Trade unions slammed the Philippine National Police (PNP) for deploying cops in economic zones as a deterrent against “radical labour infiltration,” saying the move aims to "red tag" legitimate workers' unions. A new “community relations program” of the PNP in partnership with the Philippine Economic Zone Authority is being implemented in different special economic zones and freeport zones in Central Luzon to act as “the first-line of defense from radical labour infiltration of the labour force and the industrial zones.”
Out of the 41million Philippine labor force in 2019, only 4,7 million workers are unionized.
Economic zones are selected areas that are either highly developed or have the potential to be developed into business centers. To attract investors, the government grants incentives to businesses operating in these areas.
The “community relations program” (JIPCO) of the PNP in partnership with the Philippine Economic Zone Authority aims to “prevent militant labour groups from organizing workers' unions in factories and other business establishments", according to authorities.
Unions in the Philippines say that this will mean nothing but a tool of repression against the Filipino working class, especially on industrial zones across Central Luzon.”
The unions also have called on Labour Secretary Silvestre Bello III to “do something to end the PNP’s recent attack against labour unions in the country.” Instead of promoting and protecting the basic labour rights of every Filipino worker to join and form unions inside their workplaces, the PNP is clearly violating these rights and is blatantly exposing its institution as anti-labour, according to the unions.