Labor leaders and labor rights advocates on Thursday, June 8, declared Wennie Sancho, Power Watch secretary general, persona non grata in Negros Occidental workplaces for his support of the Central Negros Electric Cooperative (CENECO) and Primelectric Holdings Inc. joint venture agreement, a leader of a coalition opposing the move said Thursday, June 8.
“Sancho’s statements are a complete turnaround from the worker’s cause. His assertion to open up CENECO to a Joint Venture Agreement is an attack on the rights of all CENECO employees to security of tenure, just and living wages, and trade union rights”, Noli Rosales, Bayan-Negros spokesperson, said at an Anti-JVA Coalition press conference.
Sancho formerly represented labor on the Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board, he pointed out.
Rosales said they support the CENECO Union of Rational Employees (CURE) and Responsible Supervisory and Confidential Union of Employees (RESCUE), representing the rank and file employees and supervisory and confidential employees of the cooperative, respectively.
Sancho’s allegations supposedly questioning the legitimacy of RESCUE are baseless and malicious, Rosales said.
“The issues of Mr. Sancho against CURE and RESCUE are not only an attack to CENECO workers but to the whole trade union movement in Negros Occidental,” Rosales said.
Sancho, in response, said Rosales’ persona non grata declaration against him is “misplaced and preposterous”.
“They do not have the authority to declare me persona non grata”, he said.
He is not a member of their organizations and they have no territorial claim of all the workplaces in Negros Occidental to declare him persona non grata, Sancho said.
Sancho also said if they declare him persona non grata they should also declare all the public officials supporting the JVA the same.
That means there is no freedom of choice in the Philippines for them to declare him persona non grata for being pro JVA, Sancho added.
A referendum on the JVA will reflect the sovereign will of the people, Sancho said.
As far as Power Watch and the multi-sectoral groups supporting the JVA are concerned, the JVA is transparent and above board, he added.
They should not restrain the sovereign right of the people to express their will, Sancho said.*