RESOLUTION CALLING FOR A MEMBERSHIP MEETING ON NOVEMBER 25, 2011

Whereas, there is an extensive clamor among the rank and file employees of the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) nationwide calling for a substantial wage increase.

Whereas, the rank and file employees of COMELEC have banded together to form the COMELEC Wage Fight! Alliance to support and work for a substantial wage increase and adjustment of the salaries of poll workers nationwide.

Whereas, COMELEC Chairman Hon. Sixto Brillantes have already expressed his commitment to prepare a comprehensive formula for an equitable salary scheme for COMELEC rank and file.

Whereas, the conveners and co-conveners of COMELEC Wage Fight! Alliance also recognizes the need for a strong, organized, duly recognized and accredited employees union/ association to ensure the success of this pioneering campaign.

Whereas, The Alliance of COMELEC Employees in Service (ACES), is the largest and the de facto recognized existing employees’ union/association of rank and file employees in the Commission.

Whereas, the conveners and co-conveners of COMELEC Wage Fight! Alliance are also duly-elected Board of Officers of ACES.

Whereas, there have been pressing and unresolved organizational matters plaguing ACES in the past months including the long awaited union registration and accreditation and recently, the summary termination and replacement of four duly-elected officers of ACES by President Lualah Pama.

Whereas, there ACES Board of Officers have not met in the last six months despite the written requests of the majority of the ACES Board of Officers.

Whereas, Article V, Section 4 of the approved and ratified ACES Constitution and By-Laws provides that the Board of Officers shall meet at least once a month and the National Executive Board, twice a month.

Whereas, Article V, Section 11 of the ACES Constitution and By-Laws provides for special members meetings can be called by the request of the majority of the Board of Officers or upon written request of at least one-fifth (1/5) of the total regular membership of the Alliance,

Whereas, there is an urgent need to address and resolve all these issues in order to make a huge step towards the realization of our goal for higher wages, better benefits and secure and safe working conditions.

Now therefore, we the undersigned officers and members of the Alliance of COMELEC Employees in Service (ACES), resolved as it is hereby resolves to call for a MEMBERSHIP MEETING of the ACES on November 25, 2011 at 3pm o’clock in the afternoon to discuss and resolve the pressing concerns of salary increase, ACES registration and accreditation, the arbitrary dismissal of elected ACES officers from the Board and other pertinent organizational concerns.

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Download the Resolution here

Send accomplished Resolution to comelecwagefight@gmail.com

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On the reported abduction of a COMELEC employee and his wife in Lanao del Sur

Following the reported abduction of Amirogong Tomara Jr. and his wife by armed men at Sitio Mapandi, Barangay Lilod Saduc, the Alliance of COMELEC Employees in Service (ACES) released the following statement:

“We call on the proper authorities to ensure the safe release of Amirogong Tomara Jr. and his wife who was reportedly abducted in the Province of Lanao del Sur and that the perpetrators be immediately brought to justice. Incidents such as these betray the perils and danger experienced daily by COMELEC employees in the frontlines. Thus, it is high time that the COMELEC leadership institute measures that will provide them better protection.”

According to an initial report by Police Senior Superintendent Rodolfo Llorca, the COMELEC employee and his wife were abducted a 11:30 AM yesterday and was brought to the town of Kapai. As of this posting, the motive behind the abduction is yet unknown. ###

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ARMM polls go manual: Savings should benefit poll employees, says COMELEC union

After Commission on Elections (COMELEC) Chairman Sixto Brillantes’ announcement during a Senate hearing this morning that the elections in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) will be manual instead of automated should Congress so decides to push through with the polls as scheduled, the Alliance of COMELEC Employees in Service (ACES) today called on the poll leadership to respect the employees’ right to the savings of the agency.

According to the ACES, the poll body has allotted close to P2 billion pesos for the automation of the August 8, 2011 ARMM polls. The group said the amount is sourced from the COMELEC’s savings from last year. But since the ARMM polls will be manual, the ACES have pushed anew their call for the employees’ share to the agency’s savings.

“With the development that the ARMM polls will be manual instead of automated, we raise this question: Where will the almost P2 billion budget allotted for the automation of the said polls go?” the ACES asked, while stressing the employees’ right to the funds.

“The savings, we maintain, will be better spent if it is allotted to augmenting the salaries and benefits of COMELEC rank and file employees,” the group said.

The ACES reiterated that under Civil Service rules, rank and file employees who either contributed to the agency’s productivity and cost-cutting measures are entitled to as much as 80% of the agency’s savings from Personal Services (PS) and Maintenance and Other Operating Expenses (MOOE).

The augmentation of salaries and benefits of COMELEC employees at this time, according to the ACES, will greatly assuage their suffering in light of sky-high prices of petroleum products, transportation, matriculation and other basic necessities. ###

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Sa mga kapwa ko empleyado ng COMELEC

Dahil sa mga bali-balitang kumakalat na ako raw ay isang ‘union buster’, ‘pro-management’, ‘diktador’, ‘one-man team’ at marami pang iba, minabuti kong maglinaw hinggil dito.

Nagsimula ang lahat ng ito noong Marso 4, 2011, nang ako ay naglabas ng internal na liham sa kapwa ko miyembro ng Board of Officers ng ating unyon, ang Alliance of COMELEC Employees in Service (ACES).

Nakasaad sa aking bukas na liham ang aking mahigpit na panawagan para sa prinsipyadong pagkakaisa para maisakatuparan na ang isa sa mga krusyal na prosesong dapat pagdaanan ng ating unyon: ang rehistrasyon sa Bureau of Labor Relations (BLR) ng Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).

Hindi ako naninira ng unyon. Bagkos, gusto kong patatagin ang ating unyon para magsilbi sa kapakanan ng mga kawani ng COMELEC.

Lalong lalo na na hindi ako, pro-management. Patunay dito ang aking marubdob na pagsandig sa prinsipyo ng militante, progresibo, makabayang unyonismo bilang susi sa tagumpay ng mga empleyado ng gubyerno.

Diktador? Pumaloob ako sa desisyon ng Board noong Marso 4 na i-subject sa ‘revision’ ang ating Constitution and By-Laws, kahit hindi naman malinaw na maipaliwanang ng mga proponent ng ‘revision’ ang mga batayan nila para baguhin ang ating Constitution.

Dalawang buwan matapos ang pulong na iyon, napakasakit na isipin na wala pa ring pag-usad ang proseso ng rehistrasyon ng ating unyon. Nakasalalay pa naman dito ang pagkilala sa ating union bilang ‘sole and exclusive negotiating agency agent’ na kakatawan sa kapakanan at kagalingan ng mga rank and file.

Narito ang aking open letter sa ACES Board. Kayo na po ang humusga.

Muli marami pong salamat!

Mac Ramirez

Vice-President for Internal Affairs

Chairman, Committee on Labor Education and Research

Alliance of COMELEC Employees in Service

Mayo 2, 2011

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COMELEC workers question agency’s plans to buy P9M worth of furniture

NEWS RELEASE

Reference:        Armando M. Mallorca, Vice-President for External Afairs

Contact:           aces.comelec@gmail.com

Date:                May 2, 2011

COMELEC workers question agency’s plans to buy P9M worth of furniture

Workers of the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) belonging to the Alliance of COMELEC Employees in Service (ACES) today questioned the poll body’s plan to shell millions to furnish the COMELEC Cottages inBaguioCity.

In “INVITATION TO BID: SUPPLY AND DELIVERY OF FURNISHINGS FOR THE COMELEC BAGUIO COTTAGES (BAC Reference No. 2011-001)” released by the COMELEC’s Bids and Awards Committee on April 6, 2011, the COMELEC has allotted a total of P9 million for the purchase of “furnishings,/appliances/accessories.”

According to the document the COMELEC invited prospective bidders to supply and deliver P4.7 million worth of wood furnishings; P891 thousand worth of appliances; P727 thousand worth of curtains and P418 thousand worth of blinds, among others.

“At a time when COMELEC rank and file employees are reeling from sky-high prices and low wages, news that the COMELEC plans to purchase high end furniture and appliances worth P9 million for the Commissioner’s cottages in Baguio is just really hard to stomach,” said Armando M. Mallorca, ACES Vice-President for External Affairs.

“It baffles the mind that the COMELEC en banc apparently is willing to shell out more than P727 thousand for curtains alone to doll up the COMELEC’s Baguio rest house, while it is insistent in not giving us our due benefits,” Mallorca said.

The ACES leader the implored the COMELEC leadership to rethink their plans to pursue this P9 million project.

“Why not consider toning down a bit and prioritize the purchase of cost-effective yet environmentally friendly furnishings? After all, buying lavish furniture such as expensive Mahogany beds and living room sets goes against the government’s austerity program,” he said.

Concluded Mallorca: “Ilaan na lang sana sa kapakanan ng mga empleyado ang matitipid na pera.” ###

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COMELEC union welcomes Lagman appointment

NEWS RELEASE

Reference:        Mac Ramirez, Vice-President for Internal Affairs

Contact:            aces.comelec@gmail.com

Date:                April 27, 2011

COMELEC union welcomes Lagman appointment

Employees of the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) under the Alliance of COMELEC Employees in Service (ACES) today welcomed the appointment of Mr. Augusto Lagman as Commissioner of the poll body.

“Though the ACES earlier hoped for an insider, Mr. Lagman’s appointment to the seven-member collegial body is certainly welcome news,” said Mac Ramirez, ACES Vice President for Internal Affairs.

Ramirez noted “Lagman’s wealth of knowledge in information technology – him being one of the leading IT-stalwarts in the country – will be of tremendous use for the poll body as it again gears in automating the elections in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) in August.”

“We hope, however, Lagman wouldn’t turn-tail on his advocacy for transparency and credibility of the automated elections in the country now that he is inside the agency he helped keep in check for several years already,” Ramirez said.

Lagman, Ramirez said, was among the top IT executives in the country who challenged the COMELEC’s contract with Mega Pacific eSolution Inc. for the computerization of the 2004 elections citing flaws in the bidding process.

Lagman also tirelessly pushed for transparency of the automated elections last year, as lead convenor of transparentelections.org.ph and of the Movement for Good Governance (MGG).

“We were plain lucky. The election results were generally credible … despite the Comelec! But it was a costly system — not only in terms of money (P7.2 billion), but also in terms of voting secrecy, which was sacrificed, and public counting, which was ignored,” Ramirez quoted part of Lagman’s assessment of the conduct of the May 10, 2010 elections, published in the MGG’s website (http://mggphilippines.com) May 15, 2010.

Don’t forget the rank and file

Ramirez meanwhile called on the newly appointed Commissioner to include in his crusade inside the poll body the welfare of more than six thousand COMELEC rank and file employees nationwide.

“The COMELEC rank and file is ready and willing to support Lagman in his fight for transparency in the poll body. We urge him to also join us in our fight for job security, better working conditions, decent wages and in our democratic right to organize and negotiate with management concerning our welfare,” Ramirez said. ###

Gus Lagman seated in the middle (Photo from MGG website)

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Malacanang ‘crucified’ public sector workers, COMELEC workers demand wage hike

NEWS RELEASE

Reference:        Mac Ramirez , Vice-President for Internal Affairs

Contact:           aces.comelec@gmail.com

Date:                April 19, 2011

Malacanang ‘crucified’ public sector workers, COMELEC workers demand wage hike

Employees of the Commission on Elections, through its union, the Alliance of COMELEC Employees in Service (ACES); has likened the suffering of state workers brought about by the worsening price crisis and low wages in the country, to the pain and agony suffered by Jesus Christ at the foot of Mt. Calvary.

“COMELEC employees, like all rank and file workers in government, are being made to suffer at the ‘Calvary’ of skyrocketing prices of food, oil and other basic necessities,” stated Mac Ramirez, ACES Vice-President for Internal Affairs.

“It is but imperative for the government, as our employer, to assuage our agony by providing a substantial pay hike for all government employees as this would provide us with immediate economic relief amid the worsening price crisis in the country.”

But with Malacanang’s recent refusal to increase the state workers’ salaries, the government – according to Ramirez – “not only prolonged state workers’ agony but practically nailed them to the cross of dirt wages, poverty and destitution.”

This, Ramirez said, is indicative of the government’s “utter insensitivity towards the plight of 1.4 million government employees nationwide.”

Malacanang missing the point

Presidential Spokesman Edwin Lacierda recently thumbed-down calls for a pay hike in the public sector, saying that the government is “limited by law” and therefore can not act on the demand for a substantial wage increase. Lacierda intimated that the government’s hands are tied because wage increase in the public sector is governed by the Salary Standardization Law (SSL3), which provides a staggered wage adjustment scheme for state workers. SSL3 will be fully implemented in 2012.

But according to Ramirez, “Malacanang is completely missing the point.”

“Even if SSL3 is implemented today, the resulting minimum pay will only amount to P9,000, which is far below the Php29,000 estimated monthly cost of living.”

Ramirez said the ACES are supportive of the Confederation for Unity, Recognition and Advancement of Government Employees’ (COURAGE) call for a P6,000 increase in the minimum pay of all government employees.

On May 1, COMELEC employees will join workers in both the private and public sector in the streets to commemorate Labor Day. ###

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