A short overview on the Filipino workers under the pandemic.

In general, the whole Luzon island was declared under enhance community quarantine (total lockdown) from March 15 to April 14. President Duterte made his pronouncement to this lockdown two days before its implementation.

There was no clear guidelines whatsoever before that, that is why on the very start of lockdown where also transportation was suspended, many people were stranded elsewhere, many workers who are working inside and outside the Metro Manila has to walk days before they get to their homes, but for those who were not able to learn about the declaration of the lockdown on time there were force to stay outside in many places in the whole of Luzon specially to all the places where there are check points of the Military and Police.

 Almost all factories were forced to closed because of the Luzon wide quarantine. The government has left the decision to private businesses if they will continue their operation or do it in skeletal production. The government are allowing essential works only. Service workers specially the call center workers now are working in their houses. this is how their employers implement the lockdown. some workers are being stay in workers to some factories. The people in the community cannot pass through one Barangay to the other without quarantine pass. This quarantine pass was given one for every head of the family who is allowed to go outside to buy to the supermarket wet marke t, stores and drugstores only. But because no transportation was allowed, the people have no choice but to walk long hours before they can get something.

About the workers payment policy. The government did not make any clear decision. Only publicly announce such as the employers can give partial 13th month pay or half depending on their situation. That is why many workers are very angry because of this. The medical and health workers have lack of protective gears and the government calls for volunteers and only give P500 hazzard pay wage which is less than the minimum wage. There are no mass testing because the government did not prepare before it declared the lock down.  

We have some reports to our union under our organization that their employer used the vacation leaves of 15 days so the workers can still get half of their salaries. Their problem now is where to get the other half specially they cannot go out to find extra job for their family needs. Some workers informed us that their management lend their workers P3000 because of the no work no pay will be implemented. Instead of giving assistance to the workers the workers were left nothing but debt. In some factories, the owner only allowed the contractual workers to work, some are stay in workers some are not.

The government through department of labor and employment are giving financial assistance of P5000 for those workers who are employed. The 80% contractual workers are not included. And all employers should apply for this assistance and fill out application forms. We have reports that thousands of employers did not make application for their workers it was exposed after our labor institutions made a surveys and reportsing it to the labor department. 

 

The National Task Force formed by the government under the national leadership of government agencies for instance Department of Health, Department of Social Welfare and Development, department of labpor and employment  and so on are being led by 5 Generals of the Armed Forces of the Philippines. That is why the military is on the top of the task force not the medical experts. Also all the Donations and funds allocated for all the people for social services were given under the control of National Civil Defence. 

 It is like a martial law in the whole Luzon. There is a curfew from 8:00 pm – 6:00 am. Many people did not get any help from their local government and local barangay officials. One community for almost 3 weeks did not get any food assistance that is why they went out and appeal for food. But the Philippine National Police were violently disperse the people who are asking for food and arrested them. And the government immediately pointing this chaos to progressive organization that they were instigated the urban poor people to stage protest where the truth it is this is a spontaneous action of the people because of poverty and hunger. Additionally instead of placing the situation under health problems and put all measure under medical experts, the government has treated the situation under military and police control operation. That is why, extra judicial killings and red tagging are still continuing. Also there was no Mass testing for Covid 19.

Now the Philippine President get the Emergency power and the lockdown even are getting stricter. Though they made some pronouncement of giving some funds of around P200B unfortunately the people still not getting any of it. That is why because of many discontentment of the people specially workers, there are many protests staging from home that is happening now.  This is to show publicly about the workers and peoples discontentment. Of course workers organization can organize coordinated protest to call for food assistance and mass testing. There is also circulation on Social media about the ouster of the president because of incompetency. 

In so far, the workers and people do not know if the quarantine will only last until April 14. Maybe it will be extended, because the number of the affected Covid 19, continuously to rise up. There is no clear information yet about on how to continue the operation of the factories. Many workers were already displaced.

 

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