“We were under agency contract for several years, until the union fought for our regularization. Our workload is lighter compared before, though still difficult. We now enjoy wage increase and benefits. Before being part of the union, even operators or workers compete, working to the max, to increase the output, increasing the profit without increasing the wage, but the union taught us to be in solidarity with one another,” said Esther, Meryl and Jason (not their real names), Fuji Electric Phils. workers when interviewed by CTUHR on why they joined the union [2020 March 20].
This was Dandy Miguel’s vision, better lives for his fellow workers inside and outside Fuji Electric Corp. Miguel was the union President of Fuji Electric Corp. He was shot dead while on board his motorcycle on his way home from work in Canlubang, Laguna on the nightn of March 28,2020. He sustained eight (8) gunshot wounds and died instantly. His violent death came on the night of Pres. Duterte’s birthday and the eve of the implementation of an enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) or lockdown in NCR, Laguna, Cavite, Bulacan and Rizal. “Is this some sort of gift to the President whom we can never forget has publicly ordered his state forces to kill?” CTUHR asked.
Just three (3) weeks prior to Miguel’s murder, one of the worst attacks against rights defenders transpired, dubbed as Bloody Sunday (March 7), as it resulted to the killing of nine (9) activists, and arrest of four (4). This includes staunch labor leader Emmanuel Asuncion.
“We mourn with Ka Dandy’s family, friends, colleagues and comrades. But more than that, we condemn in the strongest terms this untimely demise of this young unionist, whose only desire is to improve the lives of many workers by helping them to organize themselves. Dandy’s murder is a great loss to the labor movement but with his untimely passing has also multiplied the spirit of thousands of labour rights advocates who wish nothing but better lives for workers,” said CTUHR in a statement.
CTUHR also vehemently condemns the continuing attacks against unionists, organizers and human rights defenders especially in Southern Tagalog or CALABARZON (Region IV-A) ang the chilling effect they want to inflict on the labour movement and human rights community. To date, more than 50 farmworkers, informal workers, unionists and labour rights defenders have been killed under the Duterte regime, while there are at least 30 who have been illegally arrested and slapped with trumped-up charges. Reports of red-tagging, harassment and intimidation are also at its worst.
The Center avers that the formation of the NTF-ELCAC, the implementation of Executive Order 32 and the
enactment of the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020 are the main factors that led to these worsening attacks against the workers’ movement. These policies and programs trample on the basic workers’ right to freedom of association that the Philippines promised to adhere when it ratified ILO C87 & 98,
CTUHR also urges the Fuji Electric Phils., a Japanese-owned company, its suppliers, and its entire supply chain to condemn the killing of union President Dandy Miguel, as it sends a bad signal to the industry that workers who simply exercise their right to unionize and push for their rights are at risk of falling victim to extrajudicial killing. Dandy’s union Lakas ng Nagkakaisang Manggagawa sa Fuji Electric Phils. (LNMFEP-OLALIA-KMU) and the company management have just inked a new collective bargaining agreement (CBA) last December 2020, a result of the collective action of the workers which Dandy led and also of its harmonious engagement with the company.
LNMFEP is also an affiliate of Unified Workers of Southern Tagalog (PAMANTIK-KMU) and Metalworkers Alliance of the Philippines (MWAP).
“We call on the international community to condemn this killing and join us in calling for justice for Dandy and all victims of these injustices. Whilst we are struggling to face the surge of COVID 19 cases that already breached 10,000 in one day, the government is busy hounding and vilifying activists and human rights workers.
CTUHR equally condemned the simultaneous raids and arrests of peasant leader Joseph Canlas, labor leader Pol Viuya and paralegal and trade union rights advocate May Arcilla in Central Luzon on March 30. Viuya and Arcilla are both labor rights defenders who have been instrumental in CTUHR’s research on the working conditions and occupational safety and health of workers in the electronics industry in Tarlac. Viuya and Canlas remain detained in Tarlac and Pampanga respectively, while Arcilla was released earlier today for further investigation.
“We reiterate our calls for the Duterte government to stop these senseless and brutal attacks against unionists and rights defenders and uphold democracy. The Filipinos are suffering enough from its incompetent pandemic response! These attacks and the shrinking democratic space aggravate their suffering. Amid the observance of Holy Week, we urge the government to stop sowing more fear and anxiety but observe it with peace based on justice. Stop crucifying the workers and the people!” CTUHR ended.###
Justice for Dandy Miguel!
Stop the Attacks!
Defend Our Unions!