Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Pasay judge rules for status quo on PALEA “occupation”

Press Release
October 19, 2011

In the hearing today on the case filed by Philippine Airlines (PAL) against six members of the Philippine Airlines Employees’ Association (PALEA) for obstructing the free ingress and egress at the In-Flight Center (IFC) along MIA Road, Pasay Regional Trial Court (RTC) Judge Ma. Rosario Ragaza ruled for a status quo. “In view of this status quo order, PALEA’s peaceful protest camp continues,” stated Gerry Rivera, PALEA president and vice chair of Partido ng Manggagawa.

The result of the hearing however was apparently lost on a Pasay sheriff who came today to the protest camp accompanied by PNP personnel to remind PALEA of the 72-hour temporary restraining order handed down last Monday by another Pasay RTC Judge Edwin Ramizo. No untoward incident transpired as PALEA members apprised the sheriff and the police of the latest developments.

In the hearing at Branch 108 of the Pasay RTC, the six PALEA members moved that the case be dismissed since it involves a labor dispute and as per provisions of the Labor Code is not under the jurisdiction of the civil courts. Tomorrow the parties were asked by Judge Ragaza to submit their position papers and a final decision is expected on Friday.

“In arguing its case against PALEA’s campout, PAL is contradicting itself. PAL says that the 2,400 PALEA members cannot be accepted back to work since the airport services, in-flight catering and call center reservations departments have been closed and outsourced. So how come PAL alleges that the IFC which houses the catering department is essential to its operations. This raises the suspicions that it will allow Sky Kitchen, a supposed separate entity that at present provides substandard catering service according to reports reaching PALEA, access to the facilities of the IFC,” Rivera insisted.

PALEA had declared that it will not abandon the protest camp despite threats from PAL to have it dismantled. The union has also announced that the campout is part of the global movement against corporate greed and corruption inspired by the Occupy Wall Street protests.

“The Occupy Wall Street movement is already in the Philippines despite Malacanang’s dismissive attitude. The experience of PALEA and North Triangle residents shows how this government has fallen captive to corporate interests such as Lucio Tan and the Ayalas. The seeds have been sown by PALEA’s occupation of this part of the airport area. The occupation movement in the country can only grow and bloom in the coming days,” argued Rivera.

Last Monday PALEA and North Triangle residents who are demanding on-site housing and fighting eviction by an Ayala property development firm joined forces in a symbolic occupation of Roxas Boulevard. They were supported by running priest Fr. Robert Reyes and the Freedom from Debt Coalition which has started a campaign to boycott PAL and Air Philippines.

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