BY MARCHEL P. ESPINA
A labor group in Negros Occidental said it expects President Rodrigo Duterte to address two important issues, large-scale unemployment and economic recovery, in his 5th State of the Nation Address today.
Wennie Sancho, secretary-general of the General Alliance of Workers Associations, said the president has to address these issues so “we would not experience economic depression.”
“Mere rhetoric could not appease our people to take more hardships nor allow the nation to continue on a road of false hope and unrelieved misery,” he said.
He said they have few expectations that Duterte would give importance to labor. “The president should spell out what is the sad and sorry state of the nation amid the rampage of the coronavirus and the economic destruction it has inflicted rather than tell us that everything is under control,” he added.
He said Duterte should address not merely the symptoms but the roots of the economic crisis.
“Multiple problems of various magnitudes compelled us to demand that he should address the plight of thousands of our traditional jeepney drivers who are begging for alms in the streets. Our locally stranded individuals are like homeless strangers in their own land,” he said.
For the workers, the food on the table, shirt on their backs, and roof over their heads are the crucial issues that were never mentioned in the previous SONAs, he said, adding these are usually supplanted by an exaggeration of economic and political achievements that are merely icing in a cake, Sancho said.
Thousands of workers were displaced in Western Visayas due to the coronavirus pandemic.*