Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Labor center files plaint for harassment

A PROGRESSIVE labor group Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU)-Southern Mindanao filed Thursday a complaint against the Philippine government whom they accused of harassing union leaders in the region.

Representatives of KMU-Southern Mindanao led by Joel Maglunsod appeared before the Department of Labor and Employment (Dole)-Davao to file the complaint.

The complaint was received by Dole-Davao mediator and arbiter lawyer Jason Balais.

In the complaint's cover letter addressed to International Labour Organization (ILO) Philippines program officer Diane Lyn Respall, KMU cited the different harassments, intimidation and filing of trumped up charges against union leaders which they claim are violations of the ILO Conventions 87 and 98.

One of the cases they cited is the case involving Freshmax Workers Union president Perlita Milallos, who was allegedly interrogated by army personnel at her own residence in Compostela, Compostela Valley Province.

Another case involved the vice-president of Bigkis ng Nagkakaisang Manggagawa sa Apex Mines Rogelio Cañabano, who was allegedly interrogated at his home by soldiers in two separate occasions as well.

Seven officials of the Musahamat Farm 2 Workers were also subjected to the same interrogation conducted by army personnel on allegations that they are supporting the movement of the New People's Army (NPA).

Employees of the Radio Mindanao Network (RMN)-Davao were also cited in the complaint as they were allegedly harassed by their fellow broadcasters.

Nagkahiusang Mamumuo sa Suyapa Farm chairperson Vicente Barrios, who was among the cited workers in a previous ILO complaint filed in 2009, has become part of the complaint anew as a contractor of Sumitomo Fruits (Sumifru) allegedly fired at him. Barrios, fortunately, was not hurt in the shooting.

On their complaint against trumped up charges against union leaders, KMU cited the case of Artemio Robill and Danilo Delegencia, officials of the Dole Stanfilco Workers' Union. The two were accused for the murder of a Dole-Stanfilco official on February 3, 2014 yet their case is still pending.

Maglunsod, in an interview with Sun.Star Davao, said it is the second time that KMU has filed an ILO complaint as the first was filed in 2009.

"Grabe gyud ang harassment sa atong mga workers particularly kaning ginaingong mga trade union repressions. Apil pa gyud diha ang intervention sa mga military sa mga trade union activities. Dapat gyud ning pagtuonan ug pansin sa gobyerno being a signatory to the ILO, (The harassment on the workers is too much particularly on what we call as trade union repressions. This also includes the intervention of the military in the trade union activities. This should be heeded by the government since it is a signatory to the ILO)," Maglunsod said.

He added that the government should not include trade unions in their counterinsurgency programs, saying they are only conducting their activities to protect the welfare and rights of the workers.

Balais, in a separate interview, said the complaint will be subject of an investigation to be conducted by the Interagency Committee for Coordination and Monitoring of Violations of ILO Conventions 87 and 98.

"Magconduct mi ug investigations and validations related diri sa ilahang complaint and since kadaghanan niini involved ang military, we will interview them as well. After sa among investigation, magsubmit mi ug report sa ILO along with their complaint (We will conduct investigations and validations related to their complaint and since most of it involves the military we will interview them as well. After our investigation we will submit a report to ILO along with their complaint)," Balais said.
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