Bayombong, NUEVA VIZCAYA – Workers at a large-scale mine in the upland village of Didipio, Kasibu in this province renewed their call for putting a stop to contractualization. It is one of the ‘talking points’ in the stalled collective bargaining agreement (CBA) negotiations between the union and the management.
In their Facebook page, the worker’s union, the Pun Oh Ohaan Hi Kiphodan Organization (PHKO) which means “unity for progress” in the Tuali-Ifugao language, announced to their members that they will ‘pursue the CBA negotiations’ with the management.
“Hindi pa tapos ang laban (The fight is not yet over),” the PHKO webpage said.
Like in other industries, mining companies such as OceanaGold and its contractors Delta and DiCorp are hiring workers on a “fixed term” service contracts ranging from three months to one year.
President Rodrigo Duterte has called for an end to the practice of ‘contractualization’ when he assumed office last year, but contractualization continues to this day as the Labor department adheres to the employers’ “new” contractualization policy.
Meanwhile, the fate of the Didipio mine, which is one of the mining sites recommended for suspension by Sec. Regina Lopez of the DENR, now depends on the ‘review’ of the audit findings earlier announced by Malacañang officials.
The ‘social justice’ issue being raised by Sec. Lopez covers most of the agenda being raised by workers.
The Didipio mine employs about a thousand workers, a third of them directly under OceanaGold as the Financial Technical Assistance Agreement (FTAA) contractor of the government, and the rest under its sub-contractors such as DiCorp, Delta and others.
DiCorp is a company owned by long-time Didipio residents. It was awarded by OceanaGold with contracts to deliver camp services such as catering, transport, equipment rental, laundry, and housekeeping. Delta, on the other hand, handles earthmoving and other support services.
In Metro Manila, the Kilusang Mayo Uno and labor NGOs supporting the closure of destructive, export-oriented mining operation have called for support and alternative jobs to mine workers who would be displaced.
“The Philippines does not need extractive large-scale mining that heavily damage the environment, poison agricultural fields, pollute the waters and silt the rivers and seas,” the Center for Trade Union and Human Rights said in a statement last week. The labor rights NGO asked the government agencies such as DENR, DSWD, DOLE and other concerned agencies to provide all possible support to the workers who will be displaced by these changes.
“Workers and their families who will be negatively affected by the closures or contracts cancellation must be prioritized in any rehabilitation projects that the DENR, for instance, will initiate and develop, the CTUHR said. It added that the military deployed in the mining areas to protect the mining investments should also be pulled out, so that the communities there can freely engage in food production and other livelihood projects.