By JUSTIN UMALI
SANTA ROSA, Laguna – Exactly three weeks after the Bloody Sunday killings, another labor leader was shot dead, March 28.
Dandy Miguel was the vice president of Pagkakaisa ng Manggagawa sa Timog Katagalugan (PAMANTIK-KMU) and the president of the Lakas ng Nagkakaisang Manggagawa sa Fuji Electric union (LNMF-OLALIA-KMU). According to PAMANTIK-KMU, he was on his way home from work when he was shot at least eight times near Asia 1, Brgy. Canlubang, Calamba.
“While Duterte was having his birthday party, his minions were busy following his order to kill Leftists,” KMU said in a statement in Filipino.
On March 5, Duterte ordered the police and military to kill all communists.
Miguel was among those who filed a complaint on March 15 before the Commission on Human Rights, a week after the so-called Bloody Sunday. On March 7, nine activists were killed in simultaneous police operations conducted with the support of the military and six were arrested on charges of illegal possession of firearms and/or explosives.
Miguel is the tenth activist killed in the Southern Tagalog region in one month.
Among those killed were Emmanuel Asuncion of Solidarity of Cavite Workers. Two of those arrested were Mags Camoral, former president of Nagkakaisang Lakas ng Manggagawa sa F. Tech (NLMF-OLALIA-KMU), and Steve Mendoza, executive vice Ppresident of OLALIA-KMU.
Two more labor leaders were also arrested this month; on March 4, Arnedo Lagunias of Alyansa ng Manggagawa sa Engklabo (AMEN) and Ramir Corcolon of Water System Employees Response (WATER) were both arrested on illegal possession of firearms and explosives.
PAMANTIK-KMU has stated before that the Duterte administration is specifically targeting labor activists and unionists. These attacks, the group claims, intensified since the start of lockdown due to COVID-19 on March 17, 2020.
Several labor leaders have also received threats and harassment from unknown perpetrators. These include Hermenegildo Marasigan, president of OLALIA-KMU, and Efren Arante, an organizer for the same labor federation. Both of them. Arante, in particular, received threats through text messages sent to his son.
Red-tagging against workers and union-busting also intensified under the lockdown. In Coca-Cola Santa Rosa, batches of workers were repeatedly forced to “surrender” as members of the New People’s Army. In Fuji Electric, where Miguel worked, barangay Canlubang officials once tried to summon workers to “have a talk,” roughly a week following Bloody Sunday.
Miguel is the latest victim of these attacks against workers in the Southern Tagalog region. He is the second in Laguna under the Duterte administration, following the murder of Reynaldo Malaborbor in Cabuyao under similar circumstances.