Danding Cojuangco was a bane to Filipino workers and peasants – Anakpawis

Danding Cojuangco was a bane to Filipino workers and peasants – Anakpawis

Farmers rally demanding return of multi-billion-peso coconut levy funds in 2015. Photo by Macky Macaspac.
Workers of San Miguel Corporation rally against anti-labor tactics carried out by Danding Cojuangco in 2003. Photo by Kilusang Mayo Uno.

Manila, Philippines – With the reported death of Eduardo “Danding” Cojuangco, Jr., the Anakpawis Party-list declared that he was a “bane to Filipino workers and peasants,” guilty of plunder as a major crony of the Marcos dictatorship and the only civilian member of the “Rolex 12,” and amassed his wealth on the oppression of exacting the coconut levy from poor peasants and unpaid labor of workers.

“He was never held accountable for his role in the Marcos dictatorship. His plunder of the coconut levy fund, his very own ticket to the San Miguel Corporation was from the blood and sweat of poor farmers. Moreover, the profits he earned from San Miguel Corp., was all from the unpaid labor of workers, who were organized as Ilaw at Buklod ng Manggagawa or IBM, the very union he busted when he regained control of it in the late 1990s,” Ariel “Ka Ayik” Casilao, Anakpawis Party-list former representative said in a press statement.

The former lawmaker who was also a labor leader of Kilusang Mayo Uno – Southern Mindanao Region (KMU – SMR) added that in 2003, SMC under Cojuangco’s union busting commenced starting from the Cosmos Bottling Corp., followed by Monterey Foods and then La Tondeña. The tactics varied from sudden retrenchment of casual workers, to accusing unionize workers of sabotaging production, and forming a yellow union while on a collective bargaining agreement negotiation.

During this period, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) were all hands to SMC in totally busting unions in companies under the conglomerate. The union-busting within the Greater Manila Area plants reached to the regions, such as the Coca-Cola plant in San Fernando, Pampanga, that even involved harassments by elements of the military.

Aside from his plunder of the multi-billion-peso coconut levy, Cojuangco also amassed vast tracts of lands such as the 11 haciendas in Negros Occidental covering more than 4,600 hectares. This reached to 2 cities and 7 towns of the province. His collusion with the ousted Estrada regime gained him the preposterous label of being “grandfather of land reform,” as the haciendas were covered with the “corporative scheme,” a non-land transfer scheme all designed to keep control of the lands from agrarian reform beneficiaries.

“His crimes were not limited against the workers and peasants, but to all Filipinos. His plunder caused generations of Filipinos of economic distress, deprivation of social services and even the burden of paying foreign debts. His legacy is the very social cancer in Philippine society, a poster boy for imperialism, bureaucrat capitalism and feudalism, all that should be brought down. His death is a demonstration that his ill-gotten wealth is useless in the afterlife and it stays in the physical world. Upon his death, our call is social justice for all victims of Danding Cojuangco,” the former lawmaker ended. ###

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