March 29, 2020
Contact Dennis Derige @ 09224633109
The labor group Partido Manggagawa (PM) called on employers to grant paid quarantine of P10,000 per month to some 100,000 workers affected by the closure of Mactan ecozone as Lapu-Lapu City is locked down today. They join more 100,000 workers in the Cavite Economic Zone that shuttered a week earlier. “Foreign investors should shoulder temporary losses due to the covid pandemic,” asserted Dennis Derige, PM-Cebu spokesperson.
“As far as we know locators in Mactan ecozone are throwing workers out of work without paid quarantine except for Fairchild Semiconductor (Philippines) Inc. which gave wages for the next 20 days that employees will be out of work. Even the giant garments conglomerate Sports City that supplies to Adidas, among other global brands, is refusing to give quarantine subsidy to some 17,000 employees and instead only gave a token 5 kilos of rice with some canned goods. The firm is also applying for the DOLE assistance for formal workers. This is a giant company that can very well afford to bear losses by granting quarantine subsidy.” Derige explained.
He added that “Employers have benefited from recent economic growth without sharing the bounty with their workers. This was revealed in a Department of Finance study showing labor productivity grew by at least 50 percent, yet real wages were stagnant from 2001 to 2016. Moreover, foreign investors in the ecozones enjoyed tax breaks and other privileges for years. Now that there is a crisis, employers are morally obliged not to pass on the burden to their hapless workers.”
Derige insisted that “We cannot accept that workers are the last to benefit from economic progress but the first to sacrifice in time of crisis.”
The group is proposing the following mitigation measures to lessen the impact of covid on workers and the people:
1. Living pension for senior citizens since the elderly are more prone to infection;
2. Shift build-build-build budget to health in order to build more hospitals, provide testing and treatment facilities, hire more health workers;
3. Health tax on the wealthy—as part of CITIRA—to fund universal health care.