PLM on Department of Labor's decision to sack 3,000 PAL employees PDF Print E-mail
Written by Partido Lakas ng Masa   
Wednesday, 03 November 2010 14:57
Simple Greed

 

Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz’ argument on allowing Philippine Airlines management to sack its 3,000 employees sounded as if it was a sacred and sacrosanct act. She said it was a “just, reasonable, humane and lawful exercise” of management prerogative. PAL Chairman Lucio Tan could not have said it better.

 

But if in her statement Baldoz painted a saintly figure of the PAL management, PAL spokesperson Cielo Villaluna presented a scary scenario of what would happen if the company would not have its way. Villaluna said that if there was no spin-off, the company “will close down and 7,500 workers will be displaced without separation pay,” thereby having “adverse effects on PAL’s shareholders, the riding public and public interest.”

 

Villaluna’s argument is not only meant to scare; it threatens the workers with non-payment of what is due them. Hasn’t it crossed Villaluna’s mind that not paying separation pay for displaced workers, should the company decide to close down for whatever reason, is illegal, i.e., against the law?

 

The point about the mass lay-off at PAL is that it is being implemented to cut down on the number of regular workers, so the company could subcontract the jobs to irregular workers.  So how can it be “just” when you have been working for the company for decades and then your jobs would be spinned off to other “service providers” (which they also control) which give less wages and benefits for workers.

 

The culprit here is the contractualization strategy implemented by many companies today.  What is happening in PAL is also happening in Fortune Tobacco, also owned by Lucio Tan; in SM group of companies by Henry Sy; the Gokongwei groups of companies; and many more big corporations in the country.

 

To save on costs, capitalism today has to sack more and more number of regular workers and replace them with contractual labor. This may be legal, according to the present law, but it surely isn’t “just,” “reasonable” or “humane.” It’s simply greed, or a drive to maximize capitalist profits.

 

Sonny Melencio

Chairperson, PLM

Last Updated on Wednesday, 03 November 2010 15:01
 
PLM on the Barangay election PDF Print E-mail
Written by Partido Lakas ng Masa   
Saturday, 16 October 2010 19:45

PLM Statement on the Barangay Election

 

The barangay election will be held on October 25. This is an occasion for us to expand our network on the grassroots level.  The election can be used to recruit new members of PLM and to propagate the Plataporma ng Masa.

 

We ask PLM members who are interested in the election to actively intervene by filing their candidacies as barangay captain or kagawad.  Our PLM chapters or organizers in the area can assist the candidates. The PLM can also field entire slate which includes the captain and seven kagawad candidates. As of today, there are more than 100 reported PLM members running in the barangay election.

 

Since the barangay electoral law prohibits the participation of parties in the election, we remind the PLM candidates that they are running as independents and not as members of PLM or any political party.  The PLM cannot fund the activities of any candidate.

 

We will try to help the PLM members primarily through assistance in organizing (if there are chapters and organizers in the area), assistance in propaganda (leaflet and small posters and coverage through our newspaper and radio program), and assistance in convening barangay assemblies.  The assistance will be on a very minimum scale and based on the capacity of the national office to provide for our members and sympathizers.

 

Three Demands

 

We also require the candidates we are supporting to carry the following three urgent demands during the barangay campaigns. (Please see the “Primer Hinggil sa Mga Isyu sa Barangay.") The three demands are lifted from the Plataporma ng Masa, the governmental platform that PLM adheres to.  These demands can be combined with other demands, but they are the basic demands that we will carry in our campaign in the barangay:

 

1.  Larger decentralized funds for barangay and barangay projects.

  • The barangays should receive 50% of the internal revenue allotment (IRA) from the government as a co-equal branch of local government unit to the provincial, municipal and city governments. The barangay should not be made beholden to the local and national trapos who control the allocation of budget from national sources.

 

2.  Participatory budgeting in the community through the barangay assemblies.

  • The residents should be consulted and should have decision-making power over the priority projects or local services in the community (health, water, electricity, sanitation and the likes).

 

3.  Transformation of barangays into organs of popular power through the formation of barangay assemblies composed of representatives of all the household families in the community.

  • This is the principle of direct democracy that we want to see in action. It runs counter to the “representative democracy” that is beholden to elite and trapo rule. The masa should be represented in the basic political unit of the country.

 

October 4, 2010

 

Last Updated on Saturday, 16 October 2010 19:56
 
PLM on P-Noy's decision on the hostage fiasco PDF Print E-mail
Written by Partido Lakas ng Masa   
Friday, 15 October 2010 16:45

Classic Patronage Politics

 

The decision of President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III to clear DILG undersecretary Rico Puno and others from criminal and administrative charges over the botched hostage rescue operation on August 23 smacks of patronage politics.  P-Noy has put friendship and political alliance as his priority over all other things, including justice for the eight Chinese tourists who were killed in the incident and the integrity of the legal team in the Incident Investigation and Review Committee who spent gruelling weeks to come out with a credible report.


No wonder it took P-Noy several days to mull over the IIRC report.  He waited until his two-man committee composed of Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa and Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Eduardo de Mesa had reviewed the report (twice!) to present his bland anti-climactic decision.


P-Noy almost cleared everyone, except of course the “little people” whose statuses in life do not warrant a delicate handling from the government. Talk about the class bias of the P-Noy administration! It turned out the ultimate victim was none other than the brother of Rolando Mendoza, the other policeman whom they tried to arrest during the height of the hostage crisis. SPO2 Gregorio Mendoza has gone on record to accuse Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim of trying to have him “salvaged.” Now, Lim has received a slap on the wrist from P-Noy but Mendoza will be charged with “serious disobedience, conspiracy to commit a crime, illegal possession of firearms, and serious illegal detention.”


Those that P-Noy ordered charged were mostly policemen whom he taunted with these words: "The message has to be sent... when you accept the perks and privileges of the office, the duties and responsibilities are equally accepted by you. You are responsible for your failure."

 

 

 

 

Last Updated on Friday, 15 October 2010 16:52
 
The Problem with CCT program PDF Print E-mail
Written by Partido Lakas ng Masa   
Wednesday, 13 October 2010 13:09

Conditional cash transfer

is another debt burden on our people

 

The P21.9-billion conditional cash transfer (CCT) program of the Aquino government should be opposed by Congress and all concerned citizens not only because the program was at the expense of more vital social and economic services for the poor.

The CCT program, administered by Department of Social Welfare and Development secretary Dinky Soliman, was in fact a loan by the Aquino government to the Asian Development Bank to be repaid over a 20-year period. The ADB has loaned the Philippine government $400 million to implement the CCT, also otherwise known as the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino program.

While the program aims to benefit many poor families, it is funded by debt that will burden future generations.  Our research shows that this is a high interest loan which charges near market interest rates.

We call on the government to renegotiate the loan with the ADB. President Aquino and Secretary Soliman should ask the ADB to provide the government with grant funding instead. We know that the ADB provides loans on concessional rates or even grants – as opposed to loans – to developing countries.

The ADB even admits in the loan document that the “key causes of poverty in the Philippines include high inequality and chronic under-investment in physical and human capital, especially health and education.” This means that the Philippines is lagging on millennium development goal (MDG) targets for universal primary education, maternal mortality, and access to reproductive health services.

International donor agencies are in mild panic over the prospect of countries not being able to achieve even the less than minimum MDGs.  This itself provides us an opportunity to negotiate conditions that benefit the country in the short and long run. If President Aquino has political capital in the eyes of the international community, he should use this to extract grants rather than loans.

We also that that the conditional cash transfers are short-term measures with short-term impacts. We need long-term solutions, which include the government’s doubling the national budget on health and education immediately.  The Philippines spends only around 6.4% on health as a percentage of total government expenditure, compared to our neighbor Thailand, which spends 11.3%, or China with 9.9%. (UNDP 2009)

A long-term measure is to provide universal health care and education. The problem with the poverty targeting instruments of the ADB and other international financial institutions is that it targets only the “poorest of the poor”, thus effectively excluding large sections of the poor considered as “low-income” and depriving them of their inalienable human right to  decent education and healthcare. Several countries in our region provide universal healthcare, such as Vietnam, which is already ahead in its MDG targets, Malaysia, Thailand, and two other countries with the largest populations in the world, India and China. So why not us?

Finally, we once again raise the need to repeal the automatic debt appropriation law. This is fundamental to increasing social investments and addressing structural inequalities that prevent the poor from accessing affordable and quality health care and education.

Sonny Melencio

Chairperson

Partido Lakas ng Masa (PLM)


Last Updated on Wednesday, 13 October 2010 13:15
 
PLM statement on President Noynoy's 100 days in office PDF Print E-mail
Written by Partido Lakas ng Masa   
Friday, 08 October 2010 10:04

Failure of Leadership Marks P-Noy’s 100 Days in Office

 

President Noynoy Aquino’s first 100 days in office accentuated the problem we will be facing under the six-year term of the new administration: an incompetent leadership that lacks political will to carry through changes in the government and in society at large.

 

1.  Noynoy has failed to act on the jueteng scandal and even continued to defend his friend – DILG undersecretary Rico Puno – despite the latter’s involvement not only in the jueteng payola, but also in the bungling of the hostage crisis on August 23. Even former Pampanga governor “Among Ed” Panlilio criticized Noynoy for keeping quiet on the jueteng scandal, and for lacking the political will to act on the issue.

 

2.  Noynoy has so far failed to act on the hostage-taking fiasco that ended in international embarrassment for the country. He puts the IIRC report, handed over by Justice Secretary Leila de Lima three weeks ago, in the backburner – thereby easing the pressure on his friend Puno and ally Mayor Alfredo Lim who were held accountable by the report to the hostage-taking bloodbath.

 

3.  Noynoy has refused to act even on the Hacienda Luisita issue. Despite the Presidential Agrarian Reform Council’s previous decision of scrapping the dubious stock option deal that has circumvented land reform in the Aquino-Cojuangco hacienda, Noynoy has adopted a “hands-off policy” on the issue.  In a family-owned hacienda where seven farm workers were massacred by the military during a strike in 2004, where the issues and the killings were left unresolved to this day, a hands-off policy is tantamount to gross negligence on the part of President Noynoy.

 

4.  Noynoy has so far failed to abide by his promise to “provide adequate housing and uphold every Filipino’s right to a decent home.”  His government’s handling of recent demolition of urban poor communities in North Triangle and other areas in Metro Manila showed neglect of the rights and welfare of the residents, and support to the business groups wanting to take over the land. The demolition at North Triangle was stopped temporarily only because the residents fought tooth and nail to keep the community.

 

5.  Noynoy has so far failed to uphold his promise of “investing in quality education” by keeping a hands-off policy on the Congress plan to cut the budget of state universities and colleges by P1.1 billion, and the student and faculty assistance by around P700 million, in 2011.

 

6.  Noynoy has failed to uphold his promise not to impose new taxes.  His government has been pushing for the implementation of value-added tax and 250-percent increase in toll fees on the South Luzon Expressway (SLEX) which awaits implementation this year.  Not to mention the impending increase in MRT and LRT fares toward the end of this year.

 

7.  Noynoy has failed to carry out a clear policy on his government’s “poverty eradication” program.  The P21-billion conditional cash transfer program being touted by Social Welfare Secretary Dinky Soliman as a poverty-eradication measure is in fact a high-interest loan from the Asian Development Bank which will burden the future generation. The loan will add to the already high burden of debt repayment which is now ranging at $6-7 billion annually.  Even Noynoy’s flaunting of $434-million grant from the United States government is mere peanuts compared to the yearly debt repayment the country has to chalk up to US multinational lenders. It is in fact designed to bribe Noynoy’s government from pursuing debt moratorium strategy.

 

There are still many more issues that showcase the failure of leadership of President Noynoy. His style of leadership or non-leadership, i.e., of not taking an active stance and passing on the buck to subalterns, has marked his approach to many pressing political and social issues.  The style is aimed at dodging accountability and protecting the interests of his friends, family and allies.

 

Noynoy’s government is clearly hampered by the type of individuals he keeps in his inner circle.  Noynoy has appointed in his cabinet the top brass of big industry (former CEO of big corporations, such as finance secretary Jose Purisima, DPWH secretary Singson, trade secretary Domingo and the likes).  In so doing, Noynoy has exposed his government as capitalistic and corporatists, i.e., a government dominated by the economic elites, clans and corporations.

 

Noynoy’s failure of leadership also showcased the failure of the Edsa system that supposedly supplanted the Marcos dictatorship in 1986.  Since then, four presidents have come and gone (Cory, FVR, Erap, Gloria), and we’re now back to another Aquino.  But the promises of Edsa have never materialized. It never will. For we’re still trapped in a socio-economic system where a small Philippine elite, political clans, and trapos hold sway over the entire population.

 

October 8, 2010

 

Last Updated on Friday, 08 October 2010 10:13
 
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Page 77 of 80

A new party is born. A party for our times.

A party of Change! A party of Socialism!


“Pare-pareho lamang silang trapo!
Mangungurakot na naman yan!
Bobolahin na naman nila tayo!”


Sounds really familiar. We have heard this expression from people of all walks of life time and again. An automatic response, when one is asked about a certain politician or politicians in general.

For decades, generations of politicians from the same clan and some new ones have been deceiving the masses. Every election for them has been an opportunity to make more promises. And after every election, all these remain just that – promises.

Read more...

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