Today on Off The Hour, two jailed union organizers in the Philippines describe being abducted, blindfolded, and interrogated — all while being denied contact with their lawyers. They have languished in a Filipino jail since December 2012.
Raul Compasona and Randy Vegas are organizers with COURAGE, a major Filipino union federation. The “COURAGE 2” were arrested in December 2012 on charges related to an ambush against Filipino soldiers.
COURAGE is calling those charges absurd, and have decried the violations of rights experienced by the two men. And here in Canada, groups including the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) are calling for the immediate release of the union organizers.
It’s part of a larger story of struggle in the Philippines, a country notorious for the repression of unions.
The jailed union leaders told their story last July to CKUT’s David Koch, who was there as part of a fact-finding mission led by CUPE. Reports from this mission reveal the alarming trend of repression of unions in the Philippines.
You can express your solidarity by joining the Facebook page FREE RANDY AND RAUL, THE COURAGE 2.
COURAGE is asking for the support of Canadians. Here’s are some ways you can get involved:
-A letter of solidarity to Randy and Raul can help boost morale and send a message of international solidarity. You can send your letters via firstname.lastname@example.org
-Financial contributions help defray legal expenses and the cost of travelling for visits — then men are being held more than 300 km from their homes. Funds can be wired to: the Bank of Philippine Islands, account #3043-5929-62, SWIFT code BOPI-PHMM
-Supporters are encouraged to send letters to the Filipino authorities (an example letter from CUPE is linked here).