May Day, today, we celebrate the progress hewn by the working class the world over, the collective lessons drawn from their history of struggle; and all those times these lessons remind us that the substantial gains of the working class; especially those in our midst who in their unity and progressive organizations win their battles for better working conditions and progress for the people of the nation and not for imperialism, not for a culture of greed and unconscionable private accumulation of wealth.
May, the month of Labor day, Pista’y dayat, Press Freedom day, Mother’s day and May flowers. It also is the month when a year and a decade ago Ka Bel – Crispin Beltran, the former national chair of the militant and progressive Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU), passed away from a fatal fall when repairing the roof of his humble home, he was the oldest labor sector’s true representative in the House of Congress.
We remember he led the campaign for quite a substantial increase in the Ph minimum wage to cope with the real needs of the ordinary Filipino family, and also because the mandated minimum wage in the country was not raised for a long time under presidents since the Marcos dictatorship. Even today the government wage board increases allowed still remain below the actual cost of living nor does it cover the basic needs of a usual family among the employed labor sector (underemployment and unemployment cover a larger number of the population). So that it continues to be a most urgent demand for the basic sectors of Philippine society and a top agenda demanded of the platform of political parties and candidates in the present midterm election campaign.
It is victory of the progressive organized sectors that the party list system got legislated (though watered down as it is, it was quickly abused by the powers that be) and somehow allowed the nationalist peoples’ movement to win some seats to represent basic sectors in congress. Somehow, these few nationalists in government continue and were consistent to champion for the rights of the poor sectors and passed needed legislation to support and uphold basic people’s rights for the passed decade.
It was expected but personally most difficult for them that a fascist and puppet government and its minions continue to threaten and harass these peoples’ representatives in government and champions for the people’s basic rights. As it is also very difficult for activists, organizers in the ranks of workers, farmers, peasants, teachers, church workers and conscientious citizens, etc. to work and organize themselves to uphold and assert their basic rights to progress and sustain life, nurture the land and conserve common resources. It is clearer now as proven many times through history that Filipinos (most especially us, Cordillerans and NL Igorots) need to unite, organize ranks to support each other, especially stand and rally for genuine representatives in government, now.
Our country urgently needs a government for the people, not only one managed for the rich tyrants, big investors or imperialists. Its people (we) are its best friend and real supporters but we have to be united to stand and defend our right to life, land and the future of our descendants. The nearing midterm elections to choose leaders in government is a beginning, let us choose our own, a true people’s representative. Those who have proven to serve the people (not plunderers), candidates who have given high value to the sovereignty, self-determination of the Filipino people, nationalists who value democracy, selfless people’s leaders who have committed to push for the ‘Politics of Change’, to work for the common objective “to emancipate the people from widespread poverty and social injustice.”
Go out and vote with care for the nation on May 13, this Monday, and help monitor that our votes get counted.#