Legarda Pays Tribute to Filipino Workers on Labor Day

May 1, 2021

Deputy Speaker Loren Legarda today paid tribute to the millions of Filipino workers in the country and abroad as the nation celebrates Labor Day on May 1.

“I salute our country’s workforce, our health practitioners, farmers, fisherfolk, teachers, salespersons, construction workers, drivers, security guards, cleaners, policemen, government employees, and Overseas Filipino Workers, among others, for their significant contribution to the country’s economy and overall development, especially amid the ongoing pandemic,” said Legarda.

“The annual celebration of Labor Day is a recognition of all the hard work and sacrifices done by our workforce to help our country thrive despite the problems caused by the pandemic that have affected not just our people’s livelihood and incomes, but also their health and well-being,” Legarda added.

The three-term Senator expressed her support for the country’s workforce and called for adequate assistance and security to all, including those who have lost their jobs due to retrenchments, closure of businesses, and even health reasons.

“Our economy and industries will not be able to function productively without them. We must enable our workforce, equip them to be part of community development and nation-building because for a country to be truly progressive, we need to address the inequality, abuse, and efficiencies that continue to plague our society. We should address their concerns and protect their fundamental rights, including those working overseas and those who have unfortunately lost their livelihoods due to the current crisis,” said Legarda.

Furthermore, Legarda added that “in celebration of the Labor Day, we must also acknowledge and appreciate the unpaid care and domestic work concentration among women in the country. Women are more likely to take on household tasks without compensation, such as cooking, taking care of the family, cleaning, doing the laundry, among others, that limits their full participation in the labor market. The Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS) estimates that women’s unpaid work accounts for 20% of the GDP or about Php 2 trillion.[1] Yet, the contributions and labor they do is undervalued and sometimes overlooked by society.”

In her 20 years in public service, Legarda supported and initiated programs on jobs creation and livelihood opportunities—employment facilitation, capacity building, rural and emergency employment services under the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), training for work scholarship programs under the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), employment facilitation under the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), establishment of Negosyo Centers, business management training services, and shared service facilities under the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), support to MSMEs, among many others.

Legarda authored and sponsored various labor laws that advocate for sustainable development, protection of women and children, promotion of workers’ right to decent work, and provision of better opportunities, especially in the vulnerable and marginalized sectors in society. Among these landmark laws are the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act and its expanded version, Green Jobs Act, Anti-Child Labor Law, Batas Kasambahay, Public Employment Service Office (PESO) Act, Barangay Livelihood and Skills Training Act, Agri-Agra Reform Credit Act, the Magna Carta for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), and the JobStart Philippines Act.

As then chairperson of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, Legarda sponsored resolutions concurring in the ratification of treaties protecting Filipino workers, including the ILO Convention 189 on Decent Work for Domestic Workers and the Maritime Labour Convention (MLC) for the protection of the rights of seafarers. She also sponsored the resolution concurring in the ratification of ILO Convention No. 151, which seeks to protect the right of civil servants to organize and determine conditions of employment in public service.

“Our workers and our laborers are the backbone of our economy and when they are prevented from doing their jobs for any reason, the economy suffers, and industries and businesses will not be fully operational and productive. If we do not take care of our workers, pandemic recovery will become even more difficult. We must ensure that our economic pursuits and our path to recovery are beneficial to our workforce. We have the moral and legal obligation to defend the rights of each and every Filipino to decent work, which includes decent wages, salaries, benefits, and good working conditions,” Legarda concluded.***


[1] https://philippines.oxfam.org/latest/blogs/who-caring-our-%E2%80%98invisible%E2%80%99-carers