• Labor leaders slam Duterte for union comments


    ZAMBOANGA CITY: Presidential candidate Rodrigo Duterte is in danger of losing the support of workers and labor unions in the country after he threatened to kill members of the Kilusang Mayo Uno if they do not stop organizing labor unions.

    Duterte reportedly made the threats on February 9 during his team’s proclamation rally in Tondo, Manila as revealed in a video circulated on social media.

    Speaking on the first day of the election campaign, Duterte was heard saying, “I will establish economic zones. Mag-imbita ako, dito kayo magtrabaho. Wag kayong magmamadali. Tapos kayong mga KMU, medyo pigilan na muna ninyo ang mga labor unions. Ako na ang nakikiusap sa inyo. Magkasama tayo sa ideolohiya. Wag ninyong gawin iyan. Kasi sisirain mo ang administrasyon ko. Kapag ginawa ninyo iyan, patayin ko kayong lahat. Ang solusyon dito, patayan na. Eh pag-usapan mo, ayaw. Do not do it now, iyung active labor front. Kasi kapag ginawa ninyo, nagsasara [I will establish economic zones. I will bring in investors … Come and work here. Don’t expect things would go fast.

    Then you KMU people, stop the labor unions. I myself am pleading with you. We are one in ideology. [But] do not do that because you will destroy my administration. If you do that, I will kill you all. What would happen is, the solution would be killing. [Why? Because] I’d ask you to have a discussion and you wouldn’t bring yourselves to the table.
    So do not do that – an active labor front. Because if you do, companies will pull out.) Do not do it. Give the Philippines respect for about 10 years.”

    KMU strongly criticized Duterte and said “its ranks are ready to defend themselves from whatever form of repression Duterte or any other president may unleash on the militant trade union movement.”

    Joel Maglunsod, KMU vice president for Mindanao, said knowing Duterte’s penchant for hyperbole, his statement is prone to be taken literally. He chastised Duterte for making such threats, which Maglunsod described as “irresponsible and disrespectful” to workers, the urban poor, and drivers, sectors that are represented in the labor organization.

    “We need to remind Mayor Duterte of the supremacy of the Constitution, as he has repeatedly invoked earlier to defend, particularly Article 13, Sec. 3, that the State shall afford protection to labor, including the right to organize and freedom of association. That is a right we, too, will defend vigorously, even to death,” Maglunsod said.

    He said Duterte’s capitalist line that vilifies unionism is extremely disappointing following his earlier pronouncement to end labor contractualization.

    “May we further remind Mayor Duterte that as far as history goes, even the brutality of Martial Rule under the Marcos dictatorship and subsequent repressions during the regimes thereafter failed to quell KMU,” Maglunsod said.

    The KMU also cautioned Duterte against any plan to establish “special economic zones” to boost employment and fuel economic growth. “If he meant a continuation of existing economic zones, then these are nothing but exploitative neoliberal projects which will devastate the working class,” Maglunsod said.

    He urged Duterte to focus on a genuine agrarian reform program, which is a crucial step toward a people-centered development, instead of national industrialization.

    Other labor groups such as the Federation of Free Workers (FFW), Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP), Associated Labor Unions (ALU), Partido Manggagawa(PM), and the Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino (BMP) also expressed dismay and said they will reject Duterte’s bid for the presidency.

    Last week, the Davao mayor was also assailed by the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) for “quickly” changing his stand on the land reform program in favor of foreign investors.

    Julius Cainglet, vice president of the FFW, said Duterte’s declaration was a war on the labor movement. Duterte’s attack and death threat to the KMU was “unconstitutional and criminal,” he added.

    “To threaten to kill workers who want to exercise their right to organize themselves for just wages, better working conditions, social protection and the right to be heard is a direct attack on workers’ and human rights,” he said.

    Alan Tanjusay, TUCP spokesperson and ALU advocacy officer, told The Manila Times that the PDP-Laban presidential candidate will surely “face the brunt of labor unions by campaigning against him and by making sure he will be defeated in the elections.”


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    1. rommel jacinto on

      Not even in President Marcos years,President Cory,President Ramos, President Estrada, President Arroyo and even President Noynoy was their a leader who wanted to be president who vowed to KILL all Labor Union Leader who will fight for workers right if he ever wins.

    2. Duterte has identified one of the reasons why foreigner investors are shy to invest in the country, it’s the worker issue that sometime the factory has to be closed down due ro union unrest – like Ford Philippines in Bataan Maravilles Export Processing Zone decades ago. The other reason is the rampant corruption in the government agency doing contract with the foreign investor. They think that they deserve to get a kickback or commission from the contract even they know it is illegal.

    3. Paktay na ang posibilidad mong manalo. sige talk more so that people may know you deeper and they may be illuminated. And will not vote you.

    4. When truth about how harsh and wicked Duterte is brought out his supporters will comment on it as if it is a lie and people who are reporting about it will be accussed of “paninira kay Duterte”. A liar leader is evidently supported by liar supporters. Kahit na napakaliwanag na mali na ang ginagawa para sa kanila okey lang tama lang iyon. Kahit napakaliwanag na masama ang sinasabi ng kaniyang maruming bibig, okey pa rin iyon at least nagsasabi siya ng totoo. Desperado na ba ang mamamayn ng Pilipinas para kahit mali na ang ginagawa ng isang kandidato ay iboboto pa rin?

      Napakaliwanag na hind pa man siya nananalo lumilitaw na ang kaniyang pagka abusado. Paano na lang kaya kapag nakaupo na ang Duterteng ito? Ilang karapatan ng tao ang sisirain ng taong ito?

      Take note ang corruption ay hindi lamang nauugnay sa pera. Puede ring maging corrupt ang isang politiko kung nanakawin niya ang karapatan ng isang mamamayan.

    5. Mr. Duterte you cannot dictate the labor union Let the employees decide if they want the labor union. Union is good it provide good benefits such as medical plan and retirement plan.

    6. Maraming gusto talaga siraan ang tambalang dutertecayetano.. bakit di nyo muna unawaan ang mga sinasabi ni digong gusto nya lang maiwasan ang kaguluhan ng mga mangagawa!

    7. armando astudillo on

      The younger generation of today are no more complainants; a complainer has become taboo. One thing I like about them is that each upgrades himself and gets promotion or a higher pay. I have observed (not referring to labor unions) that the person that complains a lot has nothing worth a plaque or wage hike. I don’t know why, but those who really excel in their job does not complain at all because they are sure their performance is clearly exhibited to everybody, including their immediate bosses who gives them reward for hard work.

      • Clemente Sarte on

        I know that the labor force of this country if provided with their appropriate benefits do not need any union. I together with some co-workers attended a confederation of labor groups. During the meeting, the group moved to fight for performance bonuses, my companion said we have this already. Then the group raised the need for medical insurance. My friend said we also have this already. The confederation mentioned several more benefits that we were already receiving, then the group adjourned for lunch. During lunch we decided to leave the conference. We already had majority, if not all the benefits being asked and this was given because of our own negotiations and achieve performance targets. Better benefits is the result of better performance and not more complaints. This I know for a fact.

    8. armando astudillo on

      Labor unions are not bad per se because it promotes the welfare of the working class; communism isn’t either because it simply is an ideology that only looks after the good of the laborers/employees. However, let’s be REALISTIC that this world is not perfect. If we put all the rights on labor unions, what will happen to our nation? I am afraid it would be a take-it-or-leave-it-rate-per-hour and it’s most likely that industries will shift to automation where the job of a hundred will be of just one single person. We are not all meant to be equal in all respects, including social status and income. The labor unions base their actions on the Constitution, but do they really realize that their passion is not shared by the majority? It is not uncommon that others join for other reasons but not for the passion that they have inside. I 59 and I belong to the working class, and I believe that there has got to be a garbage man, a street sweeper, or say, a President — each having his own function like the miniature parts of a wristwatch.

    9. The Man says he will kill people who don’t do what he wants, Keep making excuses for him, pretend that he is kidding or that he does not mean it and then act surprised if he gets elected and starts executing people who don’t do what he wants.

      Only in the Philippines are people stupid enough to elect a candidate who’s platform is do what i want or i will kill you.

    10. Labor unions are good but the problem is the communist were penetrating them. Thats why big companies are resorting to contractualization. But labor unions are good if done responsibly.

    11. “… reportedly made the threats… Duterte was heard saying..” Did he or didn’t he? Assuming he did, can one believe that he will “kill all members of the Kilusang Mayo Uno”? Can he do that; will he do it? He himself said he has killed 1,700 people. Do you believe it? Miriam calls it a hyperbole. It’s like Miriam saying she will punch in the face her co-senators who dare cross her way. That’s her manner of speaking. That’s the way Duterte talks ever since this provinsyano took the national scene by storm. Americans call it the “shock and awe” attack. Psychologists call it “shock treatment.” The Germans had a word for it: blitzkrieg. That’s how Duterte delivers his message. In a world where stealing the people’s money is a qualification for the presidency; where competence and experience doesn’t matter anymore in a candidate or where purity of heart is considered not natural born, candidates like Duterte wakes us up, catches our attention, nudging us to disclose our prejudices, show our true selves so that we may realize what has happened to our country, our people and ourselves… Whose’s afraid of Duterte, anyway? Has he harm you, the workers or even the Pope? Has he done anything wrong? Did he kill anyone yet? So what’s all this fuss about killing? Thousands were killed in Tacloban because of Yolanda. Forty-four soldiers were massacred in Mamapasano. Millions are being “killed” everyday by rising water and power rates, high tuition fees and rent and many more dreams are killed because of joblessness, injustice and sheer neglect. Who actually killed poor farmers in a public plaza or striking workers inside an hacienda? Why are hundreds of workers burned to death or a thousand more drowned at sea because of negligence or sheer insensitivity? How many were killed, tortured, arrested or are still in jail since six presidents ago? And we fret about a candidate threatening to kill the corrupt, the criminals or even troublesome trade unionists? Do we need a Duterte to tell us how we have lost our courage, our sense of proportion, our moral compass even our right to be angry? It’s not Duterte, stupid.

      • you’re right! it’s wake up time for the madlang pipol. tapos na ang gud time. the real work of rebuilding this broken country will start w/ either duterte or some other brave soul who dares to take up the cudgels for the sorry bunch that most of us have become.

      • You are very correct, I know the Mayor of Davao for a long time ever since I was assigned as Brigade Commander in Cotabato and some part of Davao.
        That is his nature, but that is not himself. He is soft spoken and never meant to really do what he is saying to kill people. He knows it being a lawyer at that. Sabi nga bukang bibig niya lang yun. Maniwala ka o hindi. I am just telling you my experience with the Mayor.