TO be frank, I find it astonishing that a young mayor of a major city in Metro Manila, the scion of wealthy celebrity parents and educated in the most expensive school in the country could be so naïve or brainwashed by the Yellow Cult as to allow himself to be used by a Red front. And all along he deludes himself as defending “workers fighting for what they believe is just.”
I am talking about Vico Sotto, mayor of Pasig City and son of showbiz celebrities Vic Sotto and Coney Reyes, who has gone all-out in support of a group of workers battling snack-food manufacturer Regent Foods Corp., which has been doing business in his city since 1988, or a year before he was born.
The alleged union, Unyon ng mga Manggagawa sa Regent Food Corp. — “alleged” as there is another bigger union recognized by management for years and dealing with the company — appears to have been organized by cadres of, or is affiliated with, the once-powerful leftist group Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU). Check out the KMU Facebook page to find out how deeply involved they are with this “Unyon.”
The company had issued a statement that this KMU union, which is the minority union in the company, blocked the entrance to the company factory with its pickets, forcing it close down. When Mayor Sotto refused to intervene in the dispute, the company secured a private security firm to guard the gates so its employees could resume their work.
The KMU union clashed with the security men and, according to the company, attacked them even using knives. Several of the security agents were injured, and one is still in critical condition. The Pasig police, who were at the scene, arrested 23 of the workers whom they claimed were responsible for the violence. The KMU and other leftist organizations, as has been their template, launched a campaign to “free the Regent 23.”
Astonishingly, Sotto paid the bail of the arrested KMU workers, and claimed that they “were just fighting for their rights.” He told the company that it must drop its charges against the workers if they want a “healthy relationship with the city government.”
The company, as its statement put it, “refused to be cowed,” saying that it might as well transfer its factory elsewhere than give in to the KMU strikers.
It has happened many times in the past of course that a mayor of some small city or town would support striking workers, as they are after all voters.
But this had been done covertly, or solely in the form of social welfare assistance, and more often through the mayor using his clout to mediate between a union and management to reach an amicable settlement. In this case, the company did try to ask for the mayor’s intervention before the violence broke out, but was ignored.
This is the first time I’ve heard of the mayor of a city threatening a company that if it doesn’t bend over to the demands of a striking workers’ union, who are a minority in the firm, the might of City Hall would be used against it.
This mayor should do his homework first before stepping into a controversy in his city. I suspect Sotto’s mental framework is that ingrained in him by the Ateneo School of Government, controlled for a decade by the Yellows, where he studied in 2018.
I won’t be a coward (and f**k them if they claim that this is Red-tagging) that I won’t state what every media man and trade unionist knows: KMU is a front of the Communist Party of the Philippines as much as Kabataang Makabayan and the party lists Bayan Muna, Anakpawis and Kabataan are. These are venues to proselytize gullible people into Maoism and recruit the bolder ones — or workers losing their jobs because a strike it called — into the New People’s Army. Just google or Bing it to find out for yourself how Red KMU is.
The KMU was established in 1980, and the communist leader Jose Ma. Sison very clearly sends the message that it is a Red front through his regular “congratulatory messages” during its assemblies and anniversaries, hailing it as leading the Filipino working class. But it wasn’t a legitimate labor federation, but merely a “center,” the communist euphemism for the party’s command center from which cadres are dispatched to organize unions, and which organizes the demonstrations called by the communists.
It grew rapidly in the early 1980s partly because of the economic recession in those years and its propaganda that it was the only militant trade union center. The Cory years were a boon to the KMU as her Labor secretary Augusto “Bobit” Sanchez, openly of leftist persuasion, supported it. With that kind of support, its ranks grew, as many companies were also covertly threatened to cooperate with KMU-established unions, or face retaliation from the dreaded communist urban assassination team called the Alex Boncayao Brigade — named after an early KMU leader who joined the NPA and was killed in battle in 1984.
Filemon “Popoy” Lagman, who headed the party’s Manila-Rizal organization at the time, was a key figure in the expansion of the KMU. The KMU though was drastically weakened when Lagman bolted the party to form his own Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino.
The KMU began to lose steam starting in the 1990s, and has since become marginalized in the trade union movement, with its activities becoming mainly the equivalent of the Kabataang Makabayan (KM) for the workers’ sector. Its Waterloo of sorts was the strike it called at Nestlé Philippines, which the company’s owners fought tooth-and-nail until it essentially defeated the KMU union in nine years of struggle.
Trade unionists had realized that the KMU couldn’t or wouldn’t handle its legal requirements and seemed not to be interested in workers’ well-being but only in advancing the communist fantasy of a revolution, partly by undertaking strikes that led to violence.
While referring to the precursors of the KMU — labor organizers of the communist organizations KM and the Samahang Demokratikong Pilipino (SDK) — a PhD dissertation on the Communist Party* explained very well how these communist labor organizers actually betrayed the interest of the working class:
“Strikes which came under the leadership of the KM-SDK were treated as the means of ensuring crackdowns by the state to hasten the deployment of advanced workers to the countryside.”
“By the rationale of the Maoists, a defeat on the picket line would be far more politically effective in propelling the workers toward armed struggle than a victory, and the CPP thus exercised no care or caution for the well-being of the striking workers. Of all the strikes in which the KM and SDK were involved which I have been able to document not a single one ended with the striking workers returning to work, let alone securing even a minor victory. The workers were uniformly arrested, thrown out of work, or killed.”
That was in the 1970s and 1980s. In a “Twilight Zone” kind of story, this seems to be happening now in Pasig, thanks to one of the most incompetent mayors the city has ever had, who epitomizes the kind of young leaders the Yellow Cult has bred.
*Scalice, Joseph, “Crisis of Revolutionary Leadership: Martial Law and the Communist Parties of the Philippines, 1957-1974,” University of California, Berkeley.