Monday, April 9, 2018

On terms of emergency assistance: Group calls on DOLE to dialogue with affected Boracay workers


With the start of mass layoffs of workers at Boracay establishments, the labor group Partido Manggagawa (PM) today called on the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) to initiate a dialogue with affected workers on the terms of emergency assistance. PM also demanded that all workers, including unregistered ones, be beneficiaries of aid to affected workers.

“Unregistered workers in Boracay, numbering 9,365, deserve the same assistance as 17,328 registered workers. Unregistered workers comprise a third of all Boracay employees and should not be denied aid. Like registered workers, they also have families to feed and support,” asserted Rene Magtubo, PM national chair.

He added that “DOLE’s proposed assistance of insurance and compensation equivalent to the minimum wage is not necessarily bad per se. Yet it was concocted by bureaucrats in the comforts of their offices or by officials in suits and ties. It was not the demand of affected workers themselves. Thus we call on the DOLE to set aside their top-down approach and instead initiate a dialogue with representatives of affected workers to get their real-life grievances and concerns in order to craft appropriate emergency response and assistance for the duration of the closure of Boracay.”

PM also called on Boracay workers, registered and unregistered, to organize themselves so they could have voice and representation. “Only be organizing themselves can Boracay workers claim and win the kind of relief and assistance is suitable to their conditions,” Magtubo insisted.

He argued that in the internationally recognized human rights approach, participation of affected populations is one of the key principles.

PM also proposed that displaced Boracay workers be given the option to be employed in the cleanup of the island on above-minimum wages. “DOLE’s plan of compensating affected Boracay workers on minimum wages for 30 to 90 days falls short of sustaining them for the six month duration of the closure of the island. Thus it makes sense to complement this emergency assistance with the option of being employed in the cleanup and rehabilitation but on wages and benefits that must be above minimum,” Magtubo elaborated.

April 9, 2018

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