THE Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU)-Southern Mindanao lambasted the Eastern Mindanao Command (EastMinCom) for its alleged harassment on union leaders and members.
KMU-Southern Mindanao secretary general Romualdo Basilio, in an email to Sun.Star Davao, blasted the army's counter-insurgency program Oplan Bayanihan citing various cases where union leaders and members were allegedly abused.
"The most recent case involved Rogelio Cañabano, vice-president of Bigkis ng Nagkakaisa ng Manggagawang Apex Mines (BINA-ADLO-KMU) who was hounded by soldiers belonging to the 71st Infantry Battalion (71st IB) at his own home in Brgy. Kinuban, Maco, Compostela Valley on September 9, around 6:30 p.m. This was the fourth time that soldiers barged inside his home to interrogate him about his union leadership, details of union activities, list of all union members and identification of all ADLO-KMU organizers in the area. The soldiers also took pictures of him and his house. The first instance was on August 7. Cañabano filed a blotter report in Maco on August 13. On August 25 and 26, soldiers again went to his home and interrogated him about his involvement in the union," Basilio said.
He also cited the case involving a union bloc of the Musahamat Farm Inc. wherein troops of the 72nd IB allegedly interrogated union members regarding the torching of the farm's equipment on August 23.
"The union officers were astonished to find military personnel in the office instead, who asked them questions about the torching incident and took their pictures using planted tarpaulins and reading materials associated with the underground communist movement," Basilio said.
In view of Basilio's statement, KMU-Southern Mindanao has conducted a picket outside the EastMinCom headquarters in Panacan.
"Harassment and threats are counter-insurgency techniques designed to diminish dissent in trade unions, where the right to protest against unfair working conditions and all manner of oppression is visibly exercised. This is a violation of the workers' right to organize and freedom of association," Basilio said.