by PhilippineNews, Apr 29, 2017
By MARLLY ROME C. BONDOC, GMA News
A labor group on Saturday expressed dismay at President Rodrigo Duterte for “breaking tradition” and his supposed failure to fulfill his promises ahead of the celebration of Labor Day on Monday.
“Breaking tradition, President Duterte will celebrate this year’s Labor Day at a public park in Davao City instead of Malacañan Palace where labor leaders used to be treated to a breakfast, a dialogue or a gift-giving ceremony,” Lakas Manggawa Labor Center (LMLC) vice chairman Dave Diwa said in a forum held in Quezon City.
In an invitation letter shared by Diwa to GMA News Online, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) invited LMLC members to the Labor Day assembly with the Duterte on May 1 at the People’s Park in Davao City.
Diwa said that almost 50 labor group leaders from Metro Manila were invited by DOLE to attend the Labor Day event in Davao City.
Instead of flying to Davao City, Diwa said groups will hold protests and join Labor Day events in Metro Manila on Monday.
“NAGKAISA, a broad coalition of some 47 labor federations will march from Welcome Rotunda to Mendiola in fron tof Malacañang. In the afternoon, the Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) will assemble at the Liwasang Bonifacio and by four o’clock will also march to Mendiola in Malacanan,” he said.
“TUCP-ITUC (Trade Union Congress of the Philippines – International Trade Union Confederation) will join the government’s “job fairs” in Quezon City. Other labor groups will celebrate Labor Day by conducting indoor memebership meetings and assemblies,” he added.
Diwa said that Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III had said that Duterte will unveil a “surprise financial package” during the Davao City event.
However, Diwa said that workers “cannot be appeased by dole outs.”
“Barely 10 months in the office, we do not expect Duterte to grant many of the things denied to us over the years. But we expect him at least, to fulfil the promises he has made so far,”‘ he added.
Diwa also raised his concern over the increase in the contribution rate for Social Security System (SSS) members.
“President Duterte promised to give P2,000 additional pension to our workers who have retired from work in the private sector. He gave P1,000 but raised the contribution of SSS members from 11 percent to 16 percent in five years,” he said.
Duterte in January approved a hike of P1,000 for the pension of some two million retired SSS members. Another P1,000 pension hike increase will be implemented in 2022.
The pension hike, however, comes with an increase of 1.5 percent in premiums of active members by May, which will increase the contribution rate from 11 percent to 12.5 percent to be shared by employer and employee.
SSS Chairman Amado Valdez said that the contribution rate could be increased annually until it reaches the target of 17 percent from the current rate over six years.
No real ‘endo’
Diwa, meanwhile, said that DOLE’s Department Order 174 was a “joke.”
“He (Duterte) promised to cut by half the number of contractual employees by 2016. This is a joke. He promised to end contractualization this year, 2017, but the government issued Department Order No. 174 that further legitimizes contracting and sub-contracting of labor,” Diwa said.
The DOLE order prohibits the repeated hiring of employees under an employment contract that falls short of the mandated six months to qualify for regularization.
“President Duterte has made his mark for millions of our workers today. He broke tradition; he did not fulfill two promises he made when he ran for office now that he is President,” Diwa said.