Kami ang boss mo, drivers, workers remind PNoy
BACOLOD CITY – The daang matuwid might be getting lonely for President Aquino as drivers and workers here are reminding him of his campaign promise to serve them.
“You told us that we are your bosses but what is happening now?” Jessie Ortega, secretary-general of the United Negros Drivers and Operators Center said over what he described as President Aquino’s “lack of decisiveness” in dealing with the rising fuel prices.
UNDOC is set to lead a two-day transport holiday next week to demand that government abolish the Expanded Value Added Tax on fuel.
Workers, on the other hand, are uneasy with yesterday’s decision of the wage board in the National Capital Region that granted a P22 increase in the Cost of Living Allowance (COLA) for workers in the region.
“This is degrading and humiliating for the workers,” Wennie Sancho, labor sector representative to the Region 6 Wage Board, told local radio station dyEZ Aksyon Radyo-Bacolod.
This is an “ominous sign” that the petition filed by the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines for a P99 hike for workers in the region won’t be approved, Sancho said.
The NCR hike means that workers will be receiving an additional P22 on top of the P404 mandated minimum wage.
“It is wrong to call it as P426 because that is actually P404 plus P22,” Sancho pointed out as he explained that the P22 COLA will not be integrated into the basic wage. The P22 COLA will also not be computed into the 13th month and overtime pays, retirement and other benefits of workers.
The NCR hike will take effect 15 days after its publication.
The activist Kilusang Mayo Uno, on the other hand, came out strongly against PNoy and said this is an indication of his being “pro-capitalist” despite his “pretensions” that he is for the people.
KMU, which has been pushing more than a decade ago for a P125 legislated wage hike, said Aquino had not done anything substantial in alleviating the plight of ordinary workers in the country.
“But what can we expect from someone who is not even concerned with the plight of the workers of hacienda Luisita?” KMU asked.
KMU added that Aquino, like GMA, “even prioritized the soldiers than those who toil in the fields and the factories of the country.”
Proof of that is his signing of Executive Order No. 38 last April 28 that granted additional combat pay of P500 and incentive pay of P150 a day for all officials and enlisted personnel of the Armed Forces that will be applied retroactively as of January 1, 2011, it said.
The Region 6 wage board is set to hold a public hearing here on May 20 and is expected to come out with a ruling soon after on the petition for a P99 hike.
FEBACDA NOT FOR TRANSPORT STRIKE
As activist drivers gear up for next week’s protest, the Federation of Bacolod City Drivers Associations (FEBACDA) said it is not joining the May 16 to 17 holiday.
“We have no directives from the top,” FEBACDA president Elizabeth Katalbas said but was quick to add that “we respect UNDOC in leading the protest action but we can do nothing since we are bound by the policies of our partylist.”
FEBACDA is an affiliate of the 1-Utak partylist. Its number one nominee was then defense Secretary Angelo Reyes who committed suicide after he was accused by a military colonel as one of those who received millions of pesos in “pabaon” when he retired as AFP chief of staff during the Arroyo administration.
Katalbas added, however, that FEBACDA’s members might stop plying the streets if they see that there are no more passengers and if public transportation will be substantially paralyzed.
At the City Hall, acting Mayor Jude Thaddeus Sayson said he is backing the transport strike.
“It is time that government should take heed the people’s problems,” he said.
Sayson added that he is not convinced with the explanations of the Department of Energy that transportation costs are hiking pump prices in the province by several pesos per liter.
Bacolod Councilor Dindo Ramos, on the other hand, said he will be sponsoring during the city council’s regular session this week a resolution expressing support for the protest action.
Freak wind topples trees, trips power in Negros Occidental
BACOLOD CITY – The times are a changin’ and so is the weather as a freak wind struck here and some parts in southern Negros Occidental last night.
Trees were toppled in the village of Bata while power tripped off in several large barangays past 7:30 p.m.
“The wind was howling, we thought there was a tornado,” Arman Toga, an editor of the local daily Negros Daily Bulletin said.
The strong gusts came with heavy rains that did not last for more than an hour.
Power tripped off in the villages of Mansilingan, Alijis, Tangub and even at the downtown area.
In Pontevedra town, some residents reported that their roofs were blown off by the wind.
“This is a freak occurrence,” city disaster officer Joemarie Vargas said as he pointed out that there was no forecast or no indication that strong winds will strike early last night.
The only plausible explanation, he said, are the winds trailing Bagyo Bebeng (Tropical Storm Aere), the second weather disturbance that has entered the country this year.
No fatalities nor casualties were reported.
Jericho March versus RH Bill today
Priests and Catholic faithful will be joining their counterparts around the country in dramatizing their opposition to the Reproductive Health Bill that will be up for plenary debate in the House of Representatives today.
Bacolod Bishop Vicente Navarra will be leading the caravan of cars around the city that will take off 12 noon from the Lupit Church grounds and will end with a mass at the San Sebastian Cathedral around 1:30 p.m.
Parishes will also ring their churchbells at exactly 12 noon while cars joining the caravan will be honking their horns.
The Bacolod Diocese had led last month a Caravan for Life around the island in drumming up opposition to the measure that has been tagged by Churchpeople and their allies as a “death bill.”
Korean electric power firm putting up a solar farm in Negros Occidental.
Bacolod police intelligence chief meets with station commanders yesterday to discuss measures against the Parohinog holdup group that is preparing to strike banks in the city.
Two-year-old child abducted, allegedly sold by father’s jealous lover. Twenty-eight-year old suspect claims her lover dotes more on the child from a previous marriage than on her.