Catholic bishop decries dispersal of NutriAsia workers

MANILAA Catholic prelate slammed the violent dispersal of NutriAsia workers and their supporters in Marilao, Bulacan on Monday.

That violent dispersion should really be condemned. The workers there have a right to protest and so also their supporters because the workers have really been abused by contracrualization for so many years, Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo said in an interview Tuesday.

On the other hand, the National Council of Churches in the Philippines (NCCP) also assailed the action taken by the firm's security personnel and the police against the protesters.

We strongly condemn the violent dispersal of NutriAsia workers' picket line, they said in a statement.

For more than a month, workers of NutriAsia have been calling for regularization, just wages, and humane working conditions. On Monday, right after an ecumenical mass, they were violently dispersed by the security forces and members of the PNP. The bloody dispersal has injured a number of workers, including a senior citizen, the group added.

The condiments firm, meanwhile, said some 200 striking workers of Toll Packer BMirk and their supporters sparked the violence when they allegedly fired a shot in the air and started to throw rocks at police and guards tasked to maintain peace and order.

The incident occurred three days after the DOLE instructed the non-striking majority of Toll Packers' employees to return to work.

"It is unfortunate that the strikers staged a violent attack while a DOLE-led mediation meeting among stakeholders, including the union organizer, was at the same time ongoing with the objective of seeking a peaceful settlement for the strikers," NutriAsia said in a statement released Monday.

The company also called out the strikers for allegedly using children and the elderly "as front-liners and human shields" in barricading the plant's entry points. (PNA)

Source: Philippine News Agency