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CALABARZON PH

Despite police harassment, Mayo Uno programs in Southern Tagalog successfully mounted

by PAMANTIK-KMU
May 3, 2021


Despite police harassment, Mayo Uno programs in Southern Tagalog successfully mounted
PAMANTIK-KMU



CALABARZON - Notwithstanding the various schemes of harassment and blockades by elements of the Philippine National Police today, about 1,000 workers and members of progressive organizations trooped to major thoroughfares and protest centers across the CALABARZON region.

Led by regional militant labor center PAMANTIK-KMU, the protests echoed the call for quick and sizable government aid for workers and citizens affected by the pandemic, institution of health and safety measures in workplaces and safe mass testing and vaccination, protection of livelihood and jobs, respect for human rights inside and outside of workspaces, and the upholding of national sovereignty and patrimony.



Local labor groups also paid tribute to the late PAMANTIK-KMU vice-chairperson Dandy Miguel and Bagong Alyansang Makabayan Cavite (BAYAN-Cavite) provincial coordinator and former labor leader Manny Asuncion — both were killed in the month of March alone.

“Walang magandang naidulot para sa manggagawa ang rehimen ni Duterte. Matindi ang kinaharap na mga paghihirap at kawalang-trabaho ng mga manggagawa sa loob ng isang taong lockdown, habang inaatake ang mga unyon at mga lider-manggagawa,” said Mia Antonio, PAMANTIK-KMU spokesperson.



This was the first May 1 mobilization held in the region since the COVID-19 lockdown started last March 2020, as last year’s protests, were decentralized and mostly held online. However, the workers’ caravan in Laguna was blocked by elements of the Calamba City PNP, under orders of the city director P/Lt.Col. Jonathan Villamor.

Even with the groups filing permits with concerned local government units before the protests, Lt. Col. Villamor still insisted that the program be cut short by 3PM. Meanwhile, truckloads of police and military elements were seen at Crossing, Calamba City, the supposed venue of the protests earlier. By the end of the program, event organizers were warned by Lt. Col. Villamor that any extension beyond the 3PM ultimatum would mean trouble.



Before, during, and after the protests across the region, cases of police harassment and threats were compiled as follows: a delegation of farmer activists from Taytay, Rizal going to the May 1 protests at Quezon City were apprehended by police for “public transportation health violations”. The passengers were each fined P300 for the infraction.

The provincial protest action in Bacoor, Cavite calling for justice for slain activist Manny Asuncion were harassed by the police and were threatened to be dispersed unless they end their activity. The activists’ placards were confiscated by police as the protesters dispersed peacefully.

volunteers operating a community pantry in Sta. Rosa, Laguna were subjects of interrogation and profiling by more or less six policemen on the afternoon of May 1 due to “social distancing violations”. Policemen were also looking for a permit for the pantry — contradictory to government statements saying that no permits are needed for such activities. The same policemen also asked the volunteers about their school or were they members of progressive organizations.

a delegation of students from the University of the Philippines Los Baños going home to Los Baños, Laguna after the May 1 protest action in Calamba City, Laguna was similarly apprehended by town police due to “non-wearing of face shields”. When requested a copy of the municipal ordinance, policemen did not present any and put the burden on protesters instead. The situation ended when university officials demanded the release of the student activists.

Antonio concluded that protest actions were necessary for the midst of government neglect and state-sponsored attacks against workers.

“Maraming nawawalan ng trabaho, naghahanap ng sapat na ayuda, at tinatanggalan ng pagkakataong maghanapbuhay at mabuhay sa loob ng limang taon ni Duterte. Kung ganoon, esensyal ang makibaka, esensyal ang maglabas ng mga saloobin at kritisismo, esensyal ang panawagan para patalsikin mismo si Duterte,” she ended.

Aside from the action at Calamba City, protest actions were also held in Los Baños, Laguna; Antipolo City, Rizal; and Bacoor, Cavite.

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