Nagkaisa! Labor Coalition is deeply concerned over the spate of violence that befell workers in separate incidents across the country. “We condemn in the strongest terms possible, the attempted murder of a trade union leader in Cebu City and the ...


Nagkaisa! condemns violence against workers across the country and more...

Nagkaisa! condemns violence against workers across the country

Nagkaisa! Labor Coalition is deeply concerned over the spate of violence that befell workers in separate incidents across the country.

“We condemn in the strongest terms possible, the attempted murder of a trade union leader in Cebu City and the violent dispersal of striking workers of food giant NutriAsia and their supporters, in Marilao, Bulacan,” Atty. Sonny Matula, chairperson of Nagkaisa! said.

The display of violence happened a few hours apart yesterday.

“There was an apparent attempt on the life of Jessielou Cadungog, labor leader of ALU-TUCP, vice chairman of the Oriental Port and Allied Services Corporation (OPASCOR) and it involved the police,” Matula said.

The Philippine National Police (PNP) in Cebu are owning up to the incident as a legitimate police operation.

Meanwhile, in Marilao, Bulacan, the picket of protesting workers and their supporters was violently dispersed by operatives of PNP Bulacan and security personnel of giant food manufacturer NutriAsia.

“A peaceful concerted action demanding the recognition of rights of workers such as what was being done by workers of NutriAsia, should never ever merit any and all kinds of violence, especially those perpetrated by the police and private security personnel,” Matula said.

Based on workers’ accounts, some 100 security forces, including 30 police officers violently dispersed the picket line as protesters were holding a religious ecumenical service.

At least 19 were arrested and scores arrested as many of the protesters scrambled for safety amid the chaos.

Back in Cebu, the gunman who was killed in the encounter by Cadungog’s aide was identified as PO2 Eugene Alcain Calumba. The accomplice who was taken into custody by the PNP was Michael Banua.

“Now, the PNP is trying to portray the assassination attempt on Mr. Cadungog as a legitimate police operation identifying him as a ‘person-of-interest’ involved in shabu,” Michael Mendoza, president of ALU-TUCP, a Nagkaisa member said.

“We stand by Mr. Cadungog and condemn this sordid attempt to justify and cover-up for what is clear police involvement,” said Mendoza.

Meanwhile, police in Bulacan are claiming that some of the arrested protesters had guns and drugs with them.

“It is becoming a sad refrain. The campaign against drugs is being used by the police as a flimsy excuse to either justify the use of violence or use it as an escape goat, when harassing workers and citizens who are exercising their legitimate trade union and human rights,” Matula said.

“We are calling on the authorities to conduct a thorough and objective investigation of the twin incidents of violence against workers that occurred yesterday. The police officers and their superiors who will be proven to have done wrongdoing should be made accountable. The culture of impunity must stop,” Matula said.


Kalipunan condemns the issuance of arrest warrants against former lawmakers

Kalipunan ng mga Kilusang Masa (KALIPUNAN) —a coalition of labor, urban poor, peasant, women, human rights and environmental defenders’ organizations—condemns the issuance of arrest warrants for murder charges against former lawmakers Satur Ocampo, Teddy Casino, Liza Maza (current secretary of the National Anti-Poverty Commission), and Rafael Mariano (former agrarian reform secretary of President Duterte).

The murder charges were filed 12 years ago in 2006 against the four Bayan Muna party list representatives on the basis of their alleged leadership roles in the New People’s Army in the 1960s. Recently, a regional trial court in Nueva Ecija has suddenly found probable cause for releasing the arrest warrants. Clearly, this old, baseless charge, and now the arrest warrants are forms of harassment. On the heels of the ascent to House Speakership of Pampanga Representative and former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, the public can’t help but ask and think about the powerful interests at work in the Duterte government. President Rodrigo Duterte himself, despite his popular rhetorics, has time and again exposed that he represents oligarchic interests.

If this kind of repressive action is not stopped immediately, it can lead to the creation of new trumped up charges, or old cases can be resurrected, against activists and critics of the Duterte government, including its powerful allies and supporters such as the Marcoses and Macapagal-Arroyo. Kalipunan, thus, calls on other peoples’ organizations to join ranks in resisting such acts before the government further bares its authoritarian and fascist agenda.


ENDO to survive beyond Duterte’s Administration sans Security of Tenure Law – SENTRO

Endo or labor only contracting will survive well beyond the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte unless the Security of Tenure (SOT) is certified as urgent, a labor group said on Tuesday, citing wrong data the president used during the State of the Nation Address (SONA).

During SONA, Mr. Duterte claimed that his campaign against endo resulted in the regularization of more than 300,000 workers as of early July.

According to the Sentro ng mga Nagkakaisa at Progresibong Manggagawa (Sentro) however, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) has actually reported that they regularized only 182,915 as of June this year.

What Mr. Duterte might be saying perhaps is DOLE’s target to regularize workers for this year is 300,000.

“So, either the pool of speechwriters committed error because they had to rush a new speech due to the tussle in Lower House leadership or the Mr. Duterte was too eager to claim something that’s not yet accomplished,” Josua Mata, Sentro’s Secretary General said.

Mata said that he tend to believe it’s the case of the latter rather than the former. After all, Mr. Dutette has yet to deliver a single accomplishment from his myriad of campaign promises.

But even DOLE’s claim of some 182 thousand regularized is problematic, the labor leader said.

First, the labor department has yet to prove that the number they are claiming in their press releases are actually regularized workers or the number correspond only to the number they expect to be regularized based on the compliance orders they have issued. “We know for a fact that tens of thousands of workers ordered to be regularized are still waiting for its actual implantation,” Mata said. “Some have already been sacked while their cases are appealed by their companies,” Mata elaborated.

Secondly, Mata said the DOLE has yet to disaggregate those workers regularized with the principal company from those regularized under manning agencies. “We believe that most were regularized in manning agencies as that’s the policy direction taken by DOLE under DO 174, as strengthened by EO 51,” Mata said. “And that’s a bogus regularization,” he added.

“We are not against the DOLE’s drive to regularized workers,” Mata clarified. “But such efforts would only give false hopes to workers unless the Security of Tenure Bill is passed,” he added.

Meanwhile, Mata asserted that the much hyped 300,000 target for regularization pale in comparison to the estimated 1.2 million contractual workers. By DOLE’s own estimation, that would be only 15 percent of the total number of workers employed without any semblance of protection. Truth is, the 1.2 million used by DOLE was low estimate. If the high estimate of 5.1 million is used, then the target of 300,000 is only 3.5 percent.

Endo would indeed outlive the Duterte Regime if it ends by 2022.

The LEARN Research Institute showed in a press briefing that non-regular workers among the wage and salary earners would range from a low estimate of 1.19 million in 2016, plus 705,251 agency hired, based on the 2016 Philippine Statistics Authority Integrated Survey on Employment, to a high estimate of 5.1 million if one uses the Labor Force Survey of 2016.

Finally, Mata said that while Mr. Duterte’s declaration during his SONA that he is adding his voice in asking the Congress to “end the practice of endo once and for all” sounds cute in a speech, workers would still prefer a written certification of urgency for the passage of the SOT should some pro-employer Senators fail to read his statement as a marching order.


SENTRO Statement for SONA 2018

This year’s State of the Nation Address (SONA) is the third under the Duterte administration. While the chief executive will no doubt use this opportunity to present the supposed achievements and the future promises of the national government before a national audience, We, the Sentro ng mga Nagkakaisa at Progresibong Manggagawa assert, that behind the facade of progress,development, peace and stability that the incumbent administration attempts to portray, the reality of inequality and the precarity of employment that continues to affect the working people of the country demonstrate the failure of the Duterte government to adopt and articulate a national framework that is pro-people and supportive of the working class.


What we see is that despite the rhetoric of change and claims by the incumbent administration to be for the people, the policies and practices that are detrimental to the interests of working people throughout the country remain in place. Contractualization for instance remains rampant despite the promises of the Duterte administration to clamp down on its practice. Indeed, the much vaunted win-win solution by DOLE is full of legal loopholes that continues to leave workers vulnerable and their rights to dignified and secured employment frustrated.


Another area of concern is the continuing rise of expenses for commodities and basic necessities, a product of the confluence of external factors and the impact of TRAIN. The disagreement between government technocrats and critics of TRAIN notwithstanding, the lack of meaningful action in response to the genuine concern of those affected by the price increase and eroding purchasing power betrays the lack of concern to the needs of the majority of the Philippine population.


Side by side with rising prices and precarious employment is the targeted assault on the poor and the vulnerable sectors in society. The continued war on drugs has resulted in thousands of extrajudicial killings, with victims predominantly poor. Oplan galugad on the other hand, results in the harassment of communities and the criminalization of the systemic issue of poverty by attacking the poor under the guise of ridding the streets of vagrants and unwanted elements in society. These heavy-handed and highly securitized operations obscures the fact that poverty is the primary condition for the rise in criminality and merely victimizes those who are already powerless and unable to assert their rights.

The failure of the incumbent administration to safeguard the concerns and interests of the broad majority are also evident in other areas. The utter disregard and lack of respect towards women as shown by the misogynist culture perpetuated by statements and  actions of the President endangers the rights of women and undermines the important role they play in Philippine society. Duterte’s remarks and words give state sanction to the practices and conditions of domination that women are constantly subjected to.

Second, the continued connivance with foreign powers detrimental to the national interest risks compromising national sovereignty and the authority of the Filipino people in our own territory. The acceptance of loans from China at high interest rates threatens to bring the Philippine State at the mercy of foreign creditors and take crucial decisions on the economy away from Philippine hands. The unabashed seizure of islands and territory claimed by the Philippines and the refusal of the Duterte administration to assert our 2016 hague ruling victory is also another betrayal of the public trust as the Philippine State itself appears to be unwilling to defend or even assert the rights of Filipinos against Chinese aggression.

Instead of working towards addressing the key concerns of the majority of the working population, or attempting to defend Philippine sovereignty against foreign incursions, what we see is the continuous attempt by Duterte and his allies in government to monopolize political and economic power. The attempt to force federalism upon the Filipino population despite widespread and mounting opposition through the administration-dominated legislature, tactics involving the withholding of information on the proposed shift from the general public and the restricted scope of popular participation are examples of the flagrant abuse of power and the deliberate attempt to exclude the people from participating in this important discussion. The lack of transparent and inclusive participation on the question of federalism puts into question how the interests of the population, and more importantly, of entities such as the Bangsamoro and indigenous people’s will be genuinely represented in the attempts at amending the charter.

Contrary to the government’s assertion that it is the embodiment of change that the people aspire for, the actions and positions taken by the Duterte regime serve the interests of society’s powerful and privileged at every corner, with popular demands constantly ignored and undermined. Thus, for SENTRO, the only appropriate response to the continuous assault on the rights of society’s basic sectors and on the working class is the intensification of our mass struggle and campaigns against the Duterte regime. To this end, we stand together with our comrades in the other mass and social movements that likewise struggle against systemic injustice and oppression in opposition to Duterte’s attacks on our fundamental rights.

Our collective mobilization on the 23rd called the “United People’s SONA” counters the President’s address. It is essentially the people’s response and challenge to the government that continuously fails to deliver on its promises. We will stand together in demanding that the popular demands and concerns of the people be at the center, both of national discussions and government action. The 23rd will be historic not because of the President’s SONA, but rather because of the fact that the different progressive organizations stand united as one in the current struggle for our fundamental rights.

Mabuhay ang Uring Manggagawa!


Labor group expects “good” SONA

Nagkaisa Labor Coalition, the largest coalition of worker’s organization in the country expects a “good” SONA from President Duterte.

“It should be a SONA that would squarely address economic woes and political issues besetting the country today”, said Nagkaisa spokesperson Ka Rene Magtubo.

Nagkaisa expects the President’s SONA should contain the following:

– Addressing the proliferation of illegal and abusive contracting arrangements that DO 174 and EO 51 failed to do, by way of certifying as urgent the Security of Tenure Bill pending in the Senate

– Addressing the “gap” in workers wages and the cost of living brought about by the TRAIN law, rising inflation, peso devaluation, profiteering and the spike in global prices of petroleum products by way of certifying as urgent wage bills pending in the House of Representatives;

– Providing more assistance to women workers by enacting into law the Expanded Maternity Leave Bill pending in the House of Representatives;

– Addressing the prevalence of poverty despite positive economic growth in terms of programs and services that would directly benefit the poor people by way of increasing budget in affordable housing, universal healthcare and pension for the elderly among others;

– Addressing the continuing problem of unemployment and underemployment by way of policies and programs that would provide more local employment opportunities to the labor force by way of a clear industrialization policy, continuing land reform, and development of agriculture; and

– Clear government policy of defending the country’s sovereignty and patrimony on its rightful claims in the West Philippine Sea.

“These are the real issues that matter most to the working people that government should prioritize and not charter change. Absent these issues, the speech will be “business as usual” as in the previous SONAs”, Magtubo added.

Majority of the members of the coalition will be joining the United Peoples’ SONA to voice out workers issues and concerns.

Nagkaisa Labor Coalition
Press Release

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