CITY OF SAN FERNANDO – The Unyon ng mga Manggagawa sa Agrikultura (UMA) yesterday accused Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Gen. Oscar Albayalde of “conditioning minds of the public to harass and prevent May Day protest actions from happening” on Labor Day.
Albayalde did so with his recent declaration that Labor Day protest events would be “infiltrated by New People’s Army (NPA) rebels to instigate violence,” UMA said in a statement.
UMA chair Antonio Flores recalled “this was what the PNP and military did to more than 300 farmers and lumads from Bukidnon when they were prevented by the former from going to Cagayan de Oro for a Calvary of the Poor protest action against martial law in Mindanao on April 19 (last year).”
UMA also condemned Albayalde for blaming militant organizations such as the Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) – a fraternal organization of UMA – for joblessness among Filipinos because of instigating strikes and rallies. Flores stressed that “the right to strike and organizing and joining rallies is a Constitutional right and is also guaranteed under international conventions.” “It seems that the PNP chief is under the illusion that the whole country is already under martial law,” he said.
Flores said “UMA and its member organizations will join the 100,000 strong nationwide celebration of Labor Day.”
“It will not only support the call for a P750 national minimum wage but also assist in asserting its right to hold mass actions on Labor Day,” he added.