“We hope the Supreme Court brings light to a dark decade of power hikes, naked greed, and blackmail amid unreliability of power supply,” concluded Nagkaisa!
Public sector unions from the Philippine Independent Public Sector Employees’ Association (PIPSEA), Confederation of Independent Unions in the Public Sector (CIU), Samahang Manggagawa sa Paliparan ng Pilipinas (SMPP), Postal Employees Union of the Philippines (PEUP), Office of the Solicitor General Employees Association (OSGEA), and Sultan Kudarat Association of Provincial Employees (SKAPE) gathered on 9-10 December in Antipolo, Rizal to discuss issues hounding the public sector workers. The unions agreed to step up the campaign for the ratification of ILO Convention No. 151 (Freedom of association and collective bargaining for public sector workers) and salary increase for the public sector workers, among others.
The forum was supported by the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung – Philippine Office.
TODAY we celebrate the sesquicentennial birth anniversary of Andres Bonifacio, the founder of the Kataastaasang Kagalanggalangang Katipunan ng mga Anak ng Bayan (Katipunan or KKK), which spearheaded the 1896 Revolution, the first anti-colonial uprising in entire Asia and spawned as well the first republican government in this region.
Katipunan evokes not only national pride but strikes a chord with today’s trade unionists and other social activists. It indeed triggered a “people’s rebellion” as it was widely supported and its vast majority of members and many key leaders, particularly at its early stage, came from the ordinary people. It had also close links with the then early forms of workers’ organizations, the various craft and area guilds or gremios – the proto-unions or precursors of contemporary trade unions. And it has proven that the masses, through their revolutionary movement, had actually governed the country at one point in our history – an inspiring reminder for today’s working class that we have the capability and responsibility to do so again as the elites have repeatedly shown that they are incapable of freeing and unwilling to free the majority from hunger, oppression and ignorance.
Remembering Bonifacio, therefore, conjures up bittersweet emotions as it reminds us both of his heroism and the treasonous tragedy that befall him and the Katipunan: How the emerging native elites hijacked the revolutionary leadership and redirected the course of the revolution against Spanish rule, including their subsequent surrender to and cooptation by the next colonizer, the US imperialism; how they murdered Bonifacio and his brothers in 1897; and how they eventually imposed a revisionist if not distorted version of history to favor the ruling class – which includes denying Bonifacio the right, the legacy and the honor to be designated as the first President of the first Philippine Republic.
More than a century since the 1892 founding of the Katipunan and the 1896 Revolution, the messages of Bonifacio and the Katipunan have continued to be relevant, especially their call for “kapatiran” (brotherhood/sisterhood) or for the people to unite, organize and mobilize to attain “kalayaan” (freedom), “katarungan” (justice) and “pagkakapantay-pantay” (equality). Likewise, “kabutihang-loob” (kindness/concern for others) and “kaginhawahan” (comfort/not living in destitution) were inculcated. In fact, they are not only timeless virtues but persistent demands and aspirations of the citizenry up to this day.
Hence, while formally independent, the Philippines, like all so-called developing nations, is still under the clutches of a “new” economic bondage that benefits merely a few, and perpetrated now through predatory global corporations and exploitative neoliberal programs – unfettered economic and financial liberalization, deregulation and privatization – enforced throughout the world primarily by neoliberal bodies (WTO, IMF-World Bank, regional economic blocs) and governments. Accordingly, despite the much ballyhooed successive “growth” in its gross domestic product (GDP), the Philippine poverty incidence has barely changed if not really worsened, whereas the country’s handful of super-rich has even become richer and more powerful. The neoliberal tentacles extend to the labor front as they institutionalize precarious or contractual jobs notorious for low or unstable wages and benefits, no security of tenure, and excluded from “traditional” unions and CBAs/CNAs – thus, a potent tactic of destroying trade unionism and the overall labor movement.
The call for “kapatiran” is an appeal for us to continue the struggle against neoliberalism (a rehashed type of capitalism), elitism, patriarchy and all forms of injustice. The elites, instead of fostering “pagkakapantay-pantay,” have repeatedly amassed untold wealth for themselves by “legal” and illegal means and trickery – the multibillion-peso pork barrel scam included. “Kaginhawahan” remains elusive amid impoverishment, meager income, skyrocketing costs of basic goods and services (food, education, etc.), joblessness, contractualization, inability to own a decent house, poor government social services, and thus an uncertain future. Providing solidarity to the oppressed demonstrates not only our “kabutihang-loob” but our resolve to secure for all of us a future where genuine “kalayaan” – freedom from poverty and repression – and “katarungan” reign.
Let this momentous event this year further arouse us to heighten our efforts and deepen our commitment in unmasking and fighting the multiple layers of crises currently or routinely exploding across the world – economic, financial, food, energy, and even climate change – that are mainly instigated by the greed for wealth and power, or in particular for bigger corporate profits as personified by neoliberal or capitalist-led globalization, a wicked design that intends to make obsolete even the moderate welfare state and to repeal the historic gains of the socialist and labor movements.
Incidentally, Supertyphoon “Yolanda” (international name: “Haiyan”) will not be the last of its kind because of man’s unrestrained practices – led by the industrial countries’ pollution- or carbon-spewing factories – that poison the water, land and air. This in turn damages the ozone layer that protects the Earth and causes climate change or global warming resulting to volatile and dangerous weather, a phenomenon now accepted by most of the world’s top scientists. Failure to substantially and promptly reduce this carbon footprint – which the industrialized nations stubbornly reject, as shown during the UN Climate Change Conference in Warsaw, Poland last Nov. 11-23 or only a few days after Yolanda battered central Philippines – will mean storms that are stronger, wider in scope and probably longer in duration.
Let us make all the culprits in the said multiple crises accountable as we renew our vows to fight for kalayaan, katarungan and pagkakapantay-pantay.
Ipagbunyi ang ika-150 kaarawan ni Gat. Andres Bonifacio!
Tanghaling Unang Pangulo ng Pilipinas si Bonifacio!
Ipagpatuloy at paigtingin pa ang mga aral at simulain ng Katipunan!
Mabuhay ang mga manggagawa!
Mabuhay ang kilusang paggawa!
AFTER a second attempt in three years, a Japanese electronics company inside a Special Export Processing Zone (SEPZ) in the Philippines was unionized when majority of its regular workers voted to have a union in a certification election (C.E.) on Sept. 18, which was marred by sweet-talks and threats of “closure” from management.
Winning convincingly by 220 “yes” against 134 “no” votes, the yes-to-union-approval was a huge vindication for the Katolec Philippines Corp. Labor Union (KAPLU-PMA) and a great reversal of the shocking results during a similar C.E. in 2010, when the “yes” votes were routed by the “no” votes by more than 200 ballots.
Despite its devastating defeat in 2010, KAPLU – which was organized by and affiliated to the PMA – continued to advocate for the Katolec workers even without the assurance that they would eventually support the union.
For instance, KAPLU and PMA quietly assisted the workers from simple advice to their workplace problems to helping in some grievances at work and to the filing of money claims – selfless and actually risky efforts for a non-incumbent union then, which, however, were aptly rewarded with the C.E. victory last Wednesday.
Like in the 2010 C.E., a few weeks before this month’s C.E., the company management became surprisingly accommodating and generous to the rank and file employees, including holding games, team-building exercises and family day gathering, as well as providing or promising groceries and bonuses.
KAPLU revealed that the real motive behind this sudden and temporary “goodwill” of management was to “bribe” or entice the workers to vote “no” again or to reject once more the union, adding that after the “no” landslide in 2010, these unexpected benefits also quickly disappeared.
This “carrot” come-on was, as expected, accompanied by a “stick,” when management strongly warned the workers that voting for “yes” means choosing a bleak future since having a union would allegedly cause the shutting down of the Katolec Philippines Corp. (KAP).
Even after the Sept. 18 C.E., the Katolec management has continued to sow fear among the workers by spreading the threat of “closure.”
“Unions as ‘job destroyers’ are already old, rehashed and discredited black propaganda. The union will only ask the company what are rightfully due to the workers. Likewise, the Katolec Corp., here in the Philippines and in its international operations, are currently enjoying profitable business, thus closing its plant in Laguna is ridiculous,” the PMA explained.
According to KAP, the company has a total workforce of 599 employees as of March 31, 2013, and about 366 of them are regular rank and file.
Established in 1996, KAP is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Katolec Corp. in Japan. The latter, formally started in 1967, has offices and manufacturing and assembly plants in Japan, Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand, Hong Kong, China, Vietnam, Malaysia, and Mexico.
Katolec firms are mainly engaged in the manufacturing and assembly of electronic components or involved in a so-called new type of business called electronic manufacturing service (EMS), and with clients among big companies in the electronics and transportation industries in many countries.
KAP’s assembly plant – its primary product is the printed circuit board (PCB) – is one of several foreign firms operating at the SEPZ in Laguna Technopark in Santa Rosa City, Laguna province. This 450-hectare private industrial estate, which straddles the cities of Santa Rosa and Biñan in Laguna, is a joint venture of Ayala Land, a premier property developer in the country, and the giant Japanese conglomerates Mitsubishi Corp. and Kawasaki Steel Corp.
KAPLU is a member of the Philippine Metalworkers’ Alliance (PMA), which has currently 25 incumbent affiliate unions in the metal and metal-related industries in the country, including automotive, electrical and electronics, iron and steel, and shipbuilding subsectors.
PMA is a founding organization of the new labor center Sentro ng mga Nagkakaisa at Progresibong Manggagawa (SENTRO), in which Francisco Mero, PMA national president, was elected as the chairperson during its founding congress last Aug. 30-31.
PMA is also affiliated to the Geneva-based IndustriALL global union, which is composed of at least 50 million trade unionists in 140 countries and territories who represent “workers across supply chains in mining, energy and manufacturing sectors.”
IndustriALL was founded in Copenhagen only last year from the merger of three former global union federations (GUFs) – International Metalworkers’ Federation (IMF), International Federation of Chemical, Energy, Mine and General Workers’ Unions (ICEM), and International Textile, Garment and Leather Workers’ Federation (ITGLWF).
Students of Training Management from Ateneo de Manila trained women on the basics of household finance last 21 September 2013 in Area 5, Bagong Silangan, Quezon City . The training aimed at educating the women on the basic concepts of income, expenses and most especially savings. Area 5, Bagong Silangan is one of the areas where LEARN extends development programs. LEARN’s Bonifacio Day Care Center hosted the training session.