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JoMag: ‘I was surprised, shocked’

Department of Labor and Employment undersecretary Joel Maglunsod said he did not receive notice of his dismissal before President Rodrigo Duterte made the announcement in a speech Tuesday in Catarman, Northern Samar.

“I was surprised, shocked even,” Maglunsod told Kodao, adding he only learned of the President’s statement when he opened his mobile phone after conducting two meetings Wednesday morning.

“Many journalists have sent me messages about PRRDs statement and that was how I learned about it,” Maglunsod said.

Duterte said he fired Maglunsod because of his association with the militant Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) the President alleged was responsible for the upsurge in labor strikes throughout the country.

[Si] Joel Maglunsod, pinaalis ko. Pinagbigyan ko sila noong bago ako  kasi gusto ko nandoon sila sa opisina, Joel Maglunsod, sila lahat,” Duterte said.

(What went before: Labor movement hails, welcomes back ‘JoMag‘)

Maglunsod said he immediately went back to the DOLE offices in Intramuros Wednesday afternoon to consult with labor and employment secretary Silvestre Bello III and other department officials.

“They too were surprised,” Maglunsod revealed.

Maglunsod said Bello asked him to “stay put” until Monday. “He told me he (Bello) will be able to know more in Monday when he meets the President during their Cabinet meeting,” Maglunsod said.

The beleaguered official also told Kodao that he called up special presidential assistant Christopher “Bong” Go to request for a meeting with Duterte.

“He said he will ask the President (about my request),” Maglunsod said.

Maglunsod, who also hails from Davao City, said he considered Duterte his friend but felt it would have been better for him if the President told him directly about his decision before the public announcement.

“But it is his prerogative as the President and appointing power,” Maglunsod said.

He added he is ready to leave his post.

“But I hold my head high. I can categorically say I did my best in performing DOLE’s mandate. I have been fair, even to the employers. I always told them that we only need to follow the law,” he said.

The country’s major labor federations, including the KMU, the Association of Labor Unions-Trade Union Congress of the Philippines, Sentro ng Nagkakaisa at Progresibong Manggagawa, and Nagkaisa Labor Coalition unanimously defended Maglunsod as the official who consistently “bridged the ‘gap of trust’ between organized labor and the department by personally acting on complaints and facing mass actions of workers at the DOLE office in Intramuros.”

“I am grateful to the labor federations who expressed support. I have not had the chance to send them messages yet, but I thank them for validating my work as DOLE undersecretary,” Maglunsod said. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)

Labor movement hails, welcomes back ‘JoMag’

Never has a Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) official been unanimously hailed and defended by the labor movement as Joel Maglunsod.

As when they issued a joint manifesto against labor-only contracting last year and jointly commemorated International Labor Day in May 1 this year, the country’s major labor groups were again united, this time in defending the official they fondly call “JoMag”.

They said President Rodrigo Duterte made a mistake when he fired Maglunsod.

The last prominent Leftist in the Rodrigo Duterte regime was unceremoniously fired by President Rodrigo Duterte in a speech before soldiers in Camp Sumuroy in Catarman, Northern Samar Tuesday, October 2.

[Si] Joel Maglunsod, pinaalis ko. Pinagbigyan ko sila noong bago ako  kasi gusto ko nandoon sila sa opisina, Joel Maglunsod, sila lahat,” Duterte said, adding the Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) that Maglunsod served as vice president for Mindanao and national secretary general is “paralyzing the economy” with labor strikes.

The labor movement, however, defended Maglunsod once again.

“Maglunsod has worked for the mass inspection of violations on labor only contracting and other labor standards and occupational health and safety violations that resulted in favorable orders and decisions. Workers are eager to welcome back Ka Jomag in the picket-lines and marches and take part in the growing workers’ movement against Duterte’s anti-worker and tyrannical rule,” KMU chairperson Elmer Labog said in a statement.

Nagkakaisa Labor Coalition’s Rene Magtubo for his part said “President Duterte has made a major mistake in dismissing the services of Usec Jomag at the DOLE only to heed the advice of the military and anti-worker elements of his administration.”

“In his short stint as undersecretary of labor for industrial relations, he has bridged the “gap of trust” between organized labor and the department by personally acting on complaints and facing mass actions of workers at the DOLE office in Intramuros,” Magtubo added.

The Sentro ng Nagkakaisa at Progresibong Manggagawa (Sentro) for its part said it was wrong for Duterte to fire Maglunsod over the escalating labor unrest in the country, adding the official was labor’s closest ally in the DOLE.

“Ironically, the labor unrest now spooking employers and even the military was largely caused by Mr. Duterte’s failure to live up to his promise of ending contractualization,” Sentro leader Josua Mata said.

“Obviously, Usec JoeMag is being sacrificed to prop up the sagging image of Mr. Duterte,” Mata added.

Even the Association of Labor Unions-Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (ALU-TUCP) hailed Maglunsod’s achievements sa labor undersecretary.

“Jomag was always ready to listen and work out solutions to workers in trouble with their employers,” ALU-TUCP spokesperson Alan Tanjusay said.

“Jomag was the key DOLE official in helping move the very important security of tenure bill. He was also a key DOLE official in regularizing thousands of ‘endo’ (contractual) workers become regular workers,” Tanjusay explained.

Maglunsod, along with former social work and development secretary Judy Taguiwalo, agrarian reform secretary Rafael Mariano, anti-poverty commission lead convenor Liza Maza, and urban poor commission chairperson Terry Ridon were known progressives appointed to high positions in the Duterte Cabinet when he won the presidency in 2016.

He was a KMU member in Davao City who rose to become its chapter president eventually becoming its national secretary general for many years. Prior to being appointed to the DOLE, he was KMU vice president for political and external affairs.

He also served as Anakpawis Representative to Congress where he once grabbed news headlines when refused entry through the members’ gate because the guards saw him alight from a jeepney.

KMU’s Labog said that workers are eager to welcome back Ka Jomag in the picket-lines and marches and take part in the growing workers’ movement against Duterte’s anti-worker and tyrannical rule.

Both Maglunsod and the DOLE have yet to reply to Kodao’s request for statements. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)

KMU blames Duterte for intensified attacks in Compostela

Labor group Kilusang Mayo Uno in Southern Mindanao (KMU-SMR) blamed President Rodrigo Duterte for “intensifying attacks on union workers” after two Sumifru Packing Plant union leaders survived separate assaults within a week.

KMU-SMR said in a statement Victor Ageas, Board of Director of Nagkahiusang Mamumuo sa Suyapa Farm (NAMASUFA-NAFLU-KMU), was ambushed by motorcycle-riding gunmen Tuesday, September 4, at about 6:30 am while he was bound for work at Sumifru Packing Plant 340 at Purok Uno, Barangay Osmeña in Compostela town.

The unidentified assailants fired at the labor leader six times but Aegas was able to escape, the group said.

The attack came a day after Sumifru workers staged a protest action against the company for refusing to recognize them as regular employees.

KMU said that, in July 26, two masked men also went to Aegas’ house and asked for his whereabouts but left when told their target was not around.

Another union leader, Melodina Gumanoy, Secretary of NAMASUFA-NAFLU-KMU, was also tailed by motorcycle-riding men last Thursday, August 30, KMU said.

Gumanoy was on on her way to work in Packing Plant 250 of Sumifru at Purok 8, Brgy. Osmeña, Compostela when she realized she was being tailed by her attackers.

She hid in a nearby house to evade her attackers.

The attacks on workers-unionists intensified in Compostela Valley after President Duterte declared the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) a “terrorist” organization and subsequently tagged KMU and other progressive organizations as legal fronts of the underground group, KMU said.

Farmers are also being attacked in Compostela, the labor center said.

Peasant couple Gilbert and Jean Labial, members of Compostela Farmers Association, were gunned down last August 19, 2018 in Bango, Compostela, after attending the wake of Rolly Panebio, a fellow CFA member and security personnel of the Salugpongan Learning Center in Bango.

“KMU holds the Armed Forces of the Philippines President Duterte accountable for these blatant violation of the workers’ economic and political rights. KMU believes that these attacks are the Duterte government’s move to protect the business interests of Sumifru and mining companies in the area,” KMU said. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)

‘Mas gusto pang magbayad sa security’

“Ang kapitalista, mas gusto pang magbayad sa mga militar, sa mga pulis, sa mga security kaysa bayaran yung mga manggagawang pinakikinabangan niya.”—Nenita Gonzaga, Vice President for Women, Kilusang Mayo Uno

KMU urges DOLE to ‘immediately regularize’ workers on contractual list

The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) must enforce its regularization orders instead of simply coming out with lists of companies practicing contractualization, militant labor federation Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) challenged the agency.

Reacting to the DOLE revelation that some of the country’s biggest companies are among the top implementors of the illegal contractualization scheme, KMU said the list may only grow longer without foreceful implementation of President Rodrigo Duterte’s Executive Order 51 banning labor-only contracting in many industries.

“In the first place, many names on the list came from the workers who filed them with DOLE. What we need to see now are final and executory orders for regularization of contractual workers,” KMU chairperson Elmer Labog said.

‘Contractualization kings’

In a press conference Monday, DOLE revealed a total of 3,377 companies were found to be engaged and suspected to be engaged in labor-only contracting arrangements based on its initial list of non-compliant establishments.

“We are now providing you the top 20 non-complaint companies according to the number of workers that need to be regularized, from a list of 3,377 non-compliant establishments involving 224,852 workers from various parts of the country,” Bello said.

Among the top violators include giant Jollibee Food Corporation with 14,960 affected workers, followed by the Dole Philippines, Inc., with 10,521 affected workers, and the Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. (PLDT) with 8,310 affected workers.

DOLE also identified Philsaga Mining Corporation with 6,624 affected workers; General Tuna Corporation with 5,216; Sumi Phils Wiring System Corporation with 4,305; Franklin Baker Inc., with 3,400; Philipinas Kyohritsu with 3,161; Furukawa Automotive System Phil. Inc., with 2,863; and the Magnolia Inc., with 2,248 affected workers.

KCC Property Holdings, Inc., with 1,802 affected workers; Sumifru Philippines , Corp. with 1,687; Hinatuan Mining Corporation with 1,673; KCC Mall De Zamboanga with 1,598; Brother Industries (Philippines) Inc., with1,582; Philippine Airlines and PAL Express with 1,483; Nidec Precision Philippines Corporation with 1,400; Peter Paul Phil. Corporation with 1,362; Dolefil Upper Valley Cooperations with 1,183; and the SOLE-Stanfilco with 1,131 affected workers are also included in the preliminary list DOLE submitted to Malacanan Palace last May 25, 2018.

Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said the list was culled from the result of inspections of 99,526 establishments from June 2016 to April 2018.

DOLE said the list was just an initial report, considering the labor inspections covered only a fraction of more than 900,000 establishments nationwide.

Bello said SM Malls were not included in the list as it has already submitted a voluntarily regularization program, which targets an estimated 10,000 regularized workers by the end of 2018.

DOLE Department Order No. 174 prohibits labor–only contracting, which exist when the contractor merely recruits, supplies or places workers to perform a job for a principal under employment arrangements designed to circumvent the right of workers to security of tenure.

DOLE said a total of 176,286 workers have been regularized as of May 11, 2018 through the intensified labor enforcement system of the labor department.

‘Let it not stay a list’

KMU however said DOLE’s list will only grow longer without a more forceful and sustained implementation of regularization orders.

“In the case of PLDT, there were only about 7,400 contractual workers when KMU and Kilos Na Manggagawa filed a complaint with DOLE earlier. Now, it is saying there are already 8,310 affected workers. If DOLE does not enforce regularization orders, the numbers will only increase,” Labog said.

“Now that they have a list, it should not stay merely as a list. DOLE must immediately issue and enforce regularization orders for these workers,” Labog added.

KMU said that should DOLE’s list does not translate to the regularization of its number of affected workers, it becomes another mere palliative to the lack of a wage increase in the midst of runaway price increases of basic commodities and services due to the Duterte government’s tax measures.

KMU added it supports House Bill 7787 for a national minimum wage law filed by the Makabayan bloc at the House of Representatives Monday. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)

‘Not surprised,’ KMU says of Duterte’s turnaround on endo promise

Militant labor denounced Rodrigo Duterte’s decision not to issue an order ending contractualization of workers, saying the President’s move is a complete turnaround from his repeated promise to end the practice.

Following labor secretary Silvestre Bello III’s announcement Thursday that Duterte decided to leave it to Congress to decide on labor-only contracting, Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) chairperson Elmer Labog said the government is bent on maintaining the status quo in the labor sector.

“Duterte wants contractual labor to remain the norm while regular employment is just the exemption,” Labog told Kodao.

“He sweet-talked us for such a long time, but it all comes to nothing,” Labog added.

In a statement, Kilusang Mayo Uno said it was Duterte himself in a dialogue last May 1, 2017 who asked the labor sector to draft an EO that he would immediately sign.

“However, like his other promises and pretensions, Duterte refused to deliver. This further proves that his tough-talk against contractualization was a mere publicity stunt to woo workers’ votes like all other traditional politicians,” KMU said.

In his press briefing, Bello said three drafts of the executive order were submitted to the Office of the President through the Office of the Executive Secretary.

Bello said Malacañan however ultimately decided to instead certify as priority a Senate bill on the security of tenure of workers.

Earlier, the Palace announced that Duterte will finally issue an order to end contractualization, or non-regularization of workers. It later said Malacañan decided to postpone Duterte’s signing of the order last April 15.

No order was signed and issued last Sunday, however.

In justifying Duterte’s decision, Bello said the Senate bill is a reinforcement of Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Department Order 174 meant to address the issue of unlawful contractualization anyway.

Bello said the DOLE order and the Senate bill may end contractualization “if there is an effective and honest-to-goodness implementation.”

Labog, however, said militant labor has no illusions about the prospective anti-contractualization law.

Wala na iyan. Lututuin lang iyan sa Kongreso,” Labog said. (That’s nothing. It will just be mangled in Congress.)

Labog warned that more workers would be disappointed and angry at Duterte.

“It will not only be KMU who gets angry with Duterte, but all the other workers who are victims of contractualization,” Labog said.

Labog added KMU’s International Labor Day activities will start at nine o’clock in the morning at Liwasang Bonifacio.

“Our main sectoral call is, of course, for the junking of contractualization,” Labog said.

KMU said Duterte’s mockery of Filipino workers and of our legitimate demands will never be forgiven.

“On May 1, International Labor Day, hundreds of thousands of Filipino workers across the country will show their outrage over Duterte’s rejection of our demands for regular and decent jobs in a nationwide workers’ and people’s protest,” KMU’s statement said.# (Raymund B. Villanueva)

Compressed Work Week Bill: Pasado o Palyado?

Kasalukuyang dinidinig pa rin sa Senado ang bill hinggil sa “compressed work week”, isang iskema ng pleksibleng paggawa.

Anila, pabor daw ito sa mga manggagawa dahil mas magiging produktibo kung mas mahaba ang oras ng paggawa kada araw. Dapat ba silang sumang-ayon dito? Ano ba ang epekto nito sa kanilang sahod at kalusugan?

Isa ito sa mga isyu ng manggagawa sa papalapit na Mayo Uno.

Panoorin ang bidyo ng MayDay Multimedia:

 

Drivers, workers protest jeepney phaseout

Thousands of public utility jeepney drivers under the No to Jeepeney Phaseout Coalition were joined by workers of Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) in a protest rally at Mendiola a week before the State of the Nation Address (SONA) of Pres. Rodrigo Duterte.

Among the workers are miners and banana plantation workers from Mindanao regions. They are protesting neoliberal policies and martial law as favoring foreign big business interests.

Workers set up a protest camp at Mendiola leading to the big People’s SONA rally on July 24, 2017.

(Music “Beep, Beep” by Juan de la Cruz Band) Read more

Labor day rallies call on Duterte to end contractualization

LABOR and activist groups led the 35,000-strong International Labor Day rally in Manila last May 1 that called on the Rodrigo Duterte government to fulfill its promise to end labor-only contracting of Filipino workers, among other demands.

Drawing strength from recent victories of various mass campaigns such as successful labor strikes and occupation of vacant government housing units, the Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU, May 1 Movement)-organized event drew a total of 100,000 workers and activists across the Philippines in the biggest Labor Day mobilization in years.

KMU said the event was part of the preparations for the centennial celebrations of Russia’s Great October Revolution of 1917 led by V.I. Lenin.

Here is a short video of Manila’s Labor Day 2017 rally. (ILPS-Philippines)