Occluded Histories: Philippine Labor after EDSA

In: Philippine Political Science Journal
Noel Christian A. Moratilla Asian Center, University of the Philippines Diliman Quezon City Philippines

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The uprising alternately called EDSA Revolution or People Power Revolution or EDSA People Power Revolt, which led to the downfall of Filipino dictator Ferdinand Marcos in 1986, supposedly ushered in the formal restoration of civil freedoms that had been snatched away by Marcos’ martial law. In the aftermath of the uprising, formal democratic institutions and civil rights were returned, including the right to free elections and the right to peaceful assembly. But as this article seeks to show, the administrations after EDSA have been marred by the neglect of workers’ welfare and the failure to address old labor concerns such as inadequate wages, job precarity, and contractualization. Given the shortage of employment opportunities in the Philippines, the administrations after EDSA have also promoted migration as its de facto job-generating mechanism. But the export of human resources is not without its ugly consequences, such as making overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) susceptible to abuse and exploitation. Deploying the notion of counter-history and using various materials from both government and non-government organizations, this article undertakes to critically assess the labor conditions during the historical period after the fabled EDSA People Power Revolt, and concludes that no notable changes have taken place.

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