Int’l community calls for the release of Filipino trade unionist

Messages of solidarity came from Hongkong, Brussels, Vancouver, and Chicago.


MANILA — Labor and rights groups around the globe called for the immediate release of Filipino trade union organizer and Kilusang Mayo Uno staff Maolen Maojo B. Maga this February, a year after his questionable arrest.

Messages of solidarity came from Hongkong, Brussels, Vancouver, and Chicago.

Maga’s wife and fellow activist Lengua de Guzman said international support for Maga has been there ever since, but the Free Maoj Maga Campaign gained international audience during the International People’s Tribunal held July last year.

De Guzman testified before the IPT regarding the trumped up charges against her father, peace consultant Rafael Baylosis.

“Through Maoj’s case, the international community became aware of the plight of unionists in the Philippines. They found it very alarming,” De Guzman said in Filipino.

In the Philippines, groups recently stormed Camp Crame in Quezon City to condemn the continuing persecution of trade union and community organizers under President Rodrigo Duterte.

Maga was the first unionist arrested in 2018 after Duterte’s cancellation of the peace talks, quickly followed by a series of abduction and trump-up charges of other trade unionist and activists.

Among those who expressed their solidarity and support are fellow unionists from Hongkong, the Philippine Australia Union Link, the Viva Salud and ACV from Belgium, and from their network of friends and youth activists.

Maga, 39, was a member of the League of Filipino Students during his college days at the Polytechnic University of the Philippines.

He was a trade unionist for Kilusang Mayo Uno, where he organized workers in the port area, in factory belts in Valenzuela (among them were Kentex workers), and in Central Luzon.

On Feb. 22, 2018, Maga was abducted by police officers in plainclothes while playing basketball in their village in San Mateo Rizal. He was later surfaced in a police camp in Quezon City, facing trumped-up charges. (

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