Message by Former Congressman and TUCP Vice President ATTY. ALEJANDRO C. VILALVIZA during the Luncheon Meeting with Her Excellency, GLORIA MACAPAGAL-ARROYO, 27 April 2010, Malacañang Palace, Manila
Your Excellency, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo,
Secretary Marianito Roque,
Undersecretaries and officials of the Department of Labor and Employment
Esteemed colleagues and fellow workers.
MAGANDANG TANGHALI SA ATING LAHAT!
Madam President, on behalf of the labor sector
–workers in the private and public sectors,
workers in the informal economy
and Filipinos working abroad and on-board-ships
We thank you for this opportunity to be with you once again.
We anticipate this sitting with you when Labor Day comes.
To us, this is proof of your concern for the sector.
Your Excellency and labor have been confronted with many challenges.
Our journey together was not easy.
Fortunately, like you Madam President, we are problem solvers and we seek lasting solutions,
rather than cursing the world and its leaders, and stopping there.
Gaya ninyo, ang labor ay hindi sumusuko!
Gawa lang ng gawa, itinataas at hinuhusayan ang trabaho at talino
to improve productivity para sa kapakanan ng economiya at ng bayan!
The country, under your administration, Madam President
is doing many things — for employment, job creation, poverty alleviation,
alternative livelihood and sources of income, better social services,
better welfare and benefit packages for workers, their families and communities.
Your Excellency and our DOLE, led by Secretary Roque and his people,
as well as and other departments have done many things:
The workers income augmentation program (WINAP)
has been helpful to union members,
displaced workers, informal sector, and their families for many years.
Now we see micro enterprises run by workers,
–generic pharmacies of cheaper medicines;
–organic fertilizer production which also helps create jobs, ensure sustainable environment,
green jobs promotion and climate change mitigation;
–discounted rice, variety/convenience stores, among many others.
The labor-proposed amnesty on SSS and Pag-Ibig Loans
are being implemented;
Para sa mga manggagawa sa gobyerno,
pinapatupad ang Salary Standardization law;
Ang SPES, OYSTER, CLEEP, NARS, ENTREPRENARS
also contributed to employment generation programs;
The TESDA fund for skills training and re-training put thousands of workers’ children in market-led jobs, including BPOs.
–it put the poor and many of workers children
in more advantaged position to fill-up in demand jobs
–Naisa-batas ang Tax Relief Package Law of 2008
exempting minimum wage earners from paying withholding tax;
–RA 9481 which strengthens workers right to self organization;
–Magna Carta of Women that hopes to ensure gender equality and equity;
–RA 9231 aiming to eliminate the worst forms of child labor;
–RA 9208 – Anti-trafficking of women and children;
–RA 10022 – Migrant Workers Act which increases protection
and services for overseas Filipino workers.
We have ratified three important ILO Conventions
–Convention Nos. 29 on Forced Labor;
–Convention 143 for Migrant Workers;
–and Convention 97 concerning Migration for Employment.
This brings to 36 of the 187 ILO Conventions now ratified by the Philippine Government.
In this area, the Philippines is among the leaders in the Asia-Pacific region.
Policies and laws enabled labor representation
in various government agencies and different levels
of decision-making mechanisms and processes.
Just recently, a Tripartite High-Level Monitoring Body was set up
to look into difficult trade union
and labor cases cognizable by ILO.
We commiserate with Your Excellency
that these lasting accomplishments, including those many others not in the area of labor, but which benefit workers and their families, as well as the public at-large– have not been as appreciated as they should be.
We are certain, Madam President, somewhere, in time,
Your Excellency’s many good deeds,
as well as good deeds still to come, will be appreciated and rewarded.
In closing, the labor sector notes the country’s economic strides.
The country had faced and fended off the financial crisis
and the devastating impact of Ondoy and Peping.
This gave us another opportunity to work selflessly
to help our neighbors in need.
Maraming salamat Madam President at magandang umaga sa ating lahat!