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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 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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    DOLE insists that OFW ID card or iDOLE is free

    by UNTV News   |   Posted on Thursday, July 20th, 2017


    KSA overseas Filipino workers (OFW) advocate John Leonard Monterona was surprised when he applied for an OFW ID card in website last July 14.

    It showed that he has to pay P701 to claim it.

    P501 is for the ID card, and another P200 for the delivery charge.

    “We are asking for a clarification from Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Secretary Silvetre Bello III about the process. Does it really have a charge or is it free? If it’s not free, we are against it,” Monterona said.

    Labor Sec. Silvestre Bello, meanwhile, clarified that what Monterona saw on the website was a test run for the registration of OFWs.

    “We are repeatedly saying this. I don’t know their agenda for saying that it has a charge amounting to P500 to P700.

    “The activation of the website and the availability of the card including the corresponding guidelines will be announced . . . once the thorough test run of the system is completed,” said Labor Sec. Silvestre Bello III.

    The Secretary has also once again insisted that OFWs will not pay any amount for the ID card, as well as returning OFWs processing their documents at the POEA.

    He said recruitment agencies will shoulder the cost for all the documents.

    “Sila ang agents representatives ng employers because we cannot talk to the employers who is abroad and tell them you have to pay . . . because they have an agency agreement , they act on behalf of the employers,” Department of Labor and Employment USec. Ciriaco Lagunzad said.

    In line with this, recruitment agencies and labor officials also held a meeting earlier to clarify the rules for the paying of the OFW ID cards.

    The Coalition of Licensed Agencies Deploying Service Workers (CLADS) supports the said program, but they are having concerns on where to get funds for it.

    “OFWs and recruitment practitioners initially thought this is for free, or gift. However, there is a payment that the recruitment agencies will shoulder. We still need a nationwide consultation for this,” CLADS president Lucy Sermonia said.

    The DOLE wants to allay concerns of OFWs about paying for the OFW ID.

    The government said it will intervene between the employers and recruitment agencies so that OFWs can get their IDs free of any charge. – Aiko Miguel | UNTV News & Rescue

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