CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Saturday, 13 October 2018

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Duterte failing the Filipino worker

MANILA (UCAN): Philippine trade union workers voiced their support for the Philippine Church’s declaration of July 17 to 19 as National Days of Fasting and Almsgiving in protest against a wave of killings and the president’s blasphemous attacks on God, as they began the People’s March for Justice, Democracy, Freedom and Just Peace, a weeklong march from the southern Tagalog region to the capital Manila.
 
The workers, calling for an end to what they described as president, Rodrigo Duterte’s “regime of discord,” said they were setting aside a daily ecumenical celebration of the liturgy during the weeklong march. They also vowed to abstain from eating meat for three days.
 
The Church-Labour Conference, a solidarity network of church workers and labor groups, noted that Duterte had failed to address the labour sector’s concerns.
 
On July 18, the conference gave the Duterte administration a failing grade.
 
“Everything he promised to workers remains unfulfilled,” said Bishop Broderick Pabillo of Manila, who heads the conference. 
 
Instead of improving the lives of people, the administration “imposes additional burdens on the working class.”
 
The bishop said that despite his election campaign promises, the president has not ended casual labour contracting.
 
“Conditions for workers have deteriorated during the first two years of Duterte,” said Bong Labog of labour group Kilusang Mayo Uno.
 
The number of contractual workers rose dramatically from 595,000 in 2016 to 660,390 in 2017, according to government data.
 
Rene Magtubo, chairperson of the Nagkaisa Labour Coalition, said Duterte’s economic policies and political agenda have added to the suffering of ordinary workers.
 
“The government has set aside workers’ welfare and focused on how to squeeze our pockets by imposing abusive taxation that has a domino effect on all basic commodities,” he said.
 
Bishop Pabillo said workers continue to hope for the best, but warned them to “prepare for the worst.”
 
“We are expecting conditions will further deteriorate under the government’s policies,” the bishop said.

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