On PAL pilots’ resignation

airplaneAt least 11 Philippine Airlines (PAL) flights on Saturday were cancelled after several pilots of the flag carrier resigned. PAL officials said the pilots who resigned already applied for a job in other airlines.  (See news article here)

Why did they resign? Lucio Tan’s PAL has been implementing various anti-labor schemes among its 7,000+ workforce. It has been said that PAL pilots’ demand for better wages and more decent working arrangements are utterly denied by the company.

Now Kapitan Lucio is planning to file charges against those pilots who resigned to look for a better job. This is ridiculous!

PAL Statement on Resignation of Pilots

Philippine Airlines regrets the decision of some of its pilots to accept job offers abroad, causing the disruption of PAL’s flight schedules due to inadequate flight deck crew to fly the Airbus A320 airplanes.

The indiscriminate resignation of the A320 pilots for flying jobs whose salaries PAL is unable to match, is in violation of their contracts with PAL as well as with pertinent government regulations that require resigning pilots to give PAL six months to train their replacements.

PAL will soon be filing appropriate charges against those pilots who chose not to report for work immediately after submitting resignation letters. Most of the pilots still owe PAL the cost of their aviation school training, which run into millions of pesos per pilot.

PAL is currently adjusting its schedules by merging some flights or upgrading the aircraft to a bigger type in order to lessen the inconvenience to affected passengers. For update on flight status, passengers may call the PAL hotline 855-8888 or 855-9999.

Good thing that a passenger understands the plight of the pilots and other PAL employees. [Read Stranded PAL passenger sympathizes with pilots]

Arroyos and Abads family reunion

First published in the Philippine Online Chronicles

Despite being allowed to gain a fresh congressional term, former presidential son Juan Miguel “Mikey” Arroyo is facing new disqualification charges at the Supreme Court and the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal (HRET).

On Wednesday, militant party-list group Bayan Muna filed a petition before the high court asking the reversal of the Commission on Elections’s (Comelec) decision which allows Arroyo to sit as representative of Ang Galing Pinoy (AGP) party-list.

The Comelec’s decision lets Arroyo join three other Arroyos at the House of Representatives: his mother, former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo; his brother Camarines Sur Rep. Diosdado “Dato” Arroyo; and his uncle, Negros Occidental Rep. Ignacio “Iggy” Arroyo, an abs-cbnnews.com report said.

Former Akbayan party-list Rep. Risa Hontiveros meanwhile challenged Arroyo’s legitimacy to represent security guards and tricycle drivers in Congress at the HRET, saying he had failed to submit the documents to prove that he belonged to the marginalized sector, an Inquirer.net report said.

A tricycle driver from Caloocan City also filed a disqualification case before the HRET against Arroyo and asked the tribunal to delete AGP as one of the party-list organizations. Continue reading

Putting P-noy’s first SONA in proper perspective

Published in Blogwatch.ph

protest Aquino SONA

Indeed, President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino’s first State of the Nation Address (SONA) was a break from what Filipinos used to hear in the past nine years. Obviously, Aquino did not end up praising himself (like what former president Gloria Arroyo did) not because of his virtues but because there is simply no reason to do that. One, he is just days-old in the presidency, with no major accomplishments to report. Two, he is coming from a huge electoral victory and is currently enjoying a record-high trust rating. Hence, there is certainly no need to do some Arroyo-style crisis PR.

So the President’s first SONA was really a reporting of what is left by the previous adminstration. In this case, Aquino emphasized that what he reported was kept secret from the public’s eye for a long time to project himself as the bearer of truth.

Scoring more anti-Arroyo points

Sulyap lamang po ito; hindi pa ito ang lahat ng problemang haharapin natin. Inilihim at sadyang iniligaw ang sambayanan sa totoong kalagayan ng ating bansa,” Aquino said before he enumerated the anomalies made by the Arroyo administration. Like what I anticipated in an earlier article, the President would be harping on “truth-telling” vis-à-vis Arroyo’s litany of lies to further ride on the people’s anti-Arroyo sentiment. Continue reading

Transcript: President Aquino’s first State of the Nation Address (SONA)

Speaker Feliciano Belmonte; Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile; Vice President Jejomar Binay; Chief Justice Renato Corona; Former Presidents Fidel Valdez Ramos and Joseph Ejercito Estrada; members of the House of Representatives and the Senate; distinguished members of the diplomatic corps; my fellow workers in government;
Mga minamahal kong kababayan:

Sa bawat sandali po ng pamamahala ay nahaharap tayo sa isang sangandaan.
Sa isang banda po ay ang pagpili para sa ikabubuti ng taumbayan. Ang pagtanaw sa interes ng nakakarami; ang pagkapit sa prinsipyo; at ang pagiging tapat sa sinumpaan nating tungkulin bilang lingkod-bayan. Ito po ang tuwid na daan.

Sa kabilang banda ay ang pag-una sa pansariling interes. Ang pagpapaalipin sa pulitikal na konsiderasyon, at pagsasakripisyo ng kapakanan ng taumbayan. Ito po ang baluktot na daan.

Government has long stayed to the crooked path

Matagal pong naligaw ang pamahalaan sa daang baluktot. Araw-araw po, lalong lumilinaw sa akin ang lawak ng problemang ating namana. Damang-dama ko ang bigat ng aking responsibilidad.
Sa unang tatlong linggo ng aming panunungkulan, marami po kaming natuklasan. Nais ko pong ipahayag sa inyo ang iilan lamang sa mga namana nating suliranin at ang ginagawa naming hakbang para lutasin ang mga ito.

RP Problems wide-ranging; True state of the nation kept secret from public
Sulyap lamang po ito; hindi pa ito ang lahat ng problemang haharapin natin. Inilihim at sadyang iniligaw ang sambayanan sa totoong kalagayan ng ating bansa.

Continue reading

Anticipating P.Noy’s first SONA

P-Noy picture

By saying that his first State of the Nation Address (SONA) on Monday will be about “truth-telling,” President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III is once again capitalizing on the anti-Arroyo sentiment still pervading at the moment. He is assuring the public his speech won’t be a litany of lies reminiscent of former president Gloria Arroyo’s SONA speeches.

As far as I can remember, Arroyo never appropriated the claim of truth. She was more focused on dismissing criticisms of her SONA speeches as simply lack of appreciation of her administration’s achievements. Now we hear Aquino appropriating the holiness of the truth, just as how he appropriated “Daang Matuwid” and whatever holy and righteous slogan at hand.

The President’s claim of truth-telling however must not be conveniently used to turn down criticisms. While he may issue truths, Aquino may also conveniently leave out pressing issues and demands of various groups. Predictably, he will commit the sin of omission on sensitive issues which can ruin his honeymoon period.

Sin of omission

Will he tackle the problems in Hacienda Luisita? Aquino would not obviously touch on this highly sensitive topic. Filipinos cannot expect him to shock the nation by ordering his family to pack up and leave the controversial sugar estate in Tarlac.

Will he address the workers’ demand for significant wage hikes? Key members of the country’s biggest conglomerates and business groups, who are naturally opposed to any wage increase, are inside the President’s Cabinet. Aquino has also repeatedly said that he will make the country more conducive to businesses. For workers, this is more or less tantamount to keeping wages depressed.

“In the harshest possible terms I condemn political killings,” former president Arroyo said in his 2006 SONA while praising the “Butcher” Jovito Palparan for combating the “enemy.”

Will Aquino outdo his predecessor by categorically holding the military responsible in his first SONA? Will he issue a stronger condemnation of extra-judicial killings, especially the killing of three activists in his first 12 days in office? Aquino will not do so despite the mounting pressure for him to hold military officers accountable. In fact, he even vowed full support for the military’s operations, as encapsulated in his “Tell us what you need” statement during the formal turnover of the AFP’s leadership to Lt. Gen. Ricardo David. Continue reading

Labor agenda for Aquino’s first 100 days

First published in the Philippine Online Chronicles

For Filipino workers, PresidentBenigno “Noynoy” Aquino’s  first 100 days should not just be about studying labor issues and statistics. It should include doing concrete steps to reverse Arroyo’s “ugly legacy” on wages, employment and labor rights.

On the eve of her exit from power, former president Gloria Arroyo approved a P22-minimum wage increase for Metro Manila workers. This measly increase, according to various labor groups, could not even buy a kilo of rice. Wages nationwide and rising prices remain oceans apart despite the increase.

Close to 3 million Filipinos are unemployed, based on the January 2010 Labor Force Survey by theNational Statistics Office (Aquino said in the press conference after his proclamation that government labor statistics should be studied). The number of informal workers – those employed in odd jobs like street vendors – currently comprise almost half of the total number of employed.

Around 3,900 Filipinos leave the country every day to look for jobs in other countries. This figure alone highlights the scarcity and dismal quality of domestic jobs.

Ninety-eight labor leaders were slain under Arroyo’s term, according to labor group Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU). None of these cases of extra-judicial killings has been solved. Factories and workplaces, especially those with militant unions, also remain militarized.

In the run-up to President Aquino’s first State of the Nation Address (SONA), various unions have assembled the Labor’s 100-day Agenda for Aquino. The agenda predictably contrasts the 100-day economic agenda pitched by big businesses for the most part. Continue reading