Opinion

Another activist murdered

Another activist murdered

As of yesterday, no one had been arrested for the murder of labor leader Dandy Miguel last Sunday night in Canlubang, Laguna. Miguel, 35, was headed home on his motorcycle when assailants on another motorbike sprayed him with gunfire. He died at the scene from eight gunshots.

Miguel was the vice chairman of the Pagkakaisa ng Manggagawa sa Timog Katalugan-Kilusang Mayo Uno or Pamantik-KMU and was also the union leader at Fuji Electric Philippines. He was one of several union leaders who had joined relatives of the “Bloody Sunday” victims in filing complaints against the police before the Commission on Human Rights on March 15.

Bloody Sunday refers to near-simultaneous police operations conducted on Sunday, March 7 in the Calabarzon region of Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal and Quezon, during which nine activists were shot dead. Miguel had reportedly expressed concern for his safety after Bloody Sunday, noting that members of Pamantik-KMU had been tagged by the government as communist rebels.

Police said they had served search warrants for illegal possession of weapons and explosives against suspected members or sympathizers of the communist insurgency. The nine, police said, were shot dead when they fought back – a claim disputed by the activists’ relatives. The Department of Justice has endorsed the Bloody Sunday killings to an inter-agency task force looking into extrajudicial killings.

Rights group Karapatan counts 30 activists killed in Southern Tagalog since the start of the Duterte administration. The CHR, meanwhile, counts 130 activists killed nationwide since July 1, 2016 until Bloody Sunday.

Every slain activist leaves relatives and a wide circle of friends and sympathizers bereaved, denouncing social injustice and unhappy with the government. The Duterte administration has vowed to end the communist rebellion. This cannot be achieved through a campaign of mass extermination. Extrajudicial killings will fuel rather than end the insurgency.