Joining today’s protests in time for the International Human Rights Day, workers led by national labor center Kilusang Mayo Uno challenged presidential candidates in the 2016 elections to condemn the terrible human rights record of Pres. Noynoy Aquino’s government.
The labor group said workers and all Filipinos deserve to know the presidentiables’ stand on the 304 victims of extra-judicial killings, the killing of Lumads, the 561 political detainees, 304 among whom were arrested under Aquino, and the brutal militarization in the countryside as reported by human-rights group Karapatan.
KMU also recalled that in the run-up to the 2010 elections, Aquino refused to address the widespread human rights violations committed under the government of his predecessor Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
“Human rights is a legitimate election issue. We challenge all presidentiables and all candidates to bare their stand on this issue and condemn Aquino’s ugly human rights record,” said Elmer “Ka Bong” Labog, KMU chairperson.
The labor leader said that if presidentiables and all candidates are really serious in addressing poverty, hunger, and unemployment, as they claim, then they should pledge to at least stop the worst forms of human rights violations.
“Candidates’ seriousness in delivering their promises on the economy can be measured through their seriousness in committing to ending human-rights violations. Governments resort to committing rights violations only because the poor are fighting for better economic conditions,” Labog added.
He said that politicians’ stand on human rights should include stands on the basic rights of workers that are being violated wantonly under Aquino – the right to a living wage, to job security, to the free exercise of trade-union rights, and to a safer workplace.
“Workers’ rights have been violated with impunity under Aquino. Working conditions are far worse now than when he started in office. There are lower wages, more contractuals, and less unions and Collective Bargaining Agreements,” Labog stated.