Tag Archives: KMU

KMU slaps Palace’s direct hand in layoff of 700 SLEX workers

Contributed to The Pamalakaya Times

No holiday in protesting Arroyo’s job massacres

Even the spirit of Christmas failed to put off the Arroyo government’s layoff plans, as it directed the sudden retrenchment of at least 700 Philippine National Construction Corporation (PNCC) employees working in the South Luzon Expressway (SLEX), according to Kilusang Mayo Uno.

KMU said Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita’s directive to hasten the turnover of SLEX’s operations to Manila Toll Expressway Systems (MATES) is “clear proof of Arroyo’s itch for job massacres”

“With the Palace hand clearly jutting out of the mass layoff in SLEX, Arroyo has further earned the ire of Filipino workers. And with that, she will never enjoy a holiday break from workers’ condemnation and wrath,” said KMU Chairperson Elmer “Bong” Labog.

“Layoff victims, especially, have every right to make her Christmas an uneasy one. Protests will surely knock her out of the holiday mood,” he added.

North Harbor retrenchment

Labog said aside from the retrenchment of SLEX workers, at least 7,000 port workers and vendors in North Harbor in Manila face a “jobless New Year” as winning bidders take over the port terminal on Jan. 1, 2010.

“The layoffs in SLEX and North Harbor are fine examples of how privatization works as an anti-labor policy prescribed by foreign institutions like the World Bank,” said Labog.

“But history proves that privatization, which only benefits private corporations at the expense of workers, has been met with strong and united actions of workers, not only in our country but in many parts of the world.

“We urge SLEX and North Harbor workers to continue their fight for livelihood and unite with other workers in making this regime pay up for its crimes against the people,” he added.

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Port workers hit jobless New Year

Contributed to The Pamalakaya Times

Manila, Philippines- Facing a ‘jobless new year’ ahead of them, thousands of port workers and vendors in North Harbor in Manila staged a rally this morning in Mendiola to demand immediate government action on the looming wide-scale retrenchment as private firms take over the port.

The big rally led by the Alliance of Port/Transport Workers and Porters in North Harbor (APTWP-NH) demanded a clear-cut Terms of Reference which will ensure zero job cut and recognition of existing unions as Metro Pacific Investment Corp. and Harbor Centre Inc. take control of the port’s operations on Jan. 1, 2010.

“We urge the Arroyo regime to take immediate action on the looming massacre of jobs in the port area. And the best action that it can take is to spare workers from a ‘jobless New Year’ by pushing for the workers’ job security,” said Jake Azores, APTWP-NH president.

At least 7,000 port workers and vendors risk losing their livelihood, while hundreds of families living in the port area fear demolition of their homes due to the port’s privatization.

Azores said it is still unclear who will pay for the back wages of workers in the event layoff of workers is undertaken with less a month before the takeover, sowing discomfort among port workers in the midst of the yuletide season.

“If the winning bidders do not heed our demands for a clear-cut Terms of Reference, we would be facing the loneliest New Year in recent years as joblessness awaits us. The way big capitalists want port workers to start the year is simply unjust, even as we have been receiving the same depressed wages year after year,” said Azores.

“But like in previous mobilizations, we will prove that our collective strength is important in deciding on the course that privatization will take. The holiday season will not put our call for job security and union recognition to rest.

“We have worked in the port area for many years now. That is why we will not just give up on this, even if our struggle drags on,” he added.

Kilusang Mayo Uno chairperson Elmer “Bong” Labog expressed full support to the port workers’ legitimate struggle, saying “they have every right to assert protection from the looming layoff.”

“If the Arroyo government is really sincere in promoting labor rights and welfare, it should not sit silently in the face of retrenchment of thousands of North Harbor workers. Its record, however, speaks of its brazen complicity with big capitalists in implementing mass layoffs,” said Labog.

“But the government and private corporations should be warned: port workers can shut down the port if their demands remain unheeded,” Labog added. #

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HLI row:Noynoy pushing farmers to reject him in 2010

By TC Concepcion and Sugar Hicap

Manila, Philippines-Two of the groups supporting the land claim of Hacienda Luisita farmworkers over the 6,453-hectare sugar estate in Tarlac on Tuesday said Liberal Party 2010 presidential candidate Senator Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III’s hostile and incorrigible attitude on the land reform dispute is pushing farmers to reject his presidential bid next year/

In a joint press statement, the left-leaning fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) and the militant Anakpawis party list warned Noynoy of a massive peasant and rural people’s rejection of his presidential ambition next year if continues his arrogant and hostile attitude in dealing with legitimate demand of Hacienda Luisita farm workers to acquire the sprawling 6,454 hectare through urgent and free distribution.

Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap and Anakpawis secretary general Cherry Clemente accused the LP standard bearer of turning the Hacienda Luisita row into a political circus, evading farmers’ call and resorting to political attacks and red bashing of Luisita workers unions and associations and their supporters.

“This presidential wannabe has resorted to traditional, shameless and Jurassic red baiting in order to evade an issue that needs politically correct, decent, lawful and moral response and this guy speak the same language of political terror spoken by his would be predecessors in case he wins the highest elective post in 2010. If he will insist on this kind of game plan, then he better forget his presidential ambition because rejection becomes him in 2010,” Hicap and Clemente issued the statement at before the meeting of the 60-member national council meeting of the activist party list group.

“Imagine, 7 farmworkers died on the spot, more than 200 strikers were injured and 120 of their co-farmworkers and their supporters were arrested during the Nov.16, 2004 violent dispersal of strikers. And Noynoy dismissed it as Leftist black propaganda. This is really mind-boggling, ridiculous and super incorrigible,”according to Pamalakaya’s Hicap.

The Pamalakaya official lamented that while the LP presidential candidate was trying to pass himself off as champion of the Filipino people or a modern day messiah clad in yellow or in black shirt bearing the Philippine map, the hostile attitude displayed by the 49-year old politician against the legitimate demands for land and justice of Hacienda Luisita workers showcased what kind of a presidency Noynoy has to offer to 92 million Filipinos.

“How can he face and decently lead this nation of 92 million people if he cannot even face and contact eye-to-eye the 30,000 farmworkers and regular voters inside Hacienda Luisita? Give us a break,” added Hicap.

Pamalakaya said in Hacienda Luisita, where there are 30,000 registered voters encompassing 10 big barangays, Sen. Noynoy will be lucky enough to get at least 10 percent of the votes come the May 2010 presidential election.

In fact, Hacienda Luisita farmworkers are threatening to campaign a zero vote for Noynoy if he will not do his job to resolve the agrarian dispute in favor of the land tillers”, the group said.

Pamalakaya and Anakpawis are two of the groups who will participate in the 87 vehicle caravan on Nov.16 to Hacienda Luisita from the National Capital Region to Tarlac in support to farmworkers demand for the immediate and free distribution of the sugar estate to Luisita tillers.

Clemente of Anakpawis said the scheduled caravan is jointly organized by Kilusang Mayo Uno, Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan), Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) and Unyon ng Mga Manggagawa sa Agrikultura (UMA) will also demand the immediate scrapping of Stock Distribution Option (SDO), the repeal of the recently passed Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program Extension with Reform (Carper of RA 9700) and the passage of House Bill No. 3059 or the Genuine Agrarian Reform Bill (GARB).

The 87-vehicle caravan will also demand the prosecution of government and military officials implicated in the Hacienda Luisita massacre. A case had been filed before the Office of the Ombudsman, but the latter dismissed the case against civilian officials, while criminal charges are still pending before the Ombudsman’s national office in Quezon City.

Clemente said international labor groups allied with KMU will also conduct simultaneous rallies in Japan, US, Europe, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand in support of the Hacienda Luisita farmworkers. Also on the same day, regional chapters of KMP will also stage mass actions to demand the immediate and free distribution of the Cojuangco estate to hacienda farm workers.

“This is going to be a history in the making for Hacienda Luisita farmworkers. On Nov.16 a strong political statement will be delivered at the gates of the hacienda where the massacre tooj place five years ago,” she added.

On December 18, 2008, the Hacienda Luisita Management signed by Hernan M. Gregorio, Jr. — assistant Estate Manager of HLI imposed a deadline to farm workers that they only have up to October 30, 2009 to harvest and finish all land cultivation activities inside the hacienda. The deadline lapsed and another memorandum calling all farmworkers to register was issued and hacienda workers were given until Nov.15 to enlist in the new registration being called by the management.

Meanwhile, lawyers of striking farmworkers cited legal courses of actions which they could avail to stop the management from issuing memorandum to farm workers. Legal counsel Atty. Jobert Ilarde Pahilga, executive director of Sentro Para Sa Tunay na Repormang Agraryo (Sentra) and campaign officer of National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers said they will file petition for indirect contempt against the members of the Board of HLI before the Supreme Court in violation of the temporary restraining order (TRO) issued by the high tribunal against the revocation of Stock Distribution Option (SDO).

However, Atty. Pahilga said they will also file a motion with the Supreme Court for speedy resolution of the case and to recall the TRO, so that the decision of the Presidential Agrarian Reform Council (PARC) which revoked the SDO and called for the immediate distribution of Hacienda Luisita lands to farmworker beneficiaries.

The counsel for Hacienda Luisita workers will also file of a motion with the Office of the Ombudsman to resolve the multiple murders, multiple frustrated murders and multiple attempted murders filed against the military and civilian involved in the infamous Hacienda Luisita Massacre. #

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50 vehicle caravan off to Tarlac to remember 5th anniversary of Luisita massacre

By Roy Morilla and Jay Calaguing, contributors

Manila, Philippines-Supporters of Hacienda Luisita farmworkers will stage a 50-vehicle caravan on November 16 to commemorate the 5th anniversary of Hacienda Luisita massacre and affirmed their support to the struggle of striking agricultural workers for land, jobs and justice.

In a press statement sent by caravan sponsors Anakpawis party list, Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU), Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP), United Luisita Workers Union (ULWU), Alyansa ng Mga Manggagawang Bukid sa Asyenda Luisita (Ambala) and Unyon ng Mga Manggagawa sa Agrikultura (UMA), two of event organizers— Danilo Ramos, secretary general of KMP and Anakpawis secretary general Cherry Clemente said Manila-based activists will also banner the urgent call for the immediate, unconditional and free distribution of 6,453 hectare sugar estate, which they said was lawfully and morally owned by farm workers of Hacienda Luisita.

“Hacienda Luisita belongs to Hacienda Luisita farm workers. Senator Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III and the Cojuangcos have no option but to relinquish the hacienda to the collective ownership and effective control of agricultural workers,” organizers said in a joint statement.

The KMP and Anakpawis leaders said Sen. Aquino, standard bearer of the Liberal Party in the 2010 presidential elections and son of the late former President Corazon Aquino should accept the fact that historically and lawfully speaking, the Hacienda Luisita is legitimately owned by the tilling and hardworking people of the hacienda.

“Sen. Aquino should learn the history of Hacienda Luisita and stop making the usual run-around and quit from displaying that patented pa-tweetum politics. It is time for the Cojuangco family to say goodbye to the sprawling 6,453 hectare sugar estate that does not really belong them and the Cojuangcos acquired the hacienda through dubious, manipulative and coercive means,” they said.

The KMP and Anakpawis said the caravan will mark a political statement that will oblige the Cojuangcos and their presidential frontrunner- Noynoy, to squarely face the issues involving Hacienda Luisita including but not limited to the free distribution of land and the punishment of government officials and state security forces implicated in violent dispersal of striking workers that killed 7 striking workers, injured 200 other farmworkers and arrested 120 agricultural workers and activist supporters on Nov.16, 2004.

Anakpawis’ Clemente also said KMU’s fraternal allies abroad, which include labor organizations in the United States, Canada, Europe, Asia and the Pacific, Japan and Australia will also conduct simultaneous solidarity actions on November 16, while regional and provincial chapters of KMP across the country will conduct demonstrations also on the same day to express their support to the struggling agricultural workers of the hacienda.

KMP and Anakpawis likewise criticized Noynoy’s plan to talk to business tycoon Eduardo “Danding” Cojuangco. They dismissed the planned meeting with Danding’s group as a brewing compromise on how to divide Hacienda Luisita among members of Cojuangco clan.

“This political flirtation with Danding camp is a no show of promise but a glimpse of what a Noynoy presidency has to offer to the people—which is political accommodation and puppetry to big business,” the militant groups added. #

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PGMA incompetence pushed poor to help Ondoy victims

PGMA incompetence pushed poor to help Ondoy victims By Randy Evangelista, Anakpawis media bureau chief

San Mateo, Rizal- The incompetence of the Macapagal-Arroyo administration in dealing with disasters and calamities pushed ordinary workers, vendors, drivers, farmers, students, slum dwellers and fire volunteers to link arms for relief and medical mission to the ravaged town of San Mateo, one of the affected municipalities in Rizal province.

” After two days of collecting donations from ordinary workers, vendors, drivers, farmers, students, slum dwellers and middle class communities in Quezon City, Tulong Anakpawis began distributing relief goods today in the ravaged town of San Mateo, one of the towns hardest hit by the tragic flashflood last September 26. Fire volunteers also joined in to distribute much needed clean water to the affected homes,” the party list group Anakpawis said in a media advisory, a copy of which was sent to The Pamalakaya Times.

Trade union leader and Anakpawis Rep. Joel Maglunsod said the relief operations of Tulong Anakpawis is a strong testimony to the tie that binds all Filipinos, especially the poor, that is, to rely on their collective strength in times of tragedy and despair.

He said that in a span of two days, they were able to gather enough relief goods, medical volunteers and even fiirefighters to render immediate support directly to poor families gravely affected by the flash flood that left thousands homeless, hundreds dead and hundreds more still missing.

Maglunsod also said that their relief mission was triggered by the Arroyo government’s total neglect and abandonment in addressing the emergency situation. He said that their members complained of the absence of any rescue effort from the government during and after the tragic flashflood.

“This leads us to the question whether the financial aid from other countries be used for helping the victims? Or, will all the money be washed away to nowhere like the emergency fund used to pay for the president’s luxurious trips abroad?’ With everything that happened the past days, it may be like hoping for a life vest during Ondoy’s onslaught.”

Despite this, Maglunsod added, the masses bravely stepped up to ensure that no more lives will be lost through launching widespread relief operations. “Our chapters rose from the mud that almost killed them four days ago and launched localized relief operations and education campaigns to explain the root causes of the tragedy that befell all of us. That the numerous deaths and large-scale destruction to our homes and livelihood is not about nature taking its course. That the tragedy could have been prevented or minimized if only the government did its job.”

Tulong Anakpawis is a combined relief effort inititated by Anakpawis Partylist, the militant labor group Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU), Task Force Obrero, the peasant activist gorup Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP), Crispin B. Beltran Resource Center (CBBRC), the urban poor group Kalipunan ng Damayang Mahihirap (Kadamay), the left-leaning fisherfolk alliance Pamalakaya and National Network of Agrarian Reform-Youth (NNARA-Youth of UP and PUP).

Maglungsod said they are accepting volunteers and donations, in cash or in kind to be distributed immediately to affected areas in Metro Manila, Southern Tagalog and Central Luzon . Interested donors and volunteers may call their hotline numbers, 4269442 or 4359402, email, anakpawis2003@yahoo.com or visit http://www.anakpawis.net. #

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Hacienda Luisita workers urged ILO to probe 2005 massacre

Hacienda Luisita workers urged ILO to probe 2005 massacre

Farm workers in Hacienda Luisita today asked the visiting officials of the International Labor Organization (ILO) to investigate the 2005 Hacienda Luisita Massacre in Tarlac, saying justice has not been served to the victims, survivors and families of the slain agricultural laborers.

In a letter addressed to Ms Cleopatra Dumbia-Henry, senior adviser of the International Labor Standards of the ILO, and also head of the ILO High Level Mission to the Philippines, the Unyon ng Mga Manggagawa sa Agrikultura (UMA)told the ILO mission that there is still no closure to the November 16, 2005 massacre and the government failed to address the clamor for honest-to-goodness investigation and the perpetrators remained unpunished and seemed like enjoying immunity courtesy of the Macapagal-Arroyo administration.

The UMA letter to ILO dated September 18, 2009, also mentioned the current standing of the agrarian disputes in Hacienda Luisita. It said the Supreme Court has yet to lift the temporary restraining order it issued in 2006, preventing the Presidential Agrarian Reform Council (PARC) to distribute the lands to agrarian reform beneficiaries and farm workers in the sugar hacienda.

It also mentioned the October 30 memo of Hacienda Luisita management ordering all farm workers to stop cultivating portions of the disputed lands inside the sugar estate. As of now, the farm workers have already planted rice and other crops to 2,000 hectares of Hacienda Luisita, and this collective action, according to UMA already benefited not less than 1,800 farm workers and their families.

“We urge the ILO to send a representative to further investigate the massacre in Hacienda Luisita, and other state-sponsored terrorism committed in the aftermath of the massacre but directly connected to the struggle and plight of Hacienda workers,” said Jay Calaguing, UMA information officer.

The group spokesperson recalled that during the massacre, 7 farm workers were killed, 72 were injured and 111 were illegally arrested by the military and police. Calaguing said, the state sanctioned violence against Hacienda Luisita farm workers and supporters continued with the brutal murder of Ric Ramos, president of Central Azucarera de Tarlac Labor Union (CATLU) and Tirso Cruz, board director of the United Luisita Workers Union (ULWU) in 2006.

Calaguing also cited the case of Rene Galang, both president of UMA and ULWU who was vilified by the military as leading cadre of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and its armed political group, the New People’s Army (NPA). He said Galang’s house was raided by the AFP as they searched for him.

“Our president was forced to leave his house inside the Hacienda Luisita sugar estate because of serious threat to his life”, the UMA spokesman added.

UMA said the 6,453-hectare sugar estate owned by the late former President Corazon Aquino is currently saturated by the armed forces deployed who were deployed by the Northern Luzon Command and the AFP headquarters in Manila to monitor the movements of union leaders and members inside the sprawling sugar hacienda.

On Feb 2008, the group said the family of former President Aquino is allowing the military to convert Hacienda Luisita into a military garrison. UMA said government troops from the 71st Infantry Battalion, 48th Infantry Battalion and 69th Infantry Battalion were deployed in all villages, accompanied by 20 members of paramilitary groups in each barrio.

UMA said the troops were pulled out on September last year, but it does not mean they will not be sent back to Hacienda Luisita, since the military has categorized the sugar estate of the Cojuangcos as breeding ground of communist guerillas, and therefore, a hot bed of communist insurgency.#

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Leftists declare PGMA no.1 enemy of working class

Leftists declare PGMA no.1 enemy of working class

A left-leaning fisherfolk alliance allied with the militant labor group Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) and Anakpawis party list on Labor Day declared President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo as the no.1 enemy of Filipino workers and dismissed the 200,000 job fairs set up by the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) as cheap publicity stunt.

“The roughly 56 million populace in the countryside including rural workers across the nation indict the Macapagal-Arroyo government as the no.1 class enemy of the proletariat in this part of the globe and at this given epoch of Philippine history,” the Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) said in a statement.

Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap said President Arroyo’s refusal to grant the P 125 across-the-board daily pay hike demand of Filipino workers since she assumed the presidency in 2001 is a clear indication that her government is not after the rights and welfare of the workers, and that her administration exists for the class interest of the foreign and domestic capitalists.

“Mrs. Arroyo, the no.1 bureaucratic capitalist is the biggest anti-labor, anti-worker and anti-national political entity in this country. It is only just and moral and politically correct to turn Labor Day’s commemoration this year into an across-the-country Arroyo bashing,” the fisherfolk leader said.

Pamalakaya’s Hicap further ridiculed the 200,000 job fairs set up by DOLE all over the country. He said the job fairs were only meant to convince the public that Malacañang and its labor officials are aware of the worsening labor situation, and it is doing everything it can do to address the huge problem of unemployment and underemployment.

“This carnival like escapade of President Arroyo will not create jobs. These job fairs are nothing but job booths selling empty promises to job seeking people,” he added.

Citing the recent study made by the militant think tank Ibon Foundation, Pamalakaya said even if President Arroyo succeeds in creating 800,000 jobs this year, the labor department is inutile in addressing the job demands of more than 900,000 new job seekers this year.

Pamalakaya said the Ibon study revealed that the Arroyo government failed to address the problems of the 11,600 workers who were permanently retrenched and 38,800 temporarily laid off workers, excluding the 12,000 displaced overseas Filipino workers since October 2008 when the global crisis imploded,” it said on its Web site.

The militant group agreed with Ibon that the Macapagal-Arroyo government and big businesses were exerting all their efforts to pass the burden of adjusting to the crisis on workers through wage and benefit cuts and layoffs.

“This government is leading the campaign for flexible work schemes like rotated force leaves and shortened work shifts supposedly as a response to the global crisis. The Filipino workers are being crushed to death by Mrs. Arroyo and her transnational clients,” said Pamalakaya.

Citing the same study of militant think tank group, Pamalakaya said the average real employment rate of over 11 percent from 2001 up to the first quarter of 2009 is the worst in local history and is seen to even worsen due to the crisis.

Pamalakaya stressed that job losses seemed most severe in the manufacturing sector, which reduced 122,000 jobs from 2008 on top of the 137,000 manufacturing jobs already from the year before.

Earlier, Pamalakaya challenged Malacañang and the Department of Agriculture to implement a
P 32-billion production subsidy program for small fisherfolk in the country.

Under the group’s proposal, small fisherfolk operating a small fishing boat will get a monthly subsidy of P 4,500 each, which will be used for expenses for oil and repair of fishing gears, while fishermen using non-motorized bancas will get P 2,000 monthly production subsidy for kerosene and other production expenses.

The production subsidy proposal, according to Pamalakaya will benefit about 900,000 small fishermen in the country. #

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