KMU picket at DOLE:

Emergency jobs will trap typhoon victims into poverty – KMU


Intramuros, Manila


October 15, 2009




Photos courtesy of Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU)


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, KMU chairperson.

“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.

Other efforts

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 calamity-stricken workers.

“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




Comelec must set out measures for workers to register amid calamity
Date: 15 October 2009
Reference Person:
Elmer “Bong” Labog, KMU Chairperson
Contact information:

The October 31 registration deadline for the 2010 elections is fast approaching and we are concerned that many of our fellow workers and kababayans have not yet registered.

We demand that Comelec undertake certain steps that will enable workers to register without losing our wages or a part thereof. The Comelec can work for one among the following options to enable us workers to register en masse: declare a day for special registration and order employers to grant workers leave with pay, declare a special registration on a Saturday, or utilize the long weekend before All Saints Day.



We workers are in our workplaces for the entire day that the Comelec is open to people who want to register. Because of rising prices of commodities, many workers cannot sacrifice our day’s wage or a part thereof just to register. The damage caused by typhoons “Ondoy” and “Pepeng” also made it difficult for us to register. Many among us simply cannot prioritize registering over moving on with our lives. For workers to be able to register in our thousands, the Comelec should do something about this situation.

Next year’s election is very important for our country. Finally, we can choose who will replace the most-hated president in the country since Ferdinand Marcos. We will also get to choose half of the people who will sit at the Senate which has served as a fiscalizer under this regime. We will also vote for progressive party-lists that have continuously fought for our interests. We should be given the opportunity to exercise our rights as citizens, to have a say in choosing who the country’s leaders will be.

The Comelec should act now. It is tragic that it has not done any of the proposals we are putting forward. It should have implemented policies that would have increased workers’ involvement in the coming elections. ###