[Statement] NTF-ELCAC’s Unwanted Visits to Unionists Homes Threatens Unionists | CTUHR
NTF-ELCAC’s Unwanted Visits to Unionists Homes Threatens Unionists
The Center for Trade Union and Human Rights (CTUHR) raised the alarm anew on the report of a new wave of “unwanted visits” of elements of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) to homes of union officers of Nexperia Philippines Inc. Workers Union (NPIWU), in Laguna last Sunday, August 22.
According to the account of the union, elements of the NTF-ELCAC, clad in fatigue military uniforms, some with firearms, simultaneously visited the homes of four (4) officers of their union at around 8:00 to 9:00 in the morning of August 22. The residences of the four (4) are in Brgy. Pulo and Brgy. Banaybanay in Cabuyao, Laguna. The said agents were summoning them to the Barangay Office to have an orientation with a “surrenderee” and sign an “agreement.” The three (3) refused to come to the Barangay Hall, while the other one was at work at the time of the visit.
“We fear for our and our family’s safety and security. These unwanted visits cause more trouble for our union, as we currently face another COVID-19 outbreak in the workplace. Two (2) of our fellow workers died due to COVID just this past week. We were wrong to think that COVID-19 is the biggest threat to our lives right now,” said Mary Ann Castillo, NPIWU President.
Since March this year, even before the brutal killing of union leader Dandy Miguel in the same province, state forces have been hounding NPIWU’s officers and active members, particularly those residing in Cabuyao and Calamba. The union has documented 37 union officers and members visited by NTF-ELCAC. Some have been visited 2-4 times. In all those visits, the narrative and the line of questioning of the agents are similar which involves red-tagging of their union federation, interrogation about their union-related activities, and intimidation and harassment to disaffiliate from their union. The agents claim that what they are doing is part of their awareness program. Their usual question is, “Alam ‘nyo ba saan napupunta ang inyong union dues?” And then, this is usually followed by a direct accusation that their union supports the CPP-NPA.
NPIWU has been affiliated with NAFLU-KMU since 1982. The workers can attest to how their union advanced and protected their rights and welfare throughout the years. They have just concluded a new Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) last December 2020. This is not an easy feat, especially amid the pandemic. Through their collective struggle, they gained another victory for the workers.
CTUHR also noted how NPIWU extended its support to health workers during this pandemic. They donated their bunny suits to different hospitals at the onset of the pandemic when the supply was scarce. The union is also active in the campaign for free mass testing and paid pandemic leave which they have managed to link with the management of Nexperia Philippines Inc. in their CBA.
“These visits are really alarming. This is state interference to the union, a clear violation of the freedom of association of the workers that the Philippines pledged to adhere! Why are the unionists being hounded like criminals, tokhang-style? Is this the way to treat essential workers like them during this pandemic who are required to work to keep the economy working? Why? Because they are unionists who are empowered enough to assert their rights?” Daisy Arago, CTUHR Executive Director said.
Nexperia Philippines Inc. is a Chinese-owned multinational corporation, expert in the high-volume production of essential semiconductors, components that are required by every electronic design in the world. It used to produce components of Apple and cellphone brands, Nexperia workers are required to work amid the pandemic and even hard lockdowns to maintain their export volume.
CTUHR calls out the NTF-ELCAC for this kind of harassment. “To use the people’s money through its P19.2 B budget against the workers labouring hard it is simply cruel! Two workers have already died of COVID-19 because they need to work, and this is the state’s response. Enough is enough!” CTUHR added.
CTUHR reiterates its support for #DefundNTFELCAC amid this new wave of attacks. “This budget that goes to red-tagging, spreading of fake news and these kinds of harassment, intimidation, and violation of privacy, can be of a better use for pandemic response. We call on legislators to support this call, as Duterte proposes for a whopping P28.1 budget for NTF-ELCAC in 2022,” Arago ended.
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August 25, 2022
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