The country’s biggest workers group, the Associated Labor Unions-Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (ALU-TUCP), on Sunday said thousands of organized and unorganized workers from left, center and right ideological persuasions will hold nationwide rallies on May 1 to remind President Rodrigo Duterte to fulfill his promise to ban contractualization and all forms of fixed-term jobs in the public and private sectors.
The planned rallies sat well with Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Secretary Silvestre Bello 3rd, who assured the workers that the Duterte administraton would not stifle dissent provided that everything will be done peacefully and that no laws will be violated.
“We welcome all forms of peaceful rallies, demonstrations and mass actions because to us rallies are a medium of communications. We will not know what our workers’ need if they don’t hold rallies,” Bello said.
He added, however, that “it is best if we will be able to provide their needs without resorting to rallies.”
Bello noted that President Duterte will be meeting with representatives of the labor sector and management on Labor Day.
He said the President has committed a quarterly meeting with the labor sector, with the second quarter dialogue falling on May 29.
Besides contractualization, the labor sector is also expected to bring up with Duterte the issue of meager salary and benefits.
ALU-TUCP spokesman Alan Tanjusay said they had received information that the President is inclined to hold the dialogue with labor leaders and workers in Davao City on May 1.
“Regardless of the venue, we are looking forward to President Duterte’s Labor Day speech and his pronouncement on contractualization on his dialogue-meeting with organized and unorganized labor groups when we meet him in Davao City on May 1 and hear from him his take on his promise to ban contractual work in the country,” Tanjusay added.
He said the moderate and centrist ALU-TUCP and the larger Nagkaisa labor coalition, an alliance of more than 40 leftist, rightist and centrist labor groups and workers organizations are set to hold rallies at the gates of Malacanang in Manila other areas in Metro Manila, Northern Luzon, Southern Luzon, Central Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao, including Davao City.