CITY OF SAN FERNANDO — For the first time, the labor group Workers’ Alliance in Region III (WAR-III) will celebrate Labor Day online due to the enhanced community quarantine.
“We can still celebrate and hold mass actions on this historical day even in our own homes by taking pictures and videos of our activities and post these online. Social media will have a very important role at these times,” WAR-III chair Pol Viuya said.
“Today, the need of airing our grievances is more than ever. The workers and the people are very disappointed with how the government is addressing the health crisis and we will not be stopped by the limitations of the ECQ,” Viuya added.
“The Duterte government should be held accountable for its incompetence and lack of a comprehensive plan,” he stressed.
The group started their protest last April 27 and 29 by videotaping their noise barrages and their selfies complete with empty pots and pans, as symbols for hunger and tools to make noise which they uploaded on their Facebook page.
Other peoples’ organizations also made their own versions as support for the workers’ historical celebration.
“We are demanding the urgency of government to deliver immediate relief to all workers,” he said. “From DOLE Region 3’s report, there are only about 80,000 workers that were given financial aid.”
“But workers in Clark alone number to more or less a hundred thousand. The government is keeping a bureaucratic red tape that kept it sluggish in implementing the program,” Viuya said.
Last April 13, the Department of Labor and Employment stopped approving new applicants for the Covid-19 Adjustment Measures Program (CAMP) and turned it over to the Department of Finance as Small Business Wage Subsidy (SWBS) program.
Eduardo Ellorenco Jr., president of Nagkakaisang Manggagawa ng Supreme Steel Pipe Corp., said “the government shouldn’t stop the CAMP for workers displaced by the lockdown. We prefer the DOLE’s CAMP for it is more simple. But the government should improve its implementation as to make swift in distributing aid. Unlike the SWBS which requires companies to register first with the Social Security System.”
The labor group also assailed the alleged harassment made by elements of the armed forces.
Viuya said the government should tell the AFP-PNP as well as the Joint Industrial Peace Concern Office as part of the National Task Force to End of Local Communist Armed Conflict and their minions online to stop red-tagging legitimate peoples’ organizations, unions and workers associations.
“Stop these terroristic attacks on peoples’ rights and focus on the health crisis and deliver a comprehensive plan with emphasis on the medical aspect. Stop branding us terrorist and quit making us as scapegoats for your failures,” Viuya said.