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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

Senate bet points to evidence that crony capitalism is back

Press Release
07 March 2019

Senate bet points to evidence that crony capitalism is back

“Is crony capitalism back in the Philippines?” Partido Lakas ng Masa senatoriable Leody De Guzman asked this question following reports from Forbes that former senate president and one time presidentiable Manny Villar is now the richest person in the Philippines, with his net worth ballooning from $1.8 billion in August 2016 to $5.5 billion in 2019.

Villar is a known ally of President Rodrigo Duterte, who appointed his son, Mark Villar, as secretary of the powerful public works department.

“Rentier crony capitalism is back under Duterte’s watch. Manny Villar has outpaced SM Investment Corporation, a real estate and retail giant who benefited from a consumption-driven economy fuelled by remittances of migrant Filipinos. The aggressive construction of national roads did not only land values of the Villar real estate empire. Moreover, stock analysts and speculators also anticipated the boom of publicly-listed companies owned by the Villars,” he said.

De Guzman remarked that Villar’s “ridiculous rise from 12th to 1st place while multiplying his wealth five-fold in a span of three years" shows that "being close to Duterte can take you places, even the top of the Forbes list.”

He explained that rise in property values is illusory and is only real to bourgeois economists who gives importance to economic growth but not to statistics that measure human development - such as income, employment, living standards, access to social services, etc. ‘

”Yan ay kapitalistang pag-unlad na hindi totoong progresong panlipunan. Pero ang mas masakit, hindi lamang mga kapitalista ang yumayaman ngayon kundi ang mga klase ng negosyanteng malapit sa kawali ng administrasyon,” he added.

De Guzman, a labor leader who became an activist after the assassination of Ninoy Aquino, asked, “Naalala ko tuloy na ang mga kroni ni Marcos ang nakinabang sa diktadura. Si Villar ba ang Danding Cojuangco ni Rodrigo Duterte?”

Rise of the New Cronies

De Guzman also noted that Davao businessman Dennis Uy, who contributed P30 million to Duterte's campaign kitty managed to own 36 companies in the span of 24 months under Duterte's term.

With Uy's buying spree of companies, however, his holdings company Udenna Corporation saw its debt grow by over 200% to P104 billion in 2017.

“But even with his huge debt, Uy is far from financial distress. As revealed recently by Senator Trillanes, his company Mislatel will benefit from the ‘common tower policy’ of the new DICT (Department of Information and Communication)”, De Guzman said.

“Crony corporations deplete the national coffers because they are being subsidized by the government even if they are losing or are inefficient. In this case, it appears the Mislatel will subsidize the debts of Udenna,” he explained

Crony Capitalism: One step further into the depths of hell

De Guzman expounded that crony capitalism will worsen the poverty and misery of the people as it favors corporations that are close to the administration. He explained, “Impyerno na nga ang buhay ng manggagawa sa ilalim ng neoliberal na patakarang liberalisasyon, deregulasyon, pribatisasyon at kontraktwalisasyon, para pa tayong bumagsak sa mas malalim na bahagi ng impyerno kapag nangibabaw pa ang mga korporasyong malapit sa Palasyo”.

He said the corporations that are favored by Malacanang will have “no fear in violating labor rights and standards even as they enjoy the protection of the state through securing legislative franchises and capturing regulatory mechanisms. Worse, they would resort to coercion and violence against unionists who are fighting for their rights, consumer groups who oppose monopolies and unfair competition, and to the poor who demand state funds for services”.

The irony, the labor leader exclaimed, is that “cronies would all proclaim of removing state intervention in a market economy but are using government resources to rake in more profit for themselves”. De Guzman feared that the free rein of Duterte’s cronies would be brought about by the planned change in the Charter after the May 2019 elections.

De Guzman also noted that despite the expansion of the mandate of the Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission through Executive Order No. 73 which authorized the commission to file charges. It also allowed the president to assume jurisdiction at any stage of the process. The PACC has yet to file its first case against any erring any public official or employee.

“If this is not collusion between cronies and the PACC, then I don’t know what is,” he ended.###

Miyerkules, Marso 6, 2019

Diokno’s takeover of BSP “elitist”; Worker Senate bet bats for “labor representation” in Central Bank

Press Release
06 March 2019

Diokno’s takeover of BSP “elitist” - Ka Leody
Worker Senate bet bats for “labor representation” in Central Bank

Partido Lakas ng Masa senatoriable Ka Leody De Guzman slams the appointment of DBM Secretary Benjamin Diokno as new Governor of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), insisting that Diokno “will reinforce the elitism of the country's central bank.”

“The working class will never forget his callous statement ‘kung masipag ka lang, hindi ka magugutom sa Pilipinas’ (if you work hard, you won't be hungry in the Philippines) at the height of the country's inflationary crisis last year when he held the reins of fiscal policy,” De Guzman said.

The appointment of the budget secretary accused of P75-billion insertion in the public works budget followed the death of former Governor Nestor Espenilla.

“Appointing someone is insensitive to effects of inflation to the poor like Diokno is a recipe for disaster, especially for our 2022 target to reduce poverty to 14%,” De Guzman added.

Cosmetic Reforms

De Guzman also scored Congress and the Duterte administration to put forward “pro-labor” reforms in the central bank's charter, following its amendment by Republic Act 11211 signed by President Rodrigo Duterte last February.

“At best, the reforms made were cosmetic. If the Filipino people will be kind enough to elect me to Senate, I'll ensure a more lasting reform: labor representation, and bringing back employment as a central bank objective,” De Guzman said.

De Guzman lamented the “privatization” of the central bank under Republic Act 7653, which reduced the number of government representatives to the monetary board and reduced the central bank's role to price stabilization.

“The 1948 Central Bank established by Republic Act 265 mandated a central bank that is responsible for ‘a rising level of production, employment, and real income’. This mandate conspicuously absent in later versions of central bank charter,” De Guzman noted.

De Guzman promised to bring back a “pro-labor monetary policy” through legislation, which will feature “representative from the labor sector chosen from the unions and labor groups, as well as the labor secretary from the government” in the monetary board.

“It is time for Congress to reverse the elitism of the BSP, with Diokno as its new avatar, and design a central bank that consciously promotes the welfare of the majority,” De Guzman ended.

May 1, 2013 rali

Das Kapital published on 14 Sept 1867

Das Kapital published on 14 Sept 1867

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