Monday, June 3, 2019

Group calls on Bello to act on killings of labor leaders

The group Partido Manggagawa (PM) called on Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello for action on the continued killings of labor leaders a day after the fatal shooting of a union organizer in Cavite during a meeting of workers.

“We demand action from Secretary Bello to stop the series of extra-judicial killings of labor activists and trade unionists. As Labor Secretary, he must raise a voice against these killings. And we ask him to immediately convene the National Tripartite Monitoring Body (NTMB) which has the mandate to probe labor-related EJK’s,” stated Rene Magtubo, PM national chair.

The labor coalition Nagkaisa has likewise called on the Department of Labor and Employment for urgent response on the death of Sequena. The NTMB was formed in response to the recommendation of the International Labor Organization High Level Mission (ILO HLM) in 2009 to investigate violations of the freedom of association and killings of trade unionists.

“The shooting of Dennis while he was conducting a labor rights seminar is a particular blatant act of violence against workers exercising their freedom of association. This should not be happening 10 years after the ILO HLM,” Magtubo insisted.

Sequena is a National Council member of PM and vice chair of its provincial chapter in Cavite. He is the second PM labor activist killed since 2016. Orlando Abangan, PM-Cebu leader and informal worker organizer of the labor center Sentro, was shot and killed in September 2016.

Earlier, Victoriano Embang, president of the sugar workers association of Hacienda Maria Cecilia, Isabela in Negros Occidental was shot and killed in December 2012. Rolando Pango, a farm worker leader in Binalbagan, Negros Occidental was ambushed in November 2014. Both Embang and Pango were PM leaders involved in helping workers embroiled in labor and agrarian disputes.

The International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) named the Philippines as one among the worst countries in 2018 for trade unionists due to systematic violations of labor rights and the continued killings of worker leaders.

June 3, 2019

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