Saturday, December 3, 2022

Wealth fund should come from wealth tax

Nagkaisa statement on sovereign wealth fund

Pera naming mga manggagawa yan, bakit kayo ang nag-uusap?

Sovereign Wealth Funds (SWFs) are essentially profit-driven state-owned investment funds. Some of our neighboring countries who want to make the most out of their surplus—usually foreign exchange generated from exports—established state-owned entities to invest their excess capital on various instruments. Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, among others, created their own SWFs. 

With the potential of SWFs to grow, they can distort incentives in an economy where they are invested enough to favor specific economic activities and enterprises. Although SWFs usually invest in foreign instruments, there is nothing stopping them from pouring investments on profitable economic activities and enterprises at home, thus, making SWFs a strategic tool for industrial policy. But this is not necessarily the motivation for the proposed Maharlika Wealth Fund. 

Now, should workers support the government’s attempt to create an SWF? 

That public pension funds are identified as sources of financing for the SWF already earns the proposed fund minus points. Public pension funds are fragile. There is a reason both SSS and GSIS are very careful in their investment decisions and that is because that is how they secure future generations of Filipinos. GSIS should know the risks involved especially in foreign money market, after all, their exposure to the 2007-2008 Global Financial Crisis may have costed the pension fund some of its resources. 

Can politicians pushing for SWF guarantee the security of workers’ retirement funds while exposing it to potential losses from profit-driven, speculative investment decisions? House representatives who back the SWF argue that pension funds are guaranteed by government funds anyway, and that the SWF will come with sufficient safeguard measures. 

But NAGKAISA has a better idea to secure workers’ pensions, and that is by not exposing them to unnecessary risks. If SWF should be pursued, it must be funded by true surpluses generated by the economy—the proceeds from wealth tax! 

In 2020, NAGKAISA floated the idea of taxing the unused assets of the wealthiest in the country. The tax revenue from the wealth tax could have funded pandemic recovery measures of the government. Now that the Philippines is gradually recovering, potential revenues from wealth tax can now be used to fund ideas such as SWF without risking workers’ funds.

And what is this obsession about the term “Maharlika”? If the proponents want to connect SWF to a concept from Philippine history, then they should have kept in mind that the Philippine government does not have a good record in managing public funds. That fact is also historical. Unless the proponents have concrete plans about protecting the SWF from turning into a Maharlika Wealth Scam, House Bill 6398 cannot just be allowed to pass. In any case, workers remain critical of this proposal especially when their pensions are on the line. ###

NAGKAISA Labor Coalition
03 December 2022

Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Nagkaisa celebrates Bonifacio Day in ‘Blank Paper’ protest 

A popular protest symbol against the zero covid policy and censorship in China found its way into the Philippines during the workers’ celebration of Andres Bonifacio’s 159th birthday. 

The Nagkaisa Labor Coalition said the ‘Blank Paper’ protest is the Filipino workers’ adaptation of the symbolic protest to press for a Labor Agenda that the group finds sorely lacking in the Marcos administration.

“Bonifacio Day is always a day of protest for Filipino workers, but today is the first time that most of our placards bear no slogans. It is because the blank papers themselves convey the message that a labor agenda remains blank or missing under this new administration,” said Nagkaisa Chairman and Federation of Free Workers President Sonny Matula. 

Nagkaisa staged the ‘Blank Paper’ and ‘die-in’ protest at Liwasang Bonifacio before joining the United Labor together with Kilusang Mayo Uno and Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino in a march to Mendiola.

Matula said workers want a Labor Agenda as basis for continuing engagements with the government as the lack of it implies disregard if not outright neglect of labor in the face soaring prices, deteriorating quality of jobs, and chronic unemployment problems, among others.

“Our proposed Labor Agenda embodies the workers’ most urgent concerns as well as reforms in labor policies to decisively address poverty, inequality, and injustice in the country,” stressed Matula. 

The Nagkaisa Labor Agenda includes demands for a wage hike, public employment program, labor rights and an end to contractualization, affordable and quality public services, and mechanisms for a continuing policy dialogue on structural reforms.

Reiterating their call for a P100 wage hike, Partido Manggagawa Chair Renato Magtubo, stated: “The amount is merely to recover wages lost to inflation. It’s a relief for a minimum wage that remains at starvation level but still way too far from achieving living wages and improvements in workers’ standard of living as provided under the Constitution.”

On his part, Sentro ng Nagkakaisa at Progresibong Manggagawa (Sentro) Secretary General Josua Mata, attributed the prevailing regime of low wages to the unresolved problems of unemployment and contractualization. 

“Contractualization, both in the private and public sector, significantly weakens the exercise of other labor rights such as freedom of association and collective bargaining, thus, keeping the life of ‘endo’ workers to the barest minimum,” explained Mata.

He added that without a robust public employment program in key sectors of the economy, including in climate and environment, the army of unemployed will just continue to crowd the market of cheap labor.  

Moreover, inadequacy and high cost of services aggravates this problem, said Public Services Labor Independent Confederation (PSLINK) leader Jillian Roque, who also warned that the Marcos administration’s massive rightsizing plan would only lead to further deterioration of public services.

In protecting labor rights, Nagkaisa demands a solid renunciation of the previous administration’s policy on extra-judicial killings, the scrapping of anti-union laws as well as the abolition of anti-union bodies involved in red-tagging like the NTF-ELCAC and the Joint Industrial Peace and Concern Office (JIPCO).

The coalition is likewise campaigning for the ratification and effective implementation of ILO Convention 190 to protect women from violence and harassment in the workplace.

Friday, November 18, 2022

Holiday economics not good for workers

MANILA, Philippines — A labor coalition said yesterday that the government’s revival of holiday economics will not benefit workers because their meager income is not enough to sustain their basic needs.

The Nagkaisa labor coalition was reacting to Proclamation No. 90 signed by President Marcos last Nov. 11, which aims to promote “spending economics at a time workers need more jobs and extra source of income to meet their families’ basic food and non-food requirements.”

“There is a need to adjust these holidays pursuant to the principle of holiday economics wherein a longer weekend will help encourage domestic travel and increase tourism expenditures in the country,” Marcos said in the proclamation.

Partido Manggagawa chairman Renato Magtubo said the latest statistics on the rise in the number of underemployed underpin workers’ need for more income to fight soaring inflation.

“The most pressing concern of the working class today is their capacity to spend above their basic needs, thus, poverty wages would prevent them from enjoying holiday economics,” Magtubo said in a statement.

He added, “If President Marcos really wanted to perk up the economy, he should join workers in asking Congress to legislate a wage hike as well as establish a robust public employment program to shore up the income of every Filipino.”

Annie Geron of the Public Services Independent Labor Confederation said: “The wage hike must also cover the tens of thousands of public sector workers under contractual and casual arrangements whose pay scales are even lower than the poverty threshold of P12,000 per month.”

The coalition also hit the inclusion of Bonifacio Day and Araw ng Kagitingan (Day of Valor) into the package, saying “it sweeps aside the historical value of the two holidays on the country’s struggle for freedom in exchange for commercial value the tourism industry would gain from such historical revision.”

Nagkaisa chairman Sonny Matula said “there are many ways to promote local tourism like increasing the government’s budget for developing green infrastructure and creating green jobs in tourism areas but revising history should never be part of this menu.”

“Like Labor Day, Araw ng Kagitingan and Bonifacio Day are significant days dear to workers, and the trade union movement is committed to commemorate the struggles on their historical dates and not on the revised commercialized dates dictated by holiday economics,” said Matula.

CHR commends gov’t aid to workers

Meanwhile, the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) commended the government for the provision of financial assistance to workers harmed or killed on duty in times of calamity or disaster.

Specifically, it lauded the Employees’ Compensation Commission (ECC)’s program which is extended to government workers, private sector employees, self-employed individuals, house helpers and sea-based overseas workers.

For government workers, all compulsory members of Government Service Insurance System, including uniformed personnel, are qualified to receive financial assistance if they suffer work-related sickness, injury, or death when responding to or working during a calamity.

For those in the private sector, the companies can apply for calamity assistance on behalf of the employees through the Social Security System.

The benefit for government personnel is P200 per day while employees in the private sector can claim up to P480 per day. – Rhodina Villanueva - The Philippine Star / Elizabeth Marcelo

Monday, October 10, 2022

Nagkaisa condemns arrest of 2 KMU leaders on robbery and assault charges

Nagkaisa joins the Kilusang Mayo Uno in denouncing the arrest of two of its officers, Kara Taggaoa and Larry Valbuena, on robbery and direct assault charges filed against them by the Philippine National Police.

Kara Taggaoa is KMU’s International Officer while and Larry Valbuena is the President of Pasiklab Operators and Drivers Association (PASODA). The two were charged of the crime while participating in a public assembly.

While both charges, fishy as they stand, are all bailable offenses, their arrest however sends a chilling message to the whole labor movement as it continues to portray a systematic pattern of trade union repression done in many ways, including the filing of trump up charges against trade union activists that the courts, in recent resolutions on related cases, have judiciously dismissed.

This practice by the PNP at treating legitimate dissent and advocacies as anti-crime operations has no place in the world of work where labor rights are fully guaranteed by the Constitution and international conventions.

The freedom of association and peaceful assembly are grouped together not because they are often intertwined but they are part of freedom of expression.

We demand that the new administration review and reform existing policies on this matter. Police harassment and intimidations on trade unions must be stopped. 

NAGKAISA Labor Coalition
10 October 2022

Sunday, October 9, 2022

Labor groups condemn attempt to hostage De Lima, reiterate call to free the senator

Labor groups under the Nagkaisa labor coalition condemn the attempt to hostage former senator Leila De Lima, and the stabbing of Police Corporal Roger Agustin who was delivering food at the time of the incident.

We are thankful that De Lima was unharmed following a foiled attempt to hold her hostage by some detainees at the Camp Crame Custodial Center of the PNP.

Senator De Lima is now more than five and a half year in detention for trumped-up charges, thus, we reiterate our call for her freedom. 

Senators together with other parliamentarians around the world also seek the release of former Senator De Lima from the PNP custodial center. In a Senate Resolution, De Lima was described as "a renowned and fearless human rights lawyer and advocate" who was elected Senator of the 17th and 18th Congresses (2016-2022) and "one of the staunchest voices in the human rights and social justice fronts."

In view of the latest incident, we are asking the DOJ panel who prosecutes De Lima to withdraw its opposition to the motion filed by the lawyer of Rafael Ragos to suppress and expunge all his previous affidavits in light of his recantation.

It is timely and appropriate in this time of transition to emphasize the commitment to uphold the rule of law and uphold human rights. President Marcos can rectify the injustice done to Senator De Lima by the previous administration by expediting her release from detention.

The recantation of at least three (3) witnesses of their testimonies outside or in court at the near or end part of the Duterte administration is a clear warning that there is something wrong. This is a red flag that casts doubt on the strength of the finding of probable cause against Sen. De Lima.

The DOJ prosecution panel is not merely there to convict, neither merely act as a case-processor.  Its primary duty also includes to protect the innocent or act as a problem-solver responsible for considering broad goals of the criminal justice system under the rule of law.

We urge the immediate release of former Sen. Leila De Lima and all political prisoners. Her freedom would be a manifestation that the new administration gives primacy to the rule of law and acts to remedy the blatant abuse of power of the previous administration against their political opponents.  <p>&nbsp;</p>

Friday, October 7, 2022

“Naiwanan ang manggagawa”: Nagkaisa on PBBM’s first 100 days in office

The labor coalition Nagkaisa, on World Day for Decent Work, said the first 100 days was never a joy ride in contrast with that of President Marcos’.

“Naiwanan ang manggagawa,” declared Nagkaisa Chair Sonny Matula, referring to how workers’ lives are being battered by soaring inflation, food crisis, precarious working conditions, health issues, and commuting woes while public officials, most especially the President, is seen enjoying travels and parties, including the F-1 show in Singapore.

Today is World’s Day for Decent Work and Matula said the Philippines remains saddled with huge decent work deficits in particular low wages, contractualization, and rampant violations of labor rights including the right to life and freedom of association. 

“The first 100 days was in fact a bumpy ride with our workers losing close to P100 in daily wage due to inflation. If the value of wages is not restored or increased to the level of a living wage, if jobs remain contractual, precarious, and labor rights are undermined, the ‘no more hungry Filipinos’ wish by this administration is highly improbable,” said Matula.

Nagkaisa added that the government’s job creation program is not supported by sound policies as well as budget because of the premium is placed on the overstated framework of public-private-partnership (PPP) rather than on an aggressive public employment program, including creating climate and green jobs. 

Wednesday, October 5, 2022

Labor coalition calls for investigation of recent worksite deaths and injuries

The labor coalition Nagkaisa called on the Department of Labor and Employment to investigate several work-related deaths and injuries at workplaces including the recent killing of one and injury for ten at a construction site in Quezon City.

The call was made two days before the celebration of World Day for Decent Work which fall on October 7. 

Work, said Nagkaisa Chair Sonny Matula, is considered decent when it pays a fair income, guarantees a secure employment and safe working conditions, and when workers are free to express their concerns and to organize, among others. 

Police reported yesterday that laborer Francis Tulagan, 45, died while 10 other construction workers sustained injuries when a scaffolding collapsed in their workplace in Quezon City.

Similarly on August 28, it was reported that a steel man, who was working around 70 meters up at the side of one of the posts of the Cebu-Cordova bridge, died after he fell when the plank, he was stepping on gave way. Said worker landed at the foot of the concrete bridge post with broken bones and skull and later died.

On August 22, a construction worker was also injured after he was pinned down from a fallen backhoe that he was operating in a quarry site, in Cebu City.

On July 11, six construction workers were found dead after a wall collapsed in a construction site in Tagaytay City.  Earlier, on July 8, two elevator installers were killed after an elevator from the 38th floor collapsed and fell down to the ground at Burgundy Tower in Makati City. The fatalities were identified as Manuel Linayao and Rey Miguel Gillera.

“One death in the workplace diminishes us all.  The constitutional mandate on "shared responsibility" calls government, employers, and workers to act in order prevent other work-related incidents like what happened in the past months,” said Matula.

Matula explained further that under RA 11058, workers shall enjoy a place of employment free from hazardous conditions. Under this law, employers shall give complete job safety instructions or orientation to all workers; they are also mandated to comply with Occupational Safety and Health Standards.

To ensure this, NAGKAISA urges employers and government to enforce the activation of occupational and health committees in all workplaces and allow construction workers organize into unions. 

The group lamented the fact that most of our construction workers are unprotected because they are not unionized hence their hard and dangerous work remains precarious and less compensated. 

Nagkaisa Labor Coalition

Tuesday, October 4, 2022

Labor group condemns killing of broadcaster Percy Lapid

The trade union movement condemns, in strongest term, the killing of firebrand broadcaster Percival Mabasa, better known as Percy Lapid in his radio program “Lapid Fire”. 

We extend sympathy and condolences to his bereaved family in this difficult time.

Ka Percy is popularly known as a fearless critique of the Duterte and Marcos administrations as well as local officials who he considers as corrupt or who abuse their powers with impunity.

As anti-corruption and good governance crusader, his professional work as a media worker deserve tall recognition for holding the torch of press freedom rather than a gangland style of killing which is a trademark of rightwing and undemocratic administrations. 

Assassination and any physical violence against journalists are crimes against society since they curtail freedom of expression which is guaranteed by the fundamental law and which all of us are entitled to enjoy.

We demand justice for Ka Percy, and we call on the government to solve this killing of a media person, the first under the Marcos administration, with dispatch and strong resolve. Failing on this would only bolster any suspicion that this administration is merely a continuity Dutertism if not an extended presidency of Marcos Sr. 

Thursday, September 22, 2022

PH labor coalition wants fair treatment of POGO workers of other nationals

As a sending country of migrant workers that demands fair and equal treatment of our OFWs from their host States, the Philippines is required to apply the same principle with respect to the rights of migrant workers of other nationals received into the country by legal means or otherwise.

This is according to the Philippines’ biggest labor coalition Nagkaisa, in response to reports that a ‘humanitarian crisis’ looms as the government considers executing summary deportations against thousands of POGO workers, mostly Chinese, for violating immigration and other national laws. 

“For decades we continue to confront this same humanitarian crisis, in fact of bigger magnitude than this one, as we handle complex crises involving our distressed OFWs who were denied equal protection by their host countries. We therefore cannot deny other nationals of the same principles that we ourselves demand from other States,” said Nagkaisa Chair Sonny Matula.  

Matula pointed out further that as signatory to UN conventions, the Philippine State has the obligation to extend not only non-discriminatory policies but most importantly, immediate protection and support for workers of other nationals.   

Specifically, the Philippines ratified the Migration for Employment Convention (ILC 49) in 2009. The Bureau of Immigration is responsible for the administration and enforcement of the legislation relating to immigration, citizenship and admission and registration of foreigners in accordance with the Immigration Act. 

However, Matula explained, the DOLE needs to share responsibility as it is in charged with the registration and issuance of work permit to regulate the employment of foreigners (section 15(a)(4) of the Labor Code).

“To us in the labor movement, the most important aspect of that protection aside from due process is by not criminalizing the victims for in many cases, migrant workers end up victims to onerous labor contracts if not outright trafficking by criminal organizations,” said Matula. 

The group said many things have already been said about the legal and illegal POGO operations in the country and the only conclusion we can draw up from those investigations is the lack of policy coherence to govern the conduct of this new industry, or the lack of it was made arbitrary for a billion black market business to triumph for the benefit of corrupt government officials and human traffickers, especially during the previous administration.

“It appears that most of the POGO workers are victims of trafficking. The government must act as a good Samaritan who helps and rescues distressed workers found in our territory and provide them opportunity to recover rather than thrash them in our detention centers while summary proceedings for deportation are on-going,” added Matula.  

Finally, Nagkaisa is urging concerned agencies such as the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), and the Department of Migrant Workers (DMW), to formulate a coherent policy on this issue and to involve labor organizations and migrant groups in that policymaking process.

Wednesday, July 27, 2022

NAGKAISA Joins call to Free Senator De Lima

The NAGKAISA! Labor Coalition supports a Senate resolution that seeks the release of former Senator Leila de Lima from the Philippine National Police Custodial Center.

It is timely and appropriate in this time of transition to emphasize the commitment to uphold the rule of law and uphold human rights  

When at least three (3) witnesses recant their testimonies outside or in court, this is a red flag or casts doubt on the strength of the finding of probable cause on the charges against Sen. De Lima. 

Though the new Secretary of Justice may not be the right  person authorized to order her release as the courts have already acquired jurisdiction over the informations filed, he can recommend the dismissal or move for the withdrawal of these cases subject to the evaluation and discretion of the judges handling them.

Nagkaisa prays for the DOJ to reconsider its earlier pronouncement not to drop the cases.  

Not only to save time and money of the government in pursuing baseless charges, the Labor group also emphasizes that it is the duty of DOJ prosecutors, in fact, to weed trumped up charges, search for the truth, assist the court to TC arrive at nothing but the truth, to clear the innocent and to restore justice among the community, the victim and the accused according to the law and the dictates of reason as well as conscience.

Lastly, the biggest labor coalition of the country also calls on the president to "preserve and defend its Constitution, execute its laws, do justice to every man (or woman)" by taking action to stop the perpetuation of an injustice done to a former senator or any citizen of the republic. 

Sunday, July 24, 2022

We should never allow racist policies anywhere, Nagkaisa tells PH consulate in Macau

The NAGKAISA labor coalition raises grave concern over the failure of the Philippine consulate in Macau to defend our nationals against a discriminatory policy where Filipino migrants and other nationals are subjected to daily Covid-19 testing.

The group echoed the migrants’ complaints that instead of raising issues against such policy, the PH consulate in Macau SAR rather accuses the migrant groups of “politicizing” the issue which it considered as simply a routine health protocol.  

“Targeting a specific or several nationalities for daily testing clearly sounds racist to us. In the first place, shouldn’t our consulate ask the question why single out a specific nationality?  We therefore call on our Consul General in Macau to do his job and help push back this racist policy whether it is directed against Filipinos or other nationalities,” said the group in a statement.

Racial discrimination, Nagkaisa maintained, is abhorrent to the concept of equality of all women and men.  The very first article of the UN Declaration of Human Rights states that “all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.”

The group also called on the DFA to look into this matter and find out whether a bilateral talk between the Philippines and Macau can straighten out this issue. 

Friday, July 22, 2022

SO Pano NA? - NAGKAISA Labor Coalition Statement on the First State of the Nation of Address of the Marcos Jr. Administration

Filipinos deserve working systems, especially in times of crises. Each and every family should not have to worry about their commute, how to afford basic necessities, healthcare, and quality education. Our government not only has the resources, but is morally and politically responsible to ensure that all Filipinos enjoy a dignified, secure life. States that cannot guarantee a decent life for their citizens quickly lose the legitimacy for their power.

The NAGKAISA Labor Coalition calls on the Marcos Jr. administration to respond to the multiple crises we Filipinos are facing with urgency and seriousness. More than two months since the 2022 national elections, Filipino workers need answers for our pressing needs, not just empty promises of “unity”.

With soaring inflation, high gas prices, and the persistent threat of Covid-19, we cannot afford a government that is not decisive, or at the very least clear about what it plans to do. NAGKAISA challenges Marcos Jr. to be faithful to his call for Filipinos to unite. Rather than a blind unity that is based on loyalty to a politician, we workers understand unity as bayanihan, the cooperation of Filipinos with each other towards a common goal.

However, it is impossible for us to unite if the working people are not included in decision-making processes. We cannot work together based on empty words and silence. The government must allow the labor and progressive movements to be involved in making the decisions, setting the policies, and identifying ways forward to collectively overcome our present situation. The people’s question is simple, if Marcos Jr. is quiet, if the public is not informed of the government’s plans, thenano na?

To this end, NAGKAISA demands concrete plans from the administration of Marcos Jr. to respond to the multiple crises working people face.We call on his government to respond to our demands and act on our recommendations. Our proposals include the revisiting of the oil deregulation law to curb oil prices, adequate support for frontliners, service contracting for transport workers, as well as a public jobs program, among others.

Thursday, July 21, 2022

SO-papaano-NA? Hindi sapat na magkaisa lang sa harap ng maraming problema

Limang araw mula ngayon ay haharap na sa bansa ang bagong Pangulo para sa kanyang unang State of the Nation Address (SONA). Lahat ay nakaabang - walang naghahating kulay – mula sa kapansin-pansin na kawalan (emptiness) ng malinaw na programa ng Pangulong Bongbong Marcos mula panahon ng kampanya hanggang sa unang tatlong linggo ng kanyang panunungkulan.
Sa dalawang press conference ng Pangulo ay lalo lamang tumingkad ang naturang kawalan. Sa harap ito ng nagsasalimbayang krisis dahil sa nagpapatuloy na pandemya, sumisirit na implasyon, krisis sa pagkain, trabaho, nanganganib na mga karapatan, at lumalalang krisis sa klima at kalikasan.
Alam ng lahat na hindi sapat ang magkaisa lamang para malutas ang mga suliraning ito, katulad sa hiningi sa Sambayanan noong nakalipas na halalan. Ang hiling ng batayang mga sektor sa bagong pamunuan ay makatotohanang solusyon sa krisis sa pagkain, kalusugan, trabaho, karapatan, at kalikasan.
Maraming magugutom dahil sa 6.4% na implasyon sa pagkain. Dagdag na pasanin ang mas mataas na implasyon sa iba pang gastusin sa bahay, kuryente, tubig, gas at iba pa na umakyat ng 136% mula June 2021. Hiling namin na gawing prayoridad ang kasapatan sa pagkain sa pamamagitan ng pagpapalakas sa sariling produksyon, hindi ang pagsandig sa importasyon katulad ng rice tariffication. Dapat na ring talikuran ang deregulasyon at pribatisasyon ng pampublikong mga serbisyo na lalong nagpapabigat sa cost-of-living ng mga Pilipino.
Nananatiling ‘jobless at low-wage growth’ ang ekonomiya ng Pilipinas at namayani ang endo sa lahat ng industriya. Nakabalik na sa pre-pandemic level ang unemployment rate (6%), pero ang mga trabaho ay hindi regular, self-employment o hindi sahuran, at mababa ang sweldo. Hiling namin ay itigil ang endo, itaas ang sweldo, at lumikha ng mga trabaho, kabilang ang guaranteed employment. Ang planong “rightsizing” ng burukrasya ay hindi magiging makatarungan kung walang konsultasyon sa mga kawani at hindi nabigbigyang-tugon ang isyu ng dumadaming unfilled plantilla positions at kalakarang contractual/job order sa gobyerno.
Hindi labor export kundi sapat na proteksyon para sa lahat ng naghahanapbuhay, kasama ang nasa labas ng bansa at komprehnsibong reintegrasyon para sa mga nagsibalik at nais bumalik.
Patuloy ang pag-unlad sa negosyo sa real estate tulad ng mga condo, resort, casino at entertainment, pero sa socialized housing ay 6.5M unit ang backlog. Maglaan ng malaking pondo ang estado para dito, kabilang ang suporta sa kanilang transisyon sa renewable energy.
Nabubuhay ang mga Pilipino na may garantisadong mga karapatan sa ilalim ng Saligang Batas at mga kumbensyong internayunal. May pagkakataon ang bagong liderato na ituwid ang kakulangan at kasalanan ng mga nagdaang administrasyon. At bagama’t mahirap asahan ang ganitong pangarap sa ilalim ni Marcos Jr., ang Konstitusyon mismo ang nag-aatas sa kanya, katulad din sa iba, na gawing makatao at rights-based ang kanilang pamamahala.
Pagkain, trabaho at kaligtasan sa karahasan ang kailangan ng lahat, kabilang ang kababaihan, hindi pabuya sa mga nasa kapangyarihan. Nabubuhay ang mga Pilipino na kulang sa social protection. Hindi lubos ang ating universal healthcare at kapos ang mga serbisyo sa kababaihan, kabataan, matatanda, at PWDs, lalo’t higit ang mga mula sa kanayunan at katutubong komunidad. Magbalangkas ng dagdag at bagong programa para sa mga ito. Higit na gutom ang kaharap ng mga maralita sa nayon at lungsod dahil sa pagbabawas ng mga benepisyaryo ng 4Ps. Sila ay hindi kriminal. Tama lang na repormahin ang programang ito, pero idaan sa tamang proseso ng rebyu at ebalwasyon ayon sa isinasaad ng batas, hindi ang basta i-Tulfo.
Kaharap ng administrasyon ngayon ang usapin ng pananagutan (accountability) sa human rights violations ng nagdaang administrasyon, kabilang ang pagharap sa International Criminal Court ng dating Pangulong Duterte, pagsikil sa press freedom, red tagging sa human rights defenders sa ibat-ibang sector at mga community leaders, kabilang ang patuloy na pagpiit kay Sen. Leila De Lima. Ang kabiguang mabigyan ng hustiya ang mga paglabag na ito ay lalong magpapasama sa kalagayan ng karapatang pantao sa bansa. Kabilang sa aming kahilingan ang maipasa ang human rights defenders protection bill.
Sa mga komunidad sa kanayunan, lalo na sa loob ng mga lupaing ninuno, ang kahilingan ay iligtas ang kanilang komunidad sa mapanalantang pagmimina sa pamamagitan ng pagbawi sa ginawang pag-lift ng administrasyong Duterte sa moratorium on open-pit mining at withdrawal sa Extractives Industry Transparency Initiative (EITI). Kaugnay nito ay magpatawag ang bagong administrasyon ng environmental summit, nang sa gayon ay mapag-usapan hindi lamang ang kwestyunableng mga kontrata sa pagmimina, kundi maging ang pagpasa ng Kongreso sa Alternative Minerals Management Bill, Sustainable Forestry Management, National Land Use Act, at Indigenous and Community Conservation Act.
Panghuli, hindi pa nakakaalpas ang bansa at maging ang buong mundo sa pandemya. Sa mga ulat ay paparami ulit ang mga kaso at dumadami rin ang mga variants. Iniwan ng administrasyong Duterte na palpak ang pandemic response, subalit dagdag lamang na pangamba ang kawalan pa ng malinaw na direksyon dito sa kasalukuyan. Hindi pa nakakapili ng permanenteng kalihim sa DOH, pero nakabulaga na ang planong face-to-face na pagbubukas ng klase ngayong Agosto na hindi malinaw ang mga protocol.
Hinihiling namin sa pagbubukas ng klase ng kabataan at pagbabalik trabaho ng marami ay palawakin ang pagpaplano lagpas sa pagbabakuna kundi sa pagpapalakas pa ng ating healthcare system, kagalingan ng ating healthcare workers, sapat at ligtas na transportasyon, at ayuda sa mga bulnerableng sektor.
Mag-aabang kami ng malinaw na estratehiya para sa mga ito sa darating na SONA. Magsusuri kung may pag-asang darating. At papalag kung ang direksyon ay mas patungo sa bangin.
NAGKAISA​      KALIPUNAN         iDEFEND         MATA       WMW       TSM

Thursday, July 14, 2022

Labor coalition urges gov’t to act on reported cases of disappearances of labor activists

A coalition of labor organizations, on Thursday, called on concerned government agencies, including top officials in Malacanang, to immediately act on the disappearance of several labor and peasant activists in Central Luzon as reported in the media.

Nagkaisa Chairperson Sonny Matula, said reports of new disappearances, if true, sends a chilling reminder to the nation of this cruel act under martial law being repeated under Marcos Jr.  

“We are alarmed by this report as it brings back memories of what his father has done more than three decades ago. We urge the President himself to order his security forces to surface the missing persons in the report who disappeared after they were detained,” said Matula. 

He added that until a missing person presumed of having been arrested by state forces is surfaced and charged of specific crime, his/her arrest and detention can never be justified.

Matula, a lawyer and one of the petitioners against the controversial anti-terror law, argued that even under the ATL, authorities are allowed to hold “suspects” without charges for 10-24 days only. 

The missing persons, Juat and Magbanua, were reported to have already been arrested on May 3, while the others on the first week of July.
Nagkaisa furthered that the right to organize is a guaranteed right thus it wants a firm commitment from the new government that labor rights are not only honored but most importantly, protected in all places at all times.  

In relation to this, Nagkaisa reiterated its call for the government to speed up inviting the International Labor Organization’s High-Level Mission into the country, so that official investigations on similar yet pending cases of extra-judicial killings, arrests, and trade union repression under the Duterte government are set into motion. 

The Philippines remains in the list of 10 countries where trade union work is most dangerous, according to lates report of the International Trade Union Conference (ITUC).

Sunday, July 10, 2022

NAGKAISA Endorses Draft Bangsamoro Labor Code

The NAGKAISA Labor Coalition favorably endorses the draft Bangsamore Labor and Employment Code for legislation by the Bangsamoro Parliament.

More than a hundred participants from labor groups in the region joined the Bangsamoro Labor Summit organized by the Office of the Member of Parliament Romeo Sema.

The members of country's biggest labor coalition participated in said activity. The Federation of Free Workers (FFW), Sentro ng Nagkakaisa at Progressibong Manggagawa (SENTRO) , Public Service Labor  Independent Confederation (PSLINK) and the Associated Labor Union ALU-TUCP)  were among the participants. They joined all the other participants in endorsing the adoption of the Bangsmoro Labor Code and other social legislation by the Bangsamoro Transition Authority.

NAGKAISA lauded the effort of MP Sema, chair of the Committee on Labor and Employment, who promised to earnestly work for the incorporation of various amendments forwarded by labor groups during the conference. 

The Nagkaisa leaders were elated to note that freedom of association for all workers is well protected and the provisions on security of tenure  have better protection in the Bangsamoro Labor Code  than the Philippine Labor Code.

The two-day summit, which is in partnership with the International Labour Organization, aims to provide a venue for development partners to discuss, clarify, and address concerns on the proposed Bangsamoro Labor and Employment Code and other labor and employment-related measures.

In his video message, Bangsamoro Chief Minister Ahod Ebrahim called for the immediate passage of the proposed bills, which include the Bangsamoro Magna Carta for Workers in the Informal Economy; Bangsamoro Tripartism and Social Dialogue; the Bangsamoro Public Service Eligibility Equivalency Act; and the Bangsamoro Labor Justice Administration Act.

"The government of the day is one with the committee in calling for the immediate passage of the much-needed legislation to make the lives of the labor force much better," Chief Minister Ebrahim said. 

MP Sema reiterated the importance of the active  involvement of Bangsamoro workers in exercising their rights to participate in policy and decision-making as enunciated in the Bangsamoro Organic Law.###

Thursday, January 13, 2022

NAGKAISA! Statement on the Covid-19 Surge this January 2022

In moments of extreme crisis, governments have the responsibility to provide effective leadership and assure people that they will not be abandoned. States that consistently fail to deliver on their duties do not deserve the mandate to govern. In this light, the present surge of Covid-19 cases within the first month of 2022 is a serious danger to millions of Filipinos that demands decisive action from the Philippine government. 

The NAGKAISA! Labor coalition asserts that what we need is a comprehensive, people-centered, and health-based pandemic response to successfully overcome the present surge and to prevent similar events in the future. This requires more than widespread vaccination but also the employment of more compassionate, free, and accessible health protocol procedures rather than simply reverting back to heavy-handed lockdown measures. 

We call on the Philippine government to get its act together. While continuing to ramp up vaccination efforts, it must take steps to provide free mass testing to all those that require it, ensure sufficient resources for contact tracing (including job security for contact tracers), hire more health workers, and provide frontliners decent compensation and wages in order to prevent our hospitals from being overwhelmed. These are the crucial steps towards creating a proactively competent pandemic response system. 

More than two years into the present pandemic, organized labor, the private sector, as well as the general public are in desperate need of decisive leadership. Now is not the time for punitive measures such as prohibiting the unvaccinated from accessing public transportation. Recent moves such as the DILG’s order for LGUs to list the names of the unvaccinated resemble more a witch-hunt to merely punish and shame people, instead of actually working on providing a systematic pandemic response. 

The government must step up to provide us with a coherent plan against Covid-19, not blame the rising cases merely on a lack of discipline or the failure to comply with health protocols. In a situation where RT-PCR testing remains very expensive for most Filipinos, to what extent can we realistically expect our people to simply “follow the rules”? 

To avoid daily infections in the tens of thousands or even more, the government must open spaces for meaningful policy dialogue and participation in decision-making for organized labor. Trade unions, together with other stakeholders, must have a voice in designing and implementing the country’s pandemic response. Our national Covid-19 strategy must be centered on providing dignified and secure lives to all Filipinos as we collectively weather this present situation.  

NAGKAISA believes that the legacy of this administration will be measured primarily by the number of lives it is able to save, the decent jobs it is able to provide, and the security that it is able to guarantee to millions of Filipinos during one of the most challenging moments in our nation’s history.

NAGKAISA Labor Coalition
13 January 2022

Saturday, January 1, 2022

Nagkaisa! Calls for New Initiative to End Armed Conflict

Today, in commemoration of world peace day, the biggest labor coalition in the country calls for an end to trade union repression, extra-judicial killings and to end Asia’s longest running armed Conflict.

Nagkaisa Labor coalition (N1) asserts that Mr. Duterte’s war on drugs is a complete failure. After causing the death of tens of thousands, Mr. Duterte himself admits that his administration is nowhere close to delivering its promise of ending the drug-menace that he claims to have engulfed our society.

Meanwhile, Mr. Duterte is also a dismal failure in his peace initiative with the communist insurgency, even after the CPP other Maoist organizations enabled his administration in its first few years.

The bloody war on drugs, together with the declaration of an all-of-society approach to wipe out the armed communist insurgency, created a climate of impunity that paved the way for extra-judicial killings, turning the Philippines into one of the most dangerous countries for trade unionists, human rights and environmental activists, lawyers and journalists.

Enough killings! It’s time to give peace a chance.

In this context, NAGKAISA calls for an end to the bloody wars in drugs.

It also calls for the abolition of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) that has been responsible for widespread red-tagging now being experienced by the labor movement and other social movements. Nagkaisa believes that the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process should take over its tasks.

In preparation for a new administration, the Nagkaisa also calls on the leaders of Christian churches, Muslim communities , trade unions and civil society groups to initiate measures for the de-escalation of violence and to  stop the rampage of EJKs in urban and rural communities.

Faith-based, non-governmental and civil society groups need to offer an alternative. Instead of keeping their guns blazing, warring factions of society, an alternative forum must be initiated that should hold genuine peace talks that seriously seek an end to armed conflicts on the basis of social justice and the common good.