Suppression of APEC protests hit

Photo from AP/Bullit Marquez
National labor center Kilusang Mayo Uno condemned today the suppression of protests against the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit, claiming the government defended those responsible for the country’s poverty and underdevelopment against the condemnation of workers and the poor.

The labor group said that from November 16 to 19, the Philippine National Police used an increasing amount of force against protestors and that the agency is “makapal ang mukha (shameless)” for threatening protest leaders with lawsuits.

“Instead of respecting the Filipino workers’ and people’s right to assert that their demands be heard, the Aquino government responded with an overkill amount of force. It clearly sided with big capitalists and powerful governments against Filipinos,” said Jerome Adonis, KMU secretary-general.

The labor leader said eight activists from the labor sector were wounded or seriously hurt or both in the protest last Thursday along Buendia Avenue in Pasay City, against which the police used truncheons.

Among these are: Steve Ranjo and Genero Paredog of the Pagkakaisa ng mga Samahan ng Tsuper at Operators Nationwide or PISTON and Bironico Pardillo, Nilo Juayang, Sonny Aguinaldo, and Allan Bacara, strikers of Golden Fortune Techno Built, Inc.

Also wounded and seriously hurt were Bonifacio Cuello of the NXPSCI Workers’ Union and Rea Alegre, spokesperson of broad campaign network All Workers’ Unity. Ranjo and Alegre suffered head wounds after being hit by stones thrown from the ranks of the police.

“We condemn the Aquino government and the PNP for their use of violence against protestors. We are studying the possibility of filing administrative charges against government and police officials involved before the Ombudsman,” Adonis added.

KMU also condemned the PNP’s use of a loud speaker which played dance music to try to counter the sound coming from last Thursday’s protest and to try to disrupt the protestors’ program.

“The Aquino government continues to use new ways of suppressing dissent because it fails to come up with answers to the demands of workers and the people. Stifling the voices of workers and the people has never been, and will never be, music to our ears,” Adonis stated.