1 May 2019

“Sa panahon na kumukonti ang laman ng plato, nababawasan ang sinaing sa kaldero at nagkukulang ang pamasahe papunta sa trabaho, dapat ay kakampi ng manggagawang Pilipino ang Kongreso.” 
Marawi civic leader and peacebuilder Samira Gutoc today said that the incoming 18th Congress should focus its priority legislative agenda in ensuring the welfare of ordinary laborers, as well as women workers, who are the heart of the country’s economy.


“Our workers are at the heart of our economy. Sila ang lifeblood ng ating bayan, imagine kung walang magsasaka, mangingisda, paano tayo kakain? Imagine kung walang construction workers at mga drayber, paano tayo aasenso? The workers deserve the attention of the incoming 18th Congress,” the #OtsoDiretso senatorial candidate said.
“Bills ensuring the welfare and safeguarding the rights of our workers, especially women workers, should be part of Congress’s top legislative agenda,” the former ARMM assemblywoman added.

National minimum wage
Gutoc earlier asserted that a decent and living national minimum wage is a right of all workers. 
“Ang isang disente at nakakabuhay ng pamilya na national minimum wage ay karapatan ng bawat manggagawa. Sa taas po ng bilihin kahit saang panig ng bansa dala ng mataas na langis dahil sa dagdag na excise tax ng TRAIN Law, dapat lang na buong bansa ay magkaroon na ng fixed minimum wage,” the former journalist said.
“Hindi kalabisan o pribilehiyo ang maghangad at magkaroon ng disenteng sweldo para ipangkain ng iyong mga anak, para makapag-aral sila at para makaraos sa isang araw. Kulang pa ito kumpara sa paghihirap ng mga manggagawa lalo na sa mga mahihirap na rehiyon tulad ng Mindanao,” Gutoc, a recent UNDP N-Peace awardee, added.

Probinsyanos, women
Gutoc also said a decent national minimum wage would level the playing field for suffering workers in provinces.
“The PSA has reported that the number of persons who were in the labor force was at 43 million of the estimated 71.6 million population aged 15 years old and over. Our labor force participation rate (LFPR) of 60.1 percent is low, with the lowest registered in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao at 46.2 percent. Kailangan ng mas magandang oportunidad para sa ating mga kapatid sa mahihirap na probinsya” the former journalist cited.
“Also, 6 in every 10 of the estimated 40.6 million employed persons in the country were male, putting females in a disadvantage. Only 38.3 percent of the 40.6 employed Filipinos are women. We need to do much to get more women in employment,” she added.

No to contractualization 
“Indefinite contractualization is slavery. The Security of Tenure bill should be passed. Ang isyu ng contractualization ay isyu ng kakulangan at kawalan ng trabaho sa ating bansa. Kailangan magkaroon ang gobyerno ng long-term na plano upang mabigyan ng solusyon ang unemployment. Kasama na rin dito sa plano na ito ang pagpapauwi sa ating mga OFW at pagsuporta sa mga entrepreneurs,” Gutoc said.
“Priority dapat ng gobyerno ang Pilipinong manggagawa sa anumang aspeto. Hindi dapat puro papogi sa China at mga Tsino! Kung kaya nilang isipin ang kalagayan ng mga Tsino sa bansa, higit dapat ang paggalang at pag-suport sa mga Pilipino,” she added. ###


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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).