'Hands off our unions!' — labor group to DILG, NTF-ELCAC

Labor group Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) launched on Wednesday, Sept. 15, a "Global Day of Action" in support of union members who have been continuously receiving harassment amid the ongoing pandemic.

(Photo from Kilusang Mayo Uno)

"Habang dumarami ang kaso ng COVID-19 at tumitindi ang gutom at hirap na dinaranas ng ating mga kababayan, ang pinagkakaabalahan ng gobyerno ay ang pang-aatake sa mga manggagawang wala namang ibang hangad kundi makapagtrabaho nang matiwasay (While the number of COVID-19 cases continues to rise, the government has been preoccupied attacking laborers who just want to work)," KMU Secretary General Jerome Adonis said in a statement.

Adonis cited the situation of several members of the Wyeth Philippines Progressive Workers Union (WPPWU) who have been receiving threats from the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC).

According to Adonis, the workers already filed formal complaints before the Commission on Human Rights and the Department of Labor and Employment but the attacks persisted.

Just last month, union leaders said they were regularly visited by NTF-ELCAC agents forcing them to draft and sign the disaffiliation resolution or they will be arrested for supposedly violating the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020.

Wyeth workers added that they were given by the NTF-ELCAC only until Sept. 15 to disaffiliate their union from the Drug, Food and Allied Workers Federation of KMU (DFA KMU).

With this, the workers led by KMU trooped to the headquarters of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), which is part of the NTF-ELCAC, to condemn its role in the intensifying attacks against workers.

"Batayang karapatan namin ang mag-unyon, bakit niyo ito tinatratong krimen? Napakarami nang napagtagumpayan ng mga manggagawa dahil sa pagkakaisa at pag-uunyon (It is our right to join a union, why do you treat this as a crime? The workers were able to address their sector's concerns because of this)," Adonis explained.

He also noted that while unionists extend help to their fellow workers, the government continues to neglect the people's call for aid and even provided NTF-ELCAC a P30 billion budget for 2022.

With this, the group reiterated its call to put a stop to the attacks on workers, particularly unionists, and abolish NTF-ELCAC which they said is only bringing "fear and persecution to the people."

"Sa aming mga kapwa manggagawa, patuloy tayong magkaisa at makibaka! Angkinin natin ang ating kalayaan sa pag-oorganisa at ipaglaban natin ang ating mga karapatan (To our fellow workers, let us continue to unite and fight! Let us claim our freedom to organize and fight for our rights)," he added