July 23, 2013
Agency Accused of Legalizing Contractualization
IN A run up to the last State of the Nation Address of President Noynoy Aquino, a labor group denounced a regulatory state agency of doing the exact opposite of its mandate to serve as an instrument of equity, social justice and economic development to which they claimed was similar to the declarations made by Aquino more than five years ago.
The Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino (BMP) held a rally at the central office of the Cooperative Development Authority (CDA) along Aurora Boulevard in Quezon City, Friday to protest the agency for providing “legal cover for the vilest opportunists of modern times”.
The group held that, “tax-evading, fly-by-night manpower contractors, without sufficient capital, often dummies of shady employers, and manpower suppliers of sweatshop owners taken refuge in the open-arms of the CDA”.
“The CDA has systematically denied hundreds of thousands of workers who are also members of the labor service cooperatives of their right to security of tenure and robbed them of their just wages and benefits by legitimizing cooperatives engaged in labor-only contracting (LOC),” said BMP chair Leody de Guzman.
LOC is illegal under the Article 106 of the Labor Code.
“In addition to acquiring legal cover for their schemes, these scoundrels in suits have availed for themselves incentives such as tax exemptions and even enjoy tax deductions if they “reinvest” in socio-economic projects and donate to charity, as well as preferential rights,” he added.
The militant leader likewise noted that, “Besides being liable of denying constitutionally-guaranteed rights, these manpower cooperatives still have the gall to call their victims “members” and “coop-reneurs” to disguise the dehumanization of their poor victims”.
They insisted that the CDA “must end being used as a tool of labor contractors to skirt the rights and neglect general welfare of millions of impoverished workers whose only goal is to provide for their families. The noble principles of cooperativism have been tarnished”.
De Guzman professed that, “The alarming number of labor service cooperatives engaging LOCs is so rampant that trade union organizers have encountered them in almost all industries all over the country, he .
“Cases of LOCs among cooperatives have been piling up to the extent of consuming most of the time of labor arbiters even up to the Supreme Court,” he alleges.
In order for these to be addressed, the rallyists demanded that the CDA investigate and dissolve all standing labor service cooperatives, infuse rigid verification mechanisms to check information submitted to them by applicants, impose a total ban on labor service cooperatives for its vulnerability to and extensive record of abuse.
The BMP also pushed that the agency must also not be contended with dissolving abusive cooperatives but also the filing of appropriate civil and criminal charges for deceiving the agency and taxpayers who bore the incentives they wrongfully claim and for cheating the workers of their right to security of tenure and robbing them of their just wages and right benefits.
Progressive groups are expected to raise the issue of rampant contractualization, and worsening working conditions as “undeniable testaments to Aquino’s flawed economic policies” in Monday’s SONA