Ilocos honors labor rights trailblazer
LAOAG CITY, Ilocos Norte — Isabelo de los Reyes, regarded as the father of trade unionism in the Philippines, was honored as Ilocos marked the 121st Labor Day in his hometown of Vigan City, Ilocos Sur.
Regional Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) said a wreath-laying ceremony was held at the monument of the Filipino labor leader in the city on May 1, 2023.
He was born in Vigan in 1864.
De los Reyes laid the groundwork for better working conditions, fair pay, and recognition of rights and welfare of every Filipino worker, regional DOLE said.
He founded what is now being recognized as the country’s first labor organization – the Union Obrera Democratica – in 1902.
He was also instrumental in the commemoration of the first ever Labor Day in the country more than a century and two decades ago.
“On May 1, 1903, thousands of workers assembled by the Union Obrero Democratica, marched from Plaza Moriones to Malacañang, and demanded independence against American capitalism and imperialism during the first Labor Day,” the regional DOLE recalled.
De los Reyes also pioneered the publication of the country’s first trade newspaper, La Redencion del Obrero (The Redemption of the Workers).
He passed away on October 10, 1938 at the age of 74.
Honoring his life and advocacies was the highlight of Ilocos region’s celebration of this year’s Labor Day.
A job fair in Vigan City was held with over 6,000 jobs offered by 78 participating employers.
Other recruitment activities were also held in Urdaneta City, Santa Barbara, and Lingayen in Pangasinan.