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Duterte: KMU statement taken out of context

Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte earlier expressed his opposition against labor fronts during his proclamation rally in Tondo, Manila earlier this week. Philstar.com / Efigenio Toledo IV

MANILA, Philippines — Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday evening said that his statement against Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) during his proclamation rally was taken out of context.

The presidential candidate said in a statement that he regrets his statement on the labor group.

During his campaign kickoff speech in Tondo, Manila, Duterte expressed his opposition to labor fronts and even threatened to kill them.

WATCH: Duterte voices opposition to labor fronts

KMU reacted to Duterte's statement, accusing the presidential bet of having no respect for workers.

"Is Mayor Duterte joking? He declared war on unions, KMU, and all workers on the first day of his campaign. He called on workers to lessen actions in defense of their rights right in the birthplace of working-class hero Andres Bonifacio," KMU said in a statement posted on Facebook.

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Duterte's media bureau head Peter Laviña said that the Davao-based presidential candidate was only asking for the labor group to give him a chance to invite capital and create jobs.

"Duterte is a lawyer and is fully aware of the labor's right organize, freely redress their grievances and have a share of the fruits of their toil," Laviña said.

Laviña added that Duterte's parameters when he launched the "Invest in Davao" in 1992 was to "invest for as long as you do not exploit our children, women, labor and environment."

Meanwhile, Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino (BMP) said that Duterte's earlier promise to abolish contractualization is merely an electoral gimmick to gain support from the masses.

"May we remind Duterte that workers do not abuse their Constitutional rights to freedom of association and self-organization. It is the employers who exploit 'management prerogative' when they bust unions, pay starvation wages, and employ cheap and docile labor through contractualization," BMP President Leody de Guzman said.

De Guzman stressed that workers form unions in order to enjoy their rights as mandated by the Constitution and not because they are provoked by radicals.

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