The Australian Manufacturing Workers Union (AMWU) condemned the waves of political killings in the Philippines and supported the call for independent investigation and justice for the victims.

In a letter dated May 2, 2011 addressed to President Benigno Aquino III, AMWU expressed appall over the continuing cases of political killings in the country. Signed by AMWU National President Paul Bastian, the letter wrote, “We thoroughly condemn the continuing political killings of trade union and peasant leaders and leaders of their political parties in the Philippines, and the continuing impunity of the military units, death squads and corporations which are linked to these terrible crimes.”

The correspondence particularly referred to seven incidents of killings in March and April 2011. The victims were: Manrique Santos (Federation of Miners Association of Pantukan); Kenneth Reyes (Bagong Alyansang Makabayan Batangas); Bonifacio Labasan (Union of Peasants in Cagayan Valley); Celito Baccay (Maeno-Giken Workers Organization); Rudy Dejos and Rody Rick Dejos (Zone-1 Farmers Association or ZOFA) and; Rodel Estrellado (Bayan Muna).

AMWU also supported the calls for 1) the formation of an independent fact-finding and investigation teams composed of representatives of human rights groups, the Church, local government, and the Commission on Human Rights 2) immediate filing of complaints in criminal court to bring the perpetrators to justice 3) protection and compensation of families and co-unionists of the victims 4) an investigation on the reported harassment and surveillance on leaders and members of the FEDMAP, DAGAMI, MAGIKWO, ZOFA, BAYAN and Bayan Muna 5) necessary and prompt steps to protect the right to unionize of the workers and peasants involved in the said cases.

The AMWU represents 110,000 employees in the automotive, food, metals and engineering and printing industries in Australia. In the past years, it has supported the campaign for workers rights and human rights in the Philippines and was part of the fact-finding mission conducted by the International Metal Workers Federation in the Philippines in 2009 to investigate killings and other forms of harassment and violence against trade unionists.###