By JACINTO LINGATONG
SANTA CRUZ, Laguna – A Laguna-based unionist was subjected to surveillance and harassment last August 5, following a series of threats and intimidation of labor leaders in the Southern Tagalog region.
According to reports, Mario Fernandez, president of Technol Eight Philippines Workers Union (TEPWU-OLALIA-KMU), was approached by a man claiming to be affiliated with UMPHIL, an organization allegedly created by the management of Philfoods, Inc. right after the Unyon ng mga Panadero ng Philfoods Fresh Baked Products, Inc’s (UPPFBPI) establishment. UMPHIL was reportedly meant to obstruct the Sole and Exclusive Bargaining Agent (SEBA) process of UPPFBPI-Organized Labor Associations in Line Industries and Agriculture (OLALIA).
The man followed Fernandez throughout the day. The labor leader also attempted to record the surveillance video on his phone but was stopped. He was also threatened that they have his photos and other personal information.
This incident happened after the pre-election conference of UPPFBPI-OLALIA.
“I will not be silenced by these acts of intimidation. The fight for workers’ rights to unionize is more important than ever, and I will continue to stand up for what is just and fair.” Fernandez, who also sits as chairperson of OLALIA-Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU), said.
The surveillance of Fernandez comes on the heels of relentless attacks against unionists and community organizers in the Southern Tagalog region.
This has since resulted in the killing of Dandy Miguel, labor leader of Lakas ng Nagkakaisang Manggagawa ng Fuji Electric Philippines (LNMFEP-OLALIA-KMU).
“It is deeply concerning that someone who is dedicating his life to advocating for the rights of workers is facing such blatant harassment and surveillance. Instead of wage increase, we receive an increasing number of human rights violation among workers here in Laguna.” Fe Valdeavilla, spokesperson of Alyansa ng Manggagawa sa Probinsya ng Laguna, said. (JJE, DAA)