15 October 2013
Action Alert – Transport Unions the target of killings.
CHRP members are urged to send letters of protest to President Benigno Aquino III, calling for a full investigation into the murder of Antonio Petalcorin and all other trade union activists whose murders remain unsolved. Petalcorin was murdered in July and is the sixth transport union leader to be murdered in 18 months.
Antonio “Dodong” Petalcorin, president of the Davao city based Network of Transport Organization (NETO), was brutally killed. NETO is affiliated to the Alliance of Progressive Labor (APL). He had been on his way to the Phillipine government Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB), when he was ambushed. The killer made his escape on a motorbike. His murder is suspected to be connected to his attempts to expose the alleged corrupt practices of the local director of the LTFRB.
This murder is the latest in a series of killings of transport union activists. A year ago, Ponciano Infante, president of an independent union of jeepney drivers was shot by two unknown men riding a motorcycle at a jeepney terminal in Angeles City. His union had been involved in a number of driver protests against petrol price rises earlier in the year and is closely allied to PISTON, the national union organisation for jeepney drivers. Three PISTON leaders were murdered in separate incidents in 2012. PISTON is affiliated to the KMU and regularly leads major protests against petrol price rises.
The International Transport Workers Federation (ITF) the global union federation which represents transport unions around the world has sent a number of protests to the Philippines government. Stephen Cotton ITF Acting General Secretary urged the Philippines government “to act fast to ensure transport union workers in the Philippines can operate without fear, and address the continuing problem of killings and disappearances of trade union and political activists.”