philippines unionist killings shed light on labour laws in country
The killing of a labour leader in Rizal province in the Philippines has shed light on labour laws in the country. Human Rights Watch (HRW) has also slammed the continued targeting of unionists in the Philippines. Various human rights groups have also called for an independent investigation into the killing of a labour leader.
What happened to the labour leader? Are Philippine authorities responsible for killing Jude Thaddeus Fernandez? Who was Jude Thaddeus Fernandez? What did Philippine police say?
What happened to Jude Thaddeus Fernandez?
Jude Thaddeus Fernandez was killed by a Philippine police officer in September. Police said that Jude Thaddeus Fernandez resisted arrest in an operation and they shot at him. However, human rights groups and New York-based Human Rights Watch have expressed doubt on this narrative by the police.
On September 29, 2023, police went to Fernandez’s home in the town of Binangonan to arrest him. Police said that Fernandez “fought back” while they were serving him with a search warrant. When he resisted his arrest, police killed him.
However, Fernandez’s colleagues said that the narrative was false. The colleagues said that the police used the claim of nanlaban (fought back) to justify shooting at Fernandez. Human rights groups also demanded an investigation of the matter.
HRW reports on Philippines Unionist killings
Bryony Lau, the deputy Asia director at Human Rights Watch with a focus on Southeast Asia, said, “The killing of Jude Fernandez fits into a broader pattern of harassment and violence against labor leaders in the Philippines. The authorities should independently investigate the police actions.”
HRW published a report titled — Philippines: Killings of Unionists Go Unchecked — to report the death of a labour organizer in Rizal province. HRW reported that 72 workers and unionists of the Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU, or May First Movement) have been killed in the Philippines since 2016. However, the authorities investigated a few of these killings.
Labour unions and workers’ groups have been reporting incidents of killings of labour organizers and activists in recent months.
What happened to the Philippines Unionist?
Killings of activists, unionists, and their colleagues are rampant in the Philippines. In 2019, police raided the compound of trade unionists in Cavite province in the Philippines and killed nine activists. Later on, the police said that they were serving a search warrant but the victims “fought back.”
These Philippines Unionist killings shed light on poor labour laws in the country.