Bishops air stance to uplift plight of workers

Bishops air stance to uplift plight of workers

By CBCP News

On Labor Day, Catholic bishops denounced the plight of ordinary Filipino workers who are suffering the brunt of the coronavirus crisis.

Bishop Jose Colin Bagaforo of Kidapawan and Gerardo Alminaza of San Carlos said the pandemic has exposed even more the “injustices” against workers.

“Indeed, this year’s Labor Day is yet another frustrating commemoration for our workers,” Bagaforo, who heads Caritas Philippines, said.

“The Filipino workers are not only fighting Covid-19, they are racing against time to survive. We are their only lifelines. Let us help them by upholding their rights and dignity,” he said.

The prelate claimed that more than two million workers have been displaced in only over a month “with no assurance of getting back to work when the crisis is over.”

The Labor department has earlier stopped accepting applications for its Covid-19 cash assistance, saying that its funding is already very close to depletion.

The government’s “social amelioration program” also faced with criticisms due to its failure to include the majority of the vulnerable sectors as recipients of the financial aids.

“While we recognize and appreciate the efforts of the government to provide relief packages to our workers at this time, we also see that these are fill-gap measures only and provides no actual solutions to our labor problems,” Bagaforo said.

“We need to see our government and business owners initiate just and concrete actions for our labor force. To show compassion for our workers is a must. To show that we care is imperative,” he added.

Alminaza, co-chairperson of the Church People-Workers Solidarity, also lamented the “worsening condition” of workers “due to lack of concrete actions” from the government.

“These already bad working conditions of our workers are being exacerbated by further negligence of the government in this time of pandemic,” he said.

The church officials stand with the labor groups calling for the government and business conglomerate to do what is best for the common good.

“We reiterate our demands for free mass testing, universal health care, adequate and timely delivery of goods and services, immediate release of financial assistance to all workers and poor families, realignment of government budget to healthcare and other basic social services among others,” Alminaza said.