Close to a thousand militants in Negros Occidental marched from the Capitol Lagoon Park to the Fountain of Justice at Araneta Street in Bacolod City on National Heroes’ Day to call for various workers’ welfare reforms to uplift the lives of low-earning laborers in the province.
Noli Rosales, secretary general ofthe Kilusang Mayo Uno, said yesterday that they are protesting to demand various reforms for the workers’ welfare, like the P750 daily national minimum wage, ending of contractualization, stoppage of the transport modernization program, and better social services for the poor like housing programs from the government.
In a press conference held before the protest, Rosales said that with the worse effects of the tax reform for acceleration and inclusion law (TRAIN) to the workers, it is a high time that the government act on easing the burden through implementing a national minimum wage and ending contractualization.
He was joined by National Federation of Sugar Workers chair Rolando Rillo, Erenio Longinos of Kalipunan ng Damayang Mahihirap sa Bansa, and Bacolod Homeless Association spokesperson Luwelyn Barredo at the press conference held at the Negros Press Club in Bacolod City.
Rosales said that the National Economic Development Authority has already said that it takes P1,700 for a Filipino family to meet their needs for the day, but how could it be possible if a worker only earns and average of P350?
Rillo also said that the situation of the farm-workers in the sugarcane areas are like “sampung kahig, isang tuka” as, apart from the effects of off-season, the prices of the commodities have been increasing since TRAIN took effect.
With this, the number of farmworkers decreased as they have shifted to other jobs like in construction, or even driving multicabs, just to earn more for their families, he said, adding that in the next milling season, there will be less farm workers because of it.
The protest also included the woes of the poor and homeless, as Barredo emphasized the need for the government to give opportunities for the marginalized like jobs, homes, and access to basic social services.
Rosales said that the activity is called “Manggagawa Kilos Na (rkers act now)”, as it is the call of the workers for these demands.
During the nationally-coordinated rally, the militants carried placards bearing their demands.*MLG
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