By Rey E. Requejo | Manila Standard
Partido Federal ng Pilipinas standard-bearer Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr. vowed Wednesday to immediately address the problems hounding the labor sector to ensure better labor conditions for the country’s workforce if he is elected president in the May 9 national elections.
In a meeting with officials of the labor-focused groups, Trade Union Congress of the Philippines, and the Associated Labor Unions, the 64-year-old Marcos discussed the problems and issues that lay siege to the sector and outlined his plans and programs to address them.
While he supports the creation of a separate department for migrant workers, Marcos said all the other agencies that deal with the labor sector should be streamlined.
“I will have to put the layout in detail because the issue has become so involved. Lots to fix, structurally lots to fix. Agencies must be streamlined because there are too many (offices), our workers, confused as to where they should approach,” he lamented.
TUCP Party-list Rep. Raymond Mendoza, for his part, conformed with Marcos’ plans to streamline agencies, noting that overseas workers have met difficulties in their overseas employment, especially among household contract workers in the Middle Eastern countries.
In line with his aim of ensuring better labor conditions for workers, Marcos also expressed interest in making into a priority bill the Security of Tenure Act, which aims at amending the Labor Code to further protect workers’ rights by prohibiting labor-only contracting in the private sector.
Marcos pointed out that the version of the bill that President Rodrigo Duterte vetoed in 2019 for “unduly broadening” the scope of labor-only contracting, and effectively banning other forms “that are not particularly unfavorable to employees,” should be amended to ensure that it will live up to its aim of further protecting workers’ rights.
“We need to study carefully how to amend it so that it will really give protection to our workers so that it can be legislated. We have to fix it because our countrymen are forced to work overseas because the labor conditions here are low and not good,” he said.
Meanwhile, Mendoza, who is also TUCP president, raised the need to hire additional manpower for agencies such as the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration and the Overseas Workers’ WelfareAdministration to enable these agencies to better serve the welfare of at least 10 million Filipino migrant workers.
“In one day, they process thousands of contracts, and then they only have a few people. They lack foreign language interpreters who can help OFWs who have future problems in their jobs. We have millions of OFWS and they contribute a lot to our economy, so we need someone to focus on them,” Mendoza said.
The presidential candidate said this is why he sees the need for streamlining the agencies concerned so that there will be an agency focused solely on local workers and another one on overseas workers.
However, he stressed that the end goal would be to make overseas employment merely an option for Filipinos.
Aside from Mendoza, others present at the meeting were House Majority Speaker Martin Romualdez and his wife, Tingog Sinirangan Partylist Rep. Yeda Marie Romualdez, ALU-Transport Vice President Michael Mendoza, and ALU National Executive Vice President Gerard Seno, among
Meanwhile, Batangas City Gov. Hermilando Mandanas has vowed an all-out support for the UniTeam presidential and vice presidential tandem of Marcos and his running mate, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio.
“I [as Governor] and the province of Batangas fully support Mayor Sara. Batangueños fully supports noble public servants [like her],”
Mandanas told province mates on Tuesday when the Davao mayor visited the province.
He said Batangueños recognized Duterte-Carpio as one of them because her husband, lawyer Mans Carpio, comes from Ibaan town. Her husband’s paternal roots are from Paoay, Ilocos Norte.
The UniTeam candidates came from Northern Luzon, the traditional bailiwick of the Marcoses, where governors, mayors, and other local officials and supporters committed their overwhelming support for them.
The Northern Luzon journey took the team from Nueva Ecija, Nueva Vizcaya, Isabela and Cagayan on the eastern side to Ilocos Norte,
Ilocos Sur, La Union, Pangasinan, and Zambales on the western side.
“Judging from the warm reception and the endorsements we received, Solid North is indeed solid behind our UniTeam candidates,” said Lakas-CMD president and House Majority Leader Martin Romualdez.
“Combined that with the wide support Mayor Sara and BBM enjoy in Mindanao, where their survey scores are above 80 percent, and in Visayas, we see signs of a potential landslide victory for our candidates,” added Romualdez, campaign manager of Duterte-Carpio.