Labor group hits closure of Boracay without clear compensation for the workers

Photo by: orlyn anthony gerano

After recently abandoning his promise to end the practice of labor contractualization, the President ordered the closure of Boracay without first ensuring the livelihood of the workers and their families who will suffer the most, Sentro ng Nagkakaisang Progresibong Manggawa (SENTRO) stated.

“At last, the President is finally showing his true color, no different from his predecessors, with regards to the poor, particularly the workers: always at the tail end of government’s priorities,” said Josua Mata, SENTRO Secretary General.

The drastic manner of the closure of Boracay island resort are not only affecting the livelihood of  the 36,000 workers directly hit, but other workers who are providing ancillary services, such as travel agents and their families, Mata said.

“While we support the need to clean up and rehabilitate Boracay, and other tourist destination areas, we believe it should be done in a planned way, not through draconian measures that leave workers and their families in limbo. Why make workers and their families suffer, when it was the hotel and resort owners and the local government officials who were responsible for the island’s problems in the first place?” Daniel L. Edralin, 1st Vice Chairperson of  SENTRO, and Secretary General of the hotel workers’ union, NUWHRAIN.

“The national government should have sat down with the local development council to craft such rehabilitation plan, ensuring that alternatives had been duly explored. Such plan could also have been done in phases. And if wholesale closure is deemed really appropriate, the  36K workers, or more, and their families should have guaranteed jobs or compensation for the whole duration.”

SENTRO was particularly aghast at the pronouncement early this month of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), that the cost of temporarily shutting down Boracay to make way for its rehabilitation will have a “very insignificant effect” on the entire economy.

To recall, NEDA Director for National Policy and Planning Reynaldo R. Cancio said in a press briefing, that “even if the ban extends up to six months… at the macro level, it has a very insignificant effect. We see something like 0.1% of GDP.”

“This really shows that the workers are not even in the periphery of the sights of the President and his economic managers,“ Mata said, adding “what a way to treat the backbone which runs the economic wheel, referring to the workers”.

A total of P2 billion worth of calamity funds will be allotted to the displaced workers of legitimate businesses in the island, Malacanang announced early this month.

However, profiling of those affected residents is incomplete, no clear plan on how to distribute such funds to workers and their families has been revealed, and no proof given still that such funds are actually available for distribution.

The National Union of Workers and Hotels and Restaurants (NUWHRAIN) is an affiliate of SENTRO and the International Union of Food, Agricultural, Hotel, Restaurant, Catering, Tobacco and Allied Workers’ Association (IUF). (END)


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