Thousands of them came.
Most of them marched at least a hundred kilometers from the northern Negros Occidental city of Escalante during a Lakbayan or People’s March that ended with a rally today, May 1, in Bacolod City.
Most of them work in the sugarcane fields.
Their demands remain the same – land, food, job security, decent wages and social services – as they have been several decades ago.
Their chants rang out strong in the streets during the time of Marcos – when many sugar planters and businessmen joined them – and these reverberate still.
But during the time of Cory – when only a few sugar planters and businessmen joined them – even when democracy was supposedly restored, their basic demands were largely unmet.
Decades have passed, promises have been made, most of them unfulfilled.
But they plod on. Their calloused feet and hands and sun-baked skins are a testimony to their tenacity.