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Massive Graffiti to Commemorate Workers Memorial Day;Asbestos Ban

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Workers, NGO's and Artists unite for April 28

Workers, NGO's and artist here in Cebu are now in Day 3 of project “Paint the Town Red”, a pursuit to create a graffiti piece to commemorate Workers Memorial Day scheduled on Wednesday, April 28, 2010. The massive graffiti is located at R.Duterte St., Banawa, Cebu City and will cover a 3-story high, 50-foot wide wall. This activity is part of worldwide events under the theme “Unions Make Work Safer” and “Ban Asbestos Use Now” aimed to underscore the need for a safer work environment for all workers, along with the need for an immediate ban on the use of Asbestos here in the Philippines and the rest of the world.

“The issue of asbestos and its ill-effect on people health is not only an issue concerning workers but includes everyone of us. By allowing artists and workers to collaborate, we are able to expand the sections of society who reflect on this issue,” said Noel Colina, Executive Director of the Institute for Occupational Health and Safety Development (IOHSAD), a non-stock, non-profit, non-governmental organization promoting Occupational Health and Safety in the Philippines since 1987.

Colina also mentioned the popularity of graffiti to the younger generation making it more effective in delivering the message. “Many young workers never experienced having Unions. By leaning on a medium they enjoy, we are able to emphasize the importance of the role of Unions in making the workplace safer.”

“By drawing the energy and dynamism of graffiti art, the mentioned issues are given a new angle for people to look into. It also allows artists to focus on issues concerning workers, while workers are provided a kaleidoscope to view their own concerns inside workplaces,” added Colina.

“We've seen during the past few days how the people of Cebu positively appreciate art, particularly graffiti art. People would stop and discuss the wall and there was even a couple who used the graffiti as their background for a pre-nuptial photo shoot. We are inviting the people of Cebu to visit the wall to see for themselves the message it bears.”

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The graffiti project will be formally unveiled on Workers Memorial Day, April 28, 2010 with a candle lighting ceremony scheduled at 6pm at the foot of the graffiti wall. This activity is a collaboration between the IOHSAD and Cebu-based graffiti group UBEC Crew with support from the Australian People for Health, Education and Development Abroad (APHEDA), the Asia Ban Asbestos Network (A-BAN) and the Visayas Human Development Agency, Inc. (ViHDA).