Philippines today: killings continue, justice remains elusive

Kilusang Mayo Uno joins the families of all victims of extrajudicial killings in demanding accountability from its state perpetrators as hearings tackling Duterte’s drug war resume today.

The Marcos Jr. government is no different from the previous Duterte government – they implement the same dictates of the United States and derive their anti-people tactics from the United States’ counter-insurgency guide. They implement a state policy of using extrajudicial killings to silence critics, crack down on human rights and its defenders, and spread terror in communities. 

Under the Marcos Jr. government, two more labor leaders fell victim to this scheme in just 6 months. On April 2023, BIEN-Bacolod paralegal officer Alex Dolorosa was found dead with multiple stab wounds in Negros, which the police ruled simply as a “homicide” without acknowledging the politically-charged nature of his death. Jude Thaddeus Fernandez would soon be killed in September 2023 by the Philippine National Police – Criminal Investigation and Detection Group, alleging that he is a certain “Oscar Dizon” and perpetuating a “nanlaban” narrative, similar to thousands of cases of drug-related killings before. Investigations done by KMU found that no commotion occurred and only two gunshots were heard by citizens in the area. They are the 71st and 72nd cases of extrajudicial killings among workers and unionists since 2016, all of which remain unresolved to this day. 

As the International Labor Conference continues, we renew our call to end the culture of impunity in the Philippines by holding all trade union and human rights violators accountable and to bring justice to all workers and unionists who were killed in these operations. Both the Marcos Jr. and Duterte governments, along with all state agents who had a hand in these killings directly or indirectly, must be be brought to justice.