Wednesday, August 29, 2012

PALEA calls on PAL stockholders to reinstate regular workers

Press Release
August 29, 2012

On the eve of its annual meeting, the Philippine Airlines Employees’ Association (PALEA) today called on the stockholders of Philippine Airlines (PAL) to reinstate the regular workers who were retrenched in the controversial outsourcing scheme. “There will be no industrial peace at PAL without justice for workers. PALEA is part of the solution to the problems of the flag carrier,” insisted Gerry Rivera, PALEA president and vice chair of Partido ng Manggagawa.

PALEA vowed to press on with its fight against outsourcing at PAL as it commemorated the other day the 11th month of its picketline with an assembly of several hundred workers at the protest camp outside the PAL In-Flight Center. The union is busy preparing for the anniversary of its protest with a planned global day of action on September 27 which will be marked by rallies and activities in Metro Manila, Metro Cebu, Sydney and Melbourne in Australia, Ankara in Turkey, San Francisco in the USA, Lahore in Pakistan and in several other countries.

The PAL stockholders meeting will be held 10 a.m. tomorrow at the Century Park Sheraton Hotel in Manila. While Lucio Tan and his group retain a majority of the stocks, management control has been ceded to Ramon Ang and the San Miguel group. Rivera said that ”Let us fly the flag proud with regular workers not just with new planes,” in response to news yesterday that PAL is acquiring Airbus jets in addition to earlier announced Boeing aircraft.

Rivera clarified that “Even as PALEA calls on the new management of PAL and its stockholders to end the dispute in order to revive the flag carrier, we remain vigilant in the face of continuing attacks on our members such as the criminal charges against the PALEA 300.” Last July 27 and August 3 respectively PALEA filed at the Municipal Trial Court and the Department of Justice motions to review the finding of “probable cause” against 234 of its members for alleged violation of RA 9497 or the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) Law, specifically Section 81 (b) (5) which sanctions “any person who destroys or seriously damages the facilities of an airport or disrupts the services of an airport.”

In a resolution dated June 20, 2012, the city prosecutor recommended the filing of information against respondents to the case which means that warrants of arrest may be issued anytime them. Rivera avers that “PALEA’s protest at the airport last September 27, 2011 was an exercise of the constitutionally guaranteed right of workers to concerted action and thus not illegal nor criminal.”

PALEA asserts that despite PAL’s use of contractual employees to replace its regular workforce, the lack of skilled workers and a boycott campaign has cut the airline’s passenger and cargo load factor. After almost a year of protest, a majority of the 2,400 PALEA members who were retrenched still refuse to accept their retrenchment and are determined to fight for regular jobs. Even among those who availed of separation, many nonetheless rejected working for the service providers.

The call for a global day of action by PALEA and has been endorsed by International Transport Workers Federation aviation section in the Asia Pacific, Qantas unions, the Australia-Asia Workers Links and the Turkish airline union Hava-is among others. “If airline workers take industrial action, on the same day, in a coordinated way, all over the world, we will be stronger and more effective,” declared participants to the global day of action (

Friday, August 17, 2012

Ateneo CRUSADA stand on the RH bill


The recent resurgence of the debates regarding the RH Bill had once again left a bad taste in everyone’s mouth. These debates, depending on which side you ask, highlighted either the incompetence of the Catholic Church to listen to its flock regarding important issues, or is an explicit symptom of the moral degeneration of the country’s leaders, institutions, and its population. ”Stupidity” is a word that has become an unqualified, debased currency for RH Bill supporters who wish to insult the various stands made by anti-RH Bill advocates. All of this simply recalls a remark made by Walter Benjamin: “...theology, today, as we know, is wizened and must be kept out of sight”.

We, the Christian Union for Socialist and Democratic Advancement (CRUSADA), believe that there is no contradiction in being both a Christian and a supporter of the RH Bill. Indeed, as we will later argue, to refuse to see the enormous suffering that poverty brings upon the poor, and to refuse to see the weight that the RH Bill (in coordination with further developmental programs) can lift from the shoulders of the poor, is a failure for the Christian to interrogate the teachings of one’s faith with the emergence of the poor as the subject and starting point of theology. Indeed, to continue to privilege the doctrine of the sanctity of life as written, without regarding the quality of life,  is a failure to live out the most fundamental commandment of all: to love your neighbor as you love yourself. One cannot love ideas as mere abstractions, one must turn the love for people into a humanizing praxis. In moments where the affirmation of doctrine comes before the love of neighbor, in this case the love of the poor, then one fails to live out the greatest commandment. A true support of the sanctity of life must be done with regard for a good life for all, and not bare life for a majority.

In our support of the RH Bill, we will argue along the following lines:

1. Although the Party upholds the doctrine of the sanctity of life,  questions about the beginning of life must not be separated from questions about the quality of life in the midst of which this life is conceived. If life is truly sacred, then one must not only protect the right to life but also defend the right to have a good, qualified life. One must not only defend life, one must also nurture it, and present life with opportunities for life, and not for poverty (which is mere life) or death.

2. We believe that the current arguments against the RH Bill are buttressed by a theology of the human body which is primarily essentialist and ahistorical. While we recognize that these moral arguments are to some degree valid, we recognize that there is a need to move towards a theology which sees God with the poor, which sees God in their struggles, which sees God in the people who live and act in solidarity with the poor. From this lense, the RH Bill, when seen as a valid attempt to alleviate the suffering of the poor, becomes a legitimate form of Christian action.


The Party affirms that the material conditions of people are essential to determining and maintaining the overall quality of their lives. That is, human beings must first privilege the satisfaction of the labor of their bodies before it can fully and wholly participate in activities which are integral to human life. Before one can study, do work, write literature, engage in athletics, build a family, or build a community, the satisfaction of our material needs must come first. The labor of our bodies precedes the works of our hands.

There are situations and societies, however, where the oppression brought about by structural injustices makes it very difficult to satisfy the labor of our bodies, which in turn makes it nearly impossible to perform other forms of human action and interaction. This is the condition of poverty, wherein the demand for bread overshadows all the other pursuits of an individual and of communities. Where there is poverty, life is no longer true life. Poverty degrades people into animal laborans in the most literal sense; poverty turns people into mere biological entities tied to their bodily needs. Instead of living lives that affirm everyday life, every new day in a condition of poverty is instead lived as an escape of impending death. Poverty, therefore, is inhuman, and is against human dignity. It is not until poverty is annihilated, gradually or otherwise, can we call our world truly human. This does not mean that bare life does not deserve to live, but that bare life is an insufficient form of life. We must not be content if a majority of our impoverished population lives by merely living. All affirmations of life must be in regard to better life.

This mere living can be characterized by the severe inequities in terms of the availability of essential care that continues to plague our country. 94% of women in the richest quintile have a skilled birth attendant, while only 26% among the country’s poorest fifth have the same access to that kind of care. Only 77% of the poorest quintile have access to antenatal care, with only 13% delivering their babies at an accredited health facility. 92% of these women have complained of at least one healthcare access problem. Underprivileged women given their circumstances, often still continue working even with difficult pregnancies. Some of these mothers are exposed to unhealthy environments as well as abuse. Most of these women are malnourished. Complications arise from 15% of pregnancies, from 2 million live births, about 300,000 maternal complications develop and 15 women needlessly die from preventable causes every day. Because of the compromised maternal care, women are also more likely to give birth preterm. This can result to Filipino babies suffering various diseases related to short gestation and low birth weight. Those who do survive manifest different congenital anomalies as well as cognitive challenges for life.

The Party believes that these statistics show that there are obvious circumstances where prohibiting the distribution of essential medicines and emergency care and to withhold the education of our people regarding their reproductive rights and health means that one condones the death of a lot of these people.
And in a majority of cases in the Philippines, children are born into such desperate conditions that they may as well be barely living. Every single child is unique; every child, therefore, embodies the very capacity of all human beings to enact beginnings. That is, by virtue of the unique singularity of every single child, all of them have the capacity to leave their own distinct imprint upon the world. But every newly born child is barely alive as well, dependent upon the care of their mother, their family, and the circumstances in which they live. The family is the primary bridge between the world of labor and the world of human activities.  It is the family’s role to provide an environment wherein bare life may become qualified life.  

Overall, the question here is whether or not the RH Bill will actually answer the needs of the poor. We, the Christian Union for Socialist and Democratic Advancement, believe that the bill allows for greater solidarity with the poor, by actually providing the necessary steps which will allow them reprieve from the suffering brought about by poverty. It allows them a better life, and anything which makes life better for the poor will always provide more solidarity than those who argue based on misinformation and misunderstanding.


Is there a theological basis for the support of the RH Bill? Is there a Christian defense of the propositions provided by the RH Bill, even when it has been argued again and again that all of the solutions that the RH Bill takes are incompatible with Christian doctrine - the inseparability of the unitive and procreative aspects of sexuality, of its genital and affective parts? We, the Christian Union for Socialist and Democratic Advancement, believe so, and it is found in the fundamental commandment of Jesus Christ: to love your neighbor as you love yourself.

In Margins: Site of Asian Theologies, Felix Wilfred argues that “We just cannot fix centres of God’s presence...What the whole of biblical revelation tells us is that God is someone who journeys to the margins, and is to be found at the periphery”. The eyes of God always see the people of the margins, and his compassion and presence is always “with persons who are without power and protection”. Therefore, the only way to encounter God is to go and be in solidarity with the struggles and sufferings of the people of the margins themselves. In fact, “Jesus was so pained by the arrogance of the religious leaders of his time, and on the other hand, so moved with joy to find ‘non-persons’ radiant in God’s presence”. A genuine theology, in other words, must go to the margins - to those who hunger, to those who thirst, to those who have been abandoned by society to the fetters of poverty.

Gustavo GutiĆ©rrez also argues along similar lines in his “The Option for the Poor Arises from Faith in Jesus”. Faith is not just an individual task, it also implies the task of preaching the good news, which in turn implies a sense of duty towards one’s own community that is within its context. Faith and theology must therefore come to terms with human history and the lives of everyday people. In the context of poverty, theology goes beyond the memorization and affirmation of doctrine, moving towards “accompanying people in their suffering and joys, their commitments, frustrations...”. “A theological language that neglects unjust suffering and does not loudly proclaim the right of each and every person to happiness is shallow and betrays the God of whom it speaks, the God of the beatitudes. In the end, all theology is a theology of hope, an understanding of the reasons we have to hope”.

The question, therefore, becomes: for whom is this theology for? Theology, although it necessarily includes the dimension of the affirmation of faith in God and in the Church, cannot be confined to these dimensions. It is even worse when theology is used only for the affirmation of doctrine. When this happens, an essential aspect of theology is forgiven - that of compassion and solidarity with the suffering of the poor. A theology which does not seek to alleviate these even the slightest is no theology at all. But we, the Christian Union for Socialist and Democratic Advancement, see that the RH Bill is one way by which Christian doctrine can accompany the poor in their suffering. We affirm life, and we affirm the Christian edict to love our neighbor; that is, we support the RH Bill.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Climate change disaster in the Philippines

Appeal for relief for workers communities hardest hit

Appeal for Solidarity with Victims of Floods in the Philippines

Flooding in a slum area of Metro Manila
In scenes reminiscent of the large scale destruction wrought by Typhoon Ondoy (international name Ketsana) in late 2009 in which 400 died, torrential rains brought widespread flooding in the capital Metro Manila and nearby provinces. Almost a million people are affected and some 250,000 forced to evacuate, majority of whom are workers and poor, with 15 deaths already reported.

Partido ng Manggagawa (PM) [Labor Party-Philippines] is appealing for solidarity and assistance to the communities which have been hit by flashfloods. Among the severely hit areas are communities organized by PM located in the working class towns of Marikina, Malabon, Valenzuela, Paranaque, Pasay, Marilao in Bulacan, Bacoor and Rosario in Cavite.

The heavy downpour over more than 24 hours from the afternoon of August 6 to the present was brought by the south-west monsoon and enhanced by Tropical Storm Haikui. The government has already issued the highest level of alert with the warning that landslides may occur in mountainous areas and floods in low-lying areas. The ongoing disaster is no doubt the most recent impact of climate change in the Philippines.

PM is appealing for assistance so it could offer relief at least to the communities is has already organized. Relief assistance would complement the organizing efforts of PM on the basis of urban poor and working class issues, and its urgent advocacy for climate justice and green jobs.

To donate relief goods contact:
Partido ng Manggagawa office
Landline No. +632-4396829
Cellphone Nos. +639175570777 (Globe), +639228677522 (Sun) , +639209466191 (Smart)
144 Legaspi St., Project 4, Quezon City, Philippines 1109

To donate via bank wire transfer:
Partido ng Manggagawa
Current Account No. 003122-1012-73
Landbank of the Philippines
Batasan Branch

Monday, August 6, 2012

Labor group supports clamour on the vote for the RH bill

6 August 2012

Women members of the Partido ng Manggagawa joined women groups from the Reproductive Health Advocacy Network (RHAN) at the House plenary session this afternoon to show support to clamor to finally put the RH bill to vote.

“It’s been more than a decade it is time to pass the RH bill.  Poor and working women have waited long enough,” explained PM General Secretary Judy Ann Chan-Miranda.

She added that, “Poor women need family planning services and commodities which they cannot afford.  Millions of poor women and adolescents are left uninformed about their reproductive health rights and needs.  We do want merely want a ‘yes’ vote to the RH bill, we want the provisions intended to address the reproductive rights and needs of poor and working women and adolescents intact,” asserted Miranda. 

Partido ng Manggagawa called on the pro-RH legislators from the House of Representatives and the Senate to ensure that the following provisions in the RH bill shall not be comprised:
1.     The right of women to choose which family planning method to use, hence, the availability of all range of contraception – natural or artificial – but medically safe;
2.     The right of adolescents to age-appropriate sexuality and reproductive health education;
3.     The continuation of program on the prevention and management of post-abortion complications, and humane medical treatment of women who have risked unsafe abortion; and
4.     The fund allocation to free reproductive health care services and commodities for the poor, especially women and adolescents.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Fact Sheet: DirectAccess Corporation (DAC) in Cebu

Direct Access workers assembly at Cebu City public library
Rampant Labor Standard Violations

1.      DirectAccess Corporation – a BPO (Business Process Outsourcing) or in layman’s term “Call Center” which is a corporation owned by several Filipinos through with the main support of the foreign company in Salt Lake City, Utah namely “Revocalize”. The way DAC operates is considered as a telemarketing company because it solicits interest of customers from different states in America with the product/services we have. There are non-voice accounts and voice accounts. Either voice or non-voice agents, both are required to provide leads daily to its client and every lead DAC will produce it is always convertible into specific amount of dollars. Roland del Rosario is one of the owners of DirectAccess Corporation. While Jeffry Newman is the COO/Chief Operating Officer of DirectAccess and the bosses of Mr. Newman are Ben George-President and Jody Rokstool-CEO of Revocalize in Utah.
·        Employees were not informed ahead of time that the company will undergo temporary closure last July 30, 2012.

·        Employees did not received the ff:

A.     Total overtime pay including RDOT or rest day OT from June20-July5, 2012 cutoff which was scheduled to be released on the 15th of July. But then Mr. Newman appealed and announced that instead it will be paid out on the 23rd of July or within that week but still unpaid.
B.     Basic pay, allowance and cash incentives as well as the overtime pays covering the 16-day working period (July 6-20) and from July 21-30,2012.

·        Government benefits deducted from the salary that were not completely remitted which includes the following:
a. tax remittances
b. Social Security System (SSS)
d. PhilHealth

·        Leave credits convertible to cash

·        Separation pay

·   Money claims total PhP 6.4 million for 638 employees left jobless

Heads and their Designations:

Ben George-President, Revocalize

Jody Rokstool-CE0, Revocalize

Jeffry Newman- COO/chief operating officer

Roland del Rosario- IT Manager

Atty Beryl Dyesabelle- company lawyer

From Zylun Staffing to DirectAccess -transfer- September 1, 2011.
Mr. Kit Quiseo- HR Head of Zylun

Started cutting down benefits July 15, 2012-July31,2012.

Why shutdown: company declared temporary closure due to bankrupty.

Why not losing: DAC has multiple clients and campaign/accounts that were running.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Labor party calls for strict regulation of labor standards in BPO industry

Press Release
August 2, 2012

The Partido ng Manggagawa (PM) today called on the government to strictly monitor and enforce labor standards in the business process outsourcing (BPO) industry in the wake of the abrupt closure of a call center in Cebu City which left more than 600 workers without jobs and with unpaid wages, benefits and unremitted social security contributions.

“In the SONA of President Benigno Aquino III he applauded the BPO industry but behind this so-called sunrise industry lurks storm clouds that batter workers’ working conditions. Within an industry which prides itself with above-standard systems are substandard practices that are common in other businesses. The Labor Department and other agencies cannot be complacent that all is well for workers in the BPO industry. But the best regulator of labor standards are empowered workers and so we call for representatives to be elected by workers with the mandate to talk with management regarding working conditions, terms of employment, employee benefits and work load including setting of quotas, metrics and performance indexes,” said Renato Magtubo, PM national chairperson.

PM is assisting the employees of Direct Access Corporation, a locator in the Asiatown IT Park in Cebu City, which shutdown without due notice last July 30 to the surprise of its workforce. In arguably the first such protest among BPO workers, hundreds of Direct Access employees spontaneously held a rally last Monday in the prestigious ecozone.

Dennis Derige, PM-Cebu spokesperson, announced that the scheduled teleconference today between leaders of the Direct Access workers and the US-based owner was postponed for tomorrow. He also explained that no agreement was reached yesterday at mediation called by the National Conciliation and Mediation Board, and a meeting with the Cebu tripartite industrial peace council. “Direct Access workers welcome the offer of employment at other BPO companies even as they press for their demands with the different institutions that are intervening. They demand justice for workers, the payment of some PhP 6.4 million in wages and other emoluments, and the company’s culpability for violations of labor laws,” Derige insisted.

Magtubo recognized that numerous studies have called attention to health and safety concerns specific to the BPO industry, especially due to the graveyard working shift prevalent in call centers. “BPO companies must provide health insurance that is on top of the mandatory Philhealth membership and guarantees wider coverage and better benefits that especially address call center-specific health issues and afflictions.”

“Further, government must push for industry-wide standards for wages, benefits and entitlements that is well above the minimum set by law and commensurate to the dollar-earning nature of the BPO sector.” Magtubo argued. In the SONA, President Aquino mentioned that the BPO industry already employs more than 600,000 workers and earns revenues of some PhP 11 billion, equivalent to 5% of the country’s GDP.