We will not be cowered by Mayor Vico’s threats – Regent Foods

Maris Federez   •   November 19, 2019   •   577

Pasig City Mayor Vico Sotto speaks to union leaders and relatives of the detained workers at the Pasig City Hall on Monday, 18 November 2019. (Photo: Defend Job Philippines Facebook)

PASIG CITY, Philippines – Regent Foods Corporation (RFC) on Tuesday (Nov. 19) released its reaction to the Facebook post of Pasig City Mayor Vico Sotto on Sunday (Nov. 17), underscoring that it will not be cowered by the young mayor’s threats.

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

Mayor Sotto suspends Landers branch for breach of social distancing rules

Marje Pelayo   •   July 22, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — The local government of Pasig City has suspended a branch of membership supermarket Landers in Barangay Ugong for failing to observe physical distancing.

In his post on Twitter, Mayor Vico Sotto explained that they usually do not announce business names that violate the policy in consideration of their reputation.

But in the case of Landers, the Mayor opted to reveal the name for the safety of the shoppers given the supermarket’s large number of members.

According to Sotto, only the grocery is temporarily closed but the restaurant, barbershop, plant shop, pharmacy, and parking space remain open for business.

Sotto said the management of the supermarket already expressed compliance with the policy.

“We encourage them to use the next few days to improve their health/safety protocols,” Mayor Sotto concluded.

Sotto vows to help free 11 detained Regent Foods workers as 12 others post bail

Maris Federez   •   November 18, 2019

Pasig City Mayor Vico Sotto

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

KMU braces for Labor Day protest; PNP to raise alert level

Marje Pelayo   •   May 1, 2018

DUTERTEMONYO: Labor group Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) prepares an effigy of President Duterte to be burned by 80,000 militants

QUEZON CITY, Philippines – The Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) is all set for the protest actions on Labor Day, Tuesday, May 1.

According to KMU Secretary General Jerome Adonis, they have prepared an effigy of the President which they intend to burn in condemnation of the administration’s failure to address labor concerns and for not being true to its promise. The group is particularly critical of the President’s non-signing of an executive order that seeks to stop contractualization in the country.

“Since tumanggi na siya na hindi na siya pipirma ng executive order at itinuturo na niya ang legislation, ipinakita niya talaga na siya ay kontra manggagawa at pro-capitalista,” Adonis said.

(Since he has refused to sign an executive order and is now pointing at legislation, it goes to show that he is anti-workers and pro-capitalists.)

The group expects around 8,000 participants in Tuesday’s protest rally.

Meanwhile, the Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief Police Director General Oscar Albayalde said it is necessary for the PNP to raise its alert level to maintain peace and order in areas of mass actions. However, the PNP chief leaves it to regional directors to decide depending on the situation in their areas of responsibility.

“I am delegating to the regional directors to upgrade the alert status as necessary to address peculiar peace and order concern in their areas of responsibility,” Albayalde said.

The PNP will deploy 10,000 personnel to control the crowd on Tuesday in areas where rally is expected to be held.

“As a policy, our security forces will remain tolerant of lawful activities but will be firm and uncompromising in addressing acts of violence, disobedience, anarchy and disrespect for the rule of law,” he added.

Albayalde asks labor groups to be vigilant and wary as terrorists might take advantage to infiltrate their groups and spark violence that would harm innocent lives. – Lea Ylagan | UNTV News & Rescue

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