Dear Filipino elite: what’s so wrong about standing up for workers?

In case you haven’t noticed, the last three months have seen us discuss two pressing issues concerning our workers: the moves to reduce, or end ENDO contractualization, and the efforts to help distressed OFWs especially in Kuwait.

All over social media the elites go about questioning governments efforts to address these and conflate what they claim to be failures.

Their criticisms against our government personnel conducting a “rescue” of distressed OFWs may have rankled the Kuwaiti government. Yes, Kuwaitis are within their rights to complain at such behavior. But to pillage government personnel for daring to do what they did only shows a lot about themselves and their long drawn disgust at the working class- those who toil in their employ and those who work for their counterparts on foreign shores. Would they rather we all just kept quiet while thousands of OFWs are forced to surrender their own sovereignity- their passports, to these employers abuse?

The greatest sadness goes out to militant labor groups, who, despite claiming to support or promote workers rights over the last 50 years, only regained the floor to speak of ending ENDO contractualization when this President even raised it. The truth is that this issue may have long been forgotten- even by them.

Over the last twenty years, these militant labor groups stood by while large corporations benefitted from loopholes in the labor code to allow unfair labor practices, the dwindling numbers among organized labor have either joined management, ran  and won party list seats in congress or were marshalled to form the core of familiar protesters seen at street corners ranting against, well,  everything but ENDO contractualization.

These militant labor leaders now join the elites in balking at governments efforts to end ENDO contractualization.  

The last three months of discussions on these labor issues have been brought up not by those advocating for them, but by the government they choose to oppose. Perhaps we should all ask ourselves why this is the case, and decide who among them holds the welfare of workers in their heart.


Rafael Liwanag is the pseudonym of a "once lefty" who, nonetheless, lives among the same crowd in UP Village. His opinions do not necessarily reflect the positions of the publisher.- ed