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Labor Day rally

  • Groups blast low wages, jeepney phaseout, and workers’ harassment


By Nova Mae Francas and Rhoda Grace B. Saron 


MORE THAN 200 members of six labor groups assembled at Freedom Park in Roxas Avenue starting at 9 a.m. on Wednesday to mark Labor Day and echo their demands for a significant increase in living wages.

The minimum wage in Davao Region for non-agriculture sectors such as industrial, commercial, retail/ service is currently at P462 from the previous P443. Meanwhile, agricultural sector workers receive P457 daily from the current P438 following the adjustment by the Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board earlier this year.

Kilusang Mayo Uno-Southern Mindanao Region said the wage rate is insufficient to feed a family of five and is way below the P1,175 estimated for the region’s family living wage per the study conducted by IBON Foundation.

“From this, it is clear that Dabawenyo minimum wage earners sorely lack the capacity to adequately provide for the needs of their families,” KMU-SMR said in a statement.

The groups called for a P150 increase in the daily minimum wage.

The labor group demanded the Marcos administration urgently certify the pending wage increase legislation rather than pushing for Charter Change.

Freedom of assembly 

Meanwhile, KMU-SMR also denounced the alleged attacks on workers like what reportedly happened to William Lariosa, a KMU-SMR’s labor organizer, who went missing on April 10, Barangay Butong, Quezon town in Bukidnon. 

The labor group accused the 48th Infantry Battalion of being behind his disappearance. Lariosa still hasn’t resurfaced 20 days after he was reported missing. 

“KMU- SMR strongly demands the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Marcos Jr. administration to surface Lariosa immediately and must be held accountable for Lariosa’s disappearance,” it stressed.

Drivers’ woes

The gathering also amplified the grievances of public utility jeepney (PUJ) drivers and operators at risk of the Davao Public Transport Modernization Program, also known as the Davao Bus Project.

“It would only add to the already burdensome situation of the riding public as it definitely raises the transportation cost in Davao City,” it said.

Progressive group Transmission-Piston called to abolish the Davao bus project as it is an anti-poor transportation modernization policy.

“From drivers and operators, our call is no to PUV phaseout, bring back the 5-year franchise validity,” Larry Arguiles, Transmission-Piston spokesperson, said.

Peaceful rally

Captain Hazel Tuazon, the spokesperson of the Davao City Police Office, said the rallyists represented SAMACOKE-FCCU (Samahang Mangagawa sa Coca Cola-FCCU),  PEWU (Pepsi Cola Employees Workers Union), PCCDEU (Pilipinas Cable Corp.-Davao Employees Union) – Sky Cable, DHEWU (Davao Holcim Employees Workers Union), and HDSIU (Holcim Davao Supervisory Independent Union). 

She said they deployed 100 police officers to secure the area. 

Additionally, 23 police vehicles were designated to provide free rides to commuters. 

Tuazon said the rally ended without violence. (with Rhoda Grace B. Saron)


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