Thursday, November 28, 2013

Labor urges gov’t to make employment, building new communities a priority in post-Yolanda rehab

28 November 2013

Tacloban City and the rest of typhoon-ravaged places in Regions 8, 7 and 6 must be rehabilitated and rebuilt based on a framework of building the people’s capacity to survive calamities and live a secure and dignified life thereafter, the labor group Partido ng Manggagawa (PM) said in a statement.

“A new model of community must be built out of the ruins of Yolanda. Employment must be a top priority since it is regular income that gives people a sense of long-term security and a life of dignity,” said PM spokesman Wilson Fortaleza. 

Fortaleza pointed out that since the private sector where the government completely relies on job generation is not capable, prior to and after Yolanda, of providing employment to the poor people of these particular regions, the rehabilitation plan must therefore include a medium to long-term public employment program where the State plays a key role. 

“Such program may include social service activities such as healthcare, climate-resilient mass housing projects, education and skills training, as well as building new, smart and renewable power and transport systems that would create green jobs, among others,” added Fortaleza. 

The labor group likewise stressed that if “Yolanda” is the “new normal” vis-à-vis climate change, then the government must not stay on a normal mode of asking, repacking, and delivering relief goods from northern countries in the face of 20 Yolandas in every semester of the whole year.

“There must be a shift – from relief operations to building prepared and secured communities,” said Fortaleza.

He added that northern countries whose high carbon emissions produce many Yolandas in the Pacific must be made to pay for a climate debt they owe to poor nations such as the Philippines – the compensation coming from them must be utilized for building new kind of communities.  

However, the labor group finds it very unfortunate that this country had been, up to this moment, is under the rule of the Ilustrado class whose vision of the country cannot go beyond the insular demand of their pockets. 

“It’s very clear that government’s failure in Yolanda, both national and local, is the failure of trapo politics,” said Fortaleza

On Saturday, November 30 and the 150th birth anniversary of working class hero Andres Bonifacio, Partido ng Manggagawa will join the NAGKAISA! coalition march to Mendiola to raise the many working class issues that past and present governments failed to address, including climate crisis.

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