Manila, Philippines – A Catholic Church official said if the government cannot grant a salary increase to workers, it should at least abolish the contractualization of workers as a “Labor Day” gift to the country’s laborers.
“Since its Labor Day today, I hope the workers receive a gift from the government by improving their working conditions and their pay,” Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo, chairman of the Public Affairs Committee of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), said in an interview.
“They should also address the contractualization of labor because that is against the labor code,” he added.
The CBCP official said the President need only to exercise his political will if he really wants to help the workers in the country.
“It’s only political will. They said there is economic growth but that growth should be inclusive because the workers don’t seem to benefit from it,” said Pabillo.
“Where is the so called growth? It seems only the rich are the ones benefiting from it because it doesn’t trickle down to the poor,” he added.
Earlier, various labor and workers organizations mostly from a coalition called Nagkaisa called on President Aquino to make a strong policy pronouncement against the contractualization arrangement of employment.
“There are millions and millions of skillful and talented Filipinos in the labor force today who doesn’t have regular jobs. Majority of these workers are on “555” (five months contract) or “Endo” scheme of employment. As a consequence, they are exploited by employers and forever trapped in the vicious cycle of abject poverty. We wanted Pres. Aquino to make a strong policy statement towards ensuring security of tenure of workers by criminalizing and eliminating contractualization scheme in the country at the soonest possible time,” Daniel Edralin, chairperson of the Alliance of Progressive Labor Sentro (APL-SENTRO) said in a statement.
Aside from ending contractualization scheme, Nagkaisa also demand Aquino to enhance labor rights by deterring union-busting and prosecute extra-judicial killings labor organizers and journalists, and provide tax exemptions to workers among others. (Leslie Ann G. Aquino)