PHILIPPINES: Sentro, Nagkaisa herald new era of labor unity

THOUSANDS of trade unionists and activists poured into the streets of Manila and other key cities to celebrate May Day amid renewed hopes that the two latest efforts at labor unity will provide strong impetus to their uphill battle for labor and trade union rights.

At least 5,000 affiliates of the Sentro ng mga Progresibong Manggagawa (Sentro), a newly organized labor center, joined a more massive march and rally in Manila of the recently launched Nagkaisa! labor coalition.

No to US and Chinese expansionism

PHILIPPINES: Akbayan Party condemns plans for increased United States military presence in the country amid burgeoning Chinese military expansionism. We believe these acts by the two superpowers will inevitably destabilize the West Philippine Sea and Southeast Asian region.

Extreme weather: Flash flooding kills 500, displaces 100,000 in the Philippines

Heavy rain and flash flooding on Friday night and Saturday in the Philippines associated with tropical cyclone Washi, known locally as Sendong, has killed 521 people, with many still missing and unaccounted for, and displaced over 100,000 people. The cities of Cagayan de Oro and Iligan were particularly hard hit.

Tropical Storm Washi dumped on the island of Mindanao more than a month of average rains in just 12 hours. According to weather forecaster Leny Ruiz the records show that storms that follow Washi's track come only once in about 12 years. Officials claim it was one of the most destructive calamities in southern Philippines in recent years and struck areas not used to severe flooding. River flooding was worsened by the high tide.

PHILIPPINES: $1-B Australian aid linked to two key issues

During his press conference upon his return from the Apec meeting in Honolulu, President Aquino thanked Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard for the $1 billion aid provided by the Australian government to “help the recent flood and typhoon victims.”

Before we applaud the Australian government and its prime minister for their apparent generosity, let us consider Australia’s national interests that are involved in the Philippines. There are two key issues that stand out.

Australia mining aid for Philippines questioned – ATM

Melbourne, Australia – Filipino and Australian organizations criticized Prime Minister Julia Gillard for launching a $127 million ‘smart aid’ for poor but mineral-rich nations during a forum at the University of Melbourne.

Recently, the Gillard government has launched ‘Mining for Development Initiative’ which aims to help more than 30 developing countries, including the Philippines, address mining related challenges, including everything from managing environmental impacts of mining to governance issues.

Philippines: PALEA picket Qantas office, Oz embassy in support of Qantas workers

By Labor Party - Philippines

The Philippine Airlines Employees’ Association (PALEA) and Partido ng Manggagawa (PM - Labor Party - Philippnes) picketed the Qantas office and Australian embassy in a show of solidarity for the embattled workers of the Australian flag carrier. “We extend the hand of solidarity to our brothers and sisters who are for fighting for job security, decent pay and better working conditions. The struggles they are waging mirror the same demands that we are currently fighting for at PAL,” declared Gerry Rivera, PALEA president and PM vice chair.

Philippines: PALEA gets support of Qantas workers, labor groups abroad

The Philippine Airlines Employees’ Association (PALEA) received the support of a Qantas labor union in Australia even as other labor groups abroad are staging solidarity actions. Similar to PALEA, Qantas workers are embroiled in a long-running dispute with management over job security, pay hikes and working conditions. Qantas flights have been disrupted by a series of strikes by Qantas engineers, ground staff and pilots.

Philippine Airline workers intensify protest actions

The Philippine Airlines Employees’ Association (PALEA) today asserted that Philippine Airlines (PAL) President Jaime Bautista’s announcement that they no longer acknowledge Gerry Rivera and Bong Palad as union officers exposes union busting as the real aim of outsourcing. “Truly a fish is caught by its mouth. Actually PAL is not just recognizing me and Palad as union officers but 62% of PALEA’s leadership and 70% of its membership who have been illegally lockout and terminated.

Philippines calls for progress in climate talks in typhoon devastation aftermath

Filipinos are fighting for survival amid worsening climate change according to the Philippine delegation to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) round of talks in Panama. The main island of Luzon and the national capital Manila have been blasted and battered in late September and into early October by two consecutive typhoons which have killed at least 76 people and caused at least US$200 million in damage to infrastructure and agriculture.