DILG to Pasig Mayor Vico Sotto: Don’t take sides on RFC labor dispute
MANILA, Philippines – Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo Año on Tuesday advised Pasig City Mayor Vico Sotto not to take sides on the labor dispute between Regent Food Corp. (RFC) and some of its workers.
Año said that the issue is between the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), the company, and its workers.
“Para sa akin dapat ang LGU [local government unit] dito ay mag-maintain ng peace and order, but do not take sides, because it is between the [Department of Labor and Employment], and the company, and the workers,” Año told reporters.
(For me, LGUs should maintain peace and order, but do not take sides because the case is between DOLE, the company, and the workers.)
“Ang DOLE ang sinasabi nating right agency to hear that case and to decide,” he added.
(DOLE is the right agency to hear that case and decide.)
Sotto earlier asked RFC to drop its charges against 23 individuals who were arrested last November 9 following a strike in front of the firm’s factory in Pasig.
The workers went on strike over alleged cases of unfair labor practices and union-busting, the Eastern Police District said.
“These people are not criminals; they do not have the goal of hurting you. They are fighting for what they believe to be just. You can continue with the labor dispute without sending the poor and powerless to jail!” Sotto said.
But Año said the local government should only step in should there be a violation in peace and order laws.
“Para sa akin lahat ng tao may karapatan (For me, everyone has rights)—whether you are a worker, a business owner, you are a community person. We accord these equal rights and equal respect to everyone,” the interior secretary said.
“Hanggang di pa tapos yung case, dapat ay we stay neutral on the ground, but protecting the rights of the people is also our concern,” he added.
(Until the case has been resolved, we should stay neutral on the ground, but protecting the rights of the people is also our concern.)
Asked if what Sotto did was wrong as a local government head, Año said he is still “keenly observing” the situation.
RFC, meanwhile, said it is planning to move out of Pasig City as they claimed that Sotto failed to hear the company’s side on the matter, saying that it was only “protecting the rights of its non-striking employees.”
Edited by GSG
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