Friday, December 30, 2016

Labor yearender: Workers haunted by endo, EJK’s in 2016

The broken promise of ending endo and the spillover of the war on drugs to trade unionists were the big issues that confronted workers in 2016. Still like the rest of Filipinos, workers bid goodbye to the bad news of 2016 and look forward to good tidings in 2017. A hope for the coming year is the forging of an alliance for real change between millennial students and militant workers.

The year seemed to augur well for workers as all the presidential candidates, in a widely televised debate during the election campaign, promised to stop the pernicious practice of contractualization. After his resounding victory, Rodrigo Duterte followed through on that pledge with pronouncements that endo will be abolished and directed the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) to ensure this policy shift.

The new DOLE Secretary Silvestre Bello announced that a new department order on contractualization will be issued by the end of 2016 after tripartite consultations. Indeed three labor summits were even convened for Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao.

However the new draft DOLE DO 30, to replace DO 18-A promulgated under President Benino Aquino III, has been universally condemned by the full spectrum of labor groups, from the moderate to the militant. DO 30 has been soundly rejected by organized labor as continuing rather than prohibiting outsourcing, subcontracting and other forms of contractualization. The ball in now in halls of Malacanang as the labor coalition Nagkaisa has called on DU30 to nix DO 30 and instead uphold his promise of ending endo.

Aside from the epic fail of DO 30, another bitter disappointment for workers was the government’s lack of success in resolving the outsourcing dispute at Philippine Airlines (PAL). For months, the DOLE mediated meetings between PAL and the union PALEA on the issue of reinstating 600 employees who have bravely resisted endo at the flag carrier. Yet this December, the DOLE refused to order PAL to enforce a settlement agreement that provides for the re-employment of the PALEA 600. Bello’s DOLE did a Pontius Pilate and ordered that the courts should instead resolve the PAL-PALEA dispute.

Meanwhile, as many have feared, the bloody war on drugs finally caught up with ranks of organized labor. In the single month of September, two labor leaders were ambushed vigilante style, six farmers killed and a union officer arrested by police on trumped up drug charges. Just days apart, PM-Cebu leader Orlando Abangan was ambushed on his way home while former union president Edilberto Miralles was gunned down in front of the National Labor Relations Commission. In the heat of preparations for union certification elections, Patricio Tago Jr., a union vice president, was abducted in Tarlac by police and then imprisoned for allegedly being a drug pusher. Calls for tripartite consultations and convening a task force on violent attacks on unionists fell on deaf ears.

Various labor groups have blamed the culture of impunity for the spillover of killings onto the ranks of unionists. The groups have called for a stop to the killings and the war on drugs itself. They also point out to the fact that the war on drugs has indiscriminately targeted the poor and unemployed, which comprise practically the 6,000 people killed so far.

So before the end of the year, increasingly disillusioned over the Duterte administration’s failed promise of ending endo, enacting social reforms like a living wage, and implementing the “change is coming” slogan, militant workers were ready to link up arms with millennial students who took the lead in spontaneous protests against the hero’s burial for the dictator Marcos.

Thus barely two weeks after the surprise interment of Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani, labor’s traditional Bonifacio Day marches became an occasion for militant workers to join the #MarcosHindiBayani campaign. Student groups sent delegations to the traditional workers rally in the morning and the labor groups sent contingents to the evening protest at the People Power Monument against the Marcos burial.

With 2016 drawing to a close and 2017 about to open, it is time to remember the past even as the people look forward to the future. During the dark days of martial law, it was the student and workers movement that was the backbone of the people’s resistance against the Marcos dictatorship. Martyrs from the ranks of the students, workers and other sectors are the real heroes of our country.

Marcos was ousted in a people power uprising but all the succeeding governments failed to topple the structures of injustice and oppression that mired Filipinos in dire poverty. Thus this led to a section of the population prey to the historical revisionism and political ambitions of the Marcoses. Likewise to a mass of Filipinos susceptible to the wiles of a president who insists that the country’s problems can be reduced to drugs and criminality. The present generation of students and workers face the challenge of continuing the unfinished fight of the anti-dictatorship movement for real change.

December 30, 2016

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Advisory: Possible confrontation today at Cavite ecozone picketline

Media Advisory
December 29, 2016
Contact Jessel Autida @ 09124749243

Possible confrontation today at Cavite ecozone picketline

Early this morning the management of the garments factory Faremo International Inc. at the Cavite ecozone in Rosario told workers at the picketline that two trucks loaded with machines will leave the factory today for shipment to Vietnam. The workers asserted that such will violate an agreement reached at the mediation meetings that no machines are to be taken out of the factory. The workers also asked for documents and permits for the shipment but none were presented by management.

Last December 16, a tense confrontation occurred when Faremo management also tried to spirit away machines. The PEZA police and industrial relations head Allan Datahan came to factory and threatened the workers with dispersal using a firetruck which was parked a corner away from the picketline. The workers insisted that the PEZA police cannot intervene in the dispute as per provisions of the DOLE-PNP-PEZA guidelines of 2011.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Unacceptable!: Labor groups thumb down proposed new DO on endo

It’s dead on arrival (DA) for the proposed new Department Order (DO) on endo of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) as far as labor groups are concerned.
The draft DO, the country’s major labor groups under the labor coalition Nagkaisa declared, will not lead to the ultimate end but rather  to the further strengthening of the legal standing of contractualization in the country.
“DOLE intends to adopt what all labor groups unanimously rejected during the labor summit – the ‘win-win solution’ of DTI.  This could signal the end of President Duterte’s campaign promise to end endo,” declared Danny Edralin, Vice-Chair for the Private Sector of the Sentro ng Nagkakaisang Manggagawa or SENTRO. 
For Partido Manggagawa (PM):  “The draft new DO may seem to restrict labor contracting to seasonal and project employment but these employment schemes may however be extended to cover jobs, work or services which are directly related to the business operations of a company. As such, contractualization of labor would still proliferate in the guise of describing the job, work or service as seasonal or project employment,” said PM Chair Renato Magtubo.
The working draft of the new DO was presented during the Tripartite Executive Committee (TEC) of the Tripartite Industrial Peace Council (TIPC) last week.  Said DO recognizes trilateral employment relationship which has long been opposed by organized labor as it undermines workers’ rights to security of tenure, to organize and collectively bargain.
For TUCP, the proposed DO is unacceptable.  “It is a mere rehash of what current laws already provide. It gives nothing new to workers. Change requires a DO that further restricts contractualization while a new law is needed to end contractualization,” said Luis Corral, Executive Director of the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP).
‘Win-win’, for Nagkaisa, is DTI doublespeak roundly rejected as ‘lose-lose’ by workers. Thus, it is pushing for the passage of HB 4444 (Rep. Raymond Mendoza. TUCP Partylist) which prohibits contractualization and calls on Sec. Bello to endorse it for certification by President Duterte as an urgent Presidential measure.  HB 4444 prohibits all fixed term contracts and criminalizes violations.
The Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino (BMP) on the other hand wanted to directly challenge President Duterte to completely prohibit endo by means of an executive order.
“The new draft DO is a mere attempt to rehash DO 18-A with sophisticated words to continue justifying contractualization under the Duterte regime. Thus, BMP now directly challenges President Duterte to immediately issue an Executive Order to strictly prohibit all forms of contractualization by urgently signing a draft EO which BMP crafted and submitted to the Office of the President last November 10, 2016 for instant Presidential executive action,” said its President Leody De Guzman.
Even public sector unions are disappointed on the way the end endo agenda of the Duterte administration regresses.
“The proposed DO officialises contractualization and bastardizes Duterte’s campaign platform to end contractualization,” said Annie Geron, President of the Public Services Independent Labor Confederation (PSLINK).
The government is being accused by labor groups as the single biggest practitioner of contractualization in the forms of job order (JO) and contracts of service (CS).

December 19, 2016

Friday, December 16, 2016

Tension at Cavite ecozone picketline

There was an hours-long standoff inside the Cavite economic zone in the town of Rosario yesterday as protesting workers stopped a container truck loaded with machines from leaving a dispute-bound factory. The tense situation ended only when the truck left early last night without its container load.

Workers of the garments factory Faremo International Inc. slammed its Korean owners for attempting to spirit away computerized sewing machines. They also condemned the industrial relations (IR) head of the Philippine Economic Zone Authority for conniving with management.

“We caught Faremo violating an agreement that it will not take out machines from the factory. Runaway shop is an unfair labor practice and illegal. Faremo closed down its organized factory to bust the union and is relocating to an unorganized plant whether in the Philippines or abroad,” averred Jessel Autida, president of the Faremo workers union.

Faremo is the biggest garments factory at the Cavite ecozone that shutdown last October 27 allegedly due to lack of orders, a claim that has been debunked by the admission of one of its clients that purchases have in fact been increased. Autida clarified that Faremo workers are not on strike and want to work but have been locked out. He explained that they are maintaining a 24/7 picket at the factory to guard against machines being taken out of Faremo.

Faremo is owned by the Korean multinational Hansoll and supplies to global garments brands Gap, JC Penney and Kohl’s. Faremo workers have been on the picketline for more than a month now. According to Autida, the union at Faremo was formed last year in a bid by workers to improve pay, benefits and working conditions and stop mistreatment like verbal abuse.

Autida also denounced PEZA IR official Allan Datahan and the PEZA police for threatening the protesting workers with criminal charges and dispersal using a firetruck for preventing the shipment of machines out of the factory.

He explained that “We are not scared with Datahan’s threats and we stood our ground for we are on the side of reason and law. It is Datahan and his PEZA police minions that are in breach of the DOLE-PNP-PEZA guidelines of 2011 that ban police, security guards and military from intervening in labor disputes.”

Meanwhile the militant Partido Manggagawa (PM) for the suspension of Datahan for his role in the tense standoff at the Faremo factory. “Once more Datahan, who is a public official, has been caught conniving with foreign investors who are trying to transgress our labor laws,” insisted Dennis Sequena, PM-Cavite coordinator.

December 16, 2016

Thursday, December 15, 2016


Contact Dennis Sequena @ 09301803072

A container van leaving the garments factory Faremo International Inc. (located at the Cavite export zone in Rosario, Cavite) was found full of computerized sewing machines after it was inspected by picketing workers. Two container vans had already left the factory earlier today.

Philippine Ecozone Authority (PEZA) labor relations head Allan Datahan and PEZA police came to the rescue, drove away supporters from the picketline, threatened the workers with charges for allegedly delaying the shipment and warned them that they would be dispersed by water from a firetruck. Workers stood their ground, insisting on an agreement last October during a Labor Department mediation that Faremo will not take out machines from the factory. The workers are also arguing that the police cannot meddle in a labor dispute as per provisions of the DOLE-PNP-PEZA Guidelines of 2011.

Faremo filed for closure last October due to alleged lack of orders and laid off some 1,000 workers. The workers alleges that the closure was meant to bust the union. A client of Faremo, the global garments brand Gap, has already admitted that it did not cancel orders and in fact, increased its purchase. Faremo also supplies to garments brands JC Penney and Kohl's. The union has been calling on Gap, JC Penney and Kohl's to remediate the code of conduct violations at their supplier factory Faremo.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Advisory: Human Rights Day rally tom by iDefend coalition

Inline image 1

Tomorrow, December 10, 10:00 am, Mendiola
Assembly 8:00 am, UST along Espana

Justice for victims of extra-judicial killings!
Justice for victims of martial law!
Justice for victims of endo!

Wednesday, December 7, 2016


7 December 2016
Buhay na may Dignidad para sa Lahat (DIGNIDAD)
85-B Masikap Street Ext., Barangay Central, Diliman, Quezon City | Tel. # 7097833
Requests press coverage of its event on the occasion of HUMAN RIGHTS WEEK
A community workshop and walk with messages
addressed to the Duterte Administration
D E C E M B E R  8, 2016
along Sebastian Street Barangay San Roque (North Triangle), Quezon City
(from Agham Road, across Philippine Science High School, enter the community through
“talipapa” near the tri-bike and tricycle terminal. From there, about 8min. walk to the chapel)
4:30 pm - WALK
from the Chapel to Agham Road then to Bantayog ng mga Bayani
5 - 5:30 pm - NOISE BARRAGE and CANDLE LIGHTING at Bantayog ng mga Bayani
Contact: Teody Gacer @ 09297181427; Ana Vitacion @09175584657
On the occasion of the International Human Rights Week, DIGNIDAD Coalition will hold on December 8 a community workshop and walk dubbed as “WALK the TALK” to raise people’s awareness on human rights including social and economic rights. It will also highlight people’s calls addressed to the present administration to fulfill these rights.
There will be a discussion with about 100 women, men, and youth in the urban poor community in North Triangle. Then participants will breakout to make a poster or any visual representation of their appreciation of human rights (placard, drawing, etc.). By 4:30pm, the workshop participants and other people in the community – carrying their outputs from the workshop (drawing, placard, etc.) – will walk from the chapel going to Agham Road, then to Bantayog ng mga Bayani. The event will culminate with a noise barrage and candle lighting.
For Dignidad, the biggest war of the Duterte administration should be the war against poverty and inequality. This war is crucial in eliminating drugs, criminality, and terrorism.  Many believe that his electoral victory is hugely a protest vote by the masses against the Luzon-based oligarchy and incidentally a vote to end chronic poverty, unemployment, and the social injustice stemming from the people’s lack of access to the essential requirements for a humane life. However, the development blueprint of his administration still looks sketchy. Until now, the people have yet to see a clear development program that will address the economic and social ills in the country.
Dignidad Coalition is a broad platform composed of 32 grassroots organizations, labor groups and other sectoral coalitions, movement‐based party‐lists and multi‐sectoral issue-based coalitions, church‐based organizations, human rights groups and academics advancing an agenda towards the realization of a life of dignity for all Filipinos. It aims to raise people’s awareness on social and economic rights and to promote programs through the campaign for a Universal, Comprehensive, and Transformative Social Protection and its eight specific demands. These demands are on work and livelihood, social/public services, food, and social security.  Among its members are: Kilos Maralita, WomanHealth, Freedom from Debt Coalition, PATAMABA, KABAPA, Coalition of Services of the Elderly, Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates, NASSA, SENTRO, Partido ng Manggagawa,, Alab Katipunan, ARYA, Kilusan, Rights Network, IRDF, PKMK)

Friday, December 2, 2016

High labor alert on--workers group

The group Partido Manggagawa (PM) today declared that workers should be on high alert against violations of their rights during the holiday season. The group announced this as the PNP declared yesterday that the country is high terror alert.

“Wage theft and other labor rights abuse are a more pressing concern for workers rather than bombing threats from terrorist groups. First on the labor alert list are employers who plan to steal the 13th month pay of their workers,” explained Rene Magtubo, PM national chair.

PM reminded workers that all private sector employees, including contractuals and kasambahays, are entitled to receive the equivalent of 1/12 of their total basic pay for the calendar year no later than December 24 as entitlement.

“The only condition of the law is that workers have worked at least one month during 2016. Wag tularan ang mga abusadong kapitalista. Like the giant shipyard in Central Luzon, P100 is deducted from the 13th month pay of its thousands of contractual workers for every day of absence within the year. Last month, an association of kasambahays estimate the half of domestic workers do not get 13th month pay or the full amount due them,” Magtubo insisted.

He added that “Next on the labor alert list are employers who do not pay overtime and holiday pay even as they force workers to do extended work to meet production demand and rush deadlines. These abusive employers are wage thieves. Forced overtime is actually illegal and workers who refuse to work beyond eight hours should not be penalized.”

“We are also on the look out for companies who have closed down and trying to run away from their obligations to workers. They are Grinches stealing Christmas from workers. One example is VTCT Business Technology, a call center in Baguio City that suddenly closed last November 4 and left workers with at least one month unpaid wages. Another is a BPO company in Cebu City that shutdown abruptly a few days ago without paying its 213 employees two months of salaries,” Magtubo elucidated.

The group also cited the case of the garments firm Faremo International which shutdown in order to bust the union and whose workers will spend Christmas at the picketline in the Cavite economic zone. “Management filed for closure due to lack of orders but one of its clients, the global brand Gap, has already admitted that they actually increased purchases for this year. We call on Gap and Faremo’s other clients, JC Penney and Kohl’s, to act on the workers complaints according to the terms of their supplier code of conduct which mandates respect for the right to unionize,” Magtubo averred.

“Likewise on our list are employers who obstinately refuse to regularize their employees even as the DOLE issues praise releases about 25,000 contractuals allegedly made regular. Despite mediation by the DOLE, Philippine Airlines has resisted re-employing the PALEA 600 as provided by a settlement agreement. Meanwhile in the Cavite ecozone, a Japanese-owned electronics firm has snubbed a DOLE order to regularize hundreds of its contractual workers after being found guilty of labor-only contracting,” Magtubo stated.

He said that “Finally we are on heightened alert as the DOLE is set to issue this month a new order on contractualization. We warn the DOLE and the government against betraying its promise of ending endo by surrendering to the ‘win-win’ proposal of employers.”

December 2, 2016