15 October 2009
Emergency jobs will trap typhoon victims into poverty – KMU
Workers picket DOLE over inutile calamity response
Workers led by Kilusang Mayo Uno and Anakpawis Partylist picketed today
the labor department to slam its vain efforts to project to the public
that it is assisting calamity-stricken workers, saying providing emergency
jobs for only around 1,450 affected workers all over Luzon is an incorrect
response to the calamity.
KMU said the government’s emergency employment program in the aftermath of
typhoons “Ondoy” and “Pepeng” will create poverty traps for typhoon
victims, as it will transform workers displaced – temporarily or
permanently – from their regular jobs into short-term wage earners.
“Consistent with its promotion of precarious work despite the economic
slump, the Arroyo regime has even used the grave damage wrought by the
typhoons to transform regular workers into contractual and low-paid ones.
This scheme certainly leaves us more vulnerable to the effects of
calamities and the worsening economic crisis,” said Elmer “Bong” Labog,
“With the expiration of emergency work, how can you expect jobless and
homeless workers to rebuild their lives with only around P5,730 after the
15-day cleanup and declogging operations? Can you expect them to find
decent work when the government itself consistently promotes poor quality
and low-earning jobs? This regime is really keeping us mired in poverty
rather than assisting in the recovery,” he added.
KMU also criticized the other efforts that were undertaken by the DOLE in
response to the recent calamity – in particular, the DOLE’s request to
employers to help their workers.
“This is nothing but lip service. The small and medium-scale Filipino
businessmen who are willing to heed this call seem unable to provide
assistance to workers because they too have been hit by the calamity. On
the other hand, while big-time entrepreneurs are capable of assisting
their workers, they seldom act without compulsion from the government and
workers,” said Labog.
Rep. Joel Maglunsod of Anakpawis Partylist said workers who were displaced
from their jobs in the wake of “Ondoy” and “Pepeng” should be given decent
and stable work, not short-term jobs.
“Before bragging about helping workers recover from the disaster, the
Arroyo regime should first see to it that workers who were laid off must
be employed in permanent jobs. It is their best guarantee for recovery and
best protection from the ill effects of future calamities,” said Maglunsod.
According to Maglunsod, direct cash assistance should be provided to
workers by the government, instead of just encouraging employers to assist
“What workers need at this point is direct and speedy assistance that will
enable them to meet their basic needs in the face of the severe damage
wrought by typhoons,” Maglunsod said.
KMU also described the deployment of only 40 nurses to typhoon-affected
barangays in Metro Manila as “a crude response that ironically speaks of
the labor export policy which has drained health workers and professionals
in the country.” #
Reference: Emer "Bong" Labog, KMU Chairperson, 0929-629-3234