Sotto vows to help free 11 detained Regent Foods workers as 12 others post bail
Maris Federez • November 18, 2019 • 758
PASIG CITY, Philippines – The twelve Regent Foods Corporation workers who were detained following a violent dispersal of their picket line last week posted bail on Monday (November 18).
The workers held a picket on November 9 at a compound in Pasig City to appeal against the alleged contractualization problem, low salary, unfair labor practice, and violation of their right to form a union.
A group of armed guards and police, however, arrived at the scene where the violent dispersal ensued.
Twenty workers and two members of a labor group were arrested. Also arrested was a tricycle driver who just happened to be in the area.
Regent Foods charged them with slight physical injuries, resistance, and disobedience on top of alarm.
The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) the labor dispute between Regent Foods and its workers is pending before the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC).
“There are times na medyo mahirap iyong diskusyon pero bahagi po ng proseso eh. Ang sa amin naman po eventually, magkasundo po sila at sa tingin po namin iyon po iyong gustong patunguhan ng 2 partido,” DOLE Asec. Benjo Beñavidez said.
Meanwhile, Pasig City Mayor Vico Sotto stated in his Facebook post that he requested Regent Foods to withdraw the charges it filed against the 23 workers.
Regent Foods owners Irwin and Susan Lee asked the local executive to give them time to consult their board members.
The company lawyers, however, informed Sotto that they will not withdraw the case, in which the young mayor said they will exert everything in their power to free the other 11 detained workers.
Mayor Vico early on Monday (November 18) met with the union leaders and the relatives of the detained workers to discuss how the 11 still detained workers will be freed.
Labor group ALU-TUCP condemned the violent dispersal committed by the security agencies against the workers.
They said it is the security guards the must be detained and not the picketing workers.
“Wala hong mandato, wala silang authority, wala silang kapangyarihan sa gobyerno na idisperse iyong mga manggagawa na legal na nagpipiket at nagpapahayag ng kanilang grievances sa management,” said Alan Tanjusay of ALU-TUCP. (from the report of Mai Bermudez) /mbmf
MANILA, Philippines – As a way to console grieving families, the local government of Pasig has decided to shoulder cremation expenses of all deaths related to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in the city.
In his Twitter post, Pasig City mayor Vico Sotto announced the offer and acknowledged the help provided by Evergreen Chapels for that matter.
Sotto assured his constituents that the entire process is safe and in accordance with the strict protocols imposed by the Department of Health (DOH).
The young mayor also noted the continuous effort of the LGU for non-COVID deaths through Project Damayan.
For further inquiries, the Pasig City government may be contacted through telephone numbers 8-643-0000. MNP / Harlene Delgado
RFC’s official statement posted on Facebook reads that the company respects the sentiments of Mayor Vico as well as the rights of its workers to hold peaceful strikes, underscoring that such rights “presuppose that the strike was first peaceful and that it was carried out within the bounds of the law.”
The snack food manufacturer noted that contrary to how the mayor depicted the situation, the strike was never legitimate nor peaceful, had been violative of RFC’s own rights.
RFC lamented that it “was immediately accused of initiating a lockout when the truth of the matter is that it was the minority union—UMRFC-KMU—who locked RFC and its employees out of the company, gravely affecting the lives of more than 400 innocent employees. “
To address this situation early on, RFC said it had sought the help of several government offices, including that of Mayor Vico’s.
The company also claimed that “in his post, Mayor Vico deliberately failed to disclose to the public that, before any of this had happened, RFC actually wrote his office to ask his assistance in amicably pacifying the situation.”
It further claimed that the company’s request fell on deaf ears, constraining them to resort to private security assistance so that they can reopen their gates and resume its usual business operations.
RFC pointed out that despite its communication with the office of the Pasig local executive, Mayor Vico still portrays the company as an evil corporation ready to “put poor and powerless people to jail”.
The snack manufacturer’s statement also reads that “Mayor Vico deliberately overlooks that RFC is not the complainant who pressed these criminal charges, RFC did not order their arrest, and RFC did not even participate in the preliminary investigation of these individuals.”
“Worse still, Mayor Vico has cast RFC as anti-labor. But, the truth is, RFC only meant to protect the rights of its non-striking employees who were prevented by the strikers from working and providing for their own families,” the statement further said.
The company further noted that as it stood by for 24 days, it did nothing to the strikers, even when they barricaded its ingress and egress, and even when the banner of KMU was visibly displayed in RFC’s private property, which are clear violations of RFC’s rights.
RFC maintained that it will not be cowered by the mayor’s threats as it hopes that Mayor Vico will also offer it the same courtesy, as is required by the basic rules of fairness.
“As recent events would, however, reveal, the mayor’s mind is already made up on an unjust quid pro quo. This, RFC cannot allow,” RFC insisted.
“Moving forward, RFC may simply accept its fate that the Pasig City Administration will unjustly make life hard for it and its 400-strong workforce, and contemplate simply bringing its business elsewhere—a truly painful outcome for a corporation that has considered Pasig City its home for a total of three decades now,” the statement concluded. /mbmf
The Commission on Elections (Comelec) has junked the poll protest of former Pasig Mayor Robert “Bobby” Eusebio against incumbent mayor Vico Sotto.
Based on the decision of Comelec 2nd Division promulgated last August 30, the said protest is “insufficient in form and substance.”
“Protestant failed to provide a detailed specification of the acts or omissions complained of showing the electoral frauds, anomalies or irregularities in the protested precincts as required by Section 7(g) Rule 6 of Comelec Resolution no. 8804,” the decision states.
The Comelec 2nd Division said Eusebio’s party was not able to provide enough evidence that there was an anomaly during the Pasig City mayoral race last May.
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