Death of Duterte’s end­ing ENDO prom­ise

Sun Star Bacolod - - Opinion -

IN THE 2016 cam­paign, end­ing ENDO was one of Duterte’s core cam­paign prom­ises. That made him the top pres­i­den­tial choice of var­i­ous work­ers groups.

In his first three years, end­ing ENDO how­ever turned from a prom­ise into rhetoric, and of­ten flip-flop­ping on the work­ers de­mands.

Last week, the rhetoric turned into a de­plorable stand when Duterte fi­nally “take the bull by its horn” by ve­to­ing the Se­cu­rity of Ten­ure bill.

It was a dis­play of firm and clear stand­point, but at the same time, as an om­nibus warn­ing against suc­ceed­ing and fu­ture at­tempts from any la­bor group and their sym­pa­thiz­ers to push sim­i­lar bill.

Yet his rhetoric on end­ing ENDO and other la­bor con­cerns con­tin­ues.

He wants a more “bal­ance po­si­tion” on ENDO or con­trac­tu­al­iza­tion or la­bor only con­tract­ing (LOC), but al­low­ing big busi­nesses to con­tinue em­ploy­ing ENDO is a no “bal­ance po­si­tion”, it is vow­ing to their pres­sure and tol­er­at­ing their ra­pac­ity.

He wants a more “bal­ance po­si­tion” but he also means that a se­cured ten­ure is not al­ways the an­swer, or nec­es­sary. The crux of it, he wants a flex­i­ble def­i­ni­tion of se­cu­rity of ten­ure and al­low big busi­nesses to prac­tice them with some caution, what­ever it means, so long as the govern­ment gets its taxes, the top bu­reau­crats pocket grease money, and the econ­omy grows.

In fact, his anti-worker rhetoric ex­tends to other as­pects of la­bor con­di­tions.

He wants to raise the salaries and ex­pand the ben­e­fits of the work­ers, but he did not say he wants to stop the rav­en­ous big busi­nesses in rak­ing su­per­prof­its from squeez­ing to their bones the docile, cheap and un­pro­tected la­bor of Filipino work­ers.

He wants to im­prove the wel­fare and well-be­ing of the Filipino work­ers, but he did not mean that they be al­lowed to seize even a frac­tion of the su­per­profit of their em­ploy­ers and un­der­mine the state of life of the big busi­nesses in this country.

He wants the rights of work­ers re­spected and up­held, but also en­cour­age the po­lice and pri­vate scabs to break up with bru­tal­ity the picket lines and strikes, ar­rest and kill work­ers lead­ers.

Duterte has un­masked him­self once more, of where he stand and who he wants to pro­tect.

The big busi­nesses, in­clud­ing those in Ne­gros and Panay rep­re­sented by lo­cal chap­ters of em­ploy­ers con­fed­er­a­tion and cham­ber of com­merce, must be gloat­ing over Duterte’s ve­to­ing of ENDO.

They must be em­bold­ened now to do what­ever they want with their work­ers and em­ploy­ees with­out fear of the law which has taken the wrong side.

De­spite the new dif­fi­cul­ties, I am cer­tain that the work­ers are not tak­ing this pas­sively. This na­tional treach­ery and as­sault must have like­wise em­bold­ened them to work harder to end ENDO, along­side their strug­gles for higher wages, ben­e­fits, union rights, in the sugar farms, mills, fac­to­ries, en­ergy and wa­ter plants, trans­porta­tion and com­mu­ni­ca­tion firms, com­mer­cial es­tab­lish­ments, schools, and even in the govern­ment sec­tor.

A friend has re­minded me that the work­ing class move­ment in this country, and in this re­gion, have his­toric and col­or­ful records of strug­gles that brought them great vic­to­ries in winning their de­mands and re­claim­ing their dig­nity, and still able to ad­vance de­spite numer­ous de­feats and set­backs.

True enough. The work­ers may be fooled once, twice, thrice, but not all the time. They have a deep bench of lead­ers even for an­other gen­er­a­tion’s fight.*

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