of poultry farm DBSN Farm Agriventures decry the
criminalization of their legitimate grievances for
regularization and proper compensation after they end up in
jail for a cyber libel case filed against them by their
employer, Mayor Ramon Oñate, Municipal Mayor of Palompon,
of legitimate labor dissent slammed
September 30, 2018
QUEZON CITY –
Militant labor group Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino (BMP) today
denounced the arrest of thirteen officers and members of the DBSN
Farm Agriventures Workers Union after they were picked up Wednesday
evening by operatives of the Criminal Investigation and Detection
The workers were charged
with libel under the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012 or Republic
Act 10175 after pictures of workers holding flags and placards taken
before they left for Manila to hold a camp-out in front of the
National office of the Labor department to seek an audience before
Secretary Silvestre Bello were uploaded at Facebook.
“This is a classic case of
harassment. The owner of DBSN could no longer deny the veracity of
the accusations of rampant violations of labor standards in his farm
as well as the legitimacy of the workers demand for regularization,
the Labor department says so,” claimed BMP president and union legal
counsel, Luke Espiritu.
Of the thirteen arrested
workers, ten are being detained at Camp Downes at Ormoc City
including its union president, Ailieen Claros and spokesperson
Josephine Jaballa. The remaining three are held at municipal police
station of Albuera.
He explained that the case
filed against the workers could not constitute online libel since
both the DOLE regional office and the National Labor Relations
Commission have found the company guilty of gross violation of labor
laws and ordered the regularization of its employees, even if the
management has filed an appeal before the agencies.
Workers at DBSN
Agriventures are paid for P285 to work for 15-hour shifts, the
regional minimum wage for workers in Region 8 for 8-hours of work,
without overtime pay and premium among its many labor standard
violation despite being is one of the biggest poultry dressing
plants in the country. It was accredited by the National Meat
Inspection Service and certified as an ISO company by TUV-Rhineland.
“The sub-human conditions
of employees and the outright non-payment is already condemnable, to
say the least. To add harassment and criminalization to salvage the
owner’s ill reputation and multi-billion profits is new low for an
ISO-accredited company,” he deplored.
Upon labor inspection
early this year, the poultry farm was found guilty of: No proof of
coverage or remittance of SSS contributions, non-payment of Overtime
Premium Pay, non-payment of Service Incentives Leave Pay,
non-payment of Holiday Pay, illegal deduction (personal protective
equipment such masks, gloves, and aprons, and delivery and transport
expenses by boat), non-payment of Night Shift Differential Pay;
Labor-only contracting in violation of D.O 174, and non-payment of
13th Month Pay.
BMP maintained that the
criminalization of labor struggles shall not make the workers cower
in fear but will only reap a flurry of protests and ignite labor
“The right to regular jobs
and proper compensation are guaranteed by the constitution and no
amount of criminalization could override these rights”.
They likewise called on
authorities to dismiss the trumped-up charges, free the detained
laborers and expedite the implementation of regularization as
ordered by state agencies.
DBSN Agriventures, the
poultry supplier of the Magnolia brand of San Miguel Pure Foods Inc.
and Jollibee’s ‘chickenjoy’ is based in Albuera, Leyte and is owned
Mayor Ramon Oñate, Municipal Mayor of Palompon town, also in Leyte.