Former Anakpawis Party-list Representative and Unyon ng Manggagawa sa Agrikultura National Vice-Chairperson Ariel “Ka Ayik” Casilao today pronounced that the country’s inclusion to the world’s worst countries for the working class is expected, and just exposed the anti-worker character of the Duterte regime. The data which rated the country with the lowest 5 was reported by the Global Workers’ Right Index 2018 published by the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC). The rating meant “no guarantee of rights” for workers.
“It is so obvious that amid the peddled lies of Duterte to end contractualization of labor, he is just a paid lackey of foreign monopoly and big oligarchs who acts as their champion, thus, ordering his armed goons to violently disperse workers’ picket lines and protests,” the former lawmaker said in a press statement.
During the 17th congress, Casilao pushed for congressional inquiries on various incidents of violent dispersals and cases of contractualization, such as of the workers from NutriAsia (makers of popular condiment products of UFC, Silver Swan, Datu Puti and others), Jollibee, Slord (of Unipak), PLDT, Coca-Cola, Middleby (of kitchen equipment) and Sumitomo Fruits (Sumifru). But the house leadership ignored these legitimate issues, thus, exploitation and oppression of workers intensified and remained unabated. At present, workers of Pepmaco (makers of Champion detergent) and NutriAsia in Laguna are holding their picket lines and protests against contractualization and violent dispersals of their picket lines.
“Duterte actually executes ‘no union – no strike’ policy across the country, and Filipino workers should take on the task of actively defending their economic welfare, otherwise, suffer the slave-like conditions brought about by the exploitation of profit-hungry capitalists,” he said.
Aside from violent dispersals of picket lines, the Duterte regime carries out political persecution, subjecting trade unionists to extra-judicial killings and trumped up charges. Union leaders are being killed including:
- Danny Boy Bautista, leader of Namasufa (workers of Sumifru Fruits in Compostela Valley);
- Linus Cubol, the former chairperson of Kilusang Mayo Uno in Caraga region;
- Lando Abangan, organizer of SENTRO and Partido ng Manggagawa;
- Leonides “Dennis” Sequeña, organizer of Partido Manggagawa;
- and countless transport workers (“habal-habal,” tricycle) from Mindanao under martial law and Negros under Memorandum Order 32.
Moreover, Kilusang Mayo Uno trade unionist Maoj Maga, was convicted of the obviously trumped up charges of illegal possession of firearms and explosives by a San Mateo (Rizal) Regional Trial Court.
“The Duterte regime’s anti-worker character, combined with its political persecution of the peasant majority, completes his anti-people legacy and abandonment of his mandate to promote the interest of poor sectors. His seat in power is not beneficial to tens of millions of poor Filipinos, thus, the rationale of the impeachment case against him is overflowing,” Casilao said.
He added that the regime will never reform itself for the benefit of the Filipino workers and the only remaining option is to remove him from his post.
“The killings, political persecution of workers will continue, as long as Duterte remains president. His presidency is for the interest of foreign monopoly, imperialist China and US, big local oligarchs and his crony capitalists. He is never for the interest of the Filipino, thus, we urge broad support for the pending impeachment complaint against him,” he ended. ###
Ariel “Ka Ayik” Casilao
Anakpawis Party-list National Vice-President and Former Representative,
Unyon ng Manggagawa sa Agrikultura Vice-Chairperson