Press Release
April 30, 2016


Independent vice-presidential bet Sen. Francis "Chiz" Escudero said he and his running mate, presidential candidate Sen. Grace Poe, will establish a more labor-friendly government that treats Filipino workers, both here and abroad, as partners.

Should they get elected, Escudero said he and Poe will pursue pro-worker policies to ensure that workers, who are the driving force of economic development, are not left behind under the "Gobyernong may Puso" platform of inclusive and rapid growth and global competitiveness.

"Dapat ang tingin sa mga manggagawa ay hindi po kasangkapan lang ng negosyo, partner dapat sila ng mga negosyante. Kasabay dapat sila sa paglago ng kumpanya't negosyo, hindi parang makina na nilalansingan mo lang o ginagasulinahan tatakbo na. Dapat may pakiramdam at malasakit ang mga negosyante sa kanilang mga empleyado," he added.

Both Escudero and Poe have been pushing for lower personal income tax, strict implementation of the minimum wage law and an end to labor contractualization to give security of tenure to workers, among others.

"We will ensure that all workers are paid at least the current minimum wage and employers are fined or imprisoned if found shortchanging their employees," Escudero said.

He said that while the government cannot promise a pay hike that would cover all workers in the public and private sectors, it may impose lower income taxes to boost their take-home pay and help them cope with the rising cost of living.

According to Escudero, slashing the income tax, which at 32 percent is one of the highest in Asia, is the best way to ease the burden of salaried workers. There are around 39 million comprising the nation's labor force, about 36 million of them are in the private sector.

To provide workers with regular employment and security of tenure, he said the Poe government is determined to put a stop to the prevalent practice of labor contractualization by repealing a Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) order.

"Sa ilalim ng Saligang Batas, ginagarantiya ang security of tenure. Hindi po bagong batas ang kailangan. Kailangan lang i-repeal ang isang department order ng DOLE na binuksan ang pintuan at bintana para maging ligal angcontractualization," Escudero said.

"Kailangang iutos lang ng Pangulo sa DOLE Secretary nya na i-repeal ang Department Order No. 18, series of 2011, endo (end of contract) na ang endo, bawal na ang contractualization," Escudero said.

The Poe-Escudero tandem is also preparing a package of reforms to improve the plight of overseas Filipino workers (OFW) whose remittances have kept the Philippine economy resilient over the years, including the establishment of a separate department that will attend to their needs and the creation of a P100-billion fund to finance a wide-ranging service to assist migrant workers, the veteran lawmaker said.

If elected into office, Escudero said they will improve the portability of government health insurance to allow OFWs to use their card from the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) even in health facilities abroad, as well as take steps to legalize the status of all undocumented OFWs not covered by certain legal protection.

They are also pushing for reduced employment and processing fees and greater government assistance for OFWs, which number around 2.3 million. Estimates, however, show that there are 10 million Filipino migrant workers spread worldwide, or about 10 percent of the country's entire population.

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