Hoya workers decry surveillance and harassment during protest on anniv of illegal dismisal

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Sto. Tomas, Batangas – On the eve of Labor Day and instead of freely expressing their condemnation a year after the illegal dismisal of 2,600 workers from Hoya Glass Disk Philippines, the workers who staged a picket-protest in front of the First Philippines Industrial Park (FPIP) 5PM on April 30 only felt the fangs of state repression closing in on their calls.

This, after dozens of suspected military intelligence agents took videos and pictures of the said protest under the guise of civilian outfits. One particular intelligence agent who had no identification on him was reprimanded while being caught red-handed for taking surveillance and contacting a certain “Sgt. Linio”. He was also discovered to be carrying a gun on his sling bag. But when some of the workers assigned for the marshall and security committee cornered the said agent, interrogated him and demanded that he delete the said photos and videos, the agent refused and even punched one protester on the head and ran to the direction of the Philippine National Police (PNP).  A dialogue ensued between the police and some of the workers, where clearly the PNP safeguarded the said agent instead of hearing out complaints of harassment and surveillance.

“This is infuriating  since instead of helping the workers with their plight against foreign capitalist who just get away with their crimes to workers, the PNP become state machineries to protect their interests and not ours. As we have witnessed today, we feel threatened by the fact that the police and military identify our ranks,” Ian Ordono, President of Kalipunan at Saligan ng Manggagawa sa Hoya Glass Disk Philippines – Independent (KASAMA sa HOGP-Ind) said.

Today, April 30, 2015 marks one year after KASAMA sa HOGP-Ind, duly recognized by the Department of Labor and Employment as the Sole Exclusive Bargaining Agent, was union-busted by the Hoya capitalists wherein, due to the illegal closure of the factory, 2,600 workers and families have lost their source of livelihood.

“We even went to two baranggay halls near FPIP to file a blotter report about the said incident but it was peculiar that no one was there to receive our complaints. It seems that they were ordered by the PNP or FPIP officials to not receive our plea,” Ordono added.

Meanwhile, Roque Polido, Chairperson of Pagkakaisa ng mga Manggagawa sa Timog Katagalugan, pointed out the recent National Tripartite Industrial Peace Council –Memorandum of Commitment, a repressive policy of the government that permitted PNP and even the Armed Forces of the Philippines to meddle on labor disputes. Polido stressed that this incident is but a manifestation of Noynoy Aquino’s Oplan Bayanihan which is no different from the other regime’s counter insurgency programs.

“We are not innocent to the fact that labor leaders who are monitored through surveillance by military and police agents become victims of extra-judicial killings and enforced disappearances,” Polido said. He recalled the recent killing of Florencio “Bong” Romano last March 8, 2015. Romano was an educator , organizer and regional coordinator of PAMANTIK-KMU before he was shot dead and his body thrown by the side of the road at Brgy. Soro-soro, Batangas City. Polido also noted that Ben Villeno, a desaparecido since August 2014, reported through a text message that he was under surveillance and that “someone was following him” before he dissappeared ever since.

“We condemn this latest act of repression to the labor movement, even now on the eve of the Labor Day commemoration. The Aquino government along with state machineries and foreign capitalists have no respect for the rights of workers. This is why we believe there is no other way to uplift our condition but through our principled collective action and the people’s support,” Polido said. #

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