September 15, 2021
The Council for People’s Development and Governance (CPDG) strongly denounces the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict’s (NTF-ELCAC) harassment against the Wyeth Philippines Progressive Workers Union (WPPWU) leaders and members.
“Aside from intimidating workers and union members, the NTF-ELCAC forcefully subdues the workers’ fundamental right to organization. Worse, it poses a threat to their lives which further creates a chilling effect that disempowers marginalized sectors like labor,” said Liza Maza, CPDG spokesperson.
According to labor center Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU), over 30 unionists have been visited and threatened by NTF-ELCAC personnel. They are forcing the WPPWU leaders to disaffiliate from KMU.
“NTF-ELCAC is clearly working to protect multinational corporations instead of Filipino workers. Its disaffiliation campaign against labor centers and unions only exposes what their repressive objectives are—to disenfranchise workers and deprive them of their rights,” Maza added. She also pointed out that on the guise of “combating Communism” and its “legal fronts”, the NTF-ELCAC and State Security forces openly attack militants and progressives. Moreover, it is being done to protect the interests of corporations over workers’ welfare.
“These relentless and brazen attacks against trade unions highlight the need for the International Labor Organization’s (ILO) High Level Mission to investigate government policies that violate international standards in workplace and labor freedoms and rights,” Maza added.
The same scheme against unions is being done in other labor sectors as well. In a forum entitled “Pagkakaisa, Pagtindig laban sa Atake at Pandemya” held by Center for Trade Union and Human Rights last September 6, Confederation for Unity Recognition Government Employees or COURAGE shared how their local unions were subjected to coerced disaffiliation.
“Despite legal guarantees, union-organizing takes a lot of effort and entails a big challenge in the country. Union organizers and members risk their lives”, Federation of Free Workers (FFW) President Atty. Sonny Matula said in a separate statement.
“We would like to remind the Duterte Administration that unionism is a right, and that the right to freedom of association, collective bargaining, to peaceably assemble and the right to strike is enshrined in the 1987 Constitution. Further, these rights are recognized under fundamental ILO Conventions ratified by the Philippines, which the military and police should respect at all times,” asserts Rochelle Porras, Executive Director of Ecumenical Institute for Labor Education and Research.
Currently, unions, people’s organizations in Cagayan Valley are holding a 9-day prayer and fasting for different sectors afflicted by the economic crisis due to COVID-19 and the government’s mismanaged pandemic response. September 15th stands for a day of prayer for workers, which many organizations are taking part in.
“We express our solidarity with the Wyeth Philippines Progressive Workers Union (WPPWU). We are enraged on how the government is perpetuating a culture of impunity. We strongly condemn the red tagging of trade unions and labor leaders by the NTF-ELCAC. The continued attacks against civil society organizations and trade unions must end,” Porras continued.
“Aside from aggression and repression against organized labor and all forms of dissent, the NTF-ELCAC is nothing but a waste of people’s money. We urge everyone to join the marginalized sectors under attack by this task force to call for its abolition” Maza added. #
#StandWithWyethWorkers #ManggagawangMayLaban #LayasNTFELCAC #DefendOurUnions