The Barkadahan Party-List, an organization focused on providing a voice in government to the underserved, recently held a grand rally involving various sectors of society in Quezon City led by their first congressional nominee, Ren Pasco.
Pasco said in her speech, “Buong puso po akong naniniwala nawalang Pilipino ang itinadhana na maging mahirap. Ang pag-ahon mula sa hirap ay mula sa sariling determinasyon, ngunit kailanman, walang sinuman ang nakaangat mula sa laylayan nang mag-isa, kailangan nya ng kasama.”
[“In my heart I believe that no Filipino was ever destined to be poor. That rising from poverty stems from self-determination but no one has ever risen from the depths of poverty alone. There must be someone willing to champion their cause.”]
She further said that livelihood, job and earnings security are critical issues that should be given attention to especially in these troubled times. The Party-List she represents, Barkadahan, has deigned to make these issues the cornerstones of their platform, primarily focused on the welfare of Filipino workers.
“Trabaho at Hanapbuhay! Sa amin pong ginawang pag-ikot noong mga nakaraang buwan, sa aming pakikipag-usap, pakikipag-kwentuhan, at pakikipag-damayan sa ating mga kababayan, tila ang pinaka-mabigat na suliraning kinahaharap ng bawat pamilyang Pilipino ay ang kawalan ng trabaho at hanapbuhay.”
[“Work and livelihood!” In our sorties the past months, in our talks and work with our countrymen around the Philippines, we have realized that the biggest challenge faced by many Filipinos is the loss of jobs and their livelihood.”]
Gainful work programs and community livelihood
Pasco stressed on their desire to give focus to skills-matching and livelihood programs that effectively mirror the needs of the respective communities.
She added that Barkadahan also wishes to focus on joint programs with the Department of Labor and Employment for MSME or Micro Small and Medium Enterprises to provide adequate support and that which gives importance to local products.
She added that programs to provide assistance to families of overseas Filipino workers or OFWs especially in the field of financial literacy in order to properly guide family members on how to maximize and safeguard the fruits of the labors of our heroes abroad are critical.
Widespread support for cooperatives and HOAs especially for farmers and fisherfolk in order to minimize dependence on middlemen and to facilitate faster farm to market efforts is part of the four-point platform of Barkadahan.
Beneficial work environment
In congress, Barkadahan Party-List aims to push earlier regularization for employees in both the public and private sector through an amendment to the Labor Code.
The group also proposes support for expanded work from home for persons with disabilities (PWDs) in terms of gadgets and internet connectivity as a response to the changing work environment.
Lastly for work environment, the party list proposes for better work placement programs that allow employees to work closer to home to provide them more time with their families.
Ren Pasco stressed on the importance of laws needed to end discrimination in the workplace most especially in issues involving sexual orientation and gender identity or expression (SOGIE) and the establishment of a SOGIE desk in every company.
Furthermore, Barkadahan aims to draft laws that help prevent the “palakasan” system especially in government offices.
The fourth major platform presented during the rally was the desire to push laws that provide just wages for all employees whether private or public. One of the more concrete examples provided by Pasco was the abolition of the age-old provincial rates and to establish a national wage rate for all workers wherever they may be situated.
Pasco also touched on her aim to provide retired civil servants additional cash benefits as a way of giving them hope and inspiration for the future.
As Ren Pasco ended her speech, she assured every one of the commitment of Barkadahan Party-List to stand up for and represent the welfare of the Filipino people.
“Bawat kwento na aming narinig, patak ng luha na aming nasaksihan, hirap at desperasyon na aming naramdaman mula sa ating mga kabarkadang patuloy na lumalaban sa mga hamon ng buhay ang siyang magsisilbing gabay para patuloy ang ating Barkadahan.”
[“Every story we have listened to, every tear drop we have witnessed, the hardship and desperation we have felt from our kabarkadas who continue to fight and face life’s challenges, will serve as our guide and inspiration in order to continue our Barkadahan.”]