Amid the celebration of Labor Day around the world on May 1st, Trade Unions in the Philippines took the opportunity to march to improve their working conditions and salaries. Different Labor groups affiliated with the All Philippine Trade Union including the May First Movement and Solidarity of Filipino Workers marched from Espana Boulevard to Mendiola in Manila to celebrate the first Labor Day under the administration of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.
During an interview with Leody De Guzman, Chairperson of Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino, he said that almost 15,000 people participated in the march. He also said that the government should create more jobs, and eliminate contractualization where employers hire workers on a fixed-term basis for a maximum of five months to avoid giving regular employment benefits and handle the increasing inflation that makes the ordinary worker suffer more. The protest called for “significant salary increases” for Filipino workers. These actions focused on workers’ grievances, which include the minimum wage, cruel working conditions, and other problems that impair employee rights. However, President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. arrived in the US on May 1 to meet U.S. President Joe Biden at the White Palace. According to May First Movement Chairperson Elmer Labog, May 1 is the right time for the president to talk to laborers and discuss with them his action on worker petitions. It was the day to prioritize the Filipino workers, yet he flew to the US.
Photo by Manila DRRM Office
120 years of celebrating Labor Day. On May 1, 1903, the first Labor Day celebrations in he Philippines took place. The nation's first labor union, "Union Obrera Democratica de Filipina
(U.O.D.F.),” recruited more than 100,000 workers to march from Plaza Moriones in Tondo to Malacanang. These employees staged demonstrations and pressed the then-American-led administration for fair pay and better working conditions. The incident is regarded as one of the first street protests in Manila.