PAL Leaves Mediation Offer In Labor Row To New Management

The flag carrier, Philippine Airlines (PAL) refused to comment whether they will accept the offer that the Court of Appeals (CA) offered, to mediate in the labor argument caused by the early retirement of some 2, 300 workers last year.

In its place, the decision will be left to the new management led by San Miguel Corporation, President Ramon Ant, whose group will reportedly fill some $500 million to fund the struggling airline’s re-fleeting and modernization program.

“We are in the transition phase, so it’s best for the new leaders to decide regarding legal issues,” Vice president for corporate communications of PAL, Joey de Guzman said.

The Court of Appeals (CA) tenth division asked PAL and the PAL Employees Association (PALEA) in a resolution dated March 27, if they are prepare to bring the issue before the Philippine Mediation Center-Court of Appeals for “a final opportunity to explore the possibility of coming up with an amicable settlement of their dispute.”

It almost took 8 months for the appellate court to came up with the suggestion to end the labor row after Malacañang found it admissible for PAL to outsource its catering, ground handling and call center reservation units among losses in the past years.

Compensation packages, which floated between P120, 000 and P2.4 million, were dispersed weeks following the takeover of new service providers in October 1 last year.

But the union endured the firm in its bid to fight the spinoff program as it considered the Court of Appeals’ mediation offer as an opening to end the dispute despite attacks on its campout and spending the Christmas holidays at the picket lines.

Last Friday, PALEA submitted its reply of affirmation to the Court of Appeals.

10-month budget deficit swells to P266B

Full-year target of P250B breached

MANILA, Philippines – The budget deficit ballooned to P266.1 billion in the 10 months to October, overshooting the full-year target limit of P250 billion by 6.4 percent.

Finance Secretary Margarito B. Teves said the swelling continued as revenue collection remained weak due to the global economic slowdown.

“This year’s deficit is likely to reach P280 billion or even P300 billion in a worst-case scenario,” Teves said.

The finance chief earlier said overspending could reach P300 billion unless the Supreme Court decides in favor of the government regarding the ownership of the 24-percent stake in San Miguel Corp., the privatization of which is expected to yield at least P50 billion.

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Escudero junks NPC, Cojuangco

MANILA, Philippines—Opposition Sen. Francis Escudero Wednesday rearranged the political landscape ahead of the May 2010 elections by resigning from the Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC), the party founded by business tycoon Eduardo “Danding” Cojuangco Jr.

“I am leaving my party because I believe that I can fulfill the role that I am bound to play in connection with the coming elections … not as a member of any party or a companion of any person, but as just me,” Escudero announced at the historic Club Filipino in San Juan City.

The announcement came after Escudero failed to convince Cojuangco, NPC chair emeritus and chair of San Miguel Corp., to bankroll his presidential candidacy in talks early this week.

“This should be the first test of leadership of any putative candidate—for him to decide on his own and take full responsibility for the decision whether or not to run and what position to run for,” Escudero said at a press conference.

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SMC’s net income more than doubles to P19.3 B in 2008

Diversified conglomerate San Miguel Corporation reported a 134 percent jump in consolidated net income last year to P19.3 billion from P8.25 billion in 2007 on the back of stronger sales and one time gains from the initial public offering of beer unit San Miguel Brewery Inc.

Despite external factors that had most food and beverage businesses reeling from slower-than-anticipated growth in consumer demand, San Miguel Corporation said its full-year consolidated sales revenue of P168.0 billion, 14 percent higher than 2007 levels of 148.0 billion.

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