Category Archives: Charter Change

United Labor SONA : The Real State of Labor under Duterte Exposed

A few days before President Rodrigo Duterte’s third State of the Nation Address (SONA), the labor sector once again showcased working class unity. The country’s major labor centers under the Nagkaisa! Labor Coalition and Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) presented the real state of Filipino workers to media under the two years of President Duterte.

“No end to ENDO. Run over by TRAIN. Waiting in vain for a significant wage increase. Labor rights violated.” This in a nutshell is how Nagkaisa! and KMU described the sorry state of workers for the past two years.

Contractualization

“Government put one over workers,” KMU and Nagkaisa! said. “Failing to address the issue of contractualization, government tries to cover up the failure to deliver the promise of ending contractualization by citing empty statistics,” KMU and Nagkaisa! said.

DOLE Secretary Silvestre Bello claims that the government has helped regularize 180,000+ workers, and that DOLE will regularize 300,000 more within the year. “This is false if not empty. The truth, is that the number of contractual workers is rising, even based on the government’s own data,” labor groups Nagkaisa! and KMU said.

“This has led to the massive termination of contractual workers as seen in the cases of PAL and PLDT where ‘endolords’ refused to implement the DOLE regularization order and instead laid-off over 12,000 of its workers.

This is also the case in Jollibee Foods Corporation, NutriAsia, and other companies that have been found practicing Labor Only Contracting,” KMU and Nagkaisa said. “Without the President’s decisive action, contractualization will persist,” the groups added.

Despite DOLE’s DO 174 — and Duterte’s EO 51, which bars companies from firing contractual employees covered by DOLE regularization orders — PLDT and other violators have faced no penalty for their non-compliance.

“Almost three months after Labor Day, when he said a law is needed to end contractualization, the President has not certified as urgent the Security of Tenure Bill. The Expanded Maternity Leave Bill is also in limbo,” Nagkaisa! and KMU said.

Wages

“The wage system remains the same with no concrete plans to institute reforms,” Nagkaisa! and KMU said.

“The President himself promised to remove provincial wage rates in favor of calls of workers for a national minimum wage (NMW), yet the government has openly opposed the passage of National Minimum Wage (NMW) bills such as House Bill 7787 and other proposed legislation increasing wages,” Nagkaisa! and KMU said.

The record high inflation rate of over 5% over the past five months resulting from “the rampaging TRAIN law has run over the poor.” Additional excise taxes and coverage of VAT have further devaluated the meager wage rates across the country,” KMU and Nagkaisa! said.

Instead of wage hike, Duterte gave us unabated price hikes. Thanks to the anti-people TRAIN law, Filipino workers are feeling the brunt of rising costs of basic goods and services, including food, transport, electricity, and water. To distract from the reality of how the TRAIN law further pressed down the value of wages in the country, the government implemented meager wage hikes through nine regional wage boards.

These increases would not even bring our wages any closer to the P40,000 monthly cost of living begrudgingly proposed by NEDA as the budget for the average Filipino family. Even by the government’s own calculations, wages are insufficient for decent living.

Rights

“Basic labor rights violations are rampant. At EPZA, workers have been treated as wanted criminals for union organizing activities, while investors enjoy all the privileges and protection,” Nagkaisa ang KMU said.

The same continues to happen in Mindanao.

“Workers from companies such as Sumifru, Shin Sun, and Freshmax have been harassed through union-busting, terrorist tagging and even paraded as fake rebel surenderees,” KMU and Nagkaisa said.

“In many similar cases, such as that of Coke, NutriAsia, Core Asia, and Middleby, it’s the workers themselves who end up being harassed, treated as criminals, and violently dispersed by state security forces,” KMU and Nagkaisa! said.

“The Center for Trade Union and Human Rights (CTUHR) has reported the death of 30 labor leaders in the past two years, with a number getting illegally arrested, filed with trumped-up charges and are branded as common criminals,” KMU and Nagkaisa said.

Urban poor communities, where many workers live, continue to be anxious about the threat to their rights and liberty.

“In the near future, things might get worse should the proposed charter change that missed out on workers’ rights in the original draft and shift to federalism as it is proposed, come into fruition,” the labor groups said, whose combined membership make up the bulk of organized labor in the Philippines.

The cycle of unfulfilled promises–old and new–continue to hound workers.

It is in the hands of workers, as to where to take the continuing struggle for workers’ rights. Trade unions, organizations and institutions have banded together in a scale not seen since the 80’s. The unity we have forged highlighted by the joint actions since before Labor Day and continue to nurture, will all the more inspire us to work towards a common agenda.

Charter Change: Changing the rules to allow dictatorship

NO TO CHA-CHA Militants call for a stop to Charter change, which they fear will lead to a “revolutionary government” and dictatorship as they march toward the Edsa People Power Monument. —ALEXIS CORPUZ

Opening the 1987 Constitution to amendments via a Constituent Assembly (ConAss) will only enable the few to forward their own interests, allow the President and other incumbents to stay in power beyond their terms, or establish a transitional or permanent dictator along the way.

On July 9, 2018, a draft federal constitution was submitted by the Consultative Committee to the President. The ConCom’s Bayanihan Federalism draft is in addition to earlier drafts, including that from the PDP-Laban and the congressmen’s own House Concurrent Resolution (HCR) 9. All these set the stage for the opening of the 1987 Constitution to amendments – all via a Constituent Assembly as it is the fastest and least costly mode preferred by the President.

These proposals contain transitory provisions that allow the sitting President to exercise dictatorial powers during the transition. We have no doubt the current members of the Lower House who will comprise the absolute majority ConAss will grant the wish of President Duterte as the same agenda also feeds their interest of extending their terms during the transition.

On July 23, 2018, the President will deliver his annual State of the Nation Address to Congress—both the House of Representatives and Senate—where we expect Duterte’s Charter Change and Federalism to take center stage.

We, from the Kalipunan ng mga Kilusang Masa or Kalipunan, a coalition of movements from farmers, fisherfolk, indigenous peoples, labor, women, urban poor, environmental activists, youth, and students join the broader movement against dictatorship in the United People’s SONA where ordinary citizens take center stage and speak about issues that Duterte has set aside.

We stand in solidarity with social movements of different leanings, and the religious to condemn Duterte’s Charter Change as a grave danger to democracy and doubt the proposed revisions will actually result to a truly humane and just society. Charter Change will only cement Duterte’s Dictatorship, to the detriment of basic sectors of society.

KALIPUNAN looks no further from Duterte’s failed promises and dismal track record in the past two years for proof:

1. On Contractualization: Despite strong statements that the President will completely end contractualization, this labor practice continues to be the rule rather than the exception in many workplaces.

2. On TRAIN and Inflation: Further aggravated by the effects of TRAIN Law, the inflation rate has ballooned to 5.2% causing prices of basic goods and services to increase. In addition, the effects of the trillion-peso loan from China to our economy have yet to be seen.

3. On the West Philippine Sea: His failure to enforce the Hague ruling has allowed Chinese military bases to be installed in the West Philippine Sea, and for Chinese fishers to trample on the rights of local fishers from Zambales and Pangasinan.

4. On Rural Economies: There continues to be a lack of a National Land Use Policy that enables local government units and private real estate developers to convert prime irrigable and irrigated lands to commercial lands that affect farmers’ livelihoods. The lifting of the Quantitative Restrictions (QR) on rice, and in its place the government’s proposal to fully liberalize the rice industry also threatens food sovereignty and the livelihoods of smallholder rice farmers.

5. On Mining and the Environment: Mining companies continue to operate in protected areas and ancestral lands; coupled with an outdated Philippine Mining Act, most mining operations in the country not only disregard getting the free and prior informed consent of indigenous peoples but also worsen environmental degradation.

6. On the War on Drugs: He has waged a bloody “war on drugs” that has resulted in the proliferation of killings in the country. From July 1, 2016, to June 11, 2018; the police has recorded 4,279 suspects killed in anti-illegal drug operations and 23, 518 homicide cases under investigation.

7. On Violence against Women: Duterte’s misogyny and vilification of women have created a culture that promulgates violence against women.

Clearly, Duterte has failed to deliver on his promises. Will this chacha change the state of things where he failed during the past two years?

These proposals to revise the constitution are not the answers to the people’s concerns. Charter Change will only serve to legitimize the rule of the few and divert the government’s attention from addressing pressing issues basic sectors face.

For this reason, the Kalipunan will join the historic gathering of different groups and organizations on the day of SONA. We call on all to join this historic United People’s SONA to hold our government leaders accountable, especially Duterte, in failing to address the concerns of our people and uphold freedom, social justice, and democracy.

Statement of Kalipunan ng mga Kilusang Masa
14 July 2018

Alyansa Tigil Mina (ATM)
Kilos Maralita (KM)
Pambansang Kilusan ng mga Samahang Magsasaka (PAKISAMA)
Partido Manggagawa (PM)
Sentro ng mga Nagkakaisa at Progresibong Manggagawa (SENTRO)
Union of Students for the Advancement of Democracy (USAD-Ateneo de Manila)
Urban Poor Alliance (UP All)
World March of Women – Pilipinas