Chronology on harassments, grave threats and intimidation
- KMU-SMR Denounces Systematic Repression of Progressive Union Movement
- Condemns Harassment and Grave Threats to the Lives of Union Leaders
- Two Simultaneous Strikes Expose Union Busting on Compostela Banana Plantations
- Now there’s blood even in your bananas
- Detained Striking Workers Hold Fast to their Unity
Chronology on harassments, grave threats and intimidation of the workers of Packing Plants 90 and 92, Siocon and New Alegria, Compostela, Compostela Valley , Philippines .
December 2004: The workers of Packing Plants 90 and 92 start organizing their union.
July 2005: 28th IB of the Philippine Army arrive in Barangay Siocon, Compostela, Compostela Valley Province
August 15, 2005: Nagkahiusang Mamumuo sa Suyapa Farms (NAMASUFA) is registered with the Department of Labor and Employment.
August: Vicente first encountered personnel of the 28th IB-PA at his church (Assemblies of God-Siocon) in Purok 3, Brgy. Siocon where he went to worship. When he arrived, 2nd Lt. Leonar was there at the front of the sanctuary, unwittingly accusing their pastor of being a rebel.
Vicente’s pastor has the same first and last name as the President of NAMAOS (Nagkahiusang Mamumuo sa Osmiguel), Danny Jacinto, whom the military has for some time been accusing of being an NPA organizer. Vicente’s pastor goes by the name Dan Jacinto. Vicente told Leonar that he knows the Danny Jacinto that the former is looking for and it is not their pastor. He directed Leonar to the house of Danny Jacinto and told him to talk to him, that Danny Jacinto, President of NAMAOS, is a good and honest man, and that he would face Leonar because he has nothing to hide.
August 25, 2005: NAMASUFA filed a case with the DoLE for money claims for non-payment of COLA, holiday pay, service incentive, and non-wage benefits.
September 9, 2005: Some union members, including Vicente, hung streamers near the packing plant and other places on the plantation marked with their various calls and slogans regarding their grievances.
September 13, 2005: The union’s streamers were taken down by the military. At 10:30am, Vicente and two other union officers went to the purok (Purok 4, Brgy. Siocon) to discuss why their streamers had been taken down by the military. There he was told by Sgt. Abubakar, 28th IB – Philippine Army, that hanging of streamers was illegal, and to talk to their commanding officer about it when he arrived if the union was going to complain further.
Abubakar then proceeded to question Vicente about their union, saying that NAMASUFA was organized by rebels and NPA. Vicente denied this, saying that they formed the union to redress their grievances to the management of their packing plant. He asked Abubakar for proof of what he was accusing, saying that clearly he is not an NPA because he does not carry arms. Abubakar admitted he did not yet have proof, but that the time would come when he would see Vicente carrying arms.
September 15, 2005: Vicente and other union officers went to the house of 1st Councilor Jesse Perasol to discuss the issue of the streamers with the Commanding Officer of the 28th IB, 2nd Lt. Leonar. There, 2nd Lt. Leonar, who was accompanied by 6 uniformed soldiers, told him that the law says that if you hang a streamer, you must pay through the barangay depending on the size of the streamer.
He told Vicente that hanging of streamers was a violation of Republic Act 3000. Barangay Captain Tortillano Vigonte and Councilor Perasol were present, and conferred with Leonar’s statements. Upon further investigation on another date, Vicente and other union members learned that RA 3000 does not exist, and that this was a complete fabrication of the military.
At the same meeting, Vicente was accused by 2nd Lt. Leonar of organizing for the NPA. This was the reason why they conducted roving operations every night on the plantation, because it is at night, they said, that Vicente is organizing. Vicente replied that he is the President of his union, and that he is not an NPA organizer. Leonar replied, “Don’t joke with us. We are familiar with that kind of union.” Leonar asked him if he was willing to talk to their intelligence officer when he arrived. To which Vicente replied, “Yes. I have nothing to hide.”
September: At 8am, the 28th IB called a meeting with the workers of Packing Plant 90 where NAMASUFA is based. More than one hundred workers were present at the meeting with 12 uniformed military holding arms. The military told the workers that the union they are involved with is a leftist union, that they should not join the union because the company will close, that 70% of the people in Barangay Siocon are NPA rebels. The meeting drew on for about two hours while the managers and supervisors looked on. Some workers were frightened.
September/October: Through the course of NAMASUFA’s money claims case, the Department of Labor and Employment found that Ildefonso Lendio, the contractor at Packing Plant 92, was operating without the proper legal documents and should cease from operating as a contractor at PP90.
November: The 28th IB left Barangay Siocon.
December 4, 2005: Vicente was riding a motorcycle with his wife and brother-in-law from the packing plant to his house after work around 7:00 pm. Four unidentified people were standing on the side of the road near the edge of the plantation. When Vicente’s motor passed them, he was hit with a slingshot.
December 8, 2005: A worker who is close to the contractor—Ildefonso Lendio— at PP90, called the attention of the workers and proceeded to place three guns into a bag—a .45 caliber and two 9mm handguns.
December 21, 2005: Vicente received a text message from the president of the union at Packing Plant 92 telling him that she had overheard a plot to kill him while he would be on his way to work that morning. Vicente changed his pattern and was able to avoid any threat to his life. The union President that texted him is the cousin of the contractor Ildefonso Lendio.
February: Workers of Packing Plant 92 were called to the house of barangay captain Jesus Jamero, also the contractor at PP92. They were told by Jamero that he doesn’t want them to join the union because it is led by rebels.
February 21, 2006: The DoLE issued a decision (in favor of the union) on the money claims case with regard to holiday pay and service incentives. Since Lendio, the contractor, was operating without a license, the DoLE decided that the Fresh Banana Agricultural Corporation, as principal, is responsible for the payment of money claims.
February 22, 2006: Twenty-four streamers hung by the union carrying their slogans regarding unfair labor practices were taken down by people riding two motorcycles.
March 1, 2006: As a result of the DoLE’s decision, FBAC issued a memo saying that Lendio was no longer the contractor.
April 1, 2006: Vicente received another text message from the union president of PP92 warning him of another plot to end his life in which he was targeted to be killed from April 12-15, 2006.
April 28, 2006: FBAC management met with the growers, telling them that the growers would be the ones made to pay the money claims and that the bananas should be packed elsewhere. The union issued a statement to the growers saying that their fight is with the FBAC management and not with the growers, and that the growers have nothing to do with the money claims. Bananas continued to be packed at PP90.
June 9, 2006: Vicente was told by a reliable union member that she heard that the plan to kill Vicente was going to be implemented.
June 10, 2006: Vicente’s house, which is next to Packing Plant 92, was forcibly entered by an armed man wearing a bonnet.
June 12, 2006: Thelma Gales, Board Member of Packing Plant 92 Workers Union, began receiving threatening text messages from an unknown number.
June 13, 2006: Liza Alo, Secretary of Packing Plant 92 Workers’ Union , received a text message from an unknown number saying that she was the next to be killed after Thelma Gales, a board member of the same union.
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