To our fellow unionists, activists and human rights defenders
On behalf of the men and women of COURAGE, the national center of government employees known for its militante, progresibo at makabayang unyonismo (MPMU), we make this appeal.
In a span of less than two months, our leaders from the employees’ union National Food Authority, National Housing Authority, Department of Social Welfare and Development, Department of Labor and Employment, Metro Manila Development Authority and Quezon City Government all received poison letters or unwelcomed visits, in their homes and offices from unidentified people in plain clothes who introduced themselves as military and police agents.
They were identified as leaders and members of the communist movement. Despite their insistence of being members of legal and democratic mass organizations of employees, these state agents directly threatened that should they refuse to cooperate and divulge information to them, they have nobody but themselves to blame should bad things befell them.
We brought our case to the Commission on Human Rights last June 8, 2015 hoping to put a stop to these harassment and threats. But within weeks, COURAGE National Staff and Organizers suffered the same fate. We were being monitored, our movements being followed. We see them every single day as we travel from our homes to COURAGE National Office and to the government agencies where we do our union organizing work.
These COURAGE National Office Staff and Organizers are men and women who have chosen to live a simple life so that the workers may get their rightful share of their labor and the people, especially the poor and the marginalized may get the social services they badly needed.
We are in very precarious situation. We see a pattern of systematic attack aimed to dissipate progressive public sector unionism. We have documented more than 20 cases in the past two months alone.
We fear another case similar to the COURAGE 2, Randy Vegas and Raul Camposano, our national organizers who were illegally arrested and detained on trumped-up charges. They have been languishing in Camarines Norte Provincial Jail since 2012. Or worst, another round of extra judicial killings that marked the Gloria Arroyo Regime.
We implore that you take a stand and issue a statement against these escalating attacks on our unionists and activists. We ask our progressive Partylist Representatives to speak on the matter, conduct an Inquiry etc. We ask for your courage for COURAGE.
For the employees and the public,
(SGD.) FERDINAND R. GAITE
NATIONAL PRESIDENT, COURAGE