February 25, 2024

Let Labor Day be a celebration for brave Cordillera workers

Labor Day is a time to honor and recognize the contributions of the hardworking men and women who have helped build our nation’s economy. This year, as we celebrate Labor Day, we acknowledge the resilience and determination of Filipino workers, including those in this Cordillera, who have continued to work hard despite the challenges brought by the Covid-19 pandemic and the continued inflation.
May 1 is a significant day around the world, as the same celebration was caused by a demand for an eight-hour workday which was fulfilled on May 1, 1886 in Chicago, Haymarket.
In the Philippines, the first labor day was observed on May 1, 1913, when thousands of workers marched to Malacañang to demand fairer working conditions during the American occupation which led to the passing of a law declaring said date as a national holiday.
Filipino workers have played a crucial role in shaping the country’s economic and social development. However, the same rights are being used by some anti-government organizations to push their political agenda at the expense of workers losing their jobs after their companies went bankrupt due to labor strikes designed by said groups.
In the Cordillera, an organization sympathetic to the underground movement and its political arms held a protest rally in Baguio City on March 6 and called on jeepney operators and drivers to join the nationwide strike.
But public utility jeepney operators and drivers in the localities knew better than abandon their commitment to deliver transport service to the public.
Failing to sow hatred among hardworking jeepney drivers in Baguio, this group distributed flyers from a progressive labor group during an event in Itogon, Benguet on April 22, which calls the Cordilleran labor force to organize a union and demand an across the board P750 daily minimum wage.
Filipinos are witnesses at how these groups projecting to be champions of the rights of workers have done to many workers in the country whom they organized into unions. Instead of delivering relief to these workers, they ended up unemployed.
Our hardworking laborers deserve nothing like this, instead, they should be properly recognized to propel this region towards progress.
Let Labor Day be a celebration of significant contributions of our workers to the nation’s recovering economy.
On Labor Day, let us reaffirm our commitment on defending the rights and welfare of Filipino workers. Let us work together towards creating a more equitable and just society where all workers are valued and respected. Let us recognize and appreciate the contributions of Filipino workers to our society. — CRISTINA CATBAGAN, chairperson, Nagkakaisang Samahan para sa Kapayapaan at Kaunlaran