Workers of garments factory Sejung Apparel Inc. have been on picket-protest since December. In recognition of the need to maintain social distancing, the number of people at the picket line was reduced by the union. From March 27 until today, all attempts to bring food and water to Jackie Elorde and Amer Taluba, the two workers at the picket line, have been stopped by security guards.
Sejung Apparel is a Korean-owned garments factory at the First Cavite Industrial Estate (FCIE) in Dasmarinas, Cavite (part of the industrial region just outside the capital Metro Manila). Guards have maintained a 24/7 cordon sanitaire around the picket line in violation of the 2011 Guidelines on the Conduct of Security Personnel During Labor Disputes which mandate that police, military and guards should be 50 meters away and not interfere in peaceful picketing. It appears that FCIE wants to starve Jackie and Amer into submission so as to dismantle the picket line.
On the morning of March 27, the union president Jopay Odchimar was prevented by FCIE guards from returning to the picket line to bring food. The guards said that this was upon the orders of FCIE estate manager Raffy Malanyaon and alleged due to the COVID quarantine. However, workers continued to go in and out of the FCIE that day as the export processing zone was not shuttered.
After a standoff from morning to afternoon, the union president agreed not to proceed to prevent a further argument. That night, FCIE guards stopped water from being given by friends from nearby factories allegedly upon the orders of the estate manager.
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