By Erma Edera
A group of construction workers has dared special envoy to China Ramon Tulfo to immerse in a construction site for three days so that he will know how hard it is for them to earn a living and to give him a better understanding of their situation.
In a Facebook note shared by Alan Tanjusay, spokesman of Associate Labor Unions-Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (ALU-TUCP), the construction workers representing workers in the Industry Tripartite Council called out Tulfo because of his “highly inappropriate” statements against the workers.
“We urge you to immerse in construction sites for three days starting 10 a.m. Wednesday, March 13. Come live and work with us for three days before you make your conclusions. We have alerted all our members in Metro Manila to assist and accommodate you wherever construction sites you may want to immerse,” they said in a statement on Monday.
The CITC is a tripartite body engaged in policy consultation and social dialogue regarding issues involving the construction industry. They are composed of 100,000 laborers from government workers, project contractors and owners.
“If Chinese contractors told you that Filipino workers are inefficient and are slowpokes, why didn’t you verify it? Why didn’t you even defend your fellow Filipinos from these foreign Chinese contractors?,” the workers said.
“You didn’t even check that even the Chinese construction workers we have worked with, as well as other foreign workers are also slow workers because of the high stress and hardwork in the heat, cold and harsh conditions at work sites,” they added.
The group also said that all the important and critical infrastructures would not have been build if not for laborers that Tulfo labelled “slowpokes” and “inefficient”.
“Will we have built all the important and critical infrastructures on time if we were ‘inefficient’ and ‘slowpokes’ as you claim us to be? Do you even know how low our salaries are? Do you even know how hard and dangerous it is to dangle from top of the 75th floor of a building just so a project can be completed on time?” Do you know how dangerous it is to install glass at the tops of condominium buildings?,” they said in a statement.
The workers said Tulfo can immerse in the construction sites for three days from Wednesday, March 13 so he can see for himself how they work, how they live and what are the conditions that they go through before he make his conclusions.
Tulfo earlier claimed that Chinese workers “are better” than Filipino workers, as he defended the influx of Chinese workers in the country during an interview with CNN Philippines’ “On The Record” on Thursday, March 7.
TUCP, on Friday, called Tulfo’s remarks an act of betrayal against Filipinos and asked him to retract his statement and apologize to Filipino workers.
However, Tulfo refused to apologize for calling Filipino workers “incompetent and inefficient.”
“To the Filipino construction workers: Why should I apologize to you for telling the truth that you’re basically lazy and a slowpoke? Does the truth hurt?” Tulfo said in a tweet on Saturday.