50,000 laborers to march to Mendiola

Posted at 05/01/08 9:14 AM

Around 50,000 laborers and activists are expected to troop to the historic Don Chino Roces Bridge (formerly Mendiola) near Malacañang Palace in Manila to ask the government for a legislated wage increase as the world celebrates International Labor Day Thursday.

Metro Manila police, meanwhile, have been placed on full alert status and a total of 3,000 policemen were deployed around the capital to assure peaceful protest actions for Labor Day celebrations.

Wilson Baldonasa, Kilusang Mayo Uno (May 1 Movement) secretary-general, said 40,000 to 50,000 laborers started converging in six areas in Manila around midnight.

The six areas are Blumentritt, España Avenue in front of the University of Sto. Tomas, Plaza Miranda in Quiapo, Tondo, Kalaw and Quirino.

Baldonasa said laborers from all over Metro Manila will conduct programs at the designated areas and then march to Liwasang Bonifacio (Bonifacio Shrine) in Lawton around 1 p.m.

After a short program, labor groups including KMU, Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino (BMP) and Sanlakas, will meet at the Don Chino Roces Bridge around 3 p.m.

Director Geary Barias, National Capital Region Police Office chief, said BMP and Sanlakas are allowed to conduct programs at the historic bridge starting 3:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. The KMU, meanwhile, will conduct its own program at the bridge from 4:30 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Barias said he is expecting the labor groups to abide by the agreement that they reached during a dialogue on Monday.

Baldonasa said labor groups will ask President Arroyo to support their proposal for a legislated wage hike.

"Nothing but a legislated wage hike will relieve the poor of its sufferings because of the increasing prices of food and services," the labor leader said in Filipino during an interview over ABS-CBN's morning show, "Umagang Kay Ganda."