Workers’ agenda for change presented
Today we present to President Rodrigo Duterte the Filipino workers’ agenda for a real and meaningful change. We are in high-hopes that the new administration is committed in fulfilling its promised pro-worker and pro-people reforms.
Workers’ demands for change to President Duterte are as follows; 1) End all contractualization schemes, 2)Implement a National Minimum Wage of P750, 3) Stop trade union repression, 4) Uphold workers’ rights and welfare, 5) support workers’ aspirations for a just and lasting peace.
We hope that Duterte will stand firm on his commitment to end labor contractualization. All contractual employment schemes violate basic workers’ rights and should therefore be banned. We are willing to work with the Department of Labor and Employment on drafting proposals and measures that would totally curb contractualization.
We encourage President Duterte to act out his approval for a standard minimum wage in all regions. Specifically, workers are demanding a National Minimum Wage of P750. This would serve as an immediate relief to workers and their families and would counter the distortion of the minimum wage caused by the Wage Rationalization Law.
Workers also demand that trade union repression be stopped. No worker should be retrenched for exercising their rights to unionize. The power of the Labor Secretary should be regulated and Republic Act 6715 should be repealed including the assumption of jurisdiction over labor disputes which gave license to massacre strikers in Hacienda Luisita and to other violent dispersals of workers’ legitimate strikes.
We call on the Duterte government to uphold workers rights and welfare mandated by the constitution and international labor laws including the increase of social security pensions, tax relief for workers and upholding occupational health and safety standards.
We recognize Duterte’s efforts in pursuing peace talks with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines. The talks should bring substantial socio-economic reforms that genuinely address the root causes of the armed conflict in the country. We also seek the release of all political prisoners including labor rights advocates who have been illegally detained and filed with trumped-up charges for defending workers’ rights and welfare.
Workers also call on President Duterte to hold former President Benigno Aquino III for his crimes against Filipino workers and people. He is a Pork Barrel addict who siphoned off trillions of taxes to his presidential pork barrel funds through the Disbursement Acceleration Program. He is the “Comman-death in chief” that ordered the Mamasapano carnage; and took lives of hundreds of innocent workers, peasants and Lumad through his counter-insurgency plan, Oplan Bayanihan.
We compel our ranks to be the driving force in realizing the long-awaited change promised by the Duterte administration. Workers are willing to support President Duterte in implementing pro-worker and pro-people reforms. We however will remain vigilant against foreign and local elites, the big capitalists and landlords hellbound to sabotage reforms and continue their oppressive rule.
We enjoin the Filipino workers and people to organize and collectively act our aspirations for a meaningful change and for genuine development, justice and peace.