Date: Wed, 14 Oct 98 10:26:19 CDT
From: (Rich Winkel)
Organization: PACH
Subject: PHILLIPINES: Strike Ban Shows President's True Color
Article: 45270
To: undisclosed-recipients:;
Message-ID: <>

/** headlines: 141.0 **/
** Topic: PHILLIPINES: Strike Ban Shows President's True Color **
** Written 10:45 AM Oct 12, 1998 by labornet in cdp:headlines **
/* Written 4:15 PM Oct 11, 1998 by in */
/* ---------- Philippine'Strike Ban Exemplifies E ---------- */

Strike ban exemplifies Erap's true colors

Courage Online, 30 September 1998

We firmly advice President Erap to aim his threat of ‘sinusubukan nila talaga ako’ not to the striking workers but to the real culprits in the worsening economic crisis in the country. Why does he not run after Lucio Tan for his tax evasion case and his clear mismanagement of the Philippine Airlines (PAL). How dare him even think about depriving the workers of their right to strike which they fought for with their lives during the dark days of martial rule. Ferdinand Gaite, COURAGE President, said in a press release.

President Estrada seems to have completely revealed his true color as anti-worker, anti-poor and anti-people in a series of pronouncements and actions since the start of the strike of workers of the Philippine Airlines (PAL). He immediately concurred with the decision of PAL management to retrench 5,000 employees. Then, he served as Lucio Tan's apologist when the latter decided to close the flag carrier of the country. Worse is when he was instrumental in the ultimate sellout agreement between PAL management and the opportunist leaders of the workers' union (PALEA).

COURAGE believes that, according to Gaite, Erap is essentially anti-worker and anti-poor by declaring that he favors a ban on the right to strike of workers. The ultimate exercise of their right to strike is the essence of unionism and the only defense of the workers under extreme exploitation and oppression by the management. Thus, it cannot be surrendered, especially not during times of crisis, as Erap would justify. No, Mr. President, you may be a Marcos loyalist but we assure you that the workers will defend their rights as hard as during the dictatorship of Marcos.

Gaite added that, The case of the fall of PAL is very much telling of what the government's policy on privatization is all about. It shows how the capitalist can bleed to its bankruptcy a lucrative business such as PAL. The uselessness and helplessness of the government from the power of the few to deprived the country of such important public utility as air transport and a flag carrier at that. As well as the exploitation and oppression of workers in the hands of capitalists.

The sale of PAL and the Metropolitan Waterworks & Sewerage System (MWSS) was undertaken by the Ramos administration in compliance with foreign policy-dictate of privatization, liberalization, and deregulation. Meanwhile, the Estrada administration has lined-up another 100 government-owned-and-controlled corporations, agencies and assets to be privatized. Topping this list is the National Power Corporation (NAPOCOR) which is another corporation on public utility. Privatizing the NAPOCOR is one of the conditionalities in the granting of 1.2 billions of US dollars to the Philippines by the IMF-World Bank under the Memorandum of Economic & Financial Policies (MEFP).