Workers slam Palace, DoLE’s failure to protect workers during calamity


August 7, 2012 Cabuyao, Laguna – Regional trade union center Pagkakaisa ng Manggagawa sa Timog Katagalugan-Kilusang Mayo Uno (PAMANTIK-KMU) slams DOLE and Malacañang Palace’s delayed response to protect workers in the midst of calamities.

PAMANTIK-KMU has expressed its utmost disappointment and condemns the Aquino administration’s incompetence in protecting its people amid the three-week long continuous rainfall and floods caused by recent typhoons Ferdie and Gener and present Southwest Monsoon and Shallow Low Pressure Area.

Amid insistent queries, Department of Labor and Employment Secretary Rosalina Baldoz earlier clarified that suspension of work in private companies are not within their authority, and is rather subject to the discretion of the owners.  Malacañang Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda has also announced the same information regarding work in private institutions.  It is only as of 9:40 AM that the palace has finally announced work suspension in private companies in NCR, Zambales, Bataan, Pampanga, Pangasinan, Tarlac, Laguna, Cavite, Rizal, Bulacan.  By then, many workers have already left their homes and have risked their lives just to come to work.

Alternatively, work and classes in government institutions and agencies, public and private schools have already been suspended beforehand due to the insistent rains and impassable roads as per Malacanang Memorandum Circular No. 33.

Various cities, major roads, commercial and residential areas within the National Capital Region are submerged in flood since early this morning.  In the Southern Tagalog region, lakeside areas and numerous towns in San Mateo and Rodriguez Rizal, Cavite, Batangas, and Laguna such as San Pedro, Sta. Rosa, Cabuyao, Calamba and Sta. Cruz are also flooded, affecting thousands of families.  Many are reported to be stranded on rooftops.

“While people are obviously struggling to rescue their families and their hard-earned belongings from the floods, DOLE remains incapable of suspending work in private businesses and institutions, leaving the discretion to the profit-hungry capitalists to cancel work in their companies.  This clearly shows that even in the face of evident danger, DOLE is useless and incompetent in saving the lives of the Filipino workers.” PAMANTIK-KMU Secretary-General Wenecito Urgel said.

“Apparently, Aquino and his administration continue to act as capitalists’ lackeys who never cease to turn their backs on the wellbeing of the workers.  If Aquino is sincere in prioritizing his ‘bosses’, he should be more prompt in ordering private companies to cancel work in consideration of the present conditions.  Unfortunately, Aquino is hard-hearted and negligent in attending to the needs of the people during calamities.” Urgel added.

In 2011, Sendong, considered to be one of the deadliest typhoons to hit the country, scored more than a thousand deaths, where the majority was comprised of children and women.  Over 100,000 people were evacuated a few days before Christmas Eve.  During this time when the whole nation mourned over the horrifying catastrophe that hit Cagayan de Oro City, Iligan City, and other nearby provinces, Aquino was reported to be partying with his security group, as tweeted by a certain celebrity.

PAMANTIK-KMU is part of the Southern Tagalog Serve the People Corps, and is calling for financial and in-kind assistance that will be distributed during relief operations in the region.###


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