UP students condemn NutriAsia19 arrest after violent protest dispersal
MANILA, Philippines–Student organizations and councils from University of the Philippines (UP) campuses stood in solidarity with NutriAsia workers after a violent protest dispersal on Monday, July 30.
19 people, including NutriAsia employees and youth leaders from UP, have been detained after the violent protest dispersal, sprouting a #PalayainAngNutriAsia19 on social media.
Among these 19 detained people were a number of student leaders: Secretary-General of Anakbayan Einstein Recedes, Mark Quinto from the League of Filipino Students, Agham Youth-UP Diliman Vice-Chairperson Jon Maria Zeta Bonifacio, and UP College of Mass Communication student Psalty Caluza. Some of these students were at the picket line to report on the protest.
This spurred student institutions from the entire UP system to release a unity statement denouncing the “criminalization of the support of various sectors for the workers’ calls against contractualization, as youth leaders were unlawfully arrested during the dispersal.”
They called on the youth to “intensify the fight for the democratic rights of workers and all other sectors.”
Different UP student councils also released their own statements, urging everyone to take part in mobilizations calling for the immediate release of the NutriAsia19.
UP School of Economics Student Council described the detention as "yet another incident of the PNP (Philippine National Police) not upholding their mandate to serve and protect the Filipino people but is instead abusing its power to silence dissent."
It also called on the Duterte administration to “fulfill its promise to resolve the issue on the practice of unjust contractualization in the country and to end the various incidents of state-sponsored violence committed by the PNP.”
Student councils and organizations from different campuses of the UP system also strengthened the call to stand with NutriAsia workers. Union of Journalists of the Philippines-UP invited the public "to fight back and be one with the NutriAsia workers in their struggle for the basic rights, and to finally end contractualization."
UP Baguio Outcrop expressed that the "attacks clearly suppress the workers in asserting their rights."
Youth organizations outside the UP system also joined in condemning the violent protest dispersal and illegal arrest. Agham-Pisay urged everyone "to be more active in showing our dissent to this kind of society that breeds oppression and exploitation."
League of Filipino Students, whose Deputy Secretary-General was among those arrested after the protest dispersal, emphathized with the NutriAsia workers' struggle.
"For almost three years and counting, the Nutriasia workers have remain resolute in reclaiming their picket line as long as their demands for regularization qnd national minimum wage are not heeded by the company, DOLE, and President Duterte. This next wave of police brutality and harassment just goes to show the utter disregard of these authorities on the rights of Filipino workers for a decent living."
Meanwhile, social media users have been posting trashed condiments to urge people to #BoycottNutriasia.– Rappler.com