Wednesday, July 8, 2020

What is the real picture and employment plan, Sec. Bello?

Nagkaisa Labor Coalition (NAGKAISA) chided the DOLE for its deafening silence on what it intends to do with the unprecedented levels of unemployment and mounting company closures and lay-offs the country is now going through.

“It has been more than a month since the PSA published its Labor Force Survey saying that unemployment rate rose to 17.7 percent accounting to 7.3 million unemployed Filipinos in April 2020. And yet, we have heard nothing from Sec. Bello on what the government’s plan is. Instead, all we hear are efforts to downplay the jobs crisis” labor lawyer Sonny Matula, Chairperson of NAGKAISA said.

“So what is the real picture, where is the employment plan, Sec. Bello?”asked Matula.

Nagkaisa was reacting to DOLE’s insistence of using its field reports as the only basis for describing the jobs crisis, claiming that the LFS “is just a survey.” Yesterday, DOLE reported that only 112,000 workers have been displaced so far from 4,354 companies reporting shutdown or have implemented retrenchments due the pandemic.

“There are more than 100,000 Jeepney drivers in Metro Manila alone, who have been displaced, many of whom were reduced to begging,” Nagkaisa convenor and Samahan ng Nagkakaisa at Progresibong Manggagawa (SENTRO) Chair Daniel Edralin.

Partido Manggagawa (PM) Chair Renato Magtubo is also baffled at the way DOLE is suppressing unemployment numbers, saying business groups themselves were refuting these claims, with the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) reporting 3.5 million job losses from its members alone.

“Para na ring si Roque si Bello na natutuwa sa mababang numero,” said Magtubo.

NAGKAISA is also incensed by DOLE’s silence on government policies that could lead to more job losses.

“50,000 OFWs have been repatriated, more than 160,000 are still stranded abroad, estimated job losses for OFWs ranges from 500,000 to 1 million, what’s the plan to reintegrate them?” questioned Matula.

“What is DOLE’s position on the government’s ill-conceived policy of phasing our PUJs during the time of pandemic? Why was DOLE unable to speak strongly in favor of ABS-CBN workers who stand to lose their jobs should the HOR committees decide not to grant a pro-worker franchise,” Matula said.

All these translates to massive decrease in aggregate demand, most likely due to loss of incomes from all the jobs and livelihoods lost due to the pandemic and the lockdowns. If unchecked, this will result in less production, less investment and minimal if not negative economic growth.

“This, in turn, will result in more losses in jobs and livelihood in both formal and informal economy,” argued Matula.

Nagkaisa! is urging the government to come up with an economic recovery package equivalent to at least 10% of the GDP.

Such an economic recovery package should be guided by an agro-industrial policy aimed at generating jobs to build up our public services as well as in sectors considered as new drivers of growth and those with higher multiplier effects.

The group is also pushing for income and employment guarantees for those permanently unemployed and temporarily displaced.

“The DOLE must not remain a by-stander in all these circumstances. Nagkaisa! would like to see a ‘better normal,” a different world of work, emerge in the aftermath of the pandemic,” said Matula.

Now more than ever is the best opportunity for workers, employers, government and civil society groups to come together to decide on some fundamental changes to achieve a better world of work.

Friday, July 3, 2020

President Duterte has forgotten his Constitutional Law!

With his signing of the Anti-Terror Law of 2020, President Rodrigo Duterte has failed his Constitutional Law test. We are disappointed with his failure to reject an unconstitutional proposal. He succumbed to the seduction of an indecent proposal.

The people will go to the Supreme Court to remind him and Congress that the fundamental law is supreme over the Anti-Terror bill.

The President missed his historic opportunity to uphold the supremacy of the Constitution. He failed to stand to the historic challenge.

He very well knows that he has veto power but he failed his solemn duty to ensure that all laws should be enacted in accordance with the constitution-- the Supreme Law of the land to which all laws must conform to and to which all persons, including the highest officials, must respect.

Many presidents around the world have used their veto powers to rectify constitutionally-infirm provisions of proposed measures, but the president failed this challenge to veto the proposed anti-terror bill despite knowledge that Section 9 (inciting to commit terrorism) is contrary to our freedom.of expression under the Bill of Rights; sections 29 (detention without judicial warrant) which provides for warrantless arrests and longer detention period for suspected ‘terrorist’ is diametrically running against the right of citizens to be secure against unreasonable arrest (Sec 2 of Article III of the Constitution).

We are taking this to the Supreme Court.

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

NAGKAISA CONDEMNS NTC FOR AGGRAVATING JOBLESSNESS

The Nagkaisa Labor Coalition slams the act of the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) in killing sources of workers' livelihood in the country. In time of COVID 19 pandemic which also known as the worst crisis in the past 150 years, instead of helping create jobs, NTC caused joblessness again.

We can't understand if our government officials understand the mandate of the state to protect workers' full employment and to guarantee the right to security of tenure.

NTC separately ordered ABS-CBN’s subsidiaries, SkyCable Corp. and ABS-CBN digital TV using Channel 43, to immediately stop their operations due to expiration of franchise while allowing other companies similarly situated to continue operating while having pending application for franchise renewal.

ABS-CBN and SkyCable workers are now part of the 13 million workers with jobs but not working. Soon they will join the 7.3 milion unemployed. If Congress has no plan to preserve jobs including those in ABS-CBN, then it goes to say that presidential vengeance now guides its legislative work, not the state policy of full protection of the working class.

Like a job serial killer, NTC yesteday slashed the wrists of two more companies to bleed them to the ground and add more unemployment in our country.

Saturday, June 20, 2020

Labor Group: the Philippines once again joins the hall of shame for trade union repression

The dreaded Terror Bill has yet to be a law, and yet, once again, the country was ranked as one of the top 10 worst countries in the world for working people, particularly for trade unionists.

The Philippines has been on the top 10 list of the ITUC Global Rights Index for several years now. Other countries included Bangladesh, Brazil Colombia, Kazakhstan, Turkey and Zimbabwe. Joining the top 10 list for the time are Egypt, Honduras and India.

Validated reports on red-tagging, criminalization of trade unionists and murder of trade union leaders in 2019 were cited by the ITUC as evidences of continuing trade repression in the country.

The murders of Dennis Sequeña, a PM organizer in Cavite, as well as Reynaldo Malaborbor of February Six Movement, were cited in the report. Justice have yet to be served in both cases.

As of the end of 2019, 45 trade union and peasant leaders have been murdered since DU30 came to power. This was done with impunity since none of these murders were ever solved.

Meanwhile, the PNP stepped up its red-tagging when it started setting up JIPCOs or Joint Industrial Peace Concerns Office in export processing zones (EPZs) to harass and discriminate workers who organize unions in the pretext of preventing infiltration of radical union in said zones.

Truth is, there are very few unions inside EPZs. Apparently the PNP wants to eliminate them altogether.

It was for this reason that the ILO Committee on Application of Standards (CAS), requested the Philippine government last June 2019 to invite a tripartite high-level mission to validate these claims. The High Level Mission is one of the most powerful instruments used by the ILO in addressing allegations of trade union repression.

Unfortunately, DOLE deferred issuing such invitation. Early this year, the DOLE merely issued a memorandum instructing it’s senior officials to prepare for the ILO High Level Mission.

With the world now in its worst economic recession in 150 years, many are expecting that things could get worst for trade unionists. Using the pandemic as a pretext, a number of countries are issuing policies that undermines workers and trade union rights.

Similarly, the DOLE issued policies like Labor Advisory 17 and DO 213 that severely undermined workers and trade union rights.

Things will certainly turn to worst should the Terror Bill becomes a law. Undoubtedly, the Terror Bill will put PH on top of list with ecozones converted into JIPCO detachments.

NAGKAISA reiterates its demand to stop the killings and calls on government to seriously investigate and go after the murderers of Dennis Sequeña and other trade unionists.

Of equal importance, Nagkaisa is calling for the rescinding anti-labor policies issued by the DOLE. It is also calling on DU30 to veto the Terror Bill.

The ITUC Global Index was released yesterday in Brussels, Belgium. Three of the 4 affiliates of the ITUC in the Philippines - FFW, SENTRO and TUCP - belong to Nagkaisa.

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Workers Again Are Left Behind! -- Nagkaisa

Workers are being forced to pay for the costs of the Duterte government’s mishandling the pandemic.

While the government tries to maintain the GCQ status to keep the maximum level of quarantine protocols that it can continue to impose, it fails to sustain even a minimum level of social security that the people badly need such #SapatAtTuloyNaAyudaSaLahat and #BalikTrabahongLigtas.

“An extended lockdown must come with enhanced social amelioration,” Sonny Matula, Chairperson of Nagkaisa, declares. “It should also prompt government to rethink its current attitude of penny-pinching on our economic recovery when we are facing the world’s worst recession in 150 years,” Matula added.

Worse is that it tries to keep people on quarantine but at the same time keeping the stimulus proposals at bay by opposing their required funding. Despite calls for government to roll out a robust economic recovery package that would bail out the people, the DOF and the NEDA continue to hold its untenable position to limit further government expenditures to P130 billion (US2.6), which is equivalent to only .07% of the GDP of US$355B (2019).

Even the idea of DOLE for a 3-month TUPAD emergency employment, though a welcome proposal, is not anchored on the proposal of Nagkaisa for employment guarantee assured with regular funding and which must be based on a new social objective of creating a more productive and sustainable jobs needed by a “Better Normal.” Without a clear jobs generation program, this proposed emergency employment would simply be dispensed through a patronage system.

This is a far cry from what other counties have rolled out to fight the recession.

NAGKAISA once again asserted its demand for income guarantees for all workers amounting to the prevailing minimum wage or P10,000, whichever is higher.

At the same time, the labor coalition also called on the DOTr to ease the transport burdens of workers by deploying PUJs thru service contracting as it is being proposed by many groups, including the Move As One coalition.

NAGKAISA is also calling on government to embark on a serious discussion with labor groups and other social movements and craft a robust economic recovery program. One that is based on an agri-industrial policy aimed at generating employment around key drivers of growth, build up public services especially public health and lag the path for a better normal.

Sunday, June 14, 2020

INTERNATIONAL TRADE UNIONS SUPPORT PHIL WORKERS' STRUGGLE AGAINST ANTI-TERROR BILL

In solidarity with the Filipino workers, the 200 million-strong International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) and the ITUC-Asia Pacific affiliates threw their support to the major Philippine trade unions and the Nagkaisa Labor Coalition in their advocacy to oppose the passage into law of the enrolled Anti-Terror Bill in its present form contained in Senate Bill 1083 and House Bill 6875.


The FFW, KMU, SENTRO, and TUCP are affiliates of the ITUC in the Philippines and manifested strong opposition to the enrolled bill.

The four major trade unions and the Nagkaisa Labor Coalition assailed the Anti-Terror Bill seeking to amend the Human Security Act of 2007 (RA 9372) as unconstitutional and will likely run contrary to the Philippine international trade union and human rights’ commitments.

In their letter to President Rodrigo Duterte dated June 12, 2020, ITUC Secretary General Sharan Burrow and ITUC-Asia Pacific head Shoya Yoshida said they are "extremely concerned" that the Anti-Terror Bill if enacted into law "will further securities, shrink and stifle civic space and rights at work placing workers, trade union activists, and other human rights actors and defenders under even more jeopardy and danger of arbitrary, indiscriminate and baseless attacks, harassment, intimidation, and killings at the hands of the police, the military, and other security agencies."

Nagkaisa also said the assailed bill will highly endanger trade unions and people’s organizations in the Philippines.

Burrow and Yoshida said that "numerous provisions of the bills are in serious contradiction with international law." Both the two ITUC leaders join the Philippine trade unions' call on President Duterte to veto the Anti-Terrorism Bill and subject related legislative enactment to consultations with trade unions.

Nagkaisa said that the anti-terror bill not only runs contrary to the fundamental law of the Philippines but also disregards ILO Convention 87 on Freedom of Association and the UN International Conventions on Civil and Political Rights (UN ICCPR).

Nagkaisa looks at SB 1083 and HB 6875 as threats to life and liberty of the Filipino people like what “terrorists” wanted to achieve.

ITUC affiliates studied the two bills and both identical versions expanded the crimes penalized by the original Human Security Act of 2007 (HSA otherwise known as RA 9372). HSA penalized only terrorism and conspiracy to commit terrorism, the two bills aim to penalize a wide smorgasbord of acts.

Nagkaisa looks at the Anti-Terror Bills as ominous and trade union leaders have premonitions of the return of dark days under martial law (after issuance of the Presidential Proclamation 1081 in 1972) which ushered thousands of warrantless arrests, extra-legal killings, police and military abuses, and other terror acts committed against the people of the Philippines.

ITUC and ITUC Asia-Pacific join with the trade unions of the Philippines in holding the view that as regards the fight against terrorism government needs not negate protecting trade union and human rights. Both fighting terrorism and upholding rights are mutually reinforcing goals.

Nagkaisa Slams Sec Panelo's Recommendation to Affix Presidential Imprimatur to the Anti-Terror Bill! Calls him to take Seriously his job

The Nagkaisa Labor Coalition slams presidential legal counsel Salvador Panelo on his recommendation to give presidential imprimatur on the anti-terror bill.

Sec Salvador Panelo's contention that the constitutional infirmities of the Anti-Terrorism are “misplaced” criticism is misleading and an act of avoiding the main issues. He argued that the members of the Anti-Terrorism Council (ATC) have “the training and competence to establish the existence of probable cause” preliminary to the arrest of a suspected terrorist.

Nagkaisa has no dis-agreement that the ATC might be composed of civilians and lawyers who are members of the Cabinet BUT they are part of the executive department -- not the judicial department which has the authority to issue a warrant of arrest.

The Anti-Terror bill sounds and smells like the Marco's presidential commitment order (PCOs) and executive arrest, search and seizure orders (ASSOs) during martial law.

With all due respect, even if the members of the ATC have been schooled and trained to determine probable cause as defined by law -- they are not judges vested with constitutional authority to determine the existence of a probable cause for purposes of the issuance of a warrant of arrest.

Sec Panelo said the ATC will base its findings on “evidence or proof” to convince them that there is reason to believe that the suspect has committed acts defined under the law to be terroristic.

Why arrogate such power from a judge? It is the big question mark asked the biggest labor Coalition in the country to Sec Panelo.

The anti-terror bill in its present form recklessly gives judicial authority with alacrity to the executive department. And, Sec Panelo has confirmed that indeed the ATC would acquire such judicial power under the assailed bill.

Nagkaisa is of the opinion that an administrative order -- issued by the would-be created Anti-Terrorism Council alone -- is unconstitutional. ATC has the discretion to arrest and detain people on the basis of mere suspicion alone.

Such an executive act alone is clearly an illegal authorization, overreaching the province of the judicial branch. This provision is recklessly drafted and repugnant to the 1987 Constitution!

Sec. 29 of the Bill grants authority to law enforcers to arrest any person suspected of committing any terrorist act and detain him for 24 days at the behest of the ATC alone. This is outside the plenary power of Congress and, therefore, clearly unconstitutional.

Sec Panelo knowingly ignores that Sec. 29 is also repugnant to Article III, Section 2 of the fundamental law. Section 2, Article III of the Constitution states that a search warrant or warrant of arrest can only be issued upon showing of:

(1) a probable cause to be determined personally by the judge, (2) after examination under oath or affirmation of the complainant and the witnesses he may produce, (3) and particularly describing the place to be searched and the persons or things to be seized.

Sec Panelo sidesteps the basic doctrine in Constitutional Law that it is only a judge who may issue a warrant for the arrest of any person.

Penned by Justice Sarmiento in the case of Salazar vs. Achacoso 1(83 SCRA 145) the Supreme Court categorically stated thus –

“x x x it is only a judge who may issue warrants of search and arrest and reaffirming the following principles

“1. Under Article III Sec. 2 of the 1987 Constitution, it is only judges and no other, who may issue warrants of arrests and search;"

Nagkaisa holds that any legislative proposal contrary to any provision of the constitution is null and void. An act of Congress that diverts from the true north -- the constitution -- is not a law; such act confers neither rights nor authority; it imposes no duties. As enshrined in jurisprudence, such "unconstitutional act affords no protection; it creates no office; it is in legal contemplation as inoperative as though it had never been passed."

Also, Nagakaisa calls on Sec Panelo not to ignore the constitutional principles of checks and balances. We wish him to take his duty seriously as the enactment of the assailed bill into law is "a clear and present danger" to the life and liberty of ordinary citizens.

Nagkaisa thanks its members as well as those brave women and men belonging to Kalipunan, iDEFEND, PAHRA, Akbayan, Akbayan Youth, Youth Resist, Artikulo 13, PM Coalition, Black and White, The Silent Majority, Tigil-Kontra Mina, among others, who dared the inclement weather and the police threats of arrest in a protest rally, on Independence Day, from the Bantayog ng mga Bayani to the Liwasang Pepe Diokno at the CHR compound, UP Diliman campus.

Friday, June 12, 2020

Nothing is right in terrorism, but there are many things wrong in anti-terror law

Terrorism never goes right. That's why unionism is not terrorism the way of the worker to defend himself and fight for the welfare. Even the strike as the highest level of fight workers is done in the manner of unionism, not of terrorism. In other words, terrorism worker hates.

But when the anti-terror bill becomes law, the way itself of unionism can be considered state terrorism. Because it's not hidden but tomorrow is the goal to silence any target of this silence, individual or group.

It is also a threat to freedom not only to the journalist but also to organizing workers and defending their own wellbeing. Under anti-terror law, the Philippines will become a country of independent workers and citizens.

A clear example of this is the PNP launch of Central Luzon Joint Industrial Peace and Concern Office (JIPCO) whose purpose is to put detachment to the ecozones to allegedly prevent the impiltration of radical unionism which is among the people terrorist group in factories in it. The worker movement is pushing this but DOLE and the whole government are armchair.

Anti-terror law is not yet visible to the head of this monster in the JIPCO body. When this becomes law, all factory will become detachment of JIPCO.
SO FREEDOM WORKER WISHES FOR FREEDOM DAY: PRESIDENTIAL VETO WILL DIS ANTI-TERROR BILL.

By terror law also established a Palace committee - the Anti-Terrorism Council (ATC) whose power is higher than three branches of government. This is not only against the constitution but giving power to the people chosen by the President to define and the people or groups that they will also consider terrorist, terrorist, or terrorism in mind.

And most of all, in this season of pandemic and economic crisis workers don't need such a law. This is nothing to help with fighting and rising the country from crisis. Worker needs now work, food, freedom, and new policies that will bring the country to better and humanitarian normal.

For this, the much needed law is a stimulus program that states can adequately fund to ensure that workers who have lost their income and employment guarantee and will lose their jobs. Anti-terror law is just a distraction to this more important program.

Ayuda fund, terror bill turning back! Ayuda not dictatorship! Work not Arrest! Help not imprisoned! Freedom is not intimidating to the people!

#JunkTerrorBill
#AyudaPondohanTerrorBillAtrasan
#AyudaHindiDiktadura

Thursday, June 11, 2020

NAGKAISA In Response to the Threats of the PNP and the DILG

We, the people, are the authors of the Constitution.

Any law or proposal enacted by Congress which destroys or derogates our rights is not a law but an abuse of power.

It is the duty of every citizen to resist or reject such oppressive proposal as a matter of right to self-defense and defense of the rights of the people.

It is for this reason why NAGKAISA, together with the broad Anti-Terror Bill movement will hold mañanita in the streets tomorrow to press for an end to this new nightmare.

We call on the President to veto the bill and instead work on a robust economic package that would address the lack of aid and the massive job losses brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Nagkaisa Urges Duterte to Veto Anti-Terror Bill for being unconstitutional; calls Anti-Terror Protest on Independence Day!

The Nagkaisa Labor Coalition including 40 of its affiliate trade centers, federations and associations calls on President Rodrigo Duterte to use his veto power under Sec 27(1) of Article VI to prevent the enactment into law of a proposal which runs afoul with our constitution.

Comes Independence Day, the biggest labor Coalition in the country calls on every citizen to manifest protest on the assault on our fundamental rights allowed with alacrity by the newly passed Anti-Terror Bill. The bill attacks the core of the Constitution by wrecking havoc on the structure of government, particularly separation of powers. Its overbroad and vague definition of terrorist acts also terrorizes the provisions of the Bills of Rights. This is detrimental to democracy and repugnant to human rights, particularly the rights to life and liberty of our people.

The Anti-Terror Bill authorizes the executive department to usurp the power of the judiciary. Specifically, a mere administrative order, issued by the would be created Anti-Terrorism Council alone, may be used to arrest and detain people on the basis of mere suspicion alone.

This is highly scandalous and shocking to conscience in a civilized society. An executive office arrogating unto itself a judicial power (see Sec 29 of Anti Terrorist Bills ).

Such an executive act alone is clearly an illegal authorization, overreaching the province of the judicial branch which is recklessly drafted and repugnant to the 1987 Constitution!

Sec. 29 of the Bill grants authority to law enforcers to arrest any person suspected of committing any terrorist act and detain him for 24 days at the behest of the executive department alone. This is outside the plenary power of Congress and, therefore, clearly unconstitutional.

Sec. 29 is also repugnant to Article III, Section 2 of the fundamental law. Section 2, Article III of the Constitution states that a search warrant or warrant of arrest can only be issued upon showing of:

(1) a probable cause to be determined personally by the judge,

(2) after examination under oath or affirmation of the complainant and the witnesses he may produce,

(3) and particularly describing the place to be searched and the persons or things to be seized.

It is basic in Constitutional Law that it is only a judge who may issue a warrant for the arrest of any person. In the case of Salazar vs. Achacoso, 183 SCRA 145, the Supreme Court categorically stated thus –

“x x x it is only a judge who may issue warrants of search and arrest and reaffirming the following principles

“1. Under Article III Sec. 2 of the 1987 Constitution, it is only judges and no other, who may issue warrants of arrests and search;"

President Duterte is a lawyer and a former city prosecutor in Davao City. He knows very well the architecture of separation of powers.

Nagkaisa holds that an unconstitutional act of Congress is not a law; such act confers no rights; it imposes no duties. As enshrined in jurisprudence, such unconstitutional act affords no protection; it creates no office; it is in legal contemplation as inoperative as though it had never been passed.

Nagakaisa and other democratic organizations and believers of human rights are calling on President Duterte to veto the proposal.

Lastly, Nagkaisa with other democratic groups call on all citizens to manifest their protest against the enactment into law of this anti-democratic bill.

Trabaho, Pagkain, Kalayaan! Hindi Terror Bill!

Ipaglaban ang Kalayaan; ibasura ang Anti-Terror Bill.

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

BIGGEST LABOR COALITION SLAMS ANTI-TERROR BILLS; LOOK AT THE BILLS AS REPUGNANT TO THE FUNDAMENTAL LAW AND THEY RUN CONTRARY TO INTERNATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS COMMITMENTS

The biggest labor coalition in the country urges all women and men of goodwill at the House of Representatives to reject the passage of House Bill 6875 (Anti-Terror Bill) which President Rodrigo Duterte certified as urgent. HB 6875 adopts the provisions of Senate Bill 1083 seeking to amend the Human Security Act of 2007. It is now subject to debate before the plenary in the large chamber.

Despite the assurance of both the Secretaries of the National Defense and the Interior and Local Government that “there is nothing to fear” with the proposals in Congress, Nagkaisa Labor Coalition cannot support the proposals that, no matter how seductive, are reckless and run contrary to the fundamental law and our international commitment. The approval in the Senate in February 2020 and the hasty passage of the Anti-Terror Bill in the joint house committees of the House of Representatives last week were ominous. They are premonitions of the return of dark days under Presidential Proclamation 1081 in 1972. PP 1081 paved the way for warrantless arrests, extra-legal killings, police and military abuses, and other terror acts of Martial Law until 1986.

Nagkaisa holds that countering terrorism and protecting human rights as mutually reinforcing goals. Fundamental to us is the understanding that terrorism is a denial of democracy and of human rights to life and liberty. Our members are committed to combating all acts of terrorism, without exception, and that includes the protection of all individuals from terror acts, whether it comes from the state or those groups who advocate violent extremism that leads to terrorism.

Nagkaisa holds that warrantless arrest, extended detention without probable cause, guilt by association, among others, are real threats to the life and liberty of our people. These are real threats not from “terrorists” but emanating from the proposed anti-terror bills.

With all due respect to our policy-makers, Senate Bill 1083 and HB 6875 are threats to life and liberty of the Filipino people like what “terrorists” wanted to achieve. They run contrary to the fundamental law of the Philippines and repugnant to the UN International Conventions on Civil and Political Rights (UN ICCPR).

Firstly, recklessly running contrary to the constitutional protection in Section 2 of Article III of the Bill of Rights prohibiting warrantless arrest and Article 14 (2) of the UN ICCPR on the right to presumption of innocence, SB 1083 (Sec 29) and HB 6875 allow warrantless arrest by a mere suspicion that a person committed any terrorist acts defined in the bills. The enforcement authorities have the power to arrest any suspect without personal knowledge or probable cause. The only requirement for enforcer is to merely notify a judge without the latter examining the police or his witnesses and, thereby, no finding of probable cause as required by the fundamental law.

SB 1083 and HB 6875 also propose to amend the existing Human Security Act (9372) by extending the days of detention from the present three (3) days to 14, with an option to extend for another 10 days, if necessary, purportedly to preserve evidence, prevent an upcoming terrorist attack, or properly conclude an investigation.

Secondly, blatantly disregarding freedom of expression guaranteed by Section 4 of the Bill of Rights and Article 19 (1) of the UN ICCPR, SB 1083 (Sec 9) and HB 6875 also consider it as a crime for any person who, without taking direct part in the commission of terrorism, shall express an opinion or show emblems, banners or other representations perceive to favor individuals or groups tagged as terrorists and shall suffer the penalty of imprisonment of twelve (12) years.

Thirdly, any citizen can be considered a criminal by association under Section 10 of SB 1083 as well as HB 6875. Mere membership to an association tagged as a terrorist group is also dangerous to one’s life and liberty as it entails a penalty of life imprisonment without the benefit of parole. SB 1083 resurrects the doctrine laid down in Cold War-era anti-subversion law (RA 1700) which was already repealed by President Fidel Ramos in 1992. By repealing the anti-subversion law, Ramos invited the communist party to a peace talk and bring its advocacies into the open and compete in the marketplace of ideas.

Fourthly, the SB 1083 and HB 6875 also drop the provision on damages for an unproven charge of terrorism under Sec. 50 of the Human Security Act (RA 9372), which entitles any person wrongfully accused of terrorism to P500,000 for every day spent in detention. Thus, police’s negligence or blatant disregard of one’s constitutional right has no more deterrent tort liability as it is now removed from the proposed bills.

Those who don’t learn from history are condemned to repeat it. Let us remember that the former dictatorial regime held-on to power for 14 years primarily on the pretext that terrorism and the terroristic acts of the communist and Moro insurgents awaited our people -- while Marcos and his cohorts unleashed their brand of terror and terrorized the Filipino people.

Tuesday, June 2, 2020

End the madness of transport policy during GCQ! Nagkaisa bats for safe and free public transportation!

Nagkaisa assailed the national government, particularly the DOTr and the MMDA, for its massive failure to provide adequate public transportation on the first day of GCQ in Metro Manila.

Nagkaisa is highly disappointed with DOTr for its failure to perform its primary mandate to provide "efficient, and dependable transportation systems.” Chaos and confusion now reigns in the streets of Metro Manila as hundreds of thousands of workers scramble to get to work.

Contrary to MMDA’s arrogant claims of its full readiness for June 1, physical distancing was completely compromised as commuters waited for transport services. For many, the wait was in vain as the MMDA did not provide bus stops from Quezon Ave to Ayala Ave.

In its mad rush to jump start a stalled economy without due consideration to the safety and welfare of workers, the national government has once again succeeded in heaping more unnecessary burdens to the working class.

Worst, with this transport fiasco, the DOTr and the MMDA risks wasting all the sacrifices forced on everyone for more than 2 months of lockdown to stop Covid-19.

Nagkaisa believes that all these could have been avoided had the national government provided “safe and free” transportation by implementing service contracting of PUVs that could have augmented the limited public transportation that we have.

Proposed by Move As One coalition, service contracting of PUVs would not only ensure adequate public transportation in areas under the general community quarantine (GCQ), but also protect thousands of transport workers as they earn much needed livelihood.

Nagkaisa and its affiliates are members of the We Move As One coalition.

Under service contracting, the government pays the operators and drivers to run pre-determined routes to ferry workers. This is far different from the prevailing “boundary system,” in which earnings are based on the number of passengers ferried.

Nagkaisa calls on the DOTr, the MMDA and the national government to immediately address this dangerous situation or risk worsening the continuous rise in Covid-19 cases!

Monday, June 1, 2020

NAGKAISA Labor Coalition slams Congress for railroading of the Monster Anti-Terrorism Bill

We mince no words in denouncing the hasty passage of the Anti-Terrorism Bill in the House of Representatives last Friday. It could be remembered that the same measure was overwhelmingly approved by the Senate last February 26, 2020, with only two (2) Senators registering their disapproval. The House of Representatives did no better with a vote of 40-2 in the Committee last May 29, 2020, which adopted the Senate version of the bill. The passage into law of this Monster bill would be an acceleration to an already slow and steady descent into fascism of our country today.

We take particular exception in the extremely broad definitions of “terrorism” in the Monster bill, which would virtually criminalize almost all forms of dissent. Another equally appalling provision would be the warrantless arrests and detention of suspects, which basically overturns every Filipino’s right to be presumed innocent until proven otherwise. Moreover, the provisions equating the mere threat to property to terrorism does not serve the interest of the working class who is bereft of any property to speak of in the first place. Clearly, the Monster bill does not have working class interests in mind.

Instead of focusing on how to effectively deal with the COVID-19 pandemic, or to help the 11,000 ABS-CBN employees, as well as the projected 10 million working class Filipinos keep their much-needed jobs, our Honorable lawmakers saw it fit to invest their time into crafting more laws that would possibly endanger more the already grim human rights situation in our country today.

Nagkaisa calls on all working class Filipinos to make their voices heard and oppose this Monster bill and call on their legislators to prevent this bill from passing.

Sunday, May 31, 2020

ARE WE RETURNING TO PROCLAMATION 1081 AS THE HOUSE COMMITTEE ADOPTS SB 1083 BY LEGISLATIVE FIAT? – NAGKAISA!

The NAGKAISA! Labor Coalition is alarmed with and strongly opposed the adoption of the House Committee of Senate Bill 1083 as the counter-part version of the House of Representatives on the proposed New Anti-terror Law.

It appears now that the real threat to the life and liberty of our people comes not from terrorism but the proposed law such as SB 1083. The threat to life and liberty and other guaranteed rights are the true measures of what terrorists wanted to achieve. Do you not think the dictatorial regime hold-on to power for 14 years primarily on the pretext that terrorism and the terroristic acts of the communist and Moro insurgents allegedly awaited our people -- while Marcos and his cohorts unleashed their brand of terror and terrorized the Filipino people?

As we see it on its texts, the 63-page Senate Bill No. 1083 is a Marcosian law that can be likened to Presidential Proclamation 1081 declaring Martial Law in 1972. Of recent experience is the implementation of the Bayanihan Act, a number of government officials including security personnel, while exempting high officials, arrested ordinary citizens for violation of and abused them with said "benign law", what more with a Marcosian one.

NAGKAISA minces no words in denouncing the hasty passage of the Anti-Terrorism Bill in the House of Representatives last Friday. It could be remembered that the same measure was overwhelmingly approved by the Senate in February 2020, with only two (2) Senators registering their disapproval. The House joint committee did no better with a vote of 40-2 in the committee level last May 29, 2020, which adopted the Senate version of the bill, paving the way for the controversial measures up for debate in the plenary. The passage into law of this draconian bill would be an acceleration to an already slow and steady descent into fascism of our country today.

NAGKAISA takes particular exception in the extremely broad definitions of “terrorism” in the draconian bill, which would virtually criminalize almost all forms of dissent. Another equally appalling provision would be the warrantless arrests and detention of suspects, which overturns every Filipino’s right to be presumed innocent until proven otherwise. Moreover, the provisions equating the mere threat to property to terrorism does not serve the interest of the working class who is bereft of any property to speak of in the first place. The bill does not have working-class interests in mind.

NAGKAISA cannot allow the return of executive Arrest, Search and Seizure Orders (ASSO) allowing warrantless arrest. The biggest labor group coalition dreaded the time when victims are raided and arrested in their own homes without judicial warrants and illegally detained without charges.

SB 1083 (Sec 29) allows warrantless arrest by a mere suspicion and the only requirement is notifying a judge without him examining the complainant or his witnesses and, thereby, no finding of probable cause is required. This is repugnant to the constitutional protection in Section 2 of Article III of the Bill of Rights prohibiting warrantless arrest.

Section 29 of SB 1083 proposes to extend the days of detention from the present law providing three (3) days to 14, with an option to extend for another 10 days, if necessary, purportedly to preserve evidence, prevent an upcoming terrorist attack, or properly conclude an investigation.

Blatantly disregarding freedom of expression guaranteed by Section 4 of the Bill of Rights, SB 1083 (Sec 9) also consider it as a crime for any person who, without taking direct part in the commission of terrorism, shall express an opinion or show emblems, banners or other representations perceive to favor individuals or groups tagged as a terrorist and shall suffer the penalty of imprisonment of twelve (12) years.

Any citizen can be considered a criminal by association under Section 10 of SB 1083. Mere membership to an association tagged as a terrorist group is also dangerous to one’s life as it entails a penalty of life imprisonment without the benefit of parole. SB 1083 resurrects the doctrine laid down in Cold War-era anti-subversion law (RA 1700) which was already repealed by President Fidel Ramos in 1992.

The SB 1083 also drops the provision on damages for an unproven charge of terrorism under Sec. 50 of the Human Security Act (RA 9372), which entitles any person wrongfully accused of terrorism to P500,000 for every day spent in detention. Thus, police’s negligence or blatant disregard of one’s constitutional right has no more deterrent tort liability as it is now removed in SB 1083.

NAGKAISA holds that dissenters and radicals are not a threat to society if it is not connected to violence or other unlawful acts. Dissenters can be positive forces for or beneficial to change. History is our witness that people advocating for radical change make a difference for a better society. Did we not remember those advocated the 8-hour work a day, the abolition of slavery, or those who championed universal suffrage? These dissenters at their times were considered to be radical as they stood in opposition to the prevailing status quo in their societies.

Instead of focusing on how to effectively deal with the COVID-19 pandemic, or to help the 11,000 ABS-CBN employees, as well as the projected 10 million working-class Filipinos keep their much-needed jobs, our lawmakers saw it fit to invest their time into crafting more laws that would possibly endanger more the already grim human rights situation in our country today.

NAGKAISA calls on all working-class Filipinos to make their voices heard and oppose this Monster bill and call on their legislators to prevent this bill from passing.

Thursday, May 28, 2020

NAGKAISA endorses 35-hour workweek; rejects compressed work week with over 8 hours a day work without overtime pay

The NAGKAISA welcomes the proposal to reduce the workweek schedule of private-sector employees to 35 hours on voluntary basis under House Bill 309 authored by Albay 2nd District Rep. Joey Salceda. His bill's explanatory note cited studies showing that a more flexible workweek increases the productivity of workers, and benefits the economy in the long run.

NAGKAISA supports HB 309 because it is not new. Shortened hours of work from 8 to 6 hours are already observed in France, Denmark, Sweden, and other Scandinavian countries. As example: workers of Toyota company in Gothenburg, Sweden, who worked 6-hours a day are happier and more efficient and productive.

Toyota, which pioneered this 6-hour workday concept, reported that in their 15 years or more of this experience, they've had higher profits, better production, and quality. (BBC, 27 September 2015; Guardian, 17 September 2015).

NAGKAISA, however, suggests that a non-diminution of benefit provision be added in Section 1 of the Bill, as the workers shall have the equivalent workload, and the same performance standards as those working for 8 hours a day.

NAGKAISA, on the other hand, opposes House Bill No. 1338 proposing a compressed workweek allowing more than 8 up to 12 hours work a day, without overtime pay.

Such a proposal, if it becomes law, would take a heavy toll on majority of our workers. It would not be good for the health and safety of workers, especially if they do physical work like those in construction, and those jobs that rely on physical stamina like masons and bus drivers.

NAGKAISA is covinced that though perhaps tolerable for a few days, working for 10 to 12 hours, would be detrimental to workers in the long run. Working 12 hours, plus going thru traffic of 4 hours, or a total of 17 hours of toil a day, for 4 straight days a week, will dangerously affect workers' health and safety.

The Philippines had signed and ratified International Labor Organization (ILO) Convention No. 1 of 1919. ILC No. 1 limits the number of work hours in the industrial sectors to 8 hours a day, or 48 hours a week. This covers mines, factories, and other manufacturing firms. Legislating HB 1338 will be legislating violation of ILO Conv No. 1.

Workers also may run into family and childcare problems working longer hours a day, even though a three-day weekend rest might be quite tempting to some.

After the lockdown, under the 8-hour workday, one arrives home at 9 or 10 PM from work (because of heavy traffic on the road). The increase of 2 to four 4 hours on the road will make child care difficult or no longer possible for working parents with kids or children.

Under the existing DOLE Labor Advisory No. 4,Series of 2010, defines the compressed workweek as a flexible work arrangement where the normal workweek is reduced to less than six days, but the total number of work hours per week shall remain at 48 hours.

This advisory is feasible because it is voluntary, thus subject to agreement between workers and employers. The voluntary agreement serves as a legal basis for working beyond 12 hours a day without a corresponding overtime premium. And the reason/s on which the agreement is/are based rest/s solely on the agreement of the parties, not on pandemics or any other national emergencies.

Finally, studies have pointed out that working long hours regularly, offer no long term benefits to an employee. On the contrary, it provides many negative outcomes found by previous scholars, like health problems, increased medical costs, decreased productivity, reduced quality of work/job performance, lower job commitment, higher job turnover, etc.

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

NAGKAISA! labor coalition joins call for Duque’s resignation

The function of the Secretary of Health’s (SOH) is to carry out the primary mandate of the Department of Health (DOH) which is the promotion, protection, preservation or restoration of the health of the people through the provision and delivery of health services.

Confronting the current state of Covid-19 pandemic is undoubtedly the biggest test on the competence and integrity of a sitting SOH. Under Francisco Duque III, however, the DOH has become the epitome of incompetence, corruption controversies, and downright negligence as far as workers’ health interest is concerned.

As SOH in this time of pandemic, Duque’s main responsibility should have been the enhancement of our mass testing capacity nationwide and reinforcing the department’s chronic ‘lack of personnel’ problem by hiring more health workers and frontliners. On these two accounts alone, Duque has miserably failed.
Instead of building up these capacities, he willingly succumbed to the pressure of allowing rapid antibody test for the sake of businesses. And instead of mass hiring, has opted to inviting volunteer doctors, nurses and health assistants with meager allowances rather than making them permanent civil servants in the health department.

As health commander he should have stood against the ‘pure business’ position of other departments like the DOLE, DTI, NEDA and DOF which summoned workers back to work without mandatory PCR-based mass testing. It must be considered a crime for the SOH to allow millions of people to go back to work without the needed clinical examinations and PPEs in fighting the virus.

For these reasons we come to the position that it is time for Duque to go and be replaced by the most competent and credible person in the health profession.

But in calling for Duque’s resignation, we want to convey the same massage to heads of other agencies, particularly DOLE and DTI, that their levels of negligence, incompetence and class bias can be worse than the SOH, and that there will be another time in asking for your heads.

Saturday, May 23, 2020

Labor Group: Reviving the Economy Must Not be at the Expense of the Safety and Lives of Workers!

In its effort to revive the economy, is government now putting the lives and safety of our workers entirely in the hands of their bosses?

NAGKAISA is alarmed over the state’s abdication of its constitutional duty to protect its citizens when it practically admitted that it can’t provide mass testing, relegating in effect that primary responsibility to the private sector.

Now, we see that the government is even preventing the LGUs from requiring employers to test their workers! Further, mass testing as a strategy is made more anemic by the labor department's issuances of labor advisories, specifically LAs 17 and 18, which identified testing and shuttle services a requirement but not mandatory on the side of employers.

These contradictory signals from government officials reinforces the growing public’s impression that this administration is at a loss at how to contain the virus. Rather than provide assurance, our people are now confused, disoriented and frustrated. This is a new disaster in the making compounding the disaster brought about by the pandemic.

And now that the government has come to an agreement we are still in the FIRST wave and have not even abated the spread of infections, why did the government ease the lockdown restrictions and sent our workers back to work without safety nets and mass testing?

The answer is quite obvious: this government’s priority is to save the economy at the risk of putting the working class in danger of being infected with Covid-19!

For NAGKAISA, mass testing is a key component of workers' “BalikTrabahongLigtas" not only to protect him/her but also his/her family society as a whole.

Nagkaisa calls on the government, particularly the implementors of Covid-19 response, to build the state’s capacity to conduct mass testing using RT-PCR.

The coalition also calls on government to involve the public in designing mechanisms for ensuring mass testing. It appears that the government is determined to practice social distancing with people’s organizations.

Now is the time more than ever that government concretize its commitment to ensure a safe and healthful workplace for all working people by affording them full protection against all hazards brought about by this covid 19 pandemic.

Friday, May 22, 2020

Labor group Calls on the House to Pass ABS-CBN Franchise with Deliberate Speed, Ensure Workers' Rights Embedded in said Franchise

The Nagkaisa Labor Coalition calls on the House of Representatives to deliberate with dispatch its recalled bill on ABS-CBN as soon as possible to avert the retrenchment of 11,000 workers and to give timely and critical information to the general public in this national health emergency caused by the COVID 19 pandemic.

Initially rolling in the House of Representatives was a bill granting provisional franchise to ABS-CBN which was recalled and will be subject for congressional deliberation on May 26.

The Nagkaisa Labor Coalition urges the House not to exhaust the last six (6) days left of its session and wait for the next session in July as the workers' and their families' future is getting bleaker and direr as Congress continue to drag its feet for whatever reason of its own.

The next session of Congress will begin in the last week ofJuly 2020. But ABS-CBN already have a warning that it might be forced to retrench its employees by August.

We urge Congress not to further delay, the on-ongoing initiative. Its approval with deliberate speed is good for the country and the workers.

Firstly, the approval of the franchise will avert the termination of more than 11,000 workers from employment and prevent the starvation of their dependent families in the midst of a pandemic.

Secondly, in this time of national health crisis, our people need accurate and timely information to fight an unseen enemy known as Covid 19 and the nationwide network of ABS-CBN can help in the dissemination of crucial and timely information in all nooks and corners of the country.

Nagkaisa urges both the House and the Senate to immediately enact it into a law in the form of a pro-workers' franchise for the benefit of more than 11,000 workers and the general public.

ABS-CBN is engaged in a radio-TV-broadcasting business affected with public interest. The phrase "affected with public interest" means that an industry is subject to control for the public good subject to the exercise of the police power.

In its letter to Senate President Tito Sotto III and Speaker Alan Cayetano, the biggest labor Coalition in the country said that a legislative franchise to operate said business is imbued with public interest and involves an exercise of police power. In this regard, the legislature as the guardian of workers and society, it is presumed to advance the interest of workers and society.

In the exercise of police power and to uphold social justice, the Nagkaisa urges Congress to include in the new franchise -- as well as other legislative franchises to be passed -- the provisions on democratization of ownership like shares of stocks be offered to the public; workers be given equity and representation to decision making.

Nagkaisa also calls for respect and protection of workers' security of tenure, rights to self-organization, collective bargaining and concerted activities including the right to strike in accordance with law and other constitutional rights such as humane condition of worker, participation to decision-making and just share in the fruits of production.

It entails the regularization by ABS-CBN of portion of its workforce who are in precarious and contractual status for several years now.

Nagkaisa looks forward to the Congressional leaders to usher and expedite the passage of and ABS-CBN pro-workers' francise.

Nagkaisa had sent its legislative proposal to both the Senate and the House. The draft includes provisions on democratization of ownership, on workers' equity and representation to policy and decision making and on respect for trade union and workers' rights to the Senate and the House on pro-workers' ABS-CBN. franchise.

Nagkaisa also suggested to include its pro-workers' proposal to other earlier granted legislative franchises in the form of amendments on these franchises as Congress can do so at its own discretion.

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Labor Advisory No. 17, a highly disadvantageous to workers - Nagkaisa

Nagkaisa denounced the Labor Advisory No. 17 that DOLE issued today as a crude instrument for super exploitation.

Ironically called the Guidelines on Employment Preservation Upon the Resumption of Labor Advisory No. 17, Series of 2020, or Labor Advisory No 17, includes Section 5 that allows employers and employees to “agree voluntarily and in writing to temporarily adjust employees’ wage and wage-related benefits.”

Nagkaisa believes that this proposition is highly disadvantageous to workers. Coming from a long ECQ, workers, especially those who are unorganized, may have no option except to follow the wishes of their employers. Many unscrupulous employers would simply threaten workers with dismissals or company closures if they don’t “voluntarily” agree to rollback their wages and other wage-related benefits.

And from the looks of it, it would be difficult to reinstate the previous wage levels enjoyed by workers as the same offensive Section 5 allows employers to “review their agreement and may renew the same” after six months.

This is the latest example of DOLE’s growing pattern of disregard worker’s welfare!

First, they failed to provide aid to all workers affected by the pandemic. After forcing workers to go hungry, they asked workers to report for work even if there is no public transportation. Then they reneged on their initial commitment to provide mass testing for all workers.

Now, DOLE is giving employers a blank check to roll back the gains made by the unions and even pay their workers starvation wages! The state must never allow itself to become a party to employers' latest trick to shortchange their workers.

This pattern of risking the lives of workers and sacrificing them for profits is not the “new normal” we want.

NAGKAISA calls on Secretary Bello to immediately rescind the Labor Advisory. Rather than ask workers to pay for the economic recovery of their employers, DOLE should ensure that workers’ welfare are properly considered in the stimulus package that government is now preparing.

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Labor group warns of a second wave of infection unless robust OHS measures are made mandatory

NAGKAISA, the biggest labor coalition in the country, warns government that a second wave of Covid-19 infection is very likely now that ECQ will be lifted or modified in the country without mandating companies to institute robust health and safety measures for the workers the moment they leave their homes to report for duty.

While the DOLE and the DTI issued joint guidelines on preventing Covid-19 infection among the workforce, the guidelines fall short of truly ensuring a safe environment for workers. It doesn’t even prescribe penalties for any violations.

NAGKAISA believes that a Department Order should have been issued to compel employers to negotiate with their workers a comprehensive set of protocols to prevent Covid-19 and deal with it effectively should it occur, even before the ECQ is modified or is lifted.

Without compelling employers to negotiate with their workers, to involve them in designing OHS measures, compliance to these guidelines would be very very low.

This is expected to be so, especially when the company is unorganized.

Among the other major lapses of the joint DTI and DOLE Guidelines are:

- It failed to consider Sars-Cov-2 as an occupational hazard and Covid-19 as an occupational disease.
- It did not call for mandatory inspection of companies to ensure their compliance, especially in terms of providing physical distancing.
- It did not provide support should the worker end up infecting any member of her/his family.
- It did not provide for paid 14-day quarantine leaves for workers who may end up being suspected of having Covid-19.

The guidelines called for the use of PCR tests for workers. However, the ability of all companies to comply, especially the MSMEs, was never considered.

This has to be taken up seriously as even government’s own efforts to do mass testing is now severely hampered by the lack of supplies like swabs and re-agents.

NAGKAISA is asking the DOLE and the DTI to immediately rectify these errors by issuing a joint Department Order.

The coalition is requesting DOLE for a meeting to discuss the details of workers' concerns within the week.

NAGKAISA is also demanding that return to work protocols be included in the National Action Plan (NAP),
the details of which should be presented to the public.

Unless these lapses are rectified, NAGKAISA will blame no one else but this government and the employers for the next wave of illnesses and deaths among workers due to Covid-19.

Thursday, May 7, 2020

NAGKAISA appreciates the DOLE’s efforts to provide aide to more than a million workers

NAGKAISA however note that DOLE still failed to reach its target of 1.6 million workers.

Sadly, this target is way too low compared to at least 25 million workers affected by the pandemic, as estimated by the Ateneo Center for Economic Research and Development (ACERD).

We are also concerned that the amount provided by CAMP and TUPAD is just a fraction of what workers and their families needed to survive more than 6 weeks of lockdown.

We still assert that all affected workers should be provided income guarantees equivalent to the prevailing minimum wage, or P10,000 whichever is higher. This would help ensure that millions of workers will be able to somehow cope with the financial burdens that they incurred during the lockdown.

NAGKAISA also calls on Congress to incorporate in its stimulus package bill a provision that would subsidize, if not condone, all rent and utility costs of all workers affected by the ECQ.


NAGKAISA Labor Coalition
Press Statement
May 7, 2020

Wednesday, May 6, 2020

NAGKAISA and KMU Launch Petition to Save Jobs, Uphold Press Freedom, Grant of Pro-workers Franchise to ABS-CBN Network

In solidarity with the union and the more than 11,000 workers of ABS-CBN who are now displaced due to the closure of the giant station, the Nagkaisa Labor Coalition and Kilusang Mayo Uno launched this morning a petition to get signatures to save jobs, uphold press freedom and freedom of expression, and for the grant of a pro-workers franchise.



The petition reads:

"We condemn the decision of the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) to shut down the ABS-CBN network. By enticing the NTC to issue a Cease and Desist Order, Solicitor General Calida and the government he represents blatantly affront press freedom and the people’s freedom of expression. The Order also renders more than 11,000 workers jobless, and their families in limbo at a time when we are reeling from the COVID-19 crisis.

"We believe that to deny or extend the franchise of ABS-CBN is within the authority of Congress (Art XII, Sec 11 of the Constitution). What the law itself has granted, the law may take away. But in the case of ABS-CBN, though its franchise has already expired, the deliberation of its renewal is on-going in Congress. NTC have arrogated unto itself the power of Congress. Thus, the unilateral act of "cease and desist" is an abuse of discretion. NTC should have first observed congressional courtesy as Congress is deliberating its franchise renewal.

"The continuous operations of the ABS-CBN is not only good for press freedom and freedom of expression -- one of the hallmarks of a democratic society-- but also good for workers and their families. It means employment for them all. The closure is detrimental to the livelihood of thousands of its employees and other employees of companies directly or indirectly related to the business of said giant media establishment.

"We call on the NTC to reverse its decision, and to let Congress decide on the matter. We call on Congress to extend a pro-worker franchise to ABS-CBN."


Sign and share the petition!

Defend jobs, uphold press freedom!

Save more than 11,000 workers from joblessness. Fight for freedom of expression! Stop the closure of ABS-CBN!

Grant a pro-workers' franchise!

Tuesday, May 5, 2020

No to ABS-CBN shutdown




We condemn the decision of the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) to shut down the ABS-CBN network. NTC should reverse its decision, and let Congress decide on the matter. We call on Congress to extend a pro-worker franchise to ABS-CBN. Sign the petition!

#NotoABSCBNShutdown
#DefendPressFreedom
#StandWithABSCBNWorkers

Monday, May 4, 2020

Nagkaisa chides PhilHealth for incompetence, insensitivity; lack of workers representation, consultations; presses for hike moratorium

Absence of genuine workers' representation and consultations have led to a perceived staggering increase in the scheduled premium payment of OFWs to the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) according to the Nagkaisa Labor Coalition.

NAGKAISA likened this to taxation without representation. Had there been consultations with OFW groups and trade unions, this policy would not have even been proposed.

This is why the labor coalition is calling for the suspension or moratorium on the implementation of UHC, particularly for OFWs.

The mandatory OFW coverage is like an income tax, which was abolished by earlier laws for them to have tax-free income. The Memo circular and the law kwhich it is based, now negates this income tax-free privilege without categorically amending the earlier law granting OFWs tax exemption.

NAGKAISA, the biggest labor coalition in the country, submits that the Philhealth should have designed a package of benefits tailor-fit to the needs of our OFWs. After all, Section 9 of the Universal Health Care Act say that “Philhealth shall provide additional Program benefits for direct contributors, where applicable.” Instead, Philhealth callously and horribly foisted its program on our OFWs without even consideration to their peculiar situation. It will, in effect suck, most of our OFWs' blood dry.

Equally deplorable is the provision in the IRR of the UHC Law signed by Secretary Duque of DOH and retired BGen Morales of PhilHealth, particularly Section 10.2.c thereof which states to the effect that payment of monthly premiums will now be a requirement prior to the issuance of the Overseas Employment Certificate (OEC) by the POEA. Therefore, vacationing OFWs will not be allowed to leave the country to return to their work abroad unless we pay in full our Philhealth contributions. Such imposition is tantamount to holding hostage the future of the OFWs and our families back home under the whims and caprices of PHilhealth demanding for ransom.

This comes at a very bad time and leaves a very bad taste in the mouth, as government has refused to give any assistance to the families of OFWs, since the head of the household is employed abroad. Perhaps government really wants to make heroes out of OFWs in the cinematic sense--beaten, humiliated, deprived of justice. If we follow the script, OFWs will rise, fight and win justice for themselves, their families and the people.


Apart from calling for the suspension or moratorium of the new policy, NAGKAISA demands that:

1) Philhealth conduct consultations with OFWs from as many countries as possible, either physically or online, with the aim of developing a package suitable to the needs of the OFW abroad and to their families back home.

2) Congress review and amend the law to make the status of being Direct Contributors as discretionary on the part of the OFWs, thereby giving flexibility for them to select which income level to declare based on their capability to pay and their desire to receive more benefits corresponding to their level of premium contribution;

3) Scrap the requirement of submission of proof of actual income for OFWs; and,

4) Trash the mandatory obligation of full premium payment as requirement for the issuance of the OEC for departing OFWs for being extortionist in nature.

5) Appoint trade union and OFW representatives to the PhilHealth Board.

Sunday, May 3, 2020

Labor Coalition Strongly Condemns Curtailment of Freedom of Expression on Labor Day

Nagkaisa Labor Coalition highly deplores the harassmenct of Kadamay members in Valenzuela and other arrests and detention effected by the PNP for posting protest pictures and other forms of expression on social media.

Videos and photos showing the activists in a house in Valenzuela holding slogans for an end to contractualization, for the protection of frontliners, calling for wage increase, hazard pay, and relief to the workers during the enhanced community quarantine are part of freedom of expression and right to assembly to petition government for redress of grievances which are guaranteed by the Bill of Rights of the fundamental law.

The holding of the slogans while their fellow members banged metal pots in an in-house protest action are also covered by these constitutional protection.

We are aware that humans possess imperfect knowledge, hence, any attempt to curtail expression which are disliked or loathed upon by those in power should not be allowed. As we see them, the acts of these workers constitute no "clear and present danger" to any body. Neither the very survival of the government is at stake. Thus, these acts are constitutionally protected.

The ultimate good that we desire is better reached by a free exchange of ideas in what ever form it is communicated. "The best test of truth is the power of the thought to get itself accepted in the competition of the market," to borrow the words of Justice Holmes in Abram vs. US.

We are gravely concerned over this growing pattern of gross violation of our freedom of expression being perpetrated by sycophantic government officials aimed at pleasing the powers that be.

On Labor Day, thousands joined a multi-form online protest organized by Nagkaisa and other labor groups. But, protesters in Marikina and Montalban who practiced social distancing while on protest were also arrested.

Earlier, security forces arrested a teacher in General Santos for her Facebook criticism on a mayor for inadequate food relief in the city.

In Cavite, the PNP and the LGU tried to use the lockdown as an excuse to prevent food and water from being delivered to the picketline of Sejung workers who are on strike. When that failed, they forcibly demolished the strike area on a Good Friday.

In Taiwan our POLO attempted to deport an OFW for criticizing Duterte. Fortunately, Taiwan rebuffed the deportation application.

The police officers who ordered or effected these arrests or demolition of picketline need to go back to refreshers' school to review the constitution and update their law enforcement knowledge.

The biggest labor Coalition in the country also calls on the Internal Affairs Service of the PNP to hold accountable its women and men in the uniform service.

The Human Rights Commission shall likewise do its own parallel investigation on this blatant disregard of the civil and political rights of citizens.

Nagkaisa Press Statement
May 3, 2020

Friday, May 1, 2020

NAGKAISA finds Bello’s balik-probinsya program a failed old recipe

The balik-probinsya and 1M job programs have both been promised before by different administrations different reasons to address urban decongestion or as a political agenda for rural development or to entice provincial votes.

Likewise, Philippine Development Plans repeatedly mentioned this strategy, but in reality, urban migration continues because rural development didnt happen, agriculture is in a sad state, industrialization is zero, and provincial wages remain at starvation levels.

We always welcome Government’s plans to generate jobs to address massive unemployment, but we still insist that such program must be institutionalized as employment guarantees. These jobs must be determined based on a comprehensive agro-industrial policy aimed at building a safe, resilient and sustainable economy.

But with no further details presented, we find these sketchy proposals announced by Bello on the eve of Labor Day, as no better than the traditional Labor Day job fairs conducted by DOLE. Further, it looks more as an election platform for someone, rather than a bold economic package to address the immediate needs of our workers today, as well as the strategic need to establish a new order that is far better than the fallacies of the old normal.

In the meantime, the most pressing concern of the working people, which the Government is failing to address, is the slow and missing aid not reaching the millions of displaced workers. The latest reports say that only 6% of LGUs are able to download the social amelioration benefit, while DOLE’s CAMP and TUPAD are far worse behind.

#LaborDay #MayDay2020
PRESS STATEMENT
NAGKAISA Labor Coalition
01 May 2020

Thursday, April 30, 2020

Labor coalition hits “Emperor Joey Concepcion” for ‘virus-resilient poor’ comment

Workers groups find not only bad taste but also class insult from Presidential adviser Joey Concepcion’s remark Wednesday that the poor may now be allowed to go back to work as they seem to be resilient to viruses.

This is a total disregard of the equal protection clause of the Bill of Rights. His reason is highly discriminatory to the working poor – are hardest hit by the Covid-19 crisis and therefor need more protection than ever.

“Here we have a Presidential adviser who talks like an emperor. Roman emperors of ancient history had forced their slaves to continue building roads, aqueducts, monuments and palaces even during pandemics. It is not because the emperor saw immortality in the poor but simply because slaves are disposable subjects,” said the group in a statement.

According to Concepcion, many of the poor are somehow resilient to the virus, may be because they are so used to so much exposure that they have better immunity than the rich who are sheltered in well- protected environment. As a strategy he simply proposed sheltering the healthy and isolating the infected.

Nagkaisa! slammed Concepcion for his shameless display of class privilege at a time the labor movement is demanding strongly for a #BalikTrabahongLigtas or a safe return to work policy, mindful of the grave consequences of massive infection and reinfection from unsafe workplaces, transportation and public spaces.

Aimed at convincing the public that they are working to ensure the safety of workers, it is Concepcion who pushed for the Palace’s adoption of rapid antibody test to be implemented under business groups’ Project Antibody Rapid Test Kits (ARK).

Contrary to this, labor groups are pushing for a a more reliable PCR-based mass testing as well as full Philhealth coverage, and business’ full compliance to OSH law and other labor standards.

“Balik Trabahong Ligtas” is one of the Labor Day demands of Nagkaisa. This requires the issuance of a new DOLE Department Order requiring employers to negotiate with the unions a comprehensive Covid-19 protocol at the company and industry levels that would ensure a safe working condition. The other demands include “Ayudang Sapat Para sa Lahat” and building up the capacity of our public healthcare system, among others.

With all roads remaining closed, Nagkaisa and other labor groups are shifting to different forms of online protest.

“Kahit lockdown ay may laban pa rin tayo onlayn,” Nagkaisa said.

Sunday, April 26, 2020

Nagkaisa statement on deporting OFW

April 26, 2020

Hon Silvestre H. Bello III
Secretary
Department if Labor and Employment
Intramuros, Manila

Dear Sec. Bello,

It has come to our knowledge that our Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) in Taiwan is initiating a deportation proceedings against an Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW), Elanel Egot Ordidor, a caregiver employed in Yunlin County, Taiwan.

We went to view two of her postings and we found them neither defamatory or libelous. Personal hurt or embarrassment, even if real, is not automatically equivalent to libel or defamation.

Freedom of speech and of the press as well as of peaceful assembly are preferred rights among other rights guaranteed by the Bill of Rights and are nearly absolute against public officials (N.Y. TIMES vs Sullivan).

The Nagkaisa holds that Ms. Ordidor statements involved the interest of society and the maintenance of good government. These demand freedom to think as you will and to speak as you think in full discussion of public affairs.

Complete liberty to comment on the conduct of public official is said to be a scalpel in the case of free speech. Our public officials may suffer under a hostile and an unjust accusation -- but we submit "the wound can be assuaged with the balm of a clear conscience", to borrow the words of Justice Malcom (U.S. vs Bustos).

Thus, a person in public office "must not be too thin-skinned with reference to comment upon his official acts."

We are not aware of other postings and how Ms. Ordidor allegedly defamed or libeled the President, but surely something is amiss when the POLO starts taking arbitary action to have an OFW arrested in foreign land and deported without due process. As we understand, libel cannot be filed by any person aside from the one defamed according to the last paragraph of Article 360 of the Revised Penal Code. Is there a case filed by President Duterte, the one whom the defamations were allegedly directed at, against Ms. Ordidor? Is there any case filed at all? Is cyberlibel being added as an additional ground for deportation of an OFW?

Is the POLO now authorized to cause arrest in foreign land and effect deportation? What provision of law is this authority anchored.

These are just few of the questions hounding this particular case and we suspect there is irregularity in this action.

In this view, may we request your good office to conduct an administrative investigation and clarify this matter?

If this reported initiative of deportation is true, this is highly deplorable and the responsible officer must be disciplined and held accountable. The alleged "nasty and malevolent" postings against President Duterte will not justify this illegal act of deportation initiated by our POLO - which is mandated to give ample protection to, and not be instrument of harrassment against, OFWs under its jurisdiction (see Art 21 of Labor Code).

Further, more importantly, we respectfully urge your a dangerous precedent that would put our OFW's inherent and constitutional right to free speech and to travel in jeopardy.

We look forward to your favorable action. Thank you and warm regards.

Sincerely,
Sonny Matula
Chairman
NAGKAISA

Thursday, April 23, 2020

Extended or modified ECQ? #BalikTrabahongLigtas, an equitable new normal is what we want – labor group

Today, the president is expected to announce his decision on what to do with the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ).

For the Nagkaisa! labor coalition, to extend or to modify the ECQ are false choices for the working class. Sadly government is unable to display ability to provide the requirements for either of these two options.

Should the lockdown be extended due to the fact that the virus has yet to be contained, workers have to face the reality that the government has been consistently failing to provide its promised aid to the poor and the near poor, many of whom they mistakenly categorize as the “middle class.”

After 5 weeks of lockdown, the president himself, in his latest report to Congress, admitted that only 49% of the target beneficiaries were actually provided with its minimal aid. Majority of the people in need, in other words, are getting more frustrated of the slow, intricate and short-circuited administration of the promised aid.

Should the lockdown be modified to allow some workers back to work, workers also face the grim reality that both the government and many employers have yet to prove that they can actually provide a safe working environment for everyone as the level of protection, even for our frontliners and those who were allowed to remain working in essential establishments, are sorely lacking.

Asking workers to return to work without the most effective mass testing method may end up wasting whatever gains we had during the quarantine.

In effect, government and employers are irresponsibly gambling with the lives of the working class to save the inequitable economy that we have.

This is why, before we even talk of what to do with ECQ, Nagkaisa is pressing for the following demands:

1. Show the public a clear action battle plan not only for defeating the virus but also in protecting the people from the impacts of economic recession

2. Provide universal support like an income guarantee equivalent to the prevailing minimum wage or P10k whichever is higher to avoid the bureaucratic bottlenecks created by targeted support.

3. Improve protection to all our health workers who are disproportionately victimized by the virus and start building up the public health care delivery by hiring full time healthcare workers and regularizing all HCWs under contract of service arrangements.

4. Release a DOLE Department Order that would mandate the employers to negotiate with unions or workers’ representatives practical and realistic Covid-19 protocols, most importantly a PCR-based massive testing as against the rapid antibody test being promoted by the business sector; provision of PPEs, regular workplace disinfection, and providing paid quarantine leaves when needed.

5. Ensure free medical services should workers be infected.

The administration should address these challenges in the soonest possible time. Nangkaisa! also calls on government to consult with trade unions and other people’s organizations — listen to their calls and work with them in addressing the challenges of this pandemic.

Clearly, we can no longer go back to normal. Returning back to depressed working conditions without labor rights protection is not what we envision.

If we are to restart the economy, we might as well build a better one, an economy that is equitable enough to ensure that everyone shares the fruits of economic developments, and sustainable enough to mitigate even the impacts of climate change and future pandemics.
Nagkaisa! is set to unveil is comprehensive proposals before May 1.

#BalikTrabahongLigtas

Sunday, April 19, 2020

Questions for the two Joeys: Do you have a better plan for the workers?

Are the two Joeys trying to become the ‘corporate white knights’ of the Duterte administration?

They seem to be, according to the labor coalition Nagkaisa! which presumes businessman Joey Concepcion and Albay Rep Joey Salceda to be the corporate voices in the Duterte administration.

Nagkaisa! said, it was Joey Concepcion who, in the dead of the night, proposed to the President the use of rapid antibody testing for workers whom business crave to return to work to revive their industries.

Rep. Joey Salceda, on the other hand, has proposed a P350B bailout package for big corporations with another proposal to grant a special emergency power for the President to fast track the build-build-build (BBB) projects.

“It’s all business that we hear from the two as they clearly were advancing corporate interest as top priority in the government’s recovery plans at the expense of workers’ safety and well-being in the immediate and long term,” said the group.

Nagkaisa! argued that the Concepcion proposal will send millions of workers back to work as unprotected herds subjected to unreliable antibody tests to be conducted at workplace level.

“Only the world-tested PCR-based testing method can give that reliable assurance. Without this method of mass testing, the Concepcion proposal can only be considered as safe for business but not for the workers,” said the group.

To labor group said it would be better and more cost-efficient for big business to help fund the national and local governments in establishing and operating additional PCR-based testing facilities that are accessible to workers all over the country.

As to the Salceda proposal, Nagkaisa! said state funds are much needed for income and employment guarantees for workers, support for MSMEs, and the building up of our healthcare system and hiring of additional health workers.

“Why bailout big business when they forever have access to local and international capital markets? Likewise, we see no need for new emergency powers for the President as the BBB budget, we demand, is better realigned to priority programs stated above as subways, railroads and airports are not the pressing needs of our people at this point in time,” concluded Nagkaisa!.

Sunday, April 12, 2020

Instead of a sweeping ban on deployment abroad, nagkaisa urges gov't to hire health workers in the civil service

The Nagkaisa! Labor Coalition believes that building up our public health system is one of the most important lessons of this pandemic.

The fact that our health system is now overwhelmed when we have yet to reach the peak of infections proved that privatization has only imperilled the government’s capacity to respond to the pandemic.

Clearly there is a need to rapidly increase the country’s number of hospital beds per 1,000 persons and be at par at least with our ASEAN neighbours. This requires not just filling up staff requirements of our public hospitals but also building new ones.

It is for this reason that Nagkaisa! insists that the government hire health workers in the civil service and not rely on volunteers -- or resort on a sweeping ban on deployment of all health workers including those who are already employed abroad.

The DOH appears to have taken no effort to hire health workers in the civil service despite authority given under the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act (Sec 4(m) of RA 11469).

The irony is that despite having the authority and enough budget, estimated at P75B for health and support services, no tangible effort or concrete action was done to recruit medical professionals in our civil service.

At the DOH official website only 15 vacancies are posted (3 part-time) as available to be filled up. Yet, government is banning and "offloading" from their flights hundreds of workers employed abroad in the past few days.

DOH is more active in recruiting volunteers with P500/day allowance rather than hiring with compensation in the civil service.

Nagkaisa! recommends the following:

1. Instead of a ban, Nagkaisa! suggests that medical and medical professionals and other necessary workers may be hired by DOH and be part of the civil service. In Article II, Section 4, the Constitution provides that all citizens may be required, under conditions provided by law, to render personal civil service.

3. Government must take care of our local private health workers if we would like them to remain in the country. They should also be given hazard pay of P500/day like that of their public sector counterpart or 25% of their basic salary, whichever is higher.

4. Also, DOH volunteers now should be upgraded and hired as health workers with salaries, depending on their qualifications, equivalent to the salary grades (SG) of their functions, like a nurses to SG 15 to 18 or a doctors SG 21 to 24.

5. Nagkaisa! demands that the GAA for 2020 onwards must prioritize health expenditures to match global benchmark of not lower than 10% of the GDP. Currently, the country is spending only 4.6% of the GDP for health service.

Further, Nagkaisa! also wants to get apprised of the details of the National Action Plan so workers know their place in that plan and to see if there is a particular space there where labor and other sectors' participation would matter.

DFA chief hits deployment ban on PH health workers

Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. says the ban violates the right to travel and the sanctity of contracts, and applies a punishment not previously imposed

MANILA, Philippines — Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. on Saturday said he would fight an order by the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) temporarily suspending the deployment of Filipino health care workers abroad, denouncing the move as an “abomination.”

“Filipino NHS nurses were stopped at NAIA (Ninoy Aquino International Airport) from returning to their contracted jobs in the UK. This violates the Constitution in 3 ways: right to travel, inviolability of contracts, punitive ex-post facto resolution,” Locsin, a lawyer, said on Twitter.

The NHS, or the National Health Service, is the publicly-funded healthcare system in the United Kingdom.

The POEA, which regulates the deployment of overseas Filipino workers, issued the order on April 2 but only made it public on Friday.

The aim is “to prioritize human resource allocation for the national health care system,” according to the resolution posted on Twitter by Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Brigido Dulay.

The ban will remain in place until the Philippines ends its state of emergency and countries that would hire the medical personnel lift their coronavirus-related travel restrictions.

The government has also suspended negotiations for bilateral labor agreements covering government-to-government deployment of health workers.

There was no immediate comment from the POEA or the Department of Labor and Employment.

UK envoy airs call

Many people aired their complaints to Locsin on social media, saying that doctors, nurses, other hospital workers and medical professionals leaving for aboard, including those returning to their jobs after a vacation here, were barred at the Naia.

“I do hope we can resolve this issue that brilliant Filipino healthcare workers, already employed by the NHS, can get back to the UK to carry on with their jobs,” British ambassador to Manila Daniel Pruce responded to Locsin, also on Twitter.

Locsin immediately expressed his sympathy and support for the health workers.

“You really do not want to be stuck here under the regime of people who don’t know anything,” he said.

The secretary said he would raise the issue to the Cabinet and the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID), the government adhoc policymaking body to contain the new coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

“We will fight the ban in the IATF. We will fight the ban in the Cabinet. We will fight shit for brains. We will never surrender our constitutional right to travel and our contractual right to work where there is need for our work,” Locsin said.

‘Just an opinion’

He said he wanted the POEA resolution, which was “just an opinion,” included on the IATF-EID agenda on Monday.

“No discussion. … Just a raising of hands—for our people or against our people. Also, no one talks who is not a Cabinet member,” he added.

When told about Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III’s claim that the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) representative at the POEA governing board did not object to the resolution on the deployment ban, Locsin replied: “Well I, as SECRETARY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS, object to it and fill up the silence of the DFA representative. I REJECT THIS ABOMINATION.”

Sen. Joel Villanueva, chair of the Senate labor committee, said the government could suspend the deployment of Filipino healthcare workers but must ensure they will have jobs in the health care sector in the country.

It should study the impact of its ban on doctors, nurses, and other healthcare personnel with existing contracts abroad, he added.

“If our government presses forward with the sweeping ban on the exit of Filipino healthcare workers, even if they have live contracts, our labor department, in coordination with the Department of Health, should be prepared to take them into our healthcare system at the very least,” Villanueva said in a text message.

‘Recall the resolution’
“Otherwise, if there is no pro-active and parallel effort to track them down and encourage them to work in our healthcare system, the government should rethink its policy, and instead allow the exit of those healthcare workers with existing contracts, and the ban should only cover new contracts,” he said.

Labor groups also slammed the DOLE for the ban.

The Nagkaisa labor coalition demanded that Bello recall the POEA resolution, which temporarily suspended the deployment of 14 categories of health workers due to the national emergency.

“We are placing our health workers in a state of limbo or uncertainty,” Nagkaisa chair Sonny Matula said in a statement on Saturday.

”We cannot just ban health workers from going abroad to work when it is not clear whether DOLE or the Department of Health will utilize their skills or they will be hired or compensated during the temporary deployment suspension,” he added.

Matula warned that if the order is not rescinded, the affected health workers were at risk of being blacklisted due to breach of contract.

Under the order, doctors, nurses, microbiologists, pharmacists and medical technologists, among others, cannot leave the country in “support [of] the national objective of controlling the spread of COVID-19 through the regulation [of their] deployment.”

But it did not specify where they may be temporarily assigned other than that they would be prioritized in the “human resource allocation for the national health care system.”

For national interest

Under Section 5 of Republic Act No. 8042, or the Migrant Workers Act of 1995, the POEA governing board, after consultation with the DFA, may terminate or impose a ban on the deployment of migrant workers “in pursuit of national interest or when public welfare so requires.”

Locsin said the DFA representative in the POEA board “couldn’t do anything but invoke standing IATF resolution excluding OFWS with work contracts from any restriction or ban.”

He opposed about two weeks earlier a proposal by Cagayan de Oro Rep. Rufus Rodriguez to suspend the deployment of Filipino nurses abroad amid the public health emergency. - By: Jerome Aning - Reporter / @JeromeAningINQ Philippine Daily Inquirer