Labor Day in Manila ’09 (Part 3)

After taking some shots of the march at Quiapo, I tried to run ahead of the demonstrators to the other end of Quezon Bridge to be able to take shots of the different contingents that made up the march, from the labor and other militant leaders in front to those from the youth sector at the back. There were contingents from migrant workers, government employees, health workers, teachers, farmers, fishermen, jeepney drivers, among others.

Upon reaching Liwasang Bonifacio, the annual Labor Day program commenced. Agitating and passionate speeches from leaders of Kilusang Mayo Uno and Anakpawis were delivered. Calls reiterating the workers’ demand for the P125 across-the-board wage increase resounded in the plaza. Solidarity messages from other sectors of society, including the youth, were also delivered. There were also cultural presentations and song numbers from cultural workers’ groups.

Towards the latter part of the program, labor leaders from other countries also spoke and delivered their messages of solidarity. It was quite uplifting, and pretty amusing too when the labor delegate from Mexico chanted the quintessential el pueblo unido jamas sera vencido! (the people united will never be defeated!) with the rest of the crowd following suit. For a while it felt like we were in a large workers’ rally in Latin America. The atmosphere wasn’t just agitating, it was also, in a way, festive and celebratory–different sectors of society coming together to reaffirm the role of workers and their collective strength. On a very shallow level, it was also quite fun trying out all the street food that dozens of ambulant vendors were selling at Liwasang Bonifacio, while re-acquainting yourself with colleagues from different youth organizations and taking photos.

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