Labor center Kilusang Mayo Uno slammed Pres. Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III today for saying, in an appeal to Filipinos to refuse to become drug mules, that the country’s economic condition is getting better, arguing that the government is not addressing the reasons why many Filipinos are choosing to become drug mules for foreign criminal syndicates.
The president made the statement in response to news that another Filipino is set to be executed in China on Dec. 8 for smuggling 1.5 kilos of heroin into the country.
“Pres. Aquino is not implementing economic policies that will stop Filipinos from becoming drug mules for criminal syndicates. Worse, he is trying to project that things are getting better when they aren’t,” said Elmer “Bong” Labog, KMU chairperson.
“First, jobs are sorely lacking in the country. Second, the available jobs offer meager wages and contractual status – no benefits and can easily be fired. Pres. Aquino has refused to heed workers’ demands on these issues,” he added.
KMU reiterated its critique of the Aquino government’s “Philippine Labor and Employment Plan for 2011-2016,” which aims to attract foreign investors in “key job-generating areas” like tourism, business process outsourcing and mining.
“Pres. Aquino’s so-called employment plan is not likely to generate a sufficient number of decent jobs in the country. First, it is premised on attracting foreign investors – something that’s decreasing, not increasing, amidst the severe global economic crisis,” Labog said.
“Second, the government’s tactic to attract foreign investors is to put on offer a cheap and repressed labor force. This means giving Filipinos the low-quality jobs that drive them abroad to look for decent employment,” he added.
“Only an employment plan based on a government-led program to develop local industries and implement land reform stands a chance of solving unemployment and providing decent jobs for Filipinos. This is not the Aquino government’s plan,” he said.
The PLEP was announced by Department of Labor and Employment Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz last May. Elmer “Bong” Labog, KMU Chairperson