Friday, October 21, 2011

PALEA member dies after health benefits terminated

Press Release
October 21, 2011

A member of the Philippine Airlines Employees’ Association (PALEA) named Antonio Enero died last October 16 of leukemia, some two weeks after he was forced to checked out of the Cardinal Santos hospital since his medical benefits from Philippine Airlines has been terminated together with his employment. “PALEA condoles with the family of Antonio, who is fondly called January by his workmates. He paid the ultimate sacrifice for standing with PALEA in the fight against contractualization at PAL,” stated Gerry Rivera, PALEA president and vice chair of Partido ng Manggagawa.

On the morning of September 30, doctors and nurses at Cardinal Santos told Enero that someone called from PAL’s Human Resources office said that he is already terminated from work and so are his medical benefits, and if they want to continue his medications and confinement, they have to pay on their own and the company will not shoulder the expenses anymore. January then needed 14 anti-biotic shots for 7 days with each shot worth PhP 5,000. Enero is survived by his wife Irene and two children, the youngest is 5 years.

Last Wednesday, more than 1,000 PALEA members attending the union general assembly observed a moment of silence in honor of Enero who was called a “true PALEAN” and a “working class hero.” The tribute for Enero and the “state of the union address” by Rivera was however disrupted by the attempt to disperse the protest camp that day.

Enero had been confined at Cardinal Santos a few days before the September 27 protest by PALEA but when he heard of the events he told his wife that had he been well then he would participating in the mass action. Four days after leaving Cardinal Santos and getting weaker, Enero was confined again, this time at Perpetual Help Las Pinas. His wife Irene was worried about the hospital and medication expenses and told her husband to get the separation offer. Irene recalled that his husband said “Hindi, laban pa rin tayo, mangungutang na lang tayo.”

However burdened with huge medical bills, Enero and his wife Irene later decided to finally avail of the separation pay. Irene got the separation pay on October 15 but Enero died the next day. Irene told Enero’s PALEA friends her belief that had he not been forced to leave Cardinal Santos and instead his antibiotic shots had continued then he would have been with his family for a while longer.

Enero’s remains lied in state at the Filipinas Funeral in Las Pinas for several days until it was transferred to his home province yesterday morning.

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