MANILA- In marking the second death anniversary of working-class hero Crispin “Ka Bel” Beltran, labor center Kilusang Mayo Uno called on the incoming Aquino administration to address Ka Bel’s demand for wage hike and protecting labor rights.
“Ka Bel died without seeing the realization of the goals that he fought hard for. He died campaigning for a legislated wage increase and protection of workers’ rights, which the Arroyo regime has denied for the longest time,” said Elmer “Bong” Labog, KMU chairperson.
“The incoming administration of president-apparent Noynoy Aquino, who promises ‘change’ to the Filipino people, should face Ka Bel’s demands squarely and do its best to heed these,” said Labog.
Beltran died on May 20, 2008 after falling from the roof of his house while doing some repair – a proof of his simple and humble life.
KMU said Beltran, who was also Anakpawis Partylist’s representive, fought for the legislation of the P125 across-the-board wage increase, the junking of labor contractualization policies, and the scrapping of Assumption of Jurisdiction powers of the Labor secretary.
The group said Beltran also fought for justice for the victims of the regime’s policy of carrying out extra-judicial killings, abductions and other human rights violations.
“Ka Bel wanted Mrs. Arroyo to be punished for her many grave crimes against the Filipino workers and people. He was adamant that Mrs. Arroyo be made accountable for her crimes, for he was himself demonized as a ‘terrorist’ and unjustly imprisoned by the Arroyo regime,” Labog said.
“If Ka Bel were still alive, he would be leading the call for the prosecution of Gloria Arroyo and her minions. He would be joining us in challenging incoming president Noynoy Aquino to fulfill his campaign promises,” he added.
The labor leader said Beltran also fought for demands that the US-backed and elite-run governments will not heed, and are best addressed to the Filipino workers and people who can fight for its realization.
“Ka Bel was a revolutionary. He led countless struggles over bread-and-butter issues but raised these to their conclusion – changing the country’s socio-economic system. He believed that only genuine land reform and nationalist industrialization will enable the Filipinos to break free from the shackles of poverty, hunger, exploitation and repression,” Labog said.