May 16, 2009
The militant Partido ng Manggagawa (PM) urged the Senate to start hearings on proposed resolutions for a bailout of the working class before Congress ends its session on June 3. Three separate resolutions have been filed in the last several weeks pushing for a set of pro-labor demands. Renato Magtubo, PM chairperson, said that “A Senate resolution calling for a bailout of the workers is a belated but welcome gift. No matter that it is after May 1 as long as it is before June 3.”
The three resolutions were filed separately by Sen. Manny Villar, Sen. Chiz Escudero and Sen. Jinggoy Estrada. Though slightly different, the resolutions are similar since they were all based on a proposal drafted by PM in consultation with other labor groups.
Magtubo revealed that representatives of labor groups are planning to lobby the Senate in the coming days to urge action on the proposals. The effort for a Senate resolution on a “workers bailout” is part of a campaign for immediate and medium-term response to the impact of the global economic crisis.
“A Senate resolution for a workers bailout is an urgent necessity despite the media spin being peddled by government about an economic recovery. The SWS survey about an unemployment rate of 34% has already exposed government’s lie about a mere 7.7% jobless figure. We challenge government to name names and identify the firms that have rehired their displaced workers for we know of no factory at the export zones that have taken back even a substantial portion of their retrenched employees,” explained Magtubo.
Senate Resolution No. 1064 was filed by Sen. Estrada last May 15. Meanwhile Senate Resolution No. 1029 was filed April 28 by Sen. Escudero. And Senate Resolution 919 was filed by Sen. Villar on March 3 and referred to the Labor Committee headed by Sen. Estrada.
The labor groups are also courting the support of the Catholic hierarchy with Archbishop Cardinal Rosales already committed to the workers bailout and a Church-backed Alyansa ng Manggagawa, Magsasaka at Maralita (AM3) launched last May 1.
The immediate demands being pushed by labor groups includes an unemployment subsidy, universal health care, tax refund, reform of the public employment program and a moratorium on demolitions and foreclosures. The middle-term reforms call for reversal of policies such as liberalization, deregulation and privatization.