In the early hours of July 6, 2019, about 150 protesting employees of B-Mirk Enterprises Corporation, Serbiz Multi-Purpose Cooperative, and ANR Multipurpose Cooperative, co-locators of NutriAsia (NAI) in Cabuyao, forcibly entered and locked down the compound, detaining 40 NAI employees against their will. The gate was barricaded by chains, locks and metal tubes with bolted clamps.
Wary of the safety of the workers trapped inside and to prevent escalation of violence, the foregoing companies immediately sought help from authorities.
However, during the standoff, communication from those held inside told of looting and destruction property. A dark smoke coming from the compound was also visible but the source could not be seen because the fence was covered using carton boxes.
When the security guards approached the gate, boiling water mixed with acid, rocks, metal tubes and bottles were thrown at them. Similar violence was directed at the police when they approached to assist.
Protesters were eventually dispersed by mid-morning and the control of the compound was restored.
Authorities made 17 arrests, including ringleaders.
The Department of Labor and Employment has previously declared that the protesters are not employees of NAI, and that their group should not be considered as a union but a workers’ association. The protesters and their employers (BMirk, Serbiz, and ANR) also have an ongoing mediation at the National Conciliation and Mediation Board.
In a statement, NAI says it was taken by surprise by the sudden and unprovoked acts of violence committed by the protesters, considering that the parties were undergoing the processes provided by law and a number of issues have already been resolved or settled.
NAI and all co-locators in the compound (BMirk, Serbiz, ANR, FSC) jointly thanked the authorities for the release and safeguarding of the welfare of their respective employees who did not participate in the criminal acts and illegal barricade.