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Tulfo ‘acting like China’s envoy to the Philippines,’ labor leader says

Rosette Adel - Philstar.com
Tulfo âacting like Chinaâs envoy to the Philippines,â labor leader says
Former broadcaster and newspaper columnist turned foreign envoy Ramon Tulfo is standing by his comment that Filipino workers are "lazy."
Facebook / pg / IMKTOfficial

MANILA, Philippines — Labor leader and senatorial candidate Leody de Guzman on Sunday took a swipe at Special Envoy to China Ramon Tulfo, saying he seems to be confused about his job as he is acting like China’s ambassador to the Philippines.

“[K]ung masipag man itong si Tulfo, ito ay kasipagan niyang magsalita at mang-intriga. Malayong malayo sa manggagawa na lumilikha ng produkto at serbisyong may pinakikinabangan ng lahat ng tao (If Tulfo is diligent on something, it is on being a blabbermouth and making intrigues. A far cry from workers who create products and services that benefit everyone),” De Guzman, chair of Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino, said in a release.

“He seems to have misunderstood his job description, he is acting like China's envoy to the Philippines,” he added.

De Guzman made the statement after Tulfo refused to apologize amid calls for him to say sorry for belittling Filipino workers.

Tulfo not sorry for saying Filipino workers are lazy

The former broadcaster and newspaper columnist turned foreign envoy earlier claimed that developers prefer Chinese workers because Filipino workers are “lazy.” He said this when asked about the influx of Chinese workers in the country in an interview with CNN Philippines on Thursday.

“To the Filipino construction workers: Why should I apologize to you for telling the truth that you’re basically lazy and a slowpoke? Does the truth hurt?” Tulfo said in a follow-up tweet on Saturday.

Tulfo’s remarks came weeks after President Rodrigo Duterte said he is in favor of letting the Chinese work in the country. Duterte disapproved of deporting Chinese laborers as he likened the foreigners’ presence in the country to Filipinos working in China.

READ: Duterte on deporting Chinese workers: Let them work here

Presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo defended the president’s statement saying “the president's policy on Chinese workers who are illegally staying in the country remains the same.”

He said the government would enforce immigration laws against illegal Chinese workers.

'Filipino workers are called workers because they are working'

De Guzman also defended Filipino laborers saying they are the main reason for Philippine economy’s success.

“Kaya nga tinawag na manggagawa, kasi nga gumagawa. Walang ibang dahilan ng pag-unlad ng ekonomiya ng bansa liban sa manggagawang Pilipino. Patunay ng aming kasipagan ay yung mismong pinagmamalaki ng administrasyong ito na Gross Domestic Product at Gross National Product (That’s why they are called workers because they work. There is no other reason for the development of the economy but the Filipino workers. The proof of our hard work is what this administration is boasting which are the Gross Domestic Product and Gross National Product),” De Guzman said.

The labor leader also cited that even Forbes Magazine in October last year reported that the per capita GDP of the Philippines reached $2,891.36 in 2017.

He said that this is “remarkably exceptional given that Philippines’ average for the period 1960-2017 is only 1,627.98 USD.”

Tañada: OFWs preferred by employers

Opposition senatorial bet Erin Tañada also shared the same sentiment as De Guzman saying Filipino workers are industrious.

“Masipag ang Pinoy at Pinay. Hindi tamad. Napatunayan na ng maraming dekada na tayo ang hinahanap ng mga employers sa abroad. Huwag namang kapwa Pilipino at opisyal pa ng pamahalaan ang maglalaglag sa ating mga OFWs (Filipinos and Filipinas are hardworking. They are not lazy. It has been proven in decades that Filipino workers are sought after by employers abroad. It should not be that a fellow Filipino, not to mention a government official, is the one to let OFWs down),” he was quoted in a campaign rally in Hong Kong.

Tañada said Tulfo should just instead focus on working for Filipinos.

'Stop justifying Filipinos are lazy remark'

Meanwhile, De Guzman’s political party Partido Lakas Masa is also calling on Tulfo to stop justifying his claims. It lamented how this administration still has not resolved the issue of contractualization in the country.

“Why should this administration complain for the lack of skilled workers when all they have done is strengthen policies that discourage skilled Filipino workers from remaining in the country,” PLM’s Sonny Melencio said.

“Wages are at starvation levels, just enough for workers to return the following day to be enslaved all over again, Contractualization remains prevalent and the administration is also actively goading Filipinos to apply for work in other countries instead of generating sustainable jobs locally,” he added.

During his 2016 campaign, President Rodrigo Duterte vowed to end contractualization.

In December 2016, Labor and Employment chief Silvestre “Bebot” Bello III said the president is fulfilling his vows, citing that more than 32,000 got job security after their employers regularized the status of their employment.

In January 2017, however, Duterte approved the implementation of a new regulation issued by the Department of Labor and Employment or the Department Order No. 168 on contractualization.

The department order prohibits “endo” and other “labor-only” contracting practices, which according to a labor union, would “allow illegal endo scheme to take a new form through 'seasonal' and project-based employment.”

2019 MIDTERM ELECTIONS

CHINESE WORKERS

ERIN TANADA

FILIPINO WORKERS

LEODY DE GUZMAN

RAMON TULFO

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