Tagaytay 5 challenges Japan on Cavite labor killingsDecember 18, 2006 at 11:22 am | Posted in Human Rights | Leave a comment
We, the Tagaytay 5, steadfastly challenge the Government of Japan to be true to its human rights rhetoric, in the light of the latest outbreak in industrial violence in the EMI-Yazaki factory in Imus, Cavite where Jesus “Buth” Servida, the genuine workers’ union former president was shot treacherously by bonnet-wearing murderers last 11 December 2006. We dare Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Foreign Minister Taro Aso to be seriously concerned with this dastardly act of human rights violation, and make true their warning to the Arroyo government that “the Philippines must improve its human rights record as a condition to receiving more economic aid.”
EMI-Yazaki in Imus, Cavite is one of the biggest and oldest Japanese investments in Cavite and the entire CALABARZON region, and is a major supplier of automotive electrical harness to such Japanese industrial giants such as Toyota, Honda, and Mitsubishi. Unfortunately though, EMI-Yazaki is also the site for two murders and an attempted assassination of top union leaders of EMI in the past two years.
Last January 2005, Cris Abad, executive vice president of the yellow-affiliated EMI-KKMI was shot dead in front of the factory gates, after it was revealed that he was resigning from the yellow union due to corruption and financial anomalies in the yellow pseudo-federation Kapatirang Kristong Manggagawa, Inc., and planned to join the genuine labor union, then led by Gerry Cristobal. On April 28, 2006, it was Cristobal’s turn at the assassin’s bullets when a police liquidation unit headed by SPO1 Romeo Lara ambushed him. Pangulong Gerry miraculously survived the murder plot but was retrenched by the EMI’s Japanese management together with Pangulong Buth and two other union officers, which was the management’s solution to the defeat of the yellow-affiliated union in the certification elections of June 2005.
The spiraling spate of violence at EMI victimizing top union leaders in broad daylight cannot be controlled by the police and local government authorities of Cavite province who can only offer lame excuses such as “business rivalry” and “family feud” to cover up for their ineptitude and gloss over the political nature of the cold-blooded murders. The provincial authorities even condone and abet right wing violence against genuine and progressive labor unions with its rabid implementation of the anti-labor “No Union, No Strike” policy, which actually serves as an unwritten yet most sought after investment incentive for Japanese and other foreign investors in Cavite’s 21 industrial garrisons or export processing zones.
The “no union, no strike” policy of the provincial government has resulted in the busting of no less than 25 unions; closure of more than 20 factories notably in four major industrial garrisons which has big Japanese investments; and, retrenchment of almost 12,000 workers due to union formation or union activism. Prominent union busters were Japanese factories in the First Cavite Industrial Estate in Dasmariñas (Ishida Gratings and Suminac in 2001) and Gateway Business Park in Gen. Trias (Tokumi Electronics and Sanno Philippines in 2002). Police and civilian goons from the office of the Governor’s Industrial Peace Advisory Group moved freely in breaking strikes and threatening union officers in exchange for the management’s payroll and benefits.
Given this full range of politically motivated murders of union officers, harassment, threats of retrenchment and other forms of union busting in Cavite’s industrial front, there can be no peace and harmony in the workplace as the Japanese Government wants it to be under the Japan-Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement (JPEPA). These are sufficient grounds for Japan to hold further aid, investments and loan to the government of Arroyo, unless and until its human rights records are put into acceptable levels.
We implore our friends and supporters in Japan – the Japanese Diet, the local government officials, and citizens’ movement – to raise a strong concern in the matter of industrial violence, labor rights and human rights in Cavite and in the Philippines. Further infusion of aid, investments and loans to the current corrupt and violence-prone Government of the Republic of the Philippines will only mean that Japan tolerates the GRP’s blood-soaked human rights record. Indeed, it is noble for Japanese aid to be tied in defending human rights and saving lives, instead of being used to prop up a tottering regime!
14 December 2006
The “Tagaytay 5”
Riel Custodio Michael Masayes Axel Pinpin Aristides Sarmiento Enrico YbañezReference: Laura Sarmiento