By Czarina Nicole Ong Ki
As several parts of the country slowly transition from the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) to the general community quarantine (GCQ), the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) stressed the need to strike a “balance” in supporting livelihood while safeguarding the health and welfare of workers.
“Sa pagbubukas muli ng ibang negosyo sa ilalim ng general community quarantine, sana ay isaalang-alang ang pagbalanse sa pangangailangan maghanap-buhay at pagpapanatiling ligtas ang buhay ng ating mga manggagawa, (In opening up businesses under the GCQ, hopefully a balance will be struck between the need to earn a livelihood and the need to protect the welfare of workers),” said CHR Spokesperson Atty. Jacqueline Ann de Guia.
Since there is no end yet in sight for the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, de Guia urged the government to expedite its aid for the poor and address the needs of the workers and their families.
“Ang kawalan ng hanapbuhay ay lalong nagsasadlak sa ilang mga Pilipino sa kahirapan, (The loss of a job further pushes Filipinos into poverty),” she said. “Ang karapatang magkaroon ng trabaho at sapat na kabuhayan ay importante sa pagpapanatili ng dignidad ng isang tao (The right to have a job and a just livelihood are important in upholding the dignity of people).”
She cited the plight of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs). Many of them were forced to return home because they could not fulfill their work terms due to the lockdowns implemented in other countries.
Several businesses that workers have been relying on for their income are also struggling to stay afloat. “Iilan lang yan sa mga reyalidad na kinakaharap ng ating mga manggagawang Pilipino, (These are just a few of the realities faced by Filipino workers),” said de Guia.
This is why the CHR said the government needs to step up in order to help alleviate the negative effects felt by businesses that remain under ECQ.
De Guia is hopeful that no one gets left behind as the country struggles to rise from the devastating effects of COVID-19.