Another unionist arrested on false charges

In the opening of the ILO High-Level Mission: Another unionist arrested on false charges

Combined elements of the Philippine Army (PA) and Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) arrested and detained another unionist from Southern Tagalog in an entrapment operation in Angono, Rizal at around 6PM on September 21.

Declard Cangmaong, 36 years old, a garments worker, was with his family for a holiday in his sister’s residence when handcuffed by two (2) army personnel in civilian and seven (7) CIDG men armed with 45 calibre pistols. The CIDG men reportedly wore white shirts and no nameplates except for their ID slings with abbreviations “CIDG”.

“We were all horrified in the suddenness of the incident. Declard’s children and mine were shocked,” said in Filipino by Shiela Cangmaong-dela Cruz, Declard’s sister.

“I asked the arresting officers what the charges are and if they have a warrant of arrest. They replied ‘yes’ but presented nothing. Instead, the army personnel showed a Conduct Pass issued by Tabak Division in Pagadian City,” added dela Cruz.

The operatives immediately took Cangmaong, his wife, and two daughters to Fort Bonifacio. In the military camp, Cangmaong was charged of frustrated murder.

The following day, September 22, Cangmaong was taken to Camp Crame at around 2PM. Dela Cruz, in her visit, learned that his brother was charged with “multiple murder with quadruple frustrated murder and damage to government property” in a court in Misamis Oriental.

“This is much worse and conflicting with the earlier allegation against him,” said dela Cruz.

Entrapment

Dela Cruz reported that the two army personnel, identified themselves as Zaldy Rubia and a certain Ricky, were brought along by their father, Francisco Cangmaong from Pagadian City in the morning of September 21.

“We received these strangers with hospitality only to find out that they will be traitors right inside our premises.”

“They (army) were pressuring our father to surrender Declard for being a top-ranking officer of the New People’s Army in Mindanao. How can it be when Declard has been a factory worker in

Laguna for a long time? They deceived our father that they will ‘help’ clear Declard’s name,” added dela Cruz.

At around 6PM, dela Cruz noticed that Zaldy and Ricky stepped outside the house. Zaldy was playing with the children while Ricky was having a conversation thru his mobile phone.

“Not more than five minutes after the phone conversation, CIDG men raided our house and declared, ‘Huwag kayong kikilos! Mga pulis kami! (Freeze! We are police officers!)’.”

Dela Cruz said that after putting his brother in handcuffs, the CIDG men searched their house.

“They did not present a warrant of arrest and they have all the guts to illegally search the house.”

Trade union repression

Meanwhile, the militant regional labour centre PAMANTIK-KMU condemns the “illegal arrest and detention” of Cangmaong.

“Cangmaong is an active member of the independent union in Sensuous Lingerie, a garments factory in Calamba City, Laguna until the management declared closure in the middle of on-going negotiations for a collective bargaining agreement (CBA) in July 2008. He got employed in another factory after being retrenched from Sensuous, but he remained active in supporting workers’ issues especially in the garments and textile industry,” said Hermie Marasigan, PAMANTIK-KMU spokesperson.

“The incident of illegal arrest and detention of Cangmaong coincides with the commencement of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) High-Level Mission in the Philippines. This only proves that trade union repression such as tramped-up charges against and red tagging of leaders and unionists unabashedly continue and systematically operated by elements of the US-Arroyo regime.”

“We hope the ILO High-Level Mission will look into the case of Cangmaong. The labour movement in Southern Tagalog believes that the military and police cannot and will not in any way ‘help’ clear Cangmaong’s name. But we do believe the ILO High-Level Mission will help facilitate in doing so,” concluded Marasigan.###

Widespread trade union repression reduced labour strikes

The labour movement sees no good news in the report by the Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE) boasting a 20% reduction of labour strikes in the past eight months. Widespread repression of the right to union and right to strike plays key factor behind such report.

Capitalist-DoLE complicity meddles with the legal processes at the onset of filing notice of strike so as to dispel workers’ concerted actions such as strike. These manoeuvres repressed workers’ legitimate demands such as the case in Daiho Philippines, High Precision, Carina Apparel, Clarmil, and PhilMetal.

In the past years, DoLE also notoriously implements Assumption of Jurisdiction (AJ) orders to disperse strikes. Legitimate strikes pertaining to collective bargaining issues were issued AJs such as in Lucio Tan’s Asia Brewery Incorporated and Japanese company Aichi Forging.

Striking workers in Southern Tagalog were often dealt with AJ deputisation through brutal dispersals and harassments by the mercenary police and military. The long-running strikes in Nestle Philippines Cabuyao and Nissan Motor Philippines, among those which experienced violent and bloody AJ deputisations, still stand to this day.

“Nip in the bud”

The number of strikes will eventually decrease since the formation of its main machinery, the union, is not allowed from the start.

Applicant workers fail employment if they were previously employed in a unionised company or by simply airing positive views regarding unionism.

In the first stage of registration, workers organising unions are criminally charged or illegally terminated by capitalists. With their influence and finances over DoLE, LGUs, courts, and yellow unions, capitalists “buy out” and distort legal processes in attempt to “nip in the bud” unionism. Such were practically done in Daiho Philippines, Honda Parts, Cirtek, Hoffen Garments, Shin Heung Electro-Digital, Takata, and others.

Elated in suppressing rights

Although there is no open declaration of Martial Law, the US-Arroyo regime still utilizes the Machiavellian doctrine of the former dictator Marcos in furnishing “good” results justifying the use of repressive means.

We should not be surprised since on September 21, 2002 Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo herself declared war against striking workers, labelling them terrorists. Arroyo said, “Let us fight against criminals. Let us fight against druglords, gambling lords and those who terrorise factories that create jobs.”

The Philippine Constitution and the International Labor Organisation Conventions 87 and 98 guarantee the workers’ right to strike. However, if the decrease in the number of strikes elates the US-Arroyo regime, this logically means that the regime is elated in suppressing and exploiting this basic right.

PAMANTIK-KMU warmly welcomes the upcoming International Labor Organisation High-Level Fact-Finding Mission in the Philippines on September 22-29 to investigate the trade union and human rights violations against workers, mainly of the complaint filed by KMU. This mission will be one of the means to remove the smoke screen of “good news” reports of DoLE and the regime. ###