Humane COVID-19 response, ending ‘endo’ top concerns of Makabayan bets Colmenares, Labog | Inquirer News
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Humane COVID-19 response, ending ‘endo’ top concerns of Makabayan bets Colmenares, Labog

/ 11:05 PM November 11, 2021
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Senatorial aspirant Neri Colmenares. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines — A humane COVID-19 response and an end to the practice of contractualization among workers are the top priorities of Makabayan coalition senatorial bets Neri Colmenares and Elmer Labog, should they land a seat in the Senate in the 2022 national elections.

During a program on Thursday, Colmenares and Labog revealed their legislative plans, which is also shared by the whole Makabayan bloc delegation to the House of Representatives running under the five party-lists they deployed.

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According to Colmenares, they would push for a holistic approach to the COVID-19 response, which means departing from a vaccine-centric perspective by strengthening mass testing and contact tracing systems.

“Isusulong namin ‘to sa Senado, budget para sa sistemang pangkalusugan. In fact, ilalaban namin ang free healthcare, ibig sabihin libreng gamot, libreng pagamot. Ito ‘yong parang isang bagay na itutulak ng Makabayan sa Senado at sa Kongreso,” Colmenares said.

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“Maliban dyan syempre kailangan ng kagyat na atensyon ‘yong free mass testing, free vaccination, contact tracing.  Kasi kung vaccine-oriented ka lang at wala ka namang mass testing, o wala ka namang contact tracing, hungkag ang pandemic response mo,” he added.

A reform to the COVID-19 response, Colmenares noted, would also include strengthening existing healthcare systems, while providing the proper salaries, protection, and benefits for healthcare workers.

He said he would also push for social aid for workers, farmers, fisherfolk, and advocate for a safe return of the transportation systems — which would help the livelihood of jeepney and bus drivers, while providing a mass transport system amid the pandemic.

“Syempre kasama rin dito ang ayuda, ayuda sa mga manggagawa, sa mga magsasaka, sa mga maliliit na negosyo.  Ang kasama na dyan, sampung libong pisong ayuda sa lahat ng mga mahihirap na pamilya, kasama rin dyan ang P15,000 na para naman sa mga magsasaka, mangingisda, at sa iba pang bahagi ng sektor ng agrikultura.  P100 per day para naman sa mga manggagawa,” he said.

“At syempre hindi rin natin dapat kaligtaan ang isang pinaka-malaking sektor na tumutulong sa atin sa gitna ng pandemya, ito ang transportasyon, ligtas na balik pasada ng lahat ng public transportation, jeepney man ‘yan, bus, lahat, kasi kailangan kumita — hindi lang kumita ang ating mga manggagawa na hirap na hirap na ngayon sa gitna ng pandemya, kung di transportasyon rin para sa ordinaryong mamamayan,” he added.

Aside from stopping endo or the practice of ending workers’ contracts after six months, Labog also put emphasis on empowering workers, especially those in the agricultural sector which he believes is key to economic recovery.

“Hindi maipagkakaila na ang kalakhan ng ating populasyon ay nasa sektor ng agrikultura, nasa malawak na kanayunan ang ating mga kababayan kung kaya’t mahalaga ang pagpapaunlad sa agrikultura,” Labog stressed.

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“Ito po ang isa sa mga poste ng pag-unlad ng lipunan, at kung walang pagbabago sa agrikultura, lalong-lalo na ang modernisasyon at pagbibigay ng libreng sasakahin ng mga magsasaka ay hindi magkakaroon ng tunay na pag-iktad ng ating ekonomiya,” he added.

Labog also vowed to push for a unified minimum wage across the country, at P750 per day.

“Mahalaga na para sa aming mga manggagawa ay wakasan ang sistema ng endo at kontraktwalisasyon, isabatas ang P750 national minimum wag sa lahat ng mga manggagawa,” he explained.

“Ang pag-iral ng R.A. 6727 ang nagtakda ng pagkakaiba-iba ng antas sa sahod ng mga manggagawa ngunit hindi naman makatarungan ito sapagkat ang cost of living at ang presyo ng batayang bilihin at serbisyo sa mga probinsya labas ng Metro Manila ay halos mas mataas, kung hindi man mas mahirap pang makamit,” he added.

Makabayan, which is fielding a mix of new faces and veteran lawmakers for the party-list race in the House, mentioned other key points for their legislative platform:

  • lowering of excise tax on oil products, reducing prices on utilities
  • abolition of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) and resumption of the peace talks with communist rebels
  • advocating for an anti-political dynasty bill and amendments to the party-list law
  • pushing for the prosecution of President Rodrigo Duterte either in the local courts or before the International Criminal Court for alleged rights abuses

Makabayan has not yet announced which presidential aspirant they would support for the 2022 polls, as it had advocated for a united opposition slate to defeat the anointed candidate of the administration.

Colmenares was previously in talks with Vice President Leni Robredo’s side for a possible inclusion on her senatorial slate, but Robredo eventually picked labor leader Sonny Matula for the last spot.

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TAGS: #2022candidates, #VotePH2022, 2022 national elections, COVID-19 response, Elmer Labog, Makabayan bloc, Neri Colmenares, senatorial race
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