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Ports Authority, Manny Pangilinan told: Disclose North Harbor plans

With just a few days before the Jan. 1 takeover of Manila North Harbor by the joint venture of Metro Pacific Investments Corp (MPIC) and Harbour Centre Port Terminal Inc (HCPTI), labor center Kilusang Mayo Uno today called on the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) and Many Pangilinan, MPIC chairman, to disclose plans for the North Harbor.  

After the two companies won as bidders for the North Harbor privatization deal last October, a joint venture between the MPIC and the HCPTI was signed last November 19, with the MPIC taking the lead. This paves the way for the port’s takeover by the joint venture, now named Manila North Harbor Port Inc, which is scheduled this Jan. 1, 2010.

Yet port workers and residents of neighboring communities remain in the dark about the PPA and the winning bidders’ plans for North Harbor, which handles more than half of the total port business in the country. More than 5,000 port workers and 30,000 residents of nearby communities fear losing their jobs, residence and livelihood with the takeover. 

“We call on the PPA and Mr. Manny Pangilinan: disclose your plans for North Harbor now. People fear losing their jobs, homes and livelihood because of the takeover. We appeal to your sense of compassion and social justice, especially now that we are about to celebrate Christmas and welcome the New Year,” said Elmer “Bong” Labog, KMU chairperson.

In a dialogue with port workers, PPA officials say the agency is legally bound to keep mum on the plans for the takeover. The Pangilinan-led MPIC, on the other hand, has refused to disclose plans for the port’s “modernization,” despite workers’ calls for a dialogue.  

“While the PPA is celebrating the relief it got from the privatization, and while Mr. Pangilinan’s company is busy projecting profits, the port workers and residents are restless. We hope the PPA and Mr. Pangilinan will speak up soon so port workers and residents won’t celebrate the holidays in the shadow of layoffs and demolitions,” said Labog.

“We hope they prioritize the more legitimate concern of port workers and residents for jobs, residence and livelihood over so-called legal issues and business plans,” Labog added.

The labor leader also said that it is both reasonable and just for port workers and residents to undertake forms of collective action in the light of the PPA and Pangilinan’s silence. 

“North Harbor workers and residents have every reason to wage various forms of collective action to pressure the PPA and Mr. Pangilinan to speak up on their plight, and to defend their jobs, residence and livelihood. They deserve the support of the Filipino workers and people should they decide to escalate their collective struggle,” said Labog. #

Reference Person: 
Elmer "Bong" Labog, KMU Chairperson
Contact information: 
0929-629-3234

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