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Know Former President Ferdinand Marcos’ Care for Filipino Workers that Goes Beyond his Time


By: Elena Grace Flores

The Filipino workers are close to former President Ferdinand Marcos heart so he upholds their rights by signing the Presidential Decree 442 or the Labor Code of the Philippines.  This law sets out labor regulations in the country. It states policies favoring workers, such as regularization and job security, “endowment” restrictions, benefits such as overtime, holiday and disability pay, humanitarian work conditions, right to establish the union and collective bargaining agreement (CBA), and much more.

YouTube video by Bongbong Marcos

[VIDEO]: Dignidad sa Paggawa – Mga Programa ni Pangulong Marcos


To extend the opportunities and benefits of Filipino workers, the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) and the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA), are the key agencies administering and caring for Filipino workers and wanting to work abroad.

Overseas Contract Workers

Due to new rules and well-being in the field of overseas employment, the number of land-based Overseas Contract Workers (OCW) has grown. From only 12,500 in 1975, it reached 385,000 in 1988. While the Seafarers turn to 86,000 from 23,500 in 1975.

Critics Take it as an Image-Building Effort

In 1974, Marcos’ critics describe Presidential Decree 442 or the Labor Code as an image-building effort. Among its goals as per a mainstream media was “to ensure the careful selection of Filipino workers for the overseas labor market to protect the good name of the Philippines abroad.” It might not be the ultimate goal of the fallen leader but no matter how they twist the facts, this is also a positive development.

The Labor Export Patch Continues

No president after Marcos has detoured from the labor export path. During her term from 1986 to 1991, President Corazon Aquino also utilized labor export to address unemployment and source much-needed foreign exchange. Deployed Filipino workers jumped from 378,214 in 1986 to 615,019 in 1991. Meanwhile, average unemployment rate from 1985 to 1990 remained high at 10.46 percent. From 1992 to 1998, the Ramos administration took the same direction. In 1995, President Fidel Ramos signed Republic Act 8042 or the Migrant Workers Act to promote the welfare of OFWs. The number of Filipinos leaving for work abroad slowed down but still rose from 686,461 in 1992 to 747,696 in 1997. Joblessness remained a problem, with unemployment ranging between 8.6 percent and 10.1 percent during the term of Ramos. Under the short-lived Estrada, administration deployment increased to 837,020 in 1999. Unemployment under his administration averaged between 8.4 percent and 9 percent.

The Presence of President FEM Remains

FEM is long gone but his influence remains. Critics must think twice before accusing him of things he is not guilty of. Chances are; the noisiest detractors are definitely beneficiaries of the projects of the highly misunderstood President. This is very possible because of his infrastructure, education, and healthcare programs. It is overwhelming to think that even after his death, he still contributes to the field of labor.