Sunday, May 31, 2020


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!


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
NAGKAISA Labor Coalition
01 May 2020