‘Ayuda, hindi bala:’ Filipinos online demand improved gov’t support on Labor Day 2020

Gaby Baizas
‘Ayuda, hindi bala:’ Filipinos online demand improved gov’t support on Labor Day 2020
The lockdown does not stop Filipinos from protesting from home and calling for better government aid amid the coronavirus crisis

MANILA, Philippines – A first for Philippine history, several groups across the country held online protests for the Labor Day celebration on Friday, May 1 to call the government to support its citizens during the coronavirus pandemic.

The coronavirus pandemic and lockdown guidelines in place have prevented activists from congregating on the streets, which prompted groups to think of creative ways to protest on social media—through illustrations, video conferences, and hashtags.

Activists stood with the everyday worker, highlighting their vital role in society and calling for their protection.

“We call upon the community to stand behind our workers, to show even greater support for our frontliners working to eradicate the threat that is COVID-19,” Alay Sining Fine Arts said in a statement.

“For so long, they have worked tirelessly without getting the credit they deserve…. For our workers, this was the norm. Now, as the rest of the world struggles to keep up with the reality of COVID-19, we cannot go back to the way things were.”

“Our workers have proven to be the backbone of our society—we must always make their voices heard, and we must always listen.”

Groups also used the hashtag #AyudaHindiBala to condemn the administration’s militarist approach to the coronavirus crisis.

This follows a number of instances where authorities used force against quarantine violators, notably when Quezon City authorities mauled and dragged a fish vendor who did not have a face mask and quarantine pass, and when police killed former soldier Winston Ragos.

 

Many activists also drew themselves holding online placards, urging authorities to give Filipino workers proper aid during the crisis.

“When our workers call for assistance, they should never be met with threats of violence made by the government for speaking up,” Twitter user @mehreel_ said.

 

“I stand with workers to call for proper aid during this crisis from a government that chooses to kill instead of support them,” wrote Twitter user @susciPepe.

 

Ngayong Mayo Uno, makiisa tayo sa laban ng ating mga manggagawa sa panunupil ng administrasyon na dinaranas nila araw-araw,” Twitter user @jetmanjvr said.

(This May 1, we stand with our workers who are oppressed by the administration every day.)

Other Filipinos called for wage hikes and better working conditions, as several Filipinos’ livelihoods were hit by the pandemic. The Department of Labor and Employment stated on Thursday, April 30 that more than two million Filipinos have either lost their jobs or are under a “No Work, No Pay” scheme.

 

Siklab PH and Anakbayan Retiro created GIFs to honor the everyday worker and frontliner.

 

Other groups held online rallies through video conferences. Kilusang Mayo Uno held a noise barrage and burned an online effigy through a Zoom call that was livestreamed on Facebook.

Nagkaisa Labor Coalition along with Sentro ng mga Nagkakaisa at Progresibong Manggagawa held an online rally for labor, women, and youth groups. Senator Risa Hontiveros and human rights lawyer Chel Diokno were also present at the online rally.

 

Rappler.com

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Gaby Baizas

Gaby Baizas is a digital forensics researcher at Rappler. She first joined Rappler straight out of college as a digital communications specialist. She hopes people learn to read past headlines the same way she hopes punk never dies.