“Military-police are watching us; the people are also watching them.”- KMU

The militant Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) said that trade unions and people’s organizations are under surveillance and threat from state forces.

Last night, around 7 PM, the Sumifru banana plantation workers from Mindanao who are now holding a camp-out against contractualization in Liwasang Bonifacio, Metro Manila were surrounded by an estimated number of 700 members of the Philippine National Police (PNP). The police dispersed around 9:30 PM.

“The latest action of the police harassing the workers’ camp-out against contractualization is not only meant to harass our unionists. It is a rehearsal for Martial Law,” said Jerome Adonis, secretary-general of KMU.

The Sumifru banana workers are holding a camp-out to demand that 2,700 workers be regularized, and for the military in Mindanao to stop killing and harassing union officials and members.

PNP claimed that they are only responding to a bomb threat report in Metro Manila.

“The real threat of violence is coming from President Duterte and his military officials who are now preparing to implement Martial Law nationwide,” Adonis said.

“The main office and the workers’ school of KMU are also subjected to constant surveillance. Our unionists are being treated like criminal suspects,” he added.

“We also condemn the intelligence operations against the progressive teachers’ union Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT),” Adonis said. ACT reported that policemen were going around schools nationwide where ACT has a union to gather information about its members.

“This is the new normal under the Duterte government- civil, political and human rights are undermined and attacked using different military and police operations. There is a de facto Martial Law in the Philippines,” Adonis said.

“Philippines is being ruled by a dictator who extremely fears losing the support of the US government. He is afraid of the US-controlled Philippine military and police and hence gives them leeway to abuse their powers,” he added.

Adonis also demanded that the leadership of the AFP and PNP be revamped and all its members be made to undergo human rights orientation seminars under the Commission on Human Rights (CHR).

“The workers are going to face bigger challenges this 2019. We anticipate the prices of basic commodities to soar higher. The clamor for a P750 minimum wage increase nationwide and the demand for millions of contractual workers to be regularized will be more pressing. Rather than addressing these demands, the Duterte government is preparing Martial Law to prevent future mass actions,” he said.

“All the more that Filipinos need to be vigilant against state forces— if they are watching us, the workers and people are also watching them,” he said.

Reference: Jerome Adonis, secretary-general, +63939-5073770