Thursday, September 29, 2005

3 news releases 0929:On EO464, DOLE budget, railway senate hearing

Mula sa Tanggapan ni Anakpawis Rep. Crispin B. Beltran
News Release September 29, 2005
House of Representatives, South Wing Rm 602
931-6615 Ina Alleco R. Silverio, chief of staff
Celphone number 09213907362

Elements of Martial law complete and in place: GMA has declared the executive office supreme power and no longer subject to scrutiny with EO 464

Anakpawis Representative Crispin Beltran that Malacanang’s Executive order 464 was a roundabout way of declaring martial law and emasculating or removing the powers of the legislative and judicial bodies. He said that it’s become a Malacanang or Macapagal-Arroyo dictatorship, with all information classified as controversial and confidential and subject to clearance from Malacanang.

“Malacanang has essentially declared itself above scrutiny and accountability; and all its orders, declarations, plans and programs confidential in nature and thus cannot be divulged outside offices separate from the immediate jurisdiction of the executive and the departments and agencies under it,” he said.

“How else can Malacanang now be held accountable for anything when it has imposed a gag order on all its officials from the highest posts to the most humble department?”

The veteran labor leader turned legislator said that all legislators and the Supreme Court should oppose this Executive Order and demand that Malacanang immediately scrap it.

“Martial law is already in place – it’s components have already been laid down and are in full implementation. This infamous EO coupled with the calibrated preemptive response policy against rallies and other forms of democratic protest and assembly aim to effectively quash civil political and human rights, and at the same time deny lawmakers and even the judiciary the right to question administration officials regarding crucial government issues,” he said.

“Macapagal-Arroyo is so severely threatened and fearing for her position that she has resorted to this EO and the CPR. This completely exposes her façade of confidence and security as exactly that – a thin façade. Whatever illusion of stability she has tried to project in the weeks succeeding the junking of the impeachment complaint has been shattered. By no means has this corrupt and illegitimate president recovered from the crisis. If anything, she has further exposed her weakness.”

Finally, Beltran said that it has become even more imperative that Macapagal-Arroyo be forced to step down. “She cannot be allowed to remain in power a minute more. Daily her desperation to cling to her office is resulting to even more tyrannical and draconian measures. There is increasing restiveness in all sectors of Philippine society, including the military. To save the country from further economic degradation and political distress, Macapagal-Arroyo must be removed from office now,” he concluded.#

Congressman enjoins senators to call for temporary restraining order on implementation of NorthRail project

Anakpawis Representative Crispin Beltran today accompanied members and leaders of the Stop Northrail Coalition composed of urban poor and people’s organizations Kalipunan ng Damayang Mahihirap (KADAMAY) Pagkakaisa ng mga Maralita sa Riles (PAMARIL), Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN)-Bulacan, Bulacan Inter-faith Dialogue, Samahan ng mga Residente at Negosyante sa Riles – Meycauayan and Anakpawis National Political Party to the Senate investigations hearings regarding the controversial Northrail project.

They dialogued with Senate president Franklin Drilon, Sen. Rodolfo Biazon and Sen. Aquilino Pimentel, and sought their support in the campaign to stop the demolition of the houses of thousands of urban poor Filipinos which is the immediate impact of the anomalous railway project.

Beltran said that even as the senate delves into the nitty-gritty and fine-print detail of the railway contract forged between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines and the government of China, a temporary restraining order must be immediately laid down against the project. He said that the Senate should move to halt the project implementation given its disastrous and destructive impact on residents of Bulacan and Central Luzon.

“Thousands of Bulakenyos are either being forced out of their homes or forced to destroy their own houses to make way for project which masquerades as a harbinger of economic development,” he said. “The contract itself is a slap against the face of Philippine economic sovereignty, but the impact is deadly given how many Filipino families have now been rendered homeless or forced to live like war refugees in relocation sites where water and electricity facilities are lacking,” he said.

Beltran said that the project’s impact far outweigh any benefits the government projects it will have. “Residents forced to relocate to Panghulo, Malabon and Bayugo, Meycauan have found that the land they’re being forced to live on are former dumpsites covered with a layer of soil. “When it rains, the floods immediately reach up to waist-level. What’s worse, the said land (32sq. m. per family) costs P100,000 or more than P3,000 per square meter. How will the urban poor residents pay for this?”#

Labor leader turned solon denounces DOLE budget proposal for 2006 as ‘anti-worker”

Anakpawis Representative Crispin Beltran today slammed the Department of Labor and Employment’s proposed budget for 2006, saying that the department led by Secretary Sto. Tomas was using its budget to further undermine the rights and welfare of workers while helping secure the profits of employers and capitalists. The following is his critique of the said budget being deliberated upon today in Congress:

“Php4.63 bilyon o 0.44% lamang ng proposed GAA 2006 ang nakalaan para sa DOLE. Ang mas nakakadismaya pa rito, ang kakarampot na pondong nakukuha ng DOLE ay mas ginagamit para lapastanganin ang mga batayang karapatan ng mga manggagawa.

“Php1.34 bilyon o 28.93% ng pondo ng DOLE ay nakalaan para sa Office of the Secretary. Bumaba sa 42.63% ang pondong gagamitin nito para sa employment preservation services to promote and maintain industrial peace among workers and employers. Mula sa Php113.84 milyon ngayong 2005, Php65.31 milyon na lamang ang ilalaan para rito. DOLE claims to promote and maintain industrial peace through labor and management education, freedom of association, prevention or expeditious and fair resolution of labor disputes, enhancement of labor-management cooperation, and promotion of social dialogue as a central element of labor policies.

Hindi ito totoo.

“We are back to the dark days of Martial Rule where there is silence because dissenters are altogether “silenced.” This now can be said of the “industrial peace” in the labor front. There is now peace because that “peace” is now measured by the very power by which the government exercises restraint. At most, DOLE’s measurement of industrial peace (“low strike incidence”) is superficial and cosmetic.

“The core issues that figure in conflicts in the labor front can be summed as follows: (1) wages and benefits, (2) security of tenure, (3) right to association and to organize, and (4) right to collectively bargain. There is no industrial peace because the government failed and continues to fail to address these core issues by consistently siding with the more powerful wielder of capital. And instead of adopting the right strategy, it has embarked on more inflammatory measures which may even worsen industrial strife which includes the suppression of the workers’ right to strike and promoting a more “democratic” process of solving labor disputes – conciliation/mediation and voluntary arbitration.

“Mahigit sa 40% ang linaki ng pondo ng National Conciliation and Mediation Board (NCMB) para sa paggawa ng mga polisiya at mga programa ukol sa conciliation/mediation, labor management corporation at voluntary arbitration. Ten percent naman ang linaki ng pondo ng NCMB para sa implementasyon ng kanilang mga polisiya at mga programa. Pinagmamalaki ng DOLE ang conciliation/mediation at voluntary arbitration bilang mga “better alternative” sa labor dispute settlement.

Ang hinihingi natin sa DOLE ay gamitin ang pondong nakukuha nila para manguna sa laban ng mga manggagawa at pangalagaan ang kanilang mga interes at karapatan. Ngunit, bingi ang DOLE sa ating mga panawagan.

Sa kabila ng napakaraming labor cases dahil na rin sa napakaraming mga manggagawa na napagsasamantalahan, 1.88% lamang ang linaki ng pondo ng National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC) para sa arbitration ng mga labor cases at binawasan pa ng 0.37% ang pondo nito para sa resolution ng mga nakaapelang labor cases. 50% naman ang paglaki sa pondo ng National Wages and Productivity Commission (NWPC) para sa general administration and support services kahit na nagiging kasangkapan ito upang mapanatiling mababa ang sahod ng mga manggagawa at patuloy na tumataas ang wage disparity sa iba’t ibang sektor.

Php223.83 milyon o 4.84% ng pondo ng DOLE ay nakalaan para sa Philippine Overseas Employment Association (POEA). Halos 20% ang ilalaki ng pondo nito para sa general administration and support services habang ang pondo nito para sa adjudication service, workers' welfare assistance, overseas placement services at employment operation services ay lumiit:

1. Adjudication Service, 2005:Php28.79 milyon; proposed GAA 2006:Php26.15 milyon
2. Workers’ Welfare Assistance at Overseas Placement Services, 2005:Php37.26 milyon; proposed GAA 2006: Php35.56 milyon
3. Employment Operation Services, 2005:Php40.82 milyon; proposed GAA 2006: Php38.81 milyon

Recently, the Commission on Audit (COA) slammed the POEA for illegally granting about Php40 million in incentives and allowances to its officials for the past three years. COA also took the POEA to task for allowing its executives and employees who were issued mobile phones to download about Php796,000 worth of games, tones, picture messages and other unauthorized items. COA also said POEA drew Php24.048 million from the funds of the Overseas Workers’ Welfare Administration (OWWA) to grant an “incentive allowance” to its personnel.

Samantala, mahigit sa kalahati ng pondo ng DOLE o Php2.42 bilyon ay nakalaan para sa Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA). 167.3% ang linaki ng pondo nito para sa general administration and support services at 118.35% ang tinaas ng pondo nito para sa skills standardization, testing at certification. Nakakalula ang 1220% na pagtaas ng pondo nito para sa formal technical-vocational education at training. Mula sa Php16.50 mliyon ngayong taon, Php217.98 mliyon na ang nakalaan para rito. Pinapatunayan nito na mas binibigyang halaga ng rehimeng Arroyo ang pagsasanay ng mga semi-skilled workers imbis na tutukan ang basic at advanced education needs ng mga Pilipino.#


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