Nineteen workers and a senior high school member of the League of Filipino Students were arrested and brought to Meycauayan Police Station.
By MENCHANI TILENDO
MARILAO, Bulacan — On their 12th day of strike, NutriAsia workers were dispersed by at least 200 elements of Marilao police at around 1:30 p.m.-2:00 p.m., June 14.
On board ten trucks, policemen surrounded the picketline of NutriAsia workers and blocked the entry of workers’ families and supporters. They also prevented media practitioners from covering the ongoing protest. Then, policemen proceeded in breaking the picketline by punching the workers and hitting them with rattan sticks and truncheons.
Nineteen workers and a senior high school member of the League of Filipino Students were arrested and brought to Meycauayan Police Station. The senior high school student, who was only documenting the police dispersal, was suddenly escorted to the police car. Even inside the precinct, the police chief and his other officers continued to intimidate the arrested protester.
As of press time, 17 of those arrested were undergoing medico-legal at the Malolos Hospital.
Scores were wounded and brought to St. Michael Hospital.
NutriAsia workers began their strike on June 2 following the termination of about 50 workers. Before that, five union leaders and members were dismissed by management.
Majority of NutriAsia workers are contractuals even as most of them have been there for more than a decade. For an eight-hour work, they only earn P380. They do not have day-offs, sick leave pay, and the management has been deducting fees from their salaries.
In a statement, Anakbayan National Secretary-General Einstein Recedes said, “Violence is the fascist Duterte’s response to all forms of dissent and resistance, no matter how legitimate. Instead of addressing the just demands of workers for decent living wages and safe working conditions, he sends in his fascist police forces to arrest, injure, and maim unarmed and peaceful workers and students.”
“The math is very simple. Duterte values the profits of NutriAsia—over P27 million per day—over the safety, welfare, and lives of 1,400 ordinary workers. He values it so much that he is willing to have the workers arrested, injured, and maimed to ensure that his buddies—the Campos family that owns NutriAsia, continues to rake in millions in profit every day,” Recedes further said.
Located at an industrial park in Marilao, Bulacan, NutriAsia is one of the country’s biggest factories of condiments. Its product line includes soy and fish sauces under the brand of Datu Puti and Silver Swan, UFC ketchup, Mang Tomas sarsa, etc.