Workers are being forced to pay for the costs of the Duterte government’s mishandling the pandemic.
While the government tries to maintain the GCQ status to keep the maximum level of quarantine protocols that it can continue to impose, it fails to sustain even a minimum level of social security that the people badly need such #SapatAtTuloyNaAyudaSaLahat and #BalikTrabahongLigtas.
“An extended lockdown must come with enhanced social amelioration,” Sonny Matula, Chairperson of Nagkaisa, declares. “It should also prompt government to rethink its current attitude of penny-pinching on our economic recovery when we are facing the world’s worst recession in 150 years,” Matula added.
Worse is that it tries to keep people on quarantine but at the same time keeping the stimulus proposals at bay by opposing their required funding. Despite calls for government to roll out a robust economic recovery package that would bail out the people, the DOF and the NEDA continue to hold its untenable position to limit further government expenditures to P130 billion (US2.6), which is equivalent to only .07% of the GDP of US$355B (2019).
Even the idea of DOLE for a 3-month TUPAD emergency employment, though a welcome proposal, is not anchored on the proposal of Nagkaisa for employment guarantee assured with regular funding and which must be based on a new social objective of creating a more productive and sustainable jobs needed by a “Better Normal.” Without a clear jobs generation program, this proposed emergency employment would simply be dispensed through a patronage system.
This is a far cry from what other counties have rolled out to fight the recession.
NAGKAISA once again asserted its demand for income guarantees for all workers amounting to the prevailing minimum wage or P10,000, whichever is higher.
At the same time, the labor coalition also called on the DOTr to ease the transport burdens of workers by deploying PUJs thru service contracting as it is being proposed by many groups, including the Move As One coalition.
NAGKAISA is also calling on government to embark on a serious discussion with labor groups and other social movements and craft a robust economic recovery program. One that is based on an agri-industrial policy aimed at generating employment around key drivers of growth, build up public services especially public health and lag the path for a better normal.