Labor Day was marked over the weekend, but the significance appeared muffled by the noise and chaos of the campaign.
With barely a few days to go until Filipinos troop to their polling precincts – amid the continued threat of the pandemic – to vote, much of the conversation has centered around who is leading in poll surveys, who has gathered the larger crowd, and whether such measurement tools are accurate.
Over the course of many elections, many promises have been uttered to our country’s workers, spanning industries and geographic locations. There is always that promise to uplift their condition—give them decent wages that would enable them to live with dignity amid soaring prices of basic goods, allow them to assemble to assert their rights when these are being trampled upon or ignored, not be discriminated upon, enjoy security of tenure, provide them options by which to get to work and back home without difficulty.
But improvement has been elusive, made even worse by the COVID-19 pandemic and the rate of increase of prices prompted by events outside the country.
These last few days of the campaign, candidates must pledge their commitment to improve the lot of those struggling to put food on the table.
Work is noble and virtuous, and those who embrace it – as opposed to the indolent and the indulgent—despite the difficulties must be given opportunities to earn their keep over the long term.
They must be treated not just as another form of resource but an essential component without which organizations will not be able to move.
Their grievances must be acknowledged and must not be dismissed as gripes.
Their aspirations, economic mobility and general well-being must be encouraged.
The hardships that they endure every day just to show up at their workplaces must not be minimized.
Every day is a day of labor—without which the machinery of our economy and society will not turn.
Our next leaders, themselves working for the people as public servants, should make good on their promises instead of just paying accolades to workers only on the first of May.