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Workers and union members marked the death anniversary of former chair of the national democratic labor center, Kilusang Mayo Uno, and congressperson for Anakpawis Partylist, Crispin “Ka Bel” Beltran:
Joined by labor institute Crispin B. Beltran Resource Center, Mayor Alfredo Lim of Manila, partylist groups Anakpawis and Piston and other organizations, the workers offered flowers, songs and speeches to symbolize their commitment to continue Ka Bel’s struggle for the rights of workers and the poor in general.
The ceremony, which was held 10 days before Pres. Noynoy Aquino’s third dialogue with labor leaders after two dialogues shortly before Labor Day, featured workers’ calls for a significant wage hike, the junking of contractual employment, and against hikes in premium contributions to the Social Security System.
“We mark Ka Bel’s fifth death anniversary by continuing his struggle for the Filipino workers and people. His struggle for a significant wage hike, an end to contractualization, and the free exercise of trade-union rights remains as relevant as ever,” said Elmer “Bong” Labog, KMU chairperson.
“Trying to counter mounting anger over his refusal to hike wages by a significant amount and to junk contractual employment, Aquino scheduled another dialogue with workers’ groups on May 30. Had he been alive today, Ka Bel would surely lead workers’ protests on that day,” he added.
“We are calling on the country’s workers to make their voices heard on and before the May 30 dialogue. We call on workers to hold bigger protests if the dialogue will not result in anything that’s truly beneficial to workers,” he said.
“Instead of giving workers some form of relief last Labor Day, Aquino increased the burden on their backs by pushing for an increase in premium contributions to the SSS. We say no to a premium hike even as we continue to call for a pension hike in the SSS,” Labog said.
“The premium hike is an added burden to the country’s workers. The SSS has already amassed huge contributions from its members. It has not shown transparency in handling workers’ money and in giving this out to big capitalists in the form of investments,” he added.