1 May 2019

“Mr. President, today is Labor Day, and today I ask you, have you forgotten your promises to increase the salary of teachers and to genuinely end contractualization in the country? I hope not, because amidst the natural and humanmade calamities confronting the Filipino workers of today, they will not just stand their ground this day, but also on the May 13 midterm elections.”

Samira Gutoc, an #OtsoDiretso senatorial candidate, said this on Wednesday as she rallies behind the broad and united forces of workers on Labor Day.

President Rodrigo Duterte has promised to increase the salary of public school teachers after he increased the wages of police and military men, but he has yet to make good on his promise.

“Three years into President Duterte’s presidency, wala pa ring substantial na pagtaas sa sahod ng mga guro. Hindi pa rin tuluyang nawawala ang endo maski sa government offices. Three years into President Duterte’s presidency, parang mas lumala pa yata? These are ancient demands of our workers and teachers. Bakit hindi naibibigay?” the Marawi civic leader and peacebuilder,  said.

“Ang mga magsasaka, lumiit ang kita dahil nawalan na ng limitasyon ang pag-import ng bigas dahil sa Rice Tariffication Act. Ang pondo para sa mga magniniyog, hindi na naman nila makukuha dahil na-veto ang Coco Levy Fund bill. Ang ating mga mangingisda hindi na makapanghuli sa sarili nating teritoryo dahil sa takot sa China. Ang ating mga construction workers, maliit na nga ang sahod nagkaroon pa ng kakumpitensyang mga Tsino. At bawat manggagawa, may pamilya man o wala, apektado sa mataas na presyo ng bilihin dahil sa humanmade calamities tulad ng TRAIN Law. Ilan lang ito sa mga naging pahirap sa ating mga manggagawa,” Gutoc, a recent UNDP N-Peace awardee, stressed.

“Idagdag pa natin ang water at power crisis, ang mga nakaraang sakuna tulad ng lindol, ang state of emergency sa iba’t ibang probinsya gaya ng Cebu dahil sa El Nino, at ang mga pahirap sa tao tulad ng sunod sunod na pagtaas ng presyo ng gasolina at bilihin. The Filipino workers cannot take any more burden than they already have. They need a reprieve from all of this.”

The former ARMM assemblywoman then urged the administration to now focus its so-called “political will” into enacting pro-workers and pro-poor bills in Congress.

“This administration claims of a strong political will. Prove this. The 18th Congress, kasama tayo kung papalarin, should now focus its priority legislative agenda to ensure the welfare of ordinary laborers. Ipasa natin ang resolusyong magtataas ng sahod sa mga guro. Ipasa natin ang batas na magbibigay ng security of tenure sa manggagawa. Ipasa natin ang disenteng national minimum wage na karapatan ng mga manggagawa saan mang panig ng bansa,” Gutoc asserted.

“We are here today with our workers because we have been with them mula nung nasa Marawi pa lamang, at kahit pa matapos ang eleksyon, mananatili tayo sa likod ng ating mga manggagawa dahil sila ang buhay ng ating bansa at ekonomiya,” the former journalist added.

Gutoc will be joining a breakfast with other Otso Diretso candidates and labor leaders in Ermita, Manila today, 7:00 a.m. She will then join the Labor Day assembly of the National Union of Bank Employees, Insurance and Finance Organizations (NUBE-IFO) at 9:00 a.m. ###

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Samira Gutoc, an Otso Diretso senatorial candidate, champions peace. She was recognized by the Philippine Daily Inquirer as Filipino of the Year in 2017 and by the Junior Chamber International as one of the Ten Outstanding Young Men (TOYM).