Members of the labor coalition Nagkakaisa hold up fists with construction nails to symbolize the government’s ‘pangakong napako’ or unfulfilled promise of issuing an order ending contractualization.
Edd Gumban
Workers unite for Labor Day rally vs ‘endo’
Sheila Crisostomo (The Philippine Star) - April 26, 2018 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Fired up after being left out in the cold by President Duterte, labor organizations previously at odds have bonded together to prepare for a major indignation rally on May 1.

In a joint press conference yesterday, Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) chairman Elmer Labog said the workers are “angry” over Duterte’s failure to sign an executive order that would end job contractualization.

“The growing frustration, disappointment and disenchantment of workers over President Duterte’s failure to fulfill his promise have only bonded workers. We will march as one on Labor Day in a historic first for the Philippine labor movement,” Labog said.

He said the workers will turn the Labor Day celebration into an indignation rally to show their solidarity against contractualization. 

Labor groups are up in arms after Duterte’s refusal to sign an EO that will end the practice of contractualization by employers.  

Instead of an EO, the President will certify as priority the Security of Tenure bill pending in Congress.

Nagkakaisa labor coalition chairman Michael Mendoza said Duterte gave them false hope that workers would finally be liberated from inhumane employment practices.

“The problem is the President did not even ask for our opinion. We gave five versions of the EO but he did not even talk to us. We were made to wait for two years for nothing,” he said.

The KMU and the Nagkakaisa, which represent the broadest labor coalition since 1980s, have called on workers “of all shapes and sizes” to join the rally. 

Sentro secretary-general Joshua Mata reminded Duterte that the working class voted for him in the 2016 presidential race because of his promise to stop contractualization.

“On Labor Day, Malacañang will feel the backlash of the workers. We will show our anger over what happened. Our hope became an empty promise,” he said.

Mata said aside from the need to contend with contractualization practices, workers now also have to endure inadequate wages and the rising prices of commodities and services because of the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) law initiated by the Duterte administration.

Meanwhile, an opposition lawmaker urged President Duterte yesterday to shelve his Charter change (Cha-cha) initiative and instead work on creating more jobs and fighting inflation or the increase in consumer prices.

Rep. Tom Villarin of party-list group Akbayan made the appeal in the wake of the first quarter Pulse Asia survey showing people were more concerned with jobs and inflation than with Cha-cha or the effort to revise the Constitution to shift the nation to the federal system.

“The Duterte administration should put Cha-cha in the back burner and focus on people’s needs and wants, not its own power agenda,” he said.

He said the people’s concerns as expressed in the survey should prompt the President “to fulfill his promise to end endo (end of contract).”

“While the ABC crowd sees the administration’s anti-crime campaign as a priority, the vast majority of the poor D and E classes don’t see it as such,” he said.

He added that the President and his congressional allies should genuinely work to help people cope with rising prices and to have jobs and decent wages.

While jobs, wages and inflation were the top issues in people’s minds in the Pulse Asia survey, issues that included Cha-cha were the least of their concerns.

The monthly increases in consumer prices were blamed largely on the tax reform law, officially labeled as TRAIN.

According to Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Zarate, the price hikes were caused by new and higher taxes the law has imposed starting in January. – With Jess Diaz

KILUSANG MAYO UNO LABOR DAY
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