KMU downplays warnings that NPA members may join Labor Day protests
MANILA, Philippines — A labor group has downplayed accusations that communist rebels will take part in Labor Day protests, saying they were aimed at dissuading workers from joining movements.
Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) chair Elmer Labog on Monday said the claims made by the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) are not new.
“Well, mula pa naman noong panahon ni (former president Ferdinand) Marcos eh ganyan na ‘yong pananakot nila sa mamamayan para hindi masigla, masigabo ang partisipasyon ng manggagawang mamamayan sa kilos protesta,” Labog said.
(Even during the time of Marcos, that’s what they were already saying to sow fear among workers and discourage them from participating in protest rallies)
“Pinipilit nilang sawatain ang paglahok ng maraming mamamayan sa pandaigdigang araw ng paggawa hindi lamang sa Metro Manila kung hindi sa buong bansa,” he added.
(They try to restrict the participation of workers in the observance of the Labor Day celebrations in Metro Manila and nationwide.)
Earlier, Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief Gen. Oscar Albayalde cautioned the public against joining the May 1 protests because of the possibility of attacks instigated by members of the New People’s Army (NPA), which he said may be blamed against government forces.
“Kaya po tayo nagbibigay ng babala sa ating mga publiko, sa mga gustong sumali sa mga rally na ganyan. It’s because ito nga ang gusto ng mga ‘yan, na magka-gulo at may masaktan na iba, and then they will take advantage of that situation, of that incident,” Albayalde claimed.
(We are warning the public against joining rallies. It’s because those groups want to sow violence so they can take advantage of the situation or incident.)
“So, let this be a warning sa ating mga kababayan na nagjo-join ng mga rally. Hindi po lahat ‘yan ay sinasabi na cause-oriented. Meron dyang armado na naka-tago, I’m sure. Sometimes, they have to sacrifice their own para lang magka-gulo. Huwag po tayong maniwala sa mga maling propaganda na ‘yan,” he added.
(So let this be a warning against joining rallies. Not everyone belongs to cause-oriented groups. Many will join the rallies armed. Sometimes they have to sacrifice their own to instigate riots. Let us not believe their propaganda.)
The PNP is deploying 8,400 cops to secure vital areas on Wednesday.
KMU vice chair Lito Ustarez, however, said that it is the government’s intelligence officers who are mingling with the protesters to take photos of people taking part in the rallies.
“May mga infiltrator na pumapasok sa aming hanay, mga intel po, syempre, ‘yan po yung kumukuha ng litrato, nakikinig sa mga speaker,” Ustarez said.
(Infiltrators are joining our ranks. There are also intels, and of course, those who are taking photos and listening to the speakers.)
“Pero pagkatapos po ng mga pagkilos namin, ‘yan na po ang kinukuha nilang pangalan at nagsasampa ng gawa-gawang kaso (But after the rallies, they will file cases based on trump up charges),” he added.
Both Labog and Ustarez insisted that KMU members are disciplined and the NPA members do not need to amplify the number of protesters dissatisfied with the government’s labor policies.
Ustarez also stressed that they have their marshals to secure their ranks and they will march peacefully. He also appealed to those who plan to disrupt the rallies on May 1 to give workers a chance to air their grievances.
Earlier, KMU said that it is expecting 100,000 workers to join Labor Day movements on Friday, 30,000 of whom will stage protests in Metro Manila. Two programs will be held in the capital city — one at the Mendiola Peace Arch, and another at the Liwasang Bonifacio.
Recently, officials from the PNP and AFP have identified KMU, along with other organizations like Bayan Muna, Alliance of Concerned Teachers, Gabriela, Anakpawis, Kabataan, Karapatan, and the National Union of People’s Lawyers, as legal fronts of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP). /ee
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