Tag Archives: EILER

[Press Release] Labor NGO urges DTI to put on hold price increases | EILER

#HumanRights #Workers

Labor NGO urges DTI to put on hold price increases

A Labor NGO urges the Department of Trade and Industry to put on hold the price increases of basic necessities which are set at 3-5 percent.

The Ecumenical Institute for Labor Education and Research (EILER) emphasizes that instead of price increases, the government should immediately provide additional support to MSMEs, improve vaccine roll-out, provide wage relief to the workers, and ayuda for all affected as ECQ will be implemented by the end of the week.

“The number of jobless Filipinos has increased in June. Given the spread of the Delta variant and considering that many workers have not recovered from losing their jobs, the price increases will make it more difficult for the workers and the working poor to live decently,” said EILER Executive Director Rochelle Porras.

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[From the web] Rising unemployment shows Duterte admin’s failed economic policies | EILER

Rising unemployment shows Duterte admin’s failed economic policies

The increase in unemployment rate in the recent Labor Force Survey (LFS) shows the Duterte administration’s neoliberal agenda and failed economic policies further worsened the labor situation amid the pandemic, according to a labor NGO.

The Ecumenical Institute for Labor Education and Research (EILER) said that while the imposition of stricter lockdowns during the previous quarter is seen as the immediate cause, the government’s neglect of local industries and its dependence on foreign businesses is the primary reason for the rising unemployment and precarious working conditions.

The LFS released by the Philippine Statistical Authority (PSA) for April 2021 shows the unemployment rate rose to 8.7% from 7.1% last March. That translates to 4.14 million unemployed Filipinos. Underemployment rose to 17.2% or 7.45 million from 16.2% last March.

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[From the web] Decision to take back hazard pay of contractual airport workers, unjust | EILER

#HumanRights #Workers

Decision to take back hazard pay of contractual airport workers, unjust

A Labor NGO expresses dismay over the state auditor’s order to recover the hazard pay amounting to P54.36 million given to contractual workers of the Manila International Airport Authority last year. As per the memo released by the service contractor, the retracted hazard pay shall be deducted from workers’ monthly salaries.

The Ecumenical Institute for Labor Education and Research (EILER) said that the decision is unjust and shows indifference to the plight of contractual workers who are on the frontlines. EILER also added that all workers deserve hazard pay given the risks they face while at work amid the pandemic.

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[Statement] Filipino workers suffer the most but struggle the hardest amid the pandemic and economic crisis | EILER

#HumanRights #Workers #Covid19ph

EILER’s Labor Day Statement: Filipino workers suffer the most but struggle the hardest amid the pandemic and economic crisis

We celebrate Labor Day during very trying times. The working class continue to suffer the brunt of the deteriorating health system, and economic crisis due to years of neoliberal impositions further worsened by the pandemic.

One of the most vulnerable sectors to COVID-19 is the working class. The regions with the most concentration of workers are reported to have the highest rate of infection. Workers are forced to go to work without mass testing, effective contact-tracing, and the absence of vaccination.

A year into the pandemic, Philippine economy has not recovered. Yet, despite a -9.6%, GDP growth, workers are still able to create P17.9 trillion in GDP.

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[Press Release] A year under lockdown: workers’ condition worse than before | EILER

#HumanRights #Workers #COVID19ph

A year under lockdown: workers’ condition worse than before — labor NGO

The Ecumenical Institute for Labor Education and Research (EILER) is dismayed at the government’s failed pandemic response and for leaving the workers behind, a year after implementing the Enhanced Community Quarantine or ECQ.

Recent government data showed an increase in the annual unemployment rate up to 10.3 per cent, the highest recorded annual unemployment in 15 years (2020 Annual Preliminary Estimates of LFS). Before this, the unemployment rate reached an all-time high of 17.7% in April of 2020.

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[From the web] ‘Stop the killings!’- Labor NGO seeks justice for the murder of union leader Leonardo Escala -EILER

#HumanRights #Workers

‘Stop the killings!’- Labor NGO seeks justice for the murder of union leader Leonardo Escala

Screen Grabbed from Eiler.ph

The Ecumenical Institute of Labor Education and Research (EILER) condemns the brutal murder of Leonardo “Ka Esca” Escala, union president of the port operator International Container Terminal Services Incorporated (ICTSI) last February 7, in Tondo Manila.

Under Escala’s leadership, the union the Nagkakaisang Manggagawa sa Pantalan Incorporated (NMPI)-ICTSI under the National Federation of Labor Unions (NAFLU), fought for labor rights and humane working conditions.

Because of his convictions, he constantly received death threats.

Read complete article @eiler.ph

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[Press Release] SSS at PhilHealth premium hikes, dagdag pahirap sa mga manggagawa – EILER

#HumanRights #PhilHealth #Workers

SSS at PhilHealth premium hikes, dagdag pahirap sa mga manggagawa – EILER

Dagdag pahirap ang Philhealth at SSS sa mga manggagawa at mamamayan sa plano nilang pagtataas ng premium para diumano hindi masaid ang kanilang pondo, ayon sa isang labor NGO.

Giit ng Ecumenical Institute for Labor Education and Research (EILER), maraming mga manggagawa ang nawalan ng trabaho at nabawasan ang kita dahil sa pandemya at iba pang kalamidad na naranasan ng mamamayan sa 2020. Bukod pa dito, hanggang ngayon ay hindi pa nakakasuhan ang mga dapat managot sa bilyong pondo na diumano’y ibinulsa ng mga dating opisyales ng Philhealth.

“Matatandaan din natin noong 2018, ayon sa Commission on Audit (CoA) ay may P14.3 bilyon na kwestyonableng high risk investment na pinasok ang Philhealth sa iba’t-ibang pribadong kompanya. Pero patuloy pang tumataas ang pondo para dito na umaabot na sa P132 bilyon noong Hunyo 2020 at higit na mataas ng P52 bilyon kumpara sa benefit claims ng mga miyembro,” ayon kay EILER Executive Director, Rochelle Porras.

Dagdag pa niya, “Ganoon din ang SSS, umabot sa P300 bilyon ang kanilang investment noong 2019. Bahagi nito ang mga condominiums, lote sa mga subdivisions at memorial lots na minsan ng tinagurian noon na idle assets ng CoA at nagkakahalaga ng hindi bababa sa P3 bilyon.”

Ayon sa institusyon ay dapat pigilan ni Pangulong Duterte ang pagtaas ng premium ng SSS katulad ng sa PhilHealth. Dapat ring pigilan ang bagong pahirap na programa nitong Workers Investment and Savings Program, lalo na sa panahong labis ang paghihirap ng mga manggagawa.

“Kung magagamit lamang ng maayos ang pondo ng PhilHealth at SSS, at kung lubos na inilalaan ito para sa kapakanan ng mga manggagawa, kailanman ay hindi ito masasaid,” dagdag pa ni Porras.

NEWS RELEASE
10 January 2021
Reference: Ms. Rochelle Porras, EILER Executive Director, +63 920 127 6491

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[Press Release] The Philippines lags behind achieving decent work – EILER

The Philippines lags behind achieving decent work – EILER

The country falls further behind on the Decent Work Agenda, according to Labor NGO Ecumenical Institute for Labor Education and Research (EILER).

Citing ITUC Global Rights Index 2020 and Global Witness Report, EILER noted that the Philippines is considered one of the most dangerous countries for workers, and the second-worst worldwide for environmental and land rights defenders.

“The trade unions are vital in reviving the economy, but our unions are under attack. They are victims of union-busting, red-tagging, harassment, and the many barriers in organizing and exercise of freedom of association. These violent attacks on workers and trade unionists amid the pandemic also affect workers’ organizations and labor institutions leading local responses, specifically working towards addressing the abovementioned global effects of COVID-19 to employment and livelihood. We are, at present, farther from achieving the Decent Work Agenda and sustainable economy,” EILER Executive Director Rochelle Porras said.

EILER also cited the ILO Monitor: COVID-19 and the world of work 5th Edition report stating that over 400 million full-time jobs have been lost and hundreds of millions of informal workers have lost their livelihoods globally. This means that millions of more workers are pushed further into extreme poverty.

“As the global employment crisis deepens, women and young workers are hit the hardest. More and more youths are forced to engage in irregular, precarious, or intermittent employment. In the Philippines, rampant contractualization, the two-tier wage system, inadequate decent job opportunities, and lack of access to free education have prevented the youth to break away from vulnerable employment,” Porras said.

“The effects of the pandemic on regular employment, living wages, gender equality, and occupational safety and health are worsened by neoliberal globalization. We must do away with neoliberal policies and prioritize acting on the legitimate demands of the workers including free mass testing, guaranteed income, social protection, and upholding of freedom of association, collective bargaining rights, OSH, and other labor rights,” Porras concluded.

NEWS RELEASE
7 October 2020
Reference: Ms. Rochelle Porras, EILER Executive Director, +63 920 127 6491

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[Press Release] Illegal arrests are terrorist acts; HB 6875, unconstitutional – EILER

Illegal arrests are terrorist acts; HB 6875, unconstitutional 

Ecumenical Institute of Labor Education and Research (EILER) strongly condemns the illegal arrests conducted by state forces this week with which six jeepney drivers from Caloocan and seven labor rights defenders from Cebu are currently detained.

It has been several days since the Northern Police District illegally arrested the drivers during their Busina Para Sa Balik-Pasada program due to alleged violation of the social-distancing local ordinance. It was seen in photos that they did not violate such protocol, same with the seven rights defenders from various organizations in Cebu yesterday who were violently dispersed.

“The surge of protests is valid and inevitable for communities that are suffering due to quarantine restrictions. The poor drivers in Manila and those arrested in Cebu are simply airing out their concerns. Further, the phaseout of jeepneys is looming, and is being pushed amid a health crisis,” Executive Director Rochelle Porras said.

The railroaded HB 6875 or proposed Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020 still needs the president’s sign but is now essentially in effect. The bill’s flawed and unjust definition of terrorism and the council that will assess such acts might further incite violence.

“The bill being unlawful and can easily tag innocent civilians as terrorists are the act of terrorism itself,” Porras added.

EILER calls for the junk of the terror bill for it also violates basic human rights. Workers’ freedom of association and the right to strike can be interpreted as violations of the bill.

“Terror ends when the government stops red-tagging civilians and people’s organizations. Terror ends when people’s rights are guaranteed and protected. Terror ends when there is just and lasting peace,” Porras ended.

NEWS RELEASE
6 June 2020
Reference: Ms. Rochelle Porras, EILER Executive Director, +63 920 127 6491

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[Press Release] Labor NGO underscores PUV phaseout will not help the real drivers of PH economy

Labor NGO underscores PUV phaseout will not help the real drivers of PH economy

Lifting the restrictions of quarantine after disrupting the livelihood of millions takes a huge blow in the economy and will further topple down if workers from the transport sector are being pushed to their extremes, according to Labor NGO Ecumenical Institute for Labor Education and Research (EILER).

Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) Memorandum Circular 2020-017 discusses the relatively numerous requirements for the public transportation special permit for areas under the General Community Quarantine including that drivers should be part of consortiums or cooperatives, and must purchase the modernized jeepney for those who have the 2009 models and older.

The National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) can’t even include yet the transportation sector loses in its May 22 report entitled We Recover As One as the head of technical working group focused on the economy this pandemic. It was mentioned that Enhanced Community Quarantine has had a major impact on the said sector.

Around P1.1 trillion in a total loss, which comprises 5.6 percent of the country’s gross domestic product, was reported by NEDA since the start of the quarantine excluding the transport sector; which furthers the argument as to how much worse the economy can be.

“Today, the workers experienced a worse public transport crisis. The DOTr is taking advantage of the COVID pandemic to push its anti-poor policies, including phasing out of the jeepneys without concrete livelihood plans for the hundreds of thousands of jeepney drivers and operators,” Executive Director Rochelle Porras said.

The government’s action to push the businesses to resume their operations without mass testing also endangers the lives of the workers.

“If the government and businesses want to resume operations, they should provide safe and efficient public transportation for workers. It is unjust that the workers are made to suffer from walking for hours over long distances. The proposed jeepney modernization program of the Duterte administration will result in fare hikes for commuters and further massive displacement of jeepney drivers,” Porras added.

NEWS RELEASE
1 June 2020
Reference: Ms. Rochelle Porras, EILER Executive Director, +63 920 127 6491

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[Press Release] Duterte admin has funds for COVID-19 response; must quickly do its job – EILER

Duterte admin has funds for COVID-19 response; must quickly do its job – labor NGOs

The government has more funds it can use to address the continuing spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) and provide immediate relief to the people, said labor NGOs Crispin B. Beltran Resource Center (CBBRC) and Ecumenical Institute for Labor Education and Research (EILER) in a joint statement on Easter Sunday.

“For decades, civil society organizations have been calling for the realignment of military and intelligence budget towards social services and social protection measures for Filipinos. Social protection systems and accessible social services are vital in building resiliency and are effective stabilizers in times of crisis. As we’ve earlier emphasized, community quarantine is necessary but to what extent remains unclear and certain considerations were missed, including effective financing of the overall impact and policy responses,” EILER Executive Director Rochelle Porras said.

According to the labor NGOs, the overly broad and vague emergency powers given to the President through the Bayanihan to Heal As One Act has fallen short of radically mobilizing billions of pesos that are needed to contain the pandemic and to provide safety nets to the worsening social and economic impacts. EILER and CBBRC pointed out that almost a month after the lockdowns, the ECQ is still focused strictly and solely on the movement of the people, leaving out vital scientific and medical aspects that ultimately would need funding to efficiently provide the 18 million Filipino households it identified with adequate and quality social services and effectively control the impact of the virus.

“It’s been weeks and the government has fallen behind in strengthening health, economic and social measures to combat the threat of COVID-19,” Porras added.

No to cover-up; yes to increasing budget for improving the public health system and other social services

Screenshot 2020-04-12 at 23.30.04.png
exchange rate April 8 BSP US$1 = PhP50.7

Under the Constitution, the President can only realign savings from appropriations in the approved budget of the Executive branch. However, the Bayanihan to Heal As One Act approved last month has allowed the President to reallocate, realign, and reprogram at least a P275-billion package from the national budget in response to the pandemic. Duterte said that the amount is not enough and on April 6, instructed Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez to find government funds in addition to what was initially proposed under the Bayanihan Law.

Whether covering up for the dismal performance in responding to the pandemic (COVID-19 spread globally in January) or total disregard for peoples’ welfare, the fact is that the government has existing resources under the General Appropriations Act (GAA) which could’ve been allotted for greater good. The whopping P379.4-billion defense and police funds and the combined appropriation for intelligence, confidential and counter-insurgency program funds worth P13.4-billion indicate overspending on militarization compared to the P101-billion actual budget for the Department of Health. There is also the P13-billion Special Purpose Funds (SPFs) contingency budget and the P451-billion allotment on debt service on interest payments. Altogether, these would pool a total of P856.8-billion as potential COVID-19 response funds, out of the existing P4.1-trillion budget, to boost the public health system and other social services.

For perspective, several untapped funds can further be examined. These include P213-billion unprogrammed appropriations and the P102-billion worth of dividends from 12 GOCCs. There is also the P989.3-billion budget for the ambitious Build, Build, Build which remains far from achieving its 75 projects given the circumstances.

In terms of increased borrowing, Finance Assistant Secretary and Spokesperson Antonio “Tony” Lambino II earlier announced that the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas will open a P300-billion credit line. The Asian Development Bank has approved a US$3-million (P152.1-million) grant to support government efforts against COVID-19. In addition, the World Bank has also approved a US$500-million (P25.35-billion) policy loan to support disaster response and recovery including urgent needs created by the COVID-19 crisis.

“Clearer guidelines, concrete plans, and political will are all needed, and the people’s welfare must be the top priority in addressing the pandemic. The government has all the resources it needs even without the emergency powers. Simply put, it has to just act quickly, do its job and do it well,” Porras concluded.

NEWS RELEASE
12 April 2020
Reference: Ms. Rochelle Porras, EILER Executive Director, +63 920 127 6491

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[Press Release] Labor NGO calls for pro-poor policies and clearer guidelines on lock down to overcome the threat of COVID-19 -EILER

Labor NGO Ecumenical Institute for Labor Education and Research (EILER) calls on the government to implement pro-poor policies and clearer guidelines as the month-long lockdown continues.

According to EILER, the Duterte administration has taken measures focused on preventing the spread of COVID-19, but the policies and guidelines remain lacking, unclear, and insensitive to the extremely vulnerable conditions of the poor. Further, the measures focused strictly and solely on the movement of the people, leaving out vital scientific and medical aspects that ultimately would effectively control the impact of the virus while guaranteeing the livelihood and survival of the poor.

“Measures were taken by the Duterte administration center on the restriction of movement. The ill-announced lockdown of the National Capital Region which, now expanded to the whole island of Luzon, and the subsequent suspension of public transport, which in turn paralyzes the livelihood of the 3.67 million poor in Luzon, inevitably puts the poor in a more vulnerable situation. Community quarantine is necessary but to what extent remains unclear and certain considerations were missed,” EILER Executive Director Rochelle Porras lamented.

EILER urged the government to consider four main points towards a comprehensive and more inclusive approach to combat the threat of COVID-19.

Early detection and treatment for free. First, priority should be on early detection and treatment of the disease, both of which should be free of charge, in order to make screening and treatment of the virus universally available, including for the poor. Funds could be made instantly available from the 2020 budget such as with the existing P13 billion contingency fund and P16 billion National Disaster Risk Reduction Management fund to help increase the slashed 2020 budget of the Department of Health (DoH).

Guaranteed income. Secondly, the private sector and government have to guarantee the continued payment of the workers’ wages as is being done in Pasig City and by some private companies, which we fully support including the other arrangements such as the early release of 13th month pay and access to SSS unemployment benefits. Health workers and other front-liners who have shown amazing efforts to cope with the crisis despite the lack of prior support should be compensated well with the immediate provision of hazard pay. Because of understaffing, health workers and other front liners are also overworked and more prone to being infected. Free long-term care and mental health assessment should be in place. The government must also layout a concrete and inclusive economic stimulus plan to ensure the economic recovery of micro-, small- and medium-sized businesses (MSMEs).

Immediate support to the poor, transport workers and informal sector. Third, the government has to take several measures to support the poor including transport workers and informal workers to overcome this difficult health crisis by ensuring food supply, providing free nutritious food packages to poor communities and making basic necessities available at reduced prices. Instead of DSWD’s ill-conceived suspension of its services to indigents, financial support to the poor should be doubled and made more accessible, as the government can re-allocate intelligence and confidential funds and channel them to the informal sector. Private corporations have to do their part as in 2017 they amassed a total of P1.2 trillion in profits in NCR alone.

Uphold freedom of association, collective bargaining rights, and OSH. Finally, there should be no compromise on labor rights. Notably, the government embraced an overly militaristic approach instead of deploying more health workers during these critical times, affecting not just physical movement, but also suppressing workers’ mobilizations and grievances. All workers have the right to know and to demand their employer’s policy as regards the pandemic. There should be no barrier for unions to exercise their CBAs. Safe and healthy workplaces should be guaranteed at all times since the skeletal workforce is still in place in all industries. The government and businesses should provide for free all necessary PPEs and approved N-95 respirators to frontline workers and the skeletal workforce in all workplaces across all industries.

“While addressing the pandemic, the government should respond responsibly and quickly make available funds and programs to strengthen medical, economic and social measures, prioritizing the health and livelihood of the most vulnerable,” Porras concluded.

20 March 2020
Reference: Ms. Rochelle Porras, Executive Director, +63 920 127 6491

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[Press Release] Labor NGO warns on massive job loss as multinational corporations continue race to the bottom

Labor NGO Ecumenical Institute for Labor Education and Research (EILER) expresses alarm as more and more corporations are laying off employees, contributing to the number growing of joblessness in the country.

EILER noted that already at least 2,626 employees are part of layoffs since the beginning of 2020 as specific divisions of Honda Cars Philippines, Inc. (387 plant workers), Wells Fargo & Co. (700 tech employees), and Nokia (700 IT professionals) close, and as PAL downsizes affecting 287 administrative staff. Before the four more talked-about companies, Yamada Technology Corp. (YTC), a manufacturer of furniture and Ecowalls products in Digos, Davao del Sur already closed on February 10 and laid off 552 workers. YTC, a subsidiary of Japan-based Yamada Denki, Co., one of the largest consumer electronics retailer chains in Japan, has been downsizing since 2015.

“The downsizing also affects workers along the supply chains, so the job loss is actually more. Take Honda Philippines for example, the closure of the car manufacturing plant may affect employees of their 60 parts and materials suppliers and 38 dealers nationwide. In England, as Honda announced its Swindon car factory will cease production in 2021, it will be laying off 3,500 workers. Honda said that another 3,500 jobs could be affected in its subsidiaries and partner companies, bringing the total to a massive 7,000 job losses,” Executive Director Rochelle Porras said,

EILER cited the companies’ annual reports and pointed out that they are generating income in spite of the economic downturn. For Honda, production might be slowing, but its profit soared in 2018 by 72% (988 million USD) and net sales is not drastically plummeting. Its forecast for the end of its fiscal year in March projects its operating profit to increase 68.2 billion YEN (635 million USD). For one of the biggest banks in the world, Wells Fargo’s profit in Q4 2019 may have declined to 2.87 billion USD from 6.06 billion USD the year prior, but it’s mainly due to low-interest rates and the litigation charges and fraud scandal it faced some years back finally weighing. Nokia’s profit went up to 821 million EUR (917.4 million USD) in Q4 2019 by 11% as compared to the year before. Meanwhile, PAL’s parent company, PAL Holdings Inc. has been able to trim down its profit losses. PAL’s labor costs are steady and cargo revenues are up. In 2019, it announced that it is ‘confident in swinging back to profitability’ with ANA’s investments and its upgrades and expansions to be a five-star carrier.

“Walang nalulugi even PAL is still generating high revenues. That’s why, the workers were shocked at the ill-announced layoffs,” Porras said.

Porras also identified a couple of similarities at least in the claims of Honda, Wells Fargo, Nokia and PAL management based on their official statements in the Congressional hearing on March 3. First, that they are reorganizing, strategizing on technological impacts. Second, they are relocating what they’re closing in the Philippines, to other countries, except for PAL.

“Honda and Wells Fargo see opportunities in Thailand and India. But these two countries, unlike the Philippines, have not ratified fundamental ILO Conventions 87 and 98 on freedom of association and collective bargaining and C095 on the protection of wages. With multinational corporations competing for lower wages and weaker labor regulations, it really is race to the bottom,” Porras said.

“COVID-19’s impact is felt worldwide and in many supply chains not just PAL. People are flying less; they are not booking hotels for travel. The environmental and health degradation that we have now is a consequence also of race to the bottom under an unsustainable economy and profit-driven production and consumption. As the situation continues, we need to brace ourselves for massive job loss,” Porras added.

“Only trade unions can stop the race to the bottom, but our labor unions are under attack. They are victims of union-busting, red-tagging, harassment, and police and military interventions such as the unconstitutional Joint Industrial Peace Concerns Office (JIPCO). There are so many barriers in organizing trade unions. We must eliminate these and build our national industry so we don’t have to rely heavily on foreign investments from corporations who can easily come and go as they please,” Porras concluded.

NEWS RELEASE
5 March 2020
Reference: Ms. Rochelle Porras, Executive Director, +63 920 127 6491

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