It’s been proclaimed before the global stage by no less than President Marcos, Jr. himself during the numerous foreign trips he made in the span of one year that the Philippine economy is doing good if not the best in the world in terms of performance.
But the state of Filipino workers disproves this claim. The President’s “Bagong Pilipinas” narrative is fake news. “Bigong Pilipinas” remains the appropriate representation of the true state of the nation today as far as the working class is concerned.
The post-pandemic Philippine economy may have recovered and businesses regained their profits, but the token P40 wage increase in NCR failed to recover even half of the wage value lost to inflation this year. And having no intention of pursuing a new anti-endo policy in the private and public sector, the Marcos administration is clearly on the path of keeping the status quo by affirming contractualization to be the best deal for local business and foreign investment to keep wages low and labor rights suppressed.
Moreover, the administration’s unsympathetic treatment of the ILO-High Level Tripartite Mission recommendations to address killings and red-tagging in the labor movement and to strengthen the mechanisms to protect freedom of association explains why DOLE slacks to undisturbed mode despite the continuing labor rights violations. The fact is without or with weaker unions, workers in their millions cannot negotiate with their bosses for improvements in their living standards.
Poverty, violence, and harassments continue to oppress women inside and outside their workplaces, yet the government works very slow in enacting measures to enhance protection for women. Convention 190 (elimination of violence and harassment in the world of work) has been waiting for Senate ratification since the last Congress but no move to that effect has been initiated by the Palace the way it did strongly for the Maharlika Investment Fund.
The state of COVID-19 public health emergency was lifted two days before the SONA, yet the state of the country’s healthcare system remains saddled with age-old problems. The brain-drain in the health sector continues while the local workforce suffers neglect and deteriorating working conditions due to low wages and irregular work arrangements.
Many administrations have failed workers in many aspects, thus, to be promised another “Bagong Pilipinas” under the same conditions of low wages, endo, and trade union repression surely won’t get accolades from the working class.
- Nagkaisa Labor Coalition