Bishop: Make Duterte keep labor promises

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San Carlos Bishop Gerardo Alminaza, chairperson of the Church People-Workers Solidarity (CWS)

MANILA, Dec. 6, 2016— A Catholic bishop is urging stakeholders to be more vigilant than ever when it comes to the Duterte administration’s labor policies.

San Carlos Bishop Gerardo Alminaza, chairperson of the Church People-Workers Solidarity (CWS), said labor leaders must particularly demand that Duterte make good on his promise to protect workers’ rights.

During the campaign, Duterte promised to stop the practice of “endo” or labor contractualization in the country by providing workers’ wages that can support themselves and their families.

“These promises are beacon lights that could inspire us to struggle more and push forward our demands for just wages, job security, right to organize, and an end to forced migration,” said Alminaza.

“We gather in order to be more vigilant, proactive and consistent in asserting pro-labor codes, laws, and policies that would protect and guarantee labor rights,” said the prelate during a recent gathering of church and labor leaders to mark the CWS’ 5th anniversary in Manila.

Various labor union leaders, however, are disappointed over the lack of progress in Duterte’s vow to address the issue.

The bishop said many workers have yet to see the end of contractualization “that has enslaved us for so long.”

He also said the country has yet to get the national minimum wage that somehow will put all workers on equal footing, regardless of the sector, industry, and location they belong to.

Established in 2011 during the 30th anniversary of St. John Paul II’s encyclical On Human Work, the CWS was formed to campaign for just labor policies that give workers their right to security and decent living.

Five years on, they have witnessed how attacks on workers’ rights had been “relentless and multi-faced as neoliberal globalization rages on and capitalist crisis deepens.”

Alminaza said that the “crisis of capitalism” and the neoliberal policies it pursues continue to accelerate the process of extracting profits from the surplus capital created by labor.

“It is continually increasing casualization and employment of short-term contractual apprentices and the like to cut the number of workers with tenure, reduce costs while inducing maximum profits,” added Alminaza.

“I urge everyone here to include the study of the ways how neoliberalism attacks … the workers, the labor movement, the marginalized, and the planet we live in, and discern also the ways of combating such attacks,” he said. (CBCPNews) 

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