By Nelson Flores, Ll.B., MSCK
PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte represents the rights and privileges of millionaires and billionaires and not the welfare of the poor, deprived and the oppressed, especially the toiling masses.
This according to the Bukluran ng mga Manggagawang Pilipino, a progressive labor group, after Malacañang announced Thursday that the President will not sign an executive order to end the contractualization of labor which is a complete about face on his campaign promise to do so. Instead, according to Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III, the President will leave the contentious issue for the deliberation and decision of Congress.
The BMP, in a press release, claimed that the two postponed dialogues between the Palace and organized labor, along with his indecent proposal for a compromise on this patently anti-worker scheme that muddles employer-employee relations to create a cheap and docile labor force, are clear signals on where lies the loyalty of the president.
Duterte is now exposed to millions of workers, many of whom voted him into power with his promise to deliver change. Change has not come and will not come, the BMP said.
Moreover, it noted that the current Malacañang resident is no different from the previous chief executives who represent not the rights and welfare of millions of toiling Filipinos but the privileged interest of the millionaires and billionaires.
The BMP further alleged that Duterte is an experienced charlatan, misrepresenting himself as the champion of the weak and downtrodden. Yet his failure/refusal to end contractualization – an electoral promise that added to his well-crafted mystique – will be the single issue to expose his hidden class character.
Duterte is reactionary and pro-capitalist, representing bureaucrats from dynasties and warlord clans outside of Manila – the most reactionary section of the Philippine ruling class.
As this developed, the BMP urged all sectors to unite on Labor Day and let all the protest marches all over the country be in unison in criticizing and condemning this fascist regime. It added that Duterte, despite his patent infringements to human rights and common decency, should be thanked for driving the fragmented trade union movement to unite and fight as a sector and as a class.
The BMP, at the same time, still reiterates its call for an executive order to prohibit contractualization.
The labor group stressed that an EO is the fastest legal remedy provided for by Article 106 of the Labor Code, which grants his alter-ego in labor affairs – the Secretary of Labor – the power to restrain, regulate, and prohibit the contracting and subcontracting in order to protect the rights and welfare of labor compared to reforms through legislation, which would have to pass through the wary eyes of the class-conscious capitalists and landlords in congress. (Read More: http://beyonddeadlines.com/2018/04/05/progressive-ph-labor-group-belies-statement-of-newly-appointed-justice-secretary-on-contractualization-of-labor/)
The BMP also reiterated its appeal “on our brothers and sisters in the labor movement to remain steadfast in our position against contractualization.”
The current bills in both houses of congress – House Bill 6908 and the Senate’s proposed “End Endo Act of 2017” – may have recognized fragments of our demands. But in totality, the proposed bills still maintain “trilateral work arrangements”, which is the cornerstone of contractualization, the BMP said.
For the BMP, “we do not agree to the proposal by some legislators and labor groups to allow contracting and subcontracting schemes on the condition that they are approved by tripartite bodies. We only have to look at the current starvation wage levels approved by tripartite regional wage boards. In our sorry experience, tripartism has only resulted to an outvoted labor sector by the combined and similar positions by the government and employers sectors.”
Therefore, the BMP discourages the other members of the labor movement from seeking a bad compromise on this tactical fight.
First, we fight; then – if both sides fail to totally achieve their objectives (and in order to preserve our forces to go and fight another day) – and only then may we be open to a compromise. For now, we must hold our ground and advance. To compromise without putting up a fight is downright opportunism and total surrender; it is a path that would lead to illusory and shameful concessions.
Filipino workers may not have achieved an end to contractualization. Yet, even without palpable and concrete results against this three-decade scourge, the first step to victory has been made.
We would soon see an invigorated and strengthened working class movement that would truly wrest gains for the protection and advancement of labor rights – in the next stages of this continuing struggle against contractualization. It would also be an independent movement that would ultimately lead the people’s movement against the anti-worker, deceptive, and fascist regime of Rodrigo Duterte.