Uring Manggagawa, Hukbong Mapagpalaya!

Sosyalismo ang Lunas! Ibagsak ang mapang-api't masibang kapitalistang sistema! Manggagawa sa Lahat ng Bansa, Magkaisa!

Linggo, Nobyembre 3, 2019

BMP Negros – Official Statement

BMP Negros – Official Statement

November 1, 2019

The working class of the Negros Island decries the actions taken by the CIDG, PNP, and AFP in raiding the offices of progressive organizations, namely Gabriela, National Federation of Sugar Workers (NFSW), Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU), and Anakpawis on the early evening of October 31, 2019. These are legal organizations that have fought and are fighting for the interest of laborers.

This is a form of harassment which portrays a clear demonstration that the rights of organizations are being curtailed. This is also a message that reveals there is a motivation to silence organizations that are critical of the Duterte regime.

The event is without a doubt a manifestation of de facto Martial Law that is occurring throughout the nation, a status that was put into effect informally through the Memorandum Order 32 of President Duterte; it is of no difference from the military interventions that took place during the Marcos dictatorship.

Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino (BMP) Negros strongly condemns the military forces and the Duterte regime with the measures that they have carried out against the working class and people's organizations.

Thus, we call on the unity of the working class in confronting the ploys of the government.
Ideological and political lines must be crossed in order to unite against fascist attacks by the common enemy. An attack on one is an attack to all. This is a violation not just to the Maoist forces, not just to the Left, but to the people's democratic right to organize and defend themselves against the oppressive and exploitative few.

Long Live the Working Class!

Samuel S. Gavoro
Chairman, Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino – Negros

Miyerkules, Agosto 28, 2019

Workers accuse Labor Dept of inaction, set up camp at head office

Press Release
28 August 2019

Workers accuse Labor Dept of inaction, set up camp at head office

Aggrieved workers from several labor unions affiliated with socialist Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino (BMP) today pitched camp in front of the national office of the Labor department in Intramuros today to urge Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello to enforce various decisions and commitments he made last year that remain unfulfilled.

Workers complain that companies have not complied with decisions favorable to workers that were decreed by the department. Decisions range from regularization to return-to-work orders to backwages payments.

Among the campers are representatives of the Leyte-based, poultry supplier DBSN Farm Agriventures who were promised by Sec. Bello himself in July last year that he will personally accompany the workers to enforce its decision.

Last year, DBSN employees sought a DOLE inspection but were punished by management and even charged with violations of the Cybercrime Law for merely posting an image of strikers on social media.

Upon the inspection of a labor inspector of DOLE Region 8, DBSN was found guilty of the following labor standards violations: (1) No proof of coverage/remittance of SSS, (2) No Service Agreement, (3) Non-payment of Overtime Premium Pay, (4) Non-payment of Service Incentives Leave Pay, (5) Non-payment of Holiday Pay, (6) Illegal deduction (personal protective equipment such as masks, gloves, and aprons, and delivery and transport expenses of sold products by boat), (7) Non-payment of Night Shift Differential Pay, 8. Non-presentation of D.O 174 Registration Certificate, (8) Non-payment of 13th Month Pay.

Other protestors include illegally dismissed workers from Cosmic Enterprises and strikers of Pacific Plaza Towers and Zagu shakes.

BMP claim that workers are suffering from a double whammy for asserting their right to be regularized under the Bello’s Department Order 174. “First by the retaliatory measures employed by the companies and non-compliance of decisions favorable to workers and the lack of political will of the DOLE to enforce its own orders and decisions”.

“This administration’s treacherous abandonment of workers with the non-enactment of a law that will forever outlaw trilateral work arrangements has only exacerbated the conditions of contractual employees and highlighted the gaps of Bello’s department order and his apparent ineptitude,” claimed Luke Espiritu, BMP president.

The campers promise to maintain the orderliness of their protest camp and will only vacate their camp once Sec. Bello personally and vigorously takes action towards the fulfillment of the labor department’s decisions.###

Martes, Agosto 20, 2019

Pahayag ng pagsuporta ng Super BMP sa Pepmaco Workers Union-NAFLU-KMU


Kinukundena ng Solidarity of Unions in the Philippines for Empowerment and Reform (SUPER) - Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino (BMP) ang ginawang marahas na dispersal at iligal na pang-aaresto sa manggagawa ng PEPMACO nitong nakaraang Lunes, Agosto 19.

Hinuhuburan ng PNP ang kanilang sarili bilang neutral na institusyon sa tunggalian ng PEPMACO Management at ng Unyon. Klarong-klaro na kasangkapan sila sa pagsasamantala at manggagawa. Masasabi rin ito sa DOLE na hinayaang mabuwag ang picket line ng manggagawa gayung lehitimo at makatarungan ang welga ng manggagawa.

Naninindigan ang SUPER-BMP na kailanman ay makatarungan ang pagkakaisa ng uring manggagawa. Ang laban ng mga kauri namin sa PEPMACO para sa regularisasyon, sapat na sahod, at ligtas na lugar-paggawa ay ang laban ng lahat ng manggagawa sa buong bansa. Ang represyon at iligal na pagpapakulong sa kanila ay repleksyon ng maka-kapitalista at anti-manggagawang oryentasyon ng lipunan kung saan ang gobyerno at pulis na dapat prinoprotektahan ang mamamayan ang siya mismong nagpapagamit sa kapital upang pilayin ang manggagawang ipinaglalaban lamang ang kanyang mga karapatan.

Lagi’t lagi nating alalahanin na ang pag-uunyon at pagwewelga ay produkto ng di makatarungang pagtrato ng mga kapitalista sa mga manggagawang lumilikha ng yaman ng lipunan. Pagka’t sa pagkakaisa lamang ng uring manggagawa makakamit ang tunay na pagbabago sa loob at labas ng pabrika.

Inaanyayahan ang lahat ng manggagawang Pilipino na magbuklod upang igiit ang ating mga karapatan at panawagan sa malawak na pagbabago sa ating lipunan.


Miyerkules, Mayo 1, 2019

Labor Day 2019: Common slate and platform by unified workers movement is a victory in itself

May 1, 2019

Labor Day 2019: Common slate and platform by unified workers movement is a victory in itself, says labor groups

Labor senatoriables held a presscon at the foot of Mendiola Bridge early morning today to commemorate International Labor Day. The candidates, who have coalesced under the LABOR WIN alliance, said that the said venue was chosen not only as a message to Malacanang to persuade House and the Senate to prohibit contractualization, enact a national minimum wage, and adopt a policy of price control.

"Our assembly at the Palace gates is also a reminder to the Filipino working class that there can be no genuine social change and meaningful reforms unless political power truly serves the interests of labor. The electoral intervention by labor groups is but a small step towards this historical mission," said Ernie Arellano of National Confederation of Labor (NCL).

Victory by Labor

An optimistic Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino (BMP) national chair Ka Leody de Guzman agreed, "Kahit hindi pa naitatala ang resulta ng halalan, maari nang sabihing may nakamit nang mga tagumpay ang kilusang paggawa ngayong halalang 2019".

The victories that de Guzman pertains to is the "higher level of unity" attained by various groups under the LABOR WIN alliance. "We have not only transcended our ideological differences and innate competition for the affiliation of local trade unions. More so, we now unite not only trade union demands but on the need for labor participation in politics, during elections and after it, in order to reach our shared vision of a prosperous, egalitarian, pro-labor and pro-poor society".

Neri Colmenares of the Makabayan Coalition explained, "A strong and united workers' movement that is not limited to factory struggles is an essential component in the people's struggle against the more brazen attacks to human rights under the present regime".

"If the election surveys are to be believed, it is evident that the hold of patronage politics, especially in the ranks of the desperate poor, is still strong. But it will soon break as workers are now beginning to vote not based on individual preferences but on their common interest as a class. Hence, we are now witnessing the blossoming of the workers movement as a powerful political force to change society," Sonny Matula of Federation of Free Workers (FFW) furthered.

Allan Montano, also of FFW sums it up by exclaiming "Manggagawa na! We have long asked for pro-labor and pro-poor reforms to be passed by Congress and the Senate but our demands fall on deaf ears of lawmakers who advances profit before people. The imperative is for labor leaders to get elected into the legislature to fight for workers' interests. History reveals that the path of electoral participation, alongside the mass struggles of the workers outside the halls of Congress, brought the legislation of various labor standards such as the 8-hour working day, the minimum wage, the right to form unions and collectively bargain, the weekend, etc."

Manggagawa, pamunuan ang laban ng bayan!

The LABOR WIN candidates were joined in by the Partido Lakas ng Masa (PLM), who assembled in Mendiola. The PLM is the political party that fielded Ka Leody de Guzman in the senatorial race. It is also running in the partylist elections.

PLM national chair Sonny Melencio said, "Electoral victory, to win seats in Congress and the Senate is but one of our objectives in participating in the elections. We aspire for representation inside the elite dominated legislative branch of the capitalist state to give voice to the toiling and impoverished majority. But more than this, we will grab the opportunity provided by the elections to massively organize the workers and the poor under a pro-reform platform and to raise the discourse beyond the mudslinging and the muckraking of the trapos.

Melencio added, "In the latter half of the Duterte regime, we expect the administration to dominate Congress and the local governments. It would be harsher and ruthless in its implementation of the neoliberal economic policies of liberalization, deregulation, privatization, and contractualization in order to please foreign investors and local capitalists.

He warned that the administration’s ‘war on drugs’ , which is actually a war on the poor will only be more unrelenting coupled with its contnued subservience to the whims of the Chinese government, not just in the disputed areas of the West Philippine Sea but also in its intervention on the country’s economic affairs.

To counter these attacks on labor and the Filipino people, Melencio asserted that, “the struggle against fascism needs the leadership of the labor movement. Hence, we welcome the massive support enjoyed by Ka Leody and the LABOR WIN slate, especially among the young voters, in the ongoing electoral campaign. The labor movement will be strengthened by fresh forces coming from the ranks of the youth".

Unified Labor March by Church Labor Conference, PAGGAWA, KMU, FFW and BMP

In the afternoon, various groups marched thousands of workers from different assemblies in Metro Manila and converged in a unity march along Quezon Bridge before holding a joint program at Liwasang Bonifacio.

The "unity march" assembles the broadest ever convergence of the labor movement to date with the Church Labor Conference, Pagkakaisa ng Paggawa (PAGGAWA), Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU), Federation of Free Workers (FFW), Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino (BMP), among others. ###

Ka Leody de Guzman 0920-5200672
Sonny Melencio 0908-8173169

Linggo, Abril 28, 2019

De Guzman demands expansion of ‘Pantawid Pasada’, ODL repeal

Press Release
28 April 2019

De Guzman demands expansion of ‘Pantawid Pasada’, ODL repeal
Gov’t silence on Oxford oil price hike report, “irresponsible”

Labor senatoriable Leody De Guzman demanded the expansion of “Pantawid Pasada” fuel voucher beneficiaries and the repeal of Republic Act 8479, or the Oil Deregulation Law (ODL), in light of the recent report by Oxford Economics that the Philippines will be “feel the most pain” when oil prices are expected to shoot up to $100 per barrel by 2020.

“Hindi na dapat natin hintayin pa na magka-krisis bago natin simulan ang mga ‘preemptive actions’, lalo na’t ngayon pa lang sa ilalim ng TRAIN Law (Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion) ay nahihirapan na ang mga manggagawa sa transport,” De Guzman said.

The current “Pantawid Pasada” enrols 179,000 valid franchise holders of Public Utility Jeepneys (PUJs), but De Guzman said that the actual number of PUJ drivers is around 250,000-270,000.

“Hindi lang din naman jeepney driver ang nahihirapan sa pagsirit ng langis, nandiyan din ang mga gumagamit ng motor para pumasok araw-araw sa trabaho. Higit pa sa pag-cover ng lahat ng jeepney drivers, dapat isama na ang mga minimum wage earners na gumagamit ng motor,” the labor leader said.

De Guzman said that the silence of the Department of Energy (DOE) and the Department of Transportation (DOTr) with the Oxford Economics report is “borderline irresponsible”, given that drivers are “already carrying the burden of TRAIN law’s petroleum excise taxes”.

“Alam naman natin kung gaano kabagal magpanukala at mag-finalize ng polisiya sa Pilipinas. Dapat naa-anticipate na ng DOE at DOTr ang mga ganito sitwasyon. Ngayon pa lang ay dapat hinahanda na nila ang expansion ng ‘Pantawid Pasada’,” he proposed.

Repeal ODL

De Guzman, who run under Partido Lakas ng Masa explained, however, that the “strategic solution” is the repeal of the Oil Deregulation Law, “so the government will have the power to prevent the downstream oil industry from taking advantage of international price movements.”

“Tuwing sisirit ang petrolyo sa world market, mas malaki ang itinataas ng mga higanteng oil retailers kaysa sa totoong pagtaas. Pero kapag bumagsak naman ang presyo ay kay kupad nilang mag-rollback,” he complained.

If downstream oil prices are regulated, De Guzman explained, then the government can ensure that “no crisis profiteering” can occur, and it can “better implement a more just transition to fossil-fuel based transport.”

“Ang sinasabi kasi ng pamahalaan, hayaang sumirit ang presyo ng gasolina at diesel para daw ma-encourage ang alternative transport. Eh saan manggagaling ang alternatiba na ‘to, at may pambili ba ang mga tao? Hangga’t walang konkretong solusyon, kailangan i-regulate muna ang sektor ng downstream oil,” De Guzman concluded.###

Reference: Leody de Guzman 0920-5200672
Partido Lakas ng Masa

Biyernes, Abril 26, 2019

April 28 is World Day for Safety and Health at Work

In 2003, the International Labour Organization (ILO), began to observe World Day in order to stress the prevention of accidents and diseases at work, capitalizing on the ILO's traditional strengths of tripartism and social dialogue.

This celebration is an integral part of the Global Strategy on Occupational Safety and Health of the ILO, as documented in the Conclusions of the International Labour Conference in June 2003. One of the main pillars of the Global Strategy is advocacy, the World Day for Safety and Health at Work is a significant tool to raise awareness of how to make work safe and healthy and of the need to raise the political profile of occupational safety and health.

28 April is also the International Commemoration Day for Dead and Injured Workers organized worldwide by the trade union movement since 1996.

The annual World Day for Safety and Health at Work on 28 April promotes the prevention of occupational accidents and diseases globally. It is an awareness-raising campaign intended to focus international attention on the magnitude of the problem and on how promoting and creating a safety and health culture can help reduce the number of work-related deaths and injuries.

Biyernes, Abril 12, 2019

Pahayag ng BMP sa iligal na pag-aresto sa 11 magsasaka sa Negros Occ.


Pagsipi: Luke Espiritu, National President, Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino

Nakarating sa amin ang balita na noong Abril 1, 11 magsasaka ang iligal na inaresto ng kapulisan at militar sa Barangay Sebucauan, Isabela, Negros Occidental sa maling akusasyon na New People’s Army (NPA) raw sila. Siyam sa mga magsasakang ito ang kinulong sa asuntong murder sa napaslang na konsehal Jolomar Hilario ng bayan ng Moises Padilla (Magallon) sapagkat ang dalawang iba pa ay mga menor de edad.

Nangyari ang pag-aresto habang hinahabol ng mga militar ang mga nakaengkwentrong ARMADONG mga kalalakihan na diumano'y NPA matapos makipagpalitan ng putok. Ang 11 magsasaka ay naglalakad patungo sa bahay ng kanilang lola ng may-ari ng tubuhan para kumain matapos ang maghapong pagsaka. Wala silang dalang anumang armas—tanging mga kasangkapan lamang sa pagsasaka ang kanilang tangan.
Mismong ang Barangay Kapitana ng Sebucauan na si Amy Locsin ang nagpatotoo sa pamamagitan ng isang sertipikasyon na mga lehitimong residente ng barangay ang 11 magsasaka at sila'y mga ordinaryong mamamayan lang doon.

Ayon kay Denmar Recto, isa sa mga menor de edad na inaresto, “inimbitahan” lang sila ng mga pulis na nagpakilalang taga-Bacolod sa Barangay Hall ng Sebucauan para “beripikahin” ang kanilang pagkakalilanlan. Ang mga pulis ang nagsilbing blocking force habang nagaganap ang bakbakan sa pagitan ng militar at diumano’y NPA.

Ayon sa salaysay ni Recto, nang makarating sila sa Barangay Hall, sapilitan silang isinakay sa trak ng pulis. Pinatotoo ng lahat ng mga kagawad ng barangay na ang mga inaresto ay hindi NPA kundi mga lokal na residente at sila ay mga tapasero ng tubo. Ang sabi ng pulis dadalhin sila sa istasyon ng Isabela. Doon naman nagtungo at sumunod ang mga kagawad ng barangay. Ngunit, dinala ang 11 sa police station ng bayan ng Moises Padilla.

Bandang alas siyete ng gabi, dumating ang isang babae at dalawang lalake na pawang nakatakip ang mga mukha at nagturo na tila’y mga makapili. Napansin ni Recto na nag-uusap ang mga nakamaskarang tao at mga pulis subalit hindi niya marinig ang kanilang pinag-uusapan.

Bandang alas otso ng gabi, dumating si Kapitana Locsin at tinanong ang mga pulis kung makakauwi na ang mga dinakip na magsasaka. Ang sabi ng mga pulis, makakauwi sila matapos ang imbestigasyon. Hindi ito nangyari sapagkat agad silang isinailalim sa inquest proceedings sa piskalya ng probinsya ng Negros Occidental at inasuntuhan ng kasong murder. Matapos nito, ikinulong sila sa himpilan ng Negros Occidental Police Provincial Office sa Bacolod.

Diringgin sa mga susunod na araw ang kasong murder sa piskalya ng Bacolod. Kapag nakitaan ng "probable cause," makukulong nang walang piyansa ang 9 na magsasaka.
Kasalukuyang tinutulungan ng pinagsanib na pwersa ng Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino (BMP), Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP), at PLM - Partido Lakas ng Masa party-list ang mga nakulong na magsasaka.

Magsasaka ang nagpapakain sa mamamayan! Wag nating hayaan ang gobyerno na sila'y paglaruan!


Miyerkules, Abril 3, 2019

Senate bet bats for “industrial and logistics policy” to generate jobs for new grads

Press Release
03 April 2019

Senate bet bats for “industrial and logistics policy” to generate jobs for new grads;
7-month low in manufacturing growth, alarming – De Guzman

Labor Senate bet Leody De Guzman calls for legislation for a “logistics and industrial policy” to address the country’s manufacturing woes, citing the latest IHS Markit/Nikkei survey report of a 7th-month low in manufacturing growth.

The survey found that the seasonally-adjusted Purchasing Managers Index (PMI), a weighted index representing output, employment, orders, inventories, and other measures of manufacturing performance, dropped from 51.9 in February to 51.5 in March, following reports of port congestion in Manila.

“This is an alarming statistic, considering that the ‘Build Build Build’ initiative should have increased demand for the manufacturing sector specially with the hundreds of thousands who recently graduated and has officially entered the country’s labor pool, on top of the steady increase in the number of unemployed,” De Guzman said.

Official income accounts of the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) earlier reported a deceleration in manufacturing growth in 2018, with 4th quarter growth hitting 3.2 percent compared to 7.9 percent at the same quarter in 2017.

“Amid the election noise, the government should follow through with the President’s rhetoric of national industrialization and begin the process of developing a clear industrial policy that will generate jobs for our new graduates and invigorate the local economy,” the sole Partido Lakas ng Masa candidate said.

Revamp DTI Charter, GOCC Code, LGC

De Guzman also scored the “Inclusive Innovation Industrial Strategy” or the i3S program of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), insisting that the program is “toothless unless major reforms are made in the DTI charter and the GOCC governance act".

“If we won’t remove the straitjacket on the DTI and government corporations, then all we can promote are small-scale businesses and we will be forever relegated to a small-economy status,” De Guzman said.

The labor leader calls for revisions in the DTI charter under Book IV, Title X of the Executive Order 292 or Revised Administrative Code of 1987 to give the agency more powers to “promote and regulate industry via import substitution strategies and direct subsidies to industrial champions.”

De Guzman clarified, "Hangga't ang ating bansa ay nakatuon bilang exporter ng isang global assembly line at umaasa sa importasyon para sa ating pangangailangan, hindi uunlad ang bansa. Dapat pinag-aaralan kung anong mga produkto at serbisyo ang kaya at kakayanin nating likhain upang dito ituon ang suporta. Imbes na inaangkat natin ang naturang mga pangangailangan, likhain ang kondisyon para sila ay likhain”.

He added that, “At kung dadami pa at uunlad pa ang kalidad ng trabaho, kung saan krusyal na usapin ang sahod at benepisyo ng kanilang mga manggagawa, ang mga produkto at serbisyong ito ay hindi na lamang para sa domestic market kundi para sa pandaigdigang merkado".

De Guzman also called for revisions in the Republic Act 10149, so as to promote “creating government-owned corporations that act as pace-setters in innovative industries such as pharmaceuticals, high-tech agriculture, and artificial intelligence”.

"Hindi tayo kinakapos sa skilled workers para sa mga makabagong mga teknolohiya. Katunayan, sa iba't ibang manupaktura sa maraming bansa, matatagpuan doon ang ating mga OFW," he continued.

Finally, De Guzman called tweaking the Local Government Code (LGC) so as to mandate Local Government Units (LGU) to draft “local industrial plans” on top Comprehensive Development Plans (CDP) and Comprehensive Land Use Plans (CLUP) they are currently required to produce.###

Martes, Abril 2, 2019

De Guzman to Duterte: Heads must roll if anomalies found

Press Release
02 April 2019

De Guzman to Duterte: Heads must roll if anomalies found
Include Congress, civil society, private sector in audit

Manila, Philippines – Labor Senate bet Leody de Guzman challenged President Rodrigo Roa Duterte to fire Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III, Economic Secretary Ernesto Pernia, and Solicitor General Jose Calida if the government’s investigation on loan agreements with China will reveal anomalies and irregularities.

“The fact that it is the administration itself which promoted and signed these deals show that the President’s men themselves are accountable for any treasonous and anti-people provisions that will be found in the agreements,” De Guzman said.

De Guzman cited the lack of transparency and onerous agreements in the Kaliwa Dam project, a “centrepiece project” of China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) in the Philippines.

“For instance, the loan agreement for Kaliwa Dam would not have been signed without endorsement and tacit approval from Dominguez, Pernia, and Calida. If it is found to be anomalous, then these men should be fired,” De Guzman demanded.

All loan agreements require the approval of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), endorsement from the Department of Finance (DOF), and should have been reviewed by the Office of Solicitor-General (OSG) for infirmities.

Include Congress, Civil Society, Private Audit Firms

The labor leader also asked for an “unbiased audit” by expanding to audit initiative to include participants from the Senate, House of Representatives, civil society, and private audit, legal, and accountancy firms.

““There is a clear conflict of interest in the case of Calida investigating loan agreements which were approved by his office. Chances that these agreements will be whitewashed is highly probable,” De Guzman asserted.

He recalled that the Senate under former Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III already expressed interest in auditing loan agreements, so they should be included in the audit initiative.

“Senate President Pimentel and (Sen. Risa) Hontiveros already filed Senate Resolution No. 253 directing the Senate committees to review foreign loans entered by the Philippine government in aid of legislation. They should be allowed to continue this initiative,” De Guzman said.

Citizen’s Debt Audit

De Guzman also recalled the “citizen’s debt audit initiative” which reviewed “illegitimate China loan agreements” during the time of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

The citizen’s debt audit initiative included De Guzman, former Vice President Teofisto Guingona, former Senator Wigberto Tañada, former Representatives Barry Guitierrez, Rene Magtubo, and JV Bautista, former economic chief Sixto Roxas, and academics Randy David and Grace Jamon, among others.

“We were interested then into auditing Arroyo’s questionable agreements with the Chinese government, particularly the National Broadband Network (NBN) deal with ZTE and the Cyber Education Project deal, and other projects funded by the Chinese EXIM banks,” he explained.

De Guzman calls on citizens to “conduct their own audit initiative and submit their findings to the public and Congress” to “countercheck Calida and his colleagues who might want to use the audit as an opportunity to save themselves”.###

Sabado, Marso 30, 2019

De Guzman to Chinese Creditors: Prepare for Repudiation

Press Release
30 March 2019

De Guzman to Chinese Creditors: Prepare for Repudiation

Manila, Philippines – Labor’s senatorial bet Leody de Guzman, said that "onerous and unfavorable loans by Chinese creditors may pendulum swing in favor of an exasperated people who will pursue debt repudiation in the near future".

“This administration may be accommodating to their demands, but no regime lasts forever, and so the debts contracted today might be subjected to an audit later,” De Guzman, the sole senate bet of Partido Lakas ng Masa said.

He recalled that the 14th Congress under former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo decided to suspend loan payments for debt worth P25.9 billion for “fraudulent, wasteful and or useless” loans.

The ratified Bicameral Conference Committee Report for House Bill 2454, the proposed 2008 General Appropriations Bill, included a special provision for the interest payment suspension for 14 loan-funded projects, plus all remaining unsecuritized loans incurred during the dictatorship of former President Marcos.

“May karapatan ang Kongreso na isuspinde ang mga utang dahil ang badyet taon ay makukunsiderang bahagi ng lehislatura. Kaya nitong bawiin ang otomatikong pagbabayad ng utang para sa ilang taon,” he explained.

The labor leader stressed the importance of due diligence not just on the part of the debtor governments like the Philippines but also for the creditor governments.

Beyond Amounts

De Guzman also reacted to the claims by Chinese Embassy Commerical Counsellor Jin Yuan that claims of debt trap is “meaningless and nonsense”, saying that "a big dam could collapse from a small crack”.

“We know how it starts – one or two unreasonable loan agreements would lead to another until we are submerged in debt. Then fast forward to their maturity periods when the government could only pay a portion of its past loans until the compounded interest becomes bigger than the original loan applied for. That was the debt trap worked under the Marcos regime.

Our Chinese creditors may be literally laughing all the way to the bank today but, in the future, we are certain the our local finance managers would display patriotism and intellectual honesty by not compromising the welfare and interest of the future generation of Filipinos,” he expounded.

De Guzman also told Yuan that he plans to push in Congress a “comprehensive audit” of Chinese loans made during the administration of Arroyo and President Rodrigo Duterte, so the embassy “might want to start assembling their legal team now”.

“The Philippines have already stood up against Spanish, American, and Japanese imperialists. We also stand up to China if it insists on being so,” he concluded.###

Huwebes, Marso 28, 2019

Senate bet wants repeal of automatic debt payments and strengthen ODA regulation

Press Release
28 March 2019

As “Best Defense” vs. “Onerous Chinese Debts”:
Senate bet wants repeal of automatic debt payments and strengthen ODA regulation

Manila, Philippines – Labor’s senatorial bet Leody De Guzman vowed to file a bill repealing the automatic appropriations act for debt payments if elected this May, insisting that “only loans transacted with due diligence, good faith, without a taint of corruption should be paid by taxpayer’s money.”

“Hindi makatarungan na parusahan ang mga susunod na henerasyon ng pagbayad sa mga utang na hindi naman lehitimo dahil lamang mas matimbang sa Pangulo ang mga bangkerong Tsino kaysa sa kapwa niya Filipino,” De Guzman said.

Section 26(B) of Book VI, Executive Order (EO) 292, or the “Revised Administrative Code of 1987”, states that principal and interest payments for government debts are automatically appropriated. The provision is copied from Section 31(B) of Presidential Decree (PD) 1177 or the “Budget Reform Decree of 1977” which also serves as the legal basis for Section 26(B).

De Guzman explained that repealing Section 26(B) of EO 292 and Section 31(B) of PD 1177 would “act as a deterrent to unscrupulous creditor countries who might want to exploit corrupt administrations.”

“One of my first bills would be to replace automatic debt payments with automatic audit of loan agreements involving stakeholders, the economic team of Congress, third party accountants, and civil society,” he pronounced.

“Automatic appropriations is debt servicing, it clips the power of the purse of the legislative branch. I challenge all senatoriables to take a position on this, unless they are unwitting accomplices of Duterte's treasonous betrayal to China,” he posed.

Senate Audit of China Loans

The lone senate bet of Partido Lakas ng Masa also asked the sitting Senate to “immediately commence a review of all the China loans transacted by the Department of Finance”, including but not limited to the Chico River deal.

“I recall that the first budget signed by (President Rodrigo) Duterte for 2017 contains a special provision calling for an audit of specific debts. The Congress and Senate would do well to include such provision in the 2020 budget,” De Guzman said.

De Guzman warns the administration to “learn from the mistakes” of former President and now House Speaker Gloria Arroyo, who was embroiled in controversies in the $329-million National Broadband Network (NBN) project, the $503-million North Luzon Railways Project Phase 1 and Phase 2 (Northrail), the $884-million South Luzon Railways Project Mainline (Southrail), and the $465-million Cyber Education Project (CEP).

“Duterte’s designs will be foiled by the people, in the same way Arroyo’s designs were thwarted before,” he insisted.

Strengthening ODA Regulations

De Guzman adds that it is “not enough” for existing debts to be audited; the next Congress should also move to “clip” and regulate the President’s power to contract Official Development Assistance.

“Part of my proposal would include revisions in Republic Act 8182. Specifically, I would insist on a borrowings cap as well as restoring Section 11 of the original RA 8182, which was modified by RA 8555 to allow creditors to specify modes of procuring labor and other materials,” he cited.

The labor leader said that the practice of “tied aid”, wherein foreign workers and suppliers are tapped for foreign loan funded projects, should be replaced by “a system of preference and an obligation to transfer technology Filipino workers as well as competitive and transparent bidding among Filipino suppliers”.

“The Filipino people will pay for these loans. That being said, I see no reason why Filipino workers and businesses should not benefit from these loans.” De Guzman ended.###

Martes, Marso 26, 2019

Acierto revelation confirms Duterte proxy war on drugs – labor Senate bet

March 26, 2019
Partido Lakas ng Masa

Acierto revelation confirms Duterte proxy war on drugs – labor Senate bet

Senatorial candidate Leody de Guzman of Partido Lakas ng Masa today claimed that the critics of the the administration’s ‘war on drugs” have been vindicated following revelation made by former officer-in-charge of the Philippine National Police (PNP) Anti-Illegal Drugs, Group Colonel Eduardo Acierto that implicated Duterte’s economic adviser Michael Yang to the illegal narcotics trade.

He also called for the immediate termination of the administration’s ‘war on drugs’ after the president himself admitted that despite its brutality, the drug trade has worsened. He says it is also urgent to form an independent body to investigate the extent of the influence of Yang on the state sanctioned ‘war on drugs’.

De Guzman believes that Oplan Tokhang is contrived and elaborate scheme to eliminate the competition and monopolize the operations of the illegal drug trade. The expose, he adds, verified his contention that the administration’s ‘war on drugs’ was in reality, “a war on the poor”

“Tama ang hinala namin noon pa man. Sa simula pa lang ng Oplan Tokhang kapansin-pansin na marami sa mga biktima ay mga small-time pusher at courier. Kataka-takang wala kahit isang dayuhang drug lord ang tinutumba. Biniktima pa nila ang libo-libong mahihirap para magmukhang kapapaniwala ang kanilang gera kontra droga,” said the labor leader.

He says if Col. Asierto’s allegations are true, he finds it extremely alarming that a foreign national, with links to the ambassador of China and considered an economic adviser of the president can influence policies and programs of the government specially its anti-drugs campaign.

De Guzman alleges that, “The fact that the top brass of the PNP and the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency were knowledgeable of the intelligence report of Col. Asierto, that Yang was operating shabu laboratories in Davao City as early as 2004 and did not act upon it shows that corruption and connivance has reached unprecedented levels”.

“Hindi na ako magugulat kung kasabwat si Pangulong Duterte sa buong iskema at kahit yung mismong kandidatura niya bilang pangulo ay dinesenyo para makontrol ni Yang ang drug trade. Mula Day One wala siyang bukambibig kundi pagpuksa sa droga. Napaniwala niyang ang marami na sinsero siya sa kanyang laban sa droga, ayun pala ay para lang kay Yang,” he deduced.

The labor leader predicts that Asierto’s expose is the “beginning of the end of the Duterte administration”. De Guzman adds that it will now be a challenge for everyone to make the president and his accomplices accountable for the tens of thousands who have fallen victim to their proxy war.###

Lunes, Marso 25, 2019

Senate bet calls for the resignation of MWSS admin

March 25, 2019

Senate bet calls for the resignation of MWSS admin

Senatorial candidate Leody de Guzman of Partido Lakas ng Masa (PLM) today called for the immediate resignation of the entire Board of Trustees of the Manila Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) for their failure to fulfill their mandate of ensuring uninterrupted and adequate supply and distribution of potable water.

The labor leader said that the MWSS board led by Franklin Demonteverde must have the delicadeza to step down from office and not await for the Executive branch to remove them from office.

The MWSS board, de Guzman said, “are accountable for the water shortage that hit millions of households.Their disservice is unacceptable. The public outrage generated by their incompetence should be enough reason for them to submit their irrevocable resignation at once”.

The labor leader also noted that even the composition of the Board of Trustees is not in accordance with Republic Act 6234. The law requires the MWSS board to possess specific qualifications including a duly licensed professional of recognized competence in civil engineering and/or sanitary engineering, business management and finance, and law, or recognized labor leader within the ranks.

Six of the nine members of the board are lawyers, two former police generals including Reynaldo Velasco, administrator and vice chairman of the board and a chemical engineer.

“No small wonder that it took them several weeks in order to address the water crisis and did not prepare for such an eventuality,” he said.

The same sentiment was echoed by Sonny Melencio, PLM chairperson. “It only goes on to show that political appointees are not placed for their qualifications and competence but as rewards for their loyalties to the president,” he said.

“Water is life and must be held as a top priority of the government. This kind of ineptitude and recklessness is not worthy of our taxes. The people are already overtaxed and are deserving of better services”.

PLM is campaigning for the reversal of the policies of privatization and deregulation of water and power utilities. It says that utilities are vital to the people and must be publicly owned and democratically managed.

“Sobra-sobra na ang dalawampu’t dalawang taon para husgahan ng taumbayan na palpak ang pribatisasyon ng MWSS. Dapat ibalik bilang serbisyo ng gobyerno sa mamamayan at hindi pagpyestahan ng mga negosyante,” De Guzman concluded.###

Biyernes, Marso 22, 2019

Worker senatoriable hits proposal to regulate social media, says poverty is breeding ground for fake news outlets

March 22, 2019

Worker senatoriable hits proposal to regulate social media, says poverty is breeding ground for fake news outlets

Worker senatorial candidate Leody de Guzman of the Partido Lakas ng Masa (PLM) criticized Vice-President Leni Robredo’s proposal of having a law regulating the use of social media in light of the spread of fake news and troll accounts during election season.

According to de Guzman, a veteran labor leader and human rights advocate said, “It appears that the Vice President must be reminded that the Constitution says that no law should abridge the exercise of free speech”.

“Sa panahong nahahati na ang mamamayan sa pagitan ng mga nagsasamantala at pinagsasamantalahan, anumang pagtatangka na busalan ang publiko ay pagpabor sa interes ng iilang nang-aapi. More than ever, we should uphold and promote the right to freedom of expression,” he added.

“Unwittingly, her proposal is as draconian as the fascist regime that she has openly condemned and criticized. It is a suggestion that, if passed, will lead to censorship of criticism, exposes, and progressive ideas,” the PLM leader added.

De Guzman suggested, “Kaysa gumawa ng bagong batas, na naglalagay sa peligro sa karapatan sa malayang pamamahayaga, maari namang ipatupad Article 154 ng Revised Penal Code, na nagpapataw ng parusa laban sa pagkakalat ng ‘pekeng balita’. In the said law, a person maybe fined up to P200,000 for publishing fake news”.

But the PLM senatorial bet added that the law against ‘fake news’ is “rendered ineffective by the poverty and desperation of the masses”. He explained, “As long as the masses are hungry, they would easily be employed as trolls by opportunist politicians and political operators”.

“Social media has given power to the people to create online content for massive distribution. It has overtaken traditional media, where content is controlled and influenced - at times, absolutely - by media moguls and corporate sponsors. Yet, social media has not reached its full potential as an avenue for the free and democratic expression of the majority,” Benjo Basas, a public school teacher and first nominee of PLM explained.

“To counter fake news, which is usually for the benefit of the exploiting few, the masses should be given access and opportunity to have their voices heard,” Basas furthered.

The PLM is pushing for a legislative agenda that would give space to representatives of the people both in the state media and in social media, so that the populace could participate and influence the crafting of laws and policies even after elections. “Because above all else, democracy is nothing but majority rule”. ###

Huwebes, Marso 21, 2019

Urgent gov’t action needed to protect Filipino seafarers - Labor senate bet

21 March 2019

Urgent gov’t action needed to protect Filipino seafarers - Labor senate bet

Partido Lakas ng Masa sole senatorial bet and labor leader Ka Leody de Guzman called on the Duterte administration for urgent action to protect the jobs and welfare of Filipino seafarers as they are quickly losing their preferential status in the global labor market.

The veteran labor leader expressed this alarm after the Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA) failed to comply by global industry standards set by the International Maritime Organization.

De Guzman said the issue of Filipino welfare is personal for him since his youngest son is a seafarer boarding international routes. He said, "Napakaraming pamilya ang umaasa sa mga seafarer. Marami sa kanila ang sumuporta sa kanilang mga kamag-anak na sumampa ng barko - kahit nababahala sa magiging pagkawalay. Hindi lang dahil sa mas mataas na kikitain sa pagbabarko kundi dahil sa panatag sila na respetado at mapagkakatiwalaan ang mga marinong Pilipino".

The Filipino seafarers accounts for 30 percent of the world's seafaring population, according to data released by the Philippine Overseas Employment Agency (POEA) from 2016 to 2017. But they are quickly losing this dominant position.

De Guzman says the impact of the diqualification will severely impact the economy and their families. Data from the Philippine Overseas Employment Agency (POEA) revealed that there are about 378,072 seafarers in 2017 bringing in about $USD 6 billion in remittances.

The issue of non-compliance by Filipino seafarers to global standards is not new. The European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) last 2017 pointed to deficiencies in the Philippine maritime industry, particularly on maritime education, training and certification systems.

The PLM senatoriable stressed, "Epekto ng matinding kapayabaan ng gobyerno ang dahilan kung bakit may banta sa dominanteng posisyon natin sa global maritime industry. Hinayaan ng CHEd na lumaganap ang mga maritime school na naging 'diploma mill' ng mga gradweyt na bagsak sa pamantayan ng industriya. Ginatasan lamang nito ang mga pamilyang umaasang makasampa ng barko ang kanilang mga anak".

De Guzman himself is a graduate of a maritime school, the Philippine Maritime Institute (now PMI Colleges), one of the oldest maritime schools in the country.

"Sa usapin ng certification, tiyak tayong umiral ang perenyal na problema ng korapsyon. Nagkalat ang mga manning agencies na hindi nakasabay sa mga pagbabago sa pandaigdigang istandard. Kung paano sila nananatiling may sertipikasyon mula sa mga ahensya ng gobyerno ay isang milagrong may presyo", he emphasized.

The senatorial candidate is national chair of the Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino (BMP). He likewise called on labor groups that are active in organizing seafarers to close ranks and unite. "The AMOSUP (Associated Marine Officers' and Seamen's Union of the Philippines), PSU (Philippine Seafarers Union), and PTGWO (Philippine Trade and General Workers' Organization) should unite to ensure the welfare of Filipino seafarers in order to maintain their competitiveness in the global market". ###

Sabado, Marso 16, 2019

Workers to Bubble Gang: Strikes are no joke

Press Release
15 March 2019


The Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino (BMP) and the Alyansa ng Progresibong Obrero ng Yin Gang Motorcycles (APOY) union denounced Saturday GMA 7’s weekly gag show Bubble Gang for its malicious portrayal of labor strikes on its March 15, 2019 episode.

The show ran several short skits portraying striking workers getting paid P100 each by the strike leader.

BMP chair and senatorial candidate Leody de Guzman condemned the portrayal as a “blatant lie by the producers of Bubble Gang.”

“Is this how GMA 7 and Bubble Gang view us workers? Are we a joke to them?” De Guzman questioned.

“Labor strikes are serious actions being waged by workers in order to compel companies to respect union rights and comply to labor standards. This is a right guaranteed by our Constitution and the Labor Code,” explained the labor candidate, who actively supported the struggle of GMA 7 contractual workers when they protested the network’s labor malpractices in 2015.

BMP national president Luke Espiritu explained that the exercise of the right to strike is a “huge sacrifice by the workers,” contrary to what Bubble Gang had wrongfully portrayed.

Speaking at the picketline in West Canumay, Valenzuela, he explained that during strikes, “workers have to temporarily leave their families, live in makeshift tents, sleep on concrete, endure insect bites and harsh elements, and under the permanent threat of violence by management’s strike breakers or the police.”

“Such sacrifice is not worth P100 each. The workers are fighting for are their regular jobs, decent wages and benefits, and recognition of their union. That is not worth P100!” Espiritu said.

Jeremy Carpe, president of APOY and a contractual worker in Yin Gang Motorcycles said that he feels offended by Bubble Gang’s portrayal of a strike and disclosed that the union even declined a separation package offered by management.

“Inoperan kami ng YGM ng malaki-laking separation pay para itigil na namin ang welga at umalis na kumpanya. Pero aanhin namin ang pera kung kontraktwal pa rin kami sa lillipatan namin? Aanhin namin ang pera kung sa mahal ng presyo ng bilihin ay mauubos din ito agad? Ang gusto namin ay regular na trabaho, sapat na benepisyo, at karapatang mag-unyon dahil regular ang aming pangangailangan sa araw-araw. Hindi kami humihingi ng limos,” Carpe said.

For his part, Sonny Melencio, chair of party-list group Partido Lakas ng Masa (PLM) said that TV networks such as GMA 7 are the ones that are “bayaran.”

“The capitalists of these networks, who insult workers as violent or paid hacks whenever they wage strikes, are the one who are bayaran. They earn millions from trapo politicians who buy airtime and they even sell their TV programs by the millions of pesos to portray corrupt politicians as heroes,” Melencio said.

De Guzman says he finds it despicable that mass media instead of propagating the upholding of the peoples basic rights has done the opposite by propagating the culture of apathy and that principles can be bought.###

Reference: Luke Espiritu, BMP President, 0995 9729969

Finger-pointing officials frowned upon, fanning peoples’ frustrations – senate bet

Press Release
16 March 2019

Finger-pointing officials frowned upon, fanning peoples’ frustrations – senate bet

Partido Lakas ng Masa (PLM) senatorial bet Leody de Guzman called on both government officials and the management of water concessionaires to “cease from blaming each other and act as one” to address the water shortage that hit Metro Manila.

De Guzman also called on private, individual experts knowledgeable to what may have caused the problem to come forward and assist in the efforts to stabilize the supply of water.

“Water is life and all the finger-pointing and obvious lack of a concerted action between the companies, state agencies and technological experts will further bring chaos,” said De Guzman, leader of Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino.

He adds that, “Charges and counter-charges are being thrown left and right by their spin doctors to salvage the reputations of those responsible to secure our water supply but not one has come forward to consolidate their efforts. Nahihilo na ang taumbayan sa kaka-spin nila, dino-doktor pa nila ang kanilang mga reports sa publiko”.

De Guzman claims that the real crisis that emerged is a crisis of response rooted in the lack of transparency and accountability and integrity.

“For the longest time, governments and the private sector involved in public utilities have kept people in the dark and the peoples’ right to access to basic necessities taken for granted and merely treated as clients. This has got to end, access to water is our unalienable right” he explained.

The senate bet of the Labor Win coalition is calling for the end of privatization and deregulation policies that led to the shortage and the succeeding failed responses by both government agencies and water concessionaires.

“The public is paying of their incompetence and if there is any truth to the allegations of mind conditioning to drum up support for the building of dams and reservoirs, they will not gain traction. Binding people to more private sector intrusion in essential services and more debt is what led us to this ‘crisis’ in the first place,” he expounded.

Government also culpable

Meanwhile, PLM chairperson and second nominee Sonny Melencio objected to a statement made by Undersecretary Benny Antiporda of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources fending of allegations that the administration is to blame for the crisis.

Firstly, Melencio said, “Usec. Antiporda seems to have believed their own propaganda that the private sector is competent enough to manage the necessities of the people and are now calling the concessionaires incompetent. The myth of private sector competence is now busted”.

“More importantly, this overreliance of the government for concessionaires to deliver basic human necessities is the bedrock of the crisis we face,” he adds.

He says despite the weak El Nino, “The water shortage crisis is man-made and can easily be corrected if we move towards regaining public ownership of the utilities. Privatization is a bane to the public. The government cannot delegate its mandate to work for the interests of the people to private entities”.

PLM is campaigning for all public services to be publicly owned and democratically controlled.

“If only Duterte governed in the way the people expect him to do so and terminate wasting time with his callous tirades against priests, women and the human rights community, he could have averted this crisis. Bottom line is, Duterte is as incompetent and accountable to the public,” Melencio alleged.###

Lunes, Marso 11, 2019

Review Privatized Water, Power; De Guzman bats for NG, LGU ownership of power and water resources

Press Release
11 March 2019

Labor Senate Bet: Review Privatized Water, Power
De Guzman bats for NG, LGU ownership of power and water resources

Partido Lakas ng Masa senate bet Leody de Guzman calls for the review of privatization and deregulation of the water and power industry following the spate of water shortages in Metro Manila cities and the announcement of yellow alert in Luzon grid. De Guzman says the review should lead to the reversal of corporate control of basic necessities.

“The disorderly manner the Manila Water is announcing water service interruptions, and the fact that announcements of pending El Niño were already made last year and no appropriate rationing measures were implemented, makes us seriously question the so-called competence of the private sector in the management of our public utilities,” De Guzman said.

He said that it is ironic that supporters of privatization schemes more than two decades ago lobbied for the sale of Manila Waterworks and Sewerage System as well as the National Power Corporation on the grounds of incompetence.

De Guzman also warned against power companies “who are seeking to reap super-profits from the expected decline of supply due to El Niño by pushing through unscheduled maintenance shutdowns”, adding that their manoeuvres may fall under “economic sabotage”.

“Mahirap magtiwala sa pribadong sektor para i-manage ang basic needs ng mga tao, lalo pa sa panahon ng El Nino. Masyadong kritikal ang sitwasyon para isugal natin sa mga kumpanyang palpak na at tubo ang kanilang motibasyon,” he said.

Repeal EPIRA, Revoke Water Concessionaires’ Franchise

De Guzman vowed to file a bill that will repeal the Electric Power Industry Reform Act of 2001 or Republic Act 9136, and replace it with a law that allows national and local governments and state corporations to actively invest in the power sector, particularly in renewable energy.

The senate candidate also promised to revoke the franchise of Water Concessionaires via a “Department of Water” law that empowers local governments and metropolitan bodies to directly operate water services and “directly links centralized watershed management with water distribution”.

“Sa panahong wala nang garantiya ang supply ng tubig at kuryente, ang mga komunidad at hindi ang mga negosyante ang dapat magtatakda kung alin ang dapat laanan nito. Ito’y serbisyo, hindi dapat manatiling negosyo,” De Guzman said.

De Guzman said that given climate-induced uncertainties, “the private sector beholden to shareholders interests will always be tempted to artificially constrain supply or refuse to shift to better technologies in order to increase revenues or constrain cost.”

“Climate change should push us to rethink ways be provision our needs. Its about time that power and water resources be categorized by the government as a state obligation and basic necessity and must wrest control from private firms,” De Guzman concluded.###

Linggo, Marso 10, 2019

On Tulfo's refusal to apologize: All he does is yap, we work – labor bet

Press Release
10 March 2019

On Tulfo's refusal to apologize: All he does is yap, we work – labor bet

Labor leader and senatorial bet Leody de Guzman strongly objected statements made by Special Envoy to China, Ramon Tulfo after he remained adamant to calls for him to apologize after belittling Filipino workers.

The former Inquirer columnist called Filipino workers “lazy” and added that they “talk too much and smoke heavily”, making them less preferred by developers in an interview by CNN Philippines.

“Kaya nga tinawag na manggagawa, kasi nga gumagawa. Walang ibang dahilan ng pag-unlad ng ekonomiya ng bansa liban sa manggagawang Pilipino. Patunay ng aming kasipagan ay yung mismong pinagmamalaki ng administrasyong ito na Gross Domestic Product at Gross National Product,” said De Guzman.

He noted that even Forbes Magazine in October last year reported that the per capita gross domestic product (GDP) of the Philippines reached 2,891.36 U.S. dollars in 2017 which he claimed is remarkably exceptional given that Philippines’ average for the period 1960-2017 is only 1,627.98 USD.

De Guzman also took a jab at Tulfo saying that, “kung masipag man itong si Tulfo, ito ay kasipagang niyang magsalita at mang-intriga. Malayong malayo sa manggagawa na lumilikha ng produkto at serbisyong may pinakikinabangan ng lahat ng tao”.

“He seems to have misunderstood his job description, he is acting like China's envoy to the Philippines,” he posited.

Meanwhile Partido Lakas Masa, De Guzman’s political party also said that Tulfo should quit justifying his claims.

“Why should this administration complain for the lack of skilled workers when all they have done is strengthen policies that discourage skilled Filipino workers from remaining in the country, said its second nominee, Sonny Melencio.

“Wages are at starvation levels, just enough for workers to return the following day to be enslaved all over again, Contractualization remains prevalent and the administration is also actively goading Filipinos to apply for work in other countries instead of generating sustainable jobs locally,” Melencio explained.

De Guzman is running for a Senate seat on a pro-labor platform. This includes a national minimum wage equal to the living wage, abolition of all tripartite employment schemes, institutionalization of an unemployment insurance for retrenched employees and installing mechanisms towards the full transparency of funds under the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration.###

Huwebes, Marso 7, 2019

Senatoriable: Contractualization is more than endo and 5-5-5

March 7, 2019

Senatoriable: Contractualization is more than endo and 5-5-5

Senate bet Ka Leody de Guzman, a former factory worker who now runs under Partido Lakas ng Masa went to a protest camp Thursday set up by displaced workers of Waterich Resources corporation in Laguna.

On the eve of March 5, workers set up camp in front of the regional office of the Labor department to expose the collusion between Waterich Resources and Asia Brewery Inc. (ABI), owned by Michael Tan and his father Lucio Tan, respectively, to avoid the regularization of workers and the compliance to legally-mandated wages and benefits. The workers pressed the DOLE to intervene on the union-busting scheme of the management of Waterich.

The leaders of Alliance of Workers at Waterich Resources Corporation (AWWARE) are demanding their (1) reinstatement as regular workers as per compliance order; (2) absorption into ABI with continuous length of service; and (3) full payment of days where they were put out of work.

Speaking before displaced employees, De Guzman said, "The labor dispute at Waterich Resources shows that there is more to contractualization than endo and 5-5-5. Contractual workers under an agency or service cooperative are denied their rights to be recognized as regular workers and enjoy the benefits of the their tenured status. It highlights the scheme of outsourcing and contracting, where principal employers set up seemingly third-party separate entities to circumvent labor standards and higher wages.

"In this case, not only did ABI employ the services of another entity to evade their legal obligations in the persona of Waterich; more so, Waterich employed the services of labor-only contractors such as Work Trusted Manpower Services Cooperative, HR Team Asia at HD Manpower Service Cooperative, to further depress wages and intensify the threat of unemployment to unsecure contractual workers," he added.

The labor leader emphasized the urgent need for "policy reforms to prohibit the existence of trilateral agreements, which have proven to be detrimental to workers rights and welfare".

He exclaimed, "Dati namang direct hire ang mga manggagawa at nareregular matapos ang anim na buwan. Tumutubo ang mga kumpanya dahil produktibo ang mga regular na manggagawang may mas maayos na sweldo't benepisyo. Mula dekada 90 naging moda na ang outsourcing at contracting na nagpamura sa labor namin at naghihirap lalo sa mga kontraktwal".

Manny Sagun, president of AWWARE explained, "Bilyonaryo si Lucio Tan, pang-apat siya sa pinakamayaman sa bansa at pang-441 sa daigdig na may pag-aaring $4.7 bilyon noong 2018. Subalit ang yaman ng kanilang pamilya ay nagmula sa pagsasamantala ng kanilang empleyado".

Sagun shared the experience of workers at Waterich Resources. In February 2018, the DOLE Region 4A issued a compliance order for the regularization of 76 workers as its employees, they were previously deemed as contractuals of Work Trusted Manpower Service Cooperative, HR Team Asia, at HD Manpower Service Cooperative. The management filed an appeal before the Office of the labor secretary.

The workers, who were declared regular employees soon formed AWWARE, to ensure their rights and be able to collectively bargain for increased wages and benefits. In a certification election held last February 8, 2019, the union garnered 80 votes out of 113. The workers who were recently regularized by the DOLE compliance order were allowed take part in the elections.

Sagun clarified that by allowing us to vote, management admitted that that we are indeed workers of Waterich". Five days later, the DOLE med-arbiter issued a resolution that recognized AWWARE as the sole and exclusive bargaining agent at Waterich employees.

The bottling company did not seem to restrict the workers' exercise of self-organization but was plotting a different scheme to circumvent labor laws.

"Hindi naman totoong isasara dahil patuloy pa rin ang produksyon. Ang mag-iiba lang ay ang pangalan ng aming employer. Inaalok kaming maging probationary employees ng ABI. Hindi kami pinanganak kahapon. Kalauna'y tatanggalin din kami," he explained.

De Guzman concluded, "Walang problema kung nais tapusin ng Asia Brewery tapusin ang kanilang kontrata sa Waterich. Ang punto, sila’y mga regular na empleyado na gumagawa ng trabahong 'usually necessary or desirable' sa operasyon ng kumpanya.

Ang kontra-manggagawang iskema ng 'trilateral work arrangements' ay dapat nang ipagbawal sa pamamagitan ng pagrerebisa sa Labor Code para tuluyang mapuksa ang kontraktuwalisasyon. Ito ang sentral na dahilan ng aking pagtakbo bilang senador".

Waterich Resources Corporation has been in existence for more than twenty years. It manufactures bottled water exclusively for ABI, particularly for its Summit and Absolute brands. On January 28 this year, in a establishment employment announced its plans to close its operation on February 28. They state that ABI will take-over its operations. Waterich is 100% owned by ABI but appears to have an exclusive "toll pack agreement" with the mother company. ###

Manny Sagun, AWWARE union president 0935 066 3482
Ka Leody de Guzman 0920 520 0672

May 1, 2013 rali

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