UNI strongly condemns the arrest and detention of 57 members of labor and civil society organisations in the Philippines in the evening of the 31st of October. Included in the arrests was Mary-Anne Krueger (known as Anne) who is an organiser for the contact centre workers’ association BIEN in the city of Bacolod. Anne and BIEN have been active in working with UNI Global Union in the Filipino contact centre sector.
The home of Anne Krueger, where she lives with her partner Michael de la Concepcion and five small children, was raided by armed Filipino police at 9pm on the 31st of October. Michael de Concepcion was also named on the search warrant but was not at home at the time of the raid. According to witnesses, ununiformed men ran into the property with military police and planted two guns and eight bullets in two different parts of the section, which were subsequently used as a pretext for the arrest.
General Secretary of UNI Global Union General Secretary Christy Hoffman said, “We call on the Filipino government to immediately release Anne Krueger and the other 57 members of civil society and labor organisations, and to drop the trumped-up charges against these democracy and human rights activists”.
Ms. Hoffman went onto say, “We hold the Government of the Philippines responsible for the physical integrity of Anne and other individuals being forcibly detained”.
The raids were conducted on the eve of a long weekend in the Philippines meaning that those who have been detained cannot immediately challenge their detention.
“Bayan Muna party-list Rep. Carlos Zarate said on Thursday evening that combined forces of the police and military have raided the regional offices of Bayan Muna, Gabriela, and the National Federation of Sugar Workers (NFSW) in Bacolod, Negros Occidental. According to information from Zarate, elements from the Philippine Army wrongly alleged that 57 persons, including 10 minors were undergoing firearms and explosive training in the offices.
…the lawmaker said this is merely a harassment of progressive groups critical of the government policies, adding that the raid was conducted at a certain time when courts are closed, as the persons apprehended cannot challenge their arrest.
… “Bayan Muna strongly condemns the dastardly Gestapo-like raid still being simultaneously conducted by state forces against the offices of Bayan Muna, Gabriela and NFSW in Bacolod, Negros Occidental … They conducted the raid at night before a long weekend so as to ensure that the courts are closed tomorrow so that the planted pieces evidence and subsequent trumped-up charges filed cannot immediately be challenged