Labor 'furious' over Marcos’s lack of plans for workers

·2 min read
Construction workers watch a demonstration from the top of a building site structure as protesters express their thoughts on various issues such as labor, human rights, historical distortion and more.
QUEZON, PHILIPPINES - 2022/07/25: Construction workers are watching the demonstration from the top of a building site structure. Protesters gather in Metro Manila to express their opinions hours before the first State Of The Nation Address (SONA) of Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. The protest focused on human rights violation of Marcoses, rejecting the Marcos-Duterte government, various labor issues, short-term employment, red-tagging and historical distortion which they believe can happen under the leadership of Marcos Jr. (Photo by Ryan Eduard Benaid/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Labor groups lamented the Marcos administration’s failure to include in the State of the Nation Address (SONA) concrete plans to address key labor issues in the country.

Nakinig kami ng isa’t kalahating oras pero wala kaming napala! Wala namang bago sa sinabi nya! Wala syang tugon sa panawagan ng manggagawa!” Jerome Adonis, Secretary-General of Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU), said in a statement posted on their Facebook page.

“Labor agenda, it seems, is far from the priorities of this administration,” Nagkaisa Labor Coalition chairman and Federation of Free Workers President Atty. Sonny Matula said in a separate statement.

Labor groups said that Marcos’s silence on the demand of workers for security of tenure, improvement of wages and other benefits, and lack of plans for support amid rising prices of fuel in the market means that the future of the working class under the present administration is dim.

‘The State of the Nation is sound’ daw pero halatang hindi niya alam ang totoong kalagayan ng masang Pilipino. Wala man lang sagot sa mataas na presyo ng langis at bilihin, malawakang disempleyo, at krisis sa pampublikong transportasyon,” Adonis said.

(‘The State of the Nation is sound’ but it’s very evident he doesn’t know the true state of the Filipino masses. He doesn’t have solutions to rising prices of fuel and goods, mass unemployment, and public transportation crisis.)

While Nagkaisa positively noted the Marcos administration’s plans on “sound fiscal environment and improved tax compliance and revenue collection,” the possible impact of this on ordinary taxpayers remains to be his concern.

The group was hopeful that Marcos will have a plan to tap Congress to review Republic Act 6727 or the Wage Rationalization Act to set a national minimum wage, but to no avail.

The hopes of both groups about ending contractualization and abusive contract agreements between employers and employees have also gone down the drain as it remained unmentioned in the SONA. KMU even slammed the government’s rightsizing plan.

Hindi na nga nila magawang gawing regular, tatanggalan pa nila ng trabaho!” Adonis said.

(They can’t even regularize workers, and now, the government wants to fire them.)

While they all expressed willingness for a dialogue between them and concerned government agencies related to labor issues, they will continue to demand accountability from the government until their grievances are heard and resolved.

Marvin Joseph Ang is a news and creative writer who follows developments on politics, democracy, and popular culture. He advocates for a free press and national democracy. Follow him on Twitter at @marvs30ang for latest news and updates.

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