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Philippine News Digest 59

July 23, 2003 · 

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Contents:

  • PREDA Fair Trade opens new website
  • Union leaders denounce abusive practices in garments firms
  • Indigenous people claim vigilante group harassing them

PREDA Fair Trade opens new website

The PREDA Fair Trade department opened a new website www.preda.net July 23 exclusively for fair trading, where visitors could access information on fair trade products and producers. The PREDA fair trade project helps several producers in the Philippines by supporting cooperatives and small business enterprises, providing product design, business advice and production loans to village producer groups. The project also gives direct access to local and overseas markets in cooperation with alternative fair trade organizations and the world shops. It aims to prevent social problems such as the sexual exploitation of women and children by reducing poverty and keeping children in schools.

Union leaders denounce abusive practices in garments firms

Union leaders of three garments firms denounced the abusive practices employed by A. Bylsons Co. Inc., Karayom Garments Manufacturing Inc. and Anvil. Workers in Anvil had accused the management of overworking them to the point of plying them with drugs so they could stay awake and work with hardly a break for up to three days straight while officers and members of the Karayom union have been mounting a picket for seven months now after the management unilateraly decided to file an application for temporary closure last January 6- the same day the workers were informed of such move. The issues raised by the union are: payment of 1.5 weeks unpaid salary for December 2002, payment of 60 percent of their 13th month pay; payment of 2002 unpaid vacation and sick leaves convertible to cash and unremitted SSS, Pag-IBIG and PhilHealth contributions. The union has filed charges of illegal closure and unpaid salaries and benefits with the Department of Labor and criminal and administrative charges against the owner. Source: Trials of Garments Workers in “At Large” by Rina Jimenez-David, Philippine Daily Inquirer, 24 July 2003.

Indigenous people claim vigilante group harassing them

Leaders of indigenous communities belonging to the Ata-Manobo tribe in Davao del Norte claim that the military-backed Alamara vigilante group was harassing them because of their refusal to join its crusade against New People’s Army (NPA) rebels in the area. As a result, some 500 families in the province have been displaced. Governor Rodolfo del Rosario and Talaingod town Mayor Pilar Libayao ordered a probe into the allegations but the community leaders were not optimistic since Libayao is a known supporter of the vigilante group since suspected NPA rebels gunned down her husband, former Talaingod Mayor Jose Libayao, a staunch anti-Communist, in 2001. Source: Anthony Allada, PDI Mindanao Bureau, Philippine Daily Inquirer, 21 July 2003.

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