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Global unions condemn Philippines Anti-Terrorism Act

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15 July, 2020Global union federations, Including IndustriALL Global Union, have unequivocally condemned the approval of Anti-Terrorism Act by the president of the Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte on 3 July 2020.

In a joint press release dated 9 July 2020, global union leaders expressed grave concerns over shrinking democratic space and the increasingly authoritarian measures of the Duterte administration.

The decision has drawn international criticism from the trade union community and human rights organizations as ambiguous provisions of the Act could be abused to arrest and detain unionists and activists for 14 days without the right to judicial review.

According to the law, the police have been given huge power to place anyone under surveillance for 60 days, subject to extension of 30 days. The enormous power vested in the hand of the Duterte administration curtails Filipino’s civil rights and violates the constitution of the Philippines.

IndustriALL general secretary Valter Sanches said:

"IndustriALL strongly opposes the Anti-Terrorism Act. Combating terrorism and drug abuse have been used as pretext by the Duterte government to suppress the trade union movement.

“Last December, we campaigned for putting an end to violence and the red-tagging of trade unionists in Philippines. 43 trade unionists had been abducted and killed, till today no one has been brought to justice nor convicted, the accountability of the elected government is at stake.”

A few days before the adoption of the controversial Act, the UN Human Rights Council heard the report that at least 8,663 people were killed and at least 248 human rights defenders, trade unionists, journalists and lawyers were murdered because of their works.

“We pledge to continually support our affiliates to resist undemocratic laws that restrict the human and labour rights of trade unionists. We extend our solidarity to our Filipino sisters and brothers who never fail to give workers a voice despite the severe political situation,”

Sanches added.

Red-tagging” is a Filipino political tactic that refers to the smearing and harassment of individuals for alleged left wing sympathies.