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Sugarcane workers rescued from Hacienda Luisita

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Friday, January 6th, 2017

Workers in the sugarcane fields of Hacienda Luisita have been rescued from alleged maltreatment.

More than 50 ‘Sakadas’ or sugarcane workers are now at the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) after escaping from Hacienda Luisita.

Most of them were rescued in the last week of December 2016 while some just recently abandoned the area.

“Iba’t-ibang paraan ang ano nila, paano sila makaalis? Kaya po meron mga sinundo. Lumabas sila kasi, ayon sa kanila, kapag gabi naka-padlock,” sadi Danilo Ramos, Secretary General of Unyon ng mga Manggagawa sa Agrikultura.

(They tried various ways of escaping. That’s why we had to pick some of them up because they claim that the area is padlocked at night.)

They complained of not receiving the promised salary and other benefits such as the Social Security System.

They said that they’ve only received 9.46 pesos to 128.31 pesos for daily wage which is much lower than a farm worker’s minimum salary in Region 3 which is 334 pesos.

They also worked for 13 hours a day from 4 a.m. to 5 p.m.

There are around 800 of them at the Hacienda Luisita but now it went down to around 20 according to a rescued sakada.

Around 160 of them were recruited from Bukidnon while others were from Cotabato and Davao.

“Mag-i-isang linggo na walang dumarating sa amin na pagkain, tuloy doon sa tinatabasan namin ng tubo nanghuhuli nalang kami ng palaka para may makain kami doon sa hirap ng buhay namin doon,” narrated one of the rescued sakadas Roselito Bravo

(Our life there is difficult. There are no supply of food for almost a week so we are forced to catch frog for us to have something to eat.)

The labor violations had been reported to the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).

The sakadas are also planning to file a criminal case, particularly human trafficking, against the contractor Greenhand Labor Service Cooperative and also to the principal employer Agrikulto Inc. and Central Azucarera de Tarlac.

UNTV News is still waiting for the response of the Department of Labor and Employment regarding the issue. — Rey Pelayo | UNTV News & Rescue

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DOLE to reshuffle POEA employees following reports of corruption in OEC issuance

by UNTV   |   Posted on Thursday, November 16th, 2017

Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III


MANILA, Philippines —The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) investigated the alleged anomaly in the application of overseas employment certificate (OEC) in the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA).

It can be recalled that DOLE initially suspended for 12 days the release of OECs to prevent what it claims as the existing corruption in the agency.

DOLE Secretary Silvestre Bello III said that they will implement new guidelines in POEA to ensure that OECs will not be used for illegal recruitment activities.

“We are coming up with a major revamp in POEA to see to it that the issue of corruption is addressed,” said Sec Bello. — UNTV News & Rescue

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DOLE asks Senate to hear position on proposed 4-day work week

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Tuesday, September 12th, 2017

The Senate has set to tackle the proposed four-day work week after the Lower House passed the bill in the third and final reading.

The Department of Labor and Employment, however, has expressed disagreement with the passage of the proposed four-day work week.

In Kuya Daniel Razon’s interview with Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III on the program ‘Huntahan’, the Secretary said there’s no longer need to pass such law

“There is already an existing Department Order No. 02 series of 2009. There is order of the Department of Labor allowing employees and the management to agree on a compressed work or a flexi work whatever their decision will be so there is already such agreement,” Bello said.

Meanwhile, an occupational specialist said long hours of work especially when standing for a long time is required, have bad effects on health.

“If a person does not move in a place or is stationary, you have stagnant posture, no movement of the muscles, no circulation of the blood, you have accumulation of all the acids and conditions that will lead to pain in the back and the legs,” occupational specialist Dr. Albert Asprec said.

The working class, on the other hand, has mixed opinions on the matter

“Maybe that’s better so one could have more time with his or her family . . . at least you can be with your family for a longer time,” said Edward Teves, a cook.

“For me, you can have rest during eight hours of work. If the work week will be compressed to four days, you’ll have to work much during the four days,” customer service representative Victor Alcaide said.

According to Secretary Bello, the Lower House did not consult the Labor Department before passing the bill. So the agency is appealing to the Senate to hear their position first before coming up with a decision.

The Senate still needs a counterpart bill to have the proposed 4-day work week be passed into law. – Leslie Longboen | UNTV News and Rescue

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DAR Sec. Mariano, accused of favoring some groups to be beneficiaries of Hacienda Luisita

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Wednesday, September 6th, 2017


MANILA, Philippines — Several groups opposing the confirmation of Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) Secretary Rafael Mariano trooped to the Commission on Appointments (CA) Tuesday.

In the confirmation hearing, the group accused Mariano of favoring some groups to be beneficiaries of the Hacienda Luisita land distribution.

“Nagkaroon po ng conflict of interest ang kalagayan ng mga manggagawang bukid sa Hacienda Luisita. Meron po siyang pinoproteksyunan at pinapaboran lang po (There has been a conflict of interest in the situation of farm workers at Hacienda Luisita. He [Mariano] is protecting and favoring select members),” said Noel Mallari.

However, Sec. Mariano said the agency is just following the order of the Supreme Court in auditing the distribution of the said property.

“Out of more than 5,000 po na farm workers beneficiaries na na-interview at ininterview at na-validate ay tumambad pong katotohanan ay 47% po ng mga nainterview at sinubmit po ang validation ay wala pong actual possession (Out of more than 5,000 farm worker beneficiaries interviewed and validated, it was revealed that 47% of the interviewees, whose validations have been submitted, have no actual possession),” Mariano said.

The Hernano Geronimo Group said Mariano’s loyalty is questionable, alleging that the DAR official is a conspirator of the CPP-NPA-NDF(Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front)  group in the attack of some business establishments in Davao City in April, this year.

The DAR Chief, nevertheless, has denied the allegation.

The Commission on Appointments, on the other hand, said they will resume the confirmation hearing tomorrow. – Nel Maribojoc | UNTV News and Rescue

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