By Arjay L. Balinbin, Reporter
PRESIDENT Rodrigo R. Duterte said he has fired Labor Undersecretary Joel B. Maglunsod.
Mr. Duterte made this announcement during the presentation of rebel returnees at Camp Juan Ponce Sumuroy in Catarman, Samar, last Tuesday, Oct. 2.
But Mr. Maglunsod, the undersecretary for Labor Relations of the Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE), said when sought for comment on Wednesday: “Sorry po, hindi ko alam ‘yon. I-tsek ko pa po (Sorry, I have no idea about that. I will check first).”
In his speech, Mr. Duterte said: “Iyong Undersecretary ng Labor,…Joel Maglunsod, pinaalis ko (The Undersecretary of Labor, Joel Maglunsod, I fired him).”
“Hindi ko po talaga alam… Nagtanong din ako sa sarili ko ano kakulangan ko? O ano kasalanan ko sa DoLE? Kasi lahat ng mga ginagawa namin doon, para…sa mamamayan natin, siyempre ‘yung itigil ang contractualization at for the regularization ng mga mamamayan natin. ‘Yun ang mga effort natin,” Mr. Maglunsod said.
(I really do not know about that. I also asked myself, where did I go wrong? Have I done anything wrong to DoLE? Because everything we do there is for the people. And, of course, it is to end contractualization and for the regularization of our workers. Those are our efforts.)
Mr. Maglunsod is a former Anakpawis representative and a leader of the leftist Kilusang Mayo Uno. Mr. Duterte did not mention his affiliation but apparently referred to that in his remarks:
“Pinagbigyan ko sila noon. Eh, ‘yung ideology niyo. Pero in the long run, gusto nila pati sila magdala ng gobyerno,” he said, addressing the rebel returnees. (I gave them a chance before. (But) your ideology. But in the long run, they want to take over the government.)
“Makipag-away ka sa akin, makipag-barilan ka tapos ngayon sabihin mo kasama tayo sa gobyerno…Kalokohan ‘yan.” (You fight me and shoot me, and then now, you say we’re together in government. That’s foolishness.)
“Ayan pakisabipati ‘yang (Kilusang) Mayo Uno na ito mag — ipaaresto ko lahat ‘yan.” (Tell them, including this Mayo Uno, I will have them arrested.)
Before Mr. Maglunsod, leftist officials like Judy M. Taguiwalo, Rafael V. Mariano, and Liza L. Maza were also prompted to leave the government.
For his part, Alan A. Tanjusay, spokesperson of the Associated Labor Unions-Trade Union Congress of the Philippines, said in a statement: “[We] were surprised at the news saying Usec. Joel Maglunsod was fired by the President.”
He cited Mr. Maglunsod as being “very active in linking labor groups and workers organizations’ concerns and issues to the DoLE, business and employers groups, and to the President.”
“[Mr. Maglunsod] was always ready to listen and work out solutions to workers in trouble with their employers. [He] was (a) key DoLE official in helping move the very important security of tenure bill. He was also a key DoLE official in regularizing thousands of ‘endo’ workers,” Mr. Tanjusay also said. —with Gillian M. Cortez