Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Iloilo truck drivers on strike


Iloilo City – After failing to settle through mediation the dispute between the Iloilo ARR Enterprises Labor Organization (IARRELO) and the management of ARR Trucking, the former decided to hold a union strike lamenting union busting and unfair labor practice.  This after what started to be a peaceful labor union formation by drivers of ARR Enterprises and their subsequent submission of a proposal for Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) to the ARR management was met with harsh consequences.

            While the CBA negotiations were proceeding, ARR management dismissed the Union President, Mr. Elmer Blancaflor and the Union Secretary,Mr. Wilson Amatac, on a flimsy claim of redundancy by transferring their respective truck units to another province of operation of ARR.

            This prompted the filing of an Illegal Dismissal case, Unfair Labor Practice and Union busting against ARR management with the NLRC and a Notice of Strike at the NCMB.

            “Indi nagid ni ya ensakto ang ubra ka management. Nagpungko pa kami para maistoryahan ang amon CBA, tapos gulpi lang wala na kami ya unit kag hambalon nga redundant na kami sang akon Sekretaryo”, lamented Elmer Blancaflor, IARRELO President.

            Blancaflor was optimistic that their proposed CBA will be granted by the management since every negotiation between them and the ARR management, the atmosphere is cordial and all are amenable to the suggestion of each other.

            “Nakibot lang kami nga pitik sintas, wad-an kami ya ubra.  Nga kabalu gid sila nga union officers kami kag gapungko pa sa negotiating panel sang Unyon sa CBA negotiation,” said Union Secretary Wilson Amatac.

            With the seven (7) days cooling off period expiring without a clear settlement after NCMB personnel mediated between the parties, IARRELO is now set to put up the strike.

            “Ang katapusan namon nga alatrasan, strike na gid lang. Indi man tani namon ini luyag himuon apang kun amo ini ang pamaagi nga mapalab-ot namon sa mga natungdan ang amon problema, pasensya sa maapektuhan. Indi kami magpasugot, bilang mamumugon, nga basta lang lapakon ang amon kinamatarung kag pagkatawo”, declared Blancaflor.

           The Partido Manggagawa (PM), which has been assisting IARRELO, declared its full support to the decision of the Union to stage a strike.


            “Kun kinahanglan sang mamumugon nga manindugan kag maghulag para pamatukan ang mga kalakaran sa sulod sang ulubrahan nga nagapakanubo sang ila pagkatawo kag nagalapas sang ila kinamatarung bilang mamumugon, ang PM handa, sa ano man nga pamaagi, para suportahan ini”, concluded Mario Andon of Partido Manggagawa (PM).  

August 16, 2017

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Mga riders pumalag sa panukalang bigger license plate sa mga motorsiklo


Daan-daang motorcycle riders mula sa Bulacan, at ibat-ibang asosasyon sa Metro Manila ang nagmotorcade patungong Senado ngayong umaga para iprotesta ang pagkakapasa ng Senate Bill No. 1397 o ang Motorcycle Crime Prevention Act na inakda ni Senator Richard Gordon.  Ito raw ay para masawata ang laganap na ‘riding in tandem’ crime.
 
Tinawag nila ang kilos-protesta na “Tindig Rider Laban sa Double Big License Plate”.  Magsasagawa umano sila ng susunod pang mga aksyon sa darating na mga araw.
 
Nakakabit sa motorsiklo ng mga nagpoportestang mga rider ang mga plakard na hugis oversized plates ang kanilang mga saloobin kaugnay ng panukala.  

Kalakhan umano ng mga rider ay mga manggagawa na gamit ang motorsiklo hindi sa krimen kundi sa lehitimong paghahanapbuhay sa pormal at impormal na sektor.  Gamit din aniya ito ng kanilang mga pamilya para sa mabilis at ekonomikong moda ng transportasyon.
 
Ang panukala, kapag naging ganap na batas, ay nag-uutos sa LTO at sa mga may-ari ng motorsiklo at scooter na palitan ang kasalukuyang plaka ng over-sized license plate na mababasa sa distansyang 12 at 15 metro.
 
Ayon kay Robert Perillo, Pangulo ng Bulacan Motorcyle Rider Confederation (BMRF), may halong diskriminasyon ang panukala ni Gordon dahil lahat ng rider ay pinagdududahang kriminal o kaya ay maaring maging kriminal sa simpleng dahilan na motorsiklo ang gamit nilang sasakyan.
 
Paglilinaw pa ni Perillo, ang mga riders ay laban din sa mga kriminal na salot sa lansangan at sa buhay ng mamamayan, pero hindi aniya tama na ang criminal activities ng iilan ay maging pabigat sa mas nakararami. Mas makabubuti aniya na katulungin ng pulisya at LGUs ang organisadong hanay ng mga riders laban sa krimen kaysa gawin silang palagiang suspek sa bawat krimeng nagaganap sa kani-kanilang mga lugar.
 
Naniniwala ang grupo na hindi solusyon ang malalaking plaka sa pagsugpo sa street killings dahil ang kriminal umano ay madaling mag-adap sa bagong sitwasyon lalo na kung alam nila na madali nila itong malulusutan.
 
Magiging pabigat din umano ang gastusin sa mga bagong plaka na ito dahil ang malaking plaka ay mas mahal, bukod pa sa mahal na mga penalties sa violations sa ilalim ng panukala na lahat ay kakarguhin ng mga rider.
 
Humihilling din ang grupo ng mga riders ng pakikipag-usap sa mga kinauukulan upang maipaliwanag nila ang kanilang panig kaugnay ng panukala.
 
Naipasa umano sa third at final reading ang panukalang ito sa senado na wala silang kamuwang-muwang, hindi nakonsulta, at hindi man lang nahingan ng kanilang pananaw.

Motorcycle Rights Organization
2 August 2017

Lakepower reneges on promise to respect freedom of association, promotes a “company union” to compete with the independent union


Despite an agreement conciliated by the Labor Department last July 27 in which Lakepower Converter Inc. promised to respect freedom of association, management has continued to interfere in their workers’ right to unionize. While before, management was intimidating workers not to join or support the independent union, now Lakepower is promoting the formation of a company union.

Union officers learned just after the conciliation meeting on July 27 that managers, supervisors and line leaders started signing up workers for a new union on the very day of the agreement.

The next day, the union president talked to the human resources manager to resolve this new case of interference in the freedom of association. The HR manager denied any knowledge and no action was taken. Thus managers, supervisors and line leaders continued talking to workers and getting signatures of support for the company union for the succeeding days.

On July 31, in a meeting called by the Labor Department to deliberate on the petition of the independent union to be certified as the collective bargaining representative of workers, Lakepower motioned through its lawyer that the petition cannot be granted since another union has been formed.

No representative of the alleged union however appeared in the meeting. It was only Lakepower’s lawyer who spoke on behalf of what is obviously a company union. The lawyer even knew that the union was a local of a federation called "NWB" or commonly known as "Brotherhood.” The lawyer also stated that NWB had filed a union registration and a petition for certification elections last July 28. Such detailed knowledge reveals management’s hand in the formation of the company union in connivance with the NWB.

The independent union countered the motion of Lakepower’s lawyer on the ground that management is only a bystander in the proceedings and is only called upon to submit the list of employees for purposes of ascertaining the majority status of the independent union. Lakepower however did not submit the required list of employees thus leading to further delay in the proceedings.

Lakepower's lawyer motioned for the Labor Department to summon the NWB to the rescheduled hearing on August 4. The independent union opposed this once more as Lakepower is a mere bystander who cannot intervene in the proceedings. Again this only exposes the true character of the company union promoted by Lakepower management as a maneuver to subvert freedom of association.

The facts cited above transpired in the proceedings of the conference called by Labor Department last July 31 and the minutes of the meeting reflect the pertinent details.

The formation of a company union, meaning a workers organization that is dominated by the employer, is a prohibited act under Section 2 of the ILO Convention 98 on the Right to Organize and Collective Bargaining.

The independent union of workers at Lakepower demands that management to stop acts constituting interference in the workers right to organize and desist from promoting the formation of a company union. Specifically, managers, supervisors and line leaders must immediately cease from signing up workers for a company union.

The independent union is calling upon the big electronics companies that source from Lakepower to uphold their supplier codes of conduct and remediate the freedom of association violations in order to safeguard workers’ rights. ###

Friday, July 28, 2017

Lakepower management and union settle dispute with an agreement to respect freedom of association


The labor dispute at an electronics factory located in the Cavite economic zone was settled yesterday with an agreement between management and the union to respect freedom of association. The National Conciliation and Mediation Board (NCMB) called the management and union of Lakepower Converter Inc. to a meeting in a bid to resolve the complaint of union busting and unfair labor practice.

Management agreed to a set of demands by the union. First, that the company will issue a memo to be posted on bulletin boards in the factory spelling out its respect for freedom of association and prohibiting management personnel from interfering in the workers’ right to unionize as provided for in the law.

Second, that management wil not send any employees to protest the pending petition for certification of the Lakepower workers union as the sole and exclusive bargaining agent.

Third, the recall of roving armed guards in the production area.

And finally, the implementation of a previous agreement during another mediation meeting last July 7. In that agreement, management committed to resolve a list of 14 workplace grievances raised by the union including the women’s restroom doors that were kept open and airconditioners in the production area that remained closed.

In return, Lakepower management asked that the post in the Partido Manggagawa blog regarding the dispute be removed. The union agreed to the proposal and thus yesterday night the post was duly removed in compliance with the agreement.

Likewise the union withdrew the complaint for union busting and unfair labor practice in recognition of the settlement reached.

The minutes of the mediation conference formally spell out the terms of the agreeement cited above and was duly digned by representatives of Lakepower management and the union in the presence of officials of the NCMB.

Partido Manggagawa salutes the Lakepower workers, almost all of whom are women, in their steadfast fight for workers rights and considers the agreement as a victory for the union. PM is committed to assist in the protection of the rights of Lakepower workers and will monitor the compliance of the company to the terms of the agreement.

Lakepower is a Taiwanese-owned factory that makes electronic transformers for computers, appliances and even airplanes, and is a supplier to big electronics firms.

July 28, 2017



Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Workers back in Congress today as SONA ended without endo

MEDIA ADVISORY
NAGKAISA Labor Coalition
26 July 2017
Request for coverage

Workers back in Congress today as SONA ended without endo

Nagkaisa will hold a picket rally at the South gate of Batasan Complex this morning, 11:00 am, to press for the enactment of anti-endo bills. Workers were dismayed with Pres. DU30's SONA which ended without any mention of endo measures. Nagkaisa leaders will also attend a House hearing on the Security of Tenure bill at 1:00 pm.

Thank you very much.
NAGKAISA Comm. Group

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Workers to troop to Congress tomorrow for SONA reaction, demand end endo

 

The labor group Partido Manggagawa (PM) slammed the SONA of President Rodrigo Duterte for failing to tackle the delivery of campaign promises including ending contractualization. Tomorrow, members of PM along with other groups from the labor coalition Nagkaisa will troop to Congress to call for the passage of the Security of Tenure bill.

“Duterte’s SONA—minus the stories and curses—was all about death and taxes. People will die. Filipinos will be taxed. Taxes will be used for the war on drugs and the armed forces instead of for social services. In contrast, the SONA’s silence on endo and other reform promises was deafening,” stated Rene Magtubo, PM national chair and spokesperson of Nagkaisa.

More than a hundred workers will assemble at the gates of Batasang Pambansa at 11:00 am tomorrow to push for the enactment of a law to prohibit all forms of contractualization. It will also be an opportunity for labor to air its reaction on the SONA.

Magtubo explained that “The SONA was full of sound and fury but signifying nothing for workers. Workers got absolutely nothing from the two-hour long SONA speech of President Duterte. The SONA started on the theme of the promise of change. Thus workers waited for Duterte to elaborate on the delivery of the promises. But not a single word on ending endo. And no much else too on other social reform issues.”

“Instead the narrative of whether promises were delivered were overshadowed by Duterte’s rambling rants against his critics, principally human rights advocates and the mass media. Indeed the rants were an entertaining distraction from the embarrassing topic of undelivered promises. Paradoxically only China was unreservedly praised,” he added.

Magtubo insisted that workers were left with unanswered questions after the SONA. “So has the promise of change been delivered? Obviously not, but why? After the hours-long stories, curses and boasts, how will the lives of the workers and the poor be changed permanently? Of these, there were no answers,” he argued.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Workers reaction to SONA 2017


So has the promise of change been delivered?

The SONA was full of sound and fury but signifying nothing for workers. Workers got absolutely nothing from the two-hour long SONA speech of President Duterte. The SONA started on the theme of the promise of change. Thus workers waited for Duterte to elaborate on the delivery of the promises. But not a single word on ending endo. And not much else too on other social reform issues.

Instead, the narrative of whether promises were delivered was overshadowed by Duterte’s rambling rants against his critics, principally human rights advocates, the mass media and international rights organizations. Indeed the rants were a convenient distraction from the embarrassing topic of undelivered promises. Paradoxically only China was unreservedly praised.


After the hours-long stories, curses, and boasts, how will the lives of the workers and the poor be changed permanently? Of that, there was no answer. The only thing certain in Duterte’s SONA are death and taxes. People will die. Filipinos will be taxed. Taxes will be used for the war on drugs and martial law instead of for social services.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Martial law extension or expansion will be a very expensive, unproductive experiment

Photo from Inquirer

The battle of Marawi has already entered its 9th week.  And it won’t be over until everything gets back to normal.  In fact, it is the normalization and rehabilitation part of this conflict which is a bigger war to win since failure in this aspect, we believe, will only create more conflict in this highly stratified region of the country.
 
We anticipate, though, that Marawi will ultimately fall back into the hands of our government forces.  War ultimately ends even without a victor. What it leaves, definitely, are the enormous humanitarian costs that will be very difficult to measure.  The Marawi war has already claimed at least 500 lives and created more than 200,000 bakwits.  Thousands of livelihoods were also lost as the city was razed into the ground by aerial bombings and fierce ground battles. Furthermore, the declaration of martial law has endangered civilians’ free exercise of human rights in the entire island of Mindanao.
 
The Supreme Court has already ruled on the legality of the declaration of Martial Law in Mindanao but the 60-day duration of Proclamation 216 is set to expire on July 22, 2017.  Hence, the President, Congress and the entire nation now face a bothering question on whether the Martial Law in Mindanao should be extended or be expanded to cover the entire Philippines.  The House leadership, when asked, is even willing to extend and expand Martial Law for the entire term of the President or until 2022.
 
NAGKAISA labor coalition declares its opposition to the extension or expansion of Martial Law based on the following grounds: 
 
1.     It is not necessary;
2.     It will be very expensive; 
3.     It is unproductive and is a disincentive to economic progress;
4.     It weakens our democratic institutions; and
5.     It strengthens the hands of the totalitarians.
 
We find no compelling reason to warrant its extension or expansion at this point in time.  We believe that lawlessness in many forms can be addressed by a highly professional and effective military/police leadership. Ensuring professionalism and quality armed services is where Presidential powers are best exercised. 
 
Furthermore, extending this kind of war for a much longer time and carried out on a nationwide scale will become a very expensive experiment for a country whose development is highly dependent on loans and regressive taxes. It is therefore unacceptable to see the proposed expansion of VAT and imposition of excise taxes on oil, automobiles and sugar drinks funding not a social program but infrastructure for war.
 
Lastly, it will be very unproductive for the President to spend his remaining years in office for this costly war.  War is both destruction and political distraction.  It neither creates nor equally redistributes social wealth that is now concentrated in the hands of oligarchs.
 
The President, in other words, has a better war to wage and win against contractualization, low wages, and high prices of basic goods and services.  If you want peace, Mr. President, build social justice and economic inclusion first.
 
Dito ka namin gustong maramdaman

Nagkaisa Labor Coalition
19 July 2017


Tuesday, July 18, 2017

PRESS CONFERENCE: Nagkaisa Statement on Martial Law

MEDIA ADVISORY

18 July 2017

Contact: Rene Magtubo: 0917.8532905
            Julius Cainglet: 0917.8553279

REQUEST FOR COVERAGE       

PRESS CONFERENCE: Nagkaisa Statement on Martial Law

19 July 2017    |    10:00 AM
TUCP-PGEA AVR, Elliptical Road cor. Maharlika Street, Quezon City



At the press conference, Nagkaisa, the broadest labor coalition in the country, will release its statement on proposed extension of Martial Law in Mindanao and its expansion to other parts of the country; and the need to address the bigger war on labor contractualization.


Thank you very much!

NAGKAISA COMMUNICATION/ MEDIA GROUP

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Martial law legality is more impunity – labor group

Photo from Rappler
The decision is extremely disappointing but not surprising. This is how the labor group Partido Manggagawa (PM) reacted to the Supreme Court verdict rendering legalities to the imposition of martial law in Mindanao. “There seems to be an established judicial pattern here. The majority justices who didn’t share the agonies of martial law victims have only seen the legality of the Marcos burial at the Libingan ng mga Bayani in the absence of an express law prohibiting it. In the same manner, these justices may have only seen the exclamation point in Marawi to support the President in suppressing a pocket rebellion through martial law,” stated PM Chair Renato Magtubo. The group reiterated its concern that placing the entire Mindanao under martial law may result in more human rights violations, massive dislocation of communities, and further destruction to properties and social infrastructure due to violence and prolonged military actions until the entire island is cleared of state enemies. It also warned the palace not to utilize martial law as a tool to suppress civil liberties. “Legally martial law does not suspend the free exercise of human rights, except for those who would be directly charged with the crime of rebellion or invasion. But if a culture of impunity can reign today even without martial law, how far can it go under an emboldened commander-in-chief and the police leadership who mocks and vilifies human rights to the max?,” asked PM. The death toll in Marawi is still on the rise while the destructions due to war have created a humanitarian crisis comparable to the previous wars in Mindanao. “If the picture of Marawi and the tens of thousands of bakwits who fled away from it will become the generalized condition under martial law in different parts of Mindanao, then the policy can neither be just nor beneficial to both the Muslims, Lumads and Christians in the long run,” added PM. The group, however, clarified that it is for the ultimate reign of peace and prosperity in Mindanao and that these can only be achieved through social development and political settlement of different conflicts. “The military solution was the dating daan that failed Mindanao and the entire country. It should not be repeated. It should not be extended. A repeat and extension of it will only benefit the terrorists who also crave for blood and violence to fill our land,” concluded Magtubo.

04 July 2017

Friday, June 30, 2017

Isang Bigong Taon: A failed one year for Digong – labor groups



Contractualization did not stop; wages remained low and regionalized; the unemployment and underemployment problems continue to weigh down on a large number of Filipino workers.  “In sum, it was “Isang B(D)igong Taon” on the labor front for President Duterte’s first year in office,” stated various labor groups in their one year assessment of the President’s performance.

It can be recalled that the President made a campaign pledge that contractualization will stop the moment he becomes the President.  He also vowed to raise wages and abolish the system of provincial rates.

“We tried to rate the President’s performance as objective as we can, but the outcomes for labor over his first 365 days have been generally wanting, have given us false expectations and given us many unfulfilled promises,” said the workers groups in a joint statement distributed to media during a demonstration held at the Boy Scout Circle in Timog Quezon City, Friday.

The mass action was organized by the Sentro ng mga Nagkakaisa at Progresibong Manggagawa (Sentro), Partido Manggagawa (PM), Federation of Free Workers (FFW), National Federation of Labor Unions (Naflu) and the Philippine Airlines Employees Association (Palea).  Members of the World March of Women and Ateneo University’s Union of Students for the Advancement of Democracy (USAD) also joined the rally.

No end yet to endo

In a meeting on Labor Day, President Duterte asked labor groups to draft an Executive Order that would use prohibition of all forms of contractualization as a framework.  This was after the unanimous rejection of labor groups of Department Order 174 issued by Labor and Employment Sec. Silvestre Bello III sometime in March.  He also instructed the labor department to resolve with dispatch the years of dispute between PAL and PALEA on the issue of contractualization.

In response the labor groups submitted a unified draft together with the formal labor sector of the National Anti-Poverty Commission. But almost two months from its submission, the President has done no executive action to address the rampant contractualization.

“We have always advocated for a prohibition of all forms of contractualization and a stop to the abusive operations of manpower agencies and manpower cooperatives. The President himself at his assumption to power and in his first meeting with labor groups early this year openly expressed disgust over these as they ‘abused workers,’ using his words,” said the groups.

According to labor groups, DO 174 continues to permit contractualization and allows manpower agencies and manpower cooperatives to take a cut from workers’ salaries each payday.

There was also no certification issued by the President on pending anti-endo bills filed before the Congress. The PAL-PALEA dispute is not yet resolved.

The only token victory they got on this respect, the groups said, is the planned deputization of trade unionists as labor inspectors, the first batch of which are now undergoing training at the labor department.  

Freedom of Association is also one of the areas where the President has a failing mark from the groups as organizing remains extremely difficult particularly in Economic Zones as workers get harassed and get fired for trying to organize unions.

Wages, power, employment, OFW fees, new taxes

With the regional wage setting mechanism still in place, discrimination in terms of wages still persists across the country. The President said he was for a national minimum wage, but such policy pronouncement has not translated even to a working paper from DOLE that they can discuss with workers.

“In the meantime the real value of wages continues to drop, power rates and prices of basic goods and services continue to climb, making it more burdensome for the working class. Meanwhile, the collection of exorbitant placement and other fees for OFW have not been addressed sufficiently if at all,” added the group.

In addition, the planned imposition of excise taxes on oil and the expansion of VAT coverage on goods and services under the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN), the group feared, will lead to further erosion of workers purchasing power especially those earning the minimum wage and below.
  
ILO Convention 151 ratification, the saving grace

The President, however, got a passing mark for being the first chief executive to endorse for Senate concurrence International Labor Convention 151 on Labor Relations in the Public Sector. The treaty, once ratified by the Senate, would guarantee the right to organize of public sector workers and allow them to bargain for better working conditions, among others.

Wrong war

Asked why the President failed to satisfy workers’ clamor for change during the last 365 days, the labor groups said, “It is expected when a leader quickly descends into a wrong war that only resulted to thousands of unsolved killings.  While surveys have consistently showed that inflation, wages, and employment remain the top concerns of every Filipino.”

30 June 2013
PM, Sentro, FFW, NAFLU, PALEA

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Labor coalition welcomes lower tax on personal income but rejects regressive impact of excise taxes



Workers have long been demanding for higher tax exemptions, hence, the approval by the House of Representatives of Package 1 of the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) is a welcome relief.
Under the TRAIN, income lower than P250,000 per year will be tax free while higher income brackets, except for those who earn more than P5 million, will be charged a lowered tax rate of 25% from the current high of 32%.
This is surely a welcome development.  But for the labor coalition Nagkaisa, the workers’ gain in Personal Income Tax (PIT) will be offset in a regressive manner by the imposition of excise taxes on fuel products and the lifting of VAT exemptions in the sale of specific goods and services.
“Everyone knows, not just workers, that it will increase prices of goods and services that would affect mostly the poor and those at the lower income brackets,” said Nagkaisa spokesman Renato Magtubo. 
Magtubo said the TRAIN’s objective of shifting the tax burden from the poor to the rich, “Seems to be scheming if not tricky as forgone revenue on the side of the government, which is equivalent to individual savings derived from lower PIT of specific income group, shall be recovered in a universal manner through excise taxes and expanded VAT.”
The group explained further that the tax base can never be expanded through exemptions in PIT and corporate income, making indirect taxation through excise taxes and VAT expansion the main strategy in generating new and more revenue.  “Otherwise, nobody is going to pay for the lost revenue,” added Magtubo.
Under TRAIN’s package 1, a P3.00-P6.00 excise taxes will be imposed per liter on fuel and P10 for locally produced sugary products while several VAT-exempt products and services will be lifted, including cooperative income exceeding the P3 million thresholds.  Likewise, sale of real estate for socialized housing will now be covered by VAT.
According to the group, even the simulations made by staffs of the finance department showed the inevitable impact of increase in VAT payments by decile group – 43% for the richest 10% and 35% for the bottom 80%.  Increase for the second richest 10% is 22%. 
“An increase of 43 and 22 per cent respectively may mean nothing for the richest 20% who got significant savings from PIT exemptions.  But a 35% increase is surely a burden for the bottom 80% who includes the majority in the formal and informal sector, employed and unemployed, of the working class.  In the same manner everyone will be paying for the direct and indirect impact of excise taxes on fuel,” explained Magtubo. 
The labor leader added that those living in SPUG areas which rely on diesel as their single source of power will be absorbing a “minimal” impact, according to DOF.  But that would mean additional P84 for those who consume 100 kWh per month and P106 for those who consume 300 kWh. 
“These are the immediate impact that will hit everyone while the poor wait for the promised transfers contained in the proposed expenditure programs of the government,” said Magtubo.
The group said it will intervene in the continuing deliberation of the tax package in Congress especially on the proposed lowering of income taxes for corporations from 30% to 25%. 
“Our main question for this is why a tax rate on corporate income, which is supposed to be a tax on profit, is being lowered down to the same level of personal income which is a tax on labor?  A uniform rate on business and personal income can never be considered progressive taxation,” concludes Magtubo.”

NAGKAISA
On Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Package 1
13 June 2017

Monday, June 12, 2017

Workers calls for defense of political freedoms on Independence Day


As the nation celebrates Independence Day today, the labor group Partido Manggagawa (PM) called on workers to defend political freedoms. “The workers and the people must be vigilant in protecting the liberties and freedoms we now enjoy amidst the declaration of martial law in Mindanao and the extra-judicial killings due to the war on drugs,” declared Rene Magtubo, PM national chair.

The group also expressed solidarity with the rallies and events being held today to echo a similar call of defending civil liberties and political freedom. PM had earlier stated its opposition to the imposition of martial law in Mindanao.

“Even as workers are aware of the defects of the trapo democracy we have today, the rights and freedoms Filipinos possess at the moment is better than having none at all under a martial law or authoritarian regime,” Magtubo averred.

He explained that “Martial law in Mindanao is a disproportionate response to a localized issue. Further, it is a transgression of the Constitution as only rebellion and invasion, not terrorism, are the basis of imposing military rule. Clearly, after more than two weeks since its declaration, martial law has not helped in putting down the Maute group. What martial law has done is unnecessarily sacrifice workers’ and people’s rights in the guise of suppressing terrorism. Reports of the dispersal of a labor strike by soldiers in Compostela Valley is just the harbinger of such abuses under a martial law regime.”

“The accounts of abuses in Mindanao due to martial law is no different from the cases of extra-judicial killings or arbitrary arrests of labor unionists because of the war on drugs. In the bloody month of September 2016, seven labor leaders and farmer activists were killed vigilante-style, among them a PM organizer in Cebu City. That same month, a union president was arrested in Tarlac on trumped up charges of drug possession,” Magtubo said.


The group vowed to launch protests and actions to defend civil liberties and resist labor repression. “While employers’ groups were among those welcoming the declaration of martial law, workers will be at the forefront of resisting the repression of civil liberties,” Magtubo insisted.

12 June 2017

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Groups call on government to heed demand for “just transition” after successful first day of jeepney strike


The first day of the two-day transport holiday was called a success by groups that launched the jeepney strike. They reiterated their demand on the government to stop the planned jeepney phase-out and instead implement a “just transition.”

Elmer Blancaflor, spokesperson for the Iloilo chapter of Partido Manggagawa (PM) and also president of the United Panay Truck Drivers Association, said that “Jeepney transport was paralyzed in the whole of Panay island. We estimate that 97% of jeepney drivers participated in the strike in Iloilo City, 95% in Roxas City, 95% in Aklan and 100% in Antique and Guimaras.”

PM together with the National Confederation of Transportworkers Union-Sentro are supporting the strike by the Iloilo City Loop Alliance of Jeepney Owners and Drivers Associations (ICLAJODA) and Confederation of Iloilo Province Jeepney Operators and Drivers Associations (CIPJODA).

“The unity of the jeepney drivers in Panay should be a wake up call on local governments and the Department of Transportation on the grave impact of their so-called modernization plan. The strike yesterday and today is just a preview of more militant protests if government remains deaf and blind to the demand for a just transition,” explained Blancaflor.

PM describes the just transition as consisting of four steps. First, a transition of five years before full implementation of the phase out. Second, assistance and subsidies to operators for the replacement of jeepneys. Third, a ban on the importation of old and surplus engines and second-hand vehicles. And last, conduct a study on the most appropriate alternative to jeepneys such as electric jeeps or hybrid, LPG or Euro4 engines.

“The livelihood of thousands of jeepney drivers should be benefited not endangered by the shift to environmentally-friendly public transportation. Social justice must accompany social progress,” Blancaflor emphasized.


PM criticized the draft Department of Transportation order mandating a minimum of PhP 7 million as capitalization for jeepney operators. “The capitalization requirement is discriminatory and anti-poor. It will lead to the gentrification of the jeepney sector and the dominance by big capitalists to the detriment of ordinary Filipinos who derive their livelihood as operators at present,” Blancaflor averred.

June 6, 2017

Monday, June 5, 2017

Labor group supports jeepney strike for “just transition”


The militant labor group Partido Manggagawa (PM) expressed solidarity with the jeepney drivers who are on strike today and tomorrow in the islands of Panay and Negros in protest at the phase-out scheme of the government.

“Workers do not oppose modernization and the shift to environmentally-friendly public transportation but the transition must be just. Social justice must accompany social progress. The lives and livelihood of thousands of jeepney drivers cannot be sacrificed in the name of change,” declared Elmer Blancaflor, spokesperson for PM-Iloilo and also president of the United Panay Truck Drivers Association.

He added that “We understand and sympathize with the plight of our fellow workers. The temporary inconvenience of the transport holiday cannot compare with the permanent blow that the phase-out will inflict on jeepney drivers. We hope for the understanding of employees, students and commuters who are affected. The fight of jeepney drivers is our fight too.”

The group is supporting a just transition for the jeepney sector in the face of the government’s plan to immediately phase-out PUJ’s that are 15 years and older. PM, the labor center Sentro and its affiliate National Confederation of Transportworkers Union are supporting the strike being launched in Iloilo City and the whole of the Panay island by the groups Iloilo City Loop Alliance of Jeepney Owners and Drivers Associations (ICLAJODA) and Confederation of Iloilo Province Jeepney Operators and Drivers Associations (CIPJODA).

The groups are calling on the government to meet the demand for just transition. Specifically they are demanding a four-point agenda:
1.      Transition of five years before full implementation of the phase out;
2.      Assistance and subsidies to operators for the replacement of jeepneys;
3.      Ban on the importation of old and surplus engines and second-hand vehicles;
4.      Study on the most appropriate alternative to jeepneys such as electric jeeps or hybrid, LPG or Euro4 engines.

Blancaflor also slammed the draft Department of Transportation order requiring PhP 7 million as capitalization for jeepney operators. “The capitalization requirement is discriminatory and anti-poor. It will lead to the gentrification of the jeepney sector and the dominance by big capitalists to the detriment of ordinary Filipinos presently derive their livelihood as operators,” he explained.


PM said that the two-day strike is a just a preview of larger protests and a nationwide strike later if the jeepney drivers’ demands are not met.

June 5, 2017

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Workers slam employers for opposing endo bills

Photo grap from ECOP Facebook page

The labor group Partido Manggagawa (PM) slammed employers for its “wholesale opposition” to bills that seek to regulate or prohibit the prevalent forms of contractualization. “It’s social justice, stupid,” exclaimed Rene Magtubo, PM national chair, in response to the employers’ stand that businesses are entitled to profit and growth.

He added that “The blanket rejection by capitalists of proposed bills promoting workers’ security of tenure reeks of utter greed. The Philippines has had years of robust economic growth yet the employers do not want to share the fruits of workers’ labor. No wonder, capitalists are getting richer as workers are getting poorer.”

PM and other labor groups are escalating their campaign and advocacy against endo. The passage of the security of tenure bill and the release of a Presidential executive order on endo are both objectives of the workers’ campaign.

A copy of the Employers Confederation of the Philippines’ (ECOP) position paper on endo bills filed in the House of Representatives was released to the media yesterday. The ECOP sought to block passage of all the 25 proposed legislation to reform the Labor Code’s provisions on contracting.

The Labor Code allows contractualization subject to the power of the Labor Secretary to regulate or prohibit it in the interest of workers’ constitutional right to security of tenure. PM and its allied labor groups in the coalition Nagkaisa! are supporting HB 4444 by Cong. Raymond Mendoza. The bill aims to strengthen job security by banning all forms of contractualization.

“In the ECOP’s twisted logic, capitalist profit is an entitlement superior to labor rights such as job security. From such a hardline position flows the widespread practice of illegal forms of contractualization like 5-5-5 and repeated short-term contracts,” averred Magtubo.

He continued that “The ECOP did not even bother to assess the strengths and weaknesses of the different pending bills on endo. The capitalists simply do not want to any kind of change that will cut into their profit. They just want the business as usual of insecure jobs for workers so that wages remain cheap, benefits lacking and labor docile.”

The PM and Nagkaisa! are calling on President Rodrigo Duterte to issue an executive order to implement his promise of ending endo. In a dialogue last Labor Day, Duterte conceded to the demand. Last May 9, a draft order was submitted by Nagkaisa!, KMU and National Anti-Poverty Commission to the President.


“We call on the President to sign the draft executive order. Promises should be kept not broken. Workers are expecting no less from Malacanang,” insisted Magtubo.

30 May 2017