The Building and Wood Workers’ International (BWI) has condemned in the strongest possible terms the murder of Leonides “Dennis” Sequeña, a veteran trade union organiser and vice-chairperson of the Cavite Chapter of Partido Manggagawa (PM), the latest victim in a growing list of assassinated trade unionists in the Philippines.
“Our deepest sympathies go to Dennis’ family, friends and co-workers for this immeasurable loss.” said BWI General Secretary Ambet Yuson. “We condemn all parties involved in this horrific tragedy, and demand that a full independent investigation is under taken and justice is done.”
Mr. Sequeña was shot and killed by a gunman riding in a tandem motorcycle on 2 June while meeting a group of workers in Cavite. He was immediately brought to the General Trias Maternity and Pediatric Hospital, but doctors failed to revive him. Sequeña was in the process of making petitions for certification elections in three companies working within the Cavite Export Processing Zone.
Since the election of President Rodrigo Duterte in 2016 the Philippines has been shaken by a so-called ‘war on drugs’ that Philippine police claim has killed 5,000 people, but activists claim the figure is more like 27,000.
“Increasingly we are seeing that the conflict opened up by Duterte’s drug war is being expanded to a war on the poor and workers,” Yuson continued. “Trade unionists, peasant leaders, environmental and human activists are all falling victim to these brutal killings, and there seems to be no end in sight. Far from making the Philippine safer, these killings are putting trade unionists directly in the firing line and is hacking away at the very basis of Philippine society.”