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KMU dares Duterte, officials to do ‘working class challenge’

Labor group Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) on Thursday challenged President Rodrigo Duterte and his officials to spend a week living on a budget equivalent to the cash aid the government gave workers affected by the coronavirus lockdown.

"This is an open challenge to anyone in the Duterte government. No fancy cars, no personal aides, no health insurance for a week, live in a community in Tondo or in San Roque, pay monthly rent," KMU chairperson Elmer Labog said in a statement.

"You’re giving us P5,000 a month, or a budget of P1,000 a week. We go to work based on these economic conditions and see if you survive a whole week,” he said.

Called the "working class challenge," the Labor Day dare is to live the lifestyle of a member of the working class based on the P5,000 relief they received from the government, KMU said.

"Let’s see how grounded they are with the programs they have for the people," Labog said.

Early into the Luzon enhanced community quarantine, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) said they would give a one-time assistance of P5,000 to workers whose employers temporarily closed or set up flexible work arrangements.

The department has since stopped accepting employers' applications for the assistance program, reportedly to give way to the P51-billion wage subsidy program rolled out by the Department of Finance for middle-income workers.

An official said DOLE had released P5,000 to more than 236,000 workers.

The DOLE reported earlier this month that more than a million workers were affected by the economic standstill brought on by COVID-19.

In its statement, KMU called on workers to hold various protests on May 1, such as noise barrages, wearing red face masks and shirts, and hanging red streamers for Labor Day.

“Marami talagang magrereklamo sa kapalpakan ng gobyerno. We urge the people to speak up on the failure of government to provide social relief, tutal sabi ni Duterte mismo na magreklamo tayo. KMU will be in the forefront on May 1 to consolidate the growing anger of the Filipino people against Duterte,” Labog said. —LDF, GMA News