NYCHRP Condemns Unlawful Dispersal and Arrest of NutriAsia Workers, their Family Members, and Journalists

August 1, 2018

Reference: Rodrigo Bacus, Chairperson, New York Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines (NYCHRP), nychrp@gmail.com

NYCHRP Condemns Unlawful Dispersal and Arrest of NutriAsia Workers, their Family Members, and Journalists

nutriasia nychrp

Marilao, Bulacan — The Philippine National Police and over 100 private security personnel violently dispersed 300 Nutriasia workers, their families, and supporters while an ecumenial mass was held at the picket line. Many of the 300 were injured and/or arrested while many more remain missing. The police and security personnel then proceeded to destroy the personal belongings of the workers and the picket line that the workers built.

NutriAsia workers have set up a picket outside the Marilao plant since June 2, 2018. The primary demand of the workers, led by labor organization Nagkakaisang Manggagawa ng Nutriasia (United Workers of Nutriasia, NMN), is to end contractualization and regularize workers. In the Philippines, a majority of workers are trapped in a loop of contractual work where workers are fired every four to six month cycles. As a result, workers are left out of work. Workers were also protesting the unjust termination of workers after they formed a union, along with the subsequent illegal dismissal of 50 more workers after the latter showed support for those who were initially terminated.

The picket line was previously harassed and violently dispersed on June 14, after hundreds of policemen and company security personnel forcibly removed makeshift camps, physically assaulted workers and drove them out of the area.

In February this year, the Department of Labor Enforcement (DOLE) had already ordered NutriAsia to regularize over 900 workers after concluding that the company is engaging in labor-only contracting practices. The Department also reported that NutriAsia is violating labor laws and general labor standards, including illegal deduction for workers’ uniforms and underpayment of basic wages.

“The violent dispersal of the workers is a violation of their right to assembly and their right to form and join unions. Moreover, the police engaged in arbitrary arrests and detentions when they took 19 people in the area to jail without actual evidence of charges against them. The Philippines has been a signatory to the International Convention of Civil and Political Rights since 1986. The Government of the Republic of the Philippines is also a signatory to the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL) since 1998. The actions of the Philippine National Police are clearly in contravention of the spirit of these human rights documents and the Philippine government needs to be held accountable for these violations,” said Rodrigo Bacus, Chairperson of New York Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines (NYCHRP).

“We see this attack on workers as a blatant attack on our people and our ancestors. We will counter the attacks by police forces protecting exploitative corporations that are stealing people’s land and committing human rights abuses by any means necessary. We never hesitate to defend the rights of workers and the rights to land for our present and future generations. At the end of the day, these are rights that will not truly be upheld by any court or institution. They are human rights upheld by the people who call for liberation across the globe. Only when our people are liberated and only through workers struggle will human rights truly be sustained,” added Lauren Quijano of NYCHRP.

Journalists Hiyasmin Saturay and Eric Tandoc of Altermidya were among the people arrested by the Philippine National Police. They are currently still in jail despite a release order declaring that there was not enough evidence to hold them. The NutriAsia 19, as the arrestees have been called, were held for over 36 hours without charges and an unexecuted release order.

NYCHRP urgently requests that all organizations of workers including, unionized workers and those currently fighting for unionization, to join in calling attention to this workers strike. We ask for workers to show solidarity with Filipino workers by writing public statements of support that amplify the call to action to boycott all NutriAsia products and to seek justice and accountability for all those arrested at the NutriAsia picket line.

NYCHRP recognizes that when workers organize, they win and sees the courage and persistent struggle of B&H workers, laundry workers, nail salon workers, fast food workers, cab drivers who have organized and gone on strike all over New York City. We call for the end of the Trump-backed Duterte regime’s union repression and union-busting tactics. We demand NutriAsia immediately comply with the demands of the workers including regularizing the entire workforce, providing safe and healthy working conditions, providing a livable wage, and upholding their right to unionize.

If you would like to become a member of NYCHRP or another partner organization or to host an educational session about the NutriAsia strike with your organization, please contact nychrp@gmail.com. The educational session will be for workers to learn about current boycott efforts, and how to get involved in upcoming actions with Filipino migrant workers in solidarity.

SIGN THE PETITION TO SUPPORT NUTRIASIA WORKERS:  https://goo.gl/forms/sFQ4XsCVXgErDMe13

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NYCHRP Demands Human Rights Protection for All Human Lives at 2018 People’s SONA rally in New York City

Reference: Louie Sawi, Mass Campaigns Chair, New York Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines (NYCHRP), nychrp@gmail.com

NYCHRP Demands Human Rights Protection for All Human Lives at 2018 People’s SONA rally in New York City

NYCHRP at SONA 2018

Human lives cannot survive without having concern for their human rights. Since Duterte took office, he has failed to ensure the safety and well-being of the Filipino people.

After he launched his  “war on drugs,” over 20,000, poor urban dwellers, including children, have been murdered by the hands of the Philippine National Police and its agents. According to an investigation by Human Rights Watch, police planted guns, used ammunition, and drug packets on victims’ bodies to incriminate them in drug activities. Masked gunmen participating in the killings appeared to be collaborating with with police, refuting government claims that most killings have been committed by vigilantes or rival drug gangs.

Opposition to Duterte’s War on Drugs in the Philippines has led to the imprisonment of 509 political dissidents, critics, and human rights defenders. Even faith based leaders, organizers, and international peacekeepers are not immune to Duterte’s atrocious policies. A month ago, Methodist Church Missionaries Tawanda Chandiwana, Miracle Osman, and Adam Shaw were detained and interrogated by the police while participating in an international peace mission. After 27 years of missionary work in the Philippines, Australian nun Sister Patricia Fox was ordered by the Bureau of Immigration for deportation. Fathers Rey Urmeneta, Mark Ventura, and Marcelito Paez were murdered for speaking out against Duterte’s extrajudicial killings.

Duterte’s amped up anti-people campaign has recently veered to the absurd. The government’s newest policy, Oplan Tambay, demonizes marginalized youth and criminalizes those hanging out in their neighborhood. It has led to more than 50,000 accosted, arrested and detained in city jails. For example, on June 29, urban poor activist Nicolas Minguito was arrested in Olango Island for eating halo-halo outside his house.

Martial Law in Mindanao continues to violate the human rights of its community members. Seven days ago, 1,607 Lumad members from the region of Surigao del Sur, Caraga were displaced from their ancestral lands after a series of abuses inflicted by the Armed Forces of the Philippines. After over a year of its implementation, Karapatan, a national human rights organization led directly by impacted people in the Philippines, documented that Martial Law has led to 49 extrajudicial killings; 9,738 threats, harassment, or intimidation; 336,124 indiscriminate firing and bombings, 404,654 forced evacuations; and 979 forced surrenders in the region.

People have the right to be free from these civil and political rights violations, but are also enshrined with the right to stand up against oppressive governments and systems. The people that President Duterte is repressing are folks that are fighting fundamentally to assert their basic social and economic rights. Basic labor rights are being violated as Philippine local companies Sumifru, Shin Shun, and Coca-Cola harass their workers through union-busting, terrorist tagging, and employing state security forces to violently break-up their peaceful protests for safer working conditions and access to affordable health care.

The government’s policy of contractualization offers no income stability for temporary work. It’s inhumane for companies like Jollibee, NutriAsia, and DOLE to terminate the service of the workers after only a year or a few months on the job. The scarcity of white and blue collar jobs in the city force some community members to seek work in these call centers and export processing zones for multinational corporations, where they labor overtime with little sleep and little pay. Approval of a recent fare hike by the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board won’t be enough to help workers afford to pay rent, feed their children, or send them to school, especially as the costs of basic goods and services – such as food, transportation, electricity, and water – increase due to rising inflation. Raising wages can improve workers’ lives; however, the government has failed to pass national minimum wage bills such as House Bill 7787 and other proposed legislation that increases the wages.

With the recent appointment of former President Gloria Arroyo into the Speaker of the House position, we know Duterte does not care for the interests of the people. That is why, we must fight. We must support our kababayans back home, in every way we can, to oust Duterte and his entire government out of office. We must replace that with National industrialization, genuine land reform, sovereignty and non-interference from oppressive/western powers like the US, and elect a government that supports scientific understanding of people’s conditions in order to uphold the rights of women, indigenous people, and national minorities.

More importantly, we must do our part, living in the belly of the beast, to stop the US from supporting the human rights abuses and fascism of the Duterte regime.

#StoptheKillingsPH

#EndContractualization

#NotoMartialLaw

#OustDuterte

#PeoplesSONA2018

NYCHRP Marched in Solidarity with Separated Families and Forced Migrants

Reference: Rodrigo Bacus, Chairperson, New York Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines (NYCHRP), nychrp@gmail.com

NYCHRP Marched in Solidarity with Separated Families and Forced Migrants

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NEW YORK, NY – On June 30, members of the New York Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines (NYCHRP) joined a contingent of Filipino organizations marching as Filipino Organizations for Community, Unity, and Safety (FOCUS) in the NYC March to End Family Separation.

The group of 15 increased in numbers when others joined the contingent as it made its way from Foley Square to Cadman Plaza. FOCUS called for the end of family separation at the border and also raised the call to end family separation everywhere, putting emphasis on the role of the United States in forced migration. FOCUS called on the people of New York to oppose the role of the U.S. in creating the structural and systemic conditions for violence and poverty to prevail around the globe, factors that force people out of their home countries and leave their families and communities behind.

FOCUS is a coalition of Filipino organizations united to defend and stand with communities as the Trump administration intensifies its attacks against black and brown communities. FOCUS was formed the Fall of 2017 in response to the Filipino community’s particular vulnerability to the increase in labor trafficking, increase in racist attacks on the streets and by government, increase in policing of communities, and increase in government attacks on civil liberties.

“We march in solidarity with families that Trump is separating at the border because as members of a generations of forced migrants we understand the pain of family separation,” mentioned Rodrigo Bacus, Chairperson of NYCHRP, explaining the reason why they came to march. “Hearing the cries of the children who are being locked up in cages and given space blankets reminds me of our tears and our family’s tears. We cannot let this type of open fascism be left unchecked. What the Trump administration is doing is a violation of human rights, particular the Convention on the Rights of the Child.”

Rodrigo also called to attention the larger issue of forced migration and the role of the U.S. in driving it. Even today, US policy is still creating conflict and poverty in Philippines, Latin America, and other parts of the world. The Philippines is a backward semi-feudal, semi-colonial country where labor abuses and exploitation is normal and rampant. Migrant workers are forced to leave their families and communities behind,” continued Rodrigo. “We are calling for an end to family separation in the border and everywhere by ending forced migration and the exploitation of our people.”

NYCHRP supports the calls to abolish ICE and end the separation of families. NYCHRP opposes the violations of the human rights of migrants including asylum seekers and children at the south border of the U.S. and the torture of Jerome Aba, human rights advocate from Mindanao, Philippines. NYCHRP holds monthly general meetings to discuss human rights in the Philippines. Lean more by visiting our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/NYCHRP/

 

No to Child Imprisonment or Family Separation!

No to Forced Migration!

Stop criminalization of migrants and refugees!

Stop arrest, detention, and deportation of migrants!

Uphold and Implement the UN Convention on the Rights of Migrant Workers and Their Families!

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