The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) today called out Department of Labor and Employment Sec. Silvestre Bello III for displaying a despicable lack of sympathy for Filipino workers by declaring plans to exempt capitalists from paying workers’ 13-month salaries this year.
Bello revealed this during an online press briefing on Thursday, following an announcement from the Employers Confederation of the Philippines (ECOP) that some two million workers may not receive their bonus this coming December.
“The Labor Department’s proposal to allow capitalists to forego payment of 13-month salaries is completely unacceptable to millions of hard up workers,” said CPP Chief Information Officer Marco L. Valbuena.
“It is shameless as Duterte’s minions squabble over billions of pesos of pork barrel and big capitalists are pampered with tax exemptions. Sec. Bello, don’t you have any ounce of sympathy for workers left in you?” Valbuena added.
The reactionary law mandates all employers to pay their workers a 13th month pay not later than December 24 annually. The said pay is equivalent to a twelfth of a worker’s basic annual salary. However, the same law also allows exemption of commercial establishments classified as “distressed” from paying this bonus.
Workers raised alarm over this provision as the term is too broad and vague and may be used as a pretext by capitalists to accumulate more profit amid the pandemic. Labor groups demanded the regime to bail out micro, small and medium enterprises in dire straits instead of denying workers their much-needed payout.