Stop Vilifying the APL and LEARN

The Armed Forces of the Philippines spend millions and millions of pesos for its intelligence gathering, but seeing the AFP propaganda machine at work, one cannot help but wonder: just how intelligent the military’s intelligence units are and how well spent such millions had been!

A stark illustration is what our members in Iloilo had just reported to us: that since 27 April 2004 the 3rd Civil Auxiliary Unit of the 3rd Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army had been showing a film at the Shoemart shopping complex to convince people to vote for the ANAD in the party-list elections, while denouncing front organizations of the Communist Party of the Philippines, wherein the Alliance of Progressive Labor (APL) and the Labor Education and Research Network ( LEARN ) were included.

Had the said unit of the Philippine Army really done their job, they would have easily verified the fact that the APL and LEARN had never been, nor will it ever be, a front of the CPP-NPA-NDF, or any political party whatsoever, illegal or otherwise. Since the Army intelligence has failed (or does not want to) do its job, allow us then to enlighten the AFP and the general public as well.

The APL is an independent labor center formed, sustained and run by workers belonging to legitimate trade unions and workers’ organizations since 1996. The APL is duly recognized by, and represented by its leaders in, tripartite bodies such as the Tripartite Industrial Peace Council (TIPC), TESDA, industry training boards, regional wage boards, local industrial peace councils, and even the National Anti-Poverty Commission sectoral councils. APL affiliates are members, and its leaders are even officers of Global Union Federations.

What we can confirm to be true, is that the APL has been relentlessly fighting for what is best for all workers and for the country. It is also true that it has also been campaigning in the party-list elections for its political party, the AKBAYAN. It should be noted that the CPP-NPA had been attacking AKBAYAN’s for its stand against the CPP-NPA’s undemocratic collection of permit to campaign fees.

We reiterate our denial of, and deplore, the AFP’s unfounded claim, outright lie and fabricated story that it is spreading, against the APL and the LEARN , an NGO to which it is also affiliated. It is not only unconstitutional, but unethical, for an arm of the government entrusted with protecting and defending the democratic rights of citizens, majority of whom are workers and their families, to show and continue showing such untruthful propaganda.

We, therefore, demand that the 3rd CAU of the 3rd IB of the PA be ordered to cease its partisan activities, especially its campaigning for or against any partylist group, and to stop vilifying the APL and LEARN in particular and any other legitimate organization for that matter without any factual basis!

The Alliance of Progressive Labor (APL), is a national center of trade union federations, national unions, and other organizations combining more than 50,000 workers, both in the formal and informal sectors in various industries and regions in the country, formed in 1994 and formally founded in 1996 to protect and advance the interests and welfare, especially of Filipino workers.

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Related letter sent yesterday to Gen. Corpuz

May 5, 2004

BRIG. GEN. VICTOR N. CORPUZ
Commanding General, Civil Relations Service
Armed Forces of the Philippines
Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City

Dear Gen. Victor Corpuz:

The Alliance of Progressive Labor (APL), is a national center of trade union federations, national unions, and other organizations combining more than 50,000 workers, both in the formal and informal sectors in various industries and regions in the country, formed in 1994 and formally founded in 1996 to protect and advance the interests and welfare, especially of Filipino workers.

Our members in Iloilo City had just reported to us that the 3rd Civil Auxiliary Unit of the 3rd IB of the Philippine Army had been showing a film at the Shoemart shopping complex there since 27 April 2004 to convince people to vote for the ANAD in the party-list elections, while denouncing front organizations of the Communist Party of the Philippines, wherein the APL and LEARN were included.

We would like to inform you, and hereby declare that the APL had never been and will never be a front of the CPP-NPA-NDF, or any political party whatsoever, illegal or otherwise. The APL is an independent labor center formed, sustained and run by workers belonging to legitimate trade unions and workers’ organizations. APL is in fact duly recognized by, and represented by its leaders in tripartite bodies such as the Tripartite Industrial Peace Council (TIPC), TESDA, industry training boards, regional wage boards, local industrial peace councils, and even the National Anti-Poverty Commission sectoral councils. Its affiliates are members and even officers of Global Union Federations.

What we can confirm to be true, is that the APL has been relentlessly fighting for what is best for all workers and for the country. It is also true that it has also been campaigning in the party-list elections for its political party, the AKBAYAN, against which the CPP-NPA had been attacking for AKBAYAN’s stand against the CPP-NPA’s undemocratic collection of permit to campaign fees.

We deplore the AFP’s unfounded claim, outright lie and fabricated story that is being spread, against the APL and LEARN, an NGO to which it is also affiliated. It is not only unconstitutional, but unethical, for an arm of the government entrusted with protecting and defending the democratic rights of citizens, majority of whom are workers and their families.

We, therefore, ask that the 3rd CAU of the 3rd ID of the PA be ordered to stop such black propaganda, against APL and LEARN in particular, and to cease its partisan activities, especially its campaigning for the ANAD for the partylist elections.

We look forward to your favorable action on these concerns.

Respectfully yours,

DANIEL L. EDRALIN
Chairperson

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