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Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Jinggoy says Senate ready to arrest Hanjin prexy

Senate President Pro Tempore Jinggoy Ejercito Estrada said that the Senate Committee on Labor, Employment and Human Resources Development will not hesitate to issue an arrest order if Hanjin Heavy Industries Corp. - Philippines (HHIC) president Jeong Sup Shim would not attend the public hearing on Wednesday.

This was disclosed by Estrada, who also chairs the Congressional Oversight Committee on Labor and Employment, in the maiden broadcast of his radio program, Boses ng Masa, aired at DZRH nationwide every Friday from 5:30 p.m. to 6 p.m.

“Hindi pupwede iyon. Pag hindi siya pumunta sa aming hearing on Wednesday, ipaparesto namin siya. Nakita ko ung president nila sa Subic, ‘I told him see you on Wednesday,’ and he replied, ‘Yes sir,’” Estrada said.

Estrada, in his on-site inspection on Hanjin shipyard last Thursday, February 5, identified some safety and employment concerns of the laborers after he personally persuaded them to speak up on their working condition.

“Yung mga trabahador ng Hanjin, natatakot mawalan ng trabaho kaya ayaw mag salita. Kailangan pa naming silang lapitan at sabihan na wala silang dapat ikatakot para malaman ang totoo nilang estado sa Hanjin shipyard. Nakita namin ung isang South Korean supervisor nila, kapag lumalapit kami sa mga tauhan nila, sinesenyasan na lumayo sa amin.” Estrada shared.

Among his observations were:

Only two doctors (one general practitioner, one dentist) are on duty daily, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. After 5:00 p.m. shift, no doctor is in the clinic.
Not all workers wear their helmets while at work.
Some workers wear dilapidated shoes. The senator even saw ones who wear “safety shoes” only banded together with green electrical tape.
Some workers complain they do not have insurance.
Some canals are left open.
Workers complain they work even on Sundays, without proper compensation. Others say they are underpaid, receiving only Php 303, instead of the minimum of the Php 310 wage rate.

“All of these allegations from their workers demand explanation from Hanjin officials. These are very serious charges, some even violating the Labor Code,” Estrada asserted.

Estrada conducted the on-site inspection after the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) and regional safety inspectors disclosed that they were barred from entering the premises of Hanjin shipyard that effectively preventing them from performing their inspection.

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