By Heinrich Domingo
Jodilerks Dela Cruz, Employee of the Month uses comedy to comment on the poor working conditions of many Filipinos. It zooms in on the story of gasoline station workers and how they, like many Filipino proletariats, suffer the most during business failure, corporate bankruptcy, and economic downfall.
A hardworking employee spends her last night of work on a gasoline station. The business she works for has gone bankrupt. It is only through selling the remaining stock of gasoline that she can make the best of her situation. Alongside her fellow employee, she devises several plans throughout the night to earn her last paycheck.
The film tells an effective comedy story largely with the help of its main cast, Angeli Bayani. Her character might not be lovely. But through her performance, the audience can easily empathize with the story of a desperate poor worker.
At first glance, the film can be seen as mundane and uneventful. The plot seems to wander off throughout the film. Looking deeper, one can see how the story is more than a comedy stint. It offers a critical view on the poor conditions of the Filipino working class. It allows the audience to see the effects of job insecurity. Through the characters in the film, viewers see the value of regular jobs, just wages, and reasonable benefits.
The film’s ending leaves a strong message to the audience. More so, it imprints a powerful statement to business and corporate owners – the proletariat have nothing to lose but their chains.