Labor coalition wants red-tagging, anti-union activities stopped

Published October 29, 2020, 8:56 PM

by Leslie Ann Aquino

The Nagkaisa labor coalition said the planned investigation on the controversial red-tagging activities by some military officials should also include the alleged anti-union activities of the Philippine National Police (PNP).

Nagkaisa chairperson Sonny Matula said Senator Panfilo Lacson should include the country’s trade union movement which has been marked the same by the police forces.

“We ask Senator Lacson for this inclusion because prior to General Parlade’s red-tagging of high-profile celebrities, the country’s trade union movement has been marked the same by the police forces,” he said in a statement Thursday.

Matula said that as early as last year, the PNP, specifically its regional office in Central Luzon (PRO3), led the establishments of the Joint Industrial Peace Cooperation Offices (JIPCOs) in Central Luzon, allegedly to prevent radical unions from infiltrating the Ecozones.

The move, he added, seems to have been sanctioned by the higher ups as JIPCO’s launching was joined by the highest officials of the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP), the PNP, and Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA).

“The fact is under the law, it is the military and the police, not the trade union organizers, who are off-limits in establishments with ongoing labor disputes,” said Matula.

This JIPCO matter has already been raised by Nagkaisa before the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) and the group is still awaiting reports of action taken by the latter.

Nagkaisa emphasized that trade unionists are protected by domestic and international laws. Their individual political belief, religion, gender, and even color, do not really matter as it is also not fair and proper to tag all security forces as rightist terrorists.

The coalition also added that red-tagging is an alarming preview of things to come and it is the primary reason why Nagkaisa also pleads with the SC to strike down the Anti-Terrorism Law as unconstitutional.

“The real danger is when red-tagging is no longer an act of a Mccarthyist general but by the whole of government,” said Matula.

Lacson recently filed Senate Resolution No. 599, seeking probe into the red-tagging of celebrities, personalities, institutions and organizations by the military.