Despite these challenging and less-than-ideal conditions, the Filipino worker continues to thrive and excel in many professions and fields of work.
Tomorrow, 1 May 2018, marks the 116th celebration of Labor Day in the Philippines. Since 1913, the first recorded Labor Day in the Philippines, labor unions and groups commemorate this occasion by organizing rallies and demonstrations to express their grievances on timeless issues such as minimum wage, contractualization, and inhumane working conditions. While these scenes typically overshadow the celebration locally, we must revert back to the purpose as to why Labor Day is celebrated. Labor Day is meant as a tribute to the contributions of Filipino workers to the economic prosperity and development of our country. Thus, Labor Day presents an excellent opportunity for us to honor the industriousness and resilience of the Filipino worker, particularly during these challenging times.
In the last couple of years/decades, the Filipino worker has been a perennial victim of poor infrastructure and mass transportation. He/She has constantly endured long lines and sacrificed his/her safety in commuting via our poorly-maintained railways, terribly-ventilated jeepneys, and choosy taxis/TNVs just to arrive at work on-time. He/She has also suffered physically, emotionally and financially because of the agonizing traffic congestion along the country's major roads.
During typhoons and disasters, the Filipino worker is also said to be 'typhoon and calamity proof.' Unlike students who enjoy the benefit of class suspensions when there are storm signals, the Filipino worker, in most situations, is compelled to report for work and thus left to brave through the floods, strong winds and heavy rains. Furthermore, he/she is forced to leave his/her family behind even with the impending dangers brought about typhoons and disasters to lives and properties.
Most importantly, a Filipino worker will likely miss many important personal and family celebrations/gatherings due to the time-bound and voluminous nature of office works. It is typical to hear stories of Filipino workers rendering overtime during their birthdays, anniversaries and holidays due to work demands. Unfortunately, there are also cases where some Filipino workers deployed/assigned in remote areas are unable to physically celebrate Christmas and other important occasions with their families.
Despite these challenging and less-than-ideal conditions, the Filipino worker continues to thrive and excel in many professions and fields of work. Perhaps, the resilience of Filipino workers is an unintended consequence of the above-mentioned circumstances. Certainly, however, the Filipino workers' character has been molded and toughened both by conditions inside and outside of their places of work.
The industriousness and resilience of the Filipino workers are major factors which drive companies outside of the country to employ and entrust key positions to Filipinos. In fact, the overseas demand for Filipino professionals is proof of the Filipino workers’ employability due to their immense skill, talent and most importantly- attitude.
Indeed, the Filipino worker perfectly embodies the popular adage, 'when the going gets tough, the tough get going.' There is no greater worker globally than our own--- the Filipino.
Mabuhay ang Manggagawang Pilipino! (Long live the Filipino worker!)