Most parts of this message were delivered in Cebuano during the State of the Workers’ Rights Forum and National Coalition for the Protection of Workers’ Rights Cebu Chapter (NCPWR-Cebu) RE-Convention held by VIHDA and CTUHR in partnership with the UP Cebu College Student Council, November 17, at the AVR, UP Cebu College.
Isang mapulang pagbati galing sa Nagkahiusang Kusog sa Estudyante ng UP Cebu College!
The case of VECO workers and all other Cebu workers are just few of the labor injustices in the country like the cases of Philippine Air Lines workers, ABS-CBN reporters and workers, and the biggest case in history – the case of the Hacienda Luisita farmers which led to a massacre, 6 years ago through DOLE’s Assumption of Jurisdiction that permitting authorities to use force in ceasing workers’ strikes that affect the national economy and the people which also happened recently to the VECO workers.
Sad to say, most of the Filipinos are still not that critical in looking at the existence of strikes. Most of us see strikes negatively as nuisance or something that affects our economy or our lives that it should be stopped. We fail to see and to seek for the reasons or rationale why these strikes occur.
In short, we have been selfish. We do not think of the workers who sacrificed themselves and their families by receiving low wages while working hard just to generate income for the country; just to distribute electricity to our homes, in case of VECO workers.
Aside from selfishness, the way we think about these labor issues is being influenced by the capitalist system in our society. In fact, yung mga tumututol talaga sa strike na ilulunsad ng VECO workers ay yung mga nanggaling sa business sector, yung mga kapitalista, at isama na rin ang nasa media industry. The capitalist system teaches us to think more of money and self-prodress than the workers na sila talaga ang tunay na nag-ge-generate ng income para sa mga kompanya at income para sa ekonomiya ng bansa.
It is also sad to say that our leaders, whom we trusted much, also do not think critically and instead of giving efforts to resolve labor disputes with the protection and promotion of workers’ rights, ay pinapaboran pa ang mga kapitalista tulad ng mga Cojuangco, Tan, Lopez, Garcia, ng Aboitiz at iba pa.
With these, we see the necessity of workers’ unity in protecting and pushing for their rights; thus, the workers’ unions. However, capitalists/businesspeople are finding ways to silence the workers by busting unions, retrenching workers especially the active ones, and filing cases, usually libel, to the workers. Hence, we are glad that we have non-government organizations and agencies like CTUHR and VIHDA na handang magbigay-impormasyon hinggil sa mga karapatan ng mga manggagawa at handang tulungan ang mga inaaping manggagawa.
We are also glad that we, from other sectors in the society, kasama na kaming mga kabataan, mga estudyante, mga guro, ang simbahan at iba pa, ay nagkakaisa sa pagsuporta, pagtulong at pagtatanggol ng mga karapatan ng manggagawa.
Now, new administration under the leadership of President Noynoy Aquino is in the government, promisiing to lead us to the Daang Matuwid (Straight Path) yet 4 months have passed, many problems have already confronted us – workers’ oppression, injustices, education and health budget cut, etc.
But let us hand-in-hand, kasama kaming mga kabataan at mga Iskolar ng Bayan, not allow the government to lead us into Daang Matuwid na parang 2010 na movie kung saan only those elites will survive, will progress leaving behind the underprivileged ones. And it is our COLLECTIVE DUTY as responsible citizens to remind and correct the government in its shortcomings as we help it lead us to the Totoong Daang Matuwid (Genuine Straight Path).
JUSTICE for VECO WORKERS!
JUSTICE for HACIENDA LUISITA FARMERS!
JUSTICE for ALL FILIPINO WORKERS!
Let us continue Serving the People at padayon sa ating pagkakaisa!