BWI on the killing of nine activists in the Philippines

BWI, representing twelve million workers from 350 unions worldwide, expresses its serious alarm and concern over the rapidly deteriorating human rights situation in the Philippines, as manifested in the killing of nine activists on 7 March at the hands of state forces.

The reports that BWI has received from our Philippine affiliates and partners are extremely disconcerting. Dubbed as "bloody Sunday," the activists, some of whom are trade unionists, were allegedly killed in raids carried out jointly by the military and the police at the victims’ offices and homes, two days after President Rodrigo Duterte's order to “kill all” “communists” and dismiss human rights. The national police leadership asserted that the raids were legitimate, yet, offered the public no explanation whatsoever as to the details and circumstances that led to the killings. 

We join our trade union affiliates and partners in the Philippines in voicing out our profound dismay over the police force's indifference to the public's clamour for transparency. Its lack of openness and sense of urgency on this grave matter smacks of impunity.  BWI calls on the Philippine government to conduct a swift, independent and impartial investigation on this incident. It is not enough for its security forces to claim that the raids were lawful, yet keep the people in the dark about what really transpired in the conduct of their so-called raids. 

We also call on Philippine Labour Secretary Silvestre Bello to immediately convene a coordination meeting with the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), Department of National Defence (DND), Department of Justice (DOJ), Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to strictly implement without preconditions the “guidelines” that they have agreed to relative to the exercise of workers’ rights and activities.


Furthermore, we appeal to President Duterte to open the doors of his government to an International Labour Organisation (ILO) High Level Mission to investigate the killing of more than 50 trade unionists under his watch. Being a member of the global community, President Duterte has an obligation to protect workers from state abuse and commit himself to international human rights standards. 

Lastly, we call on the international community, particularly the global labour movement, to continue raising their voices on the declining quality of democracy and human rights in the Philippines. Global unions must ramp up international pressure for the Duterte government to abandon its authoritarian governance. Democracy demands solidarity. And democracy is solidarity with those to whom it is denied. #