Labor Day protests to continue, but observing ECQ rules

Published April 28, 2020, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin

By Leslie Ann Aquino

The Kilusang Mayo Uno and the NAGKAISA Labor Coalition will hold different kinds of movements on May 1, Labor Day, both online and offline.

Due to the prevailing enhanced community quarantine, labor groups will be making use of social media to make their concerns known on the said day.

“This year’s Labor Day is different because of the ECQ in Metro Manila and other parts of the country. But we believe that social media will play an important role for us to be able to express our concerns and issues and communicate them with the government,” NAGKAISA Labor Coalition Chairman Sonny Matula said in a virtual press conference on April 28, Tuesday.

But Kilusang Mayo Uno Chairman Elmer Labog said there will still be protest action and he assured that it won’t violate the ECQ guidelines.

“It will remain to be a participative action from our workers, who are in their workplaces or in communities where there are [a] substantial number of workers,” he said.

<=”” span=””>sic] protest. It’s not necessary for them to leave their respective barangays,” added Labog.

During the media briefing, labor groups laid down the demands of workers on Labor Day, which revolve around the theme Kalusugan, Kabuhayan, Karapatan, Ipaglaban! (Health, Livelihood, Human Rights).

“We can’t emphasize enough the urgency of government to provide immediate relief to all workers. From the President’s report on the 5th week of ECQ, only about 300,000 [have been] given financial aid out of two million displaced workers!” Labog said.

“We urge the government to strengthen COVID-19 Adjustment Measures Program (CAMP) instead of changing to a Small Business Wage Subsidy (SBWS) program. In CAMP, there is flexibility on the part of workers. All you need is an ID and a payslip to avail of the financial aid, while in SBWS, your employer has to be compliant first with SSS and BIR. It’s very restrictive” Judy Miranda of Nagkaisa Women added.

As for Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) workers, another group noted that several companies have violated ECQ guidelines and do not have enough health safety protocols to ensure that physical distancing is observed.

BIEN Philippines said it has recorded several BPO workers being infected by COVID-19 and no mass testing has been conducted for them.

“This is a manifestation that our efforts to keep the economy alive means nothing to this government. We are neglected and DOLE has admitted they are not aware of the working conditions of BPO workers,” said Mylene Cabalona, president of the BPO Industry Employees Network (BIEN).