Above are workers at die-in protest at Chunji International Philippines Inc. (CIPI) dispersed in January 2006.
At 5:30pm today, the police and security guards inside the Cavite Export Processing Zone (CEPZ)in Rosario, Cavite demonstrates yet another abusive acts.
Police and guards, armed with clubs and short firearms violently dismantled the makeshift tents installed by workers on protest in front of Chong Won Fashion Inc., a korean-garment factory. Some of the 30 workers who were on the site suffered injuries as they fought it out with them.
Attempts to completely dismantle the makeshift tents was thwarted as defiant union members on protest fought it out with them thrice.
This is yet another violent action by the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (Peza) police and the Janthro Security guards. In January, a 3-month old pregnant woman had a miscarriage days after she and her fellow workers were violently dispersed by them. Her two colleagues too suffered injuries, one of whom seriously.
The situation was highly tense. Some of the workers started crying while others were ensuring to secure their force to prevent the police and guards from breaking into their line. Other leaders, while holding a mega-phone had a tense negotiation with the Peza police chief who insist on dispersing them.
While the Peza police insist the union members to dispersed and dismantle their makeshift upon order by the Peza authoriies even though they are peacefully assembled, the union members were defiant insisting they have “notice of strike” to their company.
Obviously the Peza police and the guards actions, despite the union member’s observance of peaceful assembly, manifest their abusive acts. By forcibly dispersing a peaceful gathering of workers on strike, carrying firearm and closing into the workers to harass them, and intimidating them by using their force is completely unacceptable. But in this country it is happening.
Union members only had a sigh of relief when the Peza police chief ordered his men and the guards to withdraw.
A dose of gutts and courage, and a will to defy the police and guards harassment and intimidation in fighting for their labor rights, the union members who finds themselves in an near violent clash clapped and yelled with the “partial” victory over the withdrawing police and guards.
This, however, is too far from over yet. As the workers posed to strike and the company refusal to negotiate with them to commence the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA), the union member’s demands for their rights and welfare, violence is inevitable with the type of police and guards inside CEPZ.