Olongapo SubicBay BatangGapo Newscenter

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Hanjin workers cannot take it anymore, They are going on a protest caravan this Sunday, July 3

Support the Hanjin workers

By Teodoro C. Bacani - Reflections - Journal.com.ph

Many of the Hanjin workers cannot take it anymore. They are going on a protest caravan this Sunday, July 3. The caravan will start from the National Housing Authority and will make its way to the Hanjin shipyard in Subic, Zambales where there will be a Mass celebrated by Bishop Broderick Pabillo, the chairman of the CBCP’s National Secretariat on Social Action.

In case you have forgotten, Hanjin Heavy Industries and Construction Philippines, Inc., is the South Korean conglomerate that inked a 50-year lease agreement with then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. They brought in an initial $721-million investments, which at that time was the largest foreign direct investment, and they now employ 21,000 Filipino workers.

So, why the protest caravan? To call attention to several serious grievances. First is the questionable safety conditions in the workplace. In the span of six days (March 8-14, 2011) there were five documented accidents that seriously injured six workers.

According to one member of the group that presented the protesting laborers’ case before the CBCP‘s Catholic Media Network forum on June 28, in the past three years there have been 31 deaths in the shipyard.

Second, they want to protest and prevent maltreatment in the hands of their Korean superiors whom they accuse of yelling and inflicting physical harm in order to extract obedience from the workers.

Third, they want to protest lack of sanitation in the food served them in the cafeteria.

And fourth, they are asking for the reinstatement of 40 illegally dismissed workers and five SAMAHAN leaders.

One of the members of the group resented aloud how the Filipinos are being treated like dogs in their own country while government officials who are supposed to protect them turn a blind eye or a deaf ear to their complaints.

Building up towards the July 3 caravan, there will be mass actions on June 29 at the Korean Embassy and Hanjin National Office in Fort Bonifacio, a synchronized noise barrage at Welcome Rotonda in Quezon City on June 29, 5:00 p.m., and a Mass on July 1, 6:00 p.m. at the La Salle, Greenhills Chapel.

We have had several Korean priest-residents in Bahay Pari, San Carlos Formation Complex, and they have all been very fine gentlemen.

But it is true that many people have expressed resentment at the boorishness of some Korean nationals in our country. Koreans have come in great numbers, and “Korea Towns” have proliferated in places like Makati, Baguio City, Angeles City, and Cebu City.

I think Koreans, especially those who do business here, should try to imagine what Koreans in South Korea would feel if the superiors of a Filipino international conglomerate functioning in their country should mistreat Korean workers.

Knowing Koreans’ sensitivity to their rights, I am sure they would protest strongly the lack of safe conditions in the workplace and abusive behavior by superiors. Koreans should remember to follow the Confucian rule: “Do not do to others what you do not want others to do to you” plus the Christian golden rule, “Do to others what you want them to do to you.”

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