Women’s Groups Decry Violence as Women’s Month Opens
On the second day of women’s month, women leaders expressed their opposition to the policies of President Rodrigo Duterte, including Charter Change, which they say aggravate violence against women.
“The killings on account of President Rodrigo Duterte’s anti-drug campaign continue and will likely increase if his term is extended when the Charter is changed,” stated Jean Enriquez, Executive Director of the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women – Asia Pacific (CATW-AP) and Philippine Coordinator of the World March of Women (WMW). Enriquez expressed the group’s vehement opposition to Charter Change or ChaCha as the administration party’s proposals reflect the erosion of the Bill of Rights and Social Justice provisions of the 1987 Constitution. “We are currently helping 118 widows, mothers and orphans left defenseless by the government’s war on the poor, but they will rise,” said Enriquez.
Jelen C. Paclarin, Executive Director of Women’s Legal and Human Rights Bureau stated that: “the Duterte administration has repeatedly disrespected the 1987 Constitution and Magna Carta of Women with his anti-women remarks which are always passed off as “jokes”. These actions only show his deep-seated misogyny that further contributes to the normalization of sexual violence against women and girls. Access to justice has become even more problematic and challenging for women victims of sexual violence especially now that the judicial institutions that are supposed to protect the people and ensure legal remedies for women are also being threatened by this administration. This government has continued to disregard the rule of law and allows blatant discrimination against women without any State sanction.”
Paclarin further added that “no one deserves to be violated and discriminated. We deserve no less!”
The statement is then followed by Lisa Garcia, Executive Director of Foundation for Media Alternatives (FMA), “misogyny is also about controlling and punishing women who challenge male dominance. This anti-women culture is very evident in our society wherein women who dare to be vocal are made fun of and insulted by people, and their opinions are disregarded by the President himself as he reduces them to mere body parts. Women are attacked with gender slurs, hateful and vitriolic comments, and even threats of rape as a tactic to intimidate and force them into silence. This culture of misogyny creates a chilling effect on every woman’s freedom of expression.”
Judy Pasimio, National Coordinator of LILAK (Purple Action for Indigenous Women’s Rights), stated that the stature of Senator Leila de Lima as senator did not spare her from the vicious and malicious attacks by the President and his men, and has been imprisioned for standing up for the truth and human rights. “Imagine how vulnerable the indigenous women feel right now as they fight for their lands and their rights?” She added that, “out there in their communities, they face armed groups and big corporations forcing them off their ancestral domains for the minerals and natural resources in there.” She lamented that as indigenous women resist, they are branded as “militants or communist-sympathizers – labels which seek to justify harassments, threats and killings of their leaders.”
“With Duterte saying he himself will pick out mining and plantation companies to enter the ancestral domains, this runs parallel to the effort to remove protection of our environment in the Charter Change and we are afraid that violence will intensify among indigenous communities, who continue to resist land-grabbing by corporations, and wholesale theft of their resources,” added Pasimio.
According to Nice Coronacion, Deputy Secretary General of the labor group SENTRO, “for years, workers have been demanding a shift from taxing consumption (a regressive tax system) to one that is based on income (progressive taxation).” She said that “unfortunately, Duterte’s TRAIN, as it is currently crafted, is taking the wrong way.” Coronacion stated that they welcome the lower tax on personal income but rejects regressive impact of excise taxes.
“The workers’ gain in Personal Income Tax (PIT) will be offset in a regressive manner by the imposition of excise taxes on fuel products and the lifting of VAT exemptions in the sale of specific goods and services,” said Coronacion.
“Meanwhile, feminization of labor is increasing and women are in the vulnerable situation in the world of work, particularly contractualization,” added Judy Miranda, Secretary General of Partido Manggagawa. “It should be highlighted that since most of them experienced the 5-5-5 scheme or ENDO, most of them are already tax-exempted but will bear the cost of increasing prices of basic goods and services.” The labor groups asked, “Is having TRAIN worth it if you are part of the working poor? Even if part of the law is giving subsidies to the poor. Now, we have a more delicate issue: What happens with the poor once the subsidies are stopped 2-3 years from now? And even today, it’s not yet implemented.”
“So the key issues of the working women and of the working people have not been addressed. Yet, we are having an on-going debate to amend the constitution to give way for a new form of government that does not even guarantee inclusive development. Studies have shown that there is no correlation between a federal form of government and inclusive development,” said Coronacion.
To this day, proponents of federalism continue to argue that transitioning to a federal structure guarantees more economic activity. With research done by academics and policy advocates in the Philippines and abroad—and for that matter, even our own in-house researchers in the Labor Education and Research Network (LEARN) and SENTRO—we have found no clear correlation or guarantee whatsoever. The form of government has never guaranteed an automatic shift into equitable economic development. If any, they have only affirmed that government form shifts only normally tend to strengthen already-existing institutional features. “If the nature of Philippine institutions already foster anti-development, are we really planning on strengthening those inequalities at the expense of selling us a promise of change,” said the women leaders.
The group invited the public to their action on March 8, International Women’s Day, which will begin at 8AM in front of the University of Sto. Tomas in España. They will march to Plaza Miranda and hand flowers to survivors of EJKs, and will hold a program. Their main themes are “Kabuhayan, Katarungan, Kapangyarihan sa Kababaihan,” and “Rise, Resist, and Reclaim (our rights, our bodies and territories).”
DTI should impose its weight against rising inflation, not on labor
The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) should impose its weight against rising inflation rather than keeping the labor price low under the policy of contractualization.
The DTI has always been on the side of business, thus, when Secretary Ramon Lopez stated that contractualization “is not unfair to workers” he was essentially parroting the line of the Employers Confederation of the Philippines (ECOP) whose bottom line position on this issue is to keep the price of labor low to remain competitive. For DTI and ECOP, the best way to keep the price tag of labor low is to keep contractualization as the prevailing policy of the Duterte administration.
The labor movement has repeatedly rejected the “win-win” formula of DTI and the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE). Our bottom line is change: Direct hiring must be the new policy. This is the only way workers can actually enjoy their constitutional right to security of tenure. The DTI and DOLE position is for workers to enjoy security of tenure in their respective manning agencies and not in their principal employers as contained under Department Order 174 of DOLE. This “win-win solution” has led to a farcical situation where majority of the more than 45,000 workers reportedly “regularized” under DO 174 last year now find themselves “regularly employed” by agencies and not by the principal. The rule should be, as its name denotes, manpower agencies and other service providers should merely be treated as agents of the principals.
This is the main reason why we have been pushing for an Executive Order to correct this distortion and rectify decades of injustice imposed upon millions of workers. The Labor Secretary, and in this particular case, the President, can prohibit contractualizaton under the Labor Code.
Section 2 of the labor-proposed EO provides relief for this impasse as it states that: “Contracting or subcontracting when undertaken to circumvent the worker’s rights to security of tenure, self-organization and collective bargaining and peaceful concerted activities pursuant to the 1987 Philippine Constitution is hereby strictly prohibited. Security of tenure refers to the direct hiring relationship between the principal employer and employee.”
Contractualization under the proposed EO is still recognized. Only that the types of job that can be contracted out be done upon consultation with members of the National Tripartite Industrial Peace Council (NTIPC). What the DTI wants is to perpetuate the norm of contracting out almost all jobs in the guise of management’s exercise of their prerogative. This regime, for over two decades, led to a dramatic change in employment relations, with “middlemen employers” such as manning agencies and “labor cooperatives” dominating the trade.
This norm also has dissipated almost all rights guaranteed to workers by the constitution and labor laws, from security of tenure, right to organize, collectively bargain and to strike in accordance with law, and to be represented in the formulation of policies affecting their welfare.
Again, to DTI: Contractualization is not unfair to workers? It seems like this agency is now headed by a feudal lord.
Trading workers through manpower agencies who act as middlemen in a trilateral employment relationship is feudalism, which is clearly unjust. For more than two decades, this re-feudalization of labor has become the norm and keeping the policy will perpetuate this abominable condition of poverty and inequality amid economic growth.
Hence, when we stated that the buck stops now with the President, it is because we believe the impasse can be resolve in favor of justice. It’s either change as promised by the President, or business-as-usual as demanded by ECOP.
NAGKAISA Labor Coalition
Time is up: The buck stops now with the President on the issue of endo
NAGKAISA! Labor Coalition
28 February 2018
Contractualization was a top billing issue during the 2016 presidential election. And it was the President who made a campaign promise that the moment he becomes the Chief Executive, contractualization will stop. The trade union movement responded with enthusiasm and accorded the President the courtesy and latitude of managing his plans by participating in all the summits, workshops, and dialogues organized by the government on this issue.
Several times he asked leaders of Nagkaisa labor coalition that he be given more time to realize his pledge – the first was on February 27, 2017; then on May 1, 2017; and the last was on February 7, 2018 where he asked for another extension until March 15. On these occasions, President Duterte would always say that contractualization is anti-labor and anti poor as it brings in hardship and poverty upon millions of our workers.
Furthermore, it was also the President who asked Nagkaisa leaders during the Labor Day dialogue held in Davao last year to draft within 10 days an Executive Order (EO) that he can sign to correct the labor-rejected Department Order 174 issued by the Department of Labor and Empoyment (DOLE) in March last year and to rectify the more than two decades of failed framework of regulation. Nagkaisa religiously complied with all these processes and waited for the final response of the President.
Now, a few days before his self-imposed deadline and the President is no longer asking for time and more drafts but for a compromise. The buck stops now with President Duterte. The labor-drafted EO which seeks to bring back direct hiring and institutionalize prohibition as the general rule on contractualization but recognizes that there are types of jobs that can be contracted out as along as it passes through consultation with the National Tripartite and Industrial Peace Council (NTIPC) is the fairest middle ground or “compromise” that labor can take. A watered-down version of an EO is unacceptable.
Strike Looms in Coca-Cola as company threatens destruction of jobs
Photo by Jun Santos
Today, at least a hundred workers belonging to various unions working together under the banner of the Coalition of All Coca-Cola Workers’ Unions and their allies, swooped down on the headquarters of Coca-Cola FEMSA Philippines Incorporated (CCFPI) at Netlima in Bonifacio Global City, to once again protest the company’s plan to destroy more than 600 regular jobs, including union leaders, many of whom are young workers.
“Coca-Cola claims to be the No. 1 soft drinks company in the country, and yet, by busting the union, Coca-Cola is acting like the worst corporate thug,” the coalition said in its statement. “We have no recourse but to take strike action,” the coalition said.
In an overwhelming fashion, workers in TRCI voted last 23 February 2018 to go on strike. Meanwhile, most of the sales force unions have filed their respective Notices of Strike.
Twenty-three of those to be laid-off are union leaders, including four union presidents. CCFPI claims that the lay-offs are being done to develop its new business model in order to conform to the challenges in the industry and the larger economic environment.
The CCFPI management and the Federation and Cooperation of Cola, Beverage, and Allied Industry Unions (FCCU-SENTRO/IUF) had an agreement which requires the management to hold discussions with the union on labor relations issues, including violations of international guidelines for industrial and labor relations like the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises. The restructuring and mass lay-off on are outright violations of the above. This is outright, unabashed union busting. The lay-offs are nothing but CCFPI destroying jobs and people’s lives.
The CCFPI management uses the implementation of the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) as a façade for their union busting. The workers and their families are not gullible to accept such elementary reasoning and alibi.
The Coalition of All Coca-Cola Workers’ Unions calls on the DOLE to hold the CCFPI management accountable for their callous decision to destroy their workers’ jobs. The Coalition also demands for the CFFPI management to present concrete evidence for the need to restructure and let workers be consulted in any action related to this. The Coalition also demands a joint agreement with the management that will assure them that there will be no restructuring without negotiation with our unions.
Oppose Coke’s blatant disregard for workers’ rights!
No to Contractualization!
Stand with the Coalition of All Coca-Cola Workers’ Unions!
Local unions from Coca-Cola unite to form a coalition against the upcoming massive lay-off of Coca-Cola FEMSA Philippines, Inc.
February 16, 2018
The management of Coca-Cola FEMSA Philippines Inc., (CCFPI), the largest franchised bottlers of Coca-Cola products in the Philippines, will be laying-off 606 of its workers by the 2nd of March 2018. Twenty-three of these to be laid-off are union leaders including four are union presidents. CCFPI claims that the restructuring is being done to develop its new business model in order to conform to the challenges in the industry and the larger economic environment.
We are angered that the CCFPI management casted us out of the decision-making regarding the retrenchment of our co-workers. During our last meeting on November 16-17, 2017 the management did not mention nor discuss any plans to “review its current workforce”. Neither was this discussed in the meeting with union presidents in December 2017. The CCFPI only informed us of its plans last January 29 and 30 as it was issuing termination papers to the affected workers.
The CCFPI management and the Federation and Cooperation of Cola, Beverage, and Allied Industry Unions (FCCU-SENTRO/IUF) signed an agreement which stipulates that the union and management shall hold discussions on labor relations issues, including violations of international guidelines for industrial and labor relations like the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises.
The restructuring and mass lay-off on March 2 are outright violations of the above. According to these agreements, unions should be provided with quality information and to engage in negotiations with union representatives to minimize the negative impact of any changes affecting employment.
The CCFPI management uses the implementation of the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) as a façade for their union busting despite having no evidence yet of the decline in sales due to the excise tax on sugary and sweet beverages (SSB). CCFPI can never conceal the stench of union busting by hiding under the skirt of the TRAIN law. The workers and their families are not stupid and gullible to accept such elementary reasoning and alibi.
Enraged by Coca-Cola’s blatant disregard for our rights to security of tenure and for hindering our unions from effectively doing their duties as defenders of workers, various unions in Coca-cola staged picket protests in support for those affected by the restructuring and to oppose this anti-worker CCFPI management decision. But with more lay-offs to come, we need to come together and bring this issue not only to the affected workers but also to all workers who will suffer from this restructuring eventually.
For this reason, we, all unions in CCFPI have come to form the All Coke Unions. Our unity is in our strength, and it is through this unity that we will fight for our rights as workers!
We demand transparency. We demand that the CCFPI management release a concrete evidence for the need to restructure and let the workers be consulted in any action related to this. We demand them to show us sufficient and reliable data that will prove the need for restructuring.
We demand a joint agreement with the management: an agreement that will assure us that there will be no restructuring without negotiation with our unions.
When FEMSA acquired Coca-Cola Philippines in 2012, it made a commitment to invest and contribute to the country’s economic and social development. In trying to keep its top position in the market, it reorganizes its business without taking account of their workers’ livelihoods. If CCFPI wants to keep that top position, it should act in a way that it indeed “adds life”. Any assault on trade unions and workers not only destroys jobs. It annihilates life.
Oppose Coke’s blatant disregard for workers’ rights!
Advance workers’ rights!
No to Contractualization!
Stand with the All Coke Unions!