By JUSTIN UMALI
SANTA ROSA, Laguna – Labor federation Pagkakaisa ng Manggagawa sa Timog Katagalugan (Pamantik-KMU) denounced assertions by the police and military that they were “front organizations of the CPP-NPA” after a July 23 surrender ceremony where they claimed that most of the participants came from “the labor sector in various parts of Laguna.”
Last July 23, Police Chief PGen. Archie Gamboa presented 131 alleged former members of the revolutionary New People’s Army in Camp Vicente Lim, Calamba, Laguna, along with what they claimed were surrendered arms and propaganda materials used by the so-called surrenderees.
The ‘surrendered’ materials included books, pamphlets, Mao caps, and election materials for progressive party-list Bayan Muna.
Pamantik-KMU questioned the legitimacy of the surrender ceremonies and disputed the claim by the PNP Police Region 4A that 94 of the 131 “surrenderees” were members of the group, asserting that this was another case of “forced surrender and harassment against Coca-Cola workers.”
“If you would look at the video posted on July 23,” the group pointed out, “you could clearly see that Raffy Baylosis ‘surrendered’ again while pretending to be [an] NPA [member].”
Baylosis was a former leader inside the Coca-Cola Sta. Rosa plant as president of Liga na Pinalakas ng Manggagawa sa Coca-Cola FEMSA Philippines Sta. Rosa Plant (LIGA). In 2018, LIGA staged a picket protest and won regularization for 675 contractual employees inside Coca-Cola.
On May 1, Baylosis appeared as a spokesperson for 16 “NPA surrenderees” in a ceremony in Camp Vicente Lim. The 16 “surrenderees” were actually Coca-Cola employees who were forcibly brought to the camp the day before after their shift. Ten of the 16 employees were recently hired and had no connections with the labor union inside Coca-Cola.
According to Pamantik-KMU, Baylosis and another turncoat, Rey Medellin, have been responsible for the spate of harassments against Coca-Cola workers, including house-to-house visits by police officers to force them to “surrender”, and so-called “union seminars” which actually “recruit AFP [Armed Forces of the Philippines] reservists within the workforce to serve as toadies for Coca-Cola and the AFP.”
Pamantik-KMU also disputed claims by PNP PRO4A and the AFP Southern Luzon Command (SOLCOM) that they have been advocating “peaceful means to end” the armed conflict between the GRP and the CPP-NPA. According to the group, the police and military are using the fake surrenderee program to profit off the government’s Enhanced Comprehensive Livelihood Integration Program (E-CLIP).
“P/Brig. Gen. Vicente D. Danao, Jr. and Lt. Gen. Antonio G. Parlade, Jr. are profiting off fake surrender ceremonies while also discrediting legitimate organizations like Pamantik-KMU,” the group said.“They are even rewarding turncoats like Raffy Baylosis, who find ‘surrenderees’ from wherever they could so they could profit off them, by giving them a share in stealing taxpayers’ money.”
The labor organization reiterated that acts like this are meant to impinge on workers’ rights.
“It is clear that Duterte, the PNP, and AFP, are still pushing their dark designs to silence unionists and workers who only wish for decent living, wages, and benefits; things which they claim they are willing to give, but in actuality do not,” they said in a statement.
“Their promises are nothing more than mere words by wolves in sheep’s clothing.”