MANILA, Philippines – On May 1, the nation paid tribute to the Filipino workers here and abroad.
In the Philippines, the first Labor Day celebration took place on May 1, 1903, when thousands of workers marched to Malacañang to demand rights for the Filipino workforce during the American Occupation.
Five years later, in April 1908, the Philippine Assembly approved a bill marking the first day of May a national holiday. Since then, Labor day has become an avenue for the Filipino workforce to assert and celebrate their right to decent work, fair labor wages, and their health and safety.
Overseas Filipino workers
With most Filipinos including the youth part of the working class, the significance of commemorating May 1 has not diminished.
There are 40 million Filipinos who are old enough to work. Of this, 25.8 million are looking for jobs. About 19% are underpemployed, overqualified or underpaid. Statistics also show that about 1.8 million or 7% fail to find jobs.
Today, almost every Filipino family knows at least one person working overseas. (READ: INFOGRAPHIC: Getting to know OFWs)
The case of Mary Jane Veloso, and other labor issues involving overseas Filipino workers, highlights the challenges faced by many Filipinos who work abroad. Many of them have no choice but to work abroad, sacrificing themselves to send money home to their families.
Thank the OFWs in your life
Do you have any relatives or friends working overseas? Show your gratitude and share their story with the world!
Be a part of this crowdsourcing campaign by sending a message via Facebook, Tweeting us with #BuhayOFW, or sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please include your name, name of your OFW relative/friend, their photo and your message.
Labor Day conversation
Netizens joined MovePH‘s conversation on the problems Filipinos migrant workers face and why they deserve our respect.
What are the reasons that force these workers to find a source of income outside the country? How should we address the issue of human trafficking? How can the government protect the Filipino workers from abuse and discrimination?
Check out some #BuhayOFW tweets below: