A trade union organizer was killed 2nd June while conducting a meeting with workers in Cavite. Dennis Sequena was shot by an unidentified gunman who arrived and left in a motorcycle.
According to the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) the Philippines is among the 10 worst countries in the world for workers and trade unionists. According to ITUC the country does not respect the basic workers’ rights: The right to organize and collectively bargain, and the right to protection against child labour, discrimination and forced labour. In a context of extreme state violence and suppression of civil liberties, workers and trade unionists face threats and intimidation from both the regime and companies, and have to fight for their rights.
The Arthur Svensson International Prize for Trade Union Rights 2019 is awarded to a Philippine trade union activist, France Castro. She receives the prize 12th of June in Oslo for her struggle throughout many years to organize teachers and to fight for basic workers’ rights in the Philippines.
Despite threats and intimidation there are brave people who fight for democracy and human rights. Some active trade unionists, in particular journalists and teachers, have been targeted by the regime and those around them. Some have been killed or imprisoned. Death threats are common. In September 2016, union leader Edilberto Miralles, president of R&E Taxi Transport union was also gunned down by two men on motorcycle.
Various groups have released statements of condemnation and urgent calls for government to investigate Sequena's death and the growing number of killings of activists and leaders fighting for workers' rights.