3 May 2010

Politically important!

This is how the workers describe the 2010 International Labor Day celebration in the Philippines. The May 1 celebration this year coincided with the Presidential and Local Elections but more importantly the workers and the whole electorate’s participation is crucially significant due to the implementation of the First National Automated Elections

May One Commemorative Committee

Realizing the importance of this political exercise, religious groups from different denominations and the Workers Assistance Center, Inc. and the La Sallian Community Development Center initiated the formation of the May One Commemorative Committee (MOCC) composed of leaders from the religious, basic sectors, and the academe.

Initiators of the May One Commemorative Committee were: Rev. Fr. Romeo Ner, Director of the Ministry of Public Affairs of the Imus Diocese; Rev. Fr. Jose Dizon, director of the Ministry of Labor of the Imus Diocese; Rev. Fr. Art Balagat, Priest Minister of Meadowood in Bacoor, Cavite; Rev. Fr. Lino de Castro, director of Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV); Rev. Fr. Ronel Ilano, assistant director of CARITAS-Cavite; Ms. Rio Ramos-Mazo, director, La Sallian Community Development Center; Rt. Rev.  Peter Ojascastro, Bishop of Iglesia Filipina Independiente (IFI) in Cavite; Rt. Rev. Ephraim Fajutagana, Chairperson of the Board of Trustees of the WAC; and Dr. Patrick McDivith, United Church of Christ in the Philippines (UCCP) Pastor & assistant professor of spirituality of the Union Theological School (UTS).

The committee was organized purposely not only to support 2010 International Labor Day but also maintain the close relationship of the sectors and the religious towards common issues affecting the people.

The MOCC decided to organize a forum and workshops preceding the workers mobilization at three in the afternoon.


Be Vigilant

Being vigilant was the message of His Excellency Most Reverend Luis Antonio Tagle to the participants of the forum at the covered court of the Imus Pilot Elementary at Imus, Cavite. Preceding the Bishop Tagle’s message were discussions of Mr. Sonny Africa, Senior Researcher of Ibon Foundation, on the Challenges of the May 10, 2010 elections and the People’s Criteria in Choosing Their Candidate; Dr. Giovanni Tapang of Computer Professional’s Union (CPU) & Kontra Daya who discussed the Automated Election System & its Critique, and Rev. Fr. Jose Dizon, convenor of Kontra Daya  who discussed about the post-election scenarios that the country would face and things that people should do when these scenarios really happen.

Attended by more than 700 participants from the sector of workers, rural and urban poor, the religious, and the academe in the covered court was found deficient in giving shade to the participants. Scores of attendees listened under the cool shade of the trees hiding from the sweltering heat of the sun.

The morning event was capped by the commitment signing done in the tarpaulin where the theme, “Let Us All Work for a Credible National and Local Elections”, was written.  Four demands were also written in the tarpaulin. They were: “Yes to Clean, Honest, and Peaceful Elections!”, “No to Failure of Elections!” “No to GMA Holdover” and “No to Military Takeover!” The signing was led by His Excellency Bishop Luis Antonio Tagle, D.D. of the Imus Diocese, the convenors of the MOCC, and the guest speakers. Later, participants took turns in signing the tarpaulin as well.

The forum resumed for workshops after lunch where participants were broken into various groups. Each individual in a particular group took turns in sharing their views on what they perceive are the three major problems in Cavite and their proposed solutions to these problems.

The activity ended with Rev. Fr. Art Balagat’s synthesis of the workshops results & presentations and summing up of what has transpired in the day. Solidarity of Cavite Workers (SCW) Chairperson Merly Grafe closed the program by inviting everyone to join the mobilization of the workers along the Aguinaldo Highway of Imus.


Call for Active Involvement

Taking up the challenge for active participation, the workers with other sectors mobilized their ranks and held a program along the Aguinaldo Highway of Imus from 3:00 - 5:00 P.M.  to commemorate the International Labor Day in the province.

Leaders from the selected unions delivered their speech that tackled their local struggle and issues. SCW Chairperson Merly Grafe delivered a fiery speech which called for effective action from everybody in advancing the demands of each sector.