Soldiers should be out of workplaces –Nagkaisa Labor Coalition

Published January 21, 2021, 7:45 PM

by Leslie Ann Aquino

The Nagkaisa Labor Coalition said workplaces should also be off-limits to police and military.


The group said like schools, workplaces are not soldiers’ battlefields.

“The Nagkaisa! Labor Coalition welcomes and supports proposal making schools and university campuses immune from action by state security forces similar to those in UP and PUP accords,” Nagkaisa chairperson Sonny Matula said in a statement Thursday.

“If we may add, not only universities but also workplaces are off-limits to the military and police. It is along this principle of freedom that workers stand with UP as we believe that schools and workplaces are not our soldiers’ battlefields,” he added.

Matula said while the 2010 Operational Procedures of the Philippine National Police and the 2011 “Guidelines on the Conduct of the Department of Labor and Empoyment, Department of Interior and Local Government, Department of National Defense, Department of Justice, Armed Forces of the Philippines, and PNP Relative to the Exercise of Workers’ Rights and Activities” institutionalize the principle of non-interference to trade unions activities by the state’s security forces, these rights are often violated with impunity.

“Thus, we call on the would-be proponents of the bill to make the UP-DND accord universal to all universities to also consider institutionalizing the same policy at the workplace level,” he said.

He also stressed that organizing labor unions cannot be considered a crime that warrants police action. 

“Educating workers about basic trade union rights and their ultimate emancipation from slavery by building organizations, movements, and political parties are guaranteed rights under the Constitution, the Labor Code, and international conventions,” Matula said.

“Organizing trade unions is a right under Section 8, Article III of the Constitution,” he added.

On Wednesday, several senators filed a bill aiming to institutionalize the agreement between the DND and UP outlawing the presence of military and police personnel in its campuses following the decision of the DND to unilaterally terminate the 1989 UP-DND Accord last January 15.