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Aquino’s Legacy

to Workers:
Deaths and Destitution

CTUHR Report Assessment on

Workers Situation Under Aquino

April 2016

1. Introduction
2. Job Crisis
3. Depressed wages, cheap labor force
4. Discrimination and exploitation of women workers and child laborers
5. Enslaving and squeezing the workers harder
6. Disaster and demolition King
7. Poverty and destitution for the majority, growth for the few
8. Deaths and worsening conditions at work
9. Comprehensive attack against trade union and workers rights
10. Resistance and struggle for the workers
11. Conclusion and perspective

• In 2010, Aquino talked about the bankruptcy of the

Arroyo government, and proposed PPP as solution.

“[With] PPP the government

• PPP was the flagship economic strategy of Aquino. is not going to spend, instead
PPP effectively transfers authority and it will earn. From Public
Private partnerships. our
responsibility of the government to private sector in economy will grow and every
terms of developing, implementing, and managing Filipino will benefit. Once we
strategic services and project. implement Public-Private
Partnership, it will be able to
fund social services, based
• Aquino’s PPP aggressively advanced the neoliberal on our platforms. It will help
many sectors,... Let us be
agenda alongside other policies concerning labor: reminded that first in our
flexibilization and rationalization. platform is creation of jobs,
and jobs come from growth
of our industries….”
• Integral to implementing neoliberal
policies is the carrying-out of the
Internal Security and Peace Plan (IPSP)
counter insurgency program, or better
known as Oplan Bayanihan.

• Oplan Bayanihan is culprit to most

violations on human rights. Karapatan
documented 238 victims of extra-
judicially killings (EJK), 26 forcibly
disappeared, 527 political detainees
(June 2010 until March 2016).
Job Crisis: Destroying regular and local jobs

• Aquino government served like a manpower

agency, selling cheap labor to employers here and

• Its policies (22-point labor agenda and PLEP)

identified job mismatch as the key employment
problem and resorted to job facilitation as

• Despite sustained economic growth of 6-7%

annually, jobs generated are low compared to
previous administration.

Period Annual average

Job sgenerated
2001 – 2009 732,000
2010 – 2015 692,000
Unemployment Rate in Southeast Asian Countries
Job Crisis: Destroying regular and local jobs

• Aquino favored flexible and contractual jobs to

invite more investors.
• Aquino government upheld outsourcing as
management prerogative
• With DOLE DO-18-A, the Aquino government
further legitimized subcontracting
• Aquino implemented and pushed for contractual
jobs both in private in public sector.
• Privatization also resulted in contractualization
of the labor force.
• Lifting of night work prohibition for women was
also within the framework of making the labor
market more flexible.
Job Crisis: Destroying regular and local jobs

• Industries promoted by the

government as sunshine
industries have a huge
percentage (35%) of non-
regular workers.

• A Study by Serrano (2014)

shows that 7 out of 10
workers are employed in
precarious jobs.
Job Crisis: Destroying regular and local jobs

• Aquino administration intensified labor export by signing new labor

• From 3,600 Filipinos leaving the country to work abroad in 2009, the daily
average increased to over 6,000 workers in 2015
Depressed wages, Cheap labor

• The Aquino administration denied calls for

significant wage hikes, saying such would
cause inflation and unemployment. Capitalists
also argued it will undermine collective
bargaining rights of unions.

• In reality, a P125 across the board wage hike

only accounts for 15% of the total profits
of businesses with 200 and above Formulated and
implemented the Two-
employees. (Ibon) tier wage system which
further drags down
• Aquino continued implementing wage wages to poverty levels.
rationalization, which effectively abolished the
national minimum wage and resulted in over
1,000 wage levels in the country.
Discrimination and exploitation of women workers
and child laborers
• Labor participation of women remain low
compared to men.
• Women workers still in low paying and more
vulnerable jobs.
• Women have less opportunities in some of the
industries promoted.
• Women workers’ health still sidelined. Aquino
government has not passed law to increase
maternity leave to meet ILO standards.
• Feminization of labor is through
flexibilization (i.e. lifting of night work
• Persistence of child labor (5.5 million)
Enslaving, squeezing the workers harder

• Fare hikes despite poor service of MRT-LRT

• Costly health service due to privatization thru PPP

• Hikes in basic utilities (water and electricity)

• Increase in prices of basic commodities

• Hikes in SSS premium contribution, PAGIBIG

• Veto on SSS pension hike etc.

Disaster and demolition king

• About 25,000 families or 150,000 individuals

have been affected by demolitions and forced
evictions under the Aquino administration.

• Demolitions under Aquino are violent, claiming the

lives of some 16 individuals and arresting scores
of urban poor dwellers.

• Livelihoods of the poor are not spared as public Most violent demolitions:
markets became targets of demolition to allow entry
of private developers. •Laperal Compound-Makati;
•Corazon de Jesus-San Juan;
•Silverio Compound-Paranaque;
•and San Roque-Quezon City
Poor majority, wealthy few

• 4Ps did not solve poverty. Poverty

rate at 25.8% in 2014. Ibon
survey reveals 67% of
Filipinos are poor.

• The amount distributed by 4Ps in

2013 which is P20.9 billion shrunk
to P14.4 billion in 2014, equivalent
to 31.2% of the entire P50 billion
budget (Diokno).
Poor majority, wealthy few

• The wealth of the 40 richest Filipinos grew

from P1.3 trillion in 2010 to P3.2
trillion in 2015.
• The revenue of the 100 biggest
companies in the country grew 50%
more from P5.3 trillion in 2010 to P8.7
trillion in 2014.
Deaths and worsening conditions at work,
borderless impunity on labor standards violations

• 38 cases of workplace deaths

victimizing 228 workers.

• Self-assessment was replaced with on DO 131-13

which gave way to joint assessment through
tripartite bodies and voluntary compliance to
general labor standards and occupational safety
and health.

• Kentex industrial fire occurred on May 13,

2015, killing at least 74 people due to violations
of OSH standards (no fire exit, storage of
flammable chemicals). But DOLE issued
Certificate of Compliance to the company
Comprehensive attack against
trade union and workers rights

• The Aquino government used naked violence, primarily

through OPLAN Bayanihan, (Internal Peace and
Security Plan) to suppress workers and unions.

• From the second half of 2010, to March 1, 2016, the

CTUHR documented 726 cases of violations of
worker’s rights, thousands of workers
Comprehensive attack against
trade union and workers rights
• 26 unionists and urban poor leaders
killed, 1 disappeared

• Militarization in workplaces , open

intervention in labor issues (Dolefil elections in
2011) and violent dispersal of picket lines

Teresita Navacilla, latest

• Legal Offensives: 288 workers leaders victim of EJK last Jan. Small-
and organizers were falsely charged. scale miner in Pantukan
Compostella Valley. She was
fired at in her store during
• Surveillance, threats and harassments widened military clearing operations to
and intensified. 88 cases of harassments, allow entry of NADECOR, a
large-scale mining corporation
887 victims.
Comprehensive attack against
trade union and workers rights

• Retrenchment, closures and mergers lead to further

contractualization of workforce. Under Aquino, most of
these cases occurred when workplace disputes existed or
when unions are beginning to be formed. CTUHR
documented 35 cases of retrenchment and
closure affecting 14,725 workers.

• 44 cases of union-busting affecting 11,716

Resistance and Struggle of Workers
• Victorious struggle for regularization at the local

o Strike of drivers, forklift operators and pickers of

Coca-Cola Bottlers Plant
o Contractual workers’ strike at Tanduay Distilleries
o Sagara Metro Plastic Inc. & Karzai Corp.
o Talents Association of GMA won a promotion to
regular status of 107 talents and media workers
Resistance and Struggle of Workers

• First union in the BPO industry (United Employees of Alorica)

• Struggle for National Minimum Wage
• Active participation on National Issues (EDCA, SSS etc)
Conclusion and Perspective

• In summary:
o Aquino is a consistent and loyal executor of neoliberal policies and
o Unemployment and poor condition of workers worsened
o Wielded comprehensive attacks on livelihood and rights of workers
o Cunningly concealed anti-poor policies and programs

• Tasks and challenges:

o Workers and the marginalized sectors also need to study and monitor
closely the effects of ASEAN Economic Community or AEC as The
agreement ensures free flow of goods, products and skilled workers
within the region. Priorities include trade in agricultural and aqua-
marine products, which are from economic sectors that the Aquino
government neglected in the last six years.
Conclusion and Perspective

o The people also have to follow the commitments made by the Philippines in Paris
Agreement concerning climate change which include for instance the use of clean
energy which may affect livelihoods of the poor, as in the case of e-jeeps.

o Some developments at the United Nations offered some space for campaign and
advocacy. The UN clarified and affirmed the legal obligation of the state regarding the
rights for just and favorable working condition. This means, that like civil and
political rights, states or governments are legally responsible to ensure that
workplaces implement and respect the right to just and favorable conditions at work.

o Through perseverance to organize workers, together with establishing broad

alliances from the different sectors, the workers and people could effectively fight the
neoliberal attacks and defend themselves from state violence and repression as they
persist in pushing for system change that will truly serve the people’s interests.
Thank you!

Aquino’s Legacy to Workers:

Deaths and Destitution

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