The Revolutionary Council of Trade Unions (RCTU) – Negros strongly condemn the continuing subservience of the Duterte regime through the implementation of even worse neoliberal economic policies in the nation amid the Covid-19 pandemic basing on the dictates of his US and Chinese Imperialist masters, negatively impacting the lives of Filipino workers.
The worldwide pandemic has revealed the inability of solving and disregard of the inutile government of the problems of the people due to the simultaneous impositions of anti-people policies that have buried an overwhelming majority of the workers, farmers, and other impoverished sectors in extreme poverty and hunger.
Even before the Covid-19 pandemic spread in the Philippines, the workers sector was already suffering in poverty due to joblessness, contractualization, low wages, little to no benefits and the rising prices of basic needs.
Instead of solving the socio-economic and public health crises, the regime has only done militarist lockdowns that has worsened the bitter situation of workers. Based on April 2020 data, in the 45 million people part of the labor force, where 7.5 million are unemployed and 6.4 underemployed. Meanwhile, 4.4% or 1.98 million in Visayas and Mindanao have since been jobless, a number which may still increase as estimated by Ibon Foundation. All of this is a result of the wrong steps taken by the inutile government in facing the Covid-19 crisis.
Many drivers of jeepneys and tricycles, and other workers who rely on daily jobs have been displaced. They have been deprived by the government of their right to work, while foreign capitalists and corporations have been given leeway to monopolize the transportation sector through the bogus modernization scheme. Brought about by privatization, the private sector is expected to take over public service. Jeepney drivers who were once the kings of the road are now in the sidewalks, begging for alms so they can feed their families due to the effects of the jeepney phaseout.
Over 14 million Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) in different parts of the globe are suffering due to the state of labor and healthcare because of government neglect to address their situation. The labor-export policy of the government and joblessness in the country, over 6,000 OFWs in 51 nations have been affected while 440 have already died due to Covid 19
Even workers from the Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) Industry are in fear of losing jobs. In Bacolod, around 100-200 workers are in an unsure “Floating status”. They are also victims of the failed response of the Duterte administration for the Covid-19 crisis due to the lack of medical equipment like PPEs, no mass testing and proper transport, and depriving them of their hazard pay because their employers are not obligated by the government to take proper care of their workers.
The Covid-19 pandemic has expose the aggravating anti-worker stance of the fascist and tyrannical Duterte regime wherein a concrete solution is yet to be seen in the ballooning figures of unemployment. The regime is only exploiting and enslaving the working class through acquiring capital by squeezing their labor power.
Despite all this, additional military and police troops, purchasing of war materiel, fascism and killings are the go-to answer of the state against the legitimate and democratic demands of the people. Many have fallen victim to human rights violations while the state perpetrators remain scat-free in Negros island. Recent additions to the list are the illegal arrest of Aldong Davao and the brutal killing of Jerry Catalogo, sugarcane workers and members of the National Federation of Sugar Workers (NFSW).
Duterte is exposing himself as a killer and dictator, using the Covid-19 as a pretext to control the mobility of the people, passing the Anti-Terrorism Bill to formalize threatening and silencing activists, critics and the opposition. All these are part and parcel of Duterte’s plans to envelop the country in martial rule to remain in power way beyond his term. Duterte has buried the Philippines in huge debt, reaching P8.6 trillion which will be shouldered even by future generations.
Thus, it is imperative that we unite and strengthen the wide ranks of workers to defend our right to live, for healthcare, and for freedom. Raise the level of our militancy to reach more sectors of the exploited classes to collectively assert our democratic and legitimate demands. The sharpening contradictions between the ruling class and the exploited classes prove the collapsing US-Duterte regime. It will only be buried in bankruptcy due to the chronic crisis of the semicolonial and semifeudal system. It is just to advance the national democratic revolution, carrying forward the programs of genuine land reform, national industrialization and raise the economic status of the people. Along with the broad impoverished masses, workers should unite to topple down the tyrannical and bloody Duterte regime. We have nothing to lose but our chains of slavery. ###