Cebu workers first casualty of EO 23

Militant labor center Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) slammed Marcos Jr’s EO 23 that created the so-called “Inter-Agency Committee for the Protection of the Freedom of Association and Right to Organize of Workers.” The labor group said that the implementation of the order proves otherwise – it is a monster preying on workers’ rights and not a reliable instrument to protect worker’s freedom of association.

KMU cited the reports on the harassment and intimidation of workers from Universal Robina Corporation and Tsuneishi Heavy Industries in Cebu. The workers were approached by officers of the PNP Region 7 purportedly by virtue of EO 23. The PNP, a member of the Inter-Agency Committee, interrogated the workers, and asked them to reveal the identity of the workers who filed complaints during the International Labour Organization – High-Level Tripartite Mission in January.

“We’ve sounded the alarm. From the onset, EO 23 runs contrary to the ILO HLTM recommendation to strengthen tripartite dialogue to protect freedom of association. And these incidents prove further that the creation of the Inter-Agency Committee with violators from the AFP and PNP represented is bound to make things worse.” said Elmer Labog, chairperson of the KMU.

“The government dismissed the recommendations of the All Philippine Trade Unions (APTU) on the creation of a Presidential Commission on Freedom of Association where tripartite stakeholders are represented, and a Truth Commission to speed up investigation and resolution of trade union and human rights violations. We call the attention of the ILO to seriously look into this matter,” added Labog.

“These violations under EO 23 are a striking revelation of how the Marcos Jr. Administration’s commitment to protecting FOA is just lip service. The truth is what’s prevailing inside the Inter-Agency Committee is the fascist character of the AFP-PNP.”

Labog called on the workers and the people to condemn and oppose the continuous attacks on workers’ rights and demand that the government uphold and respect the right to freedom of association and self-organization.