A first of its kind, activists hold “virtual rally” on Labor Day

May. 01, 2020

DAVAO CITY, Philippines – Instead of the usual mass gathering, several groups held an online protest for this year’s Labor Day commemoration on Friday, May 1.

Labor group Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) led the #RedLaborDay2020 rally via Facebook live where they demanded the government to address the economic woes of many Filipinos, including millions of workers.

As the enhanced community quarantine is extended until May 15 in several areas including Davao City, KMU-Southern Mindanao Region called for additional budget for the government’s aid programs as it “failed to reach all of the families who are currently in dire need.”

KMU said that only around 12,000 out of 1.1 million workers in the Davao Region benefitted from the Department of Labor and Employment’s COVID-19 Adjustment Measures Program.

Paul John Dizon, KMU Secretary-General, also said that some barangays have not yet received financial assistance through the Social Amelioration Program.

“Ang lokal nga gobyerno sa dakbayan sa Davao, susama sa nasyonal nga gobyerno, nakapunting lang sa pagkontrol sa lihok sa mga tao, ubay ubay nga nagkadaiyang kamandoan gipakanaog ni Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, apan walay kamandoan alang sa pagseguro sa ekonomikanhong panginahanglan sa katawhan,” Dizon said.

[Like the national government, the city government of Davao only focused on controlling the movement of its residents; several orders have been issued by Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, but none to ensure the economic needs of the people.]

Meanwhile, Bayan Muna-Southern Mindanao Region coordinator Abdul Sissay said the poverty experienced by many communities is worsened by the suspension of livelihoods due to the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

“Nagasuporta kita sa panawagan sa hisgotanang ayuda kay liboan ka katawhan ang walay makaon tungod walay source sa panginabuhian,” Sissay said.

[We are supporting the call for (more) aid as thousands are getting hungrier by the day because they don’t have any source of livelihood.]

He also reechoed the demand for mass testing for COVID-19 and upgrading the public health capacity of the country.

But as COVID-19 cases continue to rise, activists hit the Duterte administration on its “militarist approach” in responding to the pandemic.

They cited incidents of violence and “human rights violations” during the quarantine period, as well as attacks against activists and progressive groups.

KMU called on the government to continue to respect political and civil rights amid the pandemic.

“Bisan nailalom ang nasud sa state of public health emergency, wala nasuspende ang atong mga batakang katungod ilabana ang katungod sa pagpadayag,” Dizon said.

[Even if the country is put under the state of a public health emergency, our basic rights, especially the right to freedom of expression, are not suspended]

“Importante kini karon aron mapadangat sa estado ang ilang kakulangan ug kapalpakan sa pagatubang niining kasamtangang pandemic,” he added.

[These rights are important for us, to express the government’s shortcomings and failures in addressing the current pandemic]. (davaotoday.com)

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