MANILA (UPDATE) — Police barred the protest led by presidential aspirant Leody de Guzman from concluding at the Mendiola Peace Arch in Manila on Sunday, Labor Day.
De Guzman’s group Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino started at Bustillos Street in Sampaloc, Manila and was supposed to converge with running mate Walden Bello’s group Laban ng Masa who were at Earnshaw Street. The combined groups were then supposed to head to Mendiola.
But after negotiations with authorities, the tandem settled to end their protest action in front of Far Eastern University.
"Napakiusapan natin ‘yung mga pulis na iwasan ‘yung pamamalo, in return, pinagbigyan na natin sila na huwag na kaming tumuntong sa Mendiola," the labor leader said.
(We asked the police to avoid beating protesters, in return, we agreed that we would no longer set foot on Mendiola.)
In an interview with ABS-CBN News, De Guzman claimed that other national candidates lack programs to push forward labor rights. He also claimed that his rivals have links with big businesses.
"Walang klarong tindig ang mga kalaban namin sa mga isyu ng manggagawa," de Guzman.
He dismissed his rivals' comments on labor rights as "motherhood statements."
"Ibigay 'yung materyal na pangangailangan ng ating mga manggagawa sa pamamagitan ng tamang sahod. Bigyan natin ng dignidad 'yung ating mga manggagawa," he added.
(Provide the material needs of our workers through proper wages. Let us give dignity to our workers.)
With only one week left in the campaign, the labor leader challenged his rivals on May 9 to lay down concrete programs for workers.
"Dapat siguro magkaroon sila ng kongkretong panawagan, suportahan nila 'yung dagdag na sahod na kailangan ng mga manggagawa," the labor leader said.
(Maybe they should have a concrete call, they should support the extra wages that the workers need.)
He called on other presidential bets to say they are against contractualization, and that manpower agencies should be abolished so that workers can have security of tenure.)
Should he win in the May polls, De Guzman said his top priorities are raising the national minimum wage to P750 pesos and abolishing contractualization and manpower agencies.