Central Luzon police set up at eco-zones to prevent union organizing

PAMPANGA, Philippines – The Police Regional Office in Region III (PRO3) has started setting up offices in special economic and freeport zones in Central Luzon to prevent militant labor groups from organizing workers' union in factories and other business establishments.

On Wednesday, January 22, PRO3 Director Brigadier General Rhodel Sermonia led the launching of Joint Industrial Peace and Concern Office (JIPCO) in the Clark Freeport Zone. Joining him as guests of honor and speakers were presidential adviser on the peace process Secretary Carlito Galvez, newly installed Philippine National Police (PNP) Direcor General Archie Francisco Gamboa, and Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) Director Charito Plaza. 

Sermonia explained that JIPCO is a community relations program of the PNP in partnership with PEZA that is “generally the first line of defense from radical labor infiltration of the labor force and the industrial zones in support of ELCAC (End Local Communist Armed Conflict).”

“With its slogan 'Together, we drive the force of our country’s global competitiveness and foreign preference as an investment destination', JIPCO was created for purposes of protecting both labor welfare, labor rights, and productive industry gains, without sacrificing industrial peace. It is also a law enforcement mechanism to address industrial crimes like pilferage, hijacking, and technical smuggling,” Sermonia added.

Upon taking over the PRO3 leaderhip on November 5, 2019, Sermonia already spoke about the need for the police to be present in economic zones in the provinces of Pampanga, Bataan, Zambales, Tarlac, Bulacan, and Nueva Ecija, where there are industrial establishments and many labor unions.

He said a more intense community engagement is needed to fight insurgency, and, through JIPCO, the police can be present in economic and industrial zones “to promote the morale and welfare of the labor sector and, of course, protect the interest of every investor doing business in our area of responsibility.”

Sermonia said, “Central Luzon remains a major flashpoint for communist insurgency and in the white area operation.”

He added: “Your police will take advantage of the potentials of community engagement to prevent industries from being infiltrated by communist agitators and with the implementation of JIPCO in the different economic zones from Subic to Clark to Mariveles and in areas of Bulacan, Pampanga, Tarlac, and Nueva Ecija, where industries are prevalent and labor unions are many, the morale and welfare of the labor sector will be promoted and at the same time industries will be prevented from being infiltrated by communist agitators.” – Rappler.com