Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Women workers demand implementation of RH Law

“Kababaihan ang nahihirapan habang hostage ng ibang grupo ang implementasyon ng RH law.”
Members of Partido Manggagawa (PM) expressed this frustration as they joined reproductive health advocates in asking the Supreme Court to lift its TRO on the implementation of RA 10354 or the Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Act of 2012.
According to PM Secretary General Judy Ann Miranda, the TRO issued by the high tribunal did uphold the constitutionality of the RH law but purchase and distribution of RH supplies and were withheld prior to the formulation of new rules in granting certification to certain contraceptives.
“We respect the granting of due process to the petitioners but it can also be argued that the RH Law can be implemented beyond the specific supplies being objected to since there were already approved safe contraceptives available in the market prior to the enactment of the RH Law.  In other words, access to safe contraceptives can readily be made available in all RH facilities nationwide,” said Miranda.
Miranda said a big part of RH Law can be implemented while contested supplies are being subjected to certification and recertification by concerned agencies.
She added that the previous and present administration were supportive of RH Law and therefore implementation of this measure, whether in part or in whole, should not be a problem for the executive.
“We therefore pray to our justices that the RH Law will be given its day as soon as possible for the interest of our women, especially the for women workers,” concluded Miranda.

October 10, 2016

Friday, October 7, 2016

On DU30s 100th day: Church, labor groups call for ‘kabuhayan hindi patayan’

The Duterte administration should redefine itself despite the high approval rating it got from pursuing its ruthless campaign against drugs during the first 100 days.
The challenge was made by the Church-Labor Conference (CLC), an aggrupation of labor and church groups in the country, in a rally held at the Mabuhay Rotonda this morning, on the occasion of President Duterte’s 100th day in office.  October 7 also marks the celebration of World Day for Decent Work.
In Cebu, the chapter of Partido Manggagawa (PM) echoed this call. “Ang kahirapan at adiksyon ay magkarugtong na problema. Ang malawakang patayan at ang kahandaan pang pumatay ng 3 milyong pusher at adik ay hindi solusyon sa kahirapan. Ang kailangan ay bagong patakaran at konkretong hakbang na maghahango sa 26 na milyong Pilipino mula sa kahirapan, magbibigay kabuhayan at regular na trabaho sa 40 na milyong manggagawa, at buhay na may dignidad para sa lahat,” said PM-Cebu spokesperson Dennis Derige.

One of PM-Cebu's leader and organizer, Orlando "Ka Lando" Abangan, was shot and killed last September in a vigilante style killing. His killing remains unsolved.
PM national chair and CLC co-chair Renato Magtubo said the next five and a half years will be more challenging for the Duterte administration amid the sharpening contradictions between the contending classes inside and outside his administration in dealing with other social programs.
He cited as an example the strong opposition coming from local and foreign business groups against workers demand to finally end the policy contractualization and the realization of the living wage principle enshrined in the constitution.
“Sa manggagawa ay simple lang ang depinisyon ng pagbabago. Wala nito kung nariyan pa rin ang endo at mababa ang sweldo. Wala nito kung mananatiling untouchable ang mga gaya ni Lucio Tan, Henry Sy, at iba pang endo lords,” added Magtubo.
Labor groups were all opposed to the win-win solution on endo being proposed by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) which promotes regularization outside of the principal employers but to the third party service providers such as manpower agencies and cooperatives.
The group is also opposed to the planned imposition of regressive taxes to replace revenue loss resulting from the removal of VAT exemptions from senior citizens and the lowering of income taxes for corporations and individuals in the higher tax brackets.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Advisory: Workers to mark Duterte's 100 days with rally today

Workers on 100 days of Duterte: Killings overshadow social programs of the administration

It was a deadly 100 days.  To say otherwise is creative imagination.
This was the very brief description made by Partido Manggagawa (PM) when asked about its assessment of the first 100 days of the Duterte administration, noting that the number of killed in the war against drugs is obviously more graphic and chilling than the number of jobs created, number of endo lords neutralized, and number of landlords subjected to land reform.
“It cannot be denied that President Duterte’s deadly war on drugs overshadowed his social programs during his first 100 days in office.  His energy is there 100 per cent, leaving the social programs walk the business-as-usual course,” stated PM chair, Renato Magtubo.  
Magtubo said that as early as now, important social programs for workers such as contractualization and living wage were in danger of being completely compromised as powerful local and foreign business groups closed ranks to oppose such measures. 
“These powerful interests inside and outside the administration were behind the push for the win-win solution on endo and the removal of leftist officials in government,” said Magtubo.
The labor leader said, 100 days were clearly not enough to deliver on social programs, “But to be compromised is also recipe to a failure.”
Tomorrow marks the 100 days in office of the Duterte administration. It also coincides with the celebration of the World Day for Decent Work.
The Church-Labor Conference (CLC) where PM is a member is holding a rally tomorrow at the Mabuhay Rotonda to reiterate its call for a change in labor policies particularly on ending contractualization and the realization of living wage.
The group said that in the next five and a half years, it wanted the policy shifted to “Kabuhayan hindi Patayan”, in sharp disagreement with the recent pronouncement made by President Duterte that he will be happy to slaughter three million more in his relentless war against drugs.
In contrast Magtubo said:  “Mr. President, we have 100M Filipino lives to protect, 40M good jobs to create, and 26M people to lift out of poverty. If you will only consider the drug problem as both eco-social and public health issues, war against poverty is a better war to wage.”
The county has a population of over 100 million. Poverty incidence remains at 26%.  Most of the 40 million labor force is in non-standard employment affected by the chronic problems of contractualization, low wages, and the rising tide of informalization.

October 6, 2016

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Rallyists ask DOLE to act on killings of unionists, endo at PAL

In a rally today at the main office of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), the labor groups Partido Manggagawa (PM) and Philippine Airlines Employees Association (PALEA) asked the government to act with dispatch on the wave of killings and abductions of unionists, and the pending endo dispute at Philippine Airlines.

The rallyists demanded the intervention by the DOLE on the endo dispute at Philippine Airlines (PAL) and the enforcement of a settlement agreement that provides for the reinstatement of some 600 PALEA members. Yesterday was the fifth anniversary of the controversial outsourcing program of PAL that resulted in the mass layoff of more than 2,000 regular employees and their transfer as contractual workers in service providers.

“Similar to the task force on media killings formed by the current administration, such a body should be probe the spate of killings and abductions of labor unionists. It is an urgent concern as in this single bloody month of September, two labor leaders were assassinated, six farmers killed and a union officer abducted,” asserted Wilson Fortaleza, spokesperson for PM.

PALEA is calling on the DOLE to administer the implementation by PAL of a settlement agreement forged in 2013 and re-employ some 600 workers terminated in 2011. In September 2011, some 2,600 PAL regular workers were terminated and outsourced to become agency workers. After a two-year fight, PALEA and PAL forged a deal to settle the labor dispute yet some 600 retrenched members have not been re-employed as provided for in the agreement.

Fortaleza added that “The DOLE has a responsibility to stop the culture of impunity that has resulted to the killing and abduction of labor unionists. Forming a task force to probe the attacks on workers and farmers is just a first step. As we have feared, the extra-judicial killings in the wake of the war on drugs has now spilled over into the labor movement. Truly human rights and labor rights are indivisible.”

Last week, Edilberto Miralles, former union president, was gunned down in front of the National Labor Relations Commission. On September 17, Orlando Abangan, a PM leader and organizer in Cebu, was ambushed on his way home. Last Sunday Patricio Tago Jr., a union vice president, was abducted in Tarlac and then imprisoned for allegedly being a drug pusher. Labor groups have called the drug charges as trumped-up.

Besides the latest fatal shooting of a farmer in Palawan, earlier this month, four farmers were shot dead in Nueva Ecija and then a farmer leader killed in Isabela.

September 28, 2016