Tuesday, October 04, 2005

NR1004:Labor, HR commitees recommend sacking of PNP officers involved in LuisitaMassacre

Mula sa Tanggapan ni Anakpawis Rep. Crispin B. BeltranNews Release October 4, 2005
House of Representatives, South Wing Rm 602
931-6615 Ina Alleco R. Silverio, chief of staff
Email: rep_crispin_beltran@yahoo.com.ph, anakpawis_partylist@yahoo.com
Celphone number 09213907362
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Solon lauds Labor and Human Rights Committees’ report on Hacienda Luisita Nov. 16 dispersals; but says Report should recommend sacking of DOLE secretary Sto. Tomas

Anakpawis Representative Crispin Beltran today lauded the Committee report finalized by the Committees on Labor and Human Rights on the issue of violent dispersals and indiscriminate firing by military forces belonging to the Philippine Army Northern Luzon Command and the Philippine National Police Central Luzon Command on the striking farmorkers and millworkers in Hacienda Luisita and Central Azucarera de Tarlac last November 16, 2004.

The Committees in the joint report recommended that Article 263g of the Labor Code be repealed. Junking article 263g of Labor Code would revoke the power of the Secretary of Labor to assume jurisdiction over labor disputes imbued with ‘national interest.”

The review and repeal included the Memorandum of Agreement entered into by the DOLE, the PNP, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Department of Interior and Local Government calling fro these law enforcement agencies to ensure ‘compliance’ with the order of the DOLE secretary and all other pertinent laws, statutes and guidelines, implementing rules and regulations Executive Orders found to have adverse effects on the Constitutionally-guaranteed rights of people to associate/organize and collectively bargain which inherently carries the right to strike and their basic rights to life and survival.

Beltran said, however, that the Committees would have done better if they recommended the removal of Patricia Sto. Tomas from the DOLE. “Sto. Tomas has abused her power far too many times and at the severe expense of workers’ rights and welfares. The seven lives that were lost during the height of the dispersals are on Sto. Tomas’ head,’ he said. He also said that the Committee report should also support moves for the scrapping of the Stock Distribution Option (SDO) policy in the Hacienda, as a matter of supporting the economic rights of the farmworkers and their families.

“I am particularly glad that the joint committees are recommending the immediate relief and filing of criminal and administrative charges against Supt. Angelo Sunglao, Provincial Director, PNP Tarlac with the Office of the Ombudsman for military, and Supt. Quirino de la Torre of the PNP, also with the Office of the Ombudsman for the military. Both police officials should be permanently sacked from their posts for initiating and leading, without sanction, the dispersal of the striking workers at Hacienda Luisita. De la Torre has also been determined to be guilt of serious abuse of authority for requesting assistance from the Northern Luzon Command. Under their direct orders, they involved the PNP and the AFP in a labor dispute , and this is way beyond the jurisdictional function of the AFP, ” he said.

Finally, the veteran labor leader turned legislator expressed hope that justice will finally be given to the victims of the Hacienda Luisita Massacre and its survivors – the famrworkers, millworkers and their families. He said that they have all struggled long and hard against the anti-poor policies in the Hacienda, and it was long overdue that their right to own the land and be given their backwages and benefits be recognized and granted.

He also said that all this should not affect relations with former president Corazon Aquino who is an ally in the campaign to remove the corrupt and illegitimate president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo from power.#

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