Today, March 28, the Center for Trade Union and Human Rights (CTUHR), an NGO devoted to empowering workers in the informal and formal sectors to claim their labor and human rights, remember the murder of Southern Tagalog electronics unionist and labor leader Dandy Miguel.

It was three years ago, still in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, that Pangulong Dandy was shot by unknown assailants in Cabuyao, Laguna while he was riding his motorbicycle on his way home. Eight bullets pierced through his body, killing him in the process and depriving his wife a husband, his two children a father, and the workers and Filipino people a great leader and servant.

We remember Pangulong Dandy’s service to advancing labor and human rights. As organizer in 2015 and later president of the Lakas ng Manggagawa ng Fuji Electrics Philippines (LNMFEP-OLALIA-KMU), he worked for the improvement of wages, workplace safety and overall workplace conditions in the electronics factory, benefitting more than 400 workers there.

As vice-chairperson of the Pagkakaisa ng mga Manggagawa sa Timog Katagalugan (PAMANTIK-KMU), he empowered workers in the region to claim their labor and human rights — work for improvements in workplace conditions, unionize, raise their consciousness to see their situations’ connection to social problems, and struggle for social change.

The extra-judicial killing of Pangulong Dandy is a human rights violation and a crime. No amount of lies from the Rodrigo Duterte government, especially its National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Confict (NTF-ELCAC), can belie the fact that Pangulong Dandy is unarmed, is not part of any armed organization, has not been tried or found guilty of any crime, and has fought for labor and human rights and not any form of terrorism.

Pangulong Dandy is one among the 68 labor leaders and defenders killed under the Duterte regime. In its drive to protect the profits especially of the biggest capitalists and to quell criticism and opposition to it, the Duterte regime conflated unionism with terrorism and carried out extra-judicial killing, imprisonment, harassment and other human rights violations against unionists, labor activists and labor leaders like Pangulong Dandy.

Pangulong Dandy was part of the team that responded, three weeks before his death, to the gruesome Bloody Sunday massacre in Southern Tagalog, in which fellow labor leader Manny Asuncion and eight (8) other activists were killed. Instead of addressing the demands and needs of workers and people during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Duterte regime unleashed a wave of repression to silence voices that were independent and critical of it.

We demand justice for Pangulong Dandy! The military and police officers in Southern Tagalog at the time should be subjected to investigations. Duterte and his top minions in the NTF-ELCAC should be prosecuted for severe violations of labor and human rights, especially through the bloody drug war and their counter-insurgency war. The NTF-ELCAC should be abolished, and the draconian Anti-Terror Law of 2020 should be scrapped.

We call on workers, unionists, labor activists and labor leaders to emulate Pangulong Dandy’s example of committed service to workers and the Filipino people.  The conditions faced by workers and the Filipino people make necessary greater struggles for labor and human rights.###