Workers’ Party List cites BPO workers as it backs calls for May 9 holiday declaration

PHILIPPINE STAR/ RUSSELL PALMA

A PARTY-LIST group that represents workers in various sectors has backed calls to proclaim May 9, Election Day, a regular public holiday to avoid disenfranchisement among employees who may not be allowed to take leave or who couldn’t afford to miss a daysalary.

The Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) Industry Employees Network had stated that some workersleave requests for May 9 were refused by employers.

“This is what we are referring to because their economic situation is in conflict with their democratic right to vote,Anakpawis National Vice President Lana Linaban said in Filipino in a statement.

Worse still, (President Rodrigo R.) Duterte himself has yet to issue a proclamation to make May 9 a public holiday, so it looks like BPO workers are chained to their jobs.

The Elections Commission (Comelec) asked Mr Duterte last week to declare May 9 a special holiday to ensure full participation this year.s national and local elections.

“Our call is to proclaim it as a paid or regular public holiday so that the workers will not regret the loss of wages, and they will be free to vote,said Mrs. Linaban.

We also urge employers to allow their workers’ leave requests so that they can exercise their democratic rights to vote,she added.

In 2016, then President Benigno NoynoyC. Aquino III declared election day a special nonworking holiday.

LEGAL ASSISTANCE
Meanwhile, Comelec operated the Philippinesofficial organization of lawyers and an election monitoring body to provide free legal assistance and for monitoring during the May 9 elections.

Comelec on Thursday signed an agreement with the Integrated Bar Association of the Philippines for free legal services to voters and electoral council members, and with the Legal Network for Truthful Elections (LENTE) for Election Day monitoring.

“Their goal is to educate the public about common election offences, monitor the general conduct of elections, and provide legal assistance to the public and electoral board members who encounter problems or irregularities during and after election day. ,Comelec said in a statement.

Also on Thursday, election watchdog Kontra Daya urged the electoral body to investigate a barangay captain in Samar who prevented the entry of a presidential candidate.s trainers of poll watchers for an activity in the community.

Videos and photos of the local official using aggressive language to chase away Vice President Maria Leonor “Leni” G. Robredo’s volunteers have gone viral on social media.

“This is unacceptable behavior because local officials should not have authoritarian tendencies,” the election watchdog said. Alyssa Nicole O. Tan and John Victor D. Ordonez

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