On Labor Day, prelate calls on gov’t to protect workers’ safety, health amid COVID pandemic

A Catholic prelate has called on the government to look after the safety and health of country’s workers amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

Bishop Gerardo Alminaza, chairperson of Church People-Workers Solidarity. (Photo from the Diocese of San Carlos/CBCP News)

Bishop Gerardo Alminaza, chairperson of the Church People-Workers Solidarity (CWS), laments the government’s failure to protect the rights of millions of workers, the CBCP News reported.

“Government apathy and inefficiency has failed to protect workers’ safety and health,” CBCP News quoted Alminaza.

“In the guise of ‘reviving the economy’, workers’ safety and lives are put in jeopardy.”

He said record high unemployment rate, rising inflation and lack of income continued to infest the country’s workers.

The San Carlos bishop urged the government to give in to the proposed P100 daily wage subsidy being pushed by labor organizations to augment the workers’ measly income.

He said the workers should be kept “protected and alive” since they are "the bloodline of the society.

Alminaza said CWS also pushed for the implementation of the following measures to protect the workers as demanded by labor groups and workers’ union: mass testing and aggressive contact tracing in workplaces, free and safe vaccine for all workers, a substantial cash aid for all and the passage of of the Paid Pandemic Leave Bill.

The Church leader also deplored the “relentless” killings of activists, human rights defenders, labor leaders, and union members.

“We celebrate this year’s Labor Day in the midst of heightened economic onslaught and intensified political repression,” he said.

“As church people, we will not be silenced in the midst of these attacks. We will not cower in the midst of harassment, persecution, and intimidation,” Alminaza said.