Labor groups welcomed the release from detention of three labor organizers who were arrested in a workers rally at the Cebu Mactan Ecozone last November 30. Cases of “disobedience against a person in authority” lodged against Dennis Derige, Joksan Branzuela and Jonel Labrador were dismissed yesterday afternoon. Their colleagues Myra Opada and Cristito Pangan, both union leaders at the Mactan Ecozone, were released earlier.
Partido Manggagawa (PM) and Sentro ng mga Nagkakaisa at Progresibong Manggagawa (Sentro) also asked the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) for pro-active measures to stem the series of mass layoffs in the ecozones.
“We condemn the double standard of police in implementing the quarantine rules. Police turn a blind eye to Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque leading a mass gathering in Bantayan, Cebu last November 27 but without batting an eyelash arrest union leaders who were airing grievances on mass firings,” stated Rene Magtubo, PM national chair.
Meanwhile Josua Mata, Sentro secretary-general stated that “I would like to laud the decision of the prosecutor in dismissing the cases against our organizers. It only shows that there are still people in our justice system who are courageous enough to uphold the constitutional rights of workers.”
Magtubo insisted that “Another double standard is DOLE’s inaction on employers engaging in mass layoffs for dubious reasons while police immediate suppress workers’ protests against indiscriminate firings. We demand that Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello remind police that existing DOLE-PEZA-PNP rules on labor disputes prohibit security personnel from harassing workers’ concerted actions. We also ask him to convene a dialogue with labor groups on the continued hemorrhage of jobs inside and outside of the ecozones.”
Last November 30, the so-called MEPZ 5 led more than a hundred recently terminated ecozone workers in rally at the Mactan ecozone gate. But police dispersed the rally and arrested the MEPZ 5.
On November 27, First Glory Apparel fired 300 workers. This comes on the heels of mass layoffs at other firms in the Mactan ecozone. Earlier the Sports City group of companies retrenched 4,000 workers, Yuenthai fired 2000 workers, FCO laid off 100 workers and Kor Landa terminated 67 workers.
December 2, 2020