By Ernie Reyes
MANILA — The Sandigan ng mga Empleyadong Nagkakaisa sa Adhikain ng Demokratikong Organisasyon (SENADO) condemns in the strongest term possible the malicious, baseless, and dangerous post of NICA Director General Alex Paul Monteagudo on his Facebook account blatantly red-tagging SENADO as “the eyes and ears of the CPP-NPA-NDF” in the Senate “to hijack plans and programs of the government” being affiliated with COURAGE which is also being red-tagged as a communist terrorist front.
In a statement, SENADO said that they firmly believe that such blatant attack against the union, which is a legitimate organization of Senate employees, is a response to our position denouncing the memorandum issued by the Department of Interior and Local Government on the red-tagging of legitimate and progressive organizations and public sector unions, and for supporting COURAGE as an affiliate member.
“We vehemently deny any affiliation/connection with the CPP – NPA – NDF and being their “eyes and ears” in the Senate to hijack plans and programs of the government,” they said.
The statement said that SENADO is a legitimate union of employees in the Senate, registered in the Department of Labor and Employment, and recognized by the Civil Service Commission since 1993.
“The three (3) Collective Negotiation Agreements (CNAs) that we had negotiated with previous Senate Presidents Juan Ponce Enrile, Franklin Drilon and Koko Pimentel prove our legitimacy as a union that stands for employees’ rights, interest, and welfare,”the union said.
As an affiliate of COURAGE, it added, we were able to achieve those accomplishments through their assistance and other affiliates’ support. “Again, in the Senate, we were able to protect our rights, advance our welfare and benefits through the Collective Negotiation Agreement.”
“Having a CNA for a decade is a recognition of our right as a legitimate union.
We were regarded by the Senate President Vicente C. Sotto III as the voice of the employees in the Senate, not eyes and ears of the communists,” they said.
“We maintain our position that COURAGE is a legitimate federation of government employees’ union which consistently advocated and concretely works for the advancement of the government employees’ interest and welfare and the people they serve,” the statement said.
The federation has been at the forefront of our struggle for our legitimate demands – living wages and benefits, security of tenure, and other political, economic and democratic rights, including good working conditions which are rooted in the fundamental laws of the land, the union added.
“Ever since, COURAGE and all its affiliates’ actions to assert our rights are within the bounds of the laws – Sections 4 and 8 of 1987 Constitution and Executive Order No. 180 on Government Employees’ Right to self-Organization. COURAGE and all its affiliate members are pillars in the government sector in achieving essential benefits under the Collective Negotiations Agreement that millions of government employees enjoy,” it said.
The union said that the malicious, baseless and dangerous post of NICA Director General Monteagudo is part of the NTF-ELCAC narrative that endangers the lives of our leaders. “We are apprehensive that our leaders will now be subjected to vilification, harassment, arrest as they did to other union leaders affiliated with COURAGE, and worst, killing which is happening now against unionists.”
“We demand NICA Director-General Monteagudo take down his post and apologize to all officials and employees of the Senate for his disrespect and profanity directed to the institution that is the stalwart of democracy and human rights,” they insisted.
They also urged the Senators to conduct an investigation regarding this blatant attack against the SENADO and other public sector unions and organizations.
“We call on our members and to all Senate employees to stand for our democratic rights, condemn all these attacks against the union and call on Facebook to take down that malicious, baseless and dangerous post,”they ended. (AI/MTVN)