That they are women did not protect them from the violence of the police. And now, because they defended themselves, Monina Eugenio, Adelaida Bago, Gemma Garabato, Bessie Hernandez, and Normilita Galon are among 33 workers and unionists at the Cavite Export Processing Zone (CEPZ) who face criminal charges.
BY JOSETTE EMILY Z. DE JESUS, GLAIZA MAY G. MUZONES, AND ALEXANDER MARTIN REMOLLINO
Normilita Galon, 30, came all the way from her native Bohol more than a decade ago to work at PhilsJeon Garments, Inc., a Korean company based at the Cavite Export Processing Zone (CEPZ). She went all the way to Cavite, she said, because of the lack of job opportunities in their province. Since going to work in Cavite, she has rarely had opportunities to see her parents and siblings. Now she is facing criminal charges as a consequence of her participation in a strike in 2006, and her relatives in Bohol are unaware of her plight.
Gemma Garabato, 33, hails from Iloilo. Like Gonzales, she came to work more than 10 years ago at PhilsJeon. She has not been able to return to Iloilo to visit her mother since 2006. Now she is facing criminal charges stemming from her involvement in a strike almost three years ago, and she has yet to tell her mother about it.
That they are women did not protect them from the violence of the police and security guards. And now, because they defended themselves, Galon and Garabato, together with Monina Eugenio, 40; Adelaida Bago, 47; and Bessie Hernandez, 32 – all former workers at Chong Won Fashion, Inc., another Korean company also based at the CEPZ – are among 33 workers and unionists at the Cavite Export Processing Zone (CEPZ) who face criminal charges.
The five women workers from the CEPZ-based Korean companies Chong Won Fashion, Inc. and PhilsJeon Garments, Inc. were issued warrants of arrest for direct assault and grave coercion last March 19.
The warrants stemmed from the charges filed on Oct. 12, 2006 by Chong Won manager Antonio Felismino and the CEPZ police led by P/Supt. Jose Joel Sarasua.
In her decision dated Jan. 9, 2009, Cavite Assistant Provincial Prosecutor Vivian Monzon-Rojo recommended bail amounting to P12,000 ($247 at the April 24, 2009 exchange rate of $1:P48.46) for each of the accused. However, after they filed a motion to the reduce bail bond, Judge Rita Quizon reduced the bail to P6,000 ($122) with additional P500 ($10) as filing fee, provided that the payment is in cash. The five are now out on bail.