Today in Philippine History, May 1, 1903, the first Labor Day in the Philippines took place

Posted Monday April 30, 2012 ()

   Dr. Dominador Gomez, President of the Union Obrera Democratica de Filipinas
   Dr. Dominador Gomez
On May 1, 1903, the first Labor Day celebration in the Philippines took place. It was organized by the Union Obrera Democratica de Filipinas, the first labor federation in the country. Thousands of workers marched from Plaza Moriones in Tondo to Malacañang to demand complete independence, while chanting anti American capitalism and imperialism.

The Union Obrero Democratica de Filipinas formerly known as the Union Obrera Democratica was founded on February 2, 1902 by Isabelo delos Reyes and Herminigildo Cruz. It advocated the rights of the labor force during the American occupation of the Philippines. Delos Reyes who was arrested on August 1902 for sedition, rebellion and "conspiracy to the raise the price of labor" was succeeded by Dominador Gomez. It was Gomez who led the first Labor Day celebration.

Later on April 8, 1908, the Philippine Assembly passed a bill making the first day of May Labor Day, a national holiday.

Today, Labor Day (or Araw ng Manggagawa) in the Philippines is commemorated not only with parades and other forms of celebration, but also with rallies and demonstrations of the labor sector.

The celebration highlights the reality that the country's workers have proven to be partners of government for economic development and positive social changes.

Reference: Philippines News Agency archives