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Labour Leader Killed

Labour Leader Killed In Philippines

Edward Panganiban, a labor leader in the Southern Tagalog region. He was trying to catch a ride to work when he was gunned down by motorcycle-riding men at 5:20 pm, in Barangay Caingin, Sta. Rosa, Laguna last June 3.

He died on the spot, sustaining 12 gunshot wounds.

Panganiban, 27, is the secretary of the independent Samahan ng mga Manggagawa
sa Takata Philippines (Salamat-Independent). For five years now, he has been an
employee of Japanese-owned Takata Philippines Corporation, which manufactures
airbags and car seatbelts and is located at the Laguna Technology Park

While he leads an independent union, Panganiban maintained good relations with

the KMU Southern Tagalog regional formation Pamantik, or the Pagkakaisa ng Samahan
ng Manggagawa sa Timog Katagalugan. As a genuine labor leader, he found common
cause with labor formations that uphold militant and nationalist trade

His death shows that the US-Arroyo regime is willing to assassinate not just
KMU leaders, organizers and activists. It is willing to kill even independent
labor leaders who have shown honesty and genuine leadership in fighting for
workers’ rights. For the US-Arroyo regime, it appears that a good unionist
should sooner or later be a dead one.

His death once again calls the public’s attention to the very repressive
atmosphere prevailing in special economic zones such as the Laguna Techno Park.
These havens of cheap and contractual labor have established themselves as
centers of union busting as well, with extrajudicial killings fast becoming a
weapon of choice against unionists.

His death could only highlight the ruthlessness of the US-Arroyo regime and its
military hitmen. They are still conducting extrajudicial killings even when
they are slated to be replaced by a new regime soon. It was Mrs. Arroyo herself
who green-lighted the killings of trade unionists when she labeled us as
“factory terrorists.”

Panganiban’s death stresses the enormous challenges facing the incoming regime
of presumptive president-elect Noynoy Aquino. Not only must he remain
corruption-free, but he must also reverse Arroyo’s policies. In the field of
human rights, he must put an immediate end to extrajudicial killings,
abductions and other human rights violations.

Panganiban’s death puts another exclamation point to the call for justice, for
Arroyo to be punished for her numerous grave crimes against the Filipino
workers and people. Ordering and funding extrajudicial killings, abductions and
other human rights violations is just one of her many grave crimes. She must be
put to jail for all of these.

This case comes at a time when the International Labor Conference is at its 99th
session, discussing trade-union rights. Meanwhile the Committee on Freedom of
Association is slated to convene on June 3. The KMU  is hoping to raise the issue of Panganiban’s
killing in these venues to gather international support for our fight against
extrajudicial killings.

The case is further proof of the US-Arroyo regime’s disregard for International
Labor Organization Convention 87 (Freedom of Association and Protection of the
Right to Organize) and 98 (Right to Organize and Collective Bargaining) – for
which the ILO sent a high-level mission to the country last year which was
welcomed by the regime.