14 April 2011
ONTARIO — The Filipino Migrant Workers’ Movement (FMWM) in Toronto, Ontario, Canada extends its deepest sympathy to the family and friends of Celito Baccay, 31, a union leader murdered by unidentified gunmen in Dasmarinas, Cavite, Philippines on March 8, 2011.
Baccay had been a worker for five years at the Maeno Giken Inc., a Japanese-owned steel factory operating inside the First Cavite Industrial Estate (FCIE). Maeno Giken Inc. manufactures steel structures and parts of heavy equipments like container crane, fuel and chemical tanks used locally by different Japanese-owned companies. Half of their products are exported to Japan.
A fact-finding mission conducted by the Worker’ Assistance Center (WAC), Center for Trade Union and Human Rights (CTUHR), and the Solidarity of Cavite Workers (SCW) reports that workers of Maeno Giken Inc. claimed that harassment against them heightened when they started to form a union. Workers said they were intimidated by Company Vice President for Operations Gart Dennis Melchor who was very much against the union, bringing his firearms to work often, cleaning and loading the pistols with bullets, in the workplace. They are also aware of Melchor’s connections with the army and police officers.
Being a board member of the workers union MAGIKWO (Maeno Giken Workers Organization), Celito Baccay was also considered by his co-workers as the union’s founder and the most fearless among the union leaders. This is why Maeno Giken Inc. attempted to coopt Baccay by offering him a promotion. Yet he declined because he knew that it would disqualify him from being a union leader and member. He chose service to his co-workers over his personal advancement.
We in the Filipino Migrant Workers’ Movement condemn the killing of Baccay as well as leaders of unions and other people’s organizations who assert people’s rights and advance their welfare. While these are done to threaten and silence union leaders and human rights defenders, the perpetrators protect the interests of capital i.e., foreign multinationals and their local hirelings to ensure the continuous flow of profit into their coffers.
Despite massive protests by human rights advocates and the ILO high-level mission here in the country to investigate trade union repression and extrajudicial killings, there has been no stop to the killings, other repressive measures and rights violations. The presidential election in May of last year was supposed to give Filipinos a more peaceful environment where the basic rule of law should exist, still, even with a new president in place, these criminal acts continue! It is as if these are condoned by elements in the civilian and military bureaucracies. Their failure to take adequate action in response to these dreadful crimes clearly deprives people of their right to life.
The lack of an efficient police investigation, the government’s being irresponsive to intervene, and the absence of protection for witnesses, are totally unacceptable!
We join the rest of the Filipino people in seeking justice for Celito Baccay. We call on the Aquino government to conduct an immediate, impartial and more thorough investigation into this heinous crime and into the anti-union activities of the Maeno Giken management.
Justice for Celito Baccay! Justice for all victims of trade union repression! End the killings!
Uphold and defend people’s democratic rights!