Olongapo SubicBay BatangGapo Newscenter

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Solon calls on Arroyo to boycott Hanjin ship's inauguration

A party-list congresswoman on Monday expressed support for the order of the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority or SBMA to stop the operations of Hanjin's construction arm.

However, Akbayan party-list Rep. Anna Theresia "Risa" Hontiveros chided the SBMA for the "kid gloves treatment that the Korean ship-building company is receiving all along."

At the same time, she lashed out at the Department of Labor and Employment for its continued silence regarding the deaths of Hanjin workers.

"After so many deaths, why only now? Assuming that there are 12 work related deaths since 2006, though according to our records there are more, the SBMA only acted on the matter last Friday. The belated action of SBMA on safety concerns has contributed greatly in making the shipyard a virtual graveyard of workers," Hontiveros said in a press statement.

The lawmaker pointed out that the temporary shut down "is a nothing more than a band-aid measure."

Hontiveros pointed out that the SBMA repeatedly failed to address the issue of occupational health and safety standards in the Korean plant because it does not exact accountability from the Korean firm.

"Up to now, Han Jin remains impervious to health and safety standards. It refuses to take responsibility for the deaths in the workplace and just puts the blame on its labor contractors. I am very infuriated by the statements of its general manager Pyeong Jong Yu that blames the Filipino workers, the victims themselves, for the accidents. The remarks are not only thoughtless, they're insulting," Hontiveros said.

Hontiveros called on the President Arroyo and other government officials to express solidarity with the families of all those who died in Hanjin by boycotting the inauguration of the first ship built in the plant.

"President Arroyo must remember that the vessel they will inaugurate on July 4 is a blood ship. It would be insensitive for the president to inaugurate a ship that was built at the expense of the lives of Filipino workers. If the president attends, it would be like the ostentatious Manila Film Center Inauguration weeks after workers were buried underneath, a tragedy upon a tragedy."

The Akbayan solon also called the attention of the Department of Labor and Employment.

"We have not heard anything from DOLE on this matter. I find it very alarming that it seems to pass on the responsibility of enforcing labor laws and standards inside the Freeport to the SBMA. The DOLE must be reminded of its primary responsibility to ensure the productivity and welfare of Filipino workers. In the end, they too have blood on their hands."

Hontiveros is hopeful that Congress will finally hold hearings on her resolution, HR 430, directing the house committee on labor to conduct an urgent inquiry on the health and safety conditions at the Hanjin shipyard during the recess because of an omnibus motion passed before adjournment. - GMANews.TV

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  • What has the congress, senate, and maritime industry done about the Philippine deaths and losses over the past twenty years. Inter island transportation is a big business without accountability for safety by any government enforcement except after the fact accusations.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6/25/2008 1:26 PM  

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