for the minimum wage-earning family. It is not surprising that strikes are being launched by workers across the country,” said Anakpawis
Party-list Representative Ariel Casilao.
He continued: “Price shocks threw poor families into indebtedness and hunger. The government attempts to deceive the people that ‘inflation is slowing down,’ when in reality, prices are still going up, even after the skyrocket levels last year due to the TRAIN law.”
Casilao was referring to the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion law, which critics have blamed for faster inflation last year.