Tag Archives: Partido ng Manggagawa

[Statement] Workers with UP in fighting for academic and workplace freedom -PM

#HumanRights #DefendUP

Workers with UP in fighting for academic and workplace freedom

Only tyrants are hostile to academic freedom. Sila ang bawal sa UP, hindi ang aktibismo at malayang kaisipan.

The Partido Manggagawa (PM) joins the UP and the whole academic community in upholding academic freedom within the UP system in particular, and for all other universities and learning institutions in general. Academic freedom does not make enemies of the state. It is, on the contrary, this democratic value that unmasks and unmakes tyranny, bigotry, and fundamentalism.

The current generation of workers are surely not aware of this old, little-known pact between UP and the government as represented by the Department of National Defense. Now it shall be known, as it is in the same context – the threat against freedom at the workplace level – that the ‘50-meter proximity rule’ during labor disputes is being observed by the police (Rule 19 Section 3 of 2010 PNP Operational Procedures). This was further upheld by the 2011 “Guidelines on the Conduct of the DOLE, DILG, DND, DOJ, AFP and PNP Relative to the Exercise of Workers’ Rights and Activities”.

This rule, however, is often violated during strikes and lockouts. Lately, a more systematic way of undermining workplace freedom is imposed with the establishment of Joint Industrial Peace Concern Office (JIPCO) in economic zones or EPZAs.

It is in this context that Filipino workers cannot sit idle watching hard-won freedoms collapse in the workplace and campuses because a new tyrant thinks that his only way to preservation is the demolition of human rights. It is because he is also aware of the fact that it is only freedom that can stop a tyrant from perpetuating his rule.

PRESS STATEMENT
Partido Manggagawa
19 January 2021

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[Press Release] Workers picket DOLE to demand investigation of union organizer killing -PM

Members of the group Partido Manggagawa (PM) picketed this morning the main office of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) to demand that the National Tripartite Industrial Peace Council (NTIPC) be convened to investigate the killing of a union organizer in Cavite. The mass action coincides with the 40th day since the brutal shooting of Dennis Sequeña, vice chair of the PM-Cavite chapter and veteran union organizer.

“We condemn the glaring inaction and chilling silence of the DOLE on the killing of our colleague Dennis. Today marks 40 days since his murder, and the relevant government agencies have so far failed to make any headway in the investigation of the case,” stated Rene Magtubo, PM national chair.

The NTIPC, sitting as the National Tripartite Monitoring Body (NTMB), is tasked to investigate complaints of labor-related extra-judicial killings. The NTMB was formed in response to the recommendations of a high level mission by the International Labor Organization in 2009.

The mass action today over the murder of Sequeña comes in the wake of the Philippines being named among the ten worse countries for workers. The International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), the global body of organized labor, has once again listed the country for systematic violations of labor rights.

Sequeña was killed in broad daylight by a gunman in the middle of a meeting with ecozone workers last June 2. Local and international labor groups, including the labor coalition Nagkaisa and the ITUC, condemned the murder, called on the DOLE to stop the killings of unionists and investigate these cases.

“It is sad and frustrating to note that such basic acts of workers self-organization, protected no less by our Constitution and several international conventions and treaties, come at the price of the lives of countless labor organizers and rights defenders. Dennis’ murder and the appalling state of worker’s rights in ecozones simply confirm the report by the ITUC that the Philippines is among the ten most dangerous countries for unionists,” Magtubo explained.

PM also demanded that the DOLE enforce laws guaranteeing the freedom of association in ecozones in light of rampant management interference and intimidation against workers exercising their constitutional and human rights. Sequeña was actively assisting three unions at the time of his killing. This month several unions in the ecozones of Cavite are due to undergo certification elections but organizers are alleging that workers are “challenged by adversity and harassment by management.”

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[From the web] Labor Day buildup: Women workers to light candles for wage hike, regular jobs -PM

Women members of the party list Partido Manggagawa (PM) and PUP students under the group SPEAK will hold a candlelight protest tonight as a buildup for the Labor Day commemoration tomorrow. Some 100 women workers and students will gather around 7:00 p.m. tonight at Mendiola to call for regular jobs and a living wage. The demands echo the main issues of the planned Labor Day mobilization of thousands of workers tomorrow.

“We support all initiatives to augment the income of workers such as the recent petition for a P710 across-the-board wage hike or a legislated salary increase for all workers. But we believe the best solution is to abolish the present system of regional wage setting that is the fulcrum of the policy of cheap labor. It is high time to institute a wage commission with the mandate to set national wages at the level of cost of living,” explained Judy Ann Miranda, PM secretary-general.

The highlight of the protest tonight is the lighting of candles by women workers. The group plans to hold a noisy but peaceful mass action at Mendiola to drumbeat the main calls of the Labor Day rally. Among the chants and placards to be delivered by the protesters are End endo! End provincial wage! Stop TRAIN! Presyo ibaba! Sahod itaas! 105 days Expanded Maternity Leave, Ipatupad!

Tomorrow PM and allied organizations NFL, Agila, Umalab Ka, Pwersa and Kilos Maralita will assemble at the Petron gas station along the eastbound side of Blumentritt in Espana at 7 a.m. The group will march to Welcome Rotonda at 8 a.m. to link up with other groups for a short program. And then the Labor Day march led by the Nagkaisa labor coalition will start at 9 a.m. and end at Mendiola. Some 10,000 workers are expected to participate in the march to Mendiola.

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[Press Release] Tobacco workers urged to fight mass layoff -PM

Tobacco workers urged to fight mass layoff

The labor party Partido Manggagawa (PM) called on the workers of cigarette giant Philip Morris Fortune Tobacco Corporation (PMFTC) to contest the legality of the retrenchment of almost half of the workforce at one of its plant even as it lambasted the mass layoff as “objectionable and unnecessary.”

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PM announced that it is ready to support PMFTC workers who are aggrieved by the mass firing as it contended that the company has numerous ways of coping with declining sales short of sacrificing workers’ jobs.

News reports last week cited that PMFTC will fire 640 workers in its Marikina plant due to a 6% drop in market share that it lost to upstart Mighty Corp. “The numbers speak for themselves. Despite the drop in sales, PMFTC is undeniably profitable and continues to enjoy monopoly advantage, with 70% control over the cigarette market,” argued Renato Magtubo, PM chair and past union president of the erstwhile Fortune Tobacco Corp.

PM believes that the “hidden agenda” behind the mass layoff is to weaken if not bust the union. Magtubo averred that “PMFTC’s selection of employees to be terminated did not follow a fair and reasonable criterion as all of those affected workers in the unionized Marikina factory and none were in unorganized Batangas plant.”

He added “It is not done in good faith. The retrenchment should have been tabled by management during the negotiations for the collective bargaining agreement that was concluded just last December. And so the mass layoff a few weeks after came as a complete surprise to the clueless workers.”

Magtubo insisted that “The 1,000 unaffected workers in Marikina cannot sleep soundly as a further 10% drop in PMFTC’s market share would mean the termination of all the remaining positions, if we follow management’s twisted retrenchment logic.”

Finally the group criticized the PMFTC union and its labor federation for “surrendering to the mass layoff without even putting up a fight.” Magtubo explained that “The union PMFTCLU-NAFLU-BMP simply capitulated and then handcuffed itself by agreeing to management’s demand that it withhold assistance to workers who will contest the mass layoff.”

“Even assuming the company’s assertions are correct, PMFTC stands to lose some revenue but it will indisputably remain profitable and a virtual monopoly. The 640 workers however stand to lose their regular livelihood with not much hope in this jobless growth economy,” Magtubo emphasized.

Press Release
January 20, 2015
Partido Manggagawa
Contact Renato Magtubo @ 09178532905

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[Press Release] Workers join counter-SONA rally to slam inequality despite growth -PM

Workers join counter-SONA rally to slam inequality despite growth

Photo by MAG

Photo by MAG

Workers led by the militant Partido ng Manggagawa (PM), the fighting union Philippine Airlines Employees Association (PALEA) and the labor coalition Nagkaisa joined the counter-SONA rally this afternoon. The workers contingent merged with the mobilization of groups Freedom from Debt Coalition and Kontra Pork that marched along Commonwealth Ave. from Tandang Sora at 1:00 p.m. to the Batasang Pambansa. PM chapters in Cebu, Bacolod, Davao and General Santos City held similar actions today.

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PM slammed government policies that exacerbated social inequality amidst economic growth. “PNoy’s inclusive growth is rhetoric without results, just like ‘daang matuwid’ that has been exposed as a myth by the persistence of pork barrel and the controversial DAP,” asserted Wilson Fortaleza, PM spokesperson.

As proof of growing inequality, Wilson Fortaleza pointed to the undiminished number of jobless Filipinos in contrast to the inflation in wealth of the rich under the five years of the Aquino administration. “In January 2010, unemployment and underemployment rates were 7.3% and 19.7% respectively and they basically remained unchanged at 7.5% and 19.5% in January of this year. Meanwhile the wealth of Henry Sy, the richest Filipino, ballooned from USD5 billion in 2010, when Aquino came in, to USD11.4 billion this year according to Forbes,” he elaborated.

“How can there be inclusive growth when PNoy allows contractualization to run rampant and the prices of basic commodities and services like rice and electricity to rise unregulated?,” Fortaleza argued.

PM also called for a citizen’s audit of the DAP to investigate any anomalies and patronage in the disbursement of the billions in people’s money and workers taxes.

PM members brought makeshift cutouts of the number “5” to symbolize inaction on worker demands for the last five years. The raised by the group rallyists include: “Ika 5 taong SONA ni PNoy: Busabos pa rin ang Boss!” and “Sa 5 SONA ni PNoy: Walang naituwid na patakaran, Walang naitawid mula sa kahirapan!”

Press Release
July 28, 2014
Partido ng Manggagawa
Contact Wilson Fortaleza @ 09178233956

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[Press Release] Labor group seeks special audit for DAP -PM

Labor group seeks special audit for DAP

The labor group Partido ng Manggagawa (PM) today added its voice to the mounting call to have the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) subjected to a special audit after the Supreme Court declared it unconstitutional.

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PM said Malacañang’s defense that there was nothing wrong in it since it was done in good faith is flatly self-serving as DAP’s worth needs to be proven beyond the realm of motives or intentions.

Likewise the claim that DAP boasted our economic growth is even more fallacious.

“We leave the legal issues to lawyers, the moral intentions to priests, and the political flavor of it, for a while, to rival politicians. Our main and immediate interest here is to know whether DAP money had gone in the same manner PDAF had been squandered,” stated PM chairperson Renato Magtubo.

Magtubo said the political context when DAP was concocted and eventually released has overly been discussed. “What we want to know now is whether a DAP released to a lawmaker’s left hand is better spent than a PDAF released to his/her right hand.”

The former partylist representative said a special audit for used and unused DAP funds may either clear many issues or uncover the same pattern of fraud committed under PDAF. Or may be worse.

“Assuming the crime was repeated, the political discussion should therefore lead to a conclusion that the whole system is terribly wrong,” said Magtubo.

The group believes that funds released under DAP and received by the same hands that made PDAF their personal piggy banks are tainted with corruption. Thus the need for a special audit, perhaps deeper and wider than the audit made on PDAF.

At the height of the pork barrel scam PM had pushed for, as part of reforms in the budget system, the concept of a universal social protection fund with a clearly defined social purpose yet completely isolated from the hands of corrupt politicians.

PRESS RELEASE
Partido ng Manggagawa
4 July 2014
Contact: Renato Magtubo @ 09178232905

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[Press Release] The Napolist, club of multi-millionaires in gov’t signs of systemic disorder – PM

The Napolist, club of multi-millionaires in gov’t signs of systemic disorder – PM

The list of government officials implicated in the Napolist and a club of multi-millionaires occupying the highest positions of power in government are signs of a serious systemic disorder afflicting Philippine society, the labor group Partido ng Manggagawa (PM) said in a statement.

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“Kleptocracy and the rule of the elite minority in a democracy are systemic wrongs. This form of rule will never bring this country to prosperity and inclusiveness,” said PM Chair Renato Magtubo.

The group was referring to the list of 120 legislators and several cabinet officials implicated by Janet Lim Napoles in her expanded affidavit and the published list of multi-millionaires both in the legislative and executive branches of government based on the 2013 submission of their Statement of Assets Liabilities and Networth (SALN).

The 2013 SALN again showed that the entire government is absolutely under the exclusive rule of multi-millionaires who represent a tiny minority in the country.

Magtubo, a former partylist representative, explained that this systemic disorder implies not a vague but a definite form of rule that marginalizes the majority of people, “since policy making cannot be separated from the class position of those who make the rules.”

This, he said, is the reason why strategic measures to curb the plague of contractualization and implementing the constitutional provision on living wage were never made an agenda of the past and present Congresses, while laws giving incentives to private corporations and foreign capital pass like bullet trains.

“PNoy can always mouth his vision of inclusive growth in every occasion until the end of his term in June 30, 2016. But under this kind of rule, the road leading to that remain impassable,” said Magtubo.

PM said further that this problem is made worse by the reigning culture of kleptocracy when those in power exploit the national resources for their narrow interests.

The labor party stressed that the country needs radical political and economic reforms to save itself from total failure.
PRESS RELEASE
Partido ng Manggagawa
29 May 2014
Contact: Renato Magtubo
09178532905

[Press Release] Workers not impressed by WEF’s wonderful stories -PM

Workers not impressed by WEF’s wonderful stories

What do unemployed, underpaid, and oppressed workers who dominate the labor market in Asia expect when business elites and their respective governments meet in an exclusive talk shop such as the ongoing World Economic Forum (WEF) in Manila?

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For the labor group Partido ng Manggagawa (PM), Asia’s precariats will gain nothing from this process.

“WEF is not about people. It’s all about corporations, their investments, and new market opportunities,” said PM Chair Renato Magtubo, asserting further that even if President Aquino gives praises on the role of ordinary Filipinos played in the country’s economic turnaround, the WEF’s business agenda will never change.

Magtubo said corporations did grow in Asia so as the number of billionaires in the region. Yet these growths remain jobless and highly unequal.

The Philippines, he added, “is not a fantastic story of economic miracle but an old testament to this kind of regional growth pattern where a handful of business elites control more than half the economy.”

Based on PM’s own study, the combined wealth (estimated at US$45.3-B) for the Philippines’ richest 10 is equal to the annual income of 21 million minimum wage earners.

“The Philippine government cannot claim ‘inclusive growth’ until this ratio of inequality is effectively reversed,” stressed Magtubo.

Magtubo said further that if ever there will be mention of “people” at WEF’s grandiose workshops it won’t go beyond the context of market – open markets for corporate products and cut-price and flexible labor markets for their efficient operations.

“Thus the WEF cannot brag about wonders and miracles when Asia remains the biggest home to the world’s poorest people epitomized by workers in vulnerable employment,” lamented Magtubo.

The Asian region has the highest rate of informalization in the world. As defined, informal workers are the own-account (self-employed) and unpaid family workers combined. They also include workers in irregular (contractuals) or seasonal employment.

Recently they have been labelled as precariats or workers living in precarious working conditions. The International Labor Organization (ILO) estimated the Asia-wide “vulnerable employment” in 2007 at 1.1 billion people or 62.2 percent of all workers in the region. Informalization in the Philippines is estimated to be between 41 to 77 percent.

Meanwhile PM anticipates a big push for charter change after the WEF in Manila as foreign chamber of commerce, specifically that of the US and EU, have long been lobbying for the removal of economic restrictions imposed by our Constitution on foreign ownership.

“A grand conspiracy for cha-cha, we believe, is underway with the President’s allies in Congress getting a silent imprimatur from Malacanang to proceed with their sinister move to pass the cha-cha resolution while everybody is distracted with the Napolists,” concluded Magtubo.

PRESS RELEASE
Partido ng Manggagawa
23 May 2014
Contact: Renato Magtubo
09178532905

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[Press Release] In wake of Hanjin worker death: Labor group asks union officers to be deputized as labor inspectors -PM

In wake of Hanjin worker death: Labor group asks union officers to be deputized as labor inspectors

In response to a report that a Hanjin contractor has been punished for the death of another worker at the shipyard last May 2, the labor group Partido ng Manggagawa (PM) called on the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) to deputize union presidents and officers as labor inspectors in order to strengthen the enforcement of labor standards and safety rules. The DOLE in Central Luzon has issued a cease and desist order to Finback Corp. due to the accidental death of its employee, Ryan Gacus.

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Renato Magtubo, PM national chair, reiterated the call that justice must be served the 37 workers who have died at the Hanjin shipyard. “Stopping the operation of Finback is just a first step. We will monitor what steps DOLE will do next to serve justice to Gacus. Aside from the responsibility of the principal employer Hanjin and its subcontractors to the laborers who have been killed at the shipyard-cum-graveyard, the government must make policy changes regarding enforcement of labor standards and occupational health and safety so that workers have not died in vain,” he stated.

Magtubo said that “The DOLE just has some 200 inspectors to cover around 800,000 establishments nationwide, thus in 2013 just around 40,000 enterprises were subjected to inspections, self-assessments and visits. The numbers can easily be increased several fold by deputizing union officers as labor inspectors. Even if just 10% of the 17,000 local union presidents are accredited, this is about 10 times the present number of inspectors.”

PM insists that by deputizing labor leaders, the number of inspections can be multiplied overnight, enforcement can be strengthened immediately, and workers lives and limbs can be saved as a result.

The group explained that DOLE already allows local government units to undertake technical safety inspections in order to complement its efforts and so there is no reason not to mobilize workers groups in labor enforcement. “All the DOLE has to do is train union president and officers in the labor inspection and enforcement process and then accredit them appropriately,” Magtubo added.

In the DOLE’s Labor Standards Enforcement Framework, unions with collective bargaining agreements are given a role in self-assessment for their enterprises. “If unions play a responsibility in ensuring labor standards and occupational safety in their own workplaces, it does not take a leap of logic to allow them a task in inspecting other enterprises,” Magtubo argued.

Press Release
May 10, 2014
Partido ng Manggagawa
Contact Renato Magtubo @ 09178532905

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[Press Release] PNoy dared to act on Hanjin deaths -PM

PNoy dared to act on Hanjin deaths

Just two days after the commemoration of Labor Day, the Partido ng Manggagawa (PM) challenged President Benigno Aquino III to uphold and protect workers rights at the giant Hanjin shipyard in Subic, Zambales as another worker died last May 1 in a workplace accident. “PNoy had once personally thanked Hanjin for its PhP24 billion investment. Now he should personally act on the 37th reported death at the shipyard,” insisted Renato Magtubo, PM chair.

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Randy Gacos, 29, a fit-up welder at the shipbuilding facility of Hanjin Heavy Industries and Construction Philippines Inc., suffered severe burns while working in the erection section of the shipyard on Wednesday and then died on Thursday night while being treated at a local hospital.

Magtubo added that “The Hanjin shipyard is a graveyard of workers. While capitalists are scrimping on protection for its work force and the government is sleeping on its job of enforcement, workers are dying in the workplace. Hanjin’s crooked path must be set straight by PNoy. Instead of beating war drums over the West Philippine Sea it is better that PNoy wage war for workers rights at Subic.”

“PALEA supports our brothers in Hanjin. From airlines to shipyards, contractualization is wrecking havoc on the working and living conditions of workers. The promotion of contractual employment is the policy of government as exposed by the Office of the President decision on outsourcing at Philippine Airlines. Of the 3,000 hired last Labor Day at the job fairs, we ask the Department of Labor, how many are for permanent positions and how many are for contractual employment? Ang laban ng manggagawa ng Hanjin ay laban ng PALEA,” exclaimed Gerry Rivera, PALEA president and PM vice chair.

Some 21,000 laborers work in the Hanjin shipyard but just a few hundred are claimed by the giant multinational as its employees since the rest are hired by 19 subcontractors.

PM also called for stronger labor enforcement and labor inspection reforms by the government in response to latest death at the Hanjin shipyard and the rampant contractualization at the shipyard. “Accidents are not acts of divine providence that can be dismissed as unavoidable. Instead accidents are the result of unsafe acts and therefore preventable by strict enforcement of occupational safety and health and labor standards,” Magtubo claimed.

He added that “PNoy’s government must review Hanjin and its contractors for compliance not just with safety regulations but labor standards such as payment of minimum wages and benefits, observance of working hours and remittance of social security among others. Construction workers are among the most overworked yet underpaid of employees since they are generally unorganized.”

Press Release
May 3, 2014
Partido ng Manggagawa
Contact Renato Magtubo @ 09178532905

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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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[Featured Photo] Panalo ang RH LAW! Lubusin ang Tagumpay, wakasan ang Kalbaryo ng Kababaihan! Pagpupugay sa Kagitingan ng Kababaihan!!! -Yuen Abana

Panalo ang RH LAW! Lubusin ang Tagumpay, wakasan ang Kalbaryo ng Kababaihan! Pagpupugay sa Kagitingan ng Kababaihan!!!

Photo by Yuen Abana

Photo by Yuen Abana

“Karapatan ng kababaihan ang kakabit ng mga seksyong (Sections 7 at Karapatan ng kababaihan ang kakabit ng mga seksyong (Sections 7 at 23) na ‘di umano ay idedeklarang illegal ng Korte Suprema. Sana sa kabila ng haba ng aming paghihintay ay hindi ma-kompromiso ang karapatan ng kababaihan sa ngalan religious beliefs,” PM said in a Press Statement we received in April 8, 2014.

“Whatever the decision of the Supreme Court, women workers will remain vigilant and will continue to fight for pro-worker provisions that were unduly compromised during the Law’s deliberation in Congress.”Sana sa kabila ng haba ng aming paghihintay ay hindi ma-kompromiso ang karapatan ng kababaihan sa ngalan religious beliefs,” PM concluded.

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[Press Release] Militant labor group urges Supreme Court to uphold RH Law -PM

Militant labor group urges Supreme Court to uphold RH Law

Women workers from Partido ng Manggagawa (PM) joined women from different sectors – government officials, civil society partners, young people, and celebrity supporters – in the march to urge the Supreme Court Justices to uphold the Reproductive Health Law.

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The march will start at Anda Circle at 2pm, pass by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines’ office in Intramuros, and proceed to the Supreme Court in Padre Faura, and hold a program at Plaza Salamanca, Taft Avenue. Attendees will march in purple shirts and accessories.

“More pregnant women are dying with the delay in the implementation of the RH Law. Teen pregnancies are increasing and girls getting pregnant are younger and younger with the delay in the implementation of the RH Law. HIV/AIDS rates are likewise increasing, young men and women are denied of necessary services with the delay in the implementation of the RH Law,” claimed PM Secretary General Judy Ann Miranda.

PM also noted that a Bureau of Labor and Employment Statistics (BLES) study (Labstat Vol. 17, No. 8, May 2013) showed that most of the women inactive in the labor force are 20-39 year-olds, poor, and either elementary or high school levels/graduates. They are inactive because besides spending most of their time in childrearing and domestic work, they are also those women with the most number of children born in fairly close succession. Hence, these women are poor because right from the beginning, they have been denied by the government, with the Catholic Church’s influence, their right to reproductive health.

“Too many lives and futures have been sacrificed. We urge the Supreme Court to end the silent carnage and uphold the RH Law,” Miranda ended.

PRESS RELEASE
Partido ng Manggagawa
28 March 2014
Contact person: Judy Ann Miranda
0917-5570777, 0922-8677522

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[Press Release] Congress should check rather than support Malacanang’s ‘illegal’, ‘dangerous’ pact with the US -PM

Congress should check rather than support Malacanang’s ‘illegal’, ‘dangerous’ pact with the US

A former partylist representative of Partido ng Manggagawa, Renato Magtubo, slammed the leadership of the House of Representatives for prematurely endorsing an illegal and dangerous military bases pact being cooked up by Malacanang and the Whitehouse.

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The new security deal would allow the US free access and use of Philippine bases particularly in Manila, Clark, Palawan, Cebu, Nueva Ecija and La Union.

Defense Undersecretary Pio Batino who headed the Philippines’ negotiating panel explained earlier that the agreement does not violate the Constitution.  There is also no need for this to be ratified by the Senate because it is just an implementing document of the Mutual Defense Treaty (MDT) and the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA).

House leaders Deputy Speaker and Isabela Rep. Giorgidi Aggabao and Deputy Majority Leader Sherwin Tugna on their part welcomed this news as they approve the concept of “rotational presence” of American troops in the country.

But in a statement Magtubo said, “The new pact, to whatever model it shall be patterned, is aimed at getting around the constitutional ban on the presence of foreign troops in the country, the same way the VFA was framed under the guise of joint military exercises to justify temporary presence of American troops in the country.”

Magtubo pointed out that under the new deal, the Philippines does not just welcome the US forces as “visitors” but accepts them as a conjugal operator of its facilities under the veil of “rotational presence”.

He insisted that instead of giving a blanket approval, Congress should rather forewarn the Executive about the dangers in executing a kind of agreement that would clearly undermine the Constitution, otherwise they both fall under suspicion of plotting to bring this country back to the era of cold war where a weak country is forced to side with either of the contending global powers.

Magtubo argued further that giving the US forces unlimited access and free use of our facilities to serve as deterrent to China is in fact the weakest security argument of this pact, saying China is not blind to the mighty land, air, and naval powers the US had in the Pacific.

“So what do we gain from showing to China that we have a 24/7 US soldiers in our soil?  Nothing, we are just giving China “the bully” more reasons to believe that the Philippines exercises no sovereignty and independent foreign policy and thus may be a worrisome play pawn by the US,” said Magtubo.

Partido ng Manggagawa is advocating a negotiated solution to the disputed claims over the group of islands in the West Philippine Sea or the South China Sea.

Magtubo said disputed islands are better left for common use and development of all claimants rather than making them springboards to a senseless war.

PRESS RELEASE
Partido ng Manggagawa
17 March 2014
Contact:  Renato Magtubo
09178532905

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[Press Release] Workers remember Edsa in one word: ‘Sayang’ -PM

Workers remember Edsa in one word: ‘Sayang’

The 1986 People Power uprising created great opportunities for the country to move forward and to fulfil the great Filipino dream of enjoying a better quality of life.  Yet for the labor group, Partido ng Manggagawa (PM), the past 28 years can truthfully be described as ‘sayang’ or wasted opportunities bungled by post Edsa rulers.

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In a statement PM enumerated some of the major achievements of Edsa, which, if haven’t been wasted, could have transformed the life of the working people adequately better.

These include the dismantling of the Marcos dictatorship and replacing it with a relatively more liberal order; the institutionalization of anti-corruption measures; the ratification of a new Constitution that embodied a strong national patrimony and social justice provisions; and; the regular holding of national and local elections thereafter.

“But behind Edsa’s democratic façade were undisputable facts about its failed outcomes,” said PM Chair Renato Magtubo.

The group stated further that while every Filipino especially those who braved the streets against the dictatorship must be recognized for making Edsa 1 and also Edsa 2 possible, it is worth evoking as well that there really is a visible failure in making life better for the masses under the rule of post-Edsa regimes.

Notwithstanding the unaddressed problem of corruption, PM cites as a more biting example the failure of the two Aquinos (Cory and PNoy) to capitalize on their immense mandate and popularity to move the country away from the ‘business-as-usual’ development path imposed by foreign and local capital.

“So when PNoy asked his cabinet men and women on why the unemployment rate remained high despite the remarkable growth in GDP over the past several years, it only showed how pathetic the second Aquino can be to remain puzzled over the issue of jobless growth which is a problem that has been there since the time of his mother,” said Magtubo.

The average unemployment rate in 1986 was 6.7 percent. In December 2013 it stood at 7.3 percent based on government’s official survey to as high as 27.5 percent based on the survey by Social Weather Station (SWS).

The group also drew some pessimistic parallelism on the two Aquinos, particularly on the power issue.  PM explained that Cory Aquino left the Presidency with a crippling power crisis.  PNoy might finish his term in 2016 leaving the same problems of high power rates and thinning power supply.

And with the elite class apparently exercising full control of government and businesses, the group considers the PNoy government very far from being inclusive.

In conclusion, PM pointed out that the major failures of Edsa led to the perpetuation of elite rule, inequality, and chronic poverty in the country. They include:

§  The intensification rather than the weakening of political dynasties due to lack of political reforms and the pervasiveness of corruption;
§  The dogged subservience to neoliberal policies such as privatization, deregulation and liberalization which prevented the country’s march towards industrialization and inclusive growth;
§  The corporate capture of almost all branches of government.

The group, however, won’t declare people power as “sayang”.  It maintained that all is not lost of Edsa, specifically on the necessity and wisdom of resistance and collective action taking this form.

“Workers will never give up the union spirit of collective action.  With the whole system faithfully serving the interest of the 1%, we have no choice but to keep the people power option our ultimate recourse to effect change that is truly meaningful,” concluded Magtubo.

PRESS RELEASE
Partido ng Manggagawa
25 February 2014
Contact: Wilson Fortaleza
09178233956

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[Press Release] PM supports riders’ fight vs profiling, indiscriminate road use policies

PM supports riders’ fight vs profiling, indiscriminate road use policies

The labor group Partido ng Manggagawa (PM) expressed its support to motorcycle riders who were protesting against indiscriminate road and anti-crime programs, specifically the ‘no back-ride’ and the ‘vest with plate number’ policies being proposed by law enforcers and some local governments.

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Hundreds of motorcycle riders under Arangkada and the Motorcycle Rights Organization (MRO) today held a motorcade-cum-rally from the Quezon City Elliptical Circle to the People Power Monument in Quezon City.

“The proposed ban on back-ride is not only unconstitutional but also anti-worker,” said PM spokesperson Wilson Fortaleza, adding that while many criminals use motorbikes in committing crimes, “not all riders are criminals and thus do not deserve a ‘person of interest’ kind of profiling.”

Fortaleza explained that using motorbike is now the popular choice among workers both in the formal and informal sector because it is the cheapest and fastest mode in getting to work or in delivering personal and community services.

“In fact many in the PNP, MMDA, LGUs and other NGAs are also using motorcycles. And many of labor organizers, too,” he added.

According to the National Statistical Coordinating Board (NSCB), motorcycles overtook the utility vehicles from 2005 onwards and close to half of the private vehicles roaming our streets are motorcycles or tricycles.

The NSCB added that it could be a sign of progress or proof of a shrinking middle class. There are some 3-4 million registered motorcycles, according to the MRO.

Fortaleza, however, clarified that the labor group will not oppose government’s campaign against criminality as long as it recognizes the limits of its power to impose unjust rules.

“Solving street crimes must be a collective effort. One way to do it is for law enforcers to be in close coordination with legitimate, organized riders’ clubs, not by intimidating them. And also not by striking a modus vivendi with godfathers of criminal gangs,” concluded Fortaleza.

PRESS RELEASE
Partido ng Manggagawa
26 January 2014
Contact: Wilson Fortaleza
09178233956

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[Press Release] Policymakers to blame why poor people turn to saints for jobs, healthcare -PM

Policymakers to blame why poor people turn to saints for jobs, healthcare

Policymakers are to blame why throngs of poor and sick people opt to seek deliverance from the Black Nazarene at Luneta and Quiapo Church rather than flock to hospitals for regular medical treatment, the labor group Partido ng Manggagawa (PM) said in a statement.

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The group said that besides the yearly observance of this centuries-old tradition, the devotees’ main concerns for keeping the faith revolve around their plea to relieve them from serious illness and lift them out of poverty.

“Policymakers should look at this phenomenon in a more political rather than in purely religious sense. It’s failure of polices and governance. When poor people are afraid of hospitals because of high cost, their traditional option is to look for divine and non-discriminating sponsors in the likes of the Black Nazarene and other saints,” said PM.

The group pointed out that while faith and deliverance is a personal devotion to the Creator, quality healthcare, employment and other aspects of good life are the State’s social and moral obligation to its people.

Along this line PM chided lawmakers for making noise about their constituents having problems in availing the ‘pork’ they have realigned to different agencies.

Earlier Cavite Rep. Elpidio Barzaga complained against the lack of guidelines from government agencies on how former pork beneficiaries can have access to the services they previously enjoy.

“The problem is that lawmakers merely realigned their PDAF to line agencies without putting in place a universal system in delivering social services, creating in effect administrative gridlocks because politicized and discretionary parts of the budget remain,” said PM.

The group had pushed for the creation of a universal social protection fund in place of the pork barrel system during the height of the anti-pork barrel campaign last year, adding that the terms ‘pork scholars’ and ‘medical assistance’ should have been replaced now by ‘state scholars’ and ‘universal healthcare’.

PM explained further that the United Nations (UN) and the International Labor Organization (ILO) have been pushing for ‘universalisation’ in place of the ‘targeting system’ in the provision of social services because it is administratively less costly, inclusive, and more empowering when they become legal entitlements based on people’s needs and not the ability to pay.

The group warned lawmakers not to exploit the frustrations of the masses to smuggle in a plan to reconstitute their PDAF.

PRESS RELEASE
Partido ng Manggagawa
09 January 2014
Contact Wilson Fortaleza @ 09178233956

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[Press Release] Group calls for transparency, people’s participation in Yolanda rehab plan -PM

Group calls for transparency, people’s participation in Yolanda rehab plan

Amidst reports and allegations of overpriced and substandard temporary shelters for Yolanda survivors, the Region 8 chapter of Partido ng Manggagawa (PM) called for transparency and people’s participation in the implementation of the rehabilitation and reconstruction plan.

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“We are victims of disasters not once but twice. First of climate change-spawned supertyphoon Yolanda and now of the greed-induced calamity of corruption,” said Judy Torres, PM regional coordinator and chair of the Tacloban City federation of tricycle drivers and operators associations.

Torres has seen the controversial bunkhouses since some are being built near his home and he does not believe they can cost almost a million each. He also attests to the fact that the contractors are not locals and even the laborers came from Mindanao.

He added that “Every cent of the USD 8.17 billion Reconstruction Assistance of Yolanda must be spent to meet the immediate and long-term needs of survivors. The participation of people’s organizations should be institutionalized in the plan and they can serve as watchdogs against graft and corruption.”

Torres called on the Philippine government, international aid groups and donor countries to dialogue with grassroots labor and people’s organizations. He also asked that locals be employed as workers with decent jobs as a guideline.

Led by Torres, the tricycle drivers of Tacloban are spearheading a campaign demanding decent jobs, social protection and people’s participation as bedrocks of the Yolanda rehabilitation plan. To signal the launch of the campaign, last December 30 a motorcade of a hundred tricycles garbed in posters with the message “Make jobs a priority in Yolanda rehab,” went around Tacloban and were warmly received by typhoon survivors. A representative of the International Labor Organization observed and documented the campaign launch.

In a manifesto of the tricycle and trisikad drivers in Tacloban, Hilongos and Baybay, the groups explained that prior to the onslaught of Yolanda, they already were living poor, miserable lives since transporting people through motorized and non-motorized vehicles for hire was their only source of income. The groups’ priority demand is decent jobs because it is a guarantee to a person’s long-term security and a life of dignity.

Torres declared that that since current extreme weather systems are the awful outcome of climate change caused by unrestrained economic activities of industrial countries thus more than the humanitarian aspect, developed countries have the historical, moral, and social responsibility to come to the aid of Yolanda survivors.

Press Release
January 6, 2014
Partido ng Manggagawa
Contact Judy Torres @ 09262389963; 09482495848
Partido ng Manggagawa Coordinator for Region 8
Chairperson, Tacloban Federation of MCH Drivers and Operators (TAFEMDO)

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[Press Release] Militants slam Serge Osmena for “no collusion” statement -PM

Militants slam Serge Osmena for “no collusion” statement

The militant Partido ng Manggagawa (PM) today slammed Sen. Serge Osmena for pre-empting the probes by the Department of Energy (DOE) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) of the huge power rate hike with his statement yesterday that there is no collusion among generation companies and Meralco. The two departments are precisely looking into allegations of collusion.

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“Serge is a consistent supporter of power industry players since his sponsorship of the EPIRA Law which ushered in the era of high electricity rates to his defense of Meralco’s gargantuan rate hike,” opined Wilson Fortaleza, PM spokesperson.

Fortaleza is one of the signatories to the complaint against Meralco and generation companies lodged by groups last Monday with the DOJ Office for Competition. DOJ Secretary Leila de Lima pledged to come up with a finding by January next year.

Meanwhile PM continued its campaign of picketing Meralco branches. Yesterday its Cavite chapter protested at the Meralco branch and depot in Dasmarinas City. Tomorrow, PM members will picket the Meralco branch in Marilao, Bulacan. Last Monday PM staged a coordinated picket of branches in Paranaque, Rizal and Cavite.

“Serge’s statement is a mere opinion and not even a conclusion after an investigation. At the Senate hearing, even as senators grilled officials of the Energy Regulatory Commission and the DOE, they handled with kid gloves representatives of Meralco and the generation companies. As to why, it may be necessary to look into election campaign contributions by power industry players,” Fortaleza averred.

PM asserts that the Meralco price increase is unconscionable since it is an act of economic terror amid calamities, inequality and poverty in the country. Fortaleza argued that “It is also unfair. Workers in NCR were only granted P10 per day or P260 per month under Wage Order No. 18. The P4.15/kwh total increase in Meralco’s rate is an additional P830 burden for households consuming 200 kwh per month.”

“The worker-led consumer campaign against collusion by Meralco and the generation companies to drive electricity prices will continue and intensify next year. Consumers anger will boil over when they get their next electricity bills,” Fortaleza predicted.

Press Release
December 19, 2013
Partido ng Manggagawa
Contact Wilson Fortaleza @ 09178233956

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[Press Release] Protests vs. Meralco rate hike spreads outside Manila as coordinated picketing staged

Protests vs. Meralco rate hike spreads outside Manila as coordinated picketing staged

Madilim na pasko by PM

The militant Partido ng Manggagawa (PM) staged a coordinated picketing of Meralco branches as protests against the huge power rate hike intensified at the grassroots level and spread outside Metro Manila. Meralco branches in Paranaque, Rizal and Cavite were picketed this morning and afternoon by several hundred workers and urban poor.

Also today, the PM spokesperson together with leaders of other groups formally asked for an anti-competition inquiry on Meralco’s rate hike. The request was filed with the Office for Competition which is under the DOJ and was created by E.O. 45 series of 2011.

“If competition exists in the power industry then business interests would collide but under EPIRA, the players collude,” stressed Wilson Fortaleza, PM spokesperson, as he joined the filing of the request for inquiry on unfair competition against Meralco and generation companies.

He added that “It is futile to pursue an honest scrutiny of Meralco’s huge rate hike through the ERC which is totally captured by monopolists in the power industry. Instead we hope the Office from Competition can give a fair hearing to the complaint. If PNoy is serious about investigating Meralco’s hike, then he can do something through the Office for Competition which is under his authority, unlike the ERC.”

At 10:00 am today, PM members trooped to the Meralco branch in Tambo, Paranaque and Antipolo City in Rizal. Later at 3:00 pm, other PM members in Cavite picketed branches in the towns of Rosario and Dasmarinas.

In the next few days, PM will continue the series of protests with pickets in Marilao, Bulacan and GMA, Cavite.

Press Release
December 16, 2013
Partido ng Manggagawa
Contact Wilson Fortaleza @ 09178233956

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