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.