May 30, 2006
Rep. Beltran to Sto. Tomas: Resign now and good riddance
"If she think she's stressed out, we can only imagine the state of health, mind and welfare of the workers whose rights she has violated by signing all those various memoranda, department orders and case decisions. How many workers have lost not only their jobs but their very lives because of her?"
This was the reaction of activist legislator Anakpawis Rep. Crispin Beltran to reports that labor and employment secretary Patricia Sto. Tomas is mulling over resignation for health reasons.
"She should resign now, and good riddance," said Beltran. "Under her administration, the labor department has become even more anti-worker and anti-poor. She shouldn't expect any compassion from the workers, neither is there anyone willing to step forward and stop her from resigning. To leave the public service would be Sto. Tomas' gift to the hundreds of thousands of workers she helped employers and capitalists abuse, exploit, and kick out of employment."
"Actually, her exit is long overdue. Government employees, labor unions, and private sector workers have long been appealing for her resignation and the rejection of her appointment," Beltran said.
"Pat Sto. Tomas will not be missed even if she leaves the DOLE. How can one miss a labor Secretary who herself has been accused of committing unfair labor practice, violating the Constitutional rights of government employees to self-organization by directly intervening in the affairs of DOLE employees, union-busting, and grave abuse of authority?" Beltran said.
Though still incarcerated, Beltran said that he still closely monitors the developments in the labor front. "The situation of our workers is deplorable. And things keep getting worse. Sto. Tomas has done essentially nothing to help improve the lives and welfare of Filipino workers. Because of her, human rights violations against workers have shot clear through the roof, and the country's unemployment rate has remained at alarming levels. The brutal massacre of the workers and farmworkers of Hacienda Luisita is also something she remains and will always remain partly responsible for," he insisted.
Still, Beltran said that Sto. Tomas' impending resignation would not absolve her of her injustices against Filipino workers. "Sto. Tomas will still be held accountable for the various labor rights violations committed under her term, particularly the Hacienda Luisita massacre," Beltran said.