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ACT Teachers: Workers' freedom of association under threat due to NTF-ELCAC

House Deputy Minority Leader and ACT Teachers party-list Representative France Castro on Friday said workers remained under threat despite President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s Executive Order (EO) 23 which created the Inter-Agency Committee for the Protection of the Freedom of Association and Right to Organize of Workers.

“This [EO] is a step in the right direction, but it would just be a mere scrap of paper if the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) is not fully abolished," Castro said in a statement.

"How can EO 23 reinforce and protect the freedom of association and the right to organize workers, when the government itself is funding a task force hellbent on red-tagging organized workers, teachers, and almost anyone it perceives as critical of the government? The Marcos Administration should prove its sincerity by holding red-taggers, as well as those behind extra-judicial killings and other human rights violations, to account,” Castro added.

Furthermore, the representative called on the Marcos Administration to drop all the trumped-up charges against human rights defenders.

"In the education sector, we received reports of regional directors harassing union leaders and blocking the formation of unions or for their members to attend meetings," Castro said.

"As it is, President Marcos Jr. should scrap the unwritten but often practiced red-tagging policy and all its consequent acts. The President and all those under him should walk the talk because otherwise, the EO is nothing but posturing for the international community."

GMA News Online has sought comment from NTF-ELCAC Vice Chairperson and National Security Adviser Eduardo Año and will publish his reply as soon as it becomes available. — DVM, GMA Integrated News