‘Worker-led revolution is the only solution to realizing Filipino workers’ interests’
The Filipino working class have every right to storm the streets in defiance and anger at the current state of labor under the US-Duterte regime. The reactionary government’s wanton disregard for workers’ welfare and outright selling of workers as cheap labor to big foreign capital are valid grounds for the intensification of the fight for workers’ rights.
However, to effect radical change in the labor sector, workers have to elevate their fight to a radical proletarian struggle. They have to lead an armed revolution to fulfil their desire not only for job security, fair wage, and a decent life but for establishing a people’s democracy that will pave the way for a proletarian socialist state.
The debacle on contractualization is proof of the inadequacy of parliamentary struggle in securing workers’ rights. At the start of its term, the Duterte government promised to put an end to contractualization, even bragging that it will punish companies implementing anti-worker job flexibility schemes. All these were proven to be fodder as Executive Order 51, touted by the regime as its anti-contractualisation policy, allowed third-party agencies to sub-contract labor.
Legal recourses in solving labor disputes always fall short of meeting workers’ demands. There are too many cases of corporations like Coca-Cola defying the order of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) to regularize workers. Companies exploit loopholes in the reactionary Labor Code to get away with violating workers’ rights, such as in the case of Middleby Philippines Corporation in Laguna that violently dispersed the worker’s picket line and illegally arrested its union leaders.
DOLE is powerless and useless in the face of blatant violations and abuse of workers. The case of Japanese-owned HTI in Cavite, where an undetermined number of workers died in the factory fire, remains unresolved. Until now, the Japanese company has not admitted fault for the tragedy and even threatened the survivors and the victims’ families to silence them despite the heavy casualties and grave loss.
The necessity of a radical solution to uplift workers becomes clearer in the semi-colonial and semi-feudal analysis of Philippine society. Subservient to the neoliberal order propagated by imperialists primarily the US, the reactionary Philippine government peddles workers to foreign corporations, allowing capitalists to extract the highest possible profit from their labor. This means depressing wages, removing benefits and laying off workers to rationalize production and operational costs.
As a result, Filipino workers live in the most sordid living conditions. The meager minimum wage, which in Southern Tagalog amounts to an average of P333, is way below the recommended P1,050 living allowance for a family of five. The increasing prices of goods due to TRAIN Law and the unstoppable rise of inflation further erode the purchasing capacity of the working class family. Reports from the Philippine Statistics Authority proclaiming the current wage rate as sufficient are unbelievable, and incite public disgust at the Duterte government’s obvious lack of sympathy for workers.
The three years of the US-Duterte regime has clearly done nothing to improve the lives of workers. The chronic job crisis, contractualization, unfair labor practices, and anti-union policies hounding workers reveal the reactionary government’s bias for capitalists, while band-aid solutions offered by two-faced labor officials prove the futility of reforms.
Only the national democratic revolution, which seeks to free the nation from imperialist control, can liberate workers from modern-day slavery. This armed revolution, led by the working class in alliance with the peasantry, will defeat imperialism, feudalism, and bureaucrat capitalism, and build a government that will protect workers from exploitation by capitalists.
The revolutionary movement in Southern Tagalog believes in the determination of the working class to change their dire situation and attain their democratic interests. Their fervent desire for social justice and commitment to their cause will drive them to struggle on all fronts. As the crisis deepens, more workers will join and lead the national democratic revolution, the ultimate fight for genuine liberation and democracy, until socialism is achieved. ###