By Raymund Antonio
The camp of Vice President Leni Robredo on Thursday called for a thorough investigation into the violent dispersal of striking NutriAsia workers last Monday in Marilao, Bulacan.
“We expect a thorough and impartial investigation to be conducted into this incident. Those responsible for the violence must be held fully accountable,” Robredo’s spokesperson Barry Gutierrez said.
Gutierrez, a former Akbayan representative, slammed the bloody dispersal during a mass outside NutriAsia’s plant, where 19 individuals consisted of NutriAsia workers and their supporters were arrested.
The workers went on strike to protest the company’s labor-only contracting, low wages, and poor working conditions. They also called for the reinstatement of dismissed union leaders.
The Department of Labor and Employment earlier ordered the condiments company to regularize 80 of its workers.
But NutriAsia’s security personnel and police forces violently dispersed the protesters joining the picket.
One of them was an injured elderly woman and her face bloodied, whose photo went viral on social media on Monday.
Gutierrez, a lawyer, said there can be “no excuse” for the violence inflicted by the police and NutriAsia guards on the protesting workers at the Bulacan factory.
The former lawmaker reminded the police they should maintain peace and order while handling public assembly like rallies and demonstrations.
“Regardless of any alleged ‘provocation,’ it remains the principal duty of our police officers to maintain order, and not to allow an admittedly tense situation to explode into open violence,” he said.