Statement of condemnation against the harassment of TU leader and the continuing militarization in industrial zones

The regional trade union center Pagkakaisa ng Manggagawa sa Timog Katagalugan-Kilusang Mayo Uno (PAMANTIK-KMU) condemns to the highest terms the surveillance and harassment conducted by military elements against a trade union leader.

Three (3) confirmed Army men in civilian clothes conducted surveillance in the residential compound of Hermenegildo Marasigan, 56 years old, in the afternoon of June 24, at the height of typhoon Falcon. The men informed Marasigan’s neighbors that they intend to “befriend, exchange drinks, and help Marasigan return to the fold of the government”.

Ka Hermie committed no crime to be visited and convinced to return to the government’s fold. This is clear harassment against Ka Hermie and other activists that in their unselfish service to the workers and the people are branded criminals by the military.

Ka Hermie Marasigan is currently the elected president of federation Organized Labor Association in Line Industries and Agriculture (OLALIA-KMU). He is also a member of the regional council of PAMANTIK and national council of Kilusang Mayo Uno.

Not only in this incident, but the mere military deployment of the 202nd Infantry Brigade of the Philippine Army posed a big threat to the lives of the people in Cabuyao, Laguna since February 26, 2011. It is evidently clear that the military surveillance and harassment against Marasigan, the presence of uniformed men during assemblies and rallies of unions and mass organizations, and the series of seminars conducted by the military in communities expose the real purpose of deployment which they formerly insisted and guised as “community services”.

With the long history in the province and the whole region, military presence means extra-judicial killings and other human rights abuses. Last year alone in Laguna, Edward Panganiban and Carlo Rodriguez were murdered while there were military deployments in Santa Rosa City and Calamba City, respectively. Both were active union officers.

Military presence will bring no good to the people of Cabuyao and to other cities and towns in the region. The working class and the people unite in one voice to immediately expel the military from Southern Tagalog and thwart US-Aquino’s Oplan Bayanihan.###

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