Wednesday, November 2, 2011

PALEA walks for justice as PAL calls for open class war vs protesting workers

Lakbay-Hustisya passing by Pasay RTC
November 2, 2011

The Philippine Airlines Employees Association (PALEA) and their supporters have embarked on a three-day “Lakbay-Hustisya” (walk for justice) beginning today as Philippine Airlines (PAL) intensifies its media campaign to hide its culpability for the violent daybreak attack by its hired goons on PALEA’s protest camp last Saturday which left one bystander dead and eight protesters injured.

“Since the Saturday attack PAL had been inventing stories that serve as smokescreen to its bungled attempt to break our protest camp.  And when nobody bought the storyline that PALEA orchestrated the attack against itself, the PAL management called on business groups to join the fray and support its declaration of class war against PALEA and the entire labor movement which are all opposed to contractualization policy,” stated PALEA president Gerry Rivera.

Rivera, who is also the vice president of Partido ng Manggagawa (PM), said the “Lakbay-Hustisya” is PALEA’s own way of generating support from the public in winning back their regular jobs. “This is indeed a class war and under this condition workers have no recourse but to fight back,” added Rivera.

According to Ginalyn Licayan, head of PALEA’s Women Committee and in charge of the preparations for the ‘Lakbay-Hustisya’, another objective of their three-day journey is to seek out justice from what they suffered at the hands of PAL and government officials.

From their protest camp along MIA Road, PALEA members begin walking around 9:00 AM to their first destination, the Pasay City Regional Trial Court where PAL’s petition for PALEA to vacate the protest camp is still pending.  At the nearby Pasay City Jail, a certain Johnny de la Cruz, a hired goon whom they have apprehended last Saturday, is facing criminal charges for participating in that violent attack on PALEA’s protest camp.

From Pasay RTC, the group proceeded to the PAL offices at the nearby PNB Building for an indignation rally against the company’s relentless attack against its workers.  PAL, the union said, “is no more the country’s pride but the carrier of the worst kind of corporate greed and injustice.”                                                                                                    

After PAL, the protesters walked towards Malate Church where they were served free lunch by parish officials.  The Church, organized labor and human rights groups shared the view that once Lucio Tan succeeds with its outsourcing/contractualization scheme, everybody’s job will be next. 

From Malate Church, the protesters proceeded to the Court of Appeals where PALEAs petition for certiorari against PAL’s outsourcing plan is pending.  PALEA likewise held a short program at the nearby PAL ticketing office along
UN Avenue
before proceeding to the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) to denounce labor officials for approving Lucio Tan’s deplorable outsourcing plan.

After DOLE, PALEA was offered free dinner and overnight stay at the Benedict Hall of Quiapo Church.  In the morning of November 3, PALEA will march to Welcome Rotonda and then to Lucio Tan’s compound at Biak na Bato in Quezon City.  A ‘boodle lunch’ between PALEA and its supporters will be held in front of Lucio Tan’s residence to show the contrast between corporate greed and the injustice being suffered by his workers.

From Lucio Tan’s residence, PALEA members will proceed to the nearby National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC) where they have appealed the case against PAL’s refusal to bargain.   From NLRC they will march back to Welcome Rotonda, and then to the Holy Trinity Church for a dinner and overnight stay. 

In the morning of November 4, they will be joined by other labor groups in a march towards Mendiola.  At Mendiola, the protesters will be asking President Aquino to reverse its decision of PAL’s outsourcing plan and cause the reinstatement with full rights of the 2,600 employees dismissed and locked out by PAL since October 1, 2011.


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