Another Philippine labour leader gunned down

Philippine trade unions condemned the killing of another labour leader under the watch of President Rodrigo Duterte’s administration. 

In a statement, NAGKAISA, the country biggest labour coalition, condemned the killing of Dandy Miguel, Vice Chairperson of PAMANTIK-Kilusang Mayo Uno on 28 March. Miguel is also the president of Lakas ng Nagkakaisang Manggagawa ng Fuji Electric, in Laguna. 

It called on the country’s labour department to publicly denounce what it described as a “systematic campaign to eliminate trade union leaders.” NAGKAISA said that Philippine Labour Secretary Silvestre Bello’s “defeaning silence” on the killing of trade unionists makes him “complicit to the heinous campaign.”

According to police reports, Miguel was shot to death by a still unidentified man onboard a motorcycle. 

This latest killing comes less than a month after the killing of nine activists, some of whom were trade union leaders, at the hands of the police and military on 7 March in Southern Tagalog.  Dubbed as “Bloody Sunday,” the country’s human rights body called it the “highest number of fatalities in a single incident in the region.”

NAGKAISA said that more than 50 labour leaders and organizers have been killed since Duterte rose to power. 

BWI General Secretary Ambet Yuson joined Philippine trade unions in decrying the killing of Miguel. “Amidst the Duterte government’s gross incompetence in containing a pandemic that has already killed thousands of working Filipinos, the country’s workers are also plagued by a new wave of extrajudicial killings. This cannot stand. We call on the international community, particularly the global trade union movement, to denounce the rapidly deteriorating human rights situation in the Philippines,” he said.

“We also reiterate our call to the Duterte administration  to allow an International Labour Organisation (ILO) High Level Mission to probe the killing of Filipino trade unionists. We believe that an international investigation is one of the best ways to address this human rights crisis,” Yuson ended.