Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Labor Day : 'It's Your Birthday, But Sorry No Gift!'

May 1 is observed as labor day and it is a regular national public holiday in the Philippines to honor the Filipino workers. Most labor groups and other cause-oriented groups made used of this opportune time to dramatize their gripes on the malpractices of the management of the companies which they are working with.

GAWA logo
Most of their trending issues were on inadequate wage, failure on collective bargain agreement, excessive working time, among others. These kinds of problems were already deep rooted since time immemorial, but no solutions yet ever attained. The companies or agencies concerned had their own side too. They had their own reasons why they couldn't meet the demands of their workers or laborers. Management-wise, they're adopting a contractual mode of employing or hiring their workers or laborers to save cost or expenditures on retirement based on the length of services rendered by an employee. With this issue, the security of tenure and the security of earnings of every worker are at stake. This is one of the main issues in today's activity of the labor groups and unions being tackled and discussed on what possibility this could be remedied.

MMAMCAC, Active Labor Group

The Mag-isa, Mag-ugyon Asosasyong sang Mamumugon sa Central Azucarera de la Carlota (MMAMCAC) with more than 500 members mostly working at the sugar central mill of La Carlota City had their own way to air their gripes and sentiments on the dissatisfaction they received from the management they had served. It is affiliated with GAWA (General Alliance of Workers' Assemblies).

MMAMCAC Labor Group
Joel Oñas, president of MMAMCAC labor group
Joel Oñas, an articulate leader of MMAMCAC, opened their half-day rally at the public plaza of La Carlota City with a greetings, "Happy Birthday. It's your birthday, but you've no gift!" (Kaadlawan mo, pero wala ka regalo!).

He relayed that May 1 as Labor Day is the day for the laborers or the labor group to enjoy, to rejoice and to be happy for the benefits which the management will be giving them. But they've not enjoyed instead. So they opted to be on the streets shouting for their dissatisfaction, shouting for the demands which fell on the deaf ears. And they're on the rally to prove among themselves that they're united and are one for the good and welfare of their association.

Tan, MMAMCAC vice president
Tan. MMAMCAC vice President
MMAMCAC vice president Harold Tan was dismayed upon learning from a latest news that this year the government herself did express that there's no wage increase may be effected for due reasons. Tan declared how could they be survived for the rising prices of prime commodities if there's no benefits they could receive within this year.

MMAMCAC is run by able-bodied, and well-determined laborers like Harold Tan, vice president; Renbert Albay, secretary; Edgar Samillando, treasurer; Hernanni Esmedia, auditor; and Terry Cheong, PIO. Their board of directors was composed of Democrito Ibañez, Hector Espolon, Joemarie Garceniego, Ricardo Misajon, Jonito Elmedorial, Julius Gilbero, Cornelio Resco, Irven Sumaraga, and Roger Canlas.

Priscilla Goco, PM representative
Priscilla Goco, PM representative
Partido ng Manggagawa (PM)

Ms. Priscilla Goco, a representative of Partido ng Manggagawa (PM) graced the rally and relayed the importance of the labor group and their effective role in achieving their goals and objectives for the welfare of the laborers.

She underscored the four the political platforms of PM such as:

1. Regular na trabaho at sapat na sweldo; (Regular employment and sufficient wage)
2. Abot-kayang pabahay, serbisyong pangkalusugan at edukasyon para sa lahat; (Afforadable housing program, health services and education for all)
3. Mababang presyo ng pagkain, tubig at kuryente; (Lower price of foods, water and electricity)
4. Pantay na karapatan at oportunidad sa kababaihan. (Equal rights and opportunity for the women)

Labor Song

An adapted Ilonggo song, "Union sang mga Kubos" was sang by the group to tell the public the purpose and the importance of work.

"Nag-a ang tawo naga pangabudlay
Sa pagpangita sg kalan-on, naga-patay-patay
Sang balhas kag dugo 
Sa init kag ulan
Sia nagapadayon wala sing katibawasan

Nga- ang tawo padayon sa pag-antos
Sa pihak sang pagtrabaho
Naga pabilin nga kubos
Pagbu-ot bala ini sang gamhanan ta nga Diyos
Ukon tuga sang iban
Sa pagkahakog kag pagpigos

Bilang Union sang mga kubos
Kita ang magsanag sa kadulum
Sang ila pag-antus
Dignidad aton itib-ong
Kinamatarong dampigan
Kita mangin isa
Sa paglunsad sang katarungan

Anu bala ang papel naton sa katilingban
Kita dapat ang gabay sa sini nga kahimtangan
Silang mga kubos naton nga kauturan
Sa tion sang ikasarang aton sila paambitan."

(English translation)

"Why people work
To find food, they work hard
Perspired of blood
Under the heat of the sun and rain
They work continuous but not progress.

Why people keep on suffering
In spite of working
They are still poor
Is this the will of the Almighty God
Or it is of others'
Greediness and oppression

As the Union of underprivileged
We are the light for their darkness
Of their sacrifices
Of dignity, we strive
Their right, we depend
We must be one
To launch the truth.

What is our role in the society
We must be the guide in this situation
They are our poor brethren
In our capacity to do we must share for them."

Origin of Work

It's God Himself has introduced work to man for man's transgression. He said in the Book of Genesis 3:19, In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread ..." In verse 23, God further said that man was prohibited to enter the garden of Eden. Instead he will work by tilling the ground to let  his wife and himself to survive.

Related link: Philippine Labor Day Evolution


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