Friday, November 4, 2011

Lakbay-Hustisya gains support from workers and students on last day, ends in big protest at the PALEA campout

Press Release
November 4, 2011

The Lakbay-Hustisya of the Philippine Airlines Employees’ Association (PALEA) garnered support from workers and students on the last leg of the three-day protest. It then ended in a big rally at the PALEA campout in MIA Road by late afternoon.

“We appreciate the warm support that we got from fellow workers, students and kababayans who we met in the three-day Lakbay-Hustisya. While Philippine Airlines asked for and got the assistance of employers organization, PALEA appealed to and received the solidarity of ordinary Filipinos. PAL is supported by the 1% but the 99% is in solidarity with PALEA,” asserted Gerry Rivera, PALEA president and vice chair of Partido ng Manggagawa (PM).

The march was met this morning at UST in Manila by various workers groups under the Koalisyon Kontra Koalisyon (KONTRA). Later in the afternoon, volunteers from the College of St. Benilde-La Salle welcomed the Lakbay-Hustisya and distributed water to the marchers as it passed Taft Ave.

From UST, the Lakbay-Hustisya marchers and the KONTRA labor contingent marched to Mendiola for a noontime rally. KONTRA is calling on the government to intervene in the labor dispute so the retrenched PALEA members can return to their regular jobs.

Renato Magtubo, PM chair, lambasted Malacanang’s announcement that they will keep a hands-off policy in the labor row. “While PNoy prefers to turn a blind eye to the escalating dispute, workers are getting injured and killed with the two dispersal attempts on the PALEA protest camp. While the Labor Department supposedly conducts an investigation, PAL continues to harass the campout by purposely putting rotting on the adjacent walls and gates aside from blaring loud noise. Contrast the inaction of the government to the PAL labor row with the Australian government’s rapid intervention in the Qantas lockout,” he explained.

PALEA is appealing for support from students as the second semester opens in the coming days. Yesterday, a forum on PALEA was held at the Holy Trinity Parish attended by some 500 high school students including teachers, parents, lay and community leaders. Several student organizations already launched a “Don’t fly PAL during the sembreak” campaign last October in solidarity with PALEA.

After the College of St. Benilde “salubong,” the Lakbay-Hustisya proceeded to the PNB Building in Macapagal Ave. where PAL holds its administrative offices. PAL employees on their 3:00 pm break participated in short program at the PNB driveway. At 5:00 pm, another “salubong”’ was staged as PALEA members in the campout met the Lakbay-Hustisya marchers in a big rally. The rally culminated in a 6:00 pm mass at MIA Road.

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