Terror Financing Case vs Labor Leader, NGO Should be Junked — Labor NGO

May 16, 2024

The case is most absurd, as the labor leader and each of the development workers have no money and had to borrow money in order to post the P200,000 bail for their temporary liberty.

A few days after Labor Day, posters red-tagging AMA Sugbo-KMU, youth activist organization Anakbayan and umbrella organization Bagong Alyansang Makabayan or Bayan in Central Visayas were seen around the Cebu International Convention Center and the Cebu campus of the University of the Philippines.

AMA Sugbo-KMU in fact reports that on Labor Day, the Philippine National Police Regional Office 7 handed out publicity materials that red-tagged AMA Sugbo-KMU and other progressive organizations among activists who were holding a protest on the day. The recent Supreme Court ruling on red-tagging should serve as a warning to state forces that distribute materials that red-tag activist organizations and individuals.

We are seeing the increasing weaponization of the government’s anti-terrorism legislation to harass and try to silence activists and NGO workers. Filing trumped-up cases of terrorist financing, and abductions cum surfacing as rebel surrenderees, are the trademark violations of civil and political rights committed by the Ferdinand Marcos Jr government.

In equating labor activism and development work with support for the armed  insurgency and terrorism, the government is not only attacking human rights, democracy but is also espousing social injustice in the country.

The work of labor activists and NGO workers are crucial in empowering workers and the marginalized to fight for their right to decent work, for example. Attacks on labor leaders and NGOs negatively affect the Filipino workers and people. If unions, labor organizations and genuine NGOs cannot exist, or are cowed into silence, there is no genuine democracy in the country.

Without human rights, democracy and social justice there is no genuine development in the country. We are urging the DOJ-TFAT to junk the trumped-up charges against Paglinawan and the CERNET officials and staff. We call on lawmakers to conduct congressional inquiry and human rights-based evaluation of the country’s anti-terrorism legislation to prevent this from being weaponized further against labor activists and NGOs.###