Press Release
August 5, 2010


"The recent en masse resignation of Philippine Airlines' (PAL) pilots only mirrors the country's poor labor law and its inability to protect the working class."

Senator Ramon Bong Revilla Jr. made the statement as he underscored the possible violations of professionals and skilled workers' labor rights as another reason for their exodus.

He cited the claim of PAL pilots that they do not have security of tenure and there have been plans on the part of the airline company for the contractualization of its employees.

According to Bong Revilla, labor contractualization is now rampant and it causes the widespread displacement of workers in Luzon and in Visayas.

"It also contributes to the high unemployment rate and even higher underemployment," he said, adding that it empowers companies while leaving the helpless workers on a much disadvantaged position.

Under the labor- only contractualization, companies hire workers for a period of three to six months. Workers are not entitled to all benefits, rights and privileges of a regular employee.

Bong Revilla criticized the labor officials for being lenient to companies that practice contractualization.

He reminded unscrupulous companies that the law prohibits contractualization - which give them a leeway to pay below minimum wages and not giving its workers social security contributions and health benefit coverage.

"Contractualization is slowly creeping into our labor system. It first started in manufacturing and services industries. It now reached our professionals. Their expertise are in demand abroad, they do not have a choice but to leave the Philippines, where the labor system is perceived to deprive them of their rights," he said.

In 1997, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) issued an order that allowed contracting and subcontracting arrangements "for the purpose of increasing efficiency and streamlining operations."

The same department order was used by some companies to circumvent the labor law that protects the workers; used as grounds for union busting; and massive retrenchment and hiring of casual and contractual workers.

The senator said it was revoked in 2001 but was restored in 2002; it still stands as of today.

"The labor officials should revoke these department orders because it is unconstitutional and clearly strips the workers of protection," he said.

"Brain drain is one of the repercussions of the poor labor practices. We are now experiencing the brunt of brain drain. We are lacking professionals to render services to the public," Bong Revilla added.

The senator recapped that flights have been cancelled and businesses were disrupted when the pilots of the flag-carrier PAL suddenly tendered their resignation and shifted to foreign airlines that offered them higher wages and better benefits.

"Hospitals are shorthanded with competent and efficient nurses because the experienced ones are working abroad. They are easily tempted to get out of the country and render medical services to foreigners because hospitals here are hiring on contractual basis," he further cited.

Bong Revilla added that it is high time that the labor officials should address this problem as pilots, medical practitioners, scientists and engineers - whose expertise and services are crucial to the country's development - are now leaving the Philippines .

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