The Philippines: Unionism Is not Terrorism

Trade union and other leaders and activists from the Philippines recounted stories of repression in the Philippines in a Council of Global Unions webinar held on 23 November. Vivid accounts of killings, threats and intimidation, red-tagging, and police abuses across private and public sectors were given.

Labelling somebody as a terrorist, including through red-tagging, is a part of a strategy to crush independent activity and dissent since President Duterte took office.

The Anti-Terrorist Act adopted in July 2020 will enable authorities to detain people for extended periods without charge and will expand arbitrary arrests and other legal abuses.

There were several reports of false charges backed up by “evidence”, often weapons or explosives, planted by police. Accusations of terrorism have long been used to criminalise and destroy trade union and other independent activity.

Serious abuses were reported in Mindanao, where martial law was declared. The reason given for its imposition was the need to fight Maoist terrorists. However, attacks were made on trade unionists and others without ties to terrorist groups.

Original article can be found here.