Casiño urges DOTC Sec. Roxas to give benefits to ex-Pantranco workers

A PARTYLIST lawmaker  today  called on  Transportation Secretary Manuel “Mar” Roxas to abide with the Supreme Court ruling favoring former workers of the bankrupt Pantranco North Express Incorporated (PNEI).

Partylist Rep. Teddy Casino defended the  neglected and oppressed workers of the PNEI saying their separation pay should have been given to them 30 years ago.

Last Thursday, Transportation Secretary Manuel “Mar” Roxas defied a 1993 Supreme Court decision favoring former workers of Pantranco when he prevented the sale of 489 bus franchises to PUB companies plying north and Central Luzon routes.

“Sec. Roxas should listen to the bus workers because they have long been been waiting to be compensated. They are now already old and in dire need of their benefits. It is high time that they receive the fruits of their labor,” said the progressive solon.

Casiño denounced the gross injustices being inflicted against the workers and employers of Pantranco since the bus firm was sequestered by the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG).

Casiño said that after it was sequestered and mismanaged by the PCGG, the firm closed in 1993 without giving out separation pay to the workers. This is amid the DOLE and Supreme Court decision awarding the Pantranco Retrenched Employees Association P562 million and the Pantranco Employees Association P142 million.

The government also violated the Labor Code after rewarding Pantranco properties to creditors instead of prioritizing payment to workers.

The franchise, Pantranco’s remaining asset which can serve as partial separation payment to the workers, is now being denied to the workers after its awarding was suspended by DOTC Sec. Mar Roxas.

On April 12 this year, the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board declared the franchise valid and effective after being bought by the workers during an auction sale in November 2009.

“This injustice should immediately be stopped. I hope Sec. Roxas would heed the bus workers’ plea. If not then we might have to investigate this in Congress to learn if vested interests are at work behind the scenes on this issue,” said Casiño.

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