Philippine President Aquino Lauds Fewer Labor Strikes Under His Term

CEBU, Philippines – Philippine President Benigno Aquino III said his administration did well in solving labor disputes in the country, saying saying only 12 cases of labor strikes were recorded since he was elected into office in 2010.

In a speech he delivered during the unveiling of the New Mill Facility Marker at CEMEX Philippines in the City of Naga, south of Cebu City, Aquino said only 12 cases of labor strikes occurred under his administration, compared to the 259 labor strikes that were launched during the administration of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

In 2010, only one labor strike was held, the lowest in the country’s history.

“Umaasa po ako na magpapatuloy ang positibong ugnayan sa pagitan ng manggagawa at nag-empleyo sa kanila,” Aquino said, as he expressed hope that it stays that way or that there would be a “zero strike” during his remaining months in office.

Aquino was in Cebu to celebrate Labor Day and grace various activities, including the unveiling of the New Mill Facility Marker at CEMEX Philippines in the City of Naga.

CEMEX is a growing global building materials company that produces, distributes, and markets cement, ready-mix concrete, aggregates, and related building materials to customers in over 50 countries while maintaining trade relationships with more than 100 nations.

Aquino, however, expressed concern on the ongoing labor dispute at the power plant of the Korean Electric Power Corp – Salcon Power Cor (Kepco-SPC), which is located in Naga City, Cebu, saying a possible power crisis in the Visayas could occur should the strike pushes through.

In an ambush interview, Aquino told Cebu reporters that he wants the current labor dispute to be settled peacefully through a dialogue between the two aggrieved parties.

If the strike pushes through, Aquino said operations at the power plant could be hampered, which means the flow of power supply in the Visayas will be affected.

He, however, expressed confidence that Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz will be able to find a way to solve the labor dispute and provide win-win solution.

The two labor unions of Kepco-SPC were ready to launch the strike Friday morning but labor officials intervened and suggested that the dialogue between the labor unions and the management continue.

The workers said they will not push through with a planned strike if their supervisors, Lowell Sanchez and Nelson Florita, are reinstated by the management.

Sanchez was a Safety Division supervisor while Florita was the Operations Department assistant manager before they were terminated last March 30 and 31, respectively.

Sanchez and Florita were removed for allegedly helping the rank-and-file employees form a union, an allegation they both denied. –