The Communications Workers of America (CWA) applauds the passage of Representative Susan Wild’s (D-Pa.) amendment to the America COMPETES Act late yesterday. The passage of this amendment sends a clear message to the Duterte regime that the U.S. Congress will not be complicit in its oppression of the Filipino people.
The Philippine government has responded harshly to workers' efforts to organize and collectively bargain by subjecting trade unionists to extrajudicial killings, arbitrary arrests, intimidation, harassment, and more abuses through a process known as “red-tagging.” The police and military forces who commit these horrendous acts against labor activists who are simply exercising their rights to associate, organize, and collectively bargain, do so with complete impunity. Representative Wild’s amendment strictly prohibits any funds appropriated in the COMPETES Act from being used to provide assistance for the Philippine National Police until the U.S. Secretary of State has certified that the Philippine government has taken steps to address the human rights abuses and hold members of the police force accountable for their actions.
This is a major victory in the fight against Duterte’s regime and its increasingly dangerous actions to punish and execute trade unionists and activists. However, Congress must still go further and pass the full Philippine Human Rights Act to address the threats our labor allies in the Philippines are facing from both the police and the military, and to ensure that the ban on funding applies not just to COMPETES, but to all U.S. defense funding for the Philippines.
CWA will continue to work in solidarity with workers in the Philippines against the climate of fear and retaliation and the targeting of workers by the Duterte Government.
About CWA: The Communications Workers of America represents working people in telecommunications, customer service, media, airlines, health care, public service and education, manufacturing, tech, and other fields.