Patriotic officers warn vs military acting like mercenaries for Stanfilco

Oct. 18, 2007

The Patriotic Officers Union Southeastern Mindanao section, a clandestine organization of progressive bloc within the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), is denouncing the statements of Major Medel Aguilar of the 10th Infantry Division blaming the protesting workers of Davao Integrated Transport Facilities, Inc. (DITFI) for the company’s “closure”.

In his statement reported in local daily today, Major Aguilar blamed the “closure” of DITFI to the protesting workers under the Nagkahiusang Mamumuo sa DITFI (NAMADITFI) union, a new affiliate of Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU), a known Leftist labor federation.

Is Major Aguilar, in connivance with corrupt officers in the AFP, now the official spokesperson of DITFI, a subsidiary of Dole-Stanfilco operating in Panabo City , Davao del Norte? It’s none of his business unless Major Aguilar and his ilk are receiving bribed money from DITFI-Stanfilco to harass and repress the protesting workers.

We are very aware of the fact on how our soldiers are being used by agribusiness companies like Dole-Stanfilco to harass and repress the members of NAMADITFI and other workers’ groups aligned with the Left. Some crooked elements in the army organization, upon the orders of corrupt officers, are engaging in smear campaign and witch-hunting against progressive labor groups and threatening workers in joining such groups and peaceful mass actions.

These acts are plain mercenary acts that must be denounced and repudiated by any principled and professional officers. The statements of Major Aguilar are degrading further the awful image of the AFP as mercenaries and defenders of powerful business companies with poor record of corporate social responsibility and not of the interests of the marginalized sectors. These explain why the AFP cannot strategically win the hearts and minds of the people to support the all-out war against the communist insurgents.

Major Aguilar has no right to blame the struggling workers of DIFTI because as far as we understand their demand for wage increase and benefits packaged in a Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) and their direct actions are legal and justified. We warn against military intervention in the labor dispute and call on our fellow soldiers to negate orders of crooked officers to harass and repress workers’ legitimate protest actions.

We sympathize with all the working people striving to have a better life for their family by demanding justifiable wage increases and benefits because we soldiers, especially the rank and file, have the same struggles with our working class brothers and sisters.

Until now thousands of soldiers are deprived of a PhP 150 daily incentive for combat pay amidst reports of lawmakers and local government executives receiving alleged pay-offs in hundreds of thousands of pesos from Malacanang and unbridled corruption in the AFP.

We stand on the genuine mandate of an armed forces carrying the revolutionary traditions and ideals of the Katipunan to be the protector of the Filipino people, especially of the marginalized and toiling people.###

Signed in behalf of the Southeastern Mindanao section of Patriotic Officers’ Union,


Southeastern Mindanao section spokesperson

Patriotic Officers’ Union

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