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Labor Day rallies set in Bicol cities

LEGAZPI CITY --- The abolition of the Regional Tripartite Wage and Productivity Board (RTWPB), legislative wage increase, labor contractualization, and elimination of excise tax on fuel are among the old issues that progressive labor groups are demanding in this year’s observance of Labor Day last Wednesday.

Led by Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan), other militant groups from the labor, women, teachers, farmers, and youth and transport groups launched yesterday a simultaneous protest caravan meant to be staged in 12 congressional districts across Bicol, according to Dan Balucio, Bayan Bicol Secretary-General.

Balucio in a phone interview said they expected some 20,000 members from various progressive groups to join the caravan rallies throughout Bicol.

Aside from the labor motorcade caravans Wednesday morning, rallies were also held at the Cory Aquino Park in Daraga, Albay, Plaza Quezon in Naga City, Daet town plaza in Camarines Norte, Sorsogon Capitol grounds in Sorsogon City, Magallanes Plaza in Masbate City, and in Virac, Catanduanes.

Rally participants came from Bayan Muna, Anak Pawis, Gabriela, Kabataan, ACT, KMU, Kilusan Magbubukid, AnakBayan, and Condor-Piston transport group.

Resource speakers included former Agrarian Reform Secretary Rafael Mariano in Daraga rally, Carlos Zarate of Bayan Muna Party in Masbate rally, and a representative from the Act Teachers party list at the Naga City rally, Balucio said.

Balucio said the group would press for an additional standard wage increase of P750 and the abolition of the RTWPB as this, according to him, does not serve its purpose, but only the interest of the employers.

“Bicol workers are clamoring for a standard wage and to address this problem we are calling on our lawmakers to pass a national legislative salary increase law,” he said.

Labor group has proposed a P16,000 monthly wage as an entry salary rate.

The militant group also reiterated their demand for the administration’s pledge to end contractualization in both private and public sectors and scrapping the excise tax on fuel.

Meanwhile, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) in Bicol was scheduled to hold a Labor Day Job Fair at the Pacific Mall in Legazpi City.

Johana Gasca, DOLE spokesperson, said a total of 65 local and 11 overseas employers will offer job opportunities during the fair.

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