Wednesday, October 19, 2011

PALEA condemns PAL for dispersal of protest camp

Press Release
October 19, 2011
The Philippine Airlines Employees’ Association (PALEA) condemned the management of Philippine Airlines (PAL) for the attempt to disperse its protest camp despite the status quo order of Pasay Regional Trial Court (RTC) Judge Ma. Rosario Ragaza.

“We denounce in strongest terms PAL management for masterminding the demolition attempt. Sheriff Virgilio Villar and the goons which accompanied him will have to face responsibility for their illegal act today. The power and money of Lucio Tan has influenced the Labor Department, the Office of the President, the Supreme Court and now as clear as day even officers of the court,” stated Gerry Rivera, PALEA president and vice chair of Partido ng Manggagawa.

The sheriff and the goons were forced to retreat in the face of the resistance of some 500 PALEA members at who linked up in arms in defense of the protest camp. Tensions abated by 5:00 pm but scuffles ensued again when the sheriif returned by 6:00 pm. At least one PALEA officer was hurt, and a tent and some streamers were torn down.

A sheriff with police escort arrived at the PALEA campout at past 3:00 pm ostensibly to implement an order from Executive Judge Edwin Ramizo of the Pasay RTC. PALEA leaders confronted them with the status quo order from Judge Ragaza. At 4:15 pm, the sheriff together with scores of goons started tearing down streamers at the front of the protest area and then tried to enter the campout but were blocked by PALEA members. Unable to proceed with the dispersal, at 4:45 pm the sheriff finally started negotiations with PALEA leaders and legal counsel Atty. Marlon Manuel.

“In its insistence in dismantling PALEA’s campout, PAL is exposing its contradictory claims. 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 explained.

Meanwhile at the national sectoral assembly of the National Anti-Poverty Summit, the plenary unanimously approved a resolution “expressing deep concern on the harmful consequence of outsourcing/contractualization schemes to the exercise of labor rights; and urging President Aquino, with all his powers to intervene in the labor-management dispute which is vital to the national interest, to reinstate with full rights the 2,600 workers locked out by PAL on October 1, 2011.”

In the hearing today on the case filed by PAL against six PALEA members for obstructing the free ingress and egress at the In-Flight Center (IFC) along MIA Road, Judge Ragaza ruled for a status quo and warned any party against moving against the protest camp.

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