May 18 is National Day of Mourning for slipper factory’s workers

May. 17, 2015

DAVAO CITY – Various groups have set May 18 as National Day of Mourning for the 72 workers of Kentex Manufacturing Incorporated who died in the worst factory fire in Philippine history last May 13.

Labor group Kilusang Mayo Uno said “the day would be a time for the outpouring of grief for the dead workers, the expression of solidarity with the families who are seeking justice, the call for justice for the dead workers, and the call for safe workplaces for Filipino workers.”

KMU noted that the government of Pres. Noynoy Aquino has so far failed to declare such a national day of mourning.

“The chief executive himself has failed to address the nation, let alone speak up, on the issue,” the group said in a statement Saturday.

Lito Ustarez, vice-chairperson of KMU called on workers and Filipinos to wear black on the day, gather together for rallies, assemblies and masses to share the stories of the Kentex workers, and call for justice for the workers in social media.

“Beyond mourning in silence and individually, let us come together and voice out our calls for justice and solidarity. Experience us shows that justice does not come naturally in cases like this and that we have to fight for justice,” Ustarez added.

KMU has said that despite the death of many workers due to capitalists’ violations of occupational health and safety standards, no capitalist has been judged guilty and sent to prison for their crime.

“We are also calling for the release of the names of those who died in the Kentex fire. They are people who have names and their lives matter. Workers and Filipinos want to mourn knowing their names,” Ustarez said.

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