Labor Day in Manila ’09 (Part 1)

Last May 1 was International Workers’ Day, a day when workers around the world and allied sectors of society demonstrate their collective strength and their collective call for better wages and better working and living conditions. Here in the Philippines, storms of protest all over the nation marked Labor Day as calls to stop the retrenchment and wage cuts resounded in the streets.

In Manila, tens of thousands converged along Espana and marched to Liwasang Bonifacio. It was my second Labor Day rally. My first one was back in 2007. My friends from UP, colleagues from Kabataan Party and I started our Labor Day participation with a protest action at Philcoa at noon, together with residents of communities around UP and jeepney drivers in campus.

Past noon, we took jeepneys to the rally’s assembly point along Espana, near the University of Sto. Tomas. For an hour or so, people from various groups and sectors converged until our numbers swelled to the thousands. I was carrying a flag of Kabataan Party from Espana till past the Quezon Boulevard Underpass when a colleague of mine took my flag so that I could take photos of the march to Liwasang Bonifacio. I raced up to one of the pedestrian overpasses in Quiapo and took shots of the long march. Indeed, the entire stretch of Quezon Boulevard from the underpass to the bridge was filled with demonstrators. Images like these one don’t usually get to see in traditional media.

[with news reports from]

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