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Workers commemorate Ka Bel’s 81st birth anniversary

February 21, 2014

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Crispin B. Beltran Resource Center (CBBRC), together with Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) and other patriotic forces, commemorated the 81st anniversary of Crispin “Ka Bel” Beltran’s birth in front of his marker at Plaza Miranda, Quiapo, Manila last January 7, 2014.

The program commenced with offering of flowers from different people’s organizations, followed by a prayer, song and blessing lead by Fr. Tony from the Iglesia Filipina Independiente.

KMU National Vice Chair Joselito Ustarez’s opening speech recounted Ka Bel’s staunch stance in advancing people’s rights and welfare in parallel with the labor movement’s campaign for the accountability of the Aquino government’s negligence of the survivors of supertyphoon Yolanda.

National Secretary General Danilo Ramos of Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) highlighted Ka Bel’s simple and frugal lifestyle during his stint as congressman, in stark contrast with the lavish lifestyle most politicians maintain by stealing from the public coffers.

PISTON National President George San Mateo recounted his memories of Ka Bel and the late transport-leader Ka Roda in launching campaigns against oil price hikes and Martial law, among others, while Ka Larry of KMU-NCR drew the similarity between Ka Bel’s and Gat Andes Bonifacio’s lives and legacies as brave defenders of the toiling masses. Ka Bani Cambronero of Free Learning Origami Contributing Kindness School (FLOCKS) offered a poem and origami cranes for the late labor leader.

“If Ka Bel were alive today, he would surely be in the forefront of protests condemning the Aquino government for colluding with the power industry capitalists to add to the burdens of the Filipino people,” KMU Roger Soluta concluded in his speech.

Ka Osang thanked everyone for the continuous acknowledgment of Ka Bel’s legacy. And as Ka Bel’s widow stated, “let us continue to expand and consolidate our ranks against the exploitative and oppressive system. Only through this will Ka Bel’s fighting spirit remain alive.”

Ofel Beltran-Balleta, CBBRC’s Executive Director, said this in connection to the event: “Ka Bel has died, yet his reasons for struggling have not died with him. A meaningful wage hike has yet to be implemented, the oil cartel continues to threaten the livelihood of the people, there is job insecurity, genuine land reform is being pushed into a corner by a sham land reform program, and there is even greater widespread poverty. These are the reasons why pushing for hikes would spell death for the common people.”

After the program, the participants trooped to Manila Electric Company (Meralco) branch in España, Manila, to condemn the P4.15 per kWh power rate hike, bearing in their hearts and minds Ka Bel’s mantra: we will continue to fight and we will win!