October 23, 2017
Solidarity Message on Occasion of the 1st Year Anniversary of Church People- Workers Solidarity -Northern Mindanao Region
The Church People-Workers Solidarity (CWS) extends its warmest greetings to CWS-NMR on its first founding anniversary. In a short period of time, CWS-NMR was able to respond to the prophetic call to rally church people—the clergy and laypeople—on the side of the poor and exploited workers. Through its various programs and services such as education, research, and exposure-immersion programs, CWS-NMR was able to discern and formulate concrete actions for the four priority concerns of the workers—contractualization, unjust wages, right to organize and the migration of workers
CWS-NMR is always at the forefront in condemning the unfair practice of labor contractualization. It has continued to expose the worsening conditions of the workers under the Duterte administration through the implementation of anti-worker neoliberal policies. The rapid encroachment and land-grabbing by big foreign, multinational agro-corporations has dispossessed and displaced thousands of Lumad all over Mindanao. Farm workers experience the worst forms of slave-like working conditions in these huge agricultural plantations. Hundreds of peasants, farm workers and labor leaders and union members were brutally murdered by elements of the State,
paramilitary groups and private security forces of big foreign corporations. Workers in Mindanao are subjected to all forms of exploitation and oppression while big capitalists amass great wealth and profit from the rich natural and mineral resources of Mindanao. Martial law in Mindanao has not only curtailed the civil and political rights of the people, it has likewise legitimized State repression and attacks on the workers’ just demands.
It is in this context that Church people of Mindanao should consistently stand alongside the working class. It should continue to draw inspiration from the rich social teachings of the Church and apply these teachings to the concrete historical conditions of the workers.
Pope Francis paints a picture of a lasting answer to the growing alienation of the poor. To counter hopelessness, he tells us that the Christian community gets involved “by word and deed in people’s daily lives.” CWS-NMR must continue to advocate for jobs and wages that truly provide a dignified life for individuals and their families, and for working conditions that are safe and allow for a full flourishing of life outside of the workplace.
Congratulations to CWS-NMR and more power!
Very truly yours in the Lord
,Most Rev. Gerardo A. Alminaza, D.D.
Bishop- Diocese of San Carlos
Chairperson, Church People–Workers Solidarity