Call for International Day of Action on Nov. 16
Against Trade Union Repression
and Political Killings in the Philippines
By Prof. Jose Maria Sison
Chairperson, International Coordinating Committee
International League of Peoples' Struggle
20 October 2006
The International League of People's Struggle (ILPS) calls on its participating organizations
and on all progressive forces throughout the world to join and support the International
Day of Action Against Trade Union Repression and Political Killings in the Philippines on
November 16, 2006. This event is aimed at condemning the intensified attacks being
carried out by the government of Gloria Arroyo against the Filipino workers and expressing
solidarity and support to the struggle of the workers and the rest of the Filipino people
for self-determination, democracy, social justice and development.
The Philippines is now considered second only to Colombia as the most dangerous place
for trade unionists. Since Arroyo became president in 2001, sixty-four trade union leaders
and organizers have been murdered in extra-judicial executions. They are part of the
more than 750 victims of political killings of unarmed legal activists perpetrated by
Some 982 cases of human rights violations victimizing 77,028 workers have been
documented by the independent Center for Trade Union and Human Rights (CTUHR).
The violations include assaults on the picketline, illegal arrest and detention,
disappearances, grave threats, abduction and various forms of harassment and
Among those killed were union leaders in multinational corporations and local big
business establishments notably Diosdado "Ka Fort" Fortuna, union president in
Nestle Philippines and Ricardo "Ka Ric" Ramos, union president of the Central
Azucarera de Tarlac Labor Union (CATLU).
Member of Congress Crispin "Ka Bel" Beltran--veteran labor leader, May First Movement
(KMU) Chairman Emeritus and former Chairperson and current Honorary Chairperson
of the ILPS--has been illegally detained since he was arrested on February 25, 2006,
a day after Arroyo declared a "state of national emergency". He was arrested on
trumped-up charges dating back two decades ago that had been previously quashed
by Philippine courts.
In its recent 115th assembly in Geneva, the Inter-Parliamentary Union passed a
resolution expressing concern over his arbitrary detention and calling on the
Philippine government for his immediate release or at the very least for his
transfer to the custody of the Philippine House of Representatives like his
progressive congressional colleagues who had also been framed up in the
same false charge of rebellion. We must demand the complete and immediate
release of Rep. Crispin "Ka Bel" Beltran. The injustice done to him is an in
injustice to the entire working class which is deprived of its elected representative
and its voice in Congress.
To gain political advantage over the legal opposition and to serve her interest in
bureaucratic corruption, Arroyo has long pushed the US policy of "neoliberal
globalization" and "labor flexibility" in the Philippines in order to aggravate and
deepen the exploitation of the working people in the Philippines. She has
promoted the denationalization, liberalization, privatization of state assets and
deregulation of the Philippine economy in order to expand the interest of the
US and other foreign monopolies.
She openly declares that her war against the workers and the Filipino people is
part of the wider war of terror instigated by US imperialism to keep the world
safe for big business. She has vilified as "economic terrorists" the workers who
act concertedly to demand better wage and living conditions. She was among
the first presidents of US puppet states to declare subservience to George W.
Bush's so-called "war on terror". Bush "rewarded" her shameless obeisance by
calling her government a "major non-NATO ally" and naming the Philippines as
"the second front in the war on terror".
Fact-finding missions by independent international bodies have confirmed the
rampant trade union and human rights violations committed by government
forces in the Philippines. The extra-judicial killings, forced disappearances and
other human rights abuses have generated international condemnation and
outrage from such bodies as Amnesty International, the International Confederation
of Free Trade Unions, the World Council of Churches and many others.
The International Day of Protest on November 16 coincides with the second
anniversary of the infamous Hacienda Luisita Massacre where seven striking workers
and supporters were killed and scores more were injured in a violent dispersal of
the strike at Hacienda Luisita by police, army troops and private armed goons on
November 16, 2004.
What you can do on November 16, 2006 among others:
a) Hold a protest action in front of the Philippine Embassy or Consulate in your
b) Send a message of solidarity and support to the Kilusang Mayo Uno (May First
c) Send a protest letter to the Arroyo government.
d) Ask your government to stop giving financial aid to the Arroyo government
because such aid is used to attack the Filipino workers and people under the
guise of anti-terrorism.
STOP TRADE UNION REPRESSION!
STOP EXTRA-JUDICIAL KILLINGS OF POLITICAL ACTIVISTS!
FREE CONGRESSMAN CRISPIN "KA BEL" BELTRAN AND ALL POLITICAL DETAINEES!
STOP AID TO THE CORRUPT AND REPRESSIVE ARROYO REGIME!
SAY NO TO BUSH'S WAR OF TERROR AGAINST PEOPLE OF THE WORLD!