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[With calls vs. hunger, poverty] Workers celebrate Ka Bel’s 79th birthday

Calling for various measures against growing hunger and poverty, workers led by labor center Kilusang Mayo Uno celebrated the 79th birthday today of renowned labor leader Crispin “Ka Bel” Beltran in a simple program in front of a marker dedicated to him in Plaza Miranda, Manila.

With the theme “Isulong ang Paglaban ni Ka Bel sa Kagutuman at Kahirapan!” workers called for a significant wage hike, the junking of contractual employment, and a stop to increases in fees being collected from the people such as the recent increase in water rates.

The activity was attended by Beltran’s widow Rosario “Ka Osang,” Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim, who has declared Jan. 7 as Manila’s “Ka Bel Day,” Anakpawis Partylist, the labor leader’s partylist when he became a congressman, and the Crispin B. Beltran Resource Center which is headed by Beltran’s daughter Ofelia.

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“Amidst the worsening hunger and poverty in the country and the world, it is most apt to celebrate Ka Bel’s 79th birthday by recalling his struggle for various pro-worker and pro-people reforms. We recall his struggle against hunger and poverty as we carry on with our struggle against these evils,” said Elmer “Bong” Labog, KMU chairperson.

“We have no doubt that had Ka Bel been alive today, he would stand with us in fighting for a significant wage hike and an end to contractual employment. He would be fighting the government’s various attempts to rob workers and people of our hard-earned income,” he added.

Against Noynoy

KMU also said that Ka Bel was consistently critical of Pres. Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III, recalling that when both were still members of the House of Representatives, they debated in Congress immediately after the massacre of striking farmworkers in Hacienda Luisita in Nov. 16, 2004.

“Ka Bel would be the last to pin hopes on Noynoy. He knew just how anti-worker, anti-farmer and anti-people Aquino was when they were still in the House of Representatives,” Labog said.

“Ka Bel would not find it surprising that Noynoy is implementing anti-worker and anti-people policies as a president. He would know that for all these talk of ‘change’ and ‘hope,’ Aquino belongs to the same comprador and landlord classes who have been responsible for hunger and poverty in the country,” Labog said.

Reference Person: 
Elmer “Bong” Labog, KMU chairperson
Contact information: 
0908-1636597

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