Women’s Day Off
Justice, not mere apology, demands PALEA
We want justice for Sarah and for all aviation workers from abusive customers, especially politicians and government officials!
This is the demand of Philippine Airlines Employees Association (PALEA) in response to Alliance of Volunteer Educators (AVE) Party-List Representative Eulogio Magsaysay’s “sorry” in an interview after PALEA members picketed his residence in Greenhills, San Juan.
In Philippine society, “sorry” from a congressman could really sound down-right humbling for a man of his stature. And seemingly, this should suffice for an ordinary woman like Ms. Sarah Bonnin-Ocampo, and so goes with the rest of the aviation workers the issue is representing.
However, let us be reminded that the highest degree of conduct should be practiced by all public officials and government employees. Hence, disgraceful and unbecoming conduct should not be tolerated and should not remain unpunished. “Sorry” would not suffice. Sorry is an ordinary man’s prudence or instinctive action upon an ordinary indiscretion, towards an ordinary person, e.g. you stepped on one’s foot in public immediately you say sorry. If Ms. Ocampo was the one swearing to a man that day and it turned out he was a congressman, could she easily get away with “sorry” in media?
As it turned out Magsaysay is not an ordinary man, he is a congressman, and more so a party-list representative of a marginalized sector. The way he acted was not an ordinary indiscretion, it was not even a general swearing towards anybody. He called Ms. Ocampo, an ordinary PAL employee who is a woman, a “bitch” several times and a “menopausal bitch” with absolute disregard for her right against being discriminated as a woman. He also uttered the words “…try me, papasesante kita, papasesante kita…” which shows downright abuse of authority.
Republic Act No. 6713, otherwise known as the “Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees”, Declaration of Policy found in Section 2 states that: “It is the policy of the State to promote a high standard of ethics in public service. Public officials and employees shall at all times be accountable to the people and shall discharge
their duties with utmost responsibility, integrity, competence and loyalty, act with patriotism and justice, lead modest lives, and uphold public interest over personal interest.”
According to the Women’s Crisis Centre (WCC), a non-government organization – with expertise in assisting violated women and children – which is handling Ms. Ocampo’s psychological needs, the verbal abuse Ms. Ocampo was subjected to was tantamount to physical abuse, hence, damaging the dignity and self-confidence of the victim. Hence, sorry is not enough.
In response, on the other hand, to PAL management’s denial that it had something to do with the picket was absolutely unnecessary. Ms. Cielo Villaluna’s effort to play “Pontius Pilate” for the management only reflects PAL’s callous insensitivity to its workers. During peak seasons, despite the rush and stress, PAL employees stood their ground and did what management could expect from hardworking and loyal employees. It is unfortunate that Ms. Cielo would rather have the management’s hands clean from the abuse of the likes of Ms. Ocampo than take responsibility for what employees are faced with when abused by customers.
Should we expect Ms. Cielo to defend loyal and hardworking employees when abused by customers, especially government officials when PAL management is actually doing its best to legitimize outsourcing of its regular employees, a clear violation of workers’ right to security of tenure? We wonder.
Philippine Airlines Employees Association (PALEA)
12 January 2011
Contact Person: Gina lynn Licayan