We are calling for an investigation into an anomaly in the On-the-Job training program of the Pangasinan State University. We are also calling for support for Dharel dela Cruz, a business administration student of the university, who is a victim and the whistleblower in the anomaly.
Dela Cruz, a business administration student of the university, has been hospitalized because his lungs collapsed due to a respiratory ailment resulting from his OJT program at a pharmaceutical factory in Laguna.
Dela Cruz was not treated as a trainee, but as a contractual employee. His OJT program was facilitated by JIF Manpower and Referral Services. PSU administrators are washing their hands over the issue.
The incident exposes the following:
(1) Unsafe workplace conditions in the pharmaceutical factory that are unfit even for workers,
(2) The common practice of capitalists of assigning student trainees and contractuals to the most unsafe jobs,
(3) The use of labor contractors for shady transactions aimed at shielding capitalists, and now school administrators, from responsibility,
(4) The task of school administrators of guaranteeing their students’ safety in their OJT programs and ensuring that OJT programs should be about education, not capitalist exploitation, and
(5) The prevailing thrust of OJT programs to exploit students as workers.
The general objective of OJT programs should be clarified. They should aim at enabling students to learn jobs, not at enabling capitalists to exploit students. While only a thin line exists between the two in a society dominated by big foreign and local capitalists, the emphasis should be clear. This has implications for the intensity of the trainings and the setup for their implementation.
Labor agencies should be abolished in line with President-elect Rodrigo Duterte’s promise of ending contractualization. Their continued existence in the modus operandi for carrying out contractualization is a bane to Filipino workers. The distinction between legitimate and fly-by-night contractors should be abandoned, together with the distinction between labor-only contracting and job contracting.