But now, the Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE) is singing a different tune: it is now talking about the return of some 14,021 “temporarily laid-off” workers to their jobs. In a statement released March 30, Roque cited data from the Bureau of Labor and Employment Statistics which, he said, showed that the biggest number of affected workers who have returned to their jobs are in Region IV-A (Calabarzon) 7,975 in 29 firms, followed by Region III (Central Luzon) with 2,418 workers in 11 firms, Region XII (Davao) with 1,712 workers in seven firms, and the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) with 1,588 workers in two firms.
“Sa bahagi namin, sa Solidarity of Cavite Workers nag-conduct talaga kami ng survey” (On our part, we in the Solidarity of Cavite Workers really conducted a survey), Grafe said. “Mag-usap nalang kami. Magpakita sila ng survey nila at (magpakita kami ng) survey namin nang malaman nila na sa Cavite pa lamang ay 18,000 (mahigit) na ang mga manggagawang walang hanapbuhay” (We should talk. They should show us their survey and we’ll show them ours so they would know that in Cavite alone, more than 18,000 workers have lost their jobs.)
“Pinakamalala ang tama ng global crisis sa Cavite” (Cavite is hardest hit by the global crisis), Grafe added.
In a forum a few months ago, Paul Quintos, executive director of the Ecumenical Institute for Labor Education and Research (EILER) and a London School of Economics (LSE)-trained economist, cited the export-processing zones as among the sectors particularly vulnerable to the effects of the global economic crisis.
He said the crisis could lead to a slump in the export of goods. He noted that around 18 percent of the country’s exports go directly to the US, while up to 70 percent are indirectly dependent on the US, as well as the European Union or EU markets, through the export of intermediate goods to TNC (transnational corporation) subcontractors in China, Taiwan, Korea, the ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations), and others for assembly into final goods.
With the US, which dominates the world economy, in a deep crisis, the effects of this crunch have spread to other countries including the Philippines. Needless to say, the crisis has adversely affected the lives of Arnold and others who have lost their jobs.
“Siyempre no’ng nawala (y’ong trabaho), nalungkot” (Of course when I lost my job, I was sad), he said. “Di mo alam kung saan, paano mag-uumpisa (uli)” (You don’t know where, how to start over.)
Arnold and his family are “lucky” enough that his wife still has her job. He also contributes to the family’s finances by fishing from time to time. He says he has considered working abroad, although he is also aware that an increasing number of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) are being sent home amid the crisis. (Bulatlat.com)