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ITF slams latest Philippines outrage

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Antonio "Dodong" Petalcorin

The late Antonio “Dodong” Petalcorin

2 August 2013 – The ITF has expressed its outrage to the Philippines government over the second murder of a transport trade union leader in less than three weeks.

At the beginning of July Antonio ‘Dodong’ Petalcorin, president of the Network of Transport Organizations, was shot outside his home. Now Kagi Lucman, president of the Notre Dame Village Operators and Drivers Association – part of the ITF-affiliated National Confederation of Transportworkers’ Unions – has been murdered after dropping his children at school. He is the sixth Filipino transport trade union leader to be murdered since March 2012.

The ITF has protested to the president of the Philippines and to the chair of the Philippines government Commission on Human Rights. ITF acting general secretary, Steve Cotton, told them:

Lucman is now the sixth transport union leader murdered during the three years of President Aquino’s presidency.

The ongoing lack of action from the government around these murders appears to confirm the Philippines’ international reputation as a place where union leaders are targets for extra-judicial killings and where a culture of impunity is allowed to exist.

The ITF is committed to working with our partners internationally to campaign for justice to be done and for the Philippines to become a place where transport union workers can operate without fear. In less than three weeks the online LabourStart campaign, in which we were involved, has received over 11, 000 signatures demanding justice for Petalcorin. Our affiliates in the Philippines have written several letters to President Aquino, calling for justice to be done. We will continue to monitor and report on the situation to our global audience of some 4.5 million workers. We will continue to take action, and to support our affiliates to campaign against these murders.

The ITF is cooperating with LabourStart on a campaign against the killings and the culture of impunity in the Philippines. For details  on Antonio “Dodong” Petalcorin, please read further herebelow:

Antonio “Dodong” Petalcorin, the leader of the Network of Transport Organizations (NETO-APL-ITUC), was shot dead on 2 July 2013 right in front of his home. The gunman was caught on a CCTV camera calmly escaping in a motorcycle.

The union suspects Benjamin Go, the regional director of the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) Regional Office in Davao City was behind the killing.

Dodong was part of a group of transport leaders who exposed the alleged corrupt practices of the director and launched a campaign to oust him in October 2012. Dodong’s colleagues believe that his murder might be a part of a series of attempts to silence those unmasking corruption in the LTFRB office, which primarily victimizes small-time public transport drivers and operators. They gave as an example what happened to Emilio Rivera, former chair of an independent transport workers’ group, the Matina Aplaya Transport Cooperative (MATRANSCO), who was shot dead; as well as that of Carlos Cirilo, who narrowly survived when a grenade was lobbed inside his home but fortunately failed to explode. Dodong, Emilio and Cirilo have one thing in common – they were co-complainants in a corruption case filed against Benjamin Go.

We are calling on the President of the Philippines to do his utmost to stop the murders of trade union and human rights activists, and to bring the killers to justice. We also call upon the President to address the issues that Dodong and his colleagues have raised and fought for – the alleged corruption at the LTFRB office in Davao City. This will ensure that they did not die in vain.

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