By being indifferent just to add existing fires
Its been days passed as the workers of Tanduay Distillery in Laguna continues its strike since May 18.
From not being regularised for years, followed by a series of threats and intimidations from the management and its hired goons, water cannons and throwing of stones and bottles, Three hundred and ninety-seven workers, or 90% of its total workforce, with a meager wage of P315 (set to be lowered to P255 because of the Two-Tiered Wage System), no benefits (medical, sick leave, vacation leave or even bonuses), and no job security (they can be dismissed by the company anytime), Have rather chose to remain defiant and assertive in its call, and be supported by groups sympathised with their cause knowing that their calls are just.
Most media outlets did not broadcast about this, given that the said establishment is well known with its commercials featued and owned by a prominent businessman, that on the other hand is also notorious for its shrewd business practises: particularly those of tax evasion, and connected to corrupt personages such as the Marcos couple, and Ex-President Estrada.
But in these past few years till now, he has earned new titles, such as violator of worker's rights, landgrabber, and even a traitorous Chinaman if to include the racially-laced statements coming from the xenophobic right with all its Sinophobic statements.
But in this writeup, Lucio Tan, owner of Tanuay Distilleries and its affiliated companies under the "Lucio Tan Group", as well as his clique controlling the management, has to face the reality of the worker's call to have its job be legitimised, of given a decent wage and lving standards after years of working under contract, or if not, then likely to face another wave of problems that somehow meant putting him in big trouble knowing that being a shrewd scruplous compradore makes his actions liable enough for ostracism regardless of his so-called contributions.
And to think that he is listed on 2014 as Forbes Magazine’s 2nd Richest Filipino with a net worth of $6.1 billion or P270 billion, Tanduay Distillers Inc. alone, earned net sales of P10 billion and P12 billion on 2013 and 2012 respectively. Each day, Tanduay workers create an estimate of P15 million worth of products. This means, per P1 profit of Tanduay Distillers, only P0.003 goes to wages which will be divided to 397 workers!
So where is the justice in that company once controlled by the Ynchaustis and Elizaldes? Perhaps the lesser evil Manda of the past, with its benevolence was better than the greater evil Lucio with all the evidences shown in this post.
Ranging from featured photos and a video from Arkibong Bayan and Southern Tagalog Exposure would say that he, his clique, and even the present administration that afforded to brag about development and full employment fails to heed, of being indifferent and unjust rather than facing the issue and getting it resolve in a civil manner.
But besides Tanduay, other companies such as Philippine Airlines also suffered by Tan's own policies. That once, Roger Soluta of Kilusang Mayo Uno stated that the people cannot forget the actions Tan did towards its workers picketing at Nichols Field, that somehow also shared the same experiences as Tanduay's with unjust layoffs and contractualisation. However, Tanduay's workers suffered most as it directly comes from the taipan's own stubborness, with his hired goons, allegedly coming from the prison cells of Muntinglupa afforded to charge and beat, if not security guards throwing stones and empty bottles on both people and vehicles, particularly jeeps and vans of those who came and sympathised with the struggling workers.
And if that tension continues to persist, then what's next? Bringing a battalion of soldiers and create a scenario similar to Hacienda Luisita? Such actions may likely create that, and to show how shrewd a taipan would be as it fails to heed, much more in acting contrary to various press releases on their behalf.
Although true that he created scholars via his Tan Yan Kee foundation, of making his brand of development be bragged to mainstream media such as tie ups with Philip Morris for his Fortune Tobacco and Coors for his Asia Brewery, of being a Filipino multimillionaire in par with Henry Sy and Danding Cojuangco, it does not mean it can resolve his issue on tax evasion, landgrabbing, a crony capitalist allegedly siphoning people's funds and supported by corript personages, and a violator of workers rights be it from Nichols field in Paranaque to the Tanduay compound at Laguna.
And his indifference towards the plight of workers rather adds fire to an existing struggle, in a way his hired goons adds salt to a gaping wound of those yearning for a just employment, living wage, benefits, and justice. Where were those who cry China after that said incident? Where were the ones chanting sovereignty? If they afforded to chant sovereignty over the contested islands so should also shownit in support of the workers being unjustly disposed by a scrupulous, shrewd taipan trying to keep profits away from obligations.