Iglesia Filipina Independiente’s Statement
“Do not rob or take advantage of anyone. Do not hold back the wages of someone you have hired, not even for one night.” (Leviticus 19:13)
In these times, more than ever, work bridges the gap between our hopes and their fulfillment. Through the wage we earn in exchange for our labor, we provide for ourselves, our families our communities. Work and wages are undeniably necessary for survival, and are thus matters of human dignity.
Countless hang on to the promise of work – that, as long as they accomplish their jobs with perseverance, dedication and excellence, they may be able to buy their wants and needs without worries.
However, clinging to that picture becomes harder because the country cannot provide stability and security for the laborer. Families make ends meet daily as their breadwinners endure joblessness; low wages and deficient benefits, many in intermittent, temporary jobs; and work abroad.
This Labor Day should reveal to us the incessant and worsening exploitation of Filipino workers. Millions are unemployed or hold undignified jobs, their families suffering poverty and hunger as a consequence.
With its labor policies, the Aquino government has maintained the harsh neoliberal economy — favoring foreign capital and multinational corporations, liberalizing trade and investment, privatizing public assets, and deregulating socio-economic restrictions.
For workers, this translates to cheapened labor, exploitative workplaces, and the repression and criminalization of unionism. This is state terror, morally wrong and unjust, which we should be strongly fought against.
The Iglesia Filipina Independiente stands in solidarity with all breadwinners in their yearning for dignity. We urge the current government and its successor to create jobs for both urban and rural communities.
We want to ensure decent and fair wages for workers, and support their demand for the nationwide implementation of a P750 daily minimum wage. Because solutions must be specialized for workplaces, the government should also champion trade unionism. We push for workers’ welfare here and everywhere in the world.
It is the duty of the government to acknowledge the aspiration for a better life across the nation, and the incontestable link between prosperity and work. The incumbent leaders should in their remaining days, respond to this call with jobs that respect human dignity and social justice. Labor issues should also be a top priority for the next presidency if it wants to be truly democratic.
We encourage everyone to look into the future with hope. Through our solidarity with and service to the poor and oppressed, the renewed and more humane society we all aspire to is nigh.
† Most Revd Ephraim S. Fajutagana
1st May 2016
Sixth Sunday in Easter
International Labor Day