Florencio “Bong” Romano, long-time labor leader and organizer was found dead on March 8, International Women’s Day.
By JANESS ANN J. ELLAO
MANILA — A labor organizer in Southern Tagalog was found dead on March 8, the International Women’s Day.
Florencio “Bong” Romano, a longtime labor organizer and the provincial coordinator of the National Coalition for the Protection of Workers’ Rights in Southern Tagalog, was reportedly last seen on Saturday, Mar. 7, when he visited a former colleague in Ludlod village in Lipa City. He left at around 7 p.m., and took a tricycle to the City Park Subdivision, to his group’s office.
He was found dead the next day along a sidewalk of Soro-soro village in Batangas City.
The labor leader had a gunshot wound in his left chest, according to the report of a quick reaction team organized by Southern Tagalog-based labor groups Pamantik and Olalia-Kilusang Mayo Uno.
Romano is the 18th victim of extrajudicial killing under President Aquino in Southern Tagalog.
The Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU), in a statement, condemned the killing of their “beloved comrade,” who, they said, was a dedicated organizer.
“The Aquino government is growing ever more desperate in preventing workers from forming unions and fighting for the implementation of a national minimum wage and the banning of contractual employment. We trust that more Ka Bongs will emerge from the ranks of workers and continue the fight,” Elmer Labog, chairperson of KMU, said in a statement.
Romana became an activist back in 1984 as a union leader at the RFM Swift in Laguna. He was also among the organizers of the Institute of Workers’ Leadership and Development and an organizer of contractual workers in the province of Batangas.
“As of now, we cannot find any reason behind his killing apart from his political involvement through progressive groups. This is not just a simple case of robbery because his wallet and cellphones were recovered with him,” Hermie Marasigan, president of Olalia-KMU, said in a statement.