Tag Archives: International Labor Day

[Statement] WORKERS ARE NOT VIRUS-PROOF! Advocacy groups call for expanded massive testing before economic restart -PAHRA, iDEFEND, #MassTestingNowPH

WORKERS ARE NOT VIRUS-PROOF
Advocacy groups call for expanded massive testing before the economic restart

As the nation commemorates Labor Day amid the COVID-19 pandemic, scientists, artists, youth, human rights, public health, and citizen groups join forces with the labor sector to demand the increase and expansion of mass testing capacities of the country before lifting the enhanced community quarantine protocols and reopening the economy. The government and business groups have been keen to start economic activities the soonest to save the country from further economic meltdown. However, civil society groups have expressed their concern over the risks of this move and the need to address the public’s fear and panic with the possible lifting of the ECQ for the interest of the business.

Molecular biologist Joshua Danac of Scientists Unite Against COVID-19 (SUAC-19) cited the poor execution of mass testing in the country. “There are still massive backlogs in testing centers, and results take very long to be released. The Department of Health has failed to attain its initial stated target of 8,000 tests per day.” Since the government’s declaration on the start of mass testing on April 14, Danac pointed out that there are only 19 accredited testing centers in the whole country as of April 30, with around 50 percent of those centers based in NCR alone.

Danac further said, “The actual testing capacity of our country still lags behind because laboratories and personnel have not been capacitated in the first place. For massive testing not to fail, we must ask the government to be transparent and to act on the following issues: how will capacity be increased to clear the backlogs and shorten turnaround times? How will they increase the number of tests done per day? What about funding — will the government dedicate part of its budget for increasing testing capacity by buying equipment and hiring personnel?”

Meanwhile, human rights-based health service organization Medical Action Group (MAG) pointed out that aside from incapacitated testing centers and personnel, a public health and rights-based approach was not initiated by the government as well. According to MAG Executive Director Edel Hernandez, “The lack of diagnostics and cure for COVID-19 underscores the need for the government to scale up the mass testing using international standards, protecting the health of frontliners, and improving the delivery of healthcare services around the country. Inaction on the part of the government is a disservice to the nation. The COVID-19 pandemic is undoubtedly creating a climate of fear and panic through restrictive, stigmatizing, and punitive measures imposed by the government as infectious disease control.” MAG urged the government to veer away from compulsory restrictions towards a human rights-based approach, centered on evidence-based response and promoting community empowerment and engagement.

The Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates (PAHRA) emphasized the demand for the government to take a human rights-based approach in tackling the COVID-19 situation in the country. According to PAHRA, while mass testing is an important step to address the public health crisis, the government must also address the social impact of the community lockdown. It pointed out that the basic human rights of workers especially their safety and security should be guaranteed by the government, not neglected. PAHRA Secretary General Rose Trajano said, “Testing, continuing assistance, and security of work are the basic human rights that should be effectively addressed by the government. Though certain limitations on fundamental rights and freedoms are unavoidable during public health emergencies, any disproportionate response can definitely lead to significant human rights violations. It amplifies the already underlying barriers that people face in protecting their health and their inability to meet basic survival needs.” Recent news reports and viral social media posts have shown arbitrary arrests and ill treatment by law enforcers to people who have breached quarantine restrictions.

With the government preparing to loosen the lockdown by May 15, the artist-activist collective DAKILA criticized plans of the government to reopen the economy without providing proper safety nets to the labor sector and the poor. Conglomerates and major business owners earlier announced Project ARK, a joint initiative to conduct massive testing on workers using rapid antibody test kits to help them assess who is fit to return to work. Medical experts have warned against the use of antibody test kits as diagnostic tools due to their tendency to display ‘false negative’ results. DAKILA spokesperson Leni Velasco said, “The return of work operations around the country is essential for the economy to run again, but to facilitate that using unreliable means will put workers into danger. The move to use to rapid antibody tests for mass screening for COVID19 will only give workers a false sense of security and run the risk of spreading the virus in the workplace — leading to a second wave of infection that our public health system won’t survive.”

DAKILA also slammed the recent statement of the Presidential Adviser for Entrepreneurship Joey Concepcion saying that the workers and the poor are more resilient to the virus and should be separated from those who are healthy through isolation. The statement, they pointed out, is a gross manifestation of the unjust treatment of the working poor, as well as businesses’ lack of value for laborers. “Workers and the poor are NOT virus-proof. They remain one of the most vulnerable sectors in this pandemic. In any situation, their lives must never be put in danger; it must be protected at all times. We can’t restart the economy at the expense of workers’ safety,” Velasco ended.

In line with this demand, a group of volunteers who started the campaign on mass testing named #MassTestingNowPH calls on the government to strengthen the Test-Treat-Trace approach in addressing the pandemic. The campaign urges business owners to use rRT-PCR testing to assist the return of employees to work after community quarantine protocols are lifted and they call for workers to demand the same. “Only through expanded RT-PCR testing can we have an accurate picture of the COVID-19 infection in the country. This should serve as the basis for any government decisions and actions. We should strengthen our call for mass testing, contact tracing, isolation, and treatment along with the continued provision of health and socio-economic assistance to our people,” #MassTestingNowPH said.

DAKILA, PAHRA, MAG, SUAC, and #MassTestingNowPH expressed their social solidarity with the Filipino working class which for the first time in Philippine history held Labor Day 2020 protest online in the context of the pandemic. In its unity statement, the groups said, “While the economy should be saved from further decline, it is by protecting and safeguarding the workers that can ensure the continuing lifeline of the economy. The working people are not virus proof and yet like the health workers, the government is sending them out like sacrifical lambs in this pandemic.”

The groups committed to intensifying the #MassTestingNowPH campaign until laboratories and personnel are capacitated, massive RRT-PCR-based testing is conducted, public health and rights-based approach are adopted by the government and the business sector, and the safety of workers are not put in danger amidst the desire to restart the economy.

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[Action Alert] Two members of the labor organization, BMP, arrested by the PNP after staging a Labor Day protest action allegedly for violation of the ECQ rules

Action Alert
May 1, 2020
(Philippines) Two members of the labor organization, Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino (BMP), arrested by the Philippine National Police (PNP) after staging a Labor Day protest action allegedly for violation of the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) rule against social gathering and Republic Act 11332 or the Law on Reporting of Communicable Diseases in Rodriguez, Rizal

Dear Friends,

The Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP) is forwarding to you an appeal for the PNP not to file charges against members of BMP for taking part in the observance of the International Labor Day.

ACCOUNT OF THE INCIDENT

Reynaldo Dulay and Clarito Rastica, both BMP members, were arrested by members of the PNP after taking part in a protest action in relation to the international Labor Day celebration in their area in San Isidro, Rodriguez, Rizal.

Based on the report, Dulay and Rastica, along with other members of the organization, conducted a small protest activity to demand mass testing, adequate food and social amelioration, and paid quarantine leave and hazard pay for workers in San Isidro, Rodriguez, Rizal. A video of the event posted in social media showed the protesters following the requirement of social distancing and wearing of face masks. However, the police arrived and allegedly started arresting the protesters. Dulay and Rastica were the two persons accosted for alleged violation of the prohibition of social gathering during the ECQ.

Based on the information from some BMP members, Dulay and Rastica were brought to the Ynares Memorial Hospital for check-up, as part of the Standard Operating Procedure of the police upon a person’s arrest.

As of this writing, TFDP is trying to get in touch with Dulay and Rastica to gather more information.

The 1987 Philippine Constitution states in Article 3, Section 4 that “no law shall be passed abridging the freedom of speech, of expression, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble and petition the government for redress of grievances.

SUGGESTED ACTION:

Please write a letter to the following authorities for them to reconsider the filing of charges against Dulay and Rastica for their actions are covered by the rights of persons to peaceably assemble. The organization maintains that they followed protocols of social distancing and wearing of face masks to ensure the safety of its members and the public as well.

Please ask the authorities to ensure in all circumstances, especially in the enforcement of the Enhanced Community Quarantine during the COVID 19 Pandemic, respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms as enshrined in the 1987 Philippine Constitution, international human rights standards and international instruments signed and ratified by the Philippines.

Please send your letters to:

1. His Excellency Rodrigo Roa Duterte
President, Republic of the Philippines
New Executive Building, Malacanang Palace Compound
JP Laurel Street, San Miguel, Manila
1005 Philippines
Tel: +632 87368645; +632 87368603; +632-87368606; +632-87368629; +632-87368621
Telefax: +632 87368621
E-mail: pcc@malacanang.gov.ph

2. Hon. Menardo Guevarra
Secretary, Department of Justice (DOJ)
Padre Faura Street, Ermita, Manila
1000 Philippines
Tel: +632 85218348
Telefax: +632 85262618
Trunk line: +632 85238481 loc 217
Email: osecmig@gmail.com, communications@doj.gov.ph

3. Hon. Eduardo Aňo
Secretary, Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG)
DILG-NAPOLCOM Center
EDSA corner Quezon Avenue, Quezon City
Tel: +632 89250330; +632 89250331
Fax: +632 89250332
Trunk line: +632 88763454 loc 1001
Email: emano@dilg.gov.ph

4. Hon. Jose Luis Martin Gascon
Chairperson, Commission on Human Rights (CHR)
SAAC Bldg., Commonwealth Avenue
U.P. Complex, Diliman
Quezon City
Philippines
Tel: +632 89285655; +632 89266188
Telefax: +632 89290102
Email: chairgascon.chr@gmail.com

5. PNP Chief Lt. Gen. Archie Gamboa
Philippine National Police
PNP National Headquarters
Camp General Crame, EDSA
Quezon City, Metro Manila, Philippines 1100
Tel: +632 87230401; +632 87220650 local 3453/3473

6. Mayor Dennis Hernandez
Office of the Mayor
Rodriguez Municipal Hall
J.P. Rizal St., Rodriguez, Rizal
bayanngrodriguez@yahoo.com

Source:
https://www.gmanetwork.com/news/news/regions/736404/observing-social-distancing-bukluran-members-rally-on-labor-day/story/

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[Press Release] Akbayan Party on Labor Day: Make workers resilient with protection, just wages and strong unions

Akbayan Party on Labor Day: Make workers resilient with protection, just wages and strong unions

Today, we celebrate Labor Day in extraordinary circumstances. When traditionally the working-class celebrates on the streets, today we are confined to our homes and social media. But our calls remain the same: for just and fair wages and benefits, for safe working spaces, for the strengthening of workers’ unions, and the end to unfair practices like ENDO.

Though these past few weeks our country has found itself sick with COVID-19, the Filipino working class has long suffered under the crises caused by the exploitative nature of capitalism and neoliberal government policies. Employment schemes like ENDO deprive workers of their right to security of tenure. Women and LGBTQIA+ individuals are prone to workplace discrimination and harassment. The past few years have seen increasing incidents of labor union harassment and violent picket dispersals by police and company administration. And instead of actively seeking to remedy these issues with key legislation, the government has simply prioritized the interests of multibillionaires and foreign corporations over Filipino workers. The weaknesses and ill effects of such a system have manifested over the past few months, with workers in both formal and informal sectors severely affected with no wages or access to basic necessities.

But this COVID-19 crisis allows us to see how we can move forward to empower our Filipino workers. It is imperative to give a voice to workers and unions disenfranchised by abusive employers or exploitative systems, and to uphold their rights to fair wages, security of tenure, workplace safety, and collective bargaining. By fighting for these rights to be upheld as national policy, we secure not just the welfare of our workers but of their families and the continuously growing Filipino labor force. Most importantly, in doing these we can slowly break down the economic and political structures that exploit labor for profit.

Akbayan Party stands with all Filipino workers, now in the time of crisis and in the continuing fight for labor rights. May our healing as a nation push everyone to work towards a more just and equitable society, and end the systems that have long disempowered and starved workers and their families.

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[Statement] Kalusugan, kabuhayan, kapakanan, at kapangyarihan sa masang manggagawa -BMP

BMP STATEMENT MAYO 1, 2020
(Mababasa rin dito: bit.ly/mayouno2020)

Kalusugan, kabuhayan, kapakanan, at kapangyarihan sa masang manggagawa

Sa Araw ng Paggawa ngayong taon – sa gitna ng pananalasa sa maraming bansa ng sakit na COVID19 at sa malawakang kagutuman ng milyon-milyong Pilipinong hindi makapaghanap-buhay dahil sa kwarantina, tahasan nating idinedeklara na:

Makakamit lamang ng masang manggagawa ang malusog na katawan at isipan, regular na hanapbuhay na may sapat na kita, at panatag na buhay na may maalwang na kinabukasang maipamamana sa susunod na henerasyon – kapag nakamit na ng uring manggagawa, ang totoong mayorya sa lipunan, ang kapangyarihang pampulitika para distrungkahin ang kasalukuyang bulok na kaayusang nakabatay sa tubo at sa pribadong pag-aari ng iilan.

Hangga’t ang may hawak sa kapangyarihan ay ang mga kinatawan ng interes ng kapital, na organisadong pwersa ng dahas at panunupil ng iilan sa nakararami, ang batas na kanilang babalangkasin at ipapatupad ay maglalagay sa panganib sa buong sambayanan.

Ang patunay ng peligrong hatid ng paghahari ng minorya sa mayorya ay makikita kung ano ang nilalaman at paano ipinapatupad ang lockdown o kwarantina, na kanilang ipinataw sa sambayanang Pilipino.

KALUSUGAN NG MASA: ISINAKRIPISYO SA NGALAN NG TUBO
Bago pa man ang pandemyang COVID19, naghihingalo na ang health care system ng bansa. Mayroon lang tayong 101,688 hospital beds, na nakakalat sa 1,223 ospital sa buong bansa. 75% ng ospital ay pribado.

Ang ideyal na bilang ay 44 health care workers (doktor, nars, medtech) sa bawat 1,000 Pilipino. Sa ngayon, mayroon lamang tayong 19 health care workers sa bawat 10,000 katao. Ang bilang ng ventilator (na kailangan ng pasyente ng COVID) sa bansa ay nasa 1,572 lamang, kung saan 423 ang nasa Metro Manila.

Taon-taon may 26,000 nars ang nakakapasa ng board exam mula 2012 hanggang 2016. Subalit sa panahon ding ito, 18,500 nars kada taon ang lumilikas para maging OFW. Tinayang may kakulangan ng 23,000 nars sa buong bansa. Samantala, nasa 150,000 nars ang kasalukuyang nagtatrabaho sa Estados Unidos.

Kung ang transmisyon ng COVID19 ay nasa 10% sa 107 milyong populasyon, at kung 10% ng magkakasakit ang mangangailangan ng ospitalisasyon, ito ay nasa 1.07 milyon pasyente na (ibig sabihin nito, isa sa bawat sampung maoospital sa COVID19 ay walang hospital bed!).
Subalit hindi naman lahat ng nagkakasakit ay nagpapaospital, ayon sa datos, 6 sa bawat 10 Pilipino ang namamatay nang hindi nagpapakonsulta sa doktor. Lagpas kalahati (56%) kasi ang dumudukot sa sariling bulsa (own-pocket) kapag naoospital. At marami (kahit mga may-kaya) ay lumalabas sa ospital nang naghihikahos. Sabi nga ni manong taxi driver, na nainterbyu, sa simula pa lang ng lockdown, “Mahirap maging mahirap”.

Ito ay sa usapin pa lamang ng health care system, na nakatuon sa pagpapagaling ng may-sakit. Paano naman ang prebensyon ng sakit? Kailangan ay may maayos na nutrisyon at malinis na tubig.

Ang problema sa kakulungan sa nutrisyon ay ramdam sa mga kabataan. Sa bawat araw, 95 bata ang namamatay sa malnutrisyon. 27 sa bawat 1,000 bata ang hindi umaabot sa ika-limang taon. Isa sa bawat tatlong bata ang maliit kumpara sa kanyang edad. Ang dalawang taong pagkaantala sa nutrisyon ay maaring maging permanente, di na kayang maihabol pa, o nakamamatay.

Ibang usapin pa ang kawalan ng malinis na tubig, hindi lang dahil ito ay batayang pangangailangan ng katawan ng tao. Bukod dito, ang paghuhugas ng kamay sa minimum na 20 segundo ang isa sa pinakamabisang paraan para labanan ang pagkalat ng COVID19. At ayon sa World Bank, 10% (10 milyong Pilipino) ang walang akses sa malinis na tubig!

Pinalala ng COVID19 ang matagal nang mga banta sa kalusugan ng mamamayang Pilipino. Kulang sa medikal na personel. Kulang sa ospital. Kulang sa malinis na tubig. Kulang sa nutrisyon.

Bakit ganito ang nangyari? Dahil sa patakaran ng pribatisasyon. Ito ang patakaran ng pagsasapribado ng mga batayang serbisyo na dapat ay binibigay ng mura o libre ng gobyerno sa kanyang mamamayan. Tubig. Kuryente. Ospital. Paaralan. At oo, maging internet. Kapalit ng buwis na kanyang kinakaltas sa mamamayan, lalong higit sa mayayaman (na kung tutuusin, ay mas maraming ligal na paraan para makaiwas sa kanilng obligasyon sa gobyerno).

Ang pandemyang COVID19 ang pinakamatibay na argumento laban sa pribatisasyon ng mga serbisyong pangkalusugan (at iba pang batayang pangangailangan). Simula sa Mayo Uno 2020, dapat mamulat ang kilusang paggawa na tumugon ito sa panlipunang usapin – gaya ng pangkalahatang kalusugan ng mamamayan, bukod pa sa pagtitiyak sa mga probisyon sa CBA ng mga unyon ukol sa occupational health and safety, medical insurance (bukod sa Philhealth), atbp.

KABUHAYANG ITINIGIL NG KWARANTINA
Milyon-milyon ang itinulak sa kawalang trabaho at kagutuman ng biglaang pagkwarantina sa buong bansa. Mayorya kasi ng lipunan ay mga manggagawa. Walang pag-aari kundi ang lakas-paggawa. Halos lahat ng pangangailangan ay kailangang bilhin. Magkakapera lamang kung magbabanat ng buto kapalit ng sweldo.

Hindi tayo kinonsidera ng gobyerno nang ipataw nito ang kautusang mag-“stay at home”. Noong una’y nakiusap lamang ito sa mga employer na ipagamit ang ating mga sick leave at vacation leave. Suhestiyon daw na magkawanggawa sila para sa atin.

Subalit nang maobliga nang bumunot mula sa pondo ng gobyerno, maglalaan daw ng 5K para sa sahurang empleyado ang DOLE sa pamamagitan ng programang CAMP (Covid Adjustment Measures Program). Nga-nga! Employer kasi ang mag-iinisyatiba para maghain sa kanilang manggagawa. Kailan pa kinalinga ng mga kapitalista ang kapakanan ng kanilang manggagawa? Hindi nga sila nakokonsensya na magbigay ng kararampot na sweldong hindi makakapagbigay ng disente’t marangal na buhay sa ating mga pamilya! Lalo pa sa panahong hindi tayo nagtatrabaho, hindi umaandar ang kanilang negosyo, at higit sa lahat, hindi natin nililikha ang kanilang tutubuin at ating seswelduhin!

Ang masakit, nang dumagsa na ang hinain ng mga employer, sinabi ng DOLE na ubos na ang kanilang pondong P1.6 bilyon. Subalit huwag daw tayong mag-aalala. Dahil naihanda diumano ni Sonny Dominguez ng Department of Finance ang P256 bilyon para sa medium-small-microenterprises (MSMEs) na bibigyan ng wage subsidy para may ipapasweldo sa kanilang manggagawa.

Nga-nga ulit, mga kamanggagawa! Paano ang milyon-milyong sumesweldo sa mga kumpanyang hindi itinuturing na MSME ng gobyerno? Paano tayo na inabot na ng mahigit isang buwan ngunit hindi naman nakinabang sa naunang DOLE-CAMP (at hindi naman papasok sa kategoryang “poorest of the poor” para sa 4Ps program ng DSWD)?

Ganyan rin ang nangyari sa social amelioration program (SAP) ng DSWD. Makalipas ang anim na linggo, 22% pa lamang ng target ang nabahaginan ng SAP dahil sa burukratikong proseso para ma-avail nito tulad ng validation ng beneficiaries. Dagdag mo pa kung paano namamanipula ng mga pultiko ang ayudang ito. Ganito tayo suklian ng gobyerno (matapos ang mahabang panahong ang ating pagtatrabaho ang siyang pinagmumulan ng industriyal na tubo, renta sa lupang inookupa ng ating employer, interes sa kanilang utang, at buwis sa sahod at tubo! Gagawin tayong mga pulubi. Nawalan ng dangal ang paggawang lumlikha ng pangangailangan at bumubuhay sa tao!

Wala naman talagang pakialam sa ating pagtatrabaho ang nasa gobyerno.

Hindi ba’t agad nitong inutos ang pagtigil sa pampublikong transportasyon – kahit pinahintulutan ang pagtatrabaho ng tinaguriang mga magigiting ng “frontliner”? Ano ang nangyari! Ang nars, at iba pang nagtatrabaho sa mga ospital (bukod sa mga duktor na karaniwang naka-kotse) ay naglalakad para pumasok sa trabaho!?! Walang pakialam ang pala-utos na gobyerno. Kaya nga’t hindi pinaghandaan ang pagkuha ng mga kasangkapan sa kanilang proteksyon (face mask/shield, personal protective equipment, atbp.) para sa mga medical frontliner!

Ang lockdown ay nangangahulugan ng ibayong gutom para sa masang manggagawa. Kaya naman, marami ang papabor sa pag-aalis ng mga restriksyon upang pahintulutang makapagtrabahong muli ang mga tao. May mga employer nang nagpanukala nito sa dulong linggo ng Marso. Pinahinto kasi ang produksyon at distribusyon. Tumigil kasi ang sirkulasyon ng kalakal at kapital. Hindi na lumilikha ng bagong halaga ang manggagawa. At kapag walang nabebentang kalakal, hindi nila nalalasap ang tubo sa anyo ng pera.

Hindi pwedeng isakripisyo ang manggagawa sa altar ng tubo. Alam nating mas makikipagsapalaran ang manggagawa sa posibleng kontaminasyon sa COVID19 kaysa sa tiyak na gutom sa kanyang pamilya. Subalit, kailangang ilagay lahat ng proteksyon para tiyak na hindi mahawa ng manggagawa ang myembro ng kanyang tahanan kung sakaling makontamina siya ng COVID19 dahil sa pag-alis ng bahay upang makapagtrabaho.

Proteksyon sa paggawa! Ipatupad ang social distancing sa trabaho. Gastusan ng employer ang face mask/shield, o PPE kung kinakailangan. Regular na paglilinis (disinfection) sa mga sasakyan. Shuttle bus para ihatid ang mga manggagawa. At higit sa lahat, bilang pagkilala sa risko na kanilang pinapasok sa pagtatrabaho, doble o tripleng sahod bilang hazard pay!

Sa kabilang banda, may positibong ipinamalas ang lockdown sa usapin ng paggawa. Ang pansamantalang pagtigil sa pang-ekonomikong aktibidad ay nakabubuti sa kalikasan at ekolohiya. Subalit higit dito, sobra-sobra na ang nalikha ng tao kaya’t maari nang tumigil sa pagtatrabaho. Ang problema sa kagutuman at kahirapan ay hindi ang kakapusan sa produksyon ng pangangailangan; kundi nasa distribusyon nito, dahil ang mga ito ay kalakal na kailangan munang bilhin ng tao bago makatugon sa anumang pangangailangan.

Ano ang ibig sahibin nito? Sa inabot na produktibidad ng tao, may kapasidad na tayong bawasan ang oras ng pagtatrabaho sa isang araw (working day) at araw ng pagtatrabaho sa isang linggo (workweek) – nang walang kabawasan sa sahod ng manggagawa. Mula sa pandemyang COVID19, isisilang ang bagong kilusan para sa pagbabawas ng oras at araw ng pagtatrabaho. Ito ang isa sa mga kilusang maghuhubog sa tinaguriang “new normal”, sa isang post-COVID na pandaigdigang ekonomya.

KAPAKANANG HINDI PRINAYORIDAD NG ELITISTANG GOBYERNO
Ang pamamahagi ng pagkain sa populasyong gutom at nakakwarantina ang unang sukatan kung totoo ngang kinakalinga ng gobyerno ang kanyang mamamayan. Wala nang singlinaw pa sa pahayag ni Dra. Rowena Mangubat. Aniya, “Nauubos din ang mga doctors. Ipamahagi niyo ang mga pagkain para hindi lumabas ang mga tao. Kung hindi, mauubos tayong lahat”.

Ang tagumpay ng ipinapatupad ng lockdown ay nakasalalay sa pamimigay ng pagkain sa mamamamayan. Hindi ito simpleng usapin ng kawalan ng disiplina. Kahit sinong magulang, gaano man kadisiplinado, ay lalabas ng bahay at gagawa ng anumang paraan, mapatigil lamang ang kumakalam na sikmura ng kanyang mga anak.

Ang problema sa distribusyon ng ayuda ay nasa bulok na pulitika na namamayani sa ating bansa. Nakuha na ng Malakanyang ang hinangad niyang pagkonsentra ng pondo sa executive branch. Pinadaloy ito sa mga LGU o local government units (kahit pa alam ng lahat na ang mismong makinaryang ito ay tadtad ng korapsyon). Ang standard-operating-procedure (SOP) sa pamahalaang lokal ay ang paggamit sa rekurso at pondo ng gobyerno para mapanatili sa poder ang mga naghaharing pampulitikang angkan.

Sa ayuda sa panahon ng kwarantina, nag-anyo ito hindi lamang sa pagtatatak sa mukha ng pulitiko sa binibigay na relief goods. Mas masahol dito ay ang pagtitiyak ng mga makinarya ng pulitiko na mabiyayaan muna ang kanilang mga pamilya (mula sa konsehal hanggang sa ward leader ng mga barangay). Ang masakit, ang sahurang manggagawa, na hindi naman aktibo sa mga pulitika sa barangay dahil abala sa paghahanapbuhay at kapag hindi naman nabibilang sa malaking pamilyang sinusuyo ang boto tuwing eleksyon – ay siguradong hindi na mabibiyayaan ng ayuda mula sa LGU. Kahit pa ang kanyang pagtatrabaho ang pinagmulan ng sahod at tubo, na pinagkukunan ng buwis ng kapitalistang estado!

Dahil dito, ang manggagawa ang dapat manguna sa pagigiit ng audit sa lingguhang ulat na dapat na gawin ni Duterte sa taumbayan. Saan napunta ang trilyon-trilyon pisong pondo para sa COVID19? Hindi lamang ang pondo mula sa badyet ng 2020 kundi ang utang at ayuda sa mga pinansyal na institusyon gaya ng World Bank (WB) at Asian Development Bank (ADB).

May karapatan ang manggagawa sa usaping ng pampublikong utang. Una, dahil dapat siyang makinabang dito. Ikalawa, dahil kasama siya sa pagbabayad nito! Kung gayon, kaisa rin siya ng sambayanang Pilipino na kahilingang huwag nang bayaran ang nauna nang utang ng gobyerno. Bayad na ito nang higit sa prinsipal. Kalabisan nang ibayad pa dito ang pondo lubos na kailangan ngayon para iahon sa gutom at kahirapan ang sambayanang Pilipino.

Nagdulot man ng paghihikahos ang ipinataw na kwarantina. Ang ginagawa ngayong “grow your own food” ng mamamayan ay sumisilip sa mga kahinaan ng kasalukuyang “import dependent, export oriented economy”. Tayo ay isang tropikal na bansang pinagyaman ng matabang lupa at maayos na klima. Kabalintunaang umaasa tayo sa importasyon ng pagkain, laluna ng bigas. Kailangang ayusin ang plano sa paggamit ng lupa upang iprayoridad ang agrikultura kaysa sa komersyo, na pinakikinabangan lamang ng mga negosyanteng landlord at mga nagpipinansya sa kanila. Balangkasin ang panibagong ekonomyang pangunahing nakatuon sa pangangailangan ng mga Pilipino hindi sa mga dayuhang monopolyo korporasyon.

KAPANGYARIHAN SA IILAN: “SUMUNOD NA LANG KAYO” PARA SA NAKARARAMI
Gaya nang ating nabanggit sa simula, ang kailangan ng manggagawa ay pampulitikang kapangyarihan upang tiyakin ang kanyang kalusugan, kabuhayan at kapakanan – na sumasaglit sa isip ng gobyerno kung kailangan ito para lumikha ng tubo sa kapital. Malusog para magtrabaho. Sumesweldo para bumalik sa trabaho sa susunod na araw. Pinaiiwas sa sakit o delubyo para manatiling produktibo sa paglikha ng tubo, buwis, at renta para sa iilang naghahari at nagmamay-ari sa lipunan.

Teka. Iyan ay mistulang isang diktadura?! Hindi ba’t nasa ilalim tayo ng diumano’y demokrasya? Oo. May kapangyarihan ang manggagawa – bilang magkakahiwalay na botante – na pumili tuwing eleksyon kung sino ang susunod na magsasamantala at manloloko sa atin.

Sa pagitan ng mga halalan, tayo ay pinepwersang maging maamong tupa. Sinasabihan na “sumunod na lang kayo”. Kinakastigo dahil kulang daw sa “disiplina”. Ang trabaho ng mga manggagawa bilang mabuting mga indibidwal na mamamayan ay sumunod, kahit inaabuso ng mga nasa kapangyarihan, kahit binabataan ng dahas o kamatayan sa mga checkpoint, kahit binabaril ng mga abusadong pulis (gaya ng nangyari sa ex-army na si Winston Ragos).

Narito ang kahinaan ng mga ginagawa ng rehimeng Duterte laban sa COVID19. Ang taumbayan ay hindi kasali. Taliwas sa ginawa ng sosyalistang bansang Vietnam, na kahit mas maliit ang ekonomya kumpara sa Pilipinas, ay nagawang maimobilisa ang gobyerno at ang taumbayan para pigilan ang pagkalat ng pandemya. Sa Vietnam, umasa ang gobyerno hindi pasibong sa pagpapasunod sa taumbayan kundi sa kanilang aktibong partisipasyon sa mga hakbang para labanan ang pandemya.

Nakakamit lamang ng manggagawa ang ganitong kapangyarihan, kung sila ay organisado. Ito ang unang aral na natututunan ng manggagawa sa pag-uunyon. Mag-isip at kumilos para sa kapakanan ng kabuuan. Hindi sa watak-watak at kanya-kanyang indibidwal na interes. Armado ng kaisipang lahat ng manggagawa ay magkakapatid bilang uri. At dahil organisado ay may kapangyarihan at lakas para baguhin ang kanilang kalagayan.

Ang ganitong mulat na disiplina ang nagpanday sa mamamayan ng Vietnam para tugunan ang salot na COVID19, na siya ring ginawa ng kanilang mga ninuno nang talunin sa digmaan ang Estados Unidos na pinakamakapangarihang bansa sa daigdig. Ito rin ang klase ng disiplinang bakal na kinatatakutan ng mga naghaharing uri sa Pilipinas at sa buong daigdig.

Dalawang pwersa ang kailangang magsanib para iligtas ang sangkatauhan sa COVID19: (a) syensya para sa kabutihan ng lahat at (b) pagkakapatiran ng sangkatuhan. Iisa ang banta laban dito – ang interes ng mga kapitalista, ang kapangyarihan ng pribadong pag-aari. Sapagkat ang matutuklasang bakuna ay pipilitin ng mga korporasyong medikal na magiging kalakal imbes na maging serbisyo sa sangkatauhan. At magagawa nila ito, kung mananatili ang pagkakanya-kanya ng mga tao, na gagawing magkakumpetensya bilang buyer sa merkado ng naturang bakuna. Ang tanging uri na maaring lumagpas sa ganitong makitid na pag-iiisip ay ang uring manggagawa.

Kung gayon, sa okasyong ito ng Mayo Uno – at sa darating na mga araw na pagtatalunan ang mga patakaran sa ilalim ng “new normal” sa isang pandaigdigang ekonomyang sinasalanta ng COVID19, isulong natin ang mga kagyat at pangmatagalang mga kahilingang mag-oorganisa sa kapangyarihan ng masang manggagawa at magtuturo sa istorikal na direksyon ng ating pakikibaka.

Tungo sa lipunang totoong kumakalinga sa interes ng lahat ng myembro ng lipunan, hindi lamang para sa iilang may-kapital. Isang lipunang totoong asosasyon, hindi separasyon, ng mga tao. Isang lipunan ng pagkakapatiran at kooperasyon, hindi kompetisyon, sa pagitan ng mga tao. Isang sosyalistang lipunang ipupundar ng kilusang paggawa at magbabagsak sa paghahari ng kapital.

Itaguyod ang kalusugan, kabuhayan, kapakanan ng mamamayan. Kapangyarihan sa masang manggagawa!

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[Statement] Dangal ng Manggagawang Ipinakipaglaban, Itaguyod at Pangalagaan -iDEFEND

Dangal ng Manggagawang Ipinakipaglaban, Itaguyod at Pangalagaan

Photo by Dino Manrique

1903 nang pinangunahan ng mga manggagawa sa ilalim ng Union Obrera Democratica de Filipinas ang unang martsa ng manggagawa sa Pilipinas, ipinanawagan nila ang pagpapataas ng kanilang sahod kasabay ng panawagang kalayaan mula sa pangongolonya ng Amerika nuong mga panahong iyon. Ngayon, mahigit isang siglo na ang nakalipas, anumang natitira pang karapatan sa paggawa na tinatamasa’y nangaganib nang mabawi ng tuluyan. Kalakhan ng manggagawang Pilipino ay hindi tumatanggap ng minimum wage, iilan lamang ay nabibilang sa anumang organisasyon– asosasyon man o unyon at kung gayo’y walang boses na makapagigiit ng magandang kondisyon sa paggawa, Ni walang kaseguruhan sa trabaho sapagkat laganap ang “endo” o 5-5-5.

Paglabag sa karapatang pantao ang kadusta-dustang kalagayan ng paggawa. Dagdag pa, imbes na komprehensibong tugunan ang problema ng laganap na kahirapan at kawalan ng trabaho ay lalo pang ipinatutupad ng gobyerno ang mga neoliberal na polisiyang higit pang nagpalala rito at pumapabor sa malalaking negosyo o dayuhang interes.

Masaklap pa, nagaganap ang pagdausdos ng kalagayan sa paggawa, kasabay ng pagbangis ng awtoritaryan at anti-demokratikong mga hakbang ng pamahalaang Duterte laban sa sariling mamamayan at para sa makitid nitong interes. Halimbawa, nagpapatuloy ang extra judicial killings sa ngalan ng pagsugpo sa droga (sa kabila ng pagpapawalang-sala sa mga convicted drug lords), kasabay nito umiigting ang kultura ng karahasan, kawalang-respeto sa kababaihan at kawalang respeto sa checks and balance sa kapangyarihan ng ehekutibo.

Anumang kritiko, dayuha’t hindi ay binibigwasan upang patahimikin, habang ang handang mangayupapa’y binibiyayaan ng pabor at pribilehiyo. Maging ang pabagu-bagong deklarasyon sa endo’y naka-disenyong palamigin ang namumuong kapasyahan sa hanay ng paggawa na ilaban nang iisa ang usapin ng kontraktwalisasyon.

Sa Araw ng Paggawa, ang In Defense of Human Rights and Dignity Movement (iDEFEND) ay mahigpit na nakikiisa sa aspirasyon at panawagan ng mga manggagawa sa isang buhay na may dignidad at dangal at hindi busabos. Ang pagbibigay ng nakabubuhay na sahod, trabahong regular at sapat na benepisyo sa mga manggagawa ang magpapanday ng makabayang pag unlad. Mabubuhayan ang merkado at magiging mabilis ang ikid ng lipunan tungo sa mas mataas na antas, at sa gayo’y maisasakatuparan ang karapatang socio-ekonomiko at pangkultural tungo sa pamumuhay na may dignidad at kaaya aya.

Ang iDEFEND ay taas kamaong bumabati sa mga kasamang manggagawa. Asahang ang kilusang pang karapatang pantao ay natural na katuwang ng manggagawa sa laban para sa katarungang panlipunan at laban sa awtokratiko at tiranong rehimen.

Source: idefend.ph

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[Press Release] Aquino’s labor policy failed to resolve job crisis, poverty wages – CTUHR

Aquino’s labor policy failed to resolve job crisis, poverty wages — CTUHR

Photo grabbed from CTUHR.org

Photo grabbed from CTUHR.org

On this year’s International Labor Day, Labor NGO Center for Trade Union and Human Rights said that the Aquino government’s labor policy and strategy of employment facilitation, labor export and flexibilization failed to resolve job crisis and dragged worker wages to lower levels.

CTUHR logo

“The Aquino administration hardly acknowledged there is a job crisis and jobless growth. Instead they insist on job mismatch and try to resolve unemployment by facilitating employment through job fairs during labor days and by promoting labor export. But after almost five years of implementing (Philippine Labor and Employment Program) PLEP through employment facilitation and labor flexibility, joblessness and near-joblessness remain widespread despite the steady growth in the economy,” Daisy Arago, Executive Director of CTUHR said.

The group emphasized that even as the recent survey of SWS showed that the number of unemployed decreased by over 3 million, unemployment rate in the country is still very high compared to neighboring countries.

On April 30, Social Weather Station latest survey reported a big dip in unemployment rate from 27 percent to 19.1 percent slashing the number of unemployed by more than 3 million. Government statistics has a more conservative estimate with unemployment rate at 6.8 percent. This however, is still significantly higher compared to Malaysia, Vietnam, and Singapore whose unemployment rates are at 2.7 percent, 2.1 percent and 1.9 percent respectively.
The group also noted that based on Bureau of Labor and Employment Statistics review of 2014, majority of the 1 million jobs generated last year were part time employment while seven out of 10 of these new jobs employed either own-account (self-employed) or unpaid family workers.

“Absence of decent jobs in our country has driven many Filipinos abroad in search of jobs and not few them fall prey to human traffickers or abusive employers. This has been well-highlighted by the case of Mary Jane Veloso, who was victimized by drug traffickers in her desperate search for employment in another country,” Arago said.

The group also said the regionalized wage system combined with the two-tier wage system (TTWS) introduced by the DOLE in 2012 is dragging down and will continue to drag wage rates to poverty levels. “The minimum wage in Metro Manila is only 45 percent of the family living wage. Wages have increased nominally with very little, token hikes in the past; real wages are actually decreasing by as much as 21 percent in Eastern Visayas and other regions. When before, minimum wage is based on the right to afford a decent living, the floor wage introduced by the TTWS is based on the poverty threshold,” Arago added.

The group said that the government should do more than just act like a manpower agency if it wants to resolve unemployment. “The absence of decent jobs is rooted to the government’s neoliberal paradigm of supplying only cheap and flexible labor and depending on volatile foreign investments. The government should promote a strong and sustainable local industry if it really wants to deliver decent jobs and living wages to its people,” Arago said.
For reference: Jane Siwa, CTUHR Public Information and Education, +63917.4682829

RELEASE
1 May 2015

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[Statement] Human Labor – Not a Commodity! -VISAYAS CLERGY DISCERNMENT GROUP

VISAYAS CLERGY DISCERNMENT GROUP

Human Labor – Not a Commodity!

Statement for Labor Day 2015
April 29, 2015

Bp Gerardo Alminaza croppedBishop Gerardo A. Alminaza, D.D.
Bishop of San Carlos
Head Convenor, Visayas Clergy Discernment Group

Pope Francis, in his homily on the Feast of St. Joseph, the Worker on May 2013, reminded us, that a society that does not fairly compensate labor, “that does not give work to people and that only looks to its balance books; that only seeks profit is unjust and goes against God.”

Over the years, we have been presenting the Church teachings on labor. We have also
presented on-going analyses of the social situation that affects labor adversely. Perhaps, it
is now time to be PRO-ACTIVE and make CONCRETE PROPOSALS. Moreover, there is a need to
strengthen ORGANIZED LABOR and SUPPORT GROUPS both local and international.

We have elucidated ad nauseam the Church teaching that labor is NOT A COMMODITY.
However, the reality is that CAPITAL still lists labor as one of the OVERHEAD EXPENSES.
When we negotiate for a flat-rate minimum wage, we are still working within the same
INHUMAN PARADIGM of capital that looks on wages as one of the many overhead expenses.

We must get out of the present inhuman box. We must assert that labor is a HUMAN
PARTNER of CAPITAL. Without it, capital cannot produce. In fact, capital was, in the first
place, produced by labor.

In view of the above NEW VIEWPOINT and NEW PARADIGM, we suggest that labor will no
longer be included in the list of overhead expenses. Rather, when the NET PROFIT is in
place, there will be an EQUITABLE division of the collective fruit of the collaboration of
labor and capital. In the existing paradigm, the surplus value of labor goes EXCLUSIVELY to
capital, and labor is just given a pittance. Now is the time to assert that, without labor AND
capital operating TOGETHER, there cannot be profit. So, some kind of PROFIT SHARING is
proposed here.

The above proposal will debunk the claim of some capitalists that high wages will not make
their business profitable. In view of this, the government has exempted some “distressed”
and small businesses from giving the minimum wage. This is not working! Concomitantly,
any UNIFORM and ACROSS THE BOARD setting of a minimum wage will face the unequal
capacity of small and big capitalists.

The Church social encyclical Mater et Magistra exhorted that remuneration of labor “must be determined in accordance with justice and equity” (MM, 71). This means that workers must be compensated according to the fruits of their labor, which “allow them to live a truly human life.”

Another factor is the fear that FOREIGN INVESTMENTS might not come in if wages are too high. The STATUS QUO is that the government has an UNWRITTEN COME-ON TO FOREIGN INVESTORS, “There is more fun and PROFIT in the Philippines because labor is CHEAP and UNORGANIZED!” If labor is A NECESSARY PARTNER in the negotiations of how much foreign capital will share from the net profit, reasonable foreign investors might see a different picture.

There must be a STRATEGIC and COMPREHENSIVE PLAN OF ACTION in view of the above NEW VIEWPOINT and NEW PARADIGM. We suggest that a people’s conference will craft a
proposed LAW embodying the above NEW VIEWPOINT and NEW PARADIGM. Our chances of getting a law passed according to the spirit of the new paradigm are rather slim. But, we
use this opportunity to EDUCATE the people through public debate and education program on our proposed law.

The ULTIMATE PURPOSE is to strengthen labor union organizing. This will include a thorough analysis of the EXTERNAL and INTERNAL FACTORS that hinder and promote genuine labor unions.

Pope Francis said that trade unions are essential for social change. Earlier, St. John Paul II’s Laborem Exercens has supported the right of workers to form labor unions in order to safeguard their vital interests.

WE GO BACK TO THE BASIC PRINCIPLE – GENUINE CHANGE CANNOT COME FROM ABOVE (e.g. a new law); IT CAN ONLY COME FROM BELOW, LED BY THE VANGUARD WORKERS WHO ARE ORGANIZED INTO STRONG LABOR UNIONS; with the support of other sympathetic sectors of society.

On Labor Day, we are one with workers and all people of goodwill in the call, “PEOPLE OVER PROFIT!”

Sicut Christus vivit,

+ Gerardo A. Alminaza, D.D.
Bishop of San Carlos
Head Convenor
Visayas Clergy Discernment Group
visayasclergydiscernment@yahoo.com

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[Press Release] Teachers to join workers in Labor Day march -TDC

Teachers to join workers in Labor Day march

Public school teachers under the Teachers’ Dignity Coalition (TDC) will join the workers’ march to celebrate the international labor day in Manila tomorrow. The workers will highlight “This day is for all the working people, this is a day to commemorate their daily sacrifices and contributions for the entire society.” Said Benjo Basas, a Caloocan City teacher and the group’s national chairperson.

TDC

Basas said members of the TDC will converge in Plaza Salamanca, Manila at 8:00 in the morning and will march along with labor group Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino (BMP) and other other organizations allied with multi-sectoral group Sanlakas to Mendiola Bridge.

“Like all the workers, we teachers bear the agony of low salaries, high prices of commodities, unfair labor practices, heavy workload and contractualization, among others. We are brothers and sisters in class and the existing system as well as the policies of the government are used to exploit us.” Basas explained.

TDC calls on Malacanang to provide increase in salaries and other means of benefits for teachers and government employees thru reduction of taxes, increase in productivity enhancement incentive and scrapping of divisive and deceptive performance-based bonus (PBB). The TDC has been lobbying for a P10, 000 across the board increase in salaries of teachers and minimum salary pegged at P15, 000 for all the government employees. They are also in support of the workers’ calls for living wage, job security and union rights.

TDC vows to initiate protest actions in the remaining weeks of summer vacation for their demands before the classes resume in June.

Benjo Basas, National Chairperson, 0920-5740241

NEWS RELEASE
May 1, 2015

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[Press Release] Teachers support workers’ call for wage increase, decent living -TDC

Teachers support workers’ call for wage increase, decent living

Public school teachers join the celebration and marches today in commemoration of the international labor day that primarily demand for increase in wages and protection for working class.

TDC

“Mayday is for all of us- working people to celebrate. This day recognizes our sacrifices and invaluable contribution, not just to the economy but to the entire society.” Benjo Basas, the group’s national chairperson said.
Basas said members of the TDC will be joining the workers under the Bukluran ng Manggagagawang Pilipino (BMP) and the labor alliance NAGKAISA who will march from Welcome Rotonda to Mendiola this morning.

“Teachers bear the agony of low salaries, high prices of commodities, unfair labor practices, heavy workload and contractualization, among others. These are also the everyday sufferings of the Filipino workers, thus our reason to take solidarity with the rest of the working class.” Basas explained.

Basas added that the Aquino administration, so far has not initiated a salary increase proposal for teachers and government workers and the last legislated increase in their salaries was the four-tranche increase in 2009 under the Arroyo administration which was fully implemented two years ago.

“P-Noy, for this day gave us assurance that there will be no increase in the wages of our brothers and sisters in the private sector, the same with us in the government.” Basas added.
TDC calls on Malacanang to provide increase in salaries and other means of benefits for teachers and government employees thru reduction in taxes, increase in productivity enhancement incentive and scrapping of divisive and deceptive performance-based bonus and granting of more benefits under the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS).

“The toils of the working class make the economy revolving and keep the world moving, a caring government should reward them with social recognition, not just jobs fair and free MRT rides. The Filipino workers deserve more.” Basas ended.

TDC vows to initiate protest actions in the remaining weeks of summer vacation for their demands before the classes resume in June. #

Benjo Basas, National Chairperson, 0920-5740241

NEWS RELEASE
May 1, 2014

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[Statement] WeDpro extends its solidarity to the workers all over the nation and the world on the occasion of International Labor Day

Statement on the Commemoration of International Labor Day
May 1, 2012

WeDpro extends its solidarity to the workers all over the nation and the world on the occasion of International Labor Day also known as May Day, the day when we focus on the struggles of the working class.

Despite the promises of the PNoy administration of “daang matuwid”, millions of Filipino families who are the great majority in the Philippines, still stumble much too often, burdened hard by the road of poverty and bulldozed by injustice and exploitation. The continuing struggle for just wages, union rights and pro-workers’ policies, to name a few, is an ugly and painful dot in the political and economic landscape of the country on the one hand, and an unending road of the people’s struggles for their rights on the other hand.

Indeed, more and more women continue to be part of the productive force, as do children and youth. However, abuses including sexual exploitation continue to be part of the reality that they have to bear often in silence. Children work in “jobs” that are dangerous and high risk without protection from the laws – and in fact, in clear violation of the laws.

Unemployed and underemployed youth are becoming desperate for jobs that are decent and life-giving. No wonder why “sex work” or prostitution has become a normalized source of income for many, women and men alike, and even for children who are sold and pushed by their own parents into the ever-growing “entertainment” industry.

Call centers are a pipe dream for many of our youth, despite the increasing reports of the health impact on call center agents – alcohol and drugs abuse, high blood and heart-related problems, sexual and reproductive health issues, general well being concerns including psychological or mental health.

Women continue to bear the greater burden of the double-day, multiple tasks as home “managers” and at the same time part of the informal sector that afford very little economic protection. Without doubt, there is increasing number of women professionals and indeed some have excelled in their chosen professions, but the majority of women continue to suffer the unrelenting yet often subtle impacts of capitalism and patriarchy.

The so-called economic gains that the PNoy administration has been presenting as part of its achievements are hardly felt on the ground as pendulum-like gas prices, rising costs of food and essential commodities, unaffordable housing and education, among others, are beginning to feel like luxury items instead of being part of our basic needs for survival and human security.

Without the people-oriented transparent and accountable political will of the PNoy administration to address poverty and social justice issues, the “daang matuwid” will continue to be a road of thorns and bumps and bombs as the unrelenting struggles continue to wage protests, strikes, rebellions and other forms of resistances to insist on our human rights.

Workers’ rights are after all, an integral part of the internationally accepted standards of human rights. More than ever, we take note of the fact that workers’ rights rightly equates to women’s liberation from the yokes of capitalism-militarist ideology and patriarchy.

Aida F. Santos
Chairperson, WeDpro Board of Directors
01 May 2012
Quezon City, Philippines
Email: aida.santos@wedprophils.org

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[Statement] P125 Minimum Wage Increase Now! www.masa.ph

by Partido Lakas ng Masa

The Workers Create the Wealth of the Society!
We Deserve Better!

The Regional Wage Board’s decision of giving NCR workers a 22 pesos non-wage benefit is unacceptable and considered an insult to all non-agricultural workers. The additional Php 22 was too little to make any economic impact for the workers because it was given way too late when prices of basic commodities and transportation fares were already increased.  We can say that the adjustment is really not an adjustment to help but a mere pampalubag loob (consolation).  President Noynoy Aquino (Pnoy) made an announcement before May 1, International Labor Day, that he has good news for the workers.  But instead of making good of his promise to help alleviate a little the economic condition of the workers, he failed the expectations of the Filipino working class for the nth time.  This decision and the inability of Pnoy to act in favor of the majority, made it clear that Pnoy’s bosses are not the ordinary people but the elites.

The Php 22 is not a wage increase which the workers are asking.  It is way below the Php 125 or the Php 75 that the workers are asking, and is too little for a Living Wage needed by a worker to live a decent life.  The Php 22 that will be added to the Cost of Living Allowance (COLA) will not be subject to over time and night differential and 13th month pay computations, making the Board’s decision more favorable to employers than the workers who badly need a salary increase.

This decision is a manifestation that the ruling elite of this country is highly favored by this government.  The Private Partnership Program (PPP) of Pnoy is in full motion to the detriment of the working class.  All those who will benefit from this shenanigan are the capitalists who are cashing in on the government’s inability to protect the interest of the working class who produces the wealth of the society.

The Partido Lakas ng Masa (Party of the Laboring Masses) calls on Pnoy to do something for a change, to do something to benefit the ordinary Filipino, especially the Working Class.  What he needs is a political will to put forward policies that will benefit the poor majority of the society.  What the workers are asking is a Php 125 salary increase, the scrapping of the Oil Deregulation Law, and the cancellation of EVAT for basic commodities!  And we will not settle for anything less!

11 May 2011