CPP denounces fake surrender of 16 workers in Laguna on Labor Day

The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) denounces the military and police for staging a fake surrender last May 1 where Coca-Cola workers were falsely presented before the media as members of the NPA. The media event was held at Camp Vicente Lim in Calamba City by the 202nd IBe and the Philippine National Police (PNP) Police Regional Office-4A.

“Instead of addressing the workers’ plight and hunger amid the pandemic, the regime used public money to fool the people with another staged “surrender” ceremony,” said CPP Chief Information Officer Marco L. Valbuena. He pointed to the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) as the “promoter and director of the fake surrender show.”

He said the workers of Coca-Cola are not members of the NPA. According to reports, the 16 workers were apprehended by soldiers on April 30 after their work shift at the Coca-Cola plant in Santa Rosa City. Elements of the 202nd IBe then brought the victims to Camp Vicente Lim where they were presented before the media as “NPA surrenderees” the following day.

This incident was not the first case of harassment against Coca-Cola workers this year. Since January, the Coca-Coca Cola management has been forcing workers to go to police camps for interrogation and indoctrination. Workers are banned from participating in protests and union matters.

State forces and the Coca-Cola management continue to harass workers in connivance with Rey Medellin, a former labor leader turned police asset. Medellin was also presented by state forces as a “rebel returnee,” on March 29. Since then, Medellin has actively collaborated with the management and state forces in threatening union leader in their homes to prod them to “surrender” and collaborate.

Coca-cola workers staged a strike in 2018 to demand the regularization of 675 contractual workers, and to condemn union busting.

“The bogus surrender shows that the Duterte regime is suppressing the democratic rights of workers in labor enclaves under the guise of counterinsurgency operations,” pointed out Valbuena. Under the NTF-ELCAC and its Joint Industrial Peace and Concern Office (JIPCO), “the Duterte regime is using the military and police to silence workers and suppress their legitimate struggles against low wages, job insecurity, unfair labor practices and other oppressive and exploitative measures.”

CPP denounces fake surrender of 16 workers in Laguna on Labor Day