MANILA, Philippines – The militant Anakpawis Party-list applauded the California state legislation declaring October 25 as “Larry Itliong Day” that would encourage public schools to teach about his noble contributions to the struggle of agricultural workers during the 1960s to 70s. Itliong started as a labor leader, with another Filipino labor leader Philip Vera Cruz, who became known as “Delano Manongs,” organized thousands of agricultural workers under the United Farm Workers (UFW) to launch the Delano Grape Strike in 1965 that demanded their wages to be equal to the federal minimum wage levels. The strike lasted for more than 5 years.
“Habang may mga dakilang lider-manggagawa tayo sa bansa tulad ng nasirang Crispin ‘Ka Bel’ Beltran, sa Amerika ang mga manggagawang Pilipino ay makasaysayang nakibaka para pakinabang ng mas marami, ilan na nga rito si Larry Itliong at Philip Vera Cruz,” (While our country had great labor leader such as Crispin “Ka Bel” Beltran, in the US, the Filipino workers have historically contributed for the benefit of the people, among them were Larry Itliong and Philip Vera Cruz) Anakpawis Rep. Fernando “Ka Pando” Hicap said in a statement.
Itliong was born in Pangasinan who migrated in the US in 1929 and joined his first strike in the 1930s during the “Great Depression.” Itliong, with Vera Cruz was involved in the 1948 Asparagus strike in California, in 1953, Itliong was elected vice-president of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union when he settled in Seattle, in 1956 founded the Filipino Farm Labor Union in Stockton, California and elected president of the Filipino Voters League in 1957. In 1965, he became a known leader of the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) who worked on the Agricultural Workers Organizing Committee leading to the formation of the UFW. Majority of the agricultural workers were Filipinos who migrated in the US during the 1930s.
“Kung sa bansa, ginagawang alipin ang mga manggagawa at manggagawang agrikultural, hinaharas, binubugbog, minamasaker, nilalabag ang mga karapatan tulad ng Tanduay, Kentex, Hacienda Luisita, mga plantation workers sa Mindanao, sa US, kinikilala ang kanilang makasaysayang ambag para sa karapatan ng mamamayan,” (While in our country, workers and agricultura workers are enslaved, harassed, assaulted, massacred and with rights being violated such as of Tanduay, Kentex, Hacienda Luisita, Mindanao plantation workers, in the US, their historical contributions for the basic rights of the people are being recognized) Hicap said.
Anakpawis sent its salute to the family of Itliong who criticized the film “Cezar Chavez” that portrayed Larry Itliong as a bystander and not as a leading actor in the Delano Grape strike.
“Mabuhay ang alaala ni Larry Itliong at Philip Vera Cruz, inspirasyon sila sa mga manggagawa at manggawang agrikultural sa Pilipinas, ang kanilang karanasan ay patunay na maipagtatagumpay ang mga pakikibaka para sa kagalingan ng maraming mamamayan,” (Long live the memories of Larry Itliong and Philip Vera Cruz, they serve as inspiration to the Filipino workers and agricultural workers, their experiences are demonstrations that the triumphant struggles for the welfare of the people) Hicap said. ###