Sunday, January 04, 2009

Molly has mentioned the case of Philippino labour lawyer Remigio Saladero on this blog before. Here is further news of other repressive actions by the government and bosses of the Philippines. Also a call for solidarity from the Clean Clothes Campaign.
Since we reported on the arrest of labour lawyer Remigio Saladero onOctober 23, 2008, the Philippine authorities have issued arrest warrants for 71 other labour and human rights activists.
They are being accused of murder and attempted murder for allegedly taking up arms against the government and attacking police forces in an ambush in Mindoro province in March 2006. The accusations are based on a statement of one witness whose testimony is highly questionable and no investigation has taken place. Six activists have already been arrested and the others may be seized by the military police at any moment.
False Charges Being Used to Cripple the Labour Movement
Among the activists pursued by the military and charged by the prosecutor in the Mindoro case are at least 15 labour leaders and organisers who have been working for years in the Philippine export processing zones (see the list below). The accused include activists,organisers and leaders from a variety of trade unions and labour organisations, including the Workers’ Assistance Center in Cavite, the transportation unions, and the workers’ unions at Nestle, Toyota and Honda.
The draconian measures of the Philippine government seem specifically designed to cripple the Philippine labour movement by make union organising even more difficult and prohibiting strikes. In recent years,the government of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo has come under intense international and domestic criticism for hundreds of extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances of leftist activists, journalists, lawyers and clergy by members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police.
In response to the criticism, the number of such killings dropped, but convictions of perpetrators for serious crimes of this type remain negligible. Local activists have also expressed concern that the continuing harassment and arrests of activists on trumped-up charges shows that the government is merely changing its tactics. Their fears were confirmed in a recent statement by the chairperson of the Philippine Commission on Human Rights, Leila de Lima”; “Those who are charged fit perfectly the profile of the usual victims of extra-judicial killings and enforced disappearances,” de Lima told representatives of a broad coalition of workers unions, church groups, students, and lawyers groups who are campaigning for the release of Atty. Remigio Saladero Jr.
Employers Confederation Blocks ILO Investigation
The International Labour Organisation, in response to a complaint filed by a Philippine labour organisation two years ago, requested that thePhilippine government allow it to send in a high-level mission to investigate the killings and harassments of union leaders and members, and other violations of freedom of association in the Philippines. The government has thus far refused. The Employers Confederation of the Philippines (ECOP), which includes employers such as Nestle, Toyota, andHonda, is adamantly opposed to the investigation. For years, these companies have been engaged in standoffs with democratically elected unions.
Take action at: adapt/send the sample letter below:
Send your letter to:
* Atty. Rafael Francisco, Chairperson of ECOP CSR Committee. Email:
* Jose Roland Moya, Deputy Director-General of ECOP. Email:
* Mrs. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, President of the Philippines. Email:
and a CC to:
* Ms. Leila De Lima, Philippines Commission on Human Rights. Email:
* Secretary Raul Gonzalez, Philippines Dept. of Justice. Email:
* Secretary Ronaldo V. Puno, Department of Interior and Local Government. Email:
To whom it may concern,
I have been informed by the Clean Clothes Campaign that there has been a continued effort by the Government of the Philippines and the Employers Confederation of the Philippines (ECOP) to intimidate labour and human rights activists and thwart their efforts to combat impunity for violence against labour leaders.
Furthermore, I am shocked to learn that ECOP has stood in opposition of a formal investigation by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) into the violence against labour leaders in the Philippines. Given thatthe ILO is an internationally recognised and respected body, I would expect the ILO would be welcomed to the Philippines.
I have also learned that due process was not followed in the recent filing of arrest warrants for 72 people, including many of the mosteminent labour leaders in southern Tagalog, in the "Minodoro" case.
I send this email in the hopes that the government of the Philippines and ECOP will:
* End the campaign of intimidation against labour leaders and supporters;
* Invite the ILO to do a full independent investigation into the human rights violations in the Philippines;
*Release all arrested activists and drop all the criminal charges against the labour and human rights advocates, activists and organisers included in the "Mindoro case"
I stand in solidarity with the workers of the Philippines and look forward to the day when they will enjoy the full benefits of internationally recognised labour rights.
List of Labour Leaders Charged by Philippine Government in the MindoroMurder Case
1. Romeo Legaspi (Chairperson, PAMANTIK-KMU; National President,Organized Labour Association in Line Industries and Agriculture(OLALIA-KMU); President, Nagkakaisang Lakas ng Manggagawa sa Honda (NLMH- OLALIA);Chairperson, Anakpawis-Timog Katagalugan);
2. Rolando Mingo (President, Southern Tagalog Region Transport Sector Organization, (STARTER);Vice President, Pinagkaisang Lakas ng Tsuper at Operator Nationwide (PISTON); 3. Emmanuel Dionida, (Executive Director, Labour Education Advocacy Development Research Services Inc.);
4. Nestor San Jose (Rizal Provincial Coordinator, Anakpawis; Coordinator, Makabayang Organisasyon ng Tsuper at Operator sa Rizal(MOTOR) –PISTON);
5. Luz Baculo (Secretary General, Pamantik-KMU; National Council Member,KMU);
6. Berlin Justo (Calamba City coordinator, Bayan Muna; Secretary General, Calamba Federation Tricycle Operators and Drivers Association; Former Baranggay Councilor, Brgy. Palingon, Calamba City);
7. Agaton Bautista (Batangas Provincial Coordinator, Anakpawis; Secretary General, Samahan ng mga Magbubukid sa Batangas (SAMBAT));
8. Samuel Dizon (Coordinator, Samahan Pang-transportasyong Rumuruta sa Kalakhang Probinsya ng Laguna (SPARKPLAG) – Piston);
9. Lucio Amarante (Staff, Transport Organizer, STARTER-PISTON);
10. Henry Halawig (Paralegal staff, Banzuela Law Office; Former Board of Directors, OLALIA-KMU);
11. Arnie Seminiano (Member, Ilaw at Buklod ng Manggagawa-Kilusang Mayo Uno (IBM-KMU);
12. Garizaldy Constantino (Campaign Officer, Anakpawis Party list; Former Campaign Officer, Kilusang Mayo Uno Labour Leader, Nestle Union);
13. Romeo Sevilla (Member, Ilaw at Buklod ng Manggaga-Kilusang Mayo Uno (IBM-KMU));
14. Emmanuel Asuncion (Board Member- Workers’ Assistance Center);
15. Remigio Saladero (General Counsel-KMU; Pro-Labour Legal Assistance Center)

No comments: