Monday, September 21, 2020

Workers vow continuing resistance against restoration of dictatorship


His body is weak and his term in office is running out, but Duterte’s intentions to restore a system of dictatorship in the country remains strong. Continuing resistance is the only way to stop his plan while holding him responsible for the current crises resulting from his administration's incompetent and lousy pandemic response.


Four years under his brutal war on drugs, martial law experiments in Mindanao, attempts to change the constitution to make a transitional setup that makes him a dictator possible, and the militarist approach in dealing with the pandemic, were all playbooks running inside his mind.  The current health and jobs crises can in fact be the administration’s playground in advancing the agenda for a second dictatorship. 


We are always reminded by the fact that Marcos was only forced to lift martial law and called for a snap election when the economy was battered by a deep recession and peoples’ resistance to his dictatorship became unbearable. Yet, he remained a dictator until ousted by people power in 1986. Duterte may not have a complete machine to realize his dream, but he keeps the desire to make himself stronger than Marcos when allowed.
The pandemic may have provided him reasons to mobilize all the security forces to impose his will. But this militarist approach has only exposed the kind of leadership he is capable – violence in command. 


Workers were never hungry for dictators to rule their lives. They are only starving for jobs, income support, and workplace justice.  The country lost millions of jobs during this pandemic, but never will workers tolerate more draconian response like the anti-terror law, more so a restoration of a dictatorship. 


We will always resist. Until the workers finally assume the capacity and the power to govern themselves. 

---

PM is joining groups like Nagkaisa, United Workers and Movement Against the Terror Act (MATA) in a mass action at the Commission on Human Rights today. The groups will symbolically file complaints against the government for human rights violations. The activity is a prelude to a mock trial on December 10.

 

In Iloilo, the provincial chapter of PM is holding a joint march with the Panay People’s Coalition from Sunburst Park to the Provincial Capitol from 1:00 pm.


21 September 2020

Friday, September 18, 2020

Bayanihan 2 grants educators’ wish: no-layoffs in schools receiving aid

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 09/18/2020

Contact: Prof. Rene Tadle

Lead Convenor, CoTeSCUP

0977-742-4120

  

The Council of Teachers and Staff of Colleges and Universities of the Philippines (CoTeSCUP) welcomed and applauded the strengthening of the education sector through the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act (Bayanihan 2), as the new law made alternative learning and teaching needs more accessible to students and teachers alike, and protected the job security of workers in schools receiving assistance from government.

 

The organization had been vocal about their concerns including mass employee layoffs, wage cuts, and additional costs for distance learning needs for learners and educators, as learning and teaching go online.

 

“We are happy that our legislators responded positively to our plea”, Rene Tadle CoTeSCUP lead convenor said.

 

The Republic Act 11494 or Bayanihan 2 granted loan assistance, subsidies, discounts and grants for schools, universities, colleges, and technical vocational institutions as they aid themselves through DepEd, CHED and TESDA, with necessary materials for distance learning, like computers, laptops, and other information and communication technology equipment.

 

However, said benefits will only be available to private schools if they ensure that no employee retrenchment will occur for nine (9) months following the receipt of grant. The provision was lobbied by CoTeSCUP and supported actively by Senator Risa Hontiveros and Senator Joel Villanueva.

 

Meanwhile the youth group Partido Manggagawa-Kabataan called on CoTeSCUP to ally with students to monitor the implementation of the provision. “We call on the Commission on Higher Education (ChED) to ensure this no-layoff provision is strictly enforced. For this, the ChED should enlist CoTeSCUP for monitoring and oversight,” stated Jonel Salvador, PM-Kabataan spokesperson.

 

The coalition played a pivotal role not only in pushing, but in demanding the provision, as they emphasized the importance of job security especially as workers shoulder pandemic woes.

 

Prior to the signing of the new law, representatives of CoTeSCUP actively expressed these concerns and participated in government department dialogues, enjoining policymakers to focus on responding to the needs of private school teachers in the context of the current education climate.

 

“In the educational field in time of pandemic, teachers and non-academic personnel are frontliners and government must respond to their needs”, told Tadle.

 

Around Php8.9 billion was allotted for the education sector to alleviate the challenges of online teaching and learning modalities may bring about.

 

CoTeSCUP is a coalition among the Faculty Association of MAPUA Institute of Technology, Silliman University Faculty Association, Lyceum Faculty Association, Far Eastern University Faculty Association, Inc., Centro Escolar University Faculty and Allied Workers Union, St. Paul University-Manila Faculty Union, Union of Faculty and Employees of Saint Louis University, College Faculty Independent Union, University of San Carlos, Mapua Institute of Technology Labor Union; San Beda College Alabang Employees Association, Faculty Association of DLSU Dasmarinas Inc., De La Salle University Employee Association Union, De La Salle Zobel Staff Organization, and De La Salle Araneta Faculty Society.

 

Sunday, September 13, 2020

Group calls for bigger educ, ayuda budget in response to 3M unenrolled students


A youth group today called for massive government intervention in response to the 3 million students who are not enrolled for the school year. The Partido Manggagawa-Kabataan (PM-Kabataan), youth wing of the militant labor group Partido Manggagawa, asked for additional funds for basic education and emergency employment in the proposed 2021 budget.

 

“Three million students are bound to be left behind if the government does not act decisively. Even though education already has the biggest allocation in the proposed 2021 General Appropriations Act, there are still yawning gaps if one looks at the details. Just to cite one example, the allocation for the DepEd computerization program is a mere P9 billion which is just half of the fund for the National Task Force to End Communist Armed Conflict. It is obvious that the biggest threat to social development are 3 million unenrolled students and not 3,000 armed rebels,” observed Jonel Labrador, PM-Kabataan spokesperson.

 

Labrador sourced the figures from the information released by the Department of Budget and Management last August 25 (https://www.dbm.gov.ph/index.php/budget-documents/2021/2021-people-s-budget/2021-budget-at-a-glance-proposed).

 

The group also said that the main reason that students will not be enrolling is that income insecurity accruing from joblessness amidst the pandemic. The latest unemployment figures reveal 4.6 million Filipinos jobless last July.

 

“Government must provide emergency employment to jobless Filipinos even as it must call on employers for a timeout on layoffs. In the Mactan Ecozone for example, companies are shedding jobs left and right with the Sports City group of companies implementing the mother of all layoffs which victimized more than 4,000 workers. But the Labor Department has been curiously silent and inactive on these mass layoffs,” Labrador added.

 

He pointed out that “The tulong panghanapbuhay for displaced and disadvantaged workers is a paltry P9.9 billion. This will hardly make a dent in the dire unemployment and underemployment situation of the country.”


September 13, 2020

 

Saturday, September 5, 2020

Mother of all layoffs at Cebu ecozone slammed as 4,000 fired

 

Labor groups Partido Manggagawa (PM) and the MEPZ Workers Alliance slammed the surprise mass layoff of an estimated 4,000 workers in the Sports City group of companies in the Mactan Economic Zone. The firing started yesterday but are continuing today. The groups also heard that there was tension in the factory gates this morning over the terminations happening.

 

“Some 4,000 breadwinners had the surprise of their covid lives when they were unceremoniously terminated without any clear criteria. This is the single largest layoff in the Mactan Ecozone since the 2009 economic crisis,” declared Rene Magtubo, PM chair.

 

The two groups are calling on the affected workers to fight for their jobs and oppose the impromptu termination. PM is providing legal assistance to laid off workers and already held an online consultation a few days ago. Meanwhile the MEPZ Workers Alliance is asking workers to raise their grievances and concerns at their Facebook page.

 

PM is also assisting workers in the ecozones of Cavite and Laguna who were terminated, loss their jobs due to temporary closures and have not been paid their wages. A glass factory in Calamba, Laguna shutdown indefinitely in the middle of the lockdown and threw some 200 workers out of work. In the First Cavite Industrial Estate (FCIE) in Dasmarinas, Cavite, a garments factory have not paid their workers their last salary and have put them on forced leave. Suspiciously, the company is already selling pieces of machines. Earlier, the Sejung garment factory also located in FCIE shutdown also without paying workers their salaries and benefits.

 

Magtubo stated that “We call for a timeout on retrenchments in the ecozones. We demand immediate action from the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), the Philippine Economic Zone Authority and the local government units.”

 

“Majority of those blindsided by the termination are women with families to feed but little prospect of finding new jobs in this pandemic economy. As per our monitoring, several hundred workers are being fired in each of the following factories: Vertex One, Mactan Apparel, Globalwear Manufacturing and Feeder Apparel,” explained Cherry Abadilla, spokesperson for the MEPZ Workers Alliance.

 

She added that the mass layoff at Sports City follows earlier terminations at Yuenthai and Kor Landa where 200 and 67 workers were affected. “There is a common modus operandi in all of these layoffs. They were surprise firings without prior notice. This is inhumane and disruptive of workers’ lives,” Abadilla insisted.

 

Scores of Yuenthai workers are refusing the separation offer of the company. In Kor Landa, the union filed a notice of strike which has triggered the preventive mediation proceedings of the National Conciliation and Mediation Board. Abadilla herself was terminated last July 10 along with Kor Landa workers, a French-owned manufacturer of jewelry.

September 5, 2020

Tuesday, September 1, 2020

Group calls for a timeout on mass layoffs at the ecozones of Cebu and Calabarzon



Some 200 workers of a garments factory at the Mactan Economic Zone went to work on Saturday only to be told that they are already jobless. A big majority of the fired workers were women and breadwinners. The labor organizations Partido Manggagawa (PM) and the MEPZ Workers Alliance slammed the impromptu mass layoff at Yuenthai Philippines Inc. as inhumane amidst the difficulties of life during the pandemic.

PM is also assisting workers in the ecozones of Cavite and Laguna who were terminated, loss their jobs due to temporary closures and have not been paid their wages. A glass factory in Calamba, Laguna shutdown indefinitely in the middle of the lockdown and threw some 200 workers out of work. In the First Cavite Industrial Estate (FCIE) in Dasmarinas, Cavite, a garments factory have not paid their workers their last salary and have put them on forced leave. Suspiciously, the company is already selling pieces of machines. Earlier, the Sejung garment factory also located in FCIE shutdown also without paying workers their salaries and benefits.

“We call for a timeout on retrenchments in the ecozones. We demand immediate action from the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), the Philippine Economic Zone Authority and the local government units. Nasaan ang ayuda?,” stated Rene Magtubo, PM national chair.

Likewise Cherry Abadilla, spokesperson for the MEPZ Workers Alliance, insisted that “We cannot accept that workers are the first to sacrifice in a time of covid and recession when we are the last to benefit during the period of economic boom. Nasaan ang bayanihan?”

Abadilla herself was terminated last July 10 along with other 67 workers of Kor Landa Corp., a French-owned manufacturer of jewelry at the Mactan Ecozone. She is president of the Kor Landa workers union and they have filed a notice of strike since they allege that the mass layoff in their company is just a subterfuge for union busting. The DOLE has called the union and management to a preventive mediation to prevent a full-blown strike.

PM and the MEPZ Workers Alliance are supporting the Yuenthai workers in their fight. Many of the jobless workers are refusing to accept the company offer. “Workers needs jobs so they can earn their daily bread. Accepting the company’s offer of separation will just tide workers over for a few weeks. When it is consumed, how can workers and their families survive when there is no ayuda from government and no hiring from other factories?,” argued Abadilla.

The two group are calling on workers in the Mactan Ecozone to unite and fight for their jobs. “We have no one to depend on but ourselves, our unity and our struggle. Mag-bayanihan po tayo at lumaban para sa ating trabaho!,”Abadilla appealed.

September 1, 2020

Sunday, August 16, 2020

On the Opening of Classes & the Plight of Teachers and Staff in Private Schools


Press Statement
16 August 2020
Contact: Prof. Rene Tadle
Lead Convenor, CoTeSCUP
0977-742-4120


Statement of the Council of Teachers and Staff of Colleges and Universities of the Philippines (CoTeSCUP)


We are glad to hear  the clarification from the Commission on Higher Education that indeed it is upon the discretion of the governing board of colleges and universities to approve the date of the opening of classes in accordance with the school calendar that fits best the context and planned activities of the schools, with a view to ensure the preparedness, capacity development, and health and protection of the principal stakeholders, the students.

We continue to raise our concern, however, for the teachers and staff in the private institutions. While our counterpart in the government institutions have been assured of their salaries and employment, our members are not as fortunate, being at the receiving end of the impact of the pandemic because of the no work, no pay scheme, impaired distribution system of financial assistance to teachers and staff in the form of the Social Amelioration Program, and the constant threat of displacement and retrenchment since school owners made the distress call on the low turnout of enrollment  in private schools.

We admire the confidence of the private schools to assure the government of their preparedness to open the schools even at the  basic education level. We thank them for their concern for their faculty and staff whose livelihoods depend on the operations of the schools.

Being the frontliners of the educational institutions, we appreciate the government's support in the form of vouchers to subsidize the tuition and other fees charged by private schools, since the implementation of the K to 12 law.

But we reiterate that any further financial assistance to private schools as they sound off their condition at present, should be tied to the commitment to protect labor and ensure the participation of the teachers and staff in crucial decisions that affect their lives and livelihood.

We protest any move to use the pandemic crisis as a justification of school owners to resort to lay-off, redundancy, early retirement, and worst of all,  retrenchment or termination to get rid of the teachers and the staff,  as the picture of low enrollment may not actually lead to significant losses or closure of schools decried by the school owners through their legal counsel.

It is painful and frustrating that when a crisis arises, the teachers who serve as front liners in the school are the first ones shown the exit door. Even if the Labor Code and jurisprudence have repeatedly reminded businesses that all ways and means must be exhausted before any decision to sever the employment of workers is arrived at, we usually take the brunt because we are the first to let go, and similar to what happened during the drafting and implementation of the K to 12 law, we are used as a means to cut down on expenses, even when we could be called on to be partners and stakeholders in addressing the challenges to educational institutions.
      
We have no lawyers we can retain and who will represent us in legislative hearings and battles. We take this opportunity to implore all concerned government agencies, our lawmakers, and most of all, President Duterte, to hear our voice and see from our perspective as educators.  In the country’s battle against the pandemic, please remember that we are part of the fundamental stakeholders of educational institutions, and also equally important, we are the front liners.

RENE LUIS TADLE, M.A.
Lead Convener
TESDA Board Member (Labor Sector)       
Faculty Member, University of Santo Tomas Manila, Philippines                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           

NESTOR MAMUAD ASUNCION, Ed.D.
Convener
EITC-NCR (Vice Chairperson)
President, Faculty Association of MAPUA Institute of Technology 
Manila, Philippines


VICTOR AGUILAN, Th.D.     
Convener                                                                                  
External Affairs Officer, Silliman University Faculty Association                                                     
Dumaguete City, Negros Oriental

JONATHAN MARK TE
Acting President, Silliman University Faculty Association
Dumaguete City, Negros Oriental

JOVY F. CUADRA
President, Lyceum Faculty Association
Manila, Philippine


EDGAR G. VILLAN
President, St. Paul University-Manila Faculty Union
Manila, Philippines



DR. LEVY LARA LANARIA
President, College Faculty Independent Union
University of San  Carlos
Cebu City



GRACE SOCORRO LARCEÑA
Vice President, College Faculty Independent Union
University of San  Carlos (Downtown Campus)
Cebu City



NITA GAVIOLA DIZON
President, Centro Escolar University Faculty
and Allied Workers Union


MIGUEL JAMBALOS
President, San Beda College Alabang Employee Association


EDGAR B. GARNACE
President, Faculty Association of DSLUD, Inc.
Dasmarinas City, Cavite

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Education frontliners say: Timeout on layoffs, wage cuts in private schools



With online classes to start within the month, a coalition of unions of faculty and staff in the private school sector is putting forth its urgent concerns such as mass layoffs, loss of income and flawed issuances by the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).

“While we understand the adversities faced by administration in the private colleges and universities, we are nonetheless concerned at actual and threatened retrenchments of employees, reduction of wages and benefits, denigration of job security and lack of worker voice in the policies being crafted. Indeed private schools will incur losses due to the impact of covid. But these losses are not substantial as to cause any potential risk of financial distress, unless management can prove otherwise through an objective assessment of its financial condition. We call for a stop or timeout on layoffs and wage cuts in private schools,” stated Rene Tadle, lead convenor of the Coalition of Teachers and Staff of Colleges and Universities of the Philippines (CoTeSCUP).

CoTeSCUP held a webinar and presser this morning to air its demands to school administrations and the government. The group is is asking for the withdrawal of DOLE issuances DO 213, LA 17 and LA 9.

In reaction to the proposed Bayanihan 2 which includes support to education, CoTeSCUP supports state aid to private education but insists that it must be conditional on a no-layoff commitment from school administration.

Meanwhile a youth and student group expressed solidarity with CoTeSCUP’s appeal. Jonel Labrador, coordinator of Partido Manggagawa-Kabataan declared that “We are one with teachers and staff of private colleges and universities in their demand for voice and protection. Similar to private school employees, students’ grievances are also not being heard, including alarm at the continued imposition of internet, laboratory and electricity and lab fees despite the online modality. Thus we doubt the narrative that private schools need to shed jobs because they are in financial distress.” PM-Kabataan is the youth wing of the labor group Partido Manggagawa.

Last week Tadle spoke at a Senate hearing yesterday on pending bills about online classes and assistance to private schools. He raised concerns about pedagogy such as online class size and labor grievances like retrenchments of faculty and staff.

Tadle insisted that "School administrators often renege on their constitutionally-mandated obligation to include labor unions in the decision-making process for school policies, especially with regard to adjustments due to the pandemic. This is one of the root causes of the confusion and dilemma experienced by the employees, despite union officers exerting all efforts to communicate with management to include them in crafting policy."

In the past few months, CoTeSCUP sent letters and position papers to the Senate, House of Representatives, Department of Labor and Employment, Commission on Higher Education, Department of Education and the Inter Agency Task Force asking for government intervention in the education sector amidst growing concerns regarding policies and readjustments to be implemented in the upcoming opening of classes.

CoTeSCUP is a coalition which consists of the Faculty Association of MAPUA Institute of Technology, Silliman University Faculty Association, Lyceum Faculty Association, Far Eastern University Faculty Association, Inc., Centro Escolar University Faculty and Allied Workers Union, St. Paul University-Manila Faculty Union, Union of Faculty and Employees of Saint Louis University, College Faculty Independent Union, University of San Carlos, Mapua Institute of Technology Labor Union, San Beda College Union, San Beda College Alabang Employees Association, Faculty Association of DLSU Dasmarinas Inc., De La Salle University Employee Association Union, De La Salle Zobel Staff Organization, and De La Salle Araneta Faculty Society.

Prof. Rene Tadle

Lead Convenor, CoTeSCUP
0977-742-4120

August 12, 2020

Monday, August 10, 2020

Tugon sa pagpaslang sa pinuno ng Anakpawis: Itigil ang patayan!

Ang panahon ngayon ay para sa pasagsagip ng buhay. Sa gitna ng pandemya, ang patayan ay walang puwang. Ang ulat sa karumal-dumal na pagpaslang kay Anakpawis Chairperson Randall Echanis, ay nagpapakita na kahit ang Covid-19 ay hindi napigil ang extrajudicial killings na nangyayari sa bansa sa nakalipas na apat na taon.

Nakikiisa ang Partido Manggagawa sa lahat ng sektor na nananawagan ng hustisya sa pagpasalang sa pinuno ng Anakpawis. Sobrang lawak at lalim na ng problema ng bansa sa pagharap sa pandemya para dagdagan pa ng ganitong klase ng karahasan at paglabag sa karapatang pantao. Ang ganitong pangyayari ay nagpapakita rin na ang Pilipinas ngayon ay hindi lang mapanganib sa mabilis na pagkalat ng Covid-19 kundi sa laganap na karahasan kung saan nasasangkot ang mga elemento ng estado.

Hangad ng manggagawa ang kabutihan ng lahat sa panahong ito ng krisis. Ang patayan, kung gayon, ay kasamaang dapat matigil at ang mga sangkot sa ganitong krimen ay dapat usigin at managot sa batas

10 August 2020

Media Advisory: Education frontliners in private schools to hold presser tom

Topic: CoTeSCUP Webinar: Preserve Jobs, Uphold Dignity in Education
Time: Aug 12, 2020 10:00 AM Asia/Manila
Join Zoom Meeting
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/83963618008?pwd=R0FwL0tvMTh1dlVoeE1qcVRWOEMrQT09
Meeting ID: 839 6361 8008
Passcode: COTESCUP

Friday, August 7, 2020

Diversion, fake news should not distract Philhealth investigation


It is in the interest of the working class who are the real owner-beneficiaries of the health insurance fund that investigation into the whooping P15-B Philhealth scam proceed unhampered and result to the ultimate prosecution of its corrupt officials.  With the fund’s life threatened by billions of losses due to alleged corruption, so as the health security of our millions of workers especially during a pandemic.


It is for this reason that we call on Congress as well as the Executive to ensure that neither delay nor diversion affect the ongoing investigation as the Filipino people deserve truth and justice on this issue.


We are alarmed, however, that alongside the ongoing investigation is the resurgence of vicious attacks against Sen. Risa Hontiveros whose issues during her stint at Philhealth have already been cleared by the COA and the fund itself. Is it part of a diversion, or simply an increase in production of fake news from a host of click farms?


We are likewise concerned with the statements of several congressmen calling for the abolition of Philhealth by replacing it with a new one. A health crisis is certainly not a good time to kill a health insurance system. Justice and total cleansing, we contend, is what will save the system from ultimate collapse.


07 August 2020

Thursday, August 6, 2020

Nagkaisa! unveils Labor Agenda, calls for a wealth tax to fund recovery and development

After weeks of grassroots consultations and webinars with labor leaders, academe and some economists, the labor coalition Nagkaisa! has unveiled its “Labor Agenda sa Panahon ng Pandemya”, which contains proposals for the protection of labor rights during crisis, income and guaranteed employment for workers, support to key sectors of the economy, and a proposal for a wealth tax to fund economic stimulus, sustain development and address poverty and inequality. 

The presentation of Nagkaisa’s Labor Agenda came on the same day the House approved on second reading the Bayanihan to Recover as One and a day before today’s official announcement of the economy sinking deeper to a 16.5% contraction in the second quarter.   

“This Bayanihan 2, with its measly budget of P162-B bdudget, will neither stimulate a shattered economy nor heal an ailing nation,” declared the group in a statement, saying that a crisis of this magnitude requires a bigger stimulus and a secured, healthy labor force to prevent an ultimate collapse. 

Nakaisa’s Labor Agenda estimates not lower than a trillion-peso stimulus is needed immediately to prevent further collapse of key economic sectors; including our micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) which employ majority of our labor force; and to avoid millions of working people regressing back or sinking deeper into extreme poverty. 

The group’s accompanying proposal for a wealth tax is aimed at countering the official narrative about ‘lack of money’ hampering the delivery of aid, as well as the reluctance of economic managers to spend more for stimulus just to protect the country’s high credit rating. 

“Our wealth tax proposal once imposed upon obscene private wealth will ensure a steady funding stream of not less than P1 trillion per year. We can do so by just taxing the richest 650,000 individuals by 5%, the richest 160,000 individuals, or those with net worth of P10 million and up, by 7%, and the richest 40 individuals, or those with net worth greater than P10 billion, by 10%,” said Nagkaisa. 

“President Duterte has declared war against the oligarchy. Here is a just and winnable, whole of society struggle against poverty and inequality compared to personal attacks against a select group among the oligarchs,” added the group. 

The group said its wealth tax proposal is in fact the right way in putting flesh and blood on the constitutional provision that Congress shall evolve a progressive system of taxation (Sec 28, Art VI). “The adoption of the tax on wealth, Robin hood tax or solidarity tax is a step in the right direction as the country needs fresh sources of money to fund recovery and development.” 

Nagkaisa’s Labor Agenda has 5 R’s that represent Rights, Relief, Repair, Resilience, and Resource Refueling. 

On the protection of labor rights, the group reiterates its stand against flexible work arrangements such as endo and wage cuts, and for workers to enjoy full benefit in cases of layoff or retrenchment amid the pandemic. Nagkaisa also renew its call for #BalikTrabahongLigtas, which it claims the government has failed thus the resurgence in Covid-19 infections. Its demand includes PCR-based mass testing and safe transportation, strict compliance to OSH protocols, workers’ participation at workplace and tripartite levels, and the regular hiring of additional healthcare workers to the civil service, among others. 

The Labor Agenda likewise calls for various types of assistance, depending on the situation of those affected: guaranteed incomes for those still employed but are unable to work due to the lockdown, including returning and stranded OFWs; wage subsidies for those working in MSMEs that needed support to stay afloat; 100-day employment guarantee for those unemployed or 3-month paid trainings for those needing retooling or skills upgrading. Amelioration and income guarantee should also be extended to the informal sector as well as the elderly.

On support to MSME’s Nagkaisa is proposing for a bridging support, which include one-time grant of up to P500,000 depending on size, wage subsidy, soft loans, and even rental subsidy, with the condition that companies receiving subsidy from government do not only retain their workers but also comply with core labor standards.

On support to key economic sectors, Nagkaisa identifies agriculture and its forward and backward links to food production and other industry, garments with new emphasis on producing PPEs, chemicals and pharmaceutical industry, and construction to get immediate and strategic financing support from the government.

Nagkaisa! Labor Coalition
August 6, 2020

Education unions call for workers participation in covid plans of private schools

A coalition of unions of faculty and staff in the private school sector is calling for workers participation in the covid-related plans of private schools with the looming start of online classes.

 

CoTeSCUP lead convenor Rene Tadle said that "School administrators often renege on their constitutionally-mandated obligation to include labor unions in the decision-making process for school policies, especially with regard to adjustments due to the pandemic. This is one of the root causes of the confusion and dilemma experienced by the employees, despite union officers exerting all efforts to communicate with management to include them in crafting policy."

 

Tadle spoke at a Senate hearing yesterday on pending bills about online classes and assistance to private schools. He raised concerns about pedagogy such as online class size and labor grievances like retrenchments of faculty and staff. CoTeSCUP supports state aid to private education but insists that it must be conditional on a no-layoff commitment from school administration.

 

Tadle expressed apprehension about the looming retrenchment and wage cuts in the education industry. He said that “While we understand the adversities faced by administration in the private colleges and universities, we are nonetheless concerned at actual and threatened retrenchments of employees, reduction of wages and benefits, denigration of job security and lack of worker voice in the policies being crafted. Indeed private schools will incur losses due to the impact of covid. But these losses are not substantial as to cause any potential risk of financial distress, unless management can prove otherwise through an objective assessment of its financial condition.”

 

Meanwhile a youth and student group expressed solidarity with CoTeSCUP’s appeal. Jonel Labrador, coordinator of Partido Manggagawa-Kabataan declared that “We are one with teachers and staff of private colleges and universities in their demand for voice and protection. Similar to private school employees, students are also not being heard, including alarm at the continued imposition of internet, laboratory and electricity and lab fees. Thus we doubt the narrative that private schools need to shed jobs because they are in financial distress.” PM-Kabataan is the youth wing of the labor group Partido Manggagawa.

 

CoTeSCUP recently sent letters and position papers to the Senate, House of Representatives, Department of Labor and Employment, Commission on Higher Education, Department of Education and the Inter Agency Task Force asking for government intervention in the education sector amidst growing concerns regarding policies and readjustments to be implemented in the upcoming opening of classes.

 

CoTeSCUP is a coalition which consists of the Faculty Association of MAPUA Institute of Technology, Siliman University Faculty Association, Lyceum Faculty Association, Far Eastern University Faculty Association, Inc., Centro Escolar University Faculty and Allied Workers Union, St. Paul University-Manila Faculty Union, Union of Faculty and Employees of Saint Louis University, College Faculty Independent Union, University of San Carlos, Mapua Institute of Technology Labor Union; San Beda College Alabang Employees Association, Faculty Association of DLSU Dasmarinas Inc., De La Salle University Employee Association Union, De La Salle Zobel Staff Organization, and De La Salle Araneta Faculty Society.


August 6, 2020

Contact: Prof. Rene Tadle

Lead Convenor, CoTeSCUP

0977-742-4120

Monday, August 3, 2020

Workers call for ayuda during 15-day MECQ in Mega Manila


The labor group Partido Manggagawa (PM) called on government to distribute aid to workers who will be affected by the return of Metro Manila and nearby regions to a modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ).

 

“Now President Duterte has imposed MECQ on Mega Manila, the millions of workers to be affected need a wage subsidy. The medical frontliners’ call for a timeout included the distribution of aid as part of a package of measures to win the war against covid,” stated Rene Magtubo, PM national chair.

 

He added that “Together with wage subsidy, workers should also be given a voice in the recalibration of the covid response, specifically on workplace safety and public transportation. For example, the IATF’s controversial no shield/barrier, no back ride policy must be rescinded for being both illogical and unsafe. Likewise the service contracting of PUV’s, including PUJ’s, by employers for safe transport of employees must be allowed and be made mandatory as proposed by the advocacy group MoveAsOne.”

 

PM supported the protest yesterday of the motorcycle riders’ group KAGULONG at the freedom park of the Commission on Human Rights. The group is also a member of the MoveAsOne coalition.

 

The group however slammed Duterte’s criticism of the medical frontliners call. “While the frontliners are relieved by the imposition of MECQ as it allows them a time out, we are concerned that Duterte has threatened them with repression or ‘counter-revolution’ as he called it,” Magtubo explained.

 

He furthered that “With Duterte himself grossly misinterpreting the appeal for a timeout as inciting to revolution, what prevents the Anti-Terrorism Council from similarly treating activism as terrorism and thus protestors subject to warrantless and extended arrest? This episode clearly exposes the clear and present danger of the Anti-Terror Law with its draconian provisions.”

 

PM is reiterating its demand for ayudang sapat para sa lahat. “The no work, no pay policy during the start of the MECQ tomorrow will mean hunger for millions of workers in Mega Manila. All of them should receive a wage subsidy. But since the DOLE and SSS already has the contact details of workers who have received the CAMP and SBWS, then there is no reason for them to immediately be beneficiaries for the duration of the MECQ. The mechanism for distributing aid to the rest of affected workers should be worked out in consultation with organized labor.”


August 3, 2020

Sunday, August 2, 2020

Youth group supports frontliners’ call for timeout


The youth and student group Partido Manggagawa-Kabataan (PM-Kabataan) expressed solidarity with the call of medical frontliners for a two-week “time out” in the Mega Manila area in order to arrest the spread of covid and recalibrate the response to the pandemic. PM-Kabataan is the youth wing of the labor group Partido Manggagawa.

 

Jonel Labrador, PM-Kabataan coordinator, said that “We stand with doctors, nurses and other medical frontliners in their demand for a time out before the health system is overwhelmed and so that government can devise an effective strategy. Workers will support this appeal as long as there is ayudang sapat for the duration of the time out and there will be balik trabahong ligtas once the ECQ is lifted. In fact, included in the frontliners’ demands are precisely the provision of aid, public transportation and compliance with workplace safety.”

 

He added that “Medical frontliners are right that they should not be put in a situation where they decide who will live or die once the health system is overwhelmed. Similarly workers should not be forced to choose between contracting covid at work and dying of hunger while jobless.”

 

PM-Kabataan also slammed the opposition of Sen. Cynthia Villar and Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez to the time out call. “In dismissing the call of medical frontliners, Villar and Lopez are being the voice of big business. For them, profit trumps public health. In contrast, PM-Kabataan asserts that if public health and workers’ safety are not secured then there will be no economic recovery for all,” Labrador insisted.

 

He asserted that government should not just consult with medical frontliners but put epidemiologists not generals in charge of the covid response. “Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea’s reply that the IATF will discuss the call of medical frontliners is not enough. The generals at the helm of IATF should be put on time out and replaced by epidemiologists and medical experts. The battle against covid is a public health concern not a peace and order issue,” Labrador elaborated.

 

He also expressed solidarity with the protest today by motorcycle riders who are opposing the IATF’s policy of no barrier/shield, no back ride policy. “This is not only illogical but also unsafe as proven by transportation experts. But the IATF is monopolized by generals so their vision is tunneled by their peace and order perspective. If you are a hammer, everything looks like a nail,” explained Labrador.

 

He concluded that “The labor movement, medical frontliners, motorcycle riders, mobility advocates and all affected groups and sectors must ally to push for the right policies to win the war against covid.”


Partido Manggagawa-Kabataa

Saturday, August 1, 2020

ADVISORY: MOTORCYCLE RIDERS PROTEST TOM VS NO BARRIER/SHIELD NO BACK RIDE

MEDIA ADVISORY

01 AUGUST 2020

Kapatiran sa Dalawang Gulong (KAGULONG)

Contact Person: Don Pangan Mobile no. 09953862722

 

WHAT: MOTORCYCLE RIDERS TO HOLD PROTEST AGAINST  THE IMPLEMENTATION OF IATF POLICY OF NO BARRIER/SHIELD NO BACK RIDE

 

WHEN: August 02,2020. Will assemble starting 8:00 AM.

 

WHERE: LIWASANG DIOKNO, COMMISION ON HUMAN RIGHTS (CHR) GROUNDS, QUEZON CITY


Photo opportunity available.

Monday, July 27, 2020

Pahayag ng PM-Kabataan sa SONA 2020 ni Duterte



Walang duda na si Duterte ang numero unong pasaway at aminadong inutil kaya lumalala ang covid cases, lumulubog ang ekonomiya at humihirap ang buhay ng masa, kasama na ang mga kabataan.

Sa kanyang SONA, inamin ni Duterte na inutil siya. Inutil daw siya sa pagtatanggol ng soberanya ng bansa laban sa panghihimasok ng China. Ang totoo, inutil siya sa paglutas sa mga problema ng bansa.

Binanggit niya na tumataas ang presyo ng mga bilihin, nawalan ng trabaho’t hanapbuhay ang mga tao. Pero wala siyang inihain na solusyon. Wala siyang inilatag na plano. Basta maniwala na lang na may gagawin ang gobyerno!

Apat na taon na mula nang ipangako niyang wawakasan ang endo. Pandemya pa din ang kontraktwalisasyon sa mga manggagawa. Apat na tao na mula nang ipangako niyang tatapusin ang provincial wages. Pandemya pa din ang barat na sweldo ng mga manggagawa. Apat na taon na mula nang ipangako niyang susugpuin ang korapsyon. Pandemya pa din ang mga nakawan sa gobyerno at ni-rerecycle lang ang mga Duterte appointees na nabulgar sa anomalya.

Apat na taon nang binigo ni Duterte ang kanyang mga pangako. Di na pwedeng mangako lang uli siya na malulutas ang kahirapan sa huling dalawang taon ng kanyang termino!

Isa lang ang tinotoo ni Duterte sa kanyang mga pangako—ang dumanak ang dugo sa war on drugs. Sa apat na taon ay lagpas 10,000 mahihirap ang pinatay dahil daw nanlaban.

Sa huling dalawang taon, dadanak pa uli ang dugo. Gusto ni Duterte na ibalik ang death penalty. Pero kahit walang batas sa death penalty, dumadami ang namamatay dahil sa covid. At namimiligrong mamatay sa gutom ang mas marami.

Sa huling dalawang taon, walang magbabago. Ang fairy tale sa isipan ni Duterte ay ang salot ng droga na sumisira sa pamilyang Pilipino kaya’t ang solusyon ay kamay na bakal laban sa mga kriminal. Hindi niya makita ang nagdudumilat na katotohanan na kahirapan ang totoong problema ng bansa.

Ang solusyon sa kahirapan ay hindi war on drugs kundi gera laban sa oligarchs—sa mga malalaking kapitalista na may kontrol ng industriya, sa malalaking asendero na nagmamay-ari ng mga lupain at dayuhang kapitalista na bumabansot sa lokal na ekonomiya. Pero naaalala lang ni Duterteng banatan ang oligarchs kapag may gagantihan siya at may ipapalit siya na crony.

Sabi ni Duterte sa gitna nang kanyang SONA, di daw nya naiintindihan ang binabasa nya. Ano pa bang resibo ang kailangan natin para ipakitang ang pasaway na presidente—at ang bulok na sistema—ang dahilan ng paghihirap na dinaranas ng mga kabataan at manggagawa!

27 July 2020

On his fourth year and 5th SONA: Duterte is the biggest pasaway


A change in change narrative is underway. Duterte’s 5th SONA after four years in office, as expected, will never be a list of new pledges as promises made in 2016 is a grand fail. Instead, a narrative of ‘pasaway na Pinoy’, ‘pasaway na bisaya’, or ‘pasaway na terorista, unyonista, aktibista at human rights’ will be peddled for public consumption, in a blame game where this administration never admits a single failure of its own.

When in fact it is Duterte himself and his ilk in Congress who wasted four years in realizing the end to endo, increasing wages by abolishing the provincial rate system, stamping out corruption, freeing the country from foreign domination, ending the drug menace, and in making this country a primarily middle class nation in the immediate future. On the contrary it will, for convenience’s sake, make the pandemic a grand alibi in declaring a state of the nation that was never been good in the last four years and which, due to the persisting health and economic crises, will never become better for the rest of his term.

Workers will reject that kind of a narrative for it is Duterte’s failures in many aspects during the last four years, combined with its mishandling of the health crisis during the last four months, that make workers’ lives more miserable today. The virus came at a time workers job security remained unprotected with the veto of the anti-endo bill, while low wages, unemployment and underemployment leave workers with no savings to prepare for the rainy days.  I short, the massive loss of jobs and income today will only make living more unbearable for the millions of workers, formal and informal, local and overseas.

And so, who is the pasaway to blame for the sad state of the nation that we are in today? Certainly not the workers who were left behind during the last four years and who were forced into quarantine during the last four months.  Not the powerless masses who cannot afford the price of fighting the powerful.

Ang tunay na pasaway ay ang mga nasa kapangyarihan dahil sila ang mas sumusuway sa Konstitusyon at karapatan ng mamamayan. Silang inuna ang terror law sa halip na stimulus programs. Silang ang plano pagkatapos ng SONA ay magcha-cha habang nasa gitna tayo ng pandemya.

Sa madaling salita, si Duturte mismo ang tunay na pasaway.

Saturday, July 4, 2020

Signing of anti-terror law and veto of anti-endo bill reveals Duterte’s real color



President Duterte’s signing of the anti-terror law and his veto of the anti-endo bill reveals that he is undeniably an enemy of labor rights. The contrast is remarkable. Duterte made a promise to abolish endo only to drag his feet and at the crucial juncture shoot down the bill that will limit contractualization. Now, labor activists fighting for regular jobs and workers’ rights are threatened by the vague provisions of the anti-terror law.

Even without an anti-terror law, labor rights are already under attack by the agents of the State. In the middle of the lockdown, at the height of Black Friday last April 10, elements of the Dasmarinas police threatened to arrest two workers manning the picketline in the First Cavite Industrial Estate if they don’t abandon the protest. In January this year, the PNP and the Philippine Export Zone Authority launched the Joint Industrial Peace and Concern Office (JIPCO) in Central Luzon to prevent militant unionism in the export zones. Two years ago, photos of three women union leaders were posted under the heading “wanted” at the gate of the Mactan Economic Zone in Cebu.

All these flagrant violations of labor rights by agents of the State will be enabled by the restriction of civil liberties under the draconian provisions of the anti-terror law. Thus workers have a stake in resisting and defying the slide to authoritarianism.

Workers will fight back and push back against the restriction of civil liberties and suppression of labor rights. Last June 30, workers held a global day of action against the anti-terror bill. On July 7, workers will join others sectors in a bigger action to protest the authoritarianism. 

July 4, 2020

Thursday, June 25, 2020

Sports City workers’ demands to Adidas and other brands



Workers of the Adidas supplier Sports City conglomerate are asking the brand to mediate in their urgent demands in the light of the grave impact of the covid pandemic on their working and living conditions. Sports City’s factories are located in the Mactan Cebu Economic Zone, employ some 16,000 workers and at present manufactures for Adidas, Under Armour, Lululemon and Saucony. The conglomerate is mainly comprised of Mactan Apparel, Metrowear, Feeder Apparel, Global Manufacturing, Vertex One and Global Warehouse.

1.       Aid

Conversion of PhP 2,000 loan provided by Sports City into a grant and additional PhP 2,000 subsidy to workers. This will provide relief to workers who have become indebted due to the no work, no pay policy during the two-month lockdown. The 5 kilos of rice and several pieces of canned goods given at the start of the lockdown was an advance on the Christmas package. Thus Sports City has really extended assistance that it will not charge to workers’ existing benefits. But aid is urgently needed as until now a large number of Sports City workers are not working as the factory is not in full operation. Further some 80% of Sports City workers did not receive any assistance from government.

2.       Safety committee

Formation of a safety committee as provided for in the law with the mandate to ensure workers’ voice in the enforcement of occupational health and safety rules. The recent controversy in which the company threatened an anonymous worker with legal action reveals that lack of transparency naturally breeds issues. The anonymous worker made a post about two Sports City workers who returned to work but was found infected with covid.

3.       Production order

Commitment by Adidas to maintain production orders in Sports City to ensure jobs for workers. Workers of Mactan apparel are presently on rotation while Metrowear workers will on rotation starting in July. Workers in Global Wear Warehouse had been told that Adidas wants to relocate production to Cambodia allegedly because of less disruption due to covid. Workers will view any relocation of order by Adidas as condoning union busting by the Sports City.

4.       Freedom of association

The provision about Sports City respecting freedom of association in compliance with brand commitment has been deleted in the latest copy of the company rules and regulations (CRR). The statement of respect for FOA was previously included in the CRR distributed to all workers. Workers view this as a union busting maneuver by Sports City.


25 June 2020

Friday, June 19, 2020

DOLE asked to call labor,employers to dialogue on layoffs in airlines, other sectors

Baggage in the Airline Industry is a Good Stepping Stone into the Industry



The labor group Partido Manggagawa (PM) called on the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) to convene conferences between the airline industry and union or worker representatives to formulate measures to preserve jobs. “Mass layoffs should be the last resort of employers and government must pro-actively act to prevent it. Unemployment is a real terror to workers than any threat from terrorist groups,” asserted Rene Magtubo, PM national chair.

He added that “DOLE, hoy gising, di pwedeng natutulog sa pansitan. DOLE cannot be a bystander looking at unemployment figures rise and content with asking employers to report retrenchments—which is what the agency is doing at the moment.”

PM is asking DOLE to immediately hold labor-industry dialogues in the airlines industry and other sectors where jobs are being shed. The group reports that factories in export processing zones are preparing to permanently or temporarily lay off workers in the next few weeks allegedly due to reduced orders from abroad. Expressway workers are also on the chopping block as toll operations are transitioning to cashless mode and will be fully automated.

“In these tripartite dialogues, various measures can be tabled for agreement. For example, as the economy is gradually opened then workers can return to work in batches and those not reporting for work shall be put in a labor pool instead of being retrenched. While in the labor pool, these workers shall receive aid from government and employers. After six months, employers can then decide if these workers will be retained or fired,” Magtubo explained.

The group also demands that government formulate emergency employment measures and expand unemployment insurance programs through tripartite dialogue. PM is appealing to Congress to revise the proposed stimulus bill so that aid to business is conditional on a no layoff, no endo commitment.

“MSME’s that will receive support from government should retain workers and make them regular. Taxpayer’s money should incentivize compliance with decent work and the new normal must be built on inclusive growth. Workers first in the new normal,” Magtubo insisted.

June 19, 2020

Friday, June 5, 2020

‘Terrorizing’ unemployment numbers say it all


The surge in the April unemployment numbers say it all. This unprecedented 17.7% unemployment rate is directly the outcome of the combined health and economic crises and the lackluster response from the government.

The coming months can only be hoped to be better or worse, depending on how the government will conduct its work. To us, the present crises require a major reboot and system upgrade as old devices will simply not work.

The April unemployment data show that a whopping 71% or 29.7 million out of 41.8 million labor force are collectively in a bind amid this pandemic. They are composed of 7.3 million unemployed, the 38.4% employed but not working Filipinos or equivalent to 13 million, and underemployed numbering 6.4 million. 

The urgent agenda therefore for this government is normalization in the minimum and a better normal for the maximum.

Again, the railroaded terror bill will never suit  any of the strategy for the minimum and maximum agenda of restoring lost wages and creating more jobs, universal social protection, and most importantly, participation in crafting a new economic paradigm as normalization will simply bring the workers back to the endo nation.

Ang kailangan ng manggagawa ay tulong hindi kulong; union hindi represyon; regular na trabaho hindi endo; ayuda hindi diktadura.

05 June 2020

Thursday, June 4, 2020

Terror bill bumps off economic stimulus as a priority of Duterte administration – labor group


Yesterday’s railroading in Congress of the anti-terrorism bill ahead of stimulus packages pending before it is the latest manifestation of the Duterte administration’s misplaced priorities. It clearly showed that its hunger for extrajudicial authoritarian powers have become more urgent in this time of pandemic than its resolve to organize a massive recovery plan in preventing the economy and our people from sliding further into a deep recession and extreme poverty.

In short, the Duterte government is more inclined to becoming a reckless dictator during this period rather than a sensible marshal of a better normal.

In the Senate where the original Senate Bill 1083 (terror bill) came from, a measly P140B stimulus package was approved on second reading yesterday. This amount is way, way below the needed stimulus to shape new economic pathways and in shielding our workers from losing their jobs and incomes. The House has a P1.3T stimulus proposal, but it has come to our knowledge that the administration will never approve a stimulus package higher than P130B. Now we already have a preview of where this country is heading to.

Then why did a terror bill that has gotten out of the store was picked quickly by Congress like an instant noodle? There is no terrorist menace surrounding our country right now to press a panic button. What we have is chronic poverty made worse by the pandemic and the widespread sense of helplessness at home, in the streets, and in workplaces.

Moreover, the Filipino people have never demanded a terror bill as a solution to their plight. And under the present condition, their main concerns remain to be #AyudangSapatParaSaLahat and #BalikTrabahongLigtas, and of course a clear road map for a better normal.

In short, only those who are in power are interested in gaining more power that is totally useless in the war against the pandemic and the deepening economic crisis.

04 June 2020