AltDev Co-convenor Velasco discusses the labor movement’s response to COVID-19

Illustration by Guia Abogado for Rappler

Asst. Prof. Benjamin B. Velasco, Co-convenor of the Program on Alternative Development (AltDev) of the UP Center for Integrative and Development Studies (UP CIDS) and faculty at the UP School of Labor and Industrial Relations (UP SOLAIR), discussed the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic to Filipino workers and the response of the labor movement to the current crisis in an opinion piece published in Rappler on April 9.

Mirroring the findings of the case studies done by the AltDev on marginalized communities, Asst. Prof. Velasco argues that the labor movement has also formulated and organized responses to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on workers. “The impact of the crisis has been worsened, according to worker informants, by employers using the pandemic as an excuse to run away from their obligations to workers,” the piece continues. Asst. Prof. Velasco opines that while employers were provided loopholes, particularly through issuances from the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), which affected Filipino workers, the latter pushed back against employer misbehavior, though met with crackdown and harassment from authorities. The piece likewise highlights the response of the labor coalition Nagkaisa, which aims to prioritize workers’ rights and welfare amid the pandemic.

Read Asst. Prof. Velasco’s piece in full here.