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‘Biggest Labor Day rally yet’ set

But PNP plays down nationwide protests, points to decreasing number of participants in past years

For the first time in over 20 years, various labor groups are once again joining forces today to mount a massive Labor Day rally against President Duterte, who they said failed to keep his promise of ending the practice of contractualization.

Ed Cubelo, Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) Metro Manila chair, said the last time labor organizations decided to march together was in 1992 until they decided to go their separate ways due to differences in political views and ideologies.

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“Today, we decided to come together. We will reunite to fight the procapitalist policies of the President,” Cubelo said in an interview.

“This will be the biggest Labor Day rally yet,” he added.

Dismay over broken promise

“All of us are dismayed. That’s why all the labor centers opted to march together again,” he said.

Aside from KMU, among those expected to join today’s protest in different areas in Manila are the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines, Federation of Free Workers, Sentro ng mga Nagkakaisa at Progresibong Manggagawa, Alliance of Progressive Labor, Partido ng Manggagawa, Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino and Pagkakaisa ng Manggagawa sa Timog Katagalugan.

Cubelo said it had become clear to workers that the government “does not have any concrete plans to end contractualization in the country.”

“Instead, its policies are all favorable to the capitalists,” he said.

About 150,000 protesters are expected to march across the country, around 60,000 of them in Metro Manila.

“Today, we will make a statement to President Duterte to show him how much we are disappointed over his failure to fulfill his promise,” he added.

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The Philippine National Police is not expecting any security or terror threat during the rallies today, although it asked protesters to police their own ranks against anyone who “may take advantage” of the crowds to create trouble.

Decrease in numbers

“For the past few years during the term of the President, we have seen protesters are no longer that plentiful. Last year, here in the National Capital Region, there were only 3,000 to 5,000 [ralliers],” said PNP Director General Oscar Albayalde in a press conference at Camp Crame on Monday.

Albayalde, however, said the police would not take security for granted, with 10,000 civil disturbance management police to be deployed.

“The PNP remains on nationwide heightened alert status but I am giving to regional directors [the discretion] to upgrade the alert status as necessary in their areas …, particularly in regional urban centers where Labor Day activities are expected to be held,” Albayalde said.

The National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO), meanwhile, stressed that there would be “strict observation of human rights” today as human rights officers would be assigned to “supervise” lawmen deployed for today’s rallies.

PNP to deploy HR team

The human rights (HR) team, composed of representatives from the Commission on Human Rights, PNP Regional Human Rights Affairs Office and District Human Rights Affairs offices, were instructed by the NCRPO chief, Director Camilo Cascolan, to “immediately act on any incidents of human rights violations that may occur.”

Cascolan added that the deployment of officers tasked to monitor the daylong protests would not affect police operations in other areas. —WITH REPORTS FROM YVINN BORONDIA AND STARLENE PORTILLO

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TAGS: Alliance of Progressive Labor, Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino, Federation of Free Workers, KMU, Labor groups, Lsbor Day 2018, Pagkakaisa ng Manggagawa sa Timog Katagalugan, Partido ng Manggagawa, Sentro ng mga Nagkakaisa at Progresibong Manggagawa, TUCP
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