Workers lament Duterte failure to deliver promises

Published July 22, 2020, 2:58 PM

by Leslie Ann Aquino

Labor groups scored President Duterte on Wednesday for failure to deliver his promises to workers more than four years since he came to power.


United Workers representing Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU), Nagkaisa Labor Coalition (Nagkaisa), and Pagkakaisa ng Uring Manggagawa (Paggawa) cited the issue on contractualization as one of them.

“Duterte gained popularity for vowing to end contractualization. But more than four years into his term, there is still no law that would end this scourge for workers in precarious conditions,” said United Workers in a statement.

In their State-of-Labor-Address, labor groups also scored Duterte’s mishandling of the pandemic which they said increased the COVID-19 cases as well as cost the jobs and livelihoods, especially of ordinary workers.

“The few who have gone back to work have to travel in hazardous conditions. This is compounded by the unjustified and discriminatory policy of preventing jeepneys from operating again,” said Elmer Labog, chairperson of the KMU.

“Worse, instead of providing jobs, Duterte terminated 11,000 workers of ABS-CBN,” he added.

The group also cited the insufficient resources allotted for wage subsidies and other social protection programs available for workers.

They also lamented Duterte’s trade union repression as the Philippines gained notoriety once again as one of the 10 worst countries for trade unions and workers.

“We urge government to recognize the right to self-organization, and not to be harsh to workers who organize unions. No matter how loud mouthed are our leaders in the ‘campaign against the oligarchs,’ all those words are but sound and fury signifying nothing if we cannot empower our workers to advance their interest and have a voice in the workplace,” said Atty. Sonny Matula, chairperson of Nagkaisa and president of the Federation of Free Workers.

Protesters said they went to the Department of Labor and Employment in Intramuros, Manila on foot and aboard a number of vehicles Wednesday but they were prevented from going near the DoLE building by Manila Police District.

Members of the United Workers alliance said they will march with other groups on Monday during the State-of-the-Nation Address (SoNA) to exact accountability from Duterte for its failure to address the pressing demands of the people and prioritizing anti-people legislation.