April 23, 2012
The youth group Anakbayan expressed its outrage today as members of the Philippine National Police opened fire today on residents of a Paranaque urban poor community, leaving at least one minor dead and several injured.
The 9.7-hectare Silverio Compound, home to around 28 thousand families, is under the threat of demolition to make way for the construction of condominiums by the SM Development Corporation, one of the companies under the SM Group.
“We condemn in the harshest terms possible the Philippine National Police for acting like mere security guards for Henry Sy and SM in defending the interests of the latter. More importantly, we condemn Henry Sy and the SM Group for their cold-blooded greed which has resulted in the death of at least one youth” said Vencer Crisosotmo, national chairperson of Anakbayan.
“Heads must roll. We demand a swift prosecution of the PNP personnel involved in the demolition, as well as all of their commanding officers. We also demand that the national government step in and indefinitely halt the demolition” he added.
Not the first time
According to the youth leader, “This is but the latest of Henry Sy’s crimes against the Filipino people. After massacring trees, Sy is now focusing his murderous intentions on thousands of poor Filipinos residing in the Silverio Compound”.
The richest man in the country and his giant consortium has come under intense public criticism earlier this year for ordering the cutting of 182 trees in Baguio City to make way for the expansion of the local SM mall. But according to Crisostomo, SM’s ‘bloody greed’ was manifested well before 2012.
He cited the experience of SM Malls’ employees, who launched four strikes during the 90s and early 2000s to protest inhumane labor conditions: routine and widespread sexual harassment of sales ladies at the hands of male managers, salesladies and men being made to stand for their entire eight-hour (or more) shifts, giving rank-and-file employees a mere 30 minute break for an entire shift, illegal termination of union members, etc.
Hundreds of SM workers and their supporters were injured during the strikes at the hands of violent SM security guards. SM Malls has also resorted to ‘contractualizing’ its labor force to dissuade its employees from forming unions. As of today, labor research institutions estimate that only one out of every ten SM workers enjoy security of tenure.