Workers Vow to Move Forward but Never to Forget

June 30, 2022

As the Duterte administration ends its term and the Marcos Jr. administration begins, workers all over the country vow to never forget the atrocities of two of the worst regimes in Philippine history.

“Almost two months have passed since the disheartening results of the elections. We are moving forward but we will never stop looking back and remember how these two Presidents worsened the lives of the Filipinos,” the Center for Trade Union and Human Rights (CTUHR) said in a statement.

The labor rights NGO born in the middle of the Martial rule recalled the many workers harassed, imprisoned, tortured and killed during the dictatorship. CTUHR also noted, that despite these barriers, workers fought back, as many unions were born and strikes launched during those years.

Under the Duterte regime, the working class was plunged into deeper poverty and deprived of more space to exercise their rights. Desperate moves to cover up the failures of this outgoing regime through #SalamatPRRD and #DuterteLegacy, could never be enough to make the workers and the people forget the worse situation that it is leaving the nation. Php12.76T debt, non-stop oil and food price increases h unemployment and underemployment rate, depressing income and wages, failed pandemic response, bloody record of extrajudicial killings, red-tagging of critics, and other human rights violations – these are his true legacy.

“We shall never forget Duterte and his crimes against the people. We vow to continue fighting for the freedom of 31 unionists and labor rights defenders still detained with baseless trumped-up charges and justice for the 56 workers killed under his reign,” CTUHR asserted.  

The Center also stated that it will continue pushing for the High-Level Mission (HLM) of the International Labor Organization (ILO) to the Philippines to investigate the various labor rights violations under the Duterte administration. Just two days before Duterte ends his term, the Philippines was again named as one of the worst countries for workers in the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) Global Rights Index. CTUHR challenged Marcos Jr. to prioritize the ILO HLM, if it is truly sincere in bettering the lives of the workers.

“Marcos says we need unity. Indeed, we do. But it’s not the kind of unity that they have forged throughout the years and culminated during these last elections – unity among trapos, plunderers and murderers. Unity without truth and justice is nothing. The unity we need is the unity of the people in resistance against the looming deluge of repression and impunity,” CTUHR added.  

CTUHR pledged to keep on pushing for workers living wage, decent work, freedom of expression and association and justice for all victims of human rights violations. “We call on all workers to make their voices louder. We have suffered too much! There’s nowhere else to go but in the struggle for genuine change!”