Lift the state of emergency in the Philippines! Release the jailed trade unionists and opposition leaders!
We the undersigned trade unionists stand in solidarity with the Filipino people as they face a government that has banned demonstrations, is carrying out arbitrary arrests, and has closed down a newspaper for being “anti-government”.
February 24 was the 20th anniversary of the people’s power uprising which ousted former dictator President Ferdinand Marcos. A demonstration to mark that anniversary was violently dispersed by the police. Sixty-six protesters were arrested, including a number of children younger than 10 years old.
All of these protesters were eventually released, except for three Laban ng Masa (Struggle of the Masses) leaders Randy David, Ronald Llamas, and RG Guevarra who are all still in illegal detention at Camp Caringal
On February 25-26, three more labour leaders were arrested, including former labour leader and current opposition congressperson Crispin Beltran. Beltran was previously a leader of the KMU trade union federation and is currently a leader of the leftist Bayan Muna (People First) coalition.
On newspaper, the Daily Tribune has been taken over by the government, and other newspapers face a similar fate.
On February 24, the Philippines government of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo instituted a state of emergency to prevent an alleged coup. This is the second time in five years that Arroyo, who is facing charges of fraud and corruption, has introduced a state of emergency.
The trade union and left movement in the Philippines has vowed that they won’t give up the democratic rights they won after the ousting of the Marcos dictatorship and they are defying the ban on demonstrations.
We call for the lifting of the state of emergency and the release of the jailed trade unionists and other democratic rights activists.
Tim Gooden, Geelong Trades Hall secretary
Chris Spindler, AMWU Victorian president
Craig Johnston, former AMWU Victorian secretary
Chris Cain, WA MUA secretary
Ian Bray, WA MUA assistant secretary
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