President Benigno Aquino 3rd on Friday said the government is taking care of Filipino workers both here and abroad.
In his Labor Day message, Aquino noted that the government is ensuring the safety and competitiveness of Filipino workers wherever they may be.
“Saan mang sulok ng mundo sila naroroon, sinisikap tugunan ng pamahalaan ang kanilang mga pangangailangan, lalo na sa larangan ng edukasyon, pagsasanay at agarang ayuda [Wherever in the world they may be, the government is striving to address their needs, especially in the areas of education, training and immediate assistance],” he said.
“Pinapanday natin ang higit na matatag na ugnayan sa puwersang manggagawa upang mapakinggan ang kanilang saloobin at mabigyan ito ng karampatang aksyon [We are forging stronger coordination with the labor sector to listen to their sentiments and give the proper response],” the President added.
Aquino’s statements on concerns of Filipino workers came after Mary Jane Veloso, who was convicted by an Indonesian court for smuggling drugs, was temporarily spared from facing a firing squad on Wednesday.
He said the government is promoting stable employment relations in its efforts to respond to the workers’ concerns.
The President urged cooperation of stakeholders in advancing industrial peace.
Delivering his Labor Day address in Cebu, he once again trumpeted his administration’s efforts in successfully solving labor disputes.
Aquino said the number of labor strikes has been significantly lower since he assumed the presidency in 2010.
According to him, the 12 cases of labor strikes under his administration pale in comparison with the 259 strikes that were launched during the administration of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
In 2010, only one strike was registered, the lowest in the country’s history.
Aquino was in Cebu to celebrate Labor Day and grace various activities, including unveiling of the New Mill Facility Marker at Cemex Philippines in Naga City, Cebu.
He expressed concern about a strke at the power plant of the Korean Electric Power Corp.-Salcon Power Cor (Kepco-SPC), in the Naga City, saying a power crisis in the Visayas could occur if the strike pushed through.
In a chance interview, Aquino told Cebu reporters that he wants the current labor dispute to be settled peacefully through a dialogue between the two parties.
A group of workers from Kepco-SPC has been seeking recognition from management, as well as reinstatement of a supervisor whose services were terminated in March.
“It should be resolved in a peaceful and not disruptive way,” Aquino said.
The President pointed out that Kepco-SPC is a power producer.
“Power is important for the continued growth of the economy,” he said. “Especially in Cebu.”
If the strike pushed through, Aquino said, it will be the first in the region in the last decade.
He, however, expressed confidence that Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz will be able to find a way to solve the labor dispute and come up with win-win solution.