Tell it to SunStar: World trade union backs PH workers vs. anti-terror bill

Nagkaisa Labor Coalition

IN SOLIDARITY with the Filipino workers, the 200 million-strong International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) and the ITUC-Asia Pacific affiliates threw their support to the major Philippine trade unions and the Nagkaisa Labor Coalition in their advocacy to oppose the passage into law of the enrolled Anti-Terror Bill in its present form contained in Senate Bill 1083 and House Bill 6875.

The FFW, KMU, SENTRO, and TUCP are affiliates of the ITUC in the Philippines and manifested strong opposition to the enrolled bill.

The four major trade unions and the Nagkaisa Labor Coalition assailed the Anti-Terror Bill seeking to amend the Human Security Act of 2007 (RA 9372) as unconstitutional and will likely run contrary to the Philippine international trade union and human rights’ commitments.

In their letter to President Rodrigo Duterte dated June 12, 2020, ITUC Secretary General Sharan Burrow and ITUC-Asia Pacific head Shoya Yoshida said they are “extremely concerned” that the Anti-Terror Bill if enacted into law “will further securities, shrink and stifle civic space and rights at work placing workers, trade union activists, and other human rights actors and defenders under even more jeopardy and danger of arbitrary, indiscriminate and baseless attacks, harassment, intimidation, and killings at the hands of the police, the military, and other security agencies.”

Nagkaisa also said the assailed bill will highly endanger trade unions and people’s organizations in the Philippines.

Burrow and Yoshida said that “numerous provisions of the bills are in serious contradiction with international law.” Both the two ITUC leaders join the Philippine trade unions’ call on President Duterte to veto the Anti-Terrorism Bill and subject related legislative enactment to consultations with trade unions.

Nagkaisa said that the anti-terror bill not only runs contrary to the fundamental law of the Philippines but also disregards ILO Convention 87 on Freedom of Association and the UN International Conventions on Civil and Political Rights (UN ICCPR).

Nagkaisa looks at SB 1083 and HB 6875 as threats to life and liberty of the Filipino people like what “terrorists” wanted to achieve.

ITUC affiliates studied the two bills and both identical versions expanded the crimes penalized by the original Human Security Act of 2007 (HSA otherwise known as RA 9372). HSA penalized only terrorism and conspiracy to commit terrorism, the two bills aim to penalize a wide smorgasbord of acts.

Nagkaisa looks at the Anti-Terror Bills as ominous and trade union leaders have premonitions of the return of dark days under martial law (after issuance of the Presidential Proclamation 1081 in 1972) which ushered thousands of warrantless arrests, extra-legal killings, police and military abuses, and other terror acts committed against the people of the Philippines.