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Exploiting Human Dignity Essay

2442 words - 10 pages

Sidartha G. Acuyong

Th151 – Y Exploiting the Human Dignity: An Ethical Christian Response to Labor Exploitation

Introduction The labor sector has faced major quandaries in the actualization of their rights granted to them under the law. Some businesses and giant corporations continue to circumvent their duty to provide for adequate employment benefits like healthcare and social security. Such behavior leaves the worker in a poor and destitute condition. Under the Philippine Constitution, it is a state policy that “the State affirms labor as a primary social economic force. It shall protect the rights of the workers and promote their welfare” (Philippine Constitution Art. II, Sec. 18). ...view middle of the document...

The practice of contractualization has been prolific especially during the Arroyo administration. The labor sector along with the support of the non-government organizations has been lobbying for the prohibition of contractualization. “Since 1989, under the amended Labor Code, labor contractualization — hiring workers for short-term, non-regular employment without the benefits accorded by law to regular workers — has become rampant among business and industrial enterprises in the country.” (Ocampo "Labor contractualization: A 25-year bane to

workers"). Through contractualization, an employer can avoid its obligation to provide the employment benefits since the law only requires businesses to accord employment benefits to its regular employees. Major corporations like SM and Philippine Airlines owned by business conglomerates are greatly composed of contractualized employees which resulted to massive labor lawsuits in the history of labor jurisprudence.

The Plight of the Labor Sector and the Catholic Social Vision Catholic social teaching has strongly advocated and promoted the rights of the labor sector under the exploitation it faces from the businesses they work for. Catholic social teaching emphasizes that the human dignity which is the heart and soul of Catholic social teaching must be upheld and realize through the principles of common good, solidarity, subsidiarity and participation. Human work is the means of a person to realize the image of God and to respond to the vocation to share in the creative activity of God in the world. In Laborem Excerens written by Pope John Paul II, work is argued a vital and essential part of the human nature, and is a means to realize the dignity of the human person. It is not a mere activity or commodity which can be monetized. Such phenomenon of human work which is granted by God to man during Genesis is better understood in a framework which involves private property and capital. Also mentioned in the encyclical are the errors of materialism and economism which subordinate man to private property and commodify the labor input of the human person. As already mentioned, human work is only a means, not the ends for the realization or expression of the human dignity. The work is a means to make life more human (Laborem Exercens, 3). Through the work a human person does, one does not only create an impact upon the world but also on the very personhood of that person. Human work, as an expression of our humanity makes it a good on its own. A person should not also be subordinated by his or her work but should be the other way around; the person must subdue his or her own work since a human person is not a mere means or instrument as Kant described in one of his formulations of the universal laws. Work only contains value because of man who did the work. The rights of workers which flow from the proper appreciation of human work are the right to work, the right to a just share over the fruits of...

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