Pangilinan says 'forced' face-to-face work scheme 'cruel'

Despite the imposition of the least restrictive Covid-19 Alert Level 1, vice-presidential aspirant Senator Francis "Kiko" Pangilinan said it is "cruel" to force the implementation of a face-to-face work scheme, especially amid the increasing costs of basic goods and fuel products.

(Jansen Romero / MANILA BULLETIN)

"Malupit kung pipilitin ng gobyerno ang pagbabalik ng lahat ng empleyado sa opisina, gaya ng mga BPO (It would be cruel if the government will force all employees to return to their office such as those working in the BPO industry)," Pangilinan said in a statement on Saturday, March 19.

Aside from the Covid-19 pandemic, Pangilinan said that rising prices of basic goods, oil hikes, traffic jams, public transportation woes, as well as lack of additional pay are still here and will affect the workers.

"Ang lahat ng ito ang kakaharapin ng mga manggagawang Pilipino kung pipiliting bumalik sa opisina. Sa kabila ng kahirapang ito, ano ba ang maitutulong ng gobyerno? (Workers will have to face these if they will be forced to return to their offices. How will the government help?)" he said.

"Saan makakarating ang P200 kada buwan na ayuda na hindi naman lahat makakatanggap? (The P200 per month cash aid, what can it do if not everyone will receive it?)" Pangilinan added.

President Duterte earlier approved a recommendation to provide a monthly aid of P200 to poor households belonging to the bottom half amid rising fuel costs.

Meanwhile, Pangilinan noted that the government should shift its focus on achieving a flexible work setup that would benefit both workers and employers, and as part of the better, new normal the country wants to achieve.

"No one size fits all. Certain types of work are suited to the office. But other types have proven as effective and economical even when done from home or remotely," Pangilinan said.

"The days ahead should not be a return to the status quo; it is a new and better way forward where our workers are more empowered to shape their working environment, more aware of their well-being and regarded as the most vital resource of our nation," he added.