Philippine unions mark Independence Day with terror law protests

12 June 2020 12:51

Ignoring police threats and bad weather, the Nagkaisa Labour Coalition, the biggest labour alliance in the Philippines joined thousands of protesters in marking the country’s Independence Day with protests all over the country against the recently passed anti-terror law. 

In a statement, Federation of Free Workers (FFW) and Nagkaisa Chairperson Sonny Matula said that while terrorism is wrong, the anti-terror law is equally wrong.

(Photo: Dennis Gorecho, lifted from Facebook)

“Workers rely on unionism, not terrorism to protect their rights and interests. Workers employ industrial actions and even strikes, but never terrorism to push for their just demands. Simply put, workers are opposed to terrorism,” Matula said. 

“However, with the passage of this draconian measure, workers’ collective actions can be considered as terrorist acts. Unionism can easily be labeled by the government as terrorism,” Matula stressed.

(Photo: Dennis Gorecho, lifted from Facebook)

Matula explained that the bill seeks to create an anti-terrorism council (ATC) which many said is more powerful than the three branches of the government. The trade unions said that this is blatantly unconstitutional. 

The trade unions asked President Rodrigo Duterte to reconsider his position and use his veto power to junk the measure. 

“At a time of a pandemic, workers don’t need a terror law. This law will do nothing to protect their health, jobs and incomes. What workers need from the government are policies that will secure their jobs and other means of livelihood, free transportation, emergency relief and food at their tables,” Matula said.