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Nationwide round-up (01/10/21)

Labor coalition asks religious leaders to step in for resumption of gov’t-communist peace talks

A LABOR coalition called on religious leaders to step in for the revival of peace talks between the government and the communist movement, citing how the conflict affects worker freedom and union movement. In a statement on Sunday, the Nagkaisa Labor Coalition said, “We call on our faith leaders to remind our national leaders, the military and police officers; and the rebels, that peace based on social justice and the common good cannot be achieved through the barrel of a gun.” Nagkaisa addressed its plea to the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, Iglesia ni Cristo, National Council of Churches in the Philippines, and the National Ulama Conference of the Philippines, among others. “At the workplace level, red-tagging activities are carried out by security forces in the form of anti-union propaganda, union-busting, dismantling of picketlines, illegal arrests, and to the actual killings of trade union organizers,” the group said. It added that the formation of the Joint Industrial Peace Concerns Office (JIPCO) in economic zones stiffles employees’ rights to self-organization and free speech. JIPCO, launched early last year, is a community relations program of the Philippine National Police (PNP) in partnership with the Philippine Economic Zone Authority and the Presidential peace office, to ensure industrial peace within the country’s special ecozones. — Gillian M. Cortez

Labor undersecretary passes away

LABOR Undersecretary Joji V. Aragon passed away Sunday, the department announced in a statement. The Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE) said Ms. Aragon, a career official who was promoted to her position in August last year, died due to complications from the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). “She succumbed to cardiac arrest due to the dreaded COVID-19 this morning. It is believed that she contracted the virus following a procedure she underwent in the second week of December last year,” the department said. — Gillian M. Cortez

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