On Human Rights Day, Labor Rights Group Demands Justice and Accountability for EJKs and other Trade Union Rights Violations

December 10, 2019

On the occasion of the 71stAnniversary of the universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Center for Trade Union and Human Rights (CTUHR) joins the tens of thousands of Filipinos to protest in order to protect and defend human rights under the Duterte regime. 

“There is no let up in the state attacks against human rights defenders from using the court,  slap trumped charges,  harassing to physically eliminating those who resist, international human rights day calls for more fight to defend, whatever is remaining of human rights that states wants to get rid of,  says Daisy Arago,” CTUHR Executive Director says. 

“Forty five (45) workers, unionists, farmworkers and labor rights defenders have been killed since Duterte got into power.  As Duterte marked his 3rdyear in office, we all bore witness to an unprecedented rise in human rights violations,  that even the United Nations wants to investigate. In June, the International Labour Organization (ILO) also recommended to send a High-Level Tripartite Mission in the Philippines to look at the pervasive violations of labor rights which the government refused to accept,  Arago added.

Recently killed was Reynaldo Malaborbor, 61 years old when he was repeatedly shot in the head, that killed him instantly last November 4 while walking near his home in Cabuyao, Laguna.  He was a long-time union leader under Alyansa ng Manggagawa sa Laguna (ALMAPILA) or Alliance of Workers of Laguna  and a community organizer.

Arago explained further that apart from extrajudicial killings,  labor sector saw scores of workers and unionists being harassed,  illegally arrested with trumped up charges, violently dispersed in strikes and protests, and red-tagged while corporations are condoned to violate the laws and commit crimes against the workers with impunity.

Duterte’s crackdown against activists and human rights defenders raged when state forces arrested 57 individuals in simultaneous raids in different offices of progressive groups in Bacolod City, Negros Occidental last Oct 31, 2019. The Negros57 includes 21 workers of Ceres Bus company who were just consulting with Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) and several other labor leaders and organizers like Noly Rosales of KMU-Negros, Butch Lozande and Danny Tabura of National Federation of Sugar Workers (NFSW) and Anne Krueger of BPO Industry Employees Network (BIEN). They were falsely charged with illegal possession of firearms and explosives that the raiding team led by Philippine National Police were allegedly planted.  Several days later,  following rousing demands nationally and internationally, 50 of them were released and seven (7), including Noli Rosales were slapped with non-bailable offenses and remained in detention. 

Since Duterte came to power, Negros – one of the poorest island provinces in the country, has been a target of the government’s brutal anti-insurgency campaign, that cost the lives of 87 peasants, farmworkers and rights defenders. Extrajudicial killings escalated even more when Duterte issued Memorandum 32 on November 2018, which ordered more deployment of military and police in Samar, Negros Oriental, Negros Occidental and Bicol region to suppress what they claim as lawless violence and acts of terror.  Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and Philippine National Police (PNP), then implemented Oplan Sauron1 and Oplan Sauron2 last March 2019 – the government’s counter-insurgency operation in the province.

But we have seen massive and huge protest actions in different parts of the globe gainst the neoliberal attacks that only deepens the impoverishment of already the poor, that’s cuts pensions of the elderly , of state leaders hated by their own people. This wave of protests inspire to keep the fight going amidst Duterte’s brutal and tyrannical ways of running this country, CTUHR noted in a statement. It also added that the youth who led these protests including the global climate strike is a reminder that those responsible must be held into account, including those companies whose greed are never satiated, while the workers laboring for decent wages are arrested and harassed.

“Today, we join thousands of workers, peasants, urban poor and other sectors in protest, as we reclaim our basic human rights that this government continues to trample on. We reiterate our demand to the PH government to accept the high-level mission of the International Labor Organization (ILO) to look into the various killings and human rights violations in the labor sector under the Duterte regime. We call on the international community to call on their governments to pressure Duterte’s government to allow the United Nations Rapporteur on Human Rights to look into the human rights situation of the Philippines.” Arago ended.