The continuing denial of work opportunities and just compensation is a continuing denial of the Biblical promise of abundant life. That those who till the land to produce our food are the most impoverished in the Philippine society is itself a rebuke to an unjust economic and political order. This injustice worsens when their struggle for human dignity and just compensation is considered by the state as anti-labor, illegal and consequently repressed with such force we see only in oppressive regimes. How much more suffering can workers endure, vulnerable as they are too, by the effects of climate change?
Joblessness, incredibly low wages and difficult working condition have been the daily fare of the Filipino working class. This is perpetuated by a system that looks at them more as commodities rather than human beings. That workers are at the forefront of the struggle for a just and peaceful society is a historical fact in our country. Their output is many times more than that of any executive and an executive without workers cannot produce anything.
Christianity looks at work as an act of stewardship and those who work as co-operators with God in the creative and re-creative process. At the same time, the just compensation for workers is important for a healthy, happy and progressive citizenry. This is a basic ingredient for a stable country which powers, structures and systems continue to ignore.
Today, the National Council of Churches in the Philippines joins the continuing struggle of workers for justice and human dignity. We pray that their cries be addressed. We condemn the structures that enslave them. Today, we pay tribute to farmers, those in industrial plants, migrant workers and service providers. May Christians appropriate the struggle of the workers as their own, bearing in mind that workers are the backbone of our society. Would that we nurture, support and strengthen that backbone lest it breaks.
Let us be up and about obeying God who placed us in the garden “to till it and kept it” (Genesis 2:15).
REV. REX R.B. REYES, JR.
THE MOST REVEREND EPHRAIM S. FAJUTAGANA
Obispo Maximo XII, Iglesia Filipina Independiente & Chairperson, NCCP