KMU welcomes Duterte’s Labor Day commitments

On the anti-endo EO

With his renewed commitment to heed Filipino workers’ demand to end contractualization, we strongly urge President Duterte to swiftly sign our proposed Executive Order which would be endorsed by National Anti-Poverty Commission Secretary Liza Maza.

Kilusang Mayo Uno have already worked with Sec. Maza in drafting a proposed EO aimed at ending all forms of contractualization and is set to be presented before the President this May.

The President’s affirmation to fulfill his campaign promise should serve as a wakeup call to Department of Labor and Employment Secretary Silvestre Bello to junk his anti-worker Department Order 174 which legitimized contractualization as a government employment policy.

On a national minimum wage

The President’s disapproval of the current wage settings should pave way for bringing back the nationalized wage setting in the country. We call on President Duterte to heed workers’ demand for a national minimum wage of P750 daily for private sector workers and P16,000 monthly for government employees. Wages should also be regularly raised towards meeting living standards.

Since the implementation of the Wage Rationalization Law in 1989 and the Two-Tiered Wage System in 2012, workers’ wages have been pressed down and frozen to poverty levels. There are currently over 1,000 wage levels in the country with the lowest, P235 in Region 4-B, not even meeting a quarter of the P1,119 Family Living Wage.

On deputizing unions

We take President Duterte’s move to deputize workers’ unions for Labor Standards inspection as a positive step towards respecting workers’ rights and dignity. It should be enacted immediately. Only workers, through genuine unions, has the credibility to cite employers’ violations of labor and occupational safety and health standards.

We urge the President to supplement this by certifying as urgent the House Bill 64 or the Workers’ SHIELD (Safety and Health Inspection and Employer’s Liability Decree) Bill. The government must also junk its policy of voluntary inspection for big businesses especially in Special Economic Zones. Duterte should also address the widespread bureaucratic corruption among DOLE officials and inspectors that further put workers’ rights and lives at peril.

On Kadamay’s occupy movement

The President’s statement that he understands the plight of the urban poor should be translated to concrete policies of delivering basic social services, such as free mass housing, to the Filipino People. We call on President Duterte to heed our urban poor workers’ demand for free mass housing.

The country’s housing problem, highlighted by the occupation of thousands of idle housing units in Bulacan led by KMU member organization Kalipunan ng Damayang Mahihirap (KADAMAY), is a result of the decades long government abandonment of its duty to provide free mass housing as a basic social service. With their poverty wages and the irregular jobs, it has been impossible for urban poor workers to afford the government’s privatized housing program.

On oligarchs’ lands

We are ready to occupy oligarchs’ lands. The President’s opposition to oligarch rule should however be concretized through free distribution of lands to farm worker beneficiaries of oligarch-owned lands especially the Cojuanco-Aquino’s Hacienda Luisita and the Lorenzo’s Lapanday plantation in Mindanao. These oligarchs have been strongly opposing Department of Agrarian Reform Secretary Rafael Mariano’s order to award their lands to its tillers.

While we continuously engage the President in dialogue, Filipino workers remain assertive of our legitimate and just demands without compromise. Workers should also remain vigilant against maneuvers of capitalists and pro-capitalist government officials to insist their anti-worker and anti-people policies.