PAL DOESN'T JUST UNDERSTAND JUSTICE, it doesn’t understand law.

In February 2009, Major Major Senior Officer(s) of Allied Bank ordered 6 Armed Guards to Threaten and Initimidate a Director of the bank who was also an EXECOM member, shareholder of the bank forcing this 70 year old Director to stop reporting for work.

This Major Major Officer DOES NOT understand justice nor understands the law.

"PAL DOESN'T JUST UNDERSTAND JUSTICE, it doesn’t understand law."
Business sense
By Conrado de Quiros
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 05:42:00 11/16/2010

SONNY MELENCIO, chair of Partido ng Masang Pilipino, has a point when he suggests in a letter to the editor last Nov. 11 that it’s Cielo Villaluna’s scare tactic that’s scary. Villaluna said that unless PAL sacks 3,000 of its employees, PAL “will close down and 7,500 workers will be displaced without separation pay.” Even if PAL does close down, Melencio says, PAL will have to pay separation pay. That’s the law. PAL doesn’t just understand justice, it doesn’t understand law.

But of course it’s a scare tactic, one that Lucio Tan has employed often enough. It raises all sorts of questions. Not least whether Tan can really do business under competitive conditions. Among the taipans, he’s the one who seems to be able to thrive only with overarching government patronage, which is a charitable way of putting it, such as he did during Marcos’ time and Erap’s time. And for which he invests heavily in candidates. The other taipans seem able to operate pretty much under different leaders. Certainly Lance Gokongwei has not been hit with the same labor problems in Cebu Pacific as Tan has in PAL.

Why should PAL close down if he can’t lay off 3,000 workers? As insiders say, PAL has enough savings to keep them and put them to productive use. At the very least, there’s the justice aspect of it. Many of those workers have been with the company for decades. They even agreed to call a 10-year moratorium on collective bargaining during Erap’s time to help the company along-and also because they knew they weren’t just going against Tan, they were going against Erap. As all the unions supporting PALEA (that is phenomenally universal) point out, the company does not lack ways to cut costs short of sacking 3,000 workers.

At the very most it’s just bad business. How can you get the loyalty-which translates as enthusiasm, which translates as productivity-of your people by mounting a reign of insecurity, if not of terror?

But on a broader front, the problem really goes beyond Tan, though he is the extreme and a problem enough unto himself. The problem is the general attitude or instinct of capitalists in this country to think of themselves first particularly during hard times, or indeed to use those very hard times as an excuse to employ sweatshop methods of cost-cutting. Contractualization is chief of them, the practice of hiring workers without benefits, or without benefit of regularization. It is a vicious thing, reducing the workers to little more than chattel slaves.

The argument, or scare tactic, is that unless the capitalist employs these methods, he will perish, the workers will perish, the country will perish. Only the most ruthless exploitation of labor will allow everyone to live, which is all very nice except when you look at it from the worker’s point of view. Would any capitalist like to live under those conditions of utter uncertainty? Unfortunately for the worker, for the capitalist of this country all times are bad times, justifying mounting that permanent regime of insecurity, if not of terror.

The question of course is: Is there any other way to do it?

The answer isn’t just yes, it is a resounding yes.

Gawad Kalinga (GK), Tony Meloto’s social project that’s now a toast of the world, has just such an enterprise. It’s called Human Nature, a company that has a whole line of products, including hair care, face and lip care, body care, hand and foot care, and stuff for kids. All these are giving rivals like Body Shop a run for their money because they are world class while being way cheaper. The company surged pretty strongly this year because of its Citronella Bug Spray which came out while dengue was rioting. The company managed to meet only 25 percent of demand, government itself endorsing it as a safe and effective means to fight the epidemic.

Human Nature takes off from GK’s philosophy to serve the poor. Not to help the poor through charity or doles but to help the poor help themselves. The products are manufactured by GK villages, from ingredients grown by GK villages. The profits are plowed back to the GK villages. Most companies that tote a “social responsibility” tag give 1-2 percent to the poor. Human Nature gives back 30 percent to them, though the GK residents may no longer be called poor before very long by dint of their own effort. That is the reason the Human Nature products are world class and way cheap. That is also the reason the company is growing by leaps and bounds.

That GK is becoming a toast of the world is no exaggeration. Meloto himself was just been named a leading social innovator by Ernst & Young during its Entrepreneur of the Year Awards last month. Ernst & Young, one of the world’s largest professional services firms assisting business, is currently big on “social entrepreneurship,” a concept GK itself is helping give flesh and sinew to. It’s been a little fuzzy thus far. The award entitles him to sit in the councils of the Economic Summit in Davos and meet with people looking for projects to fund, like Bill Gates.

You can’t say GK/Human Nature can’t compare with PAL in scale, at least as far as potential goes. Give it time and that may be true only in the reverse: PAL won’t compare with GK/Human Nature in scale.

The point is simple. You can have capitalists who do not need to exploit labor to thrive. In fact, you can have capitalists-or entrepreneurs in the truest sense of the word-who need only to make the poor less poor, or no longer poor, to thrive. GK is setting the template for it. Its argument, or scare tactic, is that unless your workers profit along with you, you will perish, your workers will perish, the country will perish. It’s great business sense.

It makes great business, and it makes great sense.

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