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Sotto denies intervening in labor dispute

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Pasig City Mayor Vico Sotto denied that the city government is intervening in labor issues.

This, despite his public criticism of Regent Foods Corporation (RFC) on Sunday for pursuing the charges filed against its striking workers.

“Inuulit ko, hindi nakikialam ang LGU (local government unit) sa isyu na sakop ng Dept. (Department) of Labor [and Employment],” Sotto said in a Twitter post.

The mayor posted the statement Tuesday afternoon after RFC said earlier that day that it was “contemplating” of bringing its business elsewhere.

“Moving forward, RFC may simply accept its fate that the Pasig City administration will unjustly make life hard for it and its 400-strong workforce, and contemplate simply bringing its business elsewhere—a truly painful outcome for a corporation that has considered Pasig City its home for a total of three decades now,” the statement read.

The mayor, in his earlier post, acknowledged that the local government cannot not interfere with labor issues as it is under the jurisdiction of DOLE.

“However, when my constituents are being deprived of liberty as they fight for their rights as workers, I cannot sit around and do nothing,” he said.

A total of 23 people, including 20 workers, two members of Defend Job Philippines, and a tricycle driver, was arrested after a violent picket dispersal at the factory of RFC in Barangay Kalawaan, Pasig, on November 9.

RFC said the strike was “never legitimate” and it was in “violation of RFC’s own rights, as well as the rights of other people.”

In his post, Sotto said that he could not say if the dispersal was whether legal or not.

“Ngunit pwede naman ipagpatuloy ang kaso na hindi pinakukulong ang mga manggagawang hindi na nga sumusweldo,” he said.

The mayor said in an earlier Facebook post that 12 out of the 23 arrested people were already released, including the tricycle driver “who just went down to see what was going on.”

He confirmed on Tuesday that the remaining detained workers and labor group members were freed from Pasig City Police detention facility after posting bail.

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