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Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Malaysia Disturbed with the Trampled Workers’ Rights in Philippines


We, the Youth Wing of People’s Justice Party condemn to the strongest possible term the violence and the injury inflicted on us by the police and security forces of the Philippine Economic Zone Authority. September 25 and 27 were the days we learned our painful lesson – that violence and repression is indeed a state policy!

We condemn PEZA Director General Lilia de Lima for her infamous unwritten order of food blockade, use of violent and superior force, and her blatant disregard of the workers’ rights to strike and to bargain collectively. Her office is hostile and an affront to the rights of the workers.

De Lima’s order of food blockade has caused the arrest and detention and of filing of fabricated charges of trespassing and inciting to sedition to eight (8) members of the Solidarity of Cavite Workers (SCW) who were caught secretly-storing the food supplies of the striking workers at CWFI.

Philippines’ government and its law is not with the people especially the workers from Chong Won Fashion, Inc. (CWFI) and Philippines Jeon Garments, Inc. (PJI) at the Cavite Export Processing Zone. We are sure that the workers follow the rule of law, yet their rights are being trampled and their bodies are being assaulted violently. Their Korean companies arrogantly-mocked their law, yet they are not being clubbed to suffer head and body injuries but rather enjoy full protection and relentless favor from the government.

The workers were on strike since September 25.Theye resorted to this kind of action, as a last recourse, because our companies continue to refuse to bargain with them collectively, but it was only after more than a year of waiting hopelessly. They have sought redress to the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), and like PEZA, it is inutile in upholding their rights and more than inutile because it can not impose its own order against their erring companies.

The workers deserved respect and equal protection from the law. They are already being burdened by the government of its corruption and lack of social services, of its very insulting minimum wage, and of the sky rocketing prices of basic commodities and services. And to deny us of our rights that could hopefully temporarily-alleviate us from the government-imposed economic hardships would be a fatal blow to our dignity.

We demand from Director General Lilia de Lima to immediately stop the following:

1. The use of brute force and shameful connivance of PEZA with the Korean owners of CWFI and PJI in denying us of our rights to strike and to bargain collectively;

2. The Inhumane food blockade which is only being done by the military in its operations against the rebels by allowing free entry of food supplies to the strikers’ picket line;

3. The denial of entry of the strikers through checkpoints, confiscation of company IDs and Zone Pass, and blacklisting in order to reduce the strength in numbers of the strikers;

4. The supplying and escorting of scabs inside the factories to replace the strikers and run the operations of the production lines;

5. The illegal subcontracting of the Wal-mart order in CWFI to Jeshurun Fashion Intl. Corp. also in CEPZ, Rosario, Cavite;

Also, we urge the following to:

6. Drop all fabricated charges and unconditionally-release the eight workers, namely: Gemma Lape, Ivy Villasan, Lorna Reli, Josephine Bajar, Pablito Zapanta, Annalou Estremos, Rodel Amo, and Glaiza Leysi.

7. Bring the Korean owners of the CWFI and PJI face-to-face with the workers in the negotiating table;

8. Return the illegally-confiscated or robbed personal materials such as one sack of rice, cell phones, and camera;

9. Make appropriate actions against Atty. Jane Arada for her conduct unbecoming of an officer of PEZA or for her bad manners and wrong conduct towards the strikers; and

10. Subject the PEZA Police force and Jantro guards to drug testing.

Released by:

Faisal Mustaffa
Head, International Bureau
Youth Wing, People’s Justice Party


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