HAU management, workers urged to resolve row-A A +A
Saturday, September 21, 2013
CITY OF SAN FERNANDO -- The Department of Labor and Employment (Dole) Central Luzon office has stepped into the month-long dispute between the management of Holy Angel University in Angeles City and the Holy Angel University Teachers and Employees Union (HAUTEU).
In an emergency social dialogue attended by officials of the HAUTEU, HAU, HAU Parents-Teachers Association (PTA), and HAU Student Council (HAUSC) and more than 50 HAU college and high school students, Dole Regional Director Raymundo Agravante, who initiated the talks, said that it is time the contending parties come up with an amicable settlement for the sake of students, parents and the school community.
"We want to make it clear that we will not talk about issues between labor and management since the National Conciliation Mediation Board (NCMB) is already handling this case. Rather, we are here to listen to the voices of the students, their parents, and all concerned citizens, who I believe are the one's greatly affected in this dispute," Agravante said.
With Agravante during the dialogue at the Dole office in this city, were overall facilitator Assistant Regional Director Geraldine Panlilio and heads and representatives of the labor department's Regional Coordinating Committee, the National Conciliation and Mediation Board, Department of Education, Commission of Higher Education, and officials of the Central Luzon Regional Tripartite Industrial Peace Council.
Panlilio emphasized that the adverse socio-economic implications continue to be felt by the whole HAU organization due to their prolonged labor issues.
"We are holding this social dialogue because the effect of this on-going protest in HAU has already gone beyond management and labor. It has transcended to the students, their parents, and even the whole community," Panlilio said.
She added: "HAU, one of the biggest universities here in Pampanga and seen as one of the economic indicators which signals growth in this province, is going through this rough predicament. It pains us to see this conflict because it has deeply affected us all."
Panlilio, who is a guardian to four HAU students, appealed to both parties to settle their differences for the sake of the students.
"Please resolve your issues. Maawa po kayo sa 19,000 estudyante ng HAU. Sila po kasi ang pinaka apektado sa hidwaang ito. Maawa din po kayo sa kanilang mga magulang na nagsisikap upang sila’y makapagaral at mabigyan ng magandang kinabukasan. Huwag lang natin isipin ang ating sariling kapakanan," she said.
HAU Student Council president Ivan Paul Briones and vice president for External Affairs Jansell Iris Simbulan said that students mostly affected by the labor dispute are those from the College of Arts, Sciences, and Education (Cased) where most teachers involved are also from the said departments.
"The students have been complaining on their irregular class schedules and what is more compelling is the incompetency of the substitute teachers. We are likewise being given exams which weren't even discussed in class. We demand for quality education," Briones said, adding they have received reports from students and parents that students who support the protest are allegedly being threatened with expulsion.
"Our parents are worried about our safety and welfare in school. With many lost days in the classroom, the future of our graduating students seems uncertain, all because of this feud," Briones said.
Simbulan, meanwhile revealed that the "controversial existing Ched memorandum circular” which states that students have the right or choice to attend classes or not during a union protests “does not exists."
"To clarify this matter, we sought the help of Ched's legal service office and student's services office and were told that no memorandum exists," Simbulan said. He furthered that it is very difficult for students to focus on their studies because the labor dispute has already caused conflicts and diversity, not only between management and labor, but among the students as well.
"Kami pong mga student leaders ay napagbibintangan na meron po kaming pinapanigan, subalit, bilang leaders, naniniwala po kami na ang pagbibigay ng stand ay hindi ibig sabihin na may pinapanigan kami. Alamin po muna natin kung ano ang dapat gawin, lalo na kami bilang leaders. Hindi lamang natin dapat isipin yung kasalukuyang sitwasyon kundi isipin din ung consequences ng actions natin at kung ano ang magiging implikasyon nito sa darating na panahon," Simbulan said.
Harry De Guzman, Cased Student Council Chairman, agreed and said: "Hindi na po kami nakakapagaral ng maayos. Nagmamakaawa po kami sa inyo, tulungan niyo naman po kami. We respect you po being our parents in school, sana respetuhin din po ninyo kami bilang mga estudyante. Kasi po, malaki na po ang epekto ng issue ninyo, hindi lang po sa amin, pati narin sa ang aming mga magulang, relationship namin sa kapwa estudyante at sa aming mga guro. Lahat ng negative thoughts ay nasa amin. Kailangan po ba na kaming students leaders ang mag ayos po sa inyo?"
Moises Pineda, a father of children studying in HAU, for his part expressed fear for the safety of his children.
"Dalangin po namin na sana magkaroon na po ng pagkakasundo ang magkabilang panig dahil sa totoo lang po, kaming mga magulang ang hirap na hirap sa sitwasyong ito dahil na-tro trauma na po ang mga anak namin. Natatakot po kami sa kapakanan nila. Personally, hindi ko na po pinapapasok ang aking anak dahil di ko po alam kung ano ang pwedeng mangyari sa kanya sa gitna ng gulong ito. Wala po kaming kinakampihan, pero nasasaktan po kami sa mga pangyayari dahil ang bawat panig ay hindi nagbibigayan. Sana, maisip po ninyo na kaming mga magulang ang nagpapasahod sa inyo," he said.
HAU-PTA president Mary Ann Vicentina pleaded to all parties involved "to do whatever is right to restore order in the university and bring back the discussions to the right venue, not in the streets, and not at the expense of the students."
"Neither party can really compensate me for the anguish I am currently suffering. I'm stressed beyond my limits. I sought medical attention because of a threat to me and my son, sent by unknown sources. I’ve been maliciously accused of being in favor of management, which I vehemently deny. This, I have to relay to each and every one of you so that we could all be awaken on the impact we’re facing because of this crisis. We don’t want our children to be in such an environment where people are not getting along well. It is unfortunate that in recent meetings we’ve attended that no agreements have yet been made," she said.
In the end, Agravante professed optimism the dispute will come to a settlement.
"Your presence here is a sign that all of you want this issue to be resolved once and for all. We're very hopeful that our joint-undertaking has somehow enlightened your hearts and minds to consider setting aside our differences by working closely with one another, through the help of government, in attaining industrial peace, not only for both sides, but more importantly the HAU students," said Agravante.
Published in the Sun.Star Pampanga newspaper on September 22, 2013.