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Sabado, Disyembre 6, 2014

Militants hit gov’t plan for consumers to bear Napocor settlement

Press Release
06 December 2014

Militants hit gov’t plan for consumers to bear Napocor settlement

“TOTALLY unacceptable!,” this was the reaction of militant labor group Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino (BMP) to the government’s plan to let the consumers bear the brunt of the Supreme Court-sanctioned  60.2 billion peso labor dispute settlement between Napocor and labor union, Napocor Drivers and Mechanics Association (NPC-DAMA).

Facing the Senate Committee on Energy the other day, Energy Secretary Jericho Petilla and Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima proposed that the consumers will be the ones to pay the illegally dismissed workers their back wages.

In an emailed statement to the media, BMP accused Petilla of trying to hit two birds with one stone. First, he tries to blame the labor union for the power hike if ever the garnishment of Napocor assets will proceed and second for passing the workers’ claim to the consumers coupled with his patented blackmails of power outages. At both instances, Petilla is evading the issue of his liability and his  incompetence.

The labor group cited that Petilla’s incompetence streak was first manifested in the simultaneous maintenance shutdown of power plants causing a spike in electricity prices, the failed promise to electrify Tacloban before Christmas last year and just recently for his alarming statements that a power supply crisis is to take place next year and now with his proposal to implement grossly unjust policy. 

“Petiilla and Purisima have no sense of fairness or even logic to implement an unjust imposition. Firstly, the consumers had no participation whatsoever in the mismanagement of the Napocor assets for them to pass it on to the consumers? Moreover, there is no connection legal or otherwise between the consumers and the labor case of NPC- DAMA,” said Gie Relova of BMP.

“With the privatization of Napocor assets almost complete, the debt stock of Government has not been dented, it remains to be standing at 16 billion US Dollars from 2001 up to today, if that is not mismanagement then I don’t know what is,” he added.

The militants say that such a proposal may constitute as grave abuse of authority and will be consulting lawyers on its legality as well as the accountability of the PSALM officials.

“By all means, the dismissed workers must receive what is rightfully theirs. Same as us, they are but victims to the privatization schemes this government has been peddling for the past two decades but this must not be the burden of ordinary electricity consumers but by those accountable for such mismanagement, Relova clarified.

The BMP likewise echoed the call of the Freedom from Debt Coalition that those who benefitted from the EPIRA Law must be the ones that must shoulder the burden of compensating the claims of the workers and not the ordinary consumers who have long been bled dry by the deregulation of the power industry.

EPIRA to blame

“Time and again, this present dilemma can be easily rooted to the EPIRA. This is but another manifestation of the colossal failure of the EPIRA and the people shall continuously be haunted by until it is repealed,” Relova asserted. 

“To begin with, ordinary wage-earners were the most defiant opposition to the EPIRA law and the consequential privatization of the Napocor assets because we always knew that retrenchment was next step once it was enacted. Lo and behold, we were right. The oppositionists to EPIRA have been vindicated, the labor leader explained.

The BMP has long called for the junking of EPIRA and the nationalization of the power industry to veer away from the profit orientation it has taken.#

Huwebes, Disyembre 4, 2014

Militants welcome Ombudsman decision against corrupt labor arbiter, calls for "lifestyle checks" and "thorough cleansing" in NLRC

December 4, 2014

Militants welcome Ombudsman decision against corrupt labor arbiter, calls for "lifestyle checks" and "thorough cleansing" in NLRC

Socialist labor center Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino (BMP), as part of the broad labor coalition Koalisyon Kontra Korupsyon (KKK), welcomes the indictment of labor arbiter Jesus Orlando Quinones by the Office of the Ombudsman for violating the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees.

According to the Ombudsman, “Records show that Quinones offered to facilitate the reversal of a decision rendered by the NLRC in a labor dispute in exchange for P2 million.”

Quinones’ act of “soliciting a fee in exchange for assistance in obtaining a reversal of a decision was unquestionably intimately connected with his official functions since he himself was its author.”

Ombudsman’s findings proved and verified KKK’s long-time campaign that indeed, corruption exists in the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC) and true enough, corruption involves millions of pesos.

KKK has previously exposed the NLRC as a “millionaires' club” after the release of their 2013 Statements of Assets, Liabilities, and Net Worth (SALN), which show that all labor commissioners and arbiters have wealth accumulated wealth more than what they can accumulate based on their salaries.

Leody de Guzman, BMP president said, "The Ombudsman decision exposes the well-established modus operandi of unscrupulous arbiters at our labor courts. They act as devious fixers, auctioning their decisions to the highest bidder. Aggrieved workers, thus, suffer a double whammy of injustice - at the workplace and at the NLRC. Worse, the salaries of corrupt labor officials come from withholding taxes and value added taxes borne by salaried employees".

"The BMP is calling for lifestyle checks of NLRC arbiters and commissioners. A thorough cleansing is imperative if the commission wants to regain the trust and confidence of distressed workers, who regard the labor courts as the last resort against maltreatment from abusive employers," he concluded. #

Miyerkules, Disyembre 3, 2014

House Joint Resolution 21 is Blatant Capitulation to the Whims and Caprices of Oligarchs in the Power Industry

Press Release
December 3, 2014

Profiteering at the expense of the already burdened Filipino consumers:

House Joint Resolution 21 is Blatant Capitulation
to the Whims and Caprices of Oligarchs in the Power Industry

DOZENS of militants from the Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino (BMP) and other allied organizations staged a picket in front of Congress today to condemn the imminent passage of House Resolution 21, which will grant emergency powers to Pres. Noynoy Aquino in order to immediately address an alleged power shortage next year.

Hoax and Bogey

Leody de Guzman, BMP president said,  "The so-called pending crises in the country's power supply is a hoax contrived by the unholy alliance between the Energy Department, the Chief Executive and the oligarchs in the power industry".

"It is a bogey meant to force the public into accepting a seeming quick-fix that would bypass all safeguards against unjust profiteering in government transactions with private power producers", the labor leader added.

"Secretary Petilla of the Department of Energy (DOE) may have learned from Hitler's Goebbels in his monotonous warnings against a crisis in power supply, hoping that his lies may appear truthful as he untiringly repeats it like a broken record. Yet, his statements are refuted by a director from the DoE, who said before the House Committee on Energy, that we are only facing a shortage of 31MW in our reserves for the first two weeks of April," de Guzman expounded.

At the picket, the protesters carried placards that read: "Tutulan ang Emergency Power ni PNoy!", "Ibasura ang EPIRA!", "No to Coal-Fired Power Plants!".

Same Old, Same Old

The labor leader clarified, "The Philippines now has the highest electricity rate in Asia. Industrialists perennially complain against power costs as the primary deterrent to investments in the country".

"The economic cause of the problem is plain and obvious: the full privatization of the power industry. It is a sector that is not only primarily controlled and owned by oligarchs (Sy, Consunji, Aboitiz, Lopez, Ty, etc.). It is also characterized by 'regulatory capture', as government mechanisms for regulation are rendered inutile and ineffective by private capital. The legal basis of said problem is the passage of the Electric Power Industry Reform Act (EPIRA) of 2001," he explained.  

De Guzman asked, "But what is the answer of the Noynoy administration to high power costs caused by privatization? Not the reversal, repeal, or amendment of the 13-year EPIRA scourge. He wants more privatization! Noynoy is even asking emergency powers for more, unbridled, and unchecked transactions with private power producers".

The BMP declared that "House Joint Resolution 21 is a blatant capitulation to the whims and caprices of oligarchs in the power industry. It is unjust and immoral profiteering at the expense of the already burdened Filipino consumers.

Suspension of Environmental Laws for Coal Power Plants

With House Resolution 21, all government agencies - from national to local government units - will be authorized to suspend laws and regulations that would restrict initiatives to increase the power supply.

The BMP fears the "emergency powers" may lead to a wholesale suspension of environmental laws to favor the construction of coal-fired power plants. De Guzman said, "The world is now rejecting coal as an energy source because it is patently harmful to the environment and to human health. It is also a major contributor to carbon emissions and global warming, which is linked to the occurrence of super typhoons such as Haiyan (Yolanda). Noynoy may not know it but he is courting a disaster of epic proportions".

Uninterrupted Profit for Mall Owners

Meanwhile, the BMP criticized the "convoluted logic of the Uninterrupted Load Program" (ULP) of House Joint Resolution 21.

De Guzman said, "With the ULP, government funds would be used to pay capitalists such as mall owners who would use their generators during peak hours. The proponents say that this incentive would ensure a steady power supply for ordinary consumers who get their electricity from an unburdened National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP). What convoluted logic this is! Public funds would be used entice the privileged few to use privately-owned utilities for private gain".

He averred, "Honestly, the ILP is nothing but an uninterrupted profit scheme for big capitalists, in particular, for mall owners. Who owns the malls and the NGCP? No other than Henry Sy - the richest man in the Philippines".

"When his mall complexes get their electricity directly the NGCP, he is merely transfering his profits from one pocket to another. When the shrewd Mister Sy would use his own generators, he is incurring a "cost". It is this expense that Noynoy and our crooked legislators want to be shouldered by the public through the ILP," he concluded. #

May 1, 2013 rali

Das Kapital published on 14 Sept 1867

Das Kapital published on 14 Sept 1867

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Slam Evil, Slam Apec

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November 1996