Different labor and church organizations under the alliances of Alyansa ng mga Manggagawa Laban sa Kontraktwalisasyon (ALMA Kontraktwal), Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) – Metro Manila, Manila Workers Unity (MAWU), Defend Job Philippines and the Church People – Workers Solidarity (CWS) held a press conference today in Manila to air dismay and indignation over the latest postponement of President Duterte of the signing of an Executive Order (EO) on contractualization on Monday.
The groups expressed their frustration and anger as Duterte has been consistent in aborting the signing of the EO and prolonging the demands of Filipino workers to totally prohibit and criminalize all forms of contractualization in the country. After the series of delays in signing the EO, protesting workers casted doubts on the sincerity of Duterte in ending contractualization.
They insisted that only a pro-workers and non-compromise EO will be acceptable to them in order for contractual mode of employment, end-of-contract agreements and agency hiring schemes to be fully stopped and penalized. They strongly oppose the statement of the Palace that it can only regulate contractualization and that compromises must be made between employers and workers in order for it to come up with a concrete resolution.
“We have waited long enough and we are losing our patience to wait for the Duterte government to take decisive actions in ending contractualization. We have given him all the time after he sworn in to office to fulfill his campaign promise to end endo. Almost two years passed but nothing has been accomplished,” Maristel Garcia, ALMA Kontraktwal spokesperson said.
On the other hand, Ed Cubelo, chairperson of KMU Metro Manila added, “The series of postponement of the EO signing is a clear manifestation that Duterte is not really on the side of the Filipino workers. His promise to end contractualization is long overdue and that the continuing practice of contractual labor worsened the conditions of our working forces.”
Scrapping of ‘Herrera Law’ seen to end contractualization
Cubelo also slammed the opposing statements of the Palace and the Labor Department on the reasons why Duterte aborted the latest labor dialogue and EO signing. While Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque assured the public that the EO is being finalized and will be signed before Labor Day, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello pronounced on a separate interview that they are set to certify a Senate Bill on endo as an urgent bill rather than signing an EO.
“Duterte, Roque and Bello must start taking actions rather talking much. Our workers need concrete actions and not another empty promises that are bound to fail in the end,” Cubelo said.
In the press conference, ALMA Kontraktwal and KMU Metro Manila said that “if the administration is serious in ending contractualization, it must direct their allies in both Houses of Congress and scrap Republic Act No. 6715 or the ‘Herrera Law,” which the group said is the root of the decades-long existence of contractualization in the country.
As further expression of their frustrations and outrage against Duterte’s failure of his promises, panelists issued and signed their own “Workers Order # 1, series of 2018,” which depicted the things they need to see in Duterte’s EO including end to contractualization, regularization of all contractual workers and immediate junking of Herrera Law.
The groups also gave Duterte an ultimatum to end contractuatlizaiton until the commemoration of International Labor Day 2018 on May 1. As said by Garcia, “Filipino workers have given the President so much time to do something on their demands and that the time ticks fast for him to prove his worth for our working people.”
They also announced the series of protests that they are set to hold starting today leading to the giant workers rally on May 1 to amplify their demands against contractualization. Garcia said that Duterte must brace for more street protests in the coming days that will pressure him to sign the EO and totally ban contractualization.
Some of the scheduled protests are as follow:
April 20 (Friday) 5:00 PM Black Friday Protest and Noise Barrage vs. Postponement of EO Signing at Welcome Rotonda, Quezon City
April 24 (Tuesday) 10:00 AM Protest and Mass Filing of Requests for Inspection of DOLE to Workplaces for Regularization DOLE Main Office, Intramuros, Manila
April 27 (Friday) 5:00 PM Metro-Wide, Simultaneous Black Friday Protest vs. Contractualization Various Protest Centers in Metro Manila
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