Thursday, April 29, 2010

All set for May 1 protest despite change in Labor Day observance

Press Release
April 29, 2010


The labor party-list Partido ng Manggagawa (PM) announced that mass actions will push through on May 1 despite an executive order from Malacanang declaring instead May 3 as a non-working holiday. “All systems are go for the motorcade of 500 motorcycles with the theme ‘Sakbayan para sa Trabahong Regular at Dagdag Sahod.’ Labor Day is celebrated all over the world on May 1 and no order from Malacanang can change that,” asserted Renato Magtubo, PM chairperson.

“Divide and rule tactics not holiday economics are the real motive for shifting the observance of Labor Day to May 3 instead of May 1. Gloria Arroyo wants to split the labor movement and sabotage the militant protests planned for May 1. We call on the different labor federations and centers to continue with their May 1st activities. The labor unity rally at Mendiola will push through,” Magtubo insisted. He clarified that PM-affiliated labor unions are already negotiating with their respective companies so they can join the May 1 protests.

The group said that the May 1 motorcade will converge by 7:00 a.m. at the PAL In Flight Center along Airport Road in Paranaque to highlight the massive layoff of 3,000 Philippine Airlines workers. A short program will be held in which Gerry Rivera, PAL Employees Association president and PM vice-chairperson will be the main speaker. The motorcade will then proceed to Mendiola for a joint program with other labor groups by 10:00 a.m.

PM had already secured a permit from the Manila City Hall for a rally in Mendiola from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon on May 1. Two PM leaders attended a dialogue with police officials last April 23 and coordinated with the authorities the traffic issues concerning the May 1 motorcade. Representatives of PM are also negotiating with aviation security for the protest near the Centennial Terminal of the airport from which PAL operates.

Magtubo explained that the demand for a wage hike and regular jobs will be the focus of the Labor Day protests. He elaborated that “Malacanang’s announcement that no wage hike is forthcoming on Labor Day shows this regime’s anti-labor character up to the bitter end of its term. Moreover the retrenchment at PAL and others such as the dismissal of 450 workers at the Dyna Image electronics factory in the Cavite export zone expose the reality about the jobs situation. Such mass layoffs more or less cancel out the 18,000 new jobs that government boasts will be created in the Labor Day job fairs in Metro Manila. One thread connects the mass layoffs and job fairs—they are just two faces of contractualization. Regular jobs are being destroyed and replaced by contractual work in which wages are cheaper, benefits are fewer and security of tenure is abolished.”

The motorcade will have participants coming from riders clubs from Calabarzon and motorcycle-riding unionists from PAL, Marikina and Valenzuela. PM will also lead May 1 rallies in Cebu City, Bacolod City, Iloilo City, Iligan City and Davao City.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Days before Labor Day: Workers unrest over layoffs erupts

Press Release
April 27, 2010


A few days before Labor Day, workers unrest over mass layoffs and labor contractualization is erupting from export zones to the airport. More than 200 laid off workers of an electronics firm in Cavite were joined by the labor party-list Partido ng Manggagawa (PM) in a protest today at the office of the National Conciliation and Mediation Board in Imus, Cavite. Yesterday the workers of Dyna Image Corp. Phils. walked out of their factory and marched to the gates of the Cavite Economic zone in protest at management’s attempt to force employees to sign separation papers.

Meanwhile the Philippine Airlines Employees Association (PALEA) is planning another protest this Friday against the dismissal of some 3,000 workers by the end of May and the spinoff of airport services, inflight catering and call center work. Last week PALEA launched two motorcades around PAL offices in the airport area in which more than a hundred motorcycles and vehicles participated.

The Dyna Image workers protest coincided with a preventive mediation hearing called by the NCMB at 2:00 pm today. The newly-formed Samahan ng Manggagawa sa Dyna Image Corp. Phils. filed last week complaints of illegal retrenchment and harassment. “We do not believe the company’s claims of the financial losses due to the economic crisis since production is in full blast and workers are doing overtime work,” insisted Virgielita Morite, president of the Dyna Image union.

In the protest at the NCMB-Cavite today, workers held placards that read “DOLE: Stop the layoffs,” “Layoffs should be the last not the first option” and “No to contractualization.” Dennis Sequena, a leader of PM-Cavite, said that “Workers suspect that Dyna Image will just replace regular workers with contractuals whose wages will be cheaper, receive fewer benefits and have no security of tenure. Why are workers the first to bear the burden of the economic crisis when we are the last to benefit during the period of boom?”

Gerry Rivera, president of PALEA and vice-chairperson of PM, argued that “PAL is propagating the myth that the jobs to be spun off are non-core units. But how can an airline function without ground crew that handles ticketing reservations, inflight catering and airport services? These are jobs that are essential to PAL’s smooth and safe operation. Management is juggling words as an alibi for contractualization.”

The Dyna Image union and PALEA will participate in the PM-led Labor Day protest on May 1. More than a thousand workers riding some 500 motorcycles will take part in a “Sakbayan Para sa Dagdag Sahod at Trabahong Regular.” The motorcade will be led by riders clubs in Cavite, Laguna and Batangas whose membership are overwhelmingly workers.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Ilang araw bago ang Mayo Uno: Protesta laban sa tanggalan sumisiklab

Press Release
April 26, 2010


Ilang araw bago ang Araw ng Manggagawa sa Sabado ay sumisiklab ang mga protesta laban sa malawakang tanggalan at kontraktwalisasyon ng paggawa. Kaninang hapon ay nag-walkout ang mga manggagawa sa isang pabrika sa Cavite export zone bilang protesta sa pagtatanggal ng 450 empleyado, halos kalahati ng workforce. Nagmartsa ang mga manggagawa ng Dyna Image Corp. Phils., isang electronics firm na pag-aari ng mga dayuhang Intsik, mula sa kanilang pabrika at nagprograma sa gate ng Cavite Economic Zone sa bayan ng Rosario, Cavite.

Bukas ay magpoprotesta uli sila bukas kasabay ng hearing sa reklamong iligal na tanggalan at harrasment. Lagpas 200 miyembro ng Samahan ng Manggagawa sa Dyna Image Corp. Phils. at ng party-list na Partido ng Manggagawa ang magtitipon bukas ng alas dos ng hapon sa opisina ng National Conciliation and Mediation Board sa Imus, Cavite.

Bukod sa protesta sa Dyna Image ay dalawang beses nang naglunsad ng motorcade nitong nakaraang linggo ang mga empleyado ng Philippine Airlines. Sa katapusan ng Mayo naman tatanggalin ang 3,000 empleyado ng PAL, halos kalahati din ng workforce.

Iginiit ni Dennis Sequena, lider ng Partido ng Manggagawa sa Cavite, dapat ay maghanap muna ng ibang paraan bago magsibak ng mga manggagawa sang-ayon sa patakaran ng Department of Labor and Employment. Suspetsa naman ni Virgie Morite, pangulo ng unyon sa Dyna Image, papalitan lang ang mga regular na manggagawa ng mga kontraktwal na barat ang sweldo, kulang ang benepisyo at walang seguridad sa trabaho.

Lalahok ang mga unyon ng Dyna Image at PAL sa protestang pangungunahan ng Partido ng Manggagawa sa darating na Araw ng Manggagawa. Mga isang libong manggagawa na sakay ng lagpas 500 motorsiklo ang bubuo sa “Sakbayan Para sa Dagdag Sahod at Trabahong Regular” na ilulunsad sa Mayo Uno.

Cavite export zone workers walkout of factory in protest at layoffs

Press Release
April 26, 2010


More than a hundred workers of an electronics firm walked out of their factory before noon today and marched to gates of the Cavite Economic Zone in Rosario, Cavite in protest at mass layoffs. Workers for the morning shift of the Dyna Image Corp. Phils., an export firm owned by Chinese foreigners, who were supposed to be retrenched on May 10, were suddenly called management to a meeting around 10:00 am. Their cellphones were confiscated, then asked to sign quit claim forms and receive separation pay on the spot.

“This was a desperate move by management to avert their responsibilities for the illegal retrenchment and harassment of workers. Management is supposed to attend the preventive mediation hearing set for tomorrow. Instead they told the workers that the hearing tomorrow is cancelled in order to entice workers to accept the severance pay,” explained Virgielita Morite, president of the newly formed Samahan ng Manggagawa sa Dyna Image Corp. Phils.

Morite led workers who did not accept the separation pay in marching from the factory and they held a program at the gates of the export zone. Workers from the afternoon shift joined the protest at the export zone gates instead of reporting for work. Morite announced that hundreds of union members will accompany them in the 2:00 pm hearing tomorrow at National Conciliation and Mediation Board (NCMB)-Regional Adjudication Board IV in Imus, Cavite.

Dennis Sequena, a leader of the Partido ng Manggagawa in Cavite, questioned the presence of a Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) official during the meeting called by management. He asserted that “Why is Edwin Hernandez of the DOLE-Region IV telling workers that the company is terminating workers because it is facing difficulties. The job of the DOLE officers is to protect workers not be management’s spokesperson.”

“If the company is suffering difficulties, why is production in full blast and workers required to do overtime work,” Morite questioned. The mass layoff of 450 workers, about half of the total workforce of 933, pushed the workers employees to form a union and file a case with the NCMB for preventive mediation.

The Dyna Image union will participate in the Partido ng Manggagawa’s Labor Day protest on May 1. More than a thousand workers riding some 500 motorcycles will take part in a “Sakbayan Para sa Dagdag Sahod at Trabahong Regular.” The motorcade will be led by riders clubs in Cavite, Laguna and Batangas whose membership are overwhelmingly workers.

Friday, April 23, 2010

PAL union holds new protest vs. mass layoff of 3,000 workers

Press Release
April 23, 2010


Philippine Airlines employees will hold a new motorcade today against the planned layoff of an estimated 3,000 employees by May 31. The motorcade will start at 10:30 a.m. at the Department of Labor and Employment office in Intramuros then proceed to the PAL Center at the PNB Compound along Diosdado Macapagal Ave., then move on to the PAL In Flight Center along Airport Road and then end at the Nichols terminal.

“The fight against mass layoffs in PAL continues,” declared Gerry Rivera, president of the PAL Employees Association (PALEA) and vice-chairperson of Partido ng Manggagawa (PM). The protests started last Monday with more than 200 employees participating in a motorcade of 100 motorcycles and cars.

“PAL is propagating the myth that the jobs to be spun off are non-core units. But how can passenger airlines function without ground crew that handles ticketing reservations, cargo handling and in flight catering? These are jobs that are essential to PAL’s smooth and safe operation, or in the language of the labor code, work that is necessary and desirable to the principal business of the company,” Rivera insisted.

The party-list PM expressed support to the struggle of PAL workers. “The fight of PAL employees is the fight of Filipino workers. Contractualization is a scourge that is ravaging the lives of workers and their families,” stated Renato Magtubo, PM chairperson.

Rivera added that “PAL is juggling words as an alibi for contractualization. If Lucio Tan is indeed losing money in PAL, he can just close it down. But instead he will just layoff regular workers and replace us with contractual workers with lower wages, less benefits and no security of tenure. No wonder Lucio Tan is one of the richest Filipinos.”

PM is calling on the labor movement to close ranks and launch solidarity with the fight of PAL employees. “The protests against spinoff will continue until Labor Day on May 1. The twin themes of the coming Labor Day commemoration are the demand for regular jobs and wage hike,” Magtubo explained.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Panibagong protesta kontra tanggalan ng 3,000 empleyado ng PAL

Press Release
April 22, 2010


Maglulunsad bukas ng isang panibagong motorcade ang mga empleyado ng Philippine Airlines kontra sa planong tanggalan ng 3,000 manggagawa. Ang motorcade ay magsisimula ng 10:30 n.u. sa Department of Labor and Employment sa Intramuros tapos tutungo sa PAL Center sa PNB Compound sa Diosdado Macapagal Ave., pupunta sa PAL In Flight Center sa Airport Road at magtatapos sa Nichols terminal.

“Tuloy ang laban sa malawakang tanggalan sa PAL,” paliwanag ni Gerry Rivera, bagong halal na pangulo ng PAL Employees Association at vice-chairperson ng Partido ng Manggagawa. Nagsimula ang protesta laban sa tanggalan sa isang motorcade noong Lunes na nilahukan ng lagpas lagpas 200 tao na sakay ng 100 motorsiklo at kotse.

“Ang layunin ng spinoff ay ibigay ang trabaho sa ibang kompanya na pag-aari pa rin ni Lucio Tan pero ang mga manggagawa ay hindi unyonisado kung kaya’t mas barat ang sweldo, kapos ang benepisyo at walang seguridad ang trabaho. Tatanggalin ang mga regular na manggagawa at papalitan sila ng mga empleyadong kontraktwal. Nangyari na ito dati nang ilipat ang ibang linya ng PAL sa Lufthansa Technik at Macro Asia kung saan stockholder si Lucio Tan,” iginiit ni Rivera.

Sinusuportahan ng party-list na Partido ng Manggagawa ang ipinaglalaban ng unyon ng PAL. “Ang laban ng mga empleyado ng PAL ay laban ng lahat ng manggagawang Pilipino. Ang kontraktwalisasyon ay isang virus na pumepesta sa kabuhayan ng mga manggagawa at kanilang pamilya,” pahayag ni Renato Magtubo, tagapangulo ng Partido ng Manggagawa.

Nananawagan ang Partido ng Manggagawa sa kilusang paggawa na magkaisa at makiisa sa laban ng mga empleyado ng PAL. “Magtutuloy ang mga pagkilos hanggang sa Araw ng Paggawa sa Mayo Uno. Ang kahilingan ng mga manggagawa sa Mayo Uno ay regular na trabaho at umento sa sweldo,” ani Magtubo.

Workers slam midnight appointment of GMA manicurist to Pag-IBIG board

Press Release
April 22, 2010


The labor party-list Partido ng Manggagawa (PM) slammed President Gloria Arroyo’s appointment of her personal manicurist, a certain Anita Carpon, as government employees’ representative to the Board of Trustees of the Pag-IBIG Fund. “This is another controversial midnight appointment and an example of GMA planting loyal people to key positions in government as she vacates MalacaƱang,” declared Renato Magtubo, PM chairperson.

Magtubo explained that “We do not criticize Carpon’s appointment because she is a lowly manicurist. Even an ordinary worker deserves to sit in important posts in government such as administering the state housing fund. But we doubt Carpon will represent the interests of public sector workers because she owes a debt of gratitude to GMA and because of their personal relation.” Magtubo was a congressman for 12 years while remaining a factory worker in the Fortune Tobacco plant in Marikina.

PM called on public sector labor groups to name government workers who they believe deserve to be state employees’ representative in the Pag-IBIG board. “Is there no one among a million government employees who can represent their interests in Pag-IBIG but does have a personal relation with GMA? It is not difficult to believe that Carpon will just be used by GMA so she can dip her hand in the P200 billion fund of workers in the private and public sector,” Magtubo asked.

PM is advocating that government employees’ representative in the Pag-IBIG board come from a short list of names recommended by public sector workers organizations. “Similar to the process of selecting the Chief Justice from those recommended by the Judicial and Bar Council, the government employees’ representative in Pag-IBIG must also come from nominees of state workers groups,” Magtubo asserted.

He said that “Should we be asked to recommend, we know of several public sector labor leaders with unblemished records who can serve as watchdog in the Pag-IBIG board.” As an organization of workers who are members of Pag-IBIG, PM announced that the group is open to participating in such a transparent and accountable process.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Mga manggagawa binatikos ang paghirang sa manikurista ni GMA sa Pag-IBIG board

Press Release
April 21, 2010


Binatikos ng party-list na Partido ng Manggagawa ang paghirang kay Anita Carpon, ang personal na manikurista ni Pangulong Gloria Arroyo, bilang government employees representative sa Board of Trustees ng Pag-IBIG Fund. “Isa na naman itong kontrobersyal na midnight appointment at ehemplo ng pagtatanim ni GMA ng kanyang mga tao sa susing posisyon sa pamahalaan bago niya lisanin ang Malacanang,” ani Renato Magtubo, ang tagapangulo ng Partido ng Manggagawa.

Paliwanag ni Magtubo, “Hindi kami tutol kay Carpon dahil siya ay abang manikurista. Kahit isang simpleng tao ay may kakayahang umupo sa importanteng posisyon sa gobyerno gaya ng pamamahala sa housing fund ng mga manggagawa. Pero duda kaming kakatawanin ni Carpon ang interes ng mga manggagawa sa gobyerno dahil sa utang na loob at personal na relasyon niya kay GMA.” Si Magtubo ay naging 12 taon na kongresista habang siya ay isang manggagawa sa pabrika ng Fortune Tobacco sa Marikina.

“Sa humigit-kumulang isang milyong empleyado ng gobyerno, wala na bang may kakayahang kumatawan sa kanilang kapakanan sa board ng Pag-IBIG nang walang personal na relasyon kay GMA? Hindi mahirap isipin na gagamitin lang ni GMA si Carpon para pakialaman ang halos P200 bilyong pondo ng mga manggagawang pampribado at pampubliko,” giit ni Magtubo.

Sa pananaw ng Partido ng Manggagawa, mas tamang magmula ang government employees representative sa Pag-IBIG board mula sa mga rekomendado ng mga organisasyon ng manggagawa sa pamahalaan. “Kung paanong may prosesong inirerekomenda ng JBC ang bagong Chief Justice, dapat may kahalintulad na nominasyon mula sa mga samahan ng government workers,” pahayag ni Magtubo. Bilang isang organisasyon ng mga manggagawa na miyembro ng Pag-IBIG, bukas ang Partido ng Manggagawa na lumahok sa ganitong proseso.

Mass layoff sparks labor unrest in Cavite export zone

Press Release
April 21, 2010


A planned mass layoff of 450 workers, about half of the total workforce of a factory in the Cavite Economic Zone, has pushed its employees to form a union and file a case with the Labor Department. Workers of Dyna Image Corp. Phils., an electronics export firm owned by Chinese foreigners, trooped yesterday afternoon to the National Conciliation and Mediation Board-RAB IV in Imus, Cavite to file for preventive mediation of cases of illegal retrenchment and harassment.

Dyna Image will layoff the workers by May 10 and is offering them 13 days per year of service in separation pay. The company declared that the dismissal is to prevent losses due to the financial crisis. “But if the company is suffering difficulties, why is production in full blast and workers required to do overtime work,” questioned Virgielita Morite, president of the newly certified Samahan ng Manggagawa sa Dyna Image Corp. Phils.

Out of 933 total workers, 229 are already members of the union and more are signing up according to Morite. She alleges that management forced workers to sign papers giving consent to the termination. Morite added that “The fact that workers organized a union show that they do not agree to the layoff and we suspect that management will just replace regular workers with contractual agency workers.”

Raquel Monzon, president of the Rosario Workers Association, a DOLE-certified workers organization for mutual benefit and protection, argued that “The Dyna Image case is no different from the PAL spinoff that will lead to the layoff of 3,000 workers by May 31. By replacing regular with contractual workers, capitalists increase their profits by cutting labor costs. Why should workers be the first to bear the burden of the global crisis when we are the last to benefit during the period of boom?”

The labor party-list Partido ng Manggagawa (PM) chapter in Cavite is also supporting the Dyna Image workers. Dennis Sequena, a PM-Cavite leader, said that “It is ironic that on election day hundreds of Cavite workers will lose their jobs but all we hear from presidentiables are motherhood statements on poverty but no concrete jobs policy. Contractualization is a national issue that deserves attention. Thus among the ‘Apat na Dapat’ platform of PM is the protection and promotion of regular jobs.”

The Dyna Image union will participate in the coming Labor Day protest on May 1. Some 500 motorcycles will take part in a “Sakbayan Para sa Dagdag Sahod at Trabahong Regular” to be led by riders clubs whose membership are overwhelmingly workers.

The Dyna Image workers are still awaiting a date for the hearing of their preventive mediation case that is docketed as Case No. 04004-10. The factory produces parts for cellphone cameras.

Monday, April 19, 2010

PAL union hold motorcade vs. planned layoff of 3,000 employees

Press Release
April 19, 2010


Philippine Airlines (PAL) employees held a motorcade today in protest at a massive retrenchment to be implemented on May 31. An estimated 3,000 employees, more than half of the total PAL workforce, will be laid off due to the closure of the in flight catering services, airport services (which includes ground, cargo and ramp handling) and call center reservations including all support units.

The motorcade of some 40 cars and motorcycles started around 11:30 am at the PAL Center located at the PNB Compound along the Diosdado Macapagal Ave. in Pasay City. The motorcade moved on to Nichols airport terminal then onto the PAL In Flight Center (IFC) along Airport Road in Paranaque and finally ended at the Terminal 3 of the airport.

Gerry Rivera, newly elected president of the PAL Employees Association (PALEA) and vice-chairperson of the party-list Partido ng Manggagawa (PM), said that “Spinoff aims to outsource work to companies also owned by Lucio Tan where workers will be non-union and thus receive cheaper wages, fewer benefits and have no security of tenure. Regular workers will be retired and then rehired as contractuals. This has happened before when work was spun off to Lufthansa Technik and Macro Asia, in which Lucio Tan both had major interests. Employees retrenched from PAL because of the spinoff were employed by Macro Asia and Lufthansa Technik on new contracts.”

Renato Magtubo, PM chairperson, meanwhile expressed support to the struggle of the PAL workers. He asserted that “We challenge the presidentiables to state their position on the scourge of contractualization and their platform on job generation. The workers are not satisfied with motherhood statements but want to hear concrete programs.”

Rivera explained that the motorcade is only the opening salvo in the fight against massive layoff in PAL. Plans to spinoff the same departments last year were stopped by protests by PAL workers led by Rivera. He insisted that “Spinoff is not a solution to company losses but a scheme to contractualize labor and raise more profit not from better efficiency of work but from greater exploitation of workers.”

PALEA was furnished a memo by PAL President and CEO Jaime Bautista dated April 16 which announced the planned layoff. Before the motorcade, the PALEA protesters attended at hearing at the DOLE-NCR for an interpleader filed by PAL management. The PAL union is alleging that an election protest filed by losing candidates in union elections held last February is part of the scheme to weaken PALEA in the face of the fight against spinoff and layoff.

Workers slam employers’ opposition to P75 wage hike

Press Release
April 19, 2010


The labor party-list Partido ng Manggagawa (PM) denounced the employers’ opposition to the P75 wage hike in a hearing called today by the NCR wage board. PM members picketed the hearing at the Occupational Health and Safety Center in Quezon City at 1:00 pm today and called the employers’ arguments as “black propaganda and blackmail.”

Renato Magtubo, PM chairperson, stated that “A salary increase is again being rejected as inimical to the economy on grounds that it will lead to a spiral in prices, the bankruptcy of companies and a host of other horror stories.”

The hearing today is already the second in a series being called by the wage board in Metro Manila. In the first hearing last April 8 that was attended by the labor sector, PM expressed support for the P75 wage petition. In a position paper read at the hearing, Magtubo argued that “The threat of bankruptcies due to the wage increase is all lies. The truth is that capitalists just don’t want their profits decreased.”

The group revealed that the protest today is the start of mass actions in preparation for a massive motorcade on May 1. More than 500 motorcycles will take part in a “Sakbayan Para sa Dagdag Sahod at Trabahong Regular” to be led by riders clubs whose membership are overwhelmingly workers.

Magtubo insisted that “The employers are engaging in black propaganda and blackmail. Why should we be afraid of additional money circulating in the economy due to a wage hike when billions of dollars in remittances entering the country is always applauded?”

He added that “If the stronger purchasing power of OFW families is a positive factor in the economy then should not the same thing hold for more money in the hands of workers which we will use to buy the necessities of life? A wage hike will be good for the workers and will also be beneficial to the economy because it will spur the production of more goods and provision of more services.”

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Independent congressional candidate decry double standard and harassment

Press Release
April 13, 2010


Supporters of an independent running for the congressional seat of the first district of Cavite held a picket at the Comelec office in Kawit, Cavite over alleged double standard in removing campaign materials. A hundred members of the labor party-list Partido ng Manggagawa (PM) trooped to the new Kawit municipal hall at 10 am today for the protest while their leaders engaged in a dialogue with Comelec officials.

Adel Dinero, a PM leader who is running for the first congressional district of Cavite, led the protesters. He asserted that “We do not mind the operasyon baklas of the Comelec if they implement it fairly. But why are my campaign materials and tarpaulins of PM being removed while those of other candidates and party-lists remain?”

Dinero is a 33-year old political neophyte who is competing against established names such as Cavite City Mayor Totie Paredes and incumbent Rep. Jun Abaya. Dinero is an incumbent barangay kagawad of Aplaya, Kawit, and a community leader as president of Boracay Silangan Endeavor Neighborhood Association Inc. and general-secretary of Nagkakaisang Mamamayan ng Kawit, a federation of urban poor groups.

Joy Aguilar, a leader of PM in Cavite, declared that “The Comelec in Kawit is patently guilty of double standard. This is happening at the same time as several of our grassroots leaders are being harassed.”

In the past several days, Comelec personnel together with police men have been removing campaign materials of Dinero in the towns of Kawit, Cavite City, Noveleta and Rosario which comprise the first congressional district of Cavite.

Aguilar announced that the picket is only the start of larger protests that PM will lead if Comelec officials in Kawit cannot satisfactorily explain what she claimed as a “double standard in operasyon baklas.” She contended that the harassment is happening as Dinero’s independent campaign is gaining ground on a platform of change and empowerment.

Dinero explained that “I want to be voice of the youth, the workers and the poor of Cavite who are tired of the dominance and evils of patronage politics in the first district.” Aside from Dinero, another PM leader is running for a local position in the area, Nena Olvina for councilor of Rosario. The first district of Cavite is considered as the stronghold of PM in Cavite. Meanwhile PM is participating in the party-list elections on a platform of “Apat na Dapat.” These are the four working class demands for regular jobs, a living wage, affordable housing and universal healthcare coverage.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Labor party-list dares Mikey Arroyo to face security guards in forum

Press Release
April 12, 2010


The labor party-list Partido ng Manggagawa (PM) dared Rep. Mikey Arroyo who is running as a party-list nominee to attend the forum being organized by a group of security guards. “Since Mikey claims to be the party-list representative of security guards, there is no reason for him not to face his alleged constituents, present his electoral platform and defend his track record, of which we have not heard of yet,” asserted Renato Magtubo, PM chairperson.

A group of security guards led by Pilo Rosete, a licensed guard with more than 15 years of experience, announced yesterday that they plan to invite Arroyo to participate in a forum they are organizing. Rosete said that security guards want to hear Arroyo’s position on the concerns and grievances of their sector. He also declared that they will invite Magtubo and ex-General Danny Lim to the forum so they can faceoff with Arroyo on various issues of interest to security guards.

Magtubo confirmed that he will attend the security guards forum. He added that “It would be interesting to debate with Mikey about his allegations that he is the voice of the security guards as a marginalized group. If Mikey does not honor the invitation of the security guards then it can only because he does wish to be exposed as a fake.”

Rosete stated that they were surprised by the existence of Arroyo’s party-list group of security guards and they were ignorant of the latter’s qualifications as a nominee. “The forum will be an opportunity for my fellow security guards to ask questions of Mikey Arroyo. We will ask him about his stance on the long hours of work, the low wages and the lack of security of tenure of many security guards. We want to hear what laws he will enact to protect the rights and welfare of security guards. We wish to know if he will push for the organizing of security guards into associations so we can defend our economic and social interests,” Rosete clarified.

Magtubo insisted that security guards are a sub-sector of the working class and that “PM has acted as the political party of workers, including security guards, inside Congress and the parliament of the streets. PM’s platform of ‘Apat na Dapat’ responds to the most important grievances of security guards. The ‘Apat na Dapat’ means regular jobs, a living wage, affordable housing and healthcare coverage for all workers, which incidentally are also the demands of security guards.”

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Security guards challenge Mikey Arroyo on platform and track record

Press Release
April 11, 2010


A group of security guards is planning to invite Rep. Mikey Arroyo to a forum and are challenging him to present his electoral platform and track record. Pilo Rosete, a licensed security guard with more than 15 years of work experience in the field, said that “We wish to hear what Mikey Arroyo can say as a supposed advocate of security guards. And we want him to face-off with Renato Magtubo of Partido ng Manggagawa and ex-General Danny Lim who we know have both an electoral platform and track record of advocacy for security guards.”

Meanwhile Magtubo, Partido ng Manggagawa (PM) chairperson, accepted the proposal to meet Arroyo in a forum to be organized by security guards. “We accept the challenge to a debate with Mikey. The security guards as a subsector of the working class with their own workplace grievances surely deserve to have representatives in Congress who share their concerns and not impostors just out to use them.”

Rosete explained that they are already organizing the security guards forum although they have not firmed up details such as date and venue. He asked for the help of the media in informing Arroyo of the forum but they plan to send a formal invitation once the details of the forum are finalized. They have already sent feelers to Magtubo and Lim about the planned forum.

He said that security guards are very much concerned about the issue of Arroyo’s party-list bid as a supposed representative of their sector. “We know that Mikey has never experienced the grueling 12-hour shifts that we normally do and surviving on minimum wages. We have also learned that he did not file any document proving a track record of advocacy for security guards. Moreover no security guard I have met has any knowledge of Mikey’s group Ang Galing Pinoy. Our work as security guards usually involve protecting property from being stolen by thieves thus we also do not want our voice to be robbed by frauds.”

Rosete also clarified that the organizing committee for the forum is not a formal group but just an adhoc caucus of employed security guards and some recently laidoff. He elaborated that the freedom to organize is actually one of the major issues of security guards since many attempts to unionize guards in order to protect their rights and welfare have met fierce opposition from security agencies.

“Our group remains an adhoc caucus but our vision is to form an association of security guards for mutual aid and protection. Many of the owners of security agencies are former generals and officers in the armed forces with connections among influential people thus it is easy enough to intimate union organizers. Probably Mikey’s only tenuous connection with security guards is his friendship with our employers, owners of security agencies, who are in no way a marginalized sector,” Rosete argued.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Labor party-list calls for abolition of wage boards in wage hike hearing

Press Release
April 8, 2010


Leaders of the labor party-list Partido ng Manggagawa (PM) participated in the hearing called by the NCR wage board this afternoon at the Occupational Health and Safety Center in Quezon City to discuss the petition for a P75 wage hike for Metro Manila workers. In a position paper read at the hearing attended by labor representatives, Renato Magtubo, PM chairperson, supported the demand for a wage hike but called for the abolition of the wage boards.

“The yawning disparity between the minimum wage and the cost of living is the clearest expression of a system failure. It is time to fight for a change in the law when the new Congress opens,” Magtubo asserted. The party-list group is advocating for the replacement of the regional wage boards by a “National Wage Commission with the mandate to fix wages based on the single criterion of cost of living.”

Magtubo was accompanied in the hearing by several militant union leaders. The group revealed that their participation in the wage hearings is in preparation for escalating the wage hike demand in the coming Labor Day commemoration. A massive motorcade of more than 500 motorcycles will be the key event of May 1 activity.

They emphasized that “the labor movement stands as one body and speaks with one voice in favor of a wage hike.” Magtubo added that “Today militant workers join the rest of its brothers and sisters in the labor movement in calling for a wage increase.”

He argued however that “Tomorrow when the NCR wage board decides not to grant the P75 wage petition, the labor movement must again close ranks to demand a change in the wage fixing law.” PM announced that they will push in the next Congress for the repeal of Republic Act 6727 or the Wage Rationalization Act.

Magtubo decried that “The arguments against a wage hike are just black propaganda and blackmail. Why should we be afraid of additional money circulating in the economy due to a wage hike when billions of dollars in remittances entering the country is always applauded?”

In his presentation, he also criticized the “double standard of the wage fixing system.” He said that “Why is it that the prices of the goods and services bought by workers are not tempered by the capacity to pay of the consumers? In comparison, wages do not have to take into account a ‘profit margin for workers,’ just the daily bread of the masses, the bare necessities of life. In other words the cost of living must be the sole criterion for wage fixing.”