Workers press for living wage; end to endo and TU repression on Bonifacio Day!
Nagkaisa Labor Coalition
Mabuti pa ang China pirmado na ang 29 kontrata sa bansa samantalang ang Security of Tenure (SOT) bill ng manggagawa sa Kongreso, magtatatlong taon na, nakatengga pa. It’s quite obvious that China is getting better deals compared to what Filipino workers were getting from its own government.
In 2016 then Mayor Rodrigo Roa Dutere promised to end contractualization the moment he becomes President. He also vowed to abolish the provincial rate system in favor of a national wage. None of these have been delivered until today. On the other hand, he warned China to behave for he was ready then to make a personal sacrifice by leading a jet ski ride to reclaim our islands.
Today, China suddenly became a good ally while members of the trade union movement have been painted as enemies and destabilizers who deserve condemnation and repression from the state. Wrong and Rights. He has repressed the rights of workers by openly tagging legitimate exercises of the right to strike and mass actions as destabilization. Yet he surrenders the Philippines’ sovereign right to the West Philippine Sea by openly declaring it is owned by China.
What happened here, Mr. President? President Duterte has promised an end to endo but three years have passed and he cannot even reign over the anti-prohibition stand of his economic managers.
In fact, the executive department has even issued a Joint Circular by DBM, CSC and COA extending for two years the hiring under the most exploitative Job Orders and Contract of Services sourced out from service providers or manpower agencies. Currently, there are about 638,000 JOs and COS in government service.
The President finally certified the SOT measure in the Senate but still, there is no clear sign of it beating the 17th Congress’ inevitable sine die for the scheduled 2019 polls. Then comes the Palace’s justification of the measly P25 wage hike in Metro Manila with neither a plan nor any mention of reforming this obsolete, anti-labor wage fixing system that suppressed growth in real wages in the last 30 years. Again, the President won’t rectify the actions made here by heads of the same triumvirate (DTI, NEDA, DOLE) who doggedly opposed the total prohibition of contractualization demanded by labor.
We likewise have seen dead words on crucial labor decisions as all of DOLE’s order to regularize thousands of contractual workers at PLDT, PAL, Jollibee, among others, led only to protracted court battles. When we celebrate the birth of our working class hero, Andres Bonifacio, we remember not just the patriotism and courage of the Supremo but also the betrayal of the Philippine revolution by the privileged few. And yearly we see parallelism to that kind of betrayal as far as the plight of the working class is concerned as those who labor the most to develop this nation get nothing but crumbs and persecution. Also, when we remember Bonifacio we also recall the time that the working people said “sobra na tama na“ (enough is enough), as we see the need to take our own initiative to speak and act to advance our interests.
The present administration is entering into its midterm with unfulfilled promises and a more intimidating environment for the trade union movement. We will not be afraid. We will still be pushing for the enactment of the SOT bill, will campaign for living wage, and oppose trade union repression and any attempt at establishing a dictatorship.
Certainly, the coming elections will become a road show for new pledges and promises from both the administration and opposition candidates. But except for some labor and opposition candidates who already have expressed strong support to pressing labor agenda, the administration candidates remain very silent on labor issues as if they were waiting for clues from the President whom today, no longer has any firm commitment to liberate the working class from the regime of contractualization, low wages, and repression.
In other words, 2019 will see the workers extending their struggles beyond dialogues, pickets, strikes, demonstrations and mass actions in the parliament of the streets, to rejecting rubber stamp bets in electoral action to make our voices be heard in the House and the Senate and delivering votes to pro-labor candidates. CPM
Atty. Sonny Matula, Chairperson Nagkaisa! Labor Coalition 09178079041 firstname.lastname@example.org