Workers demand release of labor rights defenders

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QUEZON CITY – National labor center Kilusang Mayo Uno demand the immediate release of labor rights defenders illegally arrested based on false charges. The detention of Roderick Mamuyac, 43 years old, alongside Jun Sinday, 55 years old and NDFP consultant Ariel Arbitrario was made at around 9:00 am yesterday in Sirawan, Toril, Davao City.

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) denied in a statement that Mamuyac’s arrest was part of the recent presidential declaration to put NDF negotiators back in prison. Instead, they insist his alleged criminal culpability as the purported regional liaison officer of the Southern Mindanao Regional Committee of the New People’s Army (NPA).

KMU with its regional chapter in Southern Mindanao denounced AFP’s statement as erroneous and fabricated. Mamuyac is a long-standing trade union organizer of KMU Southern Mindanao and is not in any way connected with the NPA. The regional chapter confirmed that both Mamuyac and Sinday were tasked to accompany Arbitrario as the latter’s detail as KMU’s expression of support to the inclusion of the workers’ demands in the GPH-NFDP peace talks.

“We are strongly supporting the GPH-NFDP peace talks especially the Comprehensive Agreement on Socio-Economic Reforms that includes ending of all forms of contractualization and junking of the ‘provincial rates’ thru the implementation of a national minimum wage among the numerous list of workers and people’s demands,” stated KMU Chairperson Elmer “Ka Bong” Labog.

KMU is a member of the network Exodus for Justice and Peace (EJP) which facilitated Arbitrario after his release and has vigorously pushed for the resumption of talks and the freedom of all political prisoners.

“Arbitrario’s arrest, despite the non-existence of a formal notice of termination, is a desperate attempt of the AFP to sabotage the peace talks by taking advantage of the president’s hasty retorts,” he added.

KMU enjoins all workers and the Filipino people to demand the immediate release of Mamucay, Arbitrario and Sinday. It also called on President Duterte to take back his rash remark and genuinely support the socio-economic reforms that were being negotiated in the peace talks.

“We call on the president get back to his senses and respect previously signed agreements such as the JASIG and Comprehensive Agreement on the Respect of Human Rights and International Law (CARHRIHL),” he said.

KMU challenged the president to veer away from the neoliberal dictates of the imperialist US-Trump and resolve the armed conflict in the country by ending landlessness, foreign socio-economic dependence, poverty, and injustice rather than be swayed by the pressure of the mercenaries in the AFP and capitalists.

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