21 February 2012
Davao workers hit Aquino for contractualization policy
DAVAO CITY—Workers coming from different workplaces in the region, mostly contractuals, stormed the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) office to protest the continuing contractualization under the administration of President Benigno ‘PNoy’ Cojuanco Aquino III.
The Alliance for Regularization and Increased Salaries of Employees (Arise), a sectoral alliance of workers from unionized and non-unionized workers spearheaded the protest. Anthony Palma, Arise spokesperson and a contractual worker, criticized the Aquino administration’s continued contractualization scheme that was first implemented during her mother’s administration.
“Through the Department Order 18-A inked by Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz last November 2011 P-Noy manifests adherence to the contractualization scheme,” Palma said. “This order only reinforces the guidelines in permissible job-contracting in the Philippines, but never did it declare that contractual scheme in workplaces is illegal.”
Based on the October 2011 data of National Statistics Office, Davao Region has 1.835 million workers employed, but only 2.79% of the employed workers are unionized and covered with a Collective Bargaining Agreement.
“Our government statistics shows how contractualization renders the workers powerless, making them among the poorest sector that ekes out on a mere PhP 291daily or US $ 6.8 per day for industrial workers in Davao Region,” Palma said.
“Based on our survey on different establishments in the city, workers from retail services and malls are mostly contractual workers. They were put to labor agencies and employed under a contract that lasts mostly only for five months. Aside from having no security of tenure, they are underpaid where the average wage given to contractual is below two hundred pesos per day,” Palma added.
Palma explained that contractualization is a scheme under the pretext of capitalist globalization.
“It is a mechanism employed by capitalists to lessen investment in human resources so to expropriate greater profits. Contractualization was introduced and flourished in the country after the Labor Code (PD 442) was amended during former President Aquino’s administration. The law was authored by then Senator Ernesto Herrera, a known leader of Trade Union Congress of the Philippines,” he said.
Arise challenged the Aquino administration: “Don’t just focus on impeaching Chief Justice Renato Corona,” saying how the Corona Impeachment was being a vendetta of the President’s family because of a ruling on the Hacienda Luisita, which was owned by his late mother’s family. The High Tribunal earlier ruled that the lands were to be distributed to tenants, a ruling that ran counter-favor to the Cojuangcos.
“If he is truly bent on implementing reforms, (he should) prioritize programs that concretely uplift peoples’ lives and abolish regressive and pro-capitalists programs like contractualization,” Palma ended.
After the activity, the group proceeded to the Sangguniang Panglungsod, where City Councilor Edgar Ibuyan was set to deliver a message of support regarding the immediate passage of Regular Employment Bill in the Congress during the regular session of the City Council.
Anthony Palma, 0947-322-4298