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.#