Statement on Pulong Duterte’s latest tirade against KMU

Kilusang Mayo Uno-Southern Mindanao Region’s Statement on Pulong Duterte’s latest tirade against KMU:

“Tugpa-tugpa pud aron makasabot ka sa kahimtang sa mga mamumuo. Dili pa ulahi ang tanan.”

Check your privilege; Put your feet on the ground and let workers’ realities enlighten you. Unless and until he considers realities on the ground before opening his mouth, he would not really know the dire plight of the very people he always maligns.

This is the unsolicited yet worthy advice we offer to Ex-Davao City Vice Mayor Paolo ‘Pulong’ Duterte, who again ranted on social media to condemn KMU’s criticism on Pres. Duterte’s signed EO No. 51.

Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) is an organization of workers and semi-workers, for decades stood and brought their interest and welfare at the forefront. These workers whom Paolo Duterte has belittled and maligned are the very people who made Duterte a President; without whom the progress that Davao boasts about would never be built. Yet despite the burden, hardship, and systematic exploitation that workers bear, leaders such as Paolo Duterte have the gall to insult them.

Why are these workers always demanding for higher wages? Take this. Understandably, he may have not imagined living with just P340 a day because he was raised in a privileged environment. He cannot possibly, truly understand what life is like for a minimum wage earner. The least he could do is to listen to the workers and semi-workers who entrusted their hopes on his father’s promise of inclusive development. Instead of vilifying people who dare to hope for a better life, and have fought tooth and nail to make this a reality, Paolo Duterte should address their legitimate concerns and serve as a channel to bridge the gap between workers’ demands and public policy. These workers are not asking to be spoon-fed; rather, they are asking to be given just compensation for their work.

The P340 minimum wage is very far from the P1,168.00 living wage that workers and their families need to live decently. The minimum wage was further devaluated and thus, the purchasing capacity of these wage earners became too low because of the inflation in the country worsened by the TRAIN law. Meanwhile, millions of workers were denied their right to tenure because of the continuation of contractualization in its many forms. The EO issued by the President was the employers’ version, not the workers’ version. It thus merely favored the wealthy few, outlawed what is already deemed illegal in the constitution, and complicity allowed the existing exploitative arrangement between workers and employers. Hence, workers’ protest remains valid and just, to demand what President Duterte has earlier promised.

Instead of maligning the workers, use your influence as a former vice mayor to alleviate the conditions of poverty and oppression that has become the everyday reality of the Filipino people.

Bear always in your mind that the workers and these poor people who have been the subject of your unfair tirades are ever since part of the populace who made Duterte’s history. We advise you to be humble. You still have plenty of time to serve these people before they would collectively act to change the course of history against Duterte.#

Signed EO 51 legalizes, not ends, contractualization

On this year’s historic Labor Day, we congratulate workers around the Philippines for showing an unprecedented unity across the entire political spectrum, to stand together against contractualization.

We condemn President Rodrigo Duterte for once again making a mockery of Filipino workers, by signing the deceptive, grossly anti-worker Executive Order (EO) 51 that ignores the just demands of the 50,000 workers who marched to Mendiola and the 150,000 more who gathered in other protest centers around the country.

The EO was immediately exposed by the national labor centers leading the march as fake and misleading, purported to end contractualization while actually further entrenching the anti-worker practice.

1. EO 51 does NOT end all forms of contractualization; it only further legalizes the practice.

Even from the title and introduction of Duterte’s EO, the lack of genuine commitment to end contractualization is apparent. The signed EO is based on the draft prepared by the labor sector over the past year, as ordered by Duterte, yet the language has been heavily watered down and rendered inutile. Virtually all references to contractualization have been stripped out of the government version.

The EO 51 merely reiterates anti-worker provisions in the labor code that has in fact legalized contractualization and led to the prevalence of various contractual employment schemes.
(see reference 1)

2. EO 51 worsens the existing loopholes in labor law such as DO 174.

The coalition of workers that attended several negotiations, dialogues, and summits with the Duterte administration has been clear in their main goals.

The first is to establish direct hiring as the primary mode of hiring for Filipino workers, as opposed to job contracting through manpower agencies. The second is to fix the loopholes in existing law on contractualization; in particular, DOLE Department Order 174, which sets out policies as to which forms are illegal, but does not ban contractualization altogether.

But EO 51 is even worse than DO 174, because it further establishes labor contracting through agencies as the standard of employment in the country. This is a severe blow to workers’ right to job security, and all the other rights that come with regularization and a stable, long-term employer-employee relationship.

EO 51 is likely to pave the way for massive retrenchments, and re-alignment and re-hiring of regular workers as contractuals under third party contracting agencies. (see reference 2)

3. EO 51 means that Duterte is responsible for enforcing and implementing the pending DOLE orders on regularization.

Over the past few years, KMU has led workers from various companies in mass filing for labor standards and labor-only contracting inspections, resulting in a string of DOLE orders for regularization of more than 100,000 contractual workers.

However, the majority of those DOLE orders for regularization remain unimplemented. Worse, regularization orders from DOLE regional offices, especially those involving big multinational companies, were even reversed by DOLE Secretary Silvestre Bello III himself. With the issuance of this EO 51, the implementation of these regularization orders now lie on Duterte’s hand.

In fact, the government EO completely removes the provision which sets out a budget for implementation of the EO. This clearly shows the Duterte administration’s lack of commitment to actually enforcing any of these DOLE orders. (see reference 3)

As it stands, EO 51 is a total rejection of Filipino workers’ demand for regular jobs. Duterte has again killed the hopes of millions of contractual workers — especially long-standing contractuals — of being regularized. The EO 51 is anti-worker, pro-contractualization and pro-big business and therefore should be junked.

Our struggle for regular jobs continues. We call on all Filipino workers to further unite and fight Duterte’s failed promises and rejection of our demand to end contractualization. We must further assert our demand for direct hiring and regularization through principal employers and not through contracting agencies.

We must intensify our collective action to put pressure on the government to implement long pending regularization orders. We urge on the millions of contractual workers to join us in mass filing for regularization before both the DOLE and the Office of the President.

Labor Day 2018, marked by workers’ historic unity and outrage vs the fascist Duterte regime

We Filipino workers mark this year’s International Labor Day commemoration with a historic nationwide protest that highlights our unity and outrage against Rodrigo Duterte’s failed promises, implementation of anti-worker policies, establishment of a fascist dictatorship through massive killings and gross trade union and human rights violations.

On Contractualization

Workers are outraged over Duterte’s rejection of our demand to end all forms of contractualization. We are not buying his desperate and repeated ploys to quell the labor sector’s growing protests and unity against his failed promises. We firmly believe that his claim that he “may or may not” sign an EO this Labor Day is just another PR stunt as last year’s Labor Day Dialogue where he promised to sign our EO which only ended in zero.

On Wages

There has been no real increase in wages since Duterte became President. Instead of a substantial wage hike, Duterte gave us price hikes through the notorious TRAIN law. As a result, the gap between the current minimum wage levels and the estimated Family living wage has grown ever wider. Whatever incremental wage or non-wage benefit Duterte passes this Labor Day will be insufficient to close this gap. Instead, we demand the implementation of a national minimum wage, along with increasing wages to P750 for all workers nationwide.

On Jobs

The hypocrisy of the Duterte regime is evident in the recent issues involving the loss of jobs for Filipinos here and abroad. Duterte is pushing for OFWs in Kuwait to return to the Philippines out of “nationalism,” yet his Labor Day job fairs are driving more and more Filipino workers out of the country. Moreover, he has just destroyed 36,000 jobs in Boracay to pave the way for Chinese investors. In the same vein, around 600,000 jeepney drivers are threatened to lose their livelihoods under the government’s jeepney phase-out program, while handing over the monopoly control of our public transport system to foreign corporations.

On Duterte’s tyranny and creeping dictatorship

This Labor Day, we vow to fight and defeat Duterte’s tyranny and creeping dictatorship. Duterte’s fascist tactics — his killing spree of unionists and labor rights advocates, the persecution of his political opponents, and the criminalization and terrorist tagging of workers’ and people’s legitimate dissent — must stop. We demand the lifting of Martial Law in Mindanao, which has led to gross labor and human rights violations in the region. We will not allow Duterte to push through with his Charter Change that would allow him to establish his fascist dictatorship.

This year’s historic Labor Day nationwide protest of over 150,000 workers only marks the beginning of our growing unity and resistance against Duterte’s oppressive and tyrannical rule.