Sunday, July 21, 2019

“We are still a Republic of Endo under Duterte”—labor group

On the eve of the SONA, the labor group Partido Manggagawa (PM) declared that “After three years of Duterte, we are a Republic of Endo, a Province of China and a puppet of the US.”

PM is participating in the coalition United Workers SONA which will mobilize on tomorrow afternoon. The United Workers SONA coalition will then join up with other broad networks for the United People’s SONA.

“We believe that the reason President Duterte has not signed the SOT bill up to now is the strong lobby of employers for a veto. Should President Duterte surrender to the demand to veto the bill, then he reveals where he stands on the class war between the workers and capitalists on contractualization. A presidential veto will just be another betrayal of his promise to workers,” asserted Rene Magtubo, PM national chair.

He added that “But even if the Security of Tenure bill is signed or lapses into law, endo will persist since the legislation is a watered-down version.” Thus the group averred that among workers demands for the forthcoming SONA mobilization is a stronger law to stamp out contractualization.

“Contrary to the wild claim of employers that the security of tenure bill is superfluous because endo has already been ended with DO 173 and EO 51, numerous loopholes allow the proliferation of contractual workers. The security of tenure bill will not end endo and will not stop contractualization because it is a weak version of the proposed law,” Magtubo averred.

In the counter-SONA rally, aside from pushing for an end to endo, workers are also clamoring for a reform of the wage-setting mechanism.

“We welcome the announcement by the Department of Labor and Employment that it will undertake a study on the current wage system in response to the calls to abolish the regional wage boards. Although we fear that powerful lobby by employers will once more scuttle any real reform,” asserted Magtubo.

PM is batting for the abolition of the regional wage boards and its replacement by a National Wage Commission which will fix a national minimum wage based on the cost of living. The group is also calling for the provision of a minimum basic income for workers in the SME sector which is unregulated and exempted from the minimum wage setting.

21 July 2019

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