Holiday pay rules: a walkthrough

Published at

The Philippines is said to have the longest Christmas celebration in the world as Christmas carols start playing as early as September. But in a strict sense, only four December days are declared as holidays by the government for Filipino workers.

Two weeks before Christmas, Malacanang announced that Dec. 25 and 27 will be regular holidays and Dec. 24 and 31 as special non-working holidays.

December 27 will be this year’s observance of Rizal Day since Dec. 30 falls on a Thursday. This is line with the government’s holiday economics policy under Republic Act 9492 (RA 9492), which states that regular holidays are movable to the nearest Monday. RA 9492 amended Sec. 26, Chapter 7 of Executive Order No. 292 (or the Administrative Code of 1987) which provides for fixed holidays.

The Palace announcement is also in line with Proclamation No. 1841 signed by former president Gloria Arroyo in July 2009. The proclamation provides for the observance of regular holidays and special non-working holidays for this year. Continue reading

Underestimating 43

Published in

In many instances, the Palace sidestepped the 43 illegally detained health workers’ demand for their immediate release by dishing out its “let the courts decide” excuse. It played blind to a daylight mockery of its usual rhetoric on freedom and democracy, only to cover up this hypocrisy on the commemoration of International Human Rights Day.

And so President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III did some serious thinking perhaps for the first time on December 10. In a politically timed fashion, Aquino ordered the Department of Justice (DOJ) to withdraw the charges against the health workers accused of being communist rebels engaged in bomb-making activities.

“We recognize that their right to due process was denied them. As a government that is committed to the rule of law and the rights of man, this cannot stand,” Aquino said in a program inside the Palace. Following this statement, a memorandum was issued by the Palace to DOJ Secretary Leila de Lima. Interestingly, the memo was dated December 8, 2010, which means that Aquino indeed intended to reserve the occasion of the Human Rights Day for this announcement.

Read more

Traffic republic: no place for ‘kuligligs’

Published on

The scene was reminiscent of the dark days of brutal dispersals under the Arroyo regime: hundreds of “kuliglig” drivers peacefully holding a protest last Wednesday near Manila City Hall were hosed down and beaten up. Some were even dragged on the concrete by their limbs, blood oozing on their faces. Their motorized pedicabs were forcefully bulldozed by a police truck. At least sixteen were arrested, punched on the head, and were absurdly charged with illegal assembly and traffic obstruction.

Dozens more were hospitalized after being hurt in the clash, putting their families closer to the brink of death from hunger. And the President simply played blind, deaf and mute to this dark day under his regime.

They were merely defending their livelihood and ultimately, the survival of their families. No one can question that. And yet the powers-that-be refused to recognize this simple glaring fact, resorting instead to brute force. They invoked Clean Air Act and the traffic, a popularized petty problem (oh, that’s another PPP) since Aquino became President.

Traffic over anything else equals good governance, if the Aquino administration’s dogma would be bluntly expressed in an equation.

There’s a huge possibility that the vacilliating men and women in the justice system may actually uphold this blatantly absurd balancing of interest. After all, they would simply plagiarize Aquino’s logic.

Read more

Why workers ‘revolt’ on Bonifacio’s birthday

Published at

Bonifacio Day

Thousands of state employees and private sector workers will mark the 147th birthday of working class hero Andres Bonifacio today with a kick-off of a “revolt” for substantial wage hikes, an item which the administration has dodged since day 1.

Workers led by Koalisyon ng Progresibong Manggagawa at Mamamayan (KPMM), a newly formed coalition of progressive groups from different sectors, will march this afternoon from Welcome Rotonda to Mendiola to denounce President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III’s silence on their demand.

Today also marks Aquino’s fifth month as president.

“We did not receive a substantial wage increase under more than nine years of the Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo regime. This, despite the fact that the prices of basic commodities have skyrocketed and subsidies to education, health and other social services have been reduced,” KPMM said in a report.

The group added that they have yet to hear the president’s response to their call for wage hikes in the private sector and salary increases for government employees amid soaring prices.

Some labor groups in the private sector have been pushing for the passage of the P125-across-the-board minimum wage increase, now fleshed out in the 15th Congress under House Bill 375.

Meanwhile, state employees led by the Confederation for Unity, Recognition and Advancement of Government Employees (COURAGE) are pushing for the legislation of House Bill 3746, which seeks a P6,000 raise in the minimum pay of all government employees.

“We are intensifying the Filipino workers’ version of private-public partnership for a substantial wage increase. Both workers in the private and public sector have been denied the right to a living wage, both have re-filed bills for a wage hike in Congress, and both will swarm the streets on November 30,” saidElmer “Bong” Labog, chairperson of labor center Kilusang Mayo Uno and co-convenor of KPMM.

Read more