BACOLOD CITY, Philippines – Militant groups in Negros Occidental joined the nationwide Labor Day protest, demanding a pay hike and a government crackdown on illegal Chinese workers in the country.
More than 1,000 protesters marched from the Capitol Park and Lagoon to Araneta Street wherein they converged in front of the Government Center replica in the public plaza.
The protesters, who wore headbands demanding a P750-minimum wage, also burned the effigy of President Rodrigo Duterte who was depicted as Sauron, the dark lord in the Lord of the Rings trilogy during the protest.
Noly Rosales, secretary-general of Kilusang Mayu Uno (KMU), said they are pushing for the P750-national minimum wage as prices of commodities continued to soar due to the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) law. He added that the struggles of the workers persist because Duterte abandoned his campaign promise that he would help workers.
“Before, isang kahig, isang tuka. Right now, kahig lang nang kahig, walang tuka (Before, it was a hand-to-mouth existence. Right now, you work and work but there is nothing to put in your mouth),” Rosales lamented.
Moreover, he said the government should crack down on the illegal Chinese workers in the country as they are stealing the rank-and-file jobs that are supposedly for the Filipinos.
He said Chinese nationals are working in construction firms, and even in Boracay, the world-famous tourist destination in Western Visayas.
“Chinese people might end up working in farms in the future,” Rosales added. – Rappler.com