Tag Archives: Nagkaisa

[From the web] Workers’ Coalition Slams House Urgent Call for Chacha | NAGKAISA

#HumanRights #Workers

Workers’ Coalition Slams House Urgent Call for Chacha

The biggest labor coalition in the country slams the House leadership’s “hell-bent” effort to amend restrictive economic provisions in the 1987 Constitution amid the raging fight against CoVID 19 pandemic.

Instead of resuming plenary debates and deliberations on the proposed constitutional amendments in his Resolution of Both House No. 2 (RBH 2) when sessions resume this week, NAGKAISA holds that Speaker Lord Allan Velasco needs to prioritize the passage of the Bayanihan 3 and other measures to help displaced workers and to ease the burden of the CoVID 19 pandemic.

NAGKAISA said it before and will repeat it again that this is not the time for charter change. The money for the charter change campaign should be appropriated for “ayudang sapat para sa mga manggagawang nalaglag sa trabaho o kung may trabaho man ay di nakakapasok sa trabaho.”

First, on procedure, the alleged political “consensus” in the House has no counterpart support in the Senate. Under Article XVII of the Constitution, without the uppet chamber, such initiative is already dead on its track before moving an inch.

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[Press Release] Drop in unemployment rate encouraging but not enough -NAGKAISA

Drop in unemployment rate encouraging but not enough

The reported drop in unemployment rate from 17.7% in April to 10% in July is natural because the economy opened. However, compared to unemployment in July 2019, the current level of unemployment remains high as a result of the economic crisis due to the pandemic and the government’s conservative approach to recovery.

The reported jobs recovery, especially those tied mainly to market responses, will not be enough to cut the unemployment rate further by the end of this year or until 2021 without more aggressive stimulus program.

First, wage and salary employment especially in private establishments remain short by 1.9 million compared to its level in July 2019 when economic conditions were normal. Second, jobs recovery occurred in self-employment and unpaid family work: self-employment increased by 563 thousand while unpaid family workers increased by 550 thousand. Third, underemployment is higher by 1.3 million in July 2020 compared to its level in July 2019. The fact that underemployment rate still increased from 13.6% in July 2019 to 17.3% in July 2020 and because this coincides with increase in self-employment means that although workers found employment, the income they earn from work is not enough so they are forced to look for additional work. These trends also imply that many firms have not yet recovered from the economic crisis.

A more aggressive public employment program (PEP) and support for struggling firms especially MSMEs , we believe, is the bold and necessary action the government must undertake to address massive job displacement, recover lost jobs and create new employment opportunities based on defined social needs.

The unemployment rate in NCR, Calabarzon, and Central Luzon remain in double digit, while the underemployment rate in most parts of the country hardly moved down. And we fear that both the unemployment and underemployment numbers may still be affected by business decisions this month when employers decide on whether to keep their workers floating or not as required under the 6-month rule under DOLE’s Labor Advisory No. 17.

Jobs generated under emergency employment being implemented under TUPAD, at this point in time, cannot significantly address the unemployment problem of displaced workers as it only provides 10 to not longer than 30 days of temporary employment. We demand that a more elaborate TUPAD, or a new adequately funded PEP that is attuned to new social tasks or imperatives be rolled out under the 2021 budget and the process in making this happen be made participatory.

PEPs have been an effective program in addressing unemployment and poverty many jurisdictions worldwide like in the case of India and South Africa. Lessons and best practices can be learned from their experience as well as with our own implementation of temporary employment programs since the 60s. A Bayanihan for Work can be specifically designed to address this need.

We also demand more aggressive support for struggling firms, many of which are MSMEs. The state must also extend support to firms to help them restructure their workplaces to ensure that they do not become transmission hotspots for COVID-19. We also urge the government to strictly impose health and safety regulations in workplaces, after all, COVID-19 remains a health crisis.

Source of data: PSA. Available at: https://psa.gov.ph/content/employment-situation-july-2020. Accessed 3 September 2020.
PRESS RELEASE
NAGKAISA! Labor Coalition
3 September 2020

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[Statement] Sad day for Press Freedom — Nagkaisa

Sad day for Press Freedom — Nagkaisa

Nagkaisa Labor Coalition is enraged and gravely concerned with the conviction of administration critic Maria Ressa and his former news staff Reynaldo Santos for Cyber libel.

The article subject of the charges not only involved a private individual allegedly defamed but matters of public concerns. Matters involving one of the richest businessmen in the country, a high member of the highest court and some criminal shenanigans — which data were obtained from the intelligence community.

To expose them is not only the right of a journalist but also the right of the public to receive and evaluate.

The decision failed to consider that criminal law has no retroactive effect. The law on anti-cyber libel was not yet enacted at the time the subject article was published in 2012. The publication was a few months before the effectivity of Cyber-libel law. Thus, no one can be convicted of cybercrime when there is yet no law punishing it at the time of publication.

The prosecutors’ contention that a supposedly “republished” version of the story in February 2014 is covered by the law is doubtful and unconvincing to hold on. The defense had a credible witness who rebutted the theory of “republication”. As part of the editorial team, she categorically pointed to the fact that the change made to the story in 2014 was merely a clerical or “spelling correction.” On this ground alone, as there is reason to doubt, the defendants should have been acquitted.

Also, the decision of RTC Branch 46 of Manila is hard to fathom that it did not consider this context. More reprehensible is that its verdict goes against clearly established rules on the prescription of crimes under the Revised Penal Code and the Supreme Court, where it is clear that libel cases should be brought to the court one (1) year after its commission. Rappler’s case was filed 5 years after it was originally published, and 3 years after it was “republished”.

This decision has a chilling effect on the exercise of freedom of expression — particularly so with the impending adoption of a constitutionally infirmed anti-terror law.

This decision can be perceived as just one of the multitude of examples of how laws are being weaponized to go after perceived political opponents. It is worth reiterating that the Philippines is one of the few countries with criminal libel laws, and that the United Nations already pushed for its decriminalization as it described it as “excessive”.

And to think that the Anti-Terrorism Act has not yet been enacted into law. We can easily imagine how the said legislation would trample and disparage our rights.

Press Statement
June 15, 2020
Ref: Atty Sonny Matula
Nagkaisa Chair

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[Statement] In Response to the Threats of the PNP and the DILG -NAGKAISA

In Response to the Threats of the PNP and the DILG

We, the people, are the authors of the Constitution.

Any law or proposal enacted by Congress which destroys or derogates our rights is not a law but an abuse of power.

It is the duty of every citizen to resist or reject such oppressive proposal as a matter of right to self-defense and defense of the rights of the people.

It is for this reason why NAGKAISA, together with the broad Anti-Terror Bill movement will hold mañanita in the streets tomorrow to press for an end to this new nightmare.

We call on the President to veto the bill and instead work on a robust economic package that would address the lack of aid and the massive job losses brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic.

#JunkTerrorBill
#SahodTrabahoKarapatanHindiTerrorBill
#PagkainTrabahoKalayaanHindiTerrorBill
#AyudaPondohanTerrorBillAtrasan
#BalikTrabahongLigtas
#JunkJIPCO
#ScrapDO213isamaLA17

NAGKAISA Press Statement
11 June 2020
Atty. Jose Sonny Matula
NAGKAISA!
Chairperson

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[Statement] NAGKAISA appreciates the DOLE’s efforts to provide aid to more than a million workers

NAGKAISA appreciates the DOLE’s efforts to provide aid to more than a million workers.

We, however, note that DOLE still failed to reach its target of 1.6 million workers.

Sadly, this target is way too low compared to at least 25 million workers affected by the pandemic, as estimated by the Ateneo Center for Economic Research and Development (ACERD).

We are also concerned that the amount provided by CAMP and TUPAD is just a fraction of what workers and their families needed to survive more than 6 weeks of lockdown.

We still assert that all affected workers should be provided income guarantees equivalent to the prevailing minimum wage, or P10,000 whichever is higher. This would help ensure that millions of workers will be able to somehow cope with the financial burdens that they incurred during the lockdown.

NAGKAISA also calls on Congress to incorporate in its stimulus package bill a provision that would subsidize, if not condone, all rent and utility costs of all workers affected by the ECQ.”

Press Statement
May 7, 2020
Ref. Atty. Sonny Matula
Nagkaisa Chairperson
FFW National President

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[Press Release] Questions for the two Joeys: Do you have a better plan for the workers? -NAGKAISA

Questions for the two Joeys: Do you have a better plan for the workers?

Are the two Joeys trying to become the ‘corporate white knights’ of the Duterte administration?

They seem to be, according to the labor coalition Nagkaisa! which presumes businessman Joey Concepcion and Albay Rep Joey Salceda to be the corporate voices in the Duterte administration.

Nagkaisa! said, it was Joey Concepcion who, in the dead of the night, proposed to the President the use of rapid antibody testing for workers whom business crave to return to work to revive their industries.

Rep. Joey Salceda, on the other hand, has proposed a P350B bailout package for big corporations with another proposal to grant a special emergency power for the President to fast track the build-build-build (BBB) projects.

“It’s all business that we hear from the two as they clearly were advancing corporate interest as a top priority in the government’s recovery plans at the expense of workers’ safety and well-being in the immediate and long term,” said the group.

Nagkaisa! argued that the Concepcion proposal will send millions of workers back to work as unprotected herds subjected to unreliable antibody tests to be conducted at the workplace level.

“Only the world-tested PCR-based testing method can give that reliable assurance. Without this method of mass testing, the Concepcion proposal can only be considered as safe for business but not for the workers,” said the group.

To labor, group said it would be better and more cost-efficient for big businesses to help fund the national and local governments in establishing and operating additional PCR-based testing facilities that are accessible to workers all over the country.

As to the Salceda proposal, Nagkaisa! said state funds are much needed for income and employment guarantees for workers, support for MSMEs, and the building up of our healthcare system and hiring of additional health workers.

“Why bailout big business when they forever have access to local and international capital markets? Likewise, we see no need for new emergency powers for the President as the BBB budget, we demand, is better realigned to priority programs stated above as subways, railroads, and airports are not the pressing needs of our people at this point in time,” concluded Nagkaisa!

PRESS RELEASE
NAGKAISA! Labor Coalition
19 April 2020
Ref: Atty. Sonny Matula
Chairman, Nagkaisa!

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[Press Release] Labor groups press for universal system to avoid social divide in dispensing cash aid at household level -NAGKAISA

Aside from bureaucratic gridlock and the expected uneven dispersal of government’s assistance to different types of beneficiaries, labor groups under the Nagkaisa umbrella are now pressing for a universal system in providing COVID-19 relief to locked down communities.

Calling it a guaranteed income for all, Nagkaisa proposes that a targeted system be replaced by a more efficient system of delivering social assistance which can only be done through universalization, which means everyone receives the same package of social amelioration.

In principle, everyone gets the same share – a minimum wage for all – if such a bottom line or standard is going to be adopted, explained the group.

“On the contrary, a targeted system which is what is being implemented today, is creating a social divide at the level of communities since while every Juan and Maria is presumed to be affected by the lockdown, not everyone is qualified for government assistance,” argued Nagkaisa.

Like any membership-based group, Nagkaisa is receiving similar complaints and reports pointing to a common problem of not fairly receiving food packs, workers abandoned by their employers in applying for DOLE’s assistance, and now ensuring that everyone lands in the magic list of beneficiaries to receive cash assistance.

“It is an administrative nightmare to list down people based on different categories of beneficiaries and matched into different types of programs available just to avoid double-counting, or worse, to prevent one from sharing a plate with another. The effect is social segregation which runs counter to the social objectives defined by the Bayanihan Act,” said Nagkaisa.

The group said the AITF could still avoid this ugly scenario by opting for a universal rather than a targeted system of dispensing government assistance.

Nagkaisa holds that Filipinos need to heal as one and should not leave anyone.

Nagkaisa likewise believes that the existing databases from Philhealth, SSS, PSA, and DSWD can be worked out to implement a universal system rather than making a new list that will take more time to verify and scrutinize under a targeted system.

“As a consequence, this would also mean additional funding, but since the President was already given a free hand to re-align the P4.1T budget for 2020, dividing the fund is a lesser problem to contend with than a divided people,” concluded Nagkaisa.

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[Statement] NAGKAISA! Condemns Violence, Abuse, Discrimination Against Health Workers

The NAGKAISA! Labor Coalition condemns the violence, abuse, and discrimination against our fellow workers, in particular the health workers in this fight against the Coronavirus 2019 (COVID 19).

NAGKAISA!, the biggest labor alliance in the country, holds that discrimination, abuse or violence against workers who have risked their lives to save others is not only lamentable but highly deplorable or condemnable to the highest degree.

Among the recently reported acts of violence, abuse, and discrimination of Health Workers were, among others:

1. A male nurse in a privately owned hospital based in Cebu City was reportedly splashed with chlorine by two men on board a motorcycle while he walking along Tres De Abril Street in Cebu City on Friday evening, March 27, 2020(CDN 3/29/20)

2. A utility staff member of St. Louis Hospital in Tacurong, Sultan Kudarat, was harassed and splashed with bleach solution. (DOH, ABS-CBN 11:11pm 3/29/20)

3. Hospital security guards and nurses in Bataan were evicted from their rented houses because their owners feared that they would be infected by these health workers. (DZMM 7am news, 3/29/20).

4. A Nurse of a private hospital was splattered by bleach all over his face while he was on his way to report for duty in Tacurong, SK (MB 3/29/20).

5. Physicians, nurses, medical technologists, and other health workers have been expelled from their dormitories or were even being looked upon with disdain like they were carriers of the coronavirus themselves in Baguio City (MB 3/25/20).

6. Several homeowners, belonging to a subdivision in Bogo City, were planning to draft a petition that would seek to bar hospital workers from entering their properties. (CDN 3/29/20).

7. Health workers were also refused service in eateries, denied rides in public transport and asked to leave their apartments. (PDI 3/31/20).

NAGKAISA is one with the Department of Health (DOH) and other women and men of goodwill in condemning these cases of discrimination, abuse or harassment of health care workers. Once more, these acts of abuse and harassment are unacceptable!

NAGKAISA! strongly protests and demands that the situation be corrected as soon as possible by the authorities to investigate these incidences and penalize the culprits or responsible persons who committed these deplorable acts as these are not an ordinary breach of law but violations of human rights.

NAGKAISA! recognizes that health workers have the right to live in freedom and safety and the right to live life without discrimination while performing their jobs. These are among the rights recognized in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Violence, abuse or discrimination towards health workers or persons who may have come in contact with, as well as health practitioners helping patients is a breach of human rights.

NAGKAISA! views these incidents as unfair and unfortunate and one way to avoid these being repeated is for LGUs to secure their safety. Alternatively, health workers must be provided temporary living quarters at their place of work or nearby.

As of Monday, the Philippines has a total of 1546 COVID-19 cases, with 78 fatalities and 42 recoveries.

Twelve Filipino doctors have sacrificed their lives against this COVID-19 pandemic.

NAGKAISA! supports our physicians, nurses, medical technologists, security guards, utility personnel and other health workers in the frontline. They need society’s protection when they are at home, in transit to and from the hospital, or wherever they are now!

Though our workers have the right to refuse to work in a dangerous and hazardous situation, NAGKAISA! is deeply grateful for the volunteerism of the health workers who risk their lives and limbs in the frontlines.

NAGKAISA! salutes our health workers for their bravery and volunteerism in the frontlines. They are fighting to mitigate and prevent the spread of coronavirus 2019.

They are fighting for you and me.

NAGKAISA! LABOR COALITION

Atty. Sonny Matula
Chairperson
Cp 09178079041

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[Statement] Allocation of funds is the solution, not delegation of extra powers to the President -NAGKAISA

Workers who were forced into home quarantine without subsidies, in collective agony, already have a full view and had a taste of how disruptive and repressive Presidential power works during emergencies. The people never asked for it in the first place, nor will locked-down communities today demand a more extensive quarantine measure from the President.

Quarantine subsidy, free mass testing, and treatment, as well as adequate support to our front-liners, are clearly what the working people need today. Sadly, however, as we obey social distancing policies at home, what we find sorely lacking from the President’s declaration of public health emergency and the implementation of lockdown policy is FUNDING, which under the Constitution, is the primary duty of Congress and not of the President.

Now is the time, therefore, for Congress to do its part in the COVID-19 battle. It should, as a matter of obligation, allocate more funds for the frontline workers, their safety and their supplies, and subsidies for the millions in forced home quarantine. In particular, Nagkaisa is urging the leadership of both houses of Congress to allocate funds for:

1. 10,000-peso Quarantine Subsidy to each worker in the formal and informal sector for their food and essential needs. We estimate that 225 billion pesos would be needed to provide this level of subsidy.
2. 10 billion pesos for mass testing, treatment, and adequate support to our front-liners, including their PPEs, transport needs, quarantine, and proper accommodation.
3. Prepare the 2021 budget prioritizing measures versus pandemics and establishing the Center for Disease Control and Protection in the long term.

We further believe that addressing this policy gap in the fight against COVID-19 does not require the granting of emergency powers to the President as realignments and new fund allocation properly belongs to Congress. You might as well consider doing sessions in quarantine in Batasan rather than staying at home without pay like ordinary workers.

We also urge Congress not to allow any attempt to clip the powers of the LGU’s just to ensure national compliance to standards which in principle must also consider a local application based on local conditions. We would rather prefer local innovations than presidential sanctions. As a matter of fact, most LGUs, especially those outside NCR, also need to augment their resources for the general welfare to promote health and safety under section 16 of the Local Government Code.

As to the taking over of public utilities, the Constitution already allows the President to take such extreme measures when the public interest so requires.

NAGKAISA Labor Coalition
23 March 2020
Reference: Atty. Sonny Matula
Nagkaisa Chairperson

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[Press Release] Labor demands tripartite investigation over raids and mass arrests in Bacolod -NAGKAISA Coalition

The country’s biggest labor coalition, Nagkaisa!, is demanding a tripartite investigation over the simultaneous raids and mass arrests conducted by security forces Thursday night against members of militant labor and women groups in Bacolod City to protect workers’ right to self-organization.

“We won’t let this assault on freedom pass without demanding accountability from authorities who ordered these Gestapo-style raids. We also want to send notice to the government that labor organizations in the country are jointly opposed to this kind of highhanded approach in dealing with legitimate sectoral organizations,” said Nagkaisa! in a statement sent to media.

Some 57 people were arrested during the simultaneous raids conducted by a joint military and police forces against the Kilusang Mayor Uno, National Federation of Sugar Workers and Gabriela offices in the cities of Bacolod and Escalante in Negros last Thursday night. Cases of illegal possession of firearms and explosives were filed against those who were arrested, a charge vehemently denied by said groups.

Nagkaisa! is pointing out that while the raids and mass arrests were carried out by virtue of a search warrant issued in Quezon City, it believes that this legality is eclipsed by the repressive character attending it which is common only under authoritarian rule.

The least that could have been done by security forces, the group said is to coordinate with the labor department under the spirit of the Guideline on the conduct of the DOLE, DILG, DND, DOJ, AFP, and PNP relative to the exercise of Workers’ Right and Activity.

“We envisage further that there’s more to this than meets the eye. Its chilling effect was obvious as they happen at a time the democratic spaces in the country were shrinking fast, including, among others, the systematic repression of trade union rights and the employment of violence against trade union organizers. We, therefore, demand a stop to the institutionalization of these draconian measures,” stated Nagkaisa!

Labor groups were deeply concerned that the labor department’s ineffective response against trade union killings and red-tagging has emboldened our security forces to step up its brazen campaign against organized labor.

“Thus we urge Secretary Silvestre Bello to step in, form a tripartite body and remind the military and security forces that DOLE has the prerogative in dealing with organized labor,” Nagkaisa said.

Nagkaisa! is also urging the government to invite the ILO High-Level Mission to visit the country the soonest time possible.

The group finally reminded the government that the labor movement will always come to the defense of freedom and human rights as it values the union principle ‘an injury to one is an injury to all’.

“An assault against a part of the labor movement, therefore, is an attack against the whole movement,” concluded Nagkaisa!

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[Statement] Time is up: The buck stops now with the President on the issue of endo -NAGKAISA

Contractualization was a top billing issue during the 2016 presidential election. And it was the President who made a campaign promise that the moment he becomes the Chief Executive, contractualization will stop. The trade union movement responded with enthusiasm and accorded the President the courtesy and latitude of managing his plans by participating in all the summits, workshops, and dialogues organized by the government on this issue.

Several times he asked leaders of Nagkaisa labor coalition that he be given more time to realize his pledge – the first was on February 27, 2017; then on May 1, 2017; and the last was on February 7, 2018, where he asked for another extension until March 15. On these occasions, President Duterte would always say that contractualization is anti-labor and anti-poor as it brings in hardship and poverty upon millions of our workers.

Furthermore, it was also the President who asked Nagkaisa leaders during the Labor Day dialogue held in Davao last year to draft within 10 days an Executive Order (EO) that he can sign to correct the labor-rejected Department Order 174 issued by the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) in March last year and to rectify the more than two decades of failed framework of regulation. Nagkaisa religiously complied with all these processes and waited for the final response of the President.

Now, a few days before his self-imposed deadline and the President is no longer asking for time and more drafts but for a compromise. The buck stops now with President Duterte. The labor-drafted EO which seeks to bring back direct hiring and institutionalize prohibition as the general rule on contractualization but recognizes that there are types of jobs that can be contracted out as along as it passes through consultation with the National Tripartite and Industrial Peace Council (NTIPC) is the fairest middle ground or “compromise” that labor can take. A watered-down version of an EO is unacceptable.

PRESS STATEMENT
NAGKAISA Labor Coalition
28 February 2018
Reference: Rene Magtubo
Spokesperson

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[Press Release] On Labor Day, all roads lead to Mendiola, Frustrated workers to march together on Labor Day -NAGKAISA/KMU

On Labor Day, all roads lead to Mendiola, Frustrated workers to march together on Labor Day

Photo from PM FB

The growing frustration, disappointment and dissatisfaction of workers over President Rodrigo Duterte’s failure to fulfill a promise have only bonded workers.

Unable to secure an Executive Order over the past year that would have re-established direct hiring as the norm amidst the proliferation of contractualization, endo and manpower agencies, Nagkaisa Labor Coalition and Kilusang Mayo Uno will march as one on Labor Day in a historic first for the Philippine labor movement.

“This year’s commemoration of Labor Day will be different. It will be a national day of solidarity and action of leaders, members, allies and supporters of Nagkaisa and KMU and all citizens who have been frustrated over the injustices committed against workers and the Filipino people and government’s continued inaction and negligence,” said Nagkaisa ang KMU in a joint statement.

KMU and Nagkaisa, who represent the broadest labor coalition since the 80s have called on workers of all shapes and sizes to join hands with them.

“Let’s march arm-in-arm and be part of this growing solidarity. Let’s unite on Labor Day and work together in the days to come,” KMU and Nagkaisa called on workers.

Showing off big pieces of “pako” (nails) to symbolize the “pangakong napako” (broken promise) of President Duterte to end contractualization since the time he wooed voters, the workers’ groups said they have gone out of their way and engaged the President in serious discussions.

“For two years, we participated in labor summits called for by DOLE, dialogued with the President three times, drafted an Executive Order on contractualization, negotiated with him through five drafts–all to no avail,” KMU and Nagkaisa said.

“Ang pag-asa, naging paasa” (hope became an empty promise) is how Nagkaisa and KMU described the President’s promise. This, while workers had to endure inadequate wages, and the rising prices of basic commodities as a result of the TRAIN Law despite “unprecedented economic growth.”

Nagkaisa and KMU intend to engage Congress on the issue of contractualization. Unfortunately the chair of the Senate committee, despite the legislative branch’s independence has said that it will act based on the signal of Malacañang. Now that a directive by way of an EO that would declare direct hiring as the norm has been shelved, the Senate might just follow this lead.

“We are utterly frustrated. Despite our desire to continue sitting at the negotiating table and follow reason, the President has decided on retaining business-as-usual, by siding with local and foreign investors who have no respect for security of tenure. He has agreed to the false win-win solution of DTI that encourages manpower agency regularization and not direct hiring with the principal employers,” Nagkaisa and KMU said.

Nagkaisa and KMU reiterate their belief that the President has enough powers put an end to contractualization.

“Tapang at malasakit is what we need to end contractualization. If the president only applied this tag line of his for the benefit of workers,” said KMU and Nagkaisa.

The reported “Tokhang for companies” is viewed by Nagkaisa and KMU as merely made for show by government to compensate for their inadequacies and absence of resolve to end Contractualization once and for all.

“DO 174 has been rendered inutile versus contractualization. Government can crackdown on perpetrators of labor-only contracting employers all it wants, but employers as we have seen, conveniently use DO 174 as an excuse for their misdeeds in appealing orders to regularize workers with the principals,” said KMU and Nagkaisa.

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[Statement] No Labor-version of E.O., no labor reps for the signing today -NAGKAISA

No Labor-version of E.O., no labor reps for the signing today

Which draft Executive Order (EO) is going to be signed by the President? Will the signing push through today, or we’re facing another postponement just because other drafts other than that of labor have been submitted by DOLE before the OP for the same consideration?

We see it tricky when the latter scenario is working against the EO momentum. In a news statement, Sec. Bello was quoted saying: “the more drafts the better for the President to have a better option.”

Our response to Secretary Bello: Unless and until it’s clear that it is the labor version that will be signed by the President, labor leaders under Nagkaisa will not attend any signing, tomorrow or on another date. Any other EO will not be a compromise version, it will be our compromised souls.

We keep on hearing that the DTI which represents the position of ECOP until the last minute when labor came up with its 5th draft, continue to oppose our version based on a discredited and unfounded claim of massive job loss. And we also suspect that the Labor Secretary submits to this farcical wisdom of DTI by not exclusively endorsing the labor draft before the OP.

We have gone too far and flexible in drafting a language that is consistent with existing laws yet remaining faithful to the interest of labor and to the pledge of the President to end contractualization. Thus, we will stick with our latest draft which contains this provision: “CONSISTENT WITH THE POLICY OF THIS ADMINISTRATION, DIRECT HIRING SHALL BE THE GENERAL NORM IN EMPLOYMENT RELATIONS.”

By opposing it, the DTI-ECOP is also sticking with its position to perpetually make this country a nation of endos or contractuals. These opposing positions, therefore, are irreconcilable. Hence, as we have repeatedly stated before, the buck now stops at the level of the President.

The President must decide now. Now is the time to take the side of labor.

 

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[Statement] Workers group sees danger in unqualified declaration of martial law for entire Mindanao -NAGKAISA

Workers group sees danger in unqualified declaration of martial law for entire Mindanao

The Philippine Constitution under Article 7 Section 18 granted the President the power to declare a state of martial law. But such a declaration should meet certain requirements to justify suppression of lawless violence, invasion or rebellion and the suspension of the writ of habeas corpus.

We condemn and will continue to oppose any act of terrorism perpetrated by any group in any part of the country.  And while we recognize the power of the President to address security emergencies like this one, we also will not disregard the danger posed by unqualified use of military power to deal with security threats at the expense of democracy and basic human rights.  Filipinos will never forget the dark days under fourteen years of martial law.

In line with this, we find the Moscow declaration of President Duterte placing the entire Mindanao under the state of martial law as worrisome as it came with yet to be qualified basis except for the pockets of violence that erupted yesterday in Marawi City between the military and the combined forces of Maute and Abu Sayaff groups.  Why place the entire Mindanao under a state of martial law when the military itself claimed it is in full control of the situation?

Even the fire and storm of Misuari in Zamboanga nor the firefights in Ipil were not sufficient cause for a declaration of Martial Law. Indeed, if there is any lesson, Mindanaoans have demonstrated in the last 40 years, is that they best cooperate, cohabit and interact with each other WITHOUT Martial Law.  The historical memory of the Filipino race has been so foreshadowed by the totalitarian menace that even now, we feel more threatened than secured by the State under Martial Law. Workers will never forget, especially when workers’ rights to organize, to bargain and to strike occupy such a low level of political esteem from the powers that be. We ask all to step back from the totalitarian temptation.

Furthermore, the Filipino people deserve the right to be properly informed on matters of national security especially when their rights and welfare are affected by executive decrees, including military actions that reign supreme over civilian authority under the state of martial law.

Lastly, we call on the Congress and the Supreme Court to exercise its oversight powers over the President on the issue of martial law and for the Filipino people to remain vigilant during these difficult and challenging times. ###

PRESS STATEMENT
NAGKAISA Labor Coalition
24 May 2017

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[Statement] NAGKAISA Denunciation of Ruben Torres and USEC Say Misrepresentation of Worker-DOLE Agreement that Contractualuzation Cannot Be Prohibited



NAGKAISA Denunciation of Ruben Torres and USEC Say Misrepresentation of Worker-DOLE Agreement that Contractualuzation Cannot Be Prohibited



NAGKAISANAGKAISA, including the legitimate TUCP President Raymond Mendoza, a co-convenor of NAGKAISA and the author of HB No.4444 which will prohibit and criminalize contractualization, denounce in clear, categorical terms the underhanded attempt of Mr. Ruben Torres and apparently, DOLE Undersecretary Say, to misrepresent to media, that a consensus was reached with labor leaders that contractualization is inevitable. That is the very opposite of what legitimate labor federations under NAGKAISA, who constituted 90% of the groups meeting Sec. Bello yesterday manifested jointly to the Secretary: That they rely on the Presidential promise to end contractualization, & that they look towards an Executive Order to proscribe it in the meantime and towards passage of a Presidentially-certified bill (in the guise of HB No.4444) which will end contractualization).

NAGKAISA is shocked and dismayed that news reports of the Worker-DOLE dialogue on how to end and prohibit contractualization are now being presented as a trade union-government lovefest where both sides reached the same conclusion: that contractualization is here to stay. Our collective rejection is the very reason that we requested that Sec. Bello work out our request for an audience with the President.

The seemingly coordinated statements of former Labor Secretary Ruben Torres, now resurrected and posing as a labor leader of a rump-group TUCP ( the DOLE itself has ruled with finality that his purported federation is not even a part of TUCP, and by that very logic Mr. Torres IS NOT EVEN A MEMBER of TUCP) and apparent partnering of DOLE Undersecretary Say, show the moral depravity that the enemies of workers will stoop to.

We will not allow this underhanded misrepresentation of our position to remain uncorrected. 

Mr. Torres and his cohorts, the Eric Gutierrez-backed Roland de la Cruz , last seen, after their gleeful endorsement of the Presidential bid of Mar Roxas, are now trying to make themselves relevant as apologists of the unbridled free-market, labor-flexibilization schemes which the employers prefer as their justification to abuse the Filipino working class. Mr. Torres is no way a part of the legitimate TUCP, nor of the larger workers movement.

Media coverage would have it appear through their interviews that  the meeting yesterday at the DOLE between workers and top DOLE officials led by Secretary Bello was a veritable lovefest. What happened was the DOLE announced that they would have to go to the drawing board to do a new Department Order   on contractualization  NAGKAISA only reminded the DOLE that what they craft, and the bill which they should ask be certified, live up to President Duterte’s promise: END IT! STOP IT!

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[Press Release] Extra-judicial killings, other human rights violations persist under ‘tuwid na daan’ – Nagkaisa!

Extra-judicial killings, other human rights violations persist under ‘tuwid na daan’ – Nagkaisa!

A culture of impunity translated into extra-judicial killings (EJK) and other forms of human rights violations against leaders and labor organizers continue under the ‘tuwid na daan’, a coalition of major trade unions and labor organizations in the country, Nagkaisa!, said in a statement on the eve of the celebration of International Human Rights Day.

NAGKAISA

Since 2011, Nagkaisa! is engaged in dialogues with the Aquino administration on several labor issues, including some 62 unsolved cases of EJKs involving labor.

Nagkaisa! said the most recent in the cases of unsolved EJKs was the  murder of a labor organizer in Negros Occidental.  Rolando Pango, a full time organizer of Partido Manggagawa (PM) was gunned down in Binalbagan town in Negros Occidental on Novermber 29, 2014.

“Prior to his death, Pango was deeply involved in both the agrarian and labor disputes in Hacienda Salud, a 135-hectare sugar plantation in Barangay Rumirang, Isabela leased and managed by Manuel Lamata,” said PM Chair Renato Magtubo.

Pango was instrumental in organizing the plantation workers in Hacienda Salud who in June applied the land under CARPER coverage.  Salud workers has also filed of a case of illegal dismissal before the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC) against Lamata for unlawful termination 41 workers.

PM and Nagkaisa is calling on both the national and local governments to render immediate justice to this case.

Josua Mata, Secretary General of Alliance of Progressive Labor–Sentro, said Nagkaisa will be raising this issue before the Tripartite Industrial Council (TIPC) and the DOJ panel investigating the EJKs.

“Like Ruby, solving cases of EJKs in the country is a slow-grind,” said Mata.

Before Pango, another PM organizer, Victoriano Embang, leader of Maria Cecilia Farm Workers Association (MACFAWA) in Moises Padilla, Negros Occidental was also killed on December 29, 2012.  A failed assassination attempt against his brother, Anterio Embang, followed  few months later, February 28, 2013.
A Negrense himself, Magtubo said Negros remains a ‘labor hotspot’ because of strong resistance by landlords to agrarian reform and their outmoded serf-type treatment of their laborers.

“Perhaps this regional feudal context has escaped the eyes of the labor department and the national government.  Or they simply don’t care,” added Magtubo.

Aside from EJKs, Nagkaisa! is also alarmed at the resurgence of other forms of human rights violations.

Last October,  Antonio Cuizon, president of the Panaghiusa sa Mamumuo sa Carmen Copper, was arrested on trumped up charges of illegal possession of firearms and explosives.  The union and the management were then in the thick of labor dispute when the case was file against Quizon.

But the most widespread of human rights violations, Nagkaisa! said, is the violation of labor’s right to freedom of association and collective bargaining.

“The onslaught of state-sanctioned contractualization schemes have effectively disarmed workers of their ability to defend themselves, through their unions, against many forms of abuse and exploitation,” concluded Magtubo.

NEWS RELEASE
NAGKAISA!
09 December 2014
Contact: Wilson Fortaleza
09053732185

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[Press Release] Power crisis real, strategic but gov’t doing mere quick fix –NAGKAISA

Power crisis real, strategic but gov’t doing mere quick fix – labor coalition

The emerging power crisis is a cruel outcome of a bad policy under the Electric Power Industry Reform Act (EPIRA) that cannot be resolved by the proposed emergency power President Aquino is seeking from Congress, the labor coalition Nagkaisa said in a statement.

NAGKAISA

The group said it is not common for ordinary workers to comment on techno-economic aspects of the power industry, but for this coming celebration of Bonifacio Day on November 30, labor will come out loud on this along with other big issues because the high cost of power in the country is making the lives of ordinary workers more miserable.

According to Wilson Fortaleza, spokesperson for Partido Manggagawa (PM) and one of the convenors of Nagkaisa,  “this quick-fix solution via an emergency power to address a decade-old problems of escalating rates and diminishing supply reignited labor’s apprehension that once again, a power crisis is being transformed into business opportunity for the private sector.”

Fortaleza was referring to the Interruptible Load Program (ILP) and power contracting being pursued through a joint resolution in Congress that would grant the President emergency powers to address the expected power shortage in 2015.

He said the ILP can be pursued by the Department of Energy (DoE) even without the President exercising emergency powers because it is merely a demand-side management issue and not production of additional generating capacity as required under Section 71 of EPIRA.

“Likewise, the foreign and privately-operated National Grid Corporation must first be made to account for its primary responsibility to secure reliable supply, including sufficient reserve capacities,” argued Fortaleza.

The group explained that the ILP is a mode for utilizing standby power or embedded generating capacity available in several establishments such as malls and commercial buildings. During shortage, their utilization means an x amount of freed megawatt capacity that can be supplied by Meralco to other users.

Fortaleza, however, said that for this alone an emergency power is not needed.  So why is Malacanang asking for it?  The group can only think of the following scenarios:

Under the ILP enrollment is voluntary but enrollees will be compensated to incentivize their             participation

But because there is no system currently in place to exactly determine the price  of compensation,  imposing a universal levy – an x amount per kWh to be charged to consumers take-or-pay  – is             the most likely scheme.

Retail electricity suppliers (RES) who already posses contracted capacities under the open access     (but which they cannot supply to their contestable market because most of them are also ILP             players) will also be compensated.

These, in effect, will result to rate increases.   But Fortaleza insists that a take-or-pay levy cannot be charged to consumers under ILP since embedded generation sets were designed or were practically built by industry players to address expected and non-expected outages.

“So why do we have to pay them for that temporary sacrifice?  And why will Henry Sy, John Gokongwei and Jaime Ayala charge an x amount per kWh from everyone, including non-mall users?”

The group argued further that the only valid excuse for utilizing emergency powers is when the government  goes back to generation, stop industry fraud, and makes a decisive shift to renewable energy and energy democracy.

NEWS RELEASE
NAGKAISA
28 November 2014
Contact: Wilson Fortaleza
Partido Manggagawa
09053732185, 09225261138

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[Press Release] Labor groups demand clamp down on manpower coops -NAGKAISA

Labor groups demand clamp down on manpower coops

Photo by Nagkaisa

Photo by Nagkaisa

After mounting a successful resistance against the outsourcing program at Philippine Airlines (PAL), labor groups under the Nagkaisa coalition now turn their ire against the operations of manpower cooperatives that purposely serve outsourcing needs of many companies.

NAGKAISA

Few days before the celebration of Labor Day, Nagkaisa called on the government to clamp down on manpower cooperatives particularly those that were actively involved in labor-only-contracting and non-compliance to labor standards.

In a protest rally held Friday at the offices of the Asiapro Cooperative in Pasig City, Nagkaisa members lambasted the manpower agency for hiding under the cloak of cooperativism to satisfy corporations’ callous demand for contractual labor. They also accused Asiapro of active involvement in anti-union activities.

Joining the action were members of Partido ng Manggagawa (PM), Associated Labor Unions-Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (ALU-TUCP), SENTRO, Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino (BMP), and the Philippine Airlines Employees Association (PALEA).

Asiapro prides itself to be the first and biggest manpower cooperative in the country, with 34,000 of its members, deployed to several dozen companies nationwide.

“Cooperativism is akin to unionism hence we cannot, in principle, go against the concept of cooperativism. However, the relationship is becoming adversarial when a cooperative transforms itself into a conscious instrument for undermining labor rights,” said Wilson Fortaleza, Partido ng Manggagawa spokesperson and Nagkaisa convenor.

The case of Asiapro, he said, reveals the kind of anti-labor practices many manpower cooperatives are involved — principally as suppliers of contractual workers and consequently as in-house violator of labor rights of its member/employees such as non-payment of wages and other mandatory benefits such as SSS.

Asiapro usually invokes its cooperative nature to evade compliance to labor laws.  Its executives made this admission during the public hearings conducted by the Provincial Board of Bukidnon in 2010 and in its many pleadings before the courts.  Asiapro is Bukidnon’s biggest contractual labor supplier, with 5,000 of its workers deployed in the province’s banana and pineapple plantations.

The Supreme Court, however, ruled in G.R. No. 172101, the existence of employer-employee relationship between Asiapro and its associate members therefore it must comply with core labor standards and other labor-related laws.

But Asiapro seems undeterred by this ruling, perhaps because of a strong backing from former labor secretary Benny Laguesma.   Last March, Asiapro was able to stop, through a TRO, a union certification election in Galeo Equipment and Mining Company, a contractor that hauls mine waste from the open pit mining site at the Carmen Copper mine in Toledo City.

A total of 285 Galeo workers had already voted by the time balloting was stopped. Another 275 Galeo workers were unable to cast ballots and were disenfranchised due to the TRO.

The election dispute arose from an attempt by the Asiapro manpower cooperative to prevent the unionization efforts at Galeo.  Asiapro is claiming that the Galeo workers are their members and thus exempt from unionization. Galeo workers did not even know that they were members of Asiapro.

Nagkaisa had been pushing for the passage of the security of tenure bill in Congress to deter the plague of contractualization in the country.  President Aquino, however, did not certify the bill as urgent.

NAGKAISA
PRESS RELEASE
25 April 2014
Reference:
Wilson Fortaleza
Partido ng Manggagawa
09178233956; 09225261138

 

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[Press Release] Workers want full prohibition not a compromise deal on power rate hike -Nagkaisa

Workers want full prohibition not a compromise deal on power rate hike

Organized labor under Nagkaisa is insisting for no less than the full prohibition of the December 2013 and January 2014 rate hike, rejecting in effect the Philippine Electricity Market Corporation’s (PEMC) recomputed rate that is 80 percent lower than the approved market rate in December and January.

NAGKAISA

PEMC, which operates the Wholesale Electricity Spot Market (WESM), said on Tuesday that it had finished its recalculation of market prices in compliance with the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) order of March 3. For the December 2013 billing, it set the new spot market rates at P6.007 (76.35 percent lower) than the P25.404 per kWh, and P6.246 (77.98 percent lower) than the original P28.367 per kWh for the billing month of January 2014.

“The numbers are out and PEMC’s recomputed rates bared all the elements of market failure. We insist that any residual cost coming from this failure must be deemed unjust and therefore should not be passed on to consumers,” said Wilson Fortaleza of Nagkaisa power team.

Fortaleza, who is also the spokesperson of Partido ng Manggagawa (PM), argued further that in this particular case, the market failure was also a result of regulatory failure the more it should not be borne by the consumers.

He pointed specifically to the failures of the ERC and PEMC to regulate the market despite the expected tightness in supply due to the Malampaya shutdown and also being aware of official reports citing repeated occurrence of market abuse since WESM started operating in Luzon in 2006; and the failure on the part of the Department of Energy (DoE) to ensure reliable supply of power and impose sanctions on erring power plants.

Tomorrow, Nagkaisa and the Power to the People (P2P) network will stage a picket rally at the PEMC to call for the suspension of WESM operations, saying it is not the consumers but the rich owners of generation and distribution companies who profitably gain from this fraudulent trading scheme.

There are also reports that the PEMC Board, who are not independent but made up of the players themselves, receive fat compensations and other perks, including brand new service vehicles.

“We challenge the government to tell the people the truth that WESM won’t work in a very small and highly concentrated market ruled by certified predators in the power industry,” concluded Fortaleza.

NAGKAISA!
PRESS RELEASE
20 March 2014
Contact: Wilson Fortaleza
09178233956

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[Press Release] Real Noynoying is active defense of corporate greed at the expense of the Filipino masses – BMP

20,000 Workers march against starvation pay, high prices and contractualization:

Real Noynoying is active defense of corporate greed at the expense of the Filipino masses – BMP

To commemorate Labor Day, thousands of workers from the socialist labor center Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino (BMP) joined the broad labor coalition Nagkaisa to demand an end to starvation pay, high prices and contractualization. Nagkaisa is a newly formed group which brings together more than 40 national unions, labor centers and labor federations throughout the country.

Real Noynoying: Defense of Corporate Greed

Leody de Guzman, BMP president said, “Noynoying is not just the indolence and passivity of Malacanang to the people’s legitimate demands for an increase in wages, price control and regular employment. More so, it is the active defense of corporate greed – of monopoly capital’s insatiable thirst for higher profit margins – at the expense of the Filipino people especially the working class”.

The BMP converged at the Welcome (Mabuhay) Rotonda in Quezon City at around 8:00 a.m., before they joined the Nagkaisa march from Espana to Mendiola.

Noynoy’s Subservience to the Oil Oligarchs

Spearheading the BMP contingent are transport workers under Pagkakaisa ng Manggagawa sa Transportasyon (PMT), an affiliate of BMP, which mobilized 7 buses, 5 trucks, 10 jeeps and 500 tricycles from their members.

Dante Lagman, PMT president declared, “The spectacle that is the Corona impeachment is fast losing its luster. Noynoy uses the people’s sentiment against corruption and the Arroyos to score a higher trust rating in the surveys. But he is now being exposed as a lackey of the oil oligarchs. His subservience to the will of multinational corporations is revealed by his intransigent position against the control of petrol prices, the regulation of the oil industry, and the removal of the VAT on oil and other petroleum products.”

Labor Unity: the Gain of May 1, 2012

BMP National President Leody de Guzman concluded, “Noynoy would not give in to the demands of labor because he is not only pro-capital; he is anti-worker. But we will not go home empty handed. The real victory of May 1 this year lies in labor unity. The fragmented labor movement must unite; after all, the onslaught of globalization against the rights and welfare of labor knows no political color, affiliation or ideology. We are all under attack. So, organized labor must assemble.”

PRESS RELEASE
May 1, 2012
Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino (BMP)

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