The weeks long rally of workers from NutriAsia Inc., a highly popular condiments making company in Marilao, Bulacan Province, the Philippines reached a bloody point after protesters and the Philippine police had a violent encounter during their 12th day of rally.
The bloody incident happened on Thursday, June 14, at around 1:30 p.m., according to Bulatlat.
Marilao police reportedly dispersed the protesters violently by punching them and hitting them with truncheon and rattan sticks. Pictures of the aftermath showing several injured protesters began circulating online.
During the encounter, it was reported that 10 people were left injured while 20 were arrested by the Marilao police, which includes some students who participated in the protest. People from the media were also blocked by the authorities to cover what was happening in the violent dispersal.
One of the protesters who spoke to Facebook page League of Filipino Students said that the security guards of NutriAsia Bulacan grabbed four of the protesters and gave them to the police to be arrested.
The workers of NutriAsia, one of the biggest producers of condiments in the country behind the popular products like Datu Puti, Golden Fiesta, Jufran, Mang Tomas, and UFC, began their protest on June 2.
In this, the workers demanded for the condiments giant to recognize a workers union, to give them regularization complete with employee benefits, and to hire back those who were allegedly dismissed illegally, ABS-CBN reported.
They also voiced in protest the unlivable wages on top of the inhumane working conditions of the workers.
“The workers are only asking to become regular employees of NutriAsia after working in the factory for as long as 15 years but the company’s and court’s response is violent,” the seven-member House bloc, which composed of Reps. Carlos Isagani Zarate (Bayan Muna), Antonio Tinio and France Castro (ACT Teachers), Emmi de Jesus and Arlene Brosas (Gabriela Women’s Party), Ariel Casilao (Anakpawis) and Sarah Elago (Kabataan party-list), said as they condemn the violent dispersal, The Philippine Star reported.
“This blatant use of force against workers who are only exercising their rights should be investigated and we will ask Congress to look into this,” the Makabayan bloc said.
Images via Facebook / League of Filipino Students