Aquino salutes Filipino workers in final Labor Day message
MANILA, Philippines – On the eve of Labor Day, President Benigno Aquino III saluted the country's workers at home and abroad, citing their sacrifices to give a good life to their families and their contribution to the economy.
Communications Undersecretary Manolo Quezon III read Aquino's full Labor Day message – his last as Chief Executive – in an interview on state-run dZRB on Saturday, April 30.
“Saludo ang ating sambayanan sa mga manggagawang Pilipinong nagpupunyagi para sa kanilang pamilya at pangarap. Idinaraos natin ang Araw ng Paggawa bilang pasasalamat sa alay ninyong husay, dangal, at lakas sa ating bayan,” Aquino said.
(The whole nation salutes Filipino laborers who work hard for their families and for their dreams. We celebrate Labor Day to express our gratitude for the excellence, honor, and strength that you offer to the country.)
The President added that under his Daang Matuwid (Straight Path) administration, the labor force has been cooperative, competitive, and caring.
“Sa loob ng 6 na taon nating paglalakbay sa Daang Matuwid, kinakitaan ng ating pamahalaan ang ating mga kababayan ng tunay na pakikiisa sa agenda ng pag-unlad. Dinulog ng samahang manggagawa ang panawagan natin para sa tapat na pakikipag-ugnayan at kapayapaan para sa industriya,” he said.
(In our 6-year journey in the Straight Path, the government saw genuine participation in the agenda of progress from our countrymen. The labor force heeded our call for earnest coordination and industrial peace.)
“Tinanggap ng mga mamamayan ang hamon ng nagbabagong mukha ng teknolohiya, at pinatunayang handa ang Pilipinong makipagsabayan sa pandaigdigang merkado. Hindi napatid ang suporta at pagmamalasakit ng mga kababayan natin sa ibayong dagat, pati na ng unipormadong hanay na tumindig para sa ating mga komunidad,” Aquino added.
(Our countrymen accepted the challenge of an ever-changing technology, and proved that the Filipino can keep up with the global market. The support and concern of fellow Filipinos overseas have been unwavering, as well as that of our uniformed personnel who stand for our communities.)
He noted that his administration “strived to return the favor” by laying down appropriate solutions so that “everybody could live their lives with dignity.”
“Ipinagmamalaki natin ang bawat isa sa inyong nagdamayan upang iangat ang kalidad ng trabaho sa ating lipunan (Let’s be proud of ourselves for working together to raise the quality of jobs in our society),” he added.
Aquino then said that these reforms should continue, as it is necessary to promote positive change.
“Inaanyayahan ko kayong makisabay sa ating pagkilos: Sumulong tayo sa tamang landas, tungo sa maliwanag at makatarungang bukas (I invite everybody to join our cause. Let’s advance to the correct path, towards a bright and just tomorrow)," he said.
Based on data from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), the country's unemployment rate is estimated at 5.8% in January 2016, down from 6.6% a year ago.
While the Philippines has taken strides to improve its labor situation, it is still plagued by various complaints, ranging from low minimum wages and high cost of living, to workplace safety and unstable employment. (READ: SONA 2015: The state of Philippine labor under Aquino)
In the final leg of presidential debates before the 2016 elections, for instance, the topic of contractualization was brought up, and all 5 presidential candidates vowed to end it.
Meanwhile, the PSA says there are around 2.4 million overseas Filipino workers (OFW) as of 2015. Their remittances to the country – worth a total of $25.8 billion in 2015, according to the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas – help buoy the economy.
During the campaign, the 5 presidential bets have bared their plans to combat illegal recruitment, ease OFW's burden in airports, and empower overseas workers, among others. – Michael Bueza/Rappler.com
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