Vice President Leni Robredo said there should be appropriate action on the different concerns of Filipino workers for their significant contributions to the nation’s economy and to the whole of society.
Robredo made the statement as the country commemorated Labor Day on Saturday, May 1.
In her message, the Vice President said Labor Day should not only revolve around recognizing the hard work of Filipino workers.
“Sa araw na ito, kinikilala natin ang mga manggagawang Pilipino at ang kanyang ambag sa lipunan at kasaysayan (On this day, we recognize Filipino workers and their contribution to our history),” she said.
“Maging araw sana ito hindi lamang ng papuri at pasasalamat, kundi pati ng kongkretong aksyon sa mga isyung matagal nang idinadaing ng mga manggagawa (I hope this day will become not just a day of praises and thanks, but also of concrete actions to issues that our workers have been experiencing for a long time),” she added.
Vice President Robredo, in particular, mentioned the issue of contractualization and protecting the welfare of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).
She likewise called for support for workers affected by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
“Sa harap ng pandemya, ang pagsigurong may sapat na ayuda, suporta para sa mga nawalan ng kabuhayan, maayos na pampublikong transportasyon, at ligtas na mga lugar ng trabaho (In the midst of the pandemic, there should be assistance, support for those who lost their jobs, and efficient public transport, and safe workplaces),” she said.
According to Robredo, the pandemic showed that Filipino workers are the backbone of the country’s economy and their welfare should be promoted.
“Ipinakita sa atin ng pandemya: Ang manggagawang Pilipino ang lakas ng ating ekonomiya (The pandemic showed us that Filipinos workers are the strength of our economy),” she said.
“Sama-sama nating itaguyod ang kanilang mga karapatan at kapakanan, at sama-sama tayong sumulong sa mas ligtas, mas patas, at mas makataong mundo para sa bawat manggagawa at bawat Pilipino (Together, let us promote their rights and welfare, and let us push for a safer, fairer, and more humane environment for every worker and every Filipino),” she added.
President Duterte has called on Congress for a law that will give workers security of tenure to address the issue of contractualization. However, in July 2019, he vetoed the Security of Tenure Bill, saying it “unduly broadens the scope and definition of prohibited labor-only contracting, effectively proscribing forms of contractualization that are not particularly unfavorable to the employees involved.”
“I believe the sweeping expansion of the definition of labor-only contracting destroys the delicate balance and will place capital and management at an impossibly difficult predicament with adverse consequences to the Filipino workers in the long term,” the President said in his veto message.