By Jel Santos
Days before the State of the Nation Address (SONA) of President Duterte, protesters flocked to Mendiola, Manila as they called on the government to end contractualization.
Duterte, during his candidacy, promised to end contractualization in the country.
Various terminated contractual workers started to mount a five-day anti-contractualization camp in Mendiola as the SONA of Duterte neared.
Those who joined were displaced and outsourced workers of the Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company (PLDT), Jollibee Foods Corporation (JFC), Slord Development Corporation (makers of UniPak sardines), Manila Harbour Center, Pearl Island, and members of Liga ng mga Manggagawa sa Valenzuela City. They called on the administration to reinstate and regularize them.
They were joined by pro-labor groups, kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) – Metro Manila, Alyansa ng mga Manggagawa Laban sa Kontraktwalisasyon (ALMA Kontraktwal), Defend Job Philippines and Kilos Na Manggagawa during their 5-day protest campout.
“We hope that President Duterte and Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III will be true to their words that they are doing everything to make their own rulings on regularization become a reality. Duterte must show us tangible and significant efforts and results in pressuring companies like JFC, PLDT among many others, to totally regularize hundreds of thousands of workers,” Ed Cubelo, KMU Metro Manila chairperson, said Saturday.
Cubelo also said that “[President Duterte] must not leave them waiting and hanging. A single day of inaction on the issues of regularization of workers means another day for them and their families to live miserably.”
According to the groups, they will be lingering in Mendiola until Monday morning and will hold an “Anti-Contractualization Caravan” from Mendiola to the University of the Philippines in Diliman, Quezon City, where they will merge with thousands of protesters before marching to the United People’s SONA 2018 program along Commonwealth Avenue in Quezon City.
“Our calls against contractualization and for our regularization will amplify in the sea of people on Monday. President Duterte must fulfill his empty and failed promises to end contractualization and improve the lives of workers if he doesn’t want himself “to be endo” by the Filipino people.”