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MANILA, Philippines – Partido Lakas ng Masa presidential candidate and labor leader Leody de Guzman promised to enact his “Labor First Policy” to solve the country’s labor problems should he win as president .
“Una, sa labor first policy, ititigil ko ‘yong contractualization, ipasasara ko ang lahat ng mga manpower agency. Pangalawa, automatic, itataas ko ang sahod ng mga manggagawa sa probinsya kapantay ng sa Metro Manila. ‘Yon kaagad bago ang susunod ay yung sa 750 pesos,” De Guzman said during the CNN Philippines presidential debate on Sunday, February 27.
(First, in the labor policy, I will end contractualization, and close all manpower agencies. Second, I will automatically raise the salaries of workers in the provinces to equal the salaries of workers in Metro Manila. After this, the P750 minimum wage follows.)
Ending contractualization and raising minimum wage have long been part of De Guzman’s platforms. De Guzman and running mate Walden Bello’s platforms called “Bagong Politika, Bagong Ekonomiya (New Politics, New Economy) are centered on the economy, politics, and social development.
During the debate, De Guzman also maintained his proposed minimum wage of P750 for workers. The labor leader also suggested changing the dynamics on importation and exportation to protect the consumers and manufacturers.
“Kailangan nating bumitaw doon sa dating patakaran na lagi tayong import-dependent, export-oriented na nagreresulta ng pagkawasak no’ng ating sariling industriya (We need to let go of our policy that we are always import-dependent and export-oriented that results in the destruction of our own industry),” De Guzman said.
In response to hiking oil prices, De Guzman proposed amending the oil deregulation law. The same proposal was made by his running mate Bello. The law reduced the Philippine government’s control on oil pricing activity and trade restrictions.
“Alisin na natin ‘yong batas tungkol sa deregulation law ng ating industriya ng langis. Nang sa gano’n ay magkaroon ng pakialam ang gobyerno na panghimasukan ‘yong pagtatakda ng presyo ng produktong petrolyo,” the labor leader said.
(Let’s do away with the oil industry’s deregulation law so that our government can set the prices of oil products.)
The labor leader also had a heated debate with his fellow candidate Jose Montemayor on the topic of labor rights. At one point in the debate, Montemayor asked De Guzman if the labor leader also cared for the employers.
De Guzman immediately responded by highlighting the plights of the workers. According to the labor leader, the policy makers should make concrete plans to help the laborers.
The labor leader also shot back at Montemayor for the latter’s claim that there was corruption among labor groups. De Guzman compared Montemayor to dictator’s son and presidential candidate Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.
“Akala ko absent si Marcos [Jr.], nandito pala. Wala nang pinuri kundi mga kapitalista at wala na kinagalitan kundi ang mga manggagawa kaya dinudurog ang hanay ng mga manggagawa,” De Guzman said.
(I thought Marcos was absent, but as it turns out, he’s here. Praising capitalists and attacking workers result in workers being attacked.) – Rappler.com