Apr 30, 2014

Labor Coalition Nagkaisa Chides PNoy: Hindi Tuwid, Hindi Tama, Hindi Makatuwiran Kapag Pag-unlad ay Para sa Iilan Lamang!

May 1 rally

Labor coalition Nagkaisa chided President Benigno Simeon Aquino III
for continuing to dishonor workers on Labor day by failing to respond
to important issues raised by labor representatives during the
non-ceremonial pre-labor day dialogue in Malacanang the other day.

"President Aquino continues to ignore for four years the issues which
we believe would help impact the plight of the working people. Workers
are feeling deprived of the benefits due them despite of their great
contribution to improving economy," the Nagkaisa said in a statement.

"Since assuming presidency in 2010, Mr. Aquino is always being
remembered by workers in every Labor day memorial as a leader who has
abandoned and failed them at the critical moment when they needed his
leadership in view of growing joblessness, rising cost of living,
rampant and unfettered precarious work arrangement, high cost of
electricity rate and by conceding social protection services to greedy
capitalists," they added.

"Hindi tuwid, hindi tama, hindi makatuwiran kung pag-unlad ay para sa
iilan lamang (it is not straight, it is not right, it is unjust if
growth is shared only by a few)," the group stressed as they plan to
muster 30,000 of their members march from Welcome Rotonda to Mendiola
in today's Labor day commemoration. The group will assemble along
Espana at around 8a.m.

Aside from chastising Aquino, labor groups belonging to Nagkaisa also
lambasted Energy (DOE) Secretary Jericho Petilla and (BIR) Bureau of
Internal Revenue Commissioner Kim Henares for failing to offer
government solutions to pressing long-standing workers' issues raised
by Nagkaisa (United) during the yearly Labor day dialogue with
President Benigno Simeon Aquino III held the other day.

The group also tagged the duo as "the weak link that help makes Aquino
appear out-of-touch, out-of-tune and widely disconnected with workers'
issues raised by Nagkaisa in the past four years."

"Out of the several cabinet secretaries who responded to the issues
that Nagkaisa raised, it was Ms. Henares and Mr. Petilla who appears
to be badly serving the president by refusing to offer solutions to
the high cost of electricity and tax issues as a way and means of
non-wage economic relief to workers in view of not benefitting from
despite of significant contribution to make the economy performed
excellently in the past years," the Nagkaisa said in a statement.

During the span of the two-year Nagkaisa dialogue with the executive
government, the alliance have demanded for Henares to provide tax
breaks to workers by way of taxing only the incremental amount of the
negotiated minimum wage of regular workers and expand the tax exempt
de minimis fringe benefits enjoyed by employees from their employers
as performance incentive.

"It is clear to us that Ms. Henares wants to meet her revenue quota by
making workers bleed in the sand, clearly ignoring the fact that these
workers are the backbone of the economy and were responsible for high
economic growth that she, the employers, and this administration are
flaunting about," the group said.

On the issue of the high cost of electricity, Nagkaisa have demanded
that to make the country attractive to investors that creates jobs a
Presidential Commission on Power must be created immediately.

"We proffered that the Commission to be made up of a national
multi-sectoral and multi-agency actors who will craft a 24-month
national strategy response that will craft a 24-month roadmap aimed at
lowering the cost and ensuring sufficiency of energy supply. That way,
a reduced electricity cost will make workers spend more on their food
and basic necessities at the same time invite foreign and local
investors put up more shops, offices and factories creating jobs for
the millions unemployed," the alliance said.

"However, it was clear to all that Mr. Petilla downgraded the proposal
to just create a task force under the auspices of the Department of
Energy (DOE) rather than a presidential commission is a signal that he
wants the Filipino people to be continued hostage by the monopsony of
a few powerful elites that controls the entire energy sector. Nagkaisa
condemns his arrogance and we will continue to hold him into account.
Nagkaisa will insist on the establishment of a commission."

On the issue of contractualization otherwise known as "555" or "endo",
a precarious scheme of employment arrangement, as the most important
issue that Nagkaisa raised in the dialogue, the group welcomed
Aquino's announcing his middle-ground response to this issue on May

Aside from eliminating contractualization scheme, lowering electricity
rates and providing tax breaks to workers, Nagkaisa welcomes the
response of Trade and industry Secretary Gregory Domingo, Justice
Secretary Leila De Lima, Yolanda Rehab and Reconstruction czar
Secretary Panfilo Lacson for acceding to Nagkaisa demand for labor
sector to be included in the crafting of a jobs-led agro-industrial
plan, monitoring and evaluation of the prosecution of extra-judicial
killings of union organizers and journalists, and inclusion of
Nagkaisa representatives in the formulation and implementation of
Yolanda-hit reconstruction and rehabilitation strategies.

Nagkaisa also welcomes the assurance of Aquino to immediately ratify
the ILO convention 151— a convention concerning protection of the
right to organize and procedures for determining conditions for
employment in government service.

The group also awaits Aquino's unequivocal policy statements in the
next dialogue on the issue of revision in the EPIRA law, providing
affordable in-city housing program, non-violent transfer of urban poor
communities in danger zones, appointment of a workers' sector
representative in the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC), and approve
into law the Freedom of Information bill.


Launched on April 2012, the Nagkaisa is the biggest alliance of labor
groups and workers organizations in modern history of trade union
movement in the country. It is composed by the Alliance of Free
Workers (AFW) , All Filipino Workers Confederation (AFWC), Automobile
Industry Workers Alliance (AIWA), Alab Katipunan, Association of
Genuine Labor Organizations (AGLO), Associated Labor Unions (ALU),
Associated Labor Unions- Association of Professional Supervisory
Officers Technical Employees Union (ALU-APSOTEU), ALU-Metal,
Associated Labor Unions-Philippine Seafarers'Union (ALU-PSU),
ALU-Textile, ALU-Transport, Associated Labor Unions-Visayas Mindanao
Confederation of Trade Unions (ALU-VIMCOMTU), Alliance of Progressive
Labor (APL), Association of Trade Unions (ATU), Bukluran ng
Manggagawang Pilipino (BMP), Confederation of Independent Unions
(CIU), Confederation of Labor and Allied Social Services (CLASS),
Construction Workers Solidarity (CWS), Federation of Coca-Cola Unions
(FCCU), Federation of Free Workers (FFW), Kapisanan ng Maralitang
Obrero (KAMAO), Katipunan, Pambansang Kilusan sa Paggawa (KILUSAN),
Kapisanan ng mga Kawani sa Koreo sa Pilipinas (KKKP), Labor education
and Research Network (LEARN), League of Independent Bank
Organizations (LIBO), Manggagawa para sa Kalayaan ng Bayan
(MAKABAYAN), MARINO, National Association of Broadcast Unions (NABU),
National Federation of Labor Unions (NAFLU), National Mines and Allied
Workers Union (NAMAWU), National Association of Trade Unions (NATU),
National Confederation of Labor (NCL), National Confederation of
Transport Union (NCTU), National Union of Portworkers in the
Philippines (NUPP), National Union of Workers in Hotel, Restaurant and
Allied Industries (NUWHRAIN), Philippine Airlines Employees
Association (PALEA), Pepsi Cola Employees Union of the Philippines
(PEUP), Philippine Government Employees Association (PGEA),
Pinag-isang Tinig at Lakas ng Anakpawis (PIGLAS), Philippine
Integrated Industries Labor Union (PILLU), Philippine Independent
Public Sector Employees Association (PIPSEA), Partido Manggagawa (PM),
Philippine Metalworkers Alliance (PMA), Public Services Labor
Independent Confederation (PSLINK), Philippine Transport and General
Workers Organization (PTGWO), SALIGAN, Trade Union Congress of the
Philippines (TUCP), Workers Solidarity Network (WSN).

Apr 10, 2014

Nagkaisa Labor Groups' Labor Day Demands Are Now in Aquino's Hands

The eight workers' issues and non-wage benefits raised by labor group
coalition Nagkaisa since May 2012 are now in the hands of President
Aquino to act on following a last minute series of meetings with
members of his cabinet with the representatives of the group on

Final details of the issues were threshed out in meetings that took
place on April 8 with the secretaries of the Department of Labor and
Employment (DOLE), Department of Justice (DOJ), and Department of
Trade and Industry (DTI), and on the following day with the Department
of Energy (DOE), said Alan Tanjusay, spokesman of the Trade Union
Congress of the Philippines (TUCP).

"After more than 100 man hours of discussions with different
government staffs, undersecretaries and secretaries within the two
year period, we think it is more than fair enough to say that the ball
is in the hands of President Aquino. These issues are now on his
table," said Gerard Seno, executive vice president of the Associated
Labor Unions-TUCP and a convenor of Nagkaisa.

The issues that were finalized by the Nagkaisa and the cabinet level
are for government to (1) ensure security of tenure of workers by
eliminating contractualization scheme and deter extra-judicial killing
of union organizers and journalists, (2) provide exemption and
enhancement on minimum wage taxation, (3) institutionalize core labor
standards in the agro-industrial plan, (4) lowering of the cost of
electricity and protect consumers from the cartelization of power, (5)
provide affordable housing program and non-violent transfer of urban
poor communities from danger zones, (7) ratification of ILO Convention
151--a convention concerning protection of the right to organize and
procedures for determining conditions for employment in the government
service, and (8) ensure a jobs-led and workers' sector participation
in the planning and implementation of programs of the rehabilitation
and reconstruction of Yolanda-hit areas.

The group also expects Aquino to make an unequivocal commitment to his
promised regular dialogue with Nagkaisa on emergent issues affecting
the working class.

Labor groups in Nagkaisa were always dismayed at Aquino's alleged
disconnect with workers' issues raised by Nagkaisa every time he meets
with labor group representatives in the traditional labor day
breakfast since 2010 in Malacanang palace.

"If we want to emphasize how important these issues are to labor
groups in Nagkaisa, well, we have expended substantial amount of
unions' financial and manpower resources for these meetings to
enlighten executives the need for government to address these issues
that endangers Filipino workers and their families today. As
representatives of workers, we have done our part in transmitting
these concerns to the administration. We will now observe very closely
how the president will respond to these issues and how he treats the
working people on or before May 1 Labor day," said Frank Mero,
chairperson of Sentro.

However, the group emphasized Nagkaisa will proceed with their Labor
day activities regardless of Aquino's response.

"With or without President Aquino's imprimatur on these issues,
Nagkaisa labor groups will go on with our May 1 Labor day simultaneous
activities nationwide. President Aquino may chose or not chose to
favorably or unfavorably respond to some or to all issues we have
raised to his attention, he has that choice. But Nagkaisa will pursue
resolution of the issues at will whatever the cost and in any possible
way because these issues are legitimate and important for workers,"
added Wilson Fortaleza, spokesman of the Partido Manggagawa.

Aside from ALU, Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP), PM and
Sentro, there are 47 other member labor federation and workers'
organizations in Nagkaisa. It was established in April 2011, the other
members of Nagkaisa includes Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino (BMP),
Federation of Free Workers (FFW), Public Services Labor Independent
Confederation (PSLINK), Philippine Government Empoyees Association
(PGEA), Confederation of Independent Unions (CIU) and KAMAO.

Apr 7, 2014

TUCP Partylist opposes Interruptible Load Program

Says ALL, including business must bear burden in time of power shortage

Describing the Interruptible Load Program (ILP) as "the poor
subsidizing the very rich,'' the Trade Union Congress Party (TUCP
Partylist) expressed stiff opposition to the program that the
Department of Energy (DOE) will operationalize with Meralco once the
"red alert" level indicating a power supply deficit is reached this
summer season.

Under the ILP, large commercial and industrial corporations, including
malls, will run own generator sets to power up their energy needs for
their air-conditioning, lighting and operations as a solution to the
anticipated power shortage this summer. This will free-up some power
supply that Meralco can use to service the captive residential
households and small enterprises in its franchise area. Those running
their own generator sets - the most expensive power source - will then
pass through their fuel and maintenance costs to the Meralco

TUCP Partylist lamented that this is tantamount to a direct subsidy
from the mostly poor and middle-class customers of Meralco to the
participating industries like SM Malls and Robinson Malls owned by Sy
and Gokongwei, respectively.

"Why are Meralco residential customers going to be made to pay for
power they did not use and never consumed in their households? Why
will they be made to pay for the air-conditioning of the SM and
Robinson Malls? Anong pakialam natin kung patakbuhin nila o hindi ang
mga aircon nila? Kailan naging utang- na- loob natin sa SM o Robinsons
na kailangan tayo bilang Meralco customers ang singilin para sa
air-conditioning nila? (When did it become the obligation of the
captive Meralco residential customer to help ensure the already very
healthy profit margins of SM and Robinsons?)"

"This appears to be a wily scheme that will benefit most the big
shopping mall owners like Henry Sy of SM Group and John Gokongwei of
Robinsons Group who both holds controlling shares in the power
industry," said TUCP Partylist Representative Raymond Mendoza.

Henry Sy, Jr. is the owner of One Taipan which is a majority
shareholder in the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP)
that has monopoly in the transmission sector in the power industry in
the Philippines. John Gokongwei on the other hand now owns 48% shares
in Meralco that were previously held by Ramon Ang.

TUCP Executive Director Louie Corral warned that the dominant position
of the Sy, Gokongwei and Manny Pangilinan groups in the power industry
and their equally dominant role in the telecoms, real estate, retail
and hospital sectors make ILP rife with conflict-of-interest. "What is
DOE thinking? Even the Pangilinan-led TV 5 and Smart Communications
will qualify as an ILP participant. Consumers will be bled dry on all
fronts for a price-gouging Meralco and from all these ILP participants
pretending to do as a good deed."

"We remind all these oligarchs that capitalism without risk is not
part of the social contract. Why will Meralco residential customers
have to pay to ensure that SM and Robinson malls have electricity for
their customers to enjoy comfort while shopping? It is not a social
good. These companies light up their malls at their own cost in order
to bring in customers from whom they earn as what they've been doing
until this ILP - they run their generator sets in times of brownouts
without getting paid by other electricity consumers. But now that they
are also in the power business, they want to earn both ways? Ginawa na
si Juan de la Cruz na charitable organization ng Meralco at ng mga
malls. Ano sila, sinusuwerte?" Corral explained.

"We believe that in time of crisis, power crisis in this instance, ALL
must sacrifice and all must bear the burden. This means including the
big businesses, the commercial and industrial sector, not just the
poor, often disadvantaged residential consumers," added Rep. Mendoza.

TUCP Partylist slammed the scheme, questioning its legality as it has
not even gone through the due process of a public hearing at the
Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC). "As if Meralco and DOE has not
learned some lessons from its rate increase last December, and here it
is again implementing a scheme without consulting the public who will
shell out hard-earned money for power it is not directly consuming."

Corral also expressed apprehension as to why the DOE has even deigned
to look at the proposed ILP as solution to the power shortage, instead
of improving policies to ensure stable and long-term supply of
electricity in the country. "When Meralco management spectacularly
failed to ensure alternative supply for the prescheduled Malampaya
shutdown last December, its automatic solution was to charge to the
consumers the expensive power it got from the Wholesale Electricity
Spot Market (WESM). Now, DOE and its cohort Meralco will again make
the hapless Meralco consumers become the insurers and fall guy against
all the policy failings and management errors in their highly
profitable power racket."

"The power companies and big corporations of Sy, Gokongwei, and
Pangilinan are not sacrificing, they continue to benefit and will now
even double profit during crisis while others suffer from heat and the
high price of electricity," stressed Corral.