"I am certain PNoy [Aquino] understands the gravity of this PAL row. This appeal only serves as an urge to his Excellency to intervene and exhaust all means provided by the law to act and protect the PAL workers’ labor rights and job security. After all, these affected workers are also his boss," San Juan City Representative Joseph Victor Ejercito said.
Ejercito, one of the vice chairpersons of the committee, expressed disappointment over the decision of Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz, saying this may cause a stain on the President’s commitment to lead the people on the right path.
"If the laying off of workers be made final and executory, this may hugely affect the way people will perceive PNoy’s administration as the decision is purely anti-labor, anti-worker and most of all, anti-Filipino," he said.
Ejercito and Gabriela partylist Representative Emmi de Jesus said the President should not be afraid to confront business tycoon Lucio Tan, PAL’s owner, with his decisions on the workers’ fate.
"It is imperative that we put a stop to Lucio Tan’s economic sabotage by firing out industrious yet underpaid PAL workers and consistently evading tax obligations since the time of Ramos. It’s high time for PNoy to confront and remove the horns of abusive and exploitative big businessmen such as Lucio Tan," he said.
De Jesus, a member of the committee on labor, called on the employees of the airlines to work together and protect their ranks.
Senate to LLDA: Order Tanduay to pay for Laguna 'fish kill'
10/28/2010 08:20 PM
The Senate committee on environment and natural resources Thursday asked the Laguna Lake Development Authority (LLDA) to order Tanduay Distillers Inc. to pay for the clean-up of the chemical spill which allegedly caused a fish kill in Laguna Lake.
"We asked [the LLDA] to order Tanduay Distillers to pay for the clean-up as part of penalties under the Clean Water Act [of 2004]," said Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri, whose committee started its probe into the reported fish kill.
The LLDA on Wednesday ordered the company to temporarily shut down its plant, which burned on Oct. 14, discharging alcohol into the Cabuyao River - a stream that flows into Laguna Lake. The agency also ordered Tanduay Distillers to explain its side.
Republic Act 9275 or the Clean Water Act prohibits the discharge of any material that could pollute or impede the natural flow of bodies of water.
The LLDA is claiming that alcohol spillage killed the fish in the immediate area, affecting the livelihood of fishpen operators and small fisherfolk who operate in the lake.
"We welcome the Senate investigation," Wilson Young, president and COO of Tanduay Distillers, told GMANews.TV. "We will help them determine what happened there."
The alcohol flowed into the stream because of a fire, he said. "It was an accident."
On Oct. 21, the LLDA told reporters that it started an investigation after fisherfolk reported that the dead fish from the lake emitted an odor similar to that of alcoholic drinks.
"The pollution that occurred was so extreme that the river beside the Tanduay plant is completely dead," Zubiri said in an interview after the Senate hearing.
"What we have to determine now is if there was really a fish kill," Young said.
"Based on this we, want to find out how to avoid similar incidents in the future," he added.
Zubiri said that his committee has ordered the LLDA to conduct a full-blown investigation, and that an LLDA hearing will be held on Nov. 2 to assess the damage caused by the alcohol spill.
400 Million additional expense for PAL
(Updated 3:14 p.m.) The plan to spin off its non-core services - an effort to restructure and streamline operations - will cost Philippine Airlines P2.5 billion, the flag carrier said Wednesday.
PAL president and CEO Jaime Bautista told reporter in a briefing that spinning off the airline’s in-flight catering, airport services, and call center reservations was originally estimated at P2 billion.
But last week’s ruling of Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz "upped the figure by more than P400 million due to enhanced separation benefits and other modifications in the financial and non-cash awards," Bautista said.
In the Baldoz decision, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) recognized PAL management’s prerogative to restructure its operations.
"Given its recent losses and current financial position, PAL would be hard put to raise P2.5 billion but this is a bitter pill we have to swallow. PAL believes DOLE’s decision is ‘just, reasonable and humane,’" Bautista said.
"Since it has the force and effect of a law, we must respect the ruling," he added.
"By not contesting the DOLE secretary’s decision, especially the grant of additional benefits, PAL hopes to finally implement a long delayed corporate restructuring that aims to stabilize the airline’s finances and eventually lead to an expansion and improvement of services," he said.
"The spin off means PAL will sell its in-flight catering, airport services, and call center reservations which will lead to the early retirement of affected rank-and-file workers. They will all receive their respective separation pay and benefits that are much more than what the Labor Code provides," he explained.
"We deeply lament that PAL management decided to push through with the drastic spin-off measure, unmindful of how it will affect the lives of 3,000 workers and their families," Roberto Anduiza, president of the Flight Attendants and Stewards’ Association, said in a statement released Tuesday.
"FASAP is one with PALEA in its struggle to protect the job security of all PAL employees," Anduiza added.
PALEA earlier alleged that PAL had actually contracted out the jobs in non-core services.
Bautista on Wednesday stressed that third party service providers like PLDT e-Ventus for call center reservations is owned by PLDT, while Sky Kitchen for catering and Sky Logistics for airport services are owned by Cebu-based businessman Manny Osmeña. "These service providers are not owned by PAL chairman Lucio Tan or any of his family members," he said.