LEPANTO MINE WORKERS,
IP AND ENVI GROUPS PICKET LEPANTO
On March 3, 2009, Lepanto Employees
Union (LEU) leaders, representatives of MACQUITACDG, APIT TAKO-Mankayan,
Tignayan dagiti Babbai iti Minasan a Lepanto (TBML) and Cordillera
Peoples Alliance picketed the Lepanto Consolidated Mining Company's
main office in Makati City to air their grievances and demands towards
the company on its unjust labor practices and against the expansion
of its operations.
According to LEU representative Junibong
Saldo, "The reduction of workdays to 10-15 days has adversely
affected the miners' economic conditions. This is even aggravated
by LCMC's non-remittance of the workers' SSS, Philhealth, and Pag-ibig
payments, and back wages. These are just some of Lepanto's violations
of workers' rights that we continue to fight for."
As Lepanto has closed its doors upon
the arrival of the picketers and with only members of the Makati
Police Force to face the picketers, the delegation that travelled
all the way from Mankayan, Benguet with the hope of conducting a
dialogue with LCMC officials were angered by LCMC's total disregard
of their presence.
Lilian Falyao, representative of TBML,
urged the officers of the company to come out and hear what they
have come to tell them. According to her, "Lepanto's violations
of workers' rights are also a burden to the workers' wives and families.
This has put us into an even worse economic situation. We are starving
yet I can see from this building alone that Lepanto is very rich."
Representatives of MACQUITACDG and
CPA added that the Lepanto operations have already caused severe
damages to the environment and the people's livelihood. According
to Johny Sawadan of CPA, "Lepanto's expansion of operations
will further exploit the indigenous peoples in Benguet and nearby
provinces. We will not allow this to happen."
Organized by the Kalipunan ng mga Katutubong
Mamamayan ng Pilipinas (KAMP), a national alliance of indigenous
peoples' organizations, the picket was joined by several national
indigenous peoples and environmentalist organizations based in Metro
According to Joan Jaime, representative of KAMP, "The picket
was held on this day to commemorate the day the Mining Act of 1995
was passed into law on March 3, 1995. The activity also signifies
our continuing call to scrap the Mining Act which allowed for the
total sell out of the people's patrimony to foreign transnational