A coalition of labor organizations, on Thursday, called on concerned government agencies, including top officials in Malacanang, to immediately act on the disappearance of several labor and peasant activists in Central Luzon as reported in the media.
Nagkaisa Chairperson Sonny Matula, said reports of new disappearances, if true, sends a chilling reminder to the nation of this cruel act under martial law being repeated under Marcos Jr.
“We are alarmed by this report as it brings back memories of what his father has done more than three decades ago. We urge the President himself to order his security forces to surface the missing persons in the report who disappeared after they were detained,” said Matula.
He added that until a missing person presumed of having been arrested by state forces is surfaced and charged of specific crime, his/her arrest and detention can never be justified.
Matula, a lawyer and one of the petitioners against the controversial anti-terror law, argued that even under the ATL, authorities are allowed to hold “suspects” without charges for 10-24 days only.
The missing persons, Juat and Magbanua, were reported to have already been arrested on May 3, while the others on the first week of July.
Nagkaisa furthered that the right to organize is a guaranteed right thus it wants a firm commitment from the new government that labor rights are not only honored but most importantly, protected in all places at all times.
In relation to this, Nagkaisa reiterated its call for the government to speed up inviting the International Labor Organization’s High-Level Mission into the country, so that official investigations on similar yet pending cases of extra-judicial killings, arrests, and trade union repression under the Duterte government are set into motion.
The Philippines remains in the list of 10 countries where trade union work is most dangerous, according to lates report of the International Trade Union Conference (ITUC).