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Philippines: Another labor leader killed; second this month
BARELY two weeks after the death of Antonio “Dodong” Petalcorin, the transport leader who was murdered by a paid assassin in Davao City, another local leader of NCTU-APL in Cotabato City was gunned down in a brazen daytime attack again, which makes a mockery of justice and underscores the reign of impunity in the country.
Kagi Alimudin P. Lucman, 47, was killed by a lone gunman last July 18 while driving his multicab passenger jeepney along Sinsuat Ave. after taking his three young children to school. He was shot while in front of the Cotabato City State Polytechnic College at about 7 a.m. or during peak hours when students and vehicles converged near the CCSPC.
Lucman was killed by fatal gunshot wounds on his head and chest. His male companion who was seated beside him was also wounded but survived.
“Kagi,” as he was fondly called, was the president of the Notre Dame Village Operators and Drivers Association (NDVODA), which was organized in 2009 and affiliated to the NCTU-APL in 2010. He also represented NCTU-Cotabato during the NCTU National Conference in Cavite last year.
Petalcorin was the president of the Network of Transport Organizations (NETO-NCTUAPL) in Davao City and was killed on July 2. Earlier, on Jan. 25, Emilio Rivera, former head of the Matina Aplaya Transport Cooperative (MATRANSCO), an independent group but with working relations with NCTU-Davao, was also slain by assassin’s bullets.
Another partner in the Davao City-based organized transport groups, Carlos Cirilo of the Mindanao Alliance of Transport Organizations (MATO), survived an attempted killing when a grenade lobbed into his home failed to explode last May 21.
NCTU-Davao revealed that Petalcorin, Rivera and Cirilo were very active in disclosing many irregularities in the Davao office of the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) and in the campaign to oust its regional director, Benjamin Go.
According to the Center for Trade Union and Human Rights (CTUHR), Petalcorin was the fifth transport leader killed since the start of President Aquino’s administration three years ago; making Lucman the sixth and they now belong to the increasing list of victims of extrajudicial killings, especially among trade unionists and social activists in the Philippines.
NCTU is the National Confederation of Transportworkers’ Unions, which is in turn both affiliated to the national labor center Alliance of Progressive Labor (APL) and the global union International Transportworkers’ Federation (ITF).
Late reporting from the local NCTU members, as well as erroneous news posted by a national broadsheet that identified Lucman as a member of a different organization, was the reason for this belated report.
NCTU-APL Leadership Condemns the Spate of Killings of Activists
Demands Justice for Antonio “Dodong” Petalcorin
The National Confederation of Transportworkers’ Union (NCTU) and the Alliance of Progressive Labor (APL), together with its affiiates and allied organizations all over the country, condemn in the strongest possible terms the killing of Antonio “Dodong” Petalcorin, president of the Davao City-based Network of Transport Organization (NETO), an affiliate of NCTU-APL.
Reports have it that at about 8:00 in the morning today, 2 July 2013, motorcycle-riding armed men mercilessly riddled Dodong Petalcorin with bullets, while he was about to leave the premises of his house for the LTFRB, where he was supposed to represent the concerns of his members that need immediate action or resolution.
His wife and children where inside the house when he was cut down by his assassin’s bullets. The clearly determined assassins speedily left the scene of the crime, leaving the lifeless and mangled body of the transport leader, bathed in his crimson blood. His wife and children were shocked at the sudden turn of event.
This latest killing is not an isolated case. More than a month ago or immediately after the May, 2013 elections, Romy Almacin, a Municipal Councilor of the Municipality of Governor Generoso and an Akbayan and an APL rural workers’ leader, was also shot dead in broad daylight in connection with his campaign against graft and corruption and the unbridled illegal drug trades, then, prevailing in that municipality. Before the said election, Emilio Rivera, a comrade of Dodong Petalcorin in the NCTU of Davao City, was also assassinated.
In all these killings, justice was never served and the culprits for the dastardly acts have not been identified and made to answer for their crimes. This is completely unacceptable. And we do not want to see the death of Dodong Petalcorin to be added to the longthening list of unsolved killings in this country.
We grieve with the family of “Dodong Petalcorin” to whom we offer our condolences. We vow to continue working until justice is served.
We call on all social movements to display their outrage over this violence, which are clearly meant to preserve the prevailing unjust status quo and perpetuate the interests of a privileged few.
We call upon the Aquino government to summon its forces to put an end to these killings which are annihilating not only the leaders of the disadvantaged sectors and basic communities but the aspirations of the toiling people.
We also call upon the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) headed by its Chairperson Etta Rosales, to mobilize its various instrumentalities and other concerned agencies of the government to investigate this spate of killings and unmasked the people behind this dastardly acts.
The murderers of Dodong Petalcorin may have killed a leader, but they will never be able to stop our movement from working for systemic reforms and build a better future.
Support the online campaign to demand justice and an end of impunity - Justice for Antonio “Dodong” Petalcorin, murdered trade unionist in Davao City
Spate of killings, harassment of leaders of transport unions linked to corruption exposé vs LTFRB exec in Davao City
TRADE UNIONS in the country and abroad are urging the Aquino government to press the police to look into the connection between the killings of leaders of transport workers in Davao City and their corruption exposé against an official of the local office of the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB).
This was underscored during an indignation rally today in front of the Mandaluyong head office of the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) whose attached agencies include the LTFRB.
Led by the labor center Alliance of Progressive Labor (APL), the protest coincided with the funeral in Davao City of Antonio “Dodong” Petalcorin, which was attended by hundreds of protesters from different unions and activist organizations.
Petalcorin, president of the Network of Transport Organizations (NETO), was executed gangland style as he was leaving his house in Matina Aplaya on July 2 morning. He was shot three times in the chest by a lone gunman who calmly escaped on a motorcycle. This coldblooded murder was captured by a CCTV camera nearby.
Petalcorin’s colleague, Emilio Rivera, former chair of the Matina Aplaya Transport Cooperative (MATRANSCO), was also shot dead by unknown assailants last Jan. 25.
This was followed on May 21 by an obvious attempt to terrorize Carlos Cirilo, chair of the Mindanao Alliance of Transport Organizations (MATO), when a grenade was placed on the terrace of his house.
“Dodong, Emilio and Carlos have one thing in common – they were very active in disclosing many irregularities in LTFRB-Davao,” revealed Luis Macailao, vice chair for Luzon of the National Confederation of Transportworkers’ Unions (NCTU-APL), in which NETO is affiliated.
Macailao added that Petalcorin and his colleagues, especially in NETO, NCTU and APL-Davao, were in the thick of finalizing all the evidences needed to file a corruption case and other charges, including frequent absenteeism, in the Office of the Ombudsman against Benjamin Go, director of LTFRB-Davao.
NCTU explained that anomalies in LTFRB offices usually victimize small-time public transport drivers and operators by demanding from them bribes to facilitate the release of franchises, among others.
Edwin Bustillos, APL deputy secretary general, said that not only Philippine-based trade unions and other mass organizations put across their indignation over the cowardly killings, especially of Petalcorin, but also groups from abroad.
Some of which include the global union International Transportworkers’ Federation (ITF), in which the NCTU is a member; the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), the largest global labor center; KSBSI, a national trade union center in Indonesia; and the list is growing.
Protest letters on the murder of Petalcorin are posted on the Internet and are being sent to Malacañang, Department of Justice (DOJ), Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), DOTC, and the Commission on Human Rights (CHR).
The letter senders stressed their “outrage over the ruthless killing of Petalcorin, who may become just another statistic to the long and bloody list of victims of extrajudicial murders, especially among trade unionists and human rights defenders, in the Philippines.”
It added that they wish to convey their “grave concern regarding the virtual reign of impunity that apparently continues to worsen in the country.”