The labor union of government social welfare workers has withdrawn from the Confederation for Unity, Recognition and Advancement of Government Employees (COURAGE) after the latter was tagged as a Communist Terrorist Group (CTG) in a recent Senate hearing.
The national council of the Social Welfare Employees Association of the Philippines (SWEAP-National) on January 21 passed a resolution discontinuing its affiliation with COURAGE after 13 of its 17 council members voted to leave the recognized umbrella organization of public sector unions in the country.
This was after National Intelligence Coordinating Agency (NICA) Director-General Alex Paul Monteagudo, in a Senate hearing on red-tagging last November 3, 2020, identified COURAGE along with the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) and the Alliance of Health Workers (AHW) as “CTG front organizations that undertake infiltration of the government.”
COURAGE has yet to respond to queries from Manila Standard seeking comment. The group has more than 200 affiliate unions and employees' associations, according to its official Facebook page.
SWEAP National, which represents the employees' association of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), and all its chapters had been affiliated with COURAGE since the year 2000 through its National Council Resolution No. 00-007.
But under SWEAP-National Council Resolution No. 001 series of 2021, the social welfare workers’ group said 13 of their chapter presidents “voted for the discontinuance of the affiliation, three others voted for its continuity, while one abstained” and agreed to stop paying monthly dues to COURAGE.
In its two-page resolution, SWEAP National said its affiliation with COURAGE was put in question in recent years owing to latter’s “collection of fees and its utilization,” as well as “the activities being engaged” and “the service provided to affiliate members.”
These issues, SWEAP said, led to the clamor among their members, “including members of the National Council which then led to the discussion and evaluation of the affiliation.”
The social welfare workers debated the issue in SWEAP’s 4th Quarter National Council meeting last December 16, 2000, when it was agreed that the council could debate on their membership with COURAGE and put it to a vote.
A forum was then conducted with COURAGE (SWEAP Kaalaman) last January 8, 2021 and a learning debate (a special National Council meeting) last January 24 “to ensure a fair, balanced, and fact-based decision,” the group’s resolution added.
“With this, SWEAP being the national employees' association of the DSWD, shall rescind, revoke, or otherwise repeal SWEAP National Council Resolution No. 00-007, series of 200, and shall no longer remit monthly dues to COURAGE,” it said.
The council’s members include SWEAP National President/NCR Chapter Alan Balaba; SWEAP Chapter President Field Office (FO) I Glynnis Casuga; SWEAP Chapter PResident FO II Dulceneah Lyra Dela Cruz; SWEAP Chapter President FO III Thea Maria Rica Del Rosariol; SWEAP Chapter President FO IV-A Joseph Constantine Arceo; SWEAP Chapter President FO IV-B Josephine Macalagay; SWEAP Chapter President FO V Juvy Pasano; SWEAP Chapter President FO VI Clarence Darryl Alfuente; SWEAP Chapter President FO VII Brigieda Goron; SWEAP Chapter President FO VIII Federico Pagayanan; and SWEAP Chapter President FO IX Fe Dela Cruz.
In a video shown by Monteagudo during the recent Senate hearing, Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) founder Jose Maria "Joma" Sison mentioned that Bayan is the biggest umbrella organization of the CPP-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front.
Monteagudo pointed out that COURAGE, ACT and AHW form part of Bayan.
He said CTGs “put special emphasis on infiltration and united-front-building in pursuing its objective of overthrowing the government.”
“For the CPP-NPA-NDF, the government sector is an invaluable part of the CTG overall objective because just like the youth, the public sector is a lucrative source of new recruits to support its united front activities,” the NICA Director-General said.
Monteagudo also shared a quote by Sison during the 20th anniversary of COURAGE where he said: "Mahalaga ang papel na ginagampanan at dapat gampanan ng kawani ng pamahalaan. Sila ang naguuganay sa mga mamamayan... upang tutulan ang mga patakaran ng opisyal at kilos ng gobyerno."
He also presented to senators that COURAGE claims to have a total of 200 unions, associations, and federations and regional formations affiliated, with a mass base of around 300,00 workers from the national government agencies, local government units, state colleges and universities, and government-owned and controlled corporations.