In this time of lay-offs and furloughs, workers across the globe share the uncertainty of not knowing where to find the next job or if they can even hope to return to the workforce. The COVID-19 pandemic has become a threat to the future of millions who survive only until the next paycheck.
For decades, May 1 was celebrated by workers in the streets to demonstrate their hard won gains in the labor sector and push for specific demands to improve their lives. But we didn’t see them yesterday. Like most of human endeavors now, they resorted to cyberspace.
The Social Amelioration Program of the government, a cash emergency subsidy program for 18 million Filipino families whose lives are greatly affected by the ECQ, may help to a certain degree but is not enough for these families to depend on as days go by. With little or no savings to tide them over for the next month or so, workers are all hurtling down the rabbit hole.
Those who are contractual workers were the first to go. Since they can’t go out to look for means of income under the continued quarantine, they have nowhere to go. Vendors, too, cannot sell and just have to wait for the assistance given by government and kind-hearted individuals for their basic needs. The Kilusang Mayo Uno estimated the number of displaced workers at two million. We believe there could be more.
The economy is hurting. Businesses are hurting too. They have no choice but to let go of employees and streamline their production in order to survive. Everything is at a stand still, especially those that were unprepared to test options and ride the changes brought by technology.
These are hard times, no doubt about that. We can only hope that we are resilient enough to come out of this with better understanding on how we should treat this world we all share.
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