Vice President Leni Robredo on Labor Day, May 1, echoed workers’ calls to end contractualization in the Philippines.
“Maging araw sana ito hindi lamang ng papuri at pasasalamat, kundi pati ng kongkretong aksyon sa mga isyung matagal nang idinadaing ng mga manggagawa: Ang pagtuldok sa ENDO at kontraktuwalisasyon,” Robredo said in her Labor Day message on Saturday.
(May this day not only about praises and thanks, but also for concrete actions on issues long complained of by workers – to end ENDO and contractualization.)
“ENDO” means end of contract, a term referring to schemes where workers are hired for a fixed period. Instead of regularizing workers which would entitle them benefits and the power to unionize, companies just rehire them as contractual workers
The House of Representatives passed its anti-endo bill on third and final reading in December 2020, but progressive lawmakers opposed this version.
ACT Teachers Representative France Castro voted against the bill because she said it would still provide “legal cover” for the abusive practices of employers, who would still be allowed to hire relievers, project workers, and seasonal employees. The Makabayan bloc wants a bill that would ban all forms of contractualization and fixed-term employment.
Progressive labor groups had slammed a version of the bill filed earlier during the Duterte administration, for supposedly legitimizing contractualization by allowing sub-contracting.
Duterte vetoed this version of the bill in July 2019, paving the way for the latest version that the House passed in December 2020.
Ensure support for workers
In her message, Robredo said the government must ensure that workers are getting aid in the middle of the pandemic. The Vice President said workers’ daily needs that must be given attention include efficient public transportation so they could go to work.
“Ang pagtiyak na walang manggagawang Pilipinong naaabuso, dito man o sa ibang bansa. At sa harap ng pandemya, ang pagsigurong may sapat na ayuda, suporta para sa mga nawalan ng kabuhayan, maayos na pampublikong transportasyon, at ligtas na mga lugar ng trabaho,” said Robredo.
(We need to make sure that no Filipino worker is abused, here or in other countries. That they have enough aid during the pandemic, support for those who lost their jobs, efficient public transportation, and safe workplaces.)
Robredo said workers must be recognized for their contribution to sustain an economy badly hit by the pandemic.
“Ipinakita sa atin ng pandemya: Ang manggagawang Pilipino ang lakas ng ating ekonomiya. Sama-sama nating itaguyod ang kanilang mga karapatan at kapakanan, at sama-sama tayong sumulong sa mas ligtas, mas patas, at mas makataong mundo para sa bawat manggagawa at bawat Pilipino,” the Vice President said.
(The pandemic showed us: The economy is powered by Filipino workers. Together let’s uphold their rights and welfare, and let us all push for a safer, more equitable, and more humane world for every Filipino worker.)
Dig at Duterte
Detained opposition Senator Leila de Lima hit Duterte for supposedly “leaving behind” workers in the government’s pandemic response.
“Pero imbes na tugunan at tuparin ang mga ipinangako, hinamak pa ni Duterte ang mahihirap sa pagiging maralita. Bahala kayo. Magtiis kayo sa hirap – tatak ng kanyang pamamalakad kung saan iniiwan ang mga Pilipino sa ‘kanya-kanya’ na lang na sistema,” De Lima said in a statement.
(Instead of making good on his promises, Duterte instead ridiculed the poor for being poor. ‘You’re on your own. Suffer hardship’ – that’s his government’s mark where they leave behind Filipinos in a system of survival of the fittest.)
De Lima, who chairs the Senate committee on social justice, welfare and rural development, pushed for the Senate bill that would reduce the expenses on the requirements of a job-seeker, as well as the bill that would investigate abusive labor practices.
“Sa paraang ito, hindi lang tayo naglalatag ng pagkakataon para makabangon ang mga nagdudusa ngayon, kundi binibigyang pundasyon din ang pag-angat sa buhay ng susunod na henerasyon,” said De Lima.
(This way, we’re not only providing an opportunity for those suffering now to get back on their feet, but we’re also building the foundation to uplift the lives of the next generation.) – Rappler.com