Labor group declares day of mourning for Valenzuela fire victims
A labor group has declared May 18 a national day of mourning for the 72 workers who died in a fire at a rubber slippers factory in Valenzuela City.
Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) on Saturday said the day would be a “time for the outpouring of grief for the dead workers.”
“We are calling on all workers and Filipinos: Let us mark May 18 as our national day of mourning for the dead workers of Kentex. We have been grieving and calling for justice in our individual ways since this tragedy happened; now let us grieve and call for justice together,” Lito Ustarez, KMU vice chair, said in a statement.
Ustarez called on Filipinos to wear black on the day of mourning, urging workers to hold “lunch break assemblies” where they could have discussions about the factory fire, call for justice for the victims and express solidarity with the families of the dead workers.
“Beyond mourning in silence and individually, let us come together and voice out our calls for justice and solidarity. Experience shows us that justice does not come naturally in cases like this and that we have to fight for (it),” he said.
Despite the death of many workers “due to capitalists’ violations of occupational health and safety standards,” Ustarez said none of them so far had been indicted and imprisoned.
“We are also calling for the release of the names of those who died in the Kentex fire. They are people who have names and their lives matter. Workers and Filipinos want to mourn knowing their names,” he said.
On May 12, 72 workers died while dozens were still missing after being trapped inside a building razed by a fire in Valenzuela City.
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