Address job losses, not Charter change

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By Dennis Derige, Partido Manggagawa-Cebu spokesman

As more 1,300 workers at the Mactan Economic Zone (MEZ) in Lapu-Lapu City suffered from job losses, we are calling on the government to address worsening unemployment instead of Charter change.

Some 1,300 workers of the garment factory Yuen Thai were put on forced leave starting today until March 31, 2024. Meanwhile 70 workers of electronics firm Taiyo Yuden were retrenched due to redundancy.

It is already difficult for workers to make ends meet with meager wages but now their families may go hungry with no jobs at all.

We are calling on the government, specifically the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (Peza) and the Department of Labor and Employment (Dole), to exercise social dialogue and discuss with workers concrete solutions to the problem of job losses in the MEZ.

Peza and Dole must immediately convene a tripartite council in MEZ that includes representatives of workers from existing labor unions in the ecozone. This is already provided for in the Section 38 of the Peza Law or Republic Act 7916. However, this pro-labor and social dialogue provision has remained unimplemented by Peza and Dole.

Existing laws and even the current Constitution guarantees rights and freedoms to workers but the government and employers have maneuvered to make these rules unenforced so that labor remains unprotected. Implement the law, not amend the Constitution to make life better for workers. Enforce the social justice provisions of the Constitution. Ban political dynasties. These are what we should be doing instead of people’s initiative and Charter change.

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