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.
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.
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.
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.