UPDATE(Philippines): Violent attacks forced workers to abandon strike


Urgent Appeal Case: UP-107-2007
ISSUES: Labour rights, Police negligence, Police violence,

Dear friends,

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) regrets to inform you that the striking workers at the Korean-owned garment factory inside the Cavite Export Processing Zone (Cepz) were forced to abandon their strike following frequent violent attacks by unidentified armed men. Although an investigation was conducted, the credibility of its result is questionable.


In our previous appeal (UP-087-2007), we reported that on June 10 and 11 the workers on strike at the C. Woo Trading, Inc. (formerly Chong Won Fashion, Inc.) were violently attacked by unidentified men. The attackers, armed with firearms and sharp weapons, dismantled the worker’s makeshift tents. When the workers sought the assistance of the police, the officers refused to investigate and register their complaint. No protection or security was provided to ensure the peaceful continuation of their strike.

After reporting the incident, a letter dated July 25 was received by the AHRC from Justo Porfirio Yusingco, deputy director general for finance and administration of the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (Peza). The Cepz, where the garment factory is located comes under the supervision of the Peza. The Peza’s authority over Cepz, as a government owned and controlled corporation includes the conduct of investigations and security by its own forces.

However, in Yusingco’s letter, there was no indication that a credible and independent investigation had been conducted. Those who conducted the investigation were the Peza police inside the Cepz, who had been accused by the workers of carrying out previous violent attacks against them; the very same police unit the workers charged in court for the violent attacks.

For the June 10 and 11 incident, no investigation was conducted regarding the circumstances as to how the armed men, hooded with balaclavas, were able to enter the Cepz’s compound. The Peza police are obliged to secure compound’s periphery and this includes the workers.

However, in Yusingco’s letter he already rejected the worker’s complaint and concluded the case, even though he admitted difficulty in producing witnesses. In his letter he stated:

“As reported to the dismantling of the workers’ makeshift tents inside the Cavite Economic Zone, PEZA tasked its police personnel to investigate the incident. Based on the evidence and testimonies of witnesses, it was found that the alleged dismantling was purportedly ordered by an officer of Chong Won Fashion, Inc. However, for lack of witnesses who can identify the persons responsible for the dismantling, the PEZA Police failed to establish their identities.”


The role of the Peza police who conducted the investigation was put in question due to their alleged previous involvement in attacks on the workers.

As described in our previous appeal (UA-314-2006), the Peza police and security guards were accused of violently dispersing the striking workers in September 2006. The incident resulted in the wounding several workers. They were dispersed while preventing the scab workers from entering the factory. It is not permitted under the Labour Code of the Philippines for factory owners to hire scab workers to replace workers on strike. However, the Peza police and security forces instead escorted them inside the factory to work.

They also denied entry of food, water and personal belongings for the striking workers (UP-185-2006). The workers entry passes, while on strike, were invalidated thereby effectively denying them access to the factory to carry on with the strike.

They have likewise illegally arrested, falsely charged and have eight workers detained in another police station for supporting and giving food to the striking workers (UP-195-2006). When the arrests took place, one of the Peza police allegedly intimated and threatened to kill one of the workers. Later, the court ordered their release due to lack of evidence.

In January 2006, the Peza police have also allegedly violently attacked workers wounding three of them. One of the victims was a three-month pregnant woman. She subsequently miscarried days after the incident (UP-080-2006). The victims and their fellow workers were forced to relocate and settle in other places. The workers at that time lost their jobs when their company closed down without notice. They were forced to secure the remaining machines at their insolvent company’s compound, unless their demand for payment of their salaries and benefits are met, when they were attacked.

A number of criminal charges have been filed in court against the Peza police but none of them are showing progress as a result of the prosecutor’s failure to resolve them promptly and file in court to begin a trial. Although Section 3, Rule 112 of the Rules of Court requires a maximum of 35 days to resolve a case; from the day it is filed, submission of affidavits by respondents and for prosecutor resolved the case. But cases are suffering delay.

Even though the Peza police and its security forces have already been charged in court, they have been allowed to continue reporting and performing their usual duties. No known disciplinary action has been taken against them.

The Peza’s autonomy over economic zones as provided by the Republic Act No. 7916 or the Peza Law has limited intervention by the Philippine National Police (PNP) in some cases, in particular in investigation and receiving of complaints. When workers reported the June 10 and 11 incident to a local police station–Rosario Municipal Police Station (RMPS); they refused to register the workers complaint and to investigate claiming they have no jurisdiction over Cepz.

Please write to concerned government agencies requesting their intervention to ensure that a credible investigation in conducted in this case. It should also ensure that the charges against the security forces in court and the labour dispute involving the workers and the company are resolved promptly.

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Dear _______,

PHILIPPINES: Violent attacks forced workers to abandon strike

Names of injured victims:
1. Resurreccion Ravelo, president of Nagkakaisang Manggagawa sa Chong Won (United Workers in Chong Won)
2. Florencia Arevalo, the union’s secretary
3. Several others workers present during the incident
Alleged perpetrators: Unidentified men armed with knives and guns
Place of incident: In front of the C. Woo Trading, Inc. (formerly Chong Won Fashion, Inc.), inside the Cavite Export Processing Zone (CEPZ) in Rosario, Cavite
Date of incident: 10 to 11 June 2007

I am writing to express continued disappointed over the authority’s failure to ensure a credible investigation into the June 10 and 11 violent attack on the striking workers inside the Cavite Export Processing Zone (Cepz) in Rosario, Cavite. I have learned that although an investigation was conducted, those who conducted it are the same police unit whom the workers had accused of allegedly violently attacking them in the past and whom they have already charged in court. It has already seriously undermined the credibility of the investigation.

I am aware that the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (Peza), who have jurisdiction over the Cepz, has already rejected the worker’s complaints, alleging that they were inaccurate and false. The Peza deputy director general for finance Justo Porfirio Yusingco has also concluded the case based on the investigation conducted by the Peza police. But he admitted though that they could not produce witness.

I am seriously concerned over the failure to ensure that the investigation is credible. I am aware that the Peza police, who have conducted the investigation, had in the past been allegedly involved in attacking the workers. I am not aware though of any disciplinary actions taken against them despite pending criminal offence filed against them in court. Still they are allowed to continue reporting for work and carry on with their duties. They have pending charges for criminal offense in court.

When the June 10 and 11 incident took place, it was the Peza police where the striking workers have first sought assistance to conduct investigation and provide for their security, but they did not take any action. They did not investigate in order to identify who are responsible for the said attack. These prompted workers to report to another police station outside the Cepz who likewise refused to register their complaint and investigate.

The Peza’s effort to investigate the case will have no meaning unless the investigating body is credible and independent. It is unacceptable to conclude the investigation of this case.

Yours sincerely,



1. Director General Oscar Calderon
Chief, Philippine National Police (PNP)
Camp General Rafael Crame
Quezon City
Tel: +63 2 726 4361/4366/8763
Fax: +63 2724 8763
Email: bluetree73@gmail.com

2. Atty. Lilia B. de Lima
Director General
Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA)
Roxas Boulevard corner San Luis Street
Pasay City
Tel No: +63 2 551 3432 / 3454 / 3455
Fax No: +63 2 551 3449 /+63 2 891 6380
Email: dglbl@peza.gov.ph

3. Mr. Raul Gonzalez
Department of Justice
DOJ Bldg., Padre Faura
1004 Manila
Fax: +63 2 521 1614

4. Dr. Purificacion Quisumbing
Commission on Human Rights
SAAC Bldg., Commonwealth Avenue
U.P. Complex, Diliman
Quezon City
Tel: +63 2 928 5655 / 926 6188
Fax: +63 2 929 0102
Email: drpvq@yahoo.com

5. Mr. Emilio Gonzalez
Deputy Ombudsman
Office of the Deputy Ombudsman for the Military and
Other Law Enforcement Offices
3rd Floor, Ombudsman Bldg., Agham Road, Diliman (1104)
Quezon City
Tel: +632 926 9032
Fax: +63 2 926 8747
Email: omb1@ombudsman.gov.ph

6. Mr. Peter Favila
Department of Trade and Industry
4/F BOI Building
385 Sen. Gil J. Puyat Avenue
Fax: +63 2 896 1166
Tel: +63 2 899 7450

7. Mr. Arturo D. Brion
Department of Labor and Employment (Dole)
7/F DOLE Building, Intramuros
Manila NCR 1002
Tel No: +63 2 527 2131
Email: sec_art_brion@yahoo.com.ph

8. Mr. John Ruggie
Special Representative of the SG on human rights
and transnational corporations and other business enterprises
1211 Geneva 10
Tel: +41 22 917 9615

Thank you.

Urgent Appeals Programme
Asian Human Rights Commission (ua@ahrchk.org)

Document Type : Urgent Appeal Update
Document ID : UP-107-2007
Countries : Philippines,
Issues : Labour rights, Police negligence, Police violence,