KMU denounces DOLE for underplaying killing of workers

This article is available in Pilipino

Kilusang Mayo Uno denounced the Department of Labor and Employment representatives for belittling the killing of workers in the Philippines at the International Labor Conference (ILC) being held in Geneva, Switzerland.

In the report of Ernesto Bitonio Jr, DOLE undersecretary at the conference on June 7, one of the cases he discussed was the case of Alex Dolorosa. He said, there is no indication that the killing of Dolorosa, then a member of the BPO Industry Employees Network (BIEN), had anything to do with his being a unionist. He even casted doubt on Dolorosa’s union membership, even though BIEN repeatedly campaigned for justice in his behalf.

In fact, Dolorosa was one of the leaders in establishing the BIEN chapter in Bacolod City. He was ambushed on April 23, 2023, on his way home, and stabbed 23 times until he died.

KMU said such statements by DOLE are attempts to evade its accountabilities.

“The Philippine delegation belittled the killings and other fascist attacks by saying they are not labor-related,” Elmer Labog, head of the KMU, and also a participant in the conference, said. He said, this is an insult to the families and unions of the victims.

The KMU, in cooperation with the Workers Rights Watch Network and the Center for Trade Union and Human Rights submitted cases of serious violations of human and labor rights to the ILC.

This includes the police’s killing of Jude Fernandez, veteran KMU organizer, on September 29, 2023. He is among the list of 72 workers killed by state agents from 2016 to the present.

In addition to the killings, workers also recorded six cases of enforced disappearance that victimized 10 workers and labor organizers. Currently, 28 workers are imprisoned in different parts of the country. Additionally, 53 were charged with fabricated cases and 44 were arrested.

KMU also submitted to the ILC the report related to 240 cases of threats, harassment, intimidation, Red-tagging and forced “surrender” of workers. There were also 115 cases of anti-union activities, union busting and forced disqualification. Apart from this, the workers also reported 117 cases of violation of the right to assembly.

The ILC is the annual meeting of the International Labor Organization. Government officials, employers, and workers around the world gather here to discuss key labor issues and set international labor standards. This is the second ILC after the investigation by the ILO High Level Tripartite Mission in January 2023 regarding cases of violations of the Freedom of Association (FOA) among workers in the Philippines. The conference started on June 3 and will end on June 14.

AB: KMU denounces DOLE for underplaying killing of workers