From Workers to Prisoners

               It was my first time to see the Hanjin Shipyard in Subic Zambales. The outside look of it is very peaceful and quiet. You don't even see the people working. Then I asked, "Bakit parang walang tao?" Kuya Mars, one of the leaders of SAMAHAN answered, "Kasi nasa loob sila ng mga duck na yan". Then I connect my thoughts. Kasing tahimik ng panlabas na anyo ng Hanjin Shipyard ang mga workers nito, hough hindi lahat, pero marami parin ang natatakot magsalita kasi they know that there's a big possibility na matanggal sila sa trabaho. Kaya din siguro hindi sila masyadong napapansin kasi parang hindi naman totoo. Kasi wala namang nagsasalita. Until that day, I found out that marami narin palang media ang nakipagusap sa mga leaders and members ng SAMAHAN at ng Friends of Hanjin Workers.

              I and Elmer from Friends of Hanjin Workers, went to Subic Zambales together with the staffs of GMA7's Reporter's Notebook to cover the issue of Hanjin workers and know their stories. For me, it was a privilege that I've met different Hanjin workers and the leaders of SAMAHAN cause I've learned A LOT from them. The stories that I've heard from Ka Renante's stories, totoo pala talaga lahat yun at mas marami pang nangyayari sa loob na hindi pa naisasawalat kasi natatakot ang mga workers na i-terminate sila sa kanilang trabaho. Damang-dama ko ang paghihirap habang sila ay nagke- kwento. Nakakaawa. Sabi ko nga, kung meron lang ako na alternative na trabaho na pwedeng ibigay sakanila, ginawa ko na. Pero dahil talaga sa kahirapan, they are all willing to take all the risks and sacrifices to survive and to feed their family. 

Here's the story: 

         When we went up the mountain to see the wide view of the Hanjin Shipyard outside, Reporter's Notebook's camera persons set up their staff to shoot the outside view of the shipyard. In a while, the security guard of the shipyard (is a Filipino) noticed us and stared as if we are criminals.I wasn't frightened at first but when the security guard (Mr. Manalastas) went up to where we were standing and brought a military person with him, I got scared, honestly. Then the Segment Producer of RN talked to them and explained everything. They want us to go inside and go to the information center and talk to their General Manager (a Korean). The Segment Producer said we will go inside when the permit is already okay. To cut the long story short, Mr. Manalastas insisted that we should go there and talk to the General Manager to clear everything. But we were surprised when we found out that our service van was already inside the Hanjin Shipyard. He said that their General Manager let our service van in. 

        Then after meeting the General Manager, the crew of RN got nothing. They didn't even let them shoot inside the shipyard and didn't even get an interview with the Hanjin Management. So, our next stop was the hospital where they usually bring the Hanjin workers, which is 45 minutes away from the shipyard. We went there to see the worker who is currently in coma because of the accident that happened to him inside the Hanjin Shipyard. When we got there, the camera persons were stopped by 2 security guards and didn't tell them why. The Segment Producer of RN was the only one who could go inside. Then after about an hour, the Segment Producer told us that they can't see the patient or interview any of his relatives because there was a not written from the patient's brother saying that they are no longer willing to do an interview in any media that will invite them to. The Segment Producer of RN also mentioned that the Finance Officer of Hanjin Shipyard was inside. Well, alam na natin kung anong ginagawa niya dun. Ang masaklap pa dun, nung nasa office kami ng SAMAHAN, nakausap pa namin yung Kuya nung pasyente na na-coma. The analysis is that the Hanjin Management forced the brother to make a letter to neglect any interview involving Hanjin because if not, they will not pay for the hospital bills of the patient. 

Isa lang ito sa pagpapakita na talagang may hindi magandang ginagawa ang Hanjin Management, kasi bakit nila kailangang pigilang magpainterview ang mga workers or relatives ng mga workers kung wala naman silang ginagawang masama?

Because of that experience, I convinced myself that I will become more aggressive on showing the unjust labor conditions that are happening inside the Hanjin Shipyard. I will do anything that I can to help the workers and to spread the issue for the people to become aware, informed and involved on the fight that these Hanjin Workers are experiencing. 

We can help in many ways, even in our own simple ways, yes we can do something to help these 23, 000 Hanjin Workers. Hanjin Shipyard is in their 5 years this year, 45 more years to come (5o years contract). Let's all make a stand to stop these unjust labor conditions inside the Hanjin Shipyard!

P.S Please watch Reporter's Notebook later 11:30pm after SAKSI on GMA7, they will be featuring the issue of Hanjin Workers. 

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