50,000 workers expected in May 1 rallies
MANILA, Philippines — Labor groups said they were looking at a 50,000 crowd turnout in today’s May 1 march on Mendiola, hoping to translate the number into votes in the May 13 polls.
“There’s zero representation for laborers in Congress,” said lawyer Sonny Matula, national chair of Nagkaisa Labor Coalition.
Nagkaisa will assemble at the Welcome Rotonda, while the Kilusang Mayo Uno will meet at Blumentritt, before both groups march on Mendiola.
The groups are demanding a P750 national minimum wage and an end to contractualization, one of President Rodrigo Duterte’s campaign promises.
Police Maj. Gen. Guillemo Eleazar, National Capital Region Police Office chief, assured protesters that the more than 8,400 policemen to be deployed on the route of today’s rallies will exercise maximum tolerance and respect for human rights.
But while Eleazar said the police “did not monitor any threats,” Police Gen. Oscar Albayalde, the PNP chief, warned that they received information about suspected members of the communist group New People’s Army joining today’s rallies.
Labor groups dismissed the warning as a martial law-era tactic to scare away workers from joining the march. —AIE BALAGTAS SEE AND DEXTER CABALZA
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