Feedmill stevedores slam newly-minted restraining order

As the Duterte administration approaches its first six months in office, more issues on labor rights encroach the workers; and the now-three-month strike in Batangas remains in pending resolution.

Porters on strike at the Soro-Soro Ibaba Development Cooperative (SIDC) feedmill in Batangas expressed indignation over the recently-minted temporary restraining order (TRO) from the labor department, which directed the free entry and exit of products and raw materials in the feedmill.

The order, which came from the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC), allowed egress and ingress of SIDC products for a span of twenty days. SIDC officials and its legal team have sent their prayer to extend the order indefinitely.

Meanwhile, this only meant more opportunities for SIDC – considered to be the top cooperative in the country – to ignore the calls of the workers for regularization. The porters were employed for years in DCMM Manpower Services, a labor agency confirmed to be doing illegal labor-only contracting and was given a cease-and-desist order by DoLE weeks ago.

The last dialogues among workers and SIDC management only prompted the latter to offer the workers to be regularized inside the DCMM agency, which has not updated its permit for almost three years now.

The militant regional labor center PAMANTIK-KMU, which supported the strike of the stevedores at SIDC, called on the labor department to side with the workers.

“DoLE must draw the line between appeasing big businesses like SIDC and in responding to the needs of its workers. The former only loses business capital; the latter, potentially loses their livelihood,” said Allan Bagas, PAMANTIK-KMU secretary-general.

“The NLRC order also means the eventual permit for the private goons – or scoundrels – of SIDC to terrorize the workers in hopes of dismantling the picket line. If NLRC and DoLE would want to have industrial peace, it must begin so by forcing the SIDC management to sit down and discuss thoroughly, and not use brute force to settle disputes,” he added.

Just earlier, 100 policemen arrived at the feedmill, raising fears of dispersal at the picket line, until the NLRC order was served. Prior to this, about 2 recorded cases of dispersal was noted, with one instance had security guards firing warning shots with their service firearms.

Even with these challenges, the workers vowed to carry on with the fight for regularization.

“We know that the hardline capitalists endlessly put their interests near their hearts; an interest obvious in the labor department for the past years. For this, we continue in our march and in our protests to end contractualization,” ended Bagas. # # #

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On the brutal dispersal at US Embassy

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We express our utmost denunciation of the dispersal of national minority groups and supporters as they held a protest earlier at the Embassy of the United States of America.

Amid scores of injured participants, the violent dispersal led by Manila Police District Col. Marcelino Pedroso Jr. also left about 20 arrested and about 10 rushed to the hospital.

The casualties resulted from the giddy ramming of a police mobile driven by a certain PO3 Franklin Kho and successive pushes from police flanks – as the protest neared its end.

There are no words to describe the pain that our national minority groups suffer from harassment and neglect in the countryside.

For workers, the bane of the contractualization scheme remains in the workplace, affecting thousands of workers and victimizing their rights.

Oplan Bayanihan remains to encroach the rural communities, which has since dealt threats and violence upon our indigenous peoples and Moros.

We strictly condemn the fascist actions of the PNP for earlier’s dispersal. This only meant that for the powderkegs at military and police camps, and even some in the government, the real solution to conflict remains to be the silencing of dissidents and those who seek genuine change.

As we wait for further actions on President Duterte’s statements in forging an independent foreign policy, state forces remain lapdogs of the imperialist United States – a terrorist struggling to put its servant in line.

We remain in holding Col. Pedroso, PO3 Kho and all those responsible for the violent dispersal; which was clearly coming from the policemen’s side.

Meanwhile, we continue to be one with the national minorities in their struggle for a just peace and in their call for self-determination. # # #