Atrocities against Mindanao workers under martial law slammed

National labor center Kilusang Mayo Uno condemned the Duterte administration’s martial law atrocities and abuses against the striking workers of Shin Sun Tropical Fruit Corporation in Compostela Valley.

During a press conference in Quezon City, the KMU exposed that last June 2, twelve workers of the Korean-owned banana plantation and their supporters, including a minor and an elderly, were injured and arrested when combined elements of 66th Infantry Battalion (IB) of Philippine Army and PNP Compostela Valley violently dispersed the 2-month strike against contractualization and union busting.

“We condemn the violent dispersal and arrests of striking Shin Sun workers in Mindanao. These atrocities prove that Duterte’s martial law is being used to curtail civil liberties and attack workers’ legitimate and just demands,” Lito Ustarez, KMU vice chairperson for political and external affairs, said.

According to Shin Sun workers, soldiers leading the dispersal were claiming that “This is Martial law and we don’t honor the labor code,” which KMU claim is an utmost disregard for workers’ constitutional and civil rights which, under Duterte’s Proclamation No. 216, remains in effect.

“These violent attacks against workers’ rights must stop. We call on President Duterte to lift his martial law and hold the AFP and the PNP accountable for their atrocities against workers and the people of Mindanao,” Ustarez said.

The KMU meanwhile said that they will raise the violent dispersal of the Shin Sun workers strike and other martial law atrocities against Filipino workers and people before the International Labour Organization as they attend as head of the Philippine Labor Sector Delegation to the 106th Session of the International Labour Conference which also opens today in Geneva, Switzerland.

“As head of the Philippine labor delegation to the International Labour Conference, we will seek the support of the ILO and other workers around the globe in condemning these atrocities against workers under Duterte’s martial law. We will seek before the ILO to come to the Philippines to look into the dispersal of the Shin Sun workers’ strike and other violent attacks against workers’ rights and dignity.” Ustarez said.