Authored by: Nicon Fameronag (Former undersecretary DOLE) Date posted: Apr 30, 2018
The Lilac Center for Public Interest, Inc. yesterday said the lack of any advance announcement by Malacañang Palace on any potential benefit for Filipino workers, including OFWs, on Labor Day is making them restless and could push them to make their voices heard on the streets.
“We have no idea about what President Rodrigo Duterte will announce tomorrow in terms of meaningful benefits to the Filipino worker. The announcement of jobs being made available through various DOLE job fairs is a pretty regular thing. However, it is not what they have been clamoring for. What they are asking for a long time is a solution to contractualization which the President had promised. That’s what make them restless. Two years in a row of that unfulfilled promise make their hopes teeter on the brink,” Nicon F. Fameronag, president of the lilac Center said during a press briefing.
The Lilac Center is a private organization committed to expanding the realm of policy researches and studies to cover kitchen-table issues of the Filipino masses, thus contributing to making policy a domain of public interest.
Fameronag recalled that during last year’s Labor Day celebration in Davao, the President reiterated his promise to end contractualization, yet after two years, the DOLE has failed to redeem that promise.
“He had also expressed his want for workers in the provinces to enjoy the same wages as those of workers in Metro Manila,” yet workers in the provinces continue to leave for overseas jobs because of low pay,” Fameronag said.
He also said the unabated increase in the prices of basic commodities including petroleum and electricity prices due to the TRAIN Law, which government authorities promised will not result to higher prices, are making workers and their families suffer more.
“On Labor Day, workers remember that policies of the administration, such as the looming increase in Social Security and PhilHealth premium contributions could easily wipe out the ₱1,000.00 increase in pension benefits for retired workers given them last year. How about the active and still working members of the labor force?” What benefits are in store for them after Labor Day?,” Fameronag asked.
In the overseas front, Fameronag said OFWs continue to be saddled with problems, such as the high cost of remittances, abuse by employers, and the absence of a meaningful and workable national reintegration program. This pose a problem for the President’s exhortation for OFWs to come home.
“The lack of remunerative jobs makes them wary about the invite,” Fameronag said.
The Lilac Center official said that if the administration hopes to continue to enjoy the trust and confidence of the great masses of Filipino working men and women, it should redeem its promises first.