Labor center Kilusang Mayo Uno expressed its disagreement today to proposals to implement a four-day work week composed of 10 hours per day, saying this could only mean less income for workers under the present employment situation in the country.
Quezon City Rep. Winston Castelo filed the “Four-Day Work Week Act of 2011” at the House of Representatives, seeking to achieve a “work-life balance” for workers and to lessen workers’ spending for food and transportation.
“Under present circumstances, a four-day work week will not help Filipino workers achieve a balance between work and life. The fact that many companies, especially in so-called special economic zones, are implementing this scheme on their own shows that workers will lose more than gain from this,” said Elmer “Bong” Labog, KMU chairperson.
“A four-hour workday will only bring about a loss of income for many of our workers who are not paid when they do not report for work. There won’t be enough rest for workers either because they will be made to work for longer hours – which will cause a greater amount of physical stress,” he added.
“On the one hand, implementing a four-day work week will legitimize similar schemes that are already in place. On the other hand, it won’t do anything to stop employers from forcing employees to work on weekends, a phenomenon which is already widespread at present,” he said.
What workers want
KMU said what Filipino workers want is the strict observation of the eight-hour work day and a significant wage increase as an immediate relief for workers’ families who have been suffering from low wages and high prices.
“In so-called special economic zones and for contractual workers who compose the majority of the country’s workers, the eight-hour work day is a thing of the past. Capitalists have continuously attacked the eight-hour work day and have revived the most barbaric working conditions reminiscent of capitalism’s early stages when workers still have to unite to fight for their rights,” Labog said.
“We want the eight-hour work day strictly enforced. We also want a significant wage increase to be legislated, for we want immediate relief from rising prices and low wages – a relief that comes from the value that we create as toiling masses,” he added.
KMU also criticized the Employers’ Confederation of the Philippines’ reaction to the bill, saying the employers’ group is opposing the measure for the wrong reasons in alluding to the so-called “fiesta and siesta mentality” of Filipinos.
“It is not the Filipino workers who are enjoying fiesta and siesta under the current system; it is the capitalists, especially the big and foreign ones. That Filipino workers are not working hard enough is a big lie being used by capitalists to prolong working hours and press down workers’ wages,” Labog said.
“ECOP is making a big fuss out of paid holidays when most capitalists are not even giving that to their employees. Workers are working hard – too hard, in fact – compared with the pitiful compensation that they are receiving from the country’s greedy capitalists,” he added.
KMU cited the August 2011 study of UBS which surveyed the wage levels, cost of living and purchasing power in 72 countries and showed the Philippines to be one of the lowest in the list in each of the categories. Elmer “Bong” Labog, KMU Chairperson
Labor center Kilusang Mayo Uno condemned the US government for being a “die-hard supporter” of former Pres. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, as shown by US embassy cables exposed by Wikileaks, saying the Filipino workers and people should never forget US support for the hated government.
“These cables confirm what we know all along, that the US was solidly backing Gloria amidst the political crisis that threatened to oust her from office. This confirmation adds fuel to our smoldering anger against the US government,” said Elmer “Bong” Labog, KMU chairperson.
“US support for Arroyo was reflected in these cables not only in the rejection of Gloria’s removal from power but in the demonization of nationalist people’s organizations, which were the staunchest of Gloria’s critics. The statements revealed by Wikileaks support the severe repression that was inflicted on leaders and members of people’s organizations,” he added.
“These cables shed light on many things that were happening under Arroyo, including the extra-judicial killings. It is impossible to read these cables and not see the continuing power of the US government over the Philippines,” he said.
Demonizing the KMU
KMU also slammed the depiction of itself and other progressive organizations in the cables, which say that KMU was behind the massacre in Hacienda Luisita in 2004 and that it supports the New People’s Army.
“The so-called data contained in the Wikileaks cables about the KMU and other nationalist organizations are distortions of the truth. They are lies that were manufactured precisely to support the various forms of repression that were directed at our leaders, organizers and members,” Labog said.
“We were attacked for fighting for the basic rights of workers and poor people and for calling for the ouster of the illegitimate and anti-worker Arroyo regime. The Wikileaks cables confirm the US’s role in these attacks against labor leaders and organizers and workers,” he added.
“The Wikileaks cables confirm US support for rabid pro-US regimes, such as that of Arroyo, even if these are unpopular among their people. These cables also confirm the US’s role in suppressing pro-people and pro-worker opposition to its puppet regimes,” Labog said. Elmer “Bong” Labog, KMU Chairperson
Rep. Winston “Winnie” Castelo (Quezon City, LP) today pushed for the adoption of a ten-hour, four-day, or 10/4, work week in both public and private sectors to save on cost and enable workers to have extended weekend with their families.
The proposed 10/4 work week formula does not change the traditional 40 hours of work every week, according to Castelo, who is set to file the bill, to be dubbed as the “Four-Day Work Week Act of 2011.”
“It will still be 40 hours a week, but the work schedule will run from Monday to Thursday instead of until Friday. Public and private sector employees will put in two additional hours of work daily,” Castelo said.
“”There won’t be any reduction in the required 40 hours of work every week, nor any cut back in service or productivity,” Castelo said.
Castelo said the 10/4 formula could mean weekly savings of at least 20 percent in work expenses, stressing it can serve as a “poverty alleviation” program by itself for cash-strapped workers.
If a worker in Metro Manila spends P200 a day in transport fare, food and snacks, and other expenses in going to work, or P1,000 every week, Castelo said the 10/4 work week will mean a savings of P200 per week. For workers in the provinces, who spend an average of P100 a day, the weekly savings can reach P100.
Overall, the proposed 10/4 work week could mean weekly savings amounting to at least P20 billion for the over 20 million private sector workers and 1.5 million state employees, Castelo estimated.
The 10/4 work formula seeks to address the economic difficulties caused by rising prices and stagnant wages, Castelo said, as he noted that the continuing increases in the prices of petroleum products have triggered a corresponding rise in the prices of goods and services.
Castelo said the three-day extended weekend can make employees more revitalized and motivated, as they have more time to spend with their families and pursue other activity, including hobby and leisure.
Also, the additional day-off can push workers to pursue other productive activity, including learning new skills to retool himself and hone his competitiveness in the labor market, Castelo said.
In the end, the 10/4 work week can provide a positive impact on the worker’s morale and productivity in the workplace, Castelo said.
For the employers, the 10/4 work formula can result in savings in maintenance cost and employees’ overtime pay, Castelo explained.
Castelo said the 10/4 work week formula is already being enforced at the House of Representatives with what he has described as resounding positive effects and enormous savings on government.
“Employees at the House of Representatives start at 8 am and end up at 7 pm for a total of 10 hours of work every day. Yet service and productivity is never compromised by the shorter work week and longer weekend,” Castelo said. 30
The partnership between the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) paid-off with the confiscation of 20 kilograms of shabu and the arrest of two big-time drug pushers in Quezon City early this morning (Wednesday, August 3, 2011).
PDEA Director General Undersecretary Jose S Gutierrez, Jr. identified arrested suspects as Carlos Gonzales, alias Sky, a jobless 30-year-old resident of Ongpin St., Manila; and Jerwin de Jesus, alias Jerry Manzano, a 30-year-old driver of Retiro St., Quezon City.
The suspects were caught red-handed after selling approximately one kilogram of shabu to a PDEA agent who posed as buyer and inspection of the Toyota Camry with plate number WHS 675, used by the suspects during the transaction, yielded additional 22 plastic bags containing 19 kilograms of shabu.
Gutierrez, PDEA and PNP Criminal Investigation Detection Group (PNP-CIDG) conducted a joint case conference in July for the purpose of sharing information against the suspects and to plan the operation to entrap Gonzales and de Jesus.
Undersecretary Gutierrez commended the operating teams from PDEA Special Enforcement Service (PDEA SES) and Intelligence and Investigation Service (PDEA IIS) together with the PNP-CIDG for the accomplishment, emphasizing the importance of collaboration and cooperation among all law enforcement agencies to ensure the successful implementation of the national anti-drug campaign. Evangeline DJ Almenario, Chief, Public Information Office, Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency
The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) welcomes the plan of the Department of Justice (DOJ) under Secretary Leila De Lima to file a motion for reconsideration (MR) on a court ruling that acquitted Richard Brodett and Jorge Joseph of drug charges.
PDEA Director General Undersecretary Jose S. Gutierrez Jr. said that the Agency is pleased with the support of the DOJ to the anti-drug campaign, adding that the filing of MR on the acquittal of Brodett and Joseph is definitely a positive development.
It will be recalled that PDEA, in deference to the authority of the court, issued a statement respecting the decision of Judge Juanita Guerrero of Muntinlupa Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 204 on August 26, 2011, despite its disappointment on the said ruling.
Gutierrez said that the sudden turn of events have uplifted the morale of drug enforcement officers who risk their lives every time they conduct anti-drug operations.
He assured the DOJ that PDEA shall extend all necessary assistance in the filing of motion for reconsideration. Evangeline DJ Almenario, Chief, Public Information Office, Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency
Another human instrument of Jesus was ordained to the Sacred Order of Priesthood through the assistance of the Knights of Columbus Fr. George J. Willmann Charities, Inc.
On August 23, 2011, San Carlos Bishop Jose F. Advincula ordained Rev. Fr. Stephen P. Bendanillo to the Sacred Order of Priesthood at the San Carlos Borromeo Cathedral Parish in San Carlos City, Negros Occidental.
Fr. Bendanillo was a scholar of the Knights of Columbus Fr. George J. Willmann Charities, Inc. during his Theological studies at St. Joseph Regional Seminary in Iloilo City from 2006 to 2011.
On March 28, 2011, only days after he graduated from Theology, Fr. Bendanillo was ordained to the Order of Deacons together with other two seminarians of their Diocese.
The Presbyterial ordination of Fr. Bendanillo was attended by the clergy of the Diocese of San Carlos and St. Joseph Seminary, relatives, friends, benefactors and the faithful of San Carlos, Negros Occidental.
A great deal of the Fr. George J. Willmann Charities programs have been focused on the scholarship of seminarians and priests.
This foundation provides assistance to deserving and qualified students, including but not limited to those in pursuit of religious vocation, formation or development and higher specialized studies. Since beginning of its foundation, the program has already graduated over a hundred priests.
For those who want to avail of the foundation’s scholarship grant, here are the three categories of scholarship: seminarians who are on their last course in theology; priests who wish to earn licentiate or doctorate degrees in ecclesiastical disciplines in local theology schools or seminaries; and priests who wish to earn licentiate or doctorate degrees in ecclesiastical disciplines in Rome.
It may be good to note, that those who have successfully graduated from this scholarship have formed an organization in 1999. They call all themselves, KC-Priests Scholars Association. Yen Ocampo
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) recently raided four lead smelting plants and a used lead-acid battery (ULAB) recycling facility in the provinces of Pampanga, Bulacan and Nueva Ecija in a crackdown on informal businesses handling pollutive and hazardous substances without appropriate permits in Region 3.
At the same time, DENR Secretary Ramon J. P. Paje has directed concerned provincial officials of DENR to explain “why they should not be charged administratively for inaction” on the illegally-operating plants.
Paje, who ordered a nationwide campaign against illegal ULAB recycling facilities and lead smelting plants, lauded the investigating team’s actions.
“These businesses, being run illegally, deprive government of revenues and give unfair competition to those operating legally. Most importantly, they cannot be monitored effectively and pose direct grave threats to human life and the environment because of their haphazard disposal of hazardous substances,” Paje said.
The one-day raid, conducted on August 18, 2011 by an investigating team organized by DENR Undersecretary for Field Operations Ernesto Adobo, Jr., also led to the arrest and filing of criminal charges against two Chinese nationals, namely Chen Tian Xi and Jiajia Chen, for violating Republic Act (RA) 6969, also known as the Toxic Substances and Hazardous and Nuclear Wastes Control Act of 1990. The two were alleged to be behind the illegal operation of an unnamed lead smelting plant in Jaen, Nueva Ecija. They were, however, released on August 20, 2011 by the Municipal Trial Court of Jaen, upon payment of bail amounting to P12,000.
Aside from the Chinese-run facility in Jaen, the lead smelting plants of Asia Pacific Resources, Inc. and Solid Lead, Inc., both in San Simon, Pampanga; and the ULAB recycling facility owned by a certain Roland Sumandal in Guimba, Nueva Ecija, were also each slapped with a Cease and Desist Order (CDO) for violating RA 6969.
The Oceanic Fishing Gear, Inc., another lead smelting facility in Meycauayan, Bulacan, was issued a notice of violation of its environmental compliance certificate (ECC).
Based on reports, the two Nueva Ecija plants were found to be operating without any ECC, permits for transport and for operating coal-fired furnaces, or registered treatment, storage and disposal facilities. Their pollution control facilities were also found to be “inefficient and ineffective”, allowing the emission of lead oxide in violation of RA 6969.
Lead smelting involves recycling lead acid separated from used batteries. The finished product is then sold locally or abroad for various uses, such as material for building construction, bullets, weights and soldering processes.
The DENR investigation team was joined by Jaen Mayor Santy Austria, members of local police headed by Major Resty Reyes, personnel from the DENR-Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) and members of the Anti-Illegal Logging Task Force, in the inspection of the Jaen plant.
Paje described the illegal operation of the recycling facilities as “classic examples of wanton disregard of responsible management.”
Samuel Carpio, head of the investigation team, noted that the plants have been operating without proper treatment and disposal of lead oxide during the smelting or recycling process. Lead oxide poses harmful effects to the human body and can even be fatal if swallowed or inhaled. Ayda Zoleta, PAO, DENR