Date: Wed, 20 Nov 96 18:10:53 CST
From: (Rich Winkel)
Organization: PACH
Subject: BMP Philippines Alert 3
Article: 1105

/** reg.philippine: 103.0 **/
** Topic: BMP Philippines Alert 3 **
** Written 7:52 AM Nov 19, 1996 by achis in cdp:reg.philippine **
From: (Alex Chis & Claudette Begin)

From: Links <>
Subject: BMP Philippines Alert 3
Date: Tue, 19 Nov 1996 14:41 AEST

BMP Philippines Alert 3

From Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino (Solidarity of Filipino Workers), Tuesday 18 November 1996

Following are the latest updates from the Philippines regarding the arrest of BMP chairperson Filemon Popoy Lagman and the continuing harassment of workers and activists as the official APEC summit comes near:

There were reports of new arrests of activists in Metro Manila today. Most are student activists who were pasting anti-APEC posters on the streets.

Popoy Lagman continues his hunger strike. He has not been taking any solid food since his arrest last Tuesday night (12 November), and appears pale and weak during today's court hearing in Marikina. The hearing was reset for some unknown reason.

Following is Popoy's statement released to the media:

What is six days of incarceration compared with the still unrectified injustice perpetrated against my desaparecido brother, Hermon, a labor and human rights lawyer, during martial rule when Fidel V. Ramos was the Philippine Constabulary Chief? Only his assailants and whoever ordered him to be salvaged [summary execution in Filipino parlance -- BA] know how heinous was the crime they had committed. Only labor knows how much it lost with the enforced disappearance of Hermon.

What is six days of deprivation of due process compared with the unabated violations of labor standards and unfair labor practices unredressed by government because of defective labor laws and oppressively long legal processes? While I have Edcel and his progressive colleagues and my expert lawyers to defend me, labor is virtually bereft of competent and dedicated legal defenders. While I have a name that draws the attention of government and the public, countless anonymous victims of violations of local labor laws and international conventions are left unattended to, vulnerable to and defenseless against errant and criminal employers who go unpunished.

What is six days of hunger compared with the year-round crunching of stomachs of millions of Filipino masses?

What does government fear about me? Government is not afraid of Popoy. Government is afraid of a unified labor which I, the Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino (BMP) and the Kapatiran ng mga Pangulo ng Unyon sa Pilipinas (KPUP) struggle for.

My arrest and incarceration are a treachery not against Popoy but against the working class.

A unified and militant labor is the greatest barrier to government's bargain sale of Filipino labor to foreign investors. There is no other way by which APEC member Philippines can conform with the demands of liberalization and attempt to compete in the global market but to lure foreign investors by cheap labor. This, and other anti- labor schemes, more particularly the systematic emasculation of unions a unified labor will oppose, with or without Popoy.

Aside from letter to the Philippine embassies/consulates and to President Fidel Ramos urging the release of Lagman, the BMP is asking for solidarity messages and endorsement of the SLAM APEC conference on November 20-25. The conference, participated in by 2,000 union presidents across the country and some international delegates, will be held at the RubberWorld complex in Novaliches, Metro Manila—a factory which has recently closed down and displaced 10,000 workers.

The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) in the Philippines has assumed jurisdiction over all industrial strikes in the country. DOLE also issued a warning to terminate the employment of workers who will go on strike, for whatever reason, during the official APEC summit.

Manila Cardinal Sin of the Philippine catholic church issued a strong rebuke against APEC. He said that the institution should instead serve and work for the interests of the poor in the region.