23 Feb. 2013
MANILA — National labor center Kilusang Mayo Uno condemned today a case of robbery in the office of one of its federations, saying the incident is part of the Aquino government’s surveillance and harassment operations against government critics.
Last Feb. 21, the office of the Alliance of Nationalist and Genuine Labor Organizations (ANGLO) along Kamias Road, Quezon City was robbed. Two cabinets in the office were forcibly opened and a USB drive was taken. ANGLO is a KMU federation from which renowned labor leader Crispin “Ka Bel” Beltran came from.
“We condemn this harassment and surveillance operation masquerading as a break-in and robbery. The Aquino government is getting more desperate by the day in carrying out surveillance and harassment operations against its critics,” said Henry Juecas, ANGLO president.
“Fighting for trade-union rights is not a crime, yet the Aquino government acts like it is. Ever-conscious of propaganda value, it tries to disguise harassment and surveillance against activists with criminal activities,” he added.
From March 2012 up to last week, human-rights organization Karapatan and umbrella organization Bagong Alyansang Makabayan documented twelve (12) cases of break-ins of houses of activists and peace advocates, and offices of progressive organizations; robberies involving items such as laptops, USB/flash drives, video cameras, and the like; and surveillance of known personalities and members of such organizations.
“There is a trend here. The Aquino government, like that of Arroyo’s, is implementing a systematic campaign against activists and government critics,” said Elmer “Bong” Labog, KMU chairperson.
“Aquino’s Oplan Bayanihan is targetting activists and trade-unionists who are working within the frame of the law. It is being used to try to silence government critics amidst growing poverty, hunger and unemployment in the country,” he added.
KMU said that instead of heeding workers’ calls for a significant wage hike, an end to contractual employment, and the free exercise of workers’ rights, the Aquino government is trying to suppress its critics.
“We expect the Aquino government to step up attacks against activists and its critics in the coming weeks and disguise these as election-related violence. It is gravely mistaken if it thinks that it can silence activists who are voicing out the people’s growing dissatisfaction with the regime,” Labog said.