NLDFI STATEMENT IN SUPPORT WITH FOOD PANDA RIDERS

Photo taken last July 15, 2021, during the Food Panda riders protest

We stand with the Davao United Delivery Riders Association Inc. (DUDRAI) members, who held a mass protest yesterday, 16th of July 2021, at the Freedom Park, Davao City, calling for the accountability of the Food Panda Management on unjust labor practices of the said company.

According to the DUDRAI, the Food Panda Management has deducted their earnings for about 280 pesos for their supposed health insurance benefit. However, some members testified that they could not avail of the said benefits because the management did not pay for their health insurance contribution. Apart from this explicit anomaly, food riders are also outraging for the miscomputation of their earnings. With a long-distance ride, they only receive a minimal amount.

Some members of the Davao United Delivery Riders Association Inc. (DUDRAI) during their protest

Moreover, members who joined the protest received messages from the management for a 10-year suspension in violation of their Freelance Agreement.

The move of the Food Panda Management constitutes significant violations of the labor rights of its employees:

1. The prevalent contractualization within the company through its Freelance Agreement hinders employees from being regularized.

2. The suspension of the protesting employees violates their constitutional rights to self-organize, peaceful assembly, and freedom of speech.

3. Unlawful deductions of their earnings.

With all these violations, Food Panda Management remained calloused to the call of its workers.

As an institution that advocates labor rights, we are greatly dismayed with Food Panda Management. We are calling the management to strictly abide by the labor laws. We likewise call on the local government unit of Davao City, Department of Labor and Employment, and Congress to act on this oppressive and exploitative scheme of the involved company and other businesses employing the same scheme. We maintain that workers’ rights must always be upheld, without them we have nothing. #

WWP-NMR ESTABLISHES ITS SECOND WORKERS’ WATCH FORMATION

Last April 11, the Workers Watch- Northern Mindanao has established its second Workers’ Watch Formation in Aposkahoy, Claveria, Misamis Oriental.

The formation consists of 25 members, including four elected officers of the Workers’ Watch, the chairperson, the vice-chairperson, the secretary, and the treasurer. First, Ms. Geneza V. Cuevas, a purok leader, is elected as the chairperson of the formation. Followed by, Mr. Abellion H. Sagabal, a Higaonon leader, is selected as vice-chairperson. Finally, the elected secretary and treasurer are Ms. ReyMabel Banda and Ms. Violeta Silawan, both women leaders. Thus, most of the attendees and members of the formation are women who are members of the Higaonon tribe.

Barangay Aposkahoy is one of the remote areas of Claveria, the locations of the Del Monte pineapple and DOLE banana plantations. Workers of these plantations are mostly community members of Aposkahoy. 

The formation has tied with their Constitution and By-Laws which the general mandate is to protect and serve the interest of their community, especially when labor-related violations and abuses happen in their jurisdictions. 

According to Ms. Tita Hadman, the area coordinator of the WWP-NMR, medical missions and labor clinics will be conducted in the area soon as the community restriction eases. The labor clinic is a free-legal consultation on labor-related matters provided by the Workers’ Watch Project. 

CHR AND DOLE 13 ON FAVOR OF THE WORKERS’ WATCH

The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) and the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) in Region 13 favor the establishment of workers’ watch formations in the region.

Last March 23, the Workers’ Watch Project (WWP) Team had paid a courtesy meeting with the regional offices of CHR 13 and DOLE 13. During dialogues, both offices had shared their constructive intentions in supporting the project. According to the CHR 13, this project would help them mainstream the importance of respecting and valuing human rights at the enterprise level, wherein mostly workers’ rights violations happen. Atty. Ralphmar Oñez, the lawyer of CHR 13, utters that they have difficulties with information dissemination especially in far-flung areas. Collaborating with the Workers’ Watch, they could build an alliance that would help them publicize the essence of human rights, especially in mining communities. With the help of the formation, the CHR could now easily collate data of human rights violations and immediately respond to all the alleged reports of human rights abuses in the region. The agency offers its services to the project to serve its mandate as a protector and advocate of human rights. The CHR 13 also expressed their gratitude towards the WWP for having them as a partner agency.

The WWP Team with the representatives of CHR-CARAGA

The DOLE 13 expresses their positive opinions on the project; however, they could not immediately call for a meeting to the business industry in the region. Primarily, the business sector barely responds to the call, especially when labour rights issues are on the topic. According to Ma’am Chona Mantilla, the regional director of DOLE 13, they are the mediator of the workers and the employers. They provide avenues for the complaints of both sectors that no side is compromised. For DOLE 13, the project would help them serve their principle and mandate as the principal agency dealing with labour rights. The director also provided list of areas in the region that they could hardly reach for services. These areas are also mostly mining communities. With the help of the formation, they could also gather data and reports on labour issues and complaints within these communities.

The Workers’ Watch Region 13 targeted workers’ communities in mining and palm oil plants areas wherein records of labour rights violations are high. The CARAGA (13) region is the mining and palm oil capital of Mindanao. It is a fact that the region has been facing environmental dilemmas due to excessive and unsustainable mining and palm oil productions. Also, numerous labour rights violations are drastically increasing based on the collected data of the WWP 13.

The WWP Team with DOLE 13 Regional Director Chona Mantilla

On the following day, March 24, the WWP team visited the targeted barangays for the project implementation- barangays of Taganito and Urbiztondo, Claver, Surigao del Norte. Officials of these barangays were welcoming on the said project. However, they were seeking the official memorandum from the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) endorsing the project to their community. As for them, they are still under the DILG. However, the WWP team had explained that the primary partner agencies of this project are the DOLE and CHR as this project aims to mainstream human rights in the business industry.

Today, the WWP 13 is still working and coordinating with its partner government agencies and workers’ communities to establish workers’ watch formations in the region.

NMR Established Its First Workers’ Watch Formation

In the photo, NMR’s Area Coordinator Teresita Hadman gave short briefing about the Workers’ Watch Project during the establishment of Don Carlos’ first Workers’ Watch Formation
In the photo, NMR’s Area Coordinator Teresita Hadman gave short briefing about the Workers’ Watch Project during the establishment of Don Carlos’ first Workers’ Watch Formation

Last 21st February 2021, the Northern Mindanao Centre of the Workers’ Watch Project has established its first Workers’ Watch Formation at San Nicolas, Don Carlos, Bukidnon.

28 individuals, including workers of Davao Agriventures Corporation (DAVCO), community leaders of San Nicolas, youth leaders, and barangay health workers, instituted their first Workers’ Watch Formation. Women in the community and their children were also present during the establishment following the necessary health protocols in conducting meetings. The Formation will be the forefront in defending their rights as labourers when, for an instance, labour violations within their community persist.

Prior to the launch of the formation, several meetings and discussions about the project were held in the community. Kolokabildos or social dialogues with the workers and community leaders of Don Carlos, as part of the activities of the project, made the importance of the formation of the Workers’ Watch to be realized by the community. Hence, the formation was finally established.

The San Nicolas’ Workers’ Watch Formation was legalized and banded with Constitution and By-Laws as their fundamental principles. As stated to their constitution Article 1 (Name and Purpose), the formation shall be named as Workers’ Watch Don Carlos Chapter with a purpose of helping workers’ communities respond effectively and sustainably to human rights and labor rights situation in the area. It aims to capacitate its members in extending legal, psychosocial, and health services to its beneficiaries.

The formation has also elected their first set of officers which Mr. Vladimier Gulmatico was elected as the Chairman, Mr. Romeo Galera as Vice-Chairman, Ms. Aida Destacamento as Secretary General, and Ms. Lorena Aboy as their Finance Officer.

“With this formation, it is only now that we encounter such project that extends such assistance and services to our community” Mr. Vladimier Gulmatico, the chairman of the newly established workers’ watch formation, said.

WWP Executives paid a Courtesy Visit to the Regional and Provincial DOLE Directors

In the past weeks, the Workers’ Watch Project executives had visited its different centers in Mindanao to consolidate its area coordinators regarding the progress of their regional actions for the implementation of the program. As local community quarantine has been eased, they have also had courtesy meetings with the Regional and Provincial Directors of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE). Last September 1, the Project Manager of WWP- Ms. May Ann Artil, the executive Director of the Nonoy Librado Development Foundation- Ms. Emma Ricaforte, and with the Area Coordinator of Northern Mindanao Center had a chance to talk with Region 10 DOLE Director Atty. Joffrey Suyao on the possible coordination of the said project. Director Suyao had a positive response to the project. He also gave suggestions on how the project will be implemented in the said region.


The WWP staff members with the Region 10 DOLE Director Atty. Suyao. Photo taken last September 1, 2020
 

Also last September 18 and 22, the WWP executives paid a visit to its centers in SOCCKSARGEN and Davao de Oro. They also met the Provincial Director of DOLE Davo de Oro Neil Allan Baban and Region 12 DOLE Director Raymundo Agravante. The meeting with the DOLE directors ended with positive coordination on the implementation of the project. The launching of all planned activities in the different area centers was postponed due to the COVID19 pandemic scare. It is expected that the full launch of the program will be conducted in 2021. 



Davao de Oro Dole Director Baban had a discussion with the WWP staff members on the implementation of the project last September 18, 2020 at the Davao de Oro DOLE Office.
 

Last September 22, the Region 12 DOLE Director Agravante with Assistant Director Arlene responded to the invitation of the WWP staff for a dialogue to discuss the Workers’ Watch Project in the region.

On the occasion of Nonoy Librado’s Death Anniversary

Message
Coun. Pamela Librado-Morata
On the occasion of Nonoy Librado’s Death Anniversary
18 August 2020

No matter what tragedies or struggles affect our family, this day always reminds us that there is always a reason to unite. In the midst of a global pandemic, and of a more precarious environment to those espousing the beliefs of our deceased father, Erasto ‘Nonoy’ Librado, we who are loyal to his legacy will continue to plod on.

I know that it will always be Papa’s fervent wish to see reforms in our government… to see workers doing their jobs with dignity and their rights protected…. to see the underprivileged have more in the law because they have less in life. While still alive, my father would take me to picket lines, attending rallies with a throng of people I barely know. Back then, I did not understand why a union leader would choose to serve people when he also has problems of his own. I did not understand then why the sentiments of many workers would embolden him to actually take into heart a cause that would make him risk life and limb.

It took years for me to understand why he chose that less travelled path. For the people’s welfare is ultimately greater than the sum of all his personal aspirations. He became a councilor of this City (even for a short while prior to his death) because he believed laws could actually work for the people and that pushing for reforms in the economy and labor sector can spell out a huge difference in the lives of our ordinary citizens.

Nonoy not only taught all his three children the rudiments of living a life of service; he showed us further how to stand firm in our principles. A martial law survivor, he went through incarceration knowing fully well what he is standing up to. In that collective fight against tyranny and the abusive Marcos regime, he would remain a hero to us and to those who believed in hus cause.

We honor his death today and remember the man who was all a father, husband, labor leader, comrade, Filipino citizen and one worthy of emulation for his legacy and dedication to public service. May the Nonoy Librado Development Foundation continue his work— let us work in synergy to contribute to its growth and success, bearing in mind the sacrifices of a man who wished for the emancipation of workers through fair labor practices and decent working conditions.

As we also rise towards the challenge of battling this Covid-19 despite all the odds, let us all look forward to more better days and better conditions for work in the days to come.

Once again, my greatest salute to Ka Nonoy, who even in death keeps alive the fervor of compassionate service to the people. #

photo grabbed from Davao Today

On President Duterte’s 5th SONA: Workers neglected again, no Comprehensive Plan to Address this Pandemic

August 5, 2020

Statement

Nonoy Librado Development Foundation, Inc.

As an institution that is in the frontline for workers’ rights, we are greatly dismayed with the recent 5th State of the Nation Address of President Rodrigo Duterte. Nothing was discussed on how to save the workers and the Filipino people from further hunger, to combat the pandemic comprehensively, and to rehabilitate the economy.

During this pandemic, the workers have been hard-hit economically. With massive retrenchment came dwindling incomes. Unemployment in the country rose to its historic high of not less than 14 million while under-employed tallied to 7 million. Worse, crooked employers capitalized on the pandemic to terminate workers’ employment without valid reasons. We have been able to monitor numerous reports of workers being retrenched from work while their employers kept hiring new ones. Said workers were not even paid their separation pay.

The Social Amelioration Program of the government through its various agencies was not enough to aid the lost income of the workers. Despite the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act expiring last June 24, 2020, no additional budget has been passed into law to support the starving workers and poor Filipinos.

As the country’s Covid-19 contraction surges exponentially, Pres. Duterte failed to present a concrete and comprehensive plan on defeating the pandemic.

We need pro-people medical solutions through the implementation of mass testing and contact tracing. The needs of our medical front-liners must be addressed urgently. And a roadmap must be developed to save our downgraded economy and provide jobs for all unemployed Filipinos with safe and health-reliable measures in the workplace.

The recent outcry of Doctors and medical workers validated the lack of plan and incompetency of government’s handling of the situation. It is no wonder because the National Task Force for COVID Response was composed of mostly retired military generals. And this militaristic view of Pres. Duterte again emerged as he insisted during his SONA to reinstate the Death Penalty Law which the Filipinos don’t need.

The true State of the Nation is vivid; millions are unemployed, starving, and dying from the virus and sickness. Yet the oligarchy remains, human rights violations multiplied, our sovereignty remains unasserted, the national economy sank, and corruption persisted. The latest controversy in Philhealth of the anomalies perpetrated by its executives is another testament of the persisting corruption under Pres. Duterte’s administration.

Under four years of Pres. Duterte’s militaristic approach of governance, no real “change” as promised has benefited the Filipino people.

Four years into his presidency, the social ills remain. The economy has even worsened with the national debt reaching P9 trillion. Endo/contractualization is still flourishing, as well as corruption. With the remaining two years of Duterte’s presidency, we hope that he focuses his efforts on improving the lives of ordinary people.

Nevertheless, we acknowledge that genuine change in this country truly lies on the collective will and decisive action of Filipinos.###

Info-graphics released by the Department of Health for our guidance

Workers are also vulnerable to the possibility of getting COVID19. We must also seek and demand for the health security of our workers. Company owners and employers should also prioritize the health security of its employees especially the cases of COVID19 victims are constantly increasing. If it is possible to implement the “work from home” concept in your company or organization, giving the assurance that the duties and responsibilities are never taken for granted and can still be fulfilled, then it should be done in order to prevent the spread out of the disease. We have numerous communication accesses/applications to still continue working while at home.

We also encourage everyone to follow the guidelines and advisories of our health department, local and national authorities.

We must always remember that prevention is always better than cure.

Here is one of the info-graphics released by the Department of Health for our guidance. Stay safe everyone!

In regards with the COVID-19 pandemic crisis

It has been three weeks since the enhanced community quarantine in Luzon has been implemented and nearly two weeks since President Rodrigo Duterte was given emergency powers to address the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic, yet there is still no clear food relief, financial assistance and mass testing given to millions of workers and informal workers nationwide.

Despite the “stay at home” orders and closures of companies and establishments, many workers and vendors still risk to go out on the streets to earn for a living. These people will say they will not die because of Covid-19, but rather from starvation. Food relief from local officials are either missing or not enough for a working class family to last for a week.

Even the P5,000 – P8,000 cash grant subsidy to indigents is not readily given. Under special guidelines on the Provision of Social Amelioration, indigents need to comply with requirements such as documents proving they are employees. How will workers retrieve such documents when their bosses are on self-quarantine? How about the vendors and daily wage-earners? Even before the Covid-19 crisis, workers are already barely surviving with minimum wage or below minimum wages and without benefits.

With news that there are more than 2,000 cases of Covid-19 infection and more than 90 deaths, people are complaining, where is the relief? Where are the test kits that can give mass testing? What has happened to the P 275 billion emergency fund? What can a month of lockdown noted with arrests and harassment achieved?

As an institution that advocates for the protection of the rights of workers, we urge the national government to implement pro-people action and solutions to respond to Covid-19. They should understand that the failure to protect the health and economic well-being of the working class will mirror the failure of the Philippine economy.

The government should provide immediate relief such as food relief and financial support for the working people with minimum requirements. Systems should be implemented that will make this relief reach to all indigents and workers. They should also conduct mass testing in communities with suspected PUIs to detect who are infected and treat them. They should also provide shelter and food for the homeless rather than shooing them away or detaining them.

Also, it is important to call the government to provide personal protective equipment (PPE), test kits and to increase the financial incentives for health workers and professionals in the front line of the battle against Covid-19. We must put our trust to the health practitioners in fighting this pandemic by providing them with proper medical equipments.

We can never win this battle if we continue to be deaf to the clamor of the basic masses.