Free detained labor rights defenders in the Philippines!

By ILPS Commission 5

Please join us in our call to free detained labor rights defenders in the Philippines.

Since Noynoy Aquino became president in 2010, 11 unionists and labor advocates have been illegally arrested and detained on the basis of trumped-up charges. Two labor leaders have standing arrest warrants because of the same trumped-up charges.

The unionists, labor advocates and labor leaders are accused of participating in actions carried out by rebel group New People’s Army. The Philippine government and military have not presented clear evidence linking the unionists, labor advocates and labor leaders to the NPA’s actions. And they can’t because the unionists, labor advocates and labor leaders are nowhere near the actions. They have been involved in educating workers on their rights, helping workers form militant and genuinely pro-worker unions, and helping poor Filipinos fight for their rights.

Unionists, labor advocates and labor leaders are targets of trumped-up charges under the Aquino government’s counter-insurgency plan Oplan Bayanihan. They are accused of recruiting workers and other poor Filipinos to join the NPA and being members of front organizations of the Communist Party of the Philippines.

The intention of the government is to disrupt their activities aimed at educating and organizing workers.

Detained activists

Adelberto Silva is a long-timelaboractivist and organizer, and a consultant of the nationallaborcenter on matters related to the peace talks, national industrialization, and pro-workerlaborlaws. He was president of the Pambansang Kilusan ng mga Manggagawang Pilipino (National Movement of Filipino Workers) or PAKMAP before Martial Law. He acted as a staff member and speechwriter for the late Rolando “Ka Lando” Olalia when the latter became chairperson of the KMU. Adelberto also assisted the strike of the workers of Solid Mills and other companies in 1983 which became pivotal in the defense of workers’ right to strike during the Marcos dictatorship.

Randy Vegas and Raul Camposano are organizers of government employees’ unions, and they have been languishing in jail since Dec. 3, 2012.

Renante Gamara was a labor leader at General Motors Philippines in the late 1970’s. He organized many other factories.

Sharon Cabusao, who was arrested with her husband Adelberto Silva, was a former member of the KMU’s Public Information Department.

Isidro de Lima is a staff of Adelberto Silva, and was arrested with him. He was organized by KMU from the workers’ communities, and he served the workers as a labor activist.

Gil Corpuz is from the transport group Pagkakaisa ng mga Samahan ng Tsuper at Operators Nationwide or PISTON in Cagayan Valley, and Rene Boy Abiva is from the Alliance of Concerned Teachers in Cagayan Valley.

The other labor rights defenders are consultants of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines in peace talks with the Aquino government and are long-time organizers in the labor movement: Benito and Wilma Tiamzon, and Ernesto Lorenzo. They were imprisoned on the basis of trumped-up charges and planted evidence.

Benito and Wilma Tiamzon are part of the Labor Committee of Samahan ng Demokratikong Kabataan (Association of Democratic Youth). They organized in Gelmart, a garments factory with many women workers. They also organized in Syntex, Litex, Gentex, Solid Mills. Benito also organized workers in Atlas Cebu. Both Wilma and Benito organized workers before and after the Martial Law declared by the dictator President Marcos, and were key organizers of the first strike during those years of exteme political repression.

Stand

We vow to continue fighting for the rights and interests of workers despite the repression being unleashed by the Aquino government. We vow to strengthen the labor movement and defeat Aquino’s martial law against workers and unions. These labor rights defenders are all unarmed activists who were arrested on the basis of trumped-up charges. All of them are being imprisoned to prevent them from helping to organize workers.

Recommended actions

Send letters, emails or fax messages calling for the:

  1. immediate release of detained labor rights defenders
  2. Philippine Government to be reminded that it is a signatory to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and that it is also a party to all the major Human Rights instruments, thus it is bound to observe all of these instruments’ provisions

 


Proposed letter

 

Dear _______________:

We would like to express our concern over the detention of labor rights defenders in the Philippines.

They are all unarmed activists, and they were arrested on the basis of trumped-up charges. All of them are being imprisoned to prevent them from helping organize and actually organizing workers.

As we put the demand their immediate release, we also would like to remind you that the Philippine Government is a signatory to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and that it is also a party to all the major Human Rights instruments, thus it is bound to observe all of these instruments’ provisions.

We are hoping for your favorable action in this regard.

Sincerely,

Organization’s Name

 


Send letters to:

President Defense Secretary Justice Secretary Human Rights Commission
H.E. Benigno C. Aquino III
President of the Republic
Malacañang Palace,
JP Laurel St., San Miguel
Manila Philippines
Voice: (+632) 564 1451 to 80
Fax: (+632) 742-1641 / 929-3968
E-mail: corres@op.gov.ph / opnet@ops.gov.ph
Ret. Lt. Gen. Voltaire T. Gazmin
Secretary, Department of National Defense
Room 301 DND Building, Camp Emilio Aguinaldo,
E. de los Santos Avenue, Quezon City
Voice:+63(2) 911-9281 / 911-0488
Fax:+63(2) 911 6213
Email: osnd@philonline.com
Atty. Alfredo Benjamin Caguioa
Secretary, Department of Justice
Padre Faura St., Manila
Direct Line 521-8344; 5213721
Trunkline  523-84-81 loc.214
Fax: (+632) 521-1614
Email:  soj@doj.gov.ph
Jose Luis Martin Gascon
Chairperson, Commission on Human Rights
SAAC Bldg., UP Complex, Commonwealth Avenue
Diliman, Quezon City, Philippines
Voice: (+632) 928-5655, 926-6188
Fax: (+632) 929 0102

Send copy to: kmu.intl@gmail.com

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