/ DavaoToday.com file photo

The militant labor center Kilusang Mayo Uno in Southern Mindanao strongly condemns the illegal search conducted by the city police force when the group conducted a picket protest at the Department of Labor and Employment office this morning. The workers were picketing DOLE to call on the government to implement a national minimum wage as well as increase of daily minimum wage to P750. 

As the program neared its end, Davao City Police Chief Colonel Alexander Tagum arrived at the area with over 100 police personnel. The Police Chief castigated the workers, accusing them of conducting an illegal assembly in the area. He then ordered his subordinates to frisk individually the workers without their consent and warrant. 

The illegal search illustrates Davao City as a microcosm of the nation’s political situation where authoritarian governance prevails. Mayor Inday Sara Duterte-Carpio, like her father, is intolerant of dissent and rules the city through fascist and militaristic means. Her high-handed tactics against the toiling people stands in contrast to her preferential treatment of businesses. Under Duterte-Carpio’s rule, the city government enacted an ordinance prohibiting protests at government agencies and places. The Rizal Park, which used to be a venue of central protest in the city, was also denied to groups and organizations critical of the government’s anti-poor programs and inefficiencies. Farmers, workers, and other sectors coming from neighboring provinces of Davao City are also being denied to enter the city to conduct protests. 

Previously, last October 23, 2018, the workers of Sumifru coming from Compostela, Compostela Valley traveled to the city to attend a conference called by the Department of Labor and Employment but were denied entry to the city at the Task Force Davao checkpoint resulting to the default of the workers in the conference. Col. Tagum is a perfect fit to Mayor Duterte-Carpio’s authoritarianism, the former being the infamous Chief of Police in Kidapawan City when police brutally dispersed the hungry farmers and killed two farmers in North Cotabato who were staging a protest against hunger and the rice crisis. 

This latest attack against the workers is another testament why the country is listed among the Top Ten worst countries around the world in terms in workers rights this year. Likewise, these police excesses confirm the UN Human Rights Council resolution for the need to investigate the Philippine Government under President Duterte of the numerous cases of rights violations being committed. 

The Duterte government is a corrupt, bankrupt, anti-poor, and criminal cabal subservient to the interests of foreign monopoly capitalist countries like of United States of America and China. The national debt rose to an unprecedented Php 8 trillion while the majority of the Filipinos continue to live in dire poverty. While the Duterte government fails to provide jobs and livable wages, it allows Chinese workers to rob the job opportunities in the country as well as the country’s territories like in West Philippine Sea. 

Thus, in the coming 3rd State of the Nation address of Pres. Duterte, we call on all Filipinos who have been victimized politically and economically by this administration to stand for our rights and protest this anti-people government.#

Carl Anthony Olalo, KMU-Southern Mindanao

The Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) is an independent labour center promoting genuine, militant and patriotic trade unionism. It is genuine because it recognizes the struggle between labor and capital and upholds the legitimate interests of the working class; militant because it relies on the workers collective struggle in defending trade union and democratic rights; and patriotic because it seeks to end imperialist domination and control over the Philippines.