Thursday, December 22, 2011

Victims of man-made calamity: PALEA members celebrating Christmas at protest camp

December 21, 2011

Describing themselves as ‘victims of a man-made calamity’, members of the Philippine Airlines Employees Association (PALEA), with their supporters in the labor movement and the Church, are celebrating Christmas at their protest camp located at PAL’s In-Flight Center near Terminal 2 of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport.

“We could have joined the rest of our nation in the relief drive for the victims of Sendong had we not been locked out by PAL owner Lucio Tan.  Unfortunately we are also victims of a man-made calamity.  2011 is indeed a very difficult year for the working class and the poor who were made to suffer from both natural and man-made calamities,” stated PALEA President Gerry Rivera.  

Rivera explained that PALEA can’t do anything right now except to sympathize with the victims of Sendong, unlike before when they can easily mobilize and share their resources for victims of calamities through internal fund and relief drive. 

“To sustain our fight against the wrath of corporate greed, we have also been asking for financial and logistical support from our allies here and abroad during the last three months,” added Rivera who is also the vice chair of Partido ng Manggagawa (PM).

Continuing support

Fortunately PALEA is blessed with continuing local and international support.  On December 23, Bishop Broderick Pabillo, director of CBCP’s National Secretariat for Social Action will be celebrating a 4:00 PM anticipated mass at PALEA’s protest camp. 

Pabillo, who is also the co-chair of the Church-Labor Conference (CLC) has been very supportive of PALEA’s struggle against mass layoff and contractualization.  Aside from the CLC, the vibrant civil society organizations and migrant groups have also joined the boycott campaign against PAL.

After the mass, the CLC, which includes different labor groups and church institutions, will share a Christmas party with PALEA members.

On the 24th and 25th PALEA members and their families will greet Christmas at the protest camp, their first noche buena celebration done outside their homes.

PAL as Scrooge

Trade unions and international labor advocacy groups across the world, have also come in full support for PALEA.  Just recently, the International Labor Rights Forum (ILRF) has included PAL in its list of ‘scrooge corporations’. PAL joined Dole, Hershey’s and Wal-Mart in ILRF’s 2011 Working for Scrooge report (see link at

ILRF is an advocacy organization dedicated to achieving just and humane treatment for workers worldwide. It promotes enforcement of labor rights internationally through public education and mobilization, research, litigation, legislation, and collaboration with labor, government and business groups.

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