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LITTLE VOICES: The Rise of the Useless

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 21 April)  — Labor Secretary Silvestre “Bebot” Bello III, in purportedly fulfilling President Rodrigo Duterte’s promise to the workers, has, instead, created another far greater evil, while not still ending the contractualization of labor and the end-of-contract (Endo) scheme which have chained the workers to near-slavery for many decades now.

By issuing Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Order No. 174, Secretary Bello has given rise to, or has even legalized, useless entities like labor-only contracting agencies – most of them masquerading as cooperatives.

Labor agencies, cooperatives or not, are really useless business entities as they do not create jobs; they do not build infrastructures; they do not install machineries; and they do not invent and modernize technologies.

Labor agencies, cooperatives or not, do not also contribute to the increase of money circulation through the beefing up of the workers’ purchasing power. They even cause it to trek along descending spirals.

In short, labor agencies, cooperatives or not, do not actually play any role in the Philippine economy, except to serve as unnecessary interlopers in the economic scheme-of things and to act like leeches sucking the blood of the hapless workers in our country.

This calamitous national crime that Bebot Bello has committed, with the issuance of his DO 174, becomes even more repulsive when it allows cooperatives, which it does, to amass money from the toils of hapless workers by acting as “middlemen” between the companies and workers.

By doing so, cooperatives do not only suck the blood of the workers dry, they also bastardize the core philosophy of their being which is supposed to democratize the economy through the dismantling of the unjust comprador and “middlemen” system, among others.

As a social project against capitalism, cooperatives are supposed to serve as antidotes to purely profit-motive ventures by dispersing the fruits of the means of production to wider sections of society.

As it is now, cooperatives have become conspiratorial entities conniving with the capitalists in the unsheathing of their oppressive swords against the workers whose well-being they vow to protect and serve.

Moreover, Bebot Bello, in fulfilling President Duterte’s promise for regularization of labor, did exactly the opposite, and, this time, with an exclamation point.

Not only did he issue DO 174 which does not result to regularization – it in fact legalizes contractualization –  Bebot Bello, with such issuance, further insulted the workers by fooling them into believing that this new DO is an instrument for the regularization of workers.

Apparently, Bebot Bello has summoned his savvy in legal hermeneutics, as a former Secretary of Justice, in the formulation of DO 174 for the purpose of pushing the workers into the confusing cobwebs of legal craftsmanship so they could find delight in their continuing alienation from the processes of development.

This is the whole import of Department Order No. 174 that Secretary Bello is now forcing into the collective spine the nation. Thus, the workers must outrageously repudiate this DO by whatever means possible, within their power.

This brings us to one poignant question. Can this country prosper with its economy put under the stranglehold of the unneeded and the useless? [MindaViews is the opinion section of MindaNews. Ben Sumog-oy is Action Officer of In Defense of Human Rights and Dignity Movement (iDEFEND) in General Santos City]



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