President Duterte’s signing of the anti-terror law and his veto of the anti-endo bill reveals that he is undeniably an enemy of labor rights. The contrast is remarkable. Duterte made a promise to abolish endo only to drag his feet and at the crucial juncture shoot down the bill that will limit contractualization. Now, labor activists fighting for regular jobs and workers’ rights are threatened by the vague provisions of the anti-terror law.
Even without an anti-terror law, labor rights are already under attack by the agents of the State. In the middle of the lockdown, at the height of Black Friday last April 10, elements of the Dasmarinas police threatened to arrest two workers manning the picketline in the First Cavite Industrial Estate if they don’t abandon the protest. In January this year, the PNP and the Philippine Export Zone Authority launched the Joint Industrial Peace and Concern Office (JIPCO) in Central Luzon to prevent militant unionism in the export zones. Two years ago, photos of three women union leaders were posted under the heading “wanted” at the gate of the Mactan Economic Zone in Cebu.
All these flagrant violations of labor rights by agents of the State will be enabled by the restriction of civil liberties under the draconian provisions of the anti-terror law. Thus workers have a stake in resisting and defying the slide to authoritarianism.
Workers will fight back and push back against the restriction of civil liberties and suppression of labor rights. Last June 30, workers held a global day of action against the anti-terror bill. On July 7, workers will join others sectors in a bigger action to protest the authoritarianism.
July 4, 2020