University of the Philippines (UP)-Diliman workers condemned the demolition of the security guards’ camp inside the campus this morning on orders of a brand-new school official.
The UP Workers’ Alliance (UPWA) said Vice Chancellor for Community Affairs Roehl Jamon’s order was carried out without informing the Samahan ng Nagkakaisang Guwardiya (SNG, Association of United Guards) who were using the tent as a camp while engaged in a labor struggle with their private agency.
Jamon had been vice-chancellor for just two hours when the demolition was carried out.
“There was no information, no dialogue, no other process but fascism. Jamon must have forgotten that everything should first be discussed in this university,” the UPWA said in a statement.
The alliance said the SNG and other university employees begged the demolition team to defer the order’s implementation because their spare uniforms and equipment were stored in the area, to no avail.
“At a time when it’s been raining continuously, the equipment and uniforms of the guards just got muddied because of the demolition,” the alliance said.
The guards put up their tent and camp in 2022 when they launched a campaign against their private agency they said had been refusing to pay their wages.
After investigations, former UP-Diliman Chancellor Fidel Nemenzo’s administration ended the campus’ contract with the agency last year and asked the new security firm to absorb the aggrieved guards into their contract with the university.
The SNG did not immediately dismantle their camp pending resolution of their petition to be compensated for the months they were unpaid by their old agency and the university.
UPWA said SNG’s camp was allowed by Nemenzo and the guards have duly requested his successor Edgardo Carlo Vistan II, who has yet to respond.
UPWA said rumors that off-duty guards were drinking and gambling in the camp are without evidence and basis.
“What they are too ashamed to say are the words ‘the camp is unsightly.’ They do not like it because the camp symbolizes the unjust policies happening inside the university, such as contractualization,” UPWA said.
The union said the university must give the guards a space of their own.
UP-Diliman has yet to comment on the UPWA statement. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)