Tag Archives: HRD

[In the news] 134 human rights defenders killed since Duterte assumed office — Lagman -INQUIRER.net

A hundred and thirty-four human rights defenders have been killed since President Rodrigo Duterte assumed office in 2016, a lawmaker said Wednesday.

“134 killed among human rights defenders since the advent of the Duterte administration. That will not project protection of human rights defenders,” Albay 1st District Rep. Edcel Lagman said in an interview with ABS-CBN News Channel.

Click the link to read more:

134 human rights defenders killed since Duterte assumed office — Lagman

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[From the web] World Report on the Situation of Human Rights Defenders -Forum-Asia

World Report on the Situation of Human Rights Defenders

On the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the United Nations (UN) Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders Michel Forst published a world report presenting the recent developments in 140 countries. The report is based on various sources provided by States, National Human Rights Institutions, UN reports and civil society actors. FORUM-ASIA together with its members contributed to the chapters on the Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand and Cambodia.

The World Report is the first global survey of the situation of human rights defenders since the landmark Global Survey conducted in 2006 by the then UN Special Representative Hina Jilani. The World Report shares the purpose of its predecessor: “to identify the main areas of
progress and the remaining challenges that need to be addressed in relation to the implementation of the Declaration on the Right and Responsibility of Individuals, Groups and Organs of Society to Promote and Protect Universally Recognised Human Rights and
Fundamental Freedoms.” An additional 12 years have passed since the earlier survey and the World Survey is produced to mark the 20th anniversary of the Declaration.

Read full article @www.forum-asia.org

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[Urgent Appeal] Human rights defender arrested in rebellion case -Front Line Defenders

Human rights defender arrested in rebellion case
18 December 2017

On 12 December 2017, human rights defender and environmentalist Sherwin De Vera was arrested in Northern Luzon, in Ilocos Sur province.

Sherwin De Vera is the coordinator of Defend Ilocos, a regional environmental network in North Western Philippines affiliated with Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment. Defend Ilocos played a key role in leading the Save the Abra River Movement (STARM), which led protests against the detrimental effects of the continued operations of the Lepanto Mining Company on the local communities’ right to a safe and healthy environment in Ilocos Sur. Defend Ilocos is also involved in mobilizing and organizing against the proposed setting up of a coal-fired power plant in Luna, La Union. The human rights defender is also a former worker of Filipino human rights NGO Karapatan.

On December 12, around 6.30pm, Sherwin De Vera was arrested by the Philippine National Police (PNP) when he was on board a bus to his home in Bantay, Ilocos Sur. The PNP stopped the vehicle at a checkpoint, found Sherwin De Vera, and informed him that he was being arrested. The police failed to produce a warrant when Sherwin De Vera demanded to see a copy. He was verbally informed that a rebellion case had been filed against him. He was shown a copy of the complaint, Case no 2014-155., allegedly filed in the Province of Abra on 4 September 2014, when he was brought to the PNP office. Since then, three additional cases have been opened against Sherwin De Vera. In the four cases he being charged with one count of rebellion, one count of attempted murder, 28 counts of attempted murder, and 20 counts of attempted murder. All the incidents he is allegedly chargeed with are from 2014, when Sherwin De Vera took over the coordination of Defend Ilocos. He is currently detained in Abra Provincial Jail.

Previously, on 18 July 2017, Sherwin de Vera was followed by men in military uniforms in Vigan City. The following day, he learned that army personnel had enquired about his activities at the city’s university after he visited their campus.

Environmental, land and indigenous rights defenders have been increasingly targeted in Philippines with threats, attacks, intimidation and harassment from military agents as part of a larger crackdown on civil society. The use of trumped-up charges to jail human rights defenders through perjured testimonies, defective warrants, and false charges is becoming more frequent.

Front Line Defenders strongly condemns the arrest of, and charges against, human rights defender Sherwin De Vera, which it believes are solely motivated by his peaceful and legitimate human rights work.

Front Line Defenders urges the authorities in the Philippines to:

1. Immediately and unconditionally release Sherwin De Vera as Front Line Defenders believes that he is being held solely as a result of his legitimate and peaceful work in the defence of human rights;

2. Immediately ensure that all charges against him are dropped, that the cases are closed, and that there be no further forms of harassment against Sherwin De Vera as it is believed that this pressure is not only related to his legitimate human rights activities but, furthermore, constitute a direct transgression of the rights of the human rights defender;

3. Cease targeting all human rights defenders in the Philippines and guarantee in all circumstances that they are able to carry out their legitimate human rights activities without fear of reprisals and free of all restrictions, including judicial harassment.

Follow Front Line defenders @

Website: http://www.frontlinedefenders.org
Facebook: @frontlinedefenders
Twitter: @frontlineHRD

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[From the web] “Something Must be Done:” Why Nymia Simbulan Risks It All for Filipino Human Rights -globalhumanrights.org

“Something Must be Done:”
Why Nymia Simbulan Risks It All for Filipino Human Rights
By Carolyn Ziv, Fund Staff
December 11, 2017

Screen grab from globalhumanrights.org

Imagine being a young mother with two children, another on the way—and your husband in the crosshairs of your government’s intelligence agencies.

Imagine that, fearing for the safety of your children, you make the difficult decision to send them across an ocean to live with relatives.

Imagine witnessing your husband put behinds bars, unfairly imprisoned for speaking out against injustice.

And imagine that despite all of this, you persist.

Filipina activist Nymia Pimentel Simbulan doesn’t have to imagine; this is her reality. But instead of being silenced, Nymia channeled these experiences into her activism. Today, she is the Executive Director of the Philippine Human Rights Information Center (PhilRights), a grantee of the Fund for Global Human Rights that investigates, exposes, and advocates for an end to human rights abuses.

With PhilRights emerging as a vocal critic of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s ongoing “war on drugs,” Nymia’s work is risky. But like so many of the women activists the Fund supports, Nymia refuses to give up when the going gets tough. It’s a persistence she has demonstrated since her days as a student activist protesting an authoritarian regime—a peaceful resistance that landed Nymia herself in jail.

Read full article @globalhumanrights.org

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[From the web] Stand for Human Rights, Resist Threats Against Human Rights Advocates -CTUHR

Stand for Human Rights, Resist Threats Against Human Rights Advocates

The Center for Trade Union and Human Rights (CTUHR) condemns in the highest degree, the latest pronouncement of President Duterte over the threat to shoot human rights advocates. This statement can be construed as state policy and will definitely put the life of many human rights advocates at risk and target for killing spree by State security forces.

Quoting from his speech during the 19th founding Anniversary of Volunteers Against Crimes and Corruption (VACC), Duterte said, “Sabihin mo, ‘Pulis, barilin mo na ‘yang kasali diyan, para makita talaga kung anong klaseng human right.” (Tell them, police, shoot him/her who are participating there [referring to protests against war on drugs] so they will see what kind of human right).

That in itself isa declaration of war against human rights defenders and advocates. Not only does he exacerbate the culture of impunity but he actually instigates it. Does this mean that these pronouncements will be implemented the way the war on drugs is being carried out?

The war on drugs must be stopped. From the onset, CTUHR staunchly criticized the war on drugs that has killed thousands of lives as anti-poor and will not solve the country’s ails. Human Rights organizations have been calling on the government to address the drug problem of the country in a holistic way – by sending the big drug dealers in his “Narco List”, including those in the bureaucracy and military with connections to foreign drug suppliers. Yet, President Duterte has put the blame on human rights organizations for the swelling of drug users. He said the latter defend their rights and were silent about heinous crimes. Addressing heinous crimes is not the responsibility of human rights defenders, it is the responsibility of the state, particularly the police.

PDuterte curses the church, media, critics and everyone who oppose or criticize his campaign against drugs. His administration is zealously claiming that there were only 78,941 recorded crime cases from July 2016 to March 2017, a 50% compared to the 158,879 crime cases during Aquino administration. But it did not say the staggering increase in war on drug- related murder cases, which stand at 13,000 and 67 victims of political killings in Duterte administration’s first year in office. The murder of Kian De los Santos, the grade 11 kid should be a telling reminder that his war on drugs has to end now.

CTUHR reiterates its call to stop the war on drugs and stop the killings and calls on PDuterte to retract its open threat to human rights advocates. People had enough of the bloodshed.#

Source: ctuhr.org

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[From the web] 7th Asian Regional Human Rights Defenders Forum #AHRDF7 – Keynote by Michel Forst, UN SR on HRDs and Panel of Reactors -Forum-Asia

7th Asian Regional Human Rights Defenders Forum #AHRDF7 – Keynote by Michel Forst, UN SR on HRDs and Panel of Reactors

AHRDF7 Photo by Forum-Asia

AHRDF7 Photo by Forum-Asia

Michel Forst, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders (UN SR on HRDs), was the keynote speaker during the opening  session of the 7th Asian Regional Human Rights Defender Forum in Colombo, Sri Lanka.

Mr. Forst thanked the organisers of the Forum for inviting him again for the second time in a row, after the 6th Forum organised in Manila, the Philippines in December 2014.

The UN SR on HRDs described the hostile environment in which HRDs operate all over the world, where they are victims of stigmatization, harassment, intimidation, as well as judicial harassment, travel bans and enforced disappearances – in this regard, Mr. Forst remembered the disappearance case of Sombath Somphone in Laos.
The UN SR on HRDs underlined also how HRDs are confronted with a shrinking space both offline and online, with a multiplication of laws that restrict freedom of expression, assembly and association.

Mr. Forst looked then in particular at the situation of environment defenders, which are particularly under attack in Latin America and Asia, with an average of three defenders killed every week. What these tragedies have in common, it’s the passion and commitment of the victims in defending human rights. Many of these communities, men and women, don’t even realise they are human rights defenders as they are fighting to survive.

Finally, the UN SR on HRDs stressed how the 2030 Agenda for sustainable development and the Paris agreement on climate change raised hopes of civil society around the world. However, these initiatives will be meaningless if environmental defenders are not allowed to promote a fair and sustainable development. For this, states must urgently adopt a zero intolerance against killings of human rights defenders.

To learn more about the situation of environment human rights defender, click here to read the report of the UN SR on HRDs: https://t.co/Gwe98YmvIh.

The opening session was closed by a panel discussion moderated by John Samuel, Executive Director of FORUM-ASIA. The three panelists reacted to the keynote speech of Michel Forst, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders.

The first speaker was Dr. Deepika Udagama, Chairperson of the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka. Dr. Udagama started by reminding the meeting in Manila, the Philippines, where FORUM-ASIA was founded in 1991 to address the concerns of human rights defenders across Asia.

Dr. Udagama noted how when we speak about HRDs, we do it as if we they are a category of very specialised people. However, in a democratic setting, everyone needs to be a human rights defender, highlighted Dr. Udagama. In this sense, we are all HRDs if we believe in justice and there is no need to have a specialised knowledge.

Addressing the issue of disappearances, Dr. Udagama stressed the need to find a common ground to work on this issue, by mobilising as many people as possible to promote and protect human rights. For this, it is needed to bridge movements and bring together groups working on civil and political rights as well as economic, social and cultural rights.

P.B. Gothwaman, Sri Lankan human rights defender, noted how if Sri Lanka wants to achieve a real change, this has to be reflected in legislative changes, where draconian legislations should be repealed.

Read full article @

https://web.facebook.com/notes/forum-asia/7th-asian-regional-human-rights-defenders-forum-ahrdf7-keynote-by-michel-forst-u/1451814164834097?_rdr

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[Statement] SENTRO condemns 7th labor killing this September, result of culture of violence

SENTRO condemns 7th labor killing this September, result of culture of violence

sentro_red-150x150It is another sad day for human rights.

Mr. Edilberto Miralles, former union president of R&E Taxi, was gunned down in front of the National Labor Relations Commission this morning. Initial information suggests it was another daytime riding-in-tandem killing.

Sentro is appalled by the continuing violence against members of the working class and the men and women who seek retribution through legal means for workers who have been wronged.

This is at the least the 7th killing from our ranks within September alone of this year.

At the start of the month, four farmers were shot dead by unidentified men in a farm located inside Fort Magsaysay in Laur, Nueva Ecija. The firearms used in the brutal slay were reportedly dropped from a helicopter hovering the military reservation camp.

Ms. Emerenciana Mercado-de la Cruz, Ms. Violeta Mercado-de Leon, Mr. Eligio Barbado and Mr. Gaudencio Bagalay were on a siesta inside their nipa huts at the time of their senseless killings.

They are all members of the Alyansa ng mga Magbubukid na Nagkakaisa, tilling part of the disputed 3,100 hectares of land inside Fort Magsaysay. Several others were wounded.

On September 7, farmworker leader Ariel Diaz was shot to his death by three men in his Villa Pereda farm in Delfin Albano town, Isabela. Mr. Diaz is the chairperson of the Danggayan Dagiti Mannalon ti Isabela and was the head of the the provincial chapter of the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas in Isabela.

In the early morning of September 17, a labor organizer in Cebu vocal of his dissent against the administration’s execution of its war on illegal drugs was gunned down in the same violent manner murder was being executed in the drug war. The very object of his criticism was used in his slay. Mr. Orlando Abangan, 38 years old, has been rallying workers to collectively fight for their rights in the past 15 years. He is with Partido Manggagawa.

Today we forget differences in labor alliances and mourn for the deaths of each of our own.

We know the pain, courage, and patience it takes to organize labor at a time when labor organizing is met with doubt, evidenced by dwindling labor union density, union/workers’ association membership, and number of collective bargaining agreements.

Yet, these are all necessary for the protection of decent work. Studies have shown that unions are strongly linked to fairer wages and better working conditions.

While the motives behind the killings are undetermined at this point, we condemn the culture of violence spread by the current spate of summary executions in the name of the so-called war on drugs.

The ease by which men with evil intent can now execute unimaginable plans is gut-wrenching.

The fatalities in this war provide those with ill motives against others with an easy way out — add another number to the growing statistics of men and women killed execution-style.

We weep for those numbers, each with a face and a family left behind.

We condole with the kin of the slain labor leaders, who have chosen legitimate avenues to demand base level of respect for workers’ rights no matter how long and arduous processes have been for us.

Contrary to the claim that the bloody manner by which the war on drugs is perpetuated has made our communities free of crimes, it has instead normalized violence in our streets.

We from the workers’ sector no longer feel safe.

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[Statement] Gloria Capitan: Killed for defending people’s right to a healthy environment -Kilusan

Gloria Capitan:
Killed for defending people’s right to a healthy environment

Photo by Kilusan

Photo by Kilusan

kpd logoGloria Capitan rose to become a community leader starting from her genuine concern for the health and future of her grandchildren and all the children residing in Barangay Lucanin, Marivelez, Bataan.  Gloria became an environment activist with social and political consciousness. She actively defended, upheld and promoted the people’s environmental and health rights alongside political and other democratic rights.

She could have become a local Erin Brockovich but her life was cut short by an assassin. On July 1, 2016 at around 8 PM, just over 24 hours after the inauguration of President Duterte, Gloria Capitan was dastardly killed. She was 57 years old. She is the first, non-criminal and non-drug-related victim of extra-judicial killing under the new administration.

Gloria Capitan devoted the last year and months of her life to arduous struggle against open coal stockpiles and use of coal as energy source.  She was fully alive grandmother of 18 children when she led the filing of complaint-petition of Barangay Lucanin residents against the open coal stockpile in their community.

They submitted the petition to the office the Barangay Chairperson of Lucanin. They filed the same petition with the Office of the Municipal Mayor of Marivelez and local office of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).  That was in March 2015.
The petitioners, organized as Samahan ng Nagkakaisang Mamamayan ng Lucanin (SNML) with Gloria Capitan as president, were seeking the closure of the open coal storage/stockpile operated by the Limay Bulk Handling Terminal, Inc.

The coal stockpile is located inside the Seafront Shipyard and Port Terminal Services Corporation (SFSPTSC) which apparently owns Limay Bulk Handling.  The petitioners blame the coal dust from the stockpile for the alarming increase in number of residents afflicted with skin diseases and upper respiratory ailments.

That March 2015 petition was actually the renewal of the struggle against the coal stockpile, which was initiated in 2014 by the Samahang Magdaragat (SM). But the fight was abandoned. SM became passive and eventually faded. It is common knowledge that some of the leaders of SM succumbed to intimidation and bribery by the owner of the stockpile and shipyard.

Even as the Municipal Mayor, the Municipal Health Office and the DENR were initially responding positively to the renewed petition, the owners of Seafront Shipyard and Limay Bulk and Handling Terminal, were reacting more viciously than before. As the impact of the open coal stockpile grew in proportion, the unity and resolve of the residents, organized as SNML, further strengthened in the face of consistent attempts to intimidate and bribe them.

The struggle intensified and sharpened. The residents represented by SNML and Gloria Capitan on one side and Seafront led by its vice-president for operations, Carlo Ignacio who is a son of co-owner Virgilio Ignacio, were in face to face confrontation in the conference and dialogues that were called by government, from the level of barangay, to municipal, up to Regional Office of DENR in response to the complaint-petition.

The issue and the struggle have legal ramifications but these did not limit nor tie down the residents. They were determined to bring their cause before the general public and draw wider support from the people. The SNML joined the Coal-Free Bataan Movement and took up also the fight against use of coal as source of energy.

On the other hand, Seafront was going-around the resolutions and the measures it promised to implement to control coal dust and go by the maximum level of coal storage capacity of the shipyard. Instead, Seafront has been more actively combining intimidation, deception and bribery to force the residents to withdraw their demand. It is using its wealth and political connections to silence the just struggle of the residents and force them to compromise their health and environment.

At one instance, on July 25, 1015, the Barangay chairperson, who is an ally of Mr. Ignacio, convened a forum to discuss the pollution caused by the open coal storage. Gloria Capitan and two other leaders of SNML were allowed to talk in the forum. But the forum was turned into an occasion for Mr. Carlo Ignacio and his accomplice, a former DENR employee, to talk about alleged economic benefits that Barangay Lucanin would gain from increased operation of the shipyard turned coal yard.

They tried to deceive the people that the economic gains outweigh the complaints filed by the petitioners. The former DENR employee had the gall to say that the issues of pollution and health risks were unfounded.

Intimidations and threats far outweighed bribery and deception in Seafront’s dealing with Gloria Capitan and other leaders of SNML. The first hint of threat, “your place is being watched,” the Seafront’s representative told Capitan during the technical conference called by DENR Region 3 on May 25, 2015. The technical conference was in response to the complaint-petition filed earlier by SNML.

Gloria Capitan and the SNML pursued the fight.  They also explained to more people in other barangays the risks posed by open coal stockpiles and by the use of coal as energy source. On the other hand their adversary continued to buy the support and services of the barangay. On January 15, 2016, the Barangay Council of Lucanin issued a certificate of clearance in favor of Seafront Shipyard and Port Terminal Services Corp.

SNML, assisted by human rights groups, filed a complaint with the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) Region 3 and office of the Ombudsman against officials of the barangay and municipal government of Mariveles for their continued disregard of the people’s complaint and problems regarding the operation of the coal stockpile.

But their adversary would not fight squarely. He must have bided time for the opportune moment to deliver a crushing if not a fatal blow on Gloria Capitan and SNML.

We, in Kilusan para sa Pambansang Demokrasya (Kilusan), condemn in strongest terms, the dastardly killing of Gloria Capitan, who was also a local leader of Kilusan in Bataan. Her death benefits no one but those who are adverse to her stance for a cleaner and healthier environment for her family and community. We also believe that the perpetrator was emboldened by the wave of EJKs even before June 30, 2016.

Justice to Gloria Capitan and the residents of Lucanin, Mariveles!
Justice to the Filipino People!

Kilusan para sa Pambansang Demokrasya
PRESS STATEMENT
July 8, 2016

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[Urgent Appeal] False charges were filed against two (2) labour leaders after they held a picket protest condemning the unfair labor practices of a supposed workers’ cooperative.

URGENT APPEAL

August 27, 2014

(PHILIPPINES) False charges were filed against two (2) labour leaders after they held a picket protest condemning the unfair labor practices of a supposed workers’ cooperative.

Dear friends,

The Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP) is forwarding to you an appeal regarding the harassment done by officers of a cooperative/recruitment agency by filing false charges against human rights defenders from the workers sector, and the anti labour practices done to their workers.

If you wish to make any inquiries please contact the Research, Documentation and Information Program of TFDP at: 45 St. Mary Street, Cubao, Quezon City, Philippines 1109; email: tfdp.urgentappeals@gmail.com and tfdp.1974@gmail.com; or call: +632 4378054.

TFDP logo2b
______________________________________________________________________________

Case Title: Bacalso & Fortaleza Harassment
Case: Harassment by filling charges such as Libel, Illegal Assembly, and Alarm and Scandal
Name of Victims: 1) Edcil Bacalso; 2) Wilson Fortaleza
Date of Incident: Picket Rally held on April 25, 2014; Case filed on July 11, 2014
Place of Incident: Picket Rally held at Asia Pro Asiapro Bldg, Pasig City
Alleged Perpetrators: Edeward C. Miano, Rico T. Peralta, and Lailani R. Encarnacion, all personnel of the AsiaPro Manpower Cooperative
Motive: To suppress the rights of workers groups to organize labour unions / Harassment against labour leaders

Account of the Incident:

Edcil Bacalso of NAGKAISA, a coalition of labour groups and Wilson Fortaleza of Partido ng Manggagawa (Workers Party), were both charged with libel, illegal assembly, and alarm and scandal, by officials of the AsiaPro Cooperative. The charges were filed at the Office of the Prosecutor in Pasig City.

Based on his complaint affidavit, Mr. Edeward C. Milano, Head of the Business Unit for Luzon of AsiaPro Multipurpose Cooperative accused Bacalso and Fortaleza of distributing libelous materials to the public allegedly containing malicious and defamatory statements. Also, Milano blamed the group of obstructing the flow of traffic and blocking the pedestrians due to Nagkaisa’s activity. Further, Milano stated that the public affairs were disturbed due to the loud speaker system used in the protest.

On April 25, 2014, at 9:30am in San Rafael Street, Barangay Kapitolyo, Pasig City, Nagkaisa led a peaceful rally outside the building, where the AsiaPro central office is located. The activity was attended by around 200 participants coming from various labor groups including the Partido ng Manggagawa, Associated Labor Unions-Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (ALU-TUCP), SENTRO, Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino (BMP), and the Philippine Airlines Employees Association (PALEA). Equipped with sound system, flags, streamers, banners, and position papers, the demonstrators criticize AsiaPro for their anti-labour union activities.

According to Bacalso, the charges filed against them are mere harassment. It clearly shows that AsiaPro will do anything to conceal their non-compliance to labor standards and to impede efforts in advancing the rights and welfare of its workers, Bacalso added. He claimed that AsiaPro is actually a manpower agency that hides under the guise of a cooperative.

Based on Nagkaisa’s statement, AsiaPro is a supplier of contractual workers of several large corporations and consequently as a violator of labor rights of its members and employees due to their non-payment of wages and other mandatory benefits such as the Social Security System.

Furthermore, AsiaPro invokes its cooperative nature to evade compliance to labor laws. And besides, its executives already made this admission during public hearings conducted by the Provincial Board of Bukidnon in 2010 and in its many pleadings before the courts. Asiapro is Bukidnon’s biggest contractual labor supplier, with 5,000 of its workers deployed in the province’s banana and pineapple plantations.

Finally, Bacalso said that AsiaPro is already resorting to the filing of trump up charges, and they are now trying to coerce and intimidate their group to weaken their campaign against exploitation of workers.

Additional Information:

In March 2014, AsiaPro was able to discontinue, through a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) a labour union certification election in Galeo Equipment and Mining Company, a contractor that hauls mine waste from the open pit mining site at the Carmen Copper mine in Toledo City.

A total of 285 Galeo workers had already voted by the time when the balloting was stopped. Another 275 Galeo workers were unable to cast ballots and were disenfranchised due to the TRO.

The election standoff arose from an attempt by the AsiaPro manpower cooperative to prevent the unionization efforts at Galeo. Asiapro is claiming that the Galeo workers are their members and thus exempt from unionization. Galeo workers did not even know that they were members of Asiapro.

AsiaPro apparently is the first and biggest manpower cooperative in the country, with 34,000 of its members, deployed to several dozen companies nationwide.

The Supreme Court already ruled that AsiaPro must comply with core labor standards and other labor-related laws (G.R. No. 172101).
Nagkaisa had been pushing for the passage of the security of tenure bill in Congress to deter the plague of contractualization in the country.

Sample letter:

Dear___________,

I am writing to draw your attention regarding harassment done by senior officers of AsiaPro Manpower Cooperative—a recruitment agency, by filing false charges against human rights defenders from the workers sector, and the anti labour practices done to their workers. Edcil Bacalso of NAGKAISA, a coalition of labour groups and Wilson Fortaleza of Partido ng Manggagawa (Workers Party), were both charged with libel, illegal assembly, and alarm and scandal, by officials of the AsiaPro Cooperative. The charges were filed at the Office of the Prosecutor in Pasig City.

I have also learned that the charges filed against them are mere harassment. Based on reports AsiaPro will do anything to conceal their non-compliance to labor standards and to impede efforts in advancing the rights and welfare of its workers.

It was also brought to our attention that AsiaPro is actually a manpower agency that hides under the guise of a cooperative to avoid tax obligations required by, law and to receive benefits as a cooperative.

From what I have learned, AsiaPro is a supplier of contractual workers of several large corporations and consequently as a violator of labor rights of its members and employees due to their non-payment of wages and other mandatory benefits such as the Social Security System.

Furthermore, AsiaPro is already resorting to the filing of trump up charges, and they are now trying to coerce and intimidate their group to weaken their campaign against exploitation of workers.

We now urge you to call upon competent authorities to carry out a prompt, effective, thorough, independent and impartial investigation or inquiry into these events, and ensure that adequate, effective and prompt action is granted favorably to the workers including Edcil Bacalso of NAGKAISA, a coalition of labour groups and Wilson Fortaleza of Partido ng Manggagawa (Workers Party).

Lastly, we hope that the government will continue to guarantee the respect of human rights and the fundamental freedoms enshrined in the 1987 Philippine Constitution and international human rights standards, and to subject violators for appropriate penalties punishment under Philippine Laws.

I look forward to your urgent action in this case.
Yours sincerely,

Please send your letters to:

1. Hon. Benigno Simeon Aquino III
President
Republic of the Philippines
Malacanang Palace
JP Laurel Street, San Miguel
Manila 1005
Philippines
Fax: +63 2 736 1010
Tel: +63 2 735 6201 / 564 1451 to 80
Email: corres@op.gov.ph / opnet@op.gov.ph

2. Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz
Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE)
Building, Muralla Wing cor. General Luna St., Intramuros,
City of Manila, 1002
Philippines
Tel No: 527-3000 loc. 701, 703, 704, 706, 707
Fax No: 336-8182
Email: secrdb@dole.gov.ph

3. Chairperson Loretta Ann P. Rosales
Commission on Human Rights (CHR)
SAAC Bldg., Commonwealth Avenue
U.P. Complex, Diliman
Quezon City
Philippines
Tel: +63 2 928 5655, +63 2 926 6188
Fax: +63 2929 0102
Email: rosales.chr@gmail.com

4. Bureau for Workers’ Activities
International Labor Organization (ILO)
Tel: +41 22 799 70 21
Fax: +41 22 799 65 70
Website: http://www.ilo.org/actrav
Email: actrav@ilo.org

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