Labor groups seek roadmap to avert power crisis

By Alvin Elchico, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 29 2014 03:25 PM | Updated as of Jul 29 2014 11:25 PM

MANILA, Philippines – Labor group Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) is calling on Energy Secretary Jericho Petilla to conduct a transparent and clear consultation with consumers on how to avert a power crisis in the near future.

The TUCP was the first to call on President Aquino to declare an emergency, foreseeing an energy crisis in 2015.

But TUCP executive director Luis Manuel Corral said that while the problem is urgent, there is still time to conduct a consultation to come up with a clear roadmap and strategy to solve the problem.

In his State of the Nation Address, President Aquino instructed Petilla to consult with the Joint Congressional Power Commission, Energy Regulatory Commission and consumers.

"Ang hinihingi namin ay malinaw na timetable at consultation sa mga dapat konsultahin... The President still has time, ‘di naman kailangan kahapon," said Corral.

But the group said the President still needs to invoke Section 71 of the EPIRA, which deals with the emergency powers of the president to generate more power.

Meanwhile, Labor Confederation Associated Labor Union-SENTRO secretary general Joshua Mata lambasted the President's pronouncement of a peaceful labor situation in yesterday's SONA.

Mata said the President's gauge of industrial peace is so narrow, insisting that while many jobs were created, these are contractual and lack the security of tenure.

"Ang mensahe niya is magtiis kayo habambuhay, magtiis kayo sa disposable jobs...Mas api at exploited sila...Maraming trabaho pero anong kalidad?" said Mata.

According to the group, even the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) admitted that what was created were vulnerable jobs and not really wage earners.

"I challenge him to live the life of a contractual employee even for just one day. After that pwede na niyang sabihin sa amin na maayos ang buhay ng mga manggagawa,” Mata said.