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Robredo inks deal with union leaders on labor agenda


VICE PRESIDENT Maria Leonor “Leni” G. Robredo signed a covenant with labor groups on Monday to ensure the passage of a security of tenure bill in Congress should she win the presidency in the May 2022 elections.

Under the accord, Ms. Robredo and representatives from several labor groups that are backing her presidential bid agreed to push for reforms that will ensure job security for workers in both the private and public sectors and eliminate labor contractualization.

They also pledged to roll out a public employment program that “would provide guaranteed jobs for those who are unemployed, guaranteed incomes for those unable to work and wage subsidies to preserve jobs when needed.”

The covenant recognizes the “need to increase the meager wages of employees and strive to bring the minimum wage closer to a living wage for all types of workers.”

It also pushes for the creation of climate jobs and employment based on just transition from the current fossil fuel-centered economy to renewable energy or low-carbon economy.

The labor vision also promotes the political rights of workers, including the right to strike and collectively bargain.

Senatorial candidate Jose Sonny G. Matula, president of the Federation of Free Workers and spokesman for the pro-Robredo labor alliance, presented the covenant during the signing event.

Mr. Matula is among Ms. Robredo’s senate slate of 12, which includes former allies of President Rodrigo R. Duterte.

In 2019, Mr. Duterte vetoed a security of tenure bill that would have ruled out forms of labor contracting in the country.

Think tank IBON Foundation has called the administration’s job creation record “the worst in the six administrations and 35 years after the Marcos dictatorship,” with yearly average of 313,000 jobs created in 2017 to 2019 and an average of 2.6 million jobs lost in 2020.

Also on Monday, Ms. Robredo said that she will give the agriculture sector at least P116 billion in the first year of her presidency.

“We won’t just look at the total budget but we would also consider its distribution,” said told a presidential forum in Filipino. “We’re going to see if the distribution of the entire budget is fair.”

The Vice President also vowed to review the country’s agriculture budget, focus on resilient sub-sectors, and invest in climate-resilient crops. — Kyle Aristophere T. Atienza

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