Workers’ challenges to Duterte

May 12, 2016


The Filipino workers and people have spoken and elected Rodrigo Duterte as the next president of the Philippines. The overwhelming support given to Duterte and widespread calls for vigilance against electoral fraud coming from various groups have made it difficult for the regime of Pres. Noynoy Aquino to cheat Duterte of his victory in the elections.

We dare Duterte to prove his claims that he is “Left” and that he will bring about “tunay na pagbabago (genuine change)” to the Filipino workers and people.

To his credit, Duterte is the first presidentiable who called for ending contractualization in the country. The call was echoed by other presidentiables and other candidates in the recently-concluded national elections.

We dare Duterte to fulfill his promise of ending contractualization. He should repeal Department Order No. 18-A Series of 2011 and provisions of the Herrera Law and the Labor Code that legalize contractualization. He should ban Job Contracting together with the already-illegal Labor-Only Contracting.

At the same time, we dare him to back private-sector workers’ call for a National Minimum Wage in the amount of P750 daily, and government employees’ call for an NMW in the amount of P16,000 monthly. We are calling on him to rollback the attacks on the minimum wage carried out by previous regimes and bring the minimum wage closer to the Family Living Wage as computed by independent think-tank Ibon Foundation.

We challenge Duterte to respect workers’ rights to unionize and to strike. He should be able to connect the sorry plight of the country’s workers with their assertion of their right to form unions and hold strikes. Now that he is president, he should do more than verbally take back his words against unionism in the country; he should respect it in practice.

We are very glad that he is showing openness to freeing political prisoners (including many illegally-detained labor rights defenders), resuming peace talks with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines, and maintaining open lines of communication with the NDFP. On these issues, he is being consistent with his record as Davao City mayor.

We are very glad about his bold statements against corruption and criminality, and his refusal to exempt Pres. Noynoy Aquino and top officials of the Aquino government in this drive. We dare him to immediately file cases against Aquino and top government officials closest to Aquino for their crimes pertaining to plunder and corruption, human-rights violations, extreme puppetry to the US, among others.

Reference: Elmer “Ka Bong” Labog, KMU chairperson, 0908-1636597