BMI


Went to Laguna for the weekend, for the Basic Masses Integration Program of the LFS.

First stop, with workers from Nestle who remain in a six-year strike after talks with the Nestle Cabuyao Management regarding the guidelines for their Collective Negotiations Agreement broke down in 2001. The issue: whether Retirement Benefits is a negotiable item on the CBA. In 1991, the Supreme Court has already made a decision that the said benefit IS a negotiable item. In 2006, that decision has been reaffirmed by the High Court, ordering that the Union and the Nestle Management resume negotiations.

However, Nestle is yet to face the workers. The factory in Laguna has resumed operations, with less experienced contractual workers. The Union was only able to hold the gates and paralyze factory operations for a month, as they had to face not only the Union, but the combined force of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), the Philippine National Police, and the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

The DOLE, released an Assumption of Jurisdiction (AJ) order, authorizing the Secretary of DOLE (Particia Sta. Tanas) to use the police to break the picket line of the workers and order them to return to work. The DOLE justified their actions by saying that the strike was against national interest. After all, Nestle is one of the biggest corporations that invest here in the Philippines. But the experience not only of the Nestle workers but others that I have been able to talk to say that the AJ has always been used against workers, revealing the reality that government agencies serve the few and the powerful.

Incidentally, last Saturday, February 22 was the second-year anniversary of the slay of Nestle Workers Union President Diosdado "Ka Fort" Fortuna. He is the 11th Nestle worker leader to be killed around the world, which means that his death is not an isolated case but is actually a practice of the multinational corporation to prevent dissent from its workers. He is also the second Nestle workers union president to be killed here in the Philippines, after the who preceded him.

As the Nestle workers slogan goes, "There's blood in your coffee."

I never really was faithful to the Nestle Boycott campaign. Though I try to be conscious of what I buy, Boycotting all Nestle products (that number at 8,000 brand names) has been difficult, partly due to convenience (when you need food, there's always a Nestle product in a store near you). But after meeting Nestle workers, I have made a personal decision to be resolute at living a Nestle-free life. I hope you do too.

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After Nestle, we spent the Night and the following day at a community of rural workers, those that belong to the lowest strata of the lowest strata in the social triangle. (Maralitang magsasaka).

At Tatay Elizer's house, before going to sleep, we found out that we are not the first visitors to their community, that many have long been their adopted children as exposurees.

In the morning, we woke up early, had a discussion of the situationer of the community, then removed our slippers to go to the farm and help in the harvesting of rice. Though the locals made it look simple, using a sickle efficiently and safely is very difficult. My little finger has a wound after being scraped by a sickle. Under the piercing heat of the sun, wearing nothing but a shirt and shorts, we caught a practical glimpse of how difficult it is to be peasant.

And that was just the physical aspect of it. The economic and political aspect, I can only imagine. As a petty-B from a family that is relatively well-to-do, I have always been sheltered from the difficulties of living. The biggest problem I had recently was if I can deliver a report in class. But the people there, and the many other peasants in the country can't even send their kids to school or bring food to the table.

After the harvest, the Petty-B me exclaimed, "And suwerte ko pala't naging Peti-B ako, 'di ko nararanasan ang ganitong hirap araw-araw."

To which Venzer replied, "Anong suwerte? Malas ka kasi wala kang alam."

Harsh as it sounds, the realization dawned on me. What do I know? Apart from what I read in books, hear in class, and live in a life conditioned by the illusions made by state ideological establishments,what do I know?

I'm just learning. A little at a time. In the streets, in discussion groups, in alternative forums, in talking with the people, I learn.

To quote Pablo Neruda,

I learned about life
from life itself,
love I learned in a single kiss
and could teach no one anything
except that I have lived
with something in common among men,
when fighting with them,
when saying all their say in my song.


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Here is a statement I made at our propaganda writing workshop during the BMI.
The assignment: write a statement that shall make a reader end buying Nestle products.

Paano Uminom ng Kape
1. Magpainit ng tubig.
Hintayin na kumulo. 'Yung nakakapaso. Pero kahit anong sakit na maramdaman mo kapag isinawsaw mo ang daliri mo, hindi pa rin nito matatapatan ang sakit mula sa batuta ng police o tubig mula sa water cannon na naranasan ng mga manggagawa ng Nestle sa kanilang strike laban sa management.

2. Ihalo ang Isang kutsarang kape.
'Yung mabango. Masarap 'yung frothe o kaya'y Hazelnut flavor. Pero kahit mabango ito, hindi pa rin nito mapagtatakpan ang sangsang ng amoy ng korporasyong ayaw makipag-usap sa mga manggagawa. Kahit makatarungan at nararapat ang kanilang ipinaglalaban. Kahit dalawang beses nang sinabi ng Korte Suprema noong 1991 at 2006 na isang negotiable item ang retirement benefits sa Collective Bargaining Agreement. Ang pagpupumilit kasi ng gahamang Nestle na hindi maaaring pag-usapan ang nasabing benepisyo sa CBA ang dahilan kung bakit nagstrike ang mga manggagawa.

3. Ihalo ang asukal batay sa panlasa.
Pero kahit gaano karaming kutsara ng asukal ang pa ang ilagay mo, mananatili pa ring mapait ang karanasan ng mga manggagawa na pinaslangan ng isang lider upang sila ay matakot, manahimik, at iatras ang laban. Dalawang taon na mula nang patayin ng berdugong Nestle si Diosdado "Ka Fort" Fortuna, tagapangulo ng kanilang unyon. Hanggang ngayon, mailap pa rin ang hustisya sa kanyang kamatayan.

4. Haluin.
Sa labor dispute sa pagitan ng Nestle workers at ng Nestle Management, nakikihalo ang Department of Labor and Employment, Philippine National Police, Armed Forces of the Philippines, at Municipal Trial Court ng Laguna. Pero sa halip na ipagtanggol ng mga ahensyang ito ang karapatan ng mga manggagawa, ginagamit pa nila ang dahas at batas ng estado upang masunod ang nais ng Management. Kung anu-anong gawa-gawang kaso ang hinaharap ng mga lider ng unyon. Sila pa ang masama at terorista sa mata ng gobyernong napatunayan nag nabibili ng dayuhan at nagsisilbi sa kanilang interes.

5. Inumin.
'Yan ay kung matitiis pa ng iyong sikmura ang Nescafe, na sa likod ng kanilang magarbong advertisements ay ang katotohanang pumapatay sila ng mga manggagawa. Mabuti pa, tigilan mo na ang pagbili mo ng Nestle products. Ito na ang suportang iyong maibibigay sa mga manggagawa ng Nestle na sa kabila ng hirap na kanilang dinaranas sa kamay ng Nestle at ng sabwatang DOLE-PNP-AFP-MTC ay patuloy pa rin sa pakikipaglaban para sa kanilang karapatan.

Dont choose Nestle! It kills workers!
Boycott all Nestle products!

Justice for Ka Fort!

1 komento:

vencer September 24, 2007 at 9:30 PM  

galing ng statement mo. pwedeng ilagay sa mga kusina at mga ref. gawin mong parang cookbook recipe. :)