November 10, 2009
Canadian Union of Public Employees
Dear brother Paul,
In behalf of the Alliance of Concerned Teachers – Philippines, I thank your union for
adopting Resolution No. 238, a resolution expressing CUPE’s support for our struggle
against the extrajudicial killings of unionists and activists in the Philippines and for
continued solidarity relations with ACT and COURAGE, at your National Convention
held in Montreal last October 5-9.
As you know, international solidarity played a key role in pressuring the government of
Pres. Gloria Arroyo to allow a high-level mission of the International Labor Organization
to visit the Philippines to look into the prevailing human and trade union rights situation.
We are pleased to inform you that the ILO mission, tasked with investigating gross
violations of the freedom of association, did take place last September 21-29.
Together with the progressive trade union center Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU), ACT met
with the mission and provided information on how government-instigated repression
affects our ranks. We hope that the ILO will come up with findings and recommendations
that will strengthen respect for human and trade union rights in the Philippines.
Unfortunately, the violence and harassment has not stopped, and impunity continues to
In July, transport workers’ leader Joel Ascutia survived an attempt on his life by
masked gunmen on the very day his organization held a one-day transport strike. In
September, Roman Catholic priest and human rights activist Fr. Cecilio Lucero was
killed in Northern Samar province. Also in September, a surveillance operation
conducted by the Armed Forces of the Philippines, targeting Prof. Bienvenido Lumbera,
the former national chairperson of ACT, was exposed to the public.
For these reasons, CUPE’s continuing support for our campaign against political repression is truly appreciated.
Like you, we continue to grapple with the issue of privatization of public services. In
response to the global economic crisis, our national government has made substantial cuts
to the social services budget for 2009 and 2010, which will result in further deterioration
of the quality of public service and force the further commercialization of public schools,
universities, and hospitals.
Currently, progressive unions and people’s organizations are engaged in a campaign to hold the public-private partnership that operates the San Roque dam accountable for aggravating the massive floods brought by powerful storms that recently caused widespread devastation in northern Philippines.
We are glad to learn that preparations are well underway for the second phase of the
Global Justice Tour, which will bring a delegation of CUPE union members and staff to
the Philippines in January 2010. We view this as a valuable opportunity to build concrete
and long-term links between Canadian and Filipino public sector workers as we face in
common the challenges posed by neoliberal globalization.
Once again, we thank you for your support. We commend your union for its strong stand
in defense of public services, militancy in upholding the rights of public sector workers,
and genuine commitment to international workers’ solidarity.
With best regards,
Antonio L. Tinio